Thursday, August 21, 2014

The dollhouse living room

I picture the homeowner as some kind of animal wearing clothes, a la the Sylvanians. I haven't quite figured out exactly what she is, yet - but, let's be honest, she'll probably end up being a giant owl. Or a cat. With a tiny pet cat. Because it's my dollhouse universe and it doesn't have to be logical. On that basis, the pictures in here may well be family portraits.
  • The 'paintings' on the walls are either greeting cards or pictures cut from magazines.
  • The cabinet is another Michael's $2 special. I painted it and added wallpaper at the back of the shelves and cut-out books in front of that.
  • The hat and coat rack was an Etsy purchase, and the little handbag is a papercraft charm from a craft store.
  • The chandelier and the two chairs against the wall are wood cut-outs from Michael's that I painted.
  • The wallpaper is craft paper, and the rug is felt.
  • The 'cowhide' rug layered over the chevron one is cut from an old suede elbow patch.
  • The little letter rack was a thrift find - I actually found two of them, so I combined the tiny letters from both and used the second one upstairs in the office. 

  • I made the coffee table out of various craft-wood bits. Since then, I have taken off the gold legs and given it a white base instead, because I thought it was too high.

  • The sofa is sawn down from an unpainted craft bench to get the right proportions, and then upholstered in foam and felt. The sheepskin rug is made from craft fur, and the cushions are cut-outs backed with card.
  • The chair was $2.47 from Mayberry Miniatures. I painted it yellow (although it has since become black, and I've added cushions to the sofa and the chair).
  • The books on the coffee table are jewellery charms, and the Ferris Bueller's Day Off board game is cut from a magazine.
  • The little stools are craft wood pieces painted and covered with felt.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The dollhouse bedroom

I keep adding more and more detail to each room - so much fun. 

I wanted the bedroom to be fun and very feminine, again with a mix of new furniture and 'old' pieces that my homeowner has painted and updated.
  • I purchased an unpainted wooden cabinet and chest from Michael's (a couple of dollars each) and decorated them. I imagined the chest was her old toy chest from childhood that she painted and updated so that she could have it as a blanket box in her adult bedroom.
  • The bed is a block of wood that I covered with white felt to act as a 'mattress.' The sheets are fabric offcuts from Jo-Ann's Fabrics, again just a couple of dollars each, and the blankets are squares of craft felt. The pillows are felt and stuffing, glued together at the edges and decorated with Washi tape. I used the same tape as a stair runner.
  • The bedside table is an egg-cup turned upside down. I have since added a puffy sticker that acts as a mini iPhone.


  • The area rug is craft felt, and I made the two little sheepskin rugs out of craft fur. The fur was way too long, so I trimmed it down.
  • The mirror is from Michael's, as are the frames, which I painted. The pictures inside are cut from a magazine. I used another piece of scrapbook paper for the 'blinds.'
  • The vanity table was an Etsy purchase. The accessories on top are all buttons, except for the sunglasses - that's a vintage brooch!
  • The little books are jewellery charms.
  • The hat boxes were purchased, uncovered, from a craft store, and I covered them all in different scrapbook papers.
  • The suitcases now stacked next to the bed are actually a dimensional sticker.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The dollhouse kitchen

This has been my first attempt at decorating a dollhouse and working with miniatures, and so I am a complete newbie with a lot to learn.

I imagined that my homeowner inherited the house mortgage-free from a beloved aunt (which explains how she can afford such an enormous place on a freelancer's wage), and, because strapped for cash, has decorated the place with odds and ends from her student days, flea-market and thrift-store finds, and DIY projects (there might be a little bit of projection there, because that's a pretty accurate description of my real-life house's decor style). She makes her money as a designer, but wants to paint full-time and so has converted one room into an attic studio.

So, the kitchen. She couldn't afford to renovate it, so the appliances and the linoleum floor are original to the house. Since some of the food is wildly out of scale, I justified it by saying she buys in bulk to save money - enormous bags of coffee, a tub of margarine large enough to feed an entire school camp, and so on.
  • I bought a dollhouse kitchen set from Mayberry Miniatures - the only 'real' furniture set I purchased for the whole house. It came with a table and two chairs, a sink, a stove and a fridge. I only used the chairs, stove and fridge in here - the other items ended up in different rooms. I gave the chairs paper 'cushions.'
  • The kitchen sink and the brown wooden table were both thrift-store finds, and the rug is from Terra Toys. 
  • The linoleum and wallpaper are scrapbook papers cut to fit. 
  • Some of the accessories are Mayberry Miniatures - such as the clock, the plants, and the sacks - and some are buttons I found at craft and fabric stores. I filed off the actual button part at the back. 
  • The cabinets are ready-made craft supplies from Michael's. They cost about $2, and they come unpainted.
  • The fruit in the fruit bowl is actually a pair of vintage earrings, and the bowl itself is from a thrift store.
  • Most of the food items are New World miniatures from New Zealand - the supermarket released a line of collectibles for its customers. The breakfast items are buttons.
  • I made the plates on the wall from chequers painted white and covered with paper.
  • The little recycling station in the corner is pictures from a magazine pasted on the wall.
  • The tiny posters were also cut from a magazine - I thought she might have bought them on holiday in Scandinavia and moved them from house to house in her student days, so they have sentimental value.
  • The kitten was Not Helpful to the process.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My dollhouse project - kitchen, living room, bedroom overview

I have been obsessively working on decorating a dollhouse for a couple of weeks now, and it has been SO much fun. Ridiculous amounts of fun. I love tiny things. 

The dollhouse itself was a thrift-store find. I think someone had made it from a bookshelf - there are three floors and six rooms. I spray-painted the whole thing in Ivory and then set to work with a lot of glue to decorate the interiors. I wasn't going for super-realism, but wanted the dollhouse to be fun and colourful, with lots of DIY and found objects. And not so precious that it wouldn't be playable-with by small visiting friends.

My wonderful husband took these pictures for me. We had a lot of fun positioning the light in all the rooms to make it look semi-realistic. I'll go through room by room over the next few days and talk about where I found, or how I made, everything, but I wanted to share these photos first because I love them.

Friday, July 11, 2014

100 Days Project

It has been a tough couple of years. Not because of any outside circumstances - those are all wonderful, shamefully so - but because of me, and the idiosyncracies of my brain. When creative work isn't going well, I feel stunted and stammering and hobbled. It seeps out into everything else and makes it all a little off-kilter. Of course, the opposite is true as well - when work is going well, everything is magical. But it hasn't been going well for a while now.

If I had just followed my instincts and written the book without doubting myself, I would have something whole and developed now. Here come some metaphors. If I hadn't kept on opening the oven and poking at it, it would be baked by now. If I had just let myself say everything I wanted to say, it wouldn't be the stuttering thing it is.

I feel like the absolute least qualified person to be running my life. I should be in some kind of entry-level position, not in charge of the whole damn thing. I feel like I did when I started a new job and had to pretend to be competent while inwardly wobbling into a pile of pink, jellied uncertainty.


All that to say that I am struggling at the moment with writing past my self-doubt, panic and feelings of inadequacy. Hence my signing up for the 100 Days project.

I am going to write 1,000 words a day for 100 days. I already aim for this amount daily, but I end up fiddling about and editing and second-guessing myself, so for this project I want to sit down and just write until I have reached the quota - whether on Current Book, Side Project That Seems Terribly Appealing When Current Book Isn't Going Well, or Something Entirely Different. I hope that this will help me to push through all the self-doubt. Exposure therapy, sort of.

Here goes.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Work Week Chic interview at Stylish Sophisticate

The lovely Diya Liu interviewed me for Stylish Sophisticate. Check it out here!

Photography by Jonathan Reyes.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Black tie!

LOML and I went to a black tie event thrown by our friends Sandhya and Gaurav - because we don't get many chances to get this dressed up, I thought I would post the photos here to show our family and friends that we do indeed scrub up nice!