I love embroidery.  Especially when it is applied to furniture.   So when I came to Nicola Mascall's table at the Kensington show, I could not resist buying this beautiful chair (made by David Booth) with 'Rose Garland' embroidery on the seat.

It looks so pretty in the Salon of my first Canal House!

My second purchase from Nicola Mascall was an embroidered cushion with a lovely plump red cat on it.  I actually bought it with the intention of giving it as a thank you to Elly, as she let me ride with her to the show in Rheda, Germany (a nearly 8 hour round trip!).

But when I got to Elly's house and looked at one of her beautiful dolls houses, I immediately spotted something I recognized...the very same pillow.  Oh well, I could have guessed...Elly loves cats and is a very accomplished needleworker.

I will have to think of something else for Elly.  The pillow is now finding a spot in my own dolls house.     It looks rather nice in the study where it matches nicely with the tiger rug I bought earlier this year.

I'll tell you more about the tiger rug in another post.  I am trying to get some full sized painting done outside, but the rain is forcing me to take breaks.   It has cleared again, so I'm going back out there! 
I make it sound like I am braving terrible conditions, but come on, it's supposed to be summer and it's 13 degrees...!

In my previous post I wrote that the new house I am working on will consist of a series of roomboxes which will eventually form one big house.  Some of you have asked me to explain this approach a bit further, so.....

I think I should start with the first big dolls house I ever saw, the 17th century cabinet house which belonged to Petronella de la Court.  My photo below is not very good with all the reflecting light, so please visit the Centraal Museum website for more photos.

This dolls house basically is a cabinet with roomboxes inserted into it.  The individual roomboxes make building, moving, cleaning etc. a lot easier.

When I started planning my second dolls house, I decided I wanted it to be a series of roomboxes which together would form one big house.  But instead of building the outside first and then inserting the roomboxes into it, I will be doing it the other way around.

I will first build the roomboxes and when they're all finished I will build a wooden carcass around it.  It will not be a cabinet like the 17th century one, but I will finish the outside to look like a brick canal house.

I started by designing the house on graph paper and making a simple cardboard mockup of the house.  This way I could judge the scale of it.  The design I have now is slightly different from the mockup.  

The photo above shows the ground floor.  If you look closely at this photo you can see all the rooms are individual boxes (except for the courtyard and hall, they still need side walls).  The kitchen has walls which come in a bit and will eventually have doors in them.   

So in answer to one of your questions, yes my roomboxes will have doors going from one room to another (see the two rooms below).  As the walls are double thickness (there's a wall to each roombox),  you have to decide which roombox to attach the door to, plus you have to make the door surround deeper as you don't want any gaps showing.  

All the room boxes have their own floors and ceilings so they really are individual units.  The wiring for lights can just be taken to the back or side of the box.  As the boxes will be placed against each other, the wiring will be hidden from view between the walls or at the back, but still accessible when necessary. 

Here you can see the ground floor and first floor stacked on top of each other.  When all of the boxes are finished, I will make a facade from one piece of wood to fit the entire height of the building.  

The facades (both front and back) will be covered in brickwork.  Of course I will cut out holes where the windows are ;-)  The thickness of the wood will help suggest the thickness of the brick, so that the wooden windows are slightly set back into the brickwork.  The front edges of the roomboxes will get a nice finish on them as well.

So that's it really, just a cabinet with shelves which will hold several boxes.  You can make the design as easy (just square boxes) or as complicated as you like.  With doors, windows, stairs, or without.  Looking like a cabinet or looking like a house.  With an open front (like mine will be) or closed.

I hope this makes my approach a little bit clearer.  I can't show you more as I haven't built it yet ;-)))

At the show in Kensington last month I decided to spend my last money on a real stone floor for my kitchen.  I bought real marl flagstones from Richard Stacey.  

Also on the photo:  my AGA which I made from a kit by Gable End Designs (see my post here), my hand painted tiles after 17th century designs and my new kitchen chair made by Colin Bird.  

The example at the stand had the perfect colour I wanted for my kitchen:  predominantly grey with a little hint of yellow ochre.  I did ask if the tiles I bought would be similar to the example (which they assured me they would be) but I stupidly did not check the packages myself before I bought them.

  When I got home and laid out the tiles, this is what I got:  mostly yellow ochre in colour with just a few (the ten in the middle) in the grey colour I had wanted.  

I was a bit upset as these flagstones are not cheap!  But as I was contemplating sending them back (oh the hassle!),   my 'work with what you've got'  mentality kicked in again.  I decided to lay them and try painting over them.

As I forgot to bring my dolls house work book to the show, I had to guess the size of my kitchen, resulting in only having just enough flagstones for the floor.  And I really mean just enough!  I only have two little scraps left.  I did not tile the spaces where I will have the sink and cupboards.  

After having glued down the flagstones, I went outside and sanded them down with my sander as they were quite uneven.  As you can imagine that created an awful lot of dust but it was easy to do and the result is great!

As per instructions from Richard Stacey, I sealed and then grouted the tiles.  The flagstones looked pretty good then, but still too yellow to my liking.  I went ahead and put several washes of watery acrylic paint on top of them.  It worked a treat!  The grouting luckily did not take the colour, but the flagstones did!  You can still see the yellow but it is not that strong any more.  Perfect!

The last thing I did was to put a thin coat of floor wax on them so they have that soft shine like old floor sometimes have.

My next job was making the windows for the kitchen.  As I wrote in a previous post (here), I use real glass for my windows.   I am getting better at cutting glass, as this time I cut all three window panes perfectly without messing up once.  

This house will consist of a series of room boxes which will eventually form one big house.  When all the boxes are finished I will start on the outside, which at the moment is not looking too pretty as you can see.  

But I am happy with how the floor and windows look!  I now need to start on the kitchen cabinets and cupboards.  That will take some time.  To be continued...

I have been to three miniature shows these past two months.  Three!  At the beginning of April there was the Apeldoorn show in the Netherlands, then beginning of May there was the Kensington show in London, England and this past weekend I hitched a ride with Elly (and Elga) to the show in Rheda, Germany.  

Yes, I know how lucky I am to be able to visit three shows, but now I'll say something awful (or maybe I should just softly whisper...):  it was a bit much!    It was fun to meet and speak to some friends and miniaturists though.  

I promised to show you some of my purchases two weeks ago, but I have been too busy!  I will make it up to you, here's a little start:

In London I came across this pretty teapot made by Jack Cashmere.   I could not resist the pretty pattern and colours which are perfect for the Salon of my first Canal House!

The blue and white plate will move to some other part of the house as it does not match the style of the room.  I also found this beautiful bouquet of flowers at the Kensington fair.  Again the perfect colours for the Salon.

The flowers were made by Gill Rawling of Petite Fleur (no website I'm afraid).   Can you guess what they're made of?  They're all metal, brass I believe, and then painted.  Aren't they gorgeous?  And they'll last forever ;-)

In Rheda I could not resist buying another pair of shoes from Patrizia Santi (Patrisan).  She did not have too many left when I came to her table, but I thought these were fun and summery (is that a word?).   I will have to start making some clothes to go with my shoe collection!

My last purchase was a pair of scissors from Edmund Drescher (no website).  He makes the most wonderful miniature tools, all working of course!   Here's the proof: