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.






Thursday, October 17, 2013

Mini Tissue Box Tutorial




I just love these sort of quick projects that cost nothing!! 


These little square tiles are found on many clothing items to show size.  They make perfect 1:12 tissue boxes. 



Lightly sand all over, fill in the criss-cross bit with some plaster filler or air dried clay.  Allow to dry,  sand again then paint and/or cover with some printed paper, et voila…..






Sunday, October 13, 2013

One week to go.....

At long long last the end is in sight.  I estimate the structure of my little fairy house will be completed by this time next week.

  
  So...now I have announced that, I will have to meet the deadline!!  I can't wait to start the real fun which will be working on the inside....

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Ivy Lodge is inching along....

My latest project is called Ivy Lodge and it is a tree stump fairy house.  It is slowly slowly coming near to completion but here is a taste of what is to come. 

The next couple of weeks is going to be all about making roof tiles and completing the chimney.....then once this is done, the little fairy can move in.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Fairy Houses

We have enjoyed some glorious sunny days in Ireland over the last couple of weeks.  It would have been a shame not to get out and enjoy them.  I visited a garden show in Dublin with a friend and we came across these sweet little fairy houses.  
 On another day out I came across this quiry (although much larger) house. 
I love fairy houses and the whole idea of woodlands full of hidden treasures.  This is the archway into our own little secret woodland at the end of our garden. 
All of this is in keeping with my latest project!   However, construction has been delayed because it was just too sunny and warm to stay inside and work on minis.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Meanwhile…teacup with pretty felt flowers

My friend Marguerite of Petalberryhugs made this sweet like cup of felt flowers from felt she made herself. I love it and am bringing it into work to brighten up by desk. This is such a clever way to use a vintage cup and saucer and the flowers are so pretty. I love the beaded centres!

I am showing this because my current miniature work is not ready to be unveiled. The complicated project I started last year has been dusted down and back on the work table. It is inching along slowly but is taking far longer than I originally thought. (Don’t think I would have started it if I knew how much work would be involved!!) I have given myself a deadline of having the structure itself completed by the end of June. Then I can start the fun part – working on the inside and making all the furniture and details.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Miniature bluetits and robin

I love watching birds in the garden busy feeding at this time of year.  These little birds are made by Robin from Coombe Miniatures.  I love the little coconut shell she made.


The robin has perched on the little trug and looks so at home! 


Thursday, April 11, 2013

Goodies from Kensington Dollshouse Festival last year

Catherine of Kilmouski has raised an interesting issue on her blog about whether FB and Twitter are killing blogs. She pointed out that many blogs are inactive, without new entries, for many weeks, months and even years compared to the level of activity a few years ago. I feel guilty because I have not been posting as often as I used to. The main reason is because I have nothing much to ‘show and tell’ due to a variety of reasons.

However….I can ‘show’ the treasures that I bought last year at the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in London. Shortly after visiting the Festival I had a serious wrist problem diagnosed which has lasted for many months and meant I could not use a lot of my crafting tools. My miniature making had to stop and I am finding it difficult to get into gear again. These goodies from KDF are patiently waiting for me to complete my project so they can be put in their places!
This gorgeous Sussex trug was a surprise gift from the friend who came with me to the Kensington Dollshouse Festival last May.  I was so happy because I really wanted this but did not think my wallet could cope with any further assaults!

This cast iron kettle is really heavy despite its tiny size.  It, together with the dustpan and brush (made by Matthias Matthes), will be perfect in the kitchen in my new project.
  The glassware of Gerd Felka is amazing - all individually hand blown and cut. Gerd was charming and kindly gave me the little perfume bottle as a gift because I was trying so hard to chat in German!
His attention to detail is amazing.  I love the teeny stopper.

I just couldn't resist this tiny paintbrush with real bristles and wooden spools.
Finally I bought a little jug and washing basin set by Stokesay.  It is beautifully fired porcelain and very expensive but worth it!   

Friday, March 1, 2013

Spring, Knitted Bunnies and New Year Resolutions.....

First day of Spring and I am ready to reveal my New Year’s resolution. I am going to test my creativity (and discipline) by only using the crafting materials I already have – and I have LOTS. I am not allowing myself buy anything new. By the end of the year I hope to have converted a lot of my crafting ‘stock’ into finished items that I will either give as gifts, donate or sell at a craft fair. Like many crafters my ideas run way ahead of my hands so that I often buy fantastic new things to make but then do not get around to them because other fantastic new ideas pop up!!

My big miniature project is waiting for me to get back into ‘mini-mode’. I find that I have to be in the mood to do something. At the moment it is knitting and crochet. This is mainly because (strangely) this was something I could do with my hand/wrist in cast.

I started off knitting a couple of bunnies as baby/Easter gifts but got completely carried away and ended up knitting over a dozen. Seven have already got homes.




These bunnies are modifications of a Debi Birkin pattern with feet/shoes inspired by Little Cotton Rabbits.  The little cardigans and dresses are my own designs. 

Easter Bunnies!

Then I decided to cover some wooden clothes hangers. 




These covered hangers very useful for hanging delicate dresses and knitwear, plus they are not padded so do not take up much space in the wardrobe.  I had great fun practicing making crochet flowers, leaves and hearts to decorate them.