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Monday, July 5, 2010

2010 Tamanian Miniature Enthusiasts Extravaganza

Yesterday I drove down to Hobart in the south of Tasmania (I'm from the north) to visit the bi-annual Tasmanian Miniature Extravaganza (this is code for Hobart Miniature Fair).  The fair is organised by the Miniature Enthusiasts of Tasmania, a dollshouse club based in Hobart and many of their members had roomboxes/scenes on display at the fair with the theme of "Through the Door".  There were some truely lovely displays, but as some idiot forgot to take her camera with her I can't share any photos with you.  It always seems like there are very few miniaturists in Tasmania, there are almost no dollshouse shops and if anyone asks you about your hobbies and you say dollshouses they never understand it.  Then you attend a fair like this where dedicated miniaturists are not only shopping for all they are worth, many of them are also displaying the gorgeous results of their efforts.

The shopping is the most important part of the trip of course.  It is a chance that only comes once every two years to buy from a wide range of miniatures and not have to pay postage and hope that the item/s don't get lost or broken in the mail.  I went hoping to find somehting so inspirational I would have to make it my next project to spare me the agony of having to choose what to do next myself.  No such luck.  As I've found to be usual at these fairs, there was surprising little in the way of DIY available.  A few exhibitors had a basic range of wallpapers, Just Wood Toys and Dollshouses had a selection of basic MDF houses and Fairy Meadow Miniatures had half a dozen Dollshouse Emporium kits, but no one really had any windows, doors, architraving, kit furniture, etc.  All the miniature fairs I have attened are like this, I guess these sorts of items don't sell well at fairs for some reason.  To someone like me who usually works by taking basic items such as these and twisting them to their own purposes, it is disappointing not to see them.  I had half hoped that I could find some of the narrow bay windows I've seen around to use in the big tudor-ish inn I have in mind, but no one was selling anything like this.  If I had found the windows, I'd definately have tackled the Inn next.  As it is, I'm still undecided as to what comes next.

Fairy Meadow did have the Toll House amongst their range.  I've looked at this on their website for over a year considering whether or not to buy it.  I love the kit with it's gothic-y windows and door and would love to own one one day, but despite my love of the kit, I can't see what to do with it when I look at it.  I decided to do Highcroft beacuse when I looked at the original house (which I had decorated years earlier but never really liked) I saw the castle.  It just appeared unbidden.  This is how I approach the decoration of most kits or existing structures.  With the Toll House, I've been looking at it for years, but still don't know what to do with it.  I also have half a dozen existing ideas that I can't choose from and don't really need to add another project to the list.  Thus, with no small reluctance, I left the kit behind.  In time to come I will probably hate myself for this.  If in time I do decide to buy it I will have to have it posted from Sydney which is usually quite expensive for something heavy like a dollshouse kit, even a small one, and there is always the risk that Fairy Meadow will run out of stock between then and now.  They are the only people in Australia I know of who stock Dollshouse Emporium products and they only place a new order at most once a year to ship the kits down under in bulk.  If DHE stop making the Toll House kit or if Fairy Meadow simply decide not to order the kit again, there goes the chance of owning a Toll House forever.  True, DHE will ship to Australia, but their fees for doing so are extremely painful.

As nothing at the fair supplied the vital requirements for any of the ideas for projects I have in mind, nor gave me any significant new ideas, I had to shop for all the ideas I had so that whatever I choose to do, I have something to start with.  For a Georgian (or later) project I bought a pair of Dresden figures.  For the Inn I bought an ale barrel on a stand.  For a garden I bought some autumn leaves and plant pots.  Then there are things that will come in handy . . . . eventually.  The male doll and stand for $10 was a fantastic buy, it usually costs a minimum of $10 for a doll, plus postage and with no stand included.  There is the raw wood screen and wardrobe.  The screen could work in the Inn or just about anywhere and being raw, can become any colour it needs to be.  The wardrobe, well, it will probably find a home in a bedroom somewhere, sometime.  I also bought a bag of 1/12th scale bricks.  I don't think one bag (50 bricks) will get me very far, but now that I have some I know are the right size, I'm hoping to create some sort of mould so I can make my own for future projects.  There were also a number of other bits and pieces, all shown in the photo.

So, I still haven't decided what to do next.  Perhaps I could try doing everything at once?  First up though, I have to move Highcroft so I have space to work on something else.  Whatever the original kit house was made from (surprisingly it's not MDF, but something denser and darker in colour) is very heavy, so much so I had trouble carrying it when it was utterly empty and missing all the internal floors.  Moving it now is not something I'm looking forward to. The tower unit, being mainly a hollow plastic board is thankfully much, much lighter.


  1. Oh I would love to have gone to the fair in Hobart. What a shame you forgot your camera, although it can be difficult taking photos when there are crowds of people about. You bought some nice things to keep you busy. Hope the idea for you next project comes to you soon. I am a worse procrastinator than you, I think about lots of little projects I would like to do but find it hard to get started on one thing. Must work on that!

  2. Hi Margaret,

    Now that you mention it, it probably would have been hard to take good photos of the roomboxes on display - the place was packed! I feel a little sorry for the exhibitors selling at the fair, they really mustn't have had time to take a deep breath most of the day they were that busy selling to the masses.

    I still haven't really decided what to do next, although I have made a start on a new project. I'll hopefully start blogging about it in detail in the next couple of days. I may work solely on this or I may yet choose to do two or even three things at once.

  3. Sorry to heat that you didn't find the stuff that you were after, but you did some good shopping anyways :)

  4. I am so jealous!!! Even though they didn't have the bits you would have made use of, you look to have done well anyway. :)

  5. These half barrels and the books look like great finds. I know what you mean about diy and components at fairs. There's a lack of these here at fairs too - certainly the smaller fairs. I'm sure you'll find a use for all those little pieces, after all, you couldn't come away empty handed, could you?

  6. It's a shame I couldn't have stayed long enough to go to the fair!
    I thoroughly enjoyed my trip to Tasmania, the rocky boat ride was all part of the adventure!

  7. I'm going to come back and read thru your post again to absorb the details, but for the moment want to echo your comment about the lack of building components at fairs. I noticed the same thing in Sydney in May, altho it was the main thing I was wanting to look at. Maybe we need to contact firms such as Fairy Meadow Miniatures ahead of time and tell them we that's what we'll be looking for. They may bring a box or two to keep 'under the table' for those who express an interest - just a thought and 'note to self' :)