Friday, July 25, 2014

In the (mini) Studio

Hello Everyone,

I really enjoyed our "little" kitchen party last week and I hope you all did too. It was a nice for me to get out of the studio for a while, but all good things must come to an end and I must get back to work, working-up workshops :-} Since I am going to be spending time in my RL studio, I thought you might like to see the studio in Seneca Cottage…

When I was decorating the house, I had no clue as to what this room would be because, being situated above the dining room (see previous post), it is just as narrow and "squidgy" with the added decorating nightmare of a steeply pitched ceiling. I kept the decor as simple as possible, just adding a strip of "border paper" (actually a strip cut from a full scale wallpaper sample that I found in my wonderful wallpaper sample book). I hoped it might become a guest bedroom and tried a bed for size, but it swamped the room, so what to do? Time for a Big Think and a cup of tea…Remembering that I  had some artists' paraphernalia in my collection, it dawned on me that this was a wonderful opportunity to put them on display. A cheap sideboard and stool were made to look suitably grungy, then I added all the artists' materials I had in my stash. I plonked a seriously peculiar-looking carpet on the floor and added an easel displaying a picture of the Lone Cypress, which I painted (in memory of a friend of ours who, before her death, painted the same scene for us in real life scale). An artist's portfolio propped against the wall, plus a few frames and "canvases" were the last things to be added before the mini studio was complete. I don't think the "owners" of Seneca Cottage miss the guest bedroom at all :-)

Back in the big studio, I am really looking forward to taking a break from designing workshops. I have been at it since May! I have nearly finished the samples for the two Gathering workshops and will be sending off the pics and info early next week. I am sorry, I won't be able give you a "sneak peek" of these: the Big Reveal will be on the Canadian Miniatures Gathering website in September. I promise to post a link ;-)

Well, it is back to recreating Venetian carnival masks for me…

Next Time: Relaxing in the living room and taking a nap!

Monday, July 21, 2014

A Piece of Cake

Hello again! I have just popped into the kitchen for a small splash of wine and I am delighted to see how many of my friends and followers have decided to drop in. Thank you all so much, it is lovely to see you :-) If anyone fancies something sweet, there is cake in the dining room…

It is a bit of a squeeze: the room is very narrow. I had a hard time finding furniture for it. At the time, a Canadian company called the Daisy House was producing wonderful kits and their Harvest Table and Harvest Benches just fit without looking too cramped. The benches seat four and the table has enough room for a nice display of "china"…

Glass in hand, I must get back to the studio but, in the meantime, help yourselves to a slice of Jacey Culham's luscious-looking carrot cake :-)

Next Time: A tour upstairs…

Friday, July 18, 2014

Come into the Kitchen…

Having had a busy week, I am ready for a relaxing weekend at the cottage and I hope that you will join me in the kitchen for a cup of tea (or perhaps something a little stronger).

I love this room…it is my attempt to create a "champagne taste" kitchen on a  "beer budget". My inspiration came after looking at, and drooling over, pictures of fabulous kitchen roomboxes created by the extraordinarily talented team of Ray Whitledge and Scott Burgess. The result is nothing of that caliber, not as detailed, nor as classy, but I am still pleased with how it turned out. Especially, since I bought the cabinets, the fridge and stove when the house was still a boxed kit on a shelf in the cupboard under the stairs!

The cupboards and "appliances" were purchased when the local dollhouse shop was closing. The selection was limited (but bargain priced!), so I bought in a panic and crossed my fingers that it all would fit. After trying many arrangements, I got everything to fit and look as though the space would be workable :-) Originally, everything, except for the veggie storage cupboard, was painted that shiny, sort of nasty, factory-finish white. It had to go, so I painted all the cabinetry with Ceramcoat acrylic paint.  The "marble" countertops were created from heavy cardstock covered with marble-patterned wallpaper from a wallpaper sample book that I had in my stash. To give my cottagers a top-of-the-line kitchen range, I gave the stove a make-over; covering the shiny white paint with brushed silver cardstock, adding polymer clay knobs and making the "cooktop" (hob) from plastic needlework canvas painted black. The "range hood" was made from copper-coloured cardstock and miniature crown molding scraps. I also covered the fridge/freezer with the brushed silver cardstock too.

I tried to give the kitchen a well-used, well-loved look. Every cupboard and drawer has "stuff" in it and the counter-tops are "busy". On the centre island, there are blueberries in a dish and a pint box of strawberries by my friend, Jacey Culham, who is a very talented Canadian miniature artisan, specializing in polymer clay food. 

As well as filling the cupboards and drawers, I had great fun cramming the fridge/freezer with foods. I am still looking for food favourites (none of them healthy!) to pop inside.

Well, I think it is time that we had a little snack and a small libation :-) We have red and white wine, a selection of cheeses and crackers and, for my Sweetie, a plate of salmon sandwiches that our friend, Martha, brought for us to enjoy. There is even kibble and water for the resident cat "Dorien", who was created by Karl Blindheim, another wonderfully talented Canadian artist.

I hope you have enjoyed the visit. 

Thanks for dropping by and, thank you to all of you that have taken time to follow my miniature ramblings and to comment. I am sorry that I haven't had the time to reply to your comments individually or to keep up with your blogs…I am under the workshop gun, again! This time, I am in the midst of designing and making the samples for the two workshops that I will be teaching at the Canadian Miniatures Gathering next April. I know that it sounds a long way away, but the samples must be finished by the beginning August to be ready for the Gathering website in September…so, it is back to the studio for me :-}

Next Time: Cake in the dining room and a look upstairs.

Kitchen Update:

Firstly, I must apologize to Martha McLean for neglecting to mention that the jar of flowers on top of the veggie bin are by her. Sorry, Martha! 

I also forgot to mention that all of the wall treatments in the kitchen are done with full scale (life size) wall paper. The paper above the chair rail used two pages from a wallpaper sample book. The pattern was identical, but there was a slight colour difference, so I was careful to apply the paper so that the difference wasn't obvious to the viewer. I know where the paper changes, but I am not telling! The paper below the chair rail and the "border" paper just below the ceiling are strips cut from a roll of life size wallpaper with a pattern of vertical stripes of different widths. Vertically, the scale was ridiculous, but horizontally, the strips look perfectly in scale :-)