Historical

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30s and 40s History: Came across an interesting site which may be helpful to some: During the 30s and 40s the USDA had pictures taken portraying the everyday lives of war-era workers and their families. There are (I think) about 300,000 pics available depicting every aspect of life in the U.S. at that time. Only spent a few minutes there but could possibly be invaluable as a research tool. http://www.usda.gov/oc/photo/histfeat.htm

Maureen in St. Albert


Efficiency Kitchen: Apartment stove/sink/reefer....I lived with such a device 45 years ago in my very first 'apartment'! Not a bad thing. Compact and useful for a single person. . . The only bothersome thing was that the two burner electric stovetop was within 6 inches of the dishpan sized sink. . . and no oven. . . many years later, my mom bought a similar unit from Sears for an efficiency apart she was building over the garage. It had an oven. About the size of a small bread box. . . Fascinating units to find in mini, I doubt there is one.

Also, anyone remember the small 'Hoover' Spin Washer/Dryer that was about the size of a dustbin and plugged the water into the kitchen faucet? Dumped into kitchen sink drain and tended to march around the room after one while spinning. The spin was just a glorified wringer. . . I think the washer part would only do one sheet at a time.

Judie - Daytona Beach, FL


Efficiency Kitchen:

The Hoover Sping Washer/Dryer was just a rectangle box on wheels (ours was Harvest Gold in color). First you put your clothes in one side, filled it up with water from a hose connected to the kitchen sink, added soap and let it agitate. Then you drained it, and put the wet clothes over into the little spin basket section to spin out. Then you refilled the washer side and put your clothes back into it, to agitate for the rinsing. Then that side had to be drained again, and everything put back into the basket to be spun again.

Paulette in IN


Glass Fishing Floats: I have some old life-scale net floats, and they're irregular blown globes with lots of bubbles trapped in the fairly thick glass, hollow, one red, one yellow, one coke-bottle green, and various sizes from about 3 inches to 5 inches diameter. Each has a tiny pinhole somewhere that seems to be where the globe was separated from the blowing apparatus, like the pontil on glassware and vases.

Loretta.Sniarowski


Rummaging in my work room I came across:
Embroideries and Patterns from 19th century Vienna
by Raffaella Serena
ISBN 1-85149-283-6
It bulges with charts and pictures of 19th century needle points and oh the colours! Several of the charts are for small motifs.

Helen from York, England


Pirates: To anyone looking for pirate information. I suggest looking at a copy of Eyewitness Books...Pirate by Richard Platt. It is mainly a picture/photo book with any and every thing you could want on the pirate subject... clothing, movies (with posters) , food, maps, boats, etc. etc. Eyewitness Books are a great pictorial resource for many subjects....books, buildings, ancient Egypt, arms and armor, castles,....just to mention a few. As they state 'Like a mini-museum between the covers of a book' As a bonus the back cover has in-scale colored pics of 66 of their books. I believe B & N and Amazon carry these books ..(I have purchased quite a few at COSTCO for a good price) but do check at your local library too. Check them out......I think you will find them very useful.


Costumes: I've just found a fantastic costume site! It has links to patterns for period costume which are easily adaptable to 1/12th scale, and it has some lovely illustrations. I've just spent an hour there, and I'm not done yet! It has every kind of costume, from medieval to twentieth century, so all you dollmakers, go and enjoy! http://www.costumegallery.com/

Lynne Connolly


White metal kits: Anything, be it object or kit made from white metal, needs to be either washed in soapy water -OR- cleaned with white vinegar. Railway modelling chaps who use white metal kits a lot all swear that unless one cleans the white metal first, it will not take either glue or paint as well as it could. Apparently this is due to the releasing agent used to ensure the things come free from their moulds easily. So dutifully I now clean all my white metal before I either glue or paint it - and by George, they're right!

Helen from York, England


Phoenix White Metal Kits: I LOVE these kits and have done a number of them. You will have no problem if you use 5 minute epoxy, the kind where there are two tubes and you must mix well a little of each together. With the 5 minutes before it sets hard you have time to adjust pieces slightly if necessary. If you use any other kind of glue I think you will have problems as they are not strong enough to hold metal. I suggest you never use super glue for this as the bond will break eventually. Sure wish these kits were more available here in Canada,

Cheryl in Brampton, ON


1920s Spanish style houses: For the interiors of these houses, look at magazines of the period. You can find Better Homes and Gardens, House and Garden, House Beautiful, etc., on Ebay by going to books, magazines, household, vintage. Good luck. I'm betting that you won't really be taken with those twenties interiors...everything was very leggy and VERY different from our own aesthetic.

Margaret in Texas


1920s Interiors: I am also researching the 1920s, but not for the Spanish style. I want to do a 1920s style house and interior, but probably a colonial or Tudor. Anyway, I have come across some things that can be helpful to you.

There is a book called "Classic Houses of the Twenties" (by Loizeaux), which you can find at Barnes & Noble in the Home/Design section. It does have several examples of the Spanish style. Also, there are some interior shots. I don't remember if there are any Spanish style interiors, but there are definitely kitchen and bathroom ideas - sink, stove and refrigerator styles, tiling, etc.

I would say that my best resource has been buying House Beautiful and Better Homes and Gardens from the 1920s on ebay. You can expect to pay between $5-15 per issue, and even less if it's missing the cover. The articles and ads are incredible, and exceptionally helpful. Even the recipes are amazing. I was amazed to see ads for Sherwin Williams paint, with the "Cover the Earth" logo - I had no idea it went back that far! There was even an ad for Plastic Wood, looking exactly like it does today. But, I digress. You will see exactly the furniture styles, window treatments, light fixtures and appliances that were used at the time. Fortunately, some of these furnishings and appliances are available in miniature. Also, I don't think that just because a house had Spanish architectural style, that the interior was necessarily Spanish, too.

Also, do a search in ebay's book's home section for Twenties, 1920s, 1920, and every year through 1929. Sometimes decorating books are listed with the year published. I have gotten some great finds this way.

Someone else said that you probably won't be taken with those interiors. I disagree. I find them totally charming - colorful, traditional, but not stuffy. It was also the beginning of "modern" times, and the eclectic mix is refreshing... Electricity was just becoming commonplace, and the electrical appliances of the time were exciting. To me, they still are...

Perhaps I love the 20s style because my grandparents married in 1929, and lived in a 1920s house in Newton, Massachusetts. It had so much charm, without being the least bit pretentious. And my grandmother saved all of her kitchen tools, depression glass, jadite and small appliances, etc. in the basement. Guess who has it all now? :))) I'm probably the only guy in Israel with a vintage mixer, toaster, waffle iron, kitchen tools, Hoosier cabinet, and a Jadite collection to make Martha Stewart envious. Someday, I will make that Hoosier in miniature.... Hope this helps.

Jonathan in Israel


1920's interiors: Art Nouveau and Art Deco styles are becoming more popular now in the UK as collectors complete their Tudor's and Georgian's and Victorian's and look for something a little different. Craftspeople are gradually catching up with this trend and I already have available on my website an early C20th kitchen range, an Art Deco sofa and chair in leopard print (other colours made to order) plus tiffany style lamps. I am also able to get pieces made to commission so if anyone's interested please get in touch. http://www.littlebylittle.co.uk

Karon


Terror Therapy: Many of us are having a very difficult time dealing with the changes in our world since Sept. 11th. That date represents a reality crisis that has changed our lives forever. As an artist and teacher, I want to encourage you not to turn away from the joy you have found in miniaturing. It is not a trivial pursuit that has no meaning in this changing world. Your art is as important to your mental health as your prayers are to your soul.

Not all of us can make a tribute like Pearl's but each of us can use our art as a balm against the wound we all carry - a quiet place that allows us to escape and regroup - a way to preserve memories, laughter and the history of our countries for generations yet unborn.

What about a club project that represents some step in the history of the USA or our sister countries that is donated to the history class of your local school? A Betsy Ross doll sewing the first flag. A playground filled with children, of different races and different faiths joined, as only children can be, by the simple joy of living. Maybe a WWII kitchen showing how our citizens stepped up to bat in the past with war rations, collecting pots to be melted for the army.....I think you get the idea. Don't turn away from something that has been a source of joy just because our lives are filled with sorrow. We all need those 'mini' hugs, even more these days.

Becky


Painted Ladies Colors: Question: Does anyone know of a website where I can get ideas for the exterior paint colors. I would love to do a multi-color exterior but cannot afford to buy all the "Painted Ladies" books.
Answer:
Try http://architecture.about.com/library/bl-color.htmto test color combinations.

Cathy from Philadelphia


Colonial Homes: You can take a tour of Mount Vernon online by visiting:
http://www.mountvernon.org/mtour/one.asp

Click on First Floor, Second Floor, etc., then you will get a floor plan of that floor, click on the room you want to see. You can click on the pictures to see a larger version to get more detail.

Rusty in Ky


Colonial Homes: The best book I know on Colonial House is American Colonial By Wendell Garrett. ISBN 3-8228-8278-X

Brian Long


Toile and Colonial Williamsburg: Yes - Toile and Colonial Williamsburg go together like peanut butter and jelly! We visited C.W. this past September - and loved every minute of it. It was very well organized, very lovely, very interesting, educational -- and we got a LOT of exercise walking the 'old streets'....and shopping in all the wonderful 'old shops' nearby.

Toile was usually combined with a very large check fabric - about 1-1/2" square checks! - in a matching color (blue toile, blue checks, for example). Red/white checks were also 'in vogue'. They used some pretty wild colors in Colonial Williamsburg - things we'd consider a bit 'much' now - green and purple walls and woodwork, for example.

We stopped and chatted with the weaver for a long time while we were there - you can interact with all the craftsmen/women and find out some fascinating things -- and learned that during the Colonial period, cotton fabrics were MORE expensive than silk! The reason was quite practical: The cotton gin hadn't been invented at that time, and in order to get cotton fabric, you had to sit by firelight (after a hard day's work) and pull cotton seeds out of the fluff....and they're hard to pull out! It was common practice to give unruly children this job - especially during long winter months and rainy days when they couldn't go outside and grew restless. Probably where the phrase 'make work' came from..... Mama just had to 'make work' for the kids to do to keep them out of her hair!

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation has a nice web site, and there are LOTS of books, pictures, and more information on the period and the area. Search for 'Colonial Williamsburg' - in Virginia - and I'm sure you'll find all sorts of references. The C.W. Foundation is a wealth of information on all sorts of things - and responsible for a great many reproductions of furniture, fabric, wallpaper, etc., from the period. Additionally, you can search www.amazon.com and find a lot of books on C.W. -- as well as your local library, more than likely. You can get the best prices on books, I believe, at www.bookfinder.com - where you can buy nice used or new books through smaller dealers, through one large book buyers/sellers system that referees the whole thing.

Linda Gale


Shaker style: For Shaker style references, check the library for life-scale interior decorating books (Milton and Emily Rose's Shaker Tradition and Design or Scott Swank's Shaker Life, Art, and Architecture). If you want period authenticity, remember there was no such thing as a Shaker home. Shakers lived in celibate religious communities, with separate men's and women's dormitories (dependence on converting new members rather than "growing" their own was a major cause of the sect's extinction, somewhat analogous to today's shortage of young Catholic clergy in some areas). The Shakers had communal kitchen, dining, and work areas (livestock barns, smithy, mill, furniture, broom, seed packing, tool factories, etc.). An accurate 19th century Shaker miniature homestead would be a small village, not a solitary dollhouse!

For an on-line overview of Shaker life, check out http://www.shakervillageky.org/ dedicated to Pleasant Hill, Kentucky. Most US Shaker heritage sites are on the web; unfortunately few include many interior photos. In miniature, Jessica Ridley's Decorated Doll House has a Shaker-inspired bedroom with commercial furniture customized with DIY Shaker accessories. Peter Westcott's miniature furniture pattern books include Shaker Furniture volumes #1and #2; check your local shop, or Tom stocks them at Earth and Tree. Barnes and Noble's Out of Print section also lists How to Make Shaker Furniture for the Dollhouse or Miniature Rooms by Pat Midkiff. Both authors' pattern books are priced moderately.

Loretta.Sniarowski


Stickley/Mission furniture: If you like kits, Fernwood Miniatures makes a number of pieces in these styles. She will send you a free catalogue if you send her a large SASE. Fernwood Miniatures, 12730 Finlay Rd NE, Silverton, OR 97381-9535

Beth


French provincial Ideas: check out this on-line catalog, http://www.pierredeux.com   -- should give you some ideas for French provincial themes.  Photos of room settings and individual pieces.

Loretta.Sniarowski


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