Wednesday, November 6, 2019

My tiny Christmas gift basket

Hi all. Just a quick post to show you photos of the very tiny and adorable gift basket I won from Deborah Randolph of The Half of it. Augh it's all so cute I can hardly stand it!! And TINY! I thought I would be a little used to the size of half scale stuff, but no. The tiny chocolates and gingerbread men are amazing. And the mug. I can't believe Deborah made it so tiny and perfect.

The mini Black Walnut folks have ripped off the ribbon and cellophane and thrown them on the floor to peek at all the goodies inside!!

Look at that mug! So perfectly scaled!

And here is the bottle of brandy, candy cane and chocolates (I will try to post a better photo another day to show how truly tiny and perfect these are):

The bonbon and box of four tiny gingerbread men:

The gingerbread box is so fine I thought I would squash it getting it open!

And here is everything out, including the jar of cocoa, bag of coffee (for the mini coffee loving man in the house who can't do anything until he has had at least 3 cups in the morning....) and the book (oh how I love this book):

The mini folks are very happy right now, and probably mildly drunk on the brandy! Lucky them!

Hope your week is going well. I am off on two weeks holiday tomorrow - sunny Queensland!! Yaaay. Take care. xx

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A little Sunday update

Hello from a happily rainy Victoria. Not a lot of mini news here, but I did get a very exciting little parcel in my mail this week. I received my beautiful tiny Christmas gift basket from Deborah at The Half of it: My Adventures in Half Scale. I have to say that this little gift basket is even cuter in real life. So much so that I haven't wanted to unpack it - it just looks so cute with its tiny bow! Here it is on the doorstep of my Black Walnut cottage, and then on the dining table. It looks larger in the photo than it really is, but the table is quite small.

Thanks so much Deborah, I adore it, and one day it will take pride of place in a future Christmas cottage.

I have also done a bit on my doll shop. It went through yet another iteration and ended up with new wallpaper.

Here is a close up of the counter, which you have seen, but I have added some yellow glaze to get a closer match to the peachy tones of the wallpaper. Toy arrangement still in draft phase.

 I made some filler boxes for the shelves (which need labels I think).

Some close ups of my teddies I made from air dry clay and flocked (the teddy with the red bow is a painted metal mini I did years ago).

Lots more to come on the doll shop but I feel like I am pretty happy now with the interior decoration. Now it's really just filling the shelves. Oh and I need a couple of pieces of small furniture of undetermined size/style.

And lastly, unrelated to minis, I sold a painting today! I have been taking painting lessons for over four years now and we have an exhibition at the end of each year, usually with a theme. This year I had to paint on a palette and the theme was 'The Nature Palette'. I painted these cherry plums from my garden. You can't tell from the photo but the cherry plums are dimensional - I made rounded shapes from Paperclay. I am pretty happy with it, so a little sad it sold, but nice to recoup a little money.

Anyway, that's about it from here. Still arguing with the Chateau but that's OK. I will press on in baby steps. Take care all. x

Friday, September 27, 2019

Crisis averted!

Hi all. So I made the decision to just go forth in wild abandon on my chateau and then spackle as needed. I have a vague plan. Make the front and side opening panels, attach them (one with magnets and one with hinges), get some of the trim pieces attached, undercoat, continue putting the detail trim pieces on and then see where we are at. I have started the front opening panel and decided it was just too heavy. I really should've made it in two, rather than one, but it is too late to change that now unless I waste a heap of gatorfoam and the time it took to cut the window openings. The upside is having to recut the sides means I can disguise the presence of the hinge a little. I also need windows. I have a heap of mould making silicone and 2 part resin, so I might try making one and casting it. In the past, I found mould making the easy part. Getting the resin right and bubble free is another thing entirely. Anyway, worth a shot. 

I also made some important discoveries whilst tidying up the chateau mess - I had forgotten that I had partially constructed cornice moulding for the salon and had purchased two Alison Davies ceiling roses. Derr. But I am further ahead than I had realised. Yay! So the salon is getting very close to being done. It is amazing how much time goes into fiddling with the last few little bits, much of which can't even be seen. 

And the stairs for the French shop reno are partially done. I got some parts to make the balustrade but will need to pin lots of wood parts together to make them, which will be tedious. You can see the stair shape in the photo; just need to cut the risers and treads for the bottom steps and glue everything together. But for now I want to focus on the chateau.

In other news, the Coxwolds is almost done. The landscaping needs finishing (I might get some flower/plant kits) and it needs shop signs and downpipes. I also need to connect the individual lighting wires to the thingo that the transformer connects to. For the record, only one light isn’t working. Pretty impressive huh? I also have a spare wire that doesn’t seem to be connected to anything. I suspect it may be a spare wire as initially I planned on having three lights over the shop counter but ended up with just one, and I think I hadn’t removed one of the two wires that weren’t needed. The house has now been moved out to the pool house in the back yard with the Mountfield. I now need to start working on furniture placement and finding accessories. Oh and a bathroom sink.

Here is the Coxwolds in the backyard having its roof painted.

And these photos are as it is in its current almost finished state, out in the backyard cottage:

I actually made a corner piece of painted MDF to sit on the pavement on the far left of the above photo but forgot to place it for the photo. Photo below shows the sitting room where the stairs come up and the kitchen with the corner pavement piece on the floor.

Landscaping to be finished. I think it needs some pots and stuff out front too.

I made a little shower screen like my grandmother had in her home.

Sorry the photos are a bit lopsided, but it was up against the side wall so I struggled to get a good angle for the photos!

So now it is afternoon and I am tired and think I will call it quits for the day. Have a great weekend everyone. I hope to show photos of the chateau salon soon!

Saturday, September 7, 2019


GRRRR! I just seem to be hitting brick walls with my French projects. Largely as a result of my mistakes and stupid ways of building. Let's start with the French shop renovation I accidentally started. It is looking good, but I made a pretty massive mistake. I wanted an additional window in one side wall on the first floor, but I forgot that that wall was thicker and the window set in (ie not flush with either the interior or exterior wall:

So now I need to fix the window so it looks somewhat more normal and not like a massive mistake. I have so far only come up with the idea to add a little enclosed balcony/bay window thing on it to disguise the difference on the exterior and drapes that cover right over the window on the interior. Anyone else got any brilliant ideas? I can't really remove my panels and make the wall thicker as stairs will go from this room to the next floor and the placement of them will be all off if the wall is thicker. Sigh.

Also I can't figure out how to make the stairs from the ground floor to the first floor. I could make them; I guess what I am saying is I just can't work out the design. It is a tight space and I know what I want, but there is a lot of work in fiddling to get them right and even then, I just can't find enough images or information online to help me out.

I have also been thinking again about my chateau, and I think I said this in previous posts - I just want to pull it apart and start again. You can see from my photo I have installed a pretty parquet floor. This is the only room where everything is stuck in but pulling the panels and floor out would result in a heck of a lot of tidying up work. But every time I look at this house, every time I try to do something, I think, I should just rebuild..... At what point is it too late to turn back? Is it ever too late to start again? There are just so many things wrong with it that I have to try to cover up, I am not sure it's worth continuing. But starting again is a major undertaking also....... And if I did start again, I haven't really got any idea of how I would construct it better anyway. Gah!!!!! Am I alone in my constant inertia?

This is the entry. I ran out of moulding pieces before I finished the panelling and of course, not a single stick remains on this planet. So back to scratch for that too. (FYI it is not glued in, hence the whacky angle)

I hope that your weekend's mini-ing has been more successful than mine. And please, if you have any great (or even average) tips or words of soothing and advice, please post them here. I would be most grateful. XX

Saturday, May 25, 2019

This blogger did a bad, bad thing

So. I have never loved the outside of my Lea style French house/shop so it never really got finished. I had considered starting again, making a new shell and cutting some of the rooms out and transferring them to the new house (as complete units like boomboxes). But I knew this was going to be a lot of work and largely I liked the French house. So I decided to renovate. I also wasn't going to start renos until I had finished some other projects, but I couldn't help myself and spent some time pulling the roof/upper floor off and then decided I'd finish the demo in order to only have to clean up once, so then cut new stair holes and pulled off the exterior finish and interior trims and so on... This is pretty much how it looks now, although at this stage, renos on the kitchen were done:

I removed the stairs from the kitchen and added beadboard to that wall. I also made shelves for that wall and enlarged the kitchen table. So the kitchen is basically done. I am not furnishing/accessorising until renos are done, as there will be lots more construction to do.

You can see where I patched the ceiling. It's not fantastic, but there are going to be scars in this build where I have altered stuff. I like the idea of it. Old houses such as this would've had changes over its lifetime and patch-ups.

I also painted the plumbing in the bathroom but the paint was flicky so little dots flew everywhere and the walls will need a little touching up. I am stewing over that for a bit. 

I also need to add the shower curtain and some more homey details. I wish I could paint the floor but it would be nigh on impossible with it glued in and I couldn't remove it without destroying it and having to replace it. For now it will remain. It has at least yellowed evenly.

And some progress on the Cotswolds: I have painted the exterior finish. Probably needs a few more washes for a little more variation but I am happy with it. I have added plastic to the bow windows but I don't like that so much. I am not sure I can really fix it to be happy with it though (due to the way the window itself is constructed).

I am also amazed that putting the first coat of paint over the footpath made such a difference to the appearance. It has a long way to go though. I found an early Australian mail box, which you can just see on the left. It was more South Australian than Tasmanian (which is were I am setting this house) but I am OK with that. Really, how different could they have been?? I got it for $2 at the recent Sydney Miniatures Fair.

And I managed to get a pretty good colour on the shop cabinets. It's probably a little darker in real life, so looks very close to the chairs. Now I need to add a little shine. And will likely add some paper to the interior bases and shelves and a solid top. I should really have disguised the joins as well, so it looks like one unit. And yes, the walls are still blue. I think I will wait until accessories are added before I do anything with them. It might give me some direction.

So that is where I am at with these projects. It has been quite rewarding. 

Oh and before signing off, I have discovered why I can't always comment on your blogs. Apparently there is a privacy setting on iPads (Safari web browser) that needs to be switched off in order to not have this problem. At least I think that is the problem. It is so Google and the like can follow what websites you visit and link them to your profile and I am not sure that is something I want. But anyway, if you too are having the same problem this may help you out. Have a good week everyone. xx

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Sunday brick wall

Hi all. It has been a pretty busy and tiresome couple of months for me. The weather has been up and down. We have had lots of fires around our half of the state and my husband has been away a lot. I get tired of hearing my own thoughts after a bit. Also my mum's farms were under threat from one fire, so plenty of worry there for a few weeks. Fortunately she and the other landowners around her dodged bullets and very little damage was done.

Also, my ability to comment is still sporadic, so if I don't comment, don't be offended! I have been trying to go back to your posts when I can comment, but sometimes I might miss one.

I have done about 90% of the roof and most of the lights for the Coxwolds. I have made a start on the last two lights, both for the bedroom. When they are installed, I can finish off the roof. Speaking of which, I found some sheets of milled MDF roof tile in my stash, so with a few undercoats and sanding and a top coat of grey chalk paint, I am pretty happy. When I finish the lights and enclose the roof, I will go over the whole roof with another coat of the grey. Here is the exterior as it is:

This is the cafe:

I am not sure what to do with this. Not sure I like the pale blue rustic-ish walls. I want rustic walls, but these are just not quite right. Perhaps I will just cover them with shelves and pictures so they can't be seen! I like the lights. I like the fireplace and the chairs, as they bring out the darker colours in the wallpaper. Not sure I love the colour of the built-in cabinet but it will have to stay. Not sure what colour to do the counters. I think darker, but a darker timber? I won't be able to match the chairs. Or a dark grey? I can use the same paint as I used on the roof. I can't find the fourth chair FYI, nor the two tables. I seem to have spent 3/4 of the last 3 weeks looking for stuff I've misplaced. 

The living room:

The wicker table is painted with the grey that's on the roof. It's OK. Maybe needs a little highlighting? Not sure what colour to use on the sofa. And the coffee table colour??? The rug will get a dye bath to tone it down. I can't seem to move forward on anything today....

Here is the light I gussied up a bit:

I used a silk cotton to cover the plain white shades, some matching bunka on the top and bottom edges and bunka roses. The light is painted with the Swellegant metal paints.

Here is the bedroom:

You can see the ceiling light on the floor in the photos. I used a normal light with frosted glass tulip shades and added air dry clay petals to make rose shades:

This is the clay I used. It dries transparent:

The wardrobe is the wrong colour, as are the pillows. I made the bed cover from an old hankie. It had a gorgeous embroidered scalloped edge but it was very frayed and I couldn't salvage it. I stitched on a lace instead to cover the edge then stitched the needle lace edging from an old doily around the whole thing. I bought the hottie at a miniature show a few years ago. So cute!

Janine from Minworks asked what I ended up doing to the bath. I just sanded it back, painted it white (a few coats) and used a gloss varnish over the top. The surface is a little rough, but you can't really tell. It will need some sort of screen or curtain now.

The kitchen:

I like the kitchen. It's small, but I think I can make it work OK. I will get a fridge at some point for the right wall and maybe a table and chair. I have since painted the light chain to match the rest of the fitting!

And that is about all I have to show you with the Coxwolds for now. I am just a bit stumped for direction now. And I have some annoying things to finish off before I can do much else. Anyway, any little bits of advice or guidance or opinion would be gratefully received! Hope you all are having a lovely weekend! XX