Sunday, 7 December 2014

Getting Ready For Christmas!

We celebrate Christmas in our household and in my dollhouse!  With the holidays approaching quickly, I will not have much time to post again. I will, however, check in on others' blogs when I have a few spare moments.  I would like to wish my followers and their families a very happy holiday season however you celebrate!
I recently discovered these personalized stockings.  If anyone is interested - they are made by Barbara Hill and are available in her Etsy shop under the name of  HillCountryMinis.

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Filled China Shop

I enjoy the process of building a miniature room or structure but the most fun comes when it is ready to fill!  It seemed that it would be a good size for some of my collected pieces.  It turns out that  I actually should have built glass shelving along the side walls too! 
I have had a few of Jane Newman's pieces tucked away safely in a drawer waiting for someway to display them. The colour of her furniture was lovely to use as it went well with the flooring.
I have collected miniatures for awhile now so I have some wonderful china from various artisans.  Most readers of this blog will recognize the workmanship of Stokesayware, Terry Curran, Jack Cashmere and Teresa Welch of the China Closet.  I have displayed a few other pieces by various artisans and would be happy to identify them if someone is interested in a specific piece.

I thought afternoon tea might be nice so I have put it on the dresser on the right.  Lesley Burgess made the Stokesay Soverign Blue and Red tea sets up with her delicious looking food and it was too hard to resist one show a number of years ago.  The combined talents of two artisan's working together is always fun!

I had one casualty with a vase which was upsetting while filling the shop. I could not bear to throw it out!  It was a clean break so I was able to glue it together carefully and promptly filled the vase with orchids for the desk.

The washstands may or may not stay in the shop but they were made by Jane to use with Karen's porcelain pieces so it is fun to use them here. I particularly like the larger one with the hole in the stand for the wash bowl and the tiles Jane used were either Karen's or Terry Curran's work.

I thought that I would mention that I was in a dilemma about how to finish the front piece.  I found it a little odd that the trim on the sides of this kit extends out over the end (you can see it in my previous post.)  I decided to paint it to look like cement so used some textured paint and added Richard Stacey's  grey modelling dust. He suggests mixing it with glue and water but it worked well with my paint.

And finally, I thought you might be interested in my plate stands as they are sturdy and disappear for the most part.  They are actually something that I picked up online - miniature easels for buttons - which would be easy to make but I bought mine and clipped off the fronts a bit for the plates.  I also like the wooden stands if anyone comes across them from Bespaq.  I am not sure if these are still being made but they work quite well for me in both sizes.

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Shop Shelving and Assembly

I managed to spend some time in the past few months on a kit that I have had for awhile.  Shops are an easy way to showcase a collection of themed miniatures.  In this case, I am going to fill it with miniature china.

The floor veneer pieces are a pleasure to use and come from Graham Simpkin in the UK.  His website is and you will find a great range of flooring items. I just glue them down, give them a light sanding and three coats of spray varnish.

Veneer square for flooring

I have taken a number of classes over the years and learned some techniques that made this shop easy to put together.  I have always enjoyed my classes with Ray Whitledge and in one specific class, he demonstrated how to use his table saw.  I have experimented with my own saw for awhile now and have used it for a few of my projects to build shelves. As this room box is not large, I wanted shelving all across the back wall.  I painted them with a gloss marine oil paint which gives a lovely shiny finish.
Shelves cut and ready for assembly

Sliding table which I modified to fit my saw protects my fingers!

Cutting my shelf grooves

Vacuum attached helps with sawdust mess!

Shelving with spacers

I have made a wood shelf to match the flooring and the back wood shelf pieces. 

I am close to completing this project so hope to show you it filled shortly.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Do you Personalize A Kit To Suit Your Own Miniature Setting?

I have been a fan of Teresa Layman's kits for awhile now.  I have blogged about her kits in a previous post. This particular kit came with the printed canvas and no floss but a list of floss colours used in the example.  I delved into my ribbon and floss drawer and came up with some shades that I thought would suit my project more than the colours Teresa had suggested in her instructions. I also decided that I would use colours that I already had instead of going and buying a number of new colours.   I changed the baskets to brown as I felt that they would go nicely with a wood floor.   I also eliminated one of the large grape leaves to incorporate a bunch of green grapes as well as the purple.  I have almost completed the inner section and am now trying to decide if I will actually do the outer border or use this carpet in front of my dollhouse sink or inside a doorway.  Yet to be guess is others modify kits or class projects to suit their own taste and mini decor! Or, does everyone want to replicate the original?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Needlework Frame

Summer seems to be the time when I find the odd moment to pick up my needlework. I learned to stitch from my mother and some of her needlework pieces are amongst my most treasured possessions. The effort and meticulous stitches in each piece represent hours of her time. 
I am stitching this carpet now for a second time for my blue bedroom in my dollhouse. I stitched it previously in pink but have yet to finish the edges and add the fringe as I changed direction in that particular room. Time wasted? Perhaps, but maybe someday I will use it for another project.
Catherine (Kilmouskie and Me ) recently showed us her beautiful frame that her grandmother had used for stitching. When I started stitching miniature carpets, I did not have a frame like hers and so my husband suggested that he could make one for me.  Over the years, he has made me a number of different sizes so that my various canvases fit the frame.  I bind the edges with masking tape and staple the canvas to the wood.  Occasionally, I stretch it as I work and staple it again a little tighter.  When the project is complete, it does not need much in the way of blocking.
I have often worked from counted charts which I simply clip to the frame.
Hopefully, I will be able to show you this one in place when it is finished with edges bound and a fringe!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Miniologie Magazine

I would like to share my excitement about the Spring/Summer 2014 issue of  Miniologie!  For those of you that do not know about Mini-ologie Magazine, please have a look at the website.
Mini-ologie is a beautiful decorating magazine for the dollhouse enthusiast and collector and is available in both print and digital formats.  This fabulous publication is a collaboration of three talented individuals - Maritza Moran, Cynthia Sperin and Kim Saulter.
What has made this latest issue so exciting for me is that Maritza, Cynthia and Kim have included my flowers in their latest issue.  I hope that you will download or order the latest issue print issue - you will not be disappointed!

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Staining the walls for the shop box

I have decided that the layout of this shop will be quite simple.  I will build shelving units for the back and have left floor space for a few pieces of miniature furniture on either side of the carpet.  I intend to put a desk on the carpet and perhaps another piece or two of furniture for display.
The walls are going to be wood panelled and as I am not great with faux finishing, I like to stain my wood.  I spent some time mixing different stains (I measure with syringes) until I found a colour that I liked with my mahogany floor.  I finally decided on a mix of red chestnut and the natural colour after playing with the ratio and practicing on scrap strip wood.
Our local store has maple veneer in rolls and I have used it for a few of my room box projects.  I decided to stain it before I applied it with glue to my wood walls.  If I had done it in the reverse order, I inevitably would have gotten some glue on parts and the stain would not have been absorbed in those spots.
I did find that the edges needed extra glue for some reason when using the spray glue on wood.  When I have applied it to illustration board - it seems to bond much more easily!  I did have a few spots lift so had to apply bits of glue and then clamp them back down. One lesson learned!
I sprayed all the stained walls with three coats of semi- gloss varnish.
The box will be enclosed with a front so while I intend to light it, I decided to paint the ceiling white and the back of the front of this box white to brighten the interior.
Ready to be assembled!

Mixing stain colours

Comparing stain colours to floor

Spray glue on back of stained veneer

Weighted veneered walls left to set overnight

Ready to assemble the box

Monday, 21 April 2014

A new start - floor for a shop room box

Over the long weekend, I found some time to start yet another new project!  This one, I hope to finish in the coming weeks.  I am intending to use this for some of my finer miniatures that I have collected over the years.
I had the fellow at Home Depot cut my room box walls and floors for me from a sheet of MDF board.  It makes it so easy to have them cut it with their precision saw to your measurements. 
Using my table saw, I cut multiple lengths of mahogany strip wood and glued them to my floor piece.  I have a lovely carpet that I intend to use in this box so instead of using the more expensive real mahogany on the entire floor, I used the less expensive basswood in the centre.
Once I was finished gluing the floor boards, I spent a great deal of time sanding it before using my spray varnish. After each coat of spray, I used fine steel wool once it had dried between coats until I was pleased with the finish.  This floor has six coats of varnish.
Staining the walls next!

Mix of basswood and mahogany

Steel wool and spray varnish

Spraying outdoors
Carpet on my finished floor

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Hanging Valances with Velcro

When my friend made the suggestion to hang draperies with Velcro, I decided that it would work just as well with valances.  My window in this room in my dollhouse is not centred on the exterior wall which was frustrating for me.  I was able to position the valance to give the "appearance" of the window being in the centre.
I made the valance from a piece of illustration board, some scrap pieces of strip wood, a padding layer and some silk.  I wanted a rather plain valance in the dining room but I may trim it yet with some decorative trim.  I am going to live with it for a bit first.  As it is just put up with Velcro, it will come off easily when (and if) I decide to embellish it.  
The valance can be seen from the front of my dollhouse so I made sure that the illustration board was covered with my silk where it is visible through the window.
Valance - attached to the wall with Velcro

Finished valance

Velcro tape on valance
Velcro tape on walls
Velcro tape on walls

Valance and draperies secured with velcro

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Hanging Drapes With Velcro

Happy New Year!
My dollhouse is finally getting draperies!  This is the master bedroom and I had help with these draperies from a friend. I used Susan Bembridge's printed silk fabric for this room.   She agreed to print some coordinating silk in the same colour blue for me so that I had two fabrics to work with in this room.
When it came time to hang them, I wanted to use the brass drapery rods by Meadowcroft miniatures.  It was my friend's idea to hang them with the Velcro.  By simply, sewing one piece to the draperies and attaching the other with the sticky Velcro strip the draperies are easily adjusted and can be fiddled with to get them to hang properly.
I have just covered some valances for two other rooms which I will hang with the Velcro too.  I will post pictures of those rooms shortly.

Velcro stuck to wall

Velcro sewn to drapes