Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Special Gift

Hi everyone!

    It has been a long time since I wrote a blog post. I don't do much crafting these days - not enough to be writing blog posts about - but this is a very special occasion and is about a craft that I love dearly, so I couldn't resist revisiting my blog for a long overdue post.

    As many of you may already know, my mother-in-law owns a Dolls house Museum and she is always recruiting family and friends to make things. You can click on these links to see things I have made here and here. She mentioned to me that she would like to do a dolls house makers workshop. Dolls houses inside a dolls house. So I made some items for her birthday this year and we celebrated it today, and so I can now share the things with you.

    I really enjoy making items like this because I LOVE attention to very small details - so working in miniature appeals hugely. Also there are no rules, which is perfect for the creative mind! I like the guesswork and problem solving that comes with making something when there are no instructions. All I do is start with an image in my mind and then guess how I am going to make it, and I work out all the problems as I go. Sometimes it works and some things take forever to get right. It is all quite a journey and very very addictive!

I didn't get detailed instructions from my mother-in-law as to what she required. I just went ahead and made the items that I thought might help her construct a dolls house workshop. 

The best place to start is the structure of the houses...



These worked out fine and were very easy to do. I realised that ideally I needed to do several houses in various stages of work. So I left these ones as they were and went to work on others. And inevitably as is always my way of working...I get more and more adventurous each time. 

Can I do better?
Can I add a roof?
Can I add floors?
Can I make stairs?
Can I decorate the rooms?
Can I make furniture?


So by now I know that yes, I can make floors and yes, I can make a roof and I really hate making roof tiles!

Onto the next ones....can I do more?


Yes, tiny stairs are possible, each step individually cut from balsa wood and carefully glued together and a support wall attached.

But come on! It is hardly a challenge! It is only two floors after all!


That is a bit more like it! Scale is getting better now...smaller house, more floors, more rooms and of course this makes it trickier to make stairs (why do I love a challenge?) This house required lots of measuring, re-measuring, a further double checking of measurements, and also I decided it would look better to add a doorway which made the wall even more fragile to put in place.

Why don't I ever stick to easy?!!!

I put a £1 coin in the photo so you can see the scale...as you can see, the steps are very tiny! My eyes were hurting after this! Not the easiest thing to make - I had to work with the much hated superglue as I needed them to stick quickly. P.V.A takes time to dry and it is tough to work with at times like this. Getting the amount of glue right is very difficult - not enough and it won't stick and too much and the wood slides around. Superglue works better, but required much use of acetone to remove the yukky stuff that stuck to my hands no matter how carefully I tried to use it.

So, I had gone as far as I wanted with that house - that one can be in the workshop awaiting decoration! I wanted to experiment more and decided that decorating would be the next thing to attempt. I decided to make a three floor dolls house. I knew I couldn't decorate it once it was made because the rooms were really tiny. So I decided that perhaps it would be easier to decorate each room before the house was put together.

This meant I had to really plan this one...no going with the flow here! I selected all the paper and paint, drew plans, decorated a pile of balsa wood squares and then tried to follow the plan of where they go! Thank goodness for the very careful planning! It meant this actually was easier to do than I had thought it would be. I was really pleased it went together as easily as it did!



A lot of fun to make, but what else shall I do now? 

I thought it would be a nice idea to put together some bits and pieces for the dolls house workshop.


No dolls house workshop is complete without mess - so I decide to add some of the actual off-cuts from when I made these dolls houses! A nice touch of authenticity there!


A dolls house maker needs bundles of wood


And of course there needs to be paper to decorate walls, floors and roofs


A dolls house maker would have a box to put the rolls of paper in!


Material is needed for making furniture and other essentials for the house. I wrapped some material around strips of kraft paper and tied the bundle up with string so Gil can either have the bundle set up like that or she can arrange them around the workshop. I decided to do some cut outs of some of the material and glued around the edges so they don't fray - ideal for perhaps a changing workshop set up.


A dolls house maker would have blueprints, so I hunted online for some and printed them up....and of course, they would have paper already cut to fit walls and floors

Blueprints?...hmmm....lets just stop for a moment here and take a closer look at that...

Isn't that a gorgeous dolls house?



I wonder?......

I admit I am tempted.....

After all it would be fun....

To at least see.....

If I make this blueprint larger on a word doc. and then print it up, I could then use it as a template to cut out the balsa wood......Would that actually work?


Yes it did....


















 I was so pleased with this house which was a joy to make. Not all the pieces were totally accurate,  and so they had to be tweaked slightly, but that really just added to the fun....it just gave me a few little things that I had to think about and solve.

Was I done now?.....Well not quite.

I decided to make some furniture, because some dolls house makers make furniture too!.....

....and yes, as usual, I wanted to see if I could!


And as you all know, I do like a challenge!...and this certainly was.
 
I have not made dolls house items this small before. I didn't even know if it would be possible. I have previously made a dolls house scene for my mother-in-law as you can see here, but most of that was 1/12 scale or just slightly smaller. These items had to ultra-miniature...I am not even sure what scale they are!

Some things were easy. The stairs, by now, were relatively quick to make as I had sussed out the right and wrong ways of making them! The plant was very easy and rug was super simple.

The frames, chair and sink unit were nightmares!!!

And perhaps that is why they became my favorite pieces and the ones I was proudest of


The unit measures about 2cm and it was a complicated task to construct that very tiny sink that measures about 5 mm in length and is about 3mm deep. Trying to glue the tap in place was a long struggle. But I got there in the end!


The chair is another favourite of mine..I had so many disastrous failed attempts at this I lost count!  Each failed attempt just made me more determined to get it right. It is made from balsa wood that is only 1mm thick (thin!) and is soooo fragile. Cutting the pieces for this was so frustrating! A slight wrong cut with the craft knife meant it was ruined. Once this one was glued and painted I thought YAY!!! I finally have a chair!!!.

Then the ambitious ideas started again...it needs something....a cushion!....A piece of felt was cut out and because the piece was so small, the felt was surprisingly too thick and square edged for the chair. This then required very delicate trimming and shaping with a small pair of very sharp scissors and the finishing touch of embroidery thread glued to the edge.


These frames I am VERY proud of. Basically because they were hugely difficult to make - the 1mm balsa wood really doesn't like being cut into very small pieces! Large pieces are fragile, but fairly stable...very tiny 1mm strips can become as delicate as tissue. Just trying to pick them up will break them. Just gluing them into place can break them! It is also very difficult to measure and mark out such small items accurately on the wood - and working in this scale doesn't allow much room for mistakes! Eventually I figured out a technique that worked and I was so happy....

I am also proud of them because I actually painted all of those pictures. I painted these pictures ages ago and I had them as files on my computer. If you would like to see some of these paintings and others take a peek here . All of them were put onto a word doc. Then they were resized to very small sizes and printed. It was wonderful seeing them all finally framed, ready to join the collection and know that they are all my original paintings.


And there is the whole gift for my Mother-in-law ready for her birthday!

Happy Birthday Gil!!! I really hope that you have a lot of fun setting up the dolls house workshop for your Museum. I can't wait to see it!


Happy crafting!
Laura xxxxxx



Sunday, 28 August 2016

A Summer Rose

Hi everyone! 

I am back with another baby themed project. There is a bit of a baby boom around here and this time it is my best friend who has had a little girl. When my friend had her first child I made this for her.... So glad that this time the handmade gift for her child could be my favourite theme of vintage ribbons and roses! We visited today and we got to meet Imogen for the first time....

.....and so now I can show this gift here.


I made the frame with balsa wood. I stuck some metal corners on the frame and applied dots of Decoart Media Liquid Glass. I then applied some swirls with Glossy Accent glue. I had several really bad attempts to get the paint right...nothing looked 'right'.....Eventually Fresco paint in Almond worked. I then covered it with a mix of Raw Umber and White Antiquing cream which I applied and then wiped away with a damp cloth. This was sealed with a coat of Ultra Matte Decoart Media Varnish.


I used mainly printed patterned paper for this frame - from a vintage rose/lace themed paper pack. I really wanted this frame to be vintage faded rose colours - and the paper set had plenty of perfect pieces - it also included some pale green which looked wonderful...so the colour theme was set. 

Occasionally I added other pieces of card that had been dabbed with Tattered Rose DI. Here I used some pattered paper as the dusky rose background and the baby's name is written on card covered with Tattered Rose DI and then stamped with a script stamp in the same ink. A white paint pen was used to dab dots around the edge and pearl gems are used in the corners. A decorative flower was added to the last corner. 


I created a quartet of mini plaques using printed paper, chit chat stickers and metal charms - using the white paint pen to highlight areas.


I love this rhyme! So I picked a gorgeous section of the printed paper with beautiful roses and added the rhyme along with a fairy metal charm. She was holding a heart, but I stuck a pearl over it to tie in with the pearl details in the frame.


I love this pram charm...and I couldn't resist using this little tag that was part of a sheet of the printed paper. I found a music sheet in my card collection and had to use it. This baby's Mummy is an AMAZING singer!....so I wanted a tribute to her wonderful talent.


And of course there has to be a picture of the beautiful little girl. This was one of the first pictures the proud parents showed everyone....so it was chosen for this frame. I stuck it into a silver pendant and added a pearl and cream satin bow.


This section was one I did very little to. The heart was already part of the paper set so I cut that out and stuck it onto two pieces of patterned paper. I added the 'heirloom roses' strip (that was part of the printed paper) and added a chit chat sticker. I saw the word 'Love' on another sheet of paper and cut that out and stuck it on the heart. A simple pearl button was added to finish it off.


The baby's birth details....written on a piece of card that was covered with Tattered Rose DI. I cut a strip of rose coloured paper and added it to the bottom and top of the card, adding dots with a white paint pen and a bow of embroidery cotton.


I always love using this quote....I cut out two pieces of pattered paper to make the base of this section. I cut a heart from a sheet of card and embossed it. Then I painted it with Silver Decoart Media Paint followed by a tiny amount of Carbon Black Antiquing cream which was wiped away with a damp cloth when dry. To bring out a metallic gleam I lightly dabbed it with Pewter Treasure Gold...The tiny feet charm was glued on and I wrote the quote on tiny strips of card that had been 'aged' with Frayed Burlap DI


I used die cut flowers from the Tattered Florals set. I dabbed some Tattered Rose DI onto the craft mat and spritzed with water. I then dunked the flowers into the inky pool. When dry they were glued together and the center of the flowers was made by applying Decoart Liquid Glass followed by Rock Candy Distress Glitter. For the tiny white blossoms I used a die cut from the Susan's Garden range by Sizzix. I coloured them the same as the other flowers but used Antique Linen DI instead. When dry the centers were made from Liquid Pearls. 

The leaves were coloured with Shabby Shutters DI and edged with Frayed Burlap DI



And there is the finished frame....


I hope you enjoyed seeing this baby gift I made.....I really loved making it! I hope that Imogen will treasure it...I am certain her parents already do!

Happy crafting!

Laura xxxxxx


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Monday, 8 August 2016

Queen of the Heavens

Hi everyone!

Not many posts here from me lately - I am taking time over the summer to rest and make plans.

Blogging for now will be taking a back seat - but I will pop up occasionally when I have made something....and today is one of those times....

 Two very dear friends of ours have become first time parents (YAY!) and of course at times like this I really love to make a totally original, 'one of a kind' gift that is as unique as the newborn...


 Of course it is a frame - how I love making those!

Usually I make new born baby gifts in the standard pale pink and blues...but this little girl's Mummy is a huge fan of colour (You can see for yourself here - please take a peek at the hugely talented work she does with her friend. They own a company called hattie and flora )

If you did take a peek at the video link you will totally see why I have made this collage in the way I did! As much as it is a collage for Juno - it is also a tribute to her Mummy's love of colour and, while I can't copy what she does so brilliantly, this frame is also a tribute to her unique style. I definitely wanted it to be in tune with her love of vibrant colours...(she is also trained as a florist - so I just had to put some flowers in there too!!).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I chose a beautiful dusky pinky-peach plaid background for the collage and the first decoration I made was a picture of the beautiful little girl....Luckily I had access to FB pictures so could choose my favourite...


I cut out the photo and glued it into a silver pendant frame. I used some off-cuts from a previous project as the background...some stencil printing (I think) with distress inks. I added some paper lace, gems and a chit chat sticker.


The baby's name....Handwritten on a piece of card that had Worn Lipstick DI dabbed over, then stenciled, sprayed with water and then stamped with a text stamp....not very noticeable details - but just adding texture. I added little pearl gems to each corner.


The baby's birth details - On a piece of card I dabbed with Shabby Shutters DI and stamped with a text stamp using Peeled Paint DI. I then spritzed the card with water to make the colour more muted. I then finished it off by drawing faux stitching around the edge.

Now to fill in more of the baby collage frame....


One of my favorite baby quotes - used many times - but still perfect. The card was dabbed with Broken China DI and then some printed paper was cut into a heart shape. I wrote the quote across the card and added dots around the edge. A chit chat sticker was then added.


I had a metal embellishment of a baby hand print and wanted to use that. Using Wild Honey DI I covered the card and the spritzed with water before dabbing it with a tissue. A chit chat sticker was added.


 A final quote - which is so true!!! I wrote this quote on a piece of card that had been dabbed with Seedless Preserves DI and stamped with a fern stamp using Seedless Preserves DI. I added a swirl die cut here and had a small gap to fill in the collage....so I used a piece of card covered with Evergreen Bough DI and used a 'LOVE' metal embellishment.


The frame was made as usual from Balsa wood...1inch wide strips cut to size and glued in place. When dry I painted it with Decoart Burnt Umber paint. Then I covered it with a layer of Decoart Weathered Wood. Followed by a coat of Americana Decoart White acrylic paint. Then I applied two layers of Decoart Media Ultra Matte Varnish. I then glued it to the arrangement and added a mountboard back to make the frame sturdy.


Two holes were made in the top of the frame and a length of twine was pushed into them. A blob of strong glue was added and the screw brads were pressed into the holes and hammered in place.


 And now for the flowers...I made the pink flowers using the Tattered Florals Die cuts. Coloured by placing them into a puddle of Seedless Preserves DI made by smooshing the pad onto the mat and spritzing with a lot of water. When the flowers were still slightly damp I pressed them into shape with the end of a paintbrush then left them to dry - this way they keep the flower shape without having the creases that occur when trying to shape firm card.


The center of the flowers was made using Glossy Accents and sprinkling on my favourite glitter - Rock Candy Distress Glitter....such a beautiful effect


The tiny yellow blossoms are made using a die cut from the Susan's Garden range by Sizzix. I coloured them with a wash made from Wild Honey DI and water. I then added a tiny pearl bead to each flower center.


The blue flowers were made by cutting a strip of card and then cutting it into a fringe of tiny strips halfway down the card. This was then coloured with a wash of Shaded Lilac DI and the glue was applied to the base of the card and it was then rolled up. It is easiest to do this while the card is still slightly damp.

The leaves were cut from Tattered Florals Die cuts and the Susan's Garden set. They were coloured with Peeled Paint DI and dabbed with Frayed Burlap DI around the edges.


I added a few extra blossoms to the collage along with die cut swirls and a little button.


So there it is.....Juno's baby collage......I loved making it! 

It is a bit of a baby boom around here - so watch out a for a few more baby themed gifts being made!

Thanks so much for visiting!

Happy Crafting

Laura 
xxx




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