Friday, January 29, 2010

Shoe Makeover

I try to mostly show my miniatures on here, but I'm going to post a different type of project just this once.
I have a hard time finding shoes, so when I found these shoes on eBay quite a while ago I was quite excited. I bought them knowing that I'd change them around a bit. That floral pattern wouldn't work with anything I own.
I didn't think to take photos of the process, but this is what I did with those shoes:

It's just a quick re-cover, with fabrics and trims that I had on hand. I didn't cover the entire shoe, since the blue satin accents seemed like they would be too difficult to change. I worked around the blue details, and ended up gluing seven separate panels of the grey fabric. I used old remnants of grey linen, which appears quite blue in these pictures. The black trim is bunka, and all the other details are beaded and sequined elements cut from some netting a friend of the family gave me. It took me two evenings to cover the shoes, but I rushed a bit.
I really like shoes with detailed backs, I've decided. The beaded designs are quite symmetrical in real life, despite how it appears here!

Since making them, I've worn them out and about a few times. They seem to be holding up fairly well, though some of the beading I glued on the sides of the heel has been damaged.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Books, Books, Books!

Despite the fact that I don't have a library in my dollhouse, I've always had a fascination with readable miniature books. I've been playing around with various methods for a while now, and here are a few of the results. From left to right: Heidi by Johanna Spry, Lady Windermere's Fan by Oscar Wilde, The Monk by Mathew Lewis, Lover's Vows by Elizabeth Inchbald, Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, A Simple Story by Elizabeth Inchbald, and Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.
Over the past year, I've made 21 different titles, all with readable excerpts. These seven are the most recent batch. The covers and end pages are antique graphics which I repurposed.
I made a mistake on this book- I just noticed that the "W" in Mathew shifted around at some point. You would not believe the number of silly mistakes I've made on these books! I try to catch them all before printing/assembling, but occasionally I miss something really embarrassing!

The books have size 2 or 3 fonts, and are printed on normal computer paper. Since these books are just for my own enjoyment, I haven't worried about archival paper or inks.
Here's the list of characters and a bit of the opening act in Lover's Vows by Elizabeth Inchbald. It's the only miniature book I've made but haven't read. I'll read it (in a BIG book) someday, but in the mean time I couldn't resist reproducing the play that caused so much trouble in Mansfield Park.
Click the photographs to enlarge!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Two Micro Projects

I made this pocket watch for my brother's girlfriend. She needed a secret lab!

This fairy couple is an old project made from HO railroad figures, so it's a little bigger than my normal 1/144th scale. I gave the girl a new pink skirt made of paper flower petals, and a curly thread wig. They both have brass wings (with pink and blue accents). I still need to add lots of details to the landscape. I'm thinking a snail or two, and lots of 1/12th scale flowers.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Christmas is over, the new year is well underway, and I'm still back somewhere in November mentally. I usually decorate the dollhouse for the holidays, but this year, I didn't even think of it until three days after Christmas. Luckily, the children living in my dollhouse have more than enough toys already.

The rocking horse was one of the first handmade miniatures that I fell in love with. I spent a good portion of the summer cleaning the attic to earn it. On the day that my mom took me to the shop, I was so nervous. I kept imaginging that it was already sold, or even worse, that I'd walk into the shop just as someone else bought it! My uncle brought the clogs back from Amsterdam.

These little dolls are sweet! The two round wooden dolls came from a local shop that closed a few years ago, but I'm not sure about the large doll.
The fireplace is halfscale. I replaced the original painted grey brick with an antique tile pattern that worked well in the room. The screen was a quick project a few years ago. The brass tools on the right came from my mother's childhood dollhouse!
This is one of my favorite bears. Sitting like this, he's only half an inch tall!

There are all sorts of things tucked away in the corners of the playroom! Many of the toys were gifts from various relatives.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Gallery II: Paintings

I posted a few photos last night of this room box I've been working on. I needed a space to store and display all my paintings without a home. The photograph below was taken while I was in the midst of swapping paintings around, and experimenting with the best spots for new paintings. Here are some of the paintings that will be displayed (at least temporarily).

This was the second miniature painting I ever tried, way back in high school. The original, by Virgee Le Brun, is "Julie LeBrun as Flora".

This girl was another early-ish attempt, though I did go back in and work on the eyes later.

I haven't made a frame for this painting yet, but it will go into the box just as soon as I do. I never did figure out the marble columns of the original Alma-Tadema, so eventually I just left them alone.
This was a recent painting. The original, by Edward Robert Hughes, is incredibly detailed. The different greens of the plants were fun to figure out.
I love Vermeer, but have been really nervous about trying any of his paintings. A few new paintbrushes gave me the courage to get my feet wet recently.

This painting was only in in the box for a short while. I gave it to mom for Christmas, so it's going to have a new home. Unfortunately, I got the scale a bit off, so the head looks enormous in a dollhouse, and isn't appropriate for mom's Georgian cottage in any case, so it will probably go somewhere in our real, "big" house.

And just for fun, here is the first miniature oil painting that I ever finished. It was certainly not the first attempt, but the only one that I didn't throw away in frustration. This one won't be going in the box, but it was mixed in with the other paintings, so I thought I'd show it anyways.

Hopefully I'll have more photos soon of the box put together a bit more.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Gallery

I rarely think about where my miniature paintings are going to go. As a result, I've had several painting laying about, waiting for a home. Finally, I decided to make a temporary home for these paintings. We've had this generic gold room box in storage, since mom's original plan for it didn't work out. It's an odd shape, too shallow for much furniture, and either too tall or too short (depending on the way that it's turned) for a regular room. It was perfect for my needs though!

I really didn't want to buy anything for this room if I could help it, so I tried to re-purpose things that have been kicking around without a home.

I have no patience for making miniature flowers. I've never understood why, since I can work on mini scrap screens for hours one end, but one little rose aggravates me beyond all belief. Needless to say, I was very pleased to find these loose flowers at Eileen Godfrey's.

The table is plastic, believe it or not! I love the barley twist on the legs. The purplish vase began as a red and gold porcelain jar. It was very pretty, but I was never going to use those colors. I used my collection of truly horrible shimmer nail polishes to give it a new glaze. It reminds me of carnival glass.

I used shirt cardboard for the floor, with a couple heavy coats of varnish over the top. The statue pedestals also got a bit of black acrylic marbleizing, though I'm happier with the floor.
The chair had an awful glossy red stain when I found it in Eileen's bargain bin. I got rid of the finish, then did a bit of reshaping with sandpaper.
More about the paintings tomorrow!