Friday, December 27, 2013

Almost finished....

The pharmacy's drawers have all got their handles, 110.... Luckily, they won't open! I have also added a few bags on the floor. But this pharmacy is definitely too tidy, LOL, compared with the real ones.

The cabinets'shelves are almost full. A few more bags to make.
Upstairs, everything's fine and quiet...
You can go and take a nap while I go shopping to fill the cupboard's shelves. It looks a bit empty!

Monday, December 16, 2013

The room above

       First and above all, I want to thank all of you who read my last post and left a message, Catherine, Giac, Catherine/ Mooghiscath, Anna, Dada, Maureen, Patricia, Marisa, Genevieve, Drora, Lila, Pilar, Neen and all the other friends who left messages on my Facebook

I enjoy sharing with you my project but it's great to hear from you too.

So, the cabinet of the pharmacy are slowly but steadily getting filled with jars of medicines and of bags of herbs.... Can you belive there are more than 100 little glass bottles.

The pharmacy will be over as soon as I receive the drawers pulls from....South Korea!

The foundation powder does really well for dust. Try it the next time you want to create an attic or a dusty atmosphere.

         The room above is the pharmacist's room. Only one room to sleep and to cook. 
In Thailand, most houses didn't have a kitchen. In the countryside, people still cook in the room where they sleep. And often the bed is just a mat on the floor with a pillow and a bed sheet if it's cold....I mean less than 29 degree Celsius!

I made a bed as I wanted to add a mosquito net ( made from a double layer of gauge for dressing. It's a simple bed with 4 posts. A thin mattress (always) I need to do some cushions.

Not much furniture, a bench for the cooking utensils, a clay pot on a wood ?? stove? (every house has one),  a kind of wok to cook Tum yam, the traditional spicy soup, a chopping board to cut all the herbs and vegetables.
 There are also pots and ladles and two ripe mangoes (they're delicious with sticky rice and coconut milk!)

Some fishing traps hang on the wall. Even in Bangkok, people like fishing in the Klongs and in the Chao Praya river. They like to cook catfish. They grill them, i.e. the grill on the left.

I long thought about a way to make a tiny garland of flowers to add to the altar with the Buddha. I made one is with ...wool.

On the other side is the a cupboard to keep food away from mice and ants. We'd call it un "garde manger" in French. The middle section is covered with chicken mesh so that air can circulate.

The 4 feet are standing in pots with ...water to prevent ants from climbing up. This is something I have often seen in houses here and it seems to work. It's a bit to large. I'll try and make a smaller one, thinner.

At the back a high bench to keep their clothes. Unlike most of us, Thai people do not have much furniture, even today. Only what they need. No table and chairs, they dine on the floor. No couch or armchairs and coffee table, and, and, and....Life is simple.
The walls are yellow with a lot of smoke stains because of the cooking.

I can feel this project is almost finished and I really enjoyed doing it. I am already thinking about the next one.....

Thanks again for your kind comments. It is really important to hear from people who share the same hobby/passion, whether the comments are good or bad, they help to go forward.

if I don't post anything before Christmas, I wish you all and all the people who share your life a

Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Patrick in Thailand

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Chinese pharmacy

That was a big challenge as the project had only started with pictures of old buildings I had photographed in old Chinatown in Bangkok. 

Today the interior of the shop is almost finished. This is what it looked like, an empty box.

 To get the "aged" feeling, I sprayed different shades of grey on the walls and the floor to get the aspect I wanted.

When the paint was dry, I used black shoe polish with a shoe brush. After a while, it started to look like old cement

I sprayed black paint on the different pieces of furniture, but now the cabinets looked like furniture from Ikea, LOL

As my intention was to create an old pharmacy, I looked for a way to age the different parts. 

For facades, I use different layers of acrylic with a sponge but I felt it wouldn't work here. 

And I had this idea, I wanted  dusty cabinets, so I used brown foundation powder with a soft brush and it worked. 

Now the cabinets look old and dusty. It's just perfect, it looks like dust but it's not!

It took me a while to fill all the miniature glass jars with different powders I found in the kitchen. Now salt, sugar, flour, pepper, herbs have become Chinese medicines. I also noticed Chinese pharmacy were filled with packets wrapped in brown paper. They must contain herbs and strange powders. I have to make another thirty brown packets to fill the shelves.

As you can see, I didn't have enough drawers pulls ( I needed 100!) but luckily Rosa  from Taiwan contacted the factory which makes them and I should receive the missing ones this week!

I didn't forget a representation of Buddha on its altar. Everyday, the owner will offer fruits and incense to their God.

Another characteristic of shops in Asia are the pictures of the King, Rama 4 here and of the ancestors of the owner that are always displayed in the shops

Unlike our pharmacies, Chinese pharmacy are quite dusty and messy with bags and trays with plants for sale everywhere. I'll'll have to add more. But the smell is already there with the odour of cloves (though it reminds me of the dentist's clinic)and herbs.

The counter is covered with things you really see in pharmacies. each prescription is prepared on white paper. The paper is then folded and given to the patient. I need to find a proper scale and an abacus of course. Any ideas?

By the way, the mortar is far too big and it is not the right shape or texture,. They are carved in grey granite. This one is to make sumtam or papaya salad (one of my favourite Thai dishes)
 I need to make a smaller one with clay when I have time and this mortar will go in the kitchen corner in the room above.

The wall outside is showing now Thai old posters but I haven't worked too much on that side of the building yet.

Now this is what the building looks like.
 Felix, the new cat (the 4th stray I adopt) is very proud of it and always try to get inside!

When night falls, the Chinese lanterns give another dimension to the building

Next, the room above...
Thank you for reading my post and wish you all the best.

Patrick in Lopburi, Thailand

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Swags and tails

Hello everyone,
This is the story of a little piece of fabric woven by a Thai woman in a small village called Ban Me, near Lopburi.
Her loom is under the house, facing the rice fields which villagers are harvesting now.

It's quiet, no radio, no automobiles, only the noise of the chicken around. 
There is also the regular noise of the shuttle that "flies" from her hands from right to left and back, and the shafts she moves with her naked feet at regular intervals. Can you hear the noise?...

All this requires a lot of precision and coordination. But this woman has probably woven all her life. The design is simple, it's not silk either. The panels she weaves will become those skirts countryside women still wear around their waist. No seams. 
The whole loom is made of wood, no metal parts or nails, but pieces of ratan to tie everything together. looms had to be easy to dismount and move to another place. 
Time goes by.... We don't speak. I can't speak Thai and she doesn't speak English. 
I just sit on the tiles of the floor and observe.....
She smiles when I take pictures of her and looks at her loom again.

I leave her home with some pieces of fabric she has woven previously. It is simple but the colours are nice. And I have some ideas...
I wanted to make some curtains and one small piece of fabric is green and it matches the wallpaper of the dining room.
I had bought Anne Ruff' s kit to make swags and tails. It's time to have a try. As she says in her leaflet, you'd better not be a beginner.... but I am.
After cutting the different parts of the cornice and pleating the curtains,
(and burning my fingers with the iron) this is what they look like... It's not perfect but don't be too hard.
It was my 1st attempt. I know, they look a bit stiff...LOL

The next thing I did was to give the aspect of marble to a fireplace I got from Minimum World.
The design is amazing for a very reasonable price. It really looks like the ones I saw in Paris'appartments.
Some firepaces in miniature shops are nice but really too expensive as they are just resin molds...
So after one layer of Gesso, I played with my acrylics... I wanted a light marble, beige and pin with little veins.
Now, the room is 80% completed and I can have an idea of what it'll look like.

Does anyone now if it is possible to reupholster chairs like the ones I have got?
That's all for now. 
Have a great day!

Monday, November 4, 2013

I am sorry I haven't posted anything for a while but I have been quite busy lately. However, I managed to work a little bit on my different miniature projects.
The funeral shop, " les pompes funebres",  is almost finished. The roof has been painted and aged and I made a small "oeil de boeuf" to break the monotony of the roof. The chimney is finished but not painted yet.

       This time, I followed another blogger/miniaturist's advice, that is, I pasted the wall paper on a piece of cardboard the size of the wall then, slid the panel inside the box. It makes wall papering easier to do. I did the same with the ceiling.  As I don't like the "box" feeling, I made a door from scratch (it doesn't open) and added a partition in the room. It gives more depth to the scene. There's a light behind, a small sconce on the wall behind the door.
I made a few flower wreaths for the shop and added them on the partition. On the picture you can see how the different panels slide into the box.
I made a few more wreaths and their stands for the shop.That was fun to do.

Now it starts to look like a funeral shop. I will added a few other religious items when I find them.I have already discovered some crosses from rosaries on ebay and I am waiting for them.
I also need some tools to put in the box as the coffin isn't finished yet.Maybe a hammer, some wood scissors.....

and now the same picture in black and white
I found this interesting commercial and it's now in the shop window.
On the first floor is a dining room, nothing grand but just elegant (I hope) I used the same technique and added two windows at the back.
The three panels can slide in and out. The same thing for the floor.

Now the floor! Once again I used the ice cream sticks to make the flooring but I tried the "Point de Hongrie" design. That was tough as the sticks were different width! Don't try it! LOL

but the tool, that I discovered in Murielisa's blog (Merci Murielle )) is just fantastic. A "must have"  for all of you. I got mine on ebay. It's sold in the US. (I need blades, who could send me some? I can pay with Paypal)
Then, this is the 1st impession I got when I put all the pieces together and added the table, a few chairs.
The fireplace is still missing. And a pair of curtains. Some hunting prints in frames on the wall.And, and,and....
Now the house is almost done and it looks like this..
The frames around the door is still missing and the ceiling is not attached to the cornice yet. These are the last things I'll do.

I have discovered a small shop in Bangkok, where the sell the finest glasses and glass items in 1/12 I have ever seen. About 10 people work in that factory. They are really amazing.

I was really happy to share these few pictures with you and to tell you about the last impovements in my projects in 1/12. I also love reading your blogs. All the best to all of you! Cheers

Sunday, September 22, 2013

House of spirits

In Thailand, you can see miniature houses standing next to most homes. These miniature houses in 1/12 are called spirit houses. Spirit houses are the dwelling places for invisible helpful spirits. Thai people offer food and drinks to their spirits as they protect your home. I want to share the following pictures with you as this spirit house is very detailed and in good condition. Some are real works of art. Nowadays most are made in cement but the wooden ones are are really beautiful and unique.

 I have two at home and though I am not a buddhist, I like the idea that friendly spirits protect my house. In a next post, I will show you "cemetaries" of spirit houses. When you drive, it's not unusual to see dozens of old and dilapidated spirit houses tossed together on the roadsides. That's the way they finish their lives.