Sunday, 18 March 2018

Two Autumn Paintings - Holding up my end of the bargain

So some of you may know that Jodi from My Miniature Madness and I are having a little swap. She is making me a fabulous custom sink for the San Franciscan's basement bathroom (see it here and in progress here. It has a nice industrial vibe and the chalk black will be a nice contrast to all the white in the room. It's going to be a real statement piece! Excited much. :D ) and in return she will have her pick of an Autumn landscape painting. I intend to paint four or five for her to choose from.

Jodi, is very easy going and didn't have a particular painting in mind other than she would like one for her Autumn house and a tree lined road in Autumn colours sounded good.

Ever helpful she gave me a couple of examples that she liked.



Fast forward a couple of months and while she has been slaving away over my sink, I've been goofing off on vacation and generally not holding up my end of the bargain!

So in the last couple of weeks I finally had a chance to set aside some painting time and I've come up with two paintings so far. I'll be painting at least two more so that she has a good selection to choose from, but consider this picture "proof of life" that I have at least gotten started on my assigned task.. lol

As you can see, these are not copies of the paintings Jodi liked, they just incorporate some of the colours and themes that she wanted. They are both painted on Watercolour paper. The top one is more of a traditional acrylic and the bottom one is a looser almost watercolour style. That little blob at the end of the road is supposed to be a dog walker.. lol

I think I'll try to head more into the oranges and browns in the next two paintings as looking at her inspiration above I don't think I've quite nailed the spirit yet... Fear not Jodi there will be more to come! :D

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

There's a new house in the house!

So this happened on the weekend.... I acquired a new project. It's huge but I couldn't resist. :) I found this house on Gumtree for a song. (For my overseas readers, Gumtree is Australia's version of Craigslist). I recognised it immediately (well with a little help from my Greenleaf friends) as a house that was scratch built from Dollhouse plan R14-3060. It's called the San Francisco.. Not to be confused with the San Franciscan by Duracraft or the San Francisco Victorian by Model Homes.. all of which I have either in progress or still in the box... Hmmm.. I seem to have a theme of San Franciscan houses going on.... lol 

There are a lot of these houses out in Pinterest land.. but I can't seem to figure out who made the plans originally. Incidentally they are still for sale at the Woodworkers Workshop. While I was researching and scheming what I'm going to do with the house I noticed that my house is missing a couple of key elements beside the obvious windows, doors & trims. 

The most obvious omission is the staircase to the second floor which is supposed to run up the back wall from the first floor stair landing to a hall on the third floor (also missing) 

It should look like this.

Miniature doll house: looks like the San Franciscan I have plans for
Picture from

And on the other side. Note the closed in stairs on the second floor and the hall on the third.

La petite Sofie dollhouse opens on both sides
Picture from
I also noted that individual builders have modified door widths and window heights to suit themselves. Some have made doors onto the various verandas like this.

Marijke's thuis-in-het-klein!: Long time no see, maar we gaan verder aan het Marmod huis...
Picture from Marijike's home in the small

And this.

paulas minis: Paula's villa
Picture from Paulas Minis

Or this,

My house has windows only on the exterior other than the front door so I need to decide if I want to turn some of these into doors. My initial thoughts are only to change the top floor veranda window into a door.

The porch can be accessed from the front door and the roof top on the 2nd floor is more of a place to put plants with a low rail.. not a true veranda so if my mini people want to access it, they can climb through a window. :D 

I've found lots of inspiration on pinterest but my favourite version of this house so far has to be this one. 

Picture from Pinterest. You can see more pictures of this house here

I love the colour and modern aesthetic. I much prefer what they have done with the windows on this house to the triangle pediment windows you see on most versions of this house. I particularly like that the windows are mullioned and the way they contrast with the house colour. I also like the added detail of "wrought iron" rails on the windows. Not sure I would use them as veranda rails though. Need to think on that.  I also noted on this house that they have made an access panel on the front of the roof so you can get into the rest of the Attic and they have added windows to the roof space. My house currently has no access to this section of roof. I would love to be able to create access like this but the house is so well built I'm not sure if I will be able to deconstruct it. It's made of thick plywood and I don't really have the necessary tools to cut it. I may resort to the old drill-holes-until-it-comes-apart technique. I'd like to add the second staircase and hall as well, the extra wall on the third floor will be a piece of cake but the stairs... not so much. We shall see if my skills can match my enthusiasm. I may have to hit the hardware store and buy a dremel with a wood cutting wheel. :D

I need to decide before I buy, because this house currently has 20 exterior openings and 7 internal ones!! That's a lot of windows and doors... lol.. I suspect the cost of these fittings will far exceed the cost of the house. :/

I have a few in my stash so I decided to try out the openings for size and most of them are slightly too small for standard windows and doors and the front door is way too high I'll have to find a grand door with a pediment or transom to fit that hole.

I had to cut this window down slightly to fit this hole.. I won't be doing that for 18 windows so a dremel is definitely in my future! Also the windows holes on the ground floor just look too small and low.. I think I need to add larger windows here. I had one in my stash so I held it up to see.

I think this looks better.. I suppose some Victorian houses had grander windows on the first floor. Do you think I should change these to larger ones or even to doors? My concern with doors is they will take away from the front door and reduce my veranda decorating space. Large windows might be a good compromise?

I tried out some porch posts and they will fit snugly after decking has been added thankfully.

And on the upstairs balcony. I tried the window also but definitely still want to do a door.

Just testing out mullions.. Definitely want to add those as well.

I'm also starting to notice that my window openings are much smaller than the house I love above.. I'm wondering if I should enlarge them or leave well enough alone. Maybe adding shutters will help to create visual interest to what looks like it will be a LOT of siding. Maybe I do need windows with a pediment. Not a fan of the triangle ones though.... hmmmm.. 

Maybe a bonnet pediment?

Dollhouse Miniature Window, Bonnet Pediment, Working #HW5...

Window boxes on the top floor may assist to visually lower the window also.... Maybe I'm just overthinking everything! lol

I tried out an attic window I had in my stash.. It also had to be cut down...

I'm not sure Yorktown windows go with this style of house? Thoughts? I haven't seen any versions with them and am wondering if they would work.

At least the interior door openings are the right size for standard interior doors! Small win - I'll take it!  :)

And yes the stairs are weird... I'm going to try creating new risers and treads out of thin basswood and going straight over the top of these. Hopefully it works. Wish me luck!

Friday, 2 March 2018

Readable Books!

So right before I left for my ski holiday, these two spectacular little books arrived in the mail. So professionally packaged in their little plastic containers.

I knew one was coming as the swap item exchanged for my Supermoon Rising painting, with my mini friend Deborah. But Jane Eyre was a surprise gift!

 The cover is beautifully printed. So much detail even on the back cover.

Deborah even personalised both books by putting my name inside the front cover, and there is a coordinating ribbon bookmark :D 

You can actually read the pages (in my case if I get a magnifying glass out...when did my eyes deteriorate so much.. could I be getting old??)  and there are illustrations as well

The pages are all edged in gold.

(sorry for the blurry photos.. I had a hard time getting my old phone to focus on something so small.)

I had requested a vintage Moby Dick for the Ship Captains house and Deb came through in spades. This version is wonderful.

I love the contrasting red ribbon bookmark.

Again it's been personalised for me. :D 

The illustrations are wonderful!

Even the spines are great.. Though I doubt I'll be putting them in a bookcase. These books need to be centre stage!

I can't thank Deborah enough for these treasures. I'm even more appreciative as she normally works in half scale but made these 1:12 books for me. I can't wait to finish the rooms they will live in. I definitely got the better end of the swap deal. I'll have to see what else I can do to even the table a little bit more. :) 

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Brisbane Dollhouse Extravaganza 2018 Purchases!

Even though I've only just gotten back from a long vacation, there was no way I was missing the Brisbane Dollhouse Extravaganza. Where did she find a money tree you ask?.. Well I cleverly saved a generous Christmas gift of money from my Mum, knowing this show was coming up right after my holiday and I'd be skint. lol

I had a plan to make a bee line for Lidi (Basketcase Miniatures)  & Evonne's (Vonne Bears) stalls but got side tracked by a stall selling second hand stuff. I love a good vintage find, so I had to have a quick peruse. I came across this very unusual steer horn chair and was intrigued.

Pretty sure the horns are resin or some sort of plastic but they are quite realistic and the seat is done in real leather.

I turned it over and it was signed P (or B) Blankenford Oct '83 # 156. Apparently there are quite a few of these chairs floating around somewhere.... I couldn't resist it. 

At first I was thinking Flintstones when I looked at it but my mini friend Deborah from the Greenleaf forums mentioned that Teddy Roosevelt had a very similar steer horn chair in his home Sagamore Hill and that perhaps the maker of my chair was inspired by it. I definitely agree that it's very similar in style if not colour. 

Tusk Chair in Gun Room at Sagamore Hill
Picture source Adventures by Daddy

A couple of Greenleaf members think I should build a big game hunters study or library room box for it.... I'm going to think on it a bit more, because I'm fascinated by hunters studies but definitely not a hunting fan. I do love the decor in those english style hunting rooms you see in Ralph Lauren catalogues so maybe a manly den in my next house is in order. :)

I also picked up this vintage octagonal table from the same vendor. I don't know who the maker is but I really love it's colour and patina.

Both of these pieces may find their way into the same room. The table almost seems like a game table so could be appropriate for a den.

While I was waiting for these to be wrapped up, I grabbed a couple of Little Goodies flour making kits. I have quite an extensive punch collection and intend one day to make my own flowers from scratch. But I thought I'd like to try a couple of kits to get a feel for the process, before I venture out on my own.

Side track over, I headed straight for Lidi Stroud's (Basketcase Miniatures) stall and snapped up 3 baskets and a Laundry Hamper. It was so hard to choose!! If I had an endless budget I'd have bought them all :D ...  Lidi's baskets are pricey but when you consider how many hours work go into making them they really are worth it. Because I was a bit spendy, Lidi gifted me the basket on the floor in front of the table. So incredibly generous of her. I really will treasure it.

They have the most beautiful detail.

This one has various different weave & thread thicknesses for interest and vertical reed detail. It's also been aged and dirtied up a bit.

This gorgeous oval shaped basket has wonderful dark wood detail on the handle.

A little rectangular basket with wooden handle and check pattern detail.

The gifted basket has open twining detail in the centre of the weave. This basket has also received some lovely aging.

The Laundry Hamper, took Lidi days just to weave, not including all the finishing trimming. It was a toss up between this basket and a Picnic basket. I'll just have to get one of those next year. :)

After Lidi's stall, I was straight over to Evonne's (Vonne Bears) and grabbed this adorable little micro bear (seen here in the smallest of Lidi's baskets). I loved his little slightly cocked head and sweet expression.

He is seriously cute and his arms and legs are articulated, I haven't tried to move his head yet, but I suspect it moves too. :) She had adorable little fluffy chickens too but I had to draw the line somewhere.

Evonne, also sells tiny little bobbin lace creations so I bought a couple of those too. They are so fine and delicate, they are going to be so lovely on an end table. The third one is a teeny tiny lace book mark! Just gorgeous.

I bought a couple of potted plants. The pink flowers (geraniums?) I got from a lady downsizing her stash. She couldn't remember where she got them but said they were probably from a show. The Lavender was made by another vendor. I love the way the lavender has some browning petals as if it's starting to turn.

I stopped by the Ryan's Realm table as they are one of my favourite Australian online stores and they always have cheap crockery. So I went on a bit of a spree in the 50c & $1 bins.

Firstly I picked up a bunch of white vases. These will be very versatile when I start making flowers.

I searched for ages through the tubs to find matching plates and cups. Pretty happy with this haul though.

Then I raided the blue and white tubs. I got quite a few different patterns of bowls & pots.

And finally some terracotta and white outdoor pots. These will work well for the topiaries I'm going to make with my supplies from Michaels and Hobby Lobby.

These two decorative fauna print plates are from Golightly Miniatures (no website). A local miniature maker. She had some really wonderful shabby chic furniture pieces but I like to make my own.

Then I hit the sale bins at a couple of the larger vendors. And came away with this haul. On the floor are four urn pots, 2 blue, 2 white.. a selection of cheap baskets that I will age/weather in a grey wash and plant topiaries in. A couple of little wrapped presents, a little rusted pot some glass balls and a wooden tray that came with stones to put in it but I'll likely use it for shells or industrial objects. After a dark staining it should be a cool piece for a coffee table. 

On the table, loving the collection of silver/pewter/white jugs for styling fillers. The wooden vase is really rustic and cute. The Coffee urn will get a colour change. Not sure what the long skinny basket is meant to hold but it was cute and cheap so I bought it. (If you haven't already noticed I have a bit of a basket obsession. lol). I finally found an in scale rolling pin so I picked that up too. A little decor book and the cutest opening vintage style photo album round out the grouping.

I also picked up some tiny safety pins, some pencils and a compact that has a mirror and a puff.

I saw these cute little slippers in a $1 baggie and snapped them up. Upstairs girl is currently wearing them. They are the perfect size for her feet. :D

Seeing the slippers reminded me that I needed to get over to my other favourite vendor, Tiny Finery.

Janis had a much larger selection than last year and she is even now making her fabulous hats bags and shoes in 1:24 & 1:48! They are truly amazing little creations but my favourite thing is that they come with their own proper shoe boxes and bags. I bought 3 pairs of shoes and 2 bags. Again, with an endless budget I wouldn't have to make such hard choices. I do love the ones I got though.

I think I need to build a shoe cupboard. :D

All the bags and shoes are made of leather and have such exquisite details. I mean I want these shoes in RL.

The other matching set in grey and black. Love the branding "Mini Choos".

The details on these flats are so adorable. 2 pairs even have brand labeling on the inner sole. :D

Even the soles are made of leather and there is heal detail.

And how cute are the boxes in their bags with made in New Zealand and the shoe size on the end. :D

The bags have all the details you would expect and some you wouldn't.. The bottoms have little metal protectors just like real handbags

There is metal ring detail where the handles attach at the sides and the larger bag has a buckle on the strap.

The backs are just as nice as the front.

Of course they open and have phone pocket on the inside.

The black bag's internal pocket is done in coordinating grey with a black stripe detail. So great!

Janis also makes dresses. I limited myself to two!.

To round out the day I bought some practical items. Some porch poles, shutters and drawer pulls. A little stained glass window for the San Franciscans round eave window, some earring backs & little nails and a roll of gold mesh. I threw in a couple of candlesticks and some tiny scissors while I was there.

That is when the cash ran out so alas I had to depart for another year...