Thursday, 29 April 2010

Progress is slow........Tudor walls

Sorry, it seems ages since I last posted something about my roombox. I haven't had much time recently so I have only just finished plastering the walls and then I had a go at a few colour washes to age them (thank you nina!).
The result isn't too bad (sorry it's a bit hard to see in this photo - I really need to work on my photography skills!). I had a couple of hiccups to start with. Firstly making the grey wash too thick and dark and despite immediately watering it down as I hadn't sanded the walls first (another one to remember!) the paint sunk into the ridges and wouldn't dilute!

I then ended up going totally in the opposition direction as I found that if you wet plaster (like with a colour wash) the plaster looks grey and discoloured. When you come back to it after it has dried it looks exactly the same as when you started! I'm not sure if I was doing something wrong but I ended up just kind of slapping it on and hoping for the best when it dried.

I still need to do a bit more 'sooting' up above the fireplace but I think that is more or less it for the walls - if I can ever get the bits of masking tape off that I have managed to plaster to some of the beams (pulling making tape off while the plaster is wet is highly recommended!!!).

Next step - a flagstone floor made from more polyfiller. I'll keep you posted.....

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Welcome, welcome......

Hello and welcome to...

Julie at Jakdawsattic
Annie at Obsidian Hall
Hannajaleijona at Hanna and Leo
All the grey text are links so if you haven't visited any of these sites before, go and have a look. They are all great blogs!
and finally
Icecubed001 and Celestial - sorry I can't see if you have blogs or not (please let me know if you do :)
Thank you everyone for following my blog, I hope you like it here. x

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

A revamp update

My idea of revamping all the furniture I won on ebay, hit a hitch very early on. I discovered that the dressing table (and quite a few other pieces) must have literally been soaked in wood dye. This meant that despite sanding down, wiping with white spirit and then trying to paint with white acrylic paint it just ended up pink as the dye continued to come through. I even tried car paint primer and I still ended up with pink bits! I finally found an acrylic base paint that seems to have done the trick. The pink still came through in places but wasn't too noticeable after a couple of coats of paint. If anyone knows of the way I am actually supposed to repaint furniture, I would really appreciate some tips!

Anyway, due to the above, I've only revamped 1 piece so far. So here's the before picture -

And this is the after -

I think I need to work on where I put the worn bits as the legs don't look right (I might go back and touch them up) but all in all I don't think it's too bad. One down, quite a few to go!

Monday, 19 April 2010

Masking tape - a girls best friend!

My first attempt at plastering the walls wasn't very successful (as you will see from previous posts). It took forever and I ended up getting the plaster filler everywhere. I must admit I had been putting off doing the rest of the walls as I was dreading how long it was going to take and how painstaking it was. Then I had a 'ah ha' moment - masking tape! Why I didn't think of this before I really don't know.

I've had a (tiny) bit of spare time so I grabbed a roll and got masking. I then made up so filler and slapped it on. As I didn't get a chance to all the walls I only peeled of the tape on walls that I had finished. I'm pleased with the result. It's much quicker and neater (in so far as I didn't get as much on the beams), although where I've left the tape on and plastered one side it has started to crack slightly, so when I get a bit more time I really need to finish all the walls in one hit.

Sorry for the short post. I thought I might get a bit more done when the kids were back at school, totally forgetting the fact that if the kids were back at school then I was back at work! Doh!

Friday, 16 April 2010

Possible kit bashing......

........but am I brave enough ?!? Sans has recently kit bashed her jnr cottage with the most amazing results. Her tribal house is beautiful, such a transformation from the boring Victorian cottage. So it got me thinking that maybe I should have a go at kit bashing and revamp the boring, children's, not quite to scale dollshouse that I have.

So firstly, the existing dolls house is front opening with cheap (obvious) plastic hinges at the top and bottom of the doors. Then the opening front panel itself has not to scale windows and door (I'd already ripped the door out because I hated it) also made from plastic. To put the correct scale windows and door in, I would have to replace the whole front panel. The problem being then that the middle window and the door would show the room divider which is also in the middle of both floors (not sure this was the most well planned dolls house - lol).
Soooo.... can I do a total revamp? I've just had a play with it a taken the front door panel off it's hinges, taken off the front decorations and unscrewed the middle partitions so they are now loose. I've also moved the dolls house to the back of the basement (that I bought thinking it would make the house better but is actually a bit bigger than the house so looks a bit strange) so that the backs of both are flush -

It doesn't actually look too bad, which made me think let's go the whole hog and forget a front opening dolls house and go for an open back dollshouse. I turned the whole lot round, and found some windows (again that I had bought to redo this house but they didn't for in the front panel) and blu-tacked them on just to see what it would look like, and this is it.....

As the basement is bigger than the house, I was half wondering if I could get away with a mini balcony or something similar with french doors in the middle opening out on to it, otherwise it's just going to look silly with a gap at the front and even sillier with a gap at the back.

But then I have the problem, what on earth could this house become? I'm still very keen to do a shabby chic style (I haven't forgotten my furniture revamp :) I currently waiting for a delivery of paint) but maybe I could have a shop at the bottom, but what kind of shop? or well I'm not really sure. I'm not even convinced that bashing it is going to work, are to windows too big? Does the balcony idea work? And will the whole lot fall apart if I cut holes for the windows and doors in the new front (old back)?? lol

Sorry for my long ramble, I will keep you posted with what I decide. In the meantime all suggestions (including 'it doesn't look right like that' and 'It's not really going to work') are completely welcome as are suggestions for the type of house/era/style it could become.

Even more followers....

Gosh I'm stunned, hello and welcome to all my new followers......

Everyone I've listed has a clickable link, so if you haven't visited their blogs before, go over and have a look - they are all fab!

Thank you for following!

Emma x

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Not quite going according to plan...

OK, so I finished cutting out my egg carton bricks and sticking them onto a piece of balsa wood in a herringbone pattern - all good (or so I thought!).

Starting to paint them has highlighted a crucial error - I didn't leave any space between the bricks (and there was me thinking that I was being clever getting them so tightly together) so there isn't any space to see any mortar. In fact when I went to paint it, the bricks all gelled into one and you could hardly make out the pattern - aarghh!

I was a bit reluctant to start again so I've had a go at trying to 'fix' it. I traced the outline of the brick using a pencil which isn't ideal as the mortar now looks a bit shiny lol! Silly isn't it, I'm just typing this and suddenly thought why didn't I use a white or grey pencil (doh!)...
It looks a bit better with the bricks outlined. The next step was to add some black pastel dust....

And I was much happier with this.....until I put it into place......

Errr, it doesn't quite fit in with the existing brickwork lol! Oh well, I'm just deciding whether I can get away it or not. I suppose once I add a cauldron in and add some wood and ashes for a fire, it might not be as noticeable!
I do like this style of brickwork though, much better than my sandpaper bricks.


I can't believe it, not only do I have people following my blog but now there are 12 of you!! I'm honoured. Thank you so much following my blog, welcome to.....
Irene at The Tenement. My very first follower :) Irene's wonderful blog was one of the inspirations behind me starting my roombox. If you haven't seen Irene's Cloth Merchants Booth then go at check it out, it's really beautiful.
M Carmen at Mini Shabby. A lovely blog full of Shabby inspiration and amazing transformations.
Dales at Dales Dreams. Dales does amazing things with fabric and textiles.
Dangerous Mezzo at The Tudor/Medieval/Jacobean/Queen Anne Dollshouse Project. Another inspiration for starting my roombox. Their Tudor house is simply amazing and they have some wonderful tutorials.
Michelle at Michelle's Mad World. I love Michelle's Hogwarts especially the beautiful conservatory and her fabulous Witches house.
Karin at Mini Ramblings and Musings. A lovely blog that is really interesting - you will really want to keep up with it.
Kiva at Kivas Miniatures. Kiva makes the most amazing food. It is so realistic and things that you wouldn't come across in a normal shop, well worth a look!
Anthoula at A life in miniature. Anthoula is another wonderful food (and drink creator - check out her wine!) and is also starting to dabble with transforming dolls house furniture and making her own.
Sans at The Dollshouse Diaries. Sans has created the most fanastic Maharaja's palace and is now turning her hand at 'kit bashing' - turning a jr dolls house into a fabulous tribal house!
Sonia at MiniTink. A lovely blog, she is currently making the most amazing roses!
The Old Maid at The Sunny House 1:12 Miniatures. The old maid is currently is the process of building Professor Severus Snape's office from Harry Potter. It's looking really good and the walls are actually made from real toy bricks rather than wood which adds a great effect!
Lara at Lara's Miniature World. Lara has a lovely blogs and a real talent for flower making.
and just as I'd finished writing Acension from My Miniatures also joined!
So welcome all, and thank you for following... x

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Fireplace taking shape

I've redone the fireplace and I must admit I'm a lot happier with it now. I sanded down the original polyfilla and glued egg box stones in above the fireplace. I then repolyfillered it (minus the PVA glue this time - don't know why I included it in the first place!). It's drying well and it just gives a hint of the stones underneath.

I just need to finish off in between the other beams now and then I will have a go at the colour washes - eek!

I've gone for a herringbone brick base for the floor of the fireplace. The Tudor/Medieval/Jacobean/Queen Annes Dolls House Project listed a fab tutorial for creating the brickwork from eggboxes. The original tutorial is from The China Doll. This is my progress so far -

Sorry it's not very clear. I just need the patience to sit down and cut out a load more bricks now before I can paint it.

Friday, 9 April 2010

Decidedly shabby......

Looking at other wonderful mini sites and trying to work out what I could do with the main house that I have, I've decided to go for a shabby chic theme. It's not going to be perfect as I'm not sure the house is proper 1/12th scale (I must get my ruler out and measure the rooms), but I can have fun making it look a bit better and hopefully it's something that my DD will enjoy when she is a bit older.

I'm not up to the standard of making my own furniture, although I think it more comes down to the fact that I'm not sure I'm brave enough to try (yet). We also don't have a Micheal's in the UK or, from what I can make out, an equivalent so I've resorted to looking for bargains on ebay to experiment with. This is what I have won so far -

As I bought them in 'lots' the actual cost per item (including shipping) was less than £1, so I really don't mind painting them and seeing what I can do with them.

My first 'victim' isn't in this picture as I have already started revamping it. It's a sweet little dressing table. Once I have done a bit more with it I will post the 'before' and 'after' photographs (hopefully there will be an improvement!).

P.S Is this a side effect of miniatures LOL? Starting different projects before finishing the first ?!?


I am! I mixed up the wall filler today and not only did I find out that I'd made it too runny (after I started) but I also think that I should have done the walls before I'd glued the wooden beams on! Oh and learn. The end result is, that it is taking me absolutely ages to get the filler on to the walls and right up to the edge of the beams without covering them.

The colour is whiter than I'd imagined as well, so once I've done it all I think I am going to have to learn how to do colour washes to try and tone the white down a bit.

Another thing I have discovered is that the fireplace chimney is not going to look right with just filler on it -

I'm going to go back to the egg boxes I think and follow New England Miniatures Tutorial. This means that I need to sand all the filler off and start again - arrrggghh. Oh well, I did say this was going to be a steep learning curve.
Back to it now... although I think it may be a fair few days until I get the walls finished!

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


Just a short one today. I managed to have a bit of a play with the fireplace. Rather than getting the paints out, I decided to use artists pastels on the surround and to add soot in the fireplace itself. I scribbled on a piece of paper and then brushed the pastel dust into the stones. It actually worked quite well and I'm a bit happier with the fireplace now.
I also finished gluing the fireplace into place and added a hook to the block inside so that I can hang a cauldron at a later date (you can just see it in the picture above). The surround is still loose as I think it would be better to add the wall texture first but knowing me I'll change my mind!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Timbers, Door and Lighting

Today has been the first time since I last posted that I have had a chance to work on my room box, but I am really pleased with the amount that I've managed to get done.

I 'ummed' and 'aahhed' about including a door in the room box but at the cutting stage I decided against it. Now, starting to put things together, I've decided that 'yes, it does need one'. Cutting a hole in the side at this stage would not be the best idea now I've glued together so I have created a 'false' door. I'm gobsmacked with how well it has turned out, it's a shame that this photo doesn't do it justice! It's made from a rectangle of balsa wood which I scored with an empty ballpoint pen. I then stained it and added the wooden braces (again made from balsa wood) and a frame (3 layers of balsa wood).

The wall timbers are also now in place. As this is my first project, I'm experimenting a bit so the timbers are again, all made from balsa wood stained with Medium Oak wood stain. Initially I started cutting the wood in straight lines with a ruler but they looked so fake that I ended up re-cutting wonky bits out of them to make them a bit more realistic. I then stuck them on with tacky glue - it's wonderful stuff!

Finally I've attempted my first ever lighting and unbelievably it worked first time! I bought these wonderful little Tudor torches from They come complete with plugs and all you do is buy the socket and power adaptor and away you go. The only slightly fiddly part was pulling out the pins on the plug so I could thread the wires through the holes in the room box and then re-attaching the pins, but once I sussed out how to do it is was very straight forward. I love the glow they give out...

Next steps -

I'm really not happy with my fireplace surround and annoyingly I'm not sure exactly why. The colour certainly isn't right so I'm going to have a play with it and see whether I can get it a bit more realistic.

The bricks in the fireplace also need 'sooting' (is that a word?!? - but I'm sure you know what I mean).

The next stage for the walls is to put some daub in between the timbers. I'm going to make up some polyfilla and mix in some pva glue and see how that works.

For the floor, I'm going to try and make some separate flagstones from polymer clay (unless anyone can give me any other suggestions) for the fireplace and for the main floor, I've amazingly found some 'dry wall compound' sitting in our garage so I'm going to have a go the flagstone floor tutorial at New England Miniatures - it looks fabulous.

That's it for now. I hope it won't be too long until I can report back with a bit more progress.