Sunday, October 27, 2019

Laying bricks

As I am in the middle of sorting out the house for the future move I am frustrated to not be doing 'something' creatif with my hands. Many years ago I saw a tapestry covered brick in an old manor house used as a door stop. The Tapestry used was of course a piece of antique textile in keeping with the house. There were some bricks left from building the kitchen sink base so I first covered it with cardboard and tape to stop the dust then a layer of batting. I used an old bed quilt for the padding and then chose a vintage tapestry. The one I chose has a funny side story, I used to love these slightly kitsch pictures and often bought them to take out of the frame, wash and make pillows with. This particular one I had bid on via eBay but lost out and then next day when walking the dogs I found one, beautifuly framed just propped up in the street ! The SAME one, I could hardly believe it. 
My tastes have since evolved and I have more than enough Tapestry pillows but there is still a stock of these pictures in the attic. It was either cut it up and have the memory of the find or give it to local charity.

The picture was quite big but I decided to go 18th century kitsch and focus on the face. I think that this Tapestry was inspired by 'Boucher' painting. 

I had thought of doing a plain felt base but changed to total Tapestry.

Here is place and ready for it's new home next year.

I have since seen some with specially designed tapestries but the fun is in recycling, maybe this will inspire someone to do the same, even make them to sell at a fair. It was a fun quick project and one day I will probably do another , or two or three. I am a bit obsessive when I take to making things.
I actually found in storage 12 Tapestry pillows and a rug that I made in the 80's and 90's then a friend sent me a link to some amazing old bobble edged ones she saw on Etsy and a month later she sent them to me! They say that you can never have enough of a good thing but believe me you can!

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Amsterdam Paris Scotland

I can hardly believe it has been three weeks since my last post but as I have in the past posted twice in one day it's not a bad average. I am always sad when a good blog slowly or suddenly fades out because real life gets in the way. As I live alone my blog is one way I communicate with the 'outside' world and I love commenting back and forth with my wonderful followers. 
I was called home to Scotland when my mum felt ill and I spent ten days there sorting out her life and doing gardening and house cleaning etc.
The upside was over 8 hours stopover in wonderful Amsterdam on the way as there is no direct flight. I don't usually have enough time to justify going into town from Schiphol airport. 
I love this city it's easy to get around although with the advent of smartphones it's tricky to avoid Twitting and Facebooking Amsterdammers on their bicycles. Between this and clumsy tourists and up and down pavements it took longer than usual to get around. I had also spent two days going through two flea markets in Paris so my legs were giving in.
I decided to head for a restaurant called 'Café de Jaren' on Nieuwe Doelenstraat, a lovely place to share a table with strangers, read the local news and watch the canal out of the window.

After an hour I needed FOOD and sugar so I popped into this cute typical little café and ordered grilled Mozzarella with sun dried tomatoes. The Café de Jaren would have to wait. I was the only client and the owners mother made it for me and took it down from her home nearby. It was way the best grilled cheese ever.

Below is the Café de Jaren, I popped in on the way back from the flea market.

Amsterdam means flowers and especially tulips. The flower market is on the Singel Canal.
If I lived in Amsterdam my house would be full of flowers.
I bought 50 tulip bulbs that when open will look more like Peony roses than tulips. I paid 10 euros for 50 tulip bulbs! In the airport shops the price is several times more!

Amsterdam is mainly made from bricks on wooden pillars sunk into the ground. I thought that these steps would made a good detail in a future dollhouse.

Sometimes you see the strangest things. Small children surrounded by skulls and death!

I could NOT find any store selling miniatures which I found odd given the large miniature Community there. 

I went to the flea market in Amsterdam and found a few nice things which I have not yet photographed but I might make a post of just recent finds.  I didn't take photos as it was closing up by the time I arrived there. With any good market it's best to go really early. I bought a late 18th century plate, a mid century pottery lamp and a bronze statue by a well know Dutch sculptor. I will post some photos later.

Below the big Clignancourt Flea Market in Paris, miles and miles of stalls, way too big to visit in one day. I first went there 40 years ago and on the surface it hasn't changed a lot, except the prices!
When I was young and poor I had no money to buy anything good and now that I am OLD there is Nothing I really need. I won't turn up my nose at a good bargain though.

I have a similar printed Tapestry somewhere in this house, SOMEWHERE ! 

I avoided the many stalls of antique fabrics and trimmings.

Someone was actually selling old paint pots, goes to show never throw anything away!

This store sells multiples of many many things. It all looks good 'en masse' but there was nothing that I felt I needed.

More vintage textiles, embroidered bed linens and tapestries.

Enamel coffee pots were very popular at one time, this stall had masses of vintage enamelware. I used to collect vintage enamel water jugs until they became too expensive. I used to lock onto whatever was cheap and easy to find and begin collecting, this went from antique enamel, vintage jewellery and victorian photographs to purses and engravings. All these things are now out of my league. I still collect interesting porcelain for use and mid century pottery.

I have always known this stand selling vintage stock of pearls in glass, plastic and semi precious stones.

I LOVED this vintage Tapestry but there was no way it was going to fit into a taxi.

There is a stall selling antique 'stampings' and chandelier accessories and when I was Young I spent ages looking through it all and occasionally buying small things. This time I bought a large selection of small stampings that I hope to use in future mini projects. I paid 40 euros for all the items below.

I polished up a few pieces with fine wire wool. I can take moldings from some of these. 

I found a wonderful antique Chinese stand in Paris along with a beautiful carved chest in another flea market, a job lot of chandelier cristals and some good bronze drawer pulls. In Scotland I found some 'Indian Tree' porcelain and a lovely mid century porcelain dove. One of my favorite purchases is a largish white plaster statue of a boy, the same one that the painter Cézanne used in his still lives. 
I will post some pictures of these purchases that I left in Paris and will be brought here by my friends in a few days by car. 
I am going to visit my possible future new home in a few days, will keep you posted.
Please cross all your fingers and toes for me.

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

How does my garden grow

A little post on these cute little trees made last night.
I wanted to make some plants for the window ledge of the dining room which I also call 'the garden room' as between the wallpaper and some of the china collected it is fitting.

When I was up in Scotland this summer I picked this moss up from the pavement where it had Fallen from some trees. I felt it had potential for something. There were two distinct types of moss.

My collection of mini flower pots over the years. They are all real terra cotta and cost very little.

Here are a few I painted up to look like old ones. The long one is resin but takes paint well.
Ages ago I had tried rather unsuccessfully to 'age' some of these pots, taking too much care in the process but last night I just splotched and dabbed and voila!

This type of moss looks like sea coral so I painted a piece to later set on a black base to put in the Library which will have a slight 'cabinet de curiosity ' theme. The paint had the added advantage of hardening the moss making it easier to manipulate later.

And here are the plants ! I put some airclay into two matching pots to Anchor the trees.
I then rolled up small pieces of moss using wood glue to hold it in place then pushed in a short 'stalk' of florists wire in brown color. I dabbed on some green paint as the moss is quite brownish.
 I then checked the length and pushed the tree into the pot.
To simulate the ground you can use tea leaves from a tea bag as they are finer. I Simply painted brown the top of the 'soil'. I will redo these plants when it is nearer the time to decorate as his was mostly a test and another distraction.

The trees on the dining room window sill.

I has also thought of covering the moss balls in glue them covering them with dry tea leaves, not from a tea bag this time, then paint them in shades of green. Of course if you use this technique you don't need moss but perhaps small polystyrene balls or wooden or plastic beads.

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

King Louis lost his head

I should have written 'Mrs M lost her head' as here I am off at a tangent again.
I am busy sorting through things and packing up in anticipation of my move next year. If you saw my house you would understand just how many many weeks it's going to take to pack so each day I try to do one or two boxes. 
I am getting to the point really I am.
Below are two exemples of what we sometimes call a 'Marriage Mirror' and they date from the late 18th century onwards to mid 19th. There are many different qualities on the market but they usually sell for between 350 and 700 euros and not Something that I would purchase.

Here you can see poor headless Louis rescued from my antique dealer who bought it and dropped it and then hid it under a table with all the pieces in a box. I of course rummage in his store and finding it decided to 'rescue' it, so for 30 euros it was mine.
I had checked that all the pieces were there but figured that I just couldn't make it worse.

This is the back showing that the wood is not great quality so I guess that it was a sort of mass produced provincial version for the local market. It was made in the 'big town' called Laval near me from where I catch my train when I go anywhere.

The store was called 'CROISSANT' like the French breakfast roll and of course no longer exists. They won a medal in 1852 for their work and they sold wallpaper, frames and mirrors amongst many other items. 

Here you can see that I have already glued in a few pieces and noticed that a piece of mirror was missing so I sprayed some mirror silver onto the back of a piece of flexable plastic and after making a pattern I cut to fit and glued in place.

I 'aged' the mirror to fit in with the old one.

So far so good.

The top part of the mirror had warped and pushed forward which had fragilised the whole. I used synthetic putty to assemble the top after doing some tests on scraps to see how well it would glue.
I had never used synthetic putty before and I admit that the smell of it is enough to get anyone ready for a party ! I left it to dry for 24 hours before sanding it down. Its best to not get too much where you don't want it as it's tough to get off.

Here you can see the new angle of the top part. I think that originally it was slanted but warping had done a lot of damage. You can see that I had to fill in large cracks in the carving on the profile with the same putty and then sand down. I glued back in place the upright support although it doesn't really serve a purpose now.

The mirror almost done looking better.

I found this extra piece in the box of bits and almsot discarded it until I saw a gap and tried to place it. It sat in perfectly and filled a visual hole in the top. 

Here you can see that I gilded the putty filler with gold dust paint. When it is dry I will patinate it with some brown shoe polish.

Molding a piece to complete the bow before gilding and fixing in place.
I will refine it once dry.

Here is the synthetic putty I used. I says that it is perfect for polystyrene and wood assembly but it mostly used by model makers to fill in small inperfections in their builds. It is quite cheap at about 5 euros a small tube and I am sure that it has many applications in miniature work. 

Well I hope that this product will be of use to some of you, I am sure that it can be great as it doesn't seem to shrink, it sets super hard and is sandable and paintable. I would suggest gloves as I had a tough job getting ot off my fingers.

Once finished this mirror will go into storage and one day will hang somewhere in the new house.
I now have to find a solution to move the 300,000,000 books and magasines!