Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Paint and Petulance

Things were going so well with the Del Prado house.  I made a beautiful kitchen floor, which I will show you in a future post.  Then I realized that it was time to decide on paint colours and a colour scheme for the house.  I want light and airy, but still loosely Victorian.  In this house, I want harmony, none of that fruit salad effect where room colours clash.

Research wasn't helpful:
 A housepainter in 1893 observed, “Some people want their houses pure white throughout, while others have them painted as dark as possible, and some peculiar combinations of color are often selected, but we never dare object or we might lose the job.”

From Wikipedia:
 The choice of paint color on the walls in Victorian homes was said to be based on the use of the room. Hallways that were in the entry hall and the stair halls were painted a somber gray so as not to compete with the surrounding rooms. ... There was a favored tripartite wall that included a dado or wainscoting at the bottom, a field in the middle and a frieze or cornice at the top.

So the walls could be light or dark, one colour or three, patterns or plain, textured or smooth.  No help at all.

Elga suggested that I imagine living in the house, and paint accordingly.  At this time of my life, with deteriorating eyesight and an aversion to dusting, I want everything gleaming white, with no dark corners, and no clutter whatsoever.  Not going to fly in a Victorian setting, I'm afraid.

I dithered for days without touching the house.  Finally I took out some paint and just started dabbing the rooms in a test colour to see how it looked.  Ivory in the kitchen, and grey in the hall.

It looked awful.

The ivory walls in the kitchen were cat pee yellow.

Grey made the hall appear narrow and bleak, prison corridors come to mind.

Very discouraging.  Next I researched wallpaper possibilities.  I was in the middle of printing a test page when the printer broke down.  Reason abandoned me, and I succumbed to a decline that would have left a Victorian lady swooning on her chaise lounge.  Except that I did it much more dramatically.  Pounding of the printer (which didn't help), followed by a full scale weeping tantrum that lasted a day.  The printer was the last straw in a whole bale of things that went wrong lately.  Now I'm in what Nancy calls 'a funk'.  I don't have any creative energy.  I'm stuck.

Fortunately it's happened to me so many times that I recognize where I'm at straight away.  It's not the dollhouse's fault, or the printer.  One comes to this place when you let go of your inner calm.  I've let myself be overwhelmed.

I've learnt some coping mechanisms along the way.  Of the many I've tried, these are the ones that give the best results.  I'm sharing them in case you need them too :-)

1.  Step away. 
Whether it's physically walking away, or notching down the emotions around a situation,   distancing yourself gives better perspective.

2.  Do something different.
Tidy a cupboard or clean the oven.  Keeping your hands busy will give your subconscious mind time to work things out.

3.  Rearrange your workspace.
Bring something cheerful into your studio.  Flowers, a colourful throw, a companion animal.  

4.  Give yourself a treat.
Being in a funk is sometimes a way of saying you're sorry for yourself.  So be kind to yourself.  Have a beauty treatment, buy a book, light a candle and soak in a bubble bath. 

5.  Eat, sleep and talk
Eat healthy, sleep enough, and maintain an exercise routine.  Visit a friend or spend time with your partner.  When I become irritable and weepy it's often because my healthy living regime has become scrambled by stressors, or I've been spending too much time in my own company.  It is a vicious circle.  The more unhappy I am, the more I eat junk, don't sleep and isolate myself from people, the more unhappy I become.

6. Pen and paper
I pour out pages and pages of all the petty things that destroy my calm.  Writing it down really gets it out of my system!  And while you're writing, make a to-do list.  A plan of action is a good way to get moving again.

7.  Take random pictures.
Looking through a camera is looking at the world with different eyes. 

8.  Fast or Feast on technology
Check how much time you spend on the Internet and social media.  Sometimes taking a break from my computer entirely for a few days helps.  Other times I need stimulation and browse on Pinterest for hours at a time.  Whatever works, make it a conscious decision to do that, don't just act from habit.

I save these for really stubborn periods of being stuck in a funk.

9.  Change of scenery
Take a trip.  Move your body and your mind into a completely different space.  Sometimes a holiday really is needed, not a luxury.

10.  Do something new
Build a kit.  Enrol in an online course. Take a dancing lesson, cookery lesson, learn to play a musical instrument.  Try something different from what you usually do.

And while I'm doling out advice:

Operating mechanical equipment while distracted can have unexpected consequences. 
Don't turn on your electric toothbrush in midair.


  1. Hello Megan,
    I will make sure I stay away from my husband when he uses his electric toothbrush. I don't know if you ever read the book "Victorian House" by Judith Sanders, but if you get a chance it had a lot of information about the period in Great Britain. I remember one chapter mentions that in the later part of the period, café au lait was a very popular color with the fashion conscious and rooms were much lighter overall. Good luck finding something you like.
    Big hug

    1. I am trying to locate a copy of the book, Giac, thank you!

  2. Thanks for your full range funk wisdom! Step away is one of the best :)
    For me, wall color is a background for furniture, art and room accessories, and I almost always choose a warm white, like eggshell. (Although I have painted entire rooms, IRL, in pumpkin, avocado, sunflower, lilac, to harmonious effect.)
    Side note:

    1. Great link, thank you Nancy! I am always looking for names for colours. I'm playing with Duncan's Chiffon Blue today. It might just be what I was looking for!

  3. Hi Megan
    I like all of your funky advise with its inherent applications.
    I know what tricks color can play when it comes to miniatures- what looks right on one wall might be all wrong on 3 or 4 so realize that you are not alone when it comes to this hurdle.
    But once you find what IS right, it will have been worth all your previous trial and errors, in the end. :)

    p.s. The kitchen floor looks BEAUTIFUL!!!

    1. Thank you for the encouragement, Elizabeth. I think I might have found THE COLOUR. Now that I've dabbed some on the walls, it feels like my song, just says it all.

  4. With the exception of nr 6 (pen and paper) I use all the strategies you listed above and they work for me, too.
    A step back will bring new creativity and passion ;)
    Big hug

    1. Thank you Ersilla. It seems that even miniaturists might need a support group for our problems sometimes :-)

  5. Your tip of the day is very valuable, and funny lol!
    I'm sure you'll find the perfect colours for the hallway and the kitchen when your mood has turned again :-). With such beautiful floors it will look awesome!
    Your funk-tips are very useful. And I learned a new English word, I never had heard of a "funk" before, except for the music genre!

    1. Thank you Millicent. I try not to take myself too seriously, sometimes laughter helps more than anything. Funk is a great word. I first knew the word to mean a bad smell, such as the inside of a teenagers bedroom... I guess my mood also feels like a bad smell, ha ha!

  6. Gracias por los consejos , de vez en cuando también me llega la desesperación; así que ánimo seguro que pronto encontrarás el color que deseas. Besos:-)

  7. Love your list of coping mechanisms! At some point you will get a blinding flash of inspiration and your colour scheme will materialise from the ether. At least in 1/12th it won't take you days to change it!

    1. You are so right Sandra. I've succumbed to urges to paint walls in my real life house funny colours and then discovered I couldn't live with it. As a rule, it takes four coats of paint and several weekends to eradicate a wrong colour!

  8. Great advice!
    Do you have a particular piece of furniture or the color of a piece you'd like to focus in the kitchen? That might be a good place to start for exploring color options.
    The peek of tile floor makes my heart sing! Can't wait for more photos and how you made it come alove!

    1. Thank you Jodi! All the furniture for this house came in kit form, and I've either not started building it, or will strip and re-do what I have, so there's no definite colour scheme yet. I think that is why I'm ditering so much. BUT I think I've found the colour! Things might be able to move ahead now.

  9. Love the title of this post.. an alternative to pride and prejudice for mini-ers.. lol
    As funny as the title is you give us great advice within. I'm a big advocate of noise. :) Quiet is no good for me, it lets that negative inner voice take over.. I especially like to drown that Debby Downer out with happy upbeat music... It's impossible to be sad when you are getting your groove on.. lol

    1. ;-) I am a librarian by training, titles always creep into my mind.
      Love the Debby Downer voice! I have a chorus of Debbies... and that is likely my problem. When I am working, I open the windows so that I can hear the fountain splashing and the birds having a bath. If there is music, it feels as though it intrudes on my thoughts, and closes me off from what is happening around me. Maybe I should give music a try, and see whether it helps. I will let you know!

  10. Haha, too late for your tip of the day, had to learn that lesson all by myself! Smetimes just a walk in the garden helps me.