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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?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Victorian stoves

This is one of these times I would really like to take liberties with history- the stove I really love is from 1905. Remember that Gammage House is set right now in 1885.

An internet search yielded stoves I liked - one group is from an 1885 catalog. There isn't a lot of wall space in the kitchen right now, and I might have to create a niche for the stove. The fact that it needs to be near a chimney really complicates the issue!

I found a great site about Victorian kitchens . See it at Victorian kitchens

From 1885

Rhode island Historic Society vs Poplar Forest

Is there any chance that Historic Societies share information ? When I was in Providence, playing with some research about Izannah Walker and her friend , Emeline Whipple, I joined the Rhode Island Historic Society. Now I'm getting lots of mailings from Virginia Historic Sites. You would think that with so many places within easy driving distance , I would choose a character from Virginia to research, and have Gammage House set in Virginia. I think my fascination is due to gaining brand new information and also because I haven't found a character I'm as interested in as Izannah. I am thinking about Anne Spencer , a poet from Lynchburg Va, where I live, but think quite a bit has been done.

Darn, just as I was about to takeaway picture, I threw coffee everywhere, including on the brand new Rhode Island History magazine. Sometimes things just fly out of my hands!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Blog goals

When I saw the topic "blog goals" on another blog, my first thought was to run the other way. Surely I have enough goals in my life.

But second thought- I really have four goals.

1. To have fun, 2. To someday make someone forget the troubles of the day for a little while , 3. To learn about history , locations and events, but to pull it together and focus on year, one place, and one family's experience, 4. To spur me on to work on the house!

Right now I'm creating a page for each family member. Such fun to create characters and their lives.