Thursday, March 1, 2018

Master Bedroom, Miscellanea, and the Ongoing Roof!

I had a fun February working on Villa del Vigneto - roof tiles notwithstanding. I did make some progress on the tile laying, but while that was satisfying, I can't say that it was fun. However, the Master Bedroom was waiting its turn to be furnished and accessorized - and that was pure pleasure. I also added some new touches of flora to the upper stair landing and the lower entrance hall. I seem to be working my way up, down, and sideways through the villa, bringing the empty rooms to life one by one. Joy!


These are the miscellaneous furniture pieces that I planned to use in the master bedroom, along with  choices of fabric for the bed linens and a table cover.

Finding the most satisfactory, convenient, and realistic furniture arrangement is always a challenge. I already knew where the bed had to be placed. Early on, when I decided belatedly to build a fireplace in this room, there were some contentious moments, with the bed and the fireplace vying for choice space. I intervened, and we all found an amiable solution; but it's a bit of a squeeze.

I thought that this cherub birdbath would make a perfect night table for the narrow space between the bed and the wall - but the top was slightly slanted. I built up one side with a spackling compound to level out the top. Then I found a picture frame just the right size for the table top and glued on a cardboard backing.

Now I have a level table top that needs only a coat of matching paint.

This is a battery-operated lamp that will be used as a desk lamp in the bedroom - but it's somewhat of a plain jane in need of a makeover.

I removed the leather cushion from the top of the chest and painted the chest, highlighting the carving in a darker color. The cherub table has a painted top, and the plain jane lamp is pleased with its new look. I also made the candlesticks and the clock a bit less "brassy."

This is a hat that's been in my stash for nearly forty years. (Should I even admit that?!)

I fancied it up a bit - but not too fancy for a country villa.

The bedroom needed fresh flowers, so I cut bits of flowers and leaves from stems of silk and plastic flowers from Hobby Lobby. I touched up the flowers with a little paint...

...and arranged them in this pretty silver vase.

This bedside table was in need of a floor-length cloth. I found a fabric that resembles crushed velvet - and it's just the right shade of "old gold."

The tablecloth will be lined with this sheer fabric to provide more stability.

I'm experimenting with a technique that I saw on an online tutorial for making bed linens. I looked at the site only briefly and forgot to bookmark it - then I couldn't find it again, so I had to "wing it" for my tablecloth. If anyone is familiar with the tutorial that I saw, please let me know! It's a brilliant idea for creating a very natural drape for linens or curtains (or tablecloths.) Sandwich aluminum foil between two layers of fabric, close all the edges of the fabric, and work in the gathers, pleats, or folds with your fingers.

The experiment worked beautifully - such natural folds in the table skirt! THANK YOU to whomever posted that tutorial!

I had planned to use a lovely embroidered antique handkerchief for the bedspread for this bed. But I realized that I would need to sort of chop it up for a proper fit, and I couldn't bear to do that. I decided to save the handkerchief for some other project. Besides, I want to keep all the villa bed linens very simple - so I used a plain cotton fabric instead.

I trimmed the fabric with very old cotton lace.

I'm happy with the simple look of the bed!

The desk was fun to put together. Some of the letters and postcards are from the "treasure packet" that I received from Elizabeth. I realized belatedly that the stamps in the stamp holder that I bought read "Love" instead of "Amore." Oops!


Rosabella, the pretty white cat, has laid claim to this spot on the bed today. Tomorrow she'll have another favorite spot - she's rather a fickle feline!

The top of the mirrored armoire is a convenient place to store hat boxes and the large hats that are so fashionable in this year of 1910. 

Following are various other views of the villa's master bedroom:


There is no room for furniture on the upstairs landing, but it has seemed bare from the beginning, so I decided that I could at least fit in a potted plant. As you may have guessed by now, I really, really, really do not want to make plants and flowers from scratch. So I returned to my usual technique of using bits of real-size artificial plants and adding a little paint for a better color and to cover any shiny material.

I potted this plant in a tall urn...

...and placed it on the stair landing near the master bedroom door.
It does add a little interest to that bare space. (It also hides the discrepancy in the spacing of that last baluster. But I'm not mentioning that.)

I also wanted a large flower arrangement for the entrance hall table - so back I went to my stash of paper, silk, and plastic flowers. The roses on the card are made of heavy paper - but they have very short stems and no leaves, so I cut small leaves from the real-size ones and clipped stems from other flowers.

I glued the longer stems and leaves to the short rose stems and painted the roses in the colors I wanted to use. I also found bits of other flowers to use as fillers in my rose bouquet. 

More of the roses, stems, and leaves before painting...

...and after.

I used an aged urn to hold the bouquet of roses and added a contemplative cherub to keep the roses company.

And here's the rose arrangement at home in the villa's entrance hall.


All the tiles are in place on the back side of the roof. I started painting the tiles with a terra cotta base coat. That was much harder and more time consuming that I had anticipated - there are so many nooks, crannies, and hard-to-reach places! I may have to try once more to use the terra cotta colored Sculpey to make more tiles. As I've mentioned before, I changed to the white clay because it seems to be much easier to work with than the terra cotta. I can't think why! I used the terra cotta color when I made the French Farmhouse roof tiles, and it was fine then - only a few years ago.

The paint goes on - and on - and on.

The base coat of paint is finished on the back side of the villa roof - except for the edges all around, which will require a very small brush. And a cool hand and a keen eye - and patience, perseverance, and plain old hard work! But I'm very excited to see the finished roof, and that excitement is a great motivator to keep me moving along.

MARCH IS HERE! The month of SPRING! (Although spring has definitely not sprung yet.)  But the temperature is rising, I've heard cardinals in the trees around our house, and the local geese are flying in this vicinity again. I can even walk the few yards to our mailbox without benefit of coat, hat, scarf, and gloves! (If I hurry.)

If I time the roofing of Villa del Vigneto right, I should have the work all done in time for the late spring thunderstorms, and the villa will be protected from "the rainfall, the nightfall, or anything that might fall." But Oh, Wait. Am I getting my worlds confused again? A Tuscan villa subjected to a Nebraska thunderstorm? I don't think so! In Tuscany, there are twenty-four hours of sunshine, and the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming, and I'm at home in Villa del Vigneto and happiness is mine.

Wherever your immediate world, and whatever your immediate circumstance, I wish you all the best that the promise of spring can bring! I wish you Joy.


  1. ¡Wooo Marjorie que maravilla de dormitorio! totalmente enamorada de él. El escritorio fantástico y el Hall...finísimo , me pierden esas composiciones con querubines. Mis mejores deseos también para la primavera,besos:-)

    1. Hello, Rosa Maria - I appreciate your very nice comments. I thoroughly enjoyed creating the villa's Master Bedroom, and I'm excited about moving on to other rooms. Thank you for visiting Villa del Vigneto!

  2. Hello Marjorie,
    Have I ever told you how incredibly talented you are and how inspiring your work is? The master bedroom is amazing! I love the furniture and it's placement. You chose the perfect pieces for a Tuscan villa and I love how you corrected the cherub table. Well done. The lamp also looks beautiful and the way you accessorized the room brings it to life. I love it. You also did a great job on the flowers for the hall and the roof is looking lovely, well worth the hard work. But now, I saved this for last, the bed linens...AMAZING!!! Properly dressed beds in miniature have always been one of my favorite things and are so hard to get just right...and you did it! You really raised the bar my friend. I am impressed.
    Big hug
    Giac, a big fan

    1. Hello, Giac - Thank you so much for all the lovely and lavish compliments on Villa del Vigneto! I'm always gratified to know that you approve of my projects, since I'm in complete awe of your own extraordinary talent in the miniature world. I'm especially glad that you like the Master Bedroom bed. I haven't dressed many beds, but I have a vision for the villa beds and can only hope that I can turn those (simple) visions into reality. "Simple" isn't always as easy as it sounds! As always, I am so appreciative of your interest and your encouragement.

  3. Que grandes avances has hecho!!! la habitación es perfecta y preciosa,la cama espectacular,al igual que toda la ambientación.El trabajo del tejado es asombroso y los arreglos florales muy reales!!!

    1. Hello, Pilar - Thank you for those nice comments! I'm happy to hear that you think the flower arrangements look real - I'm not very experienced at working with flowers, so the arrangements were mostly experimental. I have many more flowers to "create," so your comments are very encouraging and much appreciated.

  4. Your flowers are amazing, Marjorie!!!! You have done an incredible job! I love how you repaint, repurpose, and create the exact look/feel needed for a piece of furniture for a room: you are a talented miniaturist and I can't wait to see the next room being finished! - Lori K.

    1. Wait, it just occurred to me: there is still another room to be finished off, right? It's not all done inside, is it? Please say there is more! I'm enjoying this too much so it can't be finished!!! If this was the last room, then it's time for an addition to the Villa del Vigneto so I can continue to enjoy your work and pick your brain for ideas for finishing stuff off! LOL

    2. Hi, Lori - You can rest easy, knowing that I have TWO more bedrooms to finish in the villa, so I'll be doing a lot more "makeovers" for some time to come. Thanks for your compliment on the flowers that I made. (Sort of made!) Those arrangements are definitely improvisational - I just feel my way along as I go. (As I do with most things!) I'm so glad that you're enjoying the "finishing off" process - that's one of my favorite things, and I don't want it to come to an end either! I love all your comments - what an encouragement you are! Thank you so much for your continued interest.

    3. Whoowhoo! 2 more rooms!!!! Thank goodness!
      Lori K.

  5. Hi Marjorie! I enjoyed this "Breath of fresh air" Springtime post Immensely!!! (Having endured a commute today in howling wind and lashing snow....!) The progress on the Villa is looking Wonderful! I Love the details you have added to the Master bedroom.... it looks so inviting and lived in without being messy! I have the same problem as you do with cutting up gorgeous old embroidered hankies.... have a couple "draping" over my mini beds.... and I think your choice to sew your own coverlet is perfect! The simple trims fit the mood of the Villa... not too ornate, but embellished in a "practical" way! I too remember seeing mention of the "aluminum foil" method of shaping cloth.... but never book-marked it. It was the other "possible" method I had thought to try for my curtains! I am glad it worked so well for your table cloth! And I love your method of making the flower bouquets.... they look gorgeous in their locations! I have often purchased plastic and silk flowers for their potential mini use! LOL! I can see that you have had fun with every single new adornment!
    As for the roof tiles... I think they changed the "recipe" for some of the sculpey... my terra-cotta colored clay is also quite soft. Perhaps leaving it in the fridge when planning to use it might help to stiffen it up? I have heard of people doing that in hot weather! I thought about warning you about how hard it would be to get the paint in everywhere.....but it was already too late.....! :( It is amazingly challenging to make the paint get into the crevices! I am really enjoying your process of "accessorizing" this project.... it is something that I never get around to on my own builds!!! (At least not so far...!) I look forward to seeing more! (And I hope your spring storms will not chase away the Mini Daydreams!)

    1. Hi, Betsy - I'm happy that you enjoyed my "Springtime" post. I hope that your dreadful weather is beginning to improve and that winter is on its way OUT. Thanks for all your nice comments on the villa's Master Bedroom. I love your idea of draping old handkerchiefs over your beds so that at least they can be used without being destroyed; I want to try that. I also plan to try refrigerating my terra cotta Sculpey - I think that might help make it more workable. I was also wondering whether my terra cotta-colored Sculpey had just gotten too old; I don't know how long I'd had the last batch. But if you think that yours is too soft as well, then chances are that the recipe has indeed changed. Too bad. But I took a chance this morning and bought a new box of the terra cotta color. I'll still refrigerate it, just in case. Hope it works better! On the bright side, my grandchildren love playing with Sculpey, soft or not, so all is not lost. I appreciate your good ideas; thanks for stopping by!

  6. I truly love your decorating style.. so elegant and old world. Swooning over the master bedroom. I'm also intrigued by the way you create your floral arrangements. It amazes me that you can make craft shop rl flowers look so great. I'm definitely going to try some of your techniques for plants. :)

    1. Hello, Sam, and thank you for stopping by Villa del Vigneto! Thanks, too, for such nice comments. I'm so glad that you like my floral arrangements; they are all born out of desperation. I haven't tried making flowers from kits, but I have a feeling that I wouldn't be very good at it - and I'm definitely dragging my feet at the thought of making them from scratch! So - no other option but my "fake flower" technique. Although I may have to bite the bullet and try making some of the many geraniums that I'm going to need soon. Geraniums have such a distinctive look that I don't know whether I can find anything with a close resemblance. Yikes! Wish me luck!

  7. Your bedroom in Villa del Vigneto is all that it should be Marjorie! It has an Old World Charm while at the same time looks current for today.
    I adore the look of the dressed bed and the Gorgeous draped table next to it is the Perfect companion. The foil technique I think you were looking for, came from Mitchymoo Miniatures. I've tried it out too and it DOES work like a charm!
    The bed, wardrobe, desk and the table AND chair and table in the entrance hall, are ALL wonderful!!! You have entirely captured the essence of a Tuscan Villa in mixing the cool surfaces with the warm in perfect harmony.
    If I ever visit Italy, I hope that there is a bed for me, here at your Villa. ♥


  8. Hello, Elizabeth - Thank you for stopping by Villa del Vigneto and leaving your lovely comments. Thanks, too, for the tip about the Mitchymoo Miniatures foil technique. It's good to know that I can read the tutorial again in detail the next time (soon) that I need some nicely draped linens. Anytime that you have the opportunity to visit Tuscany, you can be sure that I'll find room for your stay in Villa del Vigneto!


I'd love to hear your comments!