Sunday, 25 May 2014

Frames makeover

When I was looking for materials to use in the dressing table makover, I discovered some picture frames I had bought a long time ago in a charity shop. If you have followed my blog you may know that I like frames and have made all kinds in different techniques, from lolly sticks, and various recyclables, and more, and I have also done some makeovers. The frames I have found are not particularly imaginative. Someone started painting them and gave up.

But they are a very good starting point for a makeover. For the first frame, I just added another, outer frame of small lolly sticks.

I then painted the whole thing gold and "aged" it by painting a thin coat of white and wiping it away immediately.

Plain and sober frame. But I wanted to do something more challenging, so I started by shaving off the outer and inner edges and sanding them for a softer, rounded effect. Then I added bits of grill sticks, shaved to produce a flat surface on one side. The frame on the left is the original for comparison.

I am very pleased with the result. I have four more frames and will need to think of four interesting ways of improving them.

Saturday, 24 May 2014

Dressing table makeover

A couple of weeks ago one of my dollhouse groups started sharing pictures of their bargains from Poundland. I must admit that Poundland is not my prioritised shopping target, and since it moved from the shopping mall where I park when I visit my hairdresser I hadn't been there. But the bargains were too good and besides a challenge: I like making ugly things pretty. Not that they are really ugly, but not quite the furniture you put in your dollhouse and feel proud of.

As a first try, I made a seat for one of the chairs: 

I am not sure I am happy with the result, but I don't know yet where these chairs are going. 

My next attempt was a dressing table: 

There is nothing radically wrong with it, but it is plain. Plain things beg to be made over.

I made a dressing table for my Victorian house some time ago.


I still like it, but because of the clothes-peg legs it is larger than 1:12, and when I put a chair in front of it, it looked ridiculous. And anyway, it was time to make something new. I like the ornate mirror, so I decided to keep it. As I was looking for a suitable contraption to fix the mirror, I found a plastic ice-cream spoon. If you think it's a strange way of fixing a mirror on a dressing table, let me tell you that my genuine eighteenth-century dressing table is made exactly like this (although admittedly not with a plastic spoon).

Then I painted the table ivory-white, and just to show how a tiny detail makes a difference, here are pictures of before and after I added a length of lace on the front:

Here it is now in its interior, and the scale is right to go with the chair. The perfume bottles, by the way, are made of beads.

Waiting for the dream

I haven't done anything miniature-related for a long time, and that for a reason.

For several years now, I have been promising myself that when I retire I will get a huge dollhouse that I will build from scratch, according to the rules, in correct scale, with all details, and keep doing it for the rest of my life.

I even found the house I wanted. Here it is. Dream big.

About six weeks ago I had my old childhood friend visiting, and I wanted to show her my dream in an online shop. And it wasn't there! My dream house wasn't available any more, and the dream got shattered in millions of shards. I quickly started telling my friend about something else, but later I went online again and checked. The house was gone. And I had been so stupid that I hadn't even remembered what it was called.

I found it on ebay of course. But the incident got me thinking. Why am I waiting for retirement, which is still quite a few years away, and with my usual optimism I always say that we may all be dead by then. Why not get it now and start working on it and let it take the time it takes. A dollhouse is never finished. Why not have all the joy now rather than some other time which may never come.

My friend supported me. My daughter supported me. My husband supported me. My dollhouse group supported me. (You see, I know where to seek support).

It is undeniably a very expensive toy. But I know I spend significantly more on my miniature projects every year, so it is just a matter of paying it all at once.

Anyway, I bought it!

For a couple of days I was the happy future owner of the dream house. Then I ran out of luck. The delivery was delayed... and delayed... and delayed... The seller emailed me with apologies, she even called me and promised to throw in some extras for my patience. I don't know whether it's a fraud, and if it is, I am not sure I have the energy to complain.

What happened, however, was that I lost interest in my current projects. It makes no sense to be doing anything small when a gigantic project is imminent - or maybe not. I know this is totally irrational, and I am sure I will still do other projects if the Dream House arrives one day. And yet...

Today is my first free weekend in ages, and it's raining, therefore perfect time for miniatures. See next post for what I have made.