Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Filling the bookcase

I have a welcome sign for my cottage door now. Isn't it cute?

I spent all yesterday evening and some of this morning making little books for the bookcase. These are all titles I would LOVE to have in my full-sized bookcase! I still have a few more "shabby" themed book covers to use, even though there are really more than enough decorating books now - I need to work on some novels next or my poor little cottage-dweller won't have anything to read except froth!

As you can see, I still have more books to make before the bookcase is full enough to satisfy a real bibliophile, but I'm glad the shelves aren't sitting empty any more. Some of the books on the bottom shelf have been stolen out of my other dollshouse - they are made by Grace at Treefeathers and are just gorgeous. But I have to make nearly all the books myself because I have made the bookshelves so small that only teeny weeny books will fit on the two upper shelves.

NEWSFLASH!!! I went to the optician last week to finally have my eyes tested (it's always easier to do a good job of looking after the children than for a mother to look after herself, so I am proud of myself for even doing it!) . I was sure that I was short sighted and thought I might need glasses for driving. Well, how wrong can you be! Apparently my distance vision is perfectly fine but I need glasses for reading and doing close up work. And here am I thinking I could see. My new glasses have arrived and I put them on and ...


I can't believe that I have been managing all this time with such poor eyesight. Maybe I will be able to make better miniatures now.

I ordered some flower kits from Bonnie Lavish and they arrived today so I will be working on them next - hopefully I will have some beautiful flowers to show you soon!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chest of Drawers (and some goodies)

Last night I spent some time working on a chest of drawers for the bedroom. I wanted a certain style, so I had a look on the internet and I found the picture shown below....what a gorgeous piece of furniture!I had a couple of tries to make it....the first time I measured the space, printed a cropped version of this photo to the desired dimensions and used it as a template to cut the front and back pieces out of balsa wood. Such crappy wood but at least you can cut it with a pocket knife, which is a bonus if you are trying to cut curves without any of the right tools! I cut the top from balsa wood too and made the sides of thin cardboard, but when I put the chest into the room, it was too big. Yet another mini off to the bin.

So I made a smaller one, and this time made all the pieces from cardboard except the top, which is wood. The front and back are thick mountboard and the sides are thin cardboard. I didn't want the legs having that two-dimensional look, so I glued some small pieces of balsa wood to the legs to give them a more realistic shape. Then the whole piece got lots of layers of paint, trying to make it look old and worn. The bedroom is going to be white, with blue and pink accents.

At present, the handles are just the handles from the picture, cut out and glued on, so they are a bit one-dimensional, but I really like the style and don't know if I could make anything so fine any other way. I might print them on to thicker card and paint the edges black and then stick them on and they might look a little more realistic. By the time I got to this stage last night it was well after midnight, so I don't think I did too badly really.

I did say in my last post that I would 'fess up to having done some shopping recently. It's too far and too expensive to go to SIMP from here (New Zealand) but you can do way too much shopping just by sitting at the computer!! These beautiful baskets arrived last week, and you can see one of them sitting beside the chest in the bedroom. They are made by Glenda, who is a fellow kiwi. She sells them through her Etsy shop, and they are just gorgeous! I have a full-sized bag similar to these but in purple.

Here is another one on the shelf by the front door. The shelf is by Jemjoop.

And while I am owning up to shopping, you will probably have noticed the stunning vase of peonies on the chest....these were made by Pei Li and I am completely blown away by how pretty and delicate they are. They are made of cold porcelain and each flower is a different colour. She is so talented. I really love being able to include other miniaturists' work in this project....there are so many talented people out there! The little bundle of letters is part of the miniature mail that Linda made.

This is a photo of the whole wall. Still minus curtains but I will get to that eventually. One of the things I have made that I really love is the little birdhouse peg hanger that you can see on the wall above the chest. I made it from yet another photo found on the internet, mounted on wood, with a wooden roof and the very tip of a toothpick as a peg. It would be a good place to hang a pretty scarf or necklace. And my favourite picture in the house can be seen above the window. This is a reproduction of a beautiful watercolour painting my mother has hanging in her house. It is one of a pair, but my camera batteries died before I could photograph the other one. I really love this picture!

More later - I have to go and feed the family their lunch!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Giveaway Winner

First of all, thank you all so much for entering my giveaway draw. Some of my blog-heroes entered, which made me feel most amazed and happy! I am so grateful for the inspiration I get from your wonderful blogs. You are all so talented, clever and passionate! My lovely children, Matthew and Ella, were very happy to help me draw the winner's name.
We did it the low-tech way by putting all the names in a bowl and Matthew drew the winner.Congratulations to Francesca (Chipironini) who is the winner of the draw. So the parcel is off to Madrid!

Blogging can be quite addictive! I've struggled to "wait" until today to do another post. AND it can be a bit of a timewaster. I spent absolutely ages yesterday trying to figure out how to add a translating button onto this blog but I finally figured it out. And as for blog makeovers..... (!!!!)....well, once you get started you pretty well have to keep going until you finish. So now I have a made-over blog but it took me so long that I don't know if I'll do it again in a hurry!

'Fess up time is coming....I've been doing some shopping! Now that the sun has finally come out (it's been a rainy, wet, cold winter here so far), I can get some good photos and show you some little bits and pieces.....

Monday, June 21, 2010

Carolyn's Giveaway

I thought I would have a giveaway to celebrate reaching 100 followers, but the big 100 came and went before I had prepared everything. Now it is ready and I am delighted to be able to offer this giveaway. All you have to do to be eligible is to be a follower and leave a comment and I will enter you in the draw, to be drawn on 26th June.

Good luck! I really hope you like these little miniatures!

xxxx Carolyn

Friday, June 18, 2010

Washstand, Bench and some miniature mail

I have been busy with cardboard and wire again and have made this little washstand for the bedroom in the Shabby Cottage.

I followed the instructions in Christine-Lea Frisoni's wonderful book Le Grand Livre de la Maison Miniature. When I had finished, it looked a bit as though it was up on stilts, so I shortened the legs down until it seemed the right size for this small room.

My friend Trish is a talented painter and had painted this Chrysnbon bowl with beautiful flowers, so I cut a hole in the top of the washstand and put the bowl in. Then I had to repaint the stand a more creamy colour to match the bowl.

I already had the porcelain jug, and it is just the right colour and size!

This is a picture of the bottom shelf - the basket is by Al Chandronnait (but I took the handle off). I made the little towels from some very fine towelling from a pair of baby mittens.

I made the round soaps from fimo and wrapped them in tissue and labelled them, and I made the "Cath Kidson" box and the bird's egg soap box.

The comb and the soap dish are also painted by my friend Trish as part of the same set as the bowl. The little cranberry glass jar is by Glasscraft and I made the perfume bottle from a pretty bead.

I was excited to open a parcel today which arrived from Lory Tonetti. I bought a beautiful shelf from her....matching the bowl she made. "Imagine my disappointment" when I realised that I couldn't fit it into the cottage - the cottage is really quite small and I didn't have much wall space.....however.....it is just the right size to be a bench by the front door....and here it is, with it's new legs, looking beautiful (I hope Lory doesn't mind!!).

And here is the co-ordinating bowl on the living room table. So beautiful!

I was delighted to find that the mailman had brought some miniature mail for my Shabby Cottage the other day.

This gorgeous little shoebox full of letters, postcards and envelopes arrived from Linda - all so beautifully made and detailed! Now I have some delightful little letters to place around the house.

Here are some in the letter rack (also painted by Trish). And some more on the bottom shelf of the table. Alison's little sweets are shown better here...aren't they gorgeous!

And finally... ...WOW....I have over 100 followers.....I am so amazed and happy that you are interested in my blog....thank you so much for your comments and your interest. I am really enjoying visiting your blogs too and getting so many wonderful ideas and inspiration from your work. Thank you so much!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I dropped the bear in the paint!

I can't believe I am so silly. I decided to paint the upstairs bedroom. I had papered it in blue toile paper when I was building the house, but have since gone right off it. Since deciding to move the little boy's room into that room, it needed to be redone, so I have painted the walls cloudy blue (I still have some retouching to do on the ceiling!). I somehow managed to DROP the little miniature bear Alison gave me into a pot of blue paint!!!!! I was so upset. Out he came and when I rinsed him under the tap (poor little guy), most of the blue paint came off. Unfortunately, so did one of his ears and his face, which had been drawn on with a pen. Oh dear! After he had dried out, I glued his ear back on and also added two tiny little no-hole glass beads to be his new eyes, and a cluster of three beads for his nose. And here he is, looking a little more worn but still very much loved! On a happier note, here are a couple more things I have made for the shabby cottage. I really like having old shutters as displays, so I have made an old shutter for the shabby bedroom. I might add some coat hooks or drape some jewellery/scarfs over it when I have time to make some. Next to the shutter is another table I made (this usually lives downstairs in the living room). Worn and old and rusty, and on top are some pretty fruit jellies made by Alison Brand. They look delicious!! You can't really see how lovely they are so I'll take a better photo of them one day. Here is a view of the shutter display taken through the window. Again, thank you for all your comments on my last post - I was delighted to find Nadine's table tutorial I was looking for, with your kind help. It is exciting to see my followers climbing towards the big 100....keep watching for a celebration.....

....and finally, I have spent some time today putting some shabby bits and pieces on Etsy....

including the firescreen pictured above and some shabby plates.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Shabby Table

I was trolling around the internet in the middle of the night a while ago and found a wonderful photo of a little table - I think this was a tutorial by Christine-Lea Frisoni (by the way, if anyone knows where I could access this tutorial I would be so grateful!!!). It is pictured below. I just loved this little table, so I had a go at making one today (rainy weekend). I had the same old superglue issues but I am quite pleased with this little table for the shabby bedroom....I have made it rusty so it looks old and well-loved.

Thank you so much for your comments - I really appreciate them!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I hate superglue!!!

I really hate superglue. It never seems to stick the things it is meant to, but always does a fantastic job of sticking my fingers together. I avoid it whenever I can but got it out today to help me make this shabby bed for the cottage.

I've spent ages on this today and I'm not sure if I like it or not. I used florists wire and cardboard and some findings and painted it all over with gesso. Then I stuck some little flowers on. I think this bed actually looks better in the room with the bare boards so I may swap the upstairs rooms over.

A friend sent me a bundle of lace the other day so I have used one piece as a coverlet but I'm not sure if this is really the look I wanted for the bed so it may change yet! The saying of the day is "not sure" !!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Tiny Bear

In my last post, I said that I would try to get some better photos of the little bear who arrived the other day in an envelope. Here he is on the bed in the little boy's room upstairs in the shabby cottage. He is just 2omm tall when sitting down!!! I can't believe that Alison managed to make such a teeny weeny bear, all beautifully jointed. Alison is a bearmaker who makes fullsized teddybears... she made this bear as a special gift after I was talking to her about wanting a tiny polar bear for the shabby cottage.....my little boy Matthew's favourite toy is his polar bear Snowy (pictured with the miniature Snowy). What a nice surprise. Thank you so much, Alison!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

I made a garden!!

This is the outside of my little shabby cottage - with the garden done!!! I have never made a garden before, so I was really grateful to my friend Trish, who taught me how to do it. The base is just an old black picture frame, which I painted white, and the garden is made from air-drying clay. I am so proud of myself. The only part of the garden that isn't finished is the vege garden which is at the side of the house...I have to make some tomato plants first. I didn't make all these flowers - some of them are commerically available, some I stole out of various paper plants I had been given over the years, and some are plastic goldfish bowl plants given to me by Trish, and some are little bits of grasses and sticks that I found while walking the kiddies to school.
I am really proud of my rocks and especially the slate stone at the front door. It was such fun painting the stones. And sticking "moss" in between them hides all the places that were hard to paint, or where the clay shrank too much as it dried.

The tub of pansies is gorgeous and was made by a friend, Elizabeth, who makes the most beautiful flowers....she also made the daisies by the front door.
This is a view of the back of the cottage. It isn't very big - there are just four rooms. I have only been working downstairs so far. The kitchen is well on the way but of course there are lots of shelves to fill there. The living room is slowly filling up. The left upstairs room is to be the main bedroom but I haven't started in there yet. The room upstairs on the right is to be a little boys room. So far, I have painted and assembled the little steel bed for that room, and sitting on the bed is a tiny bear, just 20mm high, that arrived out of the blue the other day in an envelope, from a lovely lady, Alison, who I met recently at a fair. She had made him for me and sent him along as a gift....it is the smallest bear she has ever made and it is all jointed!!! I will try and get a better photo of him soon.Here is a photo of the kitchen - I have made some "Green Gate" plates for the shelf and I am delighted with them! The little pink and green tumblers are by Chrysnbon. The sink unit is a Dolls House Emporium piece - I painted it and aged it and took out three of the drawers and replaced them with baskets. I made the little "enamel" utensil rack after being inspired by Mercedes wondeful blog....you will see other ideas I have "borrowed" from her as well, I'm sure! Here is another photo of the kitchen....still a lot to do....I have to do the curtains and fill all the cabinets. The little parfait glasses are another idea borrowed from Mercedes. I made the tin signs. The appliances are a bit sleek and shiny, really, but I already had them so decided to use them in this house, rather than buy/make some other ones.Here is the cabinet I made, which sits above the kitchen table...You can see the gorgeous little salt container made by Sylvia . The inside of the cabinet didn't stay pink for long....I like this faded greeny blue much better. I have a lot of work to do to fill this cabinet now. I have started making some books....I will need to make a lot more to fill the bookcase!

Welcome to my new followers....it is lovely to have you visit my blog - I am really enjoying visiting your blogs and seeing your wonderful miniatures!!!