Saturday, 11 December 2010

A Xmas tree for Trimbles !

Christmas is almost here, so like all good toy shops Trimble's has marked the occasion with a festive window display !
This year has been a very hectic one for me both personally and for Bellabelle Dolls. I am putting the finishing touches to the last of the xmas doll orders and looking forward to a little hobby time.
Not a lot has changed at Trimbles since our last visit. Maybe there are a few more toys on the shelves,we will see on the next visit !
The elusive Uncle Mort and his spirited young niece Belle have yet to appear ............
There are empty rooms waiting to take shape and a workroom waiting for work to be done..........
But from the outside all is well and Christmas has arrived courtesy of Sue Newstead from Pastmastery !
Sue is sadly no longer making her wonderful dummy boards so I was eager to visit her stand while exhibiting at Kensington Dolls house Festival last weekend.
I bought the most wonderful Christmas tree to stand in my shop window and a delightful young lady who will stand at the doorway to encourage passing children to stop to see if she is real !
Doesnt she look perfect standing here looking so wistful ?
Sue is also making me a basket of kittens for the inside of the shop.
I hope on our next visit to Trimbles we can go inside and see some developments. I am working on Belle's bedroom now,a very pretty girls room where Belle has some very special toys to keep her company .........
In the mean time Merry Christmas to all from both myself and Trimble's Toy Emporium !
julie xx

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Tiny zoo animals painted by my talented son

I had to show two photos of these little animals. They are cast metal miniatures and my wonderfully talented son has painted them for me with so much detail you would be forgiven for thinking they were much larger than they are on the first photo !
My son is a warhammer enthusiast so used to painting tiny figures. He doesnt even use a magnifying glass !
I'm so pleased with these and have more still in progress including a gorilla and an elephant :0)
They will look wonderful on Trimble's shelves :0)
julie xxx

Friday, 8 October 2010

A miniature train set for Trimble's Toy Emporium !

Firstly ,its a long time since I posted here. Thank you to allmy followers for being so patient and not jumping ship !
My Toy Emporium is madein my "hobby " time and this year I have had very little time to spare. I have been working so hard for the miniatures shows , but at the last one, Miniatura last weekend, my friend Jax from was there with the little train set I had asked her to make for me . These littletrains are just lovely.They have a socket at the back for a battery pack or adapter and the train chuggs around the track beautifully !

Here is my train set after I decorated it. I used my Valerie Anne Casson toy castle as a centre piece and added some scenic grass scatter . I also made a few trees with tiny twigs from my garden ! The track comes with spaces to fit legs, so I added legs and a tablecloth to match the shop curtains.

I am delighted with the effect .
Here it is inthe shop,which as you can see still has very empty shelves which I hope tostart filling soon. It really is a wonderful centrepiece for the shop and I can pile lots of toys around it.
I am now eager to get on with the Emporium so really hope I can find the time and that my next post wont be so long arriving !

julie xxx

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Welcome to Trimble's Toy Emporium

Welcome to Trimble's Toy Emporium . Established in 1880 by proprietor Mortimer P. Trimble !

Finally I have finished work on the outside of my shop and the finishing touch was the shop sign.
"Trimble's Toy Emporium ? " you may well ask , "isn't the toy shop called Belle's Emporium ?"
Well that is the name for the stories I am writing set in this very special old Toy Shop.
Belle lives there with old Uncle Mortimer , but of course Uncle Mortimer has owned this shop for many years and it is his name above the shop.
But, more of that later .
For now lets talk about the building itself.
My cunning plan to disguise the wiring worked............eventually !
I've never kept it secret that I am a bit of a bodger. Things usually come right in the end but through sheer luck rather than miniature building skills. I do learn from my mistakes and you might too, I certainly made enough of them this week !

Here we have the first step of the cunning plan. I decided that foam board would be the best material for the back panel which would hide the wiring of the house . I cut it to shape with a stanley knife and pebble dashed the top to match the rest of the house.
So far, so good !

I glued the out house in place on the foam board and cut a hole out for the wiring to come through inside.

I then taped all the wiring in place ready for me to glue the panel on.
While the foam board was flat on the table I glued on the brick slips and left it to dry over night.
Problem one soon made itself known. The glue had warped the foam board which dried with a definite curve.

Not one to be beaten I glued the back of the panel as planned ( pulling the wires through the hole in it and into the outhouse) and attached it to the back of the house. I had some very small nails and knocked those in round the edges and magically all warping dissappeared and I ended up with this rather perfectly fitting back panel.
I was thrilled and left it to dry.
This is when problem two reared its ugly head.
Now when I was taping my wiring down I checked every one to see that the lights and sockets all worked.
Yet now when I plugged them in nothing at all worked !!!
I couldnt figure it out . Then I unplugged them all and plugged in just one and that worked.
I tested every one in this way until I got to the wire leading from the kitchen light. There was a blue flash and everything went off again.
I unplugged it and everything worked . I knew right away what I must have done, I must have knocked one of those nails though the kitchen light wire !!
Of course now the panel was now glued firmly in place . I have had to remove the kitchen light and now need to replace it.
However I have a cunning plan to hide the wire when I finally get one sorted out ..............

To cheer myself up I did a little work inside the work shop. It is still quite bare but taking shape and I am very happy with it so far. I have a huge list of things that must go in here but for now this is how it looks.

I used a piece of balsa wood tomake a tool rack for the back wall.

There will be an old stool at the table where Uncle Mort sits to paint the toys.

This is the shop now completed from the front. I love the shop sign. Its slightly wonky, and a bit distressed and exactly what I wanted ! I simply used word art in my microsoft word programme and some free clip art then printed it out on linen paper . I glues this to the sign board and then stippled on a little burnt umber paint with a dry brushing technique to age it up.

Here you can see the street light is working ! I need to hide the base of this with some greenery as I dont like it but the rest of it is just right.
You can also see here my lovely St. Bernard pulling a buggy. This is from Roberson's and I fell in love with it when I saw it at Scottish Miniatura so had to buy it .

Finaly here is the back of the house with the grouting in place and the roof tiled. I have just glued on the moss and it needs to be brushed off a bit when dry sowont be quite as obvious as this when I am finished.
The bricks , tiles and grout were from really lovely products to work with at a reasonable price and Graham who runs it is very helpful.

Just a few finishing touches now to the interior decor and the Emporium is ready to be filled up !
julie xxxx

Sunday, 27 June 2010

Interior Decorating and Parisian Goodies !

I feel like putting the flags out and celebrating as I have now finished the interior decorating !!! I will show the results in two blog posts as I have made so much progress .
In the last month I have visited 2 wonderful miniature fairs and stocked up lots of goodies for the Emporium and that really spurred me on to decorate so I could start the best part............filling it up and bringing it to life !

This is Uncle Morts room on the top floor of the building. Uncle Mort is the eccentric old fellow who owns the Emporium and makes all the wonderful toys that will line its will be meeting him very soon !

This is the kitchen. I finished it off with a wood panel behind the sink and a plain dado . I have made interior trims for the windows in the house and didnt give this one a window sill as the sink goes underneath it.
I discovered the most wonderfully talented maker of my kitchen cabinets at the Paris Alexandra Cantatore of Alemikimikri .
I am thrilled to bits with the cabinets and accessories bought from her.

The tall meat cupboard is from Apollo Miniatures here in the UK and the wonderful apple pie board is from Betsy Niederer .I have had this piece for a few years now and it just looks perfect here. I need to find the perfect kitchen range cooker and will build a fireplace around it when I find it .

I just love the kitchen so far. Although tiny I can still fit a lot in !

The shop floor is filling up ! I moved the counter over to the window as I want to pile the toys up around the floor . Most of the new toys were bought atParis S.I.M.P. The Unicorn hobby horse and book with fairy are by Jain of Giddy Kipper Dolls, bought at York fair.
I think its going to take some time to fill the shelves, but its going to be fun :0)

And finally my favourite buy .I still get a thrill justlooking at this as its exactly what I imagined when I began to plan the work shop.

My wonderful work bench ! Made by Jan Grygiel this is so perfect. The
handles actually turn and the vices open and you can really hold wood in it. There is room for tools in the drawers and I just love it. I bought lots of tools too togowith this and each one is perfect , the saws actually cut .

The workshop still needs some work but these are going to be just right !

Also from Alemikimikri is this amazing paint box. Just what Uncle Mort will need to paint his wooden toys !

The workshop lamp was bought from the lovely Ray Storey at York fair, he also supplied the light in Uncle Morts room and others you will see in my next post of Belle's room and the Parlour.
I hope to work on the back of the house in the evenings this week, bricking and pebble dashing and sorting the wiring.
Hopefully my cunning plan with the outdoor loo will this space !
julie xxxx

Friday, 28 May 2010

A skivy day and a cunning plan !

Well, after my get up and go got up and left me yesterday, I decided to take a skivy day today !
I should be busy making dolls , but instead I decided to work on the Emporium instead, they say a change is as good as a rest and I do feel much better now :0)
So here we have UncleMort's workshop.
The first picture shows it undercoated and half assembled.
I have been painting it, one coat per night this week and today the final coat was dry and I was able to distress it a little.
I didnt want it to look too distressed, just a little worn and dirty round the edges on the outside.I will take some proper photos of the outside when the roof section is finished.
The inside is still clean for now, I will be adding workbenches and shelving and will dirty up the inside when that is all in place. I will also be putting in skirting boards with sockets for lighting.
In this picture I have just stained the floor and it is still drying out. There will be sawdust on the floor when the workshop is completed.
As the paintwork was completed, I attached the workshop to the back of the shop.
You may remember the tradesmans entrance leads to a cubby hole with a door inside.
Well that door leads to the workshop !
So I have placed a corresponding door on the outside of the shop and inside the workshop.
This pleases me, I know the door can't actually be opened but in an imaginary world it would open and thats good enough for me .
I am delighted that the whole building with workshop attached can still turn 360 degrees . From the front it looks like a shop, then you turn it round and surprise ! Its a workshop !
I love that it is almost two different houses now, front and back !

The roof will be tiled to match the roof on the shop and it hasnt got its windows in place yet but I have balanced it on just for show :0)

And now for my cunning plan.................................
Ta da ! here it is !!!

Hmmmm not very cunning I hear you say, its just an outdoor toilet, now what is cunning about that ?
Well take a look at the next photo.......................................
As my house is viewablefrom the front ,sides and back I was a bit worried about how to do the lighting.
My other dolls houses have lighting strips and wires on the back , this is fine when the back is against a wall but would look very ugly in this case.
Then I was tidying the shed and came across my miniature outdoor toilet................... the cunning plan was hatched :0)
I would simply hide the socket strip inside the toilet and the wiring would be hidden under the bricks that will go on the back of the house !
I havent attached this to the back of the house yet.
I want to purchase all my lights and make sure there are enough sockets on this strip, it may need an extra strip in there yet.
But I have taken a photo to show how it will look in place on the back of the house.
I love this plan as the living accomodation above the shop has no bathroom.
I know this isnt real LOL but I just have to have things with a sense of realism and Belle and Uncle Mort had nowhere to "go " !
So the addition of the outdoor toilet solves both that problem and my wiring one, a cunning plan indeed !

Tomorrow I will be back in the shed making dolls, I am exhibiting at ScottishMiniatura in just 2 weeks time so I am going to be very busy and may not post here until after the fair , but after that I have a little time when I can work more on the Emporium and I am really looking forward to finishing the building work .

julie xxx

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Heading Upstairs.........progress at last !

Okay , I give up LOL my blog has put its foot down and try as I may it will not let me move these photos around to the correct order !

I blame the heat , summer has arrived at last, but the one benefit to our garden resembling a building site at the mioment is that I dont want to sit in it .

So instead I have been working in the cool sitting room and finally have some progress to show you all !

This is the upstairs hallway :0)

This can be accessed through the side opening door of the dolls house, but otherwise can only be seen through the open doors of the kitchen and parlour.

I cant access it again to redecorate so I had to make sure it was exactly how I wanted it.

I love it ! I used a washed out pink and cream wallpaper above the dado and the same muted green stripe that I used downstairs so it flows nicely .

I had some issues with the house kit. The main one being there are no interior door or window trims. You can see here I improvised with some scraps of dado and cornice to make window frames and sills. I am pleased with the results.

I used some ivory silk
tulle to make nets for the windows and made the curtains
from some silk brocade fabric. Both from The Silke Route.

Here is the full stretch of the back interior hallway wall.

This will never be seen again from this angle ! Once I fitted the dividing wall into the house it is quite closed off .

Here you can see how I decorated the hall side of the dividing wall before sliding it in and you can see the wall from the other side once in place with the doors inserted from the hall side so they open into the rooms as in real life .

I had already decided what each of my rooms would be. This floor has one large room and one small room , so the small room just had to be the kitchen and larger room the parlour.

I will be fitting a chimney breast to the inside of the dividing wall , but havent chosen a fireplace yet so will wait until I do. The cooker will then go on the back side of that in the kitchen .

Finally, here is the kitchen with the wallpaper on !
I really love the paper I have chosen. When the front of the shop is open I want all the rooms to harmonise with each other and I am using soft greens and muted pinks and browns as my pallette as I think it has the right feel for my Emporium !

I have added the cornice now to the kitchen, more pics in another post ! But wont be adding the skirting boards or dado rail until I have my sink unit and cooker in place. I will be building shelved alcoves around the cooker on the back
side of the chimney breast. The sink will go under the window and I can then arrange my drainpipes on the outside wall of the emporium to look authentic !
As I have not found a sink or cooker or fireplace yet that I like I will leave these rooms now and move on to another part of the building.............................
watch out for my next post, I will be doing some special work on the back of my house, I have a cunning plan ................................. !
julie xxx

Thursday, 20 May 2010

Wonderful Goodies for the Toy Shop !

Firstly,my apolgies for the recent lackof posts .
Life has been very hectic preparing for the run of spring and summer shows, but I finally have a little time towork on the Emporium again.
I have been trying not to be tempted with things to display in the shop ........................ I wanted to complete the decorating and building work first,
but one of the perks of exhibiting at Kensington Dolls House Festival is the chance to visit other makers and purchase some special items.
The first two items are sheer perfection in my eyes !
Miniatures for my miniatures !!! Just look at the size of the tiny brass chairs on the book and look at the tiny dolly in the brass bed, she even has a face and the whole thing is no bigger than my finger nail !
These stunning items willsit on the shopcounter and are made by the fabulously talented Deb Jackson she makes all manner of wierd and wonderful items, not just toys and books, visit her website to be amazed.

You can see the scale of the book here on my hand. It really is perfect.

As is my other main purchase............... this sleeping cat looks very like my own cat Pepsi, who came to us as a stray and brought so much love with him.
I couldnt resist the chance to have a miniature version so this one caught my eye immediately. If you look you can see he even has tiny whiskers !
He is made by the very talented Sarah Schiff "Pocket Pets" She makes the most wonderful animals , they are so real they almost look at you, I am delighted to own this piece.

Here he is now, asleep on the shelf in the shop in a spot that I know the real Pepsi would definitely love to sleep on !
I think he adds a lovely touch to the shop window :0)
I am now working on the upstairs hall way of the emporium which must be completed before I put the interior walls in as there will not be full access to them after that .
I hope to have progress and pictures up here very soon.
Thanks so much for your patience waiting for the next step, at least nobody will think I rushed this LOL
julie xxx