Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Upstairs, Downstairs

I've only shown a single photograph of the upstairs hall, and that post was in 2009.    It's not the easiest space to photograph: it's deep and narrow, with a bright window at the very back. I think I've mentioned that my house was built from plans which later became the Katherine kit. The front exterior of the house looks identical to the kit, but there are windows, and another entrance (into the dining room) on the back wall of the house. The layout of the center section (hall, nursery, and dining room) is a little different in my house as well.
The wallpaper in the hall was the first wallpaper I chose for the house. Actually, Mom and I had just begun talking about refurbishing my dollhouse when we stumbled across this wallpaper. Finding it cemented the decision that it was time to transition from a toy to more of an adult's dollhouse. I recently moved the ivy planter from the downstairs hall to the top of the stairs. Mom made the ivy many years ago, and unfortunately, it has shed a little. I need to do a bit of repair work to it when I get the chance. Also on the to-do list are curtains, and turning two crumbling pieces of antique petite point into carpets. Dolls are from The China Doll (the taller boy) and Wren's Nest (on the right). 
The table came from my mother's dollhouse. It drives me a little crazy, because the hall is clearly too narrow for furniture, but the mirror looks very bare without anything underneath. So until I figure out a better solution, the table stays!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

My Favorite

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite dolls with you. She's one that Mom started a few months ago, but, because of one thing and another, wasn't finished until after the Sturbridge show. One of the hardest parts of dressing her was  finding the perfect mis-matched patterns for her clothing.

The bucket is a Chrysonbon plastic bucket that I painted to look like galvanized metal. I replaced the plastic handle with a piece of wire.
She nearly got brassy red viscose hair, as though she had gotten a cheap dye job, but in the end, Mom decided that the shiny, smooth texture of the viscose was just too young looking. She ended up using her favorite grizzled wool wigging instead. Mom bought several packs of the fabric used for her headscarf at Sturbridge.
It's difficult to see, but I added a narrow brown edge around her cream collar, to finish it off.

After the doll was dressed, we went back in together with a little watered down paint to add stains. You can see the two big dark spots on her apron, just where she might have wiped her hands or slopped water from her bucket!

I didn't think to take close-ups, but she's also wearing sagging nylons!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Tisket, a Tasket, a Cook with a Basket

Today I wanted to share this cook Mom sold at the last Sturbridge Festival. The fun thing about the customer who bought her was that she was there with her daughter also a miniature enthusiast. Then, another mother and daughter pair came up to our table, so we were three sets of mothers and daughters!
One of Mom's favorite parts of making the dolls is finding the right props! When she saw this vegetable basket in Eileen Godfrey's shop, it seemed perfect. Though mom positioned her arms to hold the basket, I couldn't find the wax in time for the photograph.

She even has a tiny brooch at her throat, though it's quite plain- she's a cook, after all!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Finishing Up

I'm trying to get through some of the unfinished projects that have been lingering around the dollhouse for months, if not years. One of those projects is the carpet in Phoebe's room. The carpet is a punch needle kit from Joan Grimord, which I completed two years ago. The punch needle technique went quite quickly (as I recall, it took about a week of intermittent work), but the easiest step took the longest.

This is the way the carpet looked the last time I showed it. All I had left to do was finish the edges. Would you believe that it took me two years to do that?

Here's the rug now. I'm quite happy with the way that it turned out. I was terrified of the finished rug looking thick and bulky, but it's actually quite flat. I've moved it next to the bed since this photo was taken. It still feels a little bright to me (the shop where I bought the threads had an extremely limited color selection, and I've found much better sources since.) I may try giving it a light dye job just to tone the colors a little, but I'm not sure. In any case, this is one more small project crossed off the list!
P.S. I just noticed that the picture of the unfinished rug also shows the dresser handles I replaced. I still can't believe what a difference that little change made!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Singin' in the Rain

One of the things I'm searching for is a really beautiful umbrella stand for the front hall. I had a commercial brass stand in there for a while, just to corral the various umbrellas and walking sticks I've acquired over the years. But I took that piece out the last time I rearranged the house, and it bothered me how messy that corner looked with canes just propped against the wall waiting for a holder. So I tried making my own.
 In this photo of the back, you can see how I pieced the two findings together. The little green lines are snippets of wire to strengthen the every spot where the two findings connect.  I made the base from stacked cardboard, and a soft metal wedding ring from the dollar store for the rim.  The top loop is made from a second ring. I used super glue to hold everything together, and painted it all to look like tarnished brass.
It's a little short, but not too bad considering it was made out of just what I had on hand. I'm still planning to look for one that wasn't put together with superglue, but this will work until I find the perfect umbrella stand!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Micro House, Part 2

The other day I showed you the tiny house I've been working on. Here are the photograps of the interior. I'm still having fun with litttle details, but the major pieces are in place. There's a tiny vase of roses on the bureau, and a pink and gold teacup on the table downstairs. The paintings in this house are printouts. I've still got a few micro watercolors left from the bunch I did a few years ago, but they looked a bit bright for this house. 

Downstairs, I used one of Nell Corkin's resin sofas. Nell has sets of this furniture listed for sale on her website.  I bought one of each set at the Guild show, and have been hoarding it all for the past year. Click on the photographs if you'd like to see them larger!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

A Year After the Guild School, or Yet Another Micro House

In my last post, I wrote that I was working on a special project. Well, I'm finally getting to reveal it now! Last year, I was lucky enough to go to the Guild School in Castine, Maine. I took Nell Corkin's 1/144th scale class. We made this tiny garden shed:
The class was really interesting, and I learned a lot. You can read a little more about it here. Or visit Nell's blog, at nell-miniminis.blogspot.com to see her amazing work.
Then, a few months later, I decided to try making another  micro shed on my own. It was a lot more difficult to build without the whole process broken down into nice manageable steps, but I managed. I had a few issues with scale, abandoned the more ambitious parts of the project, and struggled with the roof, but overall I was thrilled that I'd been able to use what I'd learnt in the Guild School to make a second, different structure.
For my newest micro structure, I really wanted to make a two story structure. I'd planned to make a loft in my little green shed, but an mismeasurement meant that I had to either scrap the loft, or re-cut everything.

I was much more careful with the measurements for this house, but I still had a few "oops" moments. Luckily, most of my mistakes this time around were easily fixed!
The ridge cap and finials on the roof were one of the last things I added. I used techniques Nell showed us for the climbing roses. I still need to touch up the landscaping on this side of the house.

On the other side, I added some sunflowers made from an SDK kit. I bought a few of their 1/144th scale plant kits several years ago, but this was the first I put one together. They went together really easily, and the scale looks about right, which is not always the case with plants advertised as 1/144th scale.
I'll post part II, the interior, sometime this weekend!