Friday, 30 September 2011

The Cauldron Shop......Thank Goodness for Indian Summers!!

Here in England we are experiencing the most wonderful Indian Summer which is proving to be a great help with the interior of my latest build.
The Paper Perfect walls and ceilings are drying rapidly.
 I have been able to fix in the false doors with their door furniture and left a gap for the fireplace.
 I haven't bothered putting in skirting board on two of the walls as they will be more or covered by shop shelving.
 I am really pleased with the door. I have glued them onto a thin plate of balsa to make them stand away from the wall slightly. This meant I could 'plaster' right up to the edge of the door as I am not having any architrave around the doors.
 Luckily I remembered to screw the hinges in before 'plastering' the walls. That is a first for me!
I have put in the wood for the false fireplaces. They will each be individually tiled, have their own lit fireplace and hanging cauldron.
On this side I will have a range with lots of pots and pans bubbling away.....not sure yet. 
Still trying to work out how I am going to make the cauldron towers. Michelle has suggested ping pong balls, which I like....I think water bomb balloons and paper mache? Hmmm, lots to think about.
I have also begun painting all the windows, doors, shelving etc. First coat cream, then at least two coats of deep red. Then eventually black to finish when I will rub them all down and hopefully all the different paint layers will show through in an aged effect. I did use a crackle paint on the first coat of cream but not a single crackle has appeared. I can never seem to get any of these crackle products to work, anyone know of a really good one?

All in all a good day's work for once and a whole weekend of sunshine to look forward to.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Cauldron Shop.......And a New Hat For an Old Friend....

I have completed a little more on The Cauldron Shop interior including laying these wonderful oak floorboards. I bought them at the Kensington Dolls House Fair last December with this project in mind, and I am so glad I did! They come in 12 inch lengths to be cut to size. I chose a three quarter inch width strip and cut them into 4 inch lengths. They cut very nicely and have the most gorgeous grain. I wanted them slightly darker so I wiped a dark oak over them and the grain shows through even more.
 I bought them from Wood Supplies a fabulous company who specialise in wood for miniature projects. 
 I have laid them in the upper section of the shop. Including an attic/storage area for under the roof. I am not sure how this will work out once the roof is on but at the very least it will provide an extra dimension.
 I have also started lining the walls and ceilings. I have started this before adding all the wood features because it takes so long to dry. Days and days! Hopefully I will be able to work round this and begin placing the wood bit by bit now that it has all been stained and distressed.
I am lining the walls in a favourite of mine. It's called Paper Perfect and it is supposed to be for turning normal paper into mulberry-esque paper. Essentially it is paint with paper mache. You have to paint glue onto the walls first and then add the mache mix. 
The main drawback is it takes so long to try.
When I was making room for my Diagon Alley projects I moved my older shops upstairs into my son's room. As I was tidying up I saw some gaps on the shelves of my Design Shop.
This coincided with the discovery of this wonderful Etsy Shop. Luned2010 sells the most beautifully made hats and chocolates.
 When I saw this little set I knew it was perfect for my shop display.
 It fits well on the table top......
......bit that middle shelf is crying out for a stylish bag!
Then this project will be finished! Hooray!!!
One down, 15 to go!!

Monday, 26 September 2011

West Dean Chilli Festival.....Inspiration for Flower Makers

For quite a few years now we have been attending the West Dean Chilli Festival in Sussex. We make a weekend of it, stay somewhere nice in the area, have a nice meal and visit the festival on the Sunday. It is a fabulous day out for all foodies but especially for those who love spicy food.
This year I too lots of photos of the green houses to share because they are simply fabulous.
West Dean is an agricultural school as well as a spectacular venue so the walled garden is full of inspiration for anyone who makes miniature gardens, conservatories or flowers.  
This is a spectacular grape-vine. 
 These vines are trained within an inch of their life!
 This is the vine's main trunk. Just asking to be the model for a spooky tree!
 The whole tree in all its splendour.
 This green house is one of my favourites. I just love this arch of tomatoes!
 What a great way to grow the ever present summer fruit.

 Never seen a white aubergine before.......
 Chillis, of course....
 ......lots of them.....
 The most fabulous hanging plants. I think they are called pitcher plants?
 How great would they look in miniature.

 Lastly lots of beautiful flowers.... every colour.....

 ........every shape......
 .....and even larger.....
 Lastly, hanging melon plants.
 I did not know the plants were so strong.
 These lovelies are supported in their individual string baskets.
I would love to visit West Dean just to wander through the gardens but it is a horrendous journey from North London. If you do live closer have a look at their website as I think they have all sorts of events all through the year.

Friday, 23 September 2011

The Cauldron Shop.......I Think I Like The Tiles?!

I have been a busy beaver today but it does not feel as if I have done very much.
I have laid the floor tiles on the ground floor. I have used Richard Stacey's 3/4 inch antique floor tiles but I will be distressing them a little more especially around the fire places. I do like his products as they are very easy to use.
 I always use PVA glue to stick them straight to the dolls house..
.......wait for them to dry overnight and then I will grout the whole floor. This is the most fiddly part but it is worth doing.
 I have started the two false doors which are basically pieces of balsa that I have shaped and then drawn in the panels. They will now need to be distressed, painted/stained and fitted with some cast iron door furniture.
 I always struggle with shop fittings. Mostly because I never seem to be able to work out how to make the shelving look like it all belongs together.
So this time I purchased some very basic bookshelves. I have removed all the exterior moulding to create a very basic carcass.
I have glued two units making a piece for two of the walls. I want to use these shelves on the upper floor for the items every witch should have in the kitchen......
These will be tarted up with moulding and then painted in the Cauldron's colours. I am thing black on red, crackled and distressed and waxed.
Oh and I did cut all of the wooden mouldings for the inside of the shop including the full length fire place, which means I have a whole pile of balsa waiting to be sanded, distressed, stained and waxed!!
This is definitely the last project I am doing for a while that uses "wood"in this way!

Have a great trip to Miniatura everyone that is heading to Birmingham this weekend. Sooooo want to go!
Good luck to all the wonderful sellers that I know are attending. 
Have a fun weekend everyone. 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Woo Hoo, New Beginnings.....The Cauldron Shop

After the grand sort out it is time to start work on my second shop, Potage's Cauldron Shop. I am using Sid Cook's small Georgian shop. Despite all the things about their kits that drive me mad, I do like the dimensions of these kits.
 Just two small rooms but I have cut a chunk out of the ceiling of the upper story. I have done this to create a storage ledge for items that cannot be fitted into the shop. This will also be a good place to light up.
 The ground floor will be the main cauldron display area. I am going to try and create a number of open fireplaces in which to hang my bubbling cauldrons. On the back wall there will be an arched false door and a large hearth/range. I am going to have a go at making both of these too.......
 Upstairs I want to create a wizarding kitchen shop with brassware, teapots, floo powder and china. I also have this idea of a sleeping shop owner all snuggled up in front of the fire
 This is an unfinished Bespaq fireplace. I have taken the insert out and placed it on the mantle for a double fireplace, I think it could look quite quirky.
All the fireplaces will be red brick lined but I don't think I am going to have individual hearths as this might look a bit too heavy. The ground floor is going to be quarry tiled so I am hoping this will look ok.
The walls will be a 'wattle and daubed' both inside and out and kept quite simple as it is a small shop. 
I was getting a little obsessive about the film set of the shop but have finally decided to go my own way with a dash of inspiration of course!
Ooooo it feels so good to be back!
Had word from my number three child who I have just packed off for his first year at university. He has joined three societies today: football, surfing pong.......hmmmmm the mind boggles!!!!   

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Time For a Change.......Again!!

One of the problems with working, or not working, on a number of different projects at once, is storage. One minute I might buy a fabulous handmade book from Erika Van Horne for Flourish and Blotts. 
 The following month I will be tempted by something delicious from the wonderful Eve of After Dark Miniatures, because I just love her work and know I will always be able to find a place for something of hers!!
 Then along comes Miniatura which means a visit to the stand of Annie Willis of Fine Design who makes the most realistic of owls. A must for Diagon Alley!
 Then I get an email from Sally of Miss Sally's World, a cauldron full of frogs is now available.......Who could resist? Not me, obviously!
 Too much football on television results in an Etsy browsing session and discover that one of my favourite sellers, the delightful and talented Peiwen of OiseaudeNim, has a towering, magical plate of witchy spaghetti. Just the perfect wizardly lunch.
I have been storing each piece in boxes for each project. Quite simply books go in the box labelled "Flourish and Blotts", potion bottles in the box labelled "Apothecary" or cauldrons in "Potage's Cauldron Shop".
All sounds very simple......except I have now got to a point where I can't remember what owls (flying or standing), potion bottles ( empty, full, fimo, glass, round, tall, tiny......), or toadstools (red, spotted, tall, short, dirty......) I actually have. 
Which has lead me to have a complete sort out because I can never find what I am looking for when I do need a scroll, or a book or that pumpkin with the squinty eye that I bought two years ago at Kensington, or was it Miniatura......???? 
 So this has been the state of my work room this week. I have moved out three 'finished' projects to create space for Diagon Alley.
 I will clear away all the rubbish that has made a home for itself on my desk this Summer.
 I have invested in some new storage boxes - my goodness, they seemed outrageously expensive, I am sure I could have built an extension cheaper!! - so I can see each individual piece. I have an animal box, a potions (filled) box, a spooky props box.......and so on. You get the idea.
 I will still use my Fairy cartons for more specific and larger pieces. Tomorrow it will all be finished and I will be able to sit and contemplate actually making something. 

Now all I need to do is remember where I packed the puppy.......