Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Second Visit to the Tudor Witch House.....the Interior

Still painting and sawing today so here are some pictures of the interior of the Tudor Witch House. This house certainly needed a lot of items to fill it and it has changed slightly since these photographs were taken as I have found items to take the place of pieces I was not happy with.
 The living room has everything for comfortable witchy living including a host of scatter cushions by Julia Jeffreys of Bear Cabin Miniatures.
You will see as the tour continues that my colour scheme for this house is black and gold crackle. The fireplace looks very stately and is full of items from lots of talented artisans including the much missed Jacqueline Dunn.
 The study was not quite finished when this photograph but it is a room full of all the books a potion witch needs so as not to poison her customers! The real star of this room in the book stand by Karin Casper.
 The choice of colours for this house began with this bed that I found on Ebay many moons ago now. When I saw it I knew what I wanted for the main rooms and spent a whole summer spraying everything in sight!
The bathroom has been crackled within an inch of its life! I also discovered what could be made from a selection of beads taken from half price necklaces and charity bought finds. 
 I spent a lot of time with the adapted windows both on the outside and inside so of course they became small showcases within each room. This window is in the Living room and has a wonderful hat by Kat the Hat Lady and a selection of Sally Meekins gorgeous hand painted ceramics.
 The bedroom window also has a hat for very special occasions by Kat and in this photo is still to be finished off. This is definitely a more is best project, no minimalism here, actually most of my houses seem to end up rather full although I am learning that some times less is more.
 The study window has an orrery from Kastle Kelm Miniatures  and some of Lory's cute toadstools a house plant every witch should know how to grow.
 The kitchen has a more rustic look that the rest of the house and as you can see she is not keeping up with her washing up. For some reason I don't seem to have a photograph of the kitchen as a whole only individual pieces but I hope they give you an idea of the whole look.
 The pantry dresser if full of enticing jars of preserves that are a mixture of bought ones, from Kastle Klem, and some I made myself. This was the first project I made up my own jars both in the kitchen and bathroom. They are fun to do and really add colour to any shelf. Nikki Rowe's pumpkin flasks are ready to be used in an instant.
The kitchen table is chock full of so many items I don't know how this witch manages to prepare any food but she certainly has everything she needs for a healthy meal. So what is the green gloop filling up the cauldron? 
I have been getting on with the dormer windows and roof of Honeydukes today. I seem to have spent a lot of time on the roof without getting anywhere. The piano hinges I ordered are great, just not for this roof, so I have had to have a real re-think which resulted in my stripping out some of the beams. Why oh why haven't I learned by now to put in the hinges before adding interior decoration.
One step forwards, three steps back at the moment and I can feel myself becoming a little obsessed with this roof.  

Monday, 2 March 2015

Another Trip Down Dolls House Memory Lane........My Fifth Project, the Witch's House

There is only one thing worse than watching your own paint dry and that is watching someone else's paint dry so I have returned to my trip down Memory Lane. This was my fifth project and remains my biggest house to date. It is the The Guildhall from Maple Street Miniatures and it is a very large house but a fabulous kit from their Tudor range. 
 After discovering the wonders of Blogland I was inspired by the fantasy work of many hobbyists and artisans and this house was my first witchy project. It also gave me the opportunity to try out lots of new ways of creating an exterior for a house without the bog standard paper and paint.
 The kit came with wooden roof shingles and they were really easy to work with and I learnt that model railway scenic products are are great way to add texture and colour to the exteriors. 
 I decided that the house needed Tudor bay/box windows and somehow managed to build them with a lot of glue and numerous pieces of balsa wood. This house needed a lot of beams and it felt like I spent weeks cutting, distressing and staining. This was long before I bought my table saw, if only I had invested in this little power tool a year or so earlier! 
 I also covered the staircase with stained wood to give the house a completely wooden feel. The tiles are normal floor tiles from Homebase that I cut into small squares for a slate floor look. Buying very thin floor tiles is a very inexpensive and easy way to cover dolls house floors. I bought one pack and I am still using these tiles in projects today.
 The 'bricks' are from Peter Clark who does a range of card exterior finishes. All the cards are measured for cutting at home and they are brilliant. They are also very light so they keep the weight of the house down which is very important with a very large house.
I painted an undercoat to mimic grouting underneath the card bricks and then just glued them on.
I'm not sure why I have never used these again, hmmmm, on the Miniatura shopping list I think.
The chimney is from Little Homes of England who do a great range in all different heights.
 Still a work in progress are the climbing plants. As you can see I have not quite mastered the scale and I will take this down one day and replace it as I will most of the climbers, at the moment they are are a reminder of what not to do......
 The exterior is a mix of the card bricks and plaster. I used normal DIY ready mixed poly-filla that I applied with fingers, a stencil brush and a small art trowel (used for oil paints). I have never weathered this house because I simply was terrified of making a mess of the outside after it had taken me soooooo long to finish it. Maybe one day!!
I wanted lots of plants for the outside area for my witch's to grow herbs for their potions and to sell their produce to all the local wizarding families. All these are made from Bonnie Lavish kits.
 I am still building up the produce in the open area and the plants are still to be made and planted in troughs but one day this will be full and fruitful.
This area is full of items by some of my favourite artists. Dolls by Joy Cox and Silke. Mandrakes and chickens by Mags-Nificent Miniatures. All sorts of pumpkins by After Dark After All and of course Nikki Rowe's wonder gardening stand pumpkin staff and mandrakes.
I blame this project for getting me into the world of fantasy miniatures which led to my starting the huge Diagon Alley project that was to come next. 
I will post pictures of the inside of the house tomorrow after what I am hoping will be a eureka day with Honeydukes' dormer windows, feeling like I have bitten off more than I can chew with the huge roof but tomorrow is another day!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Some Flower Kits From Far Away and Beams are Finally Up........

I have recently come across a really helpful group on FaceBook, Making Dolls House Flowers in all Scales, which is full of wonderful artists and hobbyists who are really generous with their advice and tips. I saw some lovely flowers by Kathy Brindle and discovered that she has a range of her own kits. I asked if she would be kind enough to sell me a selection of her range and today I received them all the way from Western Australia. Quicker than some UK Ebay sellers! 
I have chosen a selection of white kits as I can then paint them in any colour I choose. I am hoping to have a go at one of the kits tomorrow depending on my progress with the chimney stacks for the Honeydukes roof. 
 After many days of cutting and painting the beams have been glued onto the walls of the attic.
 I have also fitted some LED strip lighting behind the false back wall. I am not sure how effective this will be but it will provide some ambient light if nothing else.
Today I have been working on the tall, skinny chimneys for the roof. Getting the angle right on my table saw proved rather challenging to say the least and I seem to have quite a lot of strangely shaped off cuts in my bin! Now I have the correct angle set I am hoping the dormer windows will not prove quite so problematic. 
I also need to fit the hinges for the front roof panel, a task I am gearing myself up for. I have missed a trick with the roof and should not have designed it with the whole piece lifting but it is too late now.
Oh well, wish me luck.

Friday, 20 February 2015

A Finished Project....I am feeling "In The Pink"

My work is done........well mine and all the wonderful food artists I have showcased in this little room box by Dolls House Emporium. It has been a real pleasure to do and I would certainly recommend that anyone who is involved in big projects to take some time out when the going gets tough, step aside and take on a tiny project.
The door opens to show off some extra goodies.
 This is a very shallow box so there was no need for any furniture it has been all about the window.
 I have been able to purchase the work of a number of very talented food artists and I think my little room box highlights their wonderful work.
 These are: Paris MiniaturesMundo RosaPetit D'Licious and Lory
 Another great thing about such a small project is that it can be put on show anywhere in the house without taking up loads of space. In The Pink is destined for my downstairs toilet where it can provide a talking point for any guests and visitors!
 While I have been having fun, I have become a teeny bit addicted to miniature sweet things which has progressed into planning another room box. To be fair it has been on the back burner for a while but I have decided it will definitely be brought forward.
I intend to do a Mad Hatter's Tea Party this year with as many characters as I can get and a tea table that will be a mixture of everyone I love best and some items by me as usual. I want to give it a slight twist so the table will be in four sections with cakes, table flowers and china for each season of the year. What do you think? Will it work or just look like a mess? 
Oh the planning is such fun.


Thursday, 19 February 2015

What to do About the Honeydukes Attic? Goodies in the Post and Some Rock Candy......

I have been working on the beams today which mostly involves a lot of painting followed by a lot of drying time. Not very exciting but one of those jobs that have to be done. I have dirtied up the attic space above Honeydukes.
 This is about as grungy as I get. I might darken up some of the corners a bit more once the beams go in but I don't want it to be too dark and the finish is a bit darker than the photos.
 I have also given the top of the staircase a bit of a dirtying too, again it looks 'worse' in person, not quite as pink. I can't really decide what to do with this space. Originally I was going to make it into a sweet making area, then I thought I might just turn it into a storage area then today I thought it might be more interesting as a rest nook for the owners ad their staff. Maybe a little cosy seating area surrounded but towering, gravity defying, boxes and crates full of Honeydukes treats and sweets. Hmmm, I can think about this while I am tackling the roof and its dormer windows and chimneys.
The last piece for my "In The Pink" cake showcase arrived today from Petit D'Licious. I am a sucker for pretty packaging. I always think it shows that the seller really values their work and you as a customer when they put time and thought into your first impression of their work. This little cake arrived beautifully wrapped as you can see.
 The little sponge biscuits are so carefully made and it will look perfect in my shop box window. It is the last piece for the window shelves.......Yep, I have actually finished a project! Full photo tour tomorrow!!
 Oh, the green lid is off a small plastic box that I buy in packets of six from Poundland (six for a pound, my word!), and they are perfect for mixing up small amounts of paint and washes that you might want to keep handy for a few days, or for storing leftover fimo and probably a whole host of other crafty uses.
On the subject of Poundland......the last time I was there I bought a pack of something in the nail section that I thought might be good for rock candy sticks. I think it is pieces of coloured, crushed shell.
I still have enough left for maybe two more in each colour which is not bad for a pound. The colours aren't great and I think the sticks I used might be a bit too clumpy but........I think they will look fine standing in a jar and part of a whole grouping.
Off to buy a spirit level tomorrow, mine seems to have gone walkies in the move, ready to put in the beams I have been working on this week.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Let There Be Light......Honeydukes and Lighting a Dolls House.

I have never really got on with dolls house lighting, it is fiddly, frustrating and flipping expensive to my mind. Despite having a number of houses it has always been a bit of a challenge and I have never really planned it very well which is part of the problem I suppose. In recent times I have settled for LED strips which are much easier to install and the odd battery light.
When planning Honeydukes I decided it needed a plan and as I had designed the house from scratch there was no excuses.
The first floor is completely removable and here is my basic wiring plan for the shop floor ceiling lights. Putting in ceiling lights is a whole new ball game for me and to do it properly you have to route out a channel for the wires so they will sit under the flooring.
I have a Dremel with a router attachment which to be honest seemed to have a life of its own but somehow I managed to carve out the necessary channels for the five ceiling lights. 
I pulled all the wires through and then have held them in place with masking tape to keep them flat.
The lights in place also have a tiny bit of tacky wax to hold them flat to the ceiling. Not sure if this is the best way to do this as tacky wax can dry out but I couldn't think of any better way.
 The lights are from my favourite light suppliers Small World Products. I buy most of my lighting supplies from them as I am a terrible creature of habit and I like their whole system.
 This is the Power Centre that is part of their wiring system and is the easiest of lighting supplies I have discovered after much frustration and swearing. I know that real dolls house makers swear by the copper tape system which is incredibly neat and tidy but this system, while not tidy, is simple. 
 The Power Centre is screwed to the back of the house and you attach each wire within it own slot. All you need is a small screwdriver to tighten each slot. This centre will power 50 bulbs and a whole lot more LED's which is more than enough for me. The website explains it a whole lot better than me! Obviously you still have the problem of the wiring at the back of your house and I know there are lots of ways to hide all this but I have enough trouble finishing my projects as it is so tidying up the wiring will be a very long term plan!
One big rule......check each light as you attach the wiring that way you don't install all your lights and then discover one doesn't work, it can be a right pain to work out which wire belongs to which light once they are all in their slots. Oh, and you have to use a 12v power source which connects the power to the centre. 
 Ta dah!! Here they are in all their wonderful glory, so pleased with the look. Just what I wanted for Honeydukes, all bold and brassy.
What a great day it's been. The sun has been shining, for the first time this year I played tennis without freezing my backside off and the lights are fab-u-lous. What more can a girl ask for?

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Why is it That Enough is Never Enough......Honeydukes and Its Glass Jars.

Dress rehearsal day today so I started by separating the sweets that are part of the Harry Potter books. I haven't made that many so far but eventually they will have a display unit of their own and will be the only labelled sweet jars.
 I have been collecting hand blown glass jars in a variety of shapes and sizes over the past two years for this project and was of the opinion I had far more than I needed. I have bought my glass from a variety of suppliers: Glasscraft MiniaturesMy Tiny World and Valerie Claire Miniatures, being my favourites.
 I intend to fill the shelves above the windows with a variety of sweets and a centre piece like this wonderful chocolate Easter bunny by Nikki Rowe.
This shelf has Nikki's ice cream cupcakes and will be joined by packaged sweetie specials. I bought these little display packages at the Dutch dolls house fair a couple of years ago and had forgotten how great they are. They look a bit over sized here but that's only the angle. Sadly I can't remember the seller but if anyone knows who it is I would love to know.
 I spent a lot of time today staring and thinking, staring and moving jars, staring and thinking. I have finally decided to fill the shelves above the shop displays in groups of different colours. 
 So.....these will be all pink....
 .......these will be chocolate, except they won't stay in this corner as I want to stack HP boxed sweets here, they will go on top of another unit.
 There is space next to the lemon sweets. As you can see there is a lot of empty shelving here. How can I not have enough jars by now, this shop seems to be the black hole of sweet jars.
The white unit is the base for the iconic Bertie Botts tubes display.
The staircase will be lined with various jars and the bottom circle will be home to lollipops and sweet tubes.
 I have decided on this as a final layout. The single unit will be full of candy canes of all colours, they might take me some time but they are something I can make myself!! I am also going to put them in either plastic tubes or the cheaper mass produced jars as I think as this is a side unit I can economise a bit here!! 
 Little candy jars will line the staircase, not a lot of Health and Safety rules in the world of wizards!
I have ordered some more jars today but I still don't think I will have enough so I have raided my potions collection and soaked a few jars to remove their contents so I can use them in Honeydukes.
I had hoped to give the attic another dirty was today but some how I completely ran out of time. To much staring and thinking and not enough doing methinks!
I have now emptied the shop.....again, in preparation for lots of construction work both inside and out over the next week, including the installation of the dreaded lights.
Glorious spring-like day was enjoyed by both me and the dogs, long may it last.