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Friday, 26 February 2016

Queen Mary doll's house linens by The Old Bleach Linen Company

We have a very small collection of miniature linens made in N.Ireland, housed at our local museum, the Lisburn Linen Centre. I have been meaning to get photos of these for a good while now, finally got around to it. Please excuse the poor quality in my photos, they keep the lighting very, very low to preserve the fabrics.  You can right click on an image and open in a new tab if you want to get a closer look.

The following text is transcribed from the information boards at the display. (everything in "..")


"Doll's houses have always been a toy for the wealthy as well as a plaything for children. One of the best known is Queen Mary's doll's house which was designed for her in the 1920s by Sir Edwin Lutyens, the noted architect. Built in 1/12 scale, the house was furnished throughout by British Craftsmen and manufacturers. The doll's house was intended as a token of national goodwill and to provide a means of raising funds for charity.  For this purpose it was exhibited at the British Empire exhibition in 1934. It is now on display in Windsor Castle."

"Miniature items prepared for Queen Mary's doll's house. 
Woven by The Old Bleach Linen Company, Randalstown, Co. Antrim. 
Given by Mrs C. W. Bingley, London, 1995"

Image courtesy of Oldbleach.co.uk, hope they don't mind me borrowing it... Don't be fooled, our view of the sun rarely looks like that :D


"These linen sheets and pillowcases, diaper and huck towelling and household cloths were for the use of a miniature royal household and it's servants. Those for the personal use of the royal family of dolls had the hand embroidered cypher of George V while the items with the red markings were to be used by the servants of the royal household"

To help with scale, the box is 10 x 3.5 cm.





Bed linen



Bed linen detail

Towels





"These miniature Irish damask tablecloths and napkins were intended for use when the doll royal family held luncheon or dinner parties"

Tablecloth and a box of napkins on the right. These are just beautiful in person!

Tablecloth and napkin. True colour.

You can see the pattern a bit better in this one.



In the comment section, Sharon asked a good question about how these came to be in my local museum and not in the Queen Mary's dollshouse, and wondering about the scale. Unfortunately I had no way of showing scale in the photos, now with dimensions for the box this should help. 
I found two links, which shows that the company sold the miniature household linen to the general public. They used the association with the Queen's dollshouse, as a sort of Royal warrant of appointment, as evidenced on the packaging...."They are made by the Old Bleach Linen co.Ltd of Randalstown,Northen Ireland-who made all the house hold linen for the Queens dolls house-you can always write to them about anything to do with linen" Rather tempted to write to them, if they are still around.

Worth having a look at it, if you are interested in vintage miniatures. 





I doubt the damask tablecloths were available to buy, from what I have found online...


Thanks Sharon! I'm pleased to have this new information added to the post :)



And I'm away again, I have neglected everyone's blogs, apologies for that, will be back soon! :D 












Sunday, 3 January 2016

Hope you all had a great Christmas and happy new year!

Hello there, I am communicating to you via a smartphone! :D Unfortunately my laptop sounds like an angry helicopter, a few minutes after it is switched on, and heating up rather fast....this has been going on for awhile. So my new year resolution is to get that fan fixed!!! As it so happens I had nothing much to post about except for some 1:12 christmas crackers which I also wanted to write a tutorial about, alas it will have to be done out of season. The gift I was making for Pepper had to be scrapped due to a few mistakes I made, which I'll post about too.
 Hopefully with a happy outcome by then :) hmmmm so for now I wish you all a fantastic 2016! I'm just going to do a little experiment and see if I can get a picture of those crackers up......


Yay! It worked..I should mention I haven't had a mobile phone for many years. This is all very new to me...bit like being in the film Minority Report. I'm amazed at this technology!  takes a awhile to write something though...spell check is very, very persistent!

Hope you all had a super christmas, and big thanks to the ladies who sent me a link to the Christmas decoration boxes you made! Thoroughly enjoyed that and will link to your work once I'm back on the laptop for I do not have a clue how to do it right now :D

Monday, 12 October 2015

1:12 scale cushion tutorial (for pointy corners!)

I wanted to put together this quick little tutorial after Kitty said that she found getting the cushions pointy enough was the bane of her life, strong words, I felt like that once too Kitty...but then I worked out a new way of making cushions, inspired by Gill's patchwork tutorial. :D

I felt so bad about the thought of anyone else suffering with their unpointy enough cushions, I had to get this out there pronto! :D


You will need:-

  • Fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Paper (preferably graph)
  • Glass beads or stuffing
  • Iron/Hair straighteners


Carefully cut out a template using graph paper, keep it as square as possible, then cut a piece of fabric slightly larger.


Turn the fabric over and place your template in the centre.


Fold fabric (preferably along the grain) using the paper to guide you. Use your nail to press the edge down.


Press the fold, either using hair straighteners or an Iron, you will need to repeat this for each fold.
I use hair straighteners, because they're quite handy for mini ironing.

Make sure to test a scrap piece of your material, just in case it melts. 


Fold as before, but on the opposite side from the last fold, and press. 

Fold as shown, press, then fold the other side and press. Try your best to keep the sides of this particular fold, as square as possible, it helps to begin the fold at either end and move inwards towards the centre, using your fingers to press the fabric down.


Now make another one. I usually use plain fabric for the back, to conserve the printed fabric. An old pillow case is a great source of plain fabric.

Abracadabra.........the fabric will now change (apologies for the continuity error, we will now be demonstrating with a new fabric...)


Cut a length of fine thread, for this cushion I think I used about 35 cm. Tie a knot at one end, thread it, and insert the needle into the corner from the reverse of the fabric. 


You should sew from this point, where you can see the folds (this means you will have a less fussy edge to sew later on). Connect the two with your needle and thread as shown.


Now that the two pieces are joined, begin sewing your cushion together. I use the ladder stitch, putting the needle under just a thread or two of the fabric. Do not sew the inner folds together, work over them. 


Ladderstitch diagram.



When you are almost back at the beginning, you can start filling the cushion. I use micro glass beads, I can't remember which size, but I bought them from Mohair Bearmaking supplies. I  hold the cushion over a jar of them, and use a teaspoon to drop them in, until it's just right. You may have to smoosh the cushion a bit to fit them in as you go.


Now carefully holding the cushion, sew up the hole, still using the ladderstitch. 


Sorry for the blur, under the last stitch at the corner put the needle under and draw through until you are left with a small loop...


...then put the needle through this loop and draw through to create a knot close to the corner. Repeat once or twice more. 


Then push the needle down through the corner as shown (where you just made the knot)


Push the needle through the cushion until it pops out somewhere on the other side.


And cut the loose thread. If there is a little short bit poking out after you have cut the thread, smoosh the cushion and it should disappear.
The only downside about this method, is that the stitches will be slightly more visible than they would be if you used the "turning inside out" method, you can always glue a strand of thicker thread around the cushion to act as piping, which I haven't tried out yet, but I imagine it would work very nicely. 

Now back to my secret project, until Christmas...

Byeeee! :)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

More pieces for the Causeret collection!

Hello, I'm alive. I recently received the most gorgeous Elisabeth Causeret Pottery from the lovely Pepper (of Mitchymoominiatures), which is also very convenient because I have little to blog about at the moment, and probably won't until after Christmas. We're having very dull weather here in N.Ireland at the moment (what's new?), so photos have been lightened up so that you can see them. Pepper was at Miniatura this Autumn and asked if I needed anything.....which I did.......

























Pepper surprised me with this little flower pot, I love the detail around the rim! It has a little drainage hole too, so your miniature plant won't get root rot!



And some cushions I made recently, all of the fabric is from Little Trimmings

And that's me away for another little while... I have quite a few miniatures in the making at the moment. If I post about them half finished, I may not finish them, new rule for myself, I'm too good at leaving cliffhanger endings to my miniatures on occasion. I'm sorry to say I haven't been great at keeping up with everybody's work at the moment either, and I am going to be working on some things for Pepper, which I will post about as well, once they are in her possession of course! Very much looking forward to the Pepper project actually! So until next time...

Hope you enjoyed the lovely work of Elisabeth Causeret!
Thank you Pepper! :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

When you just can't find that perfect number of DPI image!

I don't really fully understand Dots per Inch (DPI) and printing...the general gist of this post is that all is not lost with a low DPI image, it can be made printworthy! :D Moving on!

The photo, the touch up and the finished printed box. 

I wanted a miniature Doubl Glo holiday snow box, but the only image I could find of one was on eBay, and it was a photo of the box and the photo was 96DPI. It is recommended to use somewhere between 150 and 300DPI for miniaturizing. Because the Doubl Glo image was fairly simple, I used the paint function in PhotoImpression5 to improve the image for printing. PhotoImpression5 was a free software disc that came with my digital camera, so it's likely many people have something like this lying around.

And to find out what number of DPI your image is, right click on it, select properties from the box that pops up, and you will find the DPI number in there.

Using a flickr image from the lovely Joanne of Takeabreakwithme, I'll roughly explain how I improve those low DPI images for printing in 1:12 scale.

This is a 96DPI image.


Close up.

Disclaimer.. After reading a few online articles I assume that...

...if I was to print this image as it is on the left, the printer nozzle would attempt to replicate all of those tiny squares of black tones, red tones, etc. as best it could. The printer has a palette of only four "crazy" printer ink colours (black, yellow, magenta and cyan) to work with, carefully arranging many dots to simulate each of those tones, and then.... each ink dot will bleed into the paper, merging slightly with the dot next to it...fuzzy outcome highly likely.

Even just one colour tone needs to be simulated using many dots of ink from the palette of black, yellow, magenta and cyan. By having a uniform red tone, the printed red will be more intense and less fuzzy due to the printer not having to replicate those unnecessary tones.  


If you have Arcsoft PhotoImpression or some similar form of photo editing software, open the image and find the paint tools. Click on colour picker, which should look like a little ink dropper. Zoom in on the image and select your favourite tone of red from one of the many pixels to choose from.. 


Once you have selected your favourite red, click on the bucket of dripping paint, and choose solid fill and have the opacity set somewhat as shown (maybe a bit more in the middle...) and colour in your image.  If you find there are pixels that haven't been coloured, use the ink dropper on them, colour the whole area with the new colour, and then turn it back to red (make sure you have an area of red left somewhere before doing this..otherwise just leave the pixels and colour them in manually with the spray paint option)

If you have ever used MsPaint to paint with, you will know that it can paint in quite a disastrous blocky way, as it only enters pixels with the exact same tone of red. The opacity setting in photo editing paint tools helps the red "paint" bleed into all of the red toned pixels, in just a few clicks. You do need to play about with it, and if there is a disaster, ie. something not red, suddenly turns red, there is an undo button. 

A 96DPI print result, before and after, would have been good, but unfortunately my printer is still out of order. I used this method on the Christmas box and Firework printables, and they were all lower than 150DPI.







Sunday, 2 August 2015

And the winner is....



Narina!!! Congratulations! :)

I hate where that arrow landed as it shows how incredibly close it was between both of you, could it not have landed in the middle of the triangle?! Sorry you have to see that Faby :D 

Narina, please send me your address to sarahnash635(at)btinternet(.)com   < (remove brackets, replace "at" with @) and I will have that cushion posted off to you ASAP! :)

Thanks.