I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Inspired by... Part II

Hello and welcome all.  And now, for something completely different.  Cups of coffee at the ready, please - or perhaps take it in stages... it's a biggy - well, it's nine weeks' work!

And Simon Says Stamp and Show have really timed this one well.  Their Inspired By challenge has already helped me in the midst of a little wobble (more about that in Inspired by... Part I, in case you missed it), as have all your warm and supportive messages - thank you so much.

But it also coincides perfectly with me fulfilling my promise to fill you in on some of what I've been doing here in the Czech Republic for the last nine weeks.  I said I'd try to do it before I leave CZ... well we're off this afternoon, so I've just made it!

I've been deploying my crafting skills, not to mention inks, stamps and paints - and even some craft design papers - in a slightly different direction... and it's all been inspired by one person: my mother.

There, I've said it - if the ick factor's too high, then move on now!!  Some of you may know her as Cestina, and I know some have visited her blog, and you're following her side of the story and you've seen the projects she's been busy with ... but now I'd like to share some of what I've been doing.

Dollshouses are really her hobby, but I have always joined in - for instance making most of the meat and much of the fish for Peacocke's... a rather upmarket butcher's and fishmonger's shop - all done years ago.

Slices of bacon... not the easiest thing to make out of Fimo.  Making the kidneys made me feel slightly ill.  And because I don't like fatty meat, I made all the joints ridiculously lean, and had to correct afterwards with paint.

I like to think I'd do it better these days.

The ice on the fish slab is broken car windscreen glass - because it's safety glass, it smashes into little cubes, perfect ice cubes.  We scrabbled on the car park floor at Cockfosters Underground station at nearly midnight (having just got off the tube) for these, to the consternation of several passersby...

Spot the mussels and prawns!

Now, all this may not precisely count as papercrafting (it may not even qualify for the SSSaS challenge, but that's not important - it's just a chance to share the fun), but it's certainly closely related - particularly the way I do it now, with my new found skills and crafty products!

We've been preparing Cestina's dollshouse - or dollhouse, as I know the Americans amongst you prefer - collection (the sum of more than 40 years collecting - hoarding, some might say) to open as a small museum here in the Czech town where she lives for half of each year (not far from where her mother was born and brought up, but had to leave in 1941, emigrating to England).

Many of the houses had been in storage in our slightly tumble-down garage for more than a decade, so there was some serious cleaning and restoring to be done.

In addition, many of them had never really had the intended care and attention lavished on them.

Now, at last, they have a home worthy of them; we have space to work; and plans and ideas which have been on the shelf for decades can finally be put into practice.

I'm going to fill you in on how just a few of those plans have turned out.

Details of stuff I'm not talking about can probably be found over at Cestina's Dollshouses.  If it's not there yet, it soon will be!

I've got lots of before-and-after pictures... it's probably the element of transformation which is most exciting to me in the work.  Bear in mind that this is a working collection, rather than a finished, polished museum... there will always be more to be done, and things to be added.  Almost everything I'm sharing today is work in progress.

In fact, I'm not sure a dollshouse is ever "finished"... there's always more to do; some little extra texture to add, just as in a real house.  But some of these are more "finished" than others!!

So, for instance, in the last nine weeks, I've turned this... a homemade house, made out of a tea chest, decorated in the most extraordinary 1970s wallpaper scraps, and given to my mother by a kindergarten group who didn't have the space for it...

...into this... a nineteenth century Colonial bungalow.  We're still arguing about whether it's in Africa or India, but that's okay: all the final detailing - maps, photographs, papers etc is still to be done.

The gentleman's residence is essentially very simply furnished but, like our German friends in the diplomatic service, he does travel to his postings with some home comforts, as you'll see.

Obviously paint played a big part in the transformation, and some straw matting with a coat or two of woodstain makes a wonderful roof.  The straw was rescued and hoarded from a puppet theatre my mother made for me when I was about 5 - so nearly forty years ago. 

But I'm also very proud of my first attempt at a handmade floor (wait till you see what I did once I'd had some practice!).

The verandah floor is made from cardboard, stamped with the Kaisercraft woodgrain stamp, and doused in some wood dye.

I cut the card into strips and mosaic'd them together.  The same "planks" are in the hallway, while cork tiles do service as "exotic flooring" in the main rooms.

This is what will become the bedroom.  Mmm... lovely wallpaper - and imagine how large those flowers would be full size!

I'm also very happy with my mosquito net - fashioned from some old net curtain, and the wire from the top of a champagne bottle (okay, it was Bohemia Sekt - the Czech equivalent of Cava or Prosecco), painted with enamel paint.

From the decanter and two goblets, it seems that our man - a bachelor, who left England having suffered a broken engagement - is not above entertaining company in the bedroom.

This is one of the most inspiring things about my mother's approach to the hobby...

She's never had lots of money to spend on it (many houses were picked up for peanuts at auctions, or more recently ebay, or - as with this one - handed over for free), so she has become adept at taking ordinary household objects or leftover bits and pieces and turning them into part of her miniature world.

It does mean that there are now two of us hoarding the most unlikely odds and sods, ready to use them in our respective hobbies!

So the cork tiles are odd ones that have been lying around for ages.  The tiles around the fireplace are cut from some bookmarks and leaflets from an exhibition.

The tiny cushions are made from material samples and swatches (made by my aunt, Mette Breminer - as was the bedding in the bedroom, out of an old linen tablecloth and some hankies).

"One must, of course, always travel with the family silver."

In the kitchen (note the mottled walls - tried not to breathe while I wiped away whatever it was! - and the dessicated spider hanging over the door)...

... we now have a table mat as the straw floor, a balsa wood counter, but no cooking range yet, I'm afraid.  Until I'm back again - I hope early next year - they'll have to make do with the little burner.

"One simply can't get the staff these days."

A sneaky little view of the hallway here too...

And the study is where the business of the day takes place.... a desk for meetings, one for private correspondence, and one for the new-fangled typing machine.  I whittled the pencils from some straw matting strands.

"I'm awaiting delivery of the trunk containing my school photographs - Harrow, don't you know - and my other paraphernalia.  Until then, I'm afraid the place looks rather sparse."

I also had a great time completely making over our Cape Cod house.  From the outside this weatherboarded beauty looked the part, though I have repainted the roof, shutters and front door.

Goodbye green... hello Weathered Wood Distress Paint (the shutters - not the whole roof!).  I've still got work to do on repairing the weatherboarding itself.  And you'll notice there are no actual windows yet in the new version.

The old ones were made by sticking wood to acetate, but the acetate has now gone completely yellow.  Making new ones is going to have to wait for another time... my focus was on the interior.

It's not always easy to get at the insides though!

This house was certainly bearing the scars of having stood in a garage for more than ten years.  I gave it a complete re-papering and re-flooring makeover.

And pre-garaging, the inside had been filled with various bits and pieces of furniture which really didn't fit the bill to my mind.

I'll admit to being heavily influenced by Hollywood versions of Cape Cod houses (for instance, the glorious one in Something's Gotta Give - oh, dream house!).

I've still got lots of work to do on gathering the tiny things that add real life and texture to a house, but I'm pleased with where I've got to so far.

The floor downstairs is the pine base on which the house is built, whitewashed with white woodstain, and then the boards were painstakingly drawn on by hand.

The pale grey wallpaper in the living room - which seemed somehow very USA to me - is wrapping paper from the cheapy shop!  The beautiful irises in the bedroom are printed off the internet.  Most of the rest come from the hoard.

I also ripped out one whole wall and created a new one with an arch through instead - open-plan living, American style - using, yup, plain old recycled cardboard off the back of a sketchbook!

Now, to the furniture.  I've been putting all that distressing training to excellent use.  I took the mass-produced plastic furniture (how come they always make the "wood" so orange?) and applied my painty techniques, including crackle and dry brushing and so on, to create a houseful of shabby chic wood furniture... light and bright and airy.  Lots of little pictures: do click for a closer view - if you're still awake, that is...

The dining room furniture had the full crackle treatment.

First a coat of dark brown acrylic... then crackle glaze, some white acrylic, and watch the magic!

Or just a coat of paint and some dry-brushing for the highlights.

And even the pieces that are made of actual wood can just be a bit much... time to get painty.

I've always wanted a desk like this (in real life, I mean) - but the shabby chic version please, for me.

Basically, this dollshouse lark is about creating houses I will never get to live in in real life, isn't it?!

And, um, yes... that would be me in the tiny photograph, aged about three, I think!

More beautiful bed linen sewn by my aunt, Mette, with the tiniest stitches you've ever seen - and made of a handkerchief... very fine material, you see, so it works brilliantly in this scale.

Vintage Photo distress ink - of course - to shabby up the lacy rug in the bedroom...

Vintage Photo and Walnut Stain also worked brilliantly to create a bit more life in the brick paper used in the external transformation of this rather lurid house...

... into this highly typical piece of North London architecture.

It's going to be a pair of bedsits inside, and fairly rundown, so I didn't want it looking too pristine.  

The inking brings a touch of weathering to the bricks that is really helpful in starting to paint the picture of a property where the landlord doesn't exactly get right on the job when you call him.  A long way to go on this one, but I'm pleased with the outside.

Time for my pièce de résistance... the handmade floors in our large Edwardian house.  It's actually an American kit house, made by the Walmer company, later taken over by Greenleaf.  (Regulars will spot my Tick Tock altered clock now happily on the wall.)

First of all, let me show you the floors in all their completed glory!!

I love this house and all the things in it... we put it together, decorated it and added all the wonderful little touches throughout my teens.  

Even though it didn't ever end up in the garage, twenty years had taken their toll, and a full scale redecoration was needed.

If you're a WOYWWer, you already know that I used some 7 Gypsies paper in this house for the living room wallpaper.

And the fireplace was plain wood, so I got out the paints to "convert" it into marble!

And I also created the wood panelling you see in the music/school room out of - yes, it's here again - plain old cardboard!

I'm not going to show you inside the whole house, it's too huge... you'll just have to wait for Cestina to get round to this one!   It's the floors I'm really proud of.

Many of the papers we already had in the hoarded stash, some are craft papers, or downloaded from the Internet and printed out. 

But when it came to floors, I was very dissatisfied with most of what we had available.

I wanted something worthy of this house I love, but short of spending a great deal of money on the beautiful floors which do exist, but cost a fortune, there was only one option... handmaking the floors myself.

So it was kraft card to the rescue - some sheets of the PaperMania 12x12 Basics Kraft Card which, in a stroke of genius, has grids and lines on one side of some sheets.  

This was the breakthrough which would enable me to cut thousands of individual parquet tiles with some precision.

First though, it was back into action with the Kaisercraft woodgrain stamp and the Coffee Archival ink.  Then cutting into strips, and finally into the tiny tiles (about 1.5 x 0.5cm each).

Once they were all stuck down (oh, how quick to type; oh, how slow to do!), I used Vintage Photo Distress Ink to bring them to life, and then a coat of matte varnish both to seal and to finish the look.  Safe to say, I'm thrilled with the results.

And I'm possibly even happier with the boards upstairs in the main bedroom and nursery.

Simpler and quicker to lay than the tiles, obviously; and this time inked with Walnut Stain before the varnishing for a deeper, darker look.

Worth the effort, I think!

It's already a marathon post, and I haven't even touched on the makeover of the tiny 1/24th scale house (interesting trying to wallpaper when you can barely get your hands inside)... 

...or the paper-embossing I've been doing ready to do some pargeting on our Essex pub-to-be... 

...or the bay window I built out of balsa wood for the Georgian house Cestina was working on, and where a troupe of performing mice have just moved in... 

...or how I used texture paste to plaster a new chimney for our medieval thatched cottage (yup, genuine straw, and it's just been rethatched by our Dutch friends who came for a week to help out)... 

...or the stamps I used to create the signage for our French patisserie Chez l'Artiste (upstairs is an artist's gallery with a rather scantily clad model sitting for her portrait).

I'm leaving all those delights to Cestina over at Cestina's Dollshouses... 

And I'm sure she'll also let you know how it goes when we open to the public for the first time on Saturday morning (before I head back across Europe to the UK).

I just wanted to try to give you a taster of some of what I've been up to, and share some of the challenges and the fun inspired by this amazing project of my mother's... an extraordinary woman who is an inspiration to me in this work, in her adventures into a new (even though familial) language and culture, as well as in more ways than I can possibly say.

I'd like to enter this into Simon Says Stamp and Show's challenge Inspired by...  yes, my mother (though a rather more conventional option will be along tomorrow if I get finished).

Two Tim Holtz stamp sentiments to end with:

It's the little things that make life big.

And one which is unbelievably appropriate for Cestina.  You wouldn't believe how often I heard the phrase, "I've never seen that before in my life", as we were unpacking and sorting 40 years' worth of collected miniatures, so this is perfect:

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is always making exciting new discoveries.

Any hint from those quotes as to who might be in the frame for Inspired by... Part III?  See you soon!


Brenda Brown said...

I am speechless Alison, the renovations are incredible, the way you have set about using your skills and materials is incredible and the final results are magnificent. Congrats to you and your Mum for what you have achieved.
Hugs Brenda xox

Yvonne Garner said...

Hi Alison, thank you so much for sharing pictorially what you and your mom have been doing recently. How precious this project must be for the two of you. I have always loved doll houses, had them as a young child as did my daughter and granddaughter. Your houses are gorgeous, labors of love. Bravo! Hugs, Yvonne

Cestina said...

Thank you - I can't tell you what a joy it is for me that we can do this together. And to be someone's inspiration is a huge compliment. I hope you know that you are mine xx

Rita said...

What a fabulous post Alison. A pure Labour of Love and thanks to you and your mother I have so enjoyed reading and seeing those wonderful pieces. Good Luck with the challenge too. What an emotional journey it must have been and many thanks for sharing with us. Hugs Rita xxxxx

Inkypinkycraft said...

Love the transformations and wow this takes me back, my mum had a dolls house and I remember fashioning food for the table, we laid a floor of matchsticks and trimmed lolly tricks make a great wood floor when stained!! I have loved looking at these and sharing part of your journey...some of the pieces look truly amazing...I am with younin the shabby desk...fab! Hugs trace x

http://blog.timetocreate.com.au/ said...

Alison what a fantastically wonderful experience for both of you. Let me assure you there is absolutely nothing icky about either being inspired by your mum or so obviously loving her dearly. This is demonstrated through your extraordinary patience and detailing - the parquet floor for example.
My best crafting buddy and inspiration has been gone for 5 lonely years now and I am not ashamed to say - I miss her every day!
Again I say - fantastic and bravo to you both. I hope your venture works brilliantly.
Now I am off to have a little look at your mum's blog too!

Jenny Marples said...

It has been wonderful to see what you've been up to out there with the dolls houses - the odd glimpse has been great but this really puts it all into context and provides so many of the details. Huge congratulations to you and Cestina for working so hard and pulling this off. The museum looks great - crossing everything you get a ton of visitors to marvel at your work. Hugs, Jenny x

brenda said...

That's so much work Alison and clearly has been a labour of love over many weeks, but the end results are nothing short of amazing.

Thank you so much for sharing all the visual displays of your project.

B x

chrissie said...

Typing through the tears as I looked through the beautiful pictures twice already and will be looking again when I have typed this comment.

So many wonders and how I would love to be there with you and all the wonders that are unfolding :)

A wonderful project and one that will bring joy to so many people.

Thank you for sharing it

Love Chrissie xx

maria's knutselplezier said...

Waw How great is this, you are a reall talentede lady, the houses are so beautifull, all the details, like the floors really amazing!!!I once had a small dool house too, but than my boys were born, and the oldest was very nice to the house and kept it nice, but my second boy broke everything down, so no dollhouse any more for me!!!Your mother and yourselves are great ladies!!


Astrid Maclean said...

OMG, - I'll have to come back to this and look in more detail, as I have to run off to work now. It all looks so amazing! What clever fingers you must have! Very best of luck today with the grand opening!

Deborah said...

Oh wow, Alison. A real labour of love and such ingenuity (that parquet!!)And you've been making fantastic crafty stuff alongside this mammoth project as well. If I had a hat I'd take it off to you!

(I so agree about the Something's Gotta Give House too - if only...)

Andrea Small said...

Blimey O'Reilly...! The bungalow is gorgeous (gin sling, anyone?) and I love the Cape Cod house. All we need to do is find one of Alice's cakes and then we can live in the houses (note I have invited myself), And if we travel to Cape Cod first, we can set everything up before cake-eating. Simples!

Am again struck by your creativity, industry and patience. The floors are BEAUTIFUL.

I now have no more hats to raise.

Andrea xx

Amanda said...

Loved reading this post, what an achievement. I can totally appreciate the work and level of detail you have delivered as I, for many years restored and made dolls houses. I have since sold all mine apart from one unfinished shop which I for some reason can't part with. I am sure your mums museum will be a great success.
Amanda x

May said...

WOW... Fabulous post, I do pop over to check how your Mum is doing with the dollshouse projects! it's all looking fabulous.. Alison you must have the patience of a Saint... to make these amazing floors...What a labour of love, Thank you for sharing & safe trip home... Hugs May x x x

Helen said...

Holy moly, Alison, what a transformation - and such painstaking work - that floor is fabulous!! Your Mum must be so proud of your work. Stunning, stunning dollshouses!

jasann said...

You and your mother are wonderful crafters, Such beautiful doll houses, I always wanted one but was not fortunate to receive one, and I only had sons and grandson so there was no opportunity to get one, you and our mother have done an amazing job, congratulations and thanks for sharing

toni said...

A brilliant post Alison really interesting. You and Cestina have accomplished an amazing feat restoring and rebuilding these beautiful houses, any of which i'd love to take up residence in! Your crafting skills have certainly been put to excellent use. I hope Tim stops by to see how you have used the distress products to create just the perfect look! Very ,very well done and you still managed to find time to produce some fabulous craft projects of your own and for you DT's have a safe journey back to the UK
Toni xx

Monique said...

I'm at a loss for words, this is absolutely stunning. Great work, beautiful doll houses. I specially love your floors and, well, everything really... =)

Lisa Minckler said...

Oh my goodness, that was such a fun read! I had coffee at the ready, but I didn't even touch it I was so enthralled with the houses. I absolutely love that you and your mother do this together, what an adventure you two have taken on. The furniture, the miniature picture of you, the wallpaper, the INCREDIBLE floors (I would have lost my mind!), the bedding from handkerchiefs, the meat and ice...ALL so amazing!! I'm now following your mom's blog, so I can't wait to read more.
My grandfather built a dollhouse with my mother before he passed away and I think of all the handy work he ever did..I treasure that the most. :) There's just something so special about them.
Lisa x

Evil Edna said...

thank you for showingsomething new and very interesting, I hope the muesum is enjoyed by all.EE

cathylynn said...

I'm speechless and in awe! What a fabulous post and I loved each and every doll house. Beautiful just beautiful and a lovely hobby to share.
Hugs, Cathy

Anonymous said...

Oh wow Alison ! I am totally speechless ! What a fabulous project you've been working on and to do it with your Mum too is just awesome ! Hope you have a good trip back to the UK. Sue C x

annes paperfun said...

oh..my, Alison
this is just gorgeous ♥
You and your Mum's work is just amazing...gosj!!

Erin Smetak said...

Alison,all I can say (because I'm speechless!) is that you are amazing!!! Love, love the handmade parque (sp?) floor! I love all of the little things that you did to each house! Just amazing, and I'm sure tedious, work!!! Talk about a labor of love!

Candy C said...

Alison....when you mentioned in an email to me a while back about you helping your mom with her dollshouses, I had NO IDEA this what what you were talking about. These houses are simply incredible! Unbelievable! The hours and hours and hours of work that has gone into each one of these. Oh my goodness...my head spins just to think of that. Each house so lovely, so special and so beautifully done and redone. The Peacocke's market has left me speechless. So much detail...even down to the ice chips from a cracked windshield! Now, THAT is attention to detail! This all just blows me away! Absolutely gorgeous work and it makes me feel so good that you and working with your mom on this. What a cool thing! Thanks for sharing this piece of your world with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show. <3 Candy

froebelsternchen said...

just fab.. I am so glad that I have the possibility to visit ...
fantastic work you both have done!

Kelly said...

Your fingers must hurt as mine do just imagining all that you and your mom did with these houses. Phenominal work together, amazing that you did all these and your regular crafting!
I love the houses and how fun to create the scenes and go down memory lane when you were younger. This is a dream worth sharing and I am happy you did.
Have a great day!

Lucy P said...

Thank you so much for this mammoth post with such wonderful pictures. I so wish this museum was in the UK!

Ana K. said...

Wow Alison, I know that your creativity is with no end, but this....I am speechless!! You and your mom did rally fantastic work!

Sarah said...

I'll have to say that I was sorry to see this post come to an end. I want to see more!
Alison, you are a top notch architect, craftsman, and interior decorator all rolled into one. And add to that - daughter...your mom must be extremely proud of you and your accomplishments.

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

Truth be told, mothers are probably our original inspirations for pretty much every thing we do...good or bad...lol!!! WOW Alison WOW!!! Amazing photos...they look so life sized, that I want to come hire you to renovate my kitchen! Amazing work, simple stunning...tedious and time consuming, and so full of love and warmth. I'm totally and utterly AMAZED. I'd love to have a look in here for about 3 hours, and then have some tiny people to play with, and make up the most crazy lives ever...all good of course! WOW lady! Thank you so much for being inspired this week and sharing it with us at Simon Says Stamp & Show!

Nan G said...

Oh my these are beyond amazing! I'm so in love with them...I want to move in! :) Now to decide which one. :) Your floors look so real! Wonderful wonderful work Alison!

Mandy's Crafts said...

WOW. This is just a fab journey... The work and time that has gone into all these houses. Love them. Only wish I could visit your mom and see them for real. Fabulous.

Redanne said...

Hi Alison, I am really stuck for words! It is not icky at all, it is so lovely that your Mum inspired you so much. Fabulous post today, I enjoyed reading every single word and marveled at the fabulous creations! Love the Cape Cod house which appeals to my North American roots. Also love the fabulous little typewriter. So much detail....incredible work. You are such an inspiring artist, I would love to visit the museum now.

Just back from Port Sunlight where Leandra is demonstrating (and selling). Spent a fortune but also saw your wonderful creations displayed in the Paper Artsy stand, they are even more beautiful in real life. Hugs, Anne x

Netty said...

wow Alison this is all so wonderful and so much to take in. You have done an awesome job. Am sure your mother will have many visitors. Thank you for sharing this wonderful post. Hugs Annette x

sara j said...

Alison you continue to amaze me. I LOVE that I never know what you have been up to when I pop onto your blog, but I know it will be something......way fun.

Alie Hoogenboezem-de Vries said...

A long blogpost with a long history and for sure a long future.
So many creative work on these dollhouses Alison and Cestina!! What a love for all these houses and what's in it.
What a gift to share this together...

kind regards, Alie :-)

Gez Butterworth said...

WOW! What a beautiful house.. you are right Alison.. they are always an on going project.. we just sold ours.. BIG mistake :( Have fun, Gez xx

barbarayaya62 said...

Alison i have no words! that's incredible work!Amazing!!!!!!!! BArbarayaya

barbarayaya62 said...

Alison i have no words! that's incredible work!Amazing!!!!!!!! BArbarayaya

Dagmar said...

wow wow wow - I am speechless - it´s so fantastic!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hettie said...

Oh My Goodness Alison! You and your Mum have done a fantastic job on these houses and the love for these shows! I shall have to come and see these houses in the flesh if just to see if I can spot what you have used!
I have some more papermania kraft paper if you want some??

Elly said...

This is incredible!! Besides all the great pictures, your work and describing.... how many hours or days did you need to write all this down for us? You are utterly impressive! I really enjoyed this marathon post. This is so far away from stamping a card in thousand ways and i love it. This is the most inspired contribution i've been reading for months. Believe it or not, i would enjoy creating little floor tiles with you.(:o)I admire your abundance of patience!

Ephemera said...

Hi Alison, WOW what fantastic dolls houses, the time taken to create such amazingly life like houses must be phenomenal! The parquet flooring is just brilliant. I'm sure the grand opening was wonderful, well done to your Cestina & yourself. xx

craftytrog said...

Such an amazing project! Congratulations to you & your mum Alison, I'm sure the opening went brilliantly! x

Fliss said...

Lucky you to be involved in such an amazing and creative project Alison. The end results will be stunning I can tell and a wonderful place to visit too.
Well done to your amazing mother!
Hugs, Fliss xx

Dianne said...

I hope you had a safe flight home.It was very hard not to cry while reading this, it's really awe-inspiring the relationship you and you family have and all so talented.
The food you made looks fantastic, and yes you probably could make it better today, your talent has grown immensely. I had to chuckle when you said you used windshield glass for the ice, I have a coffee tin full of it, I use it to fill in spaces or trim when I do a glass mosaic piece. The shop is called Peacockes, reminds me of Coronation Street, The peacocks ran the butcher shop there too any relation:):).
It may not be paper but pure art it is and it must be fun..
Imagine having a dream for 40 yrs and living that dream, that is incredible and fantastic.The wood flooring looks real, full stop,the bedroom is gorgeous, looove that tub:). With all that hoarding you're doing it makes me feel okay with mine, thanks for that:). Oh boy those spider, scary for me LOL..
When you have a moment you might want to have a look at jennings644 on youtube, she to makes miniatures and makes almost everything herself, you might get a few idea:) thats if you have time:)..
The Cape cod house is gorgeous already it will be fabulous when its done.The flooring is brilliant, the furniture is to die for, I'm sending you some walnut ink, I hope you can use it in the future, it stains wood wonderfully.Your Aunt ahs done some wonderful work there too,the North London house is wonderful, the transformation is grrrrrreat.
The Edwardian House is stunning, a marble fireplace, the floors, stairs, WOW fantastic. I'm dying to see the Thatched cottage, my dream home..
THANK YOU so much for sharing this amazing adventure, it's been a pleasure and honour to be included in this fantastic journey..

Paper Profusion said...

Apologies for lateness - I've been 'diverted'. What a momentous post Alison - and so beautiful to have been working with your Mum on this fantastic project. I hope that lots of people visit to view. Terrific to see the products we know and love being put to use brilliantly on a different object - the houses look fabulous - "you have the patience of a saint" is an expression used here that is apt! Hope you are safely back home and that the opening was a grand success. Nicola x

Wee Von said...

Amazing!! Amazing story and amazing work. I am off now to part 3.

Asia King (aka Joanna K) said...

I wish I could find words worthy enough to compliment this testament of unconditional love, life's passion and creative genius. The renovations are stunning, every detail is worth having a closer look. And although it is obvious that such amount of work must have taken incredibly long time, I can help but being envious as it was obviously a lot of fun, too. The floors look amazing - I really must try it somehow!!! Beautiful work ladies, really stunning! xxx

Craft Addicts - Tracy Evans said...

What a fabulous read and awe inspiring pieces. Your mum is obviously a wonderful inspiration and you can see this through your art. I love the detail in your houses and the food looks so realistic . The flooring is amazing, you would never know it was made from card and a stamp. So you live in the UK Alison or abroad? I really do not know,how you keep up with everything. The result are truly amazing and so inspiring. Thank you so much for sharing your passion, both you and your mum are very inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing such a personal journey with us at Simon Says Stamp and Show Challenge. Tracy x

Chrissy said...

WOW!! Fantastic Alison..I wish I was a little person, I could live in these beautiful houses...gorgeous work.


Julia S-W said...

Awe inspiring is the phrase that springs to mind Alison. I have loved reading this post from the food you made, the image of you and your Mother scrabbling around for windscreen glass to the most amazing parquet flooring I have ever seen! Such attention to detail sings to my heart because it's something I love so much and still strive for (don't always achieve it and never to this standard but I won't give up!) I'm a great fan of anything small and dolls houses are very high on that list - wish I could see these in real life! Bravo to you and your Mother!

Kezzy said...

WOW WOW WOW I have been over to your mums blog before and what she does is amazing and what you have both achieved is priceless. It's great that people will be able to see and appreciate these beautiful pieces of art. I am totally speechless on what else to say, unique, elegant, priceless, amazing, out of this world stunning well these are just a few of the things I'm thinking and the floors and everything priceless. Happy Crafting :-) Hugs Kezzy xxx

Bonnie Irvine said...

Thanks so much for allowing us a peek into what you have been creating with your mom. Your creativity and attention to detail are remarkable and have made each house a treasure indeed. I also think that it is so cool that you have been able to work on this together and support each other's efforts and successes. It's a museum I could get lost in for hours, Alison. Kudos to you both.

Julie S said...

Wow! This look like true labors of love. They are gorgeous.

Donna-Marie said...

WoW!! Talk about creativity...those floors are amazingly beautiful and the food...shazzzamm!! Creative people tend to find many other outlets for their talents (besides paper crafting) some of which are never seen or celebrated...so kudos to you girly !!!! This is a wonderful example of love and passion :-)

Anna-Karin said...

Wow, Alison! This is wonderful!! Thank you so much for sharing!

Tracy said...

Oh my giddy giddy aunt Alison ..I love dolls houses and wow I am sooo excited to see your pictures and what you and your Mum have been up too!!!
You are a total inspiration lady and now I know I am going to go and spend some much needed time on my own dolls house asap.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share it all with us.
Big hugs

Unknown said...

Wow! Totally awesome! These are fabulous! I have no idea how you've managed all of this AND put together so many wonderful pieces of art for the makes you've blogged. You are one talented lady (with a talented Mum). Stunning! Chris xxx

Marjie Kemper said...

Add me to the list of people who are amazed! The hardwood floor completely stunned me. What a thrill it must have been to share this process with your mom.

Annie said...

Wow Alison...............the renovations are fabulous...you are so creative...I would never think to use half those things, particularly wire from a champagne bottle. The wooden floor was definitely worth all the work. I was lucky enough to stay in a houe in Cape Cod and it was so like this house, even had a yellow couch and chairs. It was the most wonderful holiday and I would love to return there.

TFS Alison and hugs to your mum too

Annie xx

Micki said...

OMG..... I'm speechless. The meat and the fish...... amazing. I still can't come up with the words....that is just beautiful and so real and just AWESOME.

Cinderella Moments said...

The white weathered house with the blue shutters is incredible! I love the parquet floor you showed too. I love the technique. Your Mom does excellent work! Thanks for introducing her.

Unknown said...

It sure is a marathon post; I don't think I've ever come across such a long blogpost with so much text and pics, but you know what, I actually read it all because it's so facinating and captivating. That looked like a serious fun project, must have been great to work on it together with your mum. It was brilliant to see how you applied your papercraftingskills and knowledge about different mediums to achieve an authentic look of materials in those adorable doll houses. Astonishing work, you've blown me away! Should I go to the Czech Republic and be somewhere close, I'll do my very best to visit the dollhouse museum. Sandy xx

Crafteezee said...

Oh my god Alison what a fabulous post and a great read. I really enjoyed it. It is so wonderful that you enjoy this passion with your Mum and oh wow I think I would too, not that I need any more projects lol, but I really think I would love bringing those houses to life. Your right to be proud of your floors, they look magnificant and you should be very very proud.

Good luck with the opening to the public, wish I could go.
Hugs Tracy x

scrappymo! said...

What a fabulous post. I have read some of your \mum's blog and was so impressed with her drea. So nice to see that you both inspire each other and both work so well together. What a wonderful job you are both doing.
The floors you did are so magnificent! All those parquet tiles...oh my!!!

Well done! You must be exhausted!

hope the opening goes well...I am going to pop over to her blog tonight.

Cocofolies said...

Speechless Alison... I miss words, your work and the one of your mother are totally AMAZING, far far far beyond words... WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW WOW!!!!!! It's a titanic work!!! And certainly a true wonder to discover...yum.. Would love to seeing the whole tiny things closer! HUGS. Coco xxx

Unknown said...

Last spring was a bit of a blur for me so I'm guessing that is how I missed this incredible post Alison. Oh my, thank goodness you shared the link because I am enthralled with this project and the attention to detail is out of this world. To think you get to restore these with your mom, well that's the best. Enjoy your time in the C. R. and please keep us posted with your remodels and workshops. LOVE this idea!!! I'm going to start searching the attic and crawl spaces and get my kids toys out....my brain is in overload lol.
Hugs hugs,

sally said...

Just been checking out this post about the dolls houses! Absolutely amazing :-) I was involved through our branch of the Embroiderers guild in the Scottish Tower House that was later auctioned, I managed to get a friend of my in-laws to make us a library staircase. It amazes me to see all these little finishing touches of yours made from Fimo.