Sunday, February 17, 2019

A miniature French harpsichord for my birthday

A miniature French harpsichord made from following plans in a miniature furniture making plan book, was how I spent my big 6-0 birthday.  That wasn't the original plan, but then hubs and I got sick with some kind of strange bug and my birthday plans were dashed.  It felt kind of odd not to have anything fun or exciting or special to do that day I woke up, so I decided, sick or not, I would make it memorable and do something I truly enjoy~so I looked through a book of plans and decided to make this elegant looking harpsichord for my dollhouse.  
 The plans are in a book called the Mott's Miniature Furniture Workshop,
and it has black and white schematic drawings of all kinds of furniture to make.
 The Mott's were a family that built miniatures in California, and they were the first people ever to have a miniature shop.  They put all their miniatures in a museum in the Knotts Berry Farm and it was there from 1958 until the 1990s.  Sadly they had to pull out, and all their miniatures were eventually sold off at a Beverly Hills auction. I myself went to Knotts Berry Farm in the late 60s as a child but have no recollection of going into the miniature museum there.  
 Anyway, this book has difficult and easy projects to build, 
and the author said this was not a difficult one, and because it was French,
 I decided to make it.  The other thing I liked was that it included the art work
 inside the book that is used for doing the decoupage on the tiny harpsichord 
to look like it is handpainted. It was a bit trying, but not terribly hard,
made from two pieces of wood and the rest mostly cardboard, and store bought legs.
I didn't follow it exactly, and some of the details I left out, thinking it was good enough.
After painting it with Annie Sloan Olive Chalk Paint, I pasted the appliqués on the piece.
After it dried, I applied some French gilding wax 
in Venetian Gold to the piece to jazz it up. 
 As with a real house, anytime you get a new piece of furniture you must make room for it.
So I did some rearranging but am not sure this is going to stay like it is now.  
 My pretty balloon shaped Porters chair used to sit by the window,  
and it looked quite nice there.  But since the harpsichord had no place to go,
 the chair got moved upstairs to the informal living room.  
The downstairs living room is the formal room, where 
visitors to the Maison are entertained.  
The upstairs living room is just for the family, just like they do in the White House, 
and I suppose all the palaces and fancy chateaus in France.
This informal living room is taking some time to get itself together.
Mostly because it is turning into a room with castoffs and bargains,
much like one could possibly have in real life.  These neat little vintage pieces
of miniature furniture have been finding me by way of antique shops and thrift
shops, and I can't pass them up.  For example the drop down desk.  It is 
a very nice dignified piece, as is the corner bookcase.  Still in a dark wood finish,
I have yet to decide if they will remain or get switched out when something better comes along.
 My sister Ellen has been finding lots of vintage miniatures at vintage shops for me!  
Its been unbelievable how lucky she has been running across such treasures.
Look at these handcrafted electrified chandeliers at $5 each!
 And then she found a bunch more for me....
and that is great because I am about to start making another dollhouse for baby Reeve.  
Reeve's dollhouse will be  a Marthas Vineyard gingerbread cottage that has furniture painted as if Peter Hunt, the Cape Cod artist, painted it all himself!
She loves my dollhouse, so its time for her to have her own sturdy little cottage
where her little hands can get busy rearranging the tiny things to her hearts content.
In the meantime I am making miniatures and making way for the recent
vintage finds in my Maison.  As usual, I find myself way 
more interested in the decorating part than the wood trim, flooring 
and all that carpentry stuff, that I still must do.
It will get done, but until then I will keep decorating of course.
And as far as my big 60th birthday goes, my kids had taken me and hubs
out to a lovely place, Eastern Standard in Boston the weekend before as we had planned to be away.
I am so thankful for that night, it was very special. 
Between that wonderful experience and crafting the 
harpsichord, I will remember turning 60 for sure!


  1. Amy I am enchanted with your sweet harpsichord! I am starting a French bed canopy for our bedroom made from papier mache from Merveilles papier magic, Laetitia, from France. All of these creative projects are so fun and quite spellbinding! A belated Happy Birthday too! Xx

  2. You made me laugh, doesn't everyone think of building intricate pieces of miniature furniture when sick?

    Another amazing piece. So exciting making one for Reeve. She will cherish it always I'm sure.

    Enjoy designing


  3. Sending birthday 🎂 seeing how you've decorated your French Country "maison" and await how you pull together your next one for your granddaughter. =)

  4. Happy Birthday Amy!

  5. What an excellent way to spend your birthday by doing something creative and just for yourself even when you're feeling under the weather. Your little harpsichord is a Beauty and your various antique and vintage finds for your mini chateau are transforming this house into a mini home! The crystal chandeliers were a Steal and how marvellous that you have other family members scouting about for you and unearthing even more special treasures for you- Bonus!!!
    Sending you belated Happy Birthday wishes and my Congratulations on reaching your new goal weight- A double blessing for your 60th year! :D


  6. The Harpsichord is exquisite! Happy belated Birthday Amy!!! Welcome to the 60’s!! And hope you are feeling much better!!


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