Thursday, 23 May 2013

Slug and Jiggers Needs A Lot of Stuff!!

I have been trying to get to grips with the internal dressing of Slug and Jiggers this week and began with the internal windows of the workroom. So far I have installed two window ledges.
 This room is supposed to be much more hectic and messy than the pristine downstairs. The shelves have a mixture of potion making paraphenalia. Scrolls, manuscripts and acorn caps are mingled with a skull and brass hour glass. A couple of Ray Storey's hand blown jars have been filled with pumpkin potion and topped with Lory's tiny pumpkins. The two pumpkins are by Nikki Rowe.
 The second shelf is full of my mandrakes by Mag's Magnifient Miniatures and Georgia Marfels. Plus the obligatory scrolls, parchments, candles, a pile of potion labels, a few mushrooms and some golden balls of sunshine!!
I also decided to have a go at making some open 'wine' boxes for special potions to display in the apothecary. I used my lovely new table saw for cutting the wood in super quick time and almost all of them were the right size!!
 I think I will stain them in wood and then give them an over wash to match the colour of the potion inside the box. Glue on a Slug and Jiggers label and I am sure they will fly off the shelves.
 An untidy workroom will mean lots of scrolls so I sat down in front of the television one evening this week and began rolling. I have tried to use up any printies I have that will never be used because they were the wrong scale or surplus to requirements. 
 Love my new saw.......cut a worktop to size, stained and polished then glued to the counter. 
 I decided the 'glass' top would not work as potion making surface and prefer the wooden top. The internal drawers have all been filled with ingredients, mostly from my herb shelves all mixed with PVA to make them stay in place.
There seems to be so many things to do at the moment that I have found it hard to start. On unpacking my stash I realised I had very few wizardy brass items, so I am waiting for a couple of bits and pieces to arrive. I want to make some piles of manuscripts and labels, brown paper packages tied up with string and work out how to install the copper piping. 
I really should have gone for a minimalist project!!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Pottering Around Slug and Jiggers......

I have been Spring cleaning my real house this week but after so much hard work I decided it was time to return to doing some of the things I really want to play with. I hate housework with a passion, I know many people look around and feel a sense of achievement as they work through their chores, me? I just wish I had a cleaner!!
Anyway, I have stained and varnished the pieces for the upper room. I have sanded them down over and over again to distress them but the stain seemed to really bite into this wood. 
 I am not sure whether to tile the back of the sink or not, as it will be covered with gunge, debris and all sorts of bits and pieces I am don't think I really need to.
 I have also added the owl stand by Michael Mortimer as I think Mrs Slug would like a companion in her work. I bought the tiny brass handles at KDF from Pheonix Models and finished off the apothecary cabinet. I really wish I had tried to make a couple of open drawers but it is too late now. Next time!!
 The haberdashery counter has stained really nicely but I do think it needs a proper work top rather than the acrylic top. I bought the counter from Apollo Miniatures a long while ago.
 This is the back view which I really like, it seems a shame to hide it. The chiminea is a piece by Nikki Rowe and the pictures really do not do it justice at all. The coals look amazing. I have had this piece for a couple of years now but I think I have finally found the right place for it. 
 The skirting boards are now in and I have added some LED lights to the upper floor. I also gave the walls and floors a pasting of PVA and water mix to toughen up the interiors.
As I am now looking at the 'dressing' stage of this project I have been looking through various boxes getting together the pieces I have been collecting. This is great fun and sometimes a little shocking, but I do end up spending a lot of time playing.
I found these gorgeous wooden barrels and troughs by S and S Eismont whose work I absolutely adore I put them outside? I want to fill the troughs with miniature herb plants but the barrels are so beautifully made I really don't want to mess with them.
 Barrels and trough?
 Trough high and barrels low? Decisions, decisions......
 I have also added a small table to the downstairs shop as an additional display counter. I even managed to match the paint effect quite well this time which was a bonus!
My next job will be to make some hanging herb sprays for the walls and ceilings and have a major play with all the bits I have been stashing away. I also want to add some copper pipe work upstairs, make a work top and decide where all my grunge, spillages and debris is going in the upstairs potion room. 
Oh and begin dressing all the furniture. More potions to make!!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

A Trip to London For The Kensington Dolls House Festival.....

I made a very special trip to London this weekend not only to visit the Kensington Festival but to meet up with lots of ladies whose work I have admired and collected for a number of years. We spent a fun evening at a nearby hotel before attending the fair yesterday.
I was also very delighted to receive these wonderful gifts from Nikki Rowe a handmade gift box containing amongst other thing this sweet door hanger....
 ......and this marvellous pendant made from Fimo. Thank you Nikki, as ever full of life and generous to a fault.
 This was also the first time I had met Debbie Wright whose blog has long been a resource for both information and inspiration. Debbie is incredibly generous with her support and advice to new miniaturists so it was lovely to be able to thank her in person. All the way from Wales Debbie bought me a red Welsh dragon for my Magical Menagerie. I hope you enjoy your mini break in Kent with your friends Debbie.
 We were also joined by a young miniaturist Michael Robbins who is always dropping by my blog with helpful advice and really valuable suggestions. His enthusiasm for miniatures is boundless and he has an incredible eye for the small details. I was so surprised and pleased to receive this fabulous stack of tottering books that Michael has made with my Flourish and Blotts project in mind. Thank you Michael for your super gift.
Michael has just started selling some of his items on Ebay please check out his items here.
All these gifts meant I arrived at the fair with a full bag!! I did, however, manage to buy a few essentials including these fabulous items.
 This water heater in brass and copper is by Jeff Mewies and I am intending to put this above the sink of the workroom in Slug and Jiggers. Jeff does not have a website.
 Of course I had to visit the stand of my absolute favourite miniature potter Elizabeth Causeret where I picked up a few pieces again for the work room of Slug and Jiggers. 
 I have a beach hut sitting on the side of my workshop waiting for me to turn into a shabby chic shop so I was really interested in a new seller from Italy, Cinen, who had a lovely display of shabby chic items. 
I was also really pleased to discover that Lidi Stroud was attending the fair all the way from Australia with her fabulous handmade baskets and these amazing gumnuts. How cute are these!! Perfect for Slug and Jiggers of course. 

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Remember the Foam Clay? Preparing for Honeydukes.....

As I was feeling a little 'potioned out' I thought I would leave the dark and dingy shelves of Slug and Jiggers for a couple of weeks and try my hand at sweet making ready for Honeydukes. A few weeks ago I saw these pots in The Range, cheap as chips, ideal for playing with and getting to grips with clay. If my attempts are as awful as they usually are I won't feel I have wasted a ton of money.
The little pots contained a very light, easily kneaded compound that appears to be full of tiny caviar beads. It is a little bit sticky and you have to make sure you keep all your pieces well spaced as they will merge into each other. The clay is air drying too which is good.
 Some lollipops both giant and small. You can see the beaded texture of the clay which is great for sweets. This clay can only be rolled and squashed really and it will settle flat if you try and make something with more weight. I was hoping to make dragon eggs from the more earthy colours but the shapes just flattened on the glass tile.
 Some candy canes. Not too sure about scales yet but they look ok.
 Medium and tiny clusters for jars of sweets. The pom pom lollipops have cheap plastic hair brush bristles for their sticks. A tip that has worked very well.
 The texture can really be seen well here. They look like the horrible sweets you get with Liquorice Allsorts
At the back of the tile are my attempts at liquorice wands and sticks. Again I sort of guessed the scales and thought any over sized ones can be put in shopping baskets. 
More weird and wonderful lollipops that will need their sticks cut to size. I allowed everything to dry off overnight and it appears to have hardened off perfectly well. Apparently this stuff sticks to paper as well so I will use the more earthy tones on book covers.
I have also been playing with Sculpey but I will share the results of that experiment tomorrow!!