Thursday, 30 October 2014

Mirror and gold leaf pen

This post is a double-up - showing you a lovely mirror kit from Petworth Miniatures and a terrific gold leaf pen from just about anywhere (Amazon in my case).

need another one

The mirror is a delight.  It is made (almost) like a real mirror.  Two pieces of wood for the frame and a very thin third frame for the front edge.  It is shaped and etched to resemble an impressively hefty gilt mirror.  Even the back is covered in paper.  I made it even more legitimate by using a bit of a brown paper bag.  The mirror glass is real glass so it has weight and depth and clear reflections.

The pen is superb.  It is about as close as you could get to gold leafing without actually having to do it.  In case you don't remember or haven't read my negative tale (of how I didn't get one from Jo-Ann's here are its details.

18 KT Gold Leafing Pen by Krylon.  Just Google it and you will get many hits.  Find the best deal (don't forget postage costs) and you'll be good to go.  I also bought the silver one at the same time for pots and pans - haven't tried that yet.  I think they have other metals too. Come back tomorrow when I do the pans.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Quarter scale section in DH&MS magazine

I am such a happy bunny.

It has taken me a while but I have finally persuaded my editor that quarter scale is a growing market (even in the UK) and we ought to commit to at least one quarter scale feature each month so that it is steady and regular for quarter scalers to find.

I am being offered one each for at least a year.

I don't doubt I can do one a month - already have so many stewing away - but I thought this was a good place to share this in case anyone out there has a burning desire to see something quarter scale in print.  Personally I think we need a whole magazine!

The magazine is a UK one - Dolls House & Miniature Scene - I will let you know when it happens - these things take months.

Treats - Suzanne and Andrews Miniatures

Away with the practical and on with the dreamy things....

Here are some purchases from Suzanne and Andrews Miniatures

The first is very simply some lovely detailed (deliberately large door handles).  Painted with brass paint they are perfect for a pub or shop or similar premises.  Not sure now I have them (and yes, I love them) that they will be right for my French front door as I had planned, but I do have a cunning plan to make them cast iron and use them in the Gate House instead.

click to enlarge

This is a clock which is just perfect for Les Roches.  I  just need to do a bit of research for the finish for it.

This is a very pretty selection of rugs printed on a nice weight cotton and will do well in all sorts of places.

I was looking forward to getting these as I am making flowers right now and I thought I would mass geraniums in them.  I still might but I am now considering other possibilities such as tall English lavender (the kit is in UK) or a couple of bay or olive topiaries - still to be figured out.

I saved the best, or maybe the most interesting, 'til last.  Their Lapin Sauté (leaping rabbit kits are based around a real restaurant of that name in Quebec which has a garland of terra cotta pots.  S & A have made it their own with a green garland hung with kitchen pots and pans.

This is great for me.  I want a bunch of kitchen stuff just to have in my stash ready for any project so all this will come in really handy and I want to make climbing roses or clematis on a trellis (or two) and I think the leafy swag is going to be perfect.  So as far as I am concerned I have three kits here for $10.  Good stuff.....  Oh, nearly forgot there is a useful piece of wood in there too.

For those of you who like useless information the name of the real restaurant is probably a play on the words of a children's rhyme/game/song.  Obviously they also offer rabbit dishes (sauté de lapin etc) but the name of the restaurant must evoke memories of the playground game of Le Lapin Sauté for some French people?

Le petit lapin or Le Lapin Sauté (The Little Rabbit)
Ronde à choix (Circle Game)
Un petit lapin est au centre de la ronde et les danseurs tournent autour de lui en chantant: (A little rabbit is in the center of the circle and the other children go around him singing:)
Mon petit lapin a bien du chagrin (My little rabbit is very sad)
Il ne saute plus, ne danse plus dans mon jardin (He no longer hops, no longer dances in my garden)
Puis la ronde s’arrête et les danseurs poursuivent la chanson en frappant dans leurs mains, tandis que le petit lapin se met à sauter au centre. (Then the children stop dancing around, and continue singing and clapping their hands and the little rabbit in the middle starts hopping.)
Saute, saute, saute, mon petit lapin (Hop, hop, hop, my little rabbit)
Et va-vite embrasser quelqu’un (And go quickly kiss someone)
Sur cette invitation, le petit lapin choisit un (ou une) des danseurs, l’embrasse et celui-ci le remplace dans le rôle du lapin au centre de la ronde. (At this invitation, the little rabbit chooses one of the other children , kisses him/her and that child takes the role of rabbit in the center.)

Problem with the Comment box????

There has been a problem with the Comment box.  If you couldn't use it I am sorry but I think I have fixed it now.  Please, please feel free to comment here and share with others or, if its not for sharing, by all means email me (  I usually answer either pretty quickly.  Always good to hear from you.

Monday, 20 October 2014

Quarter Scale Friends

Apologies to those of you who are following both my quarter scale blogs as you will have seen this in The Gate House already.  I had a couple of things scheduled here so it has only just made it to 'print'.  So, you can happily skip this one:

 I don't think I have ever directed you to a couple of quarter scale Yahoo Groups that I belong to, which is very remiss of me.  It is a great way to talk to like-minded souls and get a ton of help and inspiration from them and pay-back now and again when you can.  Failing that you can just join them and 'lurk'.  That is not in a yuk way, it just means you can take a look now and then at what is being talked about and still pick up a ton of helpful information.

The first group I joined is Quarter Connection.  If you click on that link it will take you to their home page where it explains the ton of stuff they do.  I have no idea how the handful of folk who organise it can do the stack of things they do for the group - I'll let you find out what's on offer for yourself.

I did do a piece about them in Dolls House and Miniature Scene back in the May issue so, if you have that, you can find out more.

The other group is The Miniature Beehive and is hosted by Bea at Petite Properties and works in a different sort of way.  It still brings a ton of ideas and help and somewhere to chatter if you want to do that.  

I suspect many people, like me, work in isolation and this can sometimes make you wonder if you are doing things right? the easiest way? have you found the best solution to a problem? etcetc.  These groups rescue you from that.

The first is primarily based in the States and the second in the UK but don't choose one over the other for either of those reasons.  I have found both indispensable in different ways.  Thanks to the internet our horizons are becoming meaningless.

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Petworth Miniatures - the finale

click to enlarge

I am not sure about the chandeliers.  It will depend on how they turn out when I have finished with them.  Then it will be a big decision for me to make as to which room demands the large and which the small.  More sleepless nights.  (I am kidding, honestly).

The demi-lunes were to go either side of the connecting kitchen/dining room door with large vases of flowers or ornaments or mirrors - depends what I find at the show!  Again the room may not be large enough to take them.  Fingers crossed.  I also need to buy dining room furniture.
click to enlarge

Finally, this little group is for the study upstairs, I have seen a small desk (just need to find it again!!!)  and I have a bookcase, so if I can get all that in, that room will be complete.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Petworth Miniatures - part deux

click to enlarge

Three wallpapers, but not one of them a wallpaper!  The books' sheet I am hoping will work inside a bookcase with glass doors, otherwise I am going to have to make an awful lot of books.  I may be being very fussy (what me!) but I wish it had a more mixed appearance rather than an overall reddish tone.  There again I suspect this sort of wallpaper probably does look like that in real life whereas, as I said, I want it to do something else.

The dainty floral(ish) stripe will just come in handy for trimming furniture, making boxes, whatever.

The lovely Chinese panels paper was intended for the Salon, but won't really go with the gold furniture.  The paper demands some elements of Chinoiserie and the gold stuff is more Louis Quinze.  It may go in the dining room if I can figure out how to panel a wall and how to use it and what furniture  to buy for it??????
click to enlarge

There are two major fireplaces in Les Roches - Dining Room and Salon - I hope these don't swamp he room.  I have no way of knowing until I get home and try them in situ, so I won't be constructing these over here.  The Dining room will have the mirror and Salon will have the Clock - more gold.

Friday, 17 October 2014

Goodies from Petworth Miniatures - episode one

Generally my spending sprees get shown in The Gate House blog; the logic being that it is the primary current build.  This lot is being shared here as they are (almost all) for Les Roches.

You thought I was excited at finding the storage box (over in Gate House again) but you should have seen me when this arrived from Petworth Miniatures.  It is absolutely the one I have been waiting for.  As there are quite a lot of things, I thought I might split the Post into three parts so its not too much to read in one go.

click to enlarge

Gayle's fabrics are decidedly some of the best for scale and nice subtle colours.  

The one in the centre I already have and like so I just wanted some more.  

The top two will make great upholstery fabric without too much bulk.  

Over on the left is a lovely woven black and gold dot material.  It is the only one that I know what I am using it for.  I want gold furniture in the salon with black and gold fabric.  As these rooms are so small and will only have a couple of pieces of furniture in them, they should be able to take OTT items without it overwhelming the viewer.  I am struggling with the walls - suggestions welcome.

The remaining three pieces of cotton fabric will most likely find a place in The Gate House.

click to enlarge

This will be my gold 
furniture (with gold and black fabric) for the salon.

Thursday, 16 October 2014


It is probably kinder to myself to show my efforts before the 'reference' pictures of the real things.

These geraniums are made from a kit sold by D & K Enterprises.  I have already said what a great vendor they are.  This kit contains enough geraniums to last a lifetime unless you are creating a garden centre.  Better still, for me, it has instructions.

I tried to do exactly as I was told and here is number one geranium.  Already I am coming to the conclusion that flowers at this scale rely on the overall shape and the leaf shape to get an impression of the variety.  A lot of them will comprise of bunches of petals one way or another.

I was happy enough with that one to make another four and stagger the heights to get a feel for how they will look in a group.  I think they will do fine.

Glue disappears when dry

When you look at the 'inspiration' picture below you can see how the leaves make the plant look right.  I can see how my pretend geraniums above can look something like the real ones below - they need a mass of leaves added above the pot with these popping out here and there and they will be fine.  In terms of scale these are a very large variety of geranium which is what I wanted as I want a couple of large terracotta pots filled with them.  

I am happy to settle for plain, simple pots of geraniums.  

I also noticed doing this that the blooms actually don't have leaves that close to the flower so I will make some with leaves lower down and some with no leaves and arrange them according to their height in the pot.

Ideally I'd love to figure out how to add trailing lobelia for this sort of look:

I know it is a painting but it shows trailing blue flowers that could be lobelia and was the only one I came across.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Goodies from the Betterleys

I know I am on a non-stop spending spree right now but I am using funds I already have in a dollar account from stuff I sold here last year and monies from some 1/12th stuff I sold before leaving the UK.  So when you hear me pleading poverty and then see this lot day after day, that's why.

We may also be giving up our second (winter) home here this season so I am garnering as much as I can of the US stuff in case that happens.

So ... my Betterley package arrived...... don't forget, you can click on the photo to enlarge if you want a better look....  or a betterley look....

To go at the foot of the bed in Les Roches if there is enough room.

Looks like a Les Roches piece but may end up here in the Gate House????

You've seen these before.  This is just a restock of useful stuff.

I thought I was buying a little plastic machine; this is a kit.  That should be fun - no really - that should be fun.

Useful 'grasscloth' paper for baskets and boxes

A really nice creamy/faded toile for Les Roches bedroom

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Americana - Triple Thick Glaze

This post is to show how the triple glaze worked out but, before that, I must start with an admonition - seriously - to any newbie following this blog this is the biggest tip I can give you.....  Try to spend some of your mini spends on tools for the job.  I have a pretty measly hobby pocket and at the beginning (three years ago) I tried my best to make do with anything I already had around the house when it came to tools as I begrudged every penny not being spent on something lovely.  Here's a clue as to why you need the basics:

My kit is in the UK and no way do I want to duplicate stuff by buying it again over here.  I used a small sharp fruit knife to cut the tabs holding the pieces in their frame; this is the result.  Luckily it is easily cured with sand paper but it does add another process and it  risks snapping the pieces.  You need a decent knife......  and small sharp scissors.  I cut out the paper tile frame with curve-bladed nail scissors - need I say any more.......

I have a list of essential tools at the top of the blog you might want to check out.

On to the glaze.....

Being impatient I hate waiting for things dry.  This is even worse when something needs two or three coats to get the finish you want: tiles for example.  I wondered if this triple glaze was the answer.  It claims to do what it says - that is - give you the equivalent of three coats of a gloss finish.  I have used acrylic gloss and clear nail polish over the years and they each do the job but, generally, they need more than one coat.


It is pretty easy to get; just Google it for the nearest place to you.  Mine came from Jo-Ann' but I had a poor shopping experience with them, hence my not recommending my source.

from the kit

This is the printed paper from the kit.

one coat

This is one coat of the glaze drying.  It didn't seem to make the ink run though you could matte spray coat it first with a fixative if you were concerned.  It smells a little like nail polish but washed out of the brush with water so I assume it is acrylic and/or water soluble.  There are no brush cleaning instructions.  It took about ten minutes for me to be able to handle it OK - I imagine longer would be better - as I said, I am not patient.


It gave a good glaze, pretty clear and with a little profile so it does look quite like tiles.  As with all these things it would work really well at 1/12th but it is acceptable if you really can't bear to be doing three coats to get here.  The imperfections around the edge of the glass (it is actual mirror glass) are nothing to do with me.  I presume it comes from cutting mirror pieces that small (?).  It adds to the 'rustic' charm.  This mirror will be in Lucien and Matilde's apartment - bought on holiday in Spain.

The kit is a Petworth Miniatures one:  Tiled Mirror Kit  1/4 scale  Q830  $5

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Attacking the rose

click photo to enlarge

If you also read The Gatehouse you will have seen this box before I began filling it.  Great box with twenty-four tiny pots with screw-top lids - perfect for all those leaves and petals.  I peeled off the label from the little packets and cut out the reference number for the particular 'specimen' and stuck it to the bottom of the pot in case I want to order more any time from D and K Enterprises.

and the table was bare

Sadly all my tools/kit are in the UK so I don't have tweezers or stylus or anything particularly useful so this should be fun.....

That part was written before I actually attacked the rose!  Right now, post rose, I am controlling a lot of tears, foot-stamping and general frustration.

Here's how it went....

five (yes there are!) sepals

the three leaf arrangement that roses have

finished object not too shabby for first attempt

what a shame it is as big as his head!!!!!

do you think six of these stuffed in a vase would do???

As you can see - failure all round.  The finished rose would work OK in 1/12th and I haven't a clue how to make a 48th.  Any help would be very welcome.

Footnote the next day:

Nil desperandum....  using the head of my husband (still attached) I decided peonies were about that size so, with a bit of judicious scrunching and five more flowers added plus pointy leaves, my 'rose' might live to see another day.

huge peonies

Friday, 10 October 2014


As you saw from my petal purchase I want to have a go at making a couple of vases of flowers and some indoor potted plants and a couple of things for outside, so I thought I would start with half a dozen roses, but I think I am approaching quarter scale flowers the wrong way.  If I was making 1/12th this is what I would do - and is what I have done so far for this attempt but, as I said, I can't see it working in this scale.

In twelfths I just measure the life-size thing, work out what it will be at 1/12th and crack on replicating it the best I can.  Here's the resulting exercise for a rose from life to 1/48th.

photo so I know how they look in a vase

photo of a bud

photo of a bloom

photo of a whole stem to measure

As you can see, in the diagram below, the converted measurements are nightmarishly small.  I don't reckon I can work below 1/16th inch so I am OK with compromising the accuracy a little.  Even then, how realistic is it to construct a rose at this level?  I am about to find out - watch this space.

click on photo to enlarge

Saturday, 4 October 2014

Vendors - D & K Enterprises and Micro-Mark

English country garden in France????

My first buy from D and K Enterprises and I can't sing their praises enough.  I was a right faffing about customer and they were patient, helpful and prompt - what more could you ask for.  Here is the result - masses of petals and leaves and a few stems with the wild hope of my being able to produce a teeny bit of landscaping (not planning on using all this in one go) around the house and a vase or two of flowers.

guess which are my four

The other is from Micro-Mark which is somewhere I have shopped before and I can't recommend them highly enough either.  On this occasion I wanted a special offer they had on but it was a couple of days too early for posting it to me here - no problem - the order was accepted, charged at the discount prices and then sat on for a few days.

I bought some other stuff from Micro-Mark too but that was for The Gate House .  Click if you want to take a look at that; but these little people were for Les Roches.  Meet:

First from left:  Lucien - half of the young 'caretaker' couple
Third from left:  Beatrice - the English wife
Fourth from left:  Anthony - the English husband
Fifth from left:  Matilde - the other half of the French couple

It is a whole other world in my head ...... spooky music.....

If you don't find quarter scale woman too disturbing......

It might be worth a mention - I heard from two different people that they don't know when I write in one place or the other and are forever playing catch up.  If you want to know when I do a new post for any blog you can just sign up to be notified by email (right hand column).  No-one sees your email address (including me) it is just an automatic link to the blog so that when something changes it emails you to say so.  You don't get stuck on some advertiser's list and, when you get fed up, every email has an unsubscribe click place on it so you can leave when you like.