Most of the time these days I'm using mobile internet via my phone and I've been seduced by the ease of posting to Facebook, and discouraged by the hassle I'm having with working out mobile blogging, so Blogger and I have had a lull in our relationship. I will try to do better!
In the meantime if you'd like to catch up with what little has been going on in my mini world since September I invite you to take scroll through my Facebook page - it's public so you don't need a Facebook account to view it.
There was no mini work at all done over the summer, lots of work done on our real human size cottage in New Zealand though.
The most fun I had was working on the kitchen
Bye bye dark brown, hello lighter and brighter
don't worry about the wonky drawer handles, they're all fixed now
Playing with bunting was fun too
We're back in Australia, and back into house-sitting assignments, but a little mini work is happening. I have a French chair commission to finish and then I can turn my thoughts to a little giveaway so watch this space ... I promise something will happen before too long!
Painted another light fitting this morning to change it from shiny gold to an aged look, using cheap acrylic paint (Chromacryl brand), mostly gold with bit of burnt umber mixed in. Because the metal resists the water based paint it ends up looking a bit streaky but when you want an aged look that's not a bad thing. If necessary maybe you could avoid this perhaps by spraying first with Rustoleum primer and then painting with the acrylic mix but that's just a guess, I haven't tried it myself. If you want a nice smooth finish a paint that the metal will take much better than the acrylic is the enamel in the little pots such as Humbrol. In a few places I added an extra layer that had a bit more brown in it than the original mix. The shades already had the gold edging.
I'm thinking now about how to age and 'dirty' the white shades a little, because they're so smooth I'm not sure dry brushing will work. If you have any suggestions please share!
UPDATE - check out the comments section for suggestions made by fabulous miniaturists!
It seems that almost all dollhouse light fittings are gold which is often very nice, but not always. I don't want gold fittings in my French hallways so I got busy with my favourite spray paint, Rust-oleum x2, and I now have two pretty white lights ready to install.
In Australia Bunnings stock Rustoleum paint, some other hardware stores may also.
This isn't the most attractive view of the Brocante and two floor apartment but it does put the building as a whole into perspective. Today's job is to drill the holes and make wiring grooves for the lighting in the middle floor hallway, living room, kitchen and dining space and then do the same for the top floor. Theoretically the interior should all come together quite quickly once that's done.
Some of the bits and pieces from the kitchen shelves came loose 'in transit' and are now in a box waiting to be glued in shortly.
The cream upper hallway door mentioned in the previous post has now been more or less restored to how it looked before I added the offending coat of pale grey glaze and I'm definitely not touching it again!
There have been a lot of life changes since my last post. Both of us are now retired, we've moved out of our Sydney apartment, disposed of all of our furniture and so on, put personal belongings in storage and are now full-time house/petsitting. Of course most people who live this type of nomadic lifestyle don't have to move a three level dollhouse and mini-making equipment with them so that aspect is a little challenging but otherwise we're enjoying the experience.
In regard to my many many boxes of mini stuff working out what to store and what to take was a bit of a challenge and I did make a few mistakes (like forgetting the box of door handles) but mostly I have with me what I need for the moment. I'm concentrating on finalising lighting decisions and finishing the walls and floors on the third floor (hallway, bathroom and double width bedroom).
Below left is a mock-up of the bedroom interior. The grey door has had more coats of paint on it than most of us have had hot dinners! It was previously green on both sides (with multiple shades and coats involved in that too) but I decided to change to grey on the bedroom side. Quite liked the result (left) after a few coats, washes and sanding but decided this morning to give it a final coat of 50/50 pale grey paint and matte glaze to soften it, result on the right.
I think it still needs just a hint of dry brushing with a little bit of green on the lower panels so that it looks like the grey has worn and allowed a little of a previous coat of paint to show through, but otherwise I'm pleased with the softer look and will try to resist playing with it again.
However, sometimes change is not a good thing and I really should leave well enough alone!! I don't know why I thought for even a second that it was a good idea to put a coat of the light grey 50/50 glaze on the cream hallway side of the door as well, but I did. Now, keeping in mind that it took me AGES to get this side of the door (which was also green) to pretty much match the cupboard door which was done months and months ago, this is clearly one of the stupidest and logic defying changes I've ever made. Honestly, sometimes I should be supervised!!
Given the number of times I do and redo, and redo again (and again!) it's no wonder it takes me so long to complete a project!
Thanks for your good wishes for the fair, it was a lot of fun and very busy. I'm sure there were more traders than last year and there were definitely more handmade goods which is always great to see. Here's my table just after setting up.
I managed to get a few other photos. My friend Linda Larsen made her fair debut, she creates gorgeous, imaginative, one-of-a-kind furniture and settings which were very popular.
(click for Linda's FACEBOOK page to see detailed photos and here to visit her ETSY store)
Trading near me was Justine with her cute needle felted animals.
(click for Justine's FACEBOOK page to see detailed photos)
There were some great projects on exhibition too including these fabulous French shops.
All going to plan I'll have my Brocante and apartment to exhibit next year, along with some wonderful French shops created by friends if I can successfully sweet talk them into creating a Rue de Rêves Français.
This weekend (2-3 May) is the biggest weekend on the miniatures calendar around here so I've been a bit distracted from the French apartment preparing for it. This is a mock-up of my sales table display using a repurposed DVD storage unit. The weather's not great, rain forecast for the whole weekend has already started so that's not the best but hopefully there will be lots of dedicated miniature lovers who'll come anyway.
Once the fair's over it'll be full steam ahead on the French project because I really need to get it finished in the next couple of months as there are big life changes coming up. We'll be moving out of our apartment and into full-time housesitting for a few months before spending the summer at our cottage in New Zealand, although I can take small projects with me to work on it obviously isn't practical to move a 3 level building around with us. The only room left to do is the bedroom but there's also a lot of wiring to take care of and the outside to be finished so there's plenty to do. Although I'm very tempted to set up the salon with all the furniture and accessories now that the walls have been repainted I've decided not to do it until the wiring and bedroom are completed because then I won't have to dismantle and pack everything again before I can start work on those.
If you're in the Sydney area and can come to the fair please stop by my table and say hi!
This medallion chair is upholstered in strawberry gold silk, isn't it just the most delicious colour!
7 days and 7 coats of paint later, including several washes and some sponging, I think the salon walls are pretty much as they need to be although I might try an almost transparent wash of gloss medium and light green to counter the slightly too flat/chalky finish. The variations are fairly subtle so I hope you can see they actually are there, but then that is the idea really, if they were too obvious I would have totally failed. It should look aged but not like several different painters, all with different paint pots, have been let loose after entirely too much red wine!
Next step is reconstructing the room and decorating it - yay! the fun bit at last - I can get all sorts of delicious bits and pieces out of their boxes and into their 'home'.
I always planned that le salon in the French apartment would be off white, not as white as in the mock-up with the furniture, but white none the less, So why then did I find myself reaching for the green and grey paint this afternoon to mix a custom colour that is definitely not white? That's not the first time this has happened, the dining room was going to be grey but instead I found myself painting the walls cream - ok, they did get several coats of grey was here and there in the layering process but they're certainly not grey!
This is just the first of many coats of paint on the salon walls, each one will be ever so slightly different to the one before with some coats sponged on, others in an almost transparent wash- why can't I just follow the sensible regime of 'one undercoats, two top coats', it would make life so much simpler but as soon as the paint brushes come out I have to get all complicated and time consuming!
I'm not sure if I should describe miniatures as a hobby or an obsession, but it's the best escape from the cares of the world that I know - and an opportunity to indulge a love of vintage decor without breaking the bank.