Thursday, December 5, 2013

Bed Hangings

I have finally found an antique cotton that works well as miniature linen - just fine enough to be in scale, but with a lovely texture, so I made the bed hangings, finally!  I had wanted to use silk, but came up against a lot of problems trying to make it drape properly without damaging the silk.  So I thought a lovely reamy cotton would be the next best thing.

I think it adds just the right amount of colour without losing the sense of white, clean bed linen.  I finished off the pelmet with some 2mm navy blue ribbn to add some contrast.

And of course, we need a matching Provençale style chair ...

Friday, November 29, 2013

Crisp White Sheets

Few things are as inviting as crisp, white sheets on a bed...

With plumped-up pillows and delicate lace

And monogrammed lavender pillows, filled with dried lavender from my garden to help you sleep

White work blossoms

Petit point silk

And a tiny Jonquil flower

Now all I need is a good book and a cup of tea!


PS - actually, I need a computer technician... my posts don't seem to update in your bloglists, if anyone has a cure for this bug, I'd be grateful!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Lion In Winter

Can you spot him?

There he is, lying on the banks of the river!

And measuring only 1cm in length... not a very fierce one, but he is very proud of his magnificent mane...

A quilting pin for scale

And quite a few other additions.  I have immortalised my cat Edgar under a Jonquil flower (of course!), but can you find the peregrine falcon?

I still have lots to do, but I love this technique above all other embroidery techniques, it is so fun and liberating to do, and so very addictive!

I have been putting my garden 'to bed' for the Winter, and my poor hands have suffered for it.  I can't stand wearing gloves, but planting a lot of bulbs doesn't really help my skin, and as you can imagine, tiny silk embroidery demands the softest, smoothest hands!  A good excuse to splash out on some expensive handcream, I think!


Friday, November 8, 2013

Winter Accessories

As the nights are drawing in, the weather turns miserable and cold, I thought a few winter accessories were in order.  A deep cherry - red silk cloche hat decorated with a silk apple, leaves and a feather and a leather handbag.  

The handbag is rather special, as it is finished with real snakeskin!  I have a very old crocodile handbag that I found at a fleamarket, that has lovely snakeskin edging ...  but it is too old and fragile to use, and recently started to have a faint 'musty' smell....  so I am using up the leather in projects.  I am an animal lover, and would never advocate using exotic animal skins for luxury goods, but as this handbag was at least third-hand, I don't feel too guilty.  Besides, I think the snake is going to be greatly appreciated in it's new form!

On another note, I am starting to tackle the roof of Daviot House, experimenting with various finishes.  No photos yet, but I did find a fantastic link to a site about model-making finishing techniques.  A long, academic read with great photos, and best of all, a section on suppliers!  Have a look ...

And coming soon, a new stumpwork update!


Friday, November 1, 2013

Purchase Update

        A lot of construction work is going on in Daviot House, so until the dust settles, here's a little post of my recent purchase and makes.  For the new dining room, I bought a very cheap whitewood sideboard and attacked it with watercolours to make something vaguely resembling fruitwood.  I've yet to find a nice matte varnish, but I did manage to paint the inside and legs a lovely blue.  So much for avoiding blue, it seems to be my default colour!  

     Gracing the sideboard is a fantastic chicken teapot by Duncan White, that I ummed and awwwwd about for an age before purchasing.  I'm really glad I did, it looks fantastic.

      I found the little metal coal scuttle in a flea market on Wednesday ... the lady in the shop had no idea what it was, and sold it for a song.  I think it is German, and has a lovely Art Nouveau pattern on it.

   The plates are from Peiwen Petitgrand, Muriel Hopwood and V&R Miniatures... they don't go together well, but I won't be displaying the together.  The Bonnie Prince Charlie plate will actually go in the hall (and has a story attached that I'll tell you when the hall is ready for a tour!).

For the bedroom I made a nice laundry bag that opens and closes for all those dirty socks!

A tiny, tiny teddy bear called Charles - he has jointed limbs and I was so happy that I found him at Judith Dowd's Etsy shop.  

A beautiful silver hairbrush and candle stick from Small Wonders on a fantastic crochet doily made by Roslyn Treasures, who sadly is not making them any more.

The lamp was a cheap 3 euro lamp that I jazzed up using glass paints.  If anyone has any ideas how to paint the base a more dark copper colour, please let me know!

     I found these  vintage ivory elephant beads that work really well as bookends.  They have been carved so carefully with a lot of detail.

And finally, I made a little photo frame for a photo of a married couple, because I am happy to let you know that I and my man will be getting married this April!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stumpwork Update

I played truant today from non-essential things and carried on with my mirror - I was struck by creating mania. Obviously my little pause this summer worked wonders!  And I wanted to thank you all for such lovely comments, they really make the needle fly!

I worked on the relief, or 3D aspect, which is a bit naughty, as I should finish the flat stitches first, but stumpwork is just such fun!  You can really tell that they hd a great time creating fantastic pictures.  I have chosen to use non faded colours, the colours that the original mirrors were decorated in, and I think it really shows just how bright and colourful the originals must have been.

If I turn the embroidery on the side slightly you can see the relief-work more easily

I love the fantastical flowers and birds

The little yellow butterfly which is completely out of scale, ust like the originals

And how do you like them apples!

A very dainty lady has a needle lace ruff and flounces on her skirt

It's coming together surprisingly quickly, but I have to get back to boring daily tasks tomorrow....  Sometimes I wish I were a 17th century lady with servants and leisure time to sit and sew for hours!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Some Luck and Unfinished Business...

What a wonderful way to start October!  I couldn't quite believe it but I was the ridiculously lucky winner of Tony's casket from Miniature Treasures.  I nearly fell off my chair when I found out!

Isn't it just wonderful?  And it goes so well with the Renaissance table from Master's Miniatures.

Such attention to detail, and the ivory and horn give it such a satisfying weight, which I always think is important in miniatures.

I love the luxurious brass detailing, but the best part is the secret inside....

...A 17th century button!  I love the liliputian aspect - I can imagine the inhabitants of Daviot House staring in wonder at this giant button... and I like to think about who wore it all those years ago...

To have such a treasure as this means that I am going to revamp the hall to house it.  I was very stuck with the hall over the summer - nothing quite fitted or worked, and this lovely gift has given me a few ideas to improve the hall.  It has also inspired me to get on with some unfinished business!

I have various embroideries in various states of completion, and as I've been working on a few commissions recently, I have less time to dedicate to them.  One style of embroidery that I love is stumpwork, specifically from the 17th century.  I have given myself the challenge of making a stumpwork mirror, which were very popular at the time.  You can see more examples of stumpwork mirrors at Needleprint

It's only the very beginning, but I think you can see where I am going with this.

 The design measures about 5cm by 4cm

I'm quite pleased with this dapper man, he looks very proud in his boots and whiskers!  He is about 1cm tall.

And so to more unfinished business for the hall.  Do you remember my plan to embroider chair backs for the hall back in, ooooh, December?  Well, here is my VERY SLOW progress!

The design is about 4cm high, still needs a lot of work and is impossible to photograph well!  Hopefully it won't take me until next December to complete it...


Sunday, September 1, 2013

Giveaway Winner!

                                          Hello Everyone,

Today is the big day!  I have to say that this giveaway was far from simple, and so I would like to thank you all for participating in the fun...  I can now reveal the prize for the giveaway... drumroll...

A Tea Cozy!

It is the first one I have ever made, I hope you like it.  The number of differences between the rooms came to a grand total of 76 ... I know it was really hard... and Josje is the winner as she guessed the highest number!

Congratulations Josje!

And commiserations everone else, but I hope you had even a little fun poking around the parlour,


Friday, August 23, 2013

Eine kleine nachtmusik...


First of all, thank you so much for your really kind comments and emails, it was so supportive, and I hope you are enjoying the giveaway challenge in the previous post - you have until the 1st of September!

While I was in hibernating mode, I thought a lot about Daviot House and where I am going with it.  I came to a bit of an impasse with the hall, as after making lots of things and collecting more, somehow it just didn't feel 'right'.  I'll tell all in another post, suffice to say that I felt a little constricted by the time frame I had given myself.

Recreating a period miniature can often feel restrictive and I often found myself looking at the rooms of Daviot House and thinking they didn't look very comfortable at all!  I also kept wishing that I could use things I really love - lamps, photos, games and books etc. that just didn't fit into the 18th century landscape.

I really wanted to have a gramophone, a large old fashioned one with a beautiful tulip horn.  And after a year of saying to myself that it wasn't Georgian, I decided to just make one, and see what happened.

I just used things that were lying around my workspace;

an earring
thin copper sheeting
a bleak head pin 
a couple of tiny beads
jeweller's glue

I made a box out of lolly stick wood and used two squares of matboard for the top and bottom.  I painted this brown with watercolour paint, and gave it a very thin coat of matt mod-podge.

I also used matboard for a disc base, and pushed part of a head pin through the centre.

I cut a cone shape from cardstock, and fiddled about a bit until I got the shape I wanted.  Then I used the template to cut out the very thin copper sheeting.  I would have prefered brass, but copper was all I had, and I kind of like the warm colour.

Using jeweller's glue, I stuck the copper horn onto a piece of earring that had a nice bend, for the needle arm.  This part was REALLY fiddly, and I lost patience quite a few times!  You definitely need to dry this overnight.  Gluing the earring onto the gramophone base also produced a few swear words, but it worked fine in the end!

I threaded a tiny bead onto the rest of the head pin, and then bent the pin into a crank handle shape.  I didn't glue it in, and so the handle actually turns!  The next time I make one I will try to get the turntable to turn as well, though that could take quite a bit of mini- engineering.

I am quite pleased with the result, it certainly brings Daviot House into the 19th century, and I really like the effect.  I decided then that I would put into my house anything that I liked, whether it was 'period apporpriate' or long as it looks comfy and cosy, that's enough for me!

I could definitely improve upon it, and it is a shame that I didn't take any photos of the process to write a proper tutorial, but you are all very talented miniaturists, so I guess you can work it out and make it even better!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Summer Fun Giveaway!

Hello everyone,

What a big break I've had!  I wish I could say I spent it on a tropical island, but sadly no .... after a LOT of work stress in June and other things, I finally had a little bit of a burn out, and my creativity flew out of the window.  I had to have a very big rest, and it has taken me two months to get back to creating.

But never fear, I have been creating!  

It has been such a lovely feeling to come back to my blog and see that I now have 200 followers.... a long way from the first (thank you Josje), and although I don't do this blog for the popularity stakes, I do really, really appreciate every one of my followers.  

So, a little giveaway is in order, n'est-ce pas?   But not your average giveaway, a little game.  (I have spent a long summer with my toddlers, can you tell?)  Here are two photos of the Daviot House parlour.  The first was taken a year ago, the second, today.  

To enter the competition, you should leave a comment telling me how any new things you can see ( you don't need to list them, a number will do!)  It's a bit like guessing the number of beans in the jar, but hopefully slightly more satisfying!  The competition will end on the 1st of September.

The person who spots the correct number of differences will win the giveaway - which is a surprise!

                                          Have fun


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Louis XV Chaise à la reine - Finished!

After much swearing and fiddling, the chair is finally done!  It was a very nerve-wracking process, but gave quite a sense of accomplishment.  It goes very well with my Palais Royale roses, which are looking fabulous in the garden right now.

Centering the embroidery was probably one of the hardest moments, and quite frustrating...

I hope you like it!


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New Items for the Hall

I've taken a break from the creamy yellows of the bedroom, this week we are back in the hall.  I recently bought two Tony Knott pewter items, as I heard that he is retiring, and I thought that they would be perfect for the Stuart period feel of the hall.  I bought a water jug with a twisted handle and a quaich - a shallow two handled drinking cup.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed with the jug.  The finishing was really bad - there were slubs on the inside that blocked the jug, and on the bottom there was a lump of lead that prevented the jug from sitting flat.  The join lines and mould lines could also be seen.  I was quite disappointed, I had heard great things about Tony Knott's work, and I imagine it was just my bad luck getting the piece, but still....

So I got out my trusty Dremel and sanded off all the imperfections.  The jug looks much better now and I am happy with the little collection.  I can't wait to get some Glasscraft pieces to complete the scene.

On the opposite wall I have been playing around with a few items, to see what goes best, and I really like this painting-chair combination.  The ornate frame, which I won last year in Elga's giveaway, really works with the plain walls.  I'm not sure if I will keep the portrait of Allan Ramsay's daughter, but for the moment she really works.  

As for the Queen Anne chair - it's a bit of a disaster at the moment.  In fact, it was my very first kit, and I struggled a lot with it.... but I know where I can improve, and if not, I'll just have to break open the piggy bank and get a beautiful piece made!  (Hurry up birthday!)

It will be upholstered in a deep ruby red, to match the Chippendale open armchairs that I am working on.

And here is a little sneak peak of the rug I am making.  After the firescreen on 72 hpi, I decided my eyes needed a little rest, and so this piece is on I think 32 count linen....sorry about the pink colour, but it was what I had in my stash!  I think I will dip it in some cld tea before blocking, so dull the colour a bit.

The design up to the horseman on the right is not mine - it is Marika Bindel's, I think of Bindel's miniature ornaments fame, and it is a lovely piece to stitch.  I think originally it was designed as a wall hanging, but I loved the scene for a rug.  So I extended the design a little.  I hope it works!

Thank you for all your comments and suggestions about the birdcage, it's great to know that there is a wealth of mini information out there!