I don't get out much these days, but recently I happened on another of those little shops that make living in El Paso so special.
You may recall that two or three years ago I told you about running onto Harry and Hedda Hopper's Boutique not too long before Easter, a little pop-up seasonal place. Such a fun experience!
Well, this timely happenstance was just a couple of weeks before Valentines this year. What luck! As soon as I stepped inside the door, I knew it was my kind of place.
I have been pretty much a romantic most of my life; always liked what my mother called "old-timey stuff," and my downfall is any kind of baked goods. Oh, it smelled so good in there, perfumes, potpourri, flowers and cookies!
"Hello! Come in, come in," I was greeted warmly by a woman in a simple pale aqua dress with a touch of antique lace at the neck. "Lovely day, isn't it?" she said.
"Yes, lovely," I replied. "Although that wind is a bit brisk."
"Aren't we fortunate that all we have to deal with is a bit of wind, when the rest of the country seems to be swathed in cold and snow." She swept her arm around the room. "Make yourself at home, and if there's anything I can help you with, let me know."
"I shall do that," I said, pleased. I like that; no pushiness. If there's one thing I enjoy, it's being able to take my time without feeling pressured when I am on one of my rare outings.
I saw all kinds of things that appealed to me, on both free standing pieces and in shelf units around the small shop.
Oh, if there is anything I have a weakness for, it's a skirted table! Hardly a space was wasted for display.
As I moved to the baked goods counter, the owner looked up from behind the counter, where she was sorting through some antique laces. "Try one of our Cookies of the Day. We sell by the piece or in sets, both cookies and valentines!"
Free samples! Good technique, because not only did I come home with a lovely bag of goodies, I also brought treats that Robert and I could enjoy later.
Now how many people do you know who bring home a unicorn cake?
As I waved goodbye, she called after me, "See you next year!"
Now that's one place I hope will pop up again!
Although they might eventually fit into a roombox, these shop units are designed as stand-alone pieces. They reside under glass domes at different levels on elevated stands between the display lamps on a table under a mirror in our living room.
People often ask, How long did it take to make that? Well, the actual “putting it all together” consumed me for several weeks; the most recent valentines printies and boxes alone took days to make. In addition, these pieces contain items that date back to my earliest days in miniatures in the late 80s, along with pieces made, purchased, and received as gifts over the years.
This project began with a wire armoire that had been in my stash for years. I hadn't used it previously because of the height of the top shelves, and the fact that the "doors" below were fixed in place, wasting all the space behind them.
Well, I got out my wire cutters and set to work to remove the doors.
I managed to get the open space I wanted, but the result was some wear and tear and bumpiness. I didn't like the shine, anyway, so got out my matte white paint and went to work.
The mesh bottom floor was uneven, so I used a business card to fill in. While I was at it, I made a new card top, as well.
I applied the paint rather thickly to fill in the open spots in the mesh, and liked the result much better.
I didn't get too many in-progress pictures this time, but you can see here where I had applied the vintage cupid picture to the back. This set the tone for the piece and made it easier to use the tall space. (I did not use those cupids, after all, but they are painted for another use. lol)
I added the lace trim from a packet of scrapbooking stickers.
With that picture at the back, the space doesn't seem quite so tall.
I used a tall vase of pink roses, a gift from Moonyeen Moller, on the right side. The teapot has been in my stash for a long time. I like the touch of black to break up the pastels.
To balance it on the left, I used a Reutters lamp which had also been in my stash a long time. I never felt the design on the shade matched the figure on the base, so I just turned it around.
The two boxes here were from a sheet of printies from Miniaturas Magazine of Spain. I spent hours printing, scoring, folding, cutting and gluing these and other boxes and valentines used throughout this project.
The grapevine wreath was made from brown florist wire and silk ribbon roses many years ago. It's appeared in many settings over the years, and seemed a nice balance for the pink cupid mirror on the other door.
The pitcher is another painted metal piece which provides another touch of pink.
The little cupid mirror on the other door was a gift many years ago; unfortunately, I don't recall from whom.
I used a pitcher of flowers from Kathryn Gray to fill in on the left bottom. Looks too obscure here, like a waste of a lot of persnickety flower making, but it looks good in real life.
In the center is another box from the Miniaturas printie page, a domed trunk shape. I wish I had thought to get a picture before I glued it into place. The candle on the cupid stand has a tiny oval printie from the Miniaturas sheet.
The tiny pink lady is another painted metal piece.
The candles used throughout this project were made, for the most part, by Lauriel of Belara Beach Originals, although the red rose candle, which is hard to see here, I made in a workshop years ago.
The last thing I did was to decorate the top. I had already planned the arrangement, but waited until everything else was firmly glued to finish it. I love the red glass compote, polka dot vase and the Chrysnbon candy dish and felt they balanced the other touches of red throughout the piece. The two painted wooden hearts were once hand painted earrings. The painted metal clock, with the raised areas highlighted by a red marker, sits atop a glossy red heart sticker. The pitcher of flowers by Kathryn Gray provides balance. The valentine was made from a sheet of stickers purchased in my early days in the 80s.
I have a full-sized skirted table with a larger glass top in my living room. I also like this look in miniature because it allows for more display space and yet still retains an open look.
The 3 1/2 inch glass circle on top was one of a set of replacement lenses for a large flashlight that belonged to my late father-in-law. Robert came across three or four of those glass pieces in his dad's old tool box, and I have treasured each one. The base of the table is a cut-down frozen orange juice can. You can see that process in my Tutorials page here.
There are fourteen different objects on this table top.
The amber glass vase contains roses made by Dawn Weaver of DawnsMinis, an old friend. I took my cue for using the amber glass pieces and brass elements from the gold hearts in the fabric. The standing valentine and the open box have been in my stash a long time. I think it was one of the first printie boxes I ever put together and it has taken this long for me to finally use it!
The rose vase, the plate, the clock, and another amber vase are all on a long brass tray at the rear of the table.
The plate is an example of a printie on a cardboard base, and the clock was one that my late mother-in-law created for a long ago shadow box. You can read about Ruth and her shadow boxes here.
The plate here is an example of a decal on a china blank. I don't remember where or when I got it.
I made the topiary years ago. Although it doesn't show up too well here, there is silk ribbon and bows winding throughout. Originally it was taller, in a flower pot, but I cut it down to fit in the white vase for this table.
The pink box was from the Miniaturas printie. I added envelopes to both boxes. The candy boxes were made with heart erasers, stickers, ribbon, tape and bunka. The two metal hearts are from a collection accumulated over many years.
I found a printie for vintage boxes in my folders and for the life of me could not figure out how the larger display top boxes were supposed to work originally. I cobbled together my own version, but did not use any of them in this scene. So, into the stash they go. I think they would work well for other purposes, too, like soap or candles, etc.
This unit was originally intended for a seamstress shop. Its simplicity called for the vintage look, although it needed something, which I determined to be the white doilies, which are Martha Stewart stickers.
The old fashioned woman and the three boxes were from the Miniaturas sheet. The white grapevine wreath was plain; I added a sticker from the old-fashioned sticker sheet from the 80s, and the three purple hearts. They look darker in real life than they do here. The little cupid is one of several versions in brass that were originally bracelets.
The two candles are by Belara Beach Originals, although I added the white trim. They sit with another cupid on a marble look heart sticker. The printies are from the Miniaturas sheet, and the porcelain clay rose was from a spray purchased in Chicago.
Another printie, another rose, and three more Belara Beach candles. The little heart box was in my stash, as was the polka dot candy box.
Another box and valentine from the printie sheet, along with another cupid. The heart candy box, a gift from a friend, was made of straw and silk roses, and has appeared many times over the years in other settings.
The small vase was in my collections, as was the heart. Another printie box with lid, lined with cotton lace.
This counter was also intended for the seamstress shop. I added the heart trim, which is fine foam, like a ribbon, that was cut from a larger piece in my stash. I also added the pink card to the bottom shelf to make things show up better and to carry the pink theme through, as well.
I took part in a cookie swap a few years ago in the Posse Group, an adjunct to the MiniDolls list. The heart cookies here were made by Deb Laue, left, and Sol Zaga, right. I designed the sign, as well as labels for all the cookies everyone made, as part of my swap. I added the little cupid head on top for this display. The "glass" containers were some I bought when my grandchildren were small. I think I filled them with cinnamon red hots or some such small candy for them. I cut the napkins from the border of a valentines cocktail napkin.
The larger decorated heart cookies were made by Belara Beach Originals. The others were in my stash. I cut the "parchment" papers from very thin tissue paper. The tongs were made with eye pins, twisted to shape with my needle-nose pliers and glued together at the top.
I am not sure where I got the unicorn cake. I made the other goodies from clay, beads, dimensional paint, strawberry cane slices and tiny no hole beads. I think the heart doilies used throughout this project were from Martha Stewart a few years ago.
I made the roses and the fern in an online workshop with Kathryn Gray several years ago.
This is the guest room where I worked on this project - except for the painting, which I did in my work room. It's going to be satisfying to put away all the Christmas and Valentines stuff that has been in here for weeks now. I have been gradually moving pieces from larger containers into divided plastic boxes. I loved the convenience of having those boxes to look through easily as I made selections for accessorizing these Valentines shop pieces.
At the back of the desk you can see some of the glass, mirror and brass boxes which my daughter Dana has given me. They are great for holding ready made pieces that I think I might use. I still have lots of stuff left over, including some things I made this time that didn't work out for one reason or another.
For instance, while I was working on this project I got a mail order catalog from Dover Publications and noticed part of the front cover design of a strange little penguin had some quirky little hearts in it. Here you get a glimpse of the design.
Well, I couldn't resist ...
On the work tray here you see two small gift boxes made with wood pieces and tied with red silk ribbon. I had to do some piecing because the design was not in big enough pieces, but it was fun making them because it took me back to my early years when so much of my crafting was using catalog, magazine and advertising flyers in those pre-internet days.
I didn't use the boxes after all, but maybe next year...