Saturday, 25 March 2017

Hello Birmingham ... again

Yes, I was back at the NEC Arena in Birmingham today, deja vu from last weekend.  At least I knew exactly where to go in Birmingham New Street station this time, and that it was faster to walk alongside the travelator at the NEC than to get stuck behind the people who get on it and then either walk slower or stop walking altogether.

This visit was to attend Miniatura, which is still my favourite dollshouse show. It was a decent size, although not as big as it used to be half a dozen years ago or so. I heard a couple of traders talking about business and saying to each other that not enough new people are coming into the hobby. And yet I think there were no less than five stands selling enormous dollshouses cut from MDF so someone must be buying them.  I was there for three hours which was enough time to go around once with a break in the middle to eat my packed lunch.  I enjoyed it although I did feel a bit nostalgic for the days when it was really hard to get particular things for the dollshouse and we all pounced on things like the one wallpaper that had printed panels of scrolls and musical instruments because it seemed so unusual and special. One of the general traders (possibly Jennifer's of Walsalls? can't remember) had four or five different panelled papers this time, and of course there were two or three stalls selling the gorgeous digitally printed period papers with matching fabric.  And the days of creating ceilings by sticking on buttons and carefully cut out pieces of embossed anaglypta wallpaper are long gone: multiple stalls were selling elaborate ceiling mouldings. Seems like if you throw enough money at it, you can do almost anything in dollshousing now.

Anyway, what did I get?  I took a list but couldn't get much on it. I was looking for accessories in 1:24 and 1:48 but didn't find much. There were several stands with areas of 1:48 furniture, food and house kits, but not much in the way of general accessories. I did get the drill pinvise that I needed because my old one has gone walkies.  I did get a 1:24 fire surround which was on my list, and although I couldn't find small picture moulding, I did get several sticks of wood in various sizes from J&A Supplies.  From Jane Harrop I got some 1:48 pots and pans, and three tiny beach huts which I will paint, and then went off piste by falling for her shadow box kit for an antiques store.  From Dream Homes I got a little silk rug for my thatched cottage, and also a plastic bucket for my seaside scene.  The Making Dolls' Houses book was secondhand on the MacMillan Cancer stall, and the 'Designing to Decorating - a step by step guide to creating beautiful rooms' was from the Miniature Mansions stall (mainly because he was giving such a great sales pitch to another woman who wasn't buying and it sounded interesting).

The little bag is from Ottervale China and is a tiny little china basket filled with flowers, 
which has gone on the dressing table in my 1:24 thatched cottage. It's about
the size of a large pea.

I watched an LED lighting display from John Kilner of No1 Elite Designs. The LED strips give a nice warm bright light and he's built a little control board that lets them be dimmed as well. But the apparatus is clunky and the strip of LED lights has to be hidden behind wooden coving at the front top of the room, so only suitable for front opening houses or room boxes.  Interesting anyway. He sells a kit of the control board, a metre of LED strip, and a certain number of wired 'plugs' that grip the LED strip to conduct power, and some cove moulding for £50. A transformer is extra. 

I was very taken with the furniture from Alison Davies, who has applied high tech to the miniature world. They 3-D print an original model produced using CAD after 3-D scanning the life size article, then use the model to create moulds and cast in resin. The furniture is lovely and the prices more reasonable than, say, Bespaq, and there is a lovely range of coordinating wallpaper and fabrics.

I haven't been dollshousing this week as I've been procrastinating instead, but I did make some faux taxidermy by cutting off the head of a plastic animal bought some time ago, and mounting it on a plaque that I cut from some mahogany sheet.  This is for my Rik Pearce Gamekeeper's Cottage, which is the next house I am going to try to finish. I was hoping to find a bed for upstairs today because the one I've got is pants but I didn't see anything suitable.

On my day off I got the bus to my LQS to try to find some replacement fabric for my William Morris quilt blocks.  I thought I wanted a glowing golden yellow but they didn't have anything like that. Reluctant to give up, I spent a while auditioning other fabrics and eventually came away with a small print in a greeny-blue which picks up another colour in the fabrics. I will make another test block and see if I like it and if there is sufficient contrast.  I was back at the bus stop in good time for the once-an-hour bus back to town, only it never turned up.  I ended up waiting over an hour until the next one, which was very annoying.  I tweeted Stagecoach Northampton to try to find out why, but they seem to run their social media like their buses as I didn't get a reply for 50 minutes by which time I was on the next bus anyway.  Grrrr.

I haven't done any quilting this week but I did tackle tidying some of the glory hole piles in various corners of my sewing room: like the pile of clutter at one end of my ironing station and the three-foot-high pile on my spare chair, and the bag of clothes waiting to be altered.  I did a lot of tidying and having reviewed the clothes, I've decided it's not happening for some of them so they are going to charity.  Of the others, I bound some edges on a fraying denim jacket, shortened a t-shirt, decided another t-shirt wasn't too bad after all, and I'm halfway through shortening two skirts and taking in the waistband of one of them. I also emptied out the dust bunnies and clutter from the drawer of my sewing table where I keep my machine feet and accessories, and re-organised the feet into labelled trays. So it looks a bit better in the sewing room now.

On the way to and from Birmingham today, I turned the heel of my Fair Isle socks and am now decreasing for the gussets.  I'm halfway through re-knitting the Leaf Yoke sweater's two rows of leaves around the yoke for TV knitting.  But last night instead of knitting in front of the telly, I wound about 35 pairs of lace bobbins instead in preparation for packing for the Lace Guild Spring School next week in Scarborough.  I'm off on Monday for that, and it runs through until Friday.  So no work for a week - yay!  I will take the samples of Bucks Points I've completed, warts and all, to show my teacher. I'm going to take a couple of pillows so hopefully I can try a couple of different things.

We've also been out in the garden, I've moved a few plants from the site of the future patio and put down more manure and plant food in various places.  Our forsythia is now blooming away and the magnolia is just starting to come out. The pear tree is showing lots of flower buds so by the time I get back it should be looking pretty.  I've been looking into whether we need planning permission to put up a pergola over the future patio but it should be covered by permitted development.

The clocks go forward tomorrow night, always a challenge for me so I hope I'm not too tired Monday morning when I set off on the train for Scarborough.  Monty Don on Gardeners World was enthusing about how it's an extra hour of daylight but I think that is overlooking the minus hour of sleep  :)

1 comment:

Daisy said...

Got very cross with Month on GW - it's not an extra hour at all, it's just rearranged time and the same amount of daylight. And it's grim losing an hour's sleep!

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