Monday, December 28, 2015

Don Buttfield Miniature Chess Table and Pieces 1978

I am afraid until the sun comes back out these are going to be the best photos I can get. It has rained every day for a week. Not that we are having the horrible flooding that those in the UK are experiencing. I have been thinking about all my blog friends there hoping they are safe.

Please click on photo. I chose extra large here.

Occasionally you can find a great deal on eBay. This one blew me away because when I accidentally found it there weren't any bids and only one day left in the auction. Surely it had been up there for at least a week. The starting price was very low. Sadly for the seller, she had misspelled Don Buttfield's name in the title. So perhaps anyone who searches for his work would not have been notified. I really can't figure out any other reasonable explanation for the lack of bidders. Plus, you never see his work for sale on eBay. Actually, this is the first time I have seen anything of his for sale at all.

For those who do not know. Don Buttfield (now deceased) was a well known master miniature furniture builder/maker. IGMA has an award named after him. He was one of their founders.

I first saw his work in a book by Virginia Merrill and Thelma R. Newman called The Complete Book of Making Miniatures for Room Settings and Doll houses, Crown, 1975. That book was what caused me to fall in love with miniatures. It was my first exposure to truly fine collectible pieces.

I was excited but somewhat wary about the auction so I called William Robertson to ask him what he thought of the piece and ask him what he thought it was worth. He and I watched the count down as I won the bid I made the day before and for much less than half of what it is worth. I was so shocked someone wasn't out there waiting in the wings to snag it from me in the last few minutes/seconds.
How fun is that! So my nasty 2015 can now go out of my life on a good note!

The body of the table is made of cherry. The chess pieces are made of ebony and ivory. So tiny I cannot imagine how he made them. I am not entirely sure what the squares inlayed in the table are. The legs get so thin it is very scary to handle the table. The woman who owned it kept it in a box for 38 years!
This is one of the wood boxes that Don made for the table. I received two wood ones.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

It never goes the way you think it will.

Yesterday I had my right hand operated on. Yes, I am right handed. So there won't be any miniature making around here for a few weeks.

Something that I thought was going to be relatively simple. A little bandage and a few days to get the sutures out. OOPS! I have two more weeks wearing this. My hand looks like Donald Trump's face or like someone powdered it with Cheeto's dust. The result of having it painted with betadine before they operated. I have tried baby wipes, alcohol and peroxide.. Nothing gets that stuff off.

Another thing I wasn't expecting was to come home with a giant block of Swiss Cheese to wear on my arm. It does help with holding the ice bag though.
I am going to try to stay out of hospitals in 2016!!!

I want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Thank you Monique

Due to another eye surgery I have fallen behind on finishing my kitchen cabinets. I couldn't do any sanding. That however gave me time to change my plans a bit.

I was inspired by Monique's refrigerator re-do.   I ordered one from Germany to incorporate into the kitchen cabinets I am building. However when it arrived it was too deep but I could feel that there was a lot of empty space back there. So I cut the back off so it would be the same depth as the cabinets.

Then I covered the outside with wood and trimmed it the same way I did the kitchen cabinets.

I ordered a 1 mm sheet of acrylic plexiglass on Amazon.
I cut it to size for the new shelves on the Proxxyn saw and trimmed the front edge with 1 mm square styrene.                           

Goodbye to those shelves that came with the fridge.


The plexiglass comes with a thin film on both sides to protect it from scratching.

PS... I am happy to report I have 20/20 vision in both eyes now. ;-)


Monday, October 19, 2015

English Cottage Kitchen Cabinets With Soapstone Countertops

Click on photo for a close up of the soapstone

Some time ago I bought a Proxxyn Fet Saw. This is my first project using it. It is far from finished. I still have to make the drawers and add hinges and knobs. I probably won't paint it until I am sure about the kitchen.

The counter tops are cut from soapstone. It is really brittle and cuts like butter on the saw. I still need a piece of stone under the sink which will raise it up to the right height for the counter tops. I also need a piece behind it.

I found lots of pictures of these sorts of cabinets in Pinterest. The photo that I copied these from had the drawers under the cabinet doors. I liked the look but I still have time to change my mind and turn them around so the drawers are on top. I justified the arrangement because my kitchen table has drawers, which I plan to keep all the silverware I made in.

Linda Master was here for several days last week. Thank you Linda for helping me get started.

The photo I copied my cabinets from.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Making Chairs for Aunt Olga

Click on photo please. I selected extra large and it doesn't fit here.

It seems almost everyone is taking a blog break. You know who you are. ;-) I miss your posts!

I haven't been much better. Partly because I made so many nutshell cottages this summer and figured you had seen enough of those.

There is a French fabric dealer on eBay I have ordered from several times. I sent her a photo of my petit point carpet and asked her if she had something she thought would be good with one of the faded colors in the carpet. She sent me several swatches. I was thrilled. We have awful fabric shops here. I chose a beautiful antique rose in a silk blend. 

Colors vary so much on computer screens it's  sad because this antique rose is a beautiful compliment to the carpet. Linda Master carved the front legs of my chairs for me. Thank you Linda!!!

The pillows on the chairs are temporary. I am stitching pillows/cushions on #56 silk gauze for them. I think I am going to have to design some patterns. That should be fun. 

Laser cut fabric by Jean Day. I cannot imagine having doilies in my RL home but I do love them in miniature. Things show up so much better on table tops.

Friday, July 17, 2015

She has really grown.

I planted this Crepe Myrtle "Sarah's Favorite" three years ago. They have much bigger blooms then other Crepe Myrtle trees. It is just getting started blooming now. 
 I wanted some shade in front of the house. Something that would get as tall or taller then my roof. Now that the roots have pushed through the burlap bag it was planted in,  it has really taken off.

It is fun to keep photo records of these sort of things.

First year... 2013

This summer 2015

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Captured on June 24, 2015

She is made of porcelain. I dressed her in vintage millinery leaves, antique metallic lace and vintage French ribbons. She has tiny 1/2 mm diamonds on her lace top and a real opal. Her wings are from a glass butterfly. Her hair is made of silk.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Walnut Shell Gypsy Caravan

Having lost their caterpillar to his own agenda of spinning a cocoon, the travelers are going to have to camp for a few days while they look for an obliging beetle (or some other creepy crawler) to pull their caravan. It's no easy task to convince an insect to wear a harness or go in the direction you want him to for that matter. They tend to want to stop all the time to chew on a leaf or a berry.

When the walnut gypsy wagon occurred to me, I knew I was going to have to try it. As usual as soon as it started to come together I had several other designs pop into my mind. I am sure I will have to try another one eventually.

I am still waiting for clear 3 mm round beads to arrive for the front lanterns. Those fixtures may change entirely before I am finished, they are just waxed in place for the present.

I had intended for this one to have a polymer clay insect hitched up to the wagon. While I was working on it I realized that it would have to be mounted on a base or the poles that extend from the wagon to the bug would surely get broken over time. Anyway... I really prefer the houses not mounted. The wheels do turn so gluing them down to a base would have been a shame. 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Disappearing Artisans

A blog friend in England was kind enough to ask me if there was anything I wanted when she went to London to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival. I told her collected Terry Curran's blue pieces. She didn't find these at the festival though. She found them in a shop. I was thrilled when she found so many.

 I have noticed Terry's work is slowly disappearing. Occasionally, I find a piece for sale online. The pieces I see on Ebay are going for as much as much four times the original value. Depending on the piece of course. So when I find something for the original price I buy it. No matter what the color. I know will be able sell those someday if I want to.

We are loosing so many artisans either to retirement or sadly they have passed away. I no longer hesitate to collect something, thinking I will get it later when my mad money jar fills up.

Who's work do you collect that has vanished?

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Giant Bubbles

My new neighbors have four children. They are the nicest kids I have ever met. Polite, thoughtful and truly sweet.

I had to devise a way to spend some time playing with them. They are always outside jumping on the trampoline or shooting basketball. They have great toys so I wasn't sure what I could come up with. I decided on giant bubbles. There are lots of soap solution recipes on the Internet and wand designs to make.
It was a perfect day for it. Not too hot and no wind. We had a great time. We went through two gallons of soap. Some of those bubbles were nine feet long!
Then a couple of them disappeared while I was talking to their mother. They returned 40 minutes later with a plate of brownies they baked for me and three hand written thank you notes for the bubbles.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Finished Aunt Olga Petit Point Carpet

I am delighted to tell you I have finally finished my carpet. I am so excited to get on with other projects that have been whirling around in my mind for months. I have another crazy nut house in mind and I want to start making some windows. 

The Back


Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Somebody slipped me a Mickey and I woke up like this!

                                                      A little nap after a big day out.

Poor Merlin had been so neglected for so long, his fur on his body had turned into a solid thick mat. His entire chest, tummy and behind his back legs was a mess. There was only one thing to do. Wait until it got warm enough and take him to the vet and get him shaved.

I can tell he feels better. He has been grooming himself ever since we got home this morning. I never saw him bother much before. I bet there was a lot of wild life living under that matted mess.

It was good to find out he is a neutered male. I was pretty sure he was a boy. He is about three years old and in good health. He got all his shots too.

He's a little worried about what all the other kids are going to say. I don't think Puffy and Groupie have seen him yet. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

To Hell And Back... A Note From Catherine

Many of you may already know my appendix ruptured in February. It's hard to believe but  I didn't know it for weeks.
I started becoming very, very ill. My lower back hurt and became very swollen on my right side. It had a huge egg shaped swelling in the mix. Even the skin turned very red and angry looking. The skin felt like it had a thousand bee stings.  I couldn't raise my right leg more then an inch off the floor. I thought I had done something to my back working in the house that was causing all the symptoms I was having. So I just kept waiting for it to improve. A week later, things became much worse.
I now know I was septic. The highest priority in a hospital they told me. My blood white count was 21,000. A normal number should be about 10,000 or lower. I had an abscess between two muscles in my gut the size of a large Coke at McDonalds. That was discovered via a CAT scan. After being in the hospital for six days they discovered another abscess in my back. It was smaller but required surgery. I will spare you all the gory details of this ordeal. Just thinking about it myself makes me cringe.
I still have to go back to the hospital have my appendix out in a couple of months. They want everything cleared up before they can do that.
On the bright side..... I am still here. The Doctors have told me if I had stayed home a few more hours, I would be gone now. 
To those of you who knew and sent well wishes, good vibes and prayers, thank you very much!!!
My hands have finally stopped shaking from all the Morphine, general anesthetic and other drugs they pumped in me for eight days. So.... I can get back to finishing my petit point carpet now. :-)
Catherine XXX

Sterling silver fountain Pen by Mike Sparrow. The caps really clicks when you put it back on.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Almost Finished


It may not look like much progress but I would rather stitch half of that rug all over again, then that evil, boring, wider border. It took forever. The last of it was done during a rather debilitating health issue. Which didn't help the annoyance factor. Sorry, I am still feeling grumpy.
I know you are never supposed to say never but I think this will be my last rug. They are just too repetitive. I would love to stitch some pillows on 56 count though.....someday. 

Back to work.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Moving Along.... Petit Point Carpet Border

This wider border is taking forever. I am so glad I didn't start here. It's very close to nightmare I thought it would be.

I have a new idea for a crazy walnut shell house and I am dying to get started.