Thursday, December 31, 2015

Perfectly imperfect.

Last New Years Eve found me working on the dollshouse. I believe I was making the staircase for the first floor.  This New Years Eve I am installing the second floor staircase and trying to complete the second floor landing.

I love the style of this little house, although you want to do the best you can, imperfection is all part of the charm.  I actually anticipate finishing the landing and bathroom this weekend as most of the components are already mostly made, so it is simply assembly. Although I don't have the wax needed for the bathroom floor  to have finished it so I will have do some shopping.

Love this little house, it is perfect stress relief for me.  Fingers crossed I can finish and furnish it in this calendar year.  Happy New Year to everyone!

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Hello again and Merry Christmas!

I can't believe it has been 6 months since my last posting!  My husband and I made the decision to downsize our older home and move. Whew, if I had actually realized what downsizing and building a new smaller home meant, I don't think we would have done it.

I could write a book on homes behaving badly as the old house definitely made it clear that it was not happy to be abandoned.  Along the other little eccentricities that required attention our water heater burst hours before an inspection!  Anyhow, we are in now  in X 1 week ( I don't recommend moving at Christmas either) and with my own things now surrounding me, it is feeling more like a home and less like a hotel.

A lot of my collectibles are in a storage pod, but I did keep the little French dollshouse project in my possession as I had hoped to work on it in between packing and moving but alas it didn't happen.

Let me share with you all the first pictures of my new home which we have dubbed "the dollshouse" because it is so basically a one room kitchen, dining and living room.
Today we unpacked the dollshouse and my husband set up a table on a large rug in our new but unfinished basement.  Unfortunately the lighting is so poor that I will have to remedy that before work can resume.  Tomorrow we are heading to the hardware store to purchase better lighting and I noticed that most of my glue has dried up so that is on the list too.

I managed to find most of the windows for the second floor and get them together. Baby steps.  I received Lea's book in English from my daughter-in-law so the build is now one year and counting.

 Anyhow, I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Snails pace

Dollhouse building has slowed to a crawl.  With playing catch up at work, grand babies and just summer, nothing is getting done. 

I did however finally manage to complete my second floor stair case which proved very difficult for me this time.  I couldn't get the railing to fit right and ended up extending the two wire stair rails on the first two steps in order to get things to look right.  The rail is a little wavy looking but I suspect that won't be noticed once the bathroom door is in.  Plus the living room/hallway wall is too tall so that will have to be cut down before I can continue.
I have also repainted the front hall.  What seemed like a hint of peach read as deep peach in such a confined space so I have painted it cream so it matches the kitchen and ultimately the rest of the house better.  I am contemplating changing the front hall ceiling fixture as I have managed to obtain one like the one used by Lea on the picture of her book.  I think I might move this one up a floor and have the hallway behind the bathroom lit up.  Hopefully I will find the time and more over the motivation to work on the little house.  If I actually worked on it instead of just thinking about working on it, I am sure I would be nearly done by now.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

and still more pictures from Kensington

 This is one of the entries for the miniature artisan competition open to vendors of the festival. I don't remember the vendor's name as he didn't have any business cards left.
 My husband was in love with the scale of these large houses.  I think if he could have figured out how to get one home he would have.
 So wonderful!

 Another shot of the Mulvaney and Roger's "Miss Havisham Wedding Breakfast", as I said before, getting a good picture was a bit difficult owing to the amount of traffic in front of this exhibit.
Art of Mini exhibit.  So lovely.  This stall was always heavy trafficked so although I managed to purchase a few bits, there were tons more that I would have like to have taken home with me.

Some pictures from the Kensington dollshouse festival

 Ray Storey's beautiful light fixtures. I am sure he must have sold out as they were going very quickly.  So beautiful!
 Mulvaney and Rogers "Miss Havisham's Wedding Breakfast" was just incredible.  It was hard to get a good picture as it was a very popular exhibit.

 A beautiful Victorian kitchen, so inspirational.

Lucy Askew's exhibit with all the beautiful frames, furnishings and her exquisite gilt framed mirrors.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Back from Kensington

Back from Kensington dollshouse festival 2015!  What a wonderful show and a great week in London.  Back to work and reality now.  Before we left for Great Britain we had just secured a contract to auction the contents of the oldest bed and breakfast in Edmonton.  26 rooms of antiques, mostly bedroom suites, but also little settee, desks, chairs and sideboards well as artworks. While we were gone the rest of the gang photoed and catalogued most of the contents and today is finishing typing up the catalogue before the trucks come to haul it all back to the auction house which I have been informed looks like a bomb went off sigh....

I managed to acquire some of my beloved Stokesay ware in the Willow blue as I was determined to do before I set off. It is now set out on one of my Jane Newman sideboards and safely in the cabinet.
I am filled with inspiration since my visit but alas I didn't find too much to go in my little French house ala Lea Frisoni.  I did get some more lime wood the day before I left so I can start making my Versaille floors for the sitting room.  I also bought some lino flooring for the second floor hallway as the piece I had would have had to be pieced and I was not happy about that at all.

I sure anyone who has decided to follow this blog will soon tire of the endless photos from the festival but word of warning, once I figure out how to work the camera card, that is what it will be.

Have a lovely week everybody!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Not too tired to shop!

I wish I could say that a lot of progress has been made on my little French house since my last post, but alas.... this is not the case.

I have managed to get the skeleton of the second floor stair case done but I need to cut the wooden  steps and add the railing yet.

Last week we had a two day auction which always stresses me out, plus I thought I could slip in a side trip with some friends between the evening auction preview on the Friday night and the actually auction on the Sunday morning. Long days of auction prep. coupled with no sleep culminated into a disastrous evening out at a restaurant with my husband involving a pair of crab claw crackers, a cup of hot coffee and a cold ride home because he made me sit on my coat so I didn't stain the car seats. Add two stressful days of auctions and I have been a walking zombie.  Luckily, I did managed to shop.

I actually did put together a little Icelandic poppy kit (above) from Pascale Garnier while watching television last week.  The carpet is from Lavenderdilly on etsy.

 Again above, Lavenderdilly carpet and the laundry rack and basket plus gorgeous roses are ala Lea Frisoni at AtelierdeLea on etsy.

A bought the little chair from PetiteCollections on etsy as I thought it would match my settee made by Lea.

The lovely little crate is from Pipi Turner, whose site is beyond inspiring!

It is less than a month to the London Dollhouse Festival and I am beyond excited. Unfortunately I have another two day auction to put together before then so no play time or days off in my immediate future.... unless I get sick...cough... cough.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

We're moving on up!

First floor landing is complete!... well, I do have to fix one minor boo boo. Although I had thought that I had fixed my socket into my wall very securely, I neglected to glue it to something behind the foam core and when I went to plug a lamp into the hallway I pushed the socket right through the wall. Anyhow,  I had to cut through the wall, dig out the socket and stuff some wood behind it.  The wall is now patched and drying.  I don't think I will be trying to pull the lamp plug out of the socket any time soon.  There goes my plans of having a lit up Jack- o- lantern at Halloween.

 Picture this with the requisite French shabby Chic furnishings and not the bits and pieces I am having to make do with for now.

I was a bit disappointed at my front hall floor, it was an awful lot of hand cutting and I ended up installing it slightly crooked, but I have moved on.
 My plan now is to have a good old tidy up and organize everything and then start the second floor.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Kitchen finished!

I have finally finished the kitchen on my little French house. I am quite happy with the kitchen floor, especially the colour.  I had originally bought a paint colour called Spanish Tile which I thought I would like but it actually looked a lot like pasta sauce spread all over the floor.  I added some cream paint on top and it looked like pasta sauce with cheese, complete disaster. The floor is now a kind of putty greenish colour and I waxed it before and after grouting and it has a lovely sheen to it.  I added a mantle over the space reserved for a stove and the little shelves in the end cupboard plus the roof lighting and a gas meter for effect.

 The little roses on the table started as a little kit which took me HOURS to do!  Hndreds of tiny tissue paper tear drop petals to be shaped and glued one by one. No wonder it is so expensive to buy handmade dollhouse flowers.

That is all for this week, I hope to be able to show you the completed front hall next week, I am close, but am still working on the floor. I love dollhouse Sundays! but I wish there were more of them in a week.

Have a lovely week everyone!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

New settee from Lea!

I was so thrilled this week to find a receive my little parcel from Lea Frisoni in France.  It contained my new little dollhouse settee and two cushions.  How perfect are they??  I can't wait to move upstairs to the lounge where I plan to utilize some cranberry  toile paper I bought on my first visit to Lea's shop Dentelles et Ribambelles in Paris. I think it will go perfectly with this little couch!

I didn't manage any work on the dollhouse until today but I finished the stucco wall in the kitchen and as is my usual modus operandi, I had to do it twice! Really, I think I must be building two houses, one for me and one for the garbage!
  I still haven't really distressed anything yet.  I think it is the last thing I will do before I move to the second floor.   I also including my little dollhouse cat I made.  I gave him a bath because he seemed a bit to fluffy, now, he is a little too, well non-fluffy.

One more picture before I blog off. This is the first day of spring where I live. Yep, no ice-tea on the porch for me yet.  Just a face full of frozen fed up of winter tears.  Sigh....

Have a wonderful week everybody!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Another update and picture give-away winner

 It has been a busy couple of weeks but finally this weekend I managed some progress on the dollhouse.

As some of you know, we run an auction house.  Last weekends auction was a very large firearms sale, so it was 10 days without a break in preparation for it.  I am quite small in stature ( under 5') so handling large weapons is a bit difficult for me.  We had set up all the long guns and rifles for a video and then had to move them all back to the gun vault, so last Thursday was spent running heavy, ugly guns in and out of the vault.  I think my arms are now two inches longer!!  I also managed to take a nice little chunk out of my finger with a Stanley knife so as well as having no strength left in my arms, I couldn't put any pressure down on my ruler to cut anything.  Luckily I am a quick healer.
Please see the progress made in the little kitchen.  I used scrap booking paper in place of wallpaper as I couldn't find a pattern I like on the internet and really didn't want to waste any more time waiting on the post.  I am happy with my choice.  I put a little lamp socket in the front hall in anticipation of a little lamp on a sideboard there.  I am having difficulty with distressing my little house.  I would like it as distressed as Leas but am worried about it looking dirty in the end.  I don't know where the line is.

Finally thank you for everyone who said they would like a copy of my little painting.  Randomly Neen has been chosen and I have sent off an email to ask which size would suit them.  Thank you also for suggestion on dollhouse names.  I haven't made up my mind yet, but one is in the running.  Everyone have a lovely week!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Baby steps

 It doesn't look like much progress has been made on my little French house but I have been working really hard on it!!  It probably doesn't help that I do everything twice (notice the new front door). I have attached the base, made the front and back steps, both the side door and window are done but not installed and notice the pelmet over the door and all the bits of trim are on.

Anyhow, the outside is done to the point I want it to be at this stage and now I am happy to report, I am moving inside.  I am actually quite excited!
First window in the kitchen is in along with its little window rod and catch and I am quite pleased. It really does look quaint.

I am trying to resist the urge to shop for little French furnishing and carpets for my house as I am a long way from a completed house but I can't help myself.  I purchased a little settee from Lea and will share it with you all when it arrives.  Have a great week!

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Painting Give-Away

Miniature painting in largest size
I recently purchased an original gilt framed watercolour by British painter William Lee Hankey (1859-1952). It is titled "Preparing the Meal" and is the small watercolour he did prior to painting his large oil on canvas painting titled "Peeling the Vegetables" (Except for the medium the paintings are virtually identical but I actually think mine is prettier, especially the face of the young boy)  which sold at Sotheby's auction in 2009. Plates were made of "Peeling the Vegetables" and so there was a run of engravings of that painting.

My son offered to do a high resolution scan of the painting and we made prints for my dollhouse  using watercolour paper.  The original painting is quite small as seen by the size of the roses just in front of the picture.

Anyhoo... I thought maybe someone might like a copy of this painting in their dollhouse so I would like to give one away.  I only have two dollhouses on the go (three if you count the one that has been in the basement since 1983, fyi- I don't). So as you can see there are three sizes so if you win I you can chose which ever size suits your dollhouse. I also have a wonderful Thomas Wainwright Scottish landscape watercolours with cows I am going to scan for the dollhouse.

Just let me know if this is the type of thing that would fit with your decor and if you would like to entered into the draw and I will pick someone at random on March 15th.

Also, I am still working hard on my little French dollhouse ala Lea so I will keep you updated, but I need a name (all the best French chateaus have names) so if you have any suggestions I would love to hear them!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Second go around.

 It is still not perfect but we are back on track.   The house has been scraped and the colour changed to a buff background with cream keystones and molding. I finally received the channel trim needed for the guttering and molding today so that will be added very soon.  The front door is done and installed following Lea's instructions.  I am not sure about the colour but overall I am happy with how it looks. Brick turned out a little brighter than anticipated but again, I am okay with it. I haven't started to distress the brick work yet.  I didn't take my glasses with me to the art supply and ended up with acrylic Burnt Umber and Sienna paints instead of the oil paint variety I needed.  I tell you, I have to do everything twice!

I dearly wish I had more to share but it has been three very intense weeks around here with work and family.  My husband bought me a house cleaning package at a charity auction we attended the other night. Secretly I think he is hoping that will force me to tidy away the pots of paint and filler off the fire mantle but I refuse.  At least if the house project is staring me in the face I can do a bit every day. I have made the mistake before of letting him tidy me into catatonia but I really want to see this project through.

I do however, have some news to share.  I have booked us tickets to Britain and to the Kensington Dollhouse Festival in London on May 15th and 16th!  Perhaps a side trip to Bath, a little tour around Windsor castle.... well see. It has been at least 10 years since I was in London so I am excited to go back.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I think I'd better think it out again.

Dollhouse front all taped out ready for stippling.

Stippling finished, ready for paint.

Paint done and exterior decoration started.....
I HATE IT!!  Stippling too thick, paint colour is horrid, so I will have to scrape it down and start again.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Houston we have a problem!

 Dollhouse construction had come to a total stand still while I waited on supplies to arrive.  Although it was lovely coming home everyday to a little parcel on the door step, they never seemed to arrive in the order I wanted them to.

Finally, I thought I had all I need to go ahead start the finishing on the house.  My husband has been out of town for the last ten days so I set up shop in the living room ( I won't tell if you don't)  only to find out that a grave error had been made during the cutting and assembly part of the house.  The front had been put on upside down leaving the smaller windows at the bottom, the taller windows on the top and the doorway had been cut.  God bless me, not being that bright it took a minute or two after building the first transom window for the front door to contemplate why I had a 6cmish window, a 5mm transom and needed to make a 16.9cm door all to fit in a space that measured about 17cm. Finally the light went off it is UPSIDE DOWN.
So here is the newly cut dollhouse front, unfortunately I didn't have any 5mm ply left so it was made out of 5mm mdf that is black on one side. No matter, I will paint it twice.   My husband comes home tomorrow so I can work on the dollhouse in the living room for one more day, I just have to make sure I do a really good job hoovering up the sawdust.
Here is what I was working on while waiting for the mail to arrive.  I just found and bought a Jane Newman single bed, isn't it lovely?...and have been constructing a tiny English paper pieced quilt out of little hexagons.  I don't think I thought about how fiddly it was going to be.  I am about half done but have put it away for a bit.  It is the perfect project for doing while watching t.v, but then so is dollhouse construction if your husband is out of town.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015!

Hope everyone had a lovely New Year Eve.  Despite the best laid plans we ended up in the house cuddled up on the couch with a movie.  I did however purchase a bottle of bubbly which I am now drinking as I type this on New Years Day instead.

I spent the most day in front of the telly (severe weather and snowfall warning for our area) with Monty Python trying to work out the angle for my French house staircase.  I have never been good at math so it took a ridiculous amount of time and effort to finally figure it out.

 HINT: make sure when you are measuring you draw your 23cm (height of the wall) on your bristol board before you start. It will help you get the right angle for your staircase
Here it is as complete as I can show. The gesso is just about finished drying as is the stain on the steps but it still needs paint.  Tomorrow the railing will be added, along with the cut and bent metal wire stair rails that are the right hand corner.

I am pleased with my progress thus far. Unfortunately I foresee a delay in the very near future because the lime-wood is being shipped from Australia and half the items I ordered ie: lights, doors etc. are either back ordered or unavailable.  I will soldier on and chart my progress.

Finished staircase.  I must admit it provided more challenges than I thought it would.  I am not entirely happy with the newel post as it attaches to the rail but it will do for now and if I can't live with it, I will attempt to fix it before installing it in the house.