Sunday, 15 December 2013

The Shabby Chic Beach Hut.....Nearly Finished as Christmas Approaches.

The weather is awful here today so I have put the Summer behind me at last. Actually my youngest is coming home tomorrow so I have had to clear away all my stuff out of his bedroom.
On the plus side this project is well on the way to being totally finished.
I still have a few bits and pieces to add to the scene around the hut and a little bit of dirtying to the sand but the general work is done.
 I seem to have painted everything in my stash for days and days but the look has come together as I had hoped. Lily, my cute pug by Sarah Hendry, looks her usual un-fazed self on the board walk.
I have also added a Cheshire Cat balloon by Jain Squires, maybe he is why Lily looks so sad!!
 The interior is now finished with linen at the bottom of the dresser and Elizabeth Causeret's pottery on the shelves. The walls are fully covered with prints and boards creating the over-full look I wanted.
 Interesting stock has spilled outside the shop ready to attract any passing beach combers. I especially like the traditional radiator which was a Pheonix kit.
 This dress form was a gift and I have finally attempted images transfers as this vintage shoe wall print from the Graphics Fairy shows. I intend to do a post on my attempts with image transfers in the next couple of days. I have been so happy with the results.
 An ariel view of the interior showing my hanging baskets and an angel 'bunting' that I have hung on both sides of the hut. Great little wooden shapes I picked up in Hobbycraft.
 The chicken is by Pheonix, the planters by Euromins and all the other bits and pieces are charms, frames and findings that I have picked up along the way.
More cheap frames and findings along with my trio beach sign that came out better than I expected using mini stamps.
 I have put in a battery operated LED cupboard light, stuck to the removable side of the roof as I want some illumination as this piece will be going in my living room.
The light is a bit clumsy but it will never be seen and this project was more about dressing my living room as a match to my shabby chic house than a purely 1/12th piece so unless I come across a much tidier solution it can stay for a while.
You will notice I have only shown two sides......well i have to come clean, the left hand outside wall only has a bench and trellis at the moment. I want to make a few plants and flowers for this side. A place for the owner or shoppers to sit and enjoy the view. I have had trouble finding kits for white flowers so these will have to wait......until next summer!
Sorry, no links today, for some reason Blogger is playing up.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A Brief but Worthwhile Visit to the Kensington Dolls House Festival.

I was lucky enough to be able to visit the Kensington Dolls House Festival at the end of last month so I thought I would share some of the wonderful items I purchased. I only had an hour at the show because I had double booked myself, I am no socialite so it was sod's law that two events should occur on the same day! Fortuitously I only had to travel to the South Bank from Kensington so I was able to sneak in a cheeky shop!!
 I am planning a number of small Christmas projects for next year using the market stands I bought at the Apeldoorn show. There will be three traditional stands with one totally dedicated to all things gingerbread. I knew my time was limited to I had a map to hand with all the artisans I definitely wanted to see.
 Top of my list was the wonderful work of Linda Cummings. I was hoping to find an array of gingerbread marvels on her stand and was not disappointed.
 Linda only attends this fair once a year so I did buy quite a few pieces!!
 I am a huge admirer of Linda's work which she sells throughout the year in her Ebay shop lindac504 and she is collected by many people all round the world. If you like miniature food then do take a look at her work here
So with my gingerbread bought I headed to Jane Harrop's stand in order to buy some further Christmas goodies. 
I couldn't resist this tiny market stall kit and.....
 ......a tiny beach hut kit. I am going to make these to place alongside their 1/12th counterparts, I think they will look quirky and fun placed alongside.
 I also had to buy these Quick Kits as perfect shelf fillers and decorations for my market stands. Jane's kits are of a such high quality and come with everything you need. I love the packaging plus Jane is such a helpful and knowledgeable artisan.
 I couldn't resist this Santa teddy by Sally Reader. This artisan makes all sorts of tiny character dolls and now has a website making it even easier to purchase.
 I also stopped by the stand of The Giddy Kipper to collect my goblin couple that I reserved at the Apeldoorn show. Jain had a wonderful selection of characters as usual some of which are now for sale in her Etsy shop.
 I loved this couple as soon as I saw them and had to have them for Diagon Alley where they will be seen out shopping very soon!
 Jain's work is so detailed and always has that touch of humour and quirkiness that I can't resist. 
So I used my limited time to add a few well chosen items and then rushed off to watch Napoleon with the Philharmonia Orchestra at the South Bank Centre. I was really disappointed that I had to leave so early as the fair was buzzing this year with so much to see and a really vibrant atmosphere. It certainly seemed much more upbeat than the last couple of years with hundreds of people attending who appeared to be spending. Some stands were really busy so I hope all the sellers had a super successful show as we need all these talented people to keep on producing their wonderful pieces and providing people like me with inspiration.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Jill Lucas Sofa for my Shabby Chic House......

I was a very reluctant subscriber to FaceBook some time ago and only use it for contact with miniature friends, artisans and stockists really. It had come to my notice that many very talented artisans were only using FB to display and sell their individual items and my most recent purchase has made my joining more than worthwhile.
This absolutely fabulous sofa by Jill Lucas.
 I have been looking for a long while for a sofa for my shabby chic house that I made to compliment my newly decorated living room. Then I saw some of Jill's pieces on FB and contacted her with regards to a one off commission piece with some lovely fabric I bought off Ebay. These collections of remnants are perfect for someone like me who has trouble mixing and matching colours/patterns. These were quite pricey but I have used them in the beach hut too and they are a very nice quality. 
 I knew exactly how I wanted it to look and what size it needed to be to fit in what is quite a small scene. As you can see Jill did a fantastic job and the sofa far surpassed my expectations. The quality of her work is marvellous and I am soooo pleased with it. 
 As you can see it fits the room perfectly and is certainly chic and not at all shabby!!
 With the left over material Jill kindly made me some cushions, again the quality is superb.
I decided to use these in the upstairs bedroom. 
 No shabby bedroom should have less than five cushions!!
This project is really approaching the finish line now. I am hoping to have a few bits and bobs left over from the beach hut to accessorise a gap or two.
Jill's pieces have given the whole house an extra special finishing touch so glad I gave in and joined FB!!!

Monday, 18 November 2013

A Fabulous New Blog....My Witchy Cottages....Do Take A Look

I have just discovered a wonderful blog called My Witchy Cottages showing some fabulous work in 1/24th scale. I have only shown a couple of taster photographs here so do pop over and say hello while enjoying Nicola's delightful scenes.
I was absolutely blown away by the attention to detail and the sense of humour apparent in each little room. I must admit I was really impressed by the way each artisans work is allowed to shine amongst Nicola's own carefully placed pieces. I have really learnt some staging lessons and feel like pulling my own projects apart!!
The scenes look very simple until you realise how cleverly they are put together and how carefully each piece has been chosen.
So have a look everyone I am sure you will enjoy this blog as much as I have.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Spending Time in my Beach Hut Despite the Weather!!

"It maybe winter outside......" but I am fast finishing my beach hut by Julie Bennett. The interior of my Boudoir on the Beach is very nearly complete so I have lots of photographs to share. 
 On this unit are lots of pieces by one of my favourite artisans, Elizabeth Causeret, a French potter who does not have a website but exhibits at many shows. Eventually this unit will be full of her pieces as I collect more but for the moment I have filled it with bitsa and bobs. 
 As you can see the right hand wall still needs lots of prints. I thought I had made loads but I will be back to painting boards tomorrow as I have run out of prints. So annoying. I have not decided what to do with this front corner yet, I am thinking maybe a tall but slim mannekin, I will have a look at KDF at the end of the month. I might even buy a dressed one if I can find one gorgeously draped in a shabby chic manner.
 The back cabinet is by MollySue Miniatures who makes a whole range of pieces which she updates all the time. Her website is well worth a visit. 
I have filled it with all sorts of jewellery findings, beads, tins and Harry Potter left overs that I have painted or sprayed. The little lidded basket was a gift and I have filled it with the tiny pegs you can buy at hobby shops.
 I wanted the shop sign to look pretty distressed as this is a sea front hut so it would get attacked by salt and spray. Not sure I wanted it quite so distressed though. I used sticky lettering as stencils but when I peeled them off quite a but of paint came too!!
 An ariel view. I intend to cover the roof eaves with prints and frames too as I want the hut to have that really over-crowded look. The cut out words are from Hobbycraft they are just about the right size and came in mixed packets. 
 I also used up some old quoins, charms, buttons, tiny shells and candles that I had stashed away to fill shelves and make into art work for the walls.
 As you can see quite an eclectic mix including a quite set of hooks from an Italian seller I saw in Apeldoorn. At the back is a stack of three 'spools', these are wooden beads that I have painted and then wound with lace and ribbon off cuts. 
 I also made some pin boards covered with fabric off cuts I bought on Ebay which were all the perfect colours for this project. 
 This table is topped by pieces from Cinen Miniatures and the beautiful art deco lady was purchased at KDF. I made the lemon place mats using an image I found via google.
 Crate and wine box are by Cinen and I have filled them with rolls of material and 'wrapping paper'.
 These bottom shelves are a bit of a hodge podge with storage boxes I have made and some plain bisque bowls painted and filled with mini printies. You can just about see the spiral notebooks by Lolittle Miniatures, they are perfect little notebooks that I thought would go nicely on this very narrow shelf.
This piece will eventually house more of Elizabeth's wonderful pottery but it will have to do in the short term.
Lastly I have filled a little paper 'wicker' tub with bolts of material. I usually just fold, steam iron and glue bolts of fabric but with these I cut pieces of card and wrapped the material around. Much better method as the fabric sat more realistically. The little Beach Boudoir bands add a nice finishing touch too, strangely I think these bolts of fabric are my favourite things in the whole hut!!
I hope you have enjoyed a little walk through, now I must get back to painting and printing........again!!

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Het Kerstkraampje......or the Christmas Stall

A few people have asked for details of the fabulous kit I purchased from the Apeldoorn fair. This is how the kit comes, it is very light and would not be too costly to post. The cost even includes three packs of clay but I would forgo this if you want it to be posted as that would add a lot of weight.
 It is made by Ria Odijk who was absolutely delightful but her English was as good as my Dutch! If you wanted to email her I would suggest using Google translate if you are not a Dutch speaker. 
The instructions are all included but there is not an English, or any other, translation there are, however, plenty of photographs so I am sure it will go together quite easily. 
I am going to attempt this beautiful design but obviously you can make the kit in whatever design you like. My 'het kerstkraampje' will be selling all things Father Christmas.....maybe it will be ready to open next Christmas!
I have mentioned the amount of kits available at this fair and I purchased two from sellers whose range and quality I was really impressed with. The first is from a UK seller whose website I have looked at quite a few times with great interest so I was really pleased to meet her at the show. This birdcage kit is by Jane Harrop and even comes with full finishing instructions. Jane is just attending KDF for the first time this year and her items cover all three of the most popular scales. 
Her stand looked very professional and everything was beautifully packaged. I hope you will have a look at her website as she was so friendly and obviously has a real passion for all the items she makes.
I will definitely be visiting her stand later in the month at KDF
 Another stand that was amazing and very difficult to get near all day long was that of The Art of Mini. I have purchased a couple of their items on line before but wanted to see their furniture range as it has some very nice pieces.
I was not disappointed by the range and presentation, lovely packaging again! The furniture is quite different to other kits I have seen with matching pieces that look very well made. By the way the stand was mobbed by customers from start to finish I would suggest that their products are very sought after.
I only bought two small pieces to see if I am up to the challenge of these type of kits but if they go well I will be adding a range of her furniture to my collection next year without doubt.
I couldn't resist this dolls house shelving unit which was shown as both a bookcase and a 1/144th display. Not sure where it will go but I will have fun playing with it.
That was another good thing about the stand all the kits were displayed fully made in the most gorgeous room box displays using all their own products, so chic and inspirational I could have bought the whole stand!! 
 With the last of my euros burning a hole in my purse and the husband off sitting in the car listening to the football I decided to finish off by buying a few pieces for one of the Christmas market stalls from a seller whose card I have unfortunately misplaced.
 These very fine little ornaments are very popular in all sizes on the continent and having looked at them online I have decided to dedicate one stall to these tiny little scenes.
 They do come as kits for slightly cheaper prices but I bought mine ready made as the kits quite frankly frightened the life out of me! I will try the bigger pieces first I think.
I am so pleased that I had the opportunity to visit this show and I will return one day but next year I really want to do Paris which I am told is smaller but well worth a visit and either a German show or Madrid depending on when they are held. 
So I had better start saving the pennies and hope my children will look after me when I am old!!

Monday, 4 November 2013

My First European Fair Trip.....Apeldoorn, Holland

Sometimes I really don't know where the days disappear too, I can't believe it is a month since I last posted but I have been to far flung parts.....well Holland! I have visited my first European fair and had a fabulous time. It was in Apeldoorn and is the biggest annual fair in the Netherlands. I persuaded my better half that it would be a lovely way to spend my birthday and we would get a whole weekend together. Amazingly he agreed to drive through the Chunnel stopping in Gent on the way and visiting our Dutch friends in Rotterdam on the way back.
I am a huge Tripadvisor fan and after looking through the reviews decided to stay somewhere completely different, and B&B called the Pegasus Hotel that was described as being very quirky and out of the ordinary. Well, it was definitely quirky. A Victorian house absolutely stuffed full of the owners treasured antiques and collections of all things Victoriana. It was completely different to the usual places we stay, I admit to being a bit of a boutique hotel with power shower girlie, and it was an experience I am glad we tried. My husband really liked it but I think that was because of the price!!
As you can see the B&B was in an absolutely stunning building and more or less completely original inside. There were a lot of these houses in Apeldoorn that I drooled over during our visit. 
The fair was very close by and was held over two days but I only attended on the Saturday as we were going to Rotterdam on the Sunday.
The fair was probably the same sort of size as Minatura in Birmingham with the same variety of stands. The difference I noticed almost at once were the amount of dogs at the show. They were in smart buggies, specially converted zimmers/walkers, on leads and in bags!! In fact wherever we went in Holland was exceptionally dog friendly unlike the UK where taking your dog into public places is practically impossible. 
There were also far more stands that sold furniture and accessories in kit form than I have found at UK shows. This certainly made items a lot cheaper to buy and there was quite a variety. I was hoping to buy a small house/shop kit in a Dutch style specifically for a future Christmas project and fell in love with this kit.
This of course is the finished article and I hope I can create something as equally stunning. I loved the shape of the roof and the fact that all the pieces fit snuggly into a bag you take away with you. This lady makes a variety of kits all of which you can see on her stand and when I tell you that this kit was 37.50 euros you can understand that it was a must buy item!! 
This will be a definite project for 2014 and will be filled with all things Santa, as I am a big Santa fan.
As you can see her stand was very busy and I had to wait awhile to get close enough to buy my kit.
 This was her Snow White kit.....
.......and her cottage in 1/24th scale. 
I was really, really tempted to bring another one home but I think my old man would have started to ask awkward questions as I had already sent him back to the car with these....
......come on, 10 euros each how is a girl supposed to resist such bargains!! More Christmas projects for 2014!!
The final purchase I am going to post today is this fabulous stack of cauldrons made by one of my favourite artisans Georgia Marfels. I had seen some in her Etsy shop so made my way to her stand hoping that I had found and answer to my Potage's Cauldron Shop problem. How fabulous are these? I couldn't have asked for a more perfect stack to sit outside the shop. They are all individually made so you can have a stack of any size. I think they sold very well so I was lucky to be able to get the height I wanted in a variety of sizes.
I am off to Olympia tomorrow for Spirit of Christmas Fair, ostensibly for present shopping but I will be on the look out for any tiny decorations that will find their way into my newly opened Christmas stash.