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Hi and welcome to my blog. I hope you like my new look, I needed a change from black. Here you can share my miniature endeavours, perhaps be inspired by some of my photographs taken in France and of 'real world' treasures that can be made in miniature. My love of parterre-style gardens and study of horticulture made my decision for the theme of my little shop an easy one. I just hope I can successfully interpret my ideas in 1/12th scale!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

To Paint or Not to Paint?

Recovering from a couple of days of heavy smoke as bushfires came a bit too close for comfort. We live on the edge of a small suburb north of Sydney, next to the bush which is lovely to look out at and to hear all the birds, but can be a worry in the dry weather.

Just thinking about my little shop and my last painting experiences. I decided to paint the exterior with a sandstone effect as the shop was fully constructed and I couldn't think of any other way to give it a satisfactory finish. I know some miniaturists don't believe in painted effects, they will only use real miniature weatherboards, bricks etc. Being fairly new to miniatures, I don't know what the guidelines are, but I know of quite a few miniaturists who use various means to achieve the look they want.

I'd love to hear some comments on this. I've added a photo of my painting process, in addition to my various painted finishes I have done before finally settling on the sandstone finish. I achieved the effect by cutting thin strips of masking tape and creating a grid, measuring up the area to be painted to get a fairly balanced look. It was quite time-consuming. I know it's possible to buy stencils with the various types of faux brick finishes but I thought that might be more difficult to get right. The background colour, which becomes the mortar, is quite important and needs to match the final colour nicely. The finished surface has some texture to it as there were a few layers of paint before I achieved the colour and look I wanted.

While researching sandstone finishes on old buildings I thought of my paternal grandfather, whom I never met. He was a stonemason and I wondered what he would think of my project and what comments he might make.

The thin strips of masking tape were laid out horizontally first, then the vertical strips were applied individually.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Welcome friends.

I've been busy the last few days and every spare minute, or hour, I've spent re-painting my little shop. It came close to becoming the 'little shop of horrors',  trying to achieve a  sort of realistic sandstone effect. I finally got to a stage that I thought it looked OK. Anyway, that will be it. The next step will be painting the interior, fitting lighting, which I haven't yet bought, deciding on flooring etc. A photo of the final, final exterior is on the right, below several earlier versions.

When I opened my blog I had a wonderful surprise to find five followers -  thank you Norma, Josje, Cheryl, Lisa and Sylvia - I hope you may stop by from time to time, I'll certainly be visiting your blogs.
It's so great to see what others of like interests are up to and there are certainly a lot of talented people out there. For someone like me, just taking their first steps into the world of miniatures, of blogging too for that matter, it's encouraging to see what others are  doing. I'm still learning how everything works, blogging was a complete mystery to me before now. So you're never too old to learn!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Trials and Tribulations of painting my shop.

I've lost track of the number of hours spent painting the shop so far. As I bought it complete with windows, doors etc. I couldn't see any alternative but to paint on an exterior effect and didn't like the option of gluing on paper. So I started out with the goal of creating an old sandstone effect. My first version looked like brickwork but the bricks were just a bit too large for the scale of the building. Didn't think that one out very well before I started. Photos can be seen to the right of the screen.

The next attempt resulted in larger stone blocks, but looked too blue. I later added some warmer tones but didn't take a photo of that, didn't like the colour combination at all.

My last version I think I'll keep. I think it's limestone, quite pale and neutral in colour. I added some nicely aged cast iron detail. Have some tidying up to do - need more practice with miniatures, whenever I fix up a spot of paintwork, I mess up an area next to it and have to clean that up - a bit clumsy in such a small scale.

Can't wait to make a start on the interior, still thinking about the look I want.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

My Antique German Kitchen Roombox

Some of you miniaturists may be interested in seeing this amazing antique German miniature kitchen I bought a couple of years ago. I found it at an amazing estate auction in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. I later sold it, but I still enjoy looking at the photographs.

Notice the fabulous matching dresser, wall shelf, table and chairs. Nice window treatment and great detail with many accoutrements. 

The buyer, from Perth, Western Australia, was lucky as I was about to embark on a road trip to Perth with my sister who now lives there. The room box took up most of the back seat of the car and was quite heavy. A whirlwind trip that took five days, my sister was determined to set a record. 

Took a few great photos on the way and stayed at one of the most remote road stops in the middle of the desert. The road signs along the way warned drivers to watch out for camels, kangaroos and dingoes but we never spotted a camel.

Extremely high temperatures, thank heavens for air conditioning.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Tres Sophisticated - Not!


Came across these photos taken in Paris in my search for my trip to Perth shots. You might think two grown women would be more mature, but no one else was around, surprisingly. We couldn't resist a photo opportunity! What would Marie Antoinette have thought?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Dreaming of France

While sitting ruminating on how to decorate my little shop -  I'm leaning towards a French look and decided to name it Petit Parterre - I started reminiscing about my last trip to France. I've been twice, the first time was too many years ago to mention. A quick few days in the middle of winter and Paris was the coldest city I had visited on that trip - colder even than the north of Scotland.

The last trip was in 2001. My sister met me in Paris and we hired a car for a whirlwind tour of France. I was the first behind the wheel and amazingly got us out of Paris safely, around the Arc de Triomphe -  terrifying. We're both Francophiles so there was a lot of pointing and oohing as we drove along. This time it was hot, very hot, and a lot of the places we stayed weren't air-conditioned. Loved the fact that people could travel with their dogs and keep them in their rooms at some hotels, even take them to dinner. Very well behaved and well groomed though.

Tested out my new digital camera after reading up on how to use it on the flight over. A first for me - not good at reading instructions! That will have to change as I think I'll be using some kits to furnish my little plant and flower shop. I've included a before shot of the shop as I bought it several years ago. I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could do to personalise it and will post a good shot of my efforts when I have one.

Have added some pics taken on my last trip - so inspirational! Ideas for lots of miniature projects.