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%.