Sunday, December 30, 2012

Walled Garden

So begins another challenge.  The garden needed to be laid out, and decisions be made about how this little garden would be used. I wanted to indicate a space for relaxing, flower and vegetable  gardens, utility area, paths and peek a boo views through gates and walls.

A centre circle for a fountain feature perhaps? Path edges built with stucco covered cardboard, textured and painted. Underpaint is where the gravel will be glued. I have already increased the amount of gravel as I was a bit daunted by producing foliage for the larger areas.

Gravel coloured and glued to board.

The stone-look walls were built using blocks cut from 1/2"/15 mm. acoustic ceiling tiles. I did one large section cutting them with a mat knife which took a long time but failed to keep the edges straight. Very discouraging.  Bruce thought we may be able to use the table saw to cut it.  Success and it only took a few minutes.
 I painted the blocks with colour appropriate latex paint then textured some of them with a wire brush and sealed them with acrylic matte paint.  I was worried that the drywall mortar would get into the layers of paper.
Bruce mortared  a section with drywall mortar but found some bricks were not stable. We needed to apply mortar or spacers to get some definition between each brick to show the mortar - otherwise they seemed too closely packed. I did consider rendering the bricks to give a finish similiar to the exerior of my mini house but wanted a different look for the walled courtyard. I'll save that technique for another time. Once the bricks were set with a combo of white glue/drywall mortar I scraped the mortar out in part to give more dimension to the stone-look slabs.

Gates looking satisfactorily rusty.

Birds-eye view of space taking shape.

Bruce, supportive husband and side-kick extraordinaire fabricated the two gates. He used solid brass wire stapled to a piece of plywood to hold the wire in place while he soldered them together. The centre is a decorative medallion.  He painted and used fine sand to texture and give a rusted appearance to the gates.

Here you see the staples holding the wire. Bruce says if you are soldering, the rod needs to be secure to prevent the heated rod from releasing the adjacent soldered joint. If you prestaple the whole frame it allows you to position each rod before soldering.
Perhaps a few brass beds are in our future!

Now I have come this far I had to play a little!  Garden tools, pots, seed packets and row markers in a basket. Ball of string in a clay pot and window box for the window sill. Already the space seems smaller.

Cushions and tray by Elizabeth. Lucky me! You can visit her blog by clicking the link:

Leather diary and lavender plant in thimble pot made by J. The steamer chair was a Christmas decoration from the Restoration Hardware store a few years ago.

Soon to follow - experiments in landscaping. Thank you for visiting.

Regards Janine

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Merry Merry, Christmas is not over yet!

Seasons Greetings All, I know everyones attention is turning to the New Year but I wanted to add my best wishes to those of other bloggers in our mini world.

My friend Elizabeth has just begun posting and can be found at

Some of you know that she is an avid mini maker and over the past twenty years has given me so much encouragement, inspiration and actual stuff that I mention her input regularly.

Our mutual friend Fatima visited to help celebrate Elizabeth's birthday last month. It was a wonderful visit and serious miniature discussions were underway until we reluctantly parted to return to our real lives.

Elizabeth never "passes go" until she has left small treasures for my house.  I don't always have to bribe her with chocolate moose cake but it certainly does not do any harm!

Lemon tart  - it looks temptingly edible, the pastry is fantastic! Everything perfect!

 Little Eiffel Tower bauble display, white Christmas tree with snowball meringue and lemon tart.

So Merry Merry everyone.

warmest regards Janine

Oh, I have been working on the courtyard garden .... will post very soon. J.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Empire Room:

The Empire room took inspiration from the print of Josephine on the mantle and the print of Napoleon above the bed. I wanted a strong tone in the room that would contrast with the bedroom that is across the landing on the opposite side of the house. I call it the Bird Room as the wallpaper shows a prominent blue bird.

This photo shows the bare bones of the room that measures 12"x21" (31x53cm). The herringbone flooring is made from plain strip wood flooring, cut into strips and reconfigured.

I painted heavy watercolour paper then glued it into place for the wall paper. Of course I had to add gold painted base board and molding.

To divide the room I painted two decorative cake supports with black enamel spray paint and highlighted the detailing with gold paint. I added painted blocks of wood on the top and bottom of the columns to make them fit the height of the room.

I had originally made and tried two coronet styles to hold the bed curtains at the ceiling. Both took up too much space and blocked the through view so I simply lined two walls with the curtains on gold rods.

I do not have a pleater but used pins and a piece of dowel to shape the pleats on dense camping foam, then sprayed it with hair spray to fix the shape.  The rods are bamboo skewers painted gold (of course) and supported with earring backs.

The mahogany-look wooden sleigh bed was enhanced with jewellery findings.

You have seen the desk before but the lamps were wired into the wall so this is their first appearance. Behind the bed is another cake-column that has been marbleized and will be used as a side table at the end of the bed.

Above Bruce is double checking that the art work is straight! Green tape holds them on the wall while the glue dries. The bed is not made yet but the side table is dressed with a French-style clock (made by my friend Elizabeth), a couple of small photos and a curvaceous black lamp. On the right of the photo is a clamp applying pressure to the hearth for the fireplace. I made it from plaster of Paris. Bruce approved the print placement so I can continue!

Oh dear, a bit of rewiring as the bulb blew when the wiring was pulled out when our two-year-old grandson wanted to have a closer look. I do love that he is interested. However we are still looking for a tiny racing car he borrowed from the children's room.

The bed has been made, the cushions plumped, the prints declared glued and chairs placed on the rug.  The butler's tray displays one of Elizabeth's trays shown in detail in an earlier post. Sheets are made from a fine, very old handkerchief with tiny edging. Large European shams match drapes, a tiny heavily-embroidered cushion is tucked under a striped silk cushion that matches the round bolster at the end of the bed. A bee cushion taken from a section of upholstery fabric reinforces the Napoleonic  theme.

Close up of the bed area - more Napoleonic prints behind the lamp and on the floor. I feel that despite the masculine prints it is still a feminine room. I hope I have achieved that in any case.

Evening has come and the lighting enhances the atmosphere. Will that lazy girl not take her tray downstairs!

Josephine above the mantle - soon to have more trim. Napoleon figurine at her feet and the screen helps to divide the room.

Bespaq cupboard stained mahogany, edged in black with gold trim. The battle of the Nile on the cupboard doors. Egyptian mummy head from a necklace placed in the centre above the cupboard.

On the opposite wall mahogany stained bombe set of drawers, ivory bead vanity set and a candlestick lamp.

Extra trim on the fireplace surround to give it more weight, crystal bead candlestick, flowers in thimble urn with bee symbol. The figurine has been promoted from the hearth to the mantle.

Now Cleo the cat has appeared and a summer dress..... is it from the Dior bag below?

Late afternoon shadows lengthen. I love the light through the pale blue dress.

That was quite a day of shopping!  T. turquoise and silver necklace and earrings, V. scarf (thank you to the thrift store for lovely silk ties), Louis V. purse peeking out from packaging, H.  box with leather H. belt , interesting things still to be unpacked from the H. bag on the floor. Coco perfume in the C. bag.
Oh! my poor feet, so happy to kick off my shoes. I'm downstairs, barefoot, delivering the bag of Godiva chocolates I bought for the family. Everything else is for lucky me!

A close up of my lovely embroidered-lawn cotton dress - such a soft blue!

Night is falling.

I must be drifting off to sleep, I feel as if I may be floating on the ceiling.

Good Night All.  Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shopping is Exhausting!

Tonight I am just too tired to post more than this one photo. Tomorrow I will share the Empire Room with you.
Regards to all.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Garden Extension:

Greetings all. Posting tonight as tomorrow I escape for the day to drive to the Seattle Miniature Show.

I wanted to "show and tell" about how my husband resolved my problem of a desired extension for the garden courtyard of my mini house.

My house is quite large. In fact if I make it any wider or longer it will not be able to be taken down the stairs. I felt that it would not be complete without a small parterre off the kitchen.

Bruce built a new platform to support the house and on the kitchen side made slides that could be extended to support a matching form to fit flush with the support platform.

I will be able to landscape this form and slide it into place but it will be readily removed if and when I want to take it downstairs or out of the house.

I am very pleased with his work and show it proudly with the idea that it may help others that have the same dilemma.

I hope that the photos explain, if not, just drop me a line and I will expand.

Regards to all.

Garden platform on the fully-extended slides - kitchen in view.
Platform that supports the house.
Close up of the slot where the slides can be pulled out.
Slides pulled out partway.
Slides fully extended.
Platform dropped onto the slides partway.
Underside of platform.
Garden platform in position.