Monday, 3 December 2012

A dolls house gift - Part 1

     I was going to do one blog post about gifts I have made, but after thinking about what to include I realised it would make the post so gigantic and perhaps a bit tedious for people to wade through. So perhaps the best thing to do is to post individual ones. This post is about a gift for my mother-in-law...the preparation for it was quite immense so I will be doing this blog in two parts.....

          My mother-in-law Gil, adores dolls houses which you could find out about here

I had always wanted a dolls house and nearly 5 years ago Gil bought me one and I am gradually making the furniture for it. I always said to her I couldn't make my own furniture and she insisted I could. Well, she was right - I got well and truly hooked into the world of dolls houses and I adore making things for them. I am still learning how to do it...It can be a tricky job but I love the challenges it presents and, after nearly collapsing when seeing the prices of ready made dolls house furniture, I love how cheap making dolls house furniture can be.

So, along came the time when I needed an idea for a gift for Gil's birthday...In my family there is the general assumption that handmade gifts will be given and I do try to come up with something original each time. 

I did have a wooden box with a glass front .............

............and I had had no idea what to do with it so it had been put up on the top shelf of the art cupboard and there it sat for a couple of years. When I began to develop the idea of making a dolls house room, something Gil had made for friends and family before so I knew she loved the concept, I got the wooden box down again and began to try and come up with some ideas.

    As usual, I went to my sister-in-law Alison for some advice. I said I had this vague idea of making a craft room...perhaps showing the construction of a dolls house? The idea of it being similar to how Gil (and myself) work.....amid total chaos!

      Alison suggested that the room contain the makings of a butchers shop - as this is something Gil really likes and had made one for herself with Alison's help years before. She showed me some photos of the type of shop she was talking about.....

 .....Well, I was going to be making a 1/12th copy of that 1/12th shop! wouldn't be as detailed as that!!! But, of course I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief when Alison pointed out that mine didn't have to be...this was a work room and this shop would be being constructed. So it was decided that the person working in that room hadn't got as far as making all those little details......That would work!

  Alison also showed me the butchers shop dolls house that Gil had made years before. I took photos of it, so that I could have some reference to help me construct a 1/12 scale butchers shop doll house. I wanted to recreate the one she had (as close as possible)...

      First thing was to have a plan of what to put in in the dolls house room....I had made quite a bit of furniture for my own dolls house and several items I had changed my mind about after I had made them. So they were the first things to be chosen.......

     I thought the best thing to do first would be to make the little dolls house that will be in the process of being 'created' in the dolls house room....

After constructing the roof, I realised it wasn't going to work...The angle was wrong and was too off it came and the flat roof looked much better

 I decided the room should have a Victorian sampler on the wall. I do love sewing - in small amounts and this is as small as it gets really! So I found some cotton, got out the embroidery hoop and cottons, researched some Victorian samplers and printed one. Placed the material and image over a light box, I then traced the image in pen and sewed! You can see from the £1 coin, the scale of the sampler and how tricky it was to do!

 I made the frame from wood painted in acrylic paint

 For the work desk I knew I would need paints, pencils, work mat and of course, the dolls house makers very important craft tool - the craft knife. I own one myself so working out scale was easy....but oh goodness! Tricky to make such a tiny item.......
 And that IS a metal blade attached!

 A little book shelf was quite easy to make and painted the same brown to match the sampler...I didn't make the lamp (one of the very few things that I didn't make) and the books were made by my mother-in-law for my birthday present which was my life in books....she had a few extras that she gave to me later, so I placed them on this little bookshelf
 I wanted a corner that was another thing to make...Far trickier than the bookcase as all the shelves have to have pieces cut out so they attach to the legs of the unit....and making sure the glue sticks with the legs straight is a huge challenge and not best suited to someone with my total lack of patience ;o)
 Painted with the same brown paint, here is the finished corner unit...I didn't make the flowers (though I could have done) These were bought for my dolls house and I decided they didn't fit in anywhere and were best used for this project.
 Probably the easiest thing to have made....the bin!!!!! A bottle cap jammed full of scraps!!!

    So that is that for this post about the Dolls house gift....I will be writing 'part 2' soon!

......and for those of you who can't wait I will finish this blog post with a peek at a corner of the finished room........

  Hope you like what you saw - Please leave a comment if you did - I would love to know what you thought of it.


  1. I just rushed upstairs to check on the metal blade - I hadn't realised lol.....

  2. How lovely! I'm sure Gil will be thrilled. Was hoping to meet her tomorrow, but that is going to have to wait until next year(!) now. :(

  3. Lovely to see the step by step on this project... sorry to land you in so much detailed chaos!! And I'd just like to say that I never assume there'll be something handmade - so no pressure...
    Alison xx

  4. I've just scraped my jaw off the floor to say how amazing this is! The level of detail you've put into each little item is staggering. Having made railway models in the past I stand in awe of the level of patience you must have. Can't wait to see part two now. Buttons x


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