Sunday, October 19, 2014

The plumbers have left

Here is the completed kitchen including the new kitchen sink unit.  

Originally I considered using a half walnut shell for the sink but it just looked too ‘twig furniture’.  Next I considered a Belfast sink but thought this was not fitting for a fairy woodland cottage  so instead I hollowed out a wooden sink from a solid piece of wood and sunk it into the worktop.  I am pleased with how the bands of grain are running in the sink, it emphasises the rounded shape. 

The handmade tap is again designed to look non-commercial and rather basic.  It is made from a bent nail, some wood scraps and miscellaneous jewellery findings painted in pewter.  

The feet of the unit are the only twiggy part – they are made from small acorn cups. 

I added a little stone hearth in front of the neighbouring stove to catch any stray sparks when it is burning.

Here is some bread the fairy has baked in her new oven!

Altogether I am much happier with the kitchen now and so far I have stuck to my aim of only using my existing materials and not buying anything new.  Not sure how long that will last though!!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What’s going on??

Forgive the disruption on my blog at the moment.  I am in the process of trying to update the look and this kind of thing is certainly not one of my strengths.  So if you visit and things look decidedly strange it is just me tinkering around in the background.  I also put up a brief post yesterday looking for help in sourcing Bristol Board but removed it almost straight away because I stumbled across information which helped – but the post might be lingering around still.  So again apologies.

The kitchen sink unit  for Ivy Lodge is almost finished now and I will be posting photos either later today or tomorrow.  But in the meantime here is one of Nature's own minis which we visited in Dublin Zoo a couple of weeks ago.  So adorable.

Friday, October 10, 2014

The builders are back....

Ivy Lodge has sat untouched for many months.  I had started on a kitchen but something was holding me back from going any further.  I was just not happy with it.  The look was veering into ‘shabby chic’ territory instead of being a woodland home for a fairy.  But I do not want to have a ‘twig furniture' look either! So I got out my tools and started to make changes.

I wanted to remove as much of the painted wood as possible and replace it with bees waxed natural wood.  Unfortunately there are some elements that I cannot change without rebuilding the entire structure so there will be compromises.

I started by covering the white edges of the staircase with real wood veneer to give the staircase a more wooden solid look.   I then added a carved column near the base to give a little feature to the stairs. 

This is mirrored by the same style bannister at the top of the stairs where I built a little balustrade.  There will be no bannisters on the stairs themselves because they would take up too much visual room.  Skirting boards have been added.

I then took off the white border surrounding the sunken bookcase.  I sanded it back to the original wood and embossed it with a scrolling leaf design.  I added a wooden strip to the shelf edging.

The previous kitchen alcove and kitchen was just too angular and modern.  I removed the white painted architrave surrounding the alcove and replaced it with a curved arch of natural wood which I again embossed with a scrolling design similar to that on the bookcase opposite it. 

The original kitchen was just not right.  I was being impatient when I made it and did not attend to those vital details.  It looked too 'built-in' and did not fit my woodland theme.  So I have started again. This time the flickering fire part remains open with a small grate at the front.  The fire’s stone surround is made from air-dried clay.  Above the fire is a little oven (to bake fairy cakes in!!) and then a hob with 'Aga-style' lift up lid. 

I made the hob lid out of a wooden disc with the hinges made from Fimo and wire.  The handle of the lid is made from the coiled wire you get on some earring findings. The hinges on the oven door are made from lead stripping.  There is a flue at the back leading to the chimney outside. (The bottle is made from the tip of a surgical syringe with 'cork' made from a cocktail stick) 

The little flickering fire looks really cosy by night!

The kitchen/sink unit is next to be built beside the oven in the alcove.  The full alcove can be seen in this picture below.  It will be freestanding and on legs to make sure it does not have a ‘built-in’ feeling.  I have various ideas which I will play with over the next week or so. After that the shelves will be filled and more details added.  Then the dresser/hutch will be remodelled.

In the meantime this is how the little fairy tree stump house is looking.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Waldorf Flower Children

Recently a friend lent me a book by Sybille Adolphi on making Waldorf Flower Children and I immediately knew I just had to try to make a set.  

The book itself is OK for the basics but generally it is not easy to follow.  I looked for further help elsewhere and came across some great inspiration.  Firstly there is the gorgeous work of Katja (who sells her dolls on Etsy), RosenrotAtalierpippilottaBlumenkinder and Jacqueline of Poppelien.  

The dolls are about 12cm tall and made entirely from natural materials with no glue used.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Strawberry themed baby gifts

Mini making has been put on hold for a few more weeks as real life got/gets in the way, so apologies for any lack of progress.  I am leaving my job at the end of June which is going to make an enormous difference to my quality of life.  Finally after over four years of legal battles, followed by a very demanding job,  I am going to have some real time to slow down and start leading a Gentle Life.

In the meantime I have been busy making a couple of little ‘strawberry themed’  baby presents to mark the arrival of the new granddaughter of one of my friends.  The little bear is a modification of a super free pattern by the very talented Jenny Harris who you can find at Allsorts – the dress is reversible and will be easy for future little fingers to take on and off. 

The little booties are loosely based on a vintage pattern which I found on the internet in Dutch!  Off on holidays to France next week and then hopefully back to resume work on my many mini projects.  

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Finally work has resumed....

At long last Ivy Lodge is awakening from its winter slumber….and work on the inside has finally resumed. I have started on the little kitchen.  Progress is slow partly because I am waiting for some equipment and supplies to arrive from the States, and partly because my mini-time is limited.  But here is a preview.

When this kitchen is fitted into Ivy Lodge itself there will be a flickering log fire inside the bottom part of the cast iron stove.  And this fire will need logs....

This beautiful brush and shovel are by Matthias Matthes - but roughed up a good bit by me!!  I wove the little log basket myself and the logs are from my garden.  The fire underneath the stove heats both a small oven and also a hob.

The hob is based on the classic Aga design with padded lift-up lid.  I bought the beautiful cast iron kettle at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival last year.  I wanted to have a jug holding some wooden spoons beside the hob but couldn't find anything suitable so decided to make them myself.

I had the greatest fun making these wooden spoons and stirers.  A whole afternoon was spent with my trusty Dremel, mini scoll saw and lollipop sticks!  I then got carried away and also made a little knife with the blade coming from a bit of flattened night-light holder.

This crate of garden vegetables is by Sarah Maloney.  I think it will probably end up tucked into the bottom shelf of the kitchen unit ready to be made into fairy vegetable soup.

This looks so bare at the moment and unfinished.  But hopefully once my supplies arrive I will be able to make progress.  I also need to explain that it is very deliberate that there is only one tap.  The water supply for Ivy Lodge comes directly from a nearby stream.  If hot water is needed, it has to be boiled in the kettle!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Ivy Lodge

At long last I can post photos of my latest project - Ivy Lodge.  

It is a fairy tree stump house in 1:12 scale but fits into an a life size ivy covered 'tree trunk'.

I got a lot of inspiration from Rik Pierce, especially for the tiles on the roof and chimney stones, but the structure is very much my own creation and because of this took a long time to design and build.

The reason I built this was very personal.  As a child I loved fairy stories and had one particular book full of wonderfully romantic illustrations of fairyland, including magical toadstool and fairy houses.  In fairyland the evil people were easy to spot - they were either wicked witches or nasty goblins.  Sadly I have had too many experiences in my adult life of cruel people who look - not like big bad wolves - but like everyone else.  This fairy house is a form of therapy for me to rid my life of these toxic creatures.

So although it was designed and built for a little fairy called Celandine, it is really built for me to escape to!!

Now it is finished it looks like a simple structure, but it was a real challenge to build.  It was nearly dumped on two occasions when things just got too difficult but I am glad I kept going. It was built from the inside out.  Once the wooden internal walls and roof were finished the whole tree trunk shape was formed using papier mâché.  I wanted the internal walls to be mainly straight so that furniture would 'sit' well, but also wanted it to echo the external tree trunk shape.  It was also imperative that the roof have a curved pitch - that was a particularly difficult thing to build.  I also wanted to have the inside easy to view, so had to incorporate a front opening wall.  Because of the curved roof, this was not easy, but it works well now and is held closed by small magnets.  Let me show you around....

This is the front door with steps going to to it.  The little lamp is battery operated and can be easily taken in and out of position as it is fixed with a magnet.  Under the light is a string a little bells which visitors ring when they arrive.  The door and windows are all handmade and slightly quirky as a result.

On the steps are little 'pots' of flowers and toadstools.  The pots are made from real acorn cups.
To view the inside of the house you open the front wall.....

There are two main rooms connected by a semi-cantilevered staircase.  This was time consuming and took about two weeks to finish.  Although it is not possible to see from the front, there is another little door tucked away under the stairs which leads to an underground cellar.  

The inside is completely unfinished at the moment, except for a bookcase sunk into one of the walls downstairs,

and another alcove where the kitchen will be.  In the kitchen there will be a little flickering fire.

The whole fairy house is on a turntable so it can be viewed from all sides.  This meant that I could not have any electrics that required external cables as they would get tangled up. Instead I chose an LED battery operated circuit from Evans Designs in the US.  They make lights for railway diaramas as well as miniatures.  They are very very helpful when it comes to giving advice.  I have two different wiring circuits which will currently gives me 3 different lighting options.  I made the light fittings myself from buttons, bead caps, rubber tubing stripped from electrical wire and Evan's little LED bulbs.

Again, these are slightly quirky being handmade!  The electrics are turned on by little button switches hidden under the outside log 'shed'.  

This is a flap that lifts up for turning the lights on and off and replacing the coin batteries when they run out.  The bulbs themselves last for something like 10,000 hours!

I got help with the tiling technique from the talented Janice from onbeingaminimum.  
They took a long time and are made from Creative Paperclay which Rik Pierce uses a lot. I also used Creative Paperclay for the stones on the chimney.  The chimney will be linked to the fire in the kitchen stove.

There are four main windows in the house and another tiny one for the attic.

I only finished painting the roof tiles today, I will probably add some dried moss in places soon.  Under the main windows are some window boxes with tiny woodland flowers.

Here is a view from inside looking out....

The outside of the fairy house is more or less completed and now I have the fun of starting work on the inside.  I much prefer this part!!  

I hope you have enjoyed the mini-tour and look forward to welcoming you back to see the progress inside.