Thursday, 29 November 2018

Let there be LIGHT!!!

My marathon dining room makeover is finally coming to an end.  There are still some bits and pieces to finish off, followed by putting everything back in place, but all the heavy duty 'up-the-ladder' stuff is complete.

I can't do a reveal for the whole room yet, but I can show off the result of almost 4 weeks of hard work, transforming the chandelier.

Before I started it looked like this....

I had to strip all of the strings of crystals off, along with the only other bits which I could remove.

Candle cup holders, washed and drying.

Which left this.... horribly reminiscent of a large, black spider, especially when viewed from below! 

I had to carefully clean every part of it with a solution of Isopropyl Alcohol to remove 12 years of dust and grime, before giving it two coats of Gesso.

It took three weeks to string each individual crystal and prism onto silver connector rings....

.... a finger-numbing task which I only completed this week.

In the meantime I'd been painting the chandelier, with 2 coats of 9 different colours of pearlised paint.

If you ever feel the yen to do something similar, I have some really good advice for you.

Just. Don't.

Trust me, it's a nightmare.  There are close to 800 crystals, each of which has had two connecting rings painstakingly threaded through the holes to make individual strings.  The initial novelty of working with the lovely coloured glass crystals quickly wore off, as each jump ring connector had to be prised open with a blunt knife, to allow the end to slip into the holes.  This was, as our little Gigglefidget would say "a little bit tricky" and I endured many puncture wounds on various fingers in the process.

Of course, the inevitable mistakes of occasionally getting a colour out of sequence meant unstringing the incorrect crystals, which was even more difficult than stringing them.

Between spells of crystal stringing, painting the chandelier in situ entailed hours up a ladder, wielding a tiny paintbrush to pick out details.

So, take my advice and shell out for a new one.  You'll thank me in the long run.

Except of course, an off-the-shelf chandelier, at a cost of several hundred pounds, would not be completely unique.  So I can confidently assert that we have the only one in the world which looks like this.....

So despite all the blood, sweat and tears, I'm deliriously pleased with it and our previously bland, boring, uninspiring dining room is becoming a space which makes my heart sing.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

I've got a little list.....

Once again I fall foul of an otherwise damn fine plan.

For some insane reason, I seem to think that I can do all the stuff I used to be able to do, pre-MS, in the same amount of time.

Back in my heyday I could tackle re-decorating a room completely on my own, and have it done and dusted in a few days, working 8 hours at a stretch with little or no ill effects other than the odd achey muscles.

These days it's a completely different story.  I'm allowing a full 10 days to redecorate our small dining room and even then it will be a close run thing.  However deadlines are there for a reason, and without a looming one I may possibly procrastinate (perish the thought!) and the job will spread out like a miasma.

Mind you, it already has.  I've had to empty loads of stuff out of the room and because I can't put much in the workroom, a lot of it is currently cluttering up the sitting room instead.

This is A Bad Thing, inasmuch as it is no longer possible to relax in a room which looks like one of the worse episodes of The Hoarder Next Door.

However, it is also A Good Thing, in that I'm motivated to get on with the job in hand with absolutely no not much shilly-shallying.

The chandelier makeover I posted about recently is well in hand, and just needs a few sessions of paint touch ups.  I've spent many, many hours over recent weeks, painstakingly stringing over 600 individual crystals onto silver connecting rings with the aid of a blunt knife.  I have the blisters to prove it.  Suffice to say, I won't ever be doing THAT again!

Inevitably, plans for the makeover have morphed from a simple paint job, with a series of simple wallpaper panels, to a rather more complex project, thanks to PP finding 3 rolls of a really lovely wallpaper on FB marketplace, just a 10 minute drive away.  From them appearing on FB to us going to collect them was around 30 minutes.. possibly the quickest completed Marketplace transaction in the history of ever.

So now we're doing a feature wall.  

But.  The wall in question has a slightly textured finish, so I'm having to use lining paper first, to provide a smooth surface for the lovely wallpaper, which will add another two full days to the task.... one to hang the paper, and a further 24 hours to allow it to dry thoroughly.

I've written myself a little schedule for the coming week.  Try not to laugh.

Sunday (tomorrow - Hang lining paper.  A professional could probably do it in a few hours, but I'll need frequent rest breaks.  The good news is it doesn't need matched up, and I can patch in the tricky bits (radiator, pipes, electric sockets etc)

Monday - While the lining paper is drying out, first coat of paint on three walls.  This shouldn't be too bad, one wall is mostly window, another is mostly double doors, and the third is mostly door/window.

Tuesday -  Hang lovely wallpaper.  This will take time as it has to be carefully matched, carefully handled, and I will have to take extra time to negotiate the aforementioned tricky bits.  I don't anticipate completing the wall in one day.

Wednesday - Complete hanging lovely wallpaper.  

Thursday - Second paint coat on three walls

Thereafter, it's finishing off the chandelier and installing the 24 strings of crystals, then replacing the furniture, hanging curtains, and adding the final decorative touches.

I'm tentatively hopeful that by the end of next weekend it will be finished and I can do the big reveal.

Anyway... here's the current state of play

What could possibly go wrong...?

Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Mignonette Presentation Box - Complete Kit

Further rummaging in my workroom today has revealed a few wooden boxes and assorted elements remaining from this workshop pack, back in 2015.  I have enough to make up just 4 kits in shades of pink.

The workshop pack contains all the materials to make a Mignonette Doll Presentation Box, fully decorated and complete with contents.  This box harks back to the heyday of French dollmaking in the 1890s when beautifully decorated presentation boxes filled with a doll, costumes and accessories, were on the wish list of every little girl.

The box is wooden and will be finished with specially printed papers both inside and out, along with precision cut decorative paper strips. It also has decorative 'vintage angel' feet and box clasps.

Use small scale vintage-style papers and embellishments to decorate the box inside and out

Inside the box are two silk covered pads, which can easily be removed
 The jointed porcelain doll measures 1  3/4" tall and is dressed in an elaborately trimmed fitted silk costume in the Jumeau style.

Dressed in fine hairstripe silk, she has silk and lace underwear, and dainty silk shoes with leather soles.

Attached to her sleeve, a vintage Parisian doll label

Ringlet curls wig and silk toque bonnet

She also looks pretty from the back!

Her costumes and accessories include:
  • 3 different styles of silk dresses on hangers, each with matching bonnet
  • Set of tiny laser cut metal accessories in either gold or silver - jewellery (necklace, bracelet, brooch, tiny tiara, brush, comb, mirror, decorative hair combs, picture frame, all designed and created specially for this pack.
  • Tiny posy of silk flowers
  • Beautiful printed fan
  • Eiffel Tower silver charm

This heirloom box would make a wonderful gift (or self-gift!) for any miniaturist or small doll collector.

Everything is provided to complete the box and contents as shown, plus comprehensive illustrated step-by-step instructions supplied as a PDF file to cut down the cost of shipping. 

The cost of this Home Workshop Pack is £95 and includes the box and ALL the materials you need to complete this project as shown. Shipping is extra.

As I will be making the packs to order, a deposit of £25 is required, with the balance payable prior to dispatch of the pack.

Alternatively, I can offer a layaway option, with the balance split into two further monthly payments (deposit, plus two payments to include shipping)

To reserve your workshop pack, please visit the website HERE!

As always, if you have any questions, do please contact me and I'll do my best to help. 

Monday, 5 November 2018

Inspirational Toy Dolls - Rose

Way back in July I posted about starting to make a series of toy dolls based on inspirational images of antique dolls I'd found on the internet and pinned to my Inspirational Toy Dolls Pinterest board.

Since then I've been having the best fun ever, working on some rather lovely little dolls, of which Rose is the first.

While scrolling through the images, this one caught my eye as I remembered that somewhere in my stash of beautiful silk ribbons and trims, I have a few inches of embroidered silk ribbon with pale pink and green ombre shading, just like the one on the original doll and I was off......

Completely handmade, she is all-bisque and has jointed arms and legs.  Her facial features have been china painted and fired several times.   Also, during the summer, following an epiphany,  I engineered an ingenious new method to replicate the shimmering iridescence of domed glass paperweight eyes.

I decided to give her a hairstripe silk jacket, which has the same colours as the dress.  To add interest I made the tiny gold/crystal buttons down the front of the bodice.  

Suitable as a doll for a 1/12th scale doll's house child, she is also perfect as a 1/24th scale child.  

As a finishing touch she has a tiny Paris card stitched to her sleeve.  I've designed a completely new, bespoke box, in pink to match her costume, with an illustrated lid.  For shipping, in the box, she will be nestled in tissue paper.

She will also be accompanied by a signed certificate of authenticity.

One of a kind, she is unique and will not be repeated.... especially as I don't have any more of the lovely ombre silk ribbon.

She is the first of my Inspirational Toy Dolls to be offered for sale and she is now available on the website HERE.

More dolls inspired by my Pinterest board will be coming in the following weeks, but if you can't wait, or want me to make one specially for you, feel free to browse the images HERE then contact me to discuss your requirements.  

Happy days........  😊