Sunday, December 23, 2012

Season's greetings!!

Thanks for all your inspiration and friendship in 2012!
Let's do it again next year!!

Card image source (text added in Picmonkey)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Not sure if I can resist the temptation...

I should be working on the dining room or the salon I suppose but I've been collecting inspiration pictures for another project and my fingers are itching ...

Monday, December 3, 2012

JeanJacques Brisson - Paris Rooftops

This amazing project by Jean Jacques Brisson is all over Pinterest so some of you will have seen it before.  It's definitely high on my list of the most intriguing miniature projects I've seen and I'm sure lots of you will love it too so I thought I'd share it as not all of you use Pinterest (and therefore have many more hours in a day to do 'useful' things!). 

Click here to see the source page which has a couple of other (very different) creations of his. That page is dated Feb 2010 but I don't know when this was made. Unfortunately  Brisson's website ( seems to have disappeared from cyberspace.  The URL appears in Google cache but the links don't work.  

Thanks Nathalie for the information that a video of M. Brisson can be found here


I found his new website!!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Fabulously Small'

I stumbled upon Monique's blog Fabulously Small today - if you haven't seen it yet be sure to take a look.

Amongst other things, I love what she's been doing with old clock faces and watch parts, this creation is one of my favourites from a post dated 26 July 2012.

As an added bonus she's having a giveaway to celebrate 100 Followers, so be sure to visit before the deadline of 17 December.

Images are by Monique and sourced from her blog. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hallway and stairs - done!

No further progress to report on the bathroom for the moment - I've turned my attention back to the hallway, kitchen, dining and salon which are located above the ground floor Brocante. 

The wallpaper is a single sheet with lines scored to create the look of wallpaper strips typical of old papered walls.  The fake 'edges' have also been lightly stained with tea to create a more aged look as this wall is 'subject to damp'.   In old houses the edges of the wallpaper strips often yellow with age, especially if they become damp from time to time.  Tea was also used to create the staining intended to mimic more serious water damage. 

Stairs in

Balustrade added 

Stairwell wall in place, completing the hallway

There are obviously major issues with cracked plaster on the exterior of the back wall of this house, particularly the left corner - over the years the constant damp has caused the plaster covering to fall off exposing the lath underneath. Emily is going to need to sell a lot of goods in her Brocante if she has any hope of affording repairs! 

The stairs were made using instructions in Lea's book*  Le Grande Livre de la Maison Miniature. They're not the best piece of work I've ever done but most of the staircase will be invisible once the walls go in, and it was good practice.

I have to make a small diversion from this project now, I'm participating in Caterina's International Christmas Swap and I have to complete my swap gift for Terry and get it in the post, it's got a long journey ahead all the way from Australia to Italy!


PS - Lea's book* is written in French.  However, the illustrations are very clear so it's possible to follow the instructions even if you don't read French.  Occasionally I do type a sentence or two into Google translate just to check on something I might be unsure about - however sometimes the translation is very amusing and not much help at all! ;)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Crazy, busy months are nearly over...

Sorry - I didn't mean to be away so long!! 

Everything just got crazy including an unexpected house move followed by a few internet issues so I haven't even been visiting everyone much at all, let alone doing anything for myself.  However tomorrow is the last day of classes for the year so once I get my assignment finished I can get into my new workshop area (which presently resembles a bomb site!), unpack boxes and hopefully get some mini-action going.  So thanks for your patience, and your kind enquiries as to my health and so on,  I hope to be back soon!!

PS -  not only is it my last class for the year,  it's my final undergraduate class!!  I thought the day would never come - it's been a long haul!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Special swap gifts from Jennifer at Plushpussycat

How gorgeous is this corset  ...

... and these pretty antiqued Czech glass bead perfume bottles?!

They are the handiwork of Jennifer at Plushpussycat.

(The photos are also by Jennifer, the setting is her Lover's Cottage.)

Thank you Jennifer, they are so lovely and will suit Emily's French bedroom perfectly.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Giveaway winners

Congratulations to Sharon (Hollyshan) and Flora (la casa delle bambole di flora)!!  

Yes that's right - there are two winners!!  Ann asked me to draw two names - my husband did the draw from an old straw hat :) - as the first name out of the hat Sharon gets first choice of either a modern or vintage grocery set and either the children's book or the cookbook - the remaining set of groceries and remaining book will go to Flora.  

If you didn't win don't be sad,   you can purchase groceries and books of your choice at a VERY reasonable price from Ann.  Click here to see my previous post which mentions her prices.  You can also visit her website (click here) or email her at  Purchases are paid for via Paypal and Ann happily ships internationally. 

Thanks to everyone for entering, and thanks to Ann for providing such special prizes.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

M. Culat takes a bath - at Emily's!

Thanks for all your interesting suggestions regarding my bathroom issues, I think that Emily's neighbour, M. Culat may have come up with a solution.  He is trying out the brass bathtub and he seems to quite like it.  I suspect he's going to try to talk Emily into letting him move it into his place next door, not a bad idea as it would allow Emily to choose a new bathtub that would perhaps suit her (and the shower unit)  better.  I think M. Culat would be quite happy with a very simple tap system, he's not really a shower type of guy preferring a leisurely soak in the tub.  

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Beginning the bathroom (and seeking your opinions)

Firstly thanks so much for your encouraging and interesting comments on the previous post about the kitchen, I appreciate every single one of them.

As I mentioned I've started on the bathroom, still lots to do but at last I can see how the brass bathtub looks.   It's actually a soap dish, to my great delight I found it on eBay - Susanne @ Miniature Dreams used to have one on her blog header and I always admired it so I was excited to find one of my own. I thought it would be perfect for the old French bathroom and I'm happy to see that it looks right at home.

The bathroom is at the back of the house, above the kitchen.  Part of the bedroom will be in front of it with a doorway for 'ensuite' access.  (The door that you can see below is the hallway/bathroom door.)

When the dividing wall between the bedroom and bathroom goes in the bathroom will be visible only through that doorway and the side window.  There will also be a mirror on the wall opposite the vanity so that it, and the accessories on it, can be seen (perhaps 'glimpsed' is a better word) from the front.

I couldn't find an old fashioned toilet so I made one.  

I started out with this modern unit...

I microwaved it on full power for about 3 seconds to soften up the glue holding the two parts together so that I could pull the cistern away from the base.  About half of the back of the base was cut off so it fits closer to the wall.

I made the cistern from a small block of balsa adding some trim and a lid, also the flush lever, chain and downpipe.  The downpipe is a black plastic drinking straw painted silver,  it has a bend at the bottom just like a real one where it connects to the toilet pan.  I don't remember where I got the straw, I've had it for ages in my 'found things' stash just waiting to be turned into a toilet cistern downpipe :)

At the moment it looks like it would be impossible to flush this toilet because the lever is sitting on the top of the window blind but that's because both the wall and the cistern are temporarily held in place with blu-tac which is pushing them both forward a little.  Once everything is fixed in properly the lever should fit behind the window frame. 

I'm going to repaint the cistern (it's too dirty compared to the rest of the bathroom) possibly in a creamy colour to set it off against the white wall, but it might even go black!

I have a dilemma that I'd like your opinion on...

I'm thinking of spray painting the shower unit to dull it down a bit. It's a bit hard to tell from the photo but  it looks totally shiny and new compared to the bathtub, and the bathroom in general - I bit too shiny and new I think.  On the other hand it does match the toilet chain and the taps on the vanity, but they too may yet get an ageing treatment. 

The two paint options are a more aged gold/brass look or matt black.  The third option is to leave it alone, it does add a nice little bit of luxury to an other wise very practical home and I quite like having some contrasting features. 

Please feel free to share your opinion - (a) paint to look more aged gold/brass (b) paint matt black (c) leave it alone (d) some other option I haven't thought of.  

I'd appreciate knowing what you think!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Plumbing and Paint

I love my "goose neck" tap set in the French kitchen - but it created a frustrating problem I hadn't anticipated. 

As you can see (below) there isn't enough clearance between the bottom of the window frame and the tap lever.  I confess I said several rude words when I discovered my mistake! 

I considered a few different options to solve the problem but decided on the easiest fix and out came the sandpaper.  The bottom of the window frame is no longer a tight fit on the window sill but at least it clears the taps.  The gap isn't noticeable from the inside.  I added an extra strip to the exterior framing to cover the gap that certainly was visible from the outside but it's not really necessary in the long run because a window box will be added  later.   However, in the meantime it'll keep Emily safe from cold draughts when she's washing the dishes ;)

Also I've overcoated the green on the cabinet with a coat of chalky pale grey as I decided the original colour was too strong in such a tiny kitchen, especially when there was no other similar green to link it to.  I think this new colour sits much more happily with the surrounding grey shades.  

Since taking these photos I've also added a touch of off white to the sink to diminish the pristine look of it. 

The last couple of days I've been busy fitting out the bathroom - more plumbing, but at least no troublesome taps - photos to come soon.

The kitchen tap set was purchased from - click here to go directly to the set on their web site.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

'Miniature Supermarket' giveaway

Ann at The Miniature Supermarket (and bookstore!) has generously provided a 1:12 scale giveaway prize package of a pack of groceries (modern or vintage) and a vintage book (children's or cookbook).  

The winner can choose from 

this pack of modern groceries


this pack of 50s/60s groceries


either this vintage children's book 


this vintage cookbook

The giveaway is open to Australian and international readers but please note the groceries are Australian brands. 

If you are an international reader don't let that stop you entering the draw - this is your chance to add something a little 'exotic' to your pantry.    

To enter just leave a comment on this post - you don't have to be a follower of this blog to enter, and it's not a requirement that you post the giveaway on your blog but of course that would be appreciated. 

If you don't have a blog please be sure to add your email address to your comment. 

Closes 30 June!!   

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Progress in the French apartment

Making cabinets is definitely not my favourite mini activity but in order to make Emily a home I had to make her a kitchen.  Although I suspect she will spend very little time in here I decided to give her a full size cooker rather than the little bench top hotplate I was planning on. 

The cooker is made from Lea's instructions in her book Le Grand Livre de la Maison Miniature - it's inclined to be slightly too big for this tiny kitchen so I may eventually remake it downsizing it slightly.  However it doesn't look quite as large in reality as it does in this photo, I think it's 'grown' slightly because it's closest to the camera.

You might recognise the flooring - it was originally in the hallway (see post of 8 May below) but I decided it was too 'informal' for that space, after all this hallway provides access to the salon - so it now has a slightly more formal looking floor ...

I probably would have left the wooden flooring had this been a country house but although this is an unpretentious and very time worn property it is still Parisian and there are some standards which one must uphold ;)

By the way, that door is not the salon entrance, it is a linen storage cupboard, or perhaps a doorway to a secret room, whatever your imagination desires.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Inspired and inspiring Mother's Day gifts

I just had to show you the lovely gifts I received on  Mother's Day (yes, I'm a bit late getting around to it sorry!).

This gorgeous pouch was made by my cleverly creative daughter-in-law Lamina - not only the pouch but the screen printed/stamped fabric as well!!  As it happens the clothes I wore to lunch that day were red, black and grey so it was the perfect accessory :)  

Hidden inside were gift cards for the HUGE local hardware store ** - the perfect place to buy all the materials I need to make a project inspired by another gift...

this awesome book

700+ pages of inspiring images and text ...
if this doesn't get me dreaming about another French project nothing will!

A big thanks to my wonderfully inspired and inspiring family xxx

** Last year they gave me a Dremel 300 with attachments - do you see a theme developing here? ;)

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Monday, May 7, 2012

Looking for mini groceries?

The Sydney Miniature and Dollshouse Fair was on this past weekend. One of the traders I had an interesting chat with was Ann, the owner of the 'The Miniature Supermarket' - THE place to shop for groceries for your dollhouse.

Note: the AUS $2 coin measures 2 cms =  3/4 inch

This is just a sample of what's on offer at
Ann produces her mini groceries with the Australian market in mind but her range includes global brands so international miniaturists should not be deterred from checking out her range.

Groceries range in price from a $1.50 for a box or packet item, $2.50 for cans and bottles, 3 litre milk/juice $3.50

All of the packaging is reproduced in miniature with the permission of the copyright holders.

And be sure to browse Ann's vintage mini book store

Book prices $6-8 (photo albums $12)

and the flower shop

 Flower arrangement prices $10-20

All prices quoted are in Australian dollars

Click here to go to Ann's store

For enquiries contact her by email at

Happy shopping!!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

A simple tutorial for a simple sofa or armchair

This is not an 'artisan' quality sofa but it's really simple and quick to make.  It's great for a kid's house because it'll stand up to being handled.  It's also fairly easy to pull it apart and recover by adding another layer of fabric cover over the top if you want to change the look.  Throw a few cushions, books, clothes (maybe your dollhouse inhabitants aren't as tidy as they could be!) on it and it's humble origins won't even be noticed. 

It's the pattern I used for the 1:12 red sofa in the little girls' house (below) and the 1:16 off white linen one in the 1920s house (second photo below) as well as the 1:16 brown check armchair (bottom photo).  This armchair started out covered in the same off white linen as the sofa but when I needed a more masculine look for the study I pulled it apart and recovered it. 

You can see that the off white sofa has a bit more padding - you can play around quite a lot with the final look by adjusting the amount of padding you use.

You could also change the look by altering the height of the back and squaring it off at the corners. Also it's flexible enough to bend the top of the back over to create bit of a 'rolled' look as well as adjusting the way the arms turn back - or not.

Changing the feet will also change the look, on all of these I've used round beads or pins with large coloured heads (map pins for example) but for a more modern look you can cut square feet from scrap wood and colour them to suit using paint, stain or marker pens. 

Step-by-step DIY

The squares on this grid (my cutting mat) are 1 cm - draw up a grid on paper, you should then be able to draw your own basic shape copying the dimensions of this outline. (You can see that the back of this fabric cover isn't entirely straight and the shape of each end doesn't exactly match either - not one of my better sewing days but because this was for the kids' house I didn't redo it and the faults aren't noticeable in the finished product.)

You can shorten or lengthen the back to make it longer if you want a big 3-seater or shorten it for an armchair.

Cut 2 shapes from fabric for the back and sides cover and 1 of cardstock to provide some rigidity and 2* of thin foam. The cardstock and foam is cut to this size but remember to add seam allowance when you cut out the cover - including at the bottom for turning in!!

*If you want more padding in the edge at the top of the back and arms add an extra 1 cm to the edges on 1 piece of foam and before inserting into the cover fold this excess over to the back of the cardstock and glue into place.

On the cardstock insert lightly score the fold lines for the arms to bend forward and then fold to create a crease. That will make it much easier to wrap it around the seat block later on. Lay the card onto the foam and cut two foam pieces the same sizes (*or make one a little bigger on the as referred to above). You can also use other padding, quilt wadding for example. If you want extra padding on the front of the back and sides only take it to the top of the seat or it will be too bulky to wrap the back and sides around the seat block.

Make a 'sandwich' of all the layers, pulling the cover over tightly. It needs to be a very snug fit to get a good look in the finished piece. Slip stitch the bottom closed.

To construct the seat you can use a base of balsa or foamcore board. In this case I used two layers of foamcore to get sufficient height. Top with foam or wadding. 

To cover the seat block you just wrap it up like a parcel gluing it around the sides, overlap a little under the bottom.  I usually run my iron over the bottom edges where they fold under, for a nice clean line. (If you've used foamcore for the base be careful of the heat setting on your iron - I don't know if it would be inclined to melt if the iron is too hot.)

Put glue on the sides and back of the seat block, wrap the completed back and sides piece around it tightly and secure with a wide rubber band while the glue dries.  All you have to do now is add the feet and your sofa (or armchair) is complete!  (You can also add braid tim around the bottom if it's an older era sofa.)

Have fun with it!!


This pattern is not my own design, it's from The New Dolls' House Do-It-Yourself Book by Venus and Martin Dodge.  This is the first dollhouse 'how-to' book I bought way back in the 80s. I really love this book because all the patterns are simple and the instructions easy to follow. I used it for all the furniture in my 1920s 1:16 scale house. You can see all the posts for that project here.

The first edition of this book was all in 1:16 scale  but the second edition (published 1993) has patterns for houses, furniture and accessories in 1:12 and 1:16 scale.  It would be easy to adapt the 1:12 patterns for 1:24 by simply photocopying at 50%. 

Monday, April 30, 2012

Smiles all round...

Two gorgeous little girls + one "new" dollhouse = smiles

and fun playtime

and that makes every minute of the renovation work worthwhile.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Renovation Rescue completed at last!

Although more items need to be added (the living room and master bedroom are looking particularly bare!) the house is finally ready to be delivered to its new owners.   One of the things that held me up for quite a while was deciding what to do about getting more light into the bathroom.  I thought about installing a battery light fitting but eventually decided against it and instead cut a hole in the roof and inserted a little skylight, it's only small but it's made all the difference.  It opens so if in the future when the girls are a little older I decide to put in lighting it'll be easy enough to get access.

So here it is - ready to be delivered to its new owners very soon :) 

Remember to click on the pics to enlarge

The little bear at the foot of the bed was made by my cousin Lillian - it should be holding a striped lollipop which I put in a 'really safe place' so it wouldn't get lost but now I can't find it - I'm sure it will turn up again soon :)

Fortunately both of the new owners' names being with "A".
I knitted the little doll ages ago, now she has a home :)
Fimo fairy and bunny by Lillian.

Master bedroom needs a set of drawers or wardrobe to complete it.

 Cushions by Lamina
you can see the post about her screen prnted 1:1 cushions and their 1:12 copies here
Tiny cottage is pewter, I'm going to try to replicate it in airdrying clay

Cupcake poster design by Lamina 
to see a collection of Lamina's screen printing posts click here
Tea set by Lillian

Just to remind you how the house looked when I rescued it from being thrown into the garbage truck...
When I picked it up it had flooring and internal partitions, I had pulled them out to make cleaning easier before taking this pic. They were strengthened before being put back in and another partition installed in the top floor to make the bathroom and hallway space.

Well, it wasn't impossible but it certainly wasn't without it's challenges and it would have been much easier and quicker to have started a new house from scratch.  Still, there is some satisfaction in having 'rescued' this previously well loved little house for its new owners to enjoy.