Saturday, 4 November 2017

Leone gets a FACELIFT

Welcome Back!
Ben tornati!

In my last post, I stated that I would be starting on 
Villa Leone's kitchen.
and I have been.

It took me a week 
just to empty the entire house of its contents before I actually began. 
there WAS a lot of junk and stuff inside the house, 
but what made me drag my feet 
was because I was reluctant to start on
"the kitchen". 
I was uninspired and the room itself, 
was uninspiring.

Let me preface this post by saying,
 that I'd NEVER  been happy with the designated kitchen space because of the ugly sight-line 
leading from 
the Morning Room 
through the stone arched doorway. 
What you saw was a dark flat window, 
on a useless wall. 
I say "useless" 
because nothing could be placed against the wall 
 under the window,
unless it was moved far back into the corner.  

Added to this gloomy aspect was 
 the darkness of the grilled window alongside the general darkness of the front entry.
mama mia
What was I thinking???
 I liked the wallpaper well enough 
even if
I wasn't thrilled with it, 
and although
I'd considered papering over it, 
deep down I knew that wouldn't really solve anything 
because the problem was still
That Annoying FLAT Window

So with the window staring me in the face, 
I thought I'd tackle that very thing which
I disliked the most

I've always wanted a window ledge,
and so why not try and make one?

 So this is where

To make the inside non-opening window 
look more important, 
and to add some interest to a boring outside wall,
on the 
 the exterior of the Villa, and then bumped it out 
 a Half Inch
I framed in around the inside perimeters of the window opening, then
 around the outside of the frame of the face panel
using lengths of thick balsa wood. 

Then the face panel was re-glued over the exterior opening so that it stood proud from the surface of the  exterior wall. 
 After it the glue had dried, 
the joins and seams were sealed, 
 with some wall putty and paint.

It is now securely re-affixed into place.

I'm sorry that I didn't take any pictures of the process, 
but this is how the front face panel looks now that it is 
 almost finished.
The front looks the same head on
but the profile is better.

This looks far more interesting on the outside 
 it's providing me with an inside window ledge;
Hip Hip Hooray! 

The window and the window ledge 
are still unfinished,
it was right after I had re-adjusted the window, 
that everything else about this room 
began changing -


I decided to switch the kitchen door from the left side of the wall to the Right

This new door placement was good on several counts:
1)  It would give me a straight view into the Main Entry from the patio
2) The foot traffic from the garden did not have to pass through the kitchen to get to the rest of the house
3) The kitchen itself would be self contained 
and would look more 
"Old World".
  This was the set-up I decided upon for 
the kitchen interior. 
  I felt happier with this particular arrangement.


 after I'd examined the photo above, 
the thought came to mind that perhaps I should differentiate 
the floor of the corridor 
from that of the kitchen: 

 So I laid down a scrap piece
of tile paper to see how the two floors looked together, 

and I decided I'd go for it

I'll be honest,
I had to do
 then re-do the tile floor  

The first time I laid the paper down
It was just a fraction off but it.  
I was all out of the original scrapbook tile paper,
I had to use a photocopy of it 
for the second attempt. 
The photocopy tile was SuperWHITE  with 
a wishy- washy Black.  
So then I had to try and match the tile color with those in the Main Entry... 
Well, it is what it is
which is not great, 
so don't look too close,

The tiles look better from a distance
and the view from the staircase window 
Is Much More Interesting
now that there is actually 
Worth Seeing

(rather dark)
side by side shot of
The Morning Room and Main Entry on the left,
 with the passage and small kitchen on the right.
Not sure what to cover the kitchen walls with yet..

please keep in mind that
everything may ( and probably will) change again tomorrow


Veggie Basket
was made by Janine
back in the 90's
FINALLY, it will get Pride of Place!

For the tiles behind the stove,
I am thinking to use a photocopy of a
French Rug.
The Baroque pattern and pretty colors are just what I am looking for.
I'm still not certain about if I should have a stove hood or not.
I have an inspiration picture of one which I might try
just so that I can see what it will look like with everything else before I finalize my decision.

The Elizabeth Causeret covered casserole was a gift from Linda when she and Janine were at the
the Roma Tomatoes 

are plastic berries from a
Christmas Wreath

Morrel Mushrooms
were made by Irina Timoshkevich 
Irina Miniatures

 TheBlackPainted wooden box
 will eventually become 
the fridge and the wine jug on top was a gift which Fats
made me for my birthday last year.  
The fab pottery pieces are more gifts from both Linda Park and
from Fatima
This will give you the general feeling of how the kitchen is developing.
After I build the permanent walls and install the arch,
I shall be adding, cupboards and shelves and perhaps, overhead beams as well.

I'll need some additional counter space on either side of the Red Range, 

of course,
More Herbs 
for the window sill.

I am using this large"iron" urn as a temporary sink
although, the longer I look at it, 

the more I kinda like it.
May have to rethink
The Sink
Next to the sink,
is my new chopping block by
Weston Miniatures
Thanks Matthew! 

                   Erzebet of Hungarian Miniatures 
                        made the Parmesan cheese and the grater.
                        Jar of Tomato preserves by
                               Irina Timoshkevich
                                                    Irina miniatures

Additional Items displayed on the chopping block include:
 pepper grinder, bottle of Chianti, bowl of eggs, the garlic and the whisk made by me.

Janine bought me
the Elizabeth Causeret country style dish
also from the 2017 SIMP show;
I tell you,
I have some of the BEST-EST Best Friends!
The onion and garlic braids were also made by Fats!
The above photo lets you see the temporary set up in the kitchen and how it relates to the Morning Room.
It will all change again,

 when the walls are papered, the shelves go up 
and the light fixture are put in place.

In conclusion:
It was FUN to be able to play with some of these kitchen accessories again, 

especially after all of 
the re-thinking and re-construction.

And even though I'm not finished yet,
I got a good bit done this past week
even if most of it consisted of
 Painting... Painting... and more Painting

miles left to go
but I feel I'm actually making some progress
 to me -
It's looks like someone actually lives here!

Thank you so much for coming to visit 

I'll see you to your gondola


until we meet again



Friday, 13 October 2017

LOTS and LOTS- an Update on Villa Leone

I KNOW that it has been nearly 3 months since my last post, so 
just in case you were wondering where I've been all this time, and what's been happening with Villa Leone I shall answer you in 3words: LOTS and LOTS! 

I've actually been working steadily on the villa since the beginning of summer, the exception being the entire month of September which was for preparation as a vendor in the 2017
which was held Sunday October 1st and which was an 
All Around Success! 

A HUGE SHOUT OUT and CONGRATULATIONS to my dear friend FATIMA whose dollhouse "VITORIA" was voted 
♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥  BEST IN SHOW!  ♥♡♥♡♥♡♥♡♥

Fatima had been working on her GARFIELD Christmas House for over 11 years, and in the course of building it, she made some UNIQUE Alterations to the kit, which has set it apart from other Greenleaf Garfield builds not to mention that it was Packed from the top to the bottom, inside and out with the all the anticipation, excitement, comforts and joy of 
A Night Before Christmas
So BRAVO to my very Dear and Innovative friend, Fats :D

And also at this year's Show, there were a variety of Marvelous and Very Creative Displays by many members of  M.C.B.C, as well as hosting plenty of Vendors, some old and some new; so there was a good mix with not only lots to see but also lots to buy- which means, that a good time was had and shared by all! :D
                         ✰ ♥✰♥ ✰♥✰  ✰♥✰ ♥✰♥✰

                        And now about theVilla:

    My first purchase at The West Coast Miniature Show was a white cat from the personal collection of an M.C.B.C. miniaturist named John. 
John was a first time vendor at The Show as well as a new member of the Miniature Club of B.C.  
This white cat of his which I "adopted",  is painted metal and it is heavy.  I couldn't resist its lazy sprawl which I knew would work well, draped over the edge of the console table in the entry hall of Villa Leone. 

I have shown you this entry hall many times already, and  although I promised a few posts ago, that there would be "no more stairs and/or the entry"-
well, I lied.
 There will be a just a few more photos a little further along in this blog. 


In the pictures above and below I'm showing the first and second floors of Villa Leone as it was last June
My long range plans are to turn the upper right side of the 2nd floor, into a library/ music room.  
The left side of the second floor will be a powder room with a sink and toilet. 
A second flight of stairs will lead up to the 3rd floor bedroom, and 3 piece en-suite. 
On the main floor right, will be the kitchen leading out to a patio and an enclosed garden, such as they have in Venice. 

My greatest concern regarding the house, is the distribution of electric light as well as trying to find a believable balance between the OLD and the New.
I want the house to have an "ancient history" yet I also wish it to look inhabited; 
with all the the 
mod cons of today, 
whilst still giving a respectful nod to the villa's past.

 When I took the photos shown above, 
nothing was glued in, since I kept changing my mind all the time. 
I had to work up my nerve to actually commit to gluing things in.  
I began with the tile floor in the main entry, 
after that, I glued the staircase into position. 

Of course there were gaps to be filled in between the staircase and the outer wall, which meant squeezing more putty into tight spaces, 
then more sanding and more painting so it would match the rest. 

Matching the different paint finishes,
 proved to be the biggest challenge in 
 getting them to look 'right'. 

Once the staircase was finished, I aged the walls of the upper hall and then I needed to install 
a handrail. 

For the handrail, I remembered a length of steel 
scrap metal which I'd found during a morning walk with my dog.
I LOVED its faded blue painted patina 
but let me tell you, 
it took all my strength to cut
 and then to bend and shape the steel around the corner and down the length of the staircase. 
Nevertheless, I eventually I got it done, 
it's not done perfectly,
 but it's done. 

an Oct.18th p.s.

In reviewing the photos once again, I can see a couple of significant errors with the handrail which are now bugging me,  
 I am going to leave the handrail alone because attempting to correct it at this stage will spell nothing but a series of
Bigger Problems 
for something which will become less and less visible as the rest of the walls go up.
and hopefully by then I will have forgotten 
all about my mistakes.
well maybe not, but it IS
  what it is, anyway!

Hanging Pictures

Earlier this year, I had received a package of gold frames sent from 
Jean-Claude: Maison Francaise 1/12
for a giveaway which I had won on his blog. 

I decided to use a couple of the frames in the upper hall, to display some of the 'ancestors' of 
Villa Leone. 
I also installed a HUGE framed religious painting, which I hung over the staircase window. 


With the handrail installed and the pictures hung on the wall, the main entry was finally ready to be enclosed.   
Yet I didn't do anything more on the Villa
until about the middle of July. 

The Morning Room
and the fireplace wall

I had previously changed the color of the fireplace from dark brown to blue.  Over time, I darkened the blue and added gold highlights to it to make it look a bit more interesting.
After I was satisfied with it, I was ready to secure the wall in place.
Before I did that, I needed to add the wall sconces which had been salvaged from another dollhouse.   
 As I carefully threaded the delicate wires through the walls, one of them snapped off, right at the base. 

This set back prevented me from installing the fireplace wall until I could decide on 2 new replacement lights.  

              In the meantime I'd built a couple of
                                    Chair Kits

I ordered these chair kits from
They were very easy to assemble, although I opted to eliminate the arms and modify them a little.

 I plugged the holes with putty

I added some gold paper strips to the front edge of the seat, to seal the seam between the seat base and the frame for the seat cushion. 
 I also glued on 3-D nail decals to sections of the chair frame.

The gold paper was the right width for wrapping around the front base of the chairs to hide the seam.

The chairs were then painted with my liquid stone mix, which helped to bulk them up a bit.  Then I sanded and stained them with layers of colors to tie the wood in with the frame of the sofa.

I upholstered the chairs and the sofa with silk from a men's tie which I'd bought at a thrift store.  
The subtle pattern in the silk is of entwining flowers and leaves.  The colors are shades of mouse brown, dull gold, burnt orange with a touch of green. 
I'm usually not a matchy-matchy person, but with the chairs and sofa all finished the same, it made the room appear more unified. 

I made new cushions for the sofa from a print of an orange toned persian rug.
The doily (pictured below on the back of the sofa) is from 
Jean Day Miniatures

The lute began life as a flat-backed fridge magnet and was a gift from  Fatima.  
I formed a rounded "lute-ish" back for it right over top of the magnet, using fimo and then I cooked it in place with a heat gun. I used a wood furniture Touch Up felt pen over both the fimo and the sides of the lute to blend the two together, then gave it a spray of acrylic sealer to set it.  I also installed the fretwork insert from a section of a sandalwood fan

The insert was so thin and delicate that I had to glue it into position first and then carefully level it flush using an emery board, trying not to  scratch the lute's lacquered surface.  
The round table is a HoM kit, which I had assembled years ago and had already painted gold and royal blue.  
I had also decoupaged a royal blue zodiac print onto the surface of the tabletop, 
which I no longer liked. 
The only way I could remove it, was to sand it off with a coarse grit sandpaper.
As I began sanding, and as the layers of paper were being removed, the top of the table began to look rather interesting, so I opted to leave some of the original print in place. 

To remove the fuzziness from the remaining paper,
 I rubbed and buffed white wax onto the surface of the table top.
Then I used brown shoe polish to age and tone down the whiteness of the waxed paper which I buffed to a soft sheen.

I went over the brown shoe polish with a light application of gold wax applied very sparingly.

And this is the end result
It may not look like much in the photo but I find the effect interesting and unusual.
It reminds me of shards of ancient pottery or a section of   a crumbling wall mural.

New on the table top
are  Fabulous pots of orange striped tulips
  by a Canadian artisan
Lin Morrison Miniatures
( no website yet
which I also purchased at the West Coast Show
Lin sell well-priced mini flower kits, an makes her own mini pottery too.
just recently she has started making 
Orchid plants 
which I Absolutely LOVE! 


I think that I made the light fixtures for both the main entry and the Morning Room sometime during the month of JULY

They were constructed from ethnic earrings from the thrift store, beads and plastic novelty baby shower rattles from the dollar store.

The main entry flush mounted light fixture is in place on the painted and peeling plaster ceiling.
After the fixture was in place, I suddenly decided to frost the "glass",
so I went over it with 
Revlon Matte Top Coat.

The hanging fixture for the Morning Room was made much the same way as the first one, using a portion of heavy costume jewelry earring parts, and clear glass bugle beads. 

And although I like this fixture, I won't call it finished yet since I can see that I need to make more crystal drops for it.  Meanwhile, it does cast a lovely golden glow over the entire room.

The new candle sconces, which I purchased on- line from Victoria MiniLand 
were finally installed 
and then the fireplace wall could be permanently glued in! 
HIP HIP Hooray!!!

I made the half- shades for the wall lights modeled after some which I saw in a book of 
Italian Interiors

Dressing the fireplace mantle

After much changing and re-arranging, 

this is the way the mantle looks today.

I like it because it has lots of character
it looks full.  

The sweet little Blue and white platter depicting an
Italian country side came from
A Lavender Dilly

 The Rose patterned plate  shown below, 

is another lovely piece
by Carrie Lavender.

I set a table for a summer afternoon tea featuring a 
decadent chocolate layer cake topped with strawberries 
and  2 Amazingly flaky croissants 
both by 
Valentina of
Pink Cute Sugar!

 Love Love Love! 

So I spent most of the month of August working on the Villa.  
In September I was getting ready for 
The West Coast Miniature Show.  
There was so much to do and to prepare for, that the month sped by and before I knew it,   
it was  
 October and Show Time
The following Sunday after The Show was over,
 it was our 
Canadian Thanksgiving 
which involved a week of cleaning, shopping, preparing, cooking, entertaining, eating and then more cleaning.
I was very busy, not to mention

 But now I am back and working again on the Villa, 
and after fooling around with it some more and making corrections and adjustments 
 this is what is left to do in the :
Morning Room
1)the interior window frames , 2)hang the lace curtains
3) installing the valance over the curtains
4)  add the window "glass"  
5) installing the iron grills to the exterior windows  
6) add more crystal drops to the chandelier
In the front entry I need to :
7) install the missing wood trim on the stairs in the main entry, 8) paint it, 
9) make new shades for the hall lamps.

I thought about waiting until all of the above items were crossed off my list before I wrote another post,
with half of the month of October already gone, 
and people asking me for an Up-date on Villa Leone,
 I figured that if I waited any longer, this post would stretch to 
Infinity and Beyond
as you can see
 it is already
V E R Y- L O N G

 but no worries
 I'm nearly done.

The rooms continues to evolve, even as I write this. 
I have recently added 
Linda Park's 
Red and Gold embroidered  "V L" cushion to one of the side chairs, along with a dainty china tea set by 
Jean E Yingling
it's always those little extras which I love to add
 and which seem to change everything

I will conclude this post by saying that I would NEVER have thought that any of these rooms I would look as they currently do. 
Each space has become a pleasant surprise to me as the Leone family 
begin to make more of their presence felt and 
their wants and wishes known. 

hopefully during the process
it looks a bit 
to you 
but more important to me
that none of it looks
too new! 

And now that the sun is setting on 
The Morning Room
  it's time to say goodbye.

I hope you have enjoyed this catch up post 
and although I know that it was 
to take in 
all at one time, 
I did warn you 
right from the start.
My next post should be all about 
The Kitchen

 until then
I wish you all...

buona notte