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.
I was invited to exhibit and demonstrate oil painting at the ASU Folk Festival in February of 1973. I met a lot of people and also saw many familiar faces. I liked the demonstrations, everyone was happy and full of chatter, they enjoyed watching and many of them were also painters. I had my miniature covered wagon and all the little rooms on display so if anyone wasn’t interested in painting, they liked to look at the little things. The famous wood carver, Gene Zesch was also exhibiting his wonderful carvings, he carves old cowboys and anything to do with ranch life, with much skill and unbelievable humor. I was in good company that day, it is a sweet memory for me~
This miniature kitchen has a lot going on. It was easy enough to restore and re-decorate, but I left several things out that were in the original kitchen. With all the rooms, I had too much stuff. I now have a cigar box full of left-overs. This was my next to last room to fix up and I was ready to get crazy~not from the work but from the mess. All finished, all clean again and I feel like celebrating. On the counter there is a block of Velveeta cheese, a cheese grater and the start of Chicken Enchiladas.
The kitty is now “Buttermilk” instead of the 40 year old Miss Lilla. The fruit on the counter only needed cleaning, it was carved from a dowel pin, then painted. I wish I could get some creative souls out there to try this carving thing, it is so easy and terribly fun. You only need a dowel pin, carpet knife, and a fingernail file. The new ‘granite’ counter top is made from a black floor tile, it was easy to cut with the carpet knife. The canisters are from different size dowel pins, the pots are metal perfume lids that I cut around the center, leaving one little piece in tact and then bending it down to make a handle.
I have carved several telephones, they are the old kind by today’s standards. I like the kitchen, maybe because I like my real one so much. Cooking is a great pleasure, we are nesters and feeders~ and also eaters~
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
At first I thought this little dining room do-over would be the easy one. It took me more than two weeks. Everything in the china cabinet was in good shape, no repairs there. The fruit bowl on the buffet has apples, oranges, and bananas that are carved from wood. I started by whittling a piece of fruit on the end of a dowel pin, this way I had something to hold to, then sanding and shaping it with an emery board. Finally I cut it loose and painted it. The grapes are mustard seeds rolled around in Elmer’s glue to make a clump, dried and then painted. They are still good after 40 years. Pile it all in a bowl (perfume lid) and it is done. Copper wire is great for so many things, I hammered it out in a flat ribbon and made the arms for the chandelier and the drawer pulls from that an then painted them with gold leaf. The dining chairs got new covers. Glue has always been a problem for me. It needs to be tacky so it will hold the pieces together and then dry strong. There is no way to join the parts and then hold each tiny piece for 20 minutes until it bonds, it has to be sticky. I think I have finally found the perfect glue, it is Loctite Stik N’ Seal. The carpet is the original, velvet fabric that I painted a design on. I re-varnished all the little furniture in each room, it made a big difference. I use polyurethane satin, everything looks brand new again. This project was almost as much fun as it was the first time ~except nowdays I get tired and think about a nap~
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 screened porch. 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~