A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

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

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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.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Don't Come In . . . . We're Naked

Looking at the Georgian House as it is now with most of it's furniture in place, there really isn't a lot of space left to pose people in.  Thankfully.  Even as crowded as it is unpopulated I'm still planning an average of two people per room.  There are nine room in this house by the way.  However good or bad your math skills, that still adds up to a lot of people.  Taking into account dolls I have taken out of the house pre-renovation that could go back in and other ready made dolls that just needed dressing and wigging I still had to make ten new dolls.  Even with the invaluable assistance of moulds, this took a long time.

Each doll is made of polymer clay head and shoulders, hands and feet held together on a wire armature.  Despite all coming out of the same few moulds I tried to give each person different features by maniuplating the face that came out of the mould before baking the clay.  Mostly this meant I eventaully had to go back to the mould and start again.  After they were baked, they had their faces painted on and the "body" was then filled out with foam wrapped around the wire and tied in place with cotton thread.  This only creates a rough shape which will be enhanced later on when the dolls are dressed.  For example, the men will have some polyester fill stuffed down their trousers to give them more shapely legs. 

The only one of the dolls I've made that has any clothing whatever is the lady I made for the bedroom.  She's in her underwear, still needing hair and a few other trimmings and is one of two dolls to go in the room.  This pair will be a shameless rip off of this pair made by Mary Williams: Georgian Maid and Lady.  As you can see my version won't be anywhere near as splendid as that of the original artist.

One doll has been completely finished for the house.  She is a $2 plastic toy lady and her face is painted with more make up than an ageing harlot's which is why I picked her to go in the hall behind the Study where she will only be seen from behind.  Her dress is made out of what I think is some kind of polished cotton fabric enhanced with some metallic threads, but I'm not really sure what it was, just that is was one sale and perfect for a Georgian ladies gown.  The back of the gown has a "sack back", a detail mostly hidden by her long ringlets of hair dangling down her back.  The wig was pulled off a doll from the pre-renovation house I decided not to reuse.  She is now glued permanantly in position at the top of the stairs as she was too unstable to stand unsecured.

 So when it comes to dressing people I'm about one and a half down, half a multitude left to go.

Monday, September 17, 2012


I've been working on bits and pieces all over the place this week.  In the Study, the book shelves are now filled with books.  The books are made from covers printed from files collected from various printables sites wrapped around blocks of balsa wood.  I still can't decide how to arrange this room and I'm calling for opinions.  Should it be like the first photo above or the second  or third ones below?

 What you might notice in these photos is that the wing chair now has it's own legs (no more being held over a barrel).  The chaise in the drawing room now has legs as well and the spinet harpsichord now has a stool made with the help of yet another set of legs.  As you can see the furniture in the drawing room has been rearranged again.  I hope it will remain this way as I've just bought a pair of end tables to fill the spaces at either end of the chaise.

In the nursery it's bath night for the children.  The hip bath has some dirty water sitting in the bottom of it while damp towels have been puddled on the floor.  There is also a polymer clay dish holding two bars of soap on the floor.

 Some sheets have been hung up to dry on the rack in the laundry while some gold tone taps have been added to the cistern over the sink.  Another dish with soap rests onto of the cistern as well as an old wooden bucket.

The kitchen has had just about every item I had in storage that could conceivably be put into a kitchen thrown at it.  Obviously not all of this will be staying in here.

I filled some plain vases with flowers and foliage.  The foliage is plastic fish tank weed, the lillies are polymer clay while the coloured flowers are dried real flowers.  A note for anyone who wants to make their own flowers but is worried that it's too hard; make lillies, they are ridiculously easy to do.  All you need is some green wire, polymer clay in yellow and white (or whatever colour you want your lily to be) and a small tear shapped cutter.  All you do is roll the yellow clay into a sausage a few millimetres in diameter and cut it into lengths of half a centimetre or so.  Then poke each bit onto the end of a piece of inch long wire.  Roll the white clay out to a few millimetres thick, cut with the cutter and wrap each cutout piece around the yellow clay on the wire.  Easiest flowers ever.

One of these vases is sitting (pretty much hidden from sight) on the buffet at the back of the Dining room.  The candleabra of the table has been decorated with more foliage and flowers while the dessert stand has been filled with polymer clay confections.  I've also switched back to the bigger oval table as I decided the round one was too small.

So as you can see there have been lots of little things scattered throughout the house this week.  I literally feel like my brain has broken up and become scattered in little touches around the whole house.  I think in the coming week I'll work on something a little less piecemeal and dress a few people to live here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Something for Each Floor

What a week.  On Wednesday I received an email telling me I'd won a $100 gift voucher from Ecotanicals skin care.  On Thursday I received an email from a fellow miniaturist who's also a writer and preparing an article for Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine's December issue asking if she could use some photos of my miniatures in her article (ahh, fame at last!).  So on Friday I bought a lottery ticket and in the draw on Saturday I won . . . . . . . . .  absolutely nothing!  I guess it's not true about luck coming in threes then.  Oh, well, it was worth the try though!

Keep an eye on the last page of DHMS magazine from now on as it will feature a monthly column by Erin Summers who is a very talented and enthusiastic miniaurist.  Not only does she have the exceptional dubious taste to want to include some of my miniatures, but in her own words: "I am BESOTTED with the concept of digging up and showing to the world treasures and talent that would otherwise just go unseen".  Sounds like there should be somthing interesting to read about each month.

 Back in the Georgian house I spent most of the week finishing off some UFOs (that's UnFinished Objects).  The most work went into finishing the Sedan chair for the Hall.  It needed filling, sanding, refilling, painting, upholstering and trimming as well as feet and poles making.

 To stay in keeping with the white, black, gold and green colour scheme in the hall, the sedan is painted white with gold accents.  Those accents are relief stickers and gold silk dupion curtains.  The poles that enable the chair to be carried slot into place through gold jewellery findings bent into  "u" shape.

The end result is massive and takes up all the cavernous space in the Hall and will fill it up even more by the time I add a passenger climbing out of the chair and a pair of attendants (drivers?) to carry the chair.  Now I'm very glad I didn't try to make the hall any smaller to squeeze in extra rooms.

In the bedroom I decided to do away with the gold chair, it just wasn't working.  Instead I renovated a cheap chaise I had lying around.  I painted it white to match the bed and upholstered it in a mushroom coloured fabric and added a bolster cushion and throw in the same puce silk used on the bed.

A pile of cushions were made for the bed.  All are reversable with puce on one side and mushroom on the other.  They still need arranging properly and perhaps will have some trim or tassels adding, but they do improve the look of the bed already.

 Down in the Laundry, I altered the press by lowering it and placing the crank on the side.  It now looks much better and no longer completely blocks the view of the washing copper.

And finally, the spinet harpsichord needed finishing.  It has been a great number of different colours lately, but none looked right.  I can't say I really like the grey it is now either, but I'm sick of repainting it and have run out of colours anyway, so grey it will stay (at least for now).  It was decorated with some floral decals to finish it off.  Ugly, huh?  Maybe I'll sit someone infront if it as though they were playing it which should obsure the whole thing quite well.

For now that's it for the furnishing of the house.  It probably will need more furniture, but I won't make it until I've added more accessories and a few people to see how it looks and what will look best.  Now it's pff to raid my box of accessories to see what I already have and what I will need to make or buy.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Nursery

Would you believe this is my 300th blog post?  I've shared a total of thirteen different miniatures projects with you over three years and (about) a month to reach this milestone.  This is an achievement that sort of snuck up behind me while I wasn't looking or I'd hold a giveaway to celebrate.  As it is I have nothing organised, so no giveaway this time.  I promise there will be one when we reach 200 followers.  I don't know what the prize will be yet, so feel free if you want to make a few suggestions . . . .

 The last room in the Georgian house to be furnished was the Nursery.  Searching the internet for information and images of appropriate furniture turned up very little of use.  So I cast my memory back to an article in Dolls House and Miniature Scene (I think) magazine from a few years ago.  Being too lazy to plough through several years worth of old magazines to find the article I worked from the vauge memories I could summoun up.  It was a Georgian nursery with blue walls and instructions to make a range of appropriate furniture.  The child's bed was enclosed, but more open than the usual cupboard bed.  It was more of a "cage" bed.  I'm sure there was a reason why the bed was enclosed like that, probably something to do with keeping evil spirits out or maybe it was just the more practical purpose of keeping the child in.

My version looks nothing like the one I remember seeing in the magazine.  To start with, the one in the magazine had hinged doors, but I decided to use a sliding door as this fits better in the room I have.  As ever, the bed is made from balsa wood and at least one post is crooked, so let's just pretend that it's had a lot of abuse from a lot of active children who didn't want to got to sleep.

Inside the cage the bed has a green cotton sheet decorated with a strip cut from a floral fabric and a pillow made to match.  Just to prove that the door really does slide, I've added a quick video of the door in action.  I've not (sucessfully) added a video to my blog before so if you find it doesn't work for you, please let me know and I'll keep fiddling with it.

In the front corner of the room is the cradle/crib.  This was a bought item to which I added the overhead canopy.  I added a balsa wood post skewered with half a toothpick at the top to the head end of the cradle to support the canopy.  This was wrapped in the fabric I used to make the canopy so it blends in.  The canopy is made from the same fabric you saw in the bedroom last week trimmed with some lace and a few pre-tied bows.

 Different parts of the same floral fabric used to trim the child's bed sheets were used to make a small pillow and blanket for the cradle.  I decided it would be easiest to make the bed with the baby already in it, so I dressed a Heidi Ott baby in a gown and cap made from a few offcuts of lace and glued the sheets in place around her/him(?).

I collected all the scraps of fabric I made dressing the bed and cradle and folded them up and glued them onto the shelves of the cupboard along with a few extra white sheets (etc).  This is the cupboard that was previously in the Laundry.  I moved it up here to make room for a large press in the Laundry.

 And here is the Laundry complete with a somewhat rickety press.  It needs a bit of manipulating to straighten it out.  In theory, you turn the handle at the top to lower the top plate to the lower plate to squeeze the wet sheet/dress/etc between them to remove as much water as possible to speed up drying.  Unless the servants of this house have learned to levitate, I'll need to change the top handle into some sort of crank on the side where it can actually be reached by 6" tall people.

The other new addition in the laundry is the "lead lined" double sink and water tank of the back wall.  These were done the same way as the kitchen sink and tank.

This is (I think) all the key pieces of furniture for the house built.  The next step is to finish those items that are still unpainted, not yet fully finished (note to self, buy legs!) or simply in need of a few improvements.  Then I need to sit back, look at what I've got so far and decide if a room needs an extra or simply a different piece of furniture.

The desk is back at the front of the Study this week . . . . . Where it will be next week, who knows?