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.
More miniatures this morning, this is a copy of the furniture in my den, the sofas have been recovered since I made the little ones, I planned to recover the miniatures but like to remember them them as they were when we first built the house. They sit on the fireplace hearth and decorate that area. As I have said before, all my dogs have recognized what they are and have sat on them. I have a living room but the den is where everyone congregates. Most of the time the doors are open to the sun room. I remember the excitement of making all the little things. If you have ever made a little chair or carved something tiny, you know what I mean. We may be wired a little bit different~
This is a miniature copy of the swing set at Camp Rock. (I didn’t make the trailer, it was a gift from Dan and Debbie). The barn is a copy of one Dan built, ZZ helped him by handing him each nail, one by one that went on the roof. There is the picnic table like the one I built that washed away. I bought the real swing set at Lowe’s and put it together. It came in several heavy cartons full of pipes, seats, chains and a thousand nuts and bolts. I laid it all out on the ground, opened up the instructions and it said, ‘have your helper hold the first leg steady as you connect it to the horizontal top bar’. Well,the only helper around was my little dog Spook. One of these things can be assembled by one person because I did it that day. (a hard job) When it was finished, it was worth it. Our kids came for vacation from Albuquerque the next day, and ZZ had stars in her eyes when she saw it. She spent the next two weeks on the slide or a swing or sitting in the glider with her dog and her stuffed toys, she was three years old. I see swing sets in people’s back yards that are a piece of work. They have climbing walls and bridges, curved slides, ladders up to a landing on top with a flag flying. They are made of redwood and and likely very expensive. I know it would take more than your dog to help put one together. But what a nice thing to have when your kids are growing up, it should last forever. When I grew up, we were lucky if we had a tree big enough to hang a rope swing. Ours was across the street in Grandmother’s yard. You could sit in it and have someone wind you up and spin until you were sick. You staggered out of that swing drunk as a skunk~
I copied this dining room set from a real one that belonged to my Montgomery grandparents, they had started out their married life with it. When I received 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 from 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.
A couple of years ago I had some projects that needed to be done. They took several weeks, the signs were some I carved years ago and the paint was blistering and peeling, the gold leafing was suffering. Here are pictures of that project before and after. Just like keeping a house in good shape, it takes constant maintenance.
Nothing lives in this little house now. Buttermilk and Domino sometimes sit on the porch in the shade. They are my sweet kitties, they like it here~I like them~
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~
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.
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.
all the nice soft things for a good bed
The story goes that Thomas McCann met Blossom Blue at a social affair in Boston and had to act fast, he was on his way to Oregon to stake his claim on the new frontier. He didn’t have a real commitment from Miss Blossom but would woo her with letters until he could return for her later. He loaded up his wagon with trunks, bedding, tools, cooking utensils, and everything he could carry to set up housekeeping.
He would be packing his six shooters and a muzzle loader. The gun powder is in the powder horn, or in this case, a rooster spur.
Next he gathered up all the tools for building a place to live once he got there.
A crate and gardening tools, they would be stored in a tool shed when he gets one built. The lantern is one of the most important things he owns
Some treasures are packed too, the telephone was ahead of it’s time but will be handy in the future
Today I am showing a little sofa. It is one of the larger miniatures and a copy of a real one we bought at Robert Massey’s in 1964. After making the John Townsend secretary, I scaled everything to that size. When I first made it, I kept it in my living room with copies of each piece of furniture, even the bay window with draperies and swags. It took up a lot of space so now the different pieces are sitting in other places around the house. The sofa is on my dresser and I see it every time I walk in the room. There is something magical about little things. Your eye is fooled and you can put yourself right in the middle of it. The sofa is one hand high and two feet long. Tumbleweed Smith (Bob Lewis) came out this fall to do an interview about my paintings and liked the little furniture most of all. That was a special day.
This is a carved mallard duck, his name is Stanley. He came in two large chunks of wood and I used a carpet knife to make him look like one of the two real pet ducks I had for 8 years. It took me about 16 hours to do the work with the knife, then several days to paint him. By the time I finished, I was loving him just like the real Stanley. He is about 18 inches long~ life size. On the underside I wrote a note to remember what was going on with my family at that time and how old the boys were. (I have also written on the bottoms of drawers on my favorite furniture so I can recall the thrill of the day I got it and what time in our lives it happened, like a journal you could say). I got my two real mallard ducks in 1976, when they were two days old, I built them a duck house, they had the water trough and a big yard. You never know how wonderful feathered pets can be until you have had them. In the years since then, Debbie has had Katie Mae, Algeritta, Sarah Kate, and several others.(Sara Kate and Katie Mae were invited into the kitchen on Christmas Eve every year to enjoy a pint of fat earth worms from Wal Mart!) Anna has had the 21 peacocks and 7 pet chickies, there have been at least 8 parakeets through the years, most of them named Blue Boy. Birds make nice pets. They are beautiful and smart, most of all, they love you back~
This is the guest bedroom. The bed is about 18″ long. The posters are made from dowel pins and the solid pieces are mahogany. It sits in the corner of my bedroom. Once when Elizabeth Ann was two years old I was reading and heard her say “my bed’. When I looked up, she was sitting in the middle of it, patting the pillows and saying, ‘bed, my bed’. I was sure it going to come cashing down~ but it held her. When she got up and went to get something, I put some books under the mattress to prop it up so there would be no weight on the tiny legs. It always made me happy when she liked the little things. All of my dogs have been on the that bed, they recognize what it is. Missy would take naps there and hang off on three sides. I like little things. We all have that child side in us forever. Elizabeth’s 27 years old now. She is halfway around the world in Uganda, starting a wonderful new married life with John. I miss her. What a sweet and wonderful blessing she is. Love you ZZ!