Happy Boxing Day (which is what we call the day after Christmas)!
I hope for those of you who celebrate Christmas that you're having a wonderful holiday season!
In my Mum's stocking yesterday were a number of dolls house miniatures for her Edwardian roombox. One of them was this little mahogany footstool (made from a McQueenie's Miniatures kit), which I covered with a piece of original needlepoint.
I wanted to use Janet Granger's Tree of Life needlepoint footstool kit, but forgot to order it in time, so I made this pattern up, based on a William Morris design.
I ran out of time to stitch the extra ecru background to properly cover the stool, so I tea-dyed the white fabric around the edge so it wouldn't be so noticeable :)
This was stitched on 32 count canvas, but would look even better on 40 ct silk gauze, I think. Still, it's the smallest scale bit of needlepoint I've produced to date, and I was very glad to give it to my Mum :)
As a belated Christmas present, here's the chart for this. As always, please feel free to make it for your own use or to give as a gift, just not for commercial use (without asking me first) :)
We had a last day of shopping and running around today, and tonight everything is quiet, except the wind outside! I don't think we're going to have a white Christmas here in Nova Scotia -- the lovely snow from a week ago is all gone :(
I've got some last minute baking to do tomorrow, some last minute sewing and some present wrapping, and then I'll sing with the choir at our 10 pm Christmas Eve Eucharist. Then we'll be all set for Christmas!
On Christmas Day my Mum will come over about 1 pm and we'll open our presents. One of the nice things about a strictly adult Christmas is that everyone involved gets to sleep in! Our current tradition is to focus on the small sorts of gifts that fit in Christmas stockings, rather than give large or expensive presents to each other.
I'm just cooking a small dinner, just for my Mum, my husband David and me. We're going to break with the traditional turkey, so I've got a lovely roast beef which I'll prepare with Yorkshire Pudding, roast potatoes, green beans, carrots and gravy. We've got a Christmas pudding for pudding for my English husband and my mum, and I'll have something yummy, maybe whip up some meringues. Or I'll just eat part of the Terry's Chocolate Orange I hope is in my stocking!
Then we'll lie about, feeling stuffed and happy, and snuggle the cats ...
Will our Christmas pud look like this? I doubt it!
But for now, I need to get back to my mini-stitching which I hope to share with you tomorrow. I'm needlepointing a cover for a little footstool for my Mum's Edwardian Roombox, as part of her Christmas stocking gifts, which will include a lot of minis for her room! I like the design, which I made myself, but I managed to lose one version of it, so I've been stitching like a mad thing for the last day, trying to redo it!
I hope all your seasonal preparations are going well :)
Photo of St John's Anglican Church, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. copyright AndreHugosPlace
After weeks and weeks of rain or fine days, we finally have some snow today! It's falling very prettily here in rural Nova Scotia in Canada, where we've been spared the harsh weather hitting many other parts of the Northern Hemisphere (including, bizarrely, the UK).
Okay, there's not quite enough snow to equal that in the photo of St John's above, but we're getting there :)
St John's is the church I go to. Isn't it beautiful? It's in a style called "carpenter Gothic" because the shipbuilders of Lunenburg didn't have stone, they had wood and mad woodworking skills :) It's the second oldest Anglican church in Canada. It actually burned down in 2001, a year before David and I moved here from Toronto -- and the parish rebuilt it exactly as it was (but with improved systems). For the first few years I was in Lunenburg we worshipped in the Parish Hall as we watched the church rise, literally, from the ashes.
I'm singing with the choir this Christmas, and our service of Lessons and Carols is on Sunday morning, one of my favourite services of the year.
Anyway, I hope you're all well, whichever Hemisphere you're in, and whatever the weather's doing!
I was trying out some furniture in the WAM bedroom and took a picture :) This is not the bed that will be used here, but it's the right size and mass (and I put a scrap of the burgundy velvet I'm going to use for the hangings over it). The room is pretty small, for all this large furniture, but that'll be okay, I guess! You can see the two (as yet unfinished) wig stands I bought in England earlier this year, one of which I hope will eventually hold a miniature perruke for the man of the house!
My mini making is taking place mostly in the evenings when I work on my needlepoint. Here's the carpet I'm making for this room (the colours look redder in this photo than they actually are, I think):
The chart is from Meik and Ian McNaughton's book "Making Miniature Oriental Rugs and Carpets", with major changes in the colours :) It's on 22 ct canvas. Since joining the Petitpointers over at Yahoo, I've decided to man up, and start working on silk gauze, and I have just the project to get me started -- that Willow pattern bellpull kit I bought earlier this year from Janet Granger!
Here's the second wall of the bedroom next to the fireplace wall -- easy peasy lemon squeezy because I decided not to have a window in the back of the house at this point :) (Things will get "difficult difficult lemon difficult" later on, though -- I have another set of stairs to build!)
I love this wallpaper.
You can see my first tulipieres in the photo!
I don't know who made them, but I saw them on eBay and snapped them up in seconds :)
This is a double gourd-shaped tulipiere (can anyone tell I've been obsessing about these things?)
This heart shaped-one is crying out for some decoration, so I'm going to get out my blue ceramic pen and have a go :)
As I work my way towards the Blue and White Room on the first floor of the William and Mary House, I'm collecting some inspirational photos.
Last year David and my Mum and I visited Chatsworth in Derbyshire, where there is a spectacular collection of 17th century Chinese and Dutch pottery, including some stunning tulipieres or specialized tulip vases.
We didn't manage to take a picture of this particular scene, but I've borrowed this photo from the lovely blog austenonly.com:
I love the arrangement of the blue and white tulip vases in front of the fireplace, and I'm totally stealing this for the WAM House!
I've got a couple of smallish tulipieres that just arrived -- I'll post photos of them when I get a chance -- and I'm going to try my hand at making a couple of large pyramidal ones from polymer clay. Should be a challenge :)
Before I got into this cosetta nostra, this tiny thing of ours, I had always wanted to do needlepoint and never had, mostly because I didn't have a needlepointing mother or grandmother to teach me. My grandma taught me to roast a chicken and make incredible oatmeal cookies and my mum taught me how to operate a Bunsen burner and make bread, but my life was void of needlepoint.
One of the reasons I wanted to do needlepoint was because one of my favourite characters (Georgie Pillson) in one of my favourite series of books (the Lucia and Mapp novels by E.F. Benson) is always working on some frustrating bit of petit point and I loved Georgie so I wanted to be just like him :)
Getting into the dolls' house hobby was a great excuse for learning the basics of needlepoint, especially since we were starting with a castle which clearly needed tapestries!
I taught myself from diagrams and YouTube videos, although I've never seen a diagram that really makes sense of basketweave stitch! I had to puzzle over that one quite a bit before I got the hang of it. (Basketweave stitch is great for covering large areas of background without pulling the needlepoint out of shape).
I was learning needlepoint with the Knitwits, of course, but most of the Knitwit girls started with a big advantage: their mother. She's an extraordinarily talented needlewoman, whose work is practically perfect, front or back. The girls definitely take after her :)
My own work isn't flawless, it certainly isn't the same on the back as it is on the front, and it's not going to win any prizes anywhere, but I now find it incredibly enjoyable, relaxing and satisfying to stitch pieces in 1:1 scale as well as 1:12 scale, and I do get better with practice!
If you've never done needlepoint but would like to try, a small project like a cushion is one of the very best ways to get started. It's very, very easy, and something like 22 ct canvas (that's 22 stitches per inch) is small enough to get some detail in your work, but not so small it will drive you crazy with the tiny stitches!
You only need to master one stitch to start: the continental stitch or tent stitch. When you've got that, go and work out the basketweave stitch and you're all set!
(Maybe we should have a needlepoint tutorial? I know there are a lot of stitchers out there, and I'd love it if some of us put our heads together and came up with a really simple way of explaining the craft to others. If you know of good links to resources or videos for beginnings, maybe you could suggest them in the comments, below?)
With that in mind, here's an early Christmas present for those of you who do petit point in 1:12 scale, or who would like to try!
I've always loved Bokhara patterned rugs and cushions, and in the course of stitching some for the dolls' house came up with this one of my own.
This stitches up very quickly on 22 ct canvas and only uses five colours of cotton floss. As always, you can vary the colours, although these warm tones are very traditional.
What a busy time of year it is! I've had hardly any time for mini-making and I miss it terribly. At least we've had good weather, which I know many of my friends here from the UK, Europe and other parts of North America have NOT had -- it's amazing to me to talk to my husband's cousins in North Yorkshire about the huge amounts of snow they've had, when we have no snow at all here in my part of Canada!
I've finally started decorating the first floor, beginning with the bedroom.
This blog chronicles the adventures of a group of Canadians building a 1:12 scale medieval or Tudor dolls' house or dolls' castle. We're also working on a William and Mary era dollhouse circa 1700, featuring Jacobean, Carolean and Queen Anne furniture. Dollhouse aficionados, those who enjoy making or sharing doll house miniatures, and people who enjoy sharing crafts with children may enjoy the adventures of this group.
I built the background image of this site using some of the fabulous work from Vintage Retro Grunge. The "Green Man" reproduction medieval tile on the bottom right is by Kate Tiler. The other two, the griffon and the happy little creature (possibly a lion with a bagel?), are both by Pataki Tiles.