Sunday, August 26, 2012

Spinet Piano

This week my spinet piano from Master's Miniatures arrived from England --isn't it beautiful?  I 'special ordered' it to be made 'mirror-reversed' so that the keyboard would face toward the front of the house. 

It perfectly blends in with the other furnishings!  Thanks to Andy for helping me pick it out.  All I need now is to find a suitable chair or bench for it.  Actually, I have a House of Miniatures chair kit left over from my Entrance Hall that I might use.

I'm toying with the idea of  a classical painting on the underside of the spinet lid, something with a musical theme, perhaps?

I also received a pair of these lovely crystal-spangled candelabras, this one sitting on top of one of the aforementioned House of Miniatures side tables I made.  I'm still waiting for the Susan Bembridge fabric, and suspect it will arrive any day now!  I am so anxious to re-cover the chairs in it...

Here's a little violin I picked up at the local dollhouse shop, Little Enchantments.  I also have my eye on a Bespaq harp, but it will have to wait for now as we had a rather large and unexpected car repair bill to deal with last week  :(   Don't you just hate it when RL problems interfere with your miniature projects?  Oh, well, whatevs...I don't have my harp but I do have a brand-new alternator!

 Just a few more little details left here and there on the Music Room and I can move on to the next room: the Library.  Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Slow Going

Progress on the Music Room slogs onward, ever onward...though at a snails pace!  Sorry, mes chers, but it's simply too damn gaw-jess outside to be fiddling around with miniatures!  Howevs, betwixt and twain heatwaves and thunderstorms I did manage to finish up a few things...

My Music Room art gallery is complete!  I was told by the creator of my wallpaper, Susan Brembridge, that it simply screamed for lots of gold I think I did OK by that, LOL...(OK I'm slightly paraphrasing.  She did not actually say 'simply screamed').  ;)

I got the sconces hooked up on the fireplace.  These are from Rosel's and though you can't really see them for the glare, they are quite lovely.  I also added gold fringe to my balloon shades, all thanks to a tip from Jeffry.  He advised me to cut one side of a ribbon off and pull out the threads to form the fringe.  It worked perfectly!  Thanks, Jeffry!

I built a couple of  House of Miniatures tables: one between the two square-backed chairs on the left and a candle stand against the back wall.  That bare spot is where the aforementioned spinet piano is going...I hoped it would arrive this weekend, but ...alas, did not!   What is really weird, though, is after I built the first candle stand , I realized I needed a second to flank the spinet, so I ordered another on ebay on Saturday, and it has already arrived, today (Monday)! From California.  Say what you want about the U.S. but our postal system rocks!  (Too bad it's going bankrupt).

BTW, those discontinued, 'ye-olde' House of Miniature kits, circa from my childhood, are still readily available, affordable and easy to put together.  Great.  I just drived up their price. 

And here is my foot-warmer from Linda Master, the prize I won which also arrived this weekend.  Isn't it scrumptious?  THANK YOU, LINDA!

I actually managed to finish a few other things, but I am getting looks so I guess dinner must be ready?  What? I am not a mind reader! The horses of Apollo are pawing impatiently at the Gates.

Have a great week...


Saturday, August 11, 2012


OMG!  I won Linda Master's give-away prize:  this intricately carved foot-warmer!

If you haven't checked out Linda's blog, Miracle Chicken, please do yourself a favor and head on over!  She carves the most amazing animals and all sorts of lovely objects --like the foot warmer, above.  Needless to say, I am so thrilled to have such a finely wrought addition  to Merriman Park!  Linda recently was inducted as a fellow into the hallowed IGMA and she has some perfectly marvelous GLT  (gorgeous little things) available in her Etsy Shop.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Red Silk Balloon Shades

There's just something about poof-y swags of silk --especially red silk-- that I have always admired.  I just love how the light changes within the opulent folds of the fabric.  And since I thought that my Music Room screamed for another touch of red,  it seemed a natural choice.

Besides, I read in World of Interiors that Britain's Prince Charles had navy-blue silk balloon shades recently installed in one of his Palladian country houses (and what's good enough for His Royal Highness is certainly good enough for the likes of me)!

This style of curtain looks fussy and complicated to make, but nothing could be further from the truth.  It's really only a hemmed rectangle of fabric with a curtain rod pocket at the top.  The poofs are formed by simple gathering in rows.  Here's how I did it:

Step 1.  Determine the size of your pattern by measuring the width of your window and multiply by three.  In my case the window was three inches wide x three = nine inches.  Add a half inch for hems for a total of nine and a half inches.

The length of your shade is simply the measurement from the top of your window to the sill, plus one inch for rod pocket and hem.  Are you still with me?

Step 2.  After cutting out your fabric, use a product such as Fray Check around all four edges to lock the threads in place.

(You might want to test the Fray Check on a scrap of your curtain fabric first.  On my red silk, the Fray Check turned the fabric very dark, but most of that discoloration disappeared once it dried).

Step 3.  Once the Fray Check has dried a little, carefully clip the raw edges of your curtain panel 1/8 -1/16th of an inch all around.

Now your fabric edges should be locked in place, with no dangling threads. 

Step 4.  Press the two side seams down 1/8th of an inch or so.  The iron will help the Fray Check dry completely.  Press the top and bottom 1/8th inch over as well.  Finally, Press the top of your panel an additional 1/2 inch to form the rod pocket.

Here's how it will look (above) and (below):

Step 5.  Now it's time to sew!  (No Pretty Pleater required). Start with the two 'sides' of the panels and be sure to set your machine with a very small stitch. 

TIP:  I found some thread that is much 'thinner' than normal and I thought this would help reduce the 'bulkiness.'  It worked like a charm!

Once the sides are stitched down, proceed with the hem, and then sew closely along the rod pocket seam.  Finally, top-stitch 1/8-1/4 inch along the top of the panel --this will make a nice, neat pocket for your curtain rod.

Step 6.  Set your machine on a large, 'basting stitch' setting and sew along the two sides from the bottom of the rod pocket, down to the hem. Leave a long, length of thread at the bottom and do not knot it.

Divide the panel into even quarters and stitch along those lines from the bottom of the rod pocket  to the hem.  Leave an un-knotted length of thread here too. (viewed in the photo, above, left).

Step 7.  Carefully pull the threads to form the gathers.  Work slowly so you don't break the basting stitch! 

(If you do, you can always go back and repeat Step 6).

This is what it will look like (left) at this point.  Almost finished! 

Step 8.  Adjust your gathers to the desired length and tie off the basting stiches.  Set your machine back to a small stitch setting and sew over the basting threads, locking the gathers in place.  You can now remove the basting stitches if they show too much.  Clip off any loose threads.

Step 9.  Slip your curtain rod through the pocket and adjust your poofs!  Be careful not to yank too hard or you risk breaking the gather stitches!

Step 10.  Hang your completed shade, make the final adjustments, and enjoy your work!

I would like to add some gold fringe to the bottom hem --does anyone know of a good source?

Start to finish time:  about fifteen minutes, per panel --sweet!  I don't know about you, but I'm going to celebrate my new balloon shades with a smart little, refreshing summer cocktail.  (Don't you love day-drinking on a lovely, summer's day)?  Have a great week, everyone!