Friday, 28 December 2012

American Country Retrospective

the Arthur 'as is' from the thrift store for $19.99 and close to $200 dollars for all the new doors and windows.  Am I crazy???
the painted cupboard is from a vendor in the 1990's called Barely Big Enough.  I had and have a love of folk art in miniature and I collected American Country like it was going out of style,... and it did.  These unique pieces are needing to step outside the boxes and have a real home.  Below is a detail of the hand-painted table top signed 'S S 1996'.  It has a beautiful crackled finish to it.  The sampler on the wall is courtesy of an old friend Pamela Grant.  I made the orange tulips in the blue urn and you will see them again in another shot.  I purchased the brass kettle at the Seattle show and in trying to age it by heating it up on the stove, the bottom dropped out!  Whoopsie!!!! .... My bad.
The white frosted layer cake is my work as are the metal cookie cutters that were made from the cutting edge of the waxed paper box.  By cutting the strip in half length wise then gluing the circlet around a dowel or a paintbrush   and then adding a handle you can have as many cookie cutters as your heart desires at very little cost.  Just handle with care.

the folk art table top ...,  LOVIN IT!!!

What a wonderful set of hand-painted drawers from Barely Big Enough.   The windsor chair is by 'W S C' and I think it may refer to William Clinger.  That name sticks in my head.  I don't have a name for the slave doll but the stacking shaker boxes are Al Chandronet ( hope I spelled his name right).  I made the log holder from a toilet  bowl freshener painted to look like "iron. "  My sister Bev said it "looks like wood. " So it does, so it does.   Hmmm, In that case, I made the basket to look like wood.  Note to self, work on faux and run everything past Bev, who won't let you get away with anything. 

A drop leaf gate leg table , a Ni-Glo lamp a William Clinger windsor chair with Pamela Grant's petit point cushion on it.  Pamela used to make and mail me petit point cushions for no other reason other than she just wanted to.  Me not being a needle woman of any kind , I mean NO skill at all,  I was delighted to receive them.  Pam and I lost touch over time but after I pulled out everything from the garage and began grouping the cushions all together, I was astounded by the volume she had made for me.  I had her in my mind for weeks and wouldn't you know, we ended up at the same location and had a mini reunion!  I told her about my collection of her work and she told me she had begun writing romance novels and no longer did this tiny needle work as it was too small to see.  I hear you Pam.  I am lost without my reading glasses and even with them I struggle to see even big things clearly.  Ah, aging.  Miniatures stay the same but we don't.
The white china service on the table above was purchased in honor of my mother in law who has always used her "Valdor"china service for family 'do's'.  Art imitating life, Marg.
This windsor chair by William Clinger, has a writers platform and a small drawer under the seat  probably for writing materials.  The workmanship is so delicate.  On the floor is a silver tea service by Ken Chellis.  The lid is hinged and the handle is carved wood.  It has a matching silver tray as well as a lidded sugar bowl and a creamer.  There are those orange tulips again.  I had thought to make the Arthur into a Christmas house but with all this country furniture and all the tulips that look so good with the strong colors against the clean lines, I may just do a late spring house instead.  I made the pair of candlestick on top of the cupboard from jewelry findings and Q-tips. Beads and metal bits I have coming out of my ears!  I love them and in other posts I will show them to you.  Some of them are featured in Janine's MINWORKS blog and my perfume trays are in the bedrooms and in the bathroom of her chateau.  Like Pam Grant, my cushion queen, I enjoy making things for Janine's  projects 'just because' we're friends.
 'Deb' made the country cupboard in 1994 and the salt-glazed  pot  on top of it was  made in  1989 and is signed but I can't read the signature.  The crow serving piece is made by Yahna and the toys are unsigned  but I think the Uncle Sam is by the same person who made the slave doll.  I painted a dough box which has yet to be aged and Pam Grant sewed the nine patch cushion on the floor.  I propped up the paper Canadian flag to declare that although I'm American by birth, I am Canadian by choice.  
God Save The Queen. etc. etc....
I love doll's houses.  The first dollhouse I recall was in the schoolroom of the Vancouver Children's Hospital while I was a patient there.  Between the ages of 7-12 , I was in and out again for the same ailment.  Most of the time spent inside, was spent waiting to get better.  They don't call us patients (patience) for nothing.  I can't say I enjoyed attending hospital grade school but I eagerly anticipated the dollhouse in the classroom because up to then, I had never seen one before.  It would be considered a collectible now but back then it was used to bribe the students into finishing their lessons.  No workie, no playee.  This dollhouse was probably English from the late 1800's or early 1900's.  I remember it was front opening with a faux brick facade, a black front door and 3 levels with windows of real glass.  Inside was a hall and a central winding staircase and on all three floors on both far sides of the rooms were black metal fireplaces with coal grates.  Every time I was hospitalized, I hoped it would give me a chance to play with that dollhouse again.  Eventually, it got moved out and I never saw it again.  But the desire was implanted in my young brain that this was FUN and it was not to be forgotten.
Fast forward to my early 20's, when my husband said he did NOT want a whole lot of wonky, sagging cardboard boxes that I was using as a dollhouse (stacked one on top of another), to join us in our tiny apartment after we were married.  He asked me to scale them down and maybe keep them in a bookcase to help keep them contained.  Boy, was my nose out of joint. I did as he requested and stumbled into 1 inch to the foot, by accident and became seriously addicted to doll house miniatures and have been ever since.  Improvise, was the name of the game then and although crude and not worth anything to me now, gave me my first taste of  a'MAKE OVER'.  Nobody thought like that at the time.  Reduce, reuse and recycle was only if you were poor and we were.  Now only the well-off can afford the 'vintage junk' and the cast-offs that everybody desires.  I used to see 'beaters' in the parking lots of Value Villages now there are BMW's and Mercs. My how times have changed!   I have made 3 doll's houses in my past life and 2 have won Best of Show awards both here in Vancouver, Canada and at the Seattle, Washington show.  I have made numerous room boxes with various themes and have done a bit of commission work which took me longer than I anticipated.(it always does, doesn't  it?)  Now, I'm determined to start in again but space is at a premium.  I'm going to smaller houses now and try to get more into them.  Here is the initial offering.
'The Arhtur" by Greenleaf.  Found at the thrift store for  $19.99.  Lucky me!  I have plans for a Americana 'Country House'  I have some very nice pieces for it as you can see above.....


  1. Dear Elizabeth,
    Congratulations! Very happy to see you up and running. Wonderful to see the American Country collection. Looking forward to seeing what you will do with your Thrift Store Arthur. The breads look wonderful as does the kitchen island table. Look forward to close ups!
    Talk soon.

  2. Thanks Janine Work one the Arthur has begun and I am trying to keep it documented in photos so that both I and others can chart it's progress. The idea is to do a simple project but already I can see that there will be some real challenges ahead. It has been a great while since I had to use this kind of practical know-how and some of my mini skills are still rusty. I appreciate your praise of the breads and the work island as I know you remember what it looked like before in its raw wood state. I shall remember to bring it with me when I come for my Photography 101 lesson from Bruce.