AWARD

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

The Italian Job or- How I spent my Summer Vacation

Buongiorno Blogland!
I hope that everyone has enjoyed their summer as much as I have.  
And what did I do all summer, you ask? 
nothing... I didn't go anywhere; 

I stayed close to home.
The rest of the Miniteer's however, have been traveling non-stop; even as I speak, they are currently scattered across the globe.
Linda Park was here visiting Canada following a quick jog over to France; she's now back home in Australia.  Janine is in Europe cruising the Dutch canals, and Fatima is... well I'm not exactly sure where Fatima is right now, but wherever she is
 she is Busy! 

(psssst! - she always travels with a mini project tucked in her bag!) 
So here I am at home, holding the fort,
so to speak,
with all the time in the world to work on Villa Leone, 

so what have I accomplished this past summer?
truthfully-
Very little.
Although, come to think of it, I did do a little bit of work on the dollhouse in JUNE.  I repainted the lower  antique white section of the exterior and removed some of the algid "damp" because I didn't want the house to feel too cold and/or smell too musty, thus, I  added another layer of concrete trim around the base as extra protection from any high tides.  Adding that extra trim, visually bulked up the foundation.  The other benefit is that I won't have to construct such a deep canal around this house, 

so less work, less materials, less weight! 
That particular project is still MILES AWAY, but when it does arrive, I'll be ready for it.
Other than that little flurry in June, 

 the house sat neglected for most of the summer, filled with construction debris, as well as all of my good intentions. 
the wider concrete trim around the base

Then around the last week of August, I finally bit the bullet and removed all of the JUNK on all 3 floors, swept the insides and painted all of the interior surfaces with Gesso.  
The doors and windows are still unfinished, but by painting everything white, I could look at the space with Fresh Eyes and hopefully be inspired as to how to divide the space into rooms.
However, nothing came to me so the house sat neglected for another 7 days.  

Then came the first week of September and I thought back on my wasted summer, and all of the things which I had hoped to have had done by now.  
   


I was so tired of not doing ANYTHING that I felt compelled to do SOMETHING, 
and it had to begin in the hall.
*** 
I had assembled the main floor staircase some time ago, but took most of it apart again because I wanted to make it both wider and taller.  And because I had changed the hall window to a longer one, the stairs had to ascend beneath it just so.  There had to be enough space around the window to install the trim as well as space for the wood trim running parallel with the staircase.  But before I could determine all of that, I needed to tackle hanging the wallpaper on the main floor, stairwell and second floor, first, and to do that I first made templates using white poster board 

( dollar store) and cut out all of the shapes which I was going to need to hang the paper in the most efficient way, since I only had 3 sheets and I couldn't afford to make ANY mistakes. 
I made the paper template and then I cut out a wall section from foamcore board.  After I saw it with the window installed, I changed my mind and switched to using a Heavy Matt Board for the interior lining and glued my wallpaper to that instead. I did this because the Matt Board would give me a few additional mm of floor space in entry.  


The scrapbook/wallpaper called LOVE NEST BLOCK #L2020 and I bought it from the Hobby Lobby while I was visiting in the U.S. last Spring.  It is a watery blue/ green which looks to me to be the same color as in pictures of Venetian canals.  The darker areas are part of the pattern of the paper.  The color is gradient and so portions of it are more intensely blue drifting gradually into a soft brownish-green with a murky brown tone concentrated in the corners and the outside edges.  This meant that I had to cut and paste the papers together so that the colors would stay consistent on each of the hall walls.  I used my templates for all of the piecework and managed to get the wallpaper cut with the least amount of waste.

And THAT my friends, was a FIRST for me! :D

After I had cut the major pieces of wallpaper,for the hall and glued them to the Heavy Card, my MOJO finally came home. Yahoo! :D 
At last had a starting point from which to coordinate the rest of the walls as well as what to use as the floor treatments for the first floor. 

Initially I was going to have a colorful eye-catching cement tile floor  then I found this wrinkled piece of gift wrap which I had filed away 16 years ago.  It looks good in the hall.  I chose a solid burnt red paper to represent a concrete floor in the kitchen, but more about the kitchen in another post.

back to the staircase-
I used a paper template to figure out that bit of wood work which runs up the stairs and protects the wall, and once the interior wallpaper panels are glued in, they'll be outline with finishing trim then painted  to match the staircase.  As you can see, everything is still "loosey goosey" and will remain unattached until I've figured out my lighting and floor plan.
  

My intentions are to use both round wire and the flat tape.  
stairs will have lots of molding, new risers, treads and handrail,
( when I'm able to muster up the courage to do it)

I widened the staircase by adding a layer of foamboard to the inside of the risers.  I know it looks REALLY UGLY right now, however it will all be covered over .... eventually.
Meanwhile I began looking through my stash for a candidate for the hall light.
I'm not crazy about the look of this one because it looks too delicate for the airspace it needs to fill, so it will probably go

 down stairs into the main entry.  

During the last visit I had with Fats, she gave me these two carved pillars as seen in the photo above. 
I love them although I didn't know where I could use them 
and I needed to use them!  
Then when I was testing out the floor paper, I tried them around the front door.  They will most likely stay there, if I can get them to fit properly under the stairs.  
I'm keeping my fingers crossed about that.

Okay, so after I'd decided on the hall floor, I began thinking about the forward adjoining room which is normally designated as the kitchen according to the original kit instructions.
Since I had switched the kitchen to what is usually the living room, I decided to call the smaller room- the dining room.  

But then I got to thinking about possible flood waters and how that would affect the wood furniture.
So, to protect the wood, I raised the level of the dining room by one step, as well as continue the tile up into the room.  Now that I've had a chance to think about it more, my new idea is to run the pattern from side to side to define it from the hall. 
I also opted for a green marble fireplace which had also been lying dormant in my stash.
I found some scrap pink foam insulation pieces to raise the level of the floor and folded the tile paper over it, just to see if it would work.
The walls were propped up so I could get a feel for the room.
to me the space felt tight even with the skinny chairs! 
so.... what if I had less wall, no door and   
 opened up the dining room to the hall?

Earlier, I'd located some plastic cake pillars which I had painted to look like wood.  I'd painted them back in the mid 90's, 
( they were salvaged from a previously dismantled project).  
 I positioned the pillars on boxes to raise them up and placed them on either side of the proposed opening .
Now that's more like it! 
The iron grills, (now transoms above the fireplace) came from a stripped down
 plastic Barbie house which I'd found at the thrift store .  
These grills will encourage boh light and air circulation in the room. 

after all of this, I took a picture to see if it worked. 

 I took this photo from outside the front door using the wallpaper I've chosen as the backdrop in dining room.  The chairs were too white and the profile didn't show up very well in the photo so that's when I brought out 
THE BIG GUNS! 

IS SHE PRETTY OR WHAT!????
I only have this one John Hodgson chair (signed 1997) 

It is both a Pleasure and a Treasure!
AND 
it looked way better for the photos and so I sat it at the table and then I added a lamp I'd made, and then I remembered I had a tiny statuette of Michelangelo's "David" (pilfered from a souvenir snow globe), and then I added a book, then a few more books and before you know it, I had ...



A SCENE! A SCENE!

which includes a kitchen sink! 

I didn't expect this toy plastic sink unit to fit under the window as well as it does, thus my new plan is to give it a complete makeover top to bottom and transform the sink counter into a credenza. 
The chair in the photo above is by another Artisan and signed
Jack Mealy 1987.
This Amazing chair sits lower than the other and the cushion is velour instead of leather but the wood is just as beautiful albeit, the carving is simpler.

I don't have any information about the Artistsan but if you do, then please let me know.

The books on the table are an assortment of those cheap imports consisting of garish, glossy paper covering crude, rectangular wooden blocks.  Mine have been sitting in a bag in a drawer and gathering dust for the past 3 years- which was why I'd decided to finally put them to work; stacking them in several piles across the top of the mahogany table so that the atmosphere would read- "busy".  

The dining table is considered "temporary" that is, unless I'm unable to find or afford the one I want.  Since I got this one for free, I'm not complaing but I did have a trestle table in my mind, something that looks a little bit more Ancient.
Nevertheless, free is a very "good deal", so I may just have to remain content. 

Taking photos sure helps, especially in determining sight lines. 
AND
 Having these pictures as references, will mean that later on I won't have to make the effort to remember what I was thought I was going to do only to forget it all, as soon as I've taken everything apart.  
I was thinking about that when I suddenly remembered that I had been planning to show you the cushions which 
Miniteer, LINDA PARK made for each of us as gift exchanges when she came here to visit.  
Linda needlepointed our initials into custom cushions according to each of our current projects,  and so before this  dining room is  completely dismantle, I'm going to show you 
just SOME
 of the WONDERFUL needlework which I've received from her.

other Linda Park gifts will be saved for later. ;P



Linda stitched our initials into a cushion for each of us.    
BUT WAIT!
THERE'S MORE!

A Monogramed cushion worked in Black and metallic gold threads with the letters
"V" and "L" entwined in an elegant embrace!


I am THRILLED TO PIECES! :D 

And then there is this little Renaissance Beauty! 

And then another version of the "Villa Leone" initials in red and gold!
I am ONE LUCKY BUG!
THANK YOU LINDA!!!  

and THEN 
Just when you think that you have seen it all
Linda presented me with an additional-
 -

SURPRISE!

 O SOLE MIO
THE ITALIAN JOB!


I have been truly blessed

and although
I may not have left the country, I feel as if I have! 

because my head is once again turned towards Venice;
 commanding my own personal gondola (gondolier?) -
 Life's Good! 

and so THAT folks,
is how I
spent my summer vacation!  
ciao for now

elizabeth

81 comments:

  1. eeeeeeeeeeeee! I love the shirt and hat especially! :D What lovely mini scenes you have set up here. Everything looks so real! :D

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  2. Yes, isn't the shirt and the hat AMAZING! I laughed out loud when I opened the package and saw what she had done! Linda is so Incredibly talented as well as GENEROUS! Janine, Fatima and I can't get over the quality of all of the tiny things she makes, so it makes me Very Happy that you appreciate her work too! :D
    And Thank You also for your compliment regarding the dining room scene. It seems a shame that it has to all come down, but it was like taking a vitamin pill for the soul and this should keep me hyped-up for a while,
    until its effect wears off! :D

    elizabeth

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  3. Beautiful work, Elizabeth!
    Mini hugs!

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    1. Thank You Monica! :D
      Currently this is still just a rough sketch, however, this post will act as a map to keep me focused and going in the right direction. :D

      elizabeth

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  4. Everything looks fantastic. Lucky you to have to=hose lovely petit point cushions and THAT chair WOW! That is just gorgeous! Love the hat and the black & white stripe shirt.

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    1. Hi Catherine! I do feel Very Blessed, especially to have such friends as these 3 ladies a.k.a. The MINITEERS. :D
      Linda's special talents are Very Much Appreciated and my wish is that she'll soon be able to get back on her blog so that the rest of the world can also see the Quality of the INCREDIBLE work which she has been steadily producing, since her needlework is only ONE of her Many Great talents!:D

      and the chair is - A Work of Art!

      elizabeth

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  5. wow! very busy summer... obviously much more fun than travelling :-)

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    1. Hi Marion! The plain truth is that, I don't travel well to begin with so it is not a sacrifice for me to dig in and stay home but I DO miss my friends for most of every year, because they LOVE IT, and they travel as often as they can.
      Nevertheless, I consider myself as an Armchair Tourist of the first order, and I explore more places via the internet and thus discover interesting stuff about various cultures, unearthing more information than I'll ever really need. But my friends stay in touch and regularly forward interesting stories about their journeys which keeps me laughing as they each relive their personal experiences.
      My own stay at home research has me roaming narrow canals and Legally peeking inside Venetian windows far more than I ever could've managed to do on foot, so in this way, I did have, as you say - a "Very Busy summer!" ;P

      elizabeth

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  6. Wow, you have been so busy....I just love your pictures!
    All the best
    Vivian

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    1. Thank You Vivian! :D
      I REALLY enjoyed the experience of setting up then taking the photos for the dining room scene because although it is only temporary, it was something I haven't done since last Christmas. :))

      elizabeth

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  7. Wow. So the summer did let you do all this magic... I would need a FEW summers to do HALF of it. Sometimes I had to look closer and still cloooser, if it was not real big measures, if it was really miniature.
    I love, how you write anyway :))
    So happy end-summergreetings, if this was your summer, I want to see harvest :)) Méa

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    1. Hi Mea and Thank You Very Much! :D
      I work in fits and starts so what should have been stretched out and enjoyed, was condensed into a fury of only a few weeks just so that I could catch back up again! And although I am not working within a deadline and I don't feel pressured, it's all too easy to become distracted and lazy-
      which I've found I am Very Very Good at! :D

      elizabeth

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  8. Wonderful post, Elizabeth. I love watching you work things out and seeing the results. The stairs is much better like this and I know you'll make those pillars work. Your two chairs are stunning! I always regretted not getting some of Johns wood finish pieces when they were more readily available, at least it's an excuse to keep "monitoring eBay! I love the table set up, the books and statues add such atmosphere especially in the photos with the picture frames and glimpses into other rooms.
    I'm so please you are back in the mini saddle and can't wait to see more...
    Hugs
    Si

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    1. Hi Siimon! The stairs are still being sketched out but I am inspired by what YOU have done in adding the extra carved textures to your structural surfaces, so I am planning to apply your layering techniques to this staircase before I get it properly and permanently installed in the house. :))
      I have to agree that both chairs ARE stunning and I found them at an estate sale and thought I had struck GOLD when I saw the price tag - SCORE!!! :D
      Many Thanks for your encouragement Si. Everything is still in the toddler stage - call it the "Terrible Twos" but I have great expectations for it as it matures!

      elizabeth

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    2. Ha ha
      I'm not sure I ever break free of the "terrible twos!".
      I can just imagine your face when you found the chairs! I would have been trying to play it cool and calm when I paid for them, and the whole time bubbling with joy at the fact that I had got a bargain and "they" didn't realise it!
      Keep up the great work, I'm really loving this project...
      Si

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    3. It's just as you have described; Bubbling with JOY! Bubbling with JOY! Bubbling with JOY!.......

      e :D

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  9. The scene you've created looks so good, I love the books and the little details like the statue. Looking forward to see more. Greetings

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    1. Greetings Kleine! and Many Thanks for your Many Kind Words!:D
      It was an interesting experience composing the dining room scene because my original intent was to only test the view from the front door, but naturally one thing led into another and before you know it I had an occupied room! :D I LOVE books too and have stacks of them in my room, as well as on shelves so all of this clutter is very familiar to me! :))

      elizabeth

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  10. Elizabeth
    Thank you for the flattery! But you deserve these gifts as you are such an inspiration to us all. I love your interiors already and can't wait to see the progress. It is going to be a wonderful Venitain residence! Keep the MOJO going!
    Hugs, Linda

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    1. HELLO LINDA!!! :D
      I don't know that I "Deserved" anything but I am truly Grateful for EVERYTHING! :D Your skills with the needle are beyond my capabilities and even it I could do it- well lets just say that it would have to remain in hiding for life! hahaha
      Your constant encouragement with regard to Villa Leone has been a GOD Send to me Linda, especially now with the customized cushions and the Gondolier's costume. I still get the giggles whenever I look at it! :))
      A Big Hug to you too, and once again THANK YOU!
      and I'll tell MOJO that you approve!

      elizabeth

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  11. Lo mejor de unas vacaciones es poder hacer tranquilamente aquello con lo que disfrutas. Tu has disfrutado mucho en estas vacaciones- La silla John Hodgson es una maravilla. Los cojines preciosos y la sorpresa encantadora

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    1. YES I agree with you 100% Isabel, and in retrospect I know that I HAVE enjoyed my summer- just the way I wished to! Thank You! :D
      My vacation was Very Relaxing and although the constructing frenzy arrived towards the end of summer, I am feeling Thankful that at least it DID arrive! :D
      The John Hodgson chair is one of my prize possessions however I had never intended to use it in the dining room- that turn of events has actually surprised me
      that- and Linda' Cushions and the Gondolier's uniform, which continues to make me smile! :D

      elizabeth

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  12. Ooooohhhh....Aaahhhh.... Gasp.... Oh my Heavens....!!! Sigh.... WOW!!! I am Always so Blown Away by your progress, Elizabeth!!!! I just LOVE LoVE LOVE what you are doing with this kit! It doesn't matter how long it takes.... you find the key to the puzzle and chip away at the barriers and Layer by Layer you create the Masterpiece that is in Your Dreams! You have the guts to rip out walls, change windows and doors and stairs... and the results are (even only partly realized) stunning in their transformation! And you have the Vision to see the perfect wallpaper in a variegated scrapbook paper! WoW!!! Not to mention the Wonderful way you have of layering the pieces in your "montages" that set the mood you are building towards! Gorgeous antique chairs!!! And I would not throw out that table either... it has lovely 19th century lines.... and adds to that "eclectic" mix of furnishings from many eras! All the other odds and pieces are the icing on the cake.... and there is no-one like you for arranging a vignette that tugs at the dreams and unspoken yearnings of our hearts! Please keep working your magic!!!! No matter how long the "Vacation" it has been a great source of creativity once you opened that door!
    And the cushions from Linda are Divine! Oh, what a lucky girl to have such friends!!! :) Bella! Bella! Bella!!!

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    1. Thank You VERY MUCH Betsy!!!:D
      As a Fellow "Willowcrester" you can fully appreciate the challenges of the staircase as well as the future inaccessibility of that hall corner since you've already just been through it. I was recalling your experiences when I found the COURAGE to begin on mine and it took me all summer to Find it!
      I don't know about you, Betsy but whenever I am starting a new project I feel like I am a novice all over again. Duh- How do I do this and Duh-what do I do next? ...
      So your Compliments and especially your Comments regarding this project are INVALUABLE to me. THANK YOU for your advise regarding the table. After reading your comment about this already established as an "eclectic mix of furnishings" I could easily see your point and so YAY-THE TABLE STAYS!
      There I've said it-
      "So let it be written/ so let it be done!"
      xoxo's

      elizabeth :D

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  13. Wow that is a lot of wonderful stuff to take in :) The way you've photo'd the scenes is magic! And I love the wallpaper. The pillows are fabulous, what a fun post ---

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    1. Thank You Very Much Linda! :D I must admit that assembling the various components to photograph for this dining room scene gave me a LOT of personal satisfaction because it was during the picture taking that my fears about not knowing its direction began to dissipate and my vision for it became clearer with each and every accessory I put into it! I had been waiting all summer for this to happen and then it did - all in one day! :D

      elizabeth

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  14. What a great scene! I love all the books - and the kitchen sink! And everything. It would have taken me all summer to pull a scene like that together (in part because I never would've remembered where I'd left the books in the drawers for 3 years). Lovely gifts too!

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    1. Hahaha! I see that you and I are much the same Penelope when it comes to remembering where you have stored stuff! I don't know about you, but I waste more time than I care to dwell on- often
      searching for hours even Days, for items I've filed away for a "quick" retrieval. :(
      The more organized I think I am; moving things from here to there, the longer it takes to find them again.
      Even so, Thank You for enjoying the book display because now I am Really STOKED about getting started on the Credenza, and eventually making this room a reality! :D

      elizabeth

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    2. Yes, I now have to move my craft room and I fear I will never find anything again. But I am trying to be organized about it. :)

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  15. E fantastico!! Amazing work as usual Elizabeth. I feel like I am right there in Italy (it helps that it is a warm day here!), and love everything about your dining room scene. It feels so lived in. I love the mismatched chairs and the credenza under the window. I feel like the inhabitants are artists busy researching art history.... Maybe just popped out to grab some pane and formaggio and vino for a light lunch. Also, your cushions are divine! Lucky you indeed! Take care. Shannon xxx

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    1. Hi Shannon!!! :D
      I like the fact that the chairs are mismatched too although initially I didn't know if it would work. I LOVE your idea of someone researching Art History that's a Keeper- THANK YOU! :D
      When I finally get around to doing the kitchen I shall Definitely make certain that there is a good supply of pane, and foraggio and vino on display so the inhabitants won't have to go far to savor a lunchtime nibble.
      And I'm So Glad that you're enjoying the cushions- I LOVE that they are one of a kind and that Linda was so GENEROUS in sharing her Amazing Talents with me. I truly AM lucky and Blessed in ALL of my friends! :D

      xxx elizabeth

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  16. Я люблю первую фотографию! Первый взгляд остановился на фотографии, и легкие наполняются воздухом! Это вздох удовлетворения и радости! Это оно! Я люблю игру света! Тени на столе от книг! Мне нравится массивная зеркальная рама и колонны, которые подпирают потолок! Хозяин дома подошел к ремонту дома очень толково! Он изучает литературу по архитектуре колонн!!!
    Какие великолепные подушки с вензелями! Ваши друзья очень талантливые и щедрые!Мне нравятся сине -зеленые обои. Они замечательно смотрятся около двери. Мне кажется, что около лестницы, обои должны идти под углом! Извините, если что не так.
    Я жду ваши новые изыскания в архитектуре!!!
    Татьяна

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    1. Thank YOU so much for your story behind the scenes
      Tatiana! It was coincidental that I just happened to find that architectural sketch in the same drawer as all of the books and I retrieved it primarily to fill up the table. Now that you have pointed out the connection and interest regarding future repairs to the Villa, I am going to have to work that detail into the story too! Shannon has already put the bug in my ear regarding the occupants researching Art History and so your observations add yet another layer to the general story line. :))
      Thank you also for mentioning the play of light and shadows on the books. That was Very Satisfying to me as my objective was to try and duplicate the lighting effects found in painting from the Renaissance.
      This room and the hall have re-charged my battery again and I am Ready to Go! :D

      elizabeth

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  17. Well you've done far more than me over the Summer Elizabeth. Thank you for the inspiration to get off my backside. Lovely gifts from very talented friends and a fabulous scene. Love it! =0)

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    1. Thank You Very Much Pepper! :D It doesn't feel like I've done very much because it it all came in fits and starts with too much lag time in-between. Most of that was caused by not feeling Inspired AT ALL!
      Yet it is funny that by just hunkering down and doing what didn't feel like much, suddenly reignited my MOJO so that I am off and running again,
      an also that Linda's Lovely Gifts and Talents were able to be showcased! :D

      elizabeth

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  18. D'abord parlons des cadeaux : ils sont superbes !
    Avancée de la maison :le travail que tu as fait est très bien.
    Les photos: belles !
    L'été qui continue avec des températures, juste un peu moins élevées, était trop, trop chaud, à vivre les volets clos. Je n'ai pratiquement rien fait ;)
    À bientôt pour la suite.
    Bonne continuation Elizabeth ! Joce

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    1. Hello Joce! :D Thank You for your Compliments regarding Linda's Gifts, the house and the photos! I am once again enjoying them ALL, as opposed to having the gifts in a container, the house a wreck and no progress to photograph! But making this transient scene was like a shot in the arm for me and now I am happy!
      The weather was blisteringly hot here in Western Canada for nearly all of July and into August but things have cooled down again, and it is typical West Coast weather here once again,cloudy and wet with a few Sunny periods.
      I LOVE IT! :D

      elizabeth

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  19. It's always fascinating to read how ideas come to you and how you plan your house. I love your scene, like you creating scenes is something I enjoy doing a lot.
    Your gifts are awesome, the cushions are beautiful, the hat and T-shirt are perfect.
    Geneviève

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    1. Hi Genevieve! :D I often get impatient to get to making the scene and resent having to lay the foundation to support it. I didn't intend to make this one but once I began taking photos with the table and chairs I thought -"Why not?" then one thing led into another which eventually gave me the direction, which up until then, had been so elusive.
      Linda's gifts were the Icing on the Cake and since you are a Needle Artist yourself, I know that you can appreciate the work that each of these Amazing cushions represent, and so Thank You for your comment and your compliments! .
      And you are Right- that Gondolier's uniform IS Perfect! :D

      elizabeth

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  20. Pas besoins de courir le monde pour être dépaysé. Vos réalisations Elizabeth nous font voyager dans votre monde si esthétique. Comme souvent vous concernant, chacune de vos photos me fait penser à un tableau. J'adore le côté désordre et hétéroclite des objets qui semblent être sur place depuis toujours. Je suis un grand fan de votre travail.

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    1. Thank You Jean-Claude for your comment and for your Lovely Compliment! :D Since it I am not a good traveler to begin with it is not something I miss, although I do miss my friends when they are away for great stretches of time.
      Your reference to the photos looking like paintings was Much Appreciated because that was my deliberate intention.
      Some of my research has led to my discovery of artists I've never heard of before like Crespi, Canaletto, and Guardi, and for me it has become a challenge to reference a feeling I get when looking at their work, into my own "still life" miniature scenes. :D

      elizabeth

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  21. Wow! Love that scene! First of all, well done on getting that wallpaper up with as little waste as possible! :-) I love the colour and the ombre effect.
    I also really like your black and white floor. Looks really good!
    Your scene is lovely, you have a real talent at creating a realistic and cozy scene. I draw upon your scenes for inspiration a lot.
    Like you, I spent the summer at home but that doesn't mean we don't have adventures ;-)
    Those chairs are exquisite, as are the cushions. What a lovely gift. You are a very lucky lady.
    Hugs,

    Veronique

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    1. You are so right Veronique in that sometimes "the adventures" can be found at home right under our noses! ;P
      Thank You for your Compliment about the wallpaper in the hall! I am REALLY pleased with the color of it and that it went onto the board without a hitch. It is of course still loose but one the wiring is installed I will be able to glue the Matt Board down so I can proceed with the staircase. As you know there are always things that Have to be done First, prior to the things you Want to do most. :)
      But I couldn't wait to show Linda's cushions and Yes, I AM a Very Lucky Lady! :D

      elizabeth

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  22. Dear Elizabeth,
    I enjoyed your post so much. You are fantastic at everything - but in particular "setting the scene". I cannot wait to watch the interiors fill up ... As only you seem to be able to do!
    We are in the charming village of Grou in Freisland, moored at the edge of the old town where the 12th century church tower is chiming midday.
    Another six weeks and then we will be home. You are inspiring! You always make me feel I want to begin a new project!
    Love the special cushions and gondolier outfit that Linda made for you. I hope that she will be able to post again soon as miniblogworld would enjoy her innovative ideas too.
    Arrivederci for now .
    Janine

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    1. Hi Janine! I read your email and I wanted to let you know that Fats has been in Calgary and is "BUSY"; just as I knew she'd be! :D
      I KNOW that you and Mr. B are enjoying your vacation along the Dutch canals, and I have greatly enjoyed reading about your funny adventures as you move from town to town.
      I had a lot of fun writing this post, More so than usual because it had been such a long time coming. With the Arthur I worked first on the interior and then the exterior, but with this house it has been the reverse so it actually scared me to begin inside.
      But Linda's cushions ARE SPECIAL and my original thought was to do a separate post for them, however once I got started on assembling the scene, then the idea came to showcase them here, and I am Very glad that I did! :D
      That gondolier's uniform is Priceless and I get a chuckle whenever I look at it. It is a story unto itself and I am looking forward to including it as the Villa progresses.
      Have fun in Freisland and I'll see you when you get back! :D

      elizabeth <3

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  23. Buongiorno Donna Elisabetta,
    That sounds like a terrific summer to me. What fantastic pictures of the room. Nobody can set up a room the way you do my friend. It is stunning and I love your choice of furniture. The columns throughout the villa are beautiful and add such great architectural detail. I love the black and white floor for the entrance and the staircase is great...good call making it bigger, it will add to the grandeur of the space. The bigger opening to the dining room also makes the floorplan that much grandeur. What lovely gifts you received from Linda. her embroidery is just amazing. Keep up the incredible work Elizabeth, it is all coming along perfectly.
    Un grande abbraccio,
    Don Giacomo

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    1. Buonasera Don Giacomo! :D
      At last I am having FUN again Giac and finally playing with the interior after having been afraid of it for months, so Thank You my friend for your Very Encouraging Words!
      This is of course a rough sketch of what I think I am going to do but I have to begin somewhere and it feels good to have made a start!
      Linda's thoughtful gifts were so Unexpected but Very much Appreciated and they have Greatly added to the ambience of this dining room scene. You are Right, she IS Amazing! :))
      I am glad that you agree with my decision to make the opening bigger and grander Giac, because I am trying to think outside the box with this Villa. I am not accustomed to opulence nor is it my forte' but I am trying. Fortunately, I have blog friends who DO know how to THINK BIG and who Are there and inspire me to try and do the same! ;P
      Un grande abbraccio Back, Caro Amico!

      donna elizabetta :D

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  24. what a great activity holiday: your house is beautiful, I especially like the colors (turquoise blue is splendid) furniture, what a pretty chair, and accessories!
    a great job

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    1. Hello Claude! :D I know that you understand color very well and so Thank You for your Compliment re: my choice for the hall. I LOVED that paper the moment I saw it and so looking at it against the walls of the Villa makes me feel Very Happy!:D

      elizabeth

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  25. The italian set is adorable, the cushions are really charming and I love the scene ....! The most important thing is that you enjoy what you do and people can easily notice in everything from you.
    I had a lot of fun watching and reading your post.Thanks and big hugs

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    1. ThanK You Very Much Luli!:D At last I am feeling optimistic about working on the interior of this Villa, because all summer long I seemed to be heading down blind alleys in search of inspiration. If I hadn't been here at home with the shell of the house staring me down everyday, I might never have felt motivated. :)
      Thank You for enjoying it and also Thank you for re-connecting. Blogger made some changes a while back and I lost contact with a lot of my previous followers. I have rejoined YOUR blog too and now I will NEVER miss your posts! :D

      elizabeth

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  26. Take heart Elizabeth, some progress is always better than no progress! Loving your chair and the little scenes - I don't think you've done too badly despite it being left for a little while - you must have been thinking about it and that counts too! BTW can you tell me the difference between poster board and matt board? (the foamcore I get).

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    1. Hi Irene! :D
      Thank You and I couldn't agree with you More! Doing Something is far better than doing NOthing and once I dug in, my Mojo came back without me ever having to BEG! hahaha

      There used to be a term that miniaturists would use called "Iceberg-ing" were what you could plainly see, was only a small portion of what you couldn't see, i.e. the thinking, the planning, the research, the gathering etc. The portion underwater so to speak, was Always the greater portion and remained hidden from the viewer. I thought that that was a succinct way of describing our miniature world at large. We think about it more than we do it!
      and Nothing is wasted, even if it IS invisible! :P
      As for the difference between "Poster Board and Matt Board" -poster board is usually shiny on one side and matt on the other and thin and flexible like a cardstock. The Matt board is a Stiff, thick card such as is used for inside a picture frame surrounding the print. It comes in different weights but is more durable than the poster board. I am sure that you are familiar with both, but probably by different names. :))

      elizabeth

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  27. E, I was just thinking. I still have a couple of those cake pillars -- both short and long. I could direct you to them at Becalmed Cottage if you need them.
    J.

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    1. I have some others somewhere too, but I'll let you know if I need any more. I haven't progressed far enough, to know what I'll require. But Thanks! it is always good to have alternate source on stand-by. :D

      e
      p.s. Remember those green marbled tiles that Bruce made? Well, I now have a place to use them too! YIpeeeeee!!!!!!! :D

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  28. Welcome home to your Mojo... good you stayed home during summer so it could find you! ;O) Wow, you've been busy as a bee... what I admire about you is your vision - which nevertheless allows you to play and to come up with something different than the original plan. The big guns were for sure a good decision... and the scrapbook paper a wonderful find. And about Linda's gifts... you're one lucky lady for sure! Now I'm waiting for you to take the next gondola...

    Hugs
    Birgit

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    1. Greetings Birgit! :D
      I was thinking of throwing a "Welcome Home" party for my honored guest but then I didn't want it to go to Mojo's head! ;P
      Thank You for your comment and for your Compliment but as far as having a "vision" with this Villa- I didn't, and I couldn't seem to find one either. This was one of the reasons I procrastinated for so long. I felt STUCK! and it wasn't any fun.
      Hey, did you ever see the movie Amadeus? If you did there is a scene,
      ( my favorite scene), where Salieri has written a Welcome March for Mozart. Mozart has it memorized and begins to play it AS IS, but then he asks "Did you try?; Shouldn't it be a bit more...?" and he begins to improvise on the original score, changing it and and improving it.
      Well that's what I am forcing myself to do with this project Birgit- I'm telling myself to try different things and then when I do - a Vision appear seemingly from out of nowhere!
      And what a Blessing have those" BIG GUNS", AND Linda's Marvelous gifts waiting in the wings because They improved my vision- Enormously! :D

      elizabeth

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  29. The scene looks amazing and so realistic. Linda's gifts are precious.

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    1. Thank YOu Very Much Faby! :D
      I had "more fun than a barrel of monkeys" as I was putting together this scene, and the only downside is that I now have to take it all apart, to do the actual work to make it all a reality.
      Nevertheless, it also felt good to have the opportunity to showcase Linda's Custom Cushions too! :))

      elizabeth

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  30. Hello, Elizabeth - I can definitely relate to your feeling of being tired of doing "nothing" and thus being compelled to do "something!" I'm in much the same position, except that my compulsion hasn't produced any results yet. But you've produced some wonderful results on Villa Leone, even if they were slow in happening. I like the way that you bulked up the foundation; it does add a sense of solidity to the villa and should certainly keep those high tides at bay. You're working wonders with the floor plan of the villa - all your moves seem just right; I think the rooms will look so much more spacious. The staircase is going to be fabulous! I can't wait to see it finished. I LOVE the wallpaper that you found (even if it isn't really wallpaper!) Perfect! That color just seems to bring the sunlit glow from the canal water right into the rooms - I can almost see the light from the water shimmering as it touches the paper. The pillars are a great choice as well; they add an aged elegance that just suits the villa. And of course those lovely chairs, and the books, and the beautiful pillows all work together to create that gorgeous SCENE - you've assembled that in a wonderful way! I know that you are "feeling your way" as you go - but I think that you're assuredly going in the right direction. Your progress on Villa Leone has inspired me to stop doing nothing and get busy doing something! I thoroughly enjoyed reading this post (of course, I enjoy reading all your posts.) Thanks for sharing Villa Leone!
    Marjorie

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    1. Hi Marjorie! :D I Really Appreciate your thoughtful comments and observations regarding Villa Leone- Thank YOU! :D
      I also LOVE the fact that both of us are involved in building Italian Villas; yours inland, and mine in the water, which means that there'll be unique challenges because of our respective climates and locations. Even so it feels like there's a partnership between us.
      When I read about your handling of the stonework, laying slabs and repairing the walls of Villa del Vigneto I can readily relate, and not only That, but when I'm having dry spells, you are making progress and then the cycle goes into reverse. I think that we are meant to keep each other moving forward, don't you? ;P

      It took me a VERY LONG TIME to make the decision to shuffle the main floor rooms around and then even more time to decide what to do with the smaller one, so the floor plan as it is now, was one of those "PEE -or get off the pot!" situations which somehow found its own level, after I'd decided to act, but when I bought the wallpaper last Spring was destined for this house although I didn't know where exactly it would go. It is soooo pretty and I do LOVE it in the hall and your description of the "light from the shimmering water" reflecting on the paper! What a romantic picture it painted in my mind, as I read those words. :)
      As to the rest, it is all just temporary, yet it has re-charged my battery for a while, which was a VERY GOOD THING, because I was beginning to wonder.....????
      And I am Delighted that you ALSO are feeling re-Inspired to begin again Marjorie" because-
      that is what (blog) Friends are for!

      Hoping for a New Post on VILLA DEL VIGNETO - real soon! :D

      elizabeth

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  31. Has aprovechado muy bien las vacaciones y hecho un gran trabajo. Realmente la silla es preciosa y enhorabuena por ese bonito regalo.

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  32. Hi Eloisa! Thank You Very Much for your comment and for your Compliment! I am encouraged once again by making progress Inside the house, even it it all came towards the end of summer rather than throughout!
    It makes me Happy too, that you also like my Beautiful Chair and Linda's Incredible Gifts- Thank You! :D

    elizabeth

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  33. Love the aging and around the base, like water has been lapping at it for years.

    Those pillows are just gorgeous and your dining room set up looks wonderful. People who use their dining room as a library? Reminds me of my house...dining room never used for dining.

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    1. Hi Sheila! :D
      Thank you for your comment and your Compliment about the concrete base. It took many layers of fussing and fiddling with it to get it to that stage, but now I think I can leave it be.

      Linda's pillows are little gems and they add sooooo much to the general ambiance of this setting, and I'm looking forward to including them permanently when the time comes. :))

      and the Dining room / Library was something I decided on the spur of the moment because I knew that I just didn't have enough space in this house to accommodate both rooms individually.
      I used to live in a bigger house with 2 dining rooms and only One was used and that was only when we had company. The rest of the time we ate in the living room, however, I've come to realize that european cultures place a greater emphasis on sitting down to eat a meal, so I have had to keep that fact in mind as well. Learning new things about the Italian culture as well as their history has proved to be a great Adventure- as if I am discovering a new world

      - I feel like Columbus! :D

      elizabeth

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  34. Okay Elizabeth - you've finally done it! You've rendered me speechless, which is a feat many have tried but few have accomplished! First off, I was stunned by the wallpaper itself - the way the colours in the paper slowly change from top to bottom and carry that aged look with them - stunning! Then I was blown away by your use of space, the construction of the staircase (the plan for which I may be stealing from you soon for my own project!), and the way you carefully monitored your sight lines while figuring out wall and door placements - so wonderfully instructional and inspirational at the same time. Then you upped the ante by creating a glorious vignette that just screamed Italian villa - absolutely beautiful! Finally, just when I thought it couldn't get any better you showed us the work from Linda Park - absolutely gorgeous and so fitting for your scene. The needlework left me not only speechless but so envious as well - and the gondolier's hat and shirt!?! - Stick a fork in me and call me done! I have to go rest now. I'm like a child who's been taken to the fair and overstuffed with chocolate, candy floss and given a shot of espresso! Okay - so much for being rendered speechless, huh? One last word, I promise -- and that word is: "WOW!!!" - Marilyn D., Oromocto, NB, Canada

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  35. Thank You Very Much Marilyn!!! :D I Greatly appreciate Every Word of your appreciation! :D
    When I found the hall paper I Loved it and knew that I was going to use it for this project yet I almost changed my mind when I was trying to work out a color scheme for the Villa. Now that it is ALMOST installed, I am glad that I stuck to my guns and went ahead with it.
    Over the course of time, I have learned to rely on the camera's eye to pick up what my real eyes often miss, as well as for checking the placement of certain item within a composition, because it is easy for me to project what I Wish to see, onto what really isn't there; in short, the camera keeps me focused on the reality!
    It was due to the eye of the camera that the entire scene came about and I can't begin to tell you how EXCITED I became when I began to seriously compose the dining room; it was truly ENERGIZING! :D

    Linda Parks needle work fit right in and so eventually will the gondoliers shirt and hat. It will take a while before I get to display them for real, but they Will be Displayed, and I am really looking forward to That!

    In the meantime, I am truly DElighted that you are overstuffed and have enjoyed yourself at the fair, since this kind of chocolate and candy floss won't cause cavities! ;P

    elizabeth

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  36. omg, Im alway blown away when it comes to your blog Missy, I have to go back and reread everything just to make sure my eyes have seen everything. it's like going into a bakery when they put out the fresh donuts (Im a foodie from way back before some smarty pants and the food network coined the phrase so forgive my references...also Im not wrapped to tight but you already knew that..hehe) I cant wait to see what you do with your stairs but best believe I'll be watching

    hugs
    Marisa :)

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  37. Thank YOU Marisa and FYI-I have a sweet tooth when it comes to baked goods too! :D I am already thinking ahead to making Italian breads etc. for display in this kitchen, that is, when I get that far.
    Recently on another forage through the thrift stores, I found two books 1) the Cooking of ITALY published, probably in the late 60's, and 2) Pizza Pane Focacce! pub. 1998. I am already looking to TRY and reproduce some of dishes which I see in the photos. YUM!
    However, I am still plodding along with the stairs having gutted the contents of the dining room in order to do so. For me the prep. is Always the most tedious work but I hope the staircase will be worth all of the hair I've lost because of it, in the end.
    Stay tuned! :D

    elizabeth

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  38. Such a treat coming over to your blog and watching you put stuff together. You have wonderful ideas!
    hugs♥,
    Caroline

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  39. Hi Caroline! :D Thank You for Your Very Sweet compliment! It felt good to work out some of the ideas for at least ONE room. I grew tired of working on the exterior for as long as I have, and so coming indoors proved to be a welcomed change of scenery! ;P

    elizabeth

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  40. I can assure you - your summer in your own Venice beats travelling to the other one by a mile....well for me it does. I have done many a mile and often the real experience falls short of the imagined one - this way you have the imagined one actually coming to life for you - what joy! It is such a credible Venetian 'refurb' with, as you say, 'ugly' building site bits like the stairs which you absolutely know are going to be transformed into 'the stuff as dreams are made on'..... I love watching it all evolve as much as seeing the beautiful end product. Thank you for thinking out loud for us all. Marilyn

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    1. Awwwww Thank YOU Very Much Marilyn!:D
      I think that I have explored more of Venice via the internet than I probably would have done if I was actually there in person. I have examined the footings, the flooding, the artwork, the politics, the climate, their food, their music, wars and religious history. I've investigated the chimneys ( which are a peculiar shape for good reason) , the structures of the buildings both inside and out which includes their gardens and their fresh water supplies. It has all been a Fascinating journey and I do believe that some of what I have learned over the past summer months has subliminally helped in the formation of the atmosphere of this dining room scene. :D
      And I too, have high hopes for the staircase(s) yet seeing how this is a weak point for me, I am going to take it step by step, ( pun) so that the "dream" doesn't end up looking like a nightmare! ;P

      elizabeth :D

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  41. I always love reading through your posts. They make me smile. Your pictures are always great to look at as well. Thanks for being you!
    Hugs,
    Sam

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    1. Hi Sam! Thank you for your comment, especially when it comes to the pictures! I enjoy taking them and I am VERY HAPPY that you enjoy looking at them. :D
      I am being rather lazy right now and so progress is barely crawling forward, but hopefully my MOJO will return before too much longer, for a second kick at the can! ;P

      elizabeth

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  42. Oh that wallpaper is just perfect! Sort of duck egg meets distress!

    I had a good laugh at the gift wrap from 16 years ago - it's good to know I'm not the only one who saves things for years...'just in case!'

    Those embroidered cushions are beautiful! I keep meaning to try some embroidery at some point but I doubt I'd be anywhere near as good!
    Your scene setup looks fabulous, even just as a temporary thing!

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    1. Hello Christine! Thank You for your comment about the wallpaper, because I LIKE IT TOO! :D
      Now regarding the gift wrap. I had to give it up. :((
      I was soooooo wrinkled that even with several goings-over with a hot iron couldn't remove enough of the creases to make it usable. Therefore I had to go to PLAN B which - lo and behold has turned out even better than Plan A! Hip Hip HOORAY! :D
      And I AGREE with every word you've said about Linda's embroidered cushions! Her needlework skills are beyond my wildest dreams and it makes me VERY HAPPY that I will soon have the opportunity to be able to have a permanent place for them inside this Villa.:D

      elizabeth

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  43. Dear Elizabeth...the progress you are making on the Italian villa is inspirational. The colours and the accessories all add to the 'vibe' and make a person believe this is Venice and an aged villa on one of the canals...it is magic! You are a person that has a vision and if the look of a finished piece doesn't fit you aren't satisfied until it does...no making do for you! I admire that very much and try to emulate that when working on my own Victorian project. The petit point cushions are gorgeous...one must admire the tiny stitches and the designs created by Linda...lucky you to be the recipient of such miniature treasures! Love the colour of the wallpaper and the faded gradient of its design...you have done a marvellous job of finding items that add to the atmosphere and feel of the villa. Beautiful! Cheers, Alayne

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  44. Hello Alayne! :D
    Thank YOU for your Very Encouraging words! :D I certainly do Appreciate every one of them because I have been in yet another holding pattern with the Villa. However yesterday I think that I was able to get UN-stuck from a problem which I couldn't figure out, and so I am hoping to get going on this project once again.
    But I am VERY HAPPY that you like what you are seeing. I enjoyed creating the atmosphere of this Venetian Canal house for the photos because it gave me a sense of direction which I didn't have until then.
    And I also agree with you about Linda's cushions; they Are GORGEOUS! Her stitches are Very fine and her work is EXTRAORDINARY!
    It makes my heart glad whenever I look at her gifts and/or the shared talents of All of my friend.
    GOD is Good and I've been Blessed! :D

    elizabeth

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  45. Loving all the changes! Sometimes you just need a fresh start with a nice clean palette. :) How did you like Hobby Lobby?! It's one of my favorite stores!!!

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    1. I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVED The Hobby Lobby! I only wish that we had one up here in Canada. It took us decades to get a Michael's Craft store, so perhaps in another 10 years we may get a Hobby Lobby too! ;P

      elizabeth :D

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