Last week I took my yearly porcelain painting class from Cocky Wildschut again.  This time we wanted to paint a scene on tiles.  I found a lovely image of a basket of fruit and flowers on the Internet which I (and another student) decided to use as an example.  Although Cocky had prepared a lovely example for us to copy (which was similar to this basket) we decided to draw freehand. 

The nine tiles are about 3 x 3 cm.  I did have some problems with my pen in the beginning as the lines were too thick to my liking.  Later in the day I borrowed another pen which was so nice and thin, a pleasure to work with.

As I am a very slow worker I have to push myself to just get on with it, sometimes leaving mistakes as they are.  Of course I always make time for tea and cookies. 
On the top left corner of the photo you can see the example Cocky prepared for us.  Normally you would make the back all black with pencil so you can copy the image straight onto the porcelain.  Those lines are copied with the pen and then painted.  The pencil marks will burn away in the oven.  But as I said, I did it freehand this time, so no pencil, straight onto the porcelain with the pen. 

Our work is ready to go into the kiln.  The vase and tiles on the right are mine.  I made the vase another time but it needed some touching up.  The tiles in the middle are by my friend who did a fantastic job, so delicately painted.  She used half of the prepared example and added some elements freehand and  it was only her second time painting on porcelain!  The tiles bottom left are by Jeffry, who is such an accomplished artist!

In this photo you can see the wonderful work of the other half of the class.  The two ladies who always sit opposite of me are very fast workers and make such beautiful work.  They each finished three wonderful pieces where I only managed one.  The coloured pieces are so lovely.

We hope to do another porcelain painting class next year, we all enjoy it so much! 

The Canal House I am building is based on a few paintings, existing canal houses and an 18th century  architectural drawing of an Amsterdam canal house.    In my plans I situated the dining room on the main floor, behind the front reception room.  As I was studying another 18th century architectural drawing I realized the best place for the dining room would be on the ground floor, facing the garden.  

 So, a change of plans.  This room will now be a reception room as well. 
Last weekend I had great fun transforming a sheet of acrylic mirror into antique mirror glass which will become the overmantel mirror.  It is hard to photograph but I think it came out very nice.

Between the two reception rooms I have made sliding doors.  They are almost finished here, the decorative swags still need to be painted and then gilded again (they are too new and shiny now), and I have to find or make door knobs. 

 I routed a huge amount of wood for all the panels on the doors and the wainscoting. The adjoining room will have the same wainscoting so I need a lot (and I don't want to have to set up my router again).   After the routing the fun could begin...not!  Loads of mitering was needed.  Not my favourite job.

Here's a photo you don't see too often on my blog...wires, a clamp, lots of unfinished things in plain sight. But I like the glimpse through the sliding doors from -what will be- the front room to the back room. 
I did some fabric shopping last week in Amsterdam.  After I had finished the yellow curtains for the Dining room  (which may now not be a Dining room after all, but more on that another time...), I thought it would be nice to use the same fabric in a different colour for the connecting Salon. 

The fabric I used is by Den Haan & Wagenmakers, a Dutch company specialising in reproduction 17th and 18th century Dutch chintzes.  The fabric I used is from the 'Ton sur ton' series, and has many colours to choose from.  For the Salon I picked a beautiful blue fabric (photo two).

I also visited one of my favourite silk shops, McLennan's Pure Silk where I bought gorgeous silk fabrics.

Green silk changeant (or shot silk) and the most luscious raspberry silk velvet.  The colours are a perfect combination with a soft green rose fabric and wallpaper I had earmarked for a bedroom. 
Earlier this year I had commissioned this painting (and the one in the photo below) from Leslie Smith.  The original is by Christiaen van Pol.  They were intended to go into the Salon, but the paintings look very nice with the bedroom fabrics as well!  

 The colours in this photo did not come out so well, as in reality they are coordinating much better.  I want to use the soft blue silk for upholstery (even though I don't have any of the furniture yet), and maybe even do some embroidery on it.  The silk velvet has the most beautiful colour called sea mist.   The photo really doesn't do these beautiful colours justice.

These last fabrics are also intended for a bedroom.  I bought a few yards of cotton with a typical 18th century feel, like this one with the wavy yellow pattern.  The yellow and white fabric are very thin silks, which will be perfect for lining curtains. 

Total time: three days                                           
Prep time:  10 minutes
Cook time: 20 minutes (x 8)

Ingredients (makes two curtains):                                                      
150 x 25 cm fabric
150 cm silk cord
coordinating sewing thread
sewing needle
2 small flower decorations
thick card stock
fabric glue
Pretty Pleater

Cut four pieces of fabric according to the swag and drop pattern.  Pull out threads to create fringed edges.  Secure fringes with FrayStay.  Glue silk cord along fringed edge. 
Cut four pieces of fabric floor to ceiling length, the width of the window.  Put FrayStay on all cut edges.  Dry.

Pre-heat oven to a low heat.  Soak one fabric panel in water, dab off excess and arrange fabric in Pretty Pleater.  Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until dry.  Repeat with all fabric panels.

Cut two pieces of card stock the width of window x 3 cm.  Cut four pieces of card stock 1 x 3 cm.  Glue into two U-shapes and cover with fabric.  Arrange and glue two pleated fabric panels on inside of U-shape.  Repeat for other U-shape. Arrange and glue two fringed and pleated fabric pieces on outside of U-shape.  Use needle and thread to pull up fabric in corners to create  a swag and waterfall drop.

Cut two strips of fabric 1 x 10 cm.  Pull out threads to create a fringe.  Secure fringes with FrayStay.  Use needle and thread to gather fabric and create a rosette.  Glue flower decoration on rosette and glue this on the top centre of curtains.

Cut four 1,5 cm strips of fabric on the bias, fold long edges to the inside, iron and glue.  Arrange as curtain tie-backs.  Hang and arrange curtains in front of windows.  Enjoy. 

Well OK,  this is not a real recipe, but it is what I have been doing the last few days.  And I did put the fabric in the oven to dry it.  So a recipe of sorts. 

When I was going through my stash of fabrics a few days ago I found a piece of fabric which had the perfect colour for the Dining Room of my new Canal House.  Although not silk as I had intended, the cotton looked so good with the wallpaper I will use in this room (see my blog post from July), I decided to go ahead and use it anyway.

I used the curtains in the background of this painting as inspiration.  Of course I did not have a pattern to work from, so I just kind of made it up as I went along.  They turned out quite well. 

I still have to adjust some of the draping but I will do that when I install the curtains permanently once the room is finished.  The other items in the room are just there for a bit of set dressing, they won't be in there when the room is finished.