Thursday, May 4, 2017

Another day closer.

I worked all day on the library room box. At this point I would like everyone to do me a favour and forget what I said yesterday about what I was planning on accomplishing today.

I did get the rest of the sidewalk laid. I did get two coats of polyurethane on it to make it easier to wipe off the grout once it's applied. I did not get the grouting done because I have to let the second coat of finish dry until tomorrow. Grouting is first on my list in the morning.

I mentioned yesterday that I had sponged the sides of the base to make them look a little like concrete. I haven't yet dry brushed the white over top but hope to do that tomorrow. It'll tone it down and "belnd" it better, I think. This is what it looks like right now.

I did get the lighting all installed - the coach light by the door, the street lamp on the corner of the sidewalk, and the strip lighting inside to provide plenty of light for viewing. I have the street lamp taped up in place because I have to lay it down to do the grouting under it tomorrow.

You can also see that I have gotten started on the signage on the front. I definitely have to finish that tomorrow.

The rest of these pictures show that I have done some work on the wainscoting on the inside walls. I have installed a bookcase as well. I also sealed the wood floor but you can't see it in these pictures. I sat a little replica of one of my darling kitties, who is no longer with us, on the window sill. I think I may just leave her curled up in the window. Shouldn't every library have a resident kitty??

I hope you like the picture I've chosen for the back, removable wall. I really like the visual depth it gives to the room box which is really only 4 or 5 inches deep inside.

This next picture shows a view of the little bench I placed on the side of the library. I originally planned to have my battery pack inside this little structure but, once I finished adding lights I had two battery packs so had the base built to house both of them, and add some viewing height to the roombox itself.

Here you can see that I actually did get some of the interior wainscoting done. You can also see the finish on the floor.

So -- a full day's work doesn't seem to have accomplished much, does it?? To end the day, I started trying to make a very narrow librarian's desk for the front of the library. It was already closing on 10:00 pm and I should have known better. I finished the first version, thinking it was ready to paint, but when I stood it up I couldn't believe how completely wonky it was. I was sure I had squared everything up. Apparently I was wrong - big time!!! On to attempt number two. I got that one completely finished then realized I had covered over the little section where the library patrons would interact with the librarian. Attempt number three??? I don't think so! It's definitely time to quit and go to bed when you start making that many mistakes. Tomorrow is a new day.

By the way, I'm not worried about not having it finished for Saturday's show because Jodi Hippler suggested a great solution -- just hang a sign in the window that says "Opening Soon!". I love it!! What a great idea.

So, I'm off to bed with visions of lots more work ahead of me tomorrow. TTFN!! - Marilyn

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Putting a push on!!!!

I'm sorry I've been negligent with my posting lately but I cannot even begin to tell you how busy I have been - with non-mini things unfortunately. Well, I could tell you but, trust me, you really don't want to know. I think I'm going to come out of retirement and go back to work so I can get a rest. The problem with retirement is that everybody thinks you have lots of time on your hands and, if you're like me, you find it difficult to say "no!" when asked to volunteer for things. I need to become more heartless so the next time someone wants to tear me away from working on minis I can adamantly say "Hell, no!!"

So, today I got back to work on my FAME club project that I am turning into a memorial library in memory of my father. I have a lot of work to do but the Moncton show is on Saturday and I plan on displaying it there along with our other members' projects. Even if mine isn't done I figure I can display it as a "work in progress".

I buckled down this afternoon and started by staining the floor. In my stash I had a set of three stain sticks that are used for furniture repair. The three pens come in a package for $1.25 at Dollarama. I started by using the lightest colour first.

It dries very quickly. Then I covered this colour with the medium brown. I think you can tell the difference in the two colours in this photo. You could really see it in person.

Finally, I added the third, darkest colour. You can see the strip in the middle has only the first two colours on.

I really like the depth of colour achieved by using the three different colours. Once it was completely dry, I buffed it up some which made it come up quite nice. I will probably cover it with matte finish but I haven't decided yet. I better make up my mind in a hurry since the clock is ticking!

Now, about this time I decided I wanted a base that the room box could sit on to hide the battery packs underneath. My darling hubby measured, cut, and put the base together very quickly. Did I mention he's the best!!?? I placed the room box on top of the base and traced around it, then painted the top, outside where the box will sit, and the edges black.

Then I sponged two shades of gray on the edges of the base to make it look a little like concrete. I think I may dry brush some white in places to finish that off. Then I started laying bricks on the black area of the top.

The square in the from left corner needs to have a hole drilled for wiring before I finish the bricking there. Tomorrow I will finish putting down the rest of the bricks but here is what it looks like so far with the unfinished box in place.

So tomorrow, I will finish the bricking, seal the bricks, grout them and wipe off the excess, seal them again. I also plan on having the lighting all installed. I am putting some strip lighting at the inside top of the front wall which will light up the inside really well. I will also have a coach lamp on the wall by the door, and a street lamp in the front left corner of the sidewalk.

What's left after that? Well, let me see - the wainscoting, door and window trims, baseboards, furniture, and shelving. Then, I have to make the desk for the librarian, add the bookcase and fill with books, print out some signage and posters, set up a display in the bay window and, one thing I can't forget - I still need to finish off the front where the sign goes. OMG, I guess there's not much hope I'll have this done for Saturday morning. Well, in that case, the last thing I need to do is print a sign that says "work in progress". :-)

I've managed to tire myself out jst thinking of all I have left to do. Time to go to bed and rest up for tomorrow. TTFN!!! - Marilyn

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Oh No!! Say it ain't so!!!

Short post for today - because I just can't face it!

The view out my dining room this morning.

'Nuff said! I'm going to go bury my head until spring actually arrives!!!! TTFN!! - Marilyn

Thursday, April 13, 2017

First things first...

... I forgot to post my Wednesday Weather Watch pictures yesterday but...good news!! - It's officially spring for me! No snow left on the deck at all and only pockets left on the neighbours' yards. Okay - there's still snow in the pool but I wasn't planning on swimming anyway. *smile*

So, now that I'm doing my happy spring dance (it's not pretty but it makes me feel really good!), I thought I would go back and show you some pictures from the 2017 Montreal Miniatures Show and Sale. Please forgive the quality of the pictures - the exhibit room was very brightly lit and almost all of the pieces suffered from the glare of the lights against the windows of the room boxes. Hopefully you can see them well enough to get a feel for their projects, at least.

I was quite surprised to find that, this year, their club project was quite similar to our club project - shallow room boxes with shop fronts. Just like our club project, each one is finished very differently, reflecting the artist's individual style.

Shirley McBain used her club project to display some lovely china ladies - beautiful figurines all ready for a night of dancing!

Eleanor Dutton's formal dress shop, titled "Ella", showcases three fine examples is the front window. One can imagine the rest of the dress shop is hidden behind the semi-sheer curtain covering the whole back wall.

Erica Lapiste's project is near and dear to my heart! "The Shoe Box" really speaks to my love of - well - shoes!!! (and purses too!). I love the painted brick walls, the raised platform with the shoes, and all the little "glass" shelves with more shoes and purses. I also really like the way she made her door. It looks just like one you would find on this style shop.

I so wish this next picture didn't have so much glare off the glass because it is truly priceless! It really made me smile. In case you can't read the sign on this box, Inge Cossette named her piece "The Bachelor". I love the old fellow standing in his socks and underwear, ironing his pants, surrounded by the traces of his bachelor life. So much fun!

Caroline de Repentigny and Fernand Rondeau used the club project to produce a row of three shops.

I got better views of the first two shops in this row but, unfortunately, the third one turned out way too fuzzy to really see anything.

The welcome mat is out at Yvette Reid's "Treasures of the Sea". Don't you love those little yellow rain slickers, the coral, and the little model ships? It makes me think of my home province - Prince Edward Island. (Although I have been in New Brunswick for over 50 years now and do love it as well!).

Michelle Castonguay has tried to think of everything anyone could want to decorate their homes for Christmas. I love to see a shop with lots of things to look at!

A customer is happily trying on hats in Suzanne Wiseman's "Jolie Coquette", while the little puppy waits patiently on the sidewalk. He may be waiting a while -- there's lots of hats in there!

The window of Florence Dafter's "Bridal Boutique" is showing some beautiful dresses for the bride and her attendants. The pretty blue walls create a very calm atmosphere - just what a stressed-out bride needs!

Last for tonight, but certainly not least, Jeanette Ottaway has two shops on display. First,"The Mad Hatter". Bet you can't guess what kind of shop this is!?!

The second one by Jeanette made me smile. It's a great shop but I really loved its name. If any of you out there are fans of Coronation Street, the long-running British soap opera, you probably recognize the name, as did I, of the lingerie factory on this show. Jeanette's "Under World" has some lovely lingerie and accessories showcased. Don't you love it?

Well, thus ends this long post for today. Tomorrow I want to show you some more pictures from this exhibit. In addition to the club projects, and many other pieces on display, there was a varied collection of projects which all had a common denominator - which I will reveal to you tomorrow. Now, I'm going to pay closer attention to the hockey game, then go to bed. Go Leafs, go!!! TTFN! - Marilyn

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Talented F.A.M.E. Members

We had our monthly F.A.M.E. meeting tonight and had a few of our finished projects on display. Hopefully we'll have them all on display together at the Moncton Show next month but - you lucky readers - you're going to get a little preview right here!

First up, we have Sharon B.'s beautiful piece titled "Blue on Blue". Sharon has been collecting blue and white ceramic and pottery pieces for several years. She has certainly shown them to great advantage with her Group Project.

My favourite piece is the large blue and orange piece on the table just to the inside of the door.

A view of the items on the top shelf.

I also really love the blue and white plates on the wall...and the blue tile floor...and the blue wallpaper. It may be a lot of blue but it goes together perfectly!

Sharon used jumbo craft sticks to make her own siding. I think they look great and will think of doing this myself next time I need siding for a project.

For those of you who also follow Marijke H.'s blog, Pulchinella's Cellar, you have seen the progress of her beautiful Group Project, titled: "Floriana". She brought her completed project to share tonight and we all oohed and ahed at the skill demonstrated in all of her beautiful plants, flowers and accessories.

A view through the open door:

What a beautiful display window - all decked out for spring. Marijke has the whole display tacked down to a single piece that forms the window shelf. This way she can remove the whole spring display and replace it with a new display for every season. What a fabulous idea! I'm going to steal that idea too! I'm such a thief!

This is a good view of the pots of succulents on the etagere just inside the door. Marijke made the plants from offcuts of scrapbooking card, coloured with colouring pencils to get the different shades of the plant. She also made all the pots. Great display.

Here's an overall view of the back wall - and also the shelf that runs over the whole display. I love all the little touches like the birdhouses, the wind chimes, the hanging plants, the watering cans....this is a flower shop I would visit every day if I could!

Louise McS.'s project, "Lynda's Fabric Shop", was made as a present for a favourite aunt who is a gifted quilter. This is one of the best uses of a "perspective photo" I have seen in a long while. It certainly looks like this little quilt shop is way deeper than it actually is.

Look how the shelving unit in the room box blends right in with the rows and rows of shelves in the perspective photo. Doesn't it work wonderfully?

The black and white tile floor in the room box blends into the one in the picture. What a great effect.

Of course, for any of you who have come to know Louise through this blog, you would recognize that this is her room box, simply because of the sign on the side.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - Louise has never met a flamingo she doesn't like - and want to take home with her!

Speaking of which - yes, I am still working on the sleigh bed I am making for Louise's tropical getaway for Mr. and Mrs. Claus. The bed is made and painted. Now I have to make the bedding. So, I decided it had to feature flamingos somewhere. Unable to find a fabric with flamingos that were small enough for minis, I decided to try to make it myself. I took my ironing board out on my deck because it's a good height to work on and because I didn't want to be spraying glue indoors. Then I laid out a strip of parchment paper to protect the top of the ironing board, and placed two sheets of printer paper, side by side, on top of the parchment paper. I then used a can of spray adhesive on the printer paper, let it try for five minutes, then smoothed my chosen 100% cotton fabric onto the paper which, by now, was nice and tacky. I left this whole thing to dry for an hour or two while I prepared the document on my computer.

I searched for flamingo prints and found a wallpaper sample for real houses. Of course, the picture only showed a small square so I copied this into my PowerPoint program, made the background colour transparent so all you could see were the flamingos, not the blue background, then I copied this one square over several times on the page, making sure to overlap the squares so they lined up properly with the repeat of the pattern.

Once this was done I then went back to the fabric pieces and cut them out to the size of the computer paper they were glued to. I put one sheet of this fabric/paper into my printer. I set my printer to best quality and selected high-quality photo paper with no border, hit "print" and held my breath! It went through just fine! Alas, once printed, I thought the first try was just a little too small so I put the second sheet in the printer, went back to my program and enlarged the flamingo print, and the three cushion prints I was also printing, and hit print again. This time I was satisfied with the result - right size, colour is good - works for me! Here you can see the final product on top of the first try. You can really notice it with the cushion covers - the resize really makes a big difference for them! (Click on the picture if you want to see a larger version).

If you want to try this method yourself you MUST have an ink-jet printer, not a laser-jet printer. The ink-jet literally "shoots" the colour into the fabric. Tomorrow I think I will iron these pieces from the back and then the front to hopefully heat set the colour a little more.

Then, of course, I will get Louise's bed finished. Honest!!!! I will have it finished!!! For which of her birthday's I'm not really sure.....right now - I'm going to bed! TTFN! - Marilyn

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

The Difference a Week Makes

Last week, in my extreme desire for spring to arrive, I took pictures of my back deck and out my front window so I could measure the progress by the amount of snow melt. Well, I wish it could have been more but, I am seeing a little more of the deck floor and the neighbours' yards are showing grass around the edges. I guess that's the most I can hope for this week.

We're supposed to get a couple of days of rain, then the temperatures are rising this week so I'm very hopeful for the progress before next week's Weather Watch!

Louise and I were in Montreal this past weekend to take in the MEM show and sale. Besides spending lots of time at the vendor booths and visiting the exhibition room, we were lucky enough to visit with Giac, (English Manor Dollhouse) and view the incredible piece of art that is his massive dollhouse. His talent is unbelievable!!! To really understand the artistry this house exemplifies, you MUST go to Giac's site where you can get a close-up view of each room and witness the transformation. I took one long-range picture but still only managed to fit in 2/3rds of the building.

Giac was also so kind to give Louise and me a mini tutorial (no pun intended) on using paint to produce an extremely realistic-looking wood finish. Here, Louise is trying her hand at producing it. It looks really good - even better in person.

We also talked with him about marble faux finishes. When we went to check out the beautiful finishes in his dollhouse, he showed us a little table he had faux finished with a green marble top. Doesn't it look fabulous?

For those of you who also follow our friend, Marijke's, blog: Pulchinella's Cellar, you would have seen that she made a beautiful, formal floral centrepiece as a commission. Well, the commission was for Louise and me because we wanted to bring Giac a little "thank you" gift that would be suitable for a building as elegant as his dollhouse. Giac loved the piece and is trying it out in his front hall (click on the picture to get a larger view). He may move it around from room to room before he decides exactly where it looks best but, for now, I think it looks beautiful right where it is.

After a wonderful couple of hours spent with Giac, and his husband Jo, it was time for us to leave and head back to New Brunswick - but not without big hugs all around!!! (Louise is adamant that Giac gives the BEST hugs ever!! - I think she's right)

Of course, I consider myself the lucky one because I got hugs from both Jo and Giac at the same time! What a pair of wonderful young men! Their parents must be so proud of them.

Alas - we couldn't stay any longer but we know we'll be back!! Something to look forward to, for sure!

I'm heading away for a few days but, God willing, I will try to post a few pictures from the Montreal exhibit room over the next couple of days then before you know it, I'll be back to mini work of my own!! TTFN! - Marilyn