Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Bit of a breather

I currently have a lot of RL commitments to various things so I didn't want to get stuck into adding the many window frames which I've decided to do but, now I am back in the game, I find I am itching to get back to the house.  When I have some moments (in the evening) I am trawling the web for ideas and some occasional shopping.  I have also been through my stash in hopes of finding any very quick projects to crack off when I have the odd half hour here and there in the day to play.


I was disappointed with my Jim Coates Trumau mirror from the States (for me an expensive buy).  The idea was to match the one I already have in the hall.  This is a completely different colour - I realise it is likely to be slightly different from a different batch of paint but this one is waaaayyy off.  I am very wary of having to repaint both of them to make them match as they are fairly complicated when it comes to a repaint.  Additionally the moulding seems to be bordering on 'crude' - its partner is nicely done, hence my original and subsequent investment.

For four years, now and then, I have been searching for a House of Miniatures Hunt-board to match the one I made back in 2017  One extremely kind mini contact sold me one of hers and the very same day that it was mailed I came across one in  Hobby's   Most annoyingly, it had probably been lurking there all the time I was looking elsewhere.  Being me, I decided on belt and braces and now have the two of them.  If I make a mess of making one I do have a fall back position.  This photo shows my 2017 make and one of the proposed ones.

I love, love, love this.  One of Elizabeth's super-dooper creations from Elf Miniatures.  I bet you are all looking and (a) wondering what the heck it is and (b) why is she so excited.  Well, it is a pan rack which I love in its own right but the plus for me is I had a single miserable looking open shelf (over the sink area) between my cupboards in my student's kitchen and I kept putting this and that object on it and each time deciding it was too boring to stay.  I actually risked being able to get this in the space but committed to it before its arrival by gently tugging out the offending shelf.  It is such an exact fit it will almost stay in place without glue.   I even have the set of pans to go on it.

The bundle beside the rack holds modern door handles - I will show you where they are going when I get to that task.

Mmmm, yet another disappointing expensive purchase.  I paid £30 plus postage for this as it was the exact mirror I wanted for a particular place.  When the desire for a Girondole mirror arose I couldn't for the life of me remember where I had seen one of them - years ago!  So I was pleased when I fell across one via Etsy.  I spent some time talking myself up into another extravagance but bit the bullet and off went my pounds and back came this broken and bent version of the Girondole mirror I craved.  I am leaving the 'repairs' for now and just hoping it will be OK after a bit of glue and gentle reshaping.  To add insult to injury I have, of course, since remembered that this very mirror is sold by Pheonix Model developments in a (very easy) kit form and I could have had that for £12.60 with less postage and the same amount of assembly (of not bent pieces) plus a little paint.

I also bought some silk fabric for curtains  to match a Brodnax wallpaper which turned out to be absolutely not a match and managed to look like someone had been smoking in the house for the last thirty years.  My sitting room wallpaper is an almost white background to pale pink cherry blossom and pale green leaves.  The silk arrived with a cream/beigy background and very undefined pattern of flowers and branches.  Most decidedly not the vendor's fault, just a rubbish product.  I am hoping some of it might make cushions as my chairs are a cream silk.  Again, fair warning if you are using Brodnax wallpaper.

This fabric shown below is from Les Chinoiseries and is a perfect match for their wallpaper.  I also got a lovely little free bonus included which unfortunately I can't use as this fabric is for the library and I only have one chair int there which doesn't need a cushion.  There is printed fabric for four different pattern cushions with plain matching backs.  It is a nice weight cotton and will work well.  If anyone can use them please let me know and I am happy to post them to you.

Mini makes

My first little make was a great kit by Jane Harrop.  A shopping basket.  One of the things I love about Jane's meticulous work is her spot-on scale and this was no exception.  There are gorgeous baskets out there in mini world at a price but the budget end of basketry that I have found is a bit clunky.  I have made some quarter scale baskets using a fine hessian and they looked good but I hadn't attempted anything for 1/12ths.

This is a simple matter of weaving some beautifully cut paper strips presented in a way to help you manage them accurately and easily.  I honestly loved doing it and considered mass production on this one.  The kit had extras in case of any mishaps and easily made two lovely baskets.  I love them and wish I could think of reasons for having more.  Don't be put off by the idea of them being 'just paper'.

By now I was on a roll - what else would be quick to do - a kit from The Craft pack Company

First things first I needed to find all my other Christmas decorations to see what I might want to put with what.  This entailed clearing out the bogey hole under the stairs in Dalton House.

You can't see the poor light fitting in real life as you can't get your head through the doorway; unlike the camera.  Mental note - when fitting a light in a deep, dark cupboard make sure it has some oomph!  This is a bogey hole I would decidedly not go in.

The decorations were duly made and packed away with the other Christmas stuff.  I decided the bogey hole would only have a ton of Christmas decorations in it.  This is a big house and it needs a Christmas decoration cupboard.😏

In clearing out the (now) Christmas cupboard other things were unearthed.  

Ah, those blessed chairs.  I made them from a couple of House of Miniatures kits and their first incarnation was a mahogany finish which I thought looked poor.  They hung around for a good long while and then acquired what was to be a shabby chic cream finish.  Decidedly shabby and not at all chic.  I was going to just add them to someone's parcel of goodies but am too ashamed of their awfulness.

How about I paint them gold for the music room?

Done.... and they looked even more dreadful - completely patchy all over and another thick gloopy layer of paint.  Perhaps I would I like them better the next day?

New day and the dried paint still looked dreadful; out came the Super Hero of my kit....

Wonderful, wonderful gold leaf Krylon pen went on like silk and covered every blemish.  The 'ugly' now is the gazillion layers of paint, which is never a good look.  Why oh why didn't the god of minis give me that fabulous solution when they were bare wood?

Not content with almost bringing four scabby chairs back into the world with some paint, it was time to find fabric for the seats.  One huge box of fabrics later and the only one I liked for the chairs was already on four chairs in the dining room.  That's OK I was thinking of recovering those any way.

It was not so OK when I discovered that whoever had made them had used heaven knows what glue and a gallon of it.  I pulled and prised and tore it off the chair and then discovered I would have to cut most of it away to remove the stiff unyielding glue covered pieces. I was left with only a few threads to roll over the edges of my gold chair seats.  It is a very close call and I haven't done all four yet but I am now sort of committed.  I have also dislodged a chair leg in the process so far.

Apologies for the hideous finish but, after such a hellish birth, they have become the screaming baby that I love.  They can be 'got away with' as they are only glimpsed in amongst the other furniture.


  1. I can feel your acute disappointment regarding the 2 mirrors. The non-matching Trumeau mirror must have hurt the worst because it came the longest distance and having it match was crucial.
    The bent arms of the Girandole mirror made me feel sad for you, but after seeing it in the Phoenix kit form I think that I would have been kicking my own behind too!
    You did however have some Decisive Wins in your lovely woven baskets, the streamlined Elf Pot Rack and the ideal Christmas Storage 'bogey hole' packed with mini Christmas stuff. So all's well that ends well
    BUT before I go-
    I must add that I got the biggest smile from your self-described 'scabby chairs' and your eloquent final words
    "after such a hellish birth, they have become the screaming baby that I love!"
    What a word picture!

    Marilyn, you Positively SLAY ME!!! :D

    1. Thanks Elizabeth for understanding my pain. It was made worse by having three expensive spends, all very close to each other, costing me three times more than I needed to spend and all not tip-top quality. As you say, move on and enjoy the nice things. Off to get buried in various RL (nice) things for a couple of weeks but hope to get back to the house straight away after that.

  2. It is difficult to have a much looked forward to miniature arrive and find that it is not at all the match that you hoped for...very disappointing indeed! I can relate but luckily was able to find new people to love what I didn't! Would it be possible to order a second new mirror that matches and sell the original one? Love the way your 'scabby' chairs turned out and I must agree with Elizabeth when she says you paint a word picture that is spot on. Glad you had much success with the basket, the pot rack and all the items for the Christmas storage cupboard...we must make the effort to enjoy our successes much more than moan over the failures (which we all have had) in our pursuit of the miniature hobby. Cheers, Alayne

    1. Hi Alayne, Yes, that's probably a good life lesson - focus on the positives. I put the Trumau mirror up in the hall and I suspect it is perfectly acceptable really to anyone other than Mrs Picky. Taking a very small break right now as am being hurled into parties and visitors for the next couple of weeks.

  3. The mirror is a disappointment that will sting for a bit, but I'll bet you'll find an even better solution! I am still shocked (but shouldn't be) at the condition of some of the things retailers send out. Really?!?
    You had a lot of patience with those chairs and in the end they came out great! I am excited to see the rack in the kitchen - it looks so sleek! Neat baskets and great idea for the Christmas storage in the basement! Now you have a place to store all those bad miniatures that seem to find their way to us at the worst moments!

    1. With the mirror either she sent it knowingly flawed or it was squished in transit as all she did was wrap in a bit of bubble wrap and stick in an envelope. Either way it was shoddy selling. I didn't name her because I have never used her before so I can't say this wasn't just a one off for her so I'll give her the benefit of the doubt.. I think 'great' for the chairs is kind on your part but they sort of got to me and I was determined to use them. I do love a bogey hole. 🥳

  4. How disappointing to have received the "sad" mirror from such a good seller too. I felt your disappointment (and the thought of the postage costs - but you know how I feel about that!). You must have felt it was adding insult to injury to receive the squashed mirror but I'm pleased that you added the Phoenix link as I may need to order a similar mirror myself some time in the future! Loving the little baskets and such a nice wee project to do to make up for any disappointments. The Christmas decorations must have given you great satisfaction too - a fine addition to the bogey hole.

    1. Thanks Irene. That's the best of mini folk they 'get' the disappointment over a meaningless toy. 😊 It was like a Greek tragedy in this house for a couple of days. You are right in that weaving baskets for hours was very soothing. I suspect it supports the Victorian theory of giving 'lunatics' raffia for a calming occupation. See old remedies do work. The mirror is really very pretty and nicely detailed as is most of Pheonix stuff so you will definitely love it if you go down that path.

  5. I swear sometimes that's just how things go and it's so aggravating especially given the money invested. I think that's part of why making things yourself can be so satisfying.

    1. You are absolutely right Sheila. I haven't been confident enough to make much from scratch but I do like making up kits and that keeps the costs down (sometimes). I like the occasional splurge on something I absolutely want and there would be no way to do it yourself, like these three particular items so as you say a tad aggravating. Onwards and upwards. Well, I will when my visitors clear off in about ten days time.🤚

  6. I hate when quality goes downhill over time - maybe a manufacturer takes over a line and can't produce at the same level. :\ I love the basket especially - something very satisfying about its clean lines and soft color. :] Let's hope your pesky obligations give way to more mini time soon! :D

    1. Yes, I wondered if Jim Coates was still Jim Coates - couldn't find anything on the web about it. His stuff was lovely whereas this is decidedly bordering on clunkyville. I too liked the simplicity of the little baskets - cheating a bit using paper but when filled they will really do the job. Coming up for air and thinking about cracking on getting the dormer windows absolutely finished so I can get the roof piece re-attached.


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