Thursday, 13 September 2018

going for Baroque ...


My absentee Mojo suddenly ignited and caught fire a couple of weeks ago 
and I found myself burning the midnight oil 
and actually got things done!
So... after a long unproductive summer hiatus
with nothing new to show or share;
 surprisingly I now have BOTH!

to begin with 
which as you all know,
I'd been stalling on for months. 

the photo below 
shows the stairs still in their raw state 
I used the original Willowcrest stringers 
although I had to make a few necessary alterations to make the staircase both longer and wider. 
The original kit plans has the accent of the staircase,
turning sharply to the left before they reach the 3rd level.

Mine were going to be a straight run.


the ONLY WAY to make them work MY WAY,
was to have the first step at the door jamb outside the bedroom.

In the photo below you can see what I'm refering to.

Given the narrowness of the 2nd floor passage 
coupled with my absolute terror of making new stairs, 
I had to accept them landing at the threshold outside the bedroom door 

*a big exasperated sigh*
*but I'll get over it*

As you can see from the photos above,
the staircase has been fleshed out and primed with a flat white enamel paint. 
My thoughts were that the stairs should harmonize with the rest of the stonework in the hall. 

The entire painting process 
took me considerably longer than expected. 

😩I struggled for days to get the colors right  
adding layer after layer 
of paint over plaster,
as well as numerous light and dark washes 
of chalks, oils, stains and pencil 😫

THEN as I was writing todays entry,
 it suddenly occured to me 😳
that I could have read my own archived blogpost
"A Deck the Hall Story"
which clearly illustrated how and what I did the first time around
a classic case of

my "new" staircase looks more akin to a flight of exterior stairs
than of any found inside a home

well never mind 
I'm just happy that
they're done
close up of the steps

the photo above shows them in position 

although they're not yet glued in.

Being lazy at heart, 
I thought it might be faster (and easier) to complety enclose the staircase 
with a full floor- to- ceiling wall,
which would also define the passage,
as well as provide something to connect 
a future bathroom door to. 
 To ensure that the walled passage was wide enough,
I asked Isabella to have a go 
which she did
 When looking from the Front of the house towards the back,
there was just enough elbow room for Isabella to maneuver. 

 from the Back of the house looking Forward
 the full wall enclosing the stairs
felt claustrophobic

it soon became apparent that 
I'd have to choose between 
a door 
but no bathroom
a bathroom without a door
as it turned out,
the little room at the end of the hall
was unable to accommodate both. 

Neither of those 2 choices appealed to me, 
I thought it was wiser (and easier) to move the entire bathroom upstairs to the 3rd floor 
where there is plenty of room for everything 
(including a door)
and IF 
I did that-
then I could also install a fireplace in the bathroom! 

With the prospects of a "luxury" bathroom now mentally
 re-located on the top floor,
I could forget about both the stair-wall and the door.
The Little Room 
at the end of the passage, 
now became a doorless

The Music Teacher and/or her students, will practice in here. 

and now for the Fun part...

I had this lovely contemporary chest of drawers by 

which I'd purchased last year 
 in Seattle with the Show Bucks I'd won for

 and for GOTHICA.

I love the BAROQUE PATTERN on its front face. 

  The chest would move into the tiny alcove of the new 
Music Room

I was keeping my fingers crossed that it would fit. 

I made a few alterations 
to widen the recess as much as possible,
and managed to squeeze it in- 
and without a millimetre left to spare!

The bold pattern on the chest 
set the tempo for the rest of the room;

 an eclectic mix of French & Italian 

For the walls,

I decided to use photocopies of a
French Aubusson Carpet as
It was cut and pasted onto paperboard panels around the room.
 I like the colours as well as the busy-ness of the pattern which 
(lucky for me)
effectively hid a multitude 

of construction mistakes 

Speaking of "Mistakes"... 
A new/old problem re-surfaced right
after I'd resolved the stair-wall/ bathroom door issue. 
 The problem was with the TILE FLOOR which I'd made months ago for this room.  
The tiles in the the hall didn't quite aline with those in the
 music room.
( I refer you to photo # 2 at the top of the page)
 Previously when the room was to be the bathroom with a door, 
the threshold of the door would have automatically solved the  problem,
but now 
continuous line of tiles would need to abut each other and so
 their misalignment became really obvious
it's always something! 

To rectify THIS problem
I chose to step up the level of the Music Room 
which you see in the photo below. 
Once the floor was raised, it broke the continuous sight-line.

The step up also helped define a doorless, open-ended room 

 my problem was solved-

Of course, the raised floor required that all the pre-made wallpaper panels needed to be re-cut to fit the shorter walls; 

during which time
yet another executive decision 
was about to be made

I was no longer happy with the window 

in the middle of the recessed wall

Granted; the light illuminates the window in the stairwell, 
yet it also took up valuable wall space inside the Music Room, 
and frankly, 
 I wanted something more interesting to look at.

I'd considered installing a shelf above the window


 it was 

bye bye 
for the window 
 Yes Indeed
I boarded and papered over the window, replacing it with 
 an ornately carved Italian painting.
The look is Baroque and better suited to the alcove. 

The  successful installation of the painting
inspired me to sort through my collections for other 
interesting object d'arts.  

The lamp on the chest is a modern lamp base
with the top of a squeeze-tube as its shade.
I painted the shade gold both inside and out, 
then fringed it in red.

it's definitely bordello-gaudy yet oh so interesting! 

To date: the display on the chest
 consists of a small statuette of Micheangelo's "David" which I'd mercilessly pried out of a plastic souvenier snow globe. 

The silver candelabra is of unkown origins as are 

the tiny gold opera glasses.

The doily is from Ruth Stewart of
Stewart Dollhouse Creations


I'll probably fiddle around with the arrangement some more 
but the one thing that STAYS PUT, is the
delightful little Metronome which used to reside in 
#43 Green Dolphin Street.
 Here in Villa Leone, 
it gets to take Center Stage! 
I'd won the Metronome a couple of years ago in a GiveAway by MAGDA 
"17-17 MK"


 the pencil sketch in the chipped frame
was cut from a magazine. 
It hangs on the skinny wall inside the alcove.

As the room continued to take shape,
more and more items found their way in,

not only an assortment of musical instruments
but also

the Wonderful little Jacobean table 
which was another Giveaway win from Pepper's 
MITCHYMOO Miniatures blog

 A tall vase of Fatima's 
exquisite blue Hydrangeas are featured on Pepper's little table.

The long chest (pictured below) 

is another SPECIAL piece of furniture.

I don't know if he remembers, but
Janine's husband Bruce made it
 I'd painted it, decoupaged then aged it-
and then it went into storage. 
There was never a project in which to properly display it,
but oddly enough,

its proportions
are EXACTLY RIGHT  for this tiny space, 
it double-duties in the Music Room as
 seating as well as storage! 

Linda Park's 
Very Baroque
custom VL needlepoint cushion 
 sits proudly atop the chest.


if you want to see 
MORE of Linda's
Exquisite Needlework pieces, 
then make sure you pay a visit to her blog
Linda's Miniworld 
On the floor beside the chest lies
a small pile of be-ribboned rolls of music 

On the wall under the stairs,
 I was going to use this small unframed print of 
old Venice
 but it looked 

 too small 
 so I removed it 
and replaced it with a HUGE famed painting. 

However upon further consideration;
no one would be able to sit comfortably on the chest without being stabbed in the back by the frame

it was exchanged for a
framed mirror, found buried in my stash.

I think I like it 
but should it be hung
this way? 
this way?

ah me, more decisions... 

In case you are wondering about the loose fitting
wallpaper under the stairs; 
it's temporarily 
sticky-tacked into place.
I won't make it permanent until AFTER I've made the handrail and glued the staircase into position. 

alas, no rest for the weary

The plastic violin pencil sharpener, 
which years ago, I transformed into the cello,
leans against the chest and a baroque dummy board.

The finishing trim around the window as well as in the rest of the room
 are yet to be done, and
I'm still considering the installation of an overhead light fixture,
although I currently like the moody low-light atmosphere- 
the debate continues


despite the struggle with the stairs; 

the making of the Music Room 
was an enjoyable experience! 
               I must now take it all apart again and actually finish it.
                    So I bid you all fond farewell as I press on 
              with my miniature musical Baroque endeavours. 

 ciao ciao for now!


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Buyer- BE AWARE!

I would Strongly encourage EVERYONE to visit JODI'S blog 

Many miniaturists looking for Quality Artisan Items for their collections, have ordered merchandise from 

Jodi has just posted about her most recent encounter with this particular vendor and has since found MANY people (myself included), who've had the Unfortunate Experience  
of not receiving what they've paid for!  

For Warned, is For Armed
Buyer-BE AWARE! 

Thursday, 10 May 2018

"And so to BED" bedroom/ Villa Leone

♫"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!
Here will we sit and let the sounds of music creep in our ears. 
Soft stillness and the night become the touches of sweet harmony" ♫

 from Shakespeare's play 
The Merchant of Venice  

The bedroom of Villa Leone
is almost finished.
( there are still a few more things left  to do on my to-do list. )

Even so,  didn't want to postpone this blogpost any longer because the more I delay,
 the longer it grows. 
Needless to say, that I've changed and re-arranged this Venetian bedroom 
many times since I began working on it. 
I will review some of the major changes in this post,
which IS rather lengthy
but I've got some long overdue
 to Acknowledge
so be prepared for a bit of a read! 

Since the Leone villa is a modest dwelling, 
occupied by a music teacher and her husband 
(a Venetian gondolier ),
the bedroom would be somewhat simple room, 
using mis-matched pieces handed down from various family members 
and therefore all the more treasured. 

Most of the reference materials I looked at,
 were either far too grand 
as austere as a monk's cell- 
What I was wanting was something, 
romantically in between.

I began the bedroom with a rough mock up of the proposed room arrangement,
 using as much furniture and as many accessories
 as I could squeeze into the room.

I was also deciding between 2 beds; 
one heavy Victorian bed and the other 
 a more delicate brass model.
I placed the beds in the foreground of the room with the other pieces stationed behind it. 

First, I tried out the Victorian bed;  
pre-assembled from a vintage 
 Realife Victorian Bedroom kit
which I found tucked away at 
Ross's Treasure House
(a local miniature store)

I then tried out the brass bed which I'd purchased 
at the Seattle Miniature Show last March. 

I decided to go with the brass bed.

Of course I needed to age it and tone down the shine
which I did by using a couple of light spray coats of Matte Acrylic Sealer and then some acrylic paints for the
required tarnish. 

The Chrysolite lamp and the vintage Bakelite electric clock were items I've had for a while, but the vintage books were a gift sent to me from 
Andrea Thieck
Thank You once again Andrea! :D
in Real Life 
and I Most Definitely love them in a doll's house!

The following "demo" is how I aged the lamp I'd chosen. 
The gold metal was darkened with acrylic paint and the glass sections were tinted 
using Martha Stewart's glass paint 
"English Tea"

This is the lamp after a couple of light coats of 
the English Tea glass paint.
I'm quite happy with its new/old vintage look!



 Iseecerulean Blog
surprised me a few months ago
 by generously sending me
some GORGEOUS pieces from
Charlene's Legacy
(some of which I'm also sharing with my friends)

Thank You again Keli!
❤ ❤ ❤
The piece which I've kept and specifically wanted to use in Leone's bedroom
were the delicate vanity and the matching stool.

However, the only space available for the vanity was 
in front of the 
double doors leading onto the balcony, 
which was in between a 3 door wardrobe to the right, 
 with the main door leading into the bedroom, 
on the left side of it.  
In other words the vanity was surrounded by 6 doors
 all swinging in towards it 
Definitely a logistical problem :(

And on top of that,
the door on the left wall of the bedroom 
which looks out over the garden, 
was also prevented from fully opening 
by the end of the brass bed blocking its path.  
which of course,
 was another problem :(

Since free access through all the doors was a Major issue with the current furniture arrangement,
I thought it best to
rethink my entire floorplan . 
so it went from this...
to this
not all at once
but gradually, over a period of time

it was shortly thereafter
I began to have second thoughts 
about using  
the brass bed.  
so the bed was changed from this one...

back to this one

Once I was satisfied that there was enough walking space  around all 3 sides 
of the wider Victorian bed, 
that all of the doors could comfortably swing open,
I removed everything from the bedroom again,
which included the wallpaper panels, the floor, rugs, the furniture, accessories etc., 
so that I could 
 hook up all of the electrics
 for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd floors.

and after several frustrating and hair pulling attempts-
It was as I was looking for the electrical tape I needed, 
that I came across the pair of sconces which Janine had given to me for my birthday last year. 
They proved to be Exactly Right for the second floor hall.
I not only love the style of the sconces
 but they provided LOTS of light for the second floor hallway!
Thank You Janine! :D

I LOVE the way these sconces look! :D
since I didn't need the hanging fixture over the staircase  anymore
 out it went. 


                              (no need to worry about changing the lightbulbs now!)
Fatima had given me a large unfinished Bespac wardrobe for Villa Leone
which required some minor repairs.
I stained it Walnut and re-fitted the mirrored doors, and  fixed the missing leg.
It turned out pretty good. 

The black hangers I  bought at
 the Seattle Show last March

I have a Monic Robert's dress in there for show, 

the Gondolier's shirt and tie which Linda made
for Villa Leone
is now hanging in the wardrobe too! :D  

a lacy pink gown came
 from Charlene's Legacy

soooo pretty!
I'm saving it and the vanity  
my future
  Glencroft re-build

I'm not sure who made the the moccasins, but the embroidered slippers were Christmas gifts made by
the VERY talented
Linda Park.

She made a custom pair of slippers  
for Janine, Fatima, and me and

Thank You Again Linda for ALL of your Amazing needlework! 

these are truly Marvelous!
I'll place them on the floor by the bed.
In the meantime,
I made a wide plank hardwood floor for my Venetian bedroom using The Willowcrest dollhouse kit's 

generous supply of
thin clapboard siding. 

 The wallpaper I've chosen for the bedroom
 is a beige on cream 
over-size damask
 from a scrap book
suitably subtle and old-world looking
which works well with the bed
 as much as I liked the Victorian Bed,
I found that the big empty space in the headboard was visually annoying to me. 

It looked like it needed to be filled  
but with what??? 
I'd found some ornate puffy stickers at the dollar store which I tried out on the headboard. 
I gave them a spray coat of Matte Acrylic Sealer so the acrylic paint would stick,
cut some up
and glued them onto the bed. 

then the entire bed was painted and aged.

But later,
(as usual)
I changed my mind about the size of the sticker above;  removed it 
and chose to use a bigger one in its place,
I didn't like the look of this one, at all! :(
After some serious re-thinking,
 I decided to take everything off and start again.   
 I found a metal Lion's head in my stash which I glued to the center of a trimmed-off puffy sticker resembling 
a cameo.
I added more wood and metal bits
and then I repainted, and re-aged the entire headboard
 to match the rest of the wood.
Below is the old- looking finished bed
Viva Leone!
The pillows:
  The embroidered floral cushion 
was pried off of a thrift-store pillbox, 
and the ticking striped pillow is one I made and filled with glass beads.
The cream on cream embroidered bedcover 

was purchased DECADES ago at a 
and after all this time, it's very gratifying
 to finally put it to good use

On an octagonal HoM side table, 
I have placed a Chrysonbon hand-painted mirror and the hair brush which came tacked to the Vanity
 from Charlene's Legacy. 

The bottle of "Oil of Olay", 

was from my friend Bettie Smith, and
the Blue Hydrangeas were made by Fats-

Thank You Fatima! :D 

The tatted tablecloth was a lucky find at the thrift store. 

Another gift from Linda
is this tiny embroidered footstool which now resides next to the bed.

Looking from the bedside into the hall. 
I was on a roll
so the next step was to actually glue in the wallpaper panels.
 So OUT it all came again so that I could glue the paperboard panels to the wood.

for that I used 
fabric glue
As it happened, 
a couple of weeks ago,
I was watching a Railroad landscaping video
where the artist was using sheets of
Builder's Pink Insulation Foam 

 to make his rocks formations etc.
To glue the stacks of foam together he used


fabric glue 
which bonds like CONTACT CEMENT
without melting the foam.

After watching the video, 

I remembered I already had a full bottle of this glue
I tried it out on the backs of each of the paperboard panels.
it's sooooo easy to use
I recommend spreading it with a long metal spatula
OR a scrap of stiff card.

The glue will rub off the metal after it dries
 and the card you can throw away later, 
But whatever you do-

I bought my bottle of Fabri-Tac at Wal-Mart

but its also sold at Joann's and Michael's, 
and on Amazon. 
Fabri-tac sets up fast and REALLY GRIPS
so make sure that all systems are GO! 
I only applied the glue onto the paperboard surfaces,
 but in the video,
the gentleman applied the glue onto the surfaces of both objects, 
he let it get tacky 
and then he pressed both surfaces together. 
It has an odor similar to airplane glue 
but not quite as strong.
And because it's meant for fabrics
you can use it for that too!   


Prior to applying the glue to the back of the wallpaper panels,
I drilled a hole 

to thread the wires 
for the table lamp and for the wall sconce through,  
then I connected the ends to the power source, the connections were taped over using cellophane tape.  
After that I spread the Fabri-tac glue onto the backs of the wallpaper panels using a metal spatula. 
When the panels were in place, they were firmly secured using
spring-loaded clamps. 
With the wallpaper glued to the walls and the lights working, I placed the furniture and accessories back inside the room. 

A chicken was installed on top of the wardrobe next to the painting of a sleeping monk
which I'd clipped from a magazine, 
glued onto cardstock and painted over with 

Fatima made this floral bathrobe specially for
Villa Leone
I was going to hang it in the bathroom but I think that it looks more at home draped over the bed.

"Livia" and Linda's lovely slippers

I'd wanted to run a series of dark rustic beams across the width of the ceiling in the Venetian style
but chose instead,
 to run them around the perimeter of the ceiling. 

To affix the ceiling beams and all the various wood trims in place,
I used

Aleene's THE ULTIMATE glue
similar to
Quick Grip

is that even possible?

The Ultimate
doesn't continuously ooze from the tube,
 so there less waste but like the Quick Grip
 it has a quick and tight bond!
I bought my tube at HOBBY LOBBY in the U.S.A

the blue chair is from my stash 

Linda Park's 
"VL"-Villa Leone 
custom cushion
the ruling house cat
by Sarah Hendry

View looking up from the staircase window
and into the bedroom
bedroom overview as it currently stands

A room with a view
"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank!"
"Here will we sit
and let the sounds of music creep in our ears." 
"Soft stillness 
and the night become 
the touches of sweet harmony"

And so to bed....