Dollhouse Blogs

Monday 2 July 2012

Vacation, Carpet disaster and Chinoiserie

Hello everyone,
I hope all of you are doing well. It feels like I have so much to write about! First of all, we had a fantastic trip. I even found some great souvenirs for the dollhouse.

I found the Three graces staue in a shop near the Louvre, and the figurine in St-Antoni Basilica in Padova the statue stands 4 3/4 inches high and will go in the Gallery or the Music Room.
We flew into Paris for 3 days and it was great. Jo and I went there on our honeymoon and it was just as beautifule as we remembered it...even in the rain. We then flew to Venice to board the ship and cruise the Greek Islands. Corfu was amazing, Santorini and Mykonos were lovely but a little too relaxed and calm for me. Our last stop was Katakolon where we took a guided tour to visit the ruins of Olympia, the site of the very first olympics, and it was one of my favorite stops ever. We got to see the "Hermes of Praxitales", said to be the statue of the most perfectly proportionned man...I believe it. We got off the boat in venice and took  a tour to Padova which dropped us off at the airport...Had I the money Padova is where I would have an appartment in was wonderful!.

That was the trip,and now back to mini-matters. Some people on cruise ships have all kinds of activities...Giac sits at the back of the boat and makes mini-tassels for Library curtains and works on dollhouse plans!
I should start working on the exterior of the Manor by the end of the summer. This means I had to figure out exactly what I want the house to look like so I can order the lumber I need. Here is my vision:
This first picture is of the side of the manor and opens into the Kitchen, Dressing Room and Morning Room. The Manor will be red brick, dark slate tile roof, and beige stonework. I love timber frame and decided only this wing would have it as I want the front of the Manor to look very solid and imposing. Naturally, the minute I finished it, I decided to lose the windows on the left and add a large chimney. I decided there was not enough cooking space in the kitchen so I'm adding a 5 " wide fireplace for roasting meat. The door to the kitchen will become a double door with large glass panes so the kitchen gets more light. 
This drawing is of the drawing Room Window and the Boys Bedroom. I will be using lead tape to make my windows and was not sure what pattern I wanted to use so I drew both onto the windows. In the end, I decided the regular square windows will get the square pattern, and the decorative curved windows will get the diamond pattern. Every window will have stained glass details, but more on that later.

I want a bay window for the Dining Room and Master Bedroom. I have a dremel and a regular 7 inch table saw, so I had to figure out the detail work in order to figure out how to build it since I can't make 45 degree cuts along the entire height of the panels. 

My last elevation drawing is of the Front Door. I want the entrance to be spectacular. while we were walking in Paris I saw several doors and doorframes that I loved, and I combined all my favourite elements of each door to create this design. I will use basewood molding and sculpy, and will finish it to look like stone. The swag detail over the transom will have a lion's head in the center. I know this project will drive me crazy, but I will make it happen.

I also took  the time to figure out my nursery. I decided to seperate the sleeping and play areas by creating a platform.  The platform area will be 8 inches wide and the crib will go next to the fireplace. The area will be seperated with banisters and curtains. The play area will have built in shelves, a built in puppet theater, and a chessboard inlay in the wood floors. I want to incorporate elements of Alice in wonderland without the room being too much of a theme room. This way the children can play with chess pawns as high as they are. Of course there will be a half scale table with chairs covered in lots of tea pots and tea cups. 
And that is what I got done on the boat. However, I had a few surprise when
I got home... Do you rememeber the red library floor carpet...the one that gave me such a hard time...well, the double sided tape worked amazing...but all the areas in between puffed up like a souffle. I think the basement is just too humid and the fabric expanded. I tried pushing it back down but it looks horrible. I've decided to take it out, make a wood parquet floor, and add wainscott to that room. Here is what the parquet will look like.

I will start by making the borders around the room, staining them almost black, then filling in the areas with light colored wood. The center will be a lattice pattern made from 2 tones of pine. I also want to incorporate wood parquet details representing the 12 signs of the chinese zodiac to go with the chinese patterned gold and black wallpaper in that room.

Also, I decided the Music room floor also has to go. It was my first scratch parquet floor ever. It looked great at the time, but the marble detail in the center doesn't look quite real and the large wood borders around the chevron pattern ruin the illusion. I will start over and glue the new floor over the old, and I also want to add wainscott in white and gold to the room. It was just missing somehting and I think I will be happy when it's all done...again, I chose a pattern from a russian palace for the floor..but more on that another time.

Since I've been back I've not really had much time or energy for the dollhouse, but I did decide on a  design for the attic library and had a test run. 

The room will be red and have black lacquer chinoiserie pannels. I hate painting with a passion, but I'm happy with the results of my first try. I will use a finer brush and the pattern should be a bit smaller, but I think I'll do a good job. I've printed out several panel details from furniture and am going to study the designs more carefully.

Also, I had 2 packages when I got home. The first one was the screen Jonquil offered in one of her giveaways and believe me, it is even better in real life. Her workmanship is spectacular and incredibly beautiful. Thank you so much Jonquil! I just LOVE it and will treasure it always.

The second package was me birthday chandeliers for the Library. They were totally worth the wait. The Metropolitan from the Getzans was the first chandelier I fell in love with and the only one I never thought twice about. They look perfect in the Library and go incredibly well with the style of the house...but you'll have to wait to see it until after the new floor is installed.

Another thing that has been on my mind lately and during the holidays were future projects.
I know I talk about deadlines all the time, but the reason is that I have several prjects in my head that are driving me crazy. I want to build a dollhouse for my niece and for the children of close friends of ours. I want to make town house type exteriors, and make the rooms individual roomboxes. They will have things like chalkboard walls so the kids can play, and if they want a collector dollhouse when they get older I will take out the children roomboxes and make higher quality realistic ones.
I also have a few roombox ideas for myself, such as my dream kitchen, and the project I'm most excited about is this:

This picture is my real life Dining Room. My parents bought this set the year I was born and I begged my mother not to get rid of it before I moved out. I want to make 2 copies of the China Hutch and the table with 8 chairs and a  sideboard for the Dining Room of Dewell Manor. I don't have the skills, but want to start experimenting with wood inlay furniture when the Manor is finished. I have started purchasing books on  making miniature furniture and will eventually start investing in  proper tools and equipment. John Davenport's book "Making Miniature Furniture is fantastic and I highly recommend it if you can find a copy.

The last big project on my mind is a family. Jo and I got word a month ago that we were officially on the adoption waiting list. We were going to keep it a secret, but figured we'd share the happy news since the wait will be long. We were told the wait is an average of 7 years. I know it's a while away, but I have to admit it is on my mind a lot and I would like to finish certain project before the tools and wood panels get put away and replaced, temporarily, by shelves of toys and games.

And that, my dear friends, is my back to reality post. I have been swamped with work since we got back, so I have not had time to comment on your blogs. I have read many and have to say I was in awe of the amazing projects and posts I 've seen. It seems like everyone is always getting better and putting out incredible work. I have not forgot about the prizes I was given and will talk about them next post as well as pass them on.

I hope you all have a wonderful week and I will get to work on Dewell Manor soon. Just please be patient with me as I think my next project, the new floor in the Library, will take me a long time to do.

I wish you all the best and send a great big hug to everyone, old friends and newcomers, and thank you for taking the time to follow my work and for your endless encouragement and support. I appreciate it more then you can know.


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  2. wonderful drawings !! i like your real life dining room style too.
    this giveaway you won seems to fit perfectly in your rooms :)
    have a great week!

  3. Welcome Home!
    I can just imagine your mind spinning during your travels. LOL
    So sorry about your carpet. But, how wonderful it will look with the parquet instead.
    I also see where you got your fine taste in furniture. I dont blame you. I would love to have that set also!

  4. Wat een prachtige plannen voor je nieuwe project zien er ook weer schitterend uit. Jammer dat je je tapijt moet verwijderen en nu parket moet leggen. Ik wens je veel plezier met je nieuwe miniaturen en plannen.

    Groeten Xandra

  5. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip that stimulated a lot of creative ideas! Love all your drawings and look forward to see them translated into the real thing.

    Your real dining room is fantastic, full scale furniture books are also a wonderful resource. Do think about doing a class though, like at Guild School or one of the big shows, there is nothing like a hands on experience and seeing how the tools are set-up. I learned so much about brass turning this year at Castine and techniques I would have never even thought about.

  6. looking at your plans, what a great house it will be, glad you enjoyed your holiday. it is lovely that you are going to adopt a child, bless you

  7. Hi Giac, it´s good to hear from you. I´m amazed with all your new ideias, can wait to see them come real. All the best.

  8. I hope you've had a good time and travel, the drawings are wonderful and all other parts.
      around your living room is truly magnificent, well to my taste when making miniature had become even more brilliant,
    besr regards,

  9. Ciao ..!! Bentornati ..!! Bellissimi progetti ..!!! Non vedo l ora di ammirarli ..!!
    Mi farebbe piacere se passaste dal mio blog ..!!
    Un bacio

  10. ¡Bienvenido de nuevo a la blogosfera, Giac, se te echaba de menos! Bueno, me alegro muchísimo por todo lo que nos cuentas, sobre todo por la decisión de adoptar, eso es algo maravilloso! Los proyectos miniaturiles que se te presentan también son geniales. Estaré atento a todos ellos.

    ¡Un abrazo enorme y enhorabuena!

  11. Hey Buddy!
    Cant think of anything else for now other than congratulating you and Jo on your potential adoption prospects!!! I AM THRILLED FOR YOU BOTH!!!!!
    (will reply reply about the Post propper once it has sank in)

  12. Hi Giac,

    Welcome home! I am so glad you and Jo had a wonderful trip and that you found so much inspiration along the way.

    I love the oriel window for the dining room/master bedroom…so Victorian Gothic! It will be the perfect addition to the manor.

    I really am impressed with your first attempt at "chinoiserie" painting, as I am impressed with all of your projects.

    Looking forward to your next post.


  13. Good to read you had a nice trip, Giac.:)
    I love Greek Islands because of their very relaxing atmosphere.:)
    Good luck with the adoption. I hope you won't have to wait for so long.:)
    The chinoiserie pannel look already very nice so I can't wait to see the pannels painted with finer brush.:)

  14. Welcome home!
    Good luck for the adoption!
    Your real dining room is very elegant.
    I'm curious to see your projects come real.
    Bye Faby

  15. My dear friend, welcome back! First I apologize for not yet lived up to my promise (I had another busy busy month, but you will not have to wait long!) ...
    And then comes the flood of emotions that your post has sparked: I hear coming from you a great positive energy and creative, and I am sure that all your projects are destined to be realized, not by magic but thanks to the great force that animates the your life :-)
    A child is the biggest project, the biggest challenge, and he will find in your home, a wonderful family ready to welcome him and send him a lot of creativity :-)
    Wow, what a wonderful future, I catch a glimpse for you!
    Do not wait to know the developments :-)
    I want to say a few words to the Three Graces by Canova: how lucky to have found the miniature! Remember I was speechless when I found myself in front of the original: absolute beauty, hard to believe that they are carved in marble. It will be a wonderful addition to the Manor :-)
    For now, I embrace with great, great affection.

  16. I am so glad to hear you had a wonderful holiday!

    The statue of the Three Graces is just gorgeous. What a wonderful find for your house. Your drawings for the exterior are so well done. It is going to be beautiful! I bet you are itching to start on it. How I would love to look through your sketch books. ;-)

    I wish you and Jo all the best with your adoption plans. I am sure it is an arduous process. I will keep my fingers crossed that it all goes smoothly.

  17. Hi Giac,
    I love all the drawings, the parquet floor with the greek key pattern is gorgeous, and the chinoiserie, will I just can't believe it's your first attempt, it's wonderful. Your plans are ambitious, but so far you've shown a clear skill in handling the task!

    Glad you enjoyed your vacation, my husband and I leave on a Mediterranean cruise to some of those ports in early September, I can't wait. I've scoped out all the miniature shops in But I don't think I would get away with making and planning miniatures during our cruise!!

    Congratulations of the potential adoption, it's such a big step.

    I'll await more postings of your fantastic project.

    1. Hi Wanda, I tried to leave a comment on your blog but could not. i hope you get this. Hello Wanda,
      I just wanted to wish you and your husband a wonderful vacation. I have been on several mediterannean cruises and I loved every minute. I hope you get great weather and have a lot of fun.
      Big hug, and happy vacation,

  18. it sounds like you had a wonderful trip and you bad boy you were doing mini's and we're not supposed to do that on vacation but I loved your drawings :) Im so happy you are back doesn't it feel good to have such wonderful ideas and plans.

    I wish I could have gone to Greece but I've only been to Asia and Japan boy was it hot and humid there! I hope you get your house finished sounds like it going to be a very long work in progess

    Welcome back :)


  19. Wecome back Giac,
    I wish you and Jo good luck with the adoption and hope the wait will be short.
    The little statue is a wonderful find. It will be interesting to see your work after seeing you sketches.
    Hugs, Drora

  20. Hello Giac welcome back :) I am so glad that you both had a wonderful holiday. Wishing you all the best of luck on your adoption and pray that it wont be so long :) Gosh my head is spinning after reading your post lol so many fantastic ideas. I am looking forward to seeing your projects. The 3 graces is beautiful. I love your RL dining room set its wonderful.
    Hugs Maria

  21. Yay! Honey Badger is BACK! And with terrific news, too! Congrats on your impending papahood! The stork might arrive a tad sooner than you expect --just saying... I am impressed by your sketches, Giac. They give an excellent idea of how the finished facade will look. (Which will be, no doubt, phenomenal)! Your chandelier is pure perfection and I am loving all your other treasures.

    How was the Scissor Sisters?

  22. Welcome back after an obviously great trip... you're so full of ideas and plans and I can't wait to see them become reality. Congrats on your good news, I'll keep my fingers crossed things will go much faster for you and Jo.


  23. Una entrada genial, con unas vacaciones de ensueño, un proyecto espectacular ,uno regalo fantantástico ¿qué más se puede pedir?, feliz regreso :)

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  25. Hi Giac, glad you guys are back safe and sound and had such a good time.
    Congratulations with the fact you are on the adoption list, adopting will give your life a whole new dimension, so exciting!!
    I am sure you will be a great dad.
    Now, on the mini-ing:
    Love the drawings, in fact they are gorgeous and worth framing.
    Sorry to hear about your carpet but I am excited to see what you will make next.
    The statue of the Three Graces is a great find! Beautiful statue, lucky you to find this beauty!
    Love the chandelier too, indeed well worth the wait!
    Your enthousiasm and creativity is infectuous. Owh and do try the wood inlay, I am pretty sure you will like it!

  26. WOW, Giac! Such a Lot of News! I'm thrilled to hear you are on the adoption list! And I'm so glad you had a wonderful vacation with plenty of "Ship Time" for drawing and playing with minis!!! Your Drawings are Gorgeous! I am sure the finished facades will be just as wonderful and can't wait to see how they develop!
    Lucky you to win the beautiful stitchery from Jonquil! And your statue of the Graces is a Perfect Mini! (I need a Tiny statue for my Tree House...)
    I am So looking forward to seeing the new incarnation of the Library.... and the Music Room too... although I was happy as they were.... but there is no arguing with Inspiration... so Go For It!
    It's Great to have you back in Mini Blogland!!! :)

  27. Welcome back, Giac. It seems like you had a lovely holiday. The Three Graces Statue is beautiful and just right for a grand place like your manor. For someone who claims he does not like to paint, you certainly did a fantastic job on that chinoiserie panel! From what you write, you have very ambitious plans and I know that you will see them all to completion. Congratulations on the adoption process. I hope it will go quickly and that you will soon be holding a sweet little baby in your arms. I just know that you will be a wonderful father. Take care!

  28. Giac,
    I love the drawing and planning stages of this great project. This is the part I love the most: finding a way to make your plans become reality. Good luck, my friend, I hope to see great things come of this!

  29. I too am very impressed by your detailed drawings; am very jealous of your wonderful holiday; love your dining room furniture, it has a special history for you, look forward to seeing it miniaturised. And most importantly, congratulations on your adoptions progress, hopefully you won't have to wait that long.

  30. Welcome back, Giac! It is good to hear from you. I love seeing your sketches--they're beautiful in themselves! Congrats on your important adoption news. Now you're on to your projects! xo Jennifer

  31. Wow Gaic, thats wonderful news!! Congratulations to you both!! I just know you will be a wonderful father, your kind nature for nurturing and your dedication to perfection for guidance, your a natural.

    What a wonderful holiday you have had, I'm very envious but also pleased your back. You sketches are amazing and i can't believe you did them on a boat, the nursery looks just beautiful.

    Your home looks lovely and the dinning set is very elegant, I'm sure you will make a beautiful job of your miniature version.

    ML Fi x

  32. Congratulations for your wonderful news! I look forward to seeing the manor be built and the diningroom set.

    The Three Graces is perfect as is the chandelier you chose.


  33. Hi Giac,
    Welcome back--it is good to have you with us again. I am glad the vacation was all the good things you and expected. I love your drawings and plans for the manor,

    BUT most of all, dear Giac, I am so happy to hear about your being on the adoption list. --lucky will be the child to have you and Jo as parents.

    Much love,

  34. Hi Giac

    Good to have you back! WOW! so much news to digest! Glad you had a great holiday, sounded wonderful! And who could ever resist the Three Graces? They will look stunning in your house!

    Great drawings too, looks like you got plenty of inspiration during your trip, I can't wait to see how the facade evolves!

    Your floors sound very ambitious, I feel sure you'll do a brilliant job on them, shame about the carpet, but what you plan to do sounds so much better anyway!

    Whoever your adoptee turns out to be, I think that they will one of the luckiest kids to have great parents like you, congrtulations!

    Your childrens dolls house with removable boxes is a brilliant idea too!!

    Anyd xxx

  35. Hi Giac,
    What an update....and yes Paris is just wonderfull!The rest of the trip sounds nice a well. Great drawings for the outside of your Manor.

  36. Hello and welcome back! Your drawings are really great. I hope you are keeping a scrap book. Your trip sounds wonderful and sounds like it is providing a lot of inspiration. I love the statue and the chandelier. I have found a lot of great doors on Pinterest. Good luck on the floors.

  37. Ciao caro amico, Bentornato! Sono felice per voi e per la bellissima scelta di adottare un bambino, solo chi ha un cuore grande è capace di un gesto così grande, il mondo è pieno di bimbi che hanno bisogno di una casa,di amore, non fai che confermare la bellissima idea che mi ero fatta di te, e della meravigliosa persona che sei.
    Pregherò Dio che il vostro desiderio si realizzi molto prima di quanto vi aspettate,
    Ti abbraccio forte,

  38. The Three Graces was a marvellous find and I smiled when you said you were tucked away in a corner making tassels! The plans for Dewell look marvellous, especially your ideas for the front door.

    Already I'm itching to see your next post.

  39. Hi Giac!
    Your update is like an adventure with You two!
    Wonderful holidays! Love the statue and the chandelier, it is just like something from a real Castle...
    You sketches are amazing, I`d frame them as Artworks...

    Congratulatios for your lovely adoption news!

  40. I just love to admire your perfect ideas and work! Thank you again from here, too, for stopping by at my blog and even commenting ! Ever so kind! Your holidays seem to have been full of inspiration...and it is so nice to read that you loved the Greek islands...especially Corfu- which is my beloved one!!! But also Venice, Padova...ever so beautiful! It would be my dream to have endliess time in Venice!
    Wishing you all the best,r minis and real life.. especially for the adoption plans! Anne

  41. Giac - at last I've had a look at your amazing work!! I'm hugely impressed. What a perfect miniature world you live in! The miniature of The Three Graces is very realistic. Incidentally, I used to give gallery tours at the Victoria and Albert Museum (only of the Musical Instrument collection) and on my way to the viols and harpsichords I regularly passed the version of The Three Graces that the V&A now (part) own. As you know, it used to belong to the Duke of Bedford at Woburn Abbey, which is only about five miles from where I live. In fact, when I went to Venice some time during the last century (it really feels a very long time ago now!) there was an exhibition of Canalettos in Palladio's church on San Giorgio, which were on loan from Woburn, which was rather ironic, having flown all that way! I also remember a beautiful wedding there, with huge fans of gladioli and gondoliers with ribbons in their hats. And a firework display in the evening!!! And, a further connection with your holiday travels is that I have a reproduction bust of the Praxiteles Hermes, which is actually now in Andy's bedroom. It's a fairly careful repro, so much so that they include the hand of the infant Dionysus, which is a tad odd - severed at the wrist as it is; it looks like a "Thing" or "Beast with Five Fingers" crawling over Hermes' shoulder. Well, it does to Gothic me...Speaking of which, I believe Santorini is the Greek vampire island. I've never been, but I never forget what Lawrence Durrell had to say about it in his book on the islands : "Greece peasant superstition has picked on the island as a specially favoured home for the vampire. Vampires in retirement, vampires who have shot their bolt, vampires wanting to get away from it all - they find a haven here." Did you see any?

    Your drawings are superb, Giac, and the chinoiserie panel is very realistic. I've always rather fancied this kind of thing (having read so many Fu Manchu novels!). I once tried to make myself a blue satin dressing gown with embroidered dragons but didn't get very far. I do, however, still stitch away at my needlepoint - but not in miniature. I've just finished a Valkyrie and am still working away on a Lohengrin Swan. Andy has a miniature carpet to do - rather him than me, I think! My father is also a needlepointer - and is currently working on a huge version of Alma Tadema's "Baths of Caracalla" That is at the other extreme. I'm very much in the middle, I think.

    Your full size dining room is very elegant and just the place for a bowl of asparagus soup. Miniature marquetry sounds very challenging, but I know you will triumph!

    Good luck with all your projects!


  42. I am late in commenting but want to add my congratulations on being accepted into the adoption process. So exciting!

    I really enjoyed looking at your amazingly detailed drawings. You have wonderful ideas and the skill to accomplish them too!

    I am truly inspired.

  43. Very late comment, was on vacation too.
    First of all congratulations for the adoption acceptance, it is a wonderful piece of news.
    He/she will be the best mini ever even though you have still to wait a bit.
    Second :lovely minis and great projects :o) cannot wait to see more. Minihugs, Rosanna

  44. Lo primero de todo...felicitaciones por la decisión de adoptar, deseo que la esperasea un poco inferior a la media.
    EStoy deseando ver tus nuevos trabajos, sólo ver tus bocetos es emocionante, son maravillosos.
    Un besin

  45. Giac, every time I visit you takes me a while because I have an urge to re read your posts so I don't miss anything. Your drawings/plans makes one holds it's breath in anticipation of how incredible this will be based on your past work, no pressure,grin!
    Your newly addition are fantastic too. All the details that you put in each and every project, shines out at the end!
    I hope I make senses!!grin

    Thank you for the wording you left me about my owl. It truly made my day!

  46. Bonjour,
    Merci pour ton message laissé sur mon blog. Tu me dis que mon travail t'impressionne, c'est plutôt moi qui suis impressionnée par le tien;
    Quel talent pour réaliser de si belles maisons toutes mes félicitations et merci encore

  47. Such creative beauty over here, and oh so inspiring.

    Thank you for the beauty you add to a world of small.

  48. I'm glad the room will be red, it's my favorite color! Giac, you are so talented, I can't even fold origami. Thank you so much for the birthday wishes! A big hug from Rome!

  49. Dear Giac,
    Congratulations with the good news over the adopting list.I love to read about your holiday trip to Europe.I'm very curious to see the black lacquer chinoiserie.
    A big hug from the Netherlands!!

  50. I've been away a while, and I have so much to read.

    What a wonderful holiday you have had here in europe,Paris Venice oh!! how beautiful is it there.
    One big inspiration for a miniaturist, but also for life.
    I just love to admire your ideas and work.
    I'm going to follow you again now the summer slowly is going to run on its end.

    Kind regards Alexandra.

  51. This is way beyond me...I wouldn't know where to start, you are amazing. Even a nursery! About packing your bags Giac...when you look at the food in Trapani you won't even pack a bag, you'll just rush to the airport:)

  52. Hello Giac, What fantastic drawings!!! I keep discovering more and more things that you excel at! You are gifted, Big Time ,my friend