Wednesday, October 27, 2010

An Elizabethan ruff

It's strange what insomnia can do. That odd state of being half-aware a couple of nights ago produced this method for making an Elizabethan ruff.
I had been trying to work out how to make a ruff for over two years without success, but ta-da! here is the first one. It needs a bit more tweaking, but I'm happy with it so far.

Thursday, October 21, 2010


Now that the paperclay is mostly dry, I've taken a pic of it with low-angle early morning sun.
The texture is about what I wanted - the look of medieval walls which have been whitewashed and mended over time.

I don't know if this will show up well when the tower is finished. Maybe there won't be enough texture to show properly, but I'll know it's there, LOL!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All messed up and nowhere to go

All messed up? - happy mess!! This is the first time I've used paperclay. Having read good advice online (thankyou Nikki and Michelle), I did what I usually do and went my own sweet way (born in the Year of the Goat = stubborn and never do what I'm told). I won't go into detail, but I had fun with plastic bags and rolling pins, water and a lot of luck.

Well I was lucky until I made the decision to lay the finished boards flat in the sun to dry.
The cat woke up and with his unerring sense of helpfulness, quietly walked over the wet clay, then lay down on it - it was in the best sunny spot . . .
Here's Mr Innocent - "who, me??" Note the dark fur - it shows up well on white clay . . .
I had a sharp incline on the learning curve, with tweezers (for the fur) and clay mending (before it dried). Hmmmmm.

Now I've used up all the clay I had stashed away, and I'll have to save up to get more for the exterior walls. I didn't have a clue how much area it would cover. Answer: 32 ounces (900gm) did all the tower interior walls.

And the 'nowhere to go' bit? - My husband's away for a few days and the car's parked at the airport, so Oh No! I have to stay at home and work on the tower!! Yes!!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tower progress

Here is the fledgling fireplace for the tower. I've had a good time researching medieval interiors, and fireplaces in particular. They must have been smokey affairs!!

I'm realising how much space fireplaces and stairs take up in a mini house. It seems to be possible to do without stairs (beam me up, Scottie!), but fireplaces are a basic comfort and the eye rests there. The heart and hearth of a dwelling. I do think that modern houses are somewhat lacking when the heat is delivered invisibly. Call me old fashioned . . .
And here is some of the furniture I'm considering. I'm going to have to make a medieval bed from scratch - that'll test me! The tudor rocking cradle is an eBay find, and I love it - I'll fit it in somehow :)

With this tower I'm having to make do with what I have on hand - hence the MDF fireplace base - I have ideas about camouflaging it - watch this space!



I've been doing a lot of pre-thinking about my mini tower - I don't want to have to retro-fit anything awkward . . .
So for a change I thought I'd make some hatpins. This was fun to do, a little bit of pretty to distract me! :)

I left the pins long for trimming later.

If anyone would like some/any of these as a gift or small swap, please contact me :)


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bird skulls

Mini bird skulls are one of my favourite things - they're not easy to find, so when I recently saw a post on Debbie's blog, Tiny Treasures, about Julie Lawton (aka Cottage Kitty)'s work, I decided to treat myself. I bought these, and wasn't disappointed - they are beautifully made and presented!!
Julie's work is well worth a look :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

Ladies of Wales, can you help?

This is a non-mini topic :)
I have inherited these two paintings which were painted by my great-great-great grandfather in (I think) 1886.
Written on the back is 'Varney Valley, North Wales'. I have tried to search a map of Wales to see if a valley matched anything like this name, but no luck so far. Besides, if I try to pronounce Welsh, the laughter would deafen you, and my brains fall out my ears!! :D

Just by chance, does anyone recognise the place or the name? It's not too important, but it would be be nice to know :)

Sorry the photos aren't very good.

I'm adding two more photos here - Sam King's signature, and what's written on the back - it's the same on both paintings, but this one also has very faint writing up at the right saying 'June (Jan?) -86'

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lakehouse details

I've been compiling a list of most of the miniatures which are in the Lakehouse (see my previous post here), and I'd like to share this with you. I love these minis - they are the result of several years of collecting, and it's a pleasure to finally see them in place. I had many more which would also have been suitable - maybe I'll re-furnish one day . . .

Bonnie Lavish - Queen Anne's Lace kit (the white flowers in the summer wreath)
Carol Cook - bread, cheese board,
David Edwards - wooden recorder (on living room shelves)
Dolls House Emporium - The Retreat house kit, square window, green kitchen cabinet, kitchen shelves, white shelves, mirror, spiral stairs, boat, outdoor furniture set
Hanky Panky - lilacs kit
Kim's Miniatures - swedish style bed, table and chair in bedroom, swedish bread rings, thrush on deck
Kiva Atkinson - basket of mushrooms, onions, lemons, garlic, beetroot (Kiva on eBay here)
Marg's Minis - blueberry basket, raspberries
Sandie Coe - painting on bedroom wall - and Sandie's Etsy shop
SDK Miniatures - sofa and chair kits, daisy kit, lily of the valley kit
SP Miniatures - ceramics (see my previous post here), glassware (large green demijohn bottle and wine glasses by Ferenc Albert), apples, shallots, Sir Thomas Thumb wooden bucket
Taigakoru - silver fertility goddess and sun symbol (earrings)
Terence Stringer - poker work box in bedroom
Treefeathers - Tolkien books

Wood turnings - Bertie's, The Helmers, Turnings in Miniature,

eBay - various - mostly from Kerbey Lane, MainlyMinis, Susi's,

Swaps and gifts from friends :))))
Ira at Merry Jingle (where are you, Ira??) - glass birds, Finnish kitchen tins and glass jars, step-chair, wooden scoop, barbeque, poppies, swirled glass bottle in bedroom, fabric for sofa and chair, Finnish magazine, brown perfume bottle
Larissa at Lil'La - pocket watch
Lorraine at Dfly Creations - hardback books
Mirja at Happy Little Muffin - yummy sausages
Nikki at Witch and Wizard Miniatures - pale bowls, and cream plate and bowl on shelf
Norma at Make Mine Mini - divan at foot of bed

Made by me -
rugs, rya wallhanging, mat, coffee table, tray, basket, leather journals

The Sami (Lappish) wooden cup in curly birch was a souvenir of my trip to Finland. The woven bast shoes were bought a long time ago from a Russian miniatures website.

So, thankyou everyone!!

There is still an outdoor boardwalk to be made (think skis, skates, fishing gear . . .) as well as a sauna. :)