Thursday 29 March 2018

Playing House - Moving Day

 On the day that I've exchanged contracts with the vendors of The Cottage I've also completed No. 62! 

The exterior walls got a few coats of white emulsion and the roof was taped together and painted with floor paint both of which we already had. I only had to buy the green gloss spray paint. The door step was printed off from a flooring website and the scraps came from Miss Violet's Doll's House (link HERE) , the book my friend Lynn sent me. 

With the exception of the kitchen - which I papered using a wallpaper sample, the floors and walls were covered with free doll's house printables already scaled down to size (link HERE). They were attached using a Pritt glue stick and set with hairspray, which I already had in the house. The mini LED rope lighting was from Home Bargains. You'll remember the carpets - they were the posh Spanish upholstery samples I bought from a charity shop last week. I made the lampshades using a pattern I found HERE. To replicate our real-life staircase I covered the stair risers with washi tape (three for £1 from Poundland).

If you watched the fascinating The Private Life of The Doll's House on BBC 4 last week (thanks to my friends Shelagh and Lynn for the tip-off), you'll know that a doll's house is never really finished but here's how the lounge is looking at the moment.

Cheers! I scaled down and printed off the Trechikoffs on glossy photo paper and framed them in these rather snazzy wooden frames (six for £1 in Poundland) which I'd painted white. The pink dresser, Trimphone and settee were things I found inside No. 62 when Jon discovered it in The Cottage's attic. Linda made me the pouffe and the mustard cushion and I crocheted the throw and the other cushions.

 I've lusted after this chair since the day I first clapped eyes on it. As I couldn't run to £850 for the full-sized version I knocked up a mini version using some of the Afghan braid Sarah sent me, cocktail sticks, a cat food box and plenty of glue. I followed an excellent tutorial HERE.

The Wall of Misery! We'd still got some of the paint we used on the stairs over ten years ago so mini Wall of Misery is the same colour as the real one.

I found the television in a bag of vintage doll's house furniture snaffled from a chazza yesterday. The original screen was missing so I added a photo of Helen. Linda created the pineapple lamp, I pinched the guitar from one of my Spanish dolls and made the Mother-in-Law's Tongue from garden wire and sellotape painted with various green Barry M Nail Paints. The pot was a lid from a toiletry sample rescued from the recycle bin.

On to the bedroom...

I bought this black and white cat from eBay, he's one of a pair. The other one is up to no good elsewhere in the house. The Trechikoff, rotary dial phone & lamp came from Linda, I made the bed cover, pillows and felt slippers from scraps I found in my stash.

The bed, chair, stool, dressing table and wardrobe (all painted using one of the many sample pots we already own) were in the original doll's house as was the tassel trim cushion. The printable vintage suitcase was downloaded from HERE. Linda sent me the vase of flowers. I made the book and the coat hanger and copied the dress from the book Lynn sent me.

The lamp was a gift from Linda, the bedside table came in the bag of bits I bought yesterday.

More me-made plants! The "soil" is loose leaf tea.

 Just like in real-life, the spare bedroom is my playroom.

Complete with doll's house! Sarah found a pile of amazing printables in a charity shop last week which is where the doll's house magazines came from. I already had the table & the dresser whilst the lamp was another of yesterday's chazza shop finds. The doll's house was another printable from the website I've linked to. I found the patterns for the fruit storage crates on Pinterest (HERE and HERE).

Here's the other black and white cat, causing mischief!  I made the sewing table from matchboxes, dressmaking pins and beads. The shelf came off a broken piece of original furniture. Linda had the brilliant idea of using cotton buds to make spools of thread. I made the patterns and pincushion. The sewing machine came from eBay.

That posh-looking iron was also in the bag of bits I bought yesterday. I wish I had something that fancy in real-life!

The bookshelf was made using cardboard salvaged from the recycling bin. I printed the shoe boxes off from THIS website and found stacks of printable books on Pinterest (HERE). The mannequin was an Ebay buy.

How amazing is this Did You Get Your Pill Today psych poster? I can't afford the real 1960s one (it's £175) so a mini will have to do!

 You saw the kitchen last week. I've since added a me-made fern, a broom (found in the bag of stuff I bought yesterday) and a red transistor radio bought from eBay. The retro Sainsbury's shopping bag was another printable from the sheets Sarah sent me. Linda surprised me with the mini Jacob yesterday. Real Jacob also lives in our kitchen, it's far too cold to put him out yet!!

The kitchen cupboards, cooker unit, wine bottles and sink were all eBay buys. HERE'S the link if you want to print off some groceries like mine. 

Years before I even knew I was mad for minis I bought this 1970s Lundby loo from a vintage fair, just 'cos I loved it. It's been on my mantelpiece for three years so I decided to turn the garage into a bathroom to give the groovy loo its rightful home.

As I owned no bathroom furniture other than the loo I had to get creative.

A bent hatpin and a giant press stud became a shower. The Chandrika poster is cut from the box from my favourite brand of Ayurvedic soap from India.

The hinge from a clothes peg made for a towel rail.

 The vanity unit used to be a dressing table and the bowl was the last part of a teeny weeny ceramic tea set I had as a child, I made the tap from my friend Gordon's empty vape liquid container, a cocktail stick and a bead which I glued together and spray painted silver. The mirror was in yesterday's bag of bits and the mug, toothpaste and brush were eBay buys. You can print a washing basket like mine for free HERE.

The total refurbishment cost of No.62 set me back just over £40* - if only real-life house renovation was so cheap!

* That's the green gloss spray paint, lollipop sticks, LED lights, glue, the cooker, sink & kitchen cabinet, the upholstery fabric samples, the transistor radio, the cats, the sewing machine & mannequin, the mug with the toothbrush and toothpaste, washi tape, picture frames and wine.

Check out that psychedelic front door - that's going to be one trippy house!

Will I stop banging on about doll's houses now No.62 is finished? Hell, no! I'm now the proud owner of the house I dreamt of owning as a little girl, a 1973 Gothenburg by Lundby and it doesn't end there, I neglected to mention that the bag of vintage furniture I bought from a charity shop yesterday came with another doll's house....oops!

See you soon!

Friday 23 March 2018

From Bed Covers & Babouches to Bollywood & Books - This Week's Charity Shop Finds

 I'm probably the only person in the world to create an outfit entirely around a bag but just look at that handsome Indian prince astride his horse.

We've been out and about stock hunting all week and the Black Country chazzas have been ransacked for super cool vintage gear to keep our rails topped up. Of course, it's inevitable that I'll find a few things that I need to keep - like this bag which cost me the princely (ha!) sum of £1.99

My poor hands are destroyed by all the gluing I've been doing lately, thank goodness for Barry M Nail Paint to detract from the damage. This colour, Cardamon, has been discontinued - why oh why do they keep doing that with colours I like? Luckily I found a replacement bottle in Age UK for 50p. The Indian bejewelled cuff was £4.50. Everything else, with the exception of the Lapis ring Dad bought me when I was 11, is from India.

Here's the massive 1970s pendant I was wearing in my last post. I suppose goat fish boy isn't everyone's cup of tea hence the reason why the lady in the charity shop gave it me for free.

Here's the vintage maxi skirt I was wearing in my last post. It's a bizarre thing, the green part is polyester and the floral trim is cotton. I found it on a sale rail for 50p. I wasn't sure if it was a keeper but the waist is a perfect fit and that strange contrasting hem makes me look really tall - a bonus when, like me, you're a short arse.

Don't adjust your screens - knitwear-phobic Vix bought knitwear!!! I'm sick to death of being cold and I was pleasantly surprised at how these two looked when I tried them on. Isn't it funny how much more attractive things seem when the charity shop reduces all their stock to £1?

They're not old - the acid green mohair cardi is from Miss Selfridge and the daisy print, Scandi-style sweater is by Henry Holland, but at least I'm prepared for our next visit from the Beast from the East, due to hit the UK during the Easter weekend. 

I loved the colour of these £1 Moroccan babouches and was super excited when I discovered that they were my size. They're unworn so I'm assuming they were given to someone as a coming home from holiday gift and they didn't fit.

How much do Jon & I love this brilliant bed cover? We're dazzled by it! It's got an emerald green fringed trim which I omitted to photograph. It was labelled Brand New which made us laugh. Yes, it was unused but we don't think it's been new for at least forty years! It was £10 which we thought was a bargain.

Did your Mum/Grandma one of these fold out shoppers? Both of mine did. This psychedelic beauty fits in my coat pocket and will be perfect for an impromptu charity shop purchase. Cost? 50p

I loved the embroidery on this £2 contemporary satin wrap. While both pieces of knitwear are a UK Size 6, this is a UK size 16. It just goes to show that modern size labels make no sense whatsoever.

I buy a pile of paperbacks most weeks (and subsequently donate a pile back).
Being a massive fan of espionage novels, William Boyd is one of my favourite authors and I was thrilled to find a book by him that I hadn't read. I love contemporary Indian fiction so I'm looking forward to devouring Graffiti My Soul. An Auctioneer's Lot are the memoirs of BBC's Bargain Hunt & Antique Road Trip expert, grumpy Phil Serrell. I always see Jodi Picoult books in charity shops which is hardly surprising as she's one of the UK's best selling authors. I mistakenly assumed she wrote chick-lit - which I detest - so I've never bothered buying any of her books but I came across both My Sister's Keeper & Small Great Things on my e reader and really enjoyed them. While her work isn't high brow but the subjects are thought-provoking and the endings are never predictable.

I've travelled the Bombay to Goa road many times over the last 20 years and I absolutely love this film from 1972. The songs are brilliant, the characters hilarious and Amitabh Bachchan's psychedelic wardrobe is to die for. Female lead, Aruna Irani, is so beautiful. This 99p DVD will be Sunday afternoon's entertainment.

How could I write a blog post without mentioning my doll's house? My friend Tina spotted these upholstery fabric samples from high end Spanish interiors company Gaston y Daniela when we were out charity shopping yesterday and suggested they'd make great rugs. How right she was! Full-sized it retails at £100 a metre, I paid £1 for a fifth of a metre. 

WEARING: 1960s Wetherall of Bond Street cape (£4.95, YMCA charity shop, 2006), River Island boots, Floppy felt hat, vintage tooled leather belt, 1960s Stainless steel choker, Indian Prince bag, vintage floral maxi skirt, fringed bodysuit (all charity shopped, eBayed or car-booted)

Have a fabulous weekend!

See you soon.

Linking to Patti & the gang for Visible Monday and Judith, The Style Crone, Hat Attack #57.

Wednesday 21 March 2018

What's Cooking? My Mini Kitchen Makeover

Wanna to see my kitchen? This is my latest mini make, like my real one HERE, its furnished entirely from inherited bits and pieces, other people's junk, hand-made stuff and lucky eBay finds.

Yes, I am well and truly obsessed with decorating my doll's house. It's taken me back to being twenty-four and owning my first house, a tiny end terrace so small I could pick up a tin of paint on the way back from work from the DIY clearance centre at the bottom of my road and redecorate a room in a couple of hours whenever the fancy took me.

Friends would pop round to discover that the colour scheme had completely changed from the week before or that I'd transformed the bed's headboard, Ottoman or a chair with a piece of fabric I'd found in a charity shop and my trusty staple gun.

In those days the cupboards were bare. Back in 1990 interest rates were sky high, I was living alone and in order to afford to pay my bills & mortgage I lived on a tight budget of £25 a week. I ate at work (working in corporate hospitality wasn't all bad), cut my own hair & bought all my clothes from jumble sales - just as I'd always done - and the rest went on socialising and tins of bargain paint. My thrifty ways paid off, I was mortgage free before I was 40. 

In my mini world I still don't spend any money on food - I Google free doll's house printables and fill my cupboards for free.

In my first house I went without a fridge, I became the proud owner of a second-hand one when I reached the age of 25! In my mini house I've made one from a broken 1950s sink unit that came from my Mum's doll's house and painted it with Barry M nail varnish. Like our real one the door's adorned with Polaroids of us at Glastonbury and in India.

There's loads of these 1970s Lundby cookers on eBay. I took my time and found one for a decent price. 

When I was a child I loved buying Lundby doll's house furniture. The houses were expensive but the bits and pieces to fill them with were pocket money prices. I'd already got Mum's furniture from her childhood so I mostly bought odds and ends. The saucepans, cutlery, toaster and the loaf of bread survived years of playing. I found a photo of a Taunton Vale chopping board, sized it down, printed it off and glued it to some cardboard salvaged from the recycle bin.

These chairs were pink last week - I haven't changed. Rose wine and Ritz crackers, aren't I sophisticated?

The tea towel is made of paper but with a few folds it looks like fabric. I managed to find the matching sink to last week's kitchen unit on eBay. I made the splash back and the shelves are lollipop sticks.

I helped myself to a sample of wallpaper from Wilko's. I could have used scaled down doll's house paper like I'd used for the rest of the house but quite liked the drama of the supersized retro print.

My reading material - a copy of the NME from 1967 with The Stones on the cover.

WEARING: Green bell sleeved top (retail sale, 2017), Vintage maxi skirt with floral trim (50p sale rail, AGE UK, yesterday), 1970s wooden pendant (Free from the hospice charity shop, the lady insisted I had it!)
I need to crack on with the outside restorations for Number 62, my latest house arrived this morning and I'm itching to get cracking on the next project. Addicted? Me? Absolutely!

See you soon.