A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment. I assure you I always read and appreciate everything you have to say. Unfortunately, thanks to Blogger being, well . . . Blogger, I can not respond to comments nor leave any on your blogs. They simply disappear into the ether. Occasionally I will remember to respond in the next blog post I put up, but usually these good intentions slip my mind. So if you want to ask a question or get a response to any comments you may have please leave an email address or other contact method in your comment and I will get back to you.

I have also added a separate page to the blog for the Tower of Magic with a brief summary of all the rooms of the ToM in the one spot. The link is just below this and above the main body of the blog, or you can just click here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Nine Days 'Til Christmas

Well, it isn't perfect - and I still HATE the "Entrance Hall" as it just looks AWFUL - but for now at least I am classing Madame Bellerose's house as finished. At some point in the future I will probably rip everything out of the hall and try again though. I've added light fittings, stair railings and all the other items that the house still needed last time I updated this blog. Everything has been taken out of the house and thoroughly dusted (it's amazing how fast dust and cat hair can build up) and the clear front of the house has been put in place to protect it. The photos of the finished house are on Flickr. There is still too much to do between now and Christmas. Throughout the year my mother always starts projects - from digging up the garden to redecorating the house - then never finishes them. Of course everything has to be "perfect" for Christmas, so everyone gets roped into finishing these projects, last weekend was re-laying the floor in the dining room. On top of that are the things that only get done once a year (on account of we're all too lazy) like polishing my Grandma's silver tea set which was in such a state it took me all afternoon. So on account of not having time to work on anything interesting, this will probably be the last post on this blog until after Christmas.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Madame Bellerose's - Week Fifteen

At this point there are far too many things on the list of things to be done before Christmas in the 1:1 scale world for me to have much time to work in the 1:12 scale world and so have more or less given up on my aim to have this house finished before Christmas. This week I managed to install the finials on the stair posts in the Lounge and Bedroom - and NOTHING else. I only got that much done because I gave up looking for something fancy/gothic and used plain round balls. I didn't have enough balls for the stairs from ground to middle floor as well, so that's still not done. I haven't even taken a photo of the 'finished' stairs yet! To finish the house I need to make and/or install: -Faux Lights (Lounge, Seance Room, Hall) -Stair Rails and Finials (Seance Room, Hall) -2-3 Large potted plants (Hall) -Elaborate Cat Bed (supposed to be the Bedroom, but no room left! Have to find somewhere to squeeze it in!) -Seat or side table (Hall) -Fix anything that looks wrong when everything else is in place! It really isn't a long list, maybe I can finish before Christmas after all?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Madame Bellerose's & The Bakery - Weeks 13 & 14

Firstly, there was no blog entry last week as my internet connection was jacking around on me. As I have a diploma in Software Admin. I know these things actually have their own conciousness and do these things deliberately to irritate people. . . . Anyway . . . After three weeks, all the residents, guests and workers of the Bakery and MB's are FINALLY FINISHED!!!! Finished that is unless I decide to add more people. There really should be more than one male in MB's house, but I really don't like making anywhere-close-to-modern mens clothing. So basically, I'll wait until everything else is finished and see if the house looks like it need a couple more men about. As usual, all the photos are already on Flickr, just use the link in the sidebar to the left to find them. You'll get a far better idea of what I've done if you look at the pictures than if I rabbit on and on about it here. With the addition of the workers, the Bakery's first stage is now more or less finished. There are a few things to take care of still, such as straightening the chandelier, but they are all very minor and won't change the overall look at all. As such, I won't be adding anymore blog entries for The Bakery until I start on Stage Two sometime after Christmas. I am still hoping to have MB's finished before Christmas. Like the bakery, there are really only small jobs left to be done, but unlike the bakery all those small jobs are fiddly, or require me to make something up as I go, so they may take quite some time to complete. The main thing that needs attention in MB's is the Entrance Hall, which just isn't working and at the moment, I have no idea what to do with it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Madame Bellerose's & The Bakery - Week Twelve

Another combined post this week due to a minimum of progress on either project. This is due to three main reasons. 1) After months of cool, wet weather Tasmania has suddenly gotten HOT. Okay, hot by Tassie standards, around 30 degees C. This is a problem because no one is aclimatised to the heat yet, so it seems hotter than it actually is and it is staying hot at night so no one is getting any sleep and the combination is making everyone with sense lethargic. And when you try to do anything with glue or paint, it is dry almost as soon as it comes out the container. 2) Christmas is coming. Only another 45 days to go and lots of things that need to be done beforehand. Over the weekend I spent several hours assembling flat-packed furniture for my mother and various other things that she wants done before Christmas. In fact I usually give up even trying to work on any craft projects in December as there is just too many other things to see to. 3) The task I set myself for the week was to dress the people who will populate both projects. For the bakery and the staff of MB's, this is fairly easy and straight-forward. Simple dresses, aprons, leggings and tunics. The guests at the seance are another matter however. The people here are supposed to be dressed 'formal'. For the men this means jackets (which I HATE making). For the time being I am adding one male guest in the clothes he was bought in and if I decide I need more men, I'll worry about that later on. The women I want to dress in the bustle dress style of the 1870-80s. These are much more complicated dresses than any I have tried before (at least without a pattern.) I decided to start with the guest who has fainted at the seance and is lying on the couch/sofa to recover. I only need to worry about the front of her gown and thus I can cheat by not adding a bustle or any complicated details on her rear. I have finished this lady (with the possible exception of a little trim here and there) and I think I now know how best to work on the others - I just have to get brave enough to try! Anyway, here are the photos of what I did get done:

Friday, November 6, 2009

Madame Bellerose's - Week Eleven

In MB's lounge room, the cats are up to mischief . . . . . Since I started this house, I really haven't liked the way it was looking - but suddenly it's all started to come together and is looking GREAT! The seance room, which I really, seriously considered gutting at one point and starting again is now starting to look fabulous. The bedroom is almost finished - just needs a rug or two on the floor. The lounge needs lights and it too will be basically done. The kitchen needs the doorways to the scullery re-doing. They all need some people. The only real problem at the moment is the entry hall. Having two curved staircases might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but now they're in place there is no way to add anything else to the room without it looking crowded or just plain wrong, yet leaving it empty is also a bad look. At the moment I'm thinking of making a big, fancy chandelier to hang in the middle of the room and then putting a ladder beneath it and having someone in the process of cleaning the chandelier. This would fill in the space in an interesting way, but wouldn't really tie up with the goings on in other parts of the house. Like the Bakery, MB's is up to the point where I feel Ican start adding people. Bedroom: At this point probably empty, but perhaps a maid straightening things up Seance: Populated by a few well dressed ladies and gents attending a seance. MB herself will be leading the seance, of course. Lounge: Resting on the couch, one of the ladies from the seance who fainted as a result of the eerie dramas of the seance. Kitchen: A cook is directing the preparations of refreshments for the guests. Under her watchful eye are one or two maids/assistants Hall: Perhaps a servant cleaning something, perhaps someone else, perhaps no one??????

The Bakery - Week Eleven

Is it really eleven weeks since I started The Bakery? Is it really only 49 days until Christmas? . . . Again this week, more work was done to MB's than the Bakery, but the Bakery did gain some vital features. Most important, the lights! Suspended from the Bakery ceiling is a 'chandelier' holding drippy wax candles to 'light' the Bakery. The candles are made of real wax, but the wicks are fake. Contray to my fears, the chandelier is yet to fall down and it has been in place since Sunday, so hopefully that means it isn't going to fall down and whack some poor baker on the head. Now all I have to do is get the thing to hang straight . . . There are also some extra candles scattered about the bakery for extra lighting. The other main advance in the Bakery (if you can call it an advance) was the invasion of the mice. Mice, who tend to resemble some hideously deformed tadpoles, now infest the Sewer section, are hiding behind sacks in the Storage area and a few brave mice have headed into the bakery proper in search of fresh crumbs. Next, I need to dress and wig some dolls to work in the bakery and the basement block sectiion of this project will (baring a few details here and there) be complete. At the moment I'm thinking there'll be the following characers The Master Baker - The guy in charge of it all, probably working at the front table The Pie Maker - Working at the side back table, oddly enough making pies The Stoker - A younger person with the job of tending the oven fire and keeping an eye on the bread so it doesn't burn The Thief/Smuggler - Sorting gems from flour in the Storage area after they have been smuggled into the city in the flour sacks The Thief's Assistant - Waiting in the sewer to carry away the ill gotten gains

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Bakery & Madame Bellerose's - Week Ten or Fun with Polymer Clay

Two weeks ago the Bakery reached the point where it needed some accessories making from clay. Finally, I have brought work on MB's up to the same point and spent all weekend working on polymer clay bits and pieces for the two projects. From the photos I've included, you can see some of my, uh, 'masterpieces'. All right, so working with clay is not my best talent, but scarily enough I have improved greatly in this area - just imagine how awful my first attempts were. For MB's kitchen, I have made some carrots (even I can't mess up a simple carrot), a couple of mixing bowls, cracked eggs and whole eggs, a casserole in the making, a kettle, some baking trays and other utencils, not all of which are seen in the picture above. The copper kettle and utencils are just white sculpy painted with copper paint (after it was baked of course). The roll of roast meat and the crate of fruit in the photo were pre-bought as is. For the Bakery I have made four types of 'bread' - white and brown, baked and unbaked. Most of the baked bread won't be used in the actual bakery, but in the 'shop' section above - it has ended up in the sewer for safekeeping until then! (Better not tell that to the customers!) I have also made some pastry crusts and 'meat' for pie making. There is also a 'chandelier' so that the bakers will be able to see what they're doing and other accessories such as a meat cleaver for the fellow cutting meat. Next, I need to work on other accessories made from other materials, dress and wig people to live and work in both projects, add any other touches that are needed and both MB's and the basement of the bakery will be finished! I hope to finish both before Christmas and still find time to make my Grandma's christmas present (which I'll post more info about sometime later on). I probably won't start work on the next level of the Bakery until after Christmas even if the basement block is finished weeks before - with the approach of summer and Christmas both, there is simply too much to do in the meantime.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Madame Bellerose - Week Nine

Again this week there is no progress on the Bakery. This is largely because we have FINALLY been getting some good weather down here and as a result, I've been outside instead of working on dollshouses inside. Hopefully by the time I post week ten's blog, I will have all the bread, dough and other bakery accessories sorted. As you can see above, MB's main project of the week has been the velvet curtains separating the Seance Room from the Lounge. This has made a remarkable difference to the house. The colours of the two rooms looked pretty awful together, but now they have been separated by curtains, the colour of which works for both rooms, the rooms finally look like they belong side by side and the curtains give both rooms a much more finished look. The curtains themselves are velveteen which were loosely pleated by pinning them in shape then using steam and a little starch on them. The swag at the top is very simple - I was going to try for a more complicated design, but after all the trouble I had getting the main curtains right, I decided the perhaps less would be more. The chairs for the seance room have been finished(?) by upholstering the seats in the same velveteen fabric. I say finished with a question mark as I think that the chair backs need some sort of ornamentation, but haven't found anything that might work, so the chairs are finished, but I might add to them later on. The bedroom is also getting closer to completion, with the bed now dressed in deep pink satin and lace. This room now only needs accessories such as lamps, rugs and cosmetics (etc) for the vanity table. I have made a beaded lightshade to hang from the ceiling, but haven't installed it yet.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Madame Bellerose's - Week Eight

First let me explain that there is no post on the progress of the Bakery this week as I haven't made any - I spent all my time working on MB's instead. Having said that you're probably expecting me to say I got a lot of things done to MB's, but you'd be wrong. This was one of those weeks when nothing really seemed to get done. True I built an entire table, renovated eight chairs and painted two rooms worth of furniture - but none of it is finished yet. For the Seance Room I made a table around which the Seances and other mystical activities can be held. Traditionally such a table would be round, but to make it a little different and a little less like a re-creation of King Arthur's round table, I made my table hexagonal. With the exception of the legs, which are short posts designed for scrapbooking of all things, the table is made from balsa wood. The chairs I have had for years - they were $2 for two at a certain bargain outlet all Tasmanians are familiar with. I cut out the backs of the chairs and replaced them with a solid back in the shape of a gothic arch. With that done I painted the lot, along with the bedroom furniture and gave everything a coat of gloss sealer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Week Seven and a Half - You Must Know Which Projects I Mean by Now

Thanks to a public holiday for Show Day, I have made some headway on both projects. Being pressed for time, I'll just let the photos do the talking . . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week Seven - Madame Bellerose's & The Bakery

After twenty-one straight wet weekends, we finally had a dry weekend in Tasmania! We actually had two days of pleasant weather in a row! Of course, it hasn't lasted. Today it's overcast, there's a southerly that must be coming straight from the Anarctic bending the trees double and it's forecast to rain in the afternoon. It's the middle of spring (well, almost) and I'm currently wearing fingerless gloves in a vain attempt to stop my fingers freezing. It's the local Show on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so of course we expect it to rain the rest of the week. Or to cut a long story short, don't believe anyone who tells you the weather in Tasmania is beautiful. But all this is beside the point. Progress on MB's has been confined to the kitchen this week with the kitchen table and hutch being assembled and painted. I have also made a start on the sink for the scullery. The sink was made out of air drying clay, painted, varnished and filled with 'water'. The water was made from Scenic Water, the foaming suds were achieved by injecting the Scenic Water with real suds before it was set. The sink still need something to stand on however. In the Bakery, I focused on the storage room, making about a dozen sacks for the likes of flour, salt and sugar. These were made from calico blocks glued at the bottom and sides, turned inside out, stuffed with whatever was handy and sewn up accross the top. I then decided that the sacks needed to be a slightly deeper colour and more 'dirty' looking. To achieve this I put them in a bowl of weak coffee to stain them. Now what happens to objects held together with water soluable glue when you submerge them in hot water? Why, they fall apart of course! So after I stitched the whole lot of them back together again (which was something I did after I was through bashing my head on the table) the sacks were finished. I gave them a dusting with talcum powder to look like flour seeping out and positioned them in the storage room. I reserved one 'opened' sack to go in the main bakery as the sack currently in use and another 'full' sack to be being carried up from the storage area. A third sack is open in the storage room with it's contents scattered over the floor. The flour the sack contains is talcum powder again. Amongst the 'flour' there are also precious gems being smuggled - their retrieval being the reason for the sack being opened. Eventaully, I will add a smuggler sorting through the flour to retrive the gems and passing them to his accomplice in the 'sewer' section.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Bakery and Madame Bellerose's - Week Six

It's been another week when not very much seems to have progressed. I have almost finished the curved stairs in MB's, too bad they look awful. MB's also has some "stained glass windows" added, but I need to figure out how to frame/finish them before they'll look right. Having tried to make some casing for arounf the doorways myself, I have now ordered some of the ready-made variety. The Bakery now has working trapdoors in the hatchways and is pretty much ready for furniture, accessories and people to start being made/added - unless I decide to start work on the rest of the shop/house above first. The plan is to finish the basement block bakery first, then move on to the rest, but now I'm wondering if it might be easier to do it the other way around.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Madame Bellerose's - Week Five

Having gone to the trouble of making a staircase and installing it before realising that the arrangement wouldn't work, I have re-designed the second floor staircase as pictured above. There will be either a fake door, fake windows or a bookcase along the back wall of the 'gallery' section. Possibly a combination of the above. As you can see, the gothic theme is upheld by use of a dark woodstain and repeated use of the classic gothic arch. For the curved stairs from the bottom to middle floors I wanted to do something that was different, but still at least a little gothic. I also needed some sort of railing that can be made to curve to match the staircases. I found some felt ribbon intended as a scrapbooking embelishment in the local craft shop. It is cut out to make an ornate swirly design. First I have to push out the pieces that were supposed to be cut out, but weren't, then I ironed the lengths of ribbon and painted them with very watered down wood stain so they will match the rest of the wood in the house. Next they recieved a coat of fabric stiffener to make them more rigid. Now all I have to do is cut the lengths of ribbon to the right size, add some supporting posts and newel posts at the top and bottom of the stairs and install the stairs and railings in place. Oh, and figure out how to make a handrail that curves for along the top. Then, once I find 16 suitably gothic finials for the posts, the stairs will finally be finished! With the work on the stairs (probably the single biggest task in the house) nearly done, I've been playing with furniture in some of the rooms as shown in the photo below.

The Bakery - Week Five

I'm still concentraiting on finishing the staircases for MB's, so progress on the Bakery is going slowly at the moment. The photo below pretty much tells the story for the week - the oven is (mostly) finished and installed and the access ladder has been made and installed. Not shown in the picture is the sewer section, which I have made look a little 'dirtier' and added 'water' to the central channel.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The Bakery - Week Four

Inbetween futsing about with staircases for MB's, I started work on the bakery oven. It is made in two parts, the base and the top. The base is made out of foamboard, is rectangular with two arched openings in the front and is where the fire that heats the oven will be located. The upper section is made of airdrying clay. I started creating a 'form' out of alfoil and bits of cardboard and foam that was about the right size and shape as I wanted the finished oven to be. Then I rolled the clay out to a few mm thick and draped it over the form and cut the clay to fit. Next I removed the clay from the form and lay it flat again. I cut out the arched opening in the front (so that the bakers can get the bread in and out of the oven)and used a toothpick to make grooves to give the impression of bricks. The clay was then put back over the form do that it dried to shape.

Madame Bellerose's - Week Four

Sometimes things go right and all the pieces just fall into place. Then there is the house of Madame Bellerose. It is one of those projects that just refuses to co-operate and come together. First there is the kitchen, which just looks plain horrible at the moment. It is being brought down by two things, the floor and the doorframes. The floor should look better after furniture and people are added to the room as this will make the floor less visible. The real problem is the doorframes as the only way to take them down will probably involve ripping the wallpaper, which will lead to the need to re-paper the walls and possibly redo the panelling as well. For the time being I am ignoring the kitchen while waiting for a brainwave on how to make it look better to strike. Then there are the staircases. The pair of curved stairs joining the bottom floor to the middle are acutally progressing quite well. They have been cut out, glued together, filled, roughly sanded and painted with a watery mix of paint and pva glue. They only need the be filled again, re-sanded and then painted/stained and varnished. (Then they need banisters and rails, but that is another problem for another time). It is the much simpler straight stairs joining the middle to the top floor that is the problem. I used some recycled premade straight stairs to create two sections of stair separated by a landing. Under the lower section of stair I built a bookcase with two gothic arches. As the stairs came with a railing built into the wrong side, I had to remove the exisiting railing and fill the holes. I stained the whole lot and added a 'carpet runner' up the middle of the stairs. Finished, I glued the stair assembly into place. This took all day. Then I looked at what I had done and realised that for a 12th scale person to walk up the stairs, they would have to bend double at the landing as it was only about 2 1/2" from the ceiling! So after bashing my head against the table a few times I had to carefully pry the staircase out (which I did manage with only minimal damage to the wall and floor papers already installed) and come up with a new staircase design. This new design should work, it may even be an improvement, but I'll judge that after I have made it work! Once I have the stairs finished, they will need rails/banisters. I have plenty of the mass produced ready made spindles and newel posts in my supply box, but I really want something more 'gothic' to add to the character of the house. I have no ideas at the moment what I will use for the railings but I can guarentee I will want to throw the curved ones through the nearest window at least once before they are done to an acceptible standard! Not only do I need to figure out how to make them curved, I need to make them with the same curve as the stairs.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Headline News!

The following are a list of newspaper headlines, some clearly quite old, that came to me via the friend of a friend's friend's friend. (Or something like that). I have no idea of the actual origin of them, but they are worthy of a giggle! # Prostitutes appeal to Pope # Panda mating fails; Vetrinarian takes over # Include your children when baking cookies # Something went wrong in jet crash, expert says # Police begin campaign to run down jay walkers # Safety experts say school bus passengers should be belted # Drunk gets nine months in violin case # Survivor of Siamese twins joins parents # Iraqi head seeks arms # British left Waffles on Falkland Isles # Lung cancer in women mushrooms # Eye drops off shelf # Teachers strike idle kids # Clinton wins on budget, but more lies ahead # Enraged cow injures farmer with ax # Plane too close to ground, crash probe told # Miners refuse to work after death # Juvenile court to try shooting defendant # Stolen painting found by tree # Two sisters reunited after 18 years in checkout counter # Never withhold Herpes infection from loved one # War dims hope for peace # If strike isn't settled quickly, it may last a while # Cold wave linked to tempuratures # Deer kill 17,000 # Enfields couple slain; police suspect homicide # Red tape holds up new bridges # Typhoon rips through cemetery, hundreds dead # Man struck by lightning faces battery charge # New study of obesity looks for larger test group # Astronaut takes blame for gas in spacecraft # Kids make nutritious snacks # Chef throws his heart into helping feed needy # Arson suspect held in Massachusetts fire # Ban on soliciting dead in Trotwood # Local high school drop outs cut in half # New vaccine may contain rabies # Hospitals are sued by 7 foot doctors

Madame Bellerose's - Week Three

Week three was largely swallowed by working on the Bakery. The only work to MB's I got done was in the kitchen where I added the panelling and the frames over the scullery doorways. Unfortunately . . . . . . . It all looks horrid and will probably be pulled out just as soon as I decide what else to do with it!

The Bakery - Week Three

After what seems like an endless eternity of stenciling, the brickwork on the inside and outside of the bakery's basement block is finished! That means it's time to say the same thing I always say after using a stencil to create brick or stone work - I am never doing that again! This time I might actually be forced to keep my word on that as neither of the craft shops in town seem to be keeping the ingredients for my 'stone/brick paste' anymore. Something else I'll have to buy online perhaps. Ater finishing with the stenciling and allowing the last lot of brickwork to dry, it was time to 'wash' the bricks. I do this to all the brick and stone finishes I have created with stencils and the texure paste mix as it has several effects. First, it evens out the colour where I've had to mix another batch of paste and the colour inevitably comes out a little different. Second, and yes I know this is a bit of a contradicition, it creates variations in the colour of the brick/stone by making the wash heavier in some places than others. The wash itself is made from a little extra of the brick 'paste', extra stone effect paint and acrylic paints all mixed in a pot of water so that the final mix is only fractionally less viscous than plain water. The 'raw' bricks were a little to sickly in colour for my taste so I added plenty of extra red and black paint to the wash I put over them to darken them up - and they ended up pink! Deciding to settle for pink brick I then highlighted random bricks with chalk paint in shades of brown and applied a couple of coats of sealer and finally, the bricks were finished!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

On The Up - Stairs for all Occasions

If you're tired of the same old boring staircases that come in miniature scales, try visiting the following links for some inspiration. Included are stairs in just about every style imaginable and even afew that are impossible to imagine! Stair Parts Carved Custom Stairs and Trim Michael Burke Construction Inlaid Marquetry Stairs Nine Creative Staircases Bristol Joinery - Staircase Gallery Staircase Creative Designs

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The Bakery - Week Two or Bricked Up

Bricks, bricks and more bricks. The problem with covering a space inside and out in brickwork is that there are soooooo very many bricks to add. I've been using a brick stencil from Bromley Craft Products and my own mix of 'brick paste' to add the effect of bricks to the bakery's basement block. After two weeks I am almost finished adding bricks, just one more panel of the front and the top to go! Even then I'm still not quite done with the bricks as I have to add free formed bricks around the top edge of the arches on the front. I haven't figured out how to make the oven yet, but no doubt this will also need to be bricked!

Madame Bellerose's - Week Two

Now that the exterior of Madame Bellerose's home is finished (at least until I change my mind about it) I have started on the interior decor. Normally I start from the ceiling of a room and work down (ceiling, walls, floor). This means that I don't have to worry about splashing the walls as I paint the ceiling, plus once the ceilings are finished, I generally don't need to turn the whole house upsidedown again. For M.B.'s I decided not to paint the ceilings, but to make a feature of the ceilings with embossed paper with balsa wood panelling. With that in mind I papered the ceilings, then the walls, then added the panelling to the ceilings as the paneling helps to hold both the roof and wall papers in place. The exception to this process is the ground floor where the kitchen has a plain ceiling and the 'hall' is completely covered in the embossed paper without any paneling. From the top floor down, the rooms have the following colour schemes: Bedroom: Has an oversided fler-de-lys pattern in lavender on purple. This 'wallpaper' is really a quilting fabric. The floor will be of wood-effect paper. Lounge/Study: Has dark forest green walls with a pattern of paler green vines. This room is papered with scrapbooking paper. Seance Room: Has floral patterned walls in burgundy on pink. Another fabric. Kitchen/Scullery: The scullery at the rear has plain white walls. The kitchen has a white ceiling, blue floral on cream upper walls while the bottom of the walls will have some gothic-influenced panelling. This is the only room with made to purpose mini wallpaper! The floor of both areas is already down, made from pieces of vinyl 'stone look' floor tiles cut into 'slabs', the gaps between slabs has been grouted. Entrance Hall: The walls are papered with cream scrapbook paper with a pattern of beige motifs. The floor is covered with made to purpose miniature victorian floor tile paper.

Barehaven Miniature Pottery

Argh! I just realised I overlooked adding Barehaven Miniature Pottery to my list of links. Click Here to see their site! They make the most amazing, tiny pottery products in 1/12 (or 1") scale. Butter churns, tea pots, cauldrons, vases and more are all hand thrown on a pottery wheel.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Spring Down Under

Today is the first official day of spring in Australia (and also the first day it hasn't rained lions and wolves - like cats and dogs only heavier! - in a week, or do I mean a month?) It has been a ridiculously wet winter in Tasmania. Naturally three months ago all the 'experts' were saying to expect a very dry winter! Australian spring starts on 1st September, summer on 1st December, autumn on 1st March and winter on 1st June. As a British colony we would logically have inherited these dates from the English (only in reverse). So why do the British and American seasons officially change on the solstices and equinoxes? I can't seem to find an answer to this question, but I assume that someone 'up north' decided to change the dates of the seasons sometime after Australia was colonised (the past 200 years) but forgot to tell us. Pushing the official seasons back does make sense as the earth's wobble on it's axis and variations in it's orbit (etc) mean that the seasons have changed over time. Why, the winter solstice was once celebrated as 'Midwinter', but now it is only considered the start of winter rather than the middle. If anybody knows when and why it was decided that the northern seasons officially start on the solstices and equinoxes or why us Aussies are different, I'd like to know so please leave a comment!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Madame Bellerose and a Giant Cat

From now on, my 'Victorian Gothic' house will be known as 'Madame Bellerose's' after the miniature 'owner' of the house. Meanwhile, take a look below at what happened to her house over the weekend. It was invaded by a giant cat called Ginny!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Two for One . . .

It was kind of inevitable wasn't it? After all, I couldn't decide whether to do the Dragon's Maiden or the Magician's Lookout first, so I did both together. So this time 'round when I had trouble choosing between two ideas I suppose I always knew I'd end up giving up on choosing and doing both together. And so I have. Form now on I am officially working on both a medieval/tudor bakery and a victorian gothic house. At this point the projects are simple called "The Bakery" and the "Victorian Gothic". Hopefully they will attract more inspired titles as they develop. As I've mentioned in earlier blog posts, both projects will make use of cheap flat-packed shelf units. The Victorian Gothic will be built into two shelving units, a three shelf and a two shelf. Here's a pic of each unit assembled as per the instructions: They will be side by side with doors and stairwells cut in at appropriate places. They create space for five rooms which at the moment will be: a bedroom, a lounge-come-study, an entrance hall with feature staircase, a "seance" room where the house's resident psychic conducts business and a kitchen, perhaps with an additional partition wall to create space for a scullery behind. The Bakery will start with the basement which will be built into this box: Yes, I do know that subterranean bakeries are not exactly common, historically or now, but when did I ever say I was trying for historical accuracy? Besides, having the bakery on a different level to the 'shop' means that I can give each area more space and thus more detail. As the next photo shows, I have started work on the basement by cutting boards for a 'fake' floor and front facade. The main chamber is the bakery, accessed by a ladder leading to a hatch onto the 'street' level. Of the two smaller chambers at the bottom, one is for storage (of flour sacks etc) while the other is for a sewer. I think that someone associated with the bakery is engaged in smuggling and uses the access between the storage space and the sewer to come and go unseen. Perhaps the mill where the flour comes from is close to a gem mine and gems are being smuggled into the city in the flour sacks? I haven't quite decided what the story is here, but something nefarious is definitely going on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

More Links

Tried to find some nice ribbon lately? Something that could work as a staircarpet or a decoration on a dress. Around my way, you'd better not even try. This is the best online store in Australia selling a decent range of ribbon that I have been able to find: Ribbon Worx And another aussie miniatures site: Egg Miniatures They are more focused on egg decorating, but do have a small range of dollshouse supplies.

Inspirations and Other Stuff

The following are a mixed assortment of images I've collected as inspiration for my tudor and victorian gothic houses.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Gothic or Tudor?

As my current DH projects are nearing completion, it is time to start planning the next project. My long standing list of ideas contains everything from a viking longboat to an art deco room and is constantly being added to. When I start a project, it usually turns out to be something completely different than I originally had in mind, so the original item remains on the list to I can try it again later. The result? I need a bigger notebook for just the undeveloped ideas! The two forerunners for my next task are a house for a witch in a Victorian Gothic style (or maybe medieval gothic?) and a tudor 'shop'. A few weeks ago I picked up some cheap flat-packed bookcases from a local bargain retailer (yep, Chickenfeed again). One has two shelves (making three rooms) and one is just a single cube, perfect for a roombox. If I decide to go Tudor, I'll use the single box as the basement which will be a storeroom or workroom for the shop. Ontop of the box I'll build the main house (from scratch - what a scary thought!). The first level will be on stilts and open, this is where the shop/market/stall will be, with perhaps a small 'room'section for an office. Ontop of that will be at least two levels of residence. I'm not sure what type of business this will be, but it will be a successful business as the owners living above are quite affluent people with the best of everything. With this project I can build it room-by-room, starting with the basement and working up, treating each level as it's own roombox. If I choose gothic, I'll use the larger shelf unit to make a three story house and maybe go back to the shops and pick up a one shelf/two level shelf to put beside the three level shelves to make a five room house. I'm thinking I will put the 'front' door at the side and cover the open front with clear perspex so that the house has a front fascade but is still open for display. (I don't really see the point in taking so much time decorating the insides and then shutting them away behind a wall!) I want to put in some ornate gothic windows and doors and perhaps a round turrent. The inhabitant of the house will be a witch or sorceress. Perhaps she makes money as a psychic and holds séances in her front room. Both houses can be made as floor standing units, which is a good thing as I am pretty much out of shelf space. Of course, I've thought that for years but keep finding more ways to fit more in!

Interior Design Link

Need help designing or co-ordinating your dollshouse? The following site is designed to help people plan their full size decoration, but the tips and ideas will work just as well in smaller scale. Link: Interior Design Tutor

Monday, July 27, 2009

Disappearing England

From the Introduction to the online ebook 'Disappearing England' by P.H. Ditchfield: "This book is intended not to raise fears but to record facts. We wish to describe with pen and pencil those features of England which are gradually disappearing, and to preserve the memory of them. . . It will be our endeavour to tell of the old country houses that Time has spared, the cottages that grace the village green, the stern grey walls that still guard some few of our towns, the old moot halls and public buildings. We shall see the old-time farmers and rustics gathering together at fair and market, their games and sports and merry-makings, and whatever relics of old English life have been left for an artist and scribe of the twentieth century to record." This text will be useful to anyone trying to recreate period houses/details and is an interesting read. Click Here to See the Complete Book

Australian Dollshouse Online Shops - Part Two

The rest of my list of all Aussie based Dollshouse shops with online sales. if you know of any others, please let me know and I'll add them! House of Miniatures Just Wood Toys & Dollshouses Dolls House Megastore The Dolls House - Reccommended Victorian Doll Houses Dollshouse Attic Miniature Magic Miniature World Maker Smaller scale scenery Aussie Doll Houses Houses/Kits Only Dollhouse Miniatures HobbyCo Lara Copper Tassie made copper items Lilliput Miniatures Tudor Furniture A Sheila's Shed Lesley's Miniature

Australian Dollshouse Online Shops - Part One

In no particular order, here is my list of every Aussie supplier of Dollshouse miniatures who have an online sales facility: Cardstone Miniatures (ebay) Fairy Meadow - Reccomended! Lesley's" Mini Knitting (ebay) Rainbows & Dreams (ebay) Dolls House Decor Tom Thumb Doll House Gallery Petite Dolls Christmas Everyday (High End Only)