Friday, September 11, 2015

What I Did on My Summer Vacation: England Day 8: York, The Miniature Scene of York, Mary Shortle Doll Shop,and the York Minster

  To start off, I have to welcome our newest follower, The Dorky Doll Collector. Welcome! 'Dorky' is only 14 years old and has a brand new doll blog you can check out HERE. It's looking good so far 'Dorky'!
   I have been really busy the last week or so. Last Sunday I was the main photographer for Emma's best friend's wedding, with Fuzzy and Ken sharing secondary photographer responsibilities, and Ivy as back up videographer. I was so nervous about it, because I was going to be responsible for Felicia and Jeff's main wedding pictures. I was so worried that if I screwed things up they would have lousy pictures. My head was swimming for weeks before the day.
  I don't think they would mind if I showed you a little of my work.

I have been asked to make sure everybody knows that the Groomsman just bought this truck, and the bumper stickers are not his own! That's Emma peeking out from between the Best Man and the Groom, on the right.

Batman high tops for the bride!

Emma is the Maid of Honour, in purple.Check out those shoes. They all,including the bride, wore Batman themed Converse high tops. Batman is the groom's thing.He and the groomsmen had Marvel comics themed bow ties. The bride loves Disney and Harry Potter. She made the bouquets herself, out of Harry Potter book pages, and decorated the flowers with Potter and Disney pins, jeweled pins, jeweled initial pins for each bridesmaid,and the handles each had metal Potter bookmarks of the different houses of Hogwarts.
 Since the wedding I have been busy going through the thousands of pictures we took and editing them for the happy couple. I also got a couple of hundred vacation photos ready for printing before the sale ended on Shutterfly. I was going on so little sleep that I was actually pretty sick a couple of days ago. I've caught back up a bit now and I'm feeling better. I am, however, still getting over poison ivy. I think I got it last week, pulling up weeds around the yard. It took it's time in showing up, as it usually does on me. Fortunately it isn't that bad. I have it between two fingers on my right hand, and on one knuckle of the other hand, and in my eye! The fingers on one hand have dried up now, and my eye is better than yesterday. It's the progressively enlarging blisters on my knuckle that I fear! 
  I have been anxious to get to this day of our trip to England. We visited York, where I sought out the miniature shop. But I'll get to that...
  The trip to York was a 'park and ride' trip. We drove closer to York, and then parked and took a bus into York, because of the problems of parking there.
Emma,Ivy, Ken's sister Marjorie, who treated us to the trip, me, and Marjorie's husband Cliff. We parked here to ride...
...this. We're in the back with Ken's sister Gloria, in white, on the right, and her husband beside her.Marjorie and Cliff in front of them. We do not know the guy in front who is picking his nose.

York is a very old city. It was founded by the Romans in 71 AD. Now that's old. In America, if something is 100 years old we say, "Wow! That's old!" But York is really OLD.

Constantine the Great was proclaimed Roman emperor in York in AD 306, in case you're having trouble reading the plinth.

The narrow streets of The Shambles,York. At certain points the houses lean close enough together that the inhabitants can lean out the upper floor windows and shake hands.That's Gloria and husband in the center of the picture. Emma, and me, front right corner.

   York is full of  buildings like this half timbered Tudor era house. Notice how it sags in the middle!

 It was a nice cool day, and York was very busy.

Ivy and Emma.
York is home to the beautiful York Minster.
There are some fantastic figures carved on the outside of the Minster, which is the second largest Gothic cathedral in Northern Europe.

The first church was built on this site in 627. The Minster, which is actually called the 'Cathedral and Metropolitical Church of St Peter in York', was built over 250 years, between 1220 and 1472. It was designed to be the greatest cathedral in the kingdom, and is still considered to be one of the finest Medieval buildings in Europe.
Ken was willing to go to any extreme for a good shot of this beautiful structure.

And we enjoyed watching him photograph it. Marjorie couldn't believe Ken was laying there to get a good shot, but hey, it's what photographers do sometimes.

What we didn't realize is that he was also photographing us.

The inside of the Minster is pretty awe inspiring too.

These days the upkeep of the Minster is subsidized by the fee charged to tour it. The last time I was there it was donation only. I guess that didn't bring in enough money. The crypts have wonderful statuary and carvings, but we didn't pay to see them. 

Seems like the Minster is always under repair. The first time I saw it was less than a year after the July, 1984 fire that destroyed a large part of the roof, (and caused 2.25 million pounds worth of damage!), and it was still being repaired. You wouldn't think that a building that's mostly stone would be so susceptible to fire, but the roof is made with wooden timbers. When it burned in 1984 it was rebuilt with timbers, in the original design. They wanted to keep things as original as possible, but there was one concession: parts of the new structure would be coated with fire retardant plaster.
Two ancient structures: The Minster, and me.
Keeping an ancient structure like The Minster in shape is a constant job.They have a permanent workshop on the grounds. Cliff told me that an artisan can start an apprenticeship at the Minster and work there until they retire. There's that much steady work.
Stone masons were carving while we watched.

From the Minster we looked around the streets of York. Ken caught me nipping into a toy shop. I was not allowed to take pictures though. I tried!

The little square had some performers working. 

As we went through York, with all of it's chocolate shops, it occurred to me that the ideal gift for my chocolate loving best friend Lori would be some of the artisan chocolates sold in York. British chocolate is wonderful. Maybe not as sweet as American chocolate,but it makes up for it with a higher milk content and a wonderful creamy texture and flavour.When I found chocolate horse heads I knew this was the right gift for Lori, who also loves horses! And what did she think of them? "Actually, I prefer a Hershey's bar." Whaaaa?!
  But the shop where I bought the horse heads had something else I also couldn't pass up...

   You are kidding me! Bakewell Tart ice cream! By the way, I can explain those dirty finger nails. We just got back from London the night before. The whole time we were in London I could NOT get my finger nails clean. As soon as we got there they got black underneath and in spite of repeated washings and cleaning under the nails, I could not get them clean. This is the stain that was left!

Emma wanted to get high tea while she was in England, (That is, lunch and dessert. 'Cream tea' is just tea and desserts. 'Tea' is dinner,at least in the North.), so she and Ivy stopped at this tea room.

And so as not to waste everyone's time, while the girls were having high tea, I sought out a miniature shop I had read about, The Miniature Scene of York.
It was a short walk from that square where the street performers were plying their trade.

It's a small shop, but they have a lot of wonderful goodies. All that time I was being good and saving my money? It all went astray here! 

  The shop is owned by a very nice man, Graham Barlow, who was working at the shop that day, and his wife, Lynda. They moved a while back, and are now at this address:

I promised Graham I'd email him when I got to the blog post he'd be in, so he could read it.

 As well as mass produced things, they also carry a selection of hand made items. Lynda  makes some of the hand made items, and Graham makes some others. They also carry items made by other artists.

  This was one of my favourite things! I really wanted it. It was made by a local artisan.

A tiny set of chisels in a wooden box. I LOVE it! Of the things I didn't buy I love this the most. It was too expensive for me though. And that thing behind it? It's one of those old fashioned water heaters the English used to have over the kitchen sink, or bathroom too I guess.

 But I did buy this. It's a radiator.

I also got this set of silverware.
  This case had some wonderful things. Look at that baby carriage on the bottom shelf!

This carriage is amazing. Keep in mind this is 1/12 scale! This was another favourite of mine!

I thought this jointed porcelain doll would be too expensive, but when I saw that it was only 6 pounds 95 I had to have it.
It's only about 2" tall.

I nearly bought one of the mail boxes on the top shelf. And look at that beautiful wardrobe on the middle of the top shelf.

 They even had some of the same things I make.

Like these ink wells with quill 'pens'...

...and these eye glasses and magnifying glasses. Graham made all these things himself.

See the umbrella stand with the walking stick in it? Graham gave me that when I ended up buying so much stuff.

The round racks had small goodies like these...

This is the cool working door knocker I bought.

And I got these tiny brass buttons that really have holes for the thread.To show you exactly how small they are, here they are with that 2" doll.

There was also a selection of hair for doll making on those racks. I bought several shades of red hair, my favourite.
This rack was loaded with rugs and house making parts.

This whole wall had house making supplies. I nearly bought some of that 'wrought iron' fencing and a gate.

This was probably my favourite case. I loved the kitchen scene on the right of the 5th shelf down.

This kitchen scene.

I resisted the bread oven door and flue because I thought I could make those if I really had to, but I did buy two different firebacks and a couple of sets of andirons. 

I preferred the last one, but look at this kitchen. I love the light up pot bellied stove and the spit and logs on the left!

Since I had the beginnings of that kitchen I couldn't resist this real working door latch and set of hinges!

This case was full of people.

There were some things to fill a witch or wizards lair.
Electric candles! How cool are those?!
And I loved  these cats too.
 I only spotted them t the last minute. If I hadn't spent every last pence and gone back for more I would have bought one.

  I even bought something for Emma. You should have seen her face when I told her I had. It was the "Eww. What could I possibly have wanted from a miniature shop?!" face. I got quite a different reaction when she saw it though. She loved it.
Emma is a huge fan of The Monkees. I got her the Davy Jones gold record.
 I ran out of money and had to go down the street to the pub where Ken and the rest were waiting on the girls, and me, to retrieve more. When I came back to finish paying, I noticed this...
Graham kindly gifted me with it so I didn't have to make another trip to the pub!
Graham was so nice. He allowed me to take all the pictures I wanted, and even posed with Tammy World.
Now there's a guy that's a good sport.

We talked about different ways of  making some of the things we both make, and shared methods and ideas. As I told him,I wish I had known ahead of time we were going to have that discussion. I would have brought Graham some Triple Thick Glaze, like I use.
In the end Ken was, uh, disturbed by the amount I spent. To be fair, part of the money was spent on supplies for making things to sell, so that doesn't count. Also, the only other big splurge I spent, (Besides those books...) was on things to sell and use in making things to sell. (With some for me...) Ken spent way more than I spent, on candy. Now what is he going to have to show for that?!

Anyway, if you visit York, pop in to check out the shop. Or check it out online.

Here's how I found Ken when I went to get more money:

It was a beautiful old pub. The sisters and spouses were all taking a break here and insisted that I get a drink.

I got a rose flavoured fizzy drink. I didn't care for it, but I knew Emma would, so I saved most of it for her. As it turned out, she loved it, and bought it several other times while we were in England.

  When the girls met up with us at the pub, Emma got my rose drink, but Ivy brought Ken an eclair from the tea shop. Ken is  always going on about how he wants an eclair with real cream inside, but they don't make them that way here. This one had real cream. It was pretty awesome,even if it did look nasty from being squashed in Ivy's shopping. 

After we finished our drinks we walked back into York's busier part, where we had come from. I spotted this shop.

Apparently there are two shops in Leeds and this one at 9 Lord Mayor's Walk, in York. You can check out their webpage HERE.

Hmm, looks promising.

                          I loved this little guy. I would have given him button shoes though, not saddle shoes.

He's beautiful!

Lots of bears inside.

New stuff, and old.

A real 'skin horse', like in The Velveteen Rabbit.

A case with dollhouse things.

 I liked this girl.She's made of wood.

She's made by Elisabeth Pongratz.

So were some of these.

 I really liked this girl, (Her eyes look freaky here, but it's just the light.), but she was bisque. Eww. I hate the feel of bisque. If she had been made of wood too I might have considered making her my splurge.

They had some Kidz N Cats dolls.

And lots of babies.

                                                              LOTS of babies

Loads of little dollhouse people.

But the prices were too high for me.

  We walked on back toward the park and ride bus stop.

Ken photographed this sign. Keeeen?!
What are you trying to say?

  After we retrieved the van we drove to this restaurant, where we ate dinner. Actually, it was lunch for me, since I was the only one who didn't get to eat in York. (Except for my Bakewell Tart ice cream.)

This delicious cheese and apple thingy was supposed to be an appetizer.

It sounded so good I ordered it and a meal, thinking the girls would try it with me so I wouldn't be eating so much. Unfortunately they would only eat one bite. I was pretty full before my meal came.

This was my meal: roast potatoes salad, and a vegetable pie.

  I think Ken had to finish it for me. We've been home for weeks now, and I am still craving those English potatoes and some kind of veg pie, which I am not good at making. 

  Back at Gloria's that night, the girls and Ken looked through Ken's mother's things and family mementos. The girls never met their grandmothers, so it was a chance for them to sort of get to know one of them a bit, and a chance for Ken to bring back some memories.
  More of the trip to come in the next post.


  1. what a wonderful time you must have had! Thank you for posting the links to Mary Shortle's shop- such beautiful antique dolls! So hard to find reliable dealers for dolls like this- I try to keep links as I like reproduction and antique Jumeau, Simon and Halbrig, Bru, and all of the french fashion dolls. The Brits have so many miniature shops where dollhouses and miniatures are highly prized and supported, shops find it very hard to make it in America , which is why I had to close mine, to my regret, unless you carry toys, candles, and other items which takes away from your main focus. The wedding pics are lovely!

    1. Apparently I forgot to reply. Thanks for the compliments, and glad you liked the post!

  2. Thanks for the shoutout! And your trip seemed amazing! So many dolls and miniatures! I hope you had a lot of fun, and the éclair is haunting my mind right now. *drool*

  3. You have been awarded! :)

  4. Another great post, loved the dollshouse shop and Mary Shortle's too. I have seen them both advertising in magazines. You made some good purchases. It's funny that you bought all that there in London and when I used to holiday in the US, I used to visit dollshouse shops there and come home laden with miniatures too!
    The wedding photos are great as is the one of your hubby 'propping up the bar' .... looks like a great time had by all!

    1. I had never heard of Mary Shortles, but The Miniature Scene of York advertises in Dollshouse and Miniature Scene magazine. I don't think I've ever seen a dollhouse shop over here. We have big stores like Hobby Lobby that have a miniatures department. They sell house kits and some miniature accessories, but it's all cheaply made mass produced stuff. I know there are miniature shops even in Ohio, but I have yet to see one!


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