I had planned the holiday around the Yorkshire Dolls House and Miniatures Fair which I had never been to and had often read good things about. It is a medium sized fair inside the York racecourse buildings, very friendly, lots of parking and a decent cafe. The programme lists 82 dealers and I was pleased to discover C J Miniatures who specialise in smaller scales and are the UK agents for Petworth Miniatures of Canada who do 1:48 laser cut furniture kits. I picked up some 1:48 stool kits and resin baskets for my cowboy saloon and a bistro set for the balcony of my New Orleans House. There were other new-to-me dealers including Severn Models who produce beautifully precise brass etched miniatures in 1:48 and 144 scale - I bought a couple of sets of his new 144 furniture line. For my gingerbread shed project I found a garden trellis, a shelf and some shingles from J and A Supplies. I found a 1;24 Venetian style mirror at Elite Petite Interiors for my Fairfield house, and some printed cushions (one of these is for the writers studio also). Delph Miniatures were selling a bunch of seconds and I picked up a very reasonably priced modern bathroom suite which I can't see any fault in - this might be for my future McKinley house build. Some people were saying the fair wasn't as big as usual but I quite enjoyed it.
We were quite pleased when the parking attendant said we could leave the motorhome in the parking lot until they locked the gates at 8pm, so we headed off along the river for an enjoyable afternoon in York poking into bookshops and walking the medieval walls. I also visited the two York knitting shops: Knit and Stitch, and RamShambles. Ramshambles were having a 40% sale on many items and I fell victim to some gorgeous Rowan Hemp Tweed which they were practically giving away. I'm thinking hat and gloves set.
After a nice dinner we made sure to be back early at 7:10pm to retrieve the motorhome, and weren't best pleased to discover we'd been locked into the now empty car park. After a fruitless search for a security person I had to call the non-emergency police line, where a very helpful operator soon had us freed by a stone-faced security guard.
The next morning we went back into York (parking at the Park and Ride this time!) and visited two model shops for DH and I found some Plastruct right angle strips which I am hoping will cover up the angles on my hexagonal shed tower more neatly. We also visited the York dollshouse shop Miniature Scene, where I picked up a couple of bound books and a magnifying glass for my writer's retreat. Across the road was a Doll and Teddy Bear shop which had an odd assortment of antique toys, dollshouse furniture, dolls and bears, and I found a little vintage metal cooker which will fit perfectly into my French gatehouse kitchen.
Then we headed off to to the pretty village of Helmsley where I had booked us in for Afternoon Tea at the award winning Black Swan Hotel, which was served in their lovely garden being serenaded by vintage music from the nearby afternoon tea dance. It was a bit like going back in time, and we each had a three-tier cake rack full of goodies, and of course a pot of tea each. Absolutely delicious and we felt very pampered. And full.
The next day was spent at Castle Howard, with lovely gardens and some very impressive interiors where I fell in love with several pieces of furniture such as this lovely bed. I felt very inspired by all three houses we visited, lots of ideas for my dollshouses and even for our real house - although we wouldn't have room for this bed!
On the way there we drove past a little business park where the words 'wool' and 'fabric' jumped out at me - funny how that happens. Poor DH had to drive another mile to find somewhere with enough room to turn the motorhome around but it was worth it as we found some bargain fabric to recover the Edwardian screen we bought last week, at Wath Court Fabrics and I found this Silk Cotton DK in the large new Little Lamb Wool shop. She only had four balls of the violet which I didn't think was enough for a summer top so I bought a ball of pink with the idea of introducing a stripe. It feels gorgeous and soft.
In the evenings relaxing in the sunshine I was stitching on my Hawaiian applique quilt and doing a lot of knitting. I made a good start on the Multiway Wrap in a simple garter ridge pattern.
And I did a little more on my lace shawl project:
But mainly I was re-knitting the second half of my Now in a Minute Shawl. After working on it all week, I finished it for the second time on Thursday night and was pleased to find that I can now wrap it around my shoulders without feeling like I am being garotted. However, I still don't think it is long enough so I ripped back for a third time just the final colour segment, and started re-knitting to try to achieve a longer taper. I'm certainly getting my money's worth out of this project!
On Wednesday we headed over to Newby Hall with the main intention of visiting the exhibition of Caroline Hamilton's dollshouse collection (at least that was my intention - I expect DH would say something different). The dollshouses are in a purpose built new exhibition space, well displayed behind glass with good lighting and explanation cards available. I really enjoyed my visit, and went back again after we had been through the house and gardens. Unlike today's perfection and myriad of scale supplies, a lot of these houses were started back in the 80s and 90s when I too was making do from adapted materials like gift wrap and book marks, so I recognised many of the contents. I also really liked how every house tells a story and it made me feel I should try a lot harder with my houses which I tend to furnish as if I lived inside them all, lol.
Newby House itself is absolutely exquisite, gorgeous Robert Adam interiors and Chippendale furniture, a real gem of a house. The gardens are extensive and equally lovely. Highly recommended if you are ever in the area.
Thursday started out with a visit to Nunnington Hall, which is a pleasant Tudor-ish house with smallish gardens, which houses the Carlisle collection of miniature rooms. These are detailed and beautiful rooms well displayed in exhibition space in the extensive attics. The scale is 1/8 which I thought would be large and clumsy but they were really lovely.