Monday, January 23, 2012


His Lordship, "Beau Monde"
This porcelain doll was given to me many years ago and is one of my prized possessions.  The unusually-costumed gentleman, (yes, it is a gentleman), dressed in quasi-Renaissance attire, represents an elegant ensemble consisting of  pink-striped, Damask doublet; trimmed in ecru lace, ribbon-roses and paste jewels for Afternoon.  Note the matching, be-jeweled codpiece, a convenient hide-away for handkerchiefs and loose accessories.

The doll stands about six inches tall and is made completely from porcelain, clothing and all.  The lace was fashioned from 'real' lace dipped into a thin, clay slip.  When fired in the kiln, the real lace burned away, leaving the dainty trimming you see here.

Best of all, (and Nerd Alert)! the doll is a mini-me!  I wore the exact same ensemble when I played the role of the King and Queen's Royal Fashion Consultant at a Renaissance Festival! 

Guess I'd best explain:

Ages ago, one of my first design jobs was as the set designer for the local Renaissance Fair.  It was one of the weirdest jobs I had in a long-line of bat-crazy, coo-coo jobs I have endured over the years!  But that's another story.  I swear I am going to write a book about it someday.  A scathing tell-all that will no doubt ascend the New York Times Best-Seller List. Anyway, once the show was underway I got some friends together and we all made costumes and were known as 'the Fops,' and basically we strolled around in frou-fy outfits, half-drunk on ye-olde mead, posed for photographs, presented impromptu fashion shows and basically made fun of customers clothes all day.  And if you have ever been to a Renaissance Fair, believe you-me,  there is a lot and I mean a lot to make fun of!
"Mirror, mirror in my hand, who's the fairest in the land?"

Of course we were a huge sensation!  The crowds adored us. Absolutely lapped us up. The set designer job turned out to be a big bust but we continued performing as the Fops for years.  The group expanded and we even had footmen in gorgeous, matching livery and every year I designed a whole new, fabulous wardrobe for all!  People used to come just to see what the Fops were wearing that Season!  There was always a new design theme and color-story, usually based on what was going on in fashion in the present day.  For example, the year I debuted the pink ensemble the doll is wearing, one of my favorite designers, Christian Lacroix, was showing hooped miniskirts on the runway.

I used to have steamer trunks bursting with my old costumes down in the cellar, but sadly, a lot of them mildewed and had to be tossed.  You wouldn't believe what happens to silver brocade when a wine spill is left on it for a few years.  It's def not pretty.

The woman who made the doll had a shop at the Fair and you can imagine how flattered I was that she would immortalize little-ol' me in high-fired porcelain!  (There was also a taxidermist, who named a stuffed peacock after me, ha, ha)!  The doll was terribly expensive and thank god my fellow co-stars pitched in and purchased it for me, or I daresay it would never adorn my bedroom mantle as it does today.  

It is a rather good likeness, except for the bum!  Even the artist who made it confessed that it did in no way compare to the real-life, god-given work of art!

At just over six inches tall, the doll almost works in a dollhouse.  (except the base). Maybe I will have to make him a suitable palace setting to live in!

Well,  aghast Reader, at the end of the week Glen and I are heading to Hawaii for some fun and some sun!  And I have yet to make any preparations for the excursion! So I won't be around much for a while but promise to catch up with everyone when I get back, hopefully without too-terrible a sun-burn.  Hope you enjoyed my sad little trip down Memory Lane...

Aloha! and Huzzah!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mother always said, "If you don't have anything nice to say about someone, --come sit next to me!"  No, wait.  That was Miss Clairee from Steel Magnolias who said that.  My mother used to say something about if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything.  OK not as witty as Miss Clairee, but good advice to live by nevertheless.

Guess that's why I haven't posted in a while...not much to report unless you want to hear the nitty-gritty details about my bout with the flu.  What's that you say, gentle Reader of Merriman Park?  Oh, that's what I thought...

These sconces sparkle more than a drag-queen on a Gay Pride float!
I did manage to get all the new crystal sconces hooked up --along with a second power strip!  Most of you, I understand, are going, "Whatever.  Big deal."  but you have to remember that this miniature electrical business is all marvelously new to me and I can't seem to touch so much as a grain of wheat bulb in this Brave, New World without causing a major black-out of epic proportions.  What can I say?  I'm the design-guy, and definitely not the tech-y guy!

I have to admit, I was just a trifle worried that having six double, crystal sconces in a 14 X 16 room might be just a tad bit of an overkill.  But now that they're all fired up I really like the repetition and it sort of makes the room seem --bigger, I dunno why--  maybe because they take your eye around the room?  God knows I'm a sucker for anything that sparkles  --if I wasn't a magpie in a previous existence, I most-certainly will come back as one in the next.  And you know my motto: "it's not done, until it's over-done!"

I also fired up my father's rusty, old, power miter box, which is positively ancient and I think it just might be one of the very first power miter boxes ever produced, which practically makes it an antique.  How I've managed to use it thus far without losing a finger or two (it has no guard)! is only proof-positive that something Divine is watching out for me. (I do mutter a little prayer each time before pressing the 'on' button), so high-five, ye Spirits who tend 'pon Mortal Thoughts!

Anyway, I needed the miter box to cut the resin crown molding, which I find almost impossible to saw by hand.  The saw blade heats the resin up to near-molten temperatures and there's such a gooey mess!  (And not in a good way). My father's Medieval behemoth made quick work of the resin molding but left a virtual blizzard of white shavings across the kitchen table and floor this morning:  it was like walkin' in a Winter Wonderland!  

Of COURSE I came up just a few inches shy of being able to finish the crown molding!  So now I'll have to order another piece...and then wait for it to come...and you know the drill....

Most of the baseboard (skirting) is in --no small feat!  Between all the corners around the six pilasters,  the niches, the fireplace chase, etc there were over fifty cuts to make --mostly compound miters.  Ugh!

Well, I told you there wasn't much to report on the Merriman Park front!  However, in other news, the miniatures blogosphere is positively a-twitter with recent exciting goings-on!  Simon at Miniature Enthusiast with his fabulous real-estate coups, Andy over at dollshouses and miniatures with his top-secret shenanigans, and Pedrete at ¡Hoy puede ser un gran dia! with his Chippendale Strippers I mean all makes life here in li'l ol' Minneapolis seem absolutely duller than dishwater!

Have a great week!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Well, it seems I am spending the last few days of 2011 and the first few days of 2012 battling the flu.  A particularly gruesome strain, I'm afraid.  I'll spare you the gory details.

New Year's Eve was spent curled up in front of the teevee machine watching all sorts of enthralling shows about how the world is either A. coming to an abrupt end next December 21st, or B. we're entering a new, Golden Age. It all rather depends on which soothsayers you believe, and whether your chakras are all aligned and you don't have any leaks in your aura. 

So now I guess the pressure is on to finish Merriman Park before the sky falls.  I just hope that this flu clears up before the impending Apocalypse as I would be loathe to face Doomsday with a green face and a bilious stomach .