Friday, August 19, 2016

You'll Have Had Your Tea

A little pause for tea before tackling more RL and miniature DIY!  

A delicious tart and freshly baked loaf (from Elizabeth) with oatcakes and a choice of honey or rose petal jam... served on my new tea set from Falcon that I painted with porcelain paints with an Avon jug of summer flowers..;



Friday, August 12, 2016

Kitchen Part 3 - Tiny things from Odds and Ends

Just a quick post to show you a few things that I have been making for the kitchen - I didn't write a tutorial for them, as they are fairly self explanatory - but if anyone would like a tutorial for something, just let me know!  

Most of them have been made out of odds and ends, tiny bits of wood, beads, jewellry findings and old handkerchieves - the sort of things I guarantee you have lying around your craft desk.  I like making these types of things, as when I have an idea to make something, I hate waiting for the post man to come with the order... better to Make Do and Make Mini!

The laundry basket hidden under mounds of laundry (just like my RL home!) was made with "Things I Had to Hand"... no special linen thread or wires, just embroidery thread, toothpicks and an oval of foam board.  After a couple of coats of paint, it looks surprisingly ok, though probably best hidden under the dirty sheets!

The peg bag was embroidered on a cotton handkerchief, and I used a small screw eyelet for a hook on a match stick.  It is filled with tiny 'pegs' made from pieces of cocktail sticks, until I have the time/patience/skill to make better ones!

Here's a nice peg rack, waiting to be filled with aprons etc., made from a left over piece of lime wood.  I NEVER throw tiny bits of wood out, which usually makes a lot of clutter, but then sometimes, they can be useful.  I bent head pins and added seed beads for the hooks.  The wood was painted with watercolours and waxed with clear wax.

I pulled out some feathers from a pillow and used the end of a fancy toothpick to make a feather duster.  I remember telling my family to put the toothpicks in my handbag when we were eating olives in a restaurant... they thought I was completely mad, but the fancy toothpicks are hard to get in France, and I'm very glad that I did!  

Some tiny, tiny off cuts of walnut were transformed into a chopping board, wooded spoons and a spurtle (for making porage) just by sanding them with a fine nail file.  I tried this as I had been tempted to buy some lovely spoons on Etsy, but the postage to France was five times the price of the spoons, so I decided to have a go.  They're not bad for a first try, I think I'll make more.

Silly postage costs also prompted me to make the biscuit cutters out of tea-light tin.  I'm so glad I made them myself!  Very easy to do, and they look really sweet!

Here are the coat pegs after a coat of enamel paint... a little wobbly but fine for the kitchen...

I made the egg keeper a while ago (I'm sure you've seen it before), but it was worth including, as it was also made out of Things I Found When I Finally Cleaned My Craft Desk... wood, beads, canvas and paint.  And the blue light shade is what happens when you find a cheap light that is out of scale, take it to pieces, lose it, find the shade and say 'Aha!  Maybe glass paint will work....'  I'll be doing the electrics for the kitchen soon, so I'll tell you more about that then,

I hope you have been inspired to rummage through your Bits and Bobs to make something new and exciting out of practically nothing,

Thanks, as ever, for all your wonderful comments,


Friday, July 29, 2016

Kitchen Part 2 - The Sink

Choosing what style of sink to use took a bit of thought.  I had wanted a nice farm house sink with built in cupboards, but I also didn't want to swamp the space with large pieces of furniture.  So I opted for a Belfast sink on a frame with a draining board.

This design is by Jane Harrop from her wonderful book '30s and 40s Era Dolls House'; the sink is available in kit form on her website, which I was going to buy, but realised that even I, with my terrible wood cutting skills, could probably have a go at making it with the bits and bobs I have in my craft room.  

It turned out ok, better than I expected (the eternal pessimist), and I'm just looking for a plug and plug hole and piping to finish it, and wondering if I should put a fabric skirt around the bottom...

I wanted a good splash back with tiles, and decided to make them out of cereal packet squares glued on to a thin piece of wood, with a picture rail along the top.  I then painted the lot in a nice ivory colour, and handpainted little dots of dark blue in each of the corners. I finished it with a coat of triple thick varnish, which gives a lovely deep glaze to the tiles. 

 The taps were painted bronze, but I think I might gunge them up a bit, and I painted the tops white to imitate enamel, and put a TINY dot of blue on one and red on the other.  The little soap dish came from Art of Mini, and I just need to find the tiny weeny bar of soap that Ilona made for me a few years ago....

The draining board was stained with water colour paints, and I left a little bit of gunge in the bottom of the sink - though I'd hate to have that in my RL sink!  Perhaps the inhabitants have just finished washing potatoes....

Above the sink went the draining rack, from Viliaminiature on Etsy, painted a nice ivory, and stacked wih various plates I have seemed to gather along the way.  Kitchens are great for using up all the little things that you can't quite find a home for in the rest of the house.

A lovely ray of sushine across my new sink...

And showcasing one of my favourite miniatures - a miniscule yet perfect cleaning sponge from Elizabeth at Studio E Miniatures ... Elizabeth very kindly sent me a wonderful little collection of miniature items for a kitchen, and I have been waiting to find a place for them for a while.  

The new kitchen at Daviot House is the perfect place, and I'll be showing them to you as we discover the kitchen bit by bit.  There is something really lovely about having items in the mini-house that have been given to us by mini-friends... thank you Elizabeth!


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Kitchen Part 1 - The Floor

The heat is unbearable outside in the real world, so what better excuse than to get on with the new kitchen at Daviot House.  I say new, but we're aiming for the 1920s here, and in an old stable block too, so a little bit shabby.  I can't believe that I had originally thought it a good idea to exclude a kitchen.  I am having so much fun with this room, and the opporunities for accessorizing it are endless!

Of course, in this heat we decided to redecorate our RL living room... great idea!  But I did manage to collect a lot of sample paint pots, and claimed the rejects for Daviot House supplies.  The paint colour here is Farrow and Ball's Pale Powder, which in my RL living room looked a horrible, wan shade of green, but on this scale has turned out to be slightly blue-ish.  So not a compete waste of a tester pot! 

I painted the ceiling an off white and installed some small beams... just like in my RL kitchen. They'll be great to hang herbs from.  Then I made a back wall to house the larder and aga.  I bought this stove ages ago on Etsy and instantly hated the colour and chunkiness, but I couldn't find anything I liked better.  The right hand wall will have a fake door connecting the kitchen with the rest of Daviot House.  It is becoming quite a sprawling property!

Now for the floor.  I wanted terracotta tiles, and so used my go-to material, DAS clay.  I'm thinking of taking out shares in the company, or maybe they could sponsor Daviot House.  I use a lot, because I think it gives the best and easiest effect. 

 Here I rolled out a very thin layer of terracotta clay, and then scored the tiles with the edge of a metal metre ruler.  I had tried making the tiles individually, but without a mould the sizes ended up too varied.  I then discoloured them with several washes of water colour paint to get that individual tile look, and then sealed them with a coat of mod podge.

For all the real life DIY going on, I sadly had no grout to hand, and had to think of things I had that could work.  I used a thick mix of plaster that I have been using for moulding (for another room...) smearing it into the grooves and then instantly wiping it off.  Just like grouting, except it was trickier to get off (and messier), and the plaster did smear over all the tiles.

Not to worry, I just gave the whole lot another few washes of dirty watercolour paint, and again sealed it with modpodge.  I think the excess plaster actually gave an interesting texture, and aged the tiles more.

I love the warm baked colour of the tiles, and I think it goes well with the green/blue/green/grey/green of the walls!  The tiles are nice and uneven, as if they have been well worn over the years by busy feet, and stained here and there by a few cooking accidents!

Next, the larder....

I added a little transom at the top for some interest, and there is a light gidden at the top...  the shelves were made very basically from lolly sitcks, and painted a few times ...  now all I have to do is to fill them up with things!

Next up, wall tiles, stone work and a kitchen sink....!


Friday, July 1, 2016

Back from my Sabbatical

Well, that was a long break...  my poor blog has been neglected for a while, as I had to take some time off - time off from making, typing, gardening, sewing...  I was diagnosed with carpal tunnel syndrome in November and had to rest my hands.  However, after a good rest, and some good physio, things are much better, and the even better news is that after such a long pause, I am full of creative energy!

I have been painting a lot recently, as it is good to regain precision, and this latest addition to Daviot House is a lady from the 1830s.  She graces the chimney breast in the new Morning Room. 

 This is a little sneak peak, but I will be updating regularly to show you the new additions to Daviot House, because we have had the builders in and the original four-room house has been extended by five new rooms!  It is so big, I'll have to get a new table!

The Tower is the original 14th century Tower House... the rest of Daviot House on the right was built in 1615.  In the 19th century , a bay window was built on to the Morning Room on the Ground Floor.  Above it is the library, and the third floor is a bedroom. 

 For the moment, it is still a work in progress, but you get the idea.  Ted Sills at Dolls House Concept built the tower for me, and I am really happy with the extra rooms it gives me.

At the back of the house is the kitchen, in the old stable block.   I had been thinking about adding a kitchen for a long time, and the original one that I made was too delicate for the long term... It had an open side that made it far too vulnerable, and the final straw was when Edgar the cat decided to take up residence....  so it had to go. 

 I found this building on Dolls House Emporium.  It was designed as  barn, but I thought the dimensions were perfect for a kitchen.  There is also a decent sized room above, which I haven't decided about yet..

I've been applying a lot of DAS clay, and making leaded windows, and hopefully I'll be able to start giving you glimpses of the inside soon!


Saturday, November 28, 2015

Coming Up Roses

This post was inspired by the last of the climbing roses that managed to bloom in my garden until a week ago...the longest they have flowered, and probably something to do with the warm November we had.

Sadly the weather has become bitter, and the roses have gone, but I realised they were the theme that connected a few new things around Daviot House that I wanted to show you.

Some bright red climbing roses at the front of the house help to break up the white facade.

This is a portrait of Lady Rose MacGillivray, lady of Daviot House, painted about 1640.  She was the daughter of Flora MacGillivray, who had the current wing of Daviot House built in 1615.

I have been painting a few family portraits recently, documenting the inhabitants of Daviot House, and Lady Rose is my latest work.  

Lady Rose hangs above the wonderful 17th century casket from Tony

 I think the black frame of the painting, though a bit austere, goes well with the casket.  

And then, because I never manage to go to any miniature fairs, a few new items... a tiny rose teacup and box of rose Turkish Delight from Small Wonders, and a stunning bonbon dish from Glasscraft. 

You can just about make out a tiny crochet doily, made by MiniGio, who makes the most perfect crochet items.

And that's not all...  For the longest time I have been stalking Kris Compas's portfolio page waiting for a replacement sofa for the parlour.  Kris made the original dark blue Chippendale sofa that was in the parlour, but I found that the parlour was getting a little too dark.  I wanted to make the parlour slightly more light an feminine, to balance the serious green of the library.  

I was very pleased when she put up this sofa for sale, along with a perfect 'crapaud' style armchair... and lo and behold, on the fabric are tiny little rose buds... perfect!

And who is this looking very proprietorial on the new sofa?!  A new addition to Daviot House, a beautiful ginger moggie, just like my RL cat, Edgar.  He is a creation of Kumi, who makes delightful needlefelted cats and dogs. 

 I had tried to make a needlefelted cat before, as I believe in trying to make things first.  How hard could it be? Well, it was a complete disaster, glue and fluff everywhere!  So I admire Kumi's work very much, so beautifully detailed, and perfect in scale.

I love the lighter sofa, it draws the room together without being too heavy, AND, best of all, it goes with the rug I have been sewing forever, and was worried about having to do again.  Hooray!

Sadly, the lighting is terrible for this photo, as we have just had horrible gloomy weather, so the blues look a bit too strident under the daylight lamp.  The colours are much softer in natural light.  You can see the armchair in the corner, so wonderfully made by Kris, and topped off with one of my embroidered cushions.

  ...And there is a hole right in the middle, just waiting to be filled by a rug....  (New Year's Resolution 2016)!

The shelving looks a little bare, now that the books have been moved to the library, but that is no bad thing, just an opportunity to fill them up with more miniatures!

I hope you are keeping warm and cozy in the Northern hemisphere, and enjoying Spring in the Southern,


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Apart from the endless books I have been making (and still need to finish), I made a few items for the library, and combined them with a few items that I already had, but could never find a place for.  Suddenly, everything seemed to fit together, which was really satisfying.  Just like the dining closet, the library sees to have taken on a life of its own - I don't think I actually made a decision, everything fell into place.  

I made a couple of vases of narcissus and daffodils, a smoking cap, a sage green lamp with tassels to match the curtains and a framed painting of Narcisssus, based on a fresco found in Pompeii.  

The beautiful Italian plate was from an Etsy seller, who unfortunately closed shop a while ago, and I haven't been able to track her down since.  It's just lovely and pulls all of the little items together.

So far the library has been made on a shoe-string, with only things that I had to hand - and yes, Irene, I did have quite a stash of bits and bobs!  Normally this never happens, and I spend weeks waiting around for parcels to arrive, and pay ridiculous amounts in postage. 

 It was quite a challenge to use and make do with what I had, and if I had had the budget, I would have certainly spent more on it.  But there is something quite satisfying about using what you have and thinking a little bit more creatively perhaps than usual.

Of course, as Daviot House is my only house, and will probably never be 'finished', I know that I can change things in the future whenever I have the budget to do so.  But for now, I'm quite satisfied...

That said, of COURSE I had to treat myself too.....!

A beautiful table made by Ken Kirkbright from Small Wonders miniatures, and a marble bust from the same shop.  I do love Small Wonders, but the current euro-pound exchange rate and eye-watering postage rate means that a trip to Doreen's shop is a special occassion!  

The table is fabulous, as the square shape fits perfectly in the library, without being too overpowering.  The book of monkeys is from Kenneth Blythe, and fits perfectly on the book rest from Artofmini, which is where I bought the key, sconces and andirons (nice, euro-friendly prices!)

I still have a lot of books to make, and I am pondering the wall colour, whether I should keep it white or go for a slightly creamy colour...but it is getting there!


Monday, September 14, 2015

One Thing Leads to Another, and another, and another...

Back from holidays, and the plasterers have finally been in, finishing off the ceiling of the hall.  Plain off-white, it makes the space seem much larger than it is.

The door at the back on the left hand side always bothered me.  There was something too final and restrictive about it, rather than enigmatic, and was also a bit redundant, as it was supposed to be a doorway into an imaginary kitchen... which is now a real kitchen to the left of the hall.

There was also the problem of the imaginary stairs, so I thought I would resolve it by getting rid of the door, and making the beginnings of a staircase.  I added some light by putting in a stained glass window with the family crest, and I think it finishes off the hall well.

But where does the staircase lead?

To this delightful mess above the kitchen!  I normally post photos when I have completed a room, or it looks passable, but I thought this time I'd treat  you to a glimpse of the disasters which I start off with... this room was done all day Sunday, though the theme is 'Make do Monday' - I only used things that I had to hand...

First, wooden floor boards - nothing too, too fancy for Daviot House, but just lovely, good quality wood...

Wide lolly sticks and foam board to make a book case and steps...

Now a doorway and chimney...

Some cornicing...

A little white paint job and floor wax...

A ceiling, stonework and a light source...

And we start to get the makings of a little library above the kitchen!  So that's where the stairs go!


I just have to make a lot more books now!

Thanks as ever for your interest and your comments, they are, it goes without saying, most appreciated,