Thursday, December 29, 2016

Filling Up the Shelves

I thought I'd give you a closer look at the dresser in the kitchen.  The dresser was just a simple whitewood one, that I'm sure you recognise.  I think I got it from Matlock Miniatures (UK) - they always have good prices on their items. 

 I sanded it to death;  the problem with cheap whitewood furniture is that it is cheap, so you have to do a lot of prepwork to make it serviceable.  I added cherry red drawer knobs, and painted a little flourish of roses on the top.

 I don't know if I will keep this dresser, as it is a little generic, but saving money on it meant that I could spurge a little on the items to display, as Flaubert said, "Le bon Dieu est dans le détail"....

There's still room enough for more items, but for now there is quite a good selection of crockery; the teaset from Falcon minis that I painted, the chicken teapot and spotted mug from Duncan White.  I found a little cheese dish by Muriel Hopwood at Karon Cunningham miniatures, which I was very pleased with.  

The hen tureen was made by one of my favourite ceramicists, Rachel Williams, of V&R Miniatures, and the tiny little brown jug was from an Etsy seller.  In the jug and mug are a couple of items by Danny Shotton, and a tiny butter curler by St Leger.... more about the butter curler later..

The bowl was a wonderful find from Halasbasement on Etsy, one of three by potter Jerry Floor.  I have filled it with lemons, which I think go really well with the blue stripe.  It's a good 'pop' of colour to draw the eye to the back of the kitchen.

The 'pop' of lemon yellow is repeated in the bunch of bananas on top of the fridge, and both were made by a really talented miniaturist I discovered on Etsy, called Yulia Yakobson, in Estonia. 

 I started buying some Christmas cakes from her, and then fruit... her items are amazing, I highly recommend them.

Here is a selection of her fruit.....

The tiniest and perfect apples...

And a perfectly peeled tangerine!

The inhabitants of Daviot House will certainly be getting their five-a-day!


Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas To One and All

Come inside from the cold and have a seat beside the roaring fire...The Yule Log is burning and there is a warm rug for your knees...

Dim the lights and enjoy the cosy candleglow as the evening sets in...

Don't forget your kiss under the mistletoe...

Have a slice of Dundee cake, a mince pie, a tangerine or two and a cup of hot, mulled wine...

But most of all, have a very wonderful Christmas!

To all my readers, thank you!


PS For a couple of weeks now I have had problems posting replies to all of your lovely comments.... I keep trying, but nothing gets posted, so I do apologise.  I am trying to sort it out with blogger, but please know that I greatly appreciate all of your comments!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

Problem Solving

One of the reasons I have had such a break from blogging is the fact that I couldn't find a satisfactory, permanent home for Daviot House.  

My craft room also doubles up as the guest bedroom, and although we don't have guests regularly, we do need a spare room.  This room has become the Mini-ing room, and every time we had visitors, I had to pack up Daviot House. 

And I always break something when I pack the house up 😭😭
I have lost a lot of precious crockery that way over the years.

SO I got a little fed up, and spent the summer reorganising the guest bedroom.  I decided that although I would LOVE to keep the table in the middle of the room, so I can walk around the house, it is just not practical.  

The 14th century tower has moved back and the kitchen block has moved to the right.  It should be at the back of the house, but we're just going to have to leave that configuration up to the imagination!

This compromise allows me to access all of the rooms from the front, and I bought a sideboard from IKEA with drawers and cupboards underneath to store all of my crafting things. 

 This means that the room is tidier, and Daviot House NEVER HAS TO GET PACKED UP AGAIN!!  Which is great, because I broke some really nice, irreplaceable things the last time.....

AND, I solved the stairs problem.  Kitchens, stairs, never thought I needed them, 'til I needed them!  The problem with leaving out a staircase in the initial building has meant that stairs will need to be added on from the outside. 

 I couldn't work out where to put them, until I moved Daviot House to its final position, and then..... TA DA!!!

The corner which has now appeared where the tower abuts the house is the perfect place to install a staircase!  This made me so happy I rushed to get my kids to show them.  They were also very impressed.... though we realised that this means more work, and building some stairs. 

BUT it will also be the perfect place to hang some ancestor portraits, because we have been running out of wall space in the house.

Sometimes I think that Daviot House will end up five times the size it started as, but that's ok, as long as it still fits on the table!

The new, permanent home also made me think about the kitchen.  It was converted from a Dolls House Emporium stable kit, and while I think it is just perfect, the stable doors were irritating me.  Because it looks like a stable, not a kitchen.  

So I pulled the doors off....

And started to build a conservatory instead.  This way I solved the giant gaping-space problem, allowed more light into the kitchen, added a conservatory, which I always wanted but didn't know where to put, AND allow an enticing peek into the kitchen....

I just have to finish leading the glass, and filling it with a large amount of salmon pink geraniums!


Saturday, December 17, 2016

Spick and Span - Getting ready for Christmas

There has been a looooooonnnngggg gap between my last post and this...  but work on Daviot House has been particularly productive, so I hope you forgive me for my absence and enjoy the fruits of my labour!

As you know, this year's major work has been the kitchen.  I am pleased to say that it has nearly finished - I only have a few gaps more to fill.  Collecting and making for a kitchen is particularly satisfying, especially when I can indulge my passion for things on the small scale as well as the RL scale!

Copper pots being first on the list....

The ones on the Aga come from Country Treasures, though I bought them from Small Wonders.  Unfortunately, as soon as they were on the website they vanished!  Luckily, I managed to get a stock pot, two sauce pans and a jelly mould.

The pans on the board are from J Getzan, and they are absolutely delightful.  I will be going back for more when the exchequer recovers from Christmas!

This is, perhaps, my favourite pan.  It is slightly out of scale, though not too noticeable, and it is French.  The pan has been made using a 10 centime coin from about 1872, with the distinctive head of the goddess Cérès.  I think Cérès, the Roman goddess of agriculture and the harvest, is an appropriate choice for a busy kitchen!

The coin was hammered into a pan shape and a little handle was soldered on.  Little items made out of coins are fairly rare things in France, and are highly collectable, as they were often made by prisoners, soldiers or sailors, to sell as a source of income.  

I really enjoy including little antique pieces in Daviot House, and I am very lucky living in France as there are so many brocantes, vide greniers and antique markets!

I made a little bar to hang over the stove for cloths and utensils, and used small pieces of vintage handkerchives as dish cloths.  The flash of colour really lifts the back wall.



I am still thinking about painting the handles on the Aga, and I need to find just the right kettle - something I am finding a bit difficult!

Here is the left hand side for the kitchen, all lit up and cosy.  There are a few more things in the larder, but we still have a long way to go, filling it up!

And here is the right hand side.  The 'new' fridge needs to be finished and also filled.  Which is great, because I really enjoy finding things for the kitchen!

Christmas is just around the corner, and the members of Daviot House are slowly starting their preparations...  just like me, first comes the big job of silver polishing!


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....!