Sunday, June 21, 2009

Inspiration: Real-Life Southern Plantation Houses

I'm currently experiencing technical difficulties with my computer and thus can't post pictures of anything I've been working on lately. While my computer guru (aka my husband) sorts through my computer's various issues, I thought I'd post a few pictures of my inspiration for Myrtlewood.
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Oak Alley Plantation, Vacherie, Louisiana:

Houmas House, Darrow, Louisiana:

Dunleith Plantation, Natchez, Mississippi:

Drayton Hall, Charleston, South Carolina:

Belle Mead Plantation, Nashville, Tennessee:

I have long been enamored with these southern beauties. When I decided I wanted a dollhouse, I knew it would have to be a southern plantation house. There just aren't many kits out there in this style, though, which is one of the reasons I decided to build my own. My plan is for Myrtlewood to look very similar to the first three homes pictured above, except that it will have columns and porches across the front only, rather than all the way around (wrapping them all the way around would greatly impede access to the interior, unfortunately). At some point, I'll try to post the plans I've drawn up.

Hopefully, my computer will be "cured" in the next week or so, and then we can get back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Globe Makeover

I've been having a lot of fun lately taking inexpensive, mass-produced miniatures and remaking them into miniatures with a more unique look. Here's a globe I finished recently.
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Here's the gobe I started out with - I bought it for US$6-7 on eBay.

Now, to me, this piece looked much too modern for Myrtlewood, so I had to "antique" it a bit.

First, I carefully took everything apart and stripped the finish off the wood. Then I restained all the wood and applied a satin finish. This by itself greatly changed the look of the piece.

I replaced the gold bead feet with mini casters. I absolutely love these little casters! They made their first appearance on my cellarette, and will probably find their way onto several pieces in the future. If you want the piece to roll, be careful to apply all the casters facing the same way. While they actually roll (which I love!), mine at least do not swivel, so they must all face the same direction.

Then I got creative and decided to redo the globe itself. To maintain accuracy, I can't have a modern-day globe in an 1880s library! First I searched out antique globe gores on the internet, resized them on my computer, printed them, cut them out, and carefully glued them over the top of the globe. The result was too horrible to photograph. The paper would not lay flat against the globe, and the more I fiddled with it, the lumpier it got!

I finally chucked the whole thing and started over with a 1 1/4" wood ball, which fortuitously was just the right size. I drew on all the continents by hand and then painted them. This was a laborious process that I do not care to repeat, but I think the end result looks nice, and I'm glad I did it. To me, the globe looks a lot more Victorian, and isn't too recognizable as the modern piece I started with. What do you think?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Books: First Attempt

In the comments to my last post, a few people asked how I was planning to fill all the empty shelves in my bookcases. Realizing this was a sensible question, I decided to try my hand at making miniature books. These are my first attempts.
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I plan to eventually use many different materials and make lots of different sizes of books, so I should have a lot of variety on these shelves. I'll probably buy some, too. I have a lot of shelves to fill!