Sharing dates of Fairs

If you click on one of the months above it will show a list of fairs usually held that month.PLEASE, PLEASE let me know of any fair you know about and I'll add it to the list.
I apologise for not making any attempt to keep it current this is just an attempt to have a list of as many dolls house shows that I can find. Even if you see a show with an old date you can just google the name of the show to find out the date of the next one.

It would be great if you'd let me know of any I can add to the list.

Monday, 23 November 2015

York Dollshouse and Miniatures Fair, 22nd November 2015

As I have pretty much stopped writing for the magazine, when I go to shows I won't be taking a lot of photos, if any.  There's a couple of reasons for this.  Generally a lot of artisans don't want their work photographed as they don't want their creations copied or promoted in ways they don't control.  If I am covering a show for the magazine I always ask permission and explain who I am; even then there may be one or two vendors who refuse the 'free publicity'.  So as a 'member of the public' it would be hit and miss as to what I could share with you.

The second reason is a more selfish one: this process takes up a good half of my time at a show and 'gets in the way' of my shopping and actually seeing everything, so if I am not compelled to do it I would prefer not to.

It does raise issues for this blog though as I won't have anything visual to share with you other than a general shot and photographs of what I bought.  I am hoping that if I just share my experience of the day it may help towards your deciding whether this is a show you want to do or not.  I am always happy to get emails from my blog readers so if you do want to ask anything specific or want a more private opinion please just ask.

The York Show is held twice a year - Spring and Autumn and is courtesy of Dolls House and Miniature Scene Magazine and their publishers Warners.  That said the magazine hasn't had a presence there at either show this year.

York always has a good turn out of customers.  It may have been just a little thinner than usual this time as the weather had chosen to have its first cold of the year (ice on roads) the very same weekend.

Even with a lot of buyers it isn't nastily crowded like some shows can be.  You can usually get to see what you want and get served reasonably quickly.  There were about ninety vendors so there is certainly enough to go at.

Whether you enjoy a particular show or not will depend on so many things, not least of which is your previous experience of them.  The first show I went to was about half the size of this one and I thought I'd died and gone to doll house heaven having all those shops under one roof.  Five years and four projects into the game I am a little jaded and even with ninety vendors I spend my time wishing for more and different.  This will only apply if that's your usual temperament - this is a woman who keeps wishing 'they' had invented a new animal when she food shops!  There really is a huge amount of stuff to go at for normal people.

Most certainly vendors like Jennifers of Walsall and J & A Supplies are my go-to people for all my build stuff and more when starting a project.  Scanning the list of traders I really do think everything else you could want is covered too - there is food, curtains, furniture, glass, lighting and a zillion other specialists.  Dolls, figures, fabric is also well catered for.  I thought too that there seemed to be an increase in vendors adding 1/24ths and 1/48ths to their ranges if you look carefully and sometimes ask.

The show is easy to get to (road or rail) and is easy to find as it is held at York race course.  There are a ton of places to stay if you want to make a short break of it.  I really do recommend it if you can afford a little holiday with dollhousing built in.  We did an extended weekend for the Spring Show and did some touristy things.  York is bursting with things to see and do.  This is also handy if you travel with someone who doesn't want to do the show as they have a mass of things they can do instead.  

I have a favourite eatery (nearby) to adjourn to after the show if you can manage to leave around lunch time.  It is cafe style and can be packed and noisy but worth it for the best Scicilian food off the island.  My husband haunts it every trip for their outstanding ice cream - a 'breakfast' ice cream this weekend!  Trinacria

Back to the show.  It is spread out over three floors and there are always a couple of demos/classes held during the day on the mezzanine floor.  There is a main restaurant right alongside the show so very handy - the food is OK and not expensive so no need to leave the room if you decide you need lunch and a sit down.  There is an additional eating area on the top floor where you can grab a drink or cake or snack of some sort if you don't want to give up too much time to non-shopping needs.

Parking is fine, even better if your 'driver' drops you off as mine does.  Unless you really must be the first person over the threshold just sit in the car until the show opens.  There is always a very long queue and unless the weather is perfect that's not a fun way to start.  I buy the preview ticket which lets you in half an hour before pay on the day folks but don't leave the car until ten o'clock when the door opens.

One caveat, and it applies to several shows, phone reception is almost non-existent inside the building so you need to make some clear arrangements (that's not phone dependent) with anyone who is not at the show with you.

I stopped at many, many stalls but only purchased from five.  If you are pernicikty about what you want where it will always slow you down (my problem).  If you are freewheelin' and are just enjoying making a dolls house in the truest sense you will have a ball at any good size show and have trouble hanging on to your money.

Here's what I bought.  If you want to see them itemised you'll need to go to my purchases album:  Purchases

Mini Mcgregor

The Ironworks and Black Country Miniatures

The Craft Pack Company

Delph Miniatures
I also bought some lovely silks from Maria's fabrics for just £1.80 a piece and in a good size of 11 x 13 inches (28 x 33 cms)   Not pictured here is the cotton fabric I got for 90p and some lovely chenille trim for 40p.  What great prices and huge choice.

Maria's Fabrics
Email me if there is anything more you want to know.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Atlanta Miniature Society's 36th Annual Show and Sale, 18th-19th September 2015

After much faffing about how to get there - road trip two days each way? or flying? - we eventually flew out of Fort Myers on Friday arriving in Atlanta an hour and a half later.  Lovely 'bus ride' by air.

The show was held at the Wyndham Galleria hotel which proved to be a delight.  Good looking place following a ten million dollar renovation.  That's a lot of room letting to recoup that!  Nice staff and restaurant - an all round very pleasant stay and all for a silly low deal price of $74 a night - incredible value.

We arrived in plenty of time for the 'kick-off'.  The show began with a Preview evening on the Friday for two-day ticket holders.  At 6.15pm we were eating our complimentary desserts (brownie to die for) and then looking around the wonderful exhibit room.  There must have been something like fifty exhibits there each more inspiring than the one before.  This is truly a show as well as a sale and would be worth the entry price alone just to see these pieces.

There was so much to see and do during the two-day event that I need to make a list rather than write about each thing, otherwise you will be stuck in my blog for ages:

  • Exhibits open throughout the show and preview times
  • Friday 6.15pm complimentary desserts and welcome to the show
  • Friday morning classes
  • Friday 7- 9pm two Sales rooms are open for preview ticket holders ($12 for two days)
  • Sat 19th 10 - 12am Demonstration
  • Saturday 10 - 4.30 pm two Sales rooms open for general public ($6)
  • I counted over forty traders and most of those had more than one table
  • a silent auction was held for lots of lovely pieces
  • there were door prizes given throughout Saturday
  • there was a 'work the room' give-away
  • a raffle for several very nice houses and other pieces: the proceeds to charity 
  • a children's make and take table on Saturday

The vendors were all of a high standard with an eclectic mix on offer.  It wouldn't be possible to leave the show empty-handed.  I hope they all did well.

Sadly this was a show where two long-time and exceedingly important figures in the miniature world said their farewells.

Fred Cobbs has decided to retire from travelling to shows but will work on the occasional commission - and has three already in the pipeline.

I was personally even more sad to know that I wouldn't see David Krupick and his work at any more shows.  He is having difficulty with his hand and is retiring after thirty-six years of creating true masterpieces.  He is the most charming and erudite and gentle man and will be greatly missed by anyone who has had the pleasure of meeting him.

He reminded me that there is something like 3,600 or more of his pieces out there so there may still be a way to acquire a treasure in the future.

I saw a couple of old favourites, new favourites, a lot of new-to-me and in the flesh versions of people I had heard of so it was a really interesting show for me.

Picking a sample for each is difficult........

One old favourite would be Clara's Cuties.  I wrote a profile piece on her maybe two years ago (?).  She is an astonishing lady of some 83 years who is still making the tiniest most perfect flowers petal by petal. 

Clara's tray of pick your own individual blooms

A new favourite for me is Talley's Turnings where I bought these:

In the new-to-me category were 

Gingerhouse Antiquities' Paper (!) dolls

I am in love with these dolls and hope to write a profile on their creator - I am pretty sure the vendor said they were just $32.

Another new-to-me was Lynn McEntire's incredible work.  The absolute tiniest of dolls beautifully wigged and dressed - crochet, knitting, sewing etc etc

She showed me a piece she had made for a lady who was collecting it from the show:

inside a very small (1930's?) lady's gold cigarette case

As for 'in-the-flesh' I managed to meet Bradley Meinke whose name I knew from N.A.M.E. (National Association of Miniature Enthusiasts) and who I had seen working on their Facebook.  Now here was the fruition of one of his pieces  .......

such detail in the crazy quilt

This year was the club's 36th Show and Sale and it was just astounding.  I want to shout my thanks to the two show co-chairs, Linda Backelant and Margaret Jones and, of course, their zillion helpers for giving so many people so much joy.  Remember all these ladies and gentlemen are simply members of a club and volunteer their time, energy and many more things to make all this happen for those of us lucky enough to be able to get to their show.

As a testament to their success they had to turn away vendors this year but (the lovely) Margaret promises an additional room next year so it will not only be as fantastic but bigger!!

As a footnote...  if you are ever lucky enough to get to this show build in some time to go to the Botanical Gardens for another blow-you-away experience. 


Please take a look at the wonderful things on offer in my photo album for the show:  Atlanta Show  

To see what I bought at the show:  Dalton House

To read an account of my trip to Atlanta and follow a link to the Botanical Garden photo album:  My Clavering

There will be a published review of the show in Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine at some time.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Atlanta Miniature Society Annual Show and Sale

Hurrah it seems like I am off to another show!  We are flying out of Fort Myers to Atlanta and back next weekend for this show:

Annual Show and Sale

Click on it and take a look.

If I understand it correctly it is run by a miniature club - the Atlanta Miniature Society - who are also a chapter of NAME.  It appears to be being run as any commercial one is with classes before the event and a desserts and preview evening for those so ticketed.  I am just waiting to hear if I can buy the ticket on the day or need to do it in advance and if I can take photos for the magazine.

Watch this space.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Orlando Miniatura 2015 - 4 - 6 September

When I was typing the date of the show I realised it isn't strictly accurate.  American shows are much more than just an opportunity to sell/buy things.  This show really began on the 2nd.  Rather than just prattle on about the heap of things to do, I thought I would bullet point what was on offer at this show:

  • reduced hotel rates at the venue itself
  • complimentary tickets to a Disney park
  • you can pick any thing you want to do separately from anything else - all a la carte
  • special exhibits
  • 14 workshops from the 2nd to the 4th
  • tour of the President's Hall of Fame
  • themed luncheons with artisans sharing techniques
  • banquet
  • 3 hour preview Friday night with hors d'oeuvres and bar
  • one hour preview before opening to the public on Saturday
  • three huge raffles, pick what you would like to win
  • buses from the resort to get around Orlando
  • airport pick-up
  • east or west coast beaches just over an hour away
  • back to back sunshine
  • charming vendors/artisans to buy from and chatter to
What's not to like!

As a 'grumpy' English person I don't take advantage of most of the things on offer but I do understand their appeal.  I also imagine that if you were travelling on your own to the show you would still have a great time from the minute your feet touched the floor as you are surrounded by like-minded people who are overjoyed at the prospect of talking minis with someone who's eyes don't glaze over at the mere mention of them.

We arrived on Thursday so I was 'rested' for the shopping and chattering on Friday.

Rested was vital as the convention centre was huge

thank heavens for directions

We were Mickey tagged on arrival.  You get a band (with your name on the back) which electronically opens gates, hotel room and allows you to pay for anything any where within Disney.  Clever marketing - painless spending.  

The preview, as always, was a delight and the four tables of food on offer stupendous.

one of the best crab cakes ever in the centre dish

The organisation and labelling of the whole show is superb; an absolute newbie to the game can find their way around and know what they are looking at.

There must have been a dozen (?) exhibits of people's lovely work such as these two

detail of a complete house and garden in 48th

front of a lovely house built from plans

From that table I wandered off into the show proper and found a couple of my favourites:

Michael Reynolds

Michael Reynolds always has a new piece of magic.

Tom Walden

I hope to be able to get to a show next year where I can do a Tom Walden class. His work is incredible.  I would like to do some 'finishing' with him.

Tom again

I wanted to show you this piece in particular.  I was blown away by the fact that this is not stained or painted wood - just lightly varnished ebony and holly.  I was especially in love with some other holly pieces.  His selection of wood not only for their intrinsic qualities, but then further selecting for the finest of grains so they are in scale, is stunning.  The time and patience needed for that alone wows me.

Two 'blow me away' vendors who were new to me though not to the mini world - were:

Elle Piccolo Dolls

This lady's creations are the best I have seen bar none.  She is a painter so, in addition to her unsurpassed modelling skills, beautifully sourced fabrics, immaculately made clothes, she is able to make their faces so life-like.  A huge amount of their credibility lies in their eyes.  They positively look back at you, full of life.  Check out this link:  Elle Piccolo

My other 'find' was Talley's Turnings.  This photograph, in no way, does the pieces justice.  There are quite a few people doing this sort of work now but you can see that he has an extra something even from this example.  The work is very thin (when it should be) and the colours glorious.  They cry out to be held and admired.

Talley's Turnings

I am particularly cross with myself that I came away without buying a couple of pieces.  I have tried to find a site for him but can only find an email.  I will email to ask what other shows he will be at and cross all my fingers it may be one I can get to.

I am sorry this has all been 1/12th related, I know how frustrating that is for other scales.  In my defence, because this was the birth of a show it was a small trader base and yes, there were quarter scale people there but they were onew we already know and love:
  • Desert Minis
  • Jill Castoral
  • Robin Betterley
  • Young at Heart
  • The Quarter Source
  • Stewart Dollhouse

The next morning I went back to the show (during the preview) and bought ten dollars worth of raffle tickets for each group of prizes.

Members of the Miniature World of Central Florida and Lakeland Miniatures Guild had donated some lovely work for raffling.  For my twenty dollars I had twelve tickets for each of the groups.  It is done in a brilliant way in that there is a box beside each item and you drop your ticket in the box belonging to the prize you would like.  Those twenty-four tickets took me a very long time to post.

I did choose this one (among many) for my grand-daughter.  Perfect gift from a few days in Disney.

I will never know which I won!  Yes, I did win one.  I had an email from Kim on Sunday saying I had won a prize and to go and collect it.  Unfortunately we had to leave the show early on Saturday so I never got to do that.

If you would like to see more of these prizes and other stuff from the show there is a photo album, just click here:  Orlando Show 2015

Kim also always give you a plan of the floor and list of vendors with their contact details.  I can not tell you how much work that saves me after a show.

If you didn't make this one, there are three more due up:

Philadelphia Miniaturia, Nov 6 - 8th 2015
Venice Fun in the Sun, Jan 16th -17th 2016
Orlando Miniatures Festival, Feb 13th -14th 2016

Orlando Miniatura 2015

This is just a link to the photos from the show as I know a couple of people are waiting to see them.

Orlando Show

We have only just about got to the condo and are in the throes of getting set up again for the season so I haven't had a chance to write it up yet.  I hope to do it tomorrow.

Friday, 4 September 2015

I am at the Orlando Miniaturia

..... And about to set off for the first Preview night 6 to 9 pm.  It is a great venue at Coronado Springs Resort Orlando.  Makes a good holiday place to visit and get in a show at the same time.  91 degrees today!

Friday, 28 August 2015

Early notice

I have been talking to Gail Tucker (MGM shows) for a while now about having a smaller scale show and she is in the throes of organising a couple of shows with smaller scale in mind.  I think half and quarter scale are not well served in the UK yet and there are a lot of people working in those scales.

The thinking at the moment is that she will have two distinct areas to shop around - 1/12ths and then an area for 1/24ths, 1/48ths and  maybe1/144th vendors.  This means if you are a smaller scale worker you can, at last, get to a show where you know there will be someone selling in your scale.  Hopefully several someones.

It is early days yet, but at least you can begin to work out if you can manage to get there as you have a year's notice to plan in:

  Sunday 13 March 2016 New  
  The Memorial Hall, Station Road, Royal Wootton Bassett, SN4 8EN
   Sunday 9 October 2016   New
   Thornton Hough Village Hall, Manor Road, Thornton Hough, Wirral, CH63 1JB

Monday, 27 July 2015

If you follow by email

I have just realised that if you 'Follow by email' rather than becoming a follower, you are probably reading the blog post which is embedded in the email.  You are actually getting a much poerer version of the real McCoy.  You need to click on the heading which acts as a link to the actual blog or you won't have access to photo albums or videos or a mass of other stuff. Not to mention that the blog just looks much better!  Obviously the choice is yours but do try clicking on the heading at least once and see if you prefer to read the blog as a fully formed entity rather than just in mail.

This discovery also answer queries from people who tell me they can't see the album link or can't leave comments and various other queries I have had over time and had never been able to resolve.  I hadn't realised they were following the blog from their email.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Wallington, Morpeth, Northumberland

I have just returned from a week in Northumberland where we (re)visited Wallington.  The last time we were there I hadn't been bitten by the dolls house bug and either I saw the collection of houses and forgot them (!) or didn't actually bother looking (!)

a few of the 18

This trip made up for that as I spent a good deal of time scrutinising their display of eighteen houses.  You are allowed to take photos in Wallington but sadly almost everything from the hundreds I took were fairly rubbish as they were taken through glass and consequently full of other reflections.  I have shared some of my photos of the outsides of them here which I hope whets your appetite but, as we all know its the interiors that fascinate.  If you follow this link it will take you to many images to slake that thirst:  Images for the dolls houses

the end of the Hammond House

The gem of the collection is the Hammond House. It has 36 fully furnished rooms, 1500 pieces of furniture and 77 china faced dolls.  It has lights in every room and used to have running water.  It was donated to the national Trust in 1970.

Mrs Graham Angus of Northumberland collected houses all her life and these were added to the Hammond House by her family on her death in 1973.  The oldest house dates back to 1835.

Wallington is one of the very best NT houses to visit: wonderful house, even more spectacular gardens and then this collection - what's not to like.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Fairfax House, York

The following photographs belong to Fairfax House who have kindly given me permission to use them here.  Please do not use them without permission.

When I went to the York show (7th June) we decided to make a weekend of it and pootled off to the lovely city of York on the sunshiny Saturday preceding the show.

After a picnic lunch off we went to visit the terrific Fairfax House.

Just as I had been doing in the Georgian House in Edinburgh the previous month I was on the hunt for various details of 1830 life.  Not so simple.

The house was originally early 18th century so its actual construction was fine for my house which would have been built around the same time.  The 'inhabited' time period shown there was about seventy years too early.  That said, changes were decidedly slower back then and a lot was 'still around' by 1830.  It was the right sort of size house to equate with the Philips sisters' house in Lyme Regis but, in comparison to theirs, it is very grand.

The house has a wonderful history of being a private house for nearly two hundred years and then a gentlemen's club, followed by being used as offices.  In the first world war it was co-opted into military use and by 1919 it was completely transformed into a cinema and dance hall.  This, of course, led to a comprehensive removal of a lot of its internal structures.  Fifty years later it was finally 'saved' and a wonderful restoration undertaken to try to get it back to the original state.

I was thrilled to find that its real entrance was exactly like mine.  I say 'real entrance' because you actually enter the building by way of the cinema entrance.  If you do visit, take a moment to get your bearings when you arrive in the vestibule as this is where you would have entered the house in its heyday.  It restores Georgian symmetry and the overriding sensibilities of the period.

The inner hall behind the vestibule was the main hall of the house with lovely staircases leading off on the left hand side (hidden here).  We can see stairs beyond in a further hallway which were much less important and probably not used for visitors.


This house has the best and most interesting ceilings I have ever seen in a house of this size.  They were incredible room after room.  Bizarrely they had been preserved by being painted over with black gloss paint.  Preservation was not the decorators intention at the time and it was a real challenge to remove.

Milton on the ceiling

I am very cross with myself that I never noticed that the only bust on the ceiling which I recorded was Milton now I am left wondering if my hero Andrew Marvel was up there somewhere.  He wrote for an earlier Fairfax and  'Upon Appleton House' featured greatly in my English degree - indeed in my final exam!  Sadly the Fairfax 'I knew' was a hundred years earlier and his Appleton House is no more.

I have 181 photos to choose from here each one equally delicious - how do I choose?



fabric sample book

I hope the ladies were as stuck for choice as I am.

looking at fireplaces

and their lovely slim surrounds

trying to see how the fire grate sits in the box

This looks a bit post Rumford to me and so not in the period they are covering but it is in mine so helped me.  Wouldn't want to pick up those fire irons though when the fire was lit!!  They didn't sit on the dogs.

a house with fenders

This is also a rare house in that several of its fires had fenders.  It drives me crazy in stately homes - mostly they do not have fenders.  Primarily wooden houses plus , wooden structures, rolling logs or coals would be a fire waiting to happen.  I wonder if it is because the generations working on these things now are so far removed from such things as lighting a fire.

I was born in 1945 but even then there were enough connections backwards to reach into Victorian ways of being and enough tips and methods still being passed on down.  We seem to have reached a stopping place post sixties where such things got swept away.  Rant over.

a gilded pie

fish and birds on a range

I think I will be on a lookout for a contemporary cook book next.

inner hall with main staircase

I'll leave you with a lovely piece of plaster-work and a strict instruction to get yourself to York for an overnighter.  Make a date in your diary for the weekend of 21/22 November.  The York dolls house show is on the 22nd.  You can do it very frugally if you stay a little outside the city (about fifteen minutes in our case) in a Premier Inn which did very well.  Do try to eat at Trinacria or at least pick up one of their ice creams.  It is just steps away from the show near the race course.  I can honestly say it was the best meal I have had in a long time and I am a bit of a nit-picky foodie.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Arts and Crafts

Departing from the period I am currently doing we did visit an example of an Arts and Crafts building which was interesting.  In a way it is an ideal place to go and look at the detail of the period as it is, somehow, overloaded with detail.

Goddards was the home of Noel Terry and his family.  He of Terry's chocolate deliciousness.

I think it was built at the end of the Arts and Crafts period rather than in its hey day and is almost a pastiche of all that was meant by that term.  I came away wanting the house and its position and their lifestyle but also not quite in love with it.  It seemed very masculine.

The upside is you are allowed to take photos (no flash) so you would be able to garner a zillion ideas for your own project......   and tea was lovely....