Thursday, 28 February 2013

Oh Dear a Little Deviation from The Cauldron.......

Having spent some time filling bottles lately I then made the mistake of speculating about my stash of potion jars and bottles. I seemed to use quite a lot of bottles for the bar and the trays in which I keep my filled jars and glass ware were looking pretty empty. 
This got me speculating about the apothecary shelves.........
 ......and such speculation quickly led to getting out one of the shelving units, which led to sorting through the jars, which led to sorting through labels and a whole week has come and gone!!
I went through all the filled jars I had not used in the witch house many moons ago and soaked off labels and cut off old lids and string.
I want each of the shelves to have matching labels and lids as I think Apothecary's should be very organised and I am totally OCD about tidy matching jars!!
This then led to a session on the computer planning matching labels for each shelf and looking up all the Harry Potter ingredients and potions. How can this take sooooo long!!
 As you can see each shelf has has the same bottle but I have broken them up with a corner crate in which I will put special jars from artists like Nikki Rowe. I discovered, however, that this one unit used up most of my stash of jars so I have also spent time sourcing jars in quantity and for a reasonable price. In truth I would have loved to have been able to buy all hand blown with gorgeous glass lids but they all seem to be at least £3-4 each and I need a lot.
 I found a couple of UK companies selling lovely jars in a variety of sizes: My Tiny World and TumDee Miniatures. Much cheaper ones are available on both Etsy: clothcampDIY and MixnMatch and Ebay: Goodthing4sell. Unfortunately these are outside Europe so if you live in the UK you will be at the mercy of the Post Offices's arbitrary £8.00 charge if your parcel gets pulled at customs.
So now I am thinking about lids for all these jars. I don't want them all to be cork or cloth. I tried today to make some plain black lids out of fimo like those in Snape's office....
....but I think my fimo was off as they all crumbled during making and baking. I am pretty rubbish with clay but I will buy some fresh as well as having a go with paperclay.  My main problem seems to be once I get the clay thin enough I can never get it off the glass tile! Oh well, what's another week!!
Any lid inspiration will be gratefully received I have a few to go yet.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Hag Birthday Cake by Linda Cummings....In Glorious Detail

Following all the wonderfully kind comments regarding the putting together of The Leaky Cauldron's bar I thought I would post some photographs of my fabulous centre piece.
 This masterpiece was created specially for my celebratory coven by master miniaturist Linda Cummings. I always head to Linda's stand at the Christmas KDF to look at the huge array of miniatures that she has on show and am lucky enough to have a couple of her spooky creations in my Diagon Alley collection.
 This year I plucked up the courage to ask her if she would be willing to make me the centrepiece for my table. Not only was she willing her enthusiasm was as great as mine. It is so rewarding when you commission a piece from an artist who is so eager to get on with the project and can't wait to start creating! I think Linda would have started there and then if she had had her clay with her!!
I hope you can make out all the details from the green fingernails to the bristled (actually real bristles!!) on the broomstick.
Amazing work as usual Linda.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Last Visit to The Leaky Cauldron Bar.....

Definitely the last photographs of The Leaky Cauldron Bar!! The inner opening door panels of dolls houses are quite often neglected but I always like to make this area another focal point. Sometimes this means adding shelves or paintings, The Leaky Cauldron obviously had to have both.
 The pictures are simply printies from the internet that I have framed using a variety of very inexpensive frames. 
 As you can see I ran out of frames and still need to add a few to the right hand sign. This project seems to eat up my stash at an alarming rate, no matter how many items I buy I always seem to run out!! 
 This is the back of the main door. Here I have glued a few posters of witchy event adverts that I thought The Leaky's customers might be interested in. Again these are printies from the internet.
 These are the wine boxes I have stuck to the far wall above the coven's party. The punch bowl is by Glasscraft and I have filled it with a bubbly pumpkin punch. Two of the crates are filled with generic wine bottles from Ebay sold in packs of six. The other bottles are from Glasscraft, Ray Storey and Etsy that I have filled and labelled. 
The upper room front shelf has a pile of vintage Daily Prophets, a wonderful domed butterfly display by Erika VanHorn, a marvellous mandrake that I have had stashed away for so long I have forgotten who I purchased it please!! There is a marvellous group of bottles by Kiva Ford and NickyCC alongside two glasses of Elven Elixir ready for guests in their room.  
 The over shelf displays a few filled bottles, one of Julie Lawton's marvellous owls and a stack of books by Lauren Delaney
 The bar shelf has a group of corked flasks, a filled decanter, a group of candles by Jenny Kelm and a little row of books I have made from internet printies and balsa.
 The bay window was a great place to display the beautiful plant I made from a kit by Pascale Garnier, very tricky but well worth the effort, with more filled decanters and bottles. The stained decanters are filled with glass paint as the necks were too narrow for scenic or solid water. This use of the glass paints was unexpectedly successful as with a bit of swishing the glass stained erratically making the drinks look old and vintage.
I want to finish this final visit to the bar with this lovely little scene of Julie Campbell's two Hogwarts students having a very merry lunch. I hope you have enjoyed looking through the scene as much as I have enjoyed putting it together.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Take a Bow, I Have Finished a Whole Room....The Leaky Cauldron

Today I have put in the last finishing touches to the bar of The Leaky Cauldron and tacky waxed in everything. This is it the room is officially done. There will be no more tweaking, primping or procrastinating, I promise to leave it alone.
The bar is open for business.
Three changes since yesterday: the blackboard showing all the Leaky's Specials, a very un-PC goblin head by Debbie Lyons and one of Sarah Hendry's wonderful cat sculptures.
This room has taken shape after two years of collecting and planning so I hope you will enjoy my walk through of all the different areas and perhaps discover a new miniature artisan.
These three raucous hags are all by Jain Squires, I adore Jain's work as it is so quirky and each doll is beautifully dressed. 
They are celebrating a birthday and have certainly taken full advantage of all the the Cauldron's hospitality. The poor cat, from Miss Sally World,  is exhausted by them. 
 I always find it really hard to begin piecing together each little scene as it will mean 'spoiling' a piece of furniture that it may have taken a while to source. So I thought long and hard  about my celebration table and asked the extremely talented Linda Cummings to create a Hag's Birthday Cake as my centrepiece. Linda is a real artist and we had lots of email discussions about size and design using photographs from the internet.
 As you can see Linda has created an absolute masterpiece that stands proudly above all those empty bottles!! The top of the cake has a crash landed witch with her red slippers and broom with actual bristles!! There are striped candles and flying bats as well as mushrooms and grisly fingers. Wow!! It is a total work of art and I am so glad I approached her at the Kensington Festival. Lin is a very talented lady who is so enthusiastic about her work and I feel truly honoured to own such a unique piece. Many, many thanks Lin.
 I have spent a lot of time trying to source bottles for this project and ended up buying quite a few off simply because of their shape, then I went to the Alexandra Palace Fair and was able to find quite a few there for a fraction of the cost!!
 I have also bought some gorgeous handblown miniature glass pieces from Glasscraft at various fairs. Although do check the size of the decanters necks if you are a solid water beginner like me. All the glass can be coloured with glass paints and I opted for this method too.
Ray Storey not only makes fabulous lights but also a range of very intersesting hand blown glass and I have used a number of shapes and colours, brown and green have worked really well.
My Tiny World also has a quite a varied range of glass, mostly jars, in all sizes which are of a lovely quality. 
 As my witches are more than a little tipsy they have spilt quite a few of their drinks. For these spills I decided to use Scenic Water from DeLuxe Materials. This is a very easy product as you simply, and carefully, heat the amount you need in the microwave. I used a little plastic tub with a jelly cube amount at a time, about the size of my thumb, in the microwave for 15 to 20 seconds but do be careful it gets very hot!!!!
Scenic Water can be coloured with water based paints, the specialist colours sold by Deluxe or even food colourings ( although I have read that these can fade ). Add tiny amounts until you get the colour you want. Scenic water sets quite quickly but it can be re-melted in the micro wave for a couple of seconds to make it runny again.
I simply spilt it on the table a bit at a time and then helped the drips stay in place using cocktail sticks. Scenic Water does not harden in the same way as Solid Water which is why food miniaturists use it for jellies but because it sets quite quickly it is good for spills.
Gosh I haven't got very far tonight but I am so pleased with this room I want to take my time sharing it.
One room down, nine more to go!!!

Monday, 11 February 2013

I Have Taken To The Bottle........At The Leaky Cauldron

After my little journey into all things shabby and chic I have returned to the cluttered and grungy world of Diagon Alley. The bar of The Leaky Cauldron needs all its bottles and crates filled and sorted ready to open its doors.
I have taken over the dining room table as my work room seems to be overflowing at the moment with all the pieces waiting to either go in the Cauldron or be finished off.
Here are a few of the necessary supplies for this messy and tricky operation: tacky wax for holding the bottles in place when filling, cocktail sticks for slow dripping, fine tipped syringes, a large glass tile for a work mat ( very easy to clean ), glass and creamic paints for tinting, and lots of tiny botttles and phials.
 These are a few that I have filled with Solid Water by Deluxe Materials. This is a resin product that you mix together to make a clear solution. The solution can be coloured with very small amounts of glass paint, oil paint and I even used tiny amounts of ceramic paint. It cannot be mixed with any water based paints. This product hardens off completely as long as you follow the mixing instructions. The more colour you add the darker the mixture. 
 I have been collecting bottles and decanters in all different shapes and sizes for a long time now intending to fill them with all different coloured wizarding liquids. I have now discovered that filling teeny, tiny bottles is not easy and in some cases totally impossible as the necks are just too thin. If I couldn't fill them, even with drips off a cocktail stick, I decided to simply paint them with glass paints. 
 I have filled the bar shelves with a mixture of shapes and sizes. Some of the bottles are the cheap acrylic types you can buy anywhere that I have simply re-labelled and dirtied up a little. 
 Some I have purchased at fairs and soaked off the labels and then added my own, Shepherd Miniatures have a really good glass range in a variety of shapes and colours.
I also printed off any witchy label I could find and stuck them to the back of the shelves and along the side to exaggerate the sense of clutter.
This was stage one of getting the bar together and today I had a full dress rehearsal......
I have lots of photos of all the different nooks and crannies to post tomorrow.