Sunday, 26 September 2010

Not Long Now......Emporium Part 264!!!

 Nearly there as you can see in this collection of photographs. It has definitely been a learning journey and I have done lots of things wrong but on the whole I am pleased with the overall finish,
 The interior has more or less come out as I expected and the floors - balsa and acrylics - has exceeded my expectations. Thank you everyone who helped me with these! 
 I am glad that I decided on the purple accent colour in the end as it has added a modish feel both to the windows and the outside. As you can see I have not included any of the kit's dividing walls or interior doors as I wanted the shop to be more open.
 The plastic windows that came with the kit were not ideal to be honest even painted up. The see through window sheets do not really sit well with the upstairs windows but I hope to cover this up with vines and foliage.
 The windows do not come with enough mouldings I don't think, in fact nothing is provided for the interiors at all. I have used bits and pieces I had lying around which isn't perfect and I still have to finish the interior of the front 'door'.
I have cut away the MDF underneath the front windows as I thought this would provide great storage space for the shop boxes, bags and all the other paraphernalia of shop life. This did, however, cause some problems when attaching the bay window as there was not a lot to stick to the main 'door' front but lots of glue and clamps seem to have done the job. 
 The stars are made in fimo and break up the grey nicely. The flagstones were a nightmare to cut around the bay. Never again, next time I will lay the flagstones first!
 I will definitely be looking at all the mouldings and building materials at Birmingham this year as I don't want my Diagon Alley shops to have the plastic windows that seem to be supplied with Sid Cooke kits. Plus I need to buy proper railings because the plastic ones supplied all snapped to pieces as I tried to attach them to their posts.
 This is how the doors turned out after the leaf treatment. The texture is still there but I liked the multi-colour finish better and will use it again.
The top window have been treated very simply mainly because the stone mache finish made it impossible to glue the mouldings!
All in all lots of things to do but with the exception of the roof nothing drastic. I really want it all done by next weekend as then I will be able to set it up with the items I have and know what I need to look for at the show. 
Hope you have all had a good weekend despite the rotten weather in the UK!

Friday, 24 September 2010

Look Who Landed Today.......

I recently found the most talented lady called Traci on Etsy who sells the most wonderful range of dragons and goblins. Her shop is Feythcrafts and please go and have a look . 
I puchased some of her smaller dragons in nut shells and was really pleased with them as they were so beautifully crafted.

 Soooooo....... I contacted Traci and asked her if she would make me a couple of pieces in 12th scale and   
my superb dragon landed today and he is magnificent.
 I wanted him to be ledge sitting so he could take pride of place on the window ledge of my witch house
and as you can see he could not fit better. To be honest I was absolutely overwhelmed when I took him out of his package, he is so perfect. Amazingly Traci was worried because she does not usually work in such a small scale! 
These pictures do not really do him justice as the light was so bad today but he looks like he is just about to stretch and yawn, he is so tactile. 
I also asked for a goblin for Diagon Alley and again my expectations were far surpassed so I will introduce you to my newest inhabitant, 
Isn't he gorgeously, horrible!? A real Gringott's runner just itching to be rude and nasty.
He is a tiny 3 inches tall which further emphasises Traci's talent as he has so much detail and like the dragon is ready to move as soon as your back is turned "Indian in the Cupboard" style.
Lastly I just had to have this tiny baby elf all wrapped up in his leaf papoose.
 Again the photos just do not do Traci's work justice he is just so cute and really tiny. I think he will hang in the potting area of my witch house to be looked after by my wise old witch.
I hope Traci enjoyed making these because I am over the moon with all of them. They are simply fabulous and they have brightened up a really gloomy week. I hope they have made you smile too.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Isn't She Lovely?.......Isn't She Wonderful?......Isn't She Clever!

.......that Julie of Bellabelle! Here are my new inhabitants of my witchy wonderland. I had originally asked Julie for a witch for my house. The main idea was that she should be a friendly witch without any warts!
Well as you can see she fits the bill exactly.
Just the sort of wise woman you would go to for country cures and the odd love potion. The photos can't really show how carefully her black dress has been made but her face is fabulous.
I also asked Julie to make me a witch for a potions shop. I wanted her to be a little smutty and workman-like, again no warts!
Here you can see that she is just a little frazzled but good humored all the same.
She is up to date, or coming back into fashion, with her steam punk accessories,
including her fabulous hat. They are both exactly what I wanted and I am so lucky that Julie agreed to make them for me. I am sure both ladies will enjoy the odd trip to my Emporium and Diagon Alley. In fact I am sure I saw one of them in the Apothecary filling and sorting the potions.
I do not have any names for them yet, they will come later I think.

Friday, 17 September 2010

I Have Been Up To My Eyes....... doing all those fiddly, frustrating and supposedly finishing touches. Ha! Ha! I have been really busy with the Emporium this week and the end is definitely within touching distance. However, I am fast running out of materials and I just know I am going to be slightly short of everything. The touching up will take longer than I have anticipated and I will never be able to match the paint. What do you do with all the edges, and interior doors, and the piece of wood that just won't fit, and the flagstones that crumble into pieces every time you try and cut them?????
Arrrrrgggg!! I could have been heard swearing all the way down the street today!
But, keep calm and take deep breaths, it really is nearly time to start unpacking all the wonderful things that I have ready to go inside. Yippee!
One product that I have used on the Emporium is this Stone Touch which has proved very useful. It is quick, easy to use and you can cover a lot in a short time. I think it would be fun to try on furniture too as it comes in lots of shades. I, of course, have been using grey!
 Inside I have used it to cover the stairwall in false stone brick work. I undercoated the MDF and then laid out a grid using very thin tape.
I then cut the pieces off using a craft knife to create a brickwork. Then I sprayed the MDF and left to dry before removing the tape.
Once removed you are left with the grid.
The stone effect is gritty and has an interesting texture which I quite like. I will definitely use it again.
I have been looking at Ebay quite a lot lately because this is the time lots of Halloween items appear. As usual you have to be choosy but I have found a really nice seller from whom I have bought a number of small pieces that I am very pleased with. Have a look at both the Ebay and Etsy shop of The Cottage Kitty for lots of Halloween items. Or visit Julie on her blog where you can see  her work. She is a very friendly and helpful lady who I am sure would love to hear your feedback.
Have a great weekend whatever the weather and whatever takes your fancy. I am watching lots of football and playing lots of tennis........and finishing the Emporium!!!!! 

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A crafty idea, a gift and the stash.......

I have moved onto the external doors of the Emporium and while browsing in Hobbyland I saw these skeleton leaves and I thought these might add a lovely texture to the very basic doors of the shop.
And here they are..... I love the colours and the spiny texture. I have simply stuck them on with a good coat of PVA over an undercoat of grey and I will be painting them to match the Emporium. 
 I am not sure if I will be able to keep all the shapes and texture once I paint them but I will definitely use this idea again perhaps on interior walls. I bought a large pack for £6.99 and these will certainly cover all four doors with some to spare so a smallish room should work out quite reasonable

A few weeks ago I saw these wonderful newspapers on a Blog and knew they had to have a place in my Potter world. I contacted Lorraine of DFLY Minis and asked her to make me some. This kind and generous lady made a package up and has sent them as a gift. How marvellous is that! Thank you so much Lorraine they are simply perfect I can't wait to find the perfect place for them.
I also received this wonderful piece in the post this morning. It is my first item for The Leaky Cauldron.
It will have pride of place in the upstairs guest room where perhaps Harry once slept. 
It is really beautifully made and I loved the rich colours. It will be strange working with colour again after the Emporium! It is hand made by Leslie of bookweight which is his Ebay shop but he also has an Etsy site Wightcrafts
I will certainly try to find a couple of his pieces to go with the bed for the bedroom as they are so beautifully made.
Plus this interesting piece arrived from the very eclectic Jenny Kelm. I will probably change the hat for one of Debie's or Kat's and add a couple of broomsticks in the handy holes. A good buy though.
Off to Cardiff tomorrow to look at the uni with my youngest son. Can't believe my baby will be leaving this time next year! Where do the years go?

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Every Day in Every Way.........Emporium Part 7 Plus a Well-Travelled Swap

Every day, in every way I'm getting closer and closer. Now I know that when you look at these photos it doesn't look as if I have been doing anything but I have to tell you this project is time consuming!!! Plus because everything is in grey it just never seems to look any different, but I assure you I have been hard at it.
These are the front bay and side bay windows that I bought as extras with their lead roofs. This lead is from Richard Stacey
.....and is incredibly easy to use. It just folds into whatever shape you are sticking it to and cuts like a dream. I wish I had known how easy it was to use and I might have tried being a bit more creative with it. I still think I might emboss it with circles or something.
I like the purple contrast although it does look a little harsh at the moment. 
 Once all the vines and flowers have been added the colour should not stand out quite so dramatically. Here is the front nearly all finished. I have also papered the inside to match the interior walls. Lots of tidying up and edging to do but it is getting there. I took Julie's tip Diary of an Edwardian Dolls House and marl stoned all around the front shop windows and door to provide continuity.
And this is the first floor, yes grey but it is different to the other photos. Same 'brick' stair divider but a 'wooden' floor which I scored, distressed and stained with the Cuprinol silver birch stain. I am really pleased with this colour. Oh I washed the balsa with dark grey first to highlight the scoring and distressing.
Today I have been playing with Fimo. making tiles for the interior windows and 'stone' adornments for the walls. I can't show you these because when I cooked them in the oven, I put the grill on by mistake! Lots of smoke as you can imagine and a whole afternoon's work literally up in smoke!
Still, some good news, Margaret of Petit Parterre, asked if I would join Ira's garden swap with her. On Saturday my lovely parcel sorting man found a very well travelled parcel containing these lovely topiarires and jugs. 
They will fit perfectly in to my florist and arrived none the worse for being better travelled than me! Thank you very much Margaret.
Hope you all enjoy the first quiet cuppa for weeks as all our children return to school here in the UK. Bliss!

Friday, 3 September 2010

At Last a Day All to Myself........The Emporium Part 6 I think!

Now don't get me wrong I love my children and on a good day the old man's not too bad but too much of a good thing........drives a woman to drink!!!
Today, however, I got to have the house to myself: husband in Holland, number one son at work, daughter on a uni field trip and youngest son sleeping off his friend's 18th birthday somewhere....
So I got up with all the joys of an Indian Summer and looked forward to a whole, selfish day with my Emporium.
I was determined to finish off the attic.......
........which I did ,more or less, the floor is down on both levels. I finally got the finish I liked although it is a little dark. The beams have been aged and stained. The windows are in - or not - made a boo boo here. I put in the plastic and the beams and then realised I had forgotten the window frames! So pulled out the beams which had just set, and squeezed in the window frames. 
I have lots of vintage Halloween posters that I intend to put up and age for this area. I keep changing my mind as to what I want in here, I think this will be the working area where all the hats, dresses and shoes are made. Perhaps an elf shoe maker in the top attic?
This will be the wall hiding the stairs on ground floor plus some under stairs storage. I have had to remove the door to make it smaller now I have laid the stone floor - so annoying that not one of the doors  has enough lip to allow for flooring! So this floor is getting there too.
I have done a few more jobs too but the light was too bad for photographs by the time I finished. 
A very satisfying day!
I was also lucky enough to win Julia's lovely sampler in her charity auction. This will go with my Siamese cat birth sampler in my florist. Thank you Julia it's lovely.
Back to reality tomorrow with various chores but I hope to sneak a bit more mini-ing in during the evening.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

My Diagon Alley stash grows and I have a new toy......

I have been building up items for my Diagon Alley project and was unable to resist these pieces by the extremely talented Traci of Feythcrafts. The lizard/dragons will go in the Menagerie and the book, which was actually a keyring, can be placed anywhere really. The dragons are curled up inside a walnut shell and an acorn. Her shop is full of great items and I have asked her to make me a couple of things in 12th scale which I am expecting very soon.
I came across these 'cages' on etsy from dimestoreemporium for a very reasonable price. I thought they will look good not only for creatures but as candle holders too. I ordered the copper ones and the very kind seller popped in the two metal ones too. They came from Washington and arrived in four days, how amazing is that?
These beads are for bubbles in the cauldrons I will spread around various projects following all the helpful tutorials to be found here on Blogland. They come from a site recommended by a fellow blogger but I can't remember which one.

 I also purchased these absolutely fabulous wings from the same site........

........but, they are much bigger than I anticipated, much bigger. I can't have read the dimensions properly. Any ideas? My first thought was to simply cut them down to size. They were meant to hang from the ceiling of the apothecary and in a fantasy world they can be reasonably large. I just hate the idea of doing this to such beautiful items. Oh well, I haven't made an Internet mistake for a while now.
Of course I couldn't resist Nikki's collection of toadstools and mushrooms which will find a home in many of my witchy projects. They are beautifully made as usual and perfectly packaged. My absolute favourite, though, has to be my skeli-grow board also by Nikki.

I had another picture showing the legs of the board/tray, it's like a lap tray you could use in bed, but for some reason it will not load. The details are wonderful right down to the bubbles in the flask and the veining on the eyeballs.
I have not been blogging recently because I have a new toy not of the mini kind. I have gone over to Apple with a new Mac Book Pro. I have abandoned Windows which is a big step for me as I am never keen on change but I had just had enough of all the system incompatibilities and increasing stability issues. Hence I have been playing with all the new buttons and methods. Plus transferring all the data from my old laptop. 
Despite all the differences I am very pleased with the Mac but it does not crash or freeze every ten minutes and that is enough for me!