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.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

It Does All Fit

Happy New Year to all my followers.

I have been busy over my Christmas break and even though that break isn't quite over yet I thought I'd share with you some photos of what I've been doing:

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Durring the week I gathered all of the items I have collected to go in the Folly and set them out on the floor of the downstairs.  I began to worry when half the floor area was covered and there was still a pile of little boxes to open.  In the end, the collection filled the entire floor.

"Poke" me to make me bigger for a better view
 There are vases, budhas, teapots, ginger jars, dragons, statuettes and other assorted oriental themed items.  That's the problem with internet shopping, you tend to lose track of just how much you've bought until the parcel post guy keeps coming back to see you day after day after day . . . . . . My next challenge is to make shelves, tables and display units that are themselves suitably oriental to house and dislay all this "loot".

The one piece of furniture I have completed is not a good start. . . . It looks best with just a single item sat atop it.  One out of an entire floor full!  The unit started out as a cheap modern TV stand for children.  I added a row of fake drawers at the bottom and filled in the top shelf (which was too shallow to hold anything) with a red and gold panel featuring a pair of dragons.  The panel is just an image printed from my computer on thick paper.

I'll be back next year, hopefully with lots of shelves to show you.  In the meantime I hope everyone has an enjoyable Christmas  and New Year period and that Santa leaves you lots of dollshouse items in your stockings!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Christmas Slow Down

Many miniaturists seem to have the problem of the closer it gets to Christmas, the less time they have to work on dollshouses.  I am no exception to this and thus have little progress to share with you this week. 

I dug into my collection of furniture and played with various arrangements to decide what will go where.  Once happy with what I had I made a start adapting and painting some of the pieces I want to use, but so far have finished none of them.  I have drawn a few designs for the pieces I need to make, but have settled on none of them.

I found some brocade fabric in the shop and instantly knew what to do with it.  I cut out one of the medallion designs from the fabric and hung it on the wall as a wall hanging.  It hangs above one of the unfinished pieces of furniture.

I went into the local newsagents durring the week and spotted the current issue of "Victorian Dollshouse Collector" magazine.  It came with a floor rug and three vases.  This is one of the vases:

How could I resist.  It is perfect for the folly.  Another of the three vases and the rug will also work in the folly if I can find room for them.  I have to admit I've collected so many bits and pieces for the folly I doubt they will all be able to squeeze in! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Exterior Almost Finished!

With the roof close to completion, the last major item that needed doing to finish the exterior of the folly was the front doors and windows.  I had already made a start on adapting the doors that came with the kit by knocking out the cross bars that gave the doors a standard french door look.  I finished the doors by adding pieces of card painted red across the bottoms.  The top sections were adorned with pieces of 3mm square balsa wood that had been cut and glued together in a oblong design.  The "glass" that came with the kit was then fitted to the back of the doors.

I still need to find some sort of oriental motif to decorate the bottoms of the doors and I also need to come up with some suitable door handles.  The front steps are now back at the front rather than at the side where I was going to put them.  I had cut them down to be narrower to fit at the side and being too lazy to bother widening them again, I've left them as is in the hopes that the pair of foo dogs I have bought will fit either side to fill the gap.  In the meantime I've positioned a pair of Japanese style figurines there.

The roof has been finished off too.  I found some white braid to trim the edges and dyed it by wetting it then dipping it in some of the paint used on the roof, slightly watered down.  Once this dried, it was glued around the edges to finish off the roof.  The whole roof was then given a few coats of gloss sealer to finish it off.

 Inside the folly on the top floor I decided I disliked the yellow walls and painted them a plum colour instead.  It does make the room look a little top heavy, but hopefully once there's furniture and other decoration in there it will balance out.  In any event, I am Not repainting the walls again.  You can see sitting in the middle of the floor the acetate pieces I've cut to glaze the windows at either end of the room.  I've started to make and install the frames for the windows.  At long last I'm nearly ready to start working on the furniture for this project.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The Roof - Part Two

Still working on the roof . . . .

 I've finished the clay tiles on the back of the roof and moulded some "fins" out of air dry clay to decorate the ends of each ridge beam.

 When the clay was dry, it was given a couple of coats of blue paint.

It still needs a few coats of gloss to make it look like shiny glazed tiles and all the edges need trim running around them to finish them off.

Meanwhile on the inside of the Folly I've made the downstairs walls a similar colour to the roof.  As the walls are quite sedate, I figured I could go crazy on the ceiling and used a quilting fabric with an oriental smoke pattern to cover it.  The stairs that came with the kit are positivly the most ugly things you've ever seen, so I made my own from balsa wood and painted them red.  I can't decide what to do for a stair railing, so as I rather like them as is, I've decided to do without.  Some of the Oriental artifacts I've collected for this project have lodged in the room for safe-keeping.

 Out the front of the folly, I decided to put the front steps back at the front centre, so have taken out the centre section of railing and filled in the end.

And finally, I'm still finishing off my 1:1 redecorating.  This pair of dragon sconces were painted years ago to match the colour scheme the repainted room was then.  Before re-hanging them this time I added some accents with the metallic purple I used on the wall to help tie them in.  Here you see one original and one retouched dragon.  And in case you think there's something odd about this photo . . . . there is.  It's upside down.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roof - Part One

I wasn't looking forward to tackling the roof and spent a lot of time this week finding other things to do.  Eventually, it couldn't be put off any longer and I forced myself to get on with it.  The first job that needed to be done was to strengthen the mountboard and duct tape roof.  This was done by adding a layer of paper maiche to the under side of the roof.  Sort of.  Instead of paper and wallpaper paste I used scraps of fabric leftover from covering the walls and wallpaper paste, so I guess I fabric maiched it.  In any event, the roof is now as solid as a rock and no longer flops about like an oversized jelly.

  The roof in this photo is the inspiration I'm working from.

To try and achieve this look I started by cutting cardboard strips and laying them across the roof from side to side, slightly overlapping each row as per normal roof tiling.  I then glued drinking straws running up and down the roof.  I hollowed out a square balsa wood beam to sit on the ridgeline and cap off the roof.

Next up it was time to tile the straws.  I rolled out some airdry clay and cut it up into individual tiles.  Starting at the bottom and working up to the ridge each straw was coated with glue then wrapped in tiles, about thirteen tiles per straw for the longest runs.

Technically, the straws should have been positioned closer together to really resemble the roof I was trying to copy, but I was worried about two things; first was not having enough room between straws to work the clay tiles into position without disturbing other straws/tiles and secondly, running out of straws.  Still, I think once it's painted, it will look quite good regardless.

Painting is still a ways off as I still have to tile all the straws on the back of the roof.  Then I need to trim all the edges and add some decoration to the ridgeline beams.  Phew.  Then I'll paint it in a blue-grey.  Ahem, unless I change my mind before then.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

It Couldn't Last . . .

I had planned to leave the walls of the folly bland beige, inside and out.  Whenever I had tried to do a bland neutral colour before, I've almost always changed my mind, so wht should the folly be an exception?  The outside walls have gone from bland beige to teal green livened up by striking red railings.

 The doors that came with the kit have had most of their internal divisions removed.  The large panels at the bottom will be filled with a solid panel with some sort of oriental motif to decorate them while the upper sections will have an open fretwork pattern.  The railings have been made from balsa wood in an oriental pattern punctuated by round pillars that "support" the roof.  The pillars are connected to each other and to the front wall of the building by more balsa wood beams.  

The steps were supposed to sit in the middle of the front.  I cut them down to sit off the side of the porch.  I wonder now if I shouldn't take out the middle section of rail and put them back in front.  What do you think?

Inside, the upstairs walls have changed from beige to yellow.  An oriental patterned fabric creates a panelled effect around the bottom of the walls.  A bamboo placemat has been cut to size and stained a dark chocolate colour to create the floor.

 Downstairs has been a number of colours, none of which I've liked.  As I'm supposed to be finishing the outside first and still have to address the roof before the outside is finished, I will have a week or two to consider what to do with the downstairs room. 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

For the Attention of Australians

When I checked my emails this morning I received one from the people at Dolls House Emporium announcing they had launched an Australian version of their site.  After a split second of pure exhilaration, I realised this was not an Australian based DHE store and somewhat disapointingly everything ordered from it still has to come all the way from the UK, but it does list everything in Australian dollars and makes it clear what us Aussies have to pay in postage; a flat $12 fee for orders under $100 or free for orders over $100.  It also lists the expected delivery times to Australia.  What mystifies me is why on the 12th of November DHE are launching a new site that clearly says enter our Weird and Wacky competition when entries for that competition closed on the 31st of October.  I guess because in most respects, this "new" site is just a carbon copy of the main DHE site and the admins of the main site have been too slack to keep that one up to date.

You will find the Aussie version of DHE here.

In other Aussie news, Fairy Meadow Miniature in Sydney has recently started stocking a small selection of Greenleaf houses.  Luckily none of the houses they have at the moment are on my "ohhhh, I've got to have it" list or I would have spent way too much money by now, but hopefully the range they carry will be expanded in the future.

Find Fairy Meadow Miniatures here

Finally, the Little Doll House which is located right here in Tassie has finally launched their online store.  Their range is somewhat . . . . shall we say pedestrian.  They carry a good range of the basics, but don't seem to have a lot in the way of special features or pre-victorian items.  They do have a selection of DHE products (including Christmas items) for those of you who don't want to wait for shipping from the UK.

Find the Little Doll House here

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I'm done . . . .

No, I haven't finished the Oriental Folly already, but I have finished my full scale redecorating and am looking forward to getting some serious work done on the folly soon.  Another week of little (okay, no) progress on the Oriental Folly doesn't mean nothing interesting happened in my miniature world.  A package from the delightfully talented Nickycc arrived in the mail.  Inside was Billy the Gremlin clutching a bottle of fairy ink, an assortment of sheilds and a pair of glass jars.

The jars were a free present from Nicky.  All these items are for the Old Castle when I get around to renovating it.  Billy and the jars will go on the shelves in the Magician's Cave while the shields will be decoration for the Great Hall or perhaps the Armoury.

 I've also been continuing the hunt for Oriental inspiration for the Folly.  About the only real building in town with any sort of oriental influence is the Golden Sea Dragon resturant.  I snapped this photo from the car while stopped at the traffic lights:

 I really like those windows, so I cut some in the side walls of the top floor of the folly.  Hmmm . . . can you spot the problem?

 Yup, I cut hexagonal windows when they should have beem octagonal.  This means that adding gold strips to form a square in the middle as they've done on the original windows won't work.  As there isn't enough room to adapt my windows, I'll just have to come up with a cunning plan B for them.  The other parts of the building I'm taking inspiration from are the roof tiles (I'm thinking drinking straws and lots of air dry clay) and the Foo Dog sitting by the door.  I'd love to have a pair of these dogs, but thus far haven't found any the right size and price.

And finally, here's what I've been working on that's kept me away from miniatures for the past couple of weeks:

This entire wall, including the chimney breast, has been painted with a metallic paint and given a swirl or a fan effect by going over it with a wide paint brush while still wet.  The metallic paint is expensive (albeit less so than wallpaper) and I'm really, truely, incredibly pleased with the finish.

The remaining walls in the room have been painted a browny-beige.  All the door and window frames have been painted white and I liked the metallic so much and had enough left over to paint the doors in it too!

Back to the metallic wall.  Hmmm . . . Maybe I should have taken the sock off the top of the Dragon's Maiden tower before taking the photo?  The Dragon's Maiden is another miniature that needs some TLC.  Whenever it gets hot, the glue holding the tiles on the roof softens and all the tiles start to slide off.  I'll fix it as soon as I can think up how.

 Here's the Dancing dragon showing the join between metallic and beige walls.  Yes, this room is a repository for dollshouses past.

Another metallic door.  There are three in total.   All the ceilings were painted too.  Twice in fact.

And finally, another metallic wall in the funny hallway between the door into the room and the room itself.  Technically, I still need to paint all the skirting boards white to match the rest of the woodwork, but that can wait a week or two (or three . . . . or four).