Sunday, April 26, 2009


When at Williamsburg that fourth time, Tom and I visited the Dubois Grocer before our classes had started. We were fascinated by the interior of the shop and decided that when we got back to Miami, we would reconstruct the interior and that is what we did. It was such a fun project; it took a lot of time, but we love the results and have never regretted the decison to take on the extra work. Tom and I enjoy joint projects as I am sure is no surpriseto anyone reading this, and often he is more eager than I to move on to bigger and more difficult things. On our visits to the shop we took dimensions, checked out the stock, took pictures from all angles, talked with the shop keeper, who had worked in that shop for ten years, and took all of the information home with us to begin the project. The first step was building all of the shelves and counters and that was accomplished with the aid of the dimensions we had taken inside the shop. Once the shelves were all assembled and in place we started to add the items for sale. I had questioned the shop keeper about the many items which were not known in Colonial times. She told me that all food items had to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration and the Health Department so that is why canned goods were available for sale. When we stocked our shop, no canned goods were included because we wanted all items to be ones that would have been available in 18th Century America. I have now added some pictures of the shop, one exterior and several of the interior. My next article will deal with how we did the interior of our Dubois Grocer shop.


On our third trip to Williamsburg I took a class from Annelle Ferguson and the project was to do a miniature firestand in 48 square silk gauze. I was not the best student in the class, by far and even though I switched to 40 count gauze, I still did not have sufficient magnification to do a proper job on the needlepoint. Annelle was a most patient teacher, but my old eyes just could not succeed on this project in class. However, as I have been determined to finish all projects, I did get the needepoint finished at home when I had better magnification. My project has never been seen by Annelle except perhaps in a photo. It does have mistakes, but it is finished and although it is not perfect, I do display it in another room done at a later time in Williamsburg. I was resolved to make another needlepoint and make sure there were no mistakes, but sadly, time has not permitted that as yet, but the desire to accomplish it is always on my mind. I should add that the stand was made by Roger Gutheil.

Tom, per his usual, took a class in furniture making, with Mark Murphy. He did a lovely tea table which I am proud to display. In our fourth trip to Colonial Williamsburg, Tom took another class from Mark in which he made a child's double high chair. It is quite intricate and another lovely piece.

My 4th class was taught by Peter Kendall and it was more construction than I had previously attempted in classes. We were given the materials and instructions to construct the facade of one of the buildings in Williamsburg, the Dubois Grocer. The finished facade was designed to hang on the wall, however there is a rather interesting Part II to the Dubois Grocer project which I will discuss a bit later. For now some pictures of the previously discussed projects.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


For a number of years our January had a Williamsburg Study Program on the schedule. For the second program that we attended, I took another class from Therese Bahl and Tom took a class from Bill Robertson. A study program usually begins on Saturday morning and ends about noon on Monday. The two and a half days are spent in class with other miniaturists working on the class project. Sometimes the project is more involved and does not get completed until one is at home. I am pleased to state that both Tom and I have finished every one of our projects and are proud to have been involved with such talented teachers. My painting class with Therese involved the painting of a small scene on a fireplace as well as completing a fireboard known as the Sutton Fireboard which came from the Phelps house in MA and is now housed in the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum. The roombox was made by Roger Gutheil. Most miniaturists know that Bill Robertson is affiliated with the Kansas City Toy and Miniature Museum where much of his work is on display. He is a genius and what he achieves is amazing. One can only marvel at his talent. Tom built a miniature version of a spice chest, a piece also in the Williamsburg collection. There are 15 drawers in the tiny chest and every one of them opens. Some of you may know that Bill Robertson uses a jewelers saw to cut the dovetails in the sides of his pieces. Thus a student must learn to use the jewelers saw as well....not always easy!!

Sunday, April 12, 2009


All miniaturists owe themselves the chance to attend a few miniature shows and visits to miniature shops. Mail order is wonderful, but going into a shop geared just for the hobby or attending a show where artisans display and sell their work is a real treat. I also want to point out that many miniature shows are preceeded by a day of workshops and there are usually many talented people to teach classes in many areas of interest. Tom loves to make furniture so in all the classes that we have attended, he has taken some type of furniture construction. I tend to choose the prettier side of the hobby so my choices for classes are painting, flower making, some needlework and some construction projects. There is such a wealth of learning available so I hope that all who enjoy this hobby will avail themselves of a class or more because the information gained is often priceless. As usual, I have a few pictures to show some of the projects that Tom and I have done. In the last picture is a table that Tom did in a Tom Bishop workshop and on the table are two projects that I did at two Bishop show workshops with Mary McGrath. The furniture pictures are ones that Tom has done in classes taught by Pam and Pete Boorum. The flower pictures are ones that I have done; the first one is a window box done in a class with Marie Petrik and the next two are flowers from classes with Sandra Wall Rubin. All of the above named are wonderful artisans (and some fellows) and it was our pleasure to take classes from them.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Some years ago, probably at least 20,I met a mini friend on the computer. In those days we were on Prodigy....does anyone remember that? I discovered that Debbe was very much into miniatures and we became very good friends on the computer. Later we actually met and that became almost a yearly ritual. We managed two delightful trips to Maine when Debbe moved there and she was always anxious to get out of the snow in winter so Florida was her retreat in the bad weather. Debbe was very much into the Guild (IGMA) and she told us about the Guild Study Programs, especially those in Colonial Williamsburg. Tom and I decided to try a Study Program and the first class we took was in Williamsburg. The winter programs are held over theML King holiday in January so it makes a nice break for us as we might even see a bit of snow while away from Miami. The programs run over a weekend and there is plenty to do when one is not in class. Usually, a student will not finish the project, but one will have all that is required to finish the project at home. The first year I took a class from Therese Bahl, a remarkable artist whose work I much admire. My project that first time was to reproduce a picture of George and Martha Washington. All projects are copies of a piece or work which exists in the Williamsburg collection. The picture of George and Martha was actually finished in class so in the extra time, Therese had frames for us to paint and she showed us various techniques for antiquing and distressing the frames.

Tom's class that year was with George and Sally Hoffman and he constructed a small table. The Guild programs were great at encouraging Tom's love of furniture building as that was what he took in all of the programs that we attended. Tom learned that first year that he was not as adept at staining/finishing furniture so he concetrated on that when he returned home from class. We found that taking classes was a marvellous way to enhance our knowledge in our hobby and wondered why we had not pursued classes earlier.


A few weeks ago Tom and I collaborated on a roombox....although I would have to give most of the credit to Tom because he built all of the furniture. My contribution was the flooring, the painting, stucco, trim, wallpaper, and pictures. I suppose my most important contibution was that I asked Tom to build me a hutch and the one in this roombox was the result of that request. Then we filled up the room and we call it our 'Country Room'.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Some years ago we built a dollhouse for a niece in Virginia. It was basically the same design as my first dollhouse kit, but this time Tom made the house and I got to decorate it. Then we carted it to Virginia in a crate on a used trailer. All went well on the drive even though it took two days to drive from Miami. I have included the picture of the dining room because I wanted to show the light fixture. At the time, Tom was making many of the ceiling lights for me. They were nice and I do wonder how I let him give up on that talent!! I am also adding a couple of pictures of a Greenleaf Willowcrest that was built for the daughter of friends. I love that house and hope it will one day be back in the Greenleaf dollhouse kit line.