Friday, 20 April 2018

Bits & bobs & thingamajigs plus a couch for the basement

So I thought I'd just do a round up post of things I've been working on lately. I finally got over my phobia of mini hardware application and just put the dang things on the Gustavian Cabinets. Here they are all done.

Meh, I see a couple of wonky hardware items.. I'll fiddle faddle with these until I either make them worse or fix them.

Also I wanted to show you the before and after of my Dining Chairs. They were a serendipitous find in two different places. I found two chairs at the Sydney miniature show and then found the rest and the two carvers at my local dollhouse shop.

They were perfectly fine as is, but I'm not a fan of the satin cushions and I wanted a lighter look for the room.

 Off came the satin covers and after a spray of white paint and new soft faded taupe linens covers..

They got a rub down with sandpaper in strategic locations to give them a more casual look.

Much more in keeping with the Modern Gustavian style I was aiming for. :D

While I was waiting for paint and glue to dry on these furniture pieces I decided to sew some cushions. There is no rhyme or reason to the pattern I chose.. I was just experimenting and trying out some sewing.. I'm not a natural sewer by any stretch so it was good to get some practice in.

 I tried out some nautical themes printed on grey fabric. Quite like these.

 A few neutrals with different trims & fringing. I used some printed fabric and glued or sewed it on. The one in the centre is a stamp, I just stamped straight onto the fabric and then ironed to set it.

Then I moved into some blue prints. These are a mix of stuff in my fabric stash and some of my new ribbons acquired on my recent ski trip. :D

I had a lot of failures in the bunch as well.. but I'm not showing you those! lol

Then I moved downstairs to the basement.

I've been putting off building a couch for the tenant because I just thought it would be hard.. and it kinda was.. well the upholstery was.. but that was of my own doing because I had my heart set on a specific fabric and 1. I didn't have enough of it. 2. It is very thick and 3. Now that I've finished it, I'm not sold on the fabric I so desperately wanted to use. lolol

So I started off by cutting a base in the basic shape from styrofoam.

Yup that's about right.

 Then I cut arms a back and cushions from foamcore and kitchen sponges. I just kind of winged it and made it up as I went along, eyeballing the sizes. I didn't have a pattern and was too impatient to really plan this project.. *rolls eyes at self*

Testing the assembly. I needed to cut down that right hand back cushion.

 Yup definitely needed adjusting and one arm is lower also. I fixed that later.

Next it was on to upholstery. I knew I wasn't going to have enough of the fabric I wanted to use so I decided to do a two tone couch.. I don't know why I decided this because I don't like them in real life but, I plowed on.. *facepalm*

I decided to do the base in this sage green colour upholstery fabric that NellBell from the greenleaf forum sent me. Thanks Nellie!

Suitably masculine.. I quite like this colour.. I should have continued on with it to be honest.. but I'm not sure I had enough of it either. I covered the ends of the back so when I folded that large piece behind the assembly up and over (with hem ironed in) it would look neat from the side. (I need to take a side picture. I forgot.. :/)

I added a layer of felt to the cushions to give them a bit of a rounded effect when covered. Then moved on to the arms.

The arms are covered in the fabric I wanted to use for the whole couch.. I should have stopped here. This fabric is just way to thick and the weave is big.. but I love it's dirty taupe colour so I kept going. 

First I covered the arm fronts then I folded fabric around the arm for a neat finish. Because the fabric is thick I didn't get the crispness I would have liked here. But anywhooo.... *whistles*

On to the cushions. It was my first time using kitchen sponges and I can't say I'm a massive fan. It is too, well, spongy.. lol.. so I couldn't get nice squares. I'd already cut my fabric though.. so I muscled on.

I finished off the base by lining it completely in the sage green (hemed for neatness) and attached the arms. Meh, I feel like the arms could be a smidge thinner.. I didn't account for the thickness of the material in my design (or lack there of.. see where lack of planning comes back to bite you in the butt.).

My cushions are a tight fit because, again I didn't account for the thickness of the fabric when sizing them and they knocked an arm right off. To be fair, in this case I did actually think to cut them down in size a bit but the amount I took off wasn't enough. No worries I reattached the arm. lol

So this is what I ended up with.. A two tone couch with a too thick fabric.

Look, it's not completely terrible but I think my dislikes outweigh my likes.


  • I should have planned this out. The arms are too fat - I think I could fix this problem fairly easily. 
  • Again on the arms.. I should have had the cushion on the left come around the end of the arm like it does on the side with the chaise. I think that would have gone a long way to reducing the look of that left arm. - Unfortunately not an easy fix. I have not a scrap of fabric left to create said cushion and reduction of the arm. Not to mention then the arm on the left would be shorter than the arm on the right.. but reducing the arm on the right would then require a new chaise cushion.. Nope.. not doable unless all the taupe areas get a new fabric.
  • I don't like the pronounced corners on the back pillows. This fabric was difficult to work with and combine that with spongy cushions and getting a crisp corner was impossible. 

Hmm there's not many.
  • I like the overall concept
  • I like the way it fits in the space in the basement.
  • I like the masculine colours. However they were not my original vision. 
Lets look at it in the space, shall we?

I've got to move that ladder. Time I built that wall one I think.

Maybe cushions will help?

A little better.

I think I'm going to have to put a throw over that arm.. lol

I guess when you look at the room as an overall whole it doesn't look THAT bad... Maybe I'll just let it marinate for a little bit and see if I can live with it.

 The Tenant seems to think it's comfy.

All he needs now is a big screen TV on that diagonal wall opposite and he's set for the afternoon! :D

My last little project that I did this morning, you may have noticed in the preceding pictures. I cut a new countertop for the Kitchenette using this melamine sample I found at the hardware store.

I think I like the look.. Nice and streamlined and a neutral foil to the brick flooring.

It's neat and tidy and modern. Just what I wanted. 

I cut it with my mini table saw.. And I'd better like it because, bye bye mini table saw. :(  I think I burnt the engine out on these cuts. It doesn't matter how many times I flick the switch.... no dice... Whaaaaaa!! I killed it. :(

Meh, I need a bigger one anyway.. The little proxxon was never up to the tasks I wanted it to do... I'll have to wait a while though.. a new Saw isn't going to be cheap!

Well it's back to working twelve hour days for me tomorrow.. so my mini time for now is over... See you on the other side! :D


  1. Wow, you did so much! The chairs look indeed better now. They were very nice before, but now they definitely are perfectly matching with the light and airy theme of the rest of the furniture. The mini pillows you made are just lovely! I especially LOVE the nautical themed ones! Mmm... now you might not be entirely happy with the couch, but your Tenant seems to love it, I think he wants to keep it ;-). Seriously though, I think you did a truly great job, especially with such difficult fabric, but it's important to be completely happy with the result of course.
    Sorry about the saw giving up!
    Anyway, I really enjoyed reading this post, you did a lot of wonderful work :-).

    1. Thanks so much Millicent.. I've had a productive few days in the craft room. I'm going to sit on the sofa for a while (no pun intended.. haha).. and see how I feel about it. I have a few ideas on some tweaks to maybe make it better so I may give those a go next week.

  2. Hello Sam,
    You have been busy. The chairs are lovely. They look much more elegant and I thin k they have a realness to them...the originals really felt like dollhouse chairs, but now they are very lifelike and beautiful. Well done. Also, the pillows are great. I think you did a great job of them and I love the fabrics you chose. When I first saw the couch I thought the weight of the top fabric might be a bit too heavy for 1:12 scale. However, when I saw it in the space it did not look bad at all. Live with it before you decide to redo anything. Your project is one of the most lifelike ones I have seen as of late and something like a toot thick sofa arm could throw that off...once again, I do think it looks good in place and a throw might be a great solution.
    Keep up the amazing work.
    Big hug

    1. Thank you Giac. I think you are right and I thought the same thing that the scale of the fabric might be just a teeny bit too big.. not quite as refined as I would have liked. I may tweak things a little next week after I've had time to consider my ideas. A little planning this time might be in order.. lol

    2. I actually agree-- the sofa in the space actually really works for me in a way that it didn't in the early photos. I like the texture! If you were to do it again I would get a light twill or herringbone wool in the men's suiting fabric dept to get the same effect at a smaller scale (or just go to a thrift store and see what men's jackets there are for cheap...).

    3. Great ideas for fabric, Thanks! That's exactly the look I was going for but it just needs to be a smidgen smaller. I do like it in the space though. So strange that it looks better in there. Usually it's the other way around! I have lots of Op shops in my area, I need to go hunting. :D

  3. Oh my! You have accomplished a lot. I love your countertop and cushions. I agree on the couch. Love the shape of it. It fits great in the space, but unless it really grows on you I'd try again with more planning. Couches are one of the hardest things to do I think. Anything with upholstery is difficult for me so I admire your nerve at diving right in.

    1. Thanks Sheila, I really surprised myself just winging it. Not my usual style at all but I was frustrated with my procrastination about it so I just went at it in a hurry so I'd be half way into it before I got scared lol. I have a couple of ideas for improvements so I might tackle those on my next days off. First I need to clean my craft room. It looks like a bomb hit it closely followed by a snow storm complete with yellow snow. :o lol

  4. As for crooked hardware, I swear it migrates when you are not looking! I can't count the times that after meticulously and perfectly placing it, I come back to look (after the glue has set) to find it off center or crooked! It is infuriating! But, when you have so much spender to look at as you do with the hutches, you never even notice.
    The chairs are superb! Just the right amount of "used", and wonderful dressed in their new fabric!
    The pillows are really neat - I love the variety and how each one is uniquely interesting! They are going to make each thing they are displayed on pop!
    Brilliant execution on the sofa! I love the shape and the way it fits so harmoniously in the space! My judgement on fabrics has always been a little off, and what I think is a small enough drape and weave looks good until I look at my photos. Then, I usually have to do it over. Yours, though, looks completely passable, especially in the back space and with the throw pillows. The tenant looks comfortable and perfectly happy!
    The new counter top is so eye catching - I love that the grain goes all the way through. Bummer about the saw, but sometimes breaking something is a blessing in disguise - now you can upgrade to the one you want! :O)
    If you cut that melamine into strips, it would make an amazing floor and/or wall covering, too! Great find!
    Hope the next work week marathon goes by fast and that you are back to creating again soon!

    1. Yes! This is it! I swear I had that hardware on straight! Now not so much.. Lol... I agree incredibly infuriating! I'm really having fun making cushions.. It's fun to experiment with them and have some fun.. It's an added bonus to be improving my sewing as I go. I'm really happy with the new countertop. It's nice and neutral and modern and will be a great backdrop for some cute minis. Now I just have to think about a splash back. I'm thinking maybe pressed tin for an industrial vibe or maybe just a classic white subway tile with a dark grout? Not sure... Need to go and stalk Pinterest. :D meh the couch.. My OCD says I need to fix it.. My lazy procrastination says leave it alone lol. You nailed it wham you said you think your judgement on fabrics is a little off. I absolutely love this loose weave fabric but it just didnt translate the way I wanted it too... A rethink is required.. I'll mull it over while I'm working this week and revisit next week. I did some painting these days off as well but I didn't have any thing worth showing come out of it. I'm feeling like my next block of days off might produce something fun. Thanks once again my friend for wonderful feedback that has made me reinvigorated to fix the things that bug me and be proud of the ones that worked out <3

  5. Hi Sam. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all done this, gone against our better judgement. But overall the sofa came out Ok and really, tucked in the corner it looks Ok. I think the throw and cushions and maybe a rug will help too. Sorry you are back to 12 hr days. I know how taxing they are. Take care.

    1. Thanks Shannon.. yeah it looks ok.. but I think I might be able to make some small changes to make it look better. To be fair I don't mind it in the space so it's not the end of the world. Yes the twelve hour shifts are sooo taxing.. I'm getting to old for this caper.. give me a nice 8 hour day any time.. feels like a half day. lol

  6. Hi, Sam - I don't remember whether I've mentioned how much I like the arrangement of miscellanea on top of your cabinets. All the pieces look just right - not too formal, nor too casual, and everything is well balanced. Nice! When I was reading about your makeover of the dining room chairs, I had to show your post to Robert, and we both laughed because those chairs are almost identical to our Real Life chairs. Ours started out as natural pine, but after many years we painted them a soft white and "sandpapered them in strategic locations for a more casual look." We both love your mini chairs as much as we love our real ones. I think your sofa making is successful, in spite of the thick fabric. It does fit well in its allotted space, and the addition of some of your wonderful pillows and a throw will make a big difference. The tenant seems to find it very comfortable! The melamine for the kitchen countertop was a great find. The scale looks perfect, and I like the subtle pattern. So sorry, though, about the demise of your table saw. You're making good progress on the San Franciscan; I always look forward to a new post from you.

    1. Hi Marjorie.. how funny that you have such similar chairs in RL. You have wonderful taste in both minis and life size decorating I see. :D Thanks for the encouragement on the couch.. I have a couple of ideas in mind to make it a bit better so we shall see how that pans out. Oh the saw.. I'll have to stick to mini projects that don't require one for the moment unfortunately but, at least I'll know what not to buy when I eventually buy a new one. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  7. Your dining room chairs are beautiful! I love the scatter pillows! The kitchen counter is fab! The couch is not. You are doing such beautiful work on that apartment, I think you should regard the couch as a trial run, and make another one. The tenant is obviously a bachelor and is only going for comfort, not style. I wish we lived close by, I would let you rummage through my stash of fabrics.
    Have a look at this blog post for inspiration, if you haven't already:
    and also look for the tutorial on making buttons for furniture.
    Good luck for work, and I look forward to the next instalment of your blog.

    1. Haha.. Thanks Megan.. I'm not completely happy with the couch but I'm not ready to scrap it yet either.. I'll try a few modifications and if that doesn't work it will indeed become a prototype. :D I got this fabric from a friend and I loved it in RL so I got really caught up in wanting to use it. Sometimes you just have to admit that your vision doesn't always pan out. I'm sure I would have a wonderful time rummaging though your fabric stash! I bet you've got all kinds of wonderful surprises in there! I do want the tenant to have some style, but I also want the couch to be comfortable as it's his only comfort piece other than the loft bed.. and he can hardly hang out there all day.. lol.. I'm just not really a fan of super modern sofas though.. I just think they look so uncomfortable.. It's a dilemma.. style v. comfort. I think I need to stalk pinterest again for more ideas. I have seen that Kris Compass tut before but had forgotten about it. Thanks for the reminder. It will be helpful with my attempts to fix the current one and at worst I'll take on some of her ideas for a new one. :D

    2. I know you will find a workable solution for that couch, just keep going. I wouldn't have been able to get even that far. I look forward to seeing what it looks like with modifications.

  8. Hi Sam, I thought I had left a message re this post. Firstly - the chairs for the dining room are vastly improved - I can say that as the chairs I have have been painted and recovered as well for my Gustavian Style Reno. I think yours and mine are much improved by a bit of elbow grease and paint!
    I do think you are amazing the way you built your sectional.. Yes, the fabric is a bit too - large scale in the photos. However, I know that photos are sometimes far too revealing and you may find once the kitchen (great counter by the way), has items on it .... surely your young man is not too neat and tidy and cushions, books, rug on the couch you may find it works very well.
    You must have had fun producing all those cushions! My favourite is the sailing ship in the second cushion pic. What did you use to stuff them?
    The sun is out! I am happy, 15C - it feels like a Qld winter morning!
    Regards Janine

    1. Ahh.. winter mornings in Queensland are my absolute favourite time of the year Janine! Now if we could just get started with winter.. lol
      Painted dining chairs for a Swedish house are a must aren't they.. have you posted yours yet? Have I missed them.. I must stop by for a looksee. :)
      Mmm.. the couch is getting mixed reviews.. lol.. I'm going to see what I can do to salvage it.. I may end up rebuilding.. but not right now.. too many other projects to move forward with.. Time will tell if I can live with a slightly modified version or if it ends up in the rubbish bin!

    2. Sorry Janine, I forgot to answer your question on cushion stuffing. I've used all kinds of different things in different cushions. Everything from seed beads or deco sand (these give the cushion some weight and make them sit better and you can do tiny little V chops to the tops lol.. but I find these hard to work with.. they end up all over the place.. ) to plain old quilting batting. I just tear of small pieces and push it in the hole I've left and move it around until I have the shape I want and no lumps. You can't mold your cushions like you can the seed bead or sand ones.. but it's much easier to sew around so I prefer it. The nautical cushions just have batting in them.

  9. Veo que has trabajado muy duro, las vitrinas te han quedado fantásticas me encanta la vajilla , muy acorde con el color y los adornos puestos encimas ,son encantadores. Me parece una suerte encontrar las sillas iguales en diferentes sitio, el cambio perfecto. Creo que has sido un poco dura al analizar tu sillón, a mi me parece genial y gracias por el paso a paso, has hecho una gran colección de cojines
    Lamento mucho el fin de tu sierra pero veo que ya tienes en proyecto una más grande, con mucho ánimo para trabajar duro.Un saludo:-)

    1. Muchas gracias, Rosa. Me alegra que te gusten mis gabinetes, estoy muy feliz con ellos. :) Agradezco tus amables palabras sobre mi sofá. No creo que se vea tan mal, pero tal vez no resultó como mi visión de la habitación. Voy a ver si puedo modificarlo un poco, así que me gusta más, pero esperaré un poco para poder considerar qué es lo que quiero hacer con él. Algún día conseguiré una nueva sierra de mesa. Mientras tanto tendré que apegarme a los mini proyectos que no los necesitan. lol

  10. Ah! Love seeing the ribbons used for pillows, I recognized them from your haul post! And I really like the hemming on the sofa, so funny to read your commentary… I think the overall effect is still really nice, especially when it’s sitting in the room. Sofas are tough! What did you use to secure the fabric to the bases? Glue? Iron-on adhesive? The glue part looks good. (And OMG that tenant photo LOL) Hope you can figure out a way to replace the saw! I'm sure it will be missed.

    1. Thanks Kristine.. I learnt some things with the ribbons. Choose tight weave cotton or at least thin material types. And nothing with any kind of shine or slippery finish. They will just unravel. Some the of my favourite ribbons just didn't work due to the style of fabric. I still have some more to try so we shall see how they go. Thanks for the encouragement on the sofa. They are tough.. Plus I was rushing, which is never a good thing.. lol.. I just used regular tacky glue to glue the fabric in places it wouldn't be seen. I've also got some iron on hemming tape I've been meaning to try so I might give that a go next time. I think I'm going to redo the cushions and arms (making them narrower and lower) and maybe in a different fabric. I like the skirt (the hemming is just me strategically cutting the fabric I used to include the hem it had.) so I'll likely keep that. Haha.. My tenant is so fun to play with.. I quite like staging him in a scene and photographing it. For some reason he cracks me up. :D

  11. Hi Sam... oh by, you have been busy!! I cannot believe how much minning you get done! The cabinets are gorgeous and so beautifully styled you are hard pressed to pick any wonky hardware... besides all things become a little wonky with time don't they? you know general ware and tare.
    The chairs have come up a real treat. I look at 'finished' furniture and find the so called finish mostly very cheap and ugly looking, but just look what can be achieved with a bit of elbow grease and paint! Talking of chairs... I saw some beauties somewhere, I think it was Instagram and the woman led me to kotte toys.. not sure if you already know it. This place if full of the most amazing mini chair kits. I am not sure if the instructions are in English or only in Swedish - anyway, just thought you might find it interesting.
    By the way, the tenant might be happy with his comfy couch (which looks really comfy, by the way) but I find it really hard to concentrate on the couch with that happy bulldog stealing the picture.

    Happy mini-ing,
    Anna x