Featherstone Hall at Miniatura (Part 2!)

Following on from my last post about bringing the Featherstone Hall Hotel out of retirement and back to showing…

…I’m just back from a fabulous Miniatura show at Stoneleigh Park, I’ve unpacked and put away all my show kit (till York in November) had a ‘flaked out’ day (or two!) and I’m just reflecting on how lovely it was to have Featherstone Hall on display at the show.

There is so much to tell about getting it back into showing condition, that I have added a whole new page to the BIG PROJECTS section covering it all, as well as answering some of the many ‘how did you do the….’ questions I got asked at the show (see the  LITTLE PROBLEMS page in the advice section) plus pictures of all the broken bits I had to fix!

Just a few of the ‘minor details’ that had to be rectified before the show!

It went down a storm with visitors – some had bought the book when the house and book were first at Miniatura 10 years ago, then there were those who had bought the book after the house had retired from showing and had never seen it, and then there were people who had never heard of it before – but I’m pleased to say all were equally transfixed by it and kept coming back to it throughout the day. In fact at one point I was tempted to put a line of chairs in front of it for people to sit and look at it!
   It was a bit strange for me as the house is now a snapshot of what I was doing 10 years ago – especially as it sat next to my retail stand with all my current stock on it! Much as I love the house time has moved on and I wouldn’t do it in the same way now – for one thing I now make my own dolls, chandeliers, accessories and even pieces of furniture. But then, the house was also the origin of pieces of stock I am still making versions of today – George in the Library, the snooker room set, library bar, bookcases, duchess bedroom, kitchen tables, dressers, vehicles, luggage, trolleys, tea for two sets, stoves – they all have their origins in the house, so I have a lot to thank it for!

 

It was lovely to chat with everyone about it, and there were definitely some recurring questions:

 

How long did it take (6 months) how much did it cost (mind your own business!) is it finished (Yes – unlike a ‘hobby’ house this was done as a magazine series, so had to be finished for a set date – that’s why its a snapshot in time – it stopped being added to when the book was published).

 

Most questions about the structure of the house boiled down to curtains and doors: I have no idea why the curtains were so fascinating – but if I had a penny for every time someone took a photo of the curtains on the inside of the doors…. and also of the doors themselves – so many people had not considered decorating their own until they had seen the Featherstone ones.

 

Going back to the curtains though, I think it may have been because they were all different styles – I hate making curtains and I’m not keen on sewing so all my curtains in the house are glued in different styles as I was trying to find an easy option!

 

…And as for the doors the curtains were on – decorating the inside of the doors was a no brainer, once I had got the main house done for the Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine 200th issue, I took a look at the undecorated doors, which were a great expanse of white and had to do something about them. (Doing them also made a new section for the book which had not be previously published in the magazine).

Amy's father looks on disapprovingly....
Gervais waits patiently.....

Not only were the door insides decorated but I also added
small half round shelves which enabled me to do mini dressed scenes to add to
the story going on in each room of the house. (The key to this is making sure
the shelf is just above the house floor height so the door will still shut!)

For instance, in the Lemon Bedroom Amy is sitting thoughtfully at the window seat with Maisie her dog while her maid Margaret pops her head outside to tell Gervais (Amy’s gentleman caller) that she is dressing and could be some time. He waits patiently with chocolates and a present. By adding the shelf on the door interior I then could add Amy’s father standing holding a newspaper and about to lecture Amy about the perils of how attractive her inheritance is to penniless fortune hunters! (don’t worry it all works out in the end!)

 

Speaking of the end – that’s all for this blog post, but dont forget to check out the NEW page on the BIG PROJECTS section, the pictures on the Featherstone Hall section of the GALLERY, the answers to some of the many ‘how did you do the….’ questions I got asked  on the LITTLE PROBLEMS page.

FEATHERSTONE HALL AT MINIATURA!

Just over 10 years ago I created the Featherstone Hall Hotel for the 200th issue of  Dolls House & Miniature Scene  magazine…

….And to celebrate its first decade – in October 2022 its coming out again and will be on display at the Autumn Miniatura show at Stonleigh Park!

The creation of the house was featured in the magazine over 24 months and it went on display at Miniatura several times, and also to a show in Holland – but that was a trip too far and afterwards I retired the house from exhibitions.
   It was only after realising I had missed the 10 year anniversary which happened during the Covid lock downs, that I took a good look at the house and thought how great it would be to spruce it up and get it back out there!

This picture was taken just before the show in Holland opened and was the last time the house was out on display.
This exterior picture of the house shows all the bits I have to find before the show - the doors and front staircases!
The only place to take it had to be back to the show it was launched at – Miniatura. I had a chat with the show organiser and we both agreed it would be great to have it at the show (2nd/3rd October 2022).
   However there are a couple of complications before I get to that stage…
   1. The house hasn’t been on display for YEARS!!!!!!
   2. The last time it was on display there was a small fire in a bit of the electrics (loose wire) which I never got around to repairing.
   3. Its been on display at home and needs a good dust, and a few cosmetic repairs.
   4. When its on display at home I don’t have the doors on – so I need to find them (hopefully in the attic!)
   5. To make it easier to display at home I cut off the front of the base that the exterior staircase sits on with the car and valet unloading luggage – and I need to find those bits too!  
   …But apart from that it should be childs play (not!)
   The biggest issue will be getting the electrics and light repairs done. Some of the lights have come down from the ceiling  during transit (Library and kitchen) and to repair them I’m going to need to lift some floors (this is a consequence of the house being my first one and it was a steep learning curve!)
  

One thing I have decided on is that all the repairs and reworking I will be doing to the house will be to get it as near as possible back to the same condition it was in when it was first finished.
   I have considered long and hard about this, as it would be tempting to update it and showcase all the new things I can do and have learned in the 10 years since first building it, but I think its best to leave it as a snapshot in time and exactly as its shown in the Featherstone Hall Hotel book.
   Perhaps I should make a new house to test my current skills… and perhaps another one in 10 years time (if I’m still capable!)

I will be adding a new page to the BIG PROJECTS page which will follow me getting the house ready once I make a start on it! And I will be adding more pictures to the GALLERY of Featherstone Hall pictures already there.

Newsletter Subscribers note: The next newsletter will contain a £5 off code against the purchase price of the Featherstone Hall Hotel book – so watch your mailboxes!

NEW STOCK NEWS

Just a quick update before the BIG NEWS update next week….

I have just finished this special commission car and had to get it straight onto the JUST FINISHED page – its booked itself straight into a slot on my BEST OF 2022 gallery I will be doing at the end of the year!

Another piece to have confirmed a position in the BEST OF 2022 gallery is this Chinoiserie style grand piano. I have hand painted it based on photos of a life size one, with panels of chinese scenes with landscapes and pagodas.

I have also added some new stock to the website shop and also to the just finished page, plus I still have a lot of new bits to add to the website in relation to Featherstone Hall.

Watch out next week for the big news for FEATHERSTONE HALL fans!

The bookcase desks (£89) were in stock for less than a day, last time I added them to the shop – I have just finished another pair, and a pair of the NEW LIBRARY units (£99).
I have also just added another Emma the maid to the shop PEOPLE section £69.
Both the Bookcase desk and NEW LIBRARY units can be found in the DESKS & MUSIC section of the website shop.

TThere are more pictures of the bookcase desks and library units on the JUST FINISHED page (in the INSPIRATION section).

I have also added another tea for two set in sage green and mahogany (in the DINING section of the website shop.

SAVE THE DATE!

With my last show of the Summer season over, I have exciting news about my first show of the Autumn….

I am pleased to say I have signed up to a NEW 3 DAY show taking place 2nd 3rd and 4th  September 2022 (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) at the Farnborough International Exhibition centre.

The Dolls House show is part of the Creative Craft Show which had been previously at the NEC Birmingham, but which has moved to the site of the Farnborough Air show to the south west of London. The Dolls House show is being supported by Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine but is organised by ICHF.
   I was one of the first to sign up for the Dolls House show a couple of weeks ago – and already they are looking at expanding the floor space set aside for the Dolls House part of the show!
   There are free shuttle buses lined up from the four local train stations, and car parking is free. I’m really looking forward to it (I shall be shopping too!) and have added the show to my show dates together with ICHF contact details.
   So if you are a crafter and have a dolls house save the date and get your ticket now!

…and in other news – I have added new stock to the website shop, updated the JUST FINISHED page, 3D PRINTING BLOG and added pictures to the gallery pages – enjoy!

FROM SKETCH TO STOCK – See how the new macaws and cockatoo stands were created and 3D printed on the 3D printing blog page

COMING SOON:
SOME FANTASTIC NEWS FOR FANS OF FEATHERSTONE HALL…..

BE PREPARED – FOR SHOPPING!

Just back from a fantastic Kensington Dollshouse show, and after updating the website shop, galleries and just finished pages….

…my thoughts turned back to the show and how in these pinching times there are some simple rules you can follow to save on your miniature buying.
   With this in mind I have written a new RANDOM THOUGHTS article (under the INSPIRATION tab at the top of the page) which lists my four best bits of advice for successful ‘smalls’ shopping!
ABOVE: The Dee-Daw Designs stand at the Kensington Dolls House Festival

But I also have to salute those shoppers who, like all good boy scouts, come to a show prepared – with photos, notebooks, fabric and wallpaper samples so they can be sure that what they buy will work with what they have already – BRAVO!

ABOVE: See More of this Library Bookcase on the JUST FINISHED page

As is usual for shows, I managed to make some special pieces, not all of which made it back to go in the wesite shop!
   However these ‘show specials’ often lead to new stock items and many of the new things made for Kensington will soon been in the website shop, like the library bookcase and bookcase desks.

 

ABOVE: The bookcase desk inspired the library bookcase, and just like it sold at the show!

Fortunately I do still have a couple of Macaws left after the show although the cockatoos sold out they will be joining them in the shop by the weekend!
(Macaws and cockatoos are £39 each).

Although the tea trollies (£39) and the drinks/cigar trollies (£39) sold out at the show they will soon be back in the website shop – to join the working grandfather clock (£47)

It was great to get back to beds for the show with these two four posters – the ginger and gold one was bought by a couple – he got the rusty and restoration ready Model T Ford and she got the bed as anniversary presents to each other (decided on by the wife!)
   The raspberry and blue one has just been added to the shop website £129 – although I am thinking about doing a set of furniture to go with it!

ABOVE: Also just added to the website shop are a Jesmond (pictured) and a Masons banqueting tale to supplement the rest of the dining room stock

With York show now looming on the horizon, (York Racecourse June 19th) I’ll be flat out again making stock to replace that sold at Kensington – and hopefully one or two more one-off pieces like the carpenters workbench (Right) which is now in the website shop £89.

FIRST POST OF 2022 (BUT NOT THE LAST!)

OK, so here we are – its nearly the end of March and I am finally getting to do my first news post of the year!

Its been a bit of a strange one so far, it started with me flat out trying to complete orders and make show stock, then I was flat out from catching Covid! (Just bad enough to feel rotten – and not bad enough to be serious – lucky me!) I am fully recovered but still shattered, as I have just got back from the Miniatura two day show at the NEC in Birmingham
    I have grabbed a mo to update as much of the website as I can in the time available – there is some new stock in the shop, some items are restocked and there’s a new FREE download sheet to print and make – packed with paper ephemera like letters envelopes, playing cards, photos, postcards and greetings cards. The sort of detail pieces you can’t easily buy and which can really finish off a project in style.

Just a few of the items to make on the FREE DOWNLOAD printable sheet – Its number 4 in the set and can be found in the MAKES & ADVICE section of the website.

Bride and groom commission for a wedding reception in a hotel project in Germay.
NEW Tivoli dining suite (£129) and matching buffet (£79) my new china design for 2022.

  The JUST FINISHED page has been updated too, with a load of pictures showing a selection of recent commissions and new stock items.

Cakes buffet (£79) in stock and just the thing to go with a Tea for Two set!
This pair of walnut dressers are packed with victorian pink and brown transferware.

The 3D PRINTING HOTSPOT and 3D PRINTING BLOG now feature what’s been going on in the print room over the last few months and what’s to come. As shortages of miniature items become more acute, the 3D printer is proving worth its weight in gold, being able to supply virtually anything on demand! (even an emergency chicken!)

Its not easy being a teenager - and its even harder to get a teenage doll - unless you can make one!
All of the items on this buffet (£59) are 3D printed and hand painted to match the Masons dining suite
The printer comes into its own when it enables me to print anything at the drop of a hat!

On that happy note – I’ll try not to leave it as long again till my next post!

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