Tuesday, September 21, 2010

....and the winner is....

First of all, apologies to any of you who noticed that I have done the draw a couple of days late. I didn't forget, but it is very busy here and I ran out of time on the 19th. And the 20th. To make sure it was fair, I entered only those who had entered up to the 19th September in the draw.
I was amazed at how many names there were - thank you so much to you for entering!!! My gorgeous little Ella was very pleased to help me draw the prize.

The winner was Marta, who has a lovely blog with the most gorgeous shabby chic dollshouse! I would love to shrink small enough to go and live in it!! Congratulations, Marta...I really hope you like your prize. If you could contact me then I will mail your parcel out to you.

I hope you have a lovely week, with lots of smiles and laughs!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Party at the Shabby Cottage

I little while ago Kim set the table for a spectacular party and I thought it was a great idea, so today there is a little party at the shabby cottage, with delicious cake and cupcakes. I made the little Greengate table mats today and the pretty flowers in the pitcher were made by a lovely lady, Elizabeth, from my miniatures club. The cake is from Kim and the cupcakes are by Lory.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Shabby Window Mirror

I have been meaning to make a mirror for the living room for ages....I wanted one that looks as though it has been made from an old window frame. Then the other day when I was lost in blog-land, I saw a wondeful photo here of a lovely full-sized one, complete with shutters, and got all inspired. The main thing holding me up has been getting hold of a piece of real mirror that was around about the right size. I've pulled apart makeup compacts (mirror was too big) and shopped at the $2 shop (mirrors were too small), and then I remembered I had another mirror lurking in the shadows.

Now, no offence to anyone who has this mirror in their Victorian dollshouse, where it probably looks fantastic, but it doesn't suit my little shabby cottage at all, so....


...and a bit of paint, and glue and after the addition of a shutter that has been cut in half, here is my mirror and it looks just right in the living room. That wall needed something to brighten it up and I am really happy with it. It's not quite the same as the one in the photo but I thought that too much more embellishment in addition to the shutters would probably be a bit over the top.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tutorial - Decorating plates with waterslide decals

I have been thinking for some time about doing a tutorial to show you how I make the little plates you have seen on my blog and on Etsy. This is my first go at doing a tutorial, so please forgive any mistakes... also, if anyone can tell me how you get the photos to go bigger when you click on them, that would be greatly appreciated as I seem to have forgotten how to do it!!

So... first tutorial.....here goes.....

I make my little plates (and lots of other things) using waterslide decal paper. I bought it here. If you are in the UK you can also get it here. Unfortunately for me, it is extremely expensive to get it shipped half way round the world to New Zealand (it doubles the price!!!) but for you lucky people who don't live so far away, it won't be as expensive. You need to order the right decal paper for your printer....I have an injet. I use the clear waterslide decal paper.

For this tutorial I will show you how to make a collection of shabby chic plates. You need the images first of all - for these ones I bought a magazine with a wonderful plate display on the cover and photographed the cover to get images of the plates. You will need to crop them down as tightly as possible so that you can later easily make them the correct size. I also photoshopped a few things out - I took out the visible edges of the plate hangers on these plates.

However you get the images, you will need each individual image cropped right down to the edges. Then you need to accurately measure the diameter of the plates you will be using. The easiest surface to apply decals to is something smooth and flat....it is WAY WAY harder to apply the decals to cupped, curved and scallopped surfaces. If you can find some nice, delicately made plates, you will end up with a nicer result than if you use something clunky.

Once you have measured your plates, you need to make a document on your computer with your desired images sized to the correct size. Eg, the plates above are 24mm in diameter, so I have sized the images to 24mm in diameter as well. Print your document out. I use the best quality printing option and choose the "glossy photo paper" option....actually there are really good instructions included with the decal paper. If you are organised it can be better to print a whole page of images at once (that is what I do now), but you CAN print just a few....

...If you do this, then cut the printed part off the main sheet and save the main sheet for printing on again later.

Once you are sure the ink is properly dry (oh, I am SO impatient!!!), then you need to spray with a fixative. I use an acid-free matt fixative from an art supply shop. If you are buying your paper locally and don't have shipping issues, you could get the fixative from the same place you get your decal paper. Note: If you have a laser printer, apparently you can skip this step as the paper is already waterproof.

Then you have to wait for the fixative to dry. I clip it to the clothesline or leave it somewhere dry and try really hard to be patient. Once it is dry you can get started! Cut out your decal, keeping close to the edges. (Put your glasses on Carolyn!)

Drop your decal into a shallow bowl of water. It will curl up and then a short while later will flatten out again. The decal will be loosening from the backing...don't leave it in there too long.

When the decal has loosened from the backing, you can gently slide it onto the plate. Position it carefully, and then try to remove all water and air between the decal and the plate. I do this by pressing my thumb firmly down on the middle of the decal and then rolling it to the edges. It gets easier with practice....I've ruined plenty of decals - it certainly pays to have made spares!

If you manage to get the decal positioned nicely and the air and water out from underneath, then that's fantastic - put it carefully aside and let it dry out properly.....it's pretty frustrating if you knock it crooked and ruin it at this point. The decals are a little bit forgiving, but lots of handling will just ruin them - they can fold on themselves or stretch if you mess around with them too much. You can, however, make small adjustments if they aren't quite straight. After they have properly dried, they are pretty permanent.... when I have tried to scrape them off it was easy as pie just after they are applied and nearly impossible a few days later.

Here are the finished plates!

If you are making decals that don't cover the whole surface, like the little flower decal on the plate above, they are much easier to apply because you can just cut round the picture itself and don't need to be as accurate with positioning.
The little logo on this mixer is a decal I made and added.

I am a huge fan of these decals - I have made all the items in the above picture using them. If you use the clear waterslide decal paper you need to be aware that anything in your decal image that is white will be colourless on the finished decal. So if you then apply it to something green, the green will show through instead of white. The decals are slightly transparent, so putting them on a surface that is any colour other than white will alter the other colours too. Therefore it is easier to use a white background. But you can apply them to many different surfaces - the toybox and kitchen board above are wood, the Chocolate Pot is porcelain, the cannisters are metal and the little shabby cannister with the pansies is painted resin.

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial....you are very welcome to contact me with any questions. Have fun with your decal making!!!!