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1.29.2014

Issues of scale.


Rosehill Cottage is acquiring a small collection of furniture, including these two chairs. The one on the left is a Bespaq wing chair that I found on ebay. I removed its upholstery and wings, cut it down, and re-upholstered it in a silk from Brodnax Prints. The one on the right is a Cassidy Creations wing chair kit. I did a similar cut-down job and used a white cotton to approximate the look of a modern linen slipcovered armchair. These two armchairs will sit in the living room, across from a sofa. The photo below is one I worked from to try and replicate the furniture.


After finishing the chairs and seeing them next to each other, I was struck by how much bigger the Bespaq looked. I was just motoring along, assuming that since they were both in 1/2" scale they would be the same size. This threw into question the whole project for me, as scale has been a tricky beast to tame. In past posts I have shared how I have cut apart walls and added to them, and am working off of photos to guess measurements. This project is supposed to be a fun hobby, just for me to enjoy, but the issues of scale have been a continual source of doubt. I have to admit, I want this thing to be perfect, and I am positive that my tendency to worry about that perfection has paralyzed me into not working on it at all. I almost considered starting over! That would be crazy, right?

So anyway, the Bespaq chair will just be one of those slightly overstuffed pieces of furniture that a comfy and eclectic cottage has to have. I am positive that my tiny tenant will just love curling up in it with a book and a cup of cocoa.


PS - I found a mini wicker furniture maker who is going to replicate the adorable round table from the kitchen! More to come in a future post.

1.11.2014

Lighting is on its way!

Large range of LED colors available. Image from Evan Designs.
I just placed a giant (but not expensive) order with Evan Designs for LED lighting for Rosehill Cottage. I want to give a huge shout-out to Shelly Jamison, co-owner, who answered my thousand questions and helped me figure out what I would need via email. (Their website has so much helpful information about everything you might need to know about lighting your project - please check it out.) After counting up every lamp, sconce, hanging pendant and fireplace I came up with 44 individual lights. Believe it or not, those will all run off a AA battery! No clunky transformer switch connected to the wall! And LED lights do not throw off heat, so I can enclose my project as I planned with no worries. I ordered three switches so I can light the house in various ways; one switch will handle the fireplaces, one will light the upstairs and one the downstairs.

If this works out the way I expect, I am going to light other projects I have been working on. I hate the copper strip tape lighting I have used in the past, and never could wrap my head around round wire lighting. I have in mind a room box based on the set of "Dial M for Murder" directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Wouldn't it be cool to be able to switch the lighting around to get different scenes from the film, like when Grace Kelly goes to answer the phone and the light from the bedroom streams across the darkened living room? Lighting really makes miniatures come to life, and it sounds like LEDs are a great way to do it for less money and effort.

Please visit Evan Designs at http://www.modeltrainsoftware.com if you are thinking of lighting a project. You will be blown away by the possibilities!

11.27.2013

Look at what's happening!

Ignore the dust...

It's been forever and a day, but Rosehill Cottage is back on the work table! (I am laughing at myself - my last post on this was last Thanksgiving!) I am finishing the wall structure in the kitchen and realigning the windows in the front of the house. I will be making an upper cabinet between the two kitchen windows out of mat board and painting it like the lower cabinets, and also need to texturize and paint the kitchen walls. I am going to scratch-build the refrigerator and tiny stove but haven't figured out what I will be using for those yet.

Another angle of the kitchen.

A big head scratcher for me has been the lighting. I want to fully enclose the house, so everything is viewed by peering through the windows, which means the lighting needs to be LED since they are not hot. From viewing The Holiday a billion times and studying stills of the set, the set designer used a lot of small lamps throughout the set. For example, the kitchen has two table lamps, a four-light chandelier, and a fireplace which would be a three LED fixture. I found this website, Model Train Software.com, which has everything you would ever want to know about LEDs, and has a great looking flickering fireplace kit. Apparently you can run 50 LED lights with a 9 volt battery, so I won't need to plug this thing into a wall. I need to write out a plan for where all the drill holes need to go, where to run the wires and hide the battery.

View through the front window.

My plan has always been to finish the downstairs then layer on the upstairs. The exterior will be completed after all the wiring is finalized. I am probably not doing this at all the way I "should" be, but I am just happy to be working on it again. 

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Happy Thanksgiving to those who are celebrating it! This year I will be cooking a turkey for the first time ever. We usually go to relatives for the holiday so in the 18 years I have been married I have not had to deal with making Thanksgiving dinner, but this year circumstances changed and we are home tomorrow. I bought a 12 pound turkey, which I think will be manageable, and I am going to make the stuffing in the bird. Adventure! Today I am going to make the pumpkin pie, and prepare the green bean casserole so its ready to pop in the oven tomorrow. I will let you know how it all turns out.

11.17.2013

"Make do" door hanging


I used an old embroidered tea towel for the rod loop.





My younger daughter's room does not have a window, but does have a pretty French door that leads out to our back deck. Since it is the only light for the room, I have left it uncovered for many years, having once been the room I used for a studio.







My DH has wanted me to make something to cover it for privacy for ages, but the project kept getting pushed back behind everything else I have been doing. I started a quilted hanging about three years ago, but I got stalled out during the quilting phase and just couldn't get back into it. The piece just sat there in my studio, mocking me with its raw edges and gathering dust, but I just could not bring myself to finish the unwieldy mess. 


Flower basket.

Early this spring I found a batch of half-finished vintage needlework squares at an antiques shop, measuring about 2 feet square. You know the kind - blue lines on cheap cotton, usually not very precise. 
I thought they were charming and could not resist the price of $1 each. 


Star and flower.
I was deep in the thrall of a vintage sewing kick and wanted to use up some of my stash of thrifted embroidery thread on them. In no time I had them finished and laying across the back of the couch to admire them. What would they become? They were too cheap and fragile for a quilt or pillow, and a little too big to hang on the wall. When DH walked in the room I asked him what he thought (usually a bad idea because he is a self-described non-creative). He looked them over and said "why not sew them together and finish the door hanging for the bedroom?" Wow. Great idea from DH and it made us both happy. Plus, there was the vintage Singer just waiting to sink her needle into a fun project.


Sunburst with gradated thread.
The binding got wonky during sewing.
Now, I am fully aware that this piece is far from a perfect sewing job. I am still figuring out how to deal with tension on the old machine, and the narrow foot may not have been the right one to use for a big piecing project. My binding job is amateur and the material skewed a bit. BUT I love love love it and that is the point, isn't it? I wasn't making this thing for a juried show, I was making it for my sweet girl's room and it has such charm. Every day I get to look at the needlework that would otherwise have been packed away in a drawer, just like it was when I found it. For me, this kind of project is exactly the way to showcase the lovely handwork that often gets discarded in our digital age. 

Spy the Johanna Masko quilt hanging in the bedroom?





10.19.2013

Handwork, and head work.



I've been busy doing more projects on commission lately, and I just finished these hand knit and crocheted washcloths for a friend to give to her mom for her birthday. Each one is done in a different technique; seed stitch, basket weave, eyelet, half-double crochet and straight double crochet with border. My favorite to work on was knitting in seed stitch - there is something so satisfying about creating the even field of bumps. The worst one was the basket weave. I am not kidding when I say I had to rip it out and restart it FIVE times. Such a pain, but really a lovely pattern once it was done right.

I took some time out today and worked on a dollhouse project for a few hours. My poor dollhouses are so dusty and neglected. I just haven't been in a "dollhouse-y" frame of mind lately. Ever feel like something you are passionate about is too good for you? Or taking time for yourself is too selfish? When I allow myself to get them out and lose myself in mini making I just want to tune out everyone and everything else, and end up feeling like a bad mom, housekeeper, whatever. So it's been easier not to do it lately. I wonder if its because they are "toys", and somehow not worth the effort? I want to accomplish a finished Rosehill Cottage, I really do, and I feel guilty about taking forever on it. Anyone else out there in miniatures feel like this, ever?

I don't mean to be a bummer... Maybe I just need to interact more with other artists and get excited again. Thanks for listening!

8.08.2013

Vintage Singer sewing machine

Machine ready for oiling.
 I posted this a looooong time ago, that I found a working vintage 1941 Singer model 15-90 sewing machine in someone's trash. I have a sewing project I need to do for my younger daughter, and wanted to use the machine for it, so I am finally rehabbing it - making it look pretty and getting it into working order. I found a great online resource for parts. After taking it apart, cleaning and oiling it, it works wonderfully! I was even able to find a free PDF of the original manual which was of immense help in the set up process. I also found Lizzie Lenard on YouTube who has a number of tutorials for using vintage machines, which is great for us visual learners.

This beautiful cabinet sewing machine is in the living room which will make it so easy to use for quick, simple sewing jobs. I am SO excited that something I got for free is beautiful and useable.


Testing the bobbin winder.
Perfect bobbin, despite the dried-out wheel.

Beautiful shiny metal!

Good as new.

Achieved nice thread tension after lots of adjusting.