Thursday, 19 February 2015


 I have recently changed the BIG TILES in my cottage kitchen, but prior to that I had made some Major changes to the front parlor which I would now like to tell you all about.... 
but before I do, I wish to apologize in advance for some of the fuzzy photos.  I am still working on the quality of my shots but I do still have "Fails" every now and then. >< 

                                          Now where was I? 
oh yes....

It all started with rummaging through the junk drawer, trying to find some spare doors to pass onto a friend of mine named Dave. Dave is building an "A" framed miniature cottage from scratch.  I knew that I had extra doors that he could have, and while culling through the lot, I found the Original Arthur kit front door with those MASSIVE DOOR HINGES STILL ON IT.  I took it out of the junk drawer and looked at it again, this time with NEW EYES.
I recall, my dismissive distain that I felt towards this Arthur door back in 2012, but just as I had second thoughts about the Big Tiles, I had a second look at the Arthur front door.
It has been 2 1/2 years since I started renovating this cottage, and  it is only now that I began to see some merit in having a Front door with window panes.  

What would the cottage look like with the original Arthur front door instead? 
I am a visual person and so I had to give it an actual audition to see what it might look like IF I had opted to use it.

the  original ARTHUR kit front door 
with a pretty green satin bow,
 hot glued on for life .


what do you think? 

There certainly was MORE LIGHT inside but it also gave an entirely new look to the parlor.
But would you Look at those 2 "Hue-mung-gus" brass  door hinges!!!?

I remember how difficult these hinges were to remove from the wall. In fact, I recall that I took some of the wall off with them.  
Well, I was still undecided about replacing the front door. 

So I put the solid red door back in and wanted to let the idea go.
But I couldn't.

The thought of a new window door stuck in my head.   I mulled it over and over and then eventually, I presented my idea to Janine, and showed her the mock up photos of the door with the light streaming through into the parlor.  
She said that she was for the light; 
"the more light, the better." 
is what her thoughts were. 
Sometimes though, it is hard to give up an idea that has become  ingrained.  I stubbornly argued that the solid door would be better for a coastline cottage.  
But the real truth was that
I didn't know where to get a windowed door that would fit the existing opening.  

 However, it was Dave's conversion of the doors that I had given him, that made me rethink what could be done. Dave had cleverly reworked the doors for his "A" frame build and I thought that if he could do it, then so could I! 
I purchased 
an identical solid 6 panel door,  
from Ross's Treasure House, a well-established local miniature store.
I wanted to try and modify the new door to include 2 window panels, with the intention that if I didn't like the end results, then I could always switch it back again to the original solid front door.

The original Houseworks front door that I have had on the cottage for over 2 years.
I bought a new 6 panel door which looked identical to the one above, and removed 4 panels. 
the 4 panels removed from the new door

I carefully cut out 4 of the raised door panels and I also removed the center section with a craft knife. This went a lot easier than I had thought it would.
I inserted some plastic "glass" into the grooves of the frame, and then divided the window pane with another wooden center slat.  When it was done, I painted and aged the new door, the same red color as before.  
(The new door painted red, the panels removed, "glass" inserted and divider installed)
I gave it a temporary try out.
Okay, I think I am getting use to it.
I then added additional cross glazing bars to each panel and finished the door with hardware.  I hung some lace curtain panels over the glass so that there would be some privacy but still allow the light to filter into the parlor. 
The finished exterior front door from the outside.

But what did it look like from the inside? 
The "before" photo below, 
is what the solid door use to look like from the inside.
sorry but couldn't find a better picture
the door "BEFORE"
this is the changed door "after"
(above and below)

This gives you a closer look at the  cottage's new front door.
I have painted and then re-painted the front door - 
4 times; first it was Blue, because I was trying to use the same color for the interior as before.  However, that color didn't work for me anymore.  So then the door became dark Brown, (blah)  then Red, (YUK!) and finally it is a Golden, Mustard Yellow-Brown, which picks up the color of the wood in the side chair beside it. Some of the colors from the previous paint layers, I allowed to show through, so this door really looks Well Aged.  The iron slide bolt lock, was removed from the previous solid front door and re-installed onto the top of this new door.  A small curtain rod with supports is threaded through the lace panels which were also stained and aged.
So now the cottage has a 
new/old front door with ancient lace curtains!
Once one thing changes, other things have to change around them.
A short while ago, I made a new table cloth to cover the tea table.  I made it from a photocopy of a scarf found printed in a magazine. It is just varnished paper trimmed with bunka and edged with satin fringe.  For Christmas, I purchased a new English style silver teapot by Don Henry, from 
The Little Dollhouse Company, Ontario Canada 
I like the squat, melon shape of this teapot. I eventually would like to get the matching sugar and cream pitcher to go with it. The Federal style cream and sugar that you see here on the tray, will be eventually be moving into a different house, but I will continue to use them until then.

I thought I was finished with the side wall next to the fireplace but I changed my mind about the oval mirror that use to be on it. 
I replaced it with the narrow shelf unit that you now see.

The new shelf unit is made from sections of filigree fan slats, courtesy of 
Linda Park. 
Thanks Linda! :D
by the way Linda has a Brand new Blog
Make sure that you go and check it out!

The filigree sections were doubled up and glued together to re-enforce them, then glued onto a mat board backing.  Wood shelves were added and faux drawers.   The layers of applied color are reflective of the corals and blues that are elsewhere within the room
The shelf was built to house; 

some old but favorite books, 
Kaiser porcelain cream and sugar bowl, 
a floral china ornament,
Kaiser tea cups, and saucers, that I have had for years, 
as well as a favorite green floral teacup, saucer, and Toby mug by Canadian I.G,M.A artisan, Janice Crawley.  
To soften the shelves, I topped it off with a trailing house plant, which I must remember to water.
I am quite satisfied with the way it looks and especially, with the extra storage that it now provides. 
 I had decided that the lady of the house needed to be able to hear some music while she sipped her tea and tended to her needlework when she was in the parlor. 
 Quite a while ago, Fatima had made Janine and I,
a vintage style box radio 

and although it is rather boxy, it fits right in with the time-worn look of the interior decor.
Thanks Fatima, 
it is tuned into a BBC classical music station that I really enjoy!
And who do we have here?
A New Dog 
lying on a New Carpet!
 yep! another carpet change
I found the to scale carpet photo in an old Architectural Digest Magazine, circa 1990's.  I always look for these old AD publications because "dimes to donuts", there will be a full-sized, straight on, color photograph of a lovely rug within its ad pages,  which prints beautifully onto either suede paper or onto fabric.  This rug is an English Victorian from the 1880's.... 
it's PERFECT!  
 for the room and for the dog!
the old carpet is in the photo directly above .

This is "Edmund" aka "Mr. Ed " the English Cocker Spaniel that I also purchased for Christmas, from
The Little Dollhouse Company.  

(just look at those soulful eyes)
He is made by Canadian Miniaturist,
Karl Blindheim

and in case you were wondering,
"Nate" the Great Dane, 
the previous dog in residence, will be 
  changing his location too. 
but more on that later
And here's the Metronome that I won from Magda's "17-17" blog. giveaway, which sits proudly on the re-arranged sideboard.
(The removable cover of the metronome, is stored in a drawer of this sideboard )
Thank you again Magda, I love it! 

And Guess What?
I happened to find a mini violin in one of my storage boxes.  It is made of plastic and unfortunately, it doesn't have a bow, but at least it is to scale, and now when practicing 
the scales,  I can set the metronome into motion. :)

I changed my mind about the lighting around the fireplace.
 The new front door had changed the entire atmosphere inside the parlor and like Janine had said earlier-
"The more light the better!"
I used some nail polish remover on a cotton swab to erase the black varnish I had painted onto the insides of the lamp shades.  By removing the lacquer, more light filtered through the red shades and lightened up not only the mantle but also the entire fireplace wall.
 You know, I remember how pleased I originally was about toning the light WAY DOWN and now here I am changing my mind about it  

and turning it up again!?
It didn't stop with the lights either, but I altered the arrangement of the items on top of the mantle too.
The changes to the top of the mantle are as follows:
I added a glass vase of shiny red faux flowers.  The vase is Real Life, bi-pin bulb with the bottom cut off,  then inverted and glued to a base.  The 2 cranes came from a Chinese cork art piece that I bought from the thrift store and oh so carefully removed.  The cork is thinner than paper and super fragile.  I glued the birds and their cork-reed bases, onto a flat metal bead.  I painted the reeds and the bead base, with green water-based glass and tile paints.  Then I coated everything with
 Testors Clear Parts Cement & Window Maker.
This glue made for plastics, is super thin and liquid-y, and so it spread over the surface of the birds with relative ease, and dried super shiny, just as I was hoping it would.  This gave a little more strength to these "china" ornaments, but they are still extremely delicate to handle. 
I found a pair of wire bird's nest earrings from the thrift store, that I clipped the backs off of and I used one on the mantle.
I like the arrangement of all of the photographs but I really like the bird's nest and the 2 "china" cranes.
And I made some small changes to the front window while I was at it.
To match the lace panels on the new front door, I glued the same lace to the inside edges of both curtain panels behind the writing desk.
It makes looking out the window at the garden, even prettier!

So now you have had a complete tour of the entire front parlor, 
wall to wall, and also the floor. 
                    But by far, the BIGGEST change has been
                        to the parlor ceiling.
I  re-plastered and then re-painted the ceiling a dark, greyish- brown.  I also added 2 heavy cross beams to it.  It was very tricky to do. It took me a quite a few days to complete, and I pinched a nerve in my neck in the process, but it is all better now and it was worth the pain.  
Are you curious as to why?  Then let me give you my reasons.
Although this cottage is not a duplicate of the book
"Green Dolphin Street", I had wanted it to have some of the same"sea faring flavor" of that book.  The setting of the story initially take place in the coastal island town of St. Pierre, Guernsey Island in the English Channel. From there it moves aboard the merchant ship" the Green Dolphin",  and then spends many years pioneering, settling and logging down-river in New Zealand.  Eventually the adventure steam-engines its way back to Guernsey where it all began.   That is a lot of water to traverse.
Somewhere along the way, I felt the cottage was steering off course.  The summer garden contributed to this gradual moving away from  from the water but I felt, that I needed to get some of that water feeling back 

get it back inside the house.  
The ceiling was the avenue that I chose to express it.
It is rough and it is dark.  But it has the effect of making the parlor feel more snug and self-contained like the cabins of a sailing ship, rugged like the pioneers of the story and definitely more cozy; a safe haven for those "seekers" in life.  And like The Green Dolphin of the story, it too, has weathered a lot of life's storms and over time has

many changes.
It has been over 2 and a half years since I began this journey, and it is not over yet!  

This parlor has been slowly, but consistently changing to become what it is.  But just as is now with the kitchen, I believe that the parlor 
is finally

That is:
If I don't go and change my mind...



Friday, 13 February 2015

BIG TILES - try, try again

Some of you "lucky" viewers may have previously caught a glimpse of my original posting of "BIG TILES- a Tutorial".
It didn't hang around for very long and for a good reason, because...

Yes, you heard it right!   I enjoyed the process but the end product looked like a dog's breakfast.  The fact that they were hidden behind the stove and in the dark, didn't lessen my distaste for them.  That area under the stove was so dark in fact, that to get any kind of a decent photo, required a couple of flood lights that cast hard ugly shadows which produced more wasted pictures than usable ones. AND, not only that, the light exposed those wretched tiles and reminded me of the mess that I had made of them.   So I withdrew that posting with the intention of Re-Posting it with something that I finally do LIKE!
Yet it took me a several tries to get there.  I am posting the how-to portion again, with some additional new photos of the kitchen overall.  I hope that you will enjoy my journey, as I cover the same old ground. 

I have made BIG TILES at least 4 times since last week.  Each time they turned out a little different. 
However, I think that I am now a qualified professional using this procedure.  

 BIG TILES- a tutorial beginning again from the beginning...
I found some scrap plastic "tin tiles" in my
"I don't know what to do with this", drawer.

I decided that I wanted to use it to make a new back-splash for behind the stove.    I reversed the "tin tiles" to enable me make a new "ceramic tile" for my old gas stove.
This product is usually sold in 11-12 inch long white PVC sheets and is meant to be applied to the ceilings of a doll's house to resemble the old tin tile of Victorian Style homes.  The web address posted below will illustrate the product in its original format
These were the results of my first efforts which
And just because I couldn't see them behind all of the clutter on the stove,
I could still smell them! ><

 Starting the tile making process is exactly the same way as before, but I will outline what I did for those who (hopefully) didn't see it the first time around.  The photo above shows the top and the underside of the plastic "Tin Tile".  I am using the underside of it which is the longer piece. 

I decided to try the water-based Glass and Ceramic tile paint as a base which I let dry to the touch and followed it up with assorted acrylic paints and glazes.
This is the first coat of the water-based glass paint
I then added the next color of Sky Blue acrylic paint to the tiles applied onto a damp sponge and smoothed out.  My advise is to use small amounts of paint applied directly to the sponge, and then stipple it onto the surface.  

After the blue, I used brown gel stain.  These are watery paints that dry translucent.  They tend to mute most of what is underneath them and muddy the previous color.  If you let the blues dry to the touch, then brown stain will be more distinct.  If you apply it onto the wet acrylic then expect a muddy mix.

This is yet another brown added to the surface and each product was dabbed on with a damp sponge.
dab, dab, dab....

..... dab, dab, dab, .....

I used way too much brown and so I removed  some of it with a clean damp sponge
dab, dab, dab....
Triple Thick
When I was 
FINALLY done with dabbing, I pinned along the 3 outside edges of the tiles to keep them from sliding around.  
The paint was dry to touch, before
I poured on the Triple Thick and used a long stir stick to level and smooth the glaze evenly over the entire surface of the tiles.

You can see the difference that the Triple Thick makes.
For the tiles above, I allowed them to dry by themselves but for the green tiles pictured below, I tried to speed up the process with a blow dryer.
Here you can see the tiles with the Triple Thick smoothed out  over the surface and below are the tiles with the grout lines cleaned out.
At this point a check should be made for tiny air bubbles that may rise to the surface.  I used a pin to try and eliminate them. 

When I used the blow dryer on the surface of the tiles, I found that the groves did not dry as clear as the first set did.  It left the tiles more milky.  Some of that milkiness eventually disappeared but not all of it.
These green tiles are the ones that I decided to install.

Now I must say, that to me these do indeed, look like 
BUThave you noticed that you are able to actually SEE THEM!?
Yes indeed,

 I found a way to install a light that looked right for the space which gave my poor cook the opportunity to clearly see what she was  actually cooking...  no more guessing about what's in the pot?.

I installed new trim along the length of the tiles and why I chose blue, was because that was the color it was before which matched the utensil rack right above the tiles.  However, the blue was not the best choice with the green tiles which were now glued firmly into position.
rats! :((

So enter

By now, I was sick and tired of "Dab, Dab, Dabbing" not to mention that I had run out of all of the scrap plastic tiles; these four squares were all that was left.
It was enough.
I glued them over top of the green ones and put the stove back into the kitchen.


Now I can clearly see the tiles, the utensils, what's cooking on the stove, 
as well as
the basket of wild mushrooms that
The Amazing
Jane Smith of "Minifanaticus"
 made for me in a gift exchange we did, last year.
Thank you again, Ms. Jane, your work is Always

My Pretty, Pretty, Big Blue Tiles

at last

a very fuzzy photo is coming up next :(

And I am also happy about some other home improvements that are now a part of this kitchen which are also, 

a whole lot easier to see.
Here on the post, are Fatima's  Fabulous yellow onions hanging with her 

Fabulous Garlic Braid
both are compliments of

Fats made them in response to a personal challenge I gave her.  I thought that her garlic braid needed "a friend".  
Fats made "a friend" for both me and Janine.  
(see Janine's  onion friends which are on her latest "MINWORKS" blog posting)
Thank you to my super talented  and fellow Miniteer 

and a Happy Feb 13th Birthday to you!
"Love Love Love!" :D
In the background, against the window wall, is my new French- style Market basket, which I converted from a tall plain basket from my mini basket collection.  
I LOVE BASKETS! I made mine with wheels and a stand and used heavy gage florist's wire wrapped with quilling paper for  around the handle.  I filled it with groceries that are still waiting to be put away.
side note:
There is actually an incredible amount of Fresh Food Stuffs, in this tiny fridge-less kitchen.  To justify the over abundance, I decided that this homeowner regularly cooks for a friend that is currently house-bound.  She looks forward to delivering a home-made casserole meal once a week, which always includes a bit of a visit and a shared cup of tea.

Hmmmm?... I wonder what's on the menu for this week?
(groceries are mostly by me, except for the bottle of whiskey which I bought. ...  which is used for medicinal purposes only) 

 Every kitchen needs a clock and so my wall clock was made from a clock  faced button and a brass button cover support.  The two were glued together and then the brass was painted brown.  The teapot was purchased from the Seattle show last year and was made by Jason Feltrope, of Arkansas, who makes a wide assortment of excellent miniature pottery.   
The homemade jam is by me, following a tutorial found on Pinterest.
(I will add the link when I find it)
On the kitchen scale are a variety of cookie cutters.  The heart- shaped one is compliments of Jennifer of "Plushpussycat".
Thanks again Jennifer! :D
and the pot of fresh basil
which is my own creation
Thanks,.... "ME"! :))

Last summer, I was had the opportunity to purchase a few pieces
of Blue Willow Stokesayware
 through an on-line miniature show.
They are now   proudly featured on the plate rack along with those from my friend, Bettie Smith.
The sexy black nylons on the clothes line are a treasured gift, compliments of Linda Park, 

a Miniteer 
in the land down under.
 and as Fatima likes to say...
"Love, Love, Love!" :D

On the worktable is a knife block which I removed from a Hallmark Christmas ornament.  The lidded casserole is yet another 
Jason Feltrope pottery piece. 
The kitchen sink contains a bowl full of ripe, red tomatoes which I made from fake flower parts and glass paint.
Under the kitchen sink you can just make out the yellow washing up gloves, another wonderful gift from
the Very Creative hands of

Linda Park
Thanks again Linda  

 and good'day  to yah! :D
This currently is the finished right side of the cottage kitchen at #43
and it is literally

filled to the brim

And this is the now "finished" left side, with my 
new and improved
and of course, 

now you and I can see it All.

hip hip hooray!!!

 you know what they say,
"Go Big or Go Home"

 so I did both
I'm home


Thanks to the technical skills of my WONDERFUL DAUGHTER SAMANTHA; she was able to get my old comment section back to what it was, AND restore my Avatar,  however in reversing the format, your previously posted comments were automatically deleted. :(( I am VERY SORRY ABOUT THAT, however, I remember all of the nice things that each of you have said, and once again,