Thursday, 25 October 2012

Katie's Fabulous Weathering......

When I visited the Harry Potter Studio Tour  a few months ago I noticed that the Diagon Alley shops had lots of signage both hanging and stuck on the walls of the various shops. I have been thinking about what to add to the walls of my shops when I came across Katie's Halloween range in her Etsy shop, Katie's Clay Corner.
 There were so many to choose from, all perfect for my project and beautifully aged and distressed.
 They come in a whole range of colours and sizes it was too hard to choose!
 So I asked Katie to make all my favourite ones in a mixed range of colours to suit my shops and as you can see they have arrived and I am so pleased with them.

Katie also kindly included a couple of extras which were very gratefully received as I never seem to order enough for this project! 
Thank you so much Katie for brightening up a very grey and damp day.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

A Real Piece to Treasure.....

I am lucky enough to own a lot of wonderful pieces by lots of talented miniature artists from all round the world which means I am often on the look out for the postman.
Today I received this fabulous chair by Kris Kompas and as I opened my parcel I knew this was a really special piece made by a very talented artist.
 It is beautifully made and you can tell as you handle it that it has been made by someone who puts much love and care into her work.
 The shape is fabulous and I have been lusting after a piece just like this after seeing Brae's chair in her fabulous haunted mansion.
 Kris's work is in huge demand and it sells almost as soon as it is placed on the CDHM website but I saw a link on another site that a few pieces had gone on sale and I was delighted to see this chair still for sale.
 Kris is not only very talented but also very generous and shares her knowledge and expertise via her blog 1inchminisbykris which is full of the most useful and clearly explained tutorials. Sadly this sharing is very rare at the moment so Kris's generosity is even more appreciated by miniature makers like myself.
Now I have to decide where to place this chair so it can be seen in all its glory. I have a character I think would feel right at home sitting on it.....perhaps in Flourish & Blotts or even the dragon room? Once my decorating is finished and I can get back in my workroom I can have a little play.

Friday, 19 October 2012

To Pinterest or Not To Pinterest?

I have read a few posts about the site Pinterest and despite the various concerns I have recently started using it on a regular basis.
I find it really useful as an online scrapbook and have been tweaking my boards into a collection that suit my needs. I find that it helps to collate information and research to enable me to gather together websites, printies, tutorials and inspiration. So many times I spend an evening looking for items or ideas and then forget where I saw that tutorial on scenic water or book making. Now I 'Pin It' and can find it easily on my 'Miniature Tutorials' board.
I know there are some concerns about copyright so I try to make sure my 'Pins' are directly linked to the source but for me it is a wonderful way to collect together the work of lots of amazing miniaturists whose pieces are way beyond my budget.
This is a link to my Pinterest boards so feel free to have a browse at what I have gathered together. It is very easy to set up an account and start creating your own scrapbook.
One of my favourite miniaturist's has just started her own blog. Lory Tonetti of 64tntminiatures produces a wonderful range of chic and spooky pieces to suit any scene.
Please go over to her blog to see her work and welcome Lory to Blogland.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Harry Potter Kids All Grown Up!!

I am busy reclaiming my home at the moment. My current house has been a family home for twelve years and is showing all the signs of wear and tear that can be expected when raising three children. A lot of shabby and very little chic! So I am decorating and re-vamping the living room with lots of Laura Ashley and ivory paint.
This means the mini world has had to go on hold, again, as I paint much bigger pieces of furniture than usual!
So I thought I would show you two commissions for Diagon Alley. This mother and daughter pair are by Jain Squires of Giddy Kipper. Both out shopping for Hogwarts supplies. They certainly have the Weasley clan look, maybe Percy's studious looking wife and daughter.
 Jain's characters are always beautifully crafted and I love the Hoo-like bunches that are just what I asked for. 
 My father and son pair are easily recognisable, Malfoy and son still with their aristocratic air but maybe softer at the edges. The Malfoy's are the creation of Julie Campbell and I love everything about them.
The young wizard certainly looks very smart in his Hogwarts uniform while dad's natty waistcoat displays true a Malfoy's desire to stand out in a crowd. 
Thank you Jain and Julie, they are wonderful additions to my project.
Now it is time for another layer of paint to be added to my new TV stand.....they are such ugly pieces of furniture aren't they. I am painting a new unit I bought for its shape and practicality in the hope it will blend into the background walls but it is a much longer job in 1:1!!

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Would You Stand At This Bar?.....The Leaky Cauldron

The visitors of Diagon Alley are likely to work up a thirst and a healthy appetite shopping and meeting up with old friends. The bar of The Leaky Cauldron is full of goodies to tempt even the most cranky of magical folk.
 I bought this bar unfinished on Ebay and have chopped it down to size as it was originally too long. It was also a little too low so I have lifted it with four ready made crates, these have been filled with very cheap, mass produced bottles. An excellent wine rack and now the bar sits at a better height for the customers.
 This wonderful plant was made by TallulahBelle she is simply gorgeous. There is one of Nikki's dragon bottles with its eyeball stopper, dragon vinegar goes perfectly with cheese I am told! The plate  of stuffed figs is by the hugely talented food artist Kiva as well as the loose fruit on the plate. The stirring wizard mouse is one of my favourite pieces. He is so tiny and has a sweet cloak and is by Georgia Marfels. The teeny corkscrew is one of David Edwards miniature masterpieces, I was so pleased to be able to add a small piece of his miniature mastery to my project.
 The other end of the bar has a beautifully crafted barrel by Elizabeth Causeret a French artisan who does not have a website unfortunately but at the last Miniatura she had a video showing how all her pieces are made. I have always loved her work, I have a few pieces now, but I did not realise that this delicate miniature ceramics are actually made on a potters wheel. Absolutely amazing. There is also a wooden barrel tankard that is so lovely I could not bring myself to fill it with a scenic water concoction, it should stand on its own. I bought this at Kensington I think and is one of Eismont Miniatures pieces, they have a fabulous range of rustic pieces. At the end of the bar is a butterbeer and pumpkin pastie board by one of my favourite food artists, Eve of AfterDarkAfterAll.
 You can see the board in better detail here. The pastie is even dusted in sugar! The cheeky ginger cat is by MissSallyWorld and he looks perfectly at home atop the bar!
 This bird's eye view shows the show stopping rustic board again made by AfterDarkAfterAll. Perfect for hungry wizards enjoying a tankard of butterbeer at the bar. 
 The frothing beers and jug were an Etsy purchase and they look very refreshing. They are the work of Lisa McQuaid of Everyday Gourmet. Lisa makes a whole range of filled glasses and tankards, I am very pleased with them.
 The whole display looks very colourful and welcoming and I hope I have shown all these marvellous artisans in a way that they deserve.
Only two pieces dressed so far but it has been fun. I have also finished all the tinkering with the carcass now but need to tackle the bottles, decanters and tankards. That means playing with scenic water again.....hmmm, I will need to refresh my memory on that!! Once I have filled the bottles I should be able to finish the shelves for behind the bar and fill all the crates I have planned for the walls. 
I hope to be able to start tomorrow but I have to arrange my time around the other time consuming mini in my life. My dog, Lily, has a play date!! Her puppy friend, Kip, is coming over for tea. Can you believe it? Well at least the grown ups will get to share cake and a chilled bottle of Prosecco!

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

The Real Fun Begins......The Leaky Cauldron

I thought it would be a good idea to test all the LED lights I had installed what seems like an age ago and at the same time have a dress rehearsal of the interior. 
This furniture has been packed away and I really wanted to get a feel for the whole project before I began the really fun part of dressing it all.
 This is the main bar. The only main piece that is missing is the shelving unit behind the bar but other wise this is the general look. Again I will put in all the links as I dress each piece of furniture.
 The top room for is the bedroom for my sleepy Hogwarts student, she is one of Julie Campbell's wonderful creations and the whole room has evolved around her. 
 A little peak through the main doorway. The false door is wonderfully concealed by Nikki Rowe's curtain and shelf, topped with a collection of her candles and jars. I am so glad I added this piece to my collection.
 The attic is still bare but the LED lights are showing up the dim corners!
 The first piece has been dressed with a whole tableful of goodies. The pub table is by Michael Mortimer of Nine. I am sure Michael has a new website but I don't seem to be able to find it. I have always bought my pieces at Miniatura and Kensington.
 My magical pizza and pasta are by the hugely talented Peiwen of Oiseau de Nim and the toffee apples are by Hummingbird Miniatures just a perfect way for a young wizard or witch to finish their meal.
 On their table is a spooky version of noughts and crosses - fiery cauldrons and skulls - by Jacqueline Dunn. The hot chocolate was bought at a fair I think and I have topped it with a chocolate bat again from Hummingbird Miniatures.
 Harry's adventures are a must-read for all post-Voldermort witches and wizards this beautifully crafted miniature version is by Lee Ann Borgia who creates a very extensive range of books. Do visit her website there is something for everyone.
Did you also spot a not so welcome dining companion? What wizard would be without their pet rat? This little pest is by Miss Sally's World. I absolutely love her work, her cats have such texture and are a little quirky, perfect for my projects!! I will probably add some magical ketchup at a later date. I have left a little gap in the middle of the table just in case.
What fun I have had today! So good to be back.

Sunday, 7 October 2012

The Leaky Cauldron - Back to the Beginning

Well I have spent the last couple of weeks re-gaining my home following the departure of my brood. This has included cleaning out the dump, I mean the garage and sorting out my loft. It has been two weeks of dirty hard work but I have been ruthless!
Now it is time to return to Diagon Alley and I have gone right back to the start of the project, The Leaky Cauldron. I have been collecting items for a number of years now and to be honest have forgotten half of the stuff I have been putting together!!
The top room has been taken back to basics ready to be tweaked and dressed.
 The downstairs bar is empty of all its customers and ready for company.
 The attic is empty but not for long!
 Here are all the items that make up the Leaky Cauldron stash. I have spent a lot of time today getting myself familiar with all the pieces again. Some of which have been hidden for quite a long time! This was time well spent as I started to think of how to use them and where I wanted them to go.
The top guest room items where my Hogwarts students will be getting together after a days shopping in Diagon Alley ready to board the Hogwarts Express the following day.
I am sure you can spot Julie Campbell's wonderful characters and a selection of Michael Mortimer's fabulous furniture. I will be putting the links for all the other items as I put the room together.
This portion are all the items for the bar including some of my dolls by Jain Squires. I have lots of bits and pieces to display and make in this part of the The Leaky Cauldron but again I will share all the links as the bar comes together.
My Leaky Cauldron is post- He Who Must Not Be Named so I am hoping to create a colourful and vibrant scene showing the wizard world in happier times.
Having emptied the whole thing I have been concentrating on finishing all those little snagging jobs that always seem to get left at the last and take forever to finish. The main door need hinges and all its glazing, some of the woodwork needs some extra gluing, a few repairs to the exterior paint work from where the carcass has been knocked just one time too many etc etc.
No more procastinating now though, The Leaky Cauldron will be opening for business very soon!!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Time to Move......

Have had a big tidy up of my little workroom ready for me to start work again. Diagon Alley shops are all lined up but I have had to move my witch's house into the corner as I am having the decorators' in very soon. 
Look at this tidy table!! Just waiting for me to mess up!
 My wonderful daylight lamp is a godsend once the grey damp days and evenings start rolling in.
I have three children who started leaving for gap years and university five years ago now and once this movement away from home began the house entered a state of limbo. They have left home.....but not really. They want their bedrooms......but are only at home ten weeks a year. They wouldn't dream of throwing anything away.......but can't fit all their stuff into their student room. In the meantime my collection of dolls houses has grown and I have all this unused space!!
 This Summer my eldest son graduated and at the ripe old age of 24 has moved into London to embark on a two year graduate scheme and will be bringing home his first pay packets!! So bedroom 4 was up for grabs. I'd like to say I shed tears and spent the day sitting in his room looking through baby photos........but I am a very bad liar!! I was in Home base before he had unpacked his first suitcase buying these great half price metal shelving units which provide a perfect place for my first projects. 
The chest of drawers provides another shelf and lots of drawers for my over-flowing stash of materials and Diagon Alley miniatures. In the corner you can see a DVD unit that I have used to store most of my doll collection. I decided they really should see the light of day and be enjoyed.

Each unit holds two houses comfortably and these are heavy, large DHE shops.
There is also a huge wall to wall range of cupboards in this room but it still seems to be full of No.1 son's clothes, sports gear and shoes!! Ah well, one day I will be able to put it all in the loft. Oh no wait.....the loft is full of the 1001 cuddly toys, beanie babies and barbies they could not possibly throw away!!!!

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

I Don't Know What I Did Last Summer!!!!

Oh my gosh! I can't believe that a whole Summer has gone by since I last left a post. 
I can't recite a whole catalogue of jobs I have completed. Or exotic places I have visited. Or gardens I have created. Or even rooms that I have decorated and cleaned within an inch of their lives.
My three 'children', however, have had a marvellously exciting, lazy, sociable summer while their increasingly proud but poor and exhausted mum has looked on in wonder!!
What the heck, they have all gone now and peace has returned for a few months and it is time to return to a much less exhausting mini world.
This is one long term project I have begun in an effort to display some of the wonderful pieces I have collected over the last few years. I have seen these printers trays in various shabby chic displays and thought they would be a perfect showcase. I bought them on Ebay where a whole range are on sale in all different sizes and conditions. I then cleaned them up and have painted them in an off-white to match my walls. A lot of coats of paint because I stupidly forgot the prime them first!
The end result is lots of perfect little holes to fill.......eventually!!
This one is home to my collection of teapots by Jaqueline Dunn and I have even managed to be able to display the beautiful boxes many of her pieces come packaged in. 
As you can see the little boxes are far too pretty to be hidden away in a drawer and I am so pleased to have found a way of displaying them alongside these little treasures.

 I also have a few pieces by Ebay seller Pie15 but there are still lots of empty spaces to fill!! In fact one third is completely empty at the moment and I am thinking that maybe I will start looking for pretty shabby chic bit and bobs as I do yearn for some of the gorgeous creations seen in Blogland that have no place in Diagon Alley!
My second tray will be filled with my growing collection of hand turned minis. I have gradually picked up a number of these as I am awed by the skill and patience it must take to create these tiny vases, bowls and boxes. Again it will take time to fill it all but little by little each hole will become home to another piece of mini art.
 I am only just discovering new artists - to me, I mean - so any suggestions would be gratefully recieved. I know there have been some new artisans on Ebay but I always seem to miss their auctions.
At the moment I have pieces by PerfectPerfection, who I think is a new seller but I keep missing his auctions, Bertie's Miniatures and CW Lubin.
As you can see they are all beautifully shaped and crafted from all sorts of materials from exotic woods to very modern acrylic and corian.
Mixed in are some pieces that I have had for quite a long time and can't remember where I bought them so if you recognise them as your own work please let me know.
Today I have set about my work room moving all the stuff that seems to have piled up in there and have had a sort through all my dolls.
These have definitely been hidden away for much too long and I really need to work out what characters I require to fill Diagon Alley. It has felt a bit like Christmas as forgotten purchases have come to the light. Thankfully my husband is away this week working in Spain so I have been able to indulge myself in play!
Hope the Summer has treated you all well and I am looking forward to playing catch up and see what everyone has been up to while I have been away.