In my new relaxed mode I decided it would be nice to make some flowers for a change. No worrying about walls to prepare, roofs to be tiled..... I am free to go where my fancy takes me. Well, not quite true,
I do have three rather large troughs to fill on the exterior of Witch E.T. Grubb's which need to be planned and filled. Plus, I wanted to make some for Gertie's Cottage because I adore the whole feel of the project and I will feel really chuffed to be part of it.
So I have to plan these troughs. I have collected together a lot of pumpkins and toadstools as my main theme and then the idea was to nestle them amongst foliage with little birds and things peeking through.
I think I will also need to make some vines to grow up the walls, with berries and fruit maybe? Hmmmm. So I am going to work through my flower kits from Fine Flowers in Miniature and decide what will work with the pumpkins etc.
I also played with this wired leaf garland bought with the intention of making wreaths. I quite like the results, plain but perfectly formed.....The white one will sit on the front door of my modern design emporium. The other two have a discreet witchy feel maybe in Halloweeny colours.
Whilst trawling Etsy a few months ago I came across a wonderful shop called Camp Cactus which contained lots of tiny shoes in display boxes. All the shoes are made by Jane from natural materials: leaves, petals, seeds etc.
I contacted Jane and asked her if she would make me a selection of shoes for Witch E.T. Grubb's and as you can see she agreed. Jane was a little concerned because her shoes were usually displayed in her lovely boxes whereas I wanted to show them on shelves. Jane was worried they might be too fragile because of the materials she uses.
I was prepared to take the risk because I just loved the shoes. I am so glad Jane agreed because the end results are simply fabulous and suit my designer witchy theme so perfectly.
The photographs simply do not do justice to the delicacy and artistry of the shoes, even the interiors have their own signature. I would wear these shoes! Do have a look at Jane's Etsy shop and her blog Camp Cactus where you can read details of her classes for both children and adults. An afternoon making fairy furniture sounds like great fun.
I also found these on Ebay a couple of weeks ago and think they have a distinctly witchy feel. I was really surprised by the quality of the little leather boots, my impulse Ebay buys are usually on the road to disaster. Not sure who they are by but they are so cute and very well made.
Then while looking for cats by Alice Zinn I came across a US site new to me Mainly Minis, which appears to show case artisans work from all over. Instead of cats I ended up buying these.....
The boots and the white/silver shoes are by The Dolls Cobber. I have looked at these hand made pieces before but was unable to find a seller. The blue/lilac shoes are from a dutch web page but I can't for the life of me remember the link or name. They come with a box you can make up yourself, anyone recognise them? Anyway they are really cute too.
I am really pleased with my miniature shoe collection now and feel that all my witchy customers will be very happy with their choice.
The building of Diagon Alley has started! To be honest, I have been buying a lot of items recently, it is that time of year for witchy miniatures, so I thought I should really make sure I am collecting the right things. Plus, I wanted to get a feel for the whole project so that I can start making decisions about the exterior and interior decorating.
From left to right the shops will be:
The Leaky Cauldron
The Cauldron Shop
Roots and Shoots - my own idea for plants and herbs
Flourish and Blott's
Olivander's Wand Shop
I have played around with the layout of the carcasses and this seemed to work the best. I may try to introduce an alley but the space may prove a bit tight. I think I will decorate all the exteriors the same, paper clay and brick slips but individualise all the woodwork.
These are all Sid Cooke kits with the exception of Roots and Shoots which is a very old, dis-continued DHE summer house. I chose the Cooke houses for their dimensions and overall look but having built all the carcasses now I would have to say I am disappointed in both the value for money and the ease of build. Considering they are just glorified room boxes they seem expensive and fiddly to put together.
The mouldings are very basic and I hate the plastic windows. I will probably change all the upper windows and may even add a balcony or two.
Woo Hoo! Whose getting above themselves after struggling with glue and a hammer for two days!!
Today I have spent ages playing with all the furniture I have been collecting for the different shops and surprise, surprise some of it is perfect and some of it is not, but I feel I have more of a complete view now.
Plus this is a very long term project, so a mistaken buy today can be replaced way down the line.....
I love reading Casey's Minis, not only for all the fantastic tutorials and tips, but because you get the feel of a long term love of playing with anything that might take her fancy on that day. I suppose that is what I am hoping for, lots of projects that I can dip into rather than - oh no I have to do this before I do that - a more relaxed approach to my hobby!
Well the weather has been dire here today but on Saturday I am off to Seville with my Spanish class. Lots of 40+ students practising their Spanish on slightly confused locals. And lots of Spanish bloggers have given me directions to miniature shops in Seville. Muchas gracias. I intend on taking my camera and I hope I will be able to take a few photos of the shops. Whatever happens I am sure there will be lots of fun to be had.
I have been lucky enough to win a few items by the very talented Angela Downton on Ebay in her Ebay shop. Whenever I check out Ebay , I always look out her pieces and tonight I saw these wonderful gothic windows.
They look ideal for smaller houses and cottages and are a new item for Angela and I know she is looking for feedback with regards size and demand.
Having spent today building the basic carcasses for Diagon Alley from a number of different kits I am astonished by how average the windows are, so lacking in imagination. Whereas these windows have so much character and style. Just love them but they are too small for any of my windows no matter how hard I try to make them fit!
I thought I should get some cushions for my new chairs and went to Julia's shop on Etsy as I love her Halloween designs and I know they will be beautifully made. In my package was a lovely squidgy kitty cushion as well, which will be a comfy stopping place in The Leaky Cauldron, thank you Julia. Plus a wizard walking stick topped with tiny beads and some cute Halloween pieces which Julia has suggested can be used for wall banners. What a fab package.
A while ago now I bought a lovely framed piece from Julia of a Siamese cat showing my daughter's name and year of birth which looks really chic in the gift section of my florist.
I have asked Julia if she would be kind enough to make me two new samplers for Diagon Alley for each of my sons. Well not really for them........which I intend to put in their Christmas stockings as a giggle. Well it's one way of getting something that I like on Christmas Day!
Lorraine of DFLY Miniatures has recently been adding a wonderful range of wands to her shop. For Olivander's I came up with the idea of groups of discarded boxes. You know the look of a shoe shop during a sale or after a particularly demanding customer.
I contacted Lorainne and lovely lady that she is, she agreed to make me some boxes that I could arrange into piles.
Each topped off with an open box for me to pop a wand inside.
I have just scattered these to give an idea of how they will eventually look but even arranged so casually they look great.
The box on the left came with a fabulous distressed look, sealed parchment and a classy wand inside. Lorraine, so thoughtful, had added this box as an early Halloween birthday present! I was so chuffed. A lovely piece from a lovely lady on the other side of the world.
One of the many pleasures of Blogland.
Thank you once again Lorraine.
Plus I have to add the pictures cannot do justice to the craft of these boxes. They are so beautifully made right down to the teeny tiny labels. They are little pieces of art in their own right.
Ding, dong, the roof is done! The ruddy roof is done!
I ended up using 2,800 tiles plus the 'grandad' tiles and I have to admit I take my hat off the those artisans among us who make their own tiles and then paint them. I felt like the job was never going to end. I am, however, very pleased with the result and the varying colours are just what I wanted.
There was one problem though.....
I did not have enough ridge tiles. Isn't that always the way. I am about ten short. Grrrrr! Which means I have to buy a whole box but never mind the task is done thank heavens. My next kits have much smaller roofs for which I am truly thankful. All I have to do now is add the lead flashing to tidy up the edges and make it look a bit more professional. These roof tiles are from Minaco, are some kind of stone compound and I stuck them on with quite a tacky PVA glue to stop them from sliding as I laid them. They also cut very easily with a stanley knife.
This is the last flower box too which looks a bit clumsy around the bay window but by the time I have added all the plants and foliage will look softer and more in place. There is still a long way to go but all the real grunt work has been done and I am now down to the pretty bits.
The attic work room is quite a large space and will have a hat making table, a sewing machine and dressmaking table so I needed three chairs. I saw these on the site of one of my favourite sellers Ashwood Designs and liked the idea of three different chairs. If you don't know this seller do go and have a look at their work, it is very reasonably priced, ideal for pieces you are going to 'dress' anyway.
They are very friendly and delivery is prompt.
I also bought this unfinished fireplace which has a super shape and this cute desk which will hold all of Witch E.T's paperwork.
Here it is with a little owl collection from Julie of The Cottage Kitty. I love the two ink wells with their feather quills and the little owl will find its place in one of the flower boxes I think. He has a really cute face and I can see him peeping shyly out at the ladies going into the Emporium.
......surprised me this morning at breakfast. My first look into the back garden this morning was not greeted by the usual sparrows and pigeons but four confused young ducks.
They seemed quite comfy sitting in the sun on the lawn, but must have been seriously misled about the possibilities of my tiny village garden. We don't have a pond of any description!
To my surprise they waddled up to the back door and allowed me to feed them bread without any fear at all.
Luckily my very lazy cat had not yet got out of his bed, like me he is most definitely not a morning person, so they were able to enjoy their snack in peace.
They seemed very hungry so I am assuming my garden was a pit stop on a longer journey. Perhaps the bird telegraph had told them that our garden was a good place to stop for a snack!
Now I know ducks are two a penny but I enjoyed my little half hour of wild life and they made me smile strutting about without a care. Plus it's been a long time since I have fed the ducks and it made me think of past trips when the kids were small.
My youngest, my baby is 18 this week......where have all the years gone? I am now the proud mum of three grown ups, how has that happened without me even noticing?
I know it's all part of having a family, the growing up, the letting go, all that extra time to myself and I do embrace that. Still, feeling a little sad and retrospective.
Making such lovely and original items. Really, I am beginning to live in dread of the divorce courts! I wonder if miniature mania has ever been cited? First, these fabulous items from Victoria of Dark Squirrel.
I saw Victoria's fabulous work on Kate's blog and had to have a peek in the Etsy store. I thought this furniture would look great in my 'Roots and Shoots' shop.
Victoria very kindly made me the chairs to the height I wanted and the dresser is just fabulous. The pictures do not do it justice at all. The little pictures are all framed with tiny twigs, just delightful.
So many little details that make the piece such a joy to look at.
Victoria also sent me some lovely toadstool acorn pots which go really well with my toadstool mania of the moment. They will be able to brighten up lots of different scenes. Victoria's potion bottles seem to be getting better and better too but we won't mention how tempted I was this week.....
Then of course there is the deliciously tempting creations of Jayne of Tallulah Belle. Lovely package as usual with a surprise, what every hobbyist needs a place to write down all her inspirations......
........and the beautifully chilli 'daisy' and babies.
I just love her and she will find her place in Diagon Alley, eventually.
Then along comes Kat with a new Hatter hat, steam punk style which drew me in. Every time I think "No more!" Kat comes up with a new design. This lovely lady also sent me a wonderful pumpkin board which made me smile. Thanks Kat.
"Of course you have to buy all the pumpkins you can at this time of year darling, cos they will all disappear in a blink of an eye...." I love Wendie's candle kins and was lucky enough to buy one a long time ago on Ebay, now he has some friends. They are so full of character and Wendie kindly popped in another member of the family.
As my defence will be, but Halloween only comes once a year, will you please stop leading me down the path of temptation and start concentrating on Christmas.
Only I do have a little cottage hidden somewhere that would make a great Santa's Grotto!
While at the miniature show in Birmingham I investigated the 'new' LED lights from Small World Products.
I really like the idea of this system as it looks really easy, needs very little wiring, is very affordable and gives off a much brighter light than usual lights. Plus they seem to last a very long time.
I looked carefully at the SWP product and you can buy them in strips of 2 lights to 10 lights I think. They stick to the wall or piece of furniture you want to light and are powered by a small battery pack.
They can be hidden behind objects or architrave or any way you like I suppose.
I must admit I was really impressed as I don't like lighting houses as I think it is a huge expense with all the extra paraphernalia needed and the rooms always look half lit.
So has anyone tried this new system yet? I spoke to a lady who has 12 houses at the show and she said that she would not use anything else now.
I have started putting the tiles on the roof of the Emporium. I bought these from Minaco UK mainly because they were half the price of another well known tiling company. When they first arrived I was a little disappointed because they were not as crisp as I wanted which I knew would mean a lot of sanding.
I must admit this put me off starting the job and 3000 of them have been sitting there looking at me for a while.
So I sat for one evening in front of the tele and tidied up the first 1000. Boring!! Sticking them on the roof has proved to be a doddle. These are the tools I needed and the total waste from 1000 tiles. Minaco also sell a product to match called 'grandad tiles' and these are 11/2 lengths for each alternate rows. These tiles really help as it means you do not have to keep cutting down individual tiles.
I am not really sure what the tiles are made of, maybe clay or a stone compound, but the finish looks fabulous, a little bit sparkly like it has just rained and the tiles are drying off.
So from a slightly concerned start I am now keen to get on with the task.....well perhaps keen is not the right word, I hate the sanding but it will be worth it.
I will definitely be going back to Minaco for more products despite the downside of sanding.