Sunday, February 21, 2021

Hot Stuff - French House


Handy husband B. has fulfilled his promise to make me something for my Miniature Houses. I had two thoughts on what I would like for my Christmas gifts last year. The first idea/request was for a replacement stove for the French country kitchen. I showed him pictures of a Lacanche stove and he said "no problem, what colour!" 

I documented the process so this post is in the form of a tutorial and as an encouragement for you to think about the possibility that you could do something similar. 

Patience is the first requirement - patience to cut carefully, patience to sand, fill and to let the layers of paint cure. Patience to create the illusion of knobs etc. and realize it will not be a quick project.

How to get from here .. to there!

Decide on a style, check the space you have to fill. We printed a picture just to remind us of the "look" and adapted the size of the doors to fit the space. 

B visited the Dollar Store to look for bamboo to make the basic box. There were two cutting boards of bamboo - note that the larger one was hollow with two laminated sides. This larger cutting board was difficult to work with so I would recommend the smaller one that was solid. Just buy two so you have enough to make a mistake. I think they were $3 each in Canada. 

When we built the fridge for the Swedish House, detailed in a previous post, we found it was easy to get a highly polished look with Rustoleum Enamel spray paints.    

Make your basic box - mine is 5 1/2" across and almost 3" deep- fill the edges and sand. Make sure everything is very smooth so it will take the primer and layers of spray paint to produce a smooth a glossy finish. B sprayed four times with Navy Blue enamel Rustoleum - allowing each to dry overnight. I did mention patience was essential.
Cut the doors and dry fit.  You could make the doors with thin foam board perhaps. Think about the space required for the metal trim on the base, the metal grill under the knobs and the space for knobs and handles- also the width of the handles.

Once you have done a dry fit to your satisfaction, prepare the doors by sanding gently and priming then painting ....more waiting. 

While you are waiting for paint to dry search for something suitable to represent the trims on the unit. I settled on needlepoint canvas painted and stiffened by silver enamel paint for the metal grill.
The silver metal-look kick board at the base of the stove is sticky backed silver foil paper. We call it MacTac in Canada. I have used it in the past on mini table tops - painted to represent a zinc table top.

B: To create the handles I used lengths of hollow brass tubing, cut to length and spray-painted silver. 
I used a small plastic straw from a juice box for the end cap (painted brass) and finished it with a ball chain through which I put a flat head pin. Important - this ball and pin head has to be added in to the overall width of the end size of your door handles to fit the width of your door correctly. 

Look carefully and you will see that the large top handle will be attached to the stove by two lobster necklace clasps. I cut the moving part out to create hook/hangers for the handle.

Below: Straw cut into sections and painted ... now dry.  Make more straw pieces than you need as they can crush easily - these are a section of the decorative ends of the handles. 

 J.: We tried beads as spacers behind the brass tubing handles to raise them off the front of the oven doors.  I thought they worked well but B. liked the look of earring backs with the sides cut flush. This was more difficult as a machine was required to cut the edges and a steady hand to epoxy them on to the door handle.  Just find an appropriate bead!

J.: Writing of appropriate beads - I used a bead and glued a cap on to each to create the knobs. I know one can buy 3D printed knobs. That may be a good idea along with buying the grills for the top for a very professional look. 

The manufacturers ID medallion on the centre door is another jewellery finding filled with off-white nail polish. I actually wrote Lacanche on it!

KEEP GOING ...... you are almost there!

The top caused me the most angst .... I almost succumbed and spent money!!! No, that was not the idea! 

The burners - These are one part of a grommet in a couple of sizes. In the centre of the smaller three is part of a press stud - painted to match ... the ones in the larger grommet parts are just two things that were in my metal collection - also painted.  The grill was a challenge - shown is ribbed foam. B. had used this foam on the kitchen doors of the Swedish House to create the look of reeded doors. It was one of many ideas we tried.

In the end I found a section from a lead stove kit to suggest a grill shown in one of the final pics.

Maybe we should have tea and cookies and smell the roses!

You need to be in a Zen frame of mind when you are saving yourself a LOT of money by DIY.

The finish is almost in reach!

Roast lamb by my wonderful friend Fatima, of Beauxminis and VancouverDollhouseMiniatureShow. Look for her detailed tutorials on Instagram for inspiration. 

Elizabeth of offers two stove tutorials - search the archives for Home on the Range 4th April 2014 and Land's End 30th August 2014.  Just go there and disappear for a few hours into the wonderful world of Elizabeth's StudioE.

Of course to patience personified #1 husband B. many thanks!

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Parcel Arrives:

 In November I ordered a treasure from South Africa. I was aware that it would take approximately ten weeks to arrive but at last it is here!

The lady of the house has been gathering rose hips and returned home to find the cat monitoring an arrival at the Swedish House. 

I know what the parcel should contain, yet it is an exciting and tension filled moment with the uncertainty of expectation being fulfilled or disappointed. 

It's warm in the kitchen after a walk in the open air. 

All is quiet but for the sounds of paper hitting the floor. 

Here is the treasure revealed at last. A charming silver tea set that travelled from the Artisans hands all the way to mine - South Africa to Canada. Imagine that small parcel leaving the semi tropical environs of Africa being shipped around Cape Horn, possible but unlikely. I will rethink this while I put the kettle on ....
Just think, from South Africa - did it fly across the fertile plains of Botswana and the ocean of sand of the Sahara? Across continents to be tumbled into planes, trains, trucks and vans to Canada and to my own postman who knows I am waiting for a parcel from afar.

A treasure to be sure. Oh happy dance, it is beautifully made. The spout is delicate on the teapot as is the spout on the milk jug. The lids fit seamlessly and all items sit flat.  Did I mention that the sugar spoon is perfection! Thank you Hestelle for making this Georg Jensen influenced service that finds its place in my Swedish inspired Miniature House.

HestelleMare is on Etsy.

Sunset colouring the clouds as the light fades.
Regards to all, Janine