Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Monday, April 28, 2008
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Remember the pretty photo of my closet that I showed you a couple of days ago? This is what it looks like right now. The room gets like this when I work on anything and finish without stopping.
It will, no doubt take me as long to straighten it out as it does to finish the project. That is the catch with miniatures. Those tiny things make one BIG mess!
I changed the configuration of the closet thinking that it would work better this way. NOT!!!
I am thinking of taking a month off and doing nothing but straightening.......That, however, wouldn't be very enjoyable for either me or you.
Note the monkey hanging from the chain of the ceiling fan. He jumped up there to stay clear of me running around the room in circles tearing my hair out. He is laughing at me.....I can clearly hear him. It's OK. I'll be fine soon or they will come and take me away in a little white coat with long, long sleeves that tie in the back.......
This is my main desk. I don't work on this one obviously. Everything gets carefully placed on here. See the carefully overturned container of toothpicks and the carefully placed skeleton that is having his broken leg repaired? He usually sits in the chair over by the pencil/brush container at the back. He turns the chair around and stares out the window a lot. He can't stand the mess either. There is a cat bed for Mookie at the left. He can get to it by climbing over the mess. So far I haven't started putting stuff in it........Notice I said "So far".
Last we see my actual work table/space. No. The stack of drawers doesn't belong there. I am in the midst of labeling and filling. The next label to make is Skeletons. Yup. I have a drawer of dead bodies. How many people can say that?
Despite the looks of the place, I can get in to clean. That's my knee at the bottom of the photo. I am making progress! I am actually sitting in the chair at this point. Hooray for me!
OK. Everybody out!!! I need to get back to business. The tour is over! See you tomorrow if I can find my way out and back to the computer. Wish me luck!
Saturday, April 26, 2008
Anyway, this is the next step up in basket weaving. It is called twining. You are working with a double thread. I know that sounds complicated, but once you get the hang of it, it is easier than regular weaving.
Friday, April 25, 2008
This is an afghan that I made from silk sewing thread on a #14 crochet hook. I started with the standard granny afghan pattern and simply worked out from the center. It took me forever to do. Silk is more slippery than the mercerized cotton that I usually use.
This is inside the sewing gift bag that I showed you before. I don't think that I had it in there when I took the other photo.
BTW, the sewing machine in here was pilfered from a Chrysenbon treadle kit. Now I have to figure out what to use the rest for. Don't say table. Everybody uses the legs for tables in real life and I feel sad when I see one. I still have my grandmother's wedding present from 1903. It was a Minnesota brand treadle machine. I learned to sew on it and it still works.
Here's another one that is done in mercerized cotton sewing thread. I buy it by the bag at garage sales. It seems like everyone is into polyester nowadays. Polyester just doesn't look as good if you try to crochet with it. It is too stiff.
It takes a spool to a spool and a half do one. I use baby afghan patterns that I find on the net. They seem to turn out perfectly for miniatures.
Here you see Tabby again. This was her home before she moved into the Colonial Kitchen. I think that she likes the food better there. Here, all she got was cookies.
The Parson's Table was made from a kit that a friend brought back from NAME National one year. It was made of mat board and mosaic tile patterned paper. Very simple to do but very effective when finished. A black permanent marker finished the edges.
The rug on the floor is one that I have done in three different colorways from an old Dover book. There is another one in Spike's crypt in red and blue. The answer to your next question.....Yes, I really like this pattern. Actually I have made it four times. Once I made it for a mini friend for Christmas.
Are you distracted enough now so that I can slip away unnoticed? I need to wander some more. Maybe I will accidentally stumble over something miniature that suits my fancy.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
The baby is down for a nap. All is pretty quiet. She is very happy with the new kitchen. She has the latest in Jim Ison fireplace tools.
When she turns around she is going to be sorry that she left the sausage and cheese on the cupboard after fixing herself some lunch. The cat is at it again!
This side is essentially the same as it was yesterday except for Tabby. Did everyone name their cats that until the 20th century?
I do still want to hang some herbs on the fireplace shelf or the pegs on the red shelf. I was going to dry some thyme from the back yard however, I am confined to the house today and tomorrow. The mad painters are at work on the outside of the house. One of my cats is sticking close to me at all times and the other one is cringing under the bed.
Now all I have to do is clean up after myself once again.....How does such a small room make such a big mess?
What's next on the list? Can you wait while I dig around and find the list? No? OK I will see you tomorrow. Maybe by then I will have decided.
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Monday, April 21, 2008
There was a discussion on one of the forums about making bricks with foam core. It seemed to me that it would be rather fragile. I kept rolling the idea around in the back of my head. Then I had one of those "Aha!" moments. I needed something that had texture and something that was tough enough to stand up to the rough treatment that I give bricks with washes and dry brushing. CORK!!!
I went straight to my workroom this morning and dug out a roll of adhesive backed cork shelf liner and got to work.
First I washed the inside of the fireplace with Ceramcoat Hippo Gray. This is my weapon of choice for most mortar. I like it dark.
The back of the shelf liner is the usual Contact paper 1/2" grid. That's a great time saver in the scheme of things. I cut the brick 1/4" by 3/4". That's not the exact size of modern bricks but it is close enough for Colonials. I marked the back of the paper and started cutting. I free handed the cutting. That made them a little more irregular.
When I had enough cut to line the fireplace I started peeling the backing off and sticking the bricks down one at a time. This was the most tedious part.
By the way, if you need to get the back off of this stuff a straight pin helps a lot. You can dig into the backing with the point, flick it and it will lift right off.
I was surprised to see that the cork did actually have the texture of rough brick even without the paint.
After I finished that, I dry brushed on a coat of Ceramcoat Red Tile paint. Then I gave it another wash of the Hippo Gray, following quickly with a wet paper towel to take most of it back off.
This is what it looks like so far. I fitted it into the room.
The kitchens that I am using as a jumping off spot have the fireplace built right on the slate floor like this. I can't decide whether or not to add a brick base......Decisions, decisions, decisions.
I am going to stand back and look at it for the rest of the afternoon. I also plan to start gathering the furniture and accessories that I will use in here.
I also need to stain the door and window frame today.
Anyway, I am pretty happy with the results of the mad scientist experiment.
See you tomorrow.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The bottom half of the photo is the first coat of gesso. It's not a pretty sight. The rest is the lacework. I don't know if you know that is what plasterers call the texture that they put in the finish.
I am doing it with the gesso and a 3/4" stencil brush... You know. The kind that looks kind of like a makeup brush. Round and flat at the end. Only it's very stiff instead of soft. I am pouncing the gesso on the board with it. That makes it rough.
Here's the fireplace standing where it will go when finished.
I am pretty pleased with the plaster so far. I need to wait until I get the brick lining in the fireplace before I install it permanently.
What else can you say about plaster? If I wanted it colored I would either mix paint with it or paint it after with a glaze. I am thinking that this one is going to be plain white tho. Most colonial kitchens were simply whitewashed. Real paint was made by the people. They didn't have a corner Sherwin-Williams to pop into.
Anyway, that's as far as I have gotten today.
Here's a bit of eye candy for you. These are a couple of corsets I made. One is for when the Victorian lady is being very, very good and the other is for when she is very, very bad.
Well, at least they are better than watching paint dry!
Enough of this foolishness!
Back to work!
See you tomorrow.
Friday, April 18, 2008
I built the hearth out of foam core. I won't bother you with photos of the first coat of gesso that I put on the walls and both sides of this. It would be literally like watching paint dry. Just take my word for it.
This first one is a walking dress from 1895. It was copied from an illustration from Harper's Bazaar that year.
I made each dress with accessories from the same illustration.
I added a hand drawn sketch of how the clothes would have been worn to the back of the box.
The hat is straw with silk roses.
The parasol is silk.
The second one is from the 1840s. It's a Promenade Dress(fancy name for another walking dress) from 1840.
The interesting thing about this one is that the collar of the dress is actually made of a scrap of fabric, I believe from a nightgown, from 1840! I bought a box of antique lace and fabric. I was lucky enough to get parts of what was probably a wedding nightgown. It was hand made(before the invention of the sewing machine in 1849) and hand embroidered with the lady's initials and the date. You can see a scan of the embroidery at the bottom, in front of the dress.
This is one of my favorite pieces just because of that scrap of fabric. Someone must have really loved that nightgown to save the pieces for over 150 years.
OK, I have stalled you long enough for today. I am going to go collapse now.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
It's one of those room box kits that Miniatures.com sells. I bought two of them years ago. I am sure that I had plans for both of them.....This is as far as I got. The other one is still in the box.
Incidentally, this is another way of doing a slate floor. It is done with pieces of textured paper that was called "leather paper" when I bought it at an art supply store here in town. That was about 15 years ago. It came in the brown that you see here, an actual slate color and terracotta. I have horded this paper. I can't find it anywhere. It's heavier than cardstock.
I cut a piece of mat board that was the shape of the floor. I painted it slate gray. I took a piece of the paper and cut a piece out of one corner. I stuck this to the mat board with white glue. I kept cutting pieces of the paper in irregular rectangles and oblongs. Each piece was glued down with a "crack" between. By doing it this way, it assured me that they were all going to fit together. Once in a while I had to trim some edges to make up for the cracks. After I got it all glued down, I used some Prismacolor pencils to shade some of the pieces. Then I ran a stylus down all of the cracks to smooth the edges of the paper and round it. I am hoping that someday someone will point me in the right direction to find more of this paper. I have looked all over the net. No luck. The store went out of business right after I bought it. Just my luck!
Inspiration comes from many places. The inspiration for this kitchen comes from a set of cookbooks that I bought around the bicentennial. The illustrations are like a history of American kitchens from the beginning. These two photos are what I am using for ideas. The kitchen will be much smaller but I want to have the same feeling.
I then went to my stash of foam core and started cutting. I am ready to start putting together the fireplace wall.
I just discovered that I am out of gesso. There will be a slight pause while I untie the string on my big toe, put on my shoes and go to town to buy some.
Hopefully I can stay on this track for a couple of days and finish what I started a long time ago. I have pretty much all of the things to finish the kitchen. All I need is gesso.
I managed to get untangled from the string. See you tomorrow.