Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bedhanging Progress...

After a lot of thought, and a lot of designs started and then abandoned, I've finally committed to this design I made, inspired by mimosas.  The yellows and oranges seem quite bright, but they need to be, as the bed is at the back of a long, dark room. 

It seems like a simple pattern....

... but I have a long way to go!

Maybe I'll be able to finish it by the time the mimosas start to flower in February....


Saturday, August 18, 2012

Let's Make a Working Candle Sconce!

      This is a working candle sconce that I made, using a fantastic tutorial from Bindel's Ornaments.  I have often thought about the lighting, and never managed to buy commercially made lights, as they all look the same, and I find that they are quite chunky.  I can't quite afford some of the amazingly detailed lights that are available from artisans, so I was delighted when I found this compromise.  Lighting may be my 'next big thing'!

I followed the tutorial, but changed the back decorative panel, as I wanted something a little different.  I found Bindel's to be very reasonably priced, and managed to do this sconce for about 7 euros, which is great.


      I didn't want gold, as I find it a little too bright, and also, it would have been highly unrealistic in my house, as it is not a 'grand' house, but rather one of an 'old family fallen on hard times'.  So I used Humbrol metalcote to give it a burnished, almost black sheen.

   This is also a good colour choice for Daviot House as all the walls are natural plaster, which is very, very pale.  I need a lot of contrast!

      I followed the Bindel's tutorial using jeweller's cement to stick the pieces together.  It was a very quick and easy process, and I managed to to it all standing up in the kitchen with my twin toddlers running around!

      The moment of truth happened when I attached a plug and switched on the electricity - it works!

            I highly recommend Bindels, they also have a lot of other tutorials on their site and, above all, their postage costs are really reasonable.  That's super important for someone like me who has to order EVERYTHING online, as Lyon is miniature-poor (though we do have a Miniatures Museum... ironic, really).

               I cannot wait to make some more very soon!


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Let's Make a Pillow and Pillowcase!

Here's a little tutorial to show you how to make a pillow and a pillow case!

Materials:  cotton lawn fabric, needle and thread, pinking shears, tacky glue, white seed beads.

Pattern:  Draw a rectangle to the dimensions that you need.  Mine was 3cm by 5cm for a rectangular pillow. I added 5mm to each measurement to take into account the seams, so in total, 3.5 x 5.5 cm.

Draw your pattern on to the folded fabric, making sure that one long edge is on the fold.  My fingers are on the folded edge.

Cut out your rectangle.  I use pinking shears as the prevent fraying while you sew.  If you don't have any, don't worry, just be gentle with your fabric edges, or coat them in a fray stop glue.

Anchor your thread and start to sew, using nice, even stiches.

Sew all three sides, but stop at about a finger's width from the end.

Turn your pillow right sides out.  Use a long thin object to poke out the corners;  I use the end of my propelling pencil without pencil leads.

I use small white seed beads as a stuffing.  They are heavy and give a realistic weight and shape to the pillow.  White is important as any other colour will show through your fabric.

Roll a smal piece of paper into a cone shape and insert into the hole.  Pour the beads into the cone, this way you won't have hundreds of beads falling on the floor!

Finally, sew up the hole with tiny stitches....and you're done!

Pillow Case

The case needs to be about 1cm larger than your pillow, so my dimensions were 4.5 cm by 6.5 cm, cut on a fold (all in all, that makes a rectangle of 4.5cm by 13 cm).

  I embroidered a little motif in white silk on my fabric first.  You could do that, or you could use handkerchief material that often has a small embroidered design.  Or you could leave it plain.

Again, use the pinking shears to make sure you don't fray the material.  Leave one side cut normally.  This will be the opening.

Open out your rectangle and glue the plain cut edge to make a hem, using tacky glue. 

Fold the fabric over, wrong sides together.

Start to sew the edges together, but remember not to sew the 'hemmed' (glued) side!

Turn the pillow right sides out, and check the fit with the pillow.  If it is too big, you can re-hem a side on the cover to make it smaller.

Then place your beautiful pillow on your bed and glow with pride!


Sunday, August 12, 2012

La Vie en Rose

As if to vie with the gentlemen in the previous post, Daviot House has somehow come over all pink.  It certainly isn't my fault - pink is most definitely not my favourite colour, and yet....

Who could possibly resist those little embroidered slippers or pretty mob cap?

And of course, it wouldn't be Latchkey and Jonquil without a little embroidery....

I think, in fact, it is the fault of M'sieur Boucher...

François Boucher - La Toilette, 1742


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Gentlemanly Pursuits

      I have been embroidering nothing but flowers for quite a while, and doing bedding for the bedroom, so I decided to make a few 'masculine' items for the house.  They provide a nice contrast for all the frills going on upstairs!

    Two portraits and frames, a working candle sconce and a small clay pipe...

   I shall have to practice the fimo pipe making - this was my first atttempt, but it is a long way from what I want, primarily because it is too short.  But it will do for now.

      The gentlemen ancestors aren't too happy with the bright gold frames I made.  Sir John Ogilvy (left) and Laird Alexander MacGillivray (right) look quite put out.  It's funny how I don't have dolls for the house, but the paintings I choose suddenly make the house seem lived in!  And these old inhabitants are certainly quite demanding!

A quick application of old oak furniture wax (left) soon sorted out the garish gold (right).  I love this stuff as you can apply it to just about everything to give it an old, tarnished and worn appearance.


Saturday, August 4, 2012

Let's Make a Valance!

I want to show you a method of pleating/draping fabric that doesn't use pins nor a pretty pleater.  All the methods are good in their own way, but I find this one is quite quick, and doesn't require a lot of prep.    Here are the materials you'll need to make the valance:  

1)  Scissors - the sharper the better.  For those of you  'non sew' -ers out there, I highly recommend that you get a pair just for cutting fabric, that way they stay nice and sharp.

2) Fabric - anything fine that will drape easily.  natural fabrics are always better than synthetics.  Fine cotton lawn is great.  I use a lot of fabric from old shirts, pyjamas etc., as they are nicely worn and drape really well.  Here I'm using a cotton muslin.

3)  Strong cotton thread and needle - I used no.80 DMC crochet cotton, but anything strong will do.

4)  Fabric stiffener.  I use Impex High Tack Fabric Stiffener, you can find it online relatively easily.  If you haven't used it before, please test a small bit of your fabric, or it could end in disaster!

OK, here's the method:

Cut your fabric to size.  For a nice pleat you need about 1.5 times the length of the bed, but it does depend on your fabric, so have a play and see what looks best.

Anchor your thread by oversewing in the same spot a few times.  Start to gather the fabric on the needle.

Gather all of the fabric, use nice even stiches, but don't worry if they aren't perfect, most fabrics don't naturally hang in straight, uniform folds.  A bit of variation is good!

When you've finished gathering, check the final length with a ruler to make sure that it corresponds with the length you need.

Again, anchor the thread at the end by over-sewing a few times.

Now soak your fabric entirely in water!

Squeeze out the excess water.

Lay your wet fabric on a waterprrof, clean, flat surface.  I have a handy little tea tray for this!

Now squeeze a good dollop of fabric stiffener on to the fabric, enough to impregnate it entirely, but without excess dripping off.

Work it into the fabric, so that it is totally covered.

Now arrange your pleats as you want them.  I find pulling in a vertical direction top and bottom helps to keep them straight.  

Leave the fabric to dry completely, this usually takes a good day, so a great overnight job.

When dry,  glue the top edge to your bed, and trim any stray threads that may have frayed.

And you're done!

As ever, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments, or email me,