Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Antique Market....The Sequel

Since when is the sequel better then the original? THIS TIME IT IS!!!  It would seem that when you don't have an upset and bored toddler under foot you can take the time and hunt for mini treats!

Back to the Aberfoyle Antique Market we went on Sunday.  Coffee, sun and warmth......and minis!  I went back to the dealer I found my furniture at the previous week.  We chatted about the dollhouse market (market collapsed) and the doll market (market collapsed). He doesn't feel its picking up any time soon and was really surprised that a "young" person like myself was interested in dollhouses.  But, since he likely had been sitting on many of these items for a looooooooong time he was very generous and gave me a $30 deal for everything I put in front of him.  Of course, I knew I had a few gems in the lot, so I was happy to pay.

Some of the items were in old dirty plastic pastry containers (pastry goo intact), but I put on a brave face and hunted anyway.

He was really, really, really happy I wanted the Lisa of Denmark living room set.  I was really, really, really happy to take it off his hands.  Here is a bit on Lisa of Denmark from Dollhouses Past and Present.  After looking at that page I saw I left behind the dining room set.....%#*@!!!!!!  I didn't know it was anything special and it wasn't in a box.  Deep breath.

I picture the kitchen cupboard in a modern kitchen with a nostalgic throwback vibe.  This item is from the 1930's (? - so says the dealer).  It's tin, painted beige and highlighted in blue and also stamped with an angel/Victorian motif.  It is missing a shelf in the upper portion.  It was just so pretty and worn I had to take it.  It was filthy, just nasty.  I carefully attacked it with a damp Q-tip, trying to remove grim and not the constantly flaking beige paint.  Lead paint anyone?

I found the love seat to match my chair from last week!!!!  No cushion, but that's ok.

Solid wood table

Painted plastic set
Planter, basket and plate (decoupaged button)

Jug, jars and urn (with removable lid)

Kitchen wares

As if I didn't find the white plastic dog to match the black dog I bought from a different dealer the previous week.  Doggie needs an Oxyclean bath with a toothbrush.

Super tiny carousel, likely a Christmas ornament

3cm plush giraffe.  Too cute

The Special Items

So, I'm hunting through this box of mini bits (most of which I bought) and I see this crock.  I got very excited.  I knew this was a special piece.  The dealer, he showed no interest in it.

The piece is by Carolyn Nygren Curran.  Here's a little more about her from Carolina Creations.  She's an IGMA fellow and her mark is "CNC."  I'm not sure what the "BMR" is, but she is sold at The Bennington Musem in Vermont, so maybe that is the "BM" in "BMR"?

"ML" made this very pretty deep bowl with gold accents

And "MH" made this stoneware jug.  A beautiful piece.

I would like to point out that nothing this good ever happens to me, let alone twice.  Since I cleaned out this dealer, I need to find a new supplier!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

The (mini) Advent Calendar

I always pride myself in my ability to start and finish things, really focus and get it done.  But then Miss Kitty came along and some of that focus ceased to exist.

Last spring/summer (2014), I purchased the Kaisercraft Advent Calendar Kit from Amazon.  I knew full well that I wouldn't get to it by that Christmas.  Then I fell into the mini trap and poof! I had no spare time.  It stared at my in my crafting cupboard and I decided that the only way to tackle it was to make it a mini project, that way I could improve my skills, try new things and blog about it.  It was good motivation.

Talk about a project that kept going, and going and going.  And did I ever once think to look on Pinterest for helpful hints on how best to assemble it? Yes! But AFTER I had finished it.  Genius.

The Empty Shell

I spray painted all the MDF shell pieces with flat white (because I had several cans), and then sealed it with a clear satin spray.  The boxes were all assembled and painted Decoart Antique White, scrapbook paper applied to the front of the boxes and then all sealed with a clear matte spray.  The letters were painted silver then silver sparkles were glued on.  Way too sparkly for me, so I sprayed it matte too.

The Mini Scene

The Floor

The floor is my first foray into.....flooring.  Ha.  I used iron-on veneer from Home Depot.  The best $3 I spent in a long time!  I cut and stained a few strips in a nice grey stain.  I wanted it darker, but after 2 coats I sensed it wasn't going to get darker on the veneer, so I called it a day.

Pampers box saves the day!

I lay the floor in staggered  pieces.  The wood block in the picture was used to press down on the veneer after I put the hot iron on it.  I was impressed I didn't a) burn the veneer b) burn myself and c) burn the calendar box.

The Fireplace

The fireplace was purchased from Dreamdollhouse2014.  I sanded it, primed it and painted it in CIL "Romance," my favourite shade of white!  The bricks were painted a standard medium grey acrylic and sealed with a semi-gloss water based urethane.

The fireplace's inner workings really excited me with how they turned out.  The metal "mesh" base the logs sit on is actually a metal dollarstore pencil holder.  I cut a small piece (the holder) and used cardstock for the legs.

The "wood" is actually dried sedum (plant) stems.  I was cleaning out my garden and noticed how similar the stems looked like birch.  Over the winter they were buried under snow and ended up dried and bleached out.  I couldn't believe my luck (and I hope you're not thinking, is she #$%@%$& blind? that doesn't look like birch).  The ashes were the bits left after trimming the sedum, and I just painted them grey and black once glued in place.

The Window

The window came from thestylehome on Ebay.  It's wood and has an acrylic sheet. Great value for the money.  It came with pieces to trim the window, but since I was just gluing it to the box, I used the pieces as the bottom part of the window frame.

I puffed up like a peacock when my husband thought that it was a picture I had printed.  Nope, ol' Picasso here painted it.  I've never painted anything like that before and I was pleased how it turned out.  I painted it on a thicker painting paper with water colour paint, then sealed it with a satin spray paint.

The Tree

The tree was pilfered from my Christmas village scene.  Fortunately, we had taken the boxes out to get to something, so I was able to get at the good stuff.  I cuff off the back branches to get it relatively flush into the box.  Helpful tip alert! Sure, the trees little foamy bits are annoying when they fall everywhere, but when you clear satin spray paint it you might have a panic attack.  The spray paint eats the foam.  Thankfully this didn't eat all the foam and made it easier to decorate the tree.  

The decorations are decorative buttons that I added a bit of paint to.  The Grey Luster Girl blog had a great tutorial and template for the star.  I used gold cardstock and glued 2 of the stars together to make it 3D, then I clear coated it.

The tree skirt was burlap cut to fit and trimmed with a jute string trim.  Yeah for Michael's dollar bins!!  The presents were foam board wrapped with scrapbook paper.

The Stewart Dollhouse Creations Kits

Stewart Dollhouse Creations makes some fantastic kits, especially if you are interested in baking and booze items.  I was also drawn to the site because it has easy ecommerce and their shipping costs to Canada is not triple the cost of my order.  It's also my first kit ever!

These are the 3 kits I used.  

Amazingly easy to assemble.  I had a lot of fun with the log cabin kit.  First, I thought, lets paint it.  Then I added some "snow" with cotton ball bits and glue.  And to finish it off, I thought, why not make a tiny fence with wood slivers.  Then I added shutters and painted the interior.  Sigh.


I have to say making accessories for me, well, Forest Gump said it best, "we goes together like peas and carrots."  I enjoy it a little too much and then have zero capacity to stop having accessory fun.

The candle was fun.  I think my husband thought I was shooting crack in my work space as he walked in while I was making it.  I had a white substance (crushed up tea candle wax), a large tin can and a BBQ lighter, the makings of a felony arrest. Haha.  I gently heated some shaved wax and rolled it.  Then used a pin to push in a single black thread (wick) and put it in the jar.  Voila! My illicit candle.

My garland is made of snowflake buttons.  I had originally planned to use cardstock and punches, but then I spotted the buttons at Fabricland and thought, woo hoo!  I stiffened a jute string with white glue and then threaded the buttons on and glued them into position (and tacked them to the fireplace for stability).

The logs on the shelf are, again, sedum.  But these were in my back yard and are less white and bleached then the sedum at the front of my house.  I sealed them once glued in place since they are delicate.

And finally, my cookies, plate, and candy canes came from Zanetti International on Ebay.  The pop can came from Michaels.  I would have put a beer bottle or a run and coke, but while I try to be realistic, I tried to remain wholesome for the sake of appearances. 

The mirror is from 2014 Dollhouse.  I simply painted it white and rubbed some grey oil pencil on it to burnish the details.  The decorations on the mirror are also buttons.

There you have it!  My 3 month mini side project done!  Mind you, its been done for a while, I've just been slow getting the post together.  Now back to the dollhouse attic!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Somewhere To Park Your Behind

There comes a time when you need to furnish a room.  As I lay there waiting for Miss Kitty to fall asleep I dream up new furniture.  Sometimes those lofty dreams and reality should not mix.  And then I decide to try and make it anyway.  These are the 3 main seating items in the bedroom all made by moi in my first real attempt at making my own original upholstered furniture. 

The Desk Chair

I decided I wanted a cute curved chair.  But, the thought of making this with wood didn't seem like a smart choice.  Bending and cutting and hoping it wouldn't split left me afraid to continue.  Then I looked down and saw the foam board beside my work table.  Voila, a solution.  

First, don't make your first ever complicated chair using a striped fabric that you indeed to try to match up the stripes.  Or worse, use fabric remnants and worry that if you mess up then you won't have enough fabric.

I started by cutting a square for the seat and rounding off the corners at the back.  Then I cut the back and arm piece free hand.  To get the curve I made thin slices in the foam board.  I then smeared it with wood glue and used an elastic band to hold the form around the seat.

The fabric was adhered with a thin layer of wood glue and the piping is embroidery floss smeared with white glue and twisted.  I used 2 pins at each end of the floss  to hold it in the twist while it dried.

The legs are wood dowels that I stained grey.  I drilled into the foam board at an angle and jammed the legs in.  I "leveled" them by just pushing down on the chair until all the legs seemed to look ok and called it a day.

The Arm Chair

The arm chair started with the MitchyMooMiniatures Couch and Chair Tutorial.  I had previously made the matching chair to the tutorials sofa, so it was a good starting point for my new design.

I made the chair slightly more narrow and most importantly, I used foam board instead of wood.  I took the arms and made a curve to them.  I thought this was more "curl up and read a book" then the original design.

At first the wood was supposed to be on the arm rest.  Then I decided I should continue it down the front.  At that point, I kept going with it and decided to trim in all in wood. What the *%$# was I thinking!

It look at least 4 attempts at super fine scores on the 1/16th balsa strips to get it to not only curved but not SNAP.  And my "mitre" corners were lucky cuts.  Amazingly lucky!

I am most proud of my tufted pillow.  I used 3 pieces of Elmer's craft foam on 1 piece of foam board.  The same 1/16th inch thick foam you can buy in the craft section at Walmart.  Usually it's in kiddy colours, and for reference, its the same foam and thickness you get when you buy the kiddy foam numbers and letters, but its thin and pliable and doesn't dissolve when you use strong glue.

After I wrapped the foam and foam board in my fabric, I used grey thread, made a knot and pulled it through.  I actually made at least 2-3 passes on each dimple to make it more pronounced.  But this is where the foam is get the little marks between the dimples I used a blunt scoring tool and made a line.  The tool indents a line in the foam and looks like you pulled that thread SO hard that you made amazing tufting.  I dotted a tiny bit of paint in the holes to make them darker and more pronounced.

My only annoying flaw on the chair is the fact my Ikea fabric scraps were a wee bit too short to wrap fully around the back cushion.  You can see the add on piece on the bottom right.  Grrrrr.

The Bench  

I also decided that my original simple bench seemed, well, too simple. Again, what the &$(# was I thinking?  I made a rectangle from balsa trim and did mitered corners.  I had some issues with the wood glue taking stain and the wood even taking the stain evenly.  Lots of sanding and 4 coats of stain later I was happy with the result.  

I then upholstered a thin rectangle of balsa with foam and my black vinyl (aka faux leather).  Then I jammed the upholstered piece into the wood frame.  I didn't do the framing around the upholstery for several reasons.  First, I didn't want glue on the vinyl (I won't come off) and second, you can see between the cushion and the frame so I wanted to stain the frame inside too.

I used 2 pieces of square balsa dowel for each leg.  I glued them together and wrapped them in the vinyl too.

The Celine purse was from Ebay.  It said 1/6th scale, but it totally works with 1:12th scale.  Those bags are meant to be slightly on the larger side.  A Celine bag is on my list of handbag wants.  I have a bit of a handbag problem.....sigh.

There you have it!  A very loooooooong post about my first foray into upholstered items to plop your butt on!