Thursday, 6 December 2012

A Not So Shabby Chic Interior.....

I have been collecting together some of the items for the interior of my ornamental dolls house and the interior is taking shape. I have put in the cornice, skirting and false doors. The doors were from kits that I have never used and I took apart all the architraves in order for them to sit flat against the wall.
 The floorboards were left over from Flourish and Blotts and I have waxed them. They look quite reddish here but they are not so in real life. I really like the fireplace which is just the right size for this smallish kit. I must admit the giant hydrangea grows on me more and more!!
 This is a little selection of what I found in my stash that I thought could be placed somewhere in this project. The lantern I bought at KDF but the other pieces I have had for quite a while now and I can't remember whose they are. If you spot a piece that I purchased from you just let me know and I will tag it. Not sure if they will stay in this bay and the cake stands need to be painted yet.
The upstairs 'guest' room with a few finished pieces. I have ordered a single bed for the room which I am hoping to dress myself. I am intending to use vintage handkerchiefs for the bedding with lace edging. They seem to be of the right sort of size and be shabby chic pretty plus there are loads on Ebay for 99p and I shouldn't have to do too much sewing!!  
The downstairs sitting room is also coming together. The sofa is an old DHE model that I bought ages ago for another project that has been long put aside. It is not perfect but will look better with a cushion or two. I think I will also have a dresser in the room although I love the giant hydrangea and don't want to cover it completely.
The white pumpkins are by Lory, one of my favourite miniaturists, just perfect for the mantlepiece. The tray of chocolate truffles is a gorgeous piece that was a must have buy from Ebay that I have not had a place for until now.
The small desk was destined for The Leaky Cauldron at one stage but looks perfect painted for this setting. I will also add a small wall shelf for books and papers.
I have long admired the work of Danny Shotton, who makes the most exquisitely detailed miniature household pieces. When I saw this brass companion set at KDF a few weeks ago I knew it would be a perfect piece for this room. Unfortunately, he does not have his own website and only sells at fairs like KDF and Miniatura but you can see a large selection of his work here. The prices are obviously a lot different on this site compared to buying directly at a fair. I am not sure if his pieces can be ordered directly by telephone.
I have also been busy painting lots of other bits and pieces with which to dress the rooms despite the call of Christmas! I am hoping that my extra roof tiles will arrive tomorrow so I can tick that box and finish off the roof. The annoying thing is that I will be putting up all the decorations this weekend so my house will be putting aside its shades of cream for a while in favour of red and gold so even if I finish the house it will have no place to go until January!

Monday, 3 December 2012

My Ornamental Dolls House Flowers.....

After getting soaked yet again this morning walking the dog, I came home and settled down to a lovely day playing with my new project.
 This house is a decorative item for my new very grown up front room. Having painted it with the same ivory colour both inside and out I decided to have a feature wall....
 .....on one of the external outside walls......
 ......and one interior wall. The wallpaper is by Laura Ashley and matches that of the real life room. Of course it is wildly out of scale but somehow that doesn't seem to matter. In fact this giant hydrangea looks like the de-cals that seem very fashionable at the moment.
 I have also used up some left over self sticking wooden flooring for the top bedroom. I only had enough for the one room which was a bit disappointing as I usually like to match the flooring but this is supposed to be a quick project using up bits and pieces from my stash.
 I have bought these slate tiles for the roof of the house as they seemed a very reasonable price and the grey matched perfectly with the colour scheme. Although they are not textured they have quite a simple clean look which suits the project.
 I have finished the overhang and one complete side of the roof but of course I am about 150 tiles short of finishing off the whole roof. Entirely my fault as I forgot the over hang when I calculated how many boxes I would need! So tonight I have ordered the extra tiles, the ridge tiles and some leading for the edging. There is no such thing as a simple project!!
 I have not purchased tiles from Romney Miniatures before but they do have this very handy moulded ridge/lip which means you can place them on top of each very easily and not worry about spacing or slippage.
These tiles are made out of a resin mix I think which did mean that they required a quick rub down before use to smooth them off which was a little time consuming. I also found them quite difficult to cut. My tools are a little basic though, as you can see, and scoring and breaking mini tiles or bricks is always a challenge. Quite often I use the sanding block and sand them to size to avoid having to cut them.
It is all moving on nicely, I have a couple of days left before I have to start getting ready for Christmas, the much awaited return of my children and ( may all the gods help me! ) move my elderly parents from one bungalow to another. If the move happens without my having a complete melt down it really will be a Christmas miracle!!

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Nothing Wrong With Cream.....Or Ivory!! Plus a Girl Can Never Have Too Many Pairs of Shoes!!

Well there is nothing wrong with cream, until it curdles. I have been busy painting the Sid Cooke house, all the woodwork and all the odd bits of furniture I intend for this house in the same shade of Dulux Subtle Ivory 4 that I used to redecorate my front room.
 I have papered the upstairs room but simply painted the downstairs as I intend to have a feature wall at the back.
 This was meant to be a quick in and out 'dress' house but I think I may have a problem that will be a real nuisance to sort out. This house came ready built and primed off ebay. I decided to give it a coat of Gesso primer before painting with the Dulux satinwood. This may be a big mistake as I think the satinwood has reacted in some way with the gesso and my satinwood feels very tacky and is very glossy. Not the look I wanted at all. 
I think I am going to have to leave it alone for a couple of days. Let it all dry and harden completely then have a look and decide what to do.
I can concentrate on the skirtings, LED lights and the roof.........Hmmmmm, quick project? 
 The top room is going to be the guest bedroom. The room I have always fantasised about. The room that is always perfectly tidy and dust free. The room that says, "I could always come in here and just sit and read a book." The room where the bed linen does not have a single paw print.
The room that hides my shoe collection!!
 So I Have had to buy a couple of pairs of shoes to hide under the bed.
At the Kensington Festival I was so pleased to see an Italian lady whose work I had previously seen at Miniatura a few years ago, Patrizia Santi
 I really wanted a pair of her adorable Ugg boots but had to settle for these gorgeous ballerina flats that I would definitely wear in real life. They are so beautifully made and delicate.
I have the perfect cupboard for this room's miniature shoes bought for Diagon Alley but now surplus to requirements, now where's that cream paint!!

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Could Not Jain Squires of Giddy Kipper

A little while ago Jain Squires of Giddy Kipper Dolls put some of her ghostly children on Ebay and I could not resist bidding for a couple of them.
 I was really lucky and won these two spooky girls. Like all Jain's dolls they are both quirky and full of character as well as being beautifully made and costumed.
 I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with them yet maybe a shadow box, or a filled lantern, or a Tom's Midnight Garden ghostly scene?? A small, atmospheric project for the wet early days of 2013....
Jain was supposed to be showing at York this weekend but is no longer able to attend so she has posted a photo of the dolls and animals that would have accompanied her. Have a look at her stand here to see if there is something for your Christmas stocking.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Show and Tell.....A Wonderful Gift plus a Trip to the Kensington Dolls House Festival.

My decorators have gone and I have finished dealing with the fallout of my youngest son's recent brush with the dangers of living in the inner city where burglary seems to be a way of life. So it was a wonderful surprise to find this wonderfully wrapped giveaway gift in my post this morning.
 A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to win this fabulous dragon collection from the extremely talented and generous Victoria of Dark Squirrel Miniatures. What a super selection of items, perfect for my Dragon Room. Do go and check out Victoria's Etsy shop there is plenty there to fill a whole Christmas list. 
 On Saturday I went to the Kensington Dolls House Festival which is definitely my favourite fair for drooling and getting very excited by the whole range of miniatures on display.
The shopping started even before I entered the hall as I met up with Nikki Rowe who had very kindly whipped up a batch of her toffee apples for me. As kind as ever Nikki had also included this lovely acorn basket.
 I have been a great admirer and collector of Nikki's work for a few years now and it was wonderful to meet with her and chat all things mini. Nikki is a wonderful artisan and artist who is known for her wizarding and magical minis, recently, however, Nikki has started a whole new range of food and Bramley Hedge inspired minis.
 This collection of bread is beautifully crafted and I adore my pumpkin pie.
 Nikki's Halloween cheesecake with berry topping and a crunchy base. Yummy!!
 Here are a few of Nikki's new cheese range. The attention to detail is fantastic even down to the texture and colour of the rinds. Another shop to visit in time for Christmas!!
 Once in the Town Hall for the festival itself I spent quite a while in the area where most of the stands deal with building projects and the most beautiful houses that you can buy. I had a few errands to run here including buying a whole load of outside door hinges and screws as I seem to have lost every single one! 
While I was looking for slate roof tiles for a new project.......yes, that's right a new project....I saw this piece of wood turning that was perfect for my printer's tray of hand turned items.
 These items should give a big clue to as to my new, very small, in and out project.
 I have decided to make a 'dress' dolls house to match my new front room. I want it to be decorated in ivory, lemons and charcoal and be much more of an ornamental piece than my other dolls houses. 
 So I had a wonderful time looking at all the stands I normally pass by as they are far too pretty for Harry Potter World! All these wonderful shabby chic accessories are from a Italian seller whose card I have unfortunately lost and she does not seem to appear on the floor plan.
 The fireplace was a complete bargain and just perfect for my ivory shabby chic-ness. It is from Halls Miniature Clocks and he has a whole range of period fireplaces.
 I couldn't resist this 'bakelite' telephone from Truly Scrumptious who produce a whole range of eclectic miniatures and I have wanted to add a piece of their work to my collection for a long while.
This is the house I am going to use for my new project. It is an old Sid Cooke house that I purchased in this condition from Ebay a couple of years ago now. It is very much in the style of the type of house I used to live in when I was young and carefree! It is a favourite style of mine and the kit is very compact so it won't dominate my new room at all.
It is going to get a Property Ladder re-furb, in and out quickly and painlessly using lots of pieces from my stash so within budget for once!! 
Well that's the plan!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A Little Bit of Life Size Design.....

My children are all grown up and live away from home for 45 plus weeks of the year. The two youngest are at university and my eldest is living the life on a graduate programme in a lovely area of London. So at the moment I feel as if we are living in a family home in limbo, kids all gone but not quite left.
 The year before my eldest was due to apply for his secondary school we moved into a village with a co-ed comprehensive to enable all three of the children to attend a school they would all be able to walk to. The house is a typical 1970's square box house that had been badly extended some time in the '80's with a small back garden. 
 Up until this move I had always lived in Victorian houses, I had never lived in a house built after 1899 and have found it quite difficult to get used to this modern family house. My furniture was wrong, my paint colours did not work and I could not get the right feeling at all.
 Many years have now gone by and my dream of moving back into the country and the Victorian vicarage look like remaining a dream so I have had to take stock and accept that this house may be the one they carry me out of.  
 Time for some post-children redecoration and an attempt to simplify, lighten and brighten. To fix all the little bits and pieces around the house that did not seem worth worrying about with a house full of teenagers and sports gear.
 I have begun with the main living room or front room as it was always known in my family. This was painted in a very dark Farrow and Ball drawing room colour but I have gone for an all ivory look with a bit of Laura Ashley.
 The fireplace, woodwork, furniture and walls have been painted in Dulux Subtle Ivory 4 that you have mixed. I have painted everything the same colour as I didn't want too many different shades of cream, I wanted a very uniform background.
As you can see I haven't even put in the photographs yet!!
 I have had a hankering to go lighter for a few years now so luckily our leather chair and sofas have blended in well which saved quite a lot of expense. This light is from Laura Ashley who seem to be having a permanent sale and I bought a whole range of bits and pieces for anywhere between 40 and 50% off. 
 The window end of the room with two pieces of furniture I have not been allowed to paint or get rid off as they came from my husband's grandmother's house........hmmmm, the things we do, but I shouldn't complain as he doesn't interfere to much in the decorating decisions.
The curtains and cushions are all Laura Ashley from the Hydranga range, I do like a bit of co-ordination with my soft furnishings. My friends tell me it's because I have no imagination!! I am very safe I know because big mistakes cost so much to rectify in the real world! Much easier in my dolls houses.
 Lily was not happy with all the upheaval over the last couple of weeks but loves her new furry throw upon which she can sit and watch the world go by in absolute comfort.
All in all I am very happy with the over all look. I have lined the old display cabinet with left over wallpaper and my ivory Sylvac collection looks very pretty inside. I have sprayed lights, lanterns and frames but there are still quite a few gaps here and there. I love the idea of living minimalistically ( is that a word? ) but I don't think I am capable of doing so, the look will probably end up a lot more cluttered as time goes on. 
The walls are pretty bare but I want to get some black and white canvas wall art pieces done from old family photographs but that will have to wait until after Christmas.
The worst thing about decorating.....clearing up all the mess afterwards, my how dust and paint travels!!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Katie's Fabulous Weathering......

When I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour  a few months ago I noticed that the Diagon Alley shops had lots of signage both hanging and stuck on the walls of the various shops. I have been thinking about what to add to the walls of my shops when I came across Katie's Halloween range in her Etsy shop, Katie's Clay Corner.
 There were so many to choose from, all perfect for my project and beautifully aged and distressed.
 They come in a whole range of colours and sizes it was too hard to choose!
 So I asked Katie to make all my favourite ones in a mixed range of colours to suit my shops and as you can see they have arrived and I am so pleased with them.

Katie also kindly included a couple of extras which were very gratefully received as I never seem to order enough for this project! 
Thank you so much Katie for brightening up a very grey and damp day.