Friday, December 31, 2010

Anatolian Transylvanian carpet done!

I finished the carpet for the WAM bedroom two days ago, and it's just waiting for me to finish off the edges :)  I'm so glad to have it done, and I'm really happy with it.

I've been working on the Blue and White Room -- I've got the fireplace wall almost done, but no pictures yet.

And I've chosen my next needlework project:  I want to make a cushion for this beautiful chair by John Ottewill, so I've made a little paper pattern and now I need to design and stitch the thing :)

I wish you all a very good New Year's Eve, and a Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

William Morris-inspired footstool needlepoint chart

Happy Boxing Day (which is what we call the day after Christmas)!

I hope for those of you who celebrate Christmas that you're having a wonderful holiday season!

In my Mum's stocking yesterday were a number of dolls house miniatures for her Edwardian roombox.  One of them was this little mahogany footstool (made from a McQueenie's Miniatures kit), which I covered with a piece of original needlepoint.

I wanted to use Janet Granger's Tree of Life needlepoint footstool kit, but forgot to order it in time, so I made this pattern up, based on a William Morris design.

I ran out of time to stitch the extra ecru background to properly cover the stool, so I tea-dyed the white fabric around the edge so it wouldn't be so noticeable :)

This was stitched on 32 count canvas, but would look even better on 40 ct silk gauze, I think.  Still, it's the smallest scale bit of needlepoint I've produced to date, and I was very glad to give it to my Mum :)

As a belated Christmas present, here's the chart for this.  As always, please feel free to make it for your own use or to give as a gift, just not for commercial use (without asking me first) :)

Download the .pdf file for the William Morris-inspired footstool needlepoint chart

Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Eve Eve

We had a last day of shopping and running around today, and tonight everything is quiet, except the wind outside!  I don't think we're going to have a white Christmas here in Nova Scotia -- the lovely snow from a week ago is all gone :(

I've got some last minute baking to do tomorrow, some last minute sewing and some present wrapping, and then I'll sing with the choir at our 10 pm Christmas Eve Eucharist.  Then we'll be all set for Christmas!

On Christmas Day my Mum will come over about 1 pm and we'll open our presents.  One of the nice things about a strictly adult Christmas is that everyone involved gets to sleep in!  Our current tradition is to focus on the small sorts of gifts that fit in Christmas stockings, rather than give large or expensive presents to each other.

I'm just cooking a small dinner, just for my Mum, my husband David and me.  We're going to break with the traditional turkey, so I've got a lovely roast beef which I'll prepare with Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes, green beans, carrots and gravy.    We've got a Christmas pudding for pudding for my English husband and my mum, and I'll have something yummy, maybe whip up some meringues.  Or I'll just eat part of the Terry's Chocolate Orange I hope is in my stocking!

Then we'll lie about, feeling stuffed and happy, and snuggle the cats ...

Will our Christmas pud look like this?  I doubt it!
But for now, I need to get back to my mini-stitching which I hope to share with you tomorrow.  I'm needlepointing a cover for a little footstool for my Mum's Edwardian Roombox, as part of her Christmas stocking gifts, which will include a lot of minis for her room!  I like the design, which I made myself, but I managed to lose one version of it, so I've been stitching like a mad thing for the last day, trying to redo it!

I hope all your seasonal preparations are going well :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

It's snowing!

Photo of St John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. copyright AndreHugosPlace

After weeks and weeks of rain or fine days, we finally have some snow today!  It's falling very prettily here in rural Nova Scotia in Canada, where we've been spared the harsh weather hitting many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere (including, bizarrely, the UK). 

Okay, there's not quite enough snow to equal that in the photo of St John's above, but we're getting there :)

St John's is the church I go to.  Isn't it beautiful?  It's in a style called "carpenter Gothic" because the shipbuilders of Lunenburg didn't have stone, they had wood and mad woodworking skills :)  It's the second oldest Anglican church in Canada.  It actually burned down in 2001, a year before David and I moved here from Toronto -- and the parish rebuilt it exactly as it was (but with improved systems).  For the first few years I was in Lunenburg we worshipped in the Parish Hall as we watched the church rise, literally, from the ashes.

I'm singing with the choir this Christmas, and our service of Lessons and Carols is on Sunday morning, one of my favourite services of the year. 

Anyway, I hope you're all well, whichever Hemisphere you're in, and whatever the weather's doing!


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

WAM Bedroom, dressed, and a carpet in progress

I was trying out some furniture in the WAM bedroom and took a picture :)  This is not the bed that will be used here, but it's the right size and mass (and I put a scrap of the burgundy velvet I'm going to use for the hangings over it).  The room is pretty small, for all this large furniture, but that'll be okay, I guess! You can see the two (as yet unfinished) wig stands I bought in England earlier this year, one of which I hope will eventually hold a miniature perruke for the man of the house!

My mini making is taking place mostly in the evenings when I work on my needlepoint.  Here's the carpet I'm making for this room (the colours look redder in this photo than they actually are, I think):

The chart is from Meik and Ian McNaughton's book "Making Miniature Oriental Rugs and Carpets", with major changes in the colours :)  It's on 22 ct canvas.  Since joining the Petitpointers over at Yahoo, I've decided to man up, and start working on silk gauze, and I have just the project to get me started -- that Willow pattern bellpull kit I bought earlier this year from Janet Granger!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

WAM Bedroom -- second wall

Here's the second wall of the bedroom next to the fireplace wall -- easy peasy lemon squeezy because I decided not to have a window in the back of the house at this point :)  (Things will get "difficult difficult lemon difficult" later on, though -- I have another set of stairs to build!)

I love this wallpaper.

You can see my first tulipieres in the photo!

I don't know who made them, but I saw them on eBay and snapped them up in seconds :)

This is a double gourd-shaped tulipiere (can anyone tell I've been obsessing about these things?)

This heart shaped-one is crying out for some decoration, so I'm going to get out my blue ceramic pen and have a go :)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blue and White Room inspiration!

As I work my way towards the Blue and White Room on the first floor of the William and Mary House, I'm collecting some inspirational photos.

Last year David and my Mum and I visited Chatsworth in Derbyshire, where there is a spectacular collection of 17th century Chinese and Dutch pottery, including some stunning tulipieres or specialized tulip vases.

We didn't manage to take a picture of this particular scene, but I've borrowed this photo from the lovely blog

I love the arrangement of the blue and white tulip vases in front of the fireplace, and I'm totally stealing this for the WAM House!

I've got a couple of smallish tulipieres that just arrived -- I'll post photos of them when I get a chance -- and I'm going to try my hand at making a couple of large pyramidal ones from polymer clay.  Should be a challenge :)

Then I'm going to have to learn to make tulips!  Fortunately there's a great tutorial on making 1:12 scale tulips at  Making Mini Tulips by Lesley Shepherd, Canadian miniaturist, garden designer and kit maker.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Bokhara patterned cushion -- 1:12 scale needlepoint chart

Before I got into this cosetta nostra, this tiny thing of ours, I had always wanted to do needlepoint and never had, mostly because I didn't have a needlepointing mother or grandmother to teach me.  My grandma taught me to roast a chicken and make incredible oatmeal cookies and my mum taught me how to operate a Bunsen burner and make bread, but my life was void of needlepoint.

One of the reasons I wanted to do needlepoint was because one of my favourite characters (Georgie Pillson) in one of my favourite series of books (the Lucia and Mapp novels by E.F. Benson) is always working on some frustrating bit of petit point and I loved Georgie so I wanted to be just like him :)

Getting into the dolls' house hobby was a great excuse for learning the basics of needlepoint, especially since we were starting with a castle which clearly needed tapestries!

I taught myself from diagrams and YouTube videos, although I've never seen a diagram that really makes sense of basketweave stitch!  I had to puzzle over that one quite a bit before I got the hang of it. (Basketweave stitch is great for covering large areas of background without pulling the needlepoint out of shape).

I was learning needlepoint with the Knitwits, of course, but most of the Knitwit girls started with a big advantage: their mother.  She's an extraordinarily talented needlewoman, whose work is practically perfect, front or back.  The girls definitely take after her :)

My own work isn't flawless, it certainly isn't the same on the back as it is on the front, and it's not going to win any prizes anywhere, but I now find it incredibly enjoyable, relaxing and satisfying to stitch pieces in 1:1 scale as well as 1:12 scale, and I do get better with practice!

If you've never done needlepoint but would like to try, a small project like a cushion is one of the very best ways to get started.  It's very, very easy, and something like 22 ct canvas (that's 22 stitches per inch) is small enough to get some detail in your work, but not so small it will drive you crazy with the tiny stitches!

You only need to master one stitch to start: the continental stitch or tent stitch.  When you've got that, go and work out the basketweave stitch and you're all set!

(Maybe we should have a needlepoint tutorial?  I know there are a lot of stitchers out there, and I'd love it if some of us put our heads together and came up with a really simple way of explaining the craft to others. If you know of good links to resources or videos for beginnings, maybe you could suggest them in the comments, below?)

With that in mind, here's an early Christmas present for those of you who do petit point in 1:12 scale, or who would like to try!

I've always loved Bokhara patterned rugs and cushions, and in the course of stitching some for the dolls' house came up with this one of my own.

This stitches up very quickly on 22 ct canvas and only uses five colours of cotton floss.  As always, you can vary the colours, although these warm tones are very traditional.

Here's a link to a jpg file of the whole chart.

Please make as many as you like for yourself or for gifts, but not for commercial purposes without asking me first :)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bedroom wallpaper and fireplace started

What a busy time of year it is!  I've had hardly any time for mini-making and I miss it terribly.  At least we've had good weather, which I know many of my friends here from the UK, Europe and other parts of North America have NOT had -- it's amazing to me to talk to my husband's cousins in North Yorkshire about the huge amounts of snow they've had, when we have no snow at all here in my part of Canada!

I've finally started decorating the first floor, beginning with the bedroom.

The paper is by Itsy Bitsy Mini and the fireplace surround is "The Classic"  by Dovetails

More soon, I hope!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

1:12 scale blue and white china -- an addiction

I love blue and white china!  I love the look of it, and it's perfect for the period of my William and Mary dolls' house because Chinese export pottery and Delftware became quite a craze beginning in the late 17th century. 

Here are some artists making blue and white china pieces in dollhouse scale  -- some of these are the highest end imaginable and others are more affordable for collectors at my price point.  They're all beautiful and inspiring!

Pictured at the top of this post is a miniature tulipiere or tulip vase from the Dutch queen of exquisite 1:12 scale Delftware, Henny Staring.   Below is a sultan's head vase, also from her Delftware collections. There are no prices listed on her website, but I found a few pieces for sale in resellers' shops and the price tags are eye-watering :)  Never mind, a girl can dream!

UK makers Stokesay Ware do several lines of blue and white pieces, including full dinner and tea sets as well as bowls, vases and other special items (see dresser, below).  I've started collecting their pieces with a few blue and white plates and look forward to expanding my collection to vases.  I can testify that these pieces are strictly to scale -- they are very thin and perfect in every way.  Stokesay Ware will even do a special-order Blue Willow pattern tea set with handle-less teacups -- perfect for that early Georgian setting!

Avon Miniatures
is based in Devon and sells a number of blue and white porcelain pieces that would be lovely in a collection.  They do their own version of Blue Willow plus a number of blue and white collector's plates (shown below).  The website is a little out-dated, and could use some better photos, but I look forward to ordering from them soon!

I can't wait to order some pieces from Sally Meekins, another UK artisan with quite a few blue and white pieces on offer.  Above is a magnificent large pyramidal tulipiere by Meekins, and below is a charming pair of blue and white cats!  She has quite a few very unusual articles on her site ...

I'm sure there must be some makers I'm missing -- if I've left out a favourite of yours,  please do comment and let me know!  I certainly don't want to miss any 1:12 scale blue and white china :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another gorgeous turned bowl from Thomas Saunders

I've been stupidly sick the last couple of days -- it's just a cold or something, but it's making me extra draggy -- so nothing really new to post, but I wanted to share this piece which arrived last week.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with the work of Ontario artisan Thomas Saunders, who turns both wood and stone into extraordinary scale pieces of art.  I have a few pieces by him, but when I saw this stunning soapstone and tiger wood fruit bowl in his new Artfire shop, I had to have it!

Tom's shop is Turnings in Miniature, and he's an artist in every sense of the word. He also blogs under the same name.

Here's the bowl, filled with gorgeous polymer clay fruit by Kiva :)  Thank you so much, Tom, I love it and Kiva, I'm so glad to finally have a fruit bowl worthy of your talent!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Working on first floor of William and Mary House

Well, the foam walls are going up (temporarily, at least) and I've cut some chimney pieces :)  I've sketched in the roof over the kitchen wing, and the whole thing is looking more and more like a house!

I decided to make the kitchen roof from cardboard since it's not going to open and close. I did make a mistake in measuring (as you can see from the back edge of the roof!) but I'll cover that up and make good when I put the tiles on, at least that's my plan :)

I'm going to experiment with my surface finishes on this wall.  I've primed it the grey of the brick grout, but I think I'll paint it again, in a lighter grey.  This one seems a bit dark.  My plan is to make my own brick facing (from artists board or sandpaper) and make quoins from egg cartons for the corners.

I'm not going to finish the back wall to any degree -- just give a coat of whatever grey I use for the grout colour.  This is NOT going to be a perfect house from every angle!

I went down to David's workshop this morning and cut two chimney breasts and one hearth.  Here's the little fireplace and the wooden hearth (which I'll faux finish as stone) in what will be the bedroom.  I've decided not to have a window in this room, because I'll need all the back wall for the large bed :)  This room will be half panelled and then papered above in Itsy Bitsy Mini's Distressed Damask in burgundy, and I have a gorgeous, very fine burgundy stretch velvet that reads as scale better than most 1:1 velvets.  I'll use that for the bed.

Here's the stunning fireplace surround for the Blue and White room.  It comes with its own hearth, so I had to make a shallow chimney breast -- shallow enough that both breast and surround can fit on the hearth.  The breast is actually twice as thick as shown here, but I couldn't get it to balance while I was taking the picture :)

The floors will all be removeable -- because of the ceiling wiring on the lower floor, I need to be able to remove these floors in case something goes wrong with the light fixtures (as something is sure to :)   I splashed out on premade oak floors which I'll stain Mission Oak to match the ground floors.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Small Time -- miniature clocks and more

I just stumbled upon this marvellous site:  Small Time, UK maker of miniature clocks and other delights!  There are so many stunning pieces on this site, many of which are perfect for the Georgian period.

Look at this 1:12 scale 18th century room box -- look at the moulding!  Stunning detail, perfect scale and very inspirational.  It's later than the periods I'm really working in, but I admire the beauty and execution of this piece.

And look at this tiny sterling silver pocketwatch! 

Sunday, November 7, 2010

New vendor -- JS Miniatures, maker of Georgian fireplace surrounds

Isn't this lovely?  It's a Georgian fireplace surround with faux marble insert from a new supplier, JS Miniatures, in the UK.  The proprietor, Jennifer, also writes one of the blogs I follow, A Georgian Dolls House Blog.

These surrounds are available either in kit form, (with wooden structure and one of four colours of faux marble) or ready-made.  I really like them -- it's a nice, clean design, and the marble adds a lovely detail!

JS Miniatures Website
A Georgian Dolls' House Blog

Friday, November 5, 2010

Winners of the Giveaway!

(This is Edmund, head male cat at our home.  He has nothing to do with the draw, but I love this photo :)

Well, we've picked the winners of the 250 follower giveaway.

The winner of the Blue and White set is DAISY!

The winner of the Witchy set is MINI-ME!

The winner of the Jardinere set is KIKKA!

Thank you to all the participants so much for your support and interest :)  Would the winners please email me with their postal addresses?  My email address is mco [at]

Love to you all,


Monday, November 1, 2010

250 follower giveaway!

Finally, it's time for our giveaway, a small token of our appreciation for all our followers and friends online! 

As usual, there's a choice of three packages.  This time around the themes are:

1.  Blue and White

This will include the screen that Evangelista made, covered with Itsy Bitsy Minis' Jacobean Blue pattern wallpaper.  There are also three necklaces, a white tray tiled with delft tiles, two tea cups and two tassels.

2.  Witchy

This includes tassels, a little black stool upholstered with fabric printed with a bat, an open book showing a map of the heavens, three necklaces and the little bat needlework cushion.

3.  Jardinière

This giveaway has a white chair upholstered in a faded green and pink toile, two rose-themed needlepoint cushions, two topiaries and three little necklaces in greens and pinks.

To enter, please be a follower of this blog and leave a comment on this post, letting me know which  package draw you'd like to be entered in.   I'll have the kids do the drawing on Thursday afternoon (Nova Scotia time) during Knitwits :)

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hallowe'en theme project -- Bat Cushion

Happy Hallowe'en to all the witch, wizard and spooky aficionados out there! As a Hallowe'en gift for my fellow miniaturists, here's a little bat cushion I designed and the pattern for it.

This is quite a dainty cushion, stitched in stem stitch on 22 canvas.  If you want to make it bigger, or want to stitch it on a smaller canvas, then you could add an expanded border :)

Here's the pattern chart:

As always, this is my own design, and I'm thrilled for you to make as many as you like for yourself or for gifts.   (Just a note -- the little sample in the top photo doesn't have the contrasting grey sections shown in the pattern because I didn't have any grey floss :))

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Hello! I'm back!

Oh my dears.  I'm so sorry!  I'd like to thank everyone who wrote me, asking how things were -- all is well.  David's health is good and I've just been really busy with my one woman show which closed last weekend, quite successfully.

Just a quick update about a few of the things I've been working on, then I'll put up a post tomorrow (I hope) for the giveaways.

I've been embroidering up a storm over the last few months.  Here are some of the things I've completed or almost completed:

The dragon rug just needs to be finished off -- the stitching is done, Hallelujah!  I've been working on it since before the England trip, in fact it was my travel project :)  The rest are all cushions, most of them patterns from Felicity Price's book Needlepoint 1 12 scale projects.  The one in the middle of the bottom row is from a Janet Granger kit -- it's the cushion pattern Yvonne.  A really lovely design, fiddly to stitch but worth it.

Eva and I have been working on House of Miniatures kits at Knitwits.  I love these kits, at least the ones that are not upholstered.  I've had NO joy with settees, sofas or wing chairs :(  They just don't work for me, but the straight-up wooden ones are fabulous.  I buy them as cheaply as I can on eBay -- just search for "house miniature kit".

I just finished this dower chest, and found it really easy to complete. It's going to live in David's workshop in the attic of the William and Mary house.  I love everything about this little piece -- from the chest top to the drawer to the turned legs.

Eva just completed this lovely Queen Anne side table on Thursday.  She worked very carefully at it, and did a lovely job. Such a useful table!

And I made up this tavern table kit a few weeks ago.  If you get a chance to pick up one of these (they come in two sizes,  this one, a smallish sqaure one, and a larger rectangular one), and it works with your project, do pick it up.  It's a very easy kit and I love the results!  Perfect for a tea table, games table or in a pub or kitchen.

More tomorrow, my darlings, and I'll scurry around and try to get caught up on all your blogs!



Monday, October 4, 2010

Witchy giveaway items -- preview!

Here are some items for the second part of our giveaway:  pieces for a stylish witch or wizard :) (We're going to have the actual draw post later this week, where you will be able to leave comments to be entered in the three draws).

Among the items for the draw are a little stool that I reupholstered in a bat-print.

I also made two little tassels in halloween colours, plus an open book with a black snakeskin cover which features a map of the heavens.  The kids made three classy necklaces, too, and I made a plain tray for them.

More to come!
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