Dolls House Heaven


Customer’s Baby Room

June 24th, 2013

Posted: under News.

I have been sent these beautiful baby room pictures by a customer in Germany who recently purchased the “banana custard preparation board” and jar of honeyfrom dollshouseheaven that you can see at the back of the room.   I think this miniature room full of babies is absolutely adorable and the attention to detail and colour coordination quite took my breath away.   Sincere thanks go to Sabine for sharing these lovely photos.

Dollshouse and Miniature Scene - “Time for a Spring Clean?”

March 4th, 2013

Posted: under News.

“Dollshouse and Miniature Scene” - April 2013 edition.   Included in this magazine is my article on how to turn a pristine kitchen scene into something that has been badly neglected and is in urgent need of a spring clean!  Or, as it so accurately expresses it on the front cover of the magazine “creating chaos with Catherine Davies”!

See also:

http://www.collectors-club-of-great-britain.co.uk/Magazines/Dolls-House-and-Miniature-Scene/Issue/_is412

Dig for Victory Garden

February 18th, 2013

Posted: under News.

I have been sent these gorgeous photographs by one of my customers of her miniature “Dig for Victory” garden.   I think the attention to detail in this creation is wonderful and she captures the atmosphere of the World War II era absolutely perfectly. 

The more you look, the more you see. I particularly love the rusty dustbin!

(The apples in the barrel, the wooden crate of cabbages and the potatoes in the bucket are from Dollshouseheaven.)

My thanks go to Susan for allowing me to share these pictures with you.

“Making Waves” and Moving Water

October 22nd, 2012

Posted: under News.

 

At the beginning of this year I was commissioned by Deluxe Materials to create some models for them using their new “Making Waves” product.   This is a thick, one-part resin which holds its shape and dries clear - just perfect for water coming out of a tap etc.  It also colours easily using either the Deluxe Materials “Scenic Colours” or simple acrylic paint.   Using it in conjunction with “Solid Water” which mimics still and deep water perfectly, I created the following:

- Garden water pump

- Muddy puddle with raindrops

- Rock garden with water gushing over steps into a pond

- Overflowing kitchen sink with tap still pouring water

- Lion’s head fountain

Following on from these models, I wrote a project for “The Dollshouse Magazine” demonstrating the basic technique used to create these different water effects.  This was published in the July 2012 edition of the magazine - back copies available from the following link:

http://www.thegmcgroup.com/pc/viewCategories.asp?idCategory=954

However, if you would like to know any more about these models and how they were produced, I would be happy to talk to me.  Simply email me:

info@dollshouseheaven.co.uk

Miniatura Spring 2012 and Knitting!

March 18th, 2012

Posted: under News.

At the Spring Miniatura on 17th March 2012 at the NEC, Birmingham, I had the great pleasure of meeting one of my customers in person.   It was lovely finally to put a face to a name and a voice, and to have a long chat about our common passion of miniatures and dollshouses.  My customer had very kindly brought along four of her 1/12th (1″) scale dolls for whom I’ve knitted sweaters and cardigans/bed jackets from patterns designed by Buttercup Miniatures.   So here are a few pictures of my customer’s (now dressed) little people, having a day out at the Miniatura.

Customer Commission - Gansey Sweater

March 11th, 2012

Posted: under News.

 

Here is a “gansey” sweater that I have just finished knitting as a commission.   This type of sweater comes from Scotland and would traditionally have been knitted in black, the colour favoured by the Scottish fishing fleet.   The gansey has plain sleeves, but is intricately patterned front and back (using a combination of simple plain and purl stitches).   This gansey has been knitted in 1 ply, 100% Shetland wool using size 19 needles.

This pattern was designed by Buttercup Miniatures and was knitted for sale with their kind permission.   To see their complete range of miniature knitting and crochet patterns (not to mention all related accessories) their website address is www.buttercupminiatures.com.

Dollshouse Heaven Now on Twitter

March 5th, 2012

Posted: under News.

From now on, I shall be tweeting regularly on what I’m up to, what’s new on my website and what’s coming up on Dollshouseheaven.

If you’d like to follow me, click on the “follow me” link on the front page of this website.

Should you have any ideas about what you’d like me to tweet about in our wonderful miniature world, I would love to hear from you!

N Gauge Model Railway Scenery - Part 2

November 12th, 2011

Posted: under News.

The model railway scenery is complete for now.  What is left is to put some swings and slides in the empty grey square, bordered by red, blue and yellow low fencing.   The orchard also needs some chickens.   I’m visiting the November 2011 Warley Railway Show at the NEC soon so may buy some chickens and some play equipment.  If I don’t see anything I like, I shall have to delve back into my pile of fimo/polymer clay and bag of plastics bits and bobs.

Some of the gardens/allotments were created with some ideas of the individual owners in mind.   You will have seen the garden belonging to the neighbours from hell.   As this particular garden is totally enclosed, it is difficult to tell how the rusted half-car ended up wedged against a dead tree.  Given that the railway track is supposed to run just behind it, I can only assume that it fell off the back of a train.

I have an allotment belonging to an old man.  He used to keep it perfectly, like the one next door (with runner beans, cauliflowers, runner beans, rhubarb etc), but isn’t able to manage it properly.   It’s therefore a little rough, but it’s nevertheless his pride and joy with his sunflowers.  His shed has gone rusty, but he likes nothing better than sitting outside it on an old conservatory chair.  His wife sometimes comes with him, but they frequently fall out, so she moves her chair and sits out of his way.

The milliput “stone” walls once coloured immediately made me think of country cottage gardens with roses,   and so I now have various shades of pink roses going up two of the walls which I made from fimo/polymer clay.    

With the way the houses were laid down I found myself with a very awkward, accute angle two gardens away from the rose garden.  Rather than hide it, I decided to make a feature of it, which gave me an opportunity to play with Deluxe Materials’ “Making Waves” and “Solid Water” (two different types of resin).  Combined with “Scenic Fibres” and “Scenic Water White Dye”, the result was a small waterfall sweeping down into a pond.

So this is me finished for now, until I can come up with an appropriate playground and chicken solution.   These can come later.   As I write, the scenery is still on it’s rather tatty wooden base.  It was never stuck down on this, but it was useful for carrying the scenery around on, not to mention as an occasional paint pallette.  (This temporary baseboard is what you can see in the “Overall” views.) 

The next step is for my partner to install this secton of scenery down onto his layout and stick it down.  It has already been placed there as a test - which involved running the fattest locomotive round the track to see whether it stuck anywhere on the edge of the scenery (which it did - in two places).  One bottle of Superglue Debonder and one new fence later, that particular problem has been fixed

After that?   I guess my partner will put on his electrician’s hat and it will be all stations go as he disappears somewhere under spaghetti junction that is the current muddle of wiring underneath the baseboard.   Hopefully the next time I see my scenery, it will be properly luminated with some beautifully placed street lamps.  At this point, the camera will come out again and there might then be ”N Gauge Model Railway Scenery - Part 3″.   Keep a lookout!

N Gauge Model Railway Scenery - Part 1

November 11th, 2011

Posted: under News.

I have been extremely busy over the last year with my partner’s N gauge model railway scenery.   For me this is huge scaling down - from 1/12th (1″) scale to 2 mm scale (2 mm to 12″).  

My partner’s plan has been to build his railway layout in modular format with multiple separate areas that can be worked on away from the rest of the layout.  In practice, that has meant shapes cut out in sheets of plastics with buildings and any other fixtures carefully drawn round.   The spaces that are left have been mine to what I want with (well almost what I want to do - wooden decking is prohibited, apparently).   From my partner’s point of view, this method has one distinct advantage: all the mess, the glue, the paint and the inevitable spillages end up in my house rather than his.   And how right he is…

So here are some photographs of the preparations we (but mostly me) went through for th:is particular wavy piece of scenery which is 2′ 3″ (69 cm) long and 9″ (23 cm) wide at its widest point.   My partner decided on the shape, cut it out, placed the buildings and the card pavement.  My job was to construct the gardens behind the buildings, bearing in mind that the tracks would be running just over the other side.  Privately, I had a plan to incorporate an allotment and a children’s playground. They were ambitious plans, I know, but I quite honestly hadn’t realised what I’d let myself in for.  For someone used to working in 1/12th (1″) scale, the area to fill looked remarkably small so I didn’t think it would take too much effort.   Wrong. 

At this point, my partner cleared off to America for a few weeks, leaving me to it. 

The first thing I did was butcher a car.   An Oxford diecast Morris Minor to be precise.   I took a pair of pliers to it, somehow managed to tear it in two (I only wante half of it), ripped off the wheels, stipped off the paint and rusted the half I wanted.  (I recommend the “Scenic Rust” kit from Deluxe Materials.)   This was for my “neighbours from hell” garden and the rusted car-half ended up wedged up against a dead tree along with a load of rubbish and “tall” grass.  (Ok, so it was an excuse to play with my static grass machine.  You need one to make “tall” grass.)

And my partner’s response when he came home?   Two responses really.  “What is it?” followed quickly by “Yuk.  Don’t like it”.   You have to smile.

As for the rest, I made great use of Milliput.  This is a two-part putty that once mixed will start slowly to set.  This is a chemical reaction, which means once mixed, you can paint over it and it will still dry as it is not relying on air for the drying process.   However, it stays soft long enough for you to be able to poke things - like tree stumps - into it, and was therefore a wonderful base for flowers, bushes, trees and just basic textured earth, especially in the series of allotments.   I also used Milliput to make the base of the pond/water feature and the “stone” walls.

I used a lot of the scenic materials readily available on the model railway market.   However I combined this with my own hand crafted vegetables, sunflowers and roses, made from fimo/polymer clay (See Part 2).   Initially, it’s quite daunting to attempt to sculpt something that small, but I remember a teacher of mine years ago saying that at that scale you can’t be accurate to the last detail.   What is important is to create an impression of something so that even with the lack of detail, it is instantly recognisable, and that is what I was anxious to achieve.

Down-Sizing - Again

September 12th, 2010

Posted: under News.

This commission came from David Mitchell who was actually searching the web looking for a railway “N” gauge gas tower when some tortuous route brought him to my website and a picture of the railway garden I’ve already done for my partner.   I don’t know whether he ever found what he was really looking for, but on the way he asked if I could make a garden for him on the same scale.  (N gauge = 2 mm/12″).

Through the post duly arrived a complete house (beautifully detailed in resin and about 5 cm/2″ high) and a template cut from mountboard.   To start the garden, I used the template to cut out a thin sheet of plastic that was to be the base.  There are two main advantages of using thin plastic when constructing a “portable” garden:

1)   The plastic will “take” a vast quantity of paint, glue (or anything else you care to throw at it, within reason) with only minimal - if any - warping or shrinkage.   I’ve tried using an aluminium sheet in the past, and the unspeakable result was only suitable for the nearest dustbin.

2)   The thinness of the material means that it can easily be slotted into an existing layout with no apparent variation in height.   A few dabs of glue in the right places, and the scene can appear as though it was constructed in situ as an integral part of the layout.

There were very few restrictions other than some bushes and trees/fence “would be nice” along the long side as this edge would be going straight up against the backdrop of his layout .   I also needed to be aware that the two sides opposite the long side would be where the train would run.   Apart from that,  I could:

1)  Put the house where I wanted.

2)  Put anything else in the garden I wanted.

As I’ve been making fruit and vegetables for many years in 1/12th scale, my immediate thought was to do a vegetable patch.  I remember many years ago being told by Sue Heaser (an world-renowned expert in polymer clay modelling) that when you are working in a very tiny scale, you cannot hope to recreate every last piece; rather you have to do just enough to give an impression.   The imagination and perception of the viewer will then “draw in” the rest.   Hence cabbages with just a miniscule knot of clay and a maximum of four surrounding slithers and the same for the cauliflowers and lettuces.   Railway materials (such as the scatter materials and grasses) did a lot of the rest.   For earth at this mad scale, I can heartily recommend textured paint - different shades mixed together for realism.

The apple tree was made from fine copper wire (stipped out from an old power cable) then covered with a thin layer of texturing material.   Yes, I did roll individual apples from clay, but if you look closely, you’ll see there aren’t any stalks.  You will need to imagine those.

For the bushes, I used a lot of “sea moss”, which is a natural material that first needs to be softened in water, but can then be sprayed with scatter glue before dipping in various different scatter materials to simulate leaves.   Small flowers are literally just specks of different colours of scatter materials and Flower Soft.

As for the house, it had already come ready painted, but I added greenery to make it look like it had stood in situ for years, not to mention “dirtying” it up with railway modellng powders to resemble soot(particularly on the side facing the railway).   A bit of a confession though - I had to make a new chimney pot for on the chimneys as it got “lost” somehow.  So sorry David - hope you didn’t notice!  (But I do know now how to mix a clay colour in clay….. if you get what I mean….)

The completed garden was duly popped into a box, put in the post, and is going to be slotted into a layout that David is working on called “Kidmore Yard” which is scheduled for an exhibition in April 2011.  To see more of David’s work, visit:

kidmorengauge.weebly.com