Saturday, 2 August 2014


I have always made the living rooms, in all of my doll's houses, the very first room that I start with.
Some people begin their houses with the kitchen while others prefer the bedroom, but for me it has always been the  the miniature front parlor& /or living room.
This is the room where strangers and friends converge to get to know you better, because it is the room where people generally entertain guests and practice hospitality and where folks go to relax.  People form opinions about the home owner(s) based primarily on their personal experience spent in the front parlor, and the  comfort and the social interactions that take place within it.  In miniature, I feel that this room sets the tone for the rest of the rooms that follow, so I usually end up taking a lot of time trying to get it the room just right.  I love making these spaces feel cozy, warm and welcoming
Yet, 'the process' will often Insist that I become more flexible and more willing to bend, even when I don't feel like it,  to thus enable the house to make some needed changes so that the story I'm trying to tell, can eventually emerge. 
And so
for my  Very Welcomed New Followers, not completely familiar with how it all started, this is the abridged version of my progress on my Arthur doll's house kit to date, entitled
#43 Green Dolphin Street.

When I began working on #43 nearly a year and a half ago,
this was how I started the living room.  I roughed out the parlor/living room arrangement with stuff I had on hand and which I thought might work as I tried to get a feel for the space.
The room then underwent a number of major / minor changes throughout the course of time

always there remained
Big thorn in my side, the 2 Victorian globe lamps.
I disconnected them because  I always felt that the lights were just too bright!   I tried to tone them down by painting them with Amber Glass Paint on the globes, to try to soften that blinding "headlight" glare.  But in trying to get my Big Hand into this smallish space, to paint over the globes, I managed to snap the delicate wiring feeding into one of the brackets, which meant that I had to remove the entire wall sconce.
Ei yah!

now I've done it!

That of course, was when ( surprise! )  I discovered that the globes could be unscrewed from the  metal support bracket
okay... so now I know

Fortunately, I had anticipated my future screw- up with these lamps and consequently, I had in my possession, a spare.
whew! what a relief!
I reinstalled the new bracket and fitted it out with some additional metal trim,just as I had done before.
By now though, I  had changed my mind about the globes.
I chose instead, to go with something completely different, less Victorian and a little more classic.
I had 2 plastic pleated lamp shades,( that look like toothpaste caps but aren't ) which I borrowed from some other ( never to be used again ) lamps and tried them out and I liked them better!  But once again, I found the light bulbs to be way too bright.

Why must all mini bulbs produce soooo much light?
I feel that it often kills the realism 
the shades which were originally a tan color, I painted with a thin black transparent glass paint and here is what they looked like when turned on.
 and Still just a little too Bright

again, I liked the wall sconces better with the lights unplugged.

I gave them an additional thin wash of a transparent pink glass paint applied sparingly over the black and followed that with a coat of Revlon's matt nail varnish to cut the shine from the glass paint so that they took on a softer, silky illumination.
 Ah,... that's better!  

I should have stopped there but instead I continued to meddle with the shades, and added a banding of gold metallic fringe.
( whoops, wrong move! )

To me they looked just like
 a Fez One and a Fez Two.
After removing the gold fringe which I had glued on oh so well,  I was left with a new mess on the bottom of the lamp shade.

Now what do I do?

so once again, another change 

 below: photo on left, the lamps with the fringe-  the photo on the right are current version

My solution in the end was  to repaint the bottom edge of the shades in gold enamel paint and retouched the tacky edges with a gold/bronze pulver that I have had for over a decade which is used for gilding  fimo.  It gave a bit of a fuzzy edge without the visual heaviness of the previous gold metallic fringe.
I think it looks much more to scale don't you?
The refurbished lampshade and the fireplace mantle newly finished.

 I'm thinking that perhaps I should match the standing sheep on the right with a standing sheep for the left, or should it be a reclining sheep on the right to match the one on the left?
these are the kind of things that keep me awake at night
moving on...
here's the mantle BEFORE
with a close up of the things on it
and you can see how simply the mantle use to be arranged between those glaring globe lights.  When I did this, I considered it
Not long ago I decided to paint the gold clock, red.
It is easier to see the clock in the photos above.
I like it red and there is a good visual balance between it and the shades.
 I changed the doily to a larger one and rearranged the group of photographs on and around it.
It is a better arrangement.
a close up of the Mantle now

changing the look of the front door
The front door in the beginning
It seems that I am  the most happy with the used and abused look
I added quite a bit of aging to the surface of the door, a mail slot, a brass door plate,  a set of iron keys in the lock ( an idea I got from Caroline at Cinderella Moments), a  brass door plate for the latch, and a  tiny working iron slide flush bolt which I saw in a blog tutorial, by Pearly Jones 

The Mini House:  "Lockets, Snot and Two Sliding Barrels"
Anyway, I am really liking the changes made to the front door.  It looks like it has
 been around the block a few times and that is the look I was striving for.
Next up is the Rug.
Subtle changes can often make a big difference and that is what happened when
I changed the living room area rug
 Old rug on the left and the New rug is on the right.  The new one has more orange in the background and the blue in it is also more noticeable.  I think it is far richer looking without so much  pink.

The left side of the Parlor/ living room has not changed over much from my original plan.  I had always intended to use the sideboard/ dresser in this space right from the very beginning and so also, the over-scaled picture of a writer steadfastly ignoring her long-suffering family.
 I remember that I aged the heavy metal frame even more than what it originally was, but other than that, not much else.  The french style arm chair sits right in front of it so it is often over-looked when I am gazing into the room. But just because it is hidden from view doesn't mean that it is not important.  The weight of it  counterbalances the visual mass of the opposite fireplace wall.

Below, you can see how the chair helps to beef up the left side of this front parlor.
( so sorry, I have tried to line up  these photos but they just won't cooperate )
The sewing bag is another fabulous creation of Fatima's.  It is filled with knitting paraphernalia that is difficult to see well in the photos but is clearly seen in person.  Thanks Fats! :))  
This is the replacement rug with the changed, new and improved lampshades.
I have to say that I love this photo. 
 I am really happy with the "lived in"look of this living room. 

that is until I think of something else to do to it :))

A bouquet of Janine's orange roses are arranged upon the tea table
along with Fatima's Batten-burg squares in a filigree serving tray

and before I forget, I wanted to show you my silver serving dish that I improvised by bending a silver earring into shape, which I then filled with flaky baking powder biscuits.  I made these biscuits by compressed styrofoam popcorn and using a hole punch and "baking" with a transparent  brown glaze and gesso.  Yum!...
Mini Bisquicks!

The View looking into the kitchen from the living room and straight at the ratty old cottage stairs.
What a startling change and contrast from the more elegant front parlor! ?
I find it very strange that I should like them anyway.

 Here in this tiny kitchen I opted to make some minor changes, since you last saw it.  To boost the visibility of the tin tile back splash installed behind the cast iron oven,  I selected the same larkspur blue acrylic color and brushed it onto the surface and wiped it off, then stained it, to give it an old/ aged appearance and sealed it with Matt Modge Podge .  The wood colored utensil rack accidently got paint on it, so I painted right over it too.  I like the look much better. Future changes will include a set of gas pipes installed against the wall to the right side of the stove. That will mean an extension of the pipes out to the exterior wall as well, but I will tackle that project later. Meanwhile,  I think that the blue backdrop makes this dark corner a little more interesting and a lot more cheerful to work in.  And more importantly, the camera picks it up.
Yes! ...This looks better!

The prep table's new rustic covered casserole dish, positioned on the corner, is by Jason Feltrope's Studio.  Love it!
And after talking about it for months, I Finally have a pair of some very sexy black stockings hanging from the clothes line of this "Ancient of days" kitchen on Green Dolphin Street!
 My Thanks go entirely to the wonderfully talented Linda Park!
I tried the 2 other more sedate pairs of nylons that Linda also gave me, but the black ones looked best.
sexy over sensible
go figure?!

 and now for the stairwell
Changes to the stairwell include Fatima's gift of one of her closed umbrella which now hangs discreetly from the accordion hat rack at the bottom of these treacherous stairs
onto the bedroom
This is the early version of the upstairs bedroom
This is the bedroom in the MIDDLE stages
And this is how it looks now
night time 

(I made these two blue and white plates from plastic buttons and paper decals
easy peasy)
by the way, I decided to go with Margaret's ( My Petit Parterre) square blue pillow for the bed rather than the pink rectangular set that I had on the bed before.
Thanks again, Margaret! :))
I thought that an edging of a dense cotton lace would tie in better with the textured cotton bed cover.
now that I am looking at this photo, I think there needs to be a delineating line of color, perhaps some red, burgundy, or brown bunka or narrow silk ribbon or cord, just Something  to run between the toile and the cotton lace to ease the transition between the two.
and for a moment there, I thought this bed was actually "finished" :/
silly me

And I also changed the light covers on either side of the bull's eye mirror from the over-bright white hurricane style, that you see on the left, to the smaller, classic parchment shades.  I am much happier with the switch.
And finally....
what's new in the bathroom
Not a lot of change in the bathroom except for the new framed print above the door, my hand-painted mannequin hat stand and the tiny brass alarm clock sitting  on the top of the battered old toilet tank.
So there you have it .... these are the most significant changes within the walls of my Arthur doll's house;
 #43 Green Dolphin St.

But the Miniteers have also made a Change; we've added
  a New One
Here's a photo of the Miniteers and Linda Park who is now our new honorary member.
Hip Hip Hooray! :D
 Janine, Linda, and Fatima and I, were royally wined and dined a few weeks ago at Linda's lovely home in Whistler, B.C.
 In this photo, Linda was in the process of showing us her wonderful French inspired florist's shop,which is Simply Fantastic!
Lidi, of Basketcase Miniatures,  recently made to order the most wonderful basket for Linda's delivery bicycle.
Linda's bike & Lidi's basket... A match made in heavenI can hardly wait for Linda to get her own blog going so that more people around the world can see some of the INCREDIBLE work that she produces! 
But now, the hour grows late
and as the sun goes down, it is time once again, for me to say goodnight to everyone out there in  the Land of Blog
 it is
 Time to make one more radical Change......

to my

 hair color. yes, I'm
going from drab to Fab!

(thanks to a box of  Loreal)

because I gotta look good for my new main man "Isaac Hayes"
'he's a complicated man but no one understands him but his woman,'

 ... right Grandmommy?
wink wink, nudge nudge