These are two miniature dining chairs that are a part of a set of six. Each one has 19 pieces. After I made the pattern for the first one, I then cut the 114 pieces for all of them. Then they had to be sanded, fitted, glued together, stained and varnished. It went pretty fast and was a lot of fun to do. Making the chair bottoms took some time, the cording on the cushions was tedious since they are so small. The chairs are 9 1/2″ tall and copied from a real set of chairs from my grandmother. I restored the real ones several years ago and found $4.75 marked on the undersides indicating the price. A little chair, lamp table and the accessories can fit in almost any place and make a nice and interesting little set up. People either like little things or they don’t, I like those who do~
This armchair is 8″ high and a copy of one in my living room that I have had for 45 years. We bought it from Bennett Brother’s of Chicago, a wholesale place that put out a wonderful catalog every year. They carried nice furniture, as well as jewelry and almost anything you could think of. The prices were ‘wholesale’. The miniature chair was easy to make, upholstered furniture didn’t take as much time to make as the wooden pieces. The lamp table was a copy of a real one I had. The books are a little block of wood, covered with pictures of books from a magazine, just cut out the picture and fold it over the wood. One book is True Women by Janice Woods, I scanned the book jacket and then reduced it down to the right size for the miniatures. No matter how tiny these things are, you can recognize the covers and read the titles. It is the same with photographs, I scan, then reduced the size and frame them in something like an ear screw that has the the stone taken out. Jewelry makes perfect little frames. This chair is like the one I sit in every morning to read the paper. I have said before how much I enjoy the morning paper~if I am not liking the way a story is going, I just turn the page. The TV news turns into a loud debate, Breaking News! Then the rest of the day, each commentator giving their take on it and explaining it to us dummies~I like the Standard Times and our wonderful local paper, The Eldorado Success~
This 9″ miniature violin was a model kit from a Neiman Marcus Christmas catalog years ago and was a gift from my son Dan. It was a wonderful project and I enjoyed putting it together, every piece was machine perfect, exactly to scale, there was no detail left out. I almost hated to stain and varnish it, it looked so good in the natural wood. Since I like music, I like instruments. It sits on my piano and I look at it every time I am playing. Wonder if I have enough space to talk about my piano lessons~ I took music from Miss Ellington for 6 years, she didn’t like me and I didn’t like her. I hated those lessons! Recitals were the worst, it meant a new dress and a corsage, but the humiliation of playing ‘Birdie in the Treetops’ while my little sister (who was 4 years younger) was playing ‘Moonlight Serenade. I just could not read music. One day I told Mother that I was not going to take lessons any more, and she couldn’t make me, I was quitting! She said that was fine, I didn’t have to but I was going to go sit on Miss Ellington’s piano bench for 30 minutes twice a week. Finally a couple of years later, she let me quit. About that time, the movie ‘The Third Man ‘ came out and it had that most beautiful and haunting song played on a zither. Somehow I picked it out on the piano and soon was able to play it. I drove everyone crazy with it, I opened the windows so the neighbors could hear, I was hooked on the piano after I found I could play by ear. Years later at a Bridge party Sharon was telling us about her sister Joan who use to play ‘Third Man Theme’ over and over until she was ready to scream, she said she ‘just wanted to hang Joan on the wall and beat her ’til she bled’. I am laughing when I think about it, I still love that song.
When I was a child, the two things I wanted most were a play house and a real boat, (followed closely by a cave and a tree house). I had ridden in a rented boat at the park in Christoval, and could just imagine my family having one of our own. Since that time I have owned four boats, We bought an old green aluminum Lone Star boat from Mrs. Furrey in Christoval for $5. It was a good boat that was easy to row and not bad about tipping over. (except that one time). After many years it ‘disappeared’. Then I bought an aluminum boat near San Angelo for $75, and it had a trolling motor. (we were moving up in the boat world) This one was named the Dinktums. Later came the River Mouse, the abandoned one we found at the barn and I restored. This picture today is a little boat kit Dan and Debbie gave me to put together. It had no telling how many pieces but they were all cut exactly right so fit together nicely. It was like a salesman sample copied from real plans for an actual row boat. I stained it and finished it (like decoupage) with several coats of polyurethane varnish. It is named ‘Schatzie’ after their dog. I added the dock, posts, fish net, and the rod and reel. It is an interesting piece, I have it on a lamp table by my chair and never get tired of looking at it. Some minatures are hard to dust, this is one of them.
This miniature chair and table was a project my little granddaughter Elizabeth made a few years ago. She had watched me carve and was sure she could make a chair. When it was starting to look good, she was hooked. She kept going and made the table and all the accessories. She decided she would make this for my friend Pat, because ‘Pat didn’t have a little chair’. The gift box is filled with pictures she scanned and reduced down to a tiny size, they were mostly of her and her good friend Natalie, Pat’s granddaughter. There is a Hershey bar, a phone, a note pad, reading glasses, and a coffee mug. She was able to do the whole job with little help. Pat was thrilled with her special gift. Later when Elizabeth went back home to Albuquerque she made bunk beds, tables, and all kinds of miniatures.
I found some 16″ tall china dolls that had good features but ugly painted faces. They cost less than $5 so I bought several. I sanded the paint off, which took a while because it was kilned fired. Then I repainted them using my oil paint to look like real people with soft colors and pretty eyes. I made new bodies to replace theirs which were stuffed with something like floor sweepings. I designed pretty new dresses. They turned into something you might find in a doll shop. The carved chairs were a copy of those in my dining room. These were gifts for my sisters Nancy and Tricia, and I kept one for myself. This project was one of my favorites. My grandmother Montgomery had a neighbor who had a beautiful china doll in her bedroom and I was was captivated by it, as a young girl I dreamed of having something like that. Finally I got my own doll~
I have been posting my little things on face book, but now I will be bringing them to my blog, the one today is the den. When I made it in 1972, we lived over at the farm house with no den so it was fun to dream of ‘some day’ as I made it. On the desk there is a typewriter, world globe, pens and pencils, and letters etc. The book case has framed pictures of the kids, carved figures, books and a little sailing ship on top. There is a checker board on the coffee table with a heated game going . My miniature rooms never have dolls in them, once you put a doll in the magic is gone. In your mind you can be the one in the room and own the space without being an intruder.
Meet Stanley and Rose Olive, the Jamaican dolls I made in around 1956 . He was a wheeler dealer and she was a show girl. After a while I decided they needed a place to sit so I made the two wing back chairs. Stanley has a pack of Lucky Strike cigarettes in his shirt pocket, he carries a leather bill fold in his pants pocket with a driver’s license and a picture of Rose Olive. She used to have a big purse but lost it. I liked these two characters. A few years ago, someone came to my house and was offended by them so I put them in the cedar chest in the attic for quite a while. I just recently decided to bring them back out and enjoy them again. They are really quiet nice, they have never caused trouble ~except for that one time~
I copied a chair that had belonged to Dan’s grandmother which was over 100 years old. The real chair was hand made and uncomfortable, the seat was too high, so I cut off the legs and made new mortise and tenons, put it back together and it is now (like in The Three Bears story) just right. The miniature is 12″ tall, my first attempt at carving. It is made from dowel pins and oak wood. Ron Sutto came one day and told me how nice it was, in fact he bragged so much about it, I was feeling just pretty good! After he left, I picked it up and said something like, ‘it is a darn good piece of work’ ~ then dropped it on the tile floor and it splattered into a dozen pieces. (pride before the fall) I put everything in a shoe box and left it for a couple of years before I had the energy to rebuild it.This was the beginning of a passion for making miniatures.
I copied this dining room set from a real one from my Montgomery grandparents, it has three leaves so makes a large table. When I got it, I refinished the table and six chairs. It was a surprise when I removed all the different chair seat covers that had been replaced through the years, the original was maroon leather. The price stamped on the bottom of the chairs was $4.75. It is over 100 years old. I treasure this table and remember growing up and having wonderful meals at their house. The miniature table is 7″ tall, it is made of mahogany. The secretary is a copy of one that belonged to Dan’s grandmother. It took several weeks to make all the pieces but was one of those really happy projects.
For hundreds of years Indian tribes lived in this area but no one knows what ancient people built the thousands of rock mounds that are found in Schleicher County, Texas. Around them you can find flint, scrapers and arrow heads. The mounds are large piles of rocks, shaped in a circle with an opening on one side. All the rocks are burned. There may be as many as 20 mounds in one small area. Dan started looking in mounds in the 1950′s, the first time I went with him we were in the middle of a small oak grove and he was
We looked until dark and didn’t find anything else except some flint scrapers. I went with him a few more times but soon he was going every day and staying several hours. Then six months later he found the third rock on a mound about half a mile from where I found the first two. He looked for over 30 years after that and only found arrow heads and scrapers. In researching these rocks he learned the designs on the first two marked stones are identical in their engraved detail with two historic archeological engravings, one found in crumbling ruins in ancient India and the other deep in the old Mayan country of Mexico. Someone told Dan about three books by James Churchward written in 1931 that might be of interest to him. One of them, ‘Children Of Mu’ pictured drawings of artifacts that are identical in character to the two rocks I found. Dan sent pictures to Smithsonian in Washington, DC, and Universities of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona. No one had a clue (or the money to pursue this). The mounds and the carved stones remain a mystery.
These are my miniature blue chairs.( I copied them from two I bought at Robert Massey’s in 1967 and they are some of my favorite pieces of furniture.) They were fun to make, they are 8″ tall. All the miniatures show better if they are just below eye level, then they are at the same angle as you see your real furniture. You have to trick the eye.
I used to have them sitting in the living room on the floor with the other little furniture and Jitter Joe started taking them in other parts of the house so I put them in a safe place. I am always happy that all my puppies recognize it is furniture, they want to lie on the bed, get up on the sofa and sit close to the chairs.
One time when they were puppies, Jitter Joe and Little Elmo got into a fight behind these two chairs and rolled them around but no damage.