Thursday, January 31, 2013

Unexpected Treasures

After finding dolls house furniture at the Mitchell Road Antiques Centre in Alexandria, I didn't really expect to find more at other antiques and collectables shops. On Tuesday, I went to Recycling Works, in Annandale (another Sydney suburb). I had been there once before, and found some interesting bits and pieces, though nothing actually intended for a dolls house.

I had a pleasant surprise this time - there were two vintage dolls houses for sale! They weren't cheap (more than I would expect them to sell on ebay for), and I thought about them for a while.

This is one of them:

I think it's a Toy Works house, made in the UK in the 1960s or 70s. It's hardboard with paper litho, and as you can see, it's not in great condition. It's missing 3 lots of window shutters and the front door, and it has some small areas of damage. Although the guy in the shop tried to convince me that it had not had a front door at all, he did knock $50 off the price because of the missing shutters.

The house came with some furniture:

All the furniture is wooden, and it's mostly the chunky, simple pieces made nowadays for very young children.
Some furniture is missing a part:

Some seems rather out of scale (not that that usually worries me too much):

I'm not sure what this is meant to be - a bread box???

On first glance, not very exciting ....

But then I looked more closely, and got quite excited - and decided I had to buy it! Can you guess which pieces of furniture I'm excited about?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Miniatures from Alexandria

This probably sounds very exotic, but actually, there's a Sydney suburb called Alexandria, and that's where my sister and I went on Friday, to shop at Petbarn and go to a large antiques and collectables centre.
It was very hot - the centre is not airconditioned, and while there were some large floor fans dotted around the place, they didn't reach all areas. However, we had a good look at all the stalls, and we both found things to buy.
Here's the dolls house furniture I found:

Some lovely vintage 70s upholstered chairs, and a 1960s TV!

The chair and sofa look handmade:

The chair is about 3 1/2 inches across, 3 3/4 inches deep, and 3 3/4 inches high.

The sofa is about 5 1/2 inches across, 2 1/2 inches deep, and 2 1/4 inches high.

They seem to have a makers mark on them - see the arrows on two feet of each piece, like this: /|\

I haven't seen this mark before. It looks a bit like the broad arrow, that was (and is) used to mark government property in Australia and other British colonies, and appeared on convict uniforms and convict-built bridges etc. But I don't know what it would mean on dolls house furniture from the 1970s. I'd love to know who made it!

The TV is actually a salt and pepper shaker set:

You raise the salt and pepper containers by turning the ON button on the front of the TV!

The screen of the TV can be pushed in slightly, to insert a photo between the screen and the frame surrounding it.

It's just under 3 1/2 inches wide, 3 inches high, and 2 inches deep.

It came with its box - it's called the Tiny T-V salt and pepper set, but it doesn't have a maker's name, it just says Made in USA and Pat. Pending.

Perhaps someone will recognise it?

I also bought a card of lace, which feels machine-made, probably nylon or polyester, and has a sweet design I thought would look good in a small dolls house - it's 3/4 inch wide:

It was fun going shopping with my sister - the first time we've really been able to do it since I arrived before Christmas. And it was lovely to find some vintage dolls house furniture, too!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

A New Year

Sorry I haven't posted for so long. After my last post in September, I was very busy with the Dolls Houses Past and Present magazine. I finished that in mid December, and a few days later flew down to Sydney for Christmas. Christmas Day itself was pleasant - we had Christmas lunch with my aunt at my sister's place, a first, as we usually have it at my aunt's place.

Our little tree, with a White Hart from the National Gallery in London,
a vintage celluloid Santa, and  a Kits Coty dolls house decoration from the Hampton Collection.
The photos aren't terrific, I'm sorry - my camera says the batteries are low,
though they've just been recharged, and I could not actually see what I was pointing the camera at!

I had brought decorations, and did manage to put them up - but from November I had had small patches of fungal infection - the "build-up" season in Darwin (the time between the dry season and when the rains start in the wet season) was very long and very hot last year. Then I developed what seemed to be bacterial infections in the groin area - a doctor in Darwin had prescribed antibiotics, and a doctor I saw here in Sydney after Christmas prescribed a different antibiotic, and also antifungal cream.

The Christian Hacker House from the Hampton Collection,
and  the Circa 1910 Eclectic House from the Bing & Grøndahl Collection

But after 3 courses of antibiotics, it was no better - in fact, it was a solid mass of infection so painful that I could hardly stand, sit or walk - so the doctor here in Sydney sent me for intravenous antibiotics. Instead of staying in hospital, I was a patient in what they call Hospital in the Home, which meant that my sister drove me to and from the hospital twice a day for the first five days, after which I went once a day. The time we spent at the hospital varied from 2 hours to 7 hours each day, including the waiting time (as it is a GP Casualty, and they also treat people who come in with possible sprains, dislocations, and gastro-intestinal or urinary infections, etc). I was given two kinds of antibiotics, which acted on the cellulitis very quickly - we could see improvements daily. And after about 5 days, I started feeling better - and realised how sick I had been feeling. At the end of the 10 days, they referred me to a dermatologist at another hospital - they thought the remaining infection might be psoriasis.

Gertrude's House (left) and the 1920's House (right), from the Bing & Grøndahl Collection.
The jewelled cross above them is from the National Gallery in London.

It turned out not to be - the dermatologist thought it was fungal, and 10 days after I first saw the dermatologist, the ID came back - the infection is caused by a fungus called Trichophyton mentagrophytes, which can cause ringworm, tinea, and kerions - fungal infections of the hair follicles accompanied by secondary bacterial infection and marked by raised, usually pus-filled and spongy lesions - which is what I have had.
So now I am taking oral anti-fungal medication, which is given in cycles - two tablets twice a day for a week, then 3 weeks without tablets, for 3 or 4 months. This infection is responding more slowly than the bacterial infection did, but it is slowly improving. I should have been back at work in Darwin this week, but the dermatologist wants to see me again in the second week of February, before I start the next cycle, and will then see how it's going.

Angel from the National Gallery in London

The dermatologist here is more used to seeing it on the scalp and in beards, but I discovered a US Army medical history website, which says that servicemen frequently suffered from it during the Vietnam War, on their legs, groin and torso - and that it often flared up again when they returned to the hot wet conditions they were fighting in. The drug I'm taking was developed in 1984, so hopefully it is more effective than whatever was used in Vietnam - otherwise I'll have to move from Darwin to a drier climate!   

The nativity set which my godmother gave me when I was a child. The stable is plywood, and the figures are plastic.

This is a rather different kind of post from my usual, but I wanted to let you know why I've been absent - from posting, and from commenting on your blogs - and to wish you all, belatedly, a happy, healthy and enjoyable Christmas and New Year! My only goal so far has been to get well, and I have been very grateful for the care, attention and friendliness of all the wonderful doctors and nurses who have treated me. The infection is still painful, but I am feeling much, much better, and yesterday my sister and I went to an antiques and collectables mall! I even found some dolls house furniture, which I will show in my next post - very soon!