Saturday, February 25, 2012

New Camera!

Regular habitues of Merriman Park will no doubt clap their hands and rejoice that my old camera finally bit the dust.  Or should I say bit the sand --as in the powdery, fine beach sand from the islands of Hawaii, sand which found its way into the minute, inner-workings of said camera and left it utterly inoperable.  And I had just figured out (thanks, Irene, sweetie) how to snap a non-blurry photo with the blasted thing...

So I thought I would practice using the new camera by shooting a few pics of some of the very latest features I have recently acquired for Merriman Park.

Here are a pair of chairs I made from a vintage (1980) House of Miniatures kit.  (They're still under construction, so don't judge them too harshly)!  These will end up in the Entrance Hall once I finish them all up. They come two to a box and somehow even though I only have room for six I ended up with eight total!  Note to self: ebay plus cocktails equals too many chairs!  The olive-green, striped silk coverings arrived the other day in a batch with some other silks.  But more of that, anon.
The table in the background was an inexpensive piece I doctored up with a faux-walnut finish with gilt accents.  The top is a light stone effect and I added a mirrored back for extra sparkle.  Because there can never be enough sparkle, right?
These chinoiserie-style stands will go in the Drawing Room, flanking the door.  I love using black as an accent color!
The tops have little scenes painted on them!  How cool is that?  They will be placed in the very back of the room, so unfortunately you won't get to see the design very well...
The book and compote I think will add to the 'lived-in' feeling of the finished room.  That is of course IF it ever gets finished!  (Rest assured that I'm working on something better to put inside the dish --other than the balls of museum wax-- so don't read me)!
I think these griffin andirons will look great in the Drawing Room fireplace (and they would also make fab real life cuff links!  Bonus)!
They go so well with the console table I received from Glen for Christmas! 
I splurged a little on this tea set but that's what income tax refunds are for, right?  I guess some of these photos are a little blurry, but I'm still getting the hang of the new camera!  (Sorry, Pedrete)!
I would love to have a real tea table like this one from JBM!  Of course I don't drink tea that often, unless we're talking the Long Island Iced Tea variety! Ching-ching!

I think that's it for the Drawing Room...but here's a little sneaky peaky of some of the Dining Room features...
The wallpaper is a period  (1803) French pattern from Chinoiserie.  The fireplace is from Braxton Payne and the newly-arrived striped silk will be used in the buffet niche, and for the seat cushions and draperies.  I can't wait to use my Pretty Pleater, Ray!!! Pretty Pleater!  I just can't get over that name, LOL!  (Wasn't she a contestant on RuPaul's Drag Race)?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


I'm re-posting this from last year, because I like it and also my camera is shot!  Whatevs, to all my miniaturist sweeties out there, HAPPY VD!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Iolani Palace

The only Royal Palace in the U.S.A.!
Aloha!  Who knew there was a fabulous, Victorian Palace right-smack-dab in the middle of downtown Honolulu?  I sure didn't, but of course when I spied a blurb about Iolani Palace in a tourist mag while 'on holiday'  in Hawaii visiting my BFF Michael, naturally I had to have a looky!  When your skin is as delicate and lily-white as Yours Truly's is, there really is only so much sand, surf and sun you dare endure.  So off came the moo-moo and floppy picture hat and it was away to town for a semi-guided tour!

Iolani Palace was built in 1882 in the so-called 'American Florentine' mode, or so the chirpy and ever-so helpful docent enthused, minding me to slip my feet into those grotesque shoe-cover thingamajigs that are seemingly made from gathered, blue dryer sheets. 
A well-turned (albeit pasty-white) ankle!

They're quite flattering, if not a tad hazardous, worn over flip-flops, don't you think?  Though the aforementioned docent was not at all amused that I audaciously snapped a pic of my foot, as photography is strictly verboten at Iolani Palace, --yes, even outside on the entrance portico, I was informed between tisk, tisks. "Sir, please put your camera in your pocket for the duration of the tour. Thank you."

My poor BFF and Hawaiian host, Michael, nearly had an aneurism when forced to don the decidedly non-hypoallergenic footwear, obviously worn by hundreds if not thousands of previous tourists.  (Michael has developed the most curious case of germ-o-phobia since last I saw him, several years ago)!  If the foot-covers weren't bad enough, when my friend realized he would have to wear an earpiece, plucked from a basket of discarded, previously-worn headsets, he was positively panic-stricken!  "I hope they disinfected these," he rued.  I pad, pad, padded past him to the Grand Entrance, eyes rolling. Of course I couldn't help pointing out the innumerable maladies and skin-conditions that were no doubt assaulting our defenseless feet. I simply LOVE to tease Michael about his obsessive/compulsive disorders! 

We entered the Palace and found ourselves in an elegantly-appointed Center Hall.  The Hall was dominated by a sweeping, grand staircase carved from exotic koa  wood.  With its flanking torchbearer-statues, the imposing stair took my breath away!  It totally reminded me of the staircase in Gone With the Wind, the one where Rhett Butler whisks Scarlet up to to the boudoir and the one where Miss Scarlet collapses after Rhett says, "Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn!"

On the walls of the Entrance Hall hung gilt-framed, oil portraits of Hawaiian Royalty wearing stuffy, Victorian garb.  Precious porcelain object d'art, gifts from the Crowned Heads of Europe and Asia, were placed into arched recesses along the walls.  In spite of all the Gilded-Age Splendor, the Hall had a light-and-airy feeling.  One could easily imagine the tropical, Trade Wind breezes wafting through open doors and windows.

On the right side of the hall, The Throne Room stretches the entire length of the Palace.  Here, formal ceremonies were held, along with parties and balls. Iolani Palace is noteworthy for having electric lights ages before they were installed in The White House or Buckingham Palace.  Modern conveniences such as telephones and private baths made Iolani Palace a comfortable home for the Hawaiian Royals and their guests.

The throwns have a decidedly ecclesiastical/Gothic air.
On the left side of the Hall, were the Blue Velvet Room, which served as a lounge (sadly,  I was unable to find a photograph of this stately setting)  and also the Dining Room.  

Here, the Dining Room (above) is set for an intimate dinner party.  The recording guided us through the arched doors you see along the back wall, leading to butler's pantries with huge dumbwaiters to whisk food up from the kitchens located in the basement below. (Or at least the recordings guided Yours Truly, as my companion Michael had completely abandoned his headset after vainly trying to hold then a safely-deemed distance from his ears)! lol!

The King's Library

The Library was perhaps most memorable for the snoring docent sleeping in a chair near the room's entrance.  Photographs are a no-no at Iolani Palace, but apparently napping is not a problem!
One of the upper floor bedrooms. (Above)  In the back corner of the room you can walk into one of the Palace Towers, a must-have feature for any royal residence!  A two-tiered loggia, or lanai, as they say in Hawaii, surrounds the Palace on all sides, and every room opens to them. --Lux!  Most of the Palace furnishings were unceremoniously auctioned off when the monarchy was disbanded. (Guess that's why this room is so sparse).  Today, researchers troll the internet in search of all the lost plunder in an ongoing effort to replenish Iolani Palace to its former sumptuousness.

These chairs (pictured above) are part of a suite recently reinstalled in the second floor Music Room. (Which was my favorite room in the Palace).  Both Queen Liliʻuokalani.and King Kalākaua were highly-educated, world-travelers who wrote scores of music in both Western and Traditional Hawaiian styles.
The stately, near life-size portrait (above) of  Queen Liliʻuokalani. She was imprisoned in one of the Palace bedrooms after the monarchy was overthrown.  My friend Michael insists that the overthrow was lead by greedy missionaries-turned-businessmen, though this tidbit of information was conspicuously glossed over in the recorded tour! The Queen spent much of her imprisonment toiling over a large 'crazy-quilt' conjured from the silken scraps of her former ballgowns.  The quilt was on display in the very sparsely-furnished room of her confinement..

On this rather forlorn note, we shuffled out of Iolani Palace, stripped ourselves of germ-laden accoutrements and thus ended a highly educational and enjoyable excursion, a diverting afternoon which I hope you enjoyed nearly as much as we I did!  I spent much of my remaining time in Hawaii dreaming of how Iolani Palace could be rendered in 1:12th scale.
Last photo taken: BFF Michael & NEW PUPPY! YAY!

...Whist away, a plethora of packages were delivered to my doorstep, containing miniature goodies for Merriman Park.  I had planned on snapping a series of pics of them for your enjoyment, but my camera seems to be --out of order!  Upon inspection, the camera issued a small dune of beach sand from its innards and appears to be hopelessly and utterly it may be a while before you see another post from the likes of Yours Truly!  And just after I figured out how to take non-blurry photos, too!  (Must be those accursed Hawaiian Volcano Gods)...Oh, well!  In the meantime, I look very forward to catching up this week with with all my fellow miniaturist Followers!