Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Parts of kits

I have just been working on this lovely little Betterley's kit for Les Roches.  Like the Pie Kitchen one I did over in The Gate House it has several items in it - all made to go with each other.

Also, like the kitchen kit it has made up beautifully and I am thrilled with the things I've done so far.

I will be buying both of these again to keep for any future projects and will just change colours/finishes to suit.

From this kit the dressing gown pattern will serve me well,forever, for coats, macs, more dressing gowns.  

unfinished tote - toothpick for scale

I can see a zillion ways to use the tote box - for a box of apples from the orchard, box of wood or kindling, box of knitting, sewing - all sorts.  

has a pretty back too

The screen could be adapted to so many situations and the slipper pattern and picture frames have endless uses.  

I just so wish you could buy the various components separately.  I do understand why not.  The Betterleys create whole worlds like Pickett Pond and these kits are there to help you complete the various vignettes needed.  I can't imagine they need to expand in any way as they must be run off their feet already with work.  I wonder if they know anyone who would like to run a 'side' business making or just selling their bits and bobs as smaller individual kits to quarter scalers like me who (much as I love their mini world creations) want to do their own thing.

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Organisation - A5 ring binder

I have sixteen vendor's lists on the go right now

Do as I say not as I do.......

Somewhere in my recent trawling I saw and momentarily considered ordering a really nice Chinese wall cabinet for the salon in Les Roches.  I broke my own rule and didn't bother writing it down and now can't remember where I saw it.

What I try to do is this.....

I jot down anything and everything that has the slightest chance of ever being wanted - on a scrap of paper, or a note on ipad or computer, or just simply bookmark it on the computer.  Even better, when I am pretty sure I want it but not just yet, I make a note in my portable brain - aka an A5 ring binder.  

This is my four-year old friend and constant companion (other than my husband).

In respect of 'maybe items' I have a page for each vendor and just make a note of what I saw.  I go back and cull the lists now and then.  When there is something I really, really want I already have a list prepared of everything I want from them.  If they are things that can wait then the list grows over time until it is worth paying the delivery charge.

It is also there when a show comes up and I can pre-order from them or at least know what I want in advance. 

It works like a charm if you remember to do it.

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Vendors - Odins Miniatures

I found these folk by accident but I am so glad I did.

click to enlarge

They are a 1/12th supplier and even have a physical shop in Ramsgate in Kent.  

For us quarter scalers their 'crafty' shop is a real treat to shop in and I got next day delivery for just £3, including time spent sorting a query from me, talk about instant response.

If you enlarge the photo you may be able to see the price of everything - nothing over a pound.  As for scale: if you look at the glass phials of no-hole beads that will show you that they all work very well.  Stripe fabric might be too big but if I use them as long drapes they may still work.  The grey/white fabric is lovely as is everything else.  So, good products, great price, super service - long may it reign. 

Friday, 26 September 2014

A new Page

I have added a new Page (see link above) for vendors.

I want to keep a list of quarter scale vendors for my own use so I may as well share it.

Maybe useful for someone?

The Dining Room

You are going to need a lot of imagination for this one...

If the fireplace went to the back as it should I wouldn't be able to get the connecting door in so that's decidedly a no-go for me.  Before really looking at the space I did think I could get the door in beside the fireplace - they do that sometimes (think Regency) but in reality it just won't go.  The fireplaces on the second floor will be small and plain but they need to be 'showy' in these ground floor rooms and so it eats up too much space. The house has to work as it would in real life.  With the chimneys and fireplace on the side wall I think I can see how it will be furnished.

Dining table and six chairs if I can get small and dainty enough a demi-lune either side of the door with pillar mirrors above and a matching/co-coordinating pair of something something on them.  Failing that purchase (or make) I'll settle for two vases and flowers (again!!) 

I am collecting pictures in the Reference file as I go along - click on the link on the left if you want a look at some thinking behind the rooms.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The salon and the chimneys

I hope these couple of photos demonstrate my deliberations about the Salon furniture and therefore the chimney position.

With the chimneys where they are this is where the fireplace should go but I think it makes for difficult furnishing unless there is something I am just not seeing.  Ideally we need the back of the settee to the viewer so that it is facing the fire and then two chairs either side/corner.  I am not happy with opening a miniature and looking at the back of something so I thought I could have a pair of settees (these are stand-ins of course, not ones I would use).  Now what else could you do with the room - one large piece of furniture ont he right hand wall opposite the door and maybe a coffee table.  Somehow that jars and kind of 'modern'.

With the chimneys moved to the side walls along witht he fireplaces we can have the more traditional arrangment which then gives the option of a fine tall piece (I have seen a Chinese cabinet somewhere that I like) on the back wall, facing the viewer which can be filled with interesting things to look at.  The arrangement will spread further forward - my jig is too small to let me do that here. there will be room for a piece of furniture under the window on the fourth wall - dresser of some sort with a vase of flowers and some silver.

The salon isn't the room that really demands the chimney change as I could manage it if I had to; but the dining room really needs it as I would like a connecting door in there through to the kitchen at the back.

Have a look tomorrow.

I am collecting pictures in the Reference file as I go along - click on the link on the left if you want a look at some thinking behind the rooms.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

The hall

This is the hall space with the stairs in place.  I can't furnish the back wall as I need a door through to the other half of the house that we can't see.  Remember this kit is just the front slice of a house that would have four rooms on each floor.  This door goes through to the large dining kitchen with space for a settee and comfy chair (family room) - pretty much the part of the house that gets lived in.  The two rooms we will see at the front will be the public rooms - the salon and the formal dining room.  Between these is the hall.

Add caption

As I said I doubt there is anything I can add to the hall in the way of furniture.  I would have liked a demi-lune and mirror but it isn't going to go in.  Something that might be possible is a small round table and large flower arrangement but I am not keen on that as it looks like a hotel lobby!

Basically I think all the work in this room is about getting a nice finish on the floors and walls and door so it is attractive in itself.

Right now I am for a black and white marble tiled floor on the diagonal - need to look some up for additional ideas.  I have gone back and forth between highly polished mahogany stairs which would be the easiest - hard coping with those brown edges - but I would prefer white stone.  Looking at any stairs with a wrought iron bannister they seem, mostly, to be set against marble or stone.

The doors could be brown wood but I will probably keep the whole thing light and stay with a soft white everywhere.

I am collecting pictures in the Reference file as I go along - click on the link on the left if you want a look at some thinking behind the rooms.

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

The (not) dry build

I finally found a half day to give to the dry build of Les Roches (aka Le Petit Palais).... but ....

Guess what... quarter scale, again, doesn't work like 1/12ths.  Why does this keep surprising me.

With the twelfths I have always done three or four dry builds before glue ever meets the carcass - one in its naked state to see if I want to change anything and what needs painting and when and how, then build two after the first round of paint to check all is OK and adjust accordingly, lots of tweaking then gets done and build three confirms I am good to go and I mark up for wiring grooves etc.  As I said I have been known to do a fourth if needs be.

Already in quarter scale, I did do two dry builds on the Gatehouse for similar reasons.

This little kit really isn't going to lend itself to that much messing about with and certainly it needs as much done to it as possible in the way of paint and prepping before messing about  shoving it together every which way.  Also, looking at it now, it is going to need a very different approach.  I don't see that it will just be fully built and then finished off.  I need to be able to get to each room at each level before another level goes in as they are very tiny.

So here is where I am up to:

I checked all the items against the list on the instruction sheet to be sure I have everything.  I have no idea how anyone manages to pack these things there are so many fiddly little pieces and everyone of them was there.  Indeed I think I have an extra something.  If you look carefully at the picture you will see one teeny tiny rectangle floating around (centre front) all on its own - no idea what that is, but I have kept it just in case.

click to see full size

I have grouped like components together and put them in individual ziplock bags so I don't have to do a sort through when I am building.

Mostly from the proposed dry build I wanted to know the size of the rooms and how they looked in relation to each other in hands-on reality.  If you are doing this kit and haven't yet started this is what I think we have got:

Two rooms on the ground floor measuring 2 7/8 inch wide (real life 11' 6") by 3 3/4 inch deep (real life 15') and 2 1/2 inch high (real life 10') plus a hall same height and depth but 2 1/2 inches wide (real life 10').

Two rooms on the next floor measuring same width and depth but 2 3/8 inches high (real life 9' 6") plus the same hall as below but with the slightly lower ceiling.

The loft will depend on how you want to configure it mine will be cut into two not three spaces.

The kit measurements are in centimetres, but I can't do my real life conversions easily if I do that.  I am lucky enough in this instance to be old enough to think in feet and inches any way so it is easy peasy and, of course, America still uses imperial. 

The room I just did in The Gatehouse was 5 1/2 inches by 4 inches.  Even allowing stairs and moving around room that is generous, so Les Roches is terrifyingly small.  As a real person moving in there I might consider no right hand diving wall downstairs (we'll knock through) but it is a shame to lose the splendour of a large French hallway.  The real life conversions show us they are actually fairly generous size rooms but I am still praying for dainty furniture out there somewhere.  Anyone have any recommended vendor who makes small - Gayle B at Petworth?  Wonder what her kits are like for Hungerford?

I am definitely back to Plan A again though - the chimney will be on the side walls.  I can not see how I furnish and false door it otherwise so that it works in real life - my absolute criteria in this game.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Change of name

Just to confuse you utterly I have changed the name of the Blog.  Maison de Maitre is just not tripping off the tongue, or rather the brain, and I am always calling it Les Roches in the brain that sits behind your up front brain.  I know some of you understand that.  So, from now on I may well be working on a Maison de Maître in a small town in Berry but it is called Les Roches, presumably after the family that built it and lived there for three generations.

Hope to do a dry build today or tomorrow, will let you know if I manage it.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Finding inspiration

I spend a huge amount of time at the beginning of a project scouting around for images to give me ideas for what I want to do.  I do have a vague notion in my head but it needs the detail.

Initially, of course, it is the building itself.

So for anyone about to start a Petit Palais here's a link to my Reference folder.  There are a gazillion photographs of Maisons de Maître on Google images that have the window configuration of PP - I have only copied a handful because in those was the one I knew I would be doing.

It is a house in the Berry area of France where we once had a home.

It has the correct façade, I like the simple lines and colours and it has the chimneys where mine will be.  I am shifting them to the side elevations.  This will not be quite as cute as PP's arrangement but it means I can get fireplaces on side walls rather than inner walls.  If the fireplaces go on the central walls the seating sort of has its back to you.  The real houses (as you will see) have the chimneys pretty much in either position - maybe slightly more with the chimneys on the sides.

My maison will be the front slice of the traditional four rooms on every level arrangement.  

Bottom right room - le salon (what would once have been le bureau)

Invisible back right room - the door at the back of the hall (hope I can get it in????)  would lead to a more casual sitting room with TV etc (we can't see it of course!)

Bottom left room - salle à manger - again a formal room - with a connecting door to the large kitchen.

Invisible back left room - this is the kitchen which would accommodate the everyday dining table and chairs and also connects to the casual sitting room.  The back of the house (south facing) is where we spend most of our time - large French windows opening out on to the garden.  Shame you can't see it.

Upstairs right room - study

Invisible back right room - the door at the back of the hall leads to the guest bedroom and bathroom

Upstairs left room - master bedroom with connecting door to a bathroom - above the kitchen (water connections must work).  This will be a large bathroom but there is still plenty of room left over to give up some of its space to providing a small en suite bathroom to the Guest bedroom that is the back right room.

Not too sure about the loft rooms yet........

- craft/sewing area (not sure I want to work up there)
- independent flat for a young couple who take care of the house and grounds in exchange for the accommodation - quite fancy that idea.
- artists studio - nice setting to do but abysmal light to paint in!

Feel free to vote or come up with other suggestions.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

What to do with 'seconds'

What do you do with something that needs to be thrown away but you made it and can't bear to do that?

I thought before I made any more things I ought to have a good look at what I have got and see if there is anything in the stuff I bought for the Gate House which isn't going to be used there and put it/them into a box for the Maison.

This is the result.......

The sum total of what I have to offer the new project are two decidedly flawed pieces.

The cat bench (I am pretty sure) had four legs when I took it out of the box.  I decided to rub it down a little on some paper to see if I could raise a sheen; then it only had three legs!  For the life of me I can't find the fourth and can't bear to throw it away just in case it 'turns up'.  How likely is that.  Indeed, I even devised a cunning plan to put it somewhere where I can prop it up a wall (to stop it falling over) and hope no-one notices!

If you want to see it in its full four-legged glory, you can see it being made over in the Gate House blog on 1st September (2014).

The other sad little chair was my very first quarter scale make and might be OK after a total refurb so that too is going in the box.  This is all getting a bit Room 101-ish. 

Ah well it is a start.

P.S. a couple of days later ......  if my husband had been born native American Indian he would have been called Man-who-finds-little-things.  He found the leg!

Friday, 5 September 2014

The birth

This is the moment in a project where I totally understand children and Christmas.

The Maison arrived with my grocery about two minutes ago!  Well, not literally with my grocery - just delivered at the same time as my Tesco delivery.  Throw food in fridge and upstairs to open the important box.  Here she is......  why are houses in French masculine? - Le Petit Palais, Le Maison de Maître etc..... 

the display plinth

the stairs

2 sets of double doors

4 single doors

the Maison itself

Other than typing this I am behaving like the best behaved child of all time and putting it to one side. I have a stack of 'chores' which take priority and we are away tomorrow for a few days so I am hoping there will be enough left of today later on to check all the parts are there and maybe do a dry build.  I want it in that state so I can photograph it and do a lot of thinking about it.......  colours, paint, wallpaper, flooring, lighting.....  you know how it goes.

Like the Gate House, it won't get started properly until after next April.  Being in the States for six months is a double-edged sword - I am away from my beloved projects for six months but I am also in the land of 48ths with shopping opportunities at three good size shows.

At this size it is perfectly possible to carry things back and forth but it is like any project where you try to do it away from 'base' you always need/want the very tool or ribbon or bead that is three thousand miles away.  I have tried that before.

Very, very sadly this month I manage to miss two of my favourite shows (Stafford and Miniatura) as we are away for this first of them this weekend and we have visitors for the second one later in the month.  This also means I miss Petite Properties too but, as I said, I can't crack on with it any way, but I would have liked to see it in the flesh.  

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Excited or what?

I had no idea if this makes me sad or sweet but I am so excited I needed to share............

don't PP do this well.....