Thursday, September 24, 2015

New gold to old gold

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!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

The gold standard

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.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A different perspective

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!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Not all change is good!

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! 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Sydney Fair

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.

Boulangerie by Peter and Lidi Stroud

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.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Sydney Miniatures Fair

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!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Aged paint finish on the salon walls

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'.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Painting the salon walls

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! 

Who knows what colour it'll be in the end... 

Saturday, February 28, 2015

I'm so lucky! ... TWICE

Way back before Christmas Anita @ Fabulously Flawed Miniatures ran a giveaway for a superb miniature vintage mannequin and four wonderful old movie posters and I was the lucky winner! Because I was away for so long over the summer I asked Anita to hold off sending them to me but I have them now and they're just wonderful. They'll be perfect additions to my mini Parisian Brocante. Thank you Anita!!
Click here for Fabulously Flawed Miniatures blog 
Click here for Fabulously Flawed Miniatures on Facebook

but wait! that's not all

My friend Mely Giunta recently sent me some of her incredibly realistic mini mandarins - they look so lusciously sweet! Thank you Mely, your gift is greatly appreciated and much loved. 

Click here for Mely's blog 

I really am incredibly fortunate to be part of such a generous international community of miniature artisans and friends. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Commission just completed

Sharing a furniture commission just completed for a lovely client. The sofa is upholstered with a fine cream silk, the chaise with a cotton I printed. The striped cushions are silk taffeta, the others are printed on fine cotton fabric. I've loved working on these pieces and will be a little sad to hand them over. 

I'm itching to get back to work on the Parisian apartment now that this commission is completed but I have a table at the Doll Fair at Newcastle on 21 March so I need to prioritise making things for that at the moment, but watch this space because we will get to visit Emily again eventually!

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Exciting brand new blog!

I'm SO excited to tell you about my friend Linda Park's brand new blog Linda's Mini World because you can now all fall in love with her Parisian florist shop, Flora, just like I have. 

Linda's also started work on the tea shop that you can just see a tiny bit of to the left of the florists. I saw it yesterday and it's looking wonderful too so I can assure you that Linda's blog will be worth keeping an eye on if you love beautiful and imaginative miniatures as much as I do. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sharing the Facebook Art Challenge - Day 5

On this, the final day of the Art Challenge, I'm challenging my friend Monica Roberts @ Hither, Thither & Yon a wonderful photographer and miniaturist, and send my thanks to Frederica @ Frederica's Little World  and Lorraine Robinson @ Fairy Meadow Miniatures for challenging me to show my work. Many thanks too to everyone who has responded with comments - every one of them is truly appreciated.

Today I'm sharing three of my favourites. Hopefully something will spark a creative thought that you can use in your own projects. For me that's the whole point of sharing creative endeavours. Of course it's nice to show the fruits of your labours and greatly encouraging to have it well received but the best thing of all is that by sharing we inspire and encourage each other to keep on creating and developing our own interests and styles.

The bathroom and hallway are on the 1st floor of the 1:12 scale Parisian apartment. The image on the left shows how the bathroom looks through the window, and if you look through the doorway you can see part of the upper floor hallway. On the far wall you can just see the cupboard. It will be almost entirely hidden from view when the wall that divides the hallway from the bedroom in front of it is put in place. The only possible glimpse will be through the bathroom exactly as you see here. I suppose it could be considered, then, that it was a waste of time doing anything with this cupboard at all but I really wanted to do it properly for my own satisfaction. It's very shallow (about 1 cm only) but I wanted to try out creating the illusion of proper depth. I think it's worked fairly well.

This is the Parisian kitchen from outside looking in. I think there's something extra charming about mini rooms viewed from the outside, perhaps it's just that it's a different perspective because we're so used to seeing everything 'front on'. I bought the lavender at a minis fair, the tiny plant is by Mercedes @ Liberty Biberty and the apron on the far wall by Frederica. The windows are handmade - something I'd never do again! Way too much trouble although I do like the look of them, not perfect as factory made so they contribute to the overall softer/aged look I suppose.

I made this little French artist's attic in a fake book (which is really a storage box) as a Christmas gift for my artistic daughter-in-law Lamina @ doabit. The life-drawing and landscape sketches are Lamina's own work, copied and resized. It's one of my favourite projects.

So, that's it for mini strolls down memory lane, time to get on and do some new work!! Goodness knows there's plenty of it to do including finishing the Parisian apartment and Brocante and lots to do for upcoming fairs. Thanks again for following along and for your encouraging comments! 

Monday, February 9, 2015

Sharing the Facebook Art Challenge - Day 4 - Makeover and Marbling

I've been nominated by Frederica @ Frederica's Little World and Lorraine @ Fairy Meadow Miniatures to participate in the Facebook Art Challenge showing 3 pictures each day for 5 days and in turn nominate another artist to do the same - today I'm branching off outside the mini world to nominate my daughter-in-law Lamina Godman @ doabit to show some of her art and textile work.

Just like the human world the miniature world is full of mass produced pieces that in some cases are perfectly fine as they are but now and then we need something a little different. Making it from scratch isn't always within our capabilities, or it just seems to be too much trouble, but most of us can make a big difference with just a bit of paint, and have fun in the process. I certainly got a lot of satisfaction from my French fireplace makeover - I hope it will inspire some of you to get those paint brushes out and turn a ho-hum piece into something a little special. 

This fireplace is a Reutters piece, perfect in size and shape but the original colour and gilded features were a bit over the top for my French sitting room so out came the paint brushes.

The mirror is an old 'handbag' mirror framed simply and decorated with a scrapbooking embellishment painted in shades of dull golds similar to those used on the fire basket. Both the mirror and the angel embellishment were found in my extensive stash, serendipitously they are exactly the same width - well, we all deserve to get a little lucky now and then! 

If you are going to try your hand at a faux marble finish - and why not?! - it helps to have a picture of a piece of real marble to guide you to get you started, although in no time at all you'll find your little piece will take on a life of its own. 

I started this one with a layer of black then sponged on 3 different shades of dark grey in patches. These different shades were made by mixing increasing amounts of grey and white into the black I started out with. For the veining I used a slightly diluted light grey and an old soft brush with very few bristles left, twisting it a bit as I went to create the variation in the with of the veins. Then I added some very fine lines of off white over the grey veins here and there. (Be sure to continue the veins over the edge). 

Give it a try - if you're not satisfied it looks right the first time just paint over it and start again. Have fun! 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Sharing the 5 day Facebook Art Challenge - Day 3

I've been nominated by Frederica @ Frederica's Little World and Lorraine @ Fairy Meadow Miniatures to participate in the Facebook Art Challenge showing 3 pictures each day for 5 days and in turn nominate another artist to do the same - today I nominate Fabiano Fausto

The exteriors of old city buildings are never pristine so this was a great chance to go a little crazy with the dry-brushing of various shades of black/grey/brown mixes on the Parisian facade.

the window box also has the addition of a little moss

Thanks for all your lovely comments on the challenge pics, it's been fun thinking about what to show you. Two more days to go and to be honest I have no idea right now what I'm going to put up for days 4 and 5!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Sharing the Facebook 5 day Art Challenge - Day 2

I've been nominated by Frederica @ Frederica's Little World and Lorraine @ Fairy Meadow Miniatures to participate in the Facebook Art Challenge showing 3 pictures each day for 5 days and in turn nominate another artist to do the same - today I nominate Mely Giunta.

Paint, patina and ageing isn't just for furniture,

it's also for old Parisian kitchens 

and hallways that are having problems with damp

and flower pots, and angels, and old bistro chairs

Basket by Lidi Stroud

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sharing the Facebook 5 day Art Challenge - Day 1

I've been nominated by Frederica @ Frederica's Little World and Lorraine @ Fairy Meadow Miniatures to participate in the Facebook Art Challenge showing 3 pictures each day for 5 days and in turn nominate another artist to do the same (I nominate Lidi @ Basketcase Miniatures today). Participating in the Art Challenge is a great way to kick off my miniature activities for the year so I thought I'd share here too. 

As you know I love vintage, miniatures, everything French, creating 'aged' paint finishes and printing miniature scale fabrics so what could be more fun than combining them all...

plus a bonus pic just for you

See you soon for Day 2!