Monday, May 23, 2016

More furniture making!

This bedside table was such fun to design and make and it turned out exactly as I wanted.  Once again I have drawn inspiration from the arts and crafts movement and included subtle curves.  I wanted to keep the design simple but functional.

I usually use jelutong wood for my furniture and I stocked up when I was at KDF recently.  Although technically a hardwood, it is easy to work with being both light and strong.  This is important for two reasons – firstly because my range of tools for miniature woodwork is extremely limited and secondly because since my wrist surgery in January I have limited strength in my left hand. 

The drawer will contain little keepsakes and letters when I get round to making them.  I am also making loads of books from a Paper Minis kit.  Great fun and a break from sanding!!

I have made quite a lot of 1:1 furniture in my time – from glass fronted bookcases to tables – and what I love about miniatures is that they are so quick to make compared to full size.  This is because I cheat and tend to use simple joints rather than the dovetails and mortise and tenon joints that I would have to use for full scale pieces.  My old woodwork teacher might not be impressed though.

The chest of drawers is fairly straight forward in terms of design.  The only embellishment is a small border down each side at the front.  Like the bedside table, the silver bead handles have been toned down to resemble old brass.  I mix antique gold, silver and black acrylic paint which I think gives the right impression.

The oval mirror got the same treatment.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Needlepoint Footstool and Sewing Box

This simple needlepoint footstool has been designed to reflect the woodland theme of the fairy house.  In the needlepoint pattern I have included violets, wild cherry blossom, berries, bluebells and acorns.  It is worked on 36 gauge silk using over 20 colours.

The footstool also serves as the fairy’s sewing box. 

 There is a little drawer containing the things she uses to do her embroidery and general sewing.

  The embroidery silks are made following a great tutorial by Sarah of Amber’s House

I picked up the tiny cotton reels at Kensington some years ago.  The scissors case is made from very soft leather.
The embroidery hoop contains a small floral design which I stitched using one strand of embroidery thread, a very fine needle and magnifying light! 

The back of the footstool is designed to echo the front.


Friday, April 29, 2016

In the Woodland among the sweet violets

For a long time I have wanted to photograph Ivy Lodge in a suitable setting.  I have a tiny woodland area in my garden and at the moment the bluebells and violets are in flower, so I took my little fairy house outside and tucked it in amongst the trees where it belongs.

This gives a much better understanding of how I imagined the little house to be and why the woodland theme and nature are important elements for the inside of the house and furnishings.  Allow me take you on a little tour….

Here is the front of the house with its little door leading inside.

The inside is in the process of being completed so at the moment looks very bare. 

Here you can see there are two floors in the house and a little hidden attic room where the fairy stores some of her most precious treasures.

This is one of her bedroom windows at the back of the house.

To keep her warm, she has a little fire downstairs and here is the chimney made of stone.

There is a little porch lantern to guide her and her guests safely to her door where they can pull the little string of bells to attract her attention.  At this time of year sweet violets and bluebells grow beside her little home and fill it with fragrance.

Here it the back of the house.

Thank you for visiting and I look forward to giving you an inside tour of the house when it is finished.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

If at first you don't succeed.......

This is the new armchair for Ivy Lodge.  However, it is my second attempt….. 

Last year I had made a similar armchair based on Bilbo Baggin’s armchair in Bag End in the Hobbit which I think is ‘Arts and Crafts’ like.  But when it was finished I realised it was not right for my fairy house.  It was too upright for a female fairy and I had miscalculated the seat depth and made it too shallow.  Plus the stud trim was too manly.  On top of this I was not happy with way the arm were finished.  A bit too crude.  So I have remade the chair. 
 Here they are side by side.
Most people would probably not notice the difference, but I think it is a huge improvement! The arms have a softer angle and the trim is in the colours of lilac and moss. 

I then decided to try my hand at small scale embroidery.  The cushion design (featuring ivy leaves!) is from a book by Pamela Warner and based on a William Morris design called ‘Clanfield’.  I found it difficult to transfer this intricate pattern onto the fabric to guide the stitching, so am not altogether happy with this because I had to ‘ad lib’ so much of it.  However, since then I have found a successful way to transfer designs and so I suspect this cushion will be replaced in due course with a finer one. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Ivy backed chairs for Ivy Lodge

What can I say?  Almost a year of silence with the only excuse being that I did not have anything of interest to share here.  For a variety of reasons I could not get motivated to continue with my miniature projects and knew that I would have to wait for the bug to bite again…..and it has!  

Ivy Lodge, my little fairy tree stump house, has sat idle for a such long time now.  The outside is almost finished, but I was not happy with the furniture I was trying to make for the inside. So I just stopped. But, at last, I feel ready to give it another go. 

Although it is a woodland fairy’s home, I have never wanted to take the ‘twig furniture’ route. Instead I am aiming for it to be woodland themed with a dash of whimsy.  As with many miniature projects, a fine balance needs to be struck.  The furniture will be a blend of rustic and my take on the ‘arts and crafts’ movement.  I want the accessories to be pretty but not fussy.  I also want to include a few beautiful finely made items in this little house.  The colours used should be found in a woodland and all the furniture must be made from natural wood which is bees waxed and not painted. 

I have started with a little dining set.  These are made with very basic equipment.  No fancy carving tools and no lathe.  The chairs have ivy leaf backs that are slightly hollowed out and curved to be comfortable for a fairy to sit on!  The ‘turned’ table support is made without a lathe so it is rather irregular but hopefully blends in.   Little seat cushions for the chairs will follow in due course.

On the table is one of the ‘beautiful, finely made’ items that I have mentioned above.  The delicate Bucks Point Lace tablecloth was made by a very talented friend called Joyce who does the most amazing bobbin lace work.  I imagine it being used by the fairy for special occasions! 

The little table and chairs were designed to fit under the cantilever curved stairs.  (Sorry, the photo is not good).

Now to keep me motivated (and buy more supplies) I have booked flights to attend the Kensington Dollshouse Festival in May.  Happy Days.

Friday, May 15, 2015


I am a bad blogger and I apologize for the long silence.  I took a long break after the craft show in March and then decided to turn my creative attention to painting.  I used to paint as a child but am only returning to it now in earnest.

I am still only learning watercolour and find it both frustrating and very rewarding.  The first painting is  part of a building in the main square in Hallstatt, Austria visited many years ago.  

 The two flower paintings are from flowers and blossom picked in my garden this spring.

Painting, for me, is a deeply personal affair and I have to feel emotionally connected to my subject matter.  I have a long long list of places that hold significance for me and reference photos I took over the years to help me remember them.  Hopefully I will be able to paint a good few of these before the summer is over.  At the same time I have an even longer list of flowers and plants that I want to paint.  I think I will be busy!

Friday, February 27, 2015

Local Craft Fair

There is a reason for my long silence.  My mini work was put on hold abruptly just before Christmas.  Firstly I realised I was way behind with my handmade Christmas presents and then right after Christmas a friend asked me to help with a charity craft fair which is taking place next week.  

Because of the tight deadline and the fact that we got a donation of a large number of balls of wool (which had to be knit up!!) I have been working flat out for the last 8 weeks.  Thank Goodness for Pinterest and the inspiration available on the internet.  I am so grateful to the many talented people out there who make their patterns available and share their ideas.  Here is some of what I have made:
Lots of baby items – booties, blankets and comforters
A basket full of little pocket gnomes
And other assorted ‘softies’
Some hats, gloves, knitted necklaces and scarves
Lots of greeting cards of all types
and finally a few little Easter decorations
We are all hoping that the Fair is a success.  I am just looking forward to a rest!