Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Australian Visitor - bearing gifts!

Dear All,
How time gets away from us.

In May Elizabeth and I enjoyed a visit from Linda of http://www.lindasminiworld.blogspot.com.au who splits her time between Sydney Australia and Whistler Canada. We had met Linda last year here in Canada and had planned a mini day on her return. Unfortunately Fatima was unable to attend. Linda came for lunch and was able to stay with us overnight.

She kindly carried gifts from Norma http://makeminemini.blogspot.ca ,which was a lovely surprise.
Thank you Norma.

Norma knew I was working to fill the book shelves of the book cases in the Salon of my French House.

This is how I used her gifts:

The books and cushion found their home on the window seat.

I was not successful at downloading book covers so as an alternate I made a collection of books including sketch books, diaries and old ribbon closed papers. On the top shelf I covered books from a picture of the battles of Napoleon and Wellington.

That was fun and conceals the lights that are recessed above the window seat.

Notice the window closure. More on that later.

The magazines were perfect on the steamer chair in the courtyard garden.  The garden boots have been kicked off and a glass of lemonade awaits.

At last I have been inspired to work on the garden. I added water lilies to the fountain and made pots of succulents for the hot spot under the clematis.

My impetus to complete my French House was the looming of the West Coast Miniature and Dollhouse Show held on the 7 June.  However, despite the fast approaching date I did not seem to be inspired.
The rose bush had been holding me back for so long was still not a reality. I kept avoiding it.

Over breakfast I would examine the climbing rose visible from the kitchen. Elizabeth of http://www.studioeminiatures.blogspot.ca seemed to have no problems at all generating a fantastic English-style garden but I had mini gardeners block!

Watching the roses bloom in my RL garden:

Linda Park bought me a gift of a vase by Magaret Crosswell of Tasmania, that is finely painted with the image of a wisteria. I was inspired and decided I could make wisteria.

This is Margaret's vase and the finished wisteria.

 I could make wisteria! It was very easy once I found an appropriate floral pic with foliage similar to wisteria. I cut down the size of the foliage and made many florets using pale green embroidery floss dipped into white glue and then into lilac-coloured Flower Soft.

 This is my under control work table with several projects on the go. Please note that the space on the table will become smaller and smaller as the week goes on till I have an unbelievable mess. The manila envelope is in the process of being painted to replicate rose leaves.... more on that in a later post.  On the right on the blue pad are black bamboo sticks being made into French-style window openers. A finished example is shown in the picture of the salon window seat. They have a wrap of thin brass at the top and bottom, the handle is made with fimo baked and painted gold.
In the centre of the photo are the bits and pieces of wisteria foliage and the flower soft florets.

I decided I would add wisteria to the chimney as well. Still avoiding roses as you can tell.

In my RL garden when I move or dispose of unruly plants I check the roots to see if there is anything that may be suitable for miniature trees or vines. The above vine began as a section of dried root from a yew shrub. I sectioned the roots and glued them onto the chimney to create the vine.

Added the flowers

and the foliage, moss at the base of the chimney as well as the roof and chimney pots. I added a drain  under the downpipes with a smear of muddy gel candle under the drain to replicate water.

The little grotesque is waiting for the broken pot to bloom.

at which time he will offer her a flower.

More to come. Any questions happily answered.
regards Janine


  1. J'aime beaucoup votre étagère, c'est vraiment original et idem pour les livres avec Napoléon. On en parle beaucoup pour le moment ici en Belgique car cela va faire 200 ans qu'il y a eu la bataille de Waterloo ;-)
    La glycine est superbe.

    1. Good Morning Jean-Claude, Thank you for visiting and leaving a comment.
      I remember very well walking up the steep stairs to the Lion monument to Wellington and looking over the beautiful fields of Belgium. Truly wonderful.
      It would be something to see a reenactment of the Battle with everyone in appropriate dress.
      regards Janine

  2. Hello Janine,
    What a great post. I am glad you had a good time with Linda. It is always so nice to meet blog friends! Your wisteria is just amazing. Well done my friend. Your mini gardening skills are matched only by your real life skills...your garden is lovely! Great job on concealing the lights in your bookcase. your books have so much character and look so realistic. What a lovely post!
    Big hug,

  3. Hi Giac, thank you for writing. It is hard to keep me out of my RL garden. However we took up beekeeping last year withour first nuclear (small) hive. Now everything is"all about the bees" in the garden. Whereas I was ruthless about weeds, going to seed vegetables or non performing perennials I now stop to consider if it will offer an ongoing nectar or pollen supply for them. Also pressing the nurseries with questions about their plants being grown from non treated, neonicotinoids free seeds.
    I did have a lot of fun finishing off my French House for the show. All of a sudden everything fell into place. Oh for the adrenalin of working under the pressure of time.
    Wanted to ask you about the epoxy grout. We have not used it but just finished our bathroom Reno. Did most of it ourselves including kurdi heating in floors but opted for a tiler to do the basket weave marble flooring with curb less shower.
    Yes, a long story there with problems with the tile darkening.
    I felt your frustration when I read your last post! All is done so on the the next project!
    Regards Janine

  4. Hi Janine,

    I love your RL garden as much as I do you lovely wisteria. Isn't Flower Soft a wonderful product. It creates such a natural look.

    I really cannot imagine the sort of trouble you had with book covers. The ones you made for your book shelves look great. There are lots of book covers in Pinterest, if you are ever interested. My problem is my printers ink isn't waterproof.

    How nice to have had the chance to meet Linda. I adore the work she did on her flower shop.

    1. Hi Catherine,
      Yes, flower soft is a great product. I do think that it fades over time so I applies a clear Mat fixative to the wisteria.
      I was looking for specific book covers to represent the books I had read at book club over the past 20 plus years. I have not been successful at taking items off Pinterest to print. One day I will do it!
      I do love being in my RL garden. When I was at sea on watch on some very dark nights I would alphabetically list names of plants. By the time I reached L - lilac, lily, lavendar I would be calm. So now I try and grow all those flowers.
      Thank you for leaving a comment.
      Regards Janine

  5. Sometimes it is hard to tell the RL garden from the mini! I love them both -- how very intricate and beautiful!

  6. Your wisteria is a work of art, I'd swear it was real! From the inspired use of the root section to the flower strings and restrained use of leaves, it's brilliant!! Love the gifts from Norma and the way you've told a story with them. Thanks so much for sharing your beautiful miniature world, food for a starved miniature soul ;)

  7. How fantastic that vine plant looks! Brilliant to use real life roots as the base. You have so many great details. :D

  8. Love the wisteria. You've accomplished a lot. I think I need another visit to Tsawwassen. And your RL garden is looking lovelier all the time. See you on Tuesday!!!!!

  9. I'm glad you found a spot for my humble little gifts, of course I'm totally jealous of Linda being able to hang out with you all and to see your fabulous projects for real. And I LOVE the wisteria!! When I go to the New Zealand cottage in the summer I'm thinking of making a stone cottage from a kit that's been languishing in the shed there for nigh on 30 years but the thing that scares me to death about it is the idea that it'll need at least a little landscaping - perhaps I should stick to city properties :)

    1. Dear Norma, it was so nice to hear the surprise in your voice when I phoned you. Great to catch up in person.
      A stone cottage sounds like a good project for your sojourn in NZ. Have the rellies save their cardboard egg cartons for you! Definately time to 'branch out' from city properties. I always imagine that my French house is on acreage and the walled garden keeps the sheep out.

      I will post a how I did my climbing rose. I hope it will encourage you and perhaps others to attempt it or give the impetus to take the idea a little further.
      Warm regards Janine

  10. The gifts you got are gorgeous and go very well in your scenes. I love the shelves around the window and the window seat, it makes the room very cozy. The wisteria on the wall is perfect.

    1. Hi Genevieve, thank you for your comment on the window seat area. I had wanted to draw attention through to the wall of the room as it is quite deep. The window seat satisfied me as the shelving was another opportunity to give more display. All miniaturists love to display things I know!
      The salon is the final room. All is now complete.
      Perhaps? Maybe a little tweeking we'll see.
      Regards Janine

  11. I love everything! Everything is so gorgeous and well done!
    Thank you for sharing;)
    Hugs Josefin

  12. FANTASTIC! Janine you had a job to do and you did it. Love love love the wisteria. Love the idea of the embroidery floss dipped in glue.
    So glad you highlighted the bookshelf as I didn't even have a chance to look at it at the show. Yes, the show...what you, my dear humble friend, are not saying is that you won FIRST Place prize at the show. Your house brought joy, amazement and envy to many of the miniaturists in the room. Thank you for committing to come and showing up. What a tremendous endeavor to undertake with the help of your wonderful hubby, Bruce. Your rock! And now I'm inspired to head back to my work on the Garfield....perhaps what I need is a name as I'm not really super thrilled with the kit name. I shall have to come up with one and maybe it will help. ...well..maybe fixing my lighting issues is a good start.... :D

  13. Dear Fatima,
    I was thinking of you in the dark hours of the evening, hoping your lighting problems would suddenly be illuminated and you would be doing the lighting happy dance.
    Once you overcome that problem there will be no stopping you.
    Thank you once again for your contagious enthusiasm for all things mini. That and your commitment to making the Show an interesting and happy event was appreciated by all who attended.

    See you next week at the residence of the Best in Show winner .... Not mentioning any names!
    Hugs Janine

  14. Hi Janine! I LOVE the wisteria and having already seen your Fabulous climbing rose, in person, I can attest that it is as MARVELOUS as your wisteria is! It is such a pleasure getting to see all of the Wonderful added details of the parlor up close, i.e. the bookcase, and your very serene kitchen garden. The water lilies in the fountain and the succulents in the pots are perfect and look totally authentic. By the way, who was that dog with his nose to the gate?!
    Norma's books and magazines are lovely gifts that you have made to feel right at home. I hope that you will show the parlor with all of the furnishings in it, Janine, as the entire room had blossomed into full Beauty when on display at the show AND.... Congratulations on your FIRST PRIZE BLUE RIBBON my very dear friend! :D


  15. The wisteria is PERFECT! Love the side of the house decor that's happening, and the garden too, the wall and the ironwork. Great job on the succulents too. Well done for keeping that work table under control...we all know what happens later, all too well!!!! Wading through things to get to the table eventually. How does it happen, HOW? :D

  16. Great job on the wisteria Janine. I used the same flower soft for my wisteria, I found a perfect leaf corner punch for my leaves and broke the corner guide off it so I could punch lots of leaves with it. Norma and Linda's gifts are wonderful. They are so thoughtful.

  17. It's nice to see more of your work, especially the bookcase - what a great idea and it is so exact. I'm liking the wisteria a lot too. I haven't gone down the mini garden route yet and it's lovely to see this aspect being really well done.

  18. Looks like I am late to the party again! I really enjoyed this post...your Salon is so wonderful. What a great idea to take pictures and cover the books using those, the effect is marvelous! When I read your idea about using roots as the basis for the Wisteria trunk, there was a bit of an aha moment for me...and as a garden connoisseur, I especially loved seeing your gorgeous RL garden...oh, and did I say I loved your mini garden, and the shot of the workroom table (I love seeing what others are working with in regard to space!) and your gargoyle...yeah, I loved it all. Great post!


  19. Very beautiful gifts! I have had a lot of pleasure visiting your blog today. It's been a while... Thank you for a great post and wonderful pictures, and update on your work. Mini hugs, Natalia

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