Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The park drag

As I am still waiting for the results of another biopsy, I have had the time to build another carriage, a bit bigger and with a different colour. Here it is!

First, let me tell you what park drags were.
Park drags were coaches in which to see and be seen. Wealthy owners took them to horse races, country picnics, elite summer resorts, or simply on tours.

As I mentioned it in my last post, I asked my friend Julie Campbell from England to create people to sit on the coach and I received them yesterday. They are just amazing.

First, the coachman:

He is a strong man, with big side whiskers and a ruddy face, able to control 4 frisky horses and a heavy vehicle in all weathers, rain or snow on hills and slopes. And the roads were probably not as smooth as ours, with a lot of potholes... Julie managed to give that impression so realistically! His face shows he has no problem to control his four grey horses.

The first two passengers:

The old lady probably had too much brandy in her tea and she's taking a nap, her hands tucked into a fur muff for the cold. She looks very quiet, though I think real passengers were very scared to ride a coach, considering the height and the lack of protection in case of a problem. Have sweet dreams, lady!

Her companion, maybe her son, looks slightly amused, watching her asleep. Both wear warm winter clothes and he wears gloves.

Julie has really given that scene a lot of atmosphere because each character has its own personality and there are amazing details, such as tiny, tiny buttons or the old woman's bonnet ! I really love them and they add so much to the scene.
I will add some props, like baskets and bags behind the passengers.

Now here is a view of the coach with the first 3 characters

and a close-up of the coach...

Next, Julie will create two or three more people who will sit behind. I must say I can't wait to see what she will imagine.....!

This common project has been a challenge for both of us and we have exchanged a lot of ideas on Line, but I am really happy with the outcome.

As I can't stop working, I am building a hearse with a pair of black horses, inspired from this old photo...

Thanks for your comments on my previous post, I will reply to each of them but be assured it is always to read from you.
All the best,


Sunday, January 19, 2020

Latest news and recent projects

Hello from France

You may wonder why I have been so quiet lately and why I am writing from France.
No, I didn't give up building miniature projects but sometimes in life, there are priorities...

So, briefly, as I am not keen on talking about health issues, here is what happened: In June 2019, after a scanner in Thailand I was diagnosed with a lymphoma B at stage 1, it means cancer. I decided to go home as the language barrier and the cost in Thailand scared me.
So I flew home, consulted the oncologist and started chemotherapy on cancer located in the bowel and the bladder. After 2 chemo sessions, things got worse and I had to stop the chemo to undergo surgery to remove a part of the bowel and a part of the bladder. The surgery went well but I stayed for 1 month in the hospital.
I am now waiting for the next chemo session on Monday and the last one in February. If things go well, I hope I will be back home in late February or early March.

In August, while I was here, our mother got a brain hemorrhage and passed away a month later, she was 85.

Now, I couldn't stay for days doing nothing, or just reading and watching TV. Building houses wasn't possible and as I have always loved carriages, I looked for photos of carriages on the Internet and started building a coach in 1/12 scale called a park drag.

Here it is:

And then I got 4 grey horses from Breyer and started to make harnesses.

When the red coach was done, I started to build a similar one, a bit bigger with a different color, based on this real coach:

 I've asked Julie Campbell from England who makes amazing dolls to create 5 "little people" who will sit on the seats on the roof, the coachman and 4 passengers.
I met Julie at Kensington Dollhouse Festival in November and she has agreed to work with me.
The idea is to create a scene with a carriage, 4 horses and 5 passengers to look like a scene by Cecil Aldin, one of my favorite British artists for animals

I had already built smaller carraiages, a buggy and a dog cart,

But these two were a new challenge for me.

If you want to add a carriage to your house, I'd be happy to build the model of your choice if you give me a photo or an idea of the carriage you want.

I'll be delighted to read your comments if you feel like leaving one.
Bye for now and wish me luck for the last chemo sessions.... :)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

La Folie du Parc de Bagatelle ( construction of the prototype)

The project I am working now is a little bit out of my “comfort zone” so it takes more time than my previous projects to build and assemble the different parts.

First, I built one of the walls but in the end, I found out that the door was far too big for 1/12 scale so I started again.

The second difficulty comes from the curved walls on each side. The material I used was too thick and didn’t bend easily so I had to start again in a thinner version. Now I am working on the cornices. Straight cornices are not too difficult to do but curved ones are harder to do.

The next step will be the roof.

My friend Alison will soon start designing the sculpted elements and make molds to duplicate them.

Here are a few pictures of the first prototype: 

Saturday, December 30, 2017

A new project for 2018

First, let me wish you all the best for 2018. 
2017 is over now with its load of good and bad moments for each of us. 
I make the wish that 2018 will fulfill our dreams and expectations and keep us healthy.
What about this new project? 
My dear friend Alison Davies sent me pictures of French building located in the Parc de Bagatelle, very near the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and she suggested we could join our skills to make it and maybe sell it. She'll do all the sculptures and I'll  do the main building. She'll make molds of the sculptured elements to reproduce them 4 or 8 times. I'm sure she'll do a wonderful job.

The story of the building: It's a small pavillion, not exactly square but almost located near the gate of the park.

It has 4 doors, 4 "oeil de boeuf" windows on the sides and 4 on the roof. The particularity is that the walls are curved at the corners (see the picture) which makes it a real challenge for me, but I have some ideas....

I went there in November as I was spending a few days in Paris. I took many pictures of the outside but I couldn't get inside. 

Through the window I could see there is a partition in the middle with a fireplace and a staircase leading to the first floor behind the wall. I won't build that partition but keep the room entire so that we can display Alison's wonderful furniture. The Folie is actually another building much bigger that I hadn't had the opportunity to visit but I will.

This building is called Le Pavillon Louis XV, it was probably used for visitors to wait for the rain to stop or maybe have a picnic but I'm not sure about that at all.

                      Details of the sculptured elements above the door

                         Vertical elements on each side of the doors

Alison has already done the "oeil de boeuf" that will be on the roof. Have a look!

Aren't they perfect?

As for me, my brother has helped me to draw the main lines of the structure using Autocaad program.

This is what it will look like.

The roof now:

That's all for now. Have a great New Year's Eve. It will be very quiet for me, at home.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Latest additions to the Hotel Mame

Here are the latest additions to the Hotel Mame.
I started building it about 6 months ago and it's the first time I spend so much time on a project.

For the Salon, I chose to do Parquet Versailles. It is quite long to do as each square (5cm X 5cm) is composed of about 40 small pieces... I used walnut wood.

For the other rooms I did Point de Hongrie, which is easier to assemble...

The yellow room

It is not completely done but the picture will give you an idea. I managed to make curtains that looked natural ( I hope...) Sometimes I see great rooms but the curtains are too thick or too big and they spoil the effect. I must say little fabric is used to make real-looking curtains.

The billiard

I didn't know what to do with this room which only had bookcases and looked a bit empty, so I added a pool table and now I think it looks better.

I don't know how many books I made but it took me days, LOL! I am not ready to make a whole library!

The room of the five senses
Its name comes from the 5 panels I found on Internet. They are 
decorative panels called the "Les five senses" painted by Jean-Baptiste Oudry (1686-1755) 
Eighteenth century pastoral scene  representing trees and landscape as well as in the foreground characters, painted for the cabinet of the Queen Marie Leczinska in Versailles
I chose to paint the panels turtle dove grey. Now I need to do the parquet. I haven't decided yet if I'll make curtains or not. The other question is about the furniture, I borrowed the one you see from another house...

That will probably be another bedroom with grey furniture and parquet Versailles.
La salle a manger

I changed the table cloth, a long one looked better, I think.

As you will see on the picture below, each room is an individual box. A box within a box. I can move it in and out. It makes wiring very easy and I could imagine changing one room for another one, or add elements or paint it a different color.

 I connected the chandeliers and lamp to a box controlled by a remote.

 I hope you have enjoyed reading about the Hotel Mame. It's a big house. I tried to recreate the atmosphere of a French house built in the XVIIIth century.
I didn't fill the room with furniture. Maybe because I see too many rooms filled with furniture and an accumulation of objects isn't always successful. Or maybe it's just my style.....

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Interior of l'Hotel Mame

Hello and sorry for not having posted anything for a long time. My job at the university kept me quite busy and I didn't have much to show you. Nothing was really worth showing but still "under construction".

Do you remember my last project? An elegant XVIIIth French "hotel particulier" ( private home, I guess).

I first looked for ideas to decorate the inside as I haven't had a chance to visit the interior of the real house in Tours, my hometown.
Then I started with the hallway. Stonewalls, called "tuffeau" in French, a white chalky stone and tiles from Henry Bart. It looks like and feels like real tiles. Beautiful and you can add bee wax when the grouting has been done. Love it!
I often find there is too much furniture in some rooms I see on the Internet. I like large empty spaces. So only two French chairs, a mirror and a console created by Alison Davies. So pretty! I covered the chairs with taffetas from Les Chinoiseries
I added windows and door at the back of each room and it brings a lot of light in and it's easier to take interesting photos.

On the left is the dining room. Here again I used Henry Bart's tiles and I did the wall panels with tiny (1 1/2mm) half round mouldings. Creating the curtains was another challenge as I am not good at it but I think in the end, they look good. I built a box to hide the top of the curtains. I had Bespaq chairs but I had to change the fabric to match the grey walls. Not too much furniture. Homemade table. The plates are from Kyd ceramics in Bangkok. Not too much on the walls, just two large frames and garden urns at the back I found on Ebay. They lool made for that room.

The glasses come from Winesiam in Bangkok too. Winesiam's owner, P'Nok, will present her family's creations at the SIMP in Paris on June 26. She'll have glasses and other amazing items for sale.

On the right handside is the salon. I made about 500 litle books to fill in the shelves. Furniture by Alison Davies and fabric from Les Chinoiseries. As the room is quite big, there was an empty space at the back so I had the idea to built a music instrument called une "epinette" in French. It's a cousin of the 'clavecin" but smaller. I printed the painting and pasted it on the cover. The harpsicord itself is made from Forex which I always use for houses and decorations. The cornice was made by Sue Cooks. The window at the back gives a lot of light too. I haven't made the floor yet but I'm planning to create "du Parquet Versailles"

The first picture before I added the harpsicord

and a day later... :) This is just a prototype. I will build another one this week but I needed to see how it was made first.

A view from another angle...

Now the ground floor is almost done, I have to start working on the first floor, two berdooms and a library. More books to make, LOL
That's all for now. I hope you have enjoyed looking at my last project. 
All the best,

Thursday, October 27, 2016

The exterior of the Hotel Mame

The building of the Hotel Mame is now finished and I can show you the last pictures I took.

The chimneys:

The building has 4 chimneys in total but I only did two as my building only represents half of the contruction. The metal parts are supposed to maintain the structure. I got them from Arjen in Holland. He also cut the beautiful grids that ornate the windows.

The decorations above the windows were made using a mold I got from MasterMolds on Etsy. I think they are used to decorate cakes. I transformed the original shape a liitle bit to fit on the windows.

On each side of the door, there are two lanterns. They are made of cardboard and I added some gold elements to match the style of the XVIIIth century.

I used acrylics and water colours to weather the facade

Finally I mixed sand and wood glue and covered the floor around the house. (when it's dry, sweep the excess sand). I think it matches the building quite well. 

Now it's time for a cup of tea and scones.....

The house at nightfall...

The same on a sunny day....

Another angle....

I have now to think about the interior...

Thanks for all your comments. I try to reply to everyone but sorry if I am a little bit late....

Talk to you soon :)