Friday, November 29, 2013

Fairy Door Dilemma & Caught Up in Davree's Cottage

Our little fairy has been named, she is Francis.  Now she has a dilemma, lavender fairy door or blue fairy door?

Eeny, meeny, miny, moe,
Catch a tiger by the toe.
If he hollers, let him go,
Eeny, meeny, miny, moe.
My mother told me to pick the very best one!

Which one do you think Francis picked?

With pie baking, Thanksgiving and unexpected guests we have fallen behind even more. Jan is caught up in Davree's cottage project.

Early this morning we started working together, Jan did the touch up of the interior paint. Here he is coming out the back. There are two side panels that slip in on either side of the fireplace.

The front eyebrow window and front roof scalloped shingles were next. That went slowly! Then we had afternoon company and got back out to work when they left. We ran out of roof adhesive so Jan made a trip to Home Depot for more. It was dark by then and we had to finish in the garage. Success, we have a completed roof.

Here are the little prints I did of some of Jan's artwork, they are now ready to go into Davree's Cottage. The Fresno Water Tower and The Tuck Box in Carmel are available as 8x10 prints in our Etsy Shop, click on "Shop Paris Cabinet" in the navigation bar to enter shop.

Coming Soon! We have a delay.

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene 
Bring your children and their teddy bears or favorite animals and take photos with them visiting Davree's Cottage.

Location in Fresno and evening hours to be posted by Saturday evening, November 30.

Fresno, California
For more information Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

He's Got a New Drill! Scalloped Shingles

What a busy day, had work to do in the morning then we took off to mail orders and run errands. We had to hurry to get back and work on the shingles while the sun was warm, got to 73 degrees today. We used a roof adhesive to lay the cut strips of scalloped shingles and got one side of the roof done in about an hour.

We'll do the front side, with the eyebrow window tomorrow before we go to the family Thanksgiving dinner.

 One of the errands was to buy an early Christmas present, and here he is with his new drill! He also got a set of countersink bits.

We sure have a lot to do before Davree's Cottage is finished, only three days and tomorrow is Thanksgiving! Yikes!!!

Coming Soon!

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene 
Bring your children and their teddy bears or favorite animals and take photos with them visiting 
Davree's Cottage.

Location in Fresno and evening hours to be posted by Friday evening, November 29.

November 30 till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California

For more information Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Davree has a house!

Davree has a house! Still needs the scalloped roof shingles and lots of detailing but things have come together! Here is Jan with the house, looks like a scowl but he's really sweet, that hubby of mine. Want to have a peek in the house?

Here is a peek through one end, from the top eyebrow shaped window. You can see the beams and on the left the top of the red door. The roof was not in the correct position, will be adjusted tomorrow and we will probably have some crown molding.

Now looking down you see the incredible fireplace and hearth that Jan made and painted. This is exciting! I can hardly wait to put in the rug, mantel items, pictures, lights, Christmas tree, and tea time scene. Davree, the Build A Bear monkey, will be in her pretty new dress serving her great uncle Douggles tea and cookies. You can see them in earlier blog entries.

This photo was taken from the front eyebrow window in the roof, just the right height for adults to look in.

And this view is from the front window. There will be a fire in the fireplace, a very safe fire. The windows will have diamond panes, they will look like a very quaint cottage.

Coming Soon!

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene 
Bring your children and their teddy bears or favorite animals and take photos with them visiting 
Davree's Cottage.

Location in Fresno and evening hours to be posted by Friday evening, November 29.

November 30 till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California

For more information Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fairy Doors and Davree's Cottage Progress

Progress was made on Davree's Cottage today but I totally forgot to take photos during the daylight so I will wait till tomorrow to explain.

This evening I posted three collectible hand painted fairy doors to our Paris Cabinet Etsy shop. They are so quaint and look so nice next to old books and a tea cup.

Our Etsy shop can be seen by clicking on the navigation bar above, Shop Paris Cabinet.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Hubby Needs a Drill

Davree's Cottage is taking much longer than expected! What a great hubby to build this for me. This evening I'm hearing all the struggles about having only one old drill.

He has to keep changing bits, first to drill a hole for a screw, then a smaller hole farther in with a smaller bit for the entry threads, then change to countersink bit, then change to the Phillip's head screw bit and back again a couple of screws at a time to line up. The worst part is the Mikita drill is very old with the old style chuck key. Can we say "guilt?" I think he deserves a drill for Christmas, he's almost done with the building part of this project so it's too late now. This evening he tells me his drilling struggles! We've been to Home Depot a few times and no mention then, what a trouper!

Jan started early this morning after breakfast and then I went out to start the scalloped shingles for the roof about 11. We worked till about 4 p.m. in the warm sun and totally forgot to have lunch.

Here is my method for making the scalloped shingles. The red chalk pen worked great marking the back of the asphalt sheeting. I used a pair of Fiskar upholstery scissors and used a 3 1/4 inch template to make the scallops. You can see the pink chalk marks on the back and scraps.

 Here are 7 rows lined up on the table and now I have a good blister but my biggest complaint was.......

  My newly manicured hands were dirty......

and my nails a mess with black marks but surprisingly it all washed off and no chipped nails, happy me.

 Here is Davree's Cottage, still not looking like it's much farther along but it really is. All the window frames are done, just tacked in place till the exterior and window trims are painted. The plexiglass windows will have diamond window panes, so quaint, can hardly wait.

We end with an interior item I made this week, Davree's little friend, a fairy who will be flying near the rafters. She needs a name, any suggestions?

Coming Soon

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene

Location and evening hours to be posted soon.

Thanksgiving weekend till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California
For more information Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eyebrow Window and Duck Brand Duct Tape

This is the charming Casanova restaurant in Carmel, California. Billed as the most romantic restaurant in Carmel we have loved it since discovering it years ago. We have returned many times to have their wonderful food. The decor has been copied by many a decorator. This is the type of eyebrow window I've wanted on Davree's cottage.

 Here is a painting Jan did as a gift for my sister and her husband. He changed the brown beams to green, it has all the charm of the original.

Lorn at Fresno Roofing was very helpful with advice for scalloped shingles. He gave us a few strips to experiment. Lorn suggested scoring the back with a box cutter style knife. Jan tried his Stanley knife but that wasn't working too well. I pulled out an inexpensive upholstery pair of Fiskar scissors and they worked just fine! 

While Jan was working on walls I cut a few scallops to see how they will look. I like them, but not sure what color we will use.

Look, we have a house! It is finally coming together. Will we make it for Thanksgiving weekend? Not sure. With juggling my real estate work, orders from our Etsy shops and routine life there is not a lot of time but the detailing part will be fun. I wanted the door in the teardrop shape like the fairy doors Jan has painted for our Etsy shop, link is at top, Shop Paris Cabinet. The door will have diamond window panes, the same as the big window.


Then there was the problem of making an eyebrow window. On YouTube I found a video on measuring and creating drawings for a full size home, it was way too detailed. I want the eyebrow window like the one on the restaurant.

Enter, Duck brand duct tape. Our eyebrow window has to be towards the front for an adult to view the interior and we were in a rush to put this together. The roof sheathing is 1/8 inch thick mahogany plywood, has to be thin to be flexible for the curve in the roof line. Even with that thin of plywood it would not bend that much for the eyebrow window. Remembering how an old style roll top desk is slats glued on canvas I thought why not make it that way but with duct tape. So Jan cut the piece into strips and Duck brand tape came to the rescue. It is not in place permanently yet but you see the effect.

Jan painted the hearth, here it is, still in progress.

Coming Soon

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene

Location and evening hours to be posted soon.

Thanksgiving weekend till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California
For more information
Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Monday, November 18, 2013

Davree's Cottage and Grumpy Hubby

This morning I have wife's remorse. What a big job I asked my hubby to do and it has been very difficult for him. He's always made simple projects but then I ask for something so complicated. It's also been hard for him because he's building my vision not his. He's such a good sport, I am truly blessed to have such a supportive husband.

Yesterday I was able to work with him and painted the floor and a couple of walls. I helped hold the flexible roof sheathing in place for him to nail down. It now looks like a cottage!

I asked for a photo to post with the roof sheathing in place. When I looked at the photo on the computer screen I saw a grumpy looking guy with his eyes pinched together.

Retake photo, now he doesn't look tortured! The cottage still needs outside walls, windows, door, back walls, eyebrow window, roof shingles and trims.


Jan has been an architectural illustrator since 1986 and is amazing at making a 2 dimensional painting look 3-dimensional so he thinks more 2-dimensional. I, on the other hand, have always worked in 3 dimensions and I think that way.

Working together Sunday and today has been easier. Here is the start of the eyebrow window that will be in the roof. Here is the front frame taped in place to calculate the supporting bracing.

Here you can see the rug and fireplace in place just to see how they look. Cute! The fireplace still needs a hearth and the back chimney.

Late at night I work on little projects that will go inside, like Davree's fairy friend that has her own door to enter at any time. The little fairy is coming along, she's got glitz. Stay tuned for progress and more photos.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mice Books and Altoids Tin

What is it about the charm of mice? So many people have created miniature mice for the ages. In the 1960s I created a mouse house to enter in a city newspaper Christmas contest and won 3rd prize, not bad for a young woman with little crafting resources. In those days you created from scratch. Today so much of crafting is what I call assembly. Just walk through Michaels or Joann Crafts and you see what I mean.

Here are some of my books featuring mice, Jan Brett's 1994 Town Mouse Country Mouse is especially beautifully illustrated. The House That Mouse Built has the felted mice by Maggie Rudy, copyright 2011.

Angelina's Christmas is now a Christmas classic, I've had mine since 1985 and The Night Before Christmas since 1982. The mice live in a tree stump house.

 In 2003 we bought the adorable Rip Squeak puzzle with him dancing on the piano keys and assembled it with grandson Davis, Reese was just a newborn. When the 3 volume book collection was issued I had to have it for myself and enjoy the Leonard Filgate illustrations.

Back to the present time and Davree's Cottage. She will have her in-house mouse. Last night, after a day of real estate and various work, when the house was quite, I sat in my sewing room to make a sleeping mouse.

In my 1980s Christmas scene the mouse slept in a sardine tin, the type with the metal key that rolled back to make a perfect headboard. I don't know if they are made that way any more but I've seen Altoid tins used for mice. My drawer of empty bags and boxes has a couple of tins. It makes a perfect little bed.

Coming Soon

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene

Location and evening hours to be posted soon.

Thanksgiving weekend till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California

For more information
Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Jan Kohler Art Prints and Davree's Reindeer

Davree has had a lap pal for years and Reese has been trying to steal away the reindeer. Thankfully I've caught him every time. Here is Davree, very happy to have her little pal.

Today I printed little prints of my husband's artwork. Larger prints are available in our Paris Cabinet Etsy shop, see link above. The little prints need frames before going into Davree's cottage and the Christmas scene.

Above, left is The Tuck Box in Carmel, California. At right is the Koppelpoort, a medieval gate built in the 1400s. The water gate was a 15 minute walk from our home when we lived in the Netherlands. The boat entry could be closed to marauders by lowering the heavy wooden gate in the center of the building. In the building on either side of the gate is a large wooden wheel, like a giant hamster wheel. It took six men in each wheel to operate. A print is available of the midnight photo taken on our last trip to Amersfoort.

At left is the side view of the 1200s Kamperbinnenpoort water gate in the city of Amersfoort where we lived. At right is the Fresno landmark of the old water tower with a huge wreath on top. Hubby did a fabulous job painting this charming fantasy Fresno snow scene adding a man and two children and their snow sleds and a red pick up truck hauling a Christmas.

Coming Soon

Visit Davree's Cottage Christmas Scene

Location and evening hours to be posted soon.

Thanksgiving weekend till December 31, 2013

Fresno, California

For more information
Call Donna at 559 355-3080

Monday, November 11, 2013

Davree's Christmas Dress Fitting

The dogs are gone! Luigi, Yoshi and Peach went home this afternoon so life should get back to normal so we can get back to the Davree's Christmas scene project.

This morning Davree sat on the edge of my sewing table for the first fitting of her Christmas dress.  She rejected a couple of white fabrics I had and insisted on a dress made out of ribbon. Do you know how much trouble that is to piece ribbon to make fabric? Well, Davree has never had a dress made for her so I complied. The pieced fabric for her skirt is across her lap.

Thinking she needed a little color I added a red polka dot bow to match the wreath I showed you a few days ago. Davree rejected it immediately when she caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror. She said it made her look like she was going to the circus so it was quickly removed.

 Looking through my box of ribbons I came across a deep rose sheer ribbon. She thought that suited her dainty personality much better. The skirt is pleated at the waist now and the hemming is done but not yet attached to the bodice which still needs adjustment. You won't get to see her final fitting or completed dress till the day of the big reveal when she moves into her Christmas house.

While all the sewing was being done her t-shirt was in the laundry. Here she is, fresh and happy with her pet doggies.

Jan made slow progress on the house today. The framing is complete and part of the roof is assembled. He should get the rafters on tomorrow, that means we can start the interior walls and I will start painting and detailing.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Tea Time for the Christmas Scene

We've been watching the "granddogs," 3 rat terriers over the holiday weekend. It has slowed down progress on our Christmas scene. They go home tomorrow afternoon, yeahhh! They're good dogs but it's all different, got to watch them.

I did start Davre's Christmas dress. She will be serving tea to her great uncle Douggles when he visits her in the Christmas scene so she needs a pretty dress.

In front are the small tea cups and saucers Davre will use. Her teapot is on the right with a warming light. On the left are a full size tea cup and saucer and teapot for comparison.

Davre doesn't bake so I purchased something appropriate for a monkey to serve her gorilla uncle, think animals.

Our new blog still has no subscribers or comments. I still haven't announced the blog, want to be sure we will meet our deadline to get the scene finished by Thanksgiving weekend.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Framing is up!

We have progress on the framing! This was yesterday and it's even farther along today, just ran out of daylight to photograph. It's been hard for Jan since he asks me to approve every detail because I'm the one who is so picky.

 Early this morning I set the tree in a little pot with plaster of paris. Looks like I still have a couple of wild branches that need to be trimmed. The tiny lights are not much bigger than grains of rice.

 Here is a perfect little wreath, it's beginning to look a lot like a Christmas scene!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Christmas Tree Struggles

Today we purchased wood for the framing of the walls for the Christmas house scene that will be roughly 3 by 5 feet. Jan has done a rough drawing of the front, will have a front door, large window and an eyebrow window in the roof. Will be very quaint!

The Christmas tree has been a struggle to get it looking right. I had to cut apart all the sprigs and wire each and every branch. It still needs work and then will be set in a pot of plaster.

That's it for tonight's sneak peek of the Christmas scene.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The fireplace

It's exciting to see a few things come together for the miniature Christmas house. I took them outdoors to my photo table to see how they look together. 

Jan thought the painting he did of the Kamperbinnenpoort was appropriate and I think the subject is perfect but it's a little too large, makes the fireplace look really small but I'll reduce it to make a smaller print that will be just right. The plates are good and there will be a mantle clock, this afternoon I did the drawing to make it.

The fireplace opening is square, the way the original was but looks too small so after photographing this I asked Jan to remove the center piece so it's the curved opening, looks much better, no photo yet. It will also have more room for the fire that will be created. Radio Shack has a tiny fan to use for the billowing fabric for the fire.

The Kamperbinnenpoort painting is listed on our Paris Cabinet Etsy shop. It is the side view of the Kamperbinnenpoort water gate in the city of Amersfoort, the Netherlands, commonly called Holland. This view was when we came around the corner from where we lived on the street Achter de Kamp. The water gate is the only one remaining from the first city wall from the 1200s, rebuilt over the years. Jan added people and a typical Dutch bike. It's an adorable little painting.

Jan built the base and added the floor to start the house today. Maybe tomorrow he can get a couple of back walls up and I can show the next bit of progress. A couple of neighbors came by to see what he was up to. We will be announcing soon.

If you want to see the start of the project go back in the blog a few days to October 30.

Don't forget, first person who follows this blog and makes a comment wins the giveaway. I hope it is soon but haven't announced this blog to anyone yet.

Monday, November 4, 2013

The Rug

Over the weekend we found a small rug that resembles the rug in Jan's family home from the 1960s. It's just the right size for the Christmas scene house we are making.

Here is a photo showing a corner of the rug and other pieces that may be used in the scene. You get a peak a few things.

It is so hard to concentrate on my real life work! Wish I could just work on the scene till it is done.

Over the weekend I've done some research on roofs and trying to decide what to do. A thatched roof would be adorable, could be made with straw, tied and bundled. Dutch farm houses often had red S shaped tiles, called pantiles. I have photos of them at the living history center and find their history interesting. Another option could be slate roofs, squared or even shaped.

I'm wondering if there are composition roof tiles that look like slate that could be cut to shape, may be the quickest solution since it is now November 4 and we must get this project finished to be in position by Thanksgiving weekend.