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Saturday, July 28, 2012

We're moving!

I'm moving, so the Gammage sisters are also moving. But they are also getting a new house. I don't have much space in my new house, and Gammage House had grown so big that it really needed its own table to see all the parts. I bought this kit a while ago for a friend , who didn't really like it. It fits in a smaller space believe or not , even though it is 1:12. Remember that we decided that the Gammage parian dolls are really 1:16, and I've been increasingly unhappy with how the 1:16 furniture fits in the half scale house. I'm moving the 8th, so construction will have to wait until mid August.

This is the kit I'll be adapting. It looks like a couple of the other houses from this company, but it is set up like an antique store. Of course , i will turn it into a residence, with the pis office still in the basement, and Althea's workspace on the other. I'll have to see how the rest of the rooms pan out.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Decision- Male or Female?

The seller had listed this doll on Ruby Lane as " Man or Woman" when I bought it on Ruby Lane. I took it with me on the trip , and came more and more to the conclusion that it is a male in woman's clothing . I am very close to undressing and redressing as a male, but am held back by a little niggling desire to keep the doll original.

It doesn't help that that I really need a male as Laura's fiancé.

Okay, the decision is made, because when I pulled down the dress to examine the doll , I found that it seems to be a newer head added to an older body! So soon you will meet Cedric , from Council Bluffs , Iowa.

I'm going to very carefully take the dress off, as I have another doll I would like to put it on. Why do I always cringe when I pull out the huge pins that people have used to hold on the doll's clothing?

I hope you don't disagree with my decision!

Friday, July 6, 2012

A Power Break

No , this is not in the same category as a Power nap! Our power has been off for a week due to wind storms. I brought along some of the little dolls, but have gotten little done. Meantime, for the Quarter Connection Trash to Treasure challenge, I discovered a new way of making the quarter inch scale dolls . What is the saying? Something like need is the mother of invention. With the T2T challenge, you can only use the things they give you, so you have to get really creative with what you've got.

Rosa Margarita sent a link to a tutorial on dollmaking ( thank you!) , and then a tutorial for wire people showed up on Quarter Connection the day after I asked. I learned that people often dress the dolls, even larger dolls, as they put then together. So these little guys may well lose their arms for a while! A couple of them have lost their heads, and I have also learned the the dolls without wires don't survive. I'm going to try a liquid sculpy/ bonding material to put them back together.

I'm having trouble giving them any character , as they are so small that it is hard to carve. I may go back to hardwood for their heads, because I felt that I can control features more. I will finish these guys!

I am doing a bit better about keeping them small enough to be in scale. I'll link to a tutorial that helps next post.

This picture is just to show you the difference in size - the big doll is 1:12 .

Friday, June 29, 2012

Note to Self- Get Over It!

I've learned a few things about making 1/4 inch scale dolls with polymer clay in the last couple of days. First, don't get too attached to them , because they are dropping like flies! I'm not sure where that saying comes from- flies surely don't drop? I've now taken to naming a group of dolls - like the " Doreens" and the "Ruths" because maybe one Doreen or Ruth will survive the whole process.

Also, don't use green or red wire as an armature. You probably don't even have green or red wire, but It shows through the clay. Blue or purple probably show through as well. Yes, I am making fun of myself.

Has anyone seen a tutorial for making dolls this small?

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Dollmaking and Guilt

I guess I only have experiences with other doll makers online. I've come across a few people who make dolls in my city, but they have always had different interests than I.

My experience is that once a doll has been started , even if it is just at the armature stage, it a doll. We don't throw dolls away.

I have dolls I've repainted 4 or 5 times, have carved again, buried in more clay or otherwise altered. Working in quarter inch scale, I'm limited to carving and sanding, because painting or adding clay adds inches and feet.

Which means that this little guy, even though more unfinished than finished , is a doll, and has his own character -
(and I guess is male, since that is how I am referring to him) . He is way too big for quarter inch scale.

I made this little lady , Vesta, while inspired by a family picture. She is the only doll I've made that looks similar to my original vision . Most dolls seem to choose their own gender and size and character. If you try to do more than influence those decisions, it seems to end up in the creation of a spiritless plaything. An interesting note on Vesta- a close friend who only tolerates my dollmaking , and knows that I often repaint them, saw her and made me promise that I would not rework or repaint her, because she had, "Something about her." This from a woman who literally never owned a doll in her life.

If you think I'm being weird , and personifying dolls because I make them , think about all the people who hate dolls or are disconcerted by " Little eyes looking at me." I once had a friend stay on my living room couch, where the china cupboard was filled with china and bisque dolls, probably all 100 years or older. When I went to check on her in the morning, she had turned all 23 dolls in the display case so that they faced the wall on the other side of the room instead of looking toward her. The dolls seemed to have kept her from sleeping. She said she couldn't turn them toward the back of the cabinet because then they couldn't see out.

Not just doll makers or people who love them think dolls have their own character!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

One of the Gammage Sisters Will Just Have to Turn Into a


I'm trying my hand at making quarter inch scale dolls. Many of which have turned into half scale dolls's dolls! At this size, they just keep turning into giants, so rather than throwing them out, one of the Gammages is just going to have to be a dollmaker. I'll have to think about who.

Just armatures right now. Every little speck of clay adds approximately a half foot if they are in quarter inch scale!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Family History

Am I the only one you know who has 7 family trees on ? One for my own family, one for my kid's other family, two for friend's families that I got interested in, one each for two doll makers, one for my historic home, and one for my antique dollhouse.

Obviously I really enjoy searching for facts and family.

My grandmother, Minnie Florence Evans was born in Illinois in 1887. As far as I know, she lived on a farm all of her life- but am I remembering only what I knew as a child? It didn't occur to me until recently that the period I am playing with , setting the Gammage house in, is close to the date of my Grandmother's birth. Think about the changes she saw in her life! In terms of popular house styles, that means she could have seen Victorian, Arts and Crafts, bungalows, modern, contemporary....and many more.

Persis was born in 1870. If she lived to be 94, like my grandmother, she would have been alive until I was in high school.

This dollhouse making definitely is about more than playing!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Have You Discovered Scribd?

Yes, I spelled that right. I confess, I have been tempted into the world of modern or contemporary dollhouses. I'm still learning, but I came across the plans for a Woman's Day dollhouse which is modern, on Scrbd. You can download plans and print- I bought a one day pass for $5.00 and of course think I have to sit here and download forever and ever even though I easily could have paid $5.00 for that one plan.

So far I have found those plans (under the name of Jean Reynolds in case you are having trouble finding them (thank you Jean!) I've also found a bunch of toy making books from 1918 era . I have to say my favorite is "Organizing Your Laundry Room Closet". How many of you actually have a laundry room closet anymore- or a laundry room? I'm still getting to know the site, but you might be able to find them in my collections under Jennifer Berkeley- dollhouse folder .

Oh, and also this is where you access all the free AIM (Artists in Miniature) back issues.

Have fun! 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Dollhouse Distractions. And Why Can't I Call My New Canon so I Can Find It?

Think about it- it always worked with my Iphone.

I've had a new camera, which is delightfully small and takes great close ups , for two weeks, but haven't uploaded a picture yet. Primarily because I take a picture, put the camera down , can't find it for a few days......l I think I'm going to mount it on a tripod and leave it there!

Right now, I'm thinking you should think of this blog as dollhouse distractions instead of the Gammage House. At the end of the school year there are so many ends to tie up, that all that is left over at the end of day is the distractible! I work for 3 school districts , and today was the last day for the first to go.

So I'm puttering, and regrouping , and working on my application for a doctoral program!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Is There Such a Thing as Minis Block?

Do ever feel completely stuck on your work ? As though you can't think of anything or can't make anything work? What do you think blocks you? What got you through it?

I know I've been more productive because I've gone back and forth between two houses, one half scale and one quarter inch scale. I frequently think that if I would just focus on one house, I could actually finish one.

Then I realize that skipping back and forth makes more sense for me. My block is either getting to a step I need to learn to do, or especially having trouble making a decision. Another thing that gets me stuck is doing a really disappointing job on a piece.

I am far from being able to give advice, but I do find that on other crafts, if I decide to put something away because I am frustrated, I might as well throw it away! So working actively on more than one project is probably my best bet. Blogging helps too, because it gives me the , "I need to have something to show for myself! " push.

This my quarter inch house, which I am building completely from scratch.This picture first got me stuck because all of the work looked so bad - and I had worked for months. But then I made one statement in my blog, which was, "They have a lot of plywood at Michael's , and gave myself permission to consider the first cut a pattern since finishing the surfaces badly was most of the issue. I'm working from the inside out this time, and I am able to think about how I will finish each surface before I cut it, which makes an amazing difference. In a kit, they have often thought this out for you, or you able to see the work of others on the house. But since I decided to do such a thorough job of bashing Gammage House, it has been a lot like starting from scratch.

Welcome and Inspiration

I've got to get back to welcoming followers! I identified with Kate, whose profile says that her dollhouse is in pieces , and that she is looking for inspiration to get her started again. That's where Gammage House stood, and even though it is very much still in progress, it has come a long way. It really helped me to pick a story and a place and a year. I love messing around with research and I've spent way too much time looking at websites about Providence, and 1885. But it keeps me going, even though I confess to being a little obsessive about sticking to 1885 .

Welcome Kate!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Aviary

This weekend , one of our friends was married. The rehearsal dinner was held in the Aviary, in one of the local parks. A victorian structure, it was a delightful place for a wedding dinner.

I started looking for something similar in Providence, and came up with an outdoor aviary which was part of a zoo that was created in 1873. I have to say that it should no longer surprise me that people in 1885 weren't colonial, but I still continue to be caught off guard by details like zoos!

This is the only picture I could find of the Providence Aviary. I guess the Gammages will have to come to Virginia!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Thanks to All Who Participated in the Giveaway.

What a lovely bunch of people, who commented to congratulate the winner, and thanked me for participating.

Some day, I hope soon, I will answer a comment in Spanish. I drive a lot for work, so I downloaded an MPG to learn Spanish in the car. Frustrating, because it teaches all about airports, and numbers. What I need is Spanish for dollhouse bloggers!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Drama - Clothes Again

We thought the commotion that ensued when Althea insisted on wearing her flowered dress over an old pair of trousers was disturbing. She found the filthy pants in the shipmaster's quarters that are now going to be her workshop.

But when Julia found out that , instead of asking the dressmaker to make the agreed upon good dress , Althea had conspired with their usually trusty seamstress to make an outfit of her own design, the tension was almost unbearable.

Inspired by a portrait of a woman in a kimono, and the bloomers that had long gone out of fashion, the suit allowed Althea to work in her workshop without danger of catching a skirt, or even worse, a crinoline, in one of her creations.

Once the tirade paused, Althea fled to her favorite spot outside her workshop. Solitude was usually rejuvenating, but a combination of anger and self criticism brought a swirl of emotion.

Persis joined her not much later. " I don't understand". Julia doesn't wear long skirts herself! "

"If you could just add a skirt , you could wear an apron." suggested Persis. One consultation with the dressmaker resulted in an skirt that met both Julia and Althea's needs. The crisis is over!

Not too tight and not too fancy, Althea can still remove the pink skirt, leaving the original ensemble to be worn for woodworking and her handyman type puttering around the house.

Woodworking lessons for Persis soon!

The Winner of the Giveaway!

Is Maria Ireland!  Maria, please send your address to me at and I will get the kits off to you as soon as possible!

And I wish I had 21 things to give away ! 

A Follower's Dilemna- Who Can Help?

Oh, I do hope I don't embarrass her terribly, but in her giveaway comment, Lucy Q, one of the blog's followers, said she had a 1920's dollhouse still in the box that was given to her by a friend, and was looking for inspiration to get started. She thought maybe winning the giveaway would do the trick.

Why do I keep remembering this, and SO want her to get that house out and get started? Yes, I'm a mentor by nature, and am always looking for a way to help someone meet their own goals. But I know too, that we all have little procrastinations in our lives , and sometimes need a kick in the pants to get started!

A dollhouse though seems to be a relatively reasonable thing to procrastinate on- unless you feel guilty or sad about it.

I bought a good friend a dollhouse kit two Christmas's ago. The real point was to have something to work on together, and I picked the house without consulting with her. We only have room for one house with my huge antique dollhouse in the living room.

I knew she wasn't terribly motivated , but couldn't figure out why until she confessed a year and a half later that she didn't get excited about the Antique Shop kit I bought her. So once I get Gammage House completely constructed, the plan is to shop for a house together, although she fancies building one from scratch.

Some of the things I am using in Gammage House are things that I have had, and have been meaning to use for years and years, What got me started- finding the little dolls, having an idea that they needed a home, then coming up with a story based on my genealogical research.

I have a fantasy that each of us would send Lucie a little gift for her dollhouse. Something to get her started, from the period of her choice.

Or sometimes a gift is a word of advice, some help , a story about your own house and getting started. Who can help?

Monday, April 30, 2012

One More Day to the Giveaway!

Make sure that you have followed the blog , and also commented,so you can be entered in the Giveaway! Drawing will be tomorrow at 6:30 PM my time.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

See the Tutorial for Making Your Own Fabric to Scale

I have added a page (see the top of the blog) on how to make your own scale fabric. I was having trouble finding fabric both the right weight, and with a small enough print to make a dress for Althea, so worked on making my own fabric. There are three different weight fabrics represented. Check it out by clicking above, or by following this link.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Althea's New Clothes

Now for a new challenge- making clothing for Althea . I made Persis a dress which I am basically happy with, but I have something in mind for Althea's dress that may be a little different .

I don't know if you remember, but as the sisters were getting ready for the family portrait, they had quite a spat, because Althea insisted on wearing her bloomers in the picture! We often use the word bloomers to mean underwear, but bloomers were actually outer clothing , and were named after Amelia Bloomer. Bloomers were trousers gathered at the ankle.

For more information on dress reform and bloomers, see
Dress Reform

Sensible dress for a woman physician at a time of huge skirts.

Less than attractive, but functional.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Poor Althea

I got the bottoms of Althea's legs made, and was excited to put them back on so that I can finish dressing her. Unfortunately , the fabric of her body is too fragile to sew them on. I really , really don't want to put a whole new body on her. You can see why people advertising dolls say "Her clothes are sewn on and I didn't want to remove them"!

I' m going to try adding some fabric stabilizer. If that doesn't work, i'll put new fabric over the top like a second skin. I want to experiment with putting a wire armature on the outside of the body so that she can be posed , so the body needs to be strong.

Interesting - see how her head is attached to the body. She doesn't have holes in her shoulder plate. I'm not sure what is going on with that- i will have to check to see if the twin doll has holes. Doll people say interesting things, don't they!

Monday, April 23, 2012

1/16 Furniture is Much Better!

I've been talking about the dolls being too large for a lot of the half scale furniture, even though I'm happy with the size of the house for them. I ordered some 1/16 furniture, and am in general, much happier, particularly with the chairs. The dressing table however, seems too tall- I think I've figured out a way to fix that. All of it is the red finish, and I'd like to cover the fabric with some antique fabric I have.

The table looks too large for the house , but good for the dolls. I'll just have to play with the sizes and see what works best.

The sofa still feels a bit small for Julia .

The dressing table is very tall for Julia.

The table seems tall for the 2nd floor .

But all things considered , the 1/16 furniture fits better than the 1:24.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Not Chairs - Lots of Well Needed Sleep

If you've been reading , you'll know I've had a pretty crazy month. I think sometimes my body knows that the only way to get me to slow down is for me to get sick- so here comes the bronchitis ! I worked on bits and pieces - I'm having a time fastening Althea's legs back to her body without replacing the antique fabric. I'm thinking I may have to attach them to a pair of pantaloons that sew on... Or maybe suspenders.. I think that is just the frustration talking.

As I took this picture I convinced myself that I am crazy to think I can save this leg fabric! So tomorrow, new fabric for new legs. Oh, her feet are fine!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One Sixteenth Scale

With a lot of help from Yahoo groups, I found out that my dolls are actually 1/16 scale. There may be a lot of giveaways in the future because I've already bought a lot of half scale .

Some of the furniture I bought will still work, if repurposed and kept in areas not usually occupied by the family.

I found a good book, Dolls's House Do It Yourself Book , by Venus Dodge . I found it on Amazon used, and it has both patterns in 1:24 and 1:16 . So I'm ready to get started on the furniture for the family ! I get tickled , because it calls a water heater a geyser , and has a lot of other terms not usually used.

I'll share soon, because I plan to make some chairs this weekend.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sharing a tip on the "Prove you are not a robot" Codes

I disabled this on my blog- I still get to approve the comments before they are published. Some people have had trouble with spam without it and some don't know how to turn it off. I have trouble reading the things,and I guess I have trouble discriminating sounds, because the "listen" option is almost impossible for me!

Commenting on the IPad or IPhone can be so frustrating if predictive text is on- it always tries to turn the random letters into a word. After about the millionth bout - the last one being the iPad trying to turn hrtdmec into heretic(!) , I accidentally discovered a trick. I type the code, then other random letters until it stops predicting. Then I erase the extra letters. For example, when I typed hrtfmecsh, the prediction stopped turning up, and I just erased the SH at the end. Probablyas clear as mud, but I hope helpful!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Website for Historic Accuracy

I hope you can tell that my story about the Gammages is based in research. Web research of course. Recent work on the house has attempted to use details from the period, although I am behind the curve because I started with a very Colonial Williamsburg type house. I've tried to use facts, with only 2-3 years leeway. I started this because I wanted learn about this period of time , but then got fascinated by the research itself, and Providence in particular. If you are also into Genealogy and History , I've found a great blog. It even breaks events and sources down by year.

Remember- the Gammage family is not real!

The blog: Nineteenth Century Historical Tidbits
The blogger, Lynn Coleman, describes herself as a novelist who writes contemporary and historical novels . Thanks to Lynn for an incredible resource!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Welcome New Followers! And Thoughts About Commenting

It is always great to have new followers ! Welcome to Keli and Mieke! Keli has beautiful cerulean hair in her profile picture - I have to tell you that my daughter dyed hers fushia for her high school graduation. I actually thought it looked pretty!

Thoughts about comments- I can't remember who told me that dollhouse miniaturists aren't huge about commenting. I try to comment giving feedback when I really like something, but it does get old to always just say why I love something. The comments I would like to get are more about you! Have you made something similar or hope to make something related in the future? Have you got a different technique for doing the same thing? If it is a history post, do you know anything related to the event or item I've pictured? Can you think of a cool idea for me to develop next in the story or the house?

Giveaway! Hoosier Cabinet Kit and extra

Since I've decided I am going with 1/16 for furniture scale (for the most part and wish me good luck!) , I'm going to gradually give away some of the half scale kits and furniture that I can't make fit. I probably could figure out something with this Cassidy Creations cabinet kit, but it is just too good the way it is to mess with it. It is very detailed, and I can see it being a challenge for someone who loves detail. Anyway , to enter comment telling me if your interest is in dollhouses, or history , or both! Of course, you have to be a follower to enter. I'll draw on May 1st, and , you are going to think this is funny, please remind me if I forget!!!

I'm still recovering from my mom's heart attack. I know that sounds strange, but because she is doing better, it is as if I can finally get upset about it. I had to be the pillar of strength , as I am the oldest child, only girl, and my brothers live about 10 hours away.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Quandary - What Scale?

If you have read from the beginning, you know that Gammage House was always meant to be a lot like an antique dollhouse, but more detailed and realistic . One of the things I love about really old American dollhouses is the use of furniture that is not quite in scale. But half scale is way too small, and full scale is way too big . There are of course pieces of half scale furniture that are big enough to serve another purpose- and 1:12 furniture which is small enough to repurpose. When I asked on the Miniature Beehive, which is a DIY Yahoo group, they were very helpful in identifying the scale as somewhere between 1:16 and 1:22. There of course isn't ready made furniture in that scale , so I'm going to have to make furniture, repurpose furniture or get someone to make furniture for me. I suspect I'll end up doing all 3 because I love these little dolls , and this was always meant to be their house. Interestingly enough, the house is just the right scale for them, because the house was built in 1800. Because it is not a grand house, it would have had low ceilings.

Before I made the house the Gammage House, I bought half scale furniture, which I will either save for another house, which will have to be for someone else, because my real house won't hold any more unless they are 1:48 , or modify the furniture to fit the dolls.

Excuse the picture quality. I'm trying not to wake everyone up!

Augusta in the house with a 1:12 scale chest of drawers.

Aunt Augusta in the house with a half scale chair.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

To Church Go the Gammages

Not all the Gammages are regular church goers, but today they all walk down Benefit Street to Benevolent - a sizable journey in skirts. Persis had a good grumble about not using one of the horse cars that went up and down Benefit, but Julia insisted that the day was too beautiful not to walk. Althea hated the straw that lined the floor of the horsecars, which was supposed to be there for insulation. The rumor is that the smelly straw was actually there so that the drivers could retrieve any change or valuables dropped , because it proved impossible to find things on the floor quickly enough upon exit.

The Gammage family, for as long as they have been in Providence , have attended the Unitarian Church . This church was actually the third in Providence , built when the earlier church burned.

Their church was beautiful , and can be seen all over Providence.

Note- readers familiar with present day Unitarian Churches of today won't be surprised to know that women were more involved in the Unitarian Church than in other churches in 1885. They would be advised to learn about the difference in theology at that time, because the Unitarians had not yet merged with the Universalists. A link to wikkipedia Unitarian History

The Gammage's church .

The church that burned . See more at Church History

Quarter Inch Scale on this Blog

It's driving me crazy not to explain this- I really am going to have quarter inch Scale here someday, because the Gammage House will need to be renovated in year 1970 or so, and the house will be reproduced for this purpose in quarter inch. At some point. After I finish the Gammage House, the Inn , the Petite Chateau, and my newest fancy, a Willowcrest housing a modern day Historical Society and Genealogiccal Museum!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Who Have I Welcomed- Who Have I Not?

As a new blogger , I love opening up my dashboard and finding a new follower. But somehow I lost track . I'm honored but a little bit intimidated by the work I see on all of the follower's websites!

Welcome to Jennifer ( we'll have to talk about the use of my name) , who is having a giveaway at

I love the work Elga at The carving on chairs she showed this week is wonderful.

Who else?

The first is Maria from I am so determined to learn Spanish- I am picking up more and more as I read blogs. My family find it interesting that I read blogs out loud- but I think you learn languages more quickly if you say a well as read the words.

Another person who is teaching me Spanish without knowing it is ,Carmen whose blog is at

Linda, at doesn't say what kind of music she plays - is it traditional music. I play ITM, Irish Traditional Music.

I'm overwhelmed, and actually realize I started at the end instead of the beginning, so I'll finish later!

Friday, April 6, 2012

You'd Think They Were an Argumentative Family!

While Althea is banging away in the workroom, the other Gammages have decided to use the delay in Laura's arrival to do much much needed repairs and updates to the house. Remember that the house was built in 1805 by their father Josiah's grandfather, Isaac Gammage.

The current " discussion" came about when Julia wanted to hang the picture of Josiah over the mantel. Unfortunately , hanging the picture would cover the part of the painted wall - Persis and Althea's favorite part of the wall, with a little house on a windswept mountain.

Julia had always been embarrassed by the painted murals. They were meant to be in the style of Moses Eaton and Rufus Porter, but were executed by a much more primitive and unskilled hand . Aunt Augusta had mixed emotions- she loved the murals which of course she had grown up with, but she didn't like the dark cave-like feel they gave the room.

What do you think?

The real thing.

This could almost be miniature, but it's not!

The Gammage over mantel in progress .

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Disappointment. And Family Portrait

Laura has written. She is not able to come until June . Althea, her twin , couldn't hold back tears, and now loud banging is heard from the workroom, where she is working on some secret for Laura.

The others , Julia, Persis and and Aunt Augusta felt disappointed, but didn't approximate the acute sorrow felt by Althea. She had been looking forward to celebrating their birthday, on April 15th, with the sisters reunited. Laura had not shared the reason for the delay, or given them any idea of when she might arrive. A great deal of Althea's upset was grief that it seemed that Laura didn't feel pulled to come home.

Augusta insisted that they write a letter , and enclose a new family portrait in front of the fireplace. The twins had spent so many hours in front of the fire; first playing with toys, then writing in journals and just keeping warm in the cold Providence winters. Althea came upstairs for the portrait in her old flowered shirt, with a pair of Father's pants underneath! She had recently become drawn to the Dress Reform movement, and had been wearing the most outlandish costumes in the fashion of Amelia Bloomer.

Julia would have nothing to do with Althea until Aunt August suggested that she and Persis stand in front of Althea , concealing the pants. The discontent the sisters felt is very evident in the picture!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Translations again

I found another way to translate- I'm very interested in how good the translations are- please tell me! If you go down to the bottom of the page there is a "select language" pull down from Wiyiba. See what you think! 

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Carriage and Horse - Research Serendipity

I was doing my usual messing around with Google searches, when I thought to type "carriage maker, Rhode Island 1885. " I came up with an amazing article about a carriage maker named Chauncey Thomas , in about the right era and place. Not only did the article have pictures, it had advertisements and diagrams! See the article here - Chauncey Thomas .

Then, reading through my blog list, I came across the True2scale blog, which has tutorials for 50 projects. There is a tutorial on how to convert a plastic sheep into a well... You'll have to look, because it is wonderful! There in the before and after pictures, I found a wonderful horse.

So of course, the horse I was merely painting is now minus mane and tail, and will soon be covered with Gesso . Definitely a lucky Google day!

50 Miniature Spring Tutorials

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Sisters Get a Carriage!

They've not had their personal conveyance before, relying instead on public hacks. Persis is just dying to have a horse ,and has picked out a small palomino. Tough to find a palomino in Providence, but she has had her heart set on the spotted pony since she visited Laura in Iowa. It wan't Laura's horse , because she was living in a boarding house right beside the Gilbert School, where she taught grades K- 8th. Iowa was one of the first states to add kindergarten, and has long been considered the most literate state in the country.

I couldn't figure out how I was going to make a buggy until I was collecting random stuff for my Trash to Treasure bin. See my other blog, , for an explanation and background on that! I found a banged up doll carriage( of the pram variety ) and quickly saw that the base could be made into the Studebaker buggy I had picked out after a Google search. So now to paint and build the body !

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Welcome New Followers!

Welcome to Maria Angeles , Maria and Drora. I was so excited when I saw comments and new followers! I have looked at your blogs and love each and every one. And thank you to Rosamargarita for sending you here!

I am trying Google Translate , but only after I try to understand the Spanish. I got three apps on my IPad to work on my Spanish as well. Maybe soon, I will be brave enough to write something in Spanish . Meantime I am going to research Spanish speakers in Providence RI in 1885. In my research on Izannah Walker, who grew up in Somerset Massachusetts , I found that someone in her family sailed to Portugal and I believe that her great grandmother might have even from there. Don't quote me on the grandmother, because I'll have to check that!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012


I loved getting the comment in Spanish from Rosamargarita. Welcome! I translated every word individually using the Spanish to English app on my IPhone - and had a very good time doing it! Does anyone know of a way to add translation capabilities in Blogger, so that other people can read comments with less time investment?

One of the things I love about blogging is the way it pulls people together. I find it exciting and reassuring that all over the world people have interest in dolls , miniatures and history . Irish music is also a common denominator among nations - if you go on an Irish music site like The Session, you will find that there are fiddlers, guitar players , flute players and bodrhan bangers who play Irish Traditional Music all over the world. I play Irish fiddle, and have met people who also play who are from a number of Europian countries - Germany, Holland , Belgium . Even a fiddle player from Japan!

Predictive text just had a heyday with bodrhan, which if you don't know , is the name of a percussion ( I guess) instrument which is mostly annoying until you hear a master play.

I have always wanted to learn other languages. I visited Miami about 5 years ago, and was horrified to find that even the small children knew more than one language - some of them 3 languages, and that I only knew one. I know English really well, but still....! I think I will begin my Spanish study again.

I'm pretty sure that Julia has a friend named Rosamargarita who will appear later in the story. Maybe much later, because it will tough to find a 3 inch doll with dark hair and eyes- I may end up making her!

You might think having a friend from a Spanish speaking country is a stretch for a person living in Providence in 1885, but one of the things I learned on my trips to research Izannah Walker dolls in Rhode Island was how common travel around the world was for the men who whaled and and built ships , and even for their wives and families.

Please comment in whatever language you speak!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Workbench for Althea

Working on my workspace, I've only been working a little on Gammage house. I decided that I would make a possession for each of the sisters, and since Althea is building several of the other possessions, I started with her workbench . You know I like researching, and I came up with some pictures of workbenches that people have turned into kitchen islands and tables. My simple project just got more difficult, but more interesting. I need to find a round piece for the vice, which I plan to make similar to my dad's . I've got a book I got at the New Bedford Whaling museum that I can use as a reference for the tools. Somewhere. Time to get the books together, I think!

Clean Along

I need some company in cleaning my work space - see my other blog

: - There is a giveaway at the end!

Online Miniature Show

I just have to put this on both blogs ecause I'm having so uch fun with it. There isn't as much selection for half scale , but make sure you shop at the online miniature show.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Travel from Iowa

For the first leg of the trip , Laura will travel to Dubuque .

Excitement - waiting for Laura!

I don't know I mentioned this , but Althea has a twin named Laura. Laura left home 5 years ago to go west with the sisters' cousin Kate. While Kate went on further west, Laura met a man named Keller in Iowa and stayed to become the school teacher in a German speaking community near Davenport.

Laura is on her way home to be married!

Revisiting One Tray / One Project

I'm looking at my old posts to see which ideas really worked for me. We know they all worked to get me out of the mess in March , but which ones still work? This is one that does work for current projects if they are little.

Especially for quarter scale and littler, it is so easy to lose pieces for current work, so I've been using these little ninety nine cent wooden trays from Michaels, which work nicely, and even made a storage shelf for them. They are little enough that I don't tend to combine projects, which is death to organization. If I'm not working on a project, I can put the whole tray on a shelf instead of having to gather them again.

Today, sort through your projects. Are they really current or at a total standstill? Sort them into trays that are almost exactly the right size. Find a way temporarily get these out out of the way, but the trick is that you need to be able to find them almost immediately, and that the trays can't have anything you might need for other projects on them . I've got the system set up , but need to make a new rule for myself.

This is a small sink tray, which holds the big pieces I need to finish the 3rd floor of the inn.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Doll Collector Surprise

I don't reveal my doll and miniature interest (obsession,habit?) to just anyone. There is almost always a moment when you can just see the friend or acquaintance trying to mesh your hobby with what they already know about you.

I'm at a conference, and ate dinner with a woman who I knew shared my interest in history and Genealogy . I've always been interested in family traits and talents instead of just lists of names and places ( remember, I'm going to link my family member's Facebook page and Pinterest to their profiles) and mentioned that there are a number of doll makers and collectors in my family. I had that moment of adding the doll part to what I know about her, when she told me that she restores composition dolls, and collects dolls from the 50's and 60's ! Both of us have jobs that are easy to get completely absorbed in - the dolls and miniatures are a complete and total escape . Then again, both of us like to be absorbed completely and thoroughly in whatever we are doing - so it actually makes sense, and really shouldn't be such a puzzle!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Exterior Stairs - what are they called?

I'm trying to Google to find more examples of these stairs, but can't figure out what to call them. Some variation of these will be on Gammage House, but I was hoping to find more variations.. This house picture was from an article on Providence, but it didn't say where it is.

I really enjoyed cutting these stairs. They will be fixed to the base/ basement rather than the house - remember that Gammage House is made in two parts , so that I can work easily on the kitchen and Althea's workroom. The stairs will have a front of course, and possibly a door in between. That's why I need a name for them to search ! Do you have ideas?