Friday, April 29, 2011

And another workshop? Yes!

Yes, indeed.  Another workshop, but first another meeting with miniature friends (or is it: 'friends in miniatures'?)  Anyway, a meeting with likeminded friends.  Who could ask for more?  Frank and I made our way to The Hague again to meet at Else's place.  I knew Else from our email group and had met her briefly during my other workshop in The Hague. Else had invited a few people with which she usually meets to her miniature crafts and/or workshops.  So I met Els (whom I've also known for a few years now), and Clasina and Leny whom I both know from the email group.  How nice it always is to meet 'internet friends' in real life.  Sometimes they look like you've known them for years, sometimes they even behave like you've known them for ever, and at other times they are nothing like you expect.  I won't elaborate here, it doesn't matter.  It's just great! I had brought them also the little present I'd made for everybody: a souvenir picture book about Australia, but I received so many unexpected presents in return that I felt a bit overwhelmed.  My little book just couldn't compare with them...  I got a series of little craft items that I will be able to use for workshops at home, beautiful fabric, a kit to make a table lamp, a kit to make some books, and a number of items that had been left for me during a meeting of the email group a few years ago.  I don't have time at the moment, but I promise I will take pictures later (perhaps at home) and show all those wonderful gifts, also the ones that I have received earlier during this holiday.

Unfortunately I forgot again to take pictures yesterday, but hopefully Else will send me one or two of the piccies she took yesterday...

Of course we chatted a lot and Else showed me around in her house and let me have a look at all her houses and roomboxes.  One I remembered: "Maison de la Rue"!  I knew the story behind it and it was lovely to see it for real.  Later Else had lunch ready for us and after that we chatted a bit more and then got ready to go home again.  Well, not all of us.  Leny invited Frank and me over to her house as well, and since I had seen most of her miniature scenes only on photographs too I accepted the invitation.  It was great to see her work as well for real, though we didn't stay too long, because we still had to go home and going home during peak hour from the 'Randstad' means slow going...

In the end we made it home shortly after normal dinner time, so it wasn't too bad.  However, we had to make almost the same trip, albeit a bit shorter, today for my workshop in Rotterdam.  This was going to be the pinball machine.  It was a workshop I had been looking forward to for a long time, because I had seen (and heard!) it at my friend's place in New Zealand.  Yes, it's a small world. :-)

Luckily the traffic wasn't too heavy this morning and we arrived in Rotterdam quite early where Anneke received us with a cuppa.  We chatted a bit and then we got down to the real job, soldering all the parts for the workings of the pinball machine.  I must admit I had underestimated the work that would go into it and not having soldered anything for a while it took some time to get into it again.  It was hard work and from time to time I had to repeat my effort, because I hadn't done a good enough job.  However, in the end I got somewhere, but not without the help of Anneke's son, who helped me out when I got too tired.

All in all, after lunch and a lot of talking (miniatures of course!) we got to the stage that everything was working and I could pack everything away to finish it off at home.  It's the story of this holiday: workshops to be finished at home!  At least I won't be bored for a while and eventually I will have lots to show...

One picture for today though:

Pinball machine in parts
And that's all for today, folks, and probably the last update for a while now, because next week we're going away on a trip through part of Europe.  We've got a motorhome and will be travelling, so no time for miniatures until the fair in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck at the end of May.  We hope to be visiting the fair just before the end of our trip shortly after.  Till then.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And another workshop...

It’s probably starting to sound a bit boring for you, but it wasn’t for me! For this workshop I had to travel to Zoetermeer again where we were received by Bert and his wife Jacqueline with a lovely cuppa. It was going to be a busy day for Bert, because he had to do part of the catering as well as his workshop. Jacqueline had broken her foot and wasn’t as mobile as she would’ve liked to be.  Besides, Frank was going to help Bert with a few things on the metal lathe and it all had to be fitted into the one day…

After coffee and a bit of a chat we went upstairs. Bert was going to teach me how to make a piano and in order to do so I was going to use various machines. I love working with wood, which was one of the reasons I had chosen this workshop.

The parts laid out

Bert had laid out all the parts of the piano and we made a start. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I got to use the table saw, jig saw and router with router table to make and fit the various parts. When a piece of wood was a bit too thick I also had the use of the cutest little thicknesser I have ever seen in my life. I would just love to own this little toy!

Small size thicknesser

It works just the same as the full size one, like every other machine does, but too me it looked just so special…

Lunch wasn’t forgotten and since it was again a lovely sunny day we had it outside and chatted away amicably. After lunch I still had to work very hard to get it all done. I seemed to be a bit slow, because I had problems getting the fence of the table saw set to the right measurements and when working in mms it is of course most important. Anyway, I got there steadily:

Getting there

When it finally looked like a real piano I had to do the most difficult part: wood turning on the lathe. It was at least 12 years ago since I had touched a wood lathe and done my first (and temporarily last) bit of turning, so I had forgotten more than I had learned. Eventually I ended up with two somewhat identical turnings and it was high time we’d say our goodbyes and let those two lovely people sit down at their dinner.

Me turning

The turned part

For us it was a quick bite to eat on the way home and a short evening till it was time to go to bed. An end to another very satisfying day…

Bye the way, all my workshop items I will eventually show of course.  I just don't get the time right now to finish everything.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Another workshop

This time we're in the Hague where Loes teaches us how to make easy chairs.  A perfect day again with excellent catering.  Oh, how I love the Dutch treats....  But hey, that's not what we're here for!  So, what are we doing? Well, Loes is telling us all how to do it right, Anja is working in 1/24th schale, Andrea is making a chair with 'crackled' leather, Bianca is using lovely fabric and Marion ordinary red leather, but when the chair is finished it won't be ordinary red anymore if she can help it....  It will be a well-worn red leather chair!  Anja is the only one working in smaller scale, the others stick to 1/12th.

Else (far left) visiting the workshoppers

Anja, Andrea, Bianca and Marion listening to 'teacher' Loes

Anja talking or working?  One guess!

Marion enjoying herself
Has anyone noticed the toll this 'working' holiday has taken on me?  I've gone quite grey of late!!! :-)

Of course you want to see the end results as well.  Here goes:

12th scale: Loes, Bianca, Marion, Andrea
24th scale: Anja
I will publish a better picture of my chair later when it's finished.  I didn't quite make it, although I have suprised myself by going home with a nearly finished product.  We all have been given enough material for a second chair, so my chair won't be lonely once it has found a room in my (still to build) Dutch house.  I've also bought a 'smoker's' side table that I couldn't resist.  Loes has made it and it even ahs ash in the ash tray.  I find that quite a treat for people who don't smoke!

Dont' worry, the ashtray isn't crooked
Don't worry, the ashtray isn't sitting on the top as crooked as you think.  I don't know how I did it, but it's just the way I took the picture.  Don't you just love it?  There's even a burnt matchstick next to the matchbox....

And you know what?  Loes organised this workshop especially for me because of my visiting The Netherlands. I just felt like Royalty!!! Loes, thank you so much for a most enjoyable day.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Saying Farewell and a Workshop

On Friday I went to a farewell party as the founder of our small Miniatures group in The Netherlands is leaving for Sweden. There are only two members from downunder (one of which is me) and although we normally don't get to attend the meetings, we've always been treated as a member and often received a workshop kit in the mail and/or took part when either of us happened to be holidaying in The Netherlands.  It was great to see all the members together for once and even our Kiwi member joined in via Skype.

We presented Ria with a gift, which included a 'memory booklet' from the group, after which we were treated to delicious Swedish dishes. And a sign of the times (even Maccers is no longer the frontrunner!), when Ria showed us some pictures of her new house in Sweden, someone discovered Ikea Bedcovers!!!  Which resulted in a number of people saying: "I have those too, I have those too!"  Me included!  Funny that.

Anyway, we had a lovely night together and all too soon is was time for saying goodbye for real, although we haven't seen the last of Ria, she promised.

On Saturday I was lucky enough to be able to attend another workshop.  This time in Elst at Annelies' place.  Wim van Soest taught us how to make shopping bags with the use of real leather.  We had a great time and I'll be back for the next one, when we'll be making college shoes.  After my favorite start: coffee and cake, we worked seriously with only a break for lunch.  Afternoon tea was taken during the workshop as we were too busy to be distracted....

My two beautiful shopping bags - I am quite happy with the result

Annelies made a white one with a different, but effective, zipper
We had a great time and since it was quite a warm and sunny spring day we had lunch outside, very efficiently catered for by Peter, Annelies' husband.