Thursday, May 8, 2014

My buys at (and before) the Sydney Miniatures Fair 2014

I thought I'd take a photo of everything I acquired at the fair (and before) - and then realised as I was photographing them individually that I'd left out everything from one stand! So there's a little bit more than in this photo.

At last year's fair, I saw a magazine with an article about Dolly Mixture dolls houses. It wasn't by Marion Osborne, I'm pretty sure - it was by someone else who compared features of the various models known as "Dolly Mixtures" that they knew of. The magazine seemed a bit expensive - either $5 or $7, and my luggage was already overweight, so I didn't buy it. Stupidly, I didn't make a note of the magazine title or issue number, either! So this year I decided to look through the magazines offered at the fair, in the hope of finding it again. Of course, I didn't! I looked through magazines on at least 3 stalls, and bought quite a stack - including some I already have, as I didn't have my lists with me, and couldn't remember what I did and didn't have, but at least these were quite cheap - 1, 2 or 3 dollars, and only 50c for the small ones.

Before the fair, on the drive up to Bathurst, I stopped at Blackheath and did the rounds of the antiques gallery there. I didn't find lovely dolls house accessories like I did two years ago, but I did find some nice things, including a tapestry bag, with a brown background rather than the more usual black:

I intend to take this apart and use it for rugs, of course, which led my sister to comment on how upset I get when I see vintage and antique dolls houses changed! I pointed out that this is probably homemade, and has a couple of holes in it - but I wouldn't think much of those arguments applied to old dolls houses!! Double standards, I know ....

Also from Blackheath were two sets of miniature clogs, which will be furniture for a shoe house, and these three gorgeous miniature oil paintings:

They are signed A. Müller, 72. I will hang them in one of my 1970s or 80s houses. I don't want to keep the frames, but I'm not sure how easy it will be to find frames that fit, and are the kind I would like for these. I'm thinking I might try to cut off the curlicues (the frames are made in Hong Kong, and plastic, I think) to leave plain ovals, and then repaint them - or use the inner ovals as moulds.

So then, at the fair, soon after I arrived, Anna-Maria pointed out a stand which had good vintage miniatures. This was one I had bought items from both last year and the year before - Diana Simms' stall 'Diana's Gifts'. She had a box of Britain's lead pieces, and I bought several, mainly for my Walther & Stevenson farm (I haven't shown it yet, but you can see catalogue images here), and the roller and ladder for my Hobbies farmhouse:

I also bought a little Halfpenny girl, and a small bookcase or cabinet handpainted and signed (I think) SS in 1990:

I am not sure yet where the Halfpenny girl will live. The cabinet will probably go in a house by Armin Kod, which I haven't shown yet.

Diana had other vintage and some antique miniature dolls, too. Hers was about the only stall that had any vintage pieces - there were fewer than last year, when there were fewer than the year before ....

I am thinking that next year, I might try to do a display of one or two of my vintage dolls houses (from Bathurst; I don't plan to transport any but the smallest or lightest from Darwin to Sydney!) to increase awareness of the appeal of vintage. Of course, that can lead to more competition between collectors - but when fairs have no vintage dolls houses at all, and hardly any furnishings or dolls, it seems more a case of people just not being interested, or not realising their value. Anna-Maria bought a tub full of Europa and Jean furniture on the Sunday morning, from a stall which had had no vintage items at all displayed on Saturday. We think they probably had them to fill gaps as their main stock sold, rather than keeping the best for later .... She was very happy, though, as there were some great pieces in the tub (as well as quite a few that had been overpainted, probably to make the Jean and Europa match).

So, the rest of my buys are new, artisan-made miniatures. I bought more flowers, this time from Dianne Cottrell (I think she had the name Miniatures to Die For on her stand - not sure. You can see a picture of her stand, with two of the arrangements I bought, on Basketcase Miniatures blogpost.)

 A beautiful bunch of anemones:

 A gorgeous arrangement of blue irises and ranunculus (I think, although some look a bit like poppies? but she had some poppy arrangements too, with the characteristically kinked (and hairy) stems of poppies, so I don't think these are ...):

 And nasturtiums in a swan, which will go on the balcony of Swan House:

Diana packed these all so carefully, each in a separate container, with the vase stuck to the underside of the lid, and a plastic container or drinking cup placed over it.

I bought some food - yummy pizza and macaroons, from a stall with a sign saying $3 each, or 4 for $10 - but I don't know the name, as it wasn't prominently displayed!

 These will go in one of my contemporary houses - the Ikea, I think.

I visited the Miniature Supermarket again, and bought some modern groceries, again probably mostly for the Ikea house:

I discovered that Ann also has vintage groceries, although these are not yet shown on her website.

I was thinking of Diana's House when I bought these, but perhaps some of my other 1930s or 40s houses could use some of them - I don't think people living on a dairy farm would need powdered milk! I'm glad to find a source of period Australian groceries, and will contact Ann for a list of her vintage products.

I bought two more tea cosies by Win Garside (last year I bought a cottage cosy):

I think the koala cosy will go in my Hansa house - I'm not sure yet where the pedlar doll cosy will go.

Norma Bennet of Make Mine Mini was selling her own creations, and also Glenda Howell's hand-knotted rya rugs and hand woven mats. I bought several:

At the end of the fair, Norma offered me a reduced price on one of her sinks, the one I liked best, and I couldn't resist! I don't know where it will go, but I love the worn paint, the lining on the shelves, and the blue and white vintage French tea towels. Norma's photos are much better than mine, but here are mine anyway:

Norma was selling these with a dish drainer and some crockery, but as they alone cost $20, she kindly offered me the sink without them. I am sure I can find some plates in my stash, and perhaps a dish drainer too!

Right at the back of the photo of all my buys, at the beginning of this post, are a little kitchen cupboard and sink in bright yellow, red and blue plastic. These were a gift from Anna-Maria, who had received them as a gift herself (and was (perhaps?) feeling just slightly apologetic that she had had the good luck to buy the Europa stash ...)
I didn't know who had made them, but now I am thinking they might be Modella Mini pieces, as the sink seems to be identical to the one in diePuppenstubensammlerin's photo of a boxed Modella Mini Küche.

So, that's the fair for another year! Looking at other bloggers' photos of the fair, I see stands and displays I didn't notice when I was going round - too late to go back now, but perhaps some of the makers will be there next year too.


  1. Wow! You have quite a haul there. I love your new sink unit. I'd probably have to go out and buy a suitable house to show it off in, if I'd bought it. The rugs are wonderful too and so are the flower arrangements.
    What a shame you couldn't find the magazine you searched for. It would be interesting to read about the houses the writer had experience of. Was it an Australian publisher, do you think? I tried Googling Dollly Mixture houses when I first had mine, but nothing useful came up.

    1. Hi Jenni, I'm pretty sure the magazine was one of the major UK ones, so I've been thinking I might email them and ask if they have an index, or can identify the issue for me.
      Some of my purchases are already in their new homes, but not the sink unit, the rugs, or the two big flower arrangements yet! I'll have to try them out in a few houses.

  2. What a great haul! Love the sink, food cans by the year! What a great idea. Especially love the little green shelf. Cheers CM

    1. Hi CM, isn't the little green shelf great? It's already in its new home - which still needs some more furnishings, but already looks homelier with this shelf :-)
      I don't know if The Miniature Supermarket had the vintage foods in previous years, but I was delighted to find them. I can buy actual vintage dolls house food packages from the UK, Germany or the US, but I don't think any were made in Australia, so it's wonderful to have these reproductions for my vintage Australian houses!

  3. Hello Rebecca,
    Terrific purchases. you got some wonderful pieces! The sink is incredible!
    Big hug,

    1. Hello Giac, thanks for visiting. I will let Norma know that everyone loves her sink! You would probably like her other pieces, too - beautifully repainted and re-upholstered chairs and sofas :-)

  4. The old tapestry bag is lovely with the brown background - you might be destroying the bag but you will be appreciating and displaying the tapestry fabric to good effect. You got lots of goodies including a good bunch of magazines to look through - I love miniature mags. I think Norma's sink and her rugs are fabulous too.

    1. Hi Sharee, that's a great way to think of the bag! I have already taken it apart, and I think it will provide rugs for two houses and a bell-pull (from the long piece that forms the sides and base of the bag) for another. So it will have a productive second life!
      The rugs Norma was selling were actually from New Zealand! Glenda Howell is apparently not making them anymore, so I'm delighted to have these. They are beautifully made, and I love these designs and colour combinations :-)

  5. Hi Rebecca, what a beautiful assortment of miniatures. I bet you had a wonderful time purchasing all these goodies. Some of the pics took me back to my childhood. I'm just stopping by to say how delightful your blog is. Thanks so much for sharing. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris