Friday, 25 December 2015

May I take this opportunity to wish each and every one of you a wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Monday, 17 August 2015

Fox Manor

The Attic - The School Room Update

Hello everyone,

I hope you've all been enjoying the Summer.  We have had the usual rain and drizzle... what's new lol

Anyway, thank you all for your lovely comments on my School Room they are always greatly appreciated!

I had a dilemma in my last post with the problem of writing on my blackboard and the children's slates.  I have to say thank you to all of your suggestions, but I thought long and hard and eventually came up with a wonderful solution...what do you think?

 The little writing slate to the left has the initials of my daughters, Siobhan and Caroline.

Can you see the chalk between the pointer and duster?

Would you believe I used an old fashioned nail pencil!!  It is white, hard and looks like chalk on my boards - happy days :)  I have a piece of it on the blackboard as you can see in the picture above.

I remember my mother, the smoker, using a pencil like this to whiten under her nails.  She was a very stylish lady in her day.  Sadly she is no longer with us; but she would have laughed, I think, to see how I have put a nail pencil to use.  Mind you, knowing me, she probably wouldn't have been a bit surprised :)

Oh, I have a gorgeous apple sitting on the Governess' desk - as suggested by Irene....

Now, all I have to do is pin someone down to take a picture of me with my Manor!! 

All the best for now, and take care.


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Fox Manor

The Attic - The School Room

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all well.  It came to my attention when I put up my last post that my replies to your comments were not being received.  I get notified through my google email when someone posts a comment on my blog.  I have always replied to people that way.  It seems now, that my replies to you were not being received.  I have been so upset, to think that you think I am rude not replying to you!
Please, please know that each and every comment that anyone made on my blog was always replied to.  I so appreciate each and every one who takes the time to comment on my wee blog so I will be replying to you all through the blog from now on.


This is the last room in Fox Manor to be decorated....all together  now, aww....:(

The School Room had, I think, been the hardest room for me to 'see' for quite some time.  But once I decided what I wanted to do, things started to come together really well!

I had initially envisaged a cold, harsh, and quite a dark room, but I wasn't really happy with that scenario.  I'm not naturally a dark person!

My other attic rooms are quite cheery and bright for the wee ones of the Manor, and I couldn't quite get my head around the fact that the children would be stepping out of their lovely Playroom and Night Nursery to end up in a cold and stark School Room.

To that end, I have produced this........


Well, I have decided that my School Room had originally been used as a bedroom for a couple of maids and had also been a storage area during it's lifetime too!  Hence, the different wallpapers used to decorate the room over the years are still in place. LOL.  Any leftover wallpaper used to decorate the Manor was not wasted, but used in here!  The Manor has been completely revamped since, but not this little room.  It still 'tells' the story of the Manor in times gone by!  So when the children arrived, the maids were shipped out into the converted outhouses on the Estate and the attic floor was then used for the benefit of the children!  How's that for a background story!! :)

The children's governess is a forward thinking young lady, who loves teaching and believes in bringing out the best in her young pupils; she actually loves the room but thinks a brighter and more vibrant décor would be a more appropriate surrounding for education.  The Lady of the house, can't quite understand the governess' need to brighten up the room, and, as yet, hasn't actually decided whether to spend the money on re-doing that attic room or not!

My own maternal grandmother in RL was a governess to Prince Borghese's children in Italy, or possibly France, I believe, away back at the turn of the last century, and I have always thought of her as being a young adventurous woman out in the world teaching and loving it - but it's also so sad that I know very little else about her during that time!

A view of the blackboard, pointer and duster.

The wallpaper on the left wall with the door is a gorgeous paper by Susan Bembridge Designs called Paxton House - Morning Room.  It has a dark beige background with garlands in a faded black/grey.  I have made a wooden plank wainscot here by staining the planks, skirting and dado with walnut dye and then painting over the top with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Cream.  I rubbed some of the paint off and age-waxed the lot to give it a multi-tonal, slightly dirty effect - the first time I aged anything in my Manor I have to add!

The right-hand sloping wall is decorated with Les Chinoiseries paper in Manila Rose.  It has warm apricot/pink tones with little birds....lovely.

A view of two of the walls!

The chimney breast mirrors the one in The Playroom, in that it goes out through the roof.  It is also made in the same way.  I made the hearth from black mountboard and scored it to resemble slabs of slate.  I've done this before and it's very effective, I think.  I love this little fireplace even though it's quite plain.

The back wall....the other sloping wall, has a row of storage units in the attic eaves - harking back to earlier times in Fox Manor.  My governess loves them as she can store so many more books there and still have the room looking reasonably tidy!  The units have been painted with Farrow & Ball 'Green Smoke' and lined with 'old newspapers'.  The wall above has been decorated with Les Chinoiseries paper called 'Bourges', a lovely floral stripe in beige and apricot tones.

The cupboards are lined in you do!

A view of the cupboard doors in the making and the wainscoting.

The gap to the right holds some wiring.  The rest are in the cupboards.

I initially had this idea of a row of cupboards along the back wall as you see them, then I changed my mind to make a false wall at the back with larger cupboard doors - but the little row of cupboards eventually won!  With this in mind, I should have just made a little set of units and slid them in...... but, me being me, I had started the basic framework for the false wall, had it very well glued in, couldn't remove it, so I had to work around it!  Ah well! 

I should have spent even more time staring at the empty room instead of running ram-stam into starting it!  Lesson learned!!

To the right-hand side of the unit I have papered thick, stiff cardboard on both sides to fill the empty space.  In here I have more wiring running through, but I have put a tiny little brass knob at the top of this so I can lift the piece out if need be!

I love these little units.  They're not perfect, but I think they suit the space so well!

I took a big chance in using three different wallpapers in here; I really wanted to try it, but I am delighted with the effect.  It's just how I envisioned the space.  Sometimes I find it hard enough choosing one paper for a room, never mind three!  Well, I spent ages swapping papers about, choosing, then changing my mind again.  But I love the three I finally went for. :)

When I showed my husband, 'the joiner', my finished room, he looked, and said nothing, and I just knew he was looking at the crooked doors and the finish of the little units; so he had to be gently reminded that this room was an attic and the furniture here would not have been so finely and precisely finished off - the way it should be done.....apparently!! :)

The flooring is the same as the rest of the rooms in the attic.  Just plain plank flooring with a walnut stain and wax.

This gives the whole attic space a unity.

Again, I have opted not to put up a ceiling rose.  I personally feel that such an extravagance would not have been permitted in the attic!

I would love this desk area myself!

There is a hanging oil lamp in this room.....modernisation hasn't got this far up the Manor yet!  But I'm not surprised, sure they haven't even redecorated in here for years :)   I also have a lamp on the governess' desk along with some other little items I have picked up along the way :)  I don't know if you can make them out - photography is not my strong point - but on the desk there is a tiny little ink pen with a brass nib, a brass inkwell along with a carafe and glass for water, a little brass school bell with a clapper and a fabulous ink blotter.  I made the vase of flowers there as well.  There is a gorgeous little brass lamp on the unit at the back.  The wood and brass clock works!

The stack of leather books, the dictionary, the diary and tied bundle of notes on the desk are all handmade by Nicole from PetiteUniques.  Nicole has a wonderful shop on Etsy.  Here's the link it's really worth a visit!

Both lamps in the room can be unplugged as I have all the wiring hidden in the unit.

The McQueenie Double Desk Kit.

The desk is unfinished here while the seat has had a coat of wax.

I have made the children's double desk from a McQueenie Miniatures kit and I found it to be so straightforward to do.  I just gave it a light coat of wax when assembled.  It's lovely, and it comes complete with little inkwells. 

The children's slates were gifts from Art of Mini...they have some amazing items.

The wall blackboard in its raw state - made by my own fair hands!

The blackboard, pointer and duster with a walnut finish.
In situ....

I made the blackboard behind the governess' desk.  It truly is a blackboard.  I painted a piece of wood with blackboard paint and it turned out really well.  I 'framed' the blackboard with timber, and altered a piece of ceiling coving for the curved base so I can place the chalk, duster and pointer there.  I stained the lot with a walnut varnish.  I am delighted with the way they all turned out :)

The pointer was made from a cocktail stick with one end cut off and sanded; and the duster was a piece of wood with a piece of thick grey cardboard attached.  It looks just like the ones I remember at school!

I still have to experiment a little with an effective method for chalk writing on my blackboard and the little slates for the children.  I want to put a little more life into the room and I think that may do the trick!  So any suggestions for what to use to get fine white writing would be greatly appreciated!!

Lights on!

Lights off!
On taking a picture of the three attic rooms together, it seems that the Schoolroom, is, in fact, dark.  Even with the lights on lol.  But I assure you that it's not as bad as it looks in the photos :)

This floor has been completed fairly quickly once I got started.  I have enjoyed it, all the tramping up and down the little steps I have, was all right once I got going.  Still, I was very much aware that one wrong move from me would be a disaster!  I have no balance nor a head for heights!  Such a brilliant combination lol!  No.  I don't go skiing!!!!

So there we have it folks!  My Manor is, basically finished! :)  :(  Yes, I don't know how I feel.

Anyway, I still have loads to do to 'fill' it up.

I also have to start to knuckle down and think about how I want the outside to look.

Next time, I will put up a post showing the whole Manor.  It will be the first reveal for me too.  As you have probably noticed; as I finish a floor I cover it up to protect it from the workings of the next.  As a result, I haven't actually seen it with all the rooms visible at once with all the lighting on!

Now that I'm writing this, I'm getting quite excited about seeing it myself!  LOL

Until the next time, all the best and take care of yourselves.


PS  I have just reached 80 followers!!  Yippee.....  If I ever make it to 100, I will do something very special!

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Fox Manor

The Attic - The Night Nursery

Hello everyone,

I hope you are all well!

Thank you for your kind comments on The Playroom, and, again, welcome to my new followers!

The Night Nursery was well under way by the time I put up my post about The Playroom:) so that's why this post is so close to the previous one!  Mind you there wasn't as much work to do here as there usually is :)

I toyed with the idea of putting a false bottom to the sloping walls to create more 'flat wall' space, but I decided to leave the room as is.  If I change my mind, I can still go down that route!  I have similar plans for The Schoolroom, so it leaves each of the three rooms in the attic slightly different. 

The Night Nursery is chock full of gorgeous Bespaq furniture!  I may or may not keep all the furniture I have here in the room; I do have my eye on a beautiful child's brass bed, but we'll see :)

I wanted this room to be a peaceful haven for the wee ones of Fox Manor to lie down and sleep after a busy day of playing.  The older children have their more grown up bedrooms further to the back of the Manor! :)

The walls are papered in Duck Story by Les Chinoiseries.  Being a stripe paper on a mixture of straight and sloping walls, was always going to give a very 'interesting' finish, and I was just dying to see what the result would look like....... and I have to say, I am very happy with it!  I kept the border on the paper as I certainly wasn't going to try to put up coving with all those sloping angles...oh yes, I know my limits!

I made a small chimney breast for the fireplace.

The small chimney breast extends out through the roof :)

I have a lovely white fireplace in here from Hearth and Home.  It's placed on the outside (left) sloping wall, but I boxed it in to mimic the chimney breast which would be going out through the roof and papered the sides in the same wallpaper as the rest of the room.

With no furniture!  The lights are off.

The flooring is done with plain wooden planks as I don't think the same care and attention to the detail in the floor would have been given in the attic as in the rest of the Manor.  Nonetheless, it is still central to the décor and, like The Playroom, is stained walnut and waxed.  The dark colour really compliments the pale wallpaper and delicate furniture and gives the whole room a 'warm, rich' feel.

I have two sloping walls in here, as explained in the previous post about The Playroom, but the room is still big enough to house my nursery furniture. Phew!

The Lighting Bug ceiling light!

The beautiful brass lamp has a pink tinted shade.  Gorgeous!

The central ceiling light is by Lighting Bug Ltd and I had been itching to use it somewhere in Fox here it is!  Again, as with The Playroom, I have decided not to have a ceiling rose.   I also have a lovely oil lamp with a pink tinted shade placed on the drawers at the back of the room, which I think is just fabulous.  The pictures do not do the lights justice when switched on, they are much softer in RL.

There's pink bunny again, I think she's trying out all the rooms in the attic! Ha ha!

I only have skirting board on the 'straight' wall, with the doorway in it.  Once I decided not to do the rest of the walls with skirting, I was a much happier bunny.  It would have been a nightmare to do, and, in all honesty, I think would have looked daft.  The furniture takes up so much room I don't think the skirting is really missed anyway.  My excuse LOL.

Aside from making the housing for the chimney breast there really wasn't much else to do here, although getting holes drilled for the lighting was very tedious...... again, just awkward really :) but I'm happy with the overall result!

Nanny's tray will be filled with her tasty snack for supper :)

I have a little sink unit.  Cleanliness is next to Godliness.....that's what Nanny says!

Lights on....
Lights off!

I hope you have enjoyed my Night Nursery.  The décor may be simple, as I feel the furniture is the highlight of this room.  There are still beds to dress, cupboard/drawers to fill.......

My next, and final, room is The Schoolroom :(  While I'm looking forward to decorating the room, it will be tinged with sadness too.....

I still have the outside of the Manor to decorate, but I'm afraid that it's just not going to be the same as designing the interior.....but who knows!!  I could be pleasantly surprised :)

All the best for now and take care,


Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Fox Manor

The Attic - The Playroom

Hello everyone!

It really has been quite a while since I blogged about Fox Manor!  I know I have been busy with RL and with my little Etsy shop, but, at long last I have a little something to show you :)

I also want to welcome my new followers and say a big thank you to my 'regulars' who always take the time to read my wee blog and leave their comments!  You are always so encouraging..... and it's always appreciated. :)

As you know, I have now reached the attic of Fox Manor.  I really was dreading this, because the attic floor level is nearly 6' high - I am only 5'1" or so! LOL.  I have braved the dizzying heights of my step stool - which my husband finds hilarious :) to work on this, the last floor in my manor :(

With nothing in the room!

The attic floor plan is like this:   The centre room, which was originally destined to be the stairwell, has been given the 'Vivian treatment' and been converted into The Playroom where the children play during the day, when they're not outside or at their lessons :)  This room also has a doorway in the 'new' back wall that leads to the hall and the stairs to the rest of my Manor!  You know the old story!! :)  This room also has two doors which lead to the adjacent rooms in this floor.  The room to the left of The Playroom - as you look face on - is going to be The Night Nursery where the wee ones sleep and the room to the right is going to be The School Room where their lessons are taught!  The only access to these rooms will be through The Playroom....  This room is truly 'central' to the attic floor - I hope this all makes sense!

All in all, this centre room is going to be very busy, with three doorways and (eventually) lots of children's toys too!  This is the only room in my Manor that looks quite bare at the moment!

Now, another issue I have with these attic rooms, is the shape of them.  Not only does the back wall slope, the side ones do too.  Because I am putting a false wall to the back of the centre room, to create the back hallway, The Playroom, will look 'squared' - albeit with three doorways!

But the side rooms each have a sloping back wall and one sloping side wall.....arranging the furniture layouts is going to be 'fun' to say the least.  Well, I am always game for a challenge and I have a couple of ideas up my sleeve!

The Playroom!  I papered the back sloping wall with my favourite hall paper which has been carried for continuity right up through my Manor. 

The wall assembled and ready to go!

I made the false wall with a working door - which leads to the back hall, to the rest of the Manor.  I have a little light in the hall for realism, just to show that there is life back there!!:) and you can just glimpse the newel posts of the 'stairs'.  Oh yes!  Everything has to make sense to me....:)

A glimpse of the back hall.

I have papered The Playroom with Streets Ahead wallpaper in Beatrix Potter Garden Harvest.  I love the Beatrix Potter characters and even though this is a fairly small room, I think it carries the pattern well - it has a lovely pale green background.  I have also papered the panels on the back door with this wallpaper also.  I wanted to do something with that door, and this is what happened LOL!  Having three white doors in a small room was a little much, even for me.  So, I think this has helped!

The flooring throughout the attic will be just plain wooden planks.  I decided that plain was best here. I stained the flooring in the Playroom dark walnut and waxed to finish.  I think the dark floor really compliments the paper.

I have the picture centred looks a bit off in this photo!

I wanted fireplaces in all of the attic rooms and have positioned a lovely corner fireplace in this room.  After the stress and 'craic' I had installing the corner fireplace in the Housekeeper's Room in the basement, I swore never again..... but there you go - I have another one!  (It's a bit like having a baby...LOL).

I have made an angled chimney breast for my corner fireplace which, I think, makes it more realistic.  I then finished it with a working wall lamp - the wiring of which had me at my wits' end...never mind, another lesson learned.  Make sure the hole for the wiring is big enough to push through the connection joint before work commences :)  I made the lovely little picture which depicts a couple of Beatrix Potter characters - Jemima Puddleduck with Mr. know I had to have a Fox somewhere in the room LOL :) 

The ceiling light does not exactly match the wall light, but I deliberately did that.  I also made a point of having no ceiling rose.  Again, this is the attic of the house, and my family knew that there would be 'no-one of importance' up there!!  Remember, children were seen, not heard!  And, before the children arrived this area was probably used for servants quarters or storage. 

I don't have a lot to actually put into this room yet, but as with every other room in my Manor, I will get there eventually!!

A view of the high chair!

So there we are, The Playroom is complete!  I have really enjoyed this little room and I am itching to move onto The Night Nursery.

Take care everyone and enjoy the rest of your week!

All the best


Tuesday, 31 March 2015

BIG BIG Birthday this month.........

and my trip to Miniatura at the NEC in Birmingham

Hello Everyone,

Firstly, thank you to all for your good wishes on my new little venture!  Also, I want to welcome all new followers to my blog, welcome along! 

Now, as you've guessed, I've a BIG birthday this month, (shhh! I'll be 50) and I am giving a massive 20% discount on all my items in my Etsy shop for the month of April only.  The promotional code is BIG50.  The link to my wee shop is on the right hand side of my blog... spread the word! :)

I also went to the Miniatura Show at the NEC in Birmingham last weekend.  It is only the second miniature fair I've ever been to and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I stocked up on lots of fabric and trimmings, and some little kits - and spoiled myself with a tea set for my Dining Room from Stokesayware....It matches the Dining Set I bought last year.  In the second picture you can see a little spills vase for the fireplace, that's for the Dining Room too!

I also bought some fabulous glassware from Phil Greynor at GlassCraft, I just love his items.  The two little china ornaments in the front of the second picture are Ottervale China by Anne Dalton... can you see the little fox, he's so cute!  I know, I can't resist a fox..... sure I married one!! LOL

A couple of pictures of the china in the cabinet, that's from the Lady's Sitting Room.... I intended to get around to taking a picture of it in situ, but I'm a ding dong and forgot!

I got wallpaper from Susan Bembridge and a beautiful picture frame from John J Hodgson too.  It's a warm cream colour with gold.  You can also see a fancy 'border'? set.  That's destined for a roombox I'm going to make for me!  At the top of this picture are a couple of lovely mirrors from Tarbena, they're destined for that same roombox.......unless I change my mind, of course! :)

The gorgeous lamp with a marvellous red shade was made by Ray Storey, I just love his lamps and lighting too, they are little miniature works of art.  Mind you all the items I bought are made by true craftsmen.....and craftswomen!

I know I spoiled myself, but birthdays like this one, only come along once in a lifetime..... at least that's the excuse I'm sticking with! LOL

So that's it for another wee while.  I must get started on my attic, but, well, don't laugh; I have to get in the big steps for that job!

All the best and take care,