Saturday, August 10, 2019

Playing in the woods

After so many many hours admiring all your wonderful parquet wood floors on your blogs I was itching to have a go myself but things have to be done in order. I had to have sufficiently progressed with the floor layout and doors and base boards to be able to make a Template to work on. 
I have bought over this last year quite a lot of wood veneer in different colours but for this dining room end of the drawing room I realised that with the floor being so far back from view and low down on the ground floor it was not Worth really doing anything complicated.
My third sample test after doing two in card for the fit and size was done with 100 year old oak veneer bought in a recent car boot sale / yard sale.
As you can see the 'open' grain of the wood didn't look to scale and was a bit messy for my taste.
I worked on a base of 350 gram kraft card which is rigid enough not to bend but still thin enough to not add height to the floor.

I knew that I could use stain, filler and wax to get it right but having so many other alternative woods to work with it was pointless.

Missed a few photo but the method and design are the same. I chose a fine grained light colour wood veneer from a German Supplier ( ? ) didn't note the wood type. I made a plain strip surround to enclose the parquet pieces laid on the biais of course. Here it is sanded down ready for stain. I used an alcohol based 'Palissandre' stain which is redder than walnut but deeper than dark oak. 

I then gave it a coat of matt varnish, rubbed it down and waxed it up with antique wax to a nice realistic shine ready for a good layer of dust later !! 

Here it is glued down, not perfect but for my first attempt, not too bad.

As I just showed you the finished floor I cannot leave without showing the rest of the room instead of doing a second post.
I had decided to make this dining end in a slightly different style from the drawing room end just because it was fun. Here you can see the hutch/dresser dry fitted in place and the back removable window all fixed in place. The door still hasn't been given an extra piece to fill in the lower gap yet.

I was so nervous about glueing in this paper as there was not going to be a second chance. I made a Template for the wall then another in tracing paper to lay over Alison Davies lovely 'English countryside' scenic paper in order to choose the best sections given that the window bites into the scene. I then dry fitted the paper once cut and went to lie down and do some breathing exercises!
I had no idea how to glue, what glue to use etc and of course should have asked the lovely Alison but in the end I gave the wall a coat of slightly diluted wood glue to seal it which I usually do with wallpaper paste on a real scale room. This stops the wall drinking up the glue from the paper too quickly. I even papered to the left where the hutch/dresser would fit later.
Alison's papers are very heavy duty so they don't Bubble or wrinkle when glued.

A dry fit to make sure that ever millimetre has been sorted out. I also gave the base mdf floor a little stain around the edges before laying in case there would be any gaps, rather silly when no one will see the floor from above but just being finnicky as usual.

I made the ceiling cornicing plain with no added decor as the room is busy enough. On seeing the walls papered I decided to do a 'sky' painted ceiling in the end of the room, never of course to be seen! I add that the ceiling height is lower here than the other end. There will be a chandelier, two wall lights and a couple of lamps in the drawing room but I didn't want another working ceiling light over the dining table. I am going to just suspend a non electric light or candle chandelier in a garden theme and set LED spots into the ceiling. The lovely Tony from 'Miniature Treasures' gave me his contact for LED lights

Jennifer Smith the owner is lovely and you can explain what you need and she will make it up and the cost is very fair indeed. I wasn't sure if I could run LEDs and 'normal' dollhouse lights off the same circuit but it's all 12 volt, just the LED set up before the junction is slightly different because the wiring is one way and cannot be crossed.
More on the ceiling later.

To finish I wanted to show off my car boot/yard sale purchase of 100 year plus wood veneer from a lovely old man who saved it from his old boss using it to light his fire he had so much!
There is a mix of oak, walnut and mahogany, I paid 20 euros for the whole crate, enough wood for a lifetime. He said that he would call me when he found more. I have stored it flat weighed down with heavy books for the moment.

Friday, August 9, 2019


Summer is still in progress and back home after ten days in Scotland I am back posting some of the build from July. As much as I love my birth country of Scotland I do love being comfortable at home here with my dogs and my workroom, not to mention my own bed!

At the back of the drawing room which is my current build, there is a dining end with a dresser. I wanted the back window to be removable so to allow me to decorate the dining table or make adjustements from behind. I had thought this would take a few days but it took forever in reality.

I began by making a dummy wall on which to work comfortably before installing it into the real wall.
I needed a way to hide the fact that the window is removable so I made a pair of fake 'fixed' shutters using the same technique as the doors, a fine wood base and layers kraft card, some spackle filler and paint. I add here again that if you use this technique it is way best to paint the card before spackling/filling as this stops the sanding stage damaging the card. You can paint two layers of gesso/matt white paint before sanding then filling, it's a long process but Worth it in my eyes.

The shutters made in the usual way.

For the window I used real glass as I knew that there was going to be a lot of scraping off paint and plexi/acrylic doesn't like scraping whereas glass can take a lot. I used fine wood the same thickness as the glass then installed card over the edges on both sides to cover the join glass-wood. I then glued a fine strip of card around each pane to deepen the molding effect. It is important to scrape off the excess paint between each stage and not let it build up, again a LONG process but this is a test for ALL the other windows.

A quick installation test with some back lighting. This is still on the foam card dummy wall.

A dry fit into the real wall to test the praticality of the system. I set in a strip of molding under the window sill. Here you can see I glued strips of kraft card to immitate cross bars which will be spackled and painted.

The side panels will stabalise the window once in place. The gazing bars here have been painted, scraped, spackled, scraped, then painted twice with scraping then patinated and varnished with matt acrylic varnish and scraped again before cleaning.  At this point I realised that if I had to make another 32 windows in this style I would go crazy !

The window finally set in place. I glued a strip of wood along the ceiling line above the window as the wallpaper I ordered from Alison Davies is 8 inches high. You can see that I also heightened the base board. Sharp eyes can see how short my door is, it has since been added to, things like this happen.

This is the back of the build so far. Lots of electric wires all labelled. I used four clips from the back of an old picture frame to hold it in place for the moment.

You can see that the back of the window is less detailed than the front side.

I ordered some antique adhesive lead strip tape to use for the glazing bars in future windows. I have already used this product on real life windows and it was easy and effective and will stop me pulling my hair out if it works well in miniature scale.
When all the back walls are built I will encase the electrics and make it all ' nice and neat'. I wish then to build a back plexi unit on which I will paint greenery to be seen outside the back windows.

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Some summer fun

With my last post I felt that I had ended in a sad note and it is not my intention to share such things with you. So I decided today to make a random post of fun things to set the tone for the summer.

This is one of my favorite photos. It was taken in a tiny village in India where I had gone with my future husband and his family to pick up their uncle who was a priest and was going to marry us in a temple. When I arrived there were two children and slowly word got out and they came running over the fields to have their photo taken with me. Indian people love having their photo taken especially with foreigners. I ended up with a tiny baby in my arms much to the chagrin of my future mother in law who saw this as an invasion. They were all polite and lovely kids and wherever I went in India I had several kids and dogs always with me. 
I note that my hairdresser had accidentally dyed my hair red some days before ! 

This is a dear friend Guillaume, he is like my son and now lives in Hollywood. I was going through a rough time in Sao Paulo where I lived and he came to take me out for a walk. We were in the park and when we saw the photo with the star it seemed like a sign.

Guillaume and I in Hampi India. Poor boy had a tummy upset and was feeling terrible. As usual I have a dog, we called them all Ladoo, which means marzipan in Hindi. The heat was crushing but I was fine with it. There is  a saying that only 'mad dogs and englishmen go out in the mid day sun' !!

We stopped over on our way to Bangalore at this tiny restaurant that had just basic things but they were delighted with our visit and treated me like royalty.

Now as regards dogs, you can spend a fortune on expensive items and in the end they are happy with a cardboard box !!

This was taken in Brazil. Alias my little treasure had given birth to two very different dogs ! 
Caramel , the fluffy, butter wouldn't melt in my mouth and Dago the goofy mad allover the place dog. Alias looks like she cannot believe she made them! She was a wonderful mum.

Caramel was like a fluffy toy and he loved to sit next to my computer and look at me!

My other dog Bahia loved dressing up and would sit for hours as we draped her with fabric. She stayed with my ex in Brazil and has since had 5 Puppies that they all kept ! 

I came across this photo on the internet, it is my house some time ago. It is one of the biggest in the village so it lay empty for ages as no one wanted such a big place.

A random photo of my bedroom looking dust free for once. The commode was found in a junk shop for 40 euros, the embossed leather box on top was 20 euros, bought in the rain to 'save ' it! The lamp was found, needs a better shade and the Shepherd and Shepherdess came from a Junk stall in the South of France. 

Some of my vintage textiles, I have a LOT more than on this photo.

I buy old small suitcases to store embroidery threads and sewing things.

My lovely Lady with her pink bandana wondering what all the fuss is about and when are we going out to play ball ? 

Dora for once not moving during a photo.

Caramel today, I am looking after him for three weeks.
My ex and I gave him to his mum as a pup, he is a terror!

Looking good as he is not supposed to be on the sofa. This was taken at his home. The pillows I made from an old Brazilian photo of a school from 1928. I had it printed onto egyptian coton.

I love building things from scrap. A friend was throwing out a table I saved the legs. The front part I found in the street in Paris. The top finish is an old book of French Grammar that I took apart.
The pyramid holes are for passing cables.

I love to collect old French bronze decorative pieces from furniture.

I made a coat last year from some test fabric from Louis Vuitton. I was trying out the collar. I since finished it and put it away and forgot all about it as usual.

A friend asked me to make some emboidery samples, I used some felt and beads, its such an easy technique to use and is quite effective . 

I made this little pillow for a friends 60th birthday. She is one of those people who receive amazing jewellery and cars etc as gifts. I cannot compete, nor would I want to so I made her this and she thought it was her best gift.

Turning vintage pieces of fabric into pillows. I added the points to make it less plain. I used some lovely feather pillows to fill them that a designer was throwing away!

The back of another pillow showing a label that I used in Brazil.
Mini Murray.
It was for a second line of fun clothes. My stay in Brazil fell part at that time and they were never used. I have 200,000,000 of them !! Feels like that !

Two years ago I decided to make some purses and totes and pocket books and sell them on Etsy.

This one is an assembly of scraps, I never seem to thow anything away. I sewed them onto a piece of base linen before making into a pouch.

This is another technique, I love trying things out. Below you can see how it came out after washing it, it gives an interesting texture.

The finished pouch.

Notes on assembly. As usual I always make the hidden Inside parts as well as the outside although rarely seen. This is the lining with inner pocket. I still do it in the dollhouse.

This is another technique. It's calle 'Boro' and comes from Japan. It is bascially laying pieces of cloth over a worn place or hole and running stitches in some contrasting thread back and forth over the area. It has many possibilities. 

Another pouch in preparation with two photos taken from the Brazilian coton.

I emboidered her lips red and gave her some pearls and the boy a bow tie !

Another version with the finished pouch below. I added a small heart filled with lavender grains to each bag in the same fabrics as the lining.

Another version with its lavender square this time.

How to add on some biais when you run short. I used the biais to finish the inside of each pouch. When all these pouches and purses where finished I sort of forgot about them and ended up giving several away and as for the other ? Somewhere over the Rainbow of my workspace.

You might think and rightly so that I am all over the place with my creations but until I began making minis I searched for something that would 'hold' me and give me complete satisfaction and now with my now passion and craft I have found that. I still enjoy sewing, I learnt when I was 6 years old so that is a long time pulling a needle folks!

I hope that you all have a lovely summer somewhere or even nowhere. 

Huggs and love to all you lovely folks.