Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dolls House Eggs, Sunny Side Up!

I received my copy of The Doll Family (as blogged about by CallSmall and Diepuppenstubensammlerin) recently. It's great - I love its comments on the doll world!

Father Doll likes his eggs "sunny-side up." Mother makes them just right, never breaking the yolks. Of course, that's easy to do with doll-house eggs!

I collected up the eggs from my dolls houses. My dolls are not very well supplied with eggs! They have more cake and tea than eggs, poor things!

There are 1/16th scale eggs from the Swans' Deluxe Caroline's Home, and very large fried bacon, egg and tomatoes on toast (1 5/8" long) from the Californian bungalow style house.

The boiled eggs in eggcups and the eggs in a bowl (hugely different in scale - the eggs in the eggcups are almost an inch tall, compared to just over quarter of an inch for the eggs in the bowl!) are from the Triang 52. I haven't yet put the two fried eggs (1 1/2" long) in a house - I wonder which the lucky dolls will be? And I'd better add eggs to the dolls house shopping list!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

San Francisco, Turn of the Century

I called my blog Rebecca's Collections because I thought I might show some of my other collections here too. I have shown one of my scrap albums, and My Realitty's posts this month about her 1890s San Francisco Italianate style house have inspired me to show some of my great-grandmother Florence Mason Palmer 's first album. This album was started by her mother and continued by Florence, who went on creating scrap books and keeping newspaper cuttings during her later life. It's no wonder I'm a collector, really!

Somehow, I seem not to have photographed the cover of the scrap album, so that is something to do on my next visit to my mother. It's a couple of inches thick, and the pages are thick, good quality paper, as you may be able to see from the scans.

My great-grandmother, Florence Elizabeth Mason, was born at the Grand Hotel, San Francisco, in November 1877. Here she is in the mid-1880s:

And here are her parents, John Elliott Mason and Nellie Chapman Mason:

J. E. Mason was a civil engineer. He was born in New York, and arrived in California in the early 1870s. He and his father, and W. S. Chapman, Nellie's father, were involved in real estate and installing water supplies and irrigation in the new colonies.

With her father and mother, Florence sailed to Europe in 1889 and again in 1891.

She visited the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1889.

Florence attended Alameda High School, from which she graduated in 1894. In the same year, she visited the California Exposition,

and was accepted into the University of California, Berkeley (you can see a photo of UC Berkeley at the turn of the century on My Realitty's blog).

Her album documents her social life more than her academic work:

Here she is with the other members of her sorority:

I don't have with me her graduation photo, but I did take photos of some of the items in her scrap book showing the graduation celebrations. I don't know if this photo of Florence was taken at that time, but it looks to me as if she's wearing a ball dress here.

After graduation, Florence and her parents sailed around the world, visiting Japan, China, the Phillipines, India, and Europe again.

During part of this voyage, Florence met and fell in love with her future husband, an English civil engineer who was then working in India, in Calcutta:

They kept their love affair and engagement secret for several years. J.E. Mason did not approve of his only daughter marrying an Englishman, so after travelling to Paris to buy her wedding gown and trousseau, Florence married Frederick Palmer in Calcutta with only her mother present.

However, with the birth of their first child, a son named after J. E. Mason, father and daughter were reconciled, and the Palmers visited the Masons in San Francisco during 1905.

Compare their clothes with those worn by mother and daughter in My Realitty's scene one afternoon in San Francisco in 1906:

For some reason, J. E. Mason travelled to Mexico over Christmas 1905. He died there on December 26, 1905. Florence and her baby were staying with her mother when this tragedy occurred.

Florence was again, or still, staying with her mother when the great earthquake struck San Francisco in April 1906. Their house on Washington Street, built only four years earlier in 1902, was not damaged by the quake or the fire which followed. A couple of years ago, I was surfing the internet and came across a diary of the earthquake - written by someone else - which mentioned the Mason house. Of course, right now I can neither find my printout, nor the website again! If I do, I'll add details.

Florence's mother, Nellie Chapman Mason, died in San Francisco in September 1916.

None of the newspaper clippings I've included here is completely accurate, with J. E. Mason's death notice stating that Florence's husband was an army surgeon (he was a civil engineer), and Nellie Chapman Mason's funeral notice giving her father's name as her husband's. Still, I wish all my ancestors had left such rich records of their lives!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

At Home in the Lines DH/D, 1926

Well, I still haven't finished scraping the overpainting off the outside of this house, touching up the paint and putting on the roofing paper. But George and Margaret Sinclair decided that the appearance of the outside didn't matter as much as having a home to live in; they were getting rather tired of living in a shoebox.

There are curtains at both downstairs and upstairs windows -

some glass would make the house less draughty and more secure; the glazier seems rather hard to tie down to a date ...

Speaking of downstairs and upstairs is not quite accurate - as you can see, there are no stairs - or at least, no visible ones, inside. This is one of the mysteries of dolls houses which dolls seem to cope with well.

Margaret has boiled the kettle for tea, and chosen a book from the bookcase,

and puts her feet up after her tiring day working as cashier at a teashop.

George spends a lot of time upstairs, where he has a comfy chair by the fire.

He lost a foot in the war, and, poor man, seems to have neither a false one fitted, nor crutches.

As he was also gassed, and suffers from nerves, he is unable to work.

He feels bad that Margaret has to work, but grateful that they have been able to find this small, cosy two-roomed cottage. It is luxury after their last lodgings.

As you may remember, the inside of this house had also been completely overpainted. I have reproduced three patterns of wallpaper from Lines houses of the period by scanning pieces of wall that I bought from someone who had taken apart a house which had so much woodworm that it couldn't be saved. My reproductions are not as good as Dolls House Restoration's, but they'll do. I intend to buy some of his parquet flooring and window shutters, but in the meantime, I have used wooden flooring from Jennifer's Printables upstairs, and a copy of a vintage wallpaper sample downstairs (the original is in my Triang 52).

The kitchen range is original, and came with the house. The upstairs fireplace is also original, but I acquired it separately. The furnishings are vintage pieces from ebay - except the upstairs lights, which were Oese's (I can't find it in the photos, but it came with these vintage pieces in the house Oese bought).

I forgot to say: the pattern repeats for these three designs are in my post Slow Progress, if anybody would like to use them in their own houses. The one I used upstairs is darker at the top of the repeat, so a sheet of the pattern shows distinct lines, unless you can photoshop them out!