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Goodbye 2015!

With New Years Eve so close I can smell the champagne it's time to shut up shop for a few days of R&R (and quite possibly a hangover.)

My attention to all things doll's house was a bit sporadic at the start of this year and it's been so much fun to refocus again!

A HUGE thank you to all of you that have read, shopped and got in touch, I look forward to catching up in 2016!

The shop will re-open on January 4th and any pending orders will be processed from then.
(Ahem.. the sale is still on should anybody fancy a mini bargain over the bank holiday!) 

Here's a quick look back at FLW's top 9 moments according to the Instagram top 9 generator thingy, (apparently there's been a lot of love for the under-stairs toilet and mini food mixers this year!) 



Happy New Year to you all!

xxx

Lucky Dip Bags

I can't believe it's  all over for another year!

We're exhausted from all the eating and relaxing here so thought we'd better get back to work (with the help of a new coffee machine courtesy of Father Christmas!) and rustle up some end of year bargains for you all!








This year as well as the end of line and seasonal discounts I've also made up some Lucky Dip Bags of one off, hand made items, un-used blog projects, items from my own collection, craft supply samples and other little oddities.


We've tried to group items into bags that would make sense for mini projects so hopefully there's something for everyone!

Enjoy!

xxx


Mini Make: Felted Wreath



December 24th is arguably a little late to be throwing together a wreath but this felted beaut needn't be just for Christmas!

If you have some down time over the holidays I thoroughly recommend needle felting.
It's very therapeutic, perhaps it's all the stabbing action required?!

This is a make for the full-sized house rather than the mini one but hopefully there's enough pint-sized charm here for you all!

What I used:

White felting wool
Needle Felting Pen Tool
Scissors

To decorate:
Plywood House decoration (from Paperchase)
Mini Bottle brush trees
Assorted beads
Needle and thread
Ric-rac / ribbon to hang




What I did:
  • The felting is pretty time consuming but worth it!
Start by wrapping a length of felting wool around the wreath and begin to stab!
Ensure the the wool is covering evenly to avoid lumps and bumps.


  • Carefully, using the felting tool, cover the entire wreath. 
Take extra care if using a pen style tool, (or any style tool!) as the needles can snap off in the polystyrene!
(see my felting casualty below!)



  • When you're happy with the felt coverage check for evenness and smooth over any obvious needle marks. 




  • Next I hand stitched some crystal style beads at inner top of the wreath. 
(I actually ran out of time and had wanted to bead the entire inner circle of the wreath but less is more I suppose!)

In a past life these beads were my little Nan's costume necklaces, she'd kept all the broken ones in a box and now I use them when I think little makes could use an extra special dash of sparkle.






  • To secure the house decoration I used a little scrap of felting wool and to felt the decoration's string loop into place on the back o the wreath. 

I tried to get it central but you may prefer the asymmetrical look!


  • For the hanging loop I felted a loop of ric-rac onto the back of the wreath. 



  • For the final flourish around the front I added some mini bottle-brush trees. 
Again these have been felted into place which was a little fiddly but worth it to not have glue dribbles on the wreath!

When you're happy there is enough sparkle, find a suitable home to display your soft and sparkly wreath.

Merry Christmas!




Christmas Tree 101



Time to put up the tree!

I have to admit my festive love has been directed at the pink, bottle brush variety this year so here's a shot at something a little more traditional with the larger, fluffier looking tree.

What I used:





What I did:

So the beauty of this is that it's exactly like decorating a full sized tree, except better because it's done in 10 minutes and no risk of injury from scaling step ladders to reach those pesky, bare branches at the very top.

My only golden rule is add garlands, tinsel or lights first, decorations and baubles second.

For baubles you can use beads, I used two packs of the frosted baubles. The beauty being 
A) they're super pretty 
B) they actually hang on the tree branches thanks to tiny, wire loops.

Primp and plump until you're happy with your teeny spruce!

Merry Christmas!

Xx


Ok, one last glimpse of the pink, beauts. 





The Exmouth Kitchen

We're a week into December already?!

Things have been super busy here as we were preparing for the So This Is Christmas event, hosted by The Fairy Tale Fair on Sunday 6th which definitely got us feeling festive!

The run up to the fair had meant the majority of my time was devoted to building and decorating our new show house. 

I got the Exmouth, plain and unpainted,  at the end of last year and only just got around to decorating what with job/ life changes this year!


There's still some work to be done but I couldn't resist styling up the kitchen. I've not enjoyed a mini project this much for AGES so  really looking forward to spending some more time on it.
(Potentially selling the finished house if customer can collect,  meanwhile kits are available online for UK customers!) 

All items* available at fourlittlewalls.com.


*The kitchen cabinets were a hack using a pre-bought set, I'll do a little how to at some point but it's incredibly simple and as DIY projects go, pretty low on mess which is always a plus!







Mini-Make: Dip Dyed Christmas Trees


I have been dyeing (pun intended, sorry!) to get my hands on these little bottle brush trees since the delivery arrived a few weeks ago

I love how simple they are in plain white, but I the thing is I also love these gorgeous, juicy pink shades and I try to avoid picking favourites so clearly we needed to have both!

These are literally the easiest project ever.
The important part is making sure you've safely covered yourself, your furniture and any unpredictable house pets to prevent staining from the dye.
Gloves, pinny's and some newspaper sheets are strongly recommended!

What I used:




What I did:
The only tricky part is deciding what colours and effects you want to go for.
Whilst your having a think, measure a pint of hot tap water into your glass jug.

Add 1 tbsp of your chosen coloured dye and stir.


For the most part I wanted the little trees all one colour and so , very un-ceremoniously, just dunked them into dye mixture. 
I left mine in for less than 5 minutes each. 
For pale colours you could try leaving them in slightly longer to see if the shade becomes a little more intense but I quite like how subtle it turned out here in Powder Pink.
The Flamingo Pink was very bright, very quickly. 
I literally just held the tree in the the dye for a minute or less and the colour had taken right away. 
I LOVE IT!
For an Ombre effect I dipped the top half of the tree in the lighter colour first before submerging the bottom third of the tree in the darker, brighter dye. 

Tip: If you're worried about the base changing colour cover in some cling film. 

Leave to dry and wipe any excess dye from the tree base.

Display and admire in your dolls house, on the mantle piece, in a snow globe, or where ever else you fancy!







Small Talk: AlsoKnownAsCreative

I've been wanting to run some maker interviews and profiles on the blog for forever so I'm really excited to finally share the first 'Small Talk' Post with you.

I get a bit over excited when I find new mini makers online, as was the case recently when my beady eyes were drawn to the super-stylish, mini-prints of AlsoKnownAsCreative. /(AlsoKnownAsDesign )

Annalise Reid, the creative force behind the profile,  resides in NSW, Australia with her family, creating wonderful, printed pieces to adorn your home, both full sized and small scale. (I'm sure some of you will already know the simple pleasure of twinning your dolls house to your real one? It really is the little things that please!)





Annalise very kindly obliged when I got in touch to quiz her on all things cute and mini.


What generally inspires your work when creating pieces for your store?
"My inspiration for my work all started when I fell pregnant with our daughter, I wanted to design prints for her nursery that were personal to us. I then did prints for my family and friends and realised I could/should share these prints with anyone else who wanted to add some fun and personality to their child's room. I look to see what's 'in' but also try to keep my work as unique as possible. "



What prompted you to shrink your prints down into mini size?
"I had kept my old doll house and all my figurines and furniture to hopefully give it to my children one day. That day is still a few years off (as my daughter is only about to turn two), but lately I have started thinking about giving it a renovation and have been looking for inspiration. In my search I noticed that little to no one was doing artworks and in particular prints. I thought 'wouldn't it be fun for a child to have the same print in their dolls house as they have in their own bedroom or playroom."




What are you excited to be working on at the moment? (Doll's house or otherwise! )
"I am excited to give my dollhouse a makeover but I also want my daughter to be apart of it, especially when she will be the one spending hours imagining a little world of her own. So that will be a slow ongoing project. I am always excited about designing new prints and never have enough time in the day to bring them all to life. But there are new ones in the making so stay tuned! "




Need one of Annalise's prints in your life? (Obviously!) 

Hop on over to her Etsy store here and follow along on Instagram for a dose printed sweetness! 

All images copyright to AlsoKnownAsCreative. Please do not use without permission. 

Mini Make - Simple Lampshade

I whipped these up a while when I was messing about with cheap lighting ideas.


It's essentially just a paper circle with a bent paper clip fixed on the inside (so you can hang it or put on a lamp base.) 

They're super quick and cost nothing to make, you can just use whatever paper or thin card stock you already have laying around!










What I used:

Paper or thin card
Paper clips
Washi tape (optional)
Glue stick
Tacky wax
Scalpel
Ruler


What I did:


  • If you're using washi tape firstly lay it flat across your paper, taking care to keep it in a straight line.
I also used lace tape. (My new favourite thing in the world! Sticky backed lace, you will struggle not to plaster EVERYTHING with it, so pretty!)I wanted a wider shade for the lace so a lay two strips parallel to each other. 



  • Using a ruler and a steady hand, slice the paper strips to your desired width and approx 15 cm (though this it totally up to you depending on the size shade you want!). I'd suggest larger shades for ceilings and standard floor lamps and smaller sizes for table lights.


  • For the black and white shade, I cut a strip from a paper Topshop bag I'd beenhoarding saving as I loved the big, geometric print.



  • When you're happy with your strips bend them round into a circle and fix in place with some glue, like a Christmas paper chain but no slack, you don't want a saggy lampshade!
  • Leave the glue to dry. 

  • You'll want them to go across the middle of the shade like a real one. Fix in place with tacky wax, take care that the wire is a good fit, too long and you'll bend the shade out of shape.
If your shade is likely to a be a permanent fixture try a little super glue to keep the wire in place.
Now you just need to decide which shade's going where!
Mine don't have permanent homes just yet but I've found a blob of tacky wax and a plain ceiling rose do the job for ceiling shades whilst spare stair banisters and dowel make great lamp bases, plus they can be painted any way you want.



(You could just use scissors for this part, but as a left handed person who cuts right handed with right handed scissors it's generally tidier for me to use a scalpel!)


Whilst that's happening you can start bending some paper clips to slot inside the shades.






NOTE: I've not used these with electric lights, they may well be flammable, who knows. If anybody happens to burn down their house, miniature or other wise, as a result of pairing these shades with working lights I accept no responsibility! :p

Sweet things

Happy Humpday!

I've spent today playing with a pot of sugar strands and mega cute baking miniatures.

It's a tough job sometimes.




New Arrivals & a Sad Farewell

Hello,

I've got lots of delicious looking new minis to show you but before that we've got some happy and some sad updates to share.

Those of you that follow along on Instagram may already be aware that last week Pepé the piggy died suddenly.
The fur ball has broken my heart! 
It was very unexpected and poor baby Bertie has been left with out a room mate after they'd bonded so nicely. :( 

You'll be missed little one!


In happier news, Mum & Dad (once again my current room mates!) have taken the plunge and adopted a new dog after losing our little mascot Honey at the beginning of the year.

Presenting Bracken the border collie!


He's a gorgeous 1 yr old rescue dog and already life here will never be the same!
He's got so much more energy than poor old Honey ever did so he'll be off to puppy school next week to channel his enthusiasm ! 
I'm sure you'll be seeing a lot more of him as he settles in.

On the mini front, I've just added the first of many new treats to the shop. 
Some made by me, most carefully picked from lovely suppliers.



There's lots of seasonal items, new essentials and re-stocked favourites to have a browse through.

Xx 



Pale and Interesting : Pumpkin tutorial

Ok, I know Halloween is still basically a month away but I do like to plan ahead when it comes to festivities!

Feeling it was about that time of year again to start cooking up a batch (or should that be patch?!) of Pumpkins I dusted off the Fimo stash and got cracking on these little treats. 

Rather than the traditional and more orthodox orange, I opted for white. 
Initially I'd thought I'd finish them with a little layer of dirt for authenticity but actually I quite like them as they are for now, more Fairytale than Horror Story!

If you favour the Shabby Chic things in life or maybe want a slightly more contemporary look for your pint sized Halloween decorating then these are the Pumpkins for you!



If you fancy having a crack at making your own take a look at a tutorial over here


Alternatively, if you'd rather leave the messy part to others, here's some I made earlier! 








All that glitters

Well, I think we can all agree the whole blogging during the commute thing didn't really work it out!

I managed a week.
Five whole days, before a 5:30am start and 8:PM  (and that's if the trains were working properly!) return through the front door took its toll on my sanity. 

There is not enough coffee in the whole of London for that !

So, the joy of temping work means I am now working closer to home, sleeping more and able to function enough to write a blog post here and there. Hooray!

Even more excitingly, I got to actually make something for the shop this weekend!

Pretty excited about these as I have a magpie-like love for all things shiny, I'm trying out some mini foil prints.



I've started the range off with a Stag head, which is fairly festive (though I'm a firm believer that Stags are for life , not just for Christmas ).

More designs to come this week, open to suggestions and any special requests!

Let me know what you think! xxx



What's new Pussycat

Actually this post has nothing to do with pussycats. Sorry.

There is a lot of newness to tell you about though, so let's get cracking.

To start, as of last week, I am no longer a Londondweller. (Sad face.)
That's right, the doll's houses, the sassy guineapig and I have packed our bags once more and returned back to where it all began, Mum and Dad's attic. *Reaches for the wine*

 
              
 


This is all part of a larger plan to save pennies, do more of what I love and less of what I don't.
My parents being excellent house mates and pub buddies is a bonus, as is the fact my home town looks a little bit Harry Pottery, so, silver lining! 


Secondly, I have a new day job, currently this is still in London so I'm back to life as a commuter. 
I'm making all kinds of bold statements about how I'll use my train time productively to read , or write *blog posts rather than slumping over an M&S gin-in-a-tin, counting the stops until bed time. 
We'll take it a day at a time I think!


Thirdly, (this really should have been the first thing but I didn't want to be written off as a mad guinea pig woman in the first paragraph), Pepé the pig has been joined by a little friend. 
The incredibly small Bertie baby has been with us a whole week now. They'll be moving in together in the not to distant future to begin their father/ son/ lover/ brother relationship. Time will tell.

                    
      
Back on topic for a minute: Dolls houses.
The website is, as ever, having some on-going tweaking and fine tuning, the home page is looking a little brighter, the shop is a work in progress. 
Do go have a nosey, any and all feedback appreciated!

                 



I think that's covered the important bits for now, what's new with you?!

*I can confirm this blog post has indeed been written aboard the 18:55 from St. Pancras, habit forming behaviour and all that.
Snapped this Doll's house looking window display in Fortnum & Mason at the station as a warm up! #geek

                         



Xxx


Out & About : Small Stories

There's a blog-post backlog in this little head of mine but I thought I'd start with a slightly retrospective look at the V&A Museum of Childhood's Small Stories exhibition.

I should lead by saying Small Stories is running until the 6th September so if you've not managed to go yet there's still lots of time over the Summer holidays for a day trip or two. (I visited about 6 weeks ago, and felt like a kid in a sweet shop the entire time!)



There are over 100 doll's houses housed in the museum's permanent collection with Small Stories putting the spotlight on some of the best loved pieces , from the Golden Oldies (the earliest houses date back to 1673) through to their 21st Century counter parts.

Image property of the The V&A


For me the cherry on top of it all is the Dream House, actually not a house but a collection of room boxes created by individual Creatives and Designers. Some are playful or traditional rooms, some are more abstract. It's like having peek inside some body's imagination, and you'll want a return trip!

Advance warning, once you've soaked up all the exhibition has to offer the gift shop is currently very well stocked with Doll's house related goodness, it can get real expensive real quick but roll with it!



Molly's Favourite Things
by Molly Meg

Bermondsey Studio
by East London Furniture, Reuben Le Prevost and Jessica Sutton

More Is More
by Jessica Hayman, Rosa and Clara Designs

Home Is Bear the Heart Is
by Mister Peebles

Tutorial: Paper pom-pom




Who doesn't love a paper pom pom?!
The sun's out so i though I'd dust off some old, summery tutorials for a bit of inspo. 
I first cracked out this tutorial as part of the 52 week challenge in 2012.
The pom-poms were one part of the Jubilee Garden Party project but my pom love endures, so let's take another look!
Part of what I enjoy about this one is that the process of making them in miniature is exactly the same as the real thing. 

The key for the mini versions is to find the thinnest paper possible. I used tissue paper, but if there's anything even thinner, maybe origami papers (or even cigarette papers?!) try them! Your pom-poms will turn out much 'fluffier' looking. 

What I used:
Tissue paper in co-ordinating colours
Cotton or thin ribbon

What I did:
  • Cut 4-6 squares of tissue to equal size and layer them on top of each other.
  • Begin folding the the layers into a concertina, the same as if you were making a paper fan.
  • When you've folded the entire square, tie the cotton/ ribbon and secure firmly around the middle of the paper but not so tight that it cuts through the paper!

Fan out the folded sheets and now carefully begin separating the layers of tissue from each other.
When you've finished separating all the layers they should have created a lovely, full globe of tissue-papery goodness!
Repeat until you've all the pom-pom you desire.

Ta da! 


If it's not broken...

Oh hello!
It's been a while hasn't it. 

Since moving to London all things Doll's house and mini related have been very stop start, and more recently, mostly just dead. Ground to a complete and utter, stone cold, standstill.

This was, initially, due to bonkers day job schedules/ my insatiable need for sleep/ living without Internet at home for the first 12 months of being in the city.

However, the situation was compounded towards the end of 2014 by my incredibly smart decision to migrate Four Little Walls.com to a snazzy new hosting service, without fully understanding what that means (ironic given I'm currently working for a digital marketing agency!)

Too busy being dazzled by flashy template designs and clever Apps I failed to do my research on things like, domains, SEO, error codes...effectively, I killed my website overnight.
Eradicated the majority of links built over the previous 2 years, wiping myself off of the search engines and in a further stroke of genius had also tried to relocate the blog over to the new site. SIGH.

Well, ladies and gentleman, I won't bore you with the In's and outs of it all but suffice to say this has been a very expensive, and arduous lesson in;

 "If it's not broken, leave it the f@ck alone."

Eventually acknowledging I was beaten, I went crawling back to my previous hosting service (who incidentally have revamped and I'm now at a loss as to why I ever moved in the first place?!) and am relieved to be resurrecting good old blogspot.





So, onwards and upwards.

Fast forward to present day, it's May bank holiday, I'm enjoying a G&T, my house mate is currently cooking my dinner (excellent service here I tell you.) and I'm looking forward to kicking Four Little Walls back into shape.

So besides self sabotage what else is new ?

Quick round up:

  • Four Little Walls is now fully re-located to London. Wooo! (but let's not talk about the rent, I'm already on the Gin as it is.)
  • A bit of a sad one.
    Our beloved HQ hound, Honey, sadly went to doggy heaven at the beginning of the year.
That silly little white dog was my tiny companion/ colleague/ foot warmer for the 2 years I was living back at Mum & Dad's having a crack at being self-employed.
She'd come on the post office trips when my first little dribble of orders started to trickle through and bask in the ensuing adoration she would get from other queueing customers. Tart. 


It's still strange arriving back in Kent not to be greeted by a hysterical and farting pooch but at least other FLW companion , Norman the tortoise, is now living a life free from fear of persecution and savagery. 

  • Just before Easter, driven in part by the lack of dog to cuddle and also largely delirious from a nasty bout of flu, I dragged my clammy self to Pets at Home looking for a critter to love.
    It was there I met Pepe, a bossy, squeaky little lump that looks decidedly Skunk-like, and so began my transition into mad, guinea pig woman.
    No doubt you'll be seeing a lot more of him around here!

So what have you been up to?!

Until next time, I'm celebrating  Bank holiday/ blog resurrection with a little flash sale over at fourlittlewalls.com


25% off all orders over £5 until Midnight on Monday 25th May (GMT)
Simply enter: pepe15

At the checkout for 25% off your order.

xxxx