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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 in Review . . . Part One

Every year I start out thinking that I really have run out of room for more houses and that this year I really had better slow down and stop making so many miniatures.  Somehow when I stop to look back at the end of the year I realise that I really haven't acheived this goal.  At all.

My first project for 2013 was Pennicott's boutique.  The shell for this shop was DHE's "Corner Shop" kit.  I honestly don't think this kit was one of their best, when designing the kit the folks at DHE simply did not realise that the way it was made (and the way I modified it) that everytime a cat jumped onto the nice flat roof the fronts would pop of and fall to the floor.

Pennicott's is set sometime in the 1950's, as I wanted an excuse to make some modern gowns and there simply is no better 'modern' time for evening wear than the 50's.  I altered the kit to have an internal staircase so I could make my shop fill both floors.  Upstairs the shop displays it's range of accessories; hats, shoes, jewellery, purses and underwear. The central hat stand and long counter were handmade as were all of the accessories aside from the shoes.

 The main feature of the ground floor are the dressed mannequins.  These are some of my favourite miniature clothes, the yellow gown in the front being perhaps the best dress I've ever made.  You can see more photos of Pennicott's in my Flickr here.

 While working on Pennicott's I made a start on another project, the Apothecary Chamber.  The Chamber is built in a storage cube around 13" square.  Cardboard and foamboard created the arched roof and fake back wall which allows for a recessed shelf and stairs that disappear behind it.  Air dry clay and a press mould were used to create the brick effect.  This space is the apothecary's preparation room where he prepares the potions and salves sold in the shop which I will one day build above the Chamber.

Almost everything in this scene was hand made, from the furniture to Piers the apothecary himself.   The exceptions to this include the glass jars and copper pans.  Again, you can see more of the Apothecary in my Flickr here.

 Next it was time to make a home for the Dragon Wizard, my winning entry in Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazines doll dressing competition from 2012.  (Check out the February 2013 issue of the magazine to see the competition results).  This was done in another DHE kit, the Garden Pavillion.  As I had already done the Oriental Folly with a Chinese feel, I gave the outside of the Dragon Wizard's Lair a more Japanese feel by keeping the lines simple and the colours muted.  Just like the Oriental Folly I used drinking straws overlaid with strips of air dry clay to make the rounded roof tiles.

 A free desktop background found on the internet was printed out and fixed to the back wall which with the addition of some faux sliding screens gives the impression that the back wall slides open to reveal a stunning mountain view.

The furniture in the Lair was either made from scratch with the help of some laser cut fretwork or were existing cheap pieces that were adapted and added to.  The tall 'painted' unit is one of the latter and is of course 'painted' with more internet print outs.  I made the Dragon Wizard a female companion who lounges on the sofa along the side wall and appears to be thoroughly unimpressed by his magic tricks.

The final thing that the Dragon Wizard needed was of course a dragon to call his own.  Claude is made from polymer clay with a long snake like body and small legs.  He was baked wrapped around a mixing bowl to give him the right shape to stand wrapped around the wizard.  More of the Wizard and Lair here on Flickr.

Finally for part one of 2013 is Bellerose House.  This is a renovation of an older house which I had always hated.  The new version of Bellerose House is set somewhere around 1900-1910 and includes such modern luxuries as a fully plumbed bathroom.

I divided a larger room in half so I could fit in both a bathroom and a second bedroom, but I found my first proper bathroom such fun to do I am a little disapointed that I didn'y make it larger.  The bought the three piece suite at the local doll, bear and miniature fair in the months before starting work on the house.  It turned out to be quite a challenge to arrange the pieces in the space in a pleasing way, I'm still not totally pleased with this final arrangement.

 Another room I had trouble arranging was the Rec Room.  The billiard table fills the centre of the room, but in the final version, the rack for the cues wasn't included.

Next door in the sitting room is one of my favourite pieces of furniture commonly referred to as the King of all Sideboards.  That sucker is huge, about 20cm (7" long) but perfect for the room.  I'm less certain about the fireplace, thank goodness I had the sense to hide it behind a large firescreen.

The main bedroom makes use of the lovely chinoserie paper that proved to be all wrong for Preston House the year before.  It was a real challenge to find fabric in the right colours to work with this paper and the chinoserie bed set I picked up cheaply on ebay.  I'm not really happy with the green and brown, but it was the best I could do.

The second bedroom is much more to my liking, the soft pink and dark chocolate brown really work together.  Like the bathroom, I only wish this room were bigger.

The dining room doubles as the front door entry hall.  This was a good idea before I started work but I'm not so sure I like it as a reality.  I really would have preferred to have these as separate rooms.  The dresser originally made for the second bedroom serves as the dining room sideboard.  The dining table is set for a meal currentlt being made next door in the kitchen. . . . . 

Kitchens, particulatly messy ones, are always fun to do.  This one is typically crowded and full of half made foodstuffs.  The raised scullery area at the back provides a place to wash up close to the back door while on the main worktable everything from fish to lemon merange pie are being prepared.

To see more of Bellerose House in my Flickr, click here.

Still to come in part two, the Steampunk Inventor's Worshop, Mill Cottage, the first two rooms of the Tower of Magic, the Victorian Christmas Street Scene and the reveal of my latest house, the 1/48th scale cottage.  And I thought I hadn't really done that much this year.


  1. I like them all but I think the Bellerose house if my favorite, Happy New Year

    Marisa ;)

  2. Wow Alennka! You got a LOT done in 2013!!! I had forgotten about the Wizard's house.. it looks really good!
    I hope your cat is calming down.... no more chewed houses!
    Happy New Year and don't stop Creating minis!