Monday, 31 January 2011

A Special Commission.......and Part 4 "Definitely The Beyond......"

 Before Christmas I asked Julia of Bearcabin Miniatures to make me two special pieces for my son's stockings. Obviously they were really for me to put on the walls of The Leaky Cauldron. They just fabulous and made us all smile on Christmas Day. I also have a Siamese one with my daughter's name in my as yet un-named florist shop so now I have a wonderful full set!
After long admiring the flowers that many bloggers have displayed on their blogs made from the kits of Pascale Garnier, I finally discovered her contact details and have received a lovely collection in the post. I am hoping to have a go at one of the kits tomorrow, the beautiful orange Morning Glory looks ideal for the pavement of the Cauldron I think.
For anyone interested my adventure continues with Definitely the Beyond up and running in the side bar. I hope you enjoy the photos at least.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Leaky Cauldron Interior.....

This is the wallpaper I have chosen for The Leaky Cauldron. I bought it at Miniatura in October with this project in mind. I liked the silky sheen and aged cracks which really reminded me of the smoky old pubs my parents used to take me to when I was a kid. The paper is a lovely quality and went on like a dream. I bought four sheets and used all this inside which means I have to hope I can get some more in March for the front inside panel.
 I have decided to use wallpaper in all the shops for two reasons: it is very quick and I will be filling the shops with lots of 'stuff' so I don't think I need to spend ages perfecting the interiors. 
 This is the bedroom and I have chosen 'oak' flooring which I have cut from floor tiles that I bought at my local DIY store. They are textured and have fantastic sticking quality. I have simply cut them into varying floor board lengths. Quick, easy and cheap. 
I didn't run out of these, I just ran out of time! 
 On the ground floor, which will be the bar. I have used Richard Stacey's black slate for the first time and it is quite beautiful but not so quick or cheap. Plus as you can see I ran out of tiles which means I have had to order a small packet. Grrrr! These tiles have to be sealed and then grouted which I can't do now until they arrive in the post.
 I have used these floor tiles before, in a different colour, and have not worked out how to cut them without them flaking or disintegrating. I seem to end up with very odd shapes which I then sand down furiously. Any tips anyone?
I have finished the 'oak' floor today and started playing with balsa. I have made a couple of false interior doors prototypes, they look ok but may not be right for The Cauldron as they are a bit fancy. I will post pictures tomorrow. I will probably use them to test washes.
The staining and ageing is the hardest part for me. I never know what colours to blend, the strength of the wash or the mixtures. I am going to look through Michelle's old blog posts as I know she has made some beautiful doors for her Hogwarts project.
Anyone getting up to watch Murray in the Australian Final tomorrow?

Friday, 28 January 2011

Get Ready, Get Steady......

 .......and I am ready to start "The Leaky Cauldron". Ahh, but first my work room had to be sorted. I spent a very happy day yesterday sorting through all my boxes and tidying the drawers.
 Everything is now clearly labelled and easy to bring to hand. Nothing will ever get mis-laid again!!  
 I have even labelled all my dried grasses, mosses and gravels. This means I will be able to grab exactly the right jar exactly when I need it........I can hear you all sniggering from here! I can't help it, I love the idea of being organised and I can't work in a mess like I know all the really creative people do.
So, I am all set.
 My glue collection is awaiting the call and.......
 my little bitty bits and pieces are crying out to escape from their boxes.
My new project has already been part built and is Sid Cooke's Bow Street Corner shop. The exterior will be 'Tudoresque' and the interior warm and inviting I hope.
 I have been collecting pieces for the pub for quite a long time and have been lucky enough to collect a few lovely items. Two of Jain's great characters are there having fun. 
I am going to make a false door to give the idea of a larger premises with stairs leading to the upstairs bedroom. The walls will be covered with pictures and painting a la Harry Potter plus a couple of pieces that I have had made specially.  
 Upstairs a Hogwarts pupil has booked in in order to buy all her new term's items before getting the Hogwarts Express. It has all been a little bit exhausting and she has fallen asleep while studying. As usual Julie has created a wonderful character and I knew she was just right for "The Leaky Cauldron's"
overnight guest.
This room will also have a false door and a trap door in the ceiling leading to a dingy attic which can be accessed by lifting off the roof.
I haven't listed all the very talented people whose work can be seen as I will show everything in better detail as the project progresses.
Today I have primed the carcass, papered the ceilings, wall papered the interior walls with some gorgeous paper I bought at Miniatura and begun laying the interior floors. Will show photos tomorrow as it was too dark this evening. 
I have had a lovely mini day and am feeling all is right with the world! Amazing what quality me time can do. 

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

Tara and Julia at Their Best...........And Page 3, Borneo

Have had some lovely things in the post this week that I thought you might prefer to see rather than the ramblings of a reluctant traveller. For those of you not yet bored to death I have added a 3rd page today.
Moving on. Tara of 19th Day Miniatures has been making me a fabulous collection of flowers and the last three arrived this week.
 Aren't they just fabulous. I can't tell you how detailed the cello playing rose is. I hope you can see everything clearly in the photograph. They are so gorgeous I am almost loathe to put them in my project and am leaning towards their own little box frame......... 
 Tara even sent me a little tray of bottles all with the tiniest feathers which will go in any number of my houses. Thank you Tara. I am so glad I asked you to make me my flowers before you closed your commission book for a while!
If you haven't seen Tara's work do visit her Etsy shop for a browse.

My next package was from Julia of Bear Cabin Miniatures
A welcome home present, so generous and kind! A teddy for my Toy Shop, an antiqued jar and quill, but best of all bundles of letters beautifully addressed to my Witch E.T.'s Emporium!
Everything has found a place already, thank you so much for such a thoughtful gesture Julia.
Isn't Blogland wonderful, who needs to travel!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Not So Intrepid Arrive......

Morning View Across Kuala Lumpur December 2010

I have added a new page describing our first few days in Kuala Lumpur for anyone who is interested. This is a very personal account and is not meant as a tourist guide, it is as much about me as Malaysia and written with my tongue very firmly placed in my cheek.
You can always ignore the writing and simply enjoy the photographs, that will certainly take you far less time!

Friday, 21 January 2011

How the Journey Began....And How It Ended!

I have added a new page to the top of my blog in which I have written the first instalment of my recent holiday for anyone who might be interested. This photo is the very first of many. Stansted Airport lounge, 27th of December 2010 while waiting for our flight I was able, courtesy of my super Christmas present to watch Arsenal beat Chelsea 3-1. Woo Hoo! A very good omen I thought. The wonders of technology!
And this photo shows the first thing I did on returning home......... two of the immensely talented Jain Squires' children from her Etsy shop!! I hadn't even unpacked my case but I knew Jain was having and end of year sale and had been checking regularly while away. Lo and behold I see these two lovelies while waiting for our flight home. Eighteen hours later, now in the UK, I am so happy to be able to snap them up! Then I had a nice cup of tea.
Oh it was so good to be back!
As you can see they are just perfect for my old fashioned toy shop. Thank you Jain, they will have fun choosing a new toy.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Home Sweet Home......

Home from my Malaysian adventure! We actually flew in late Saturday but I have been really struggling with jet lag as usual.
It has been a very interesting journey in lots of ways. Our first real trip away as people in our own right. A 15 hour plane journey. A country full of the most wonderful people. A beautiful land set to be ruined  in the shortest time possible. Snorkelling. White water rafting. Trekking. Gorgeous sunsets. Fabulous beaches. Surreal cave dwellers. And lots and lots of food!
I am going to write a full account of my adventure on a separate page on this blog for anyone that might be interested in following my moans and groans. 
In this photo though I am smiling in a rather tight sort of way, notice how tightly my knees are clamped together. White water rafting with three delightful young Malay lads. Only a very baby course not for the truly adventurous, Indiana thought it was very tame!! 
I have been keeping up with blogs though. How industrious many of you have been! So much has been going on and lots of new projects planned that I look forward to seeing develop over the year.
I have just ordered some kits from Pascale Garnier whose flowers I have long admired on the blogs of other miniaturists. These will cheer up the grey days! 

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

It's Definitely A Long Road

He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: it's springs were at every doorstep and every path was it's tributary. "It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no telling where you might be swept off to."
The Lord of the Rings

Frodo about his uncle Bilbo Baggins, Chapter 'Three is Company'.

I couldn't agree more! It has been a long journey everyone but am into the home straight now. We will soon be heading back to where we began our adventuring for the fortified over 50's, Kuala Lumpur.

Have finally worked out how to use my new toy to Blog. Should really have played with it far more before leaving home! I had thought I would have lots of time while we were travelling but when we have had internet connection I have been mostly prostrate, trying to work out how I ever agreed to this!

Anyway here are a couple photos of where we began, the truly magnificent and beautiful Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
The towers from our hotel room window in the early morning......

......and stunning at night

With the shopping centre beneath, still busy at 9pm.

Photos all un edited at the moment so I hope you get some idea of their exquisite modern beauty. Sadly these were the only things of any beauty I saw in the city but I was totally whacked after the flight so I am glad we are going back to give it another chance. Pure exhaustion and total dis-orientation made me a very bad visitor, and companion, but then he did sign up' for better or worse' !

Location:Kota Kinabalu , Borneo