29 posts categorized "Moulin Cerulean (the mill)"

goodbye mill

I gutted the mill yesterday.  As soon as I can borrow my daughter's car I'll drop it off at a thrift store.

The mill was my first contest kit...I built something too big, I rushed it, my skills were at a novice level...I've never been happy with it.  I've given thought over the last year or so to gutting it, then remodeling and fixing the things that have fallen apart and I don't like...but three years of occupying my dining room is enough, I've lost all attachment to it, it's time for it to go, I am sick of looking at it. 

Goodbye, Moulin Cerulean...you taught me new things, and I thank you for that.  Hopefully one day, a few years from now, I'll stumble across a story on the internet of how some budding hobbyist found you at the thrift store and made you over into the cottage of their dreams.  Good Luck.



the office in the mill

I received a couple of emails inquiring about my absence...thank you for the kind thoughts.  I was a bit under the weather, but am feeling fine now.  I also received an email from Beth, a beginning miniaturist who saw pictures of the mill on the Greenleaf Forum, requesting close up pictures of the office and asking, in specific detail, where I sourced my materials.

First I'd like to congratulate the winners of the 2011 Spring Fling contest.  I'm honored to have been considered alongside such talented ladies. 

Charlan and her sister, Kennie took first place with the Downhill Ski Shop, which was my personal favorite.  Jennifer's La Luciole took second place, and my friend Brae came in third with Baxter Pointe Villa.

All of the contestants turned in fabulous work, you can see a gallery of all the entries here.

Now, on to the requested close ups...don't forget that you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The wallpaper is scrapbook paper, Recollections Time Frame-Sands of Time.  The floor is made from basswood, milled on my table saw then stained in light golden oak.  The rug I purchased from ebay seller Mini Bee's Knees, who graciously makes custom sizes upon request (which is particularly helpful because I usually work in half scale).  I made the bulletin board and picture frames from scrap trim...I posted a close up of the bulletin board and detailed the contents before I glued it in place.  The Paris Exhibition print and the agricultural map of  France (which you can't see because it's hung on the wall behind the open door) I printed from vintage non-copyright pictures downloaded from the internet.  The curtains were made by my mom, out of the same fabric from which she sewed the grain bags.  My mom also made the bookkeeper's dress.  I bought the cardigan on clearance from Buttercup miniatures.  I made the bookkeeper's necklace from copper chain and and a bead...which I need to redo, I was in a hurry to meet the contest deadline so it's not as well made as I'd like.  The Heidi Ott doll, with wig and shoes (I repainted the shoes), were acquired from Lesley's Miniature Knitting.

The filing cabinets and the upholstered chair I bought at miniatures.com.  The chair is more expensive an item than I usually buy, but I had a 40% off one item coupon, which allowed the splurge.  The Chanel handbag and bust I picked up at the miniatures show in St. Louis last April.  The cat was made by Sally of Miss Sally World(She's in the process of changing domain hosts, so try this temporary link if the first doesn't work.) 

I made the file folders full of paperwork myself, out of bits of leftover papers.  The metal screen in the windows I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  The brass hardware...window pulls, hinges, door knobs, nails and curtain rod...I purchased from Minimum World

The mahogany desk is a Mc Queenie Miniature's dressing table kit from Minimum World.  I also bought the computer printer, calculator and non-working table lamp there.  The porcelain box and tea cup have been in my stash for a while, I don't remember where I bought them.  The pencils and pens I made from toothpicks and bits of wire.  The pile of paperwork, file folder and manila envelopes I made myself.  The top pieces of paperwork are vintage French invoices sourced from the Graphics Fairy, scaled down and printed to size.  The wastebasket is merely a plastic cap from something in my medicine cabinet.  The laptop, as well as the iPad on the other desk, were made by Etsy seller LiLu.


I was planning to make a little table to set the printer on but instead picked this one up at a local toy store a few days before the deadline.  It's a mass produced piece I repainted.  In hindsight it probably took as much time to sand and repaint the expensive table as it would have taken to just make one myself out of scraps of wood for pennies, but I got a little crazy the last few days.

The battery powered LED floor lamp I purchased from Manhattan Dollhouse.  I didn't want to incur the time and expense to wire the whole mill.  There is also a battery powered coach lamp on the exterior of the mill.  The black paint is coming off around the switch on the bottom of the lamp...next time I'll buy a brass fixture. 

The desk is a Mini Mundus sofa table kit from Minimum World...it wasn't tall enough that I could slide the bookkeeper's knees under it once I sat her on the chair so I added pieces of wood to the bottom of the legs to increase the height of the desk.  The telephone was also purchased from Minimum World.  The pencil cup was a gift from my friend Susan, the pencils and pens are more toothpicks and bits of wire.  The pad of sticky notes was cut from a pad of sticky notes :)  The diagram on the desk is scaled down and printed from the diagram of how a grist mills works that was my 'bible' for making the mill.  The cup of tea is from my stash of odds and ends...the orchid is by IGMA artisan Era Pearce...the plate of creme brulee and ladyfingers is a vintage piece, artist unknown...the tea cozy was knit by Helen Palenski of Auckland, New Zealand (no website)....and the chair the bookkeeper is sitting in was made by Jacqueline Kerr Deiber of Glen Ellyn, IL (no website).  The orchid, creme brulee, tea cozy and chair I acquired at the miniatures show I went to in St. Louis last April.

I found the business card for the artist who made the pigeons but lost it again...sigh.  I probably put it in a safe place, so I'm sure I'll stumble across it again.






more close ups - Greenleaf Spring Fling 2011 Moulin Cerulean

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I bought the pigeons at the St. Louis miniatures show.  I'm sure I wrote the artisan's name down somewhere, I'll have to keep looking. I wish I had bought more of her birds.

The rake, as well as the other tools, the barrels, and the rope, were also purchased at the miniatures show.  They were made by Sir Thomas Thumb.  He was fascinating to talk to, I'm glad I had the chance to meet him.  I can't find the link to his website, but his items are available for purchase here (and they have better pictures than his website does anyway).


The first time my husband saw the sign (the first sign, the one with the wrong word that I had to pry off) he said it needed a bird's nest...he was right.

The weather vane came from Minimum World.  I stumbled across it while looking for something else.  How could I not buy an old man with a scythe for a grain mill?  I had to chop off the peak of the cupola to fit the weathervane on, but that was an easy alteration.  There is a square piece of balsa with beveled edges sitting in the peak, with a slot that the base of the weather vane fits into.

The biggest kit bashes were made to the base unit and the tudor addition.  I cut the base unit in half to add enough height to fit a third story loft in.  I needed the third story to fit all of the mill's machinery.  The additional height allowed me to add the detail over the top of the windows on the exterior that I wanted, and to have room for the sign.

The tudor addition I wanted to sit as a separate unit so I made a second side wall and added to the width of the roof.  I also cut two of the three windows from the front, so that I could have the tudor detail on the sides of the front window that I wanted.  I moved the two windows I removed to the side of the building.  Careful measuring made swapping walls pieces for window pieces quick and painless.


Because I had little windows at the peaks of all the kit pieces I felt I needed one in the piece I cut from craft plywood, to keep a consistent look.  I didn't have the necessary tools to cleanly cut a window from plywood, so I used an extra window frame and some extra brick patterned paper to put a faux bricked up window on the exterior of that peak.  I didn't do the same on the inside as it would have looked funny.

I had an extra window frame because I enlarged one of the window openings on the base unit to accomodate a fan.  The fan is a half scale box fan that I didn't like after I bought it so didn't use in the Fairfield.  It was white, so I sprayed it black, then fit it in a surround made with scrap trim.  My friend Marcie told me it needed dust on the blades so I added that with some gray acrylic paint and a thin enough brush to fit through the grate.


I can't get the picture to insert right side up, but you can see what I mean.


close ups - Greenleaf Spring Fling 2011 Moulin Cerulean

The geraniums were made from Bonnie Lavish kits, partly assembled by my friend Susan, partly by me.

The butterflies (one on the geranium, one by the climbing rose) are from the etsy shop God's Flying Flowers.

The climbing wild rose was made from another Bonnie Lavish kit, I wound the flowers onto a trunk I made from brown paper covered wire.  I ordered extra leaves when I bought the kit so that I would have some to fill out the vine.

The poppies and roses in the flower box are also made from Bonnie Lavish kits.  Because I was running short on time I bought them pre-assembled from artfire seller MostlyArt.  I added some of the extra rose leaves I bought for the climbing vine to fill out the box.

The row of small pink flowers in the front of the box were a gift from my friend Susan.


The grass in the planter boxes is grass, picked from my yard then dried.


how the mill works

The hoist on the side of the building lifts incoming crates of grain to the top story, through the doors at the top.


The grain is emptied into the dirty grain bin, which cleans dirt and mold from the grain, depositing it in the little barrel.  The grain passes down through a smutter, which cleans fungus from the grain.

The wheat then falls into a storage bin called a wheat garner on the second story.

The wheat is fed at a controlled rate from the garner to the millstones on the first floor. 

The millstones grind the wheat between two stones.  The top stone is stationary, the bottom stone is turned by gears powered by the water wheel.  The water wheel shaft and the gears are below the bottom story; you can see a glimpse of them in the cut-out in the foundation.

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Flour comes out of the millstones below the stones into a bin.  A grain elevator carries the flour from the bin beneath the bottom story up through the mill to the top story.  In addition to transporting the flour, the grain elevator is a belt which transfers power from the water wheel up to the top story, to power machinery there .

The flour falls out of the elevator's scoops into the hopper boy, which sweeps the grain around, cooling it.  To the left of the hopper boy is a stand with a sifter screen on it, used to manually inspect the quality of the flour.

The large gear on the wall serves no purpose now, it is a remnant of old machinery once used in the building.  The hopper boy is powered by a twisted belt, which rotates the power ninety degrees from the horizontal shaft turned by the grain elevator to the vertical shaft turning the workings of the hopper boy.

Grain leaves the hopper boy down a chute into the bolter.  In the bolter flour passes through mesh panels, sifting it into grades.  Bran, regular flour, and fine flour are dispensed into grain bags, weighed on scales beneath the bolter.

Grain bags are then placed in the storeroom, where they are held until they travel down the dumbwaiter (it really works!) to the ground story, then leave the mill.


In the room behind the bolter a table with a small scale is where flour dispensed into a barrel is measured into small, household sized bags, then boxed for transfer to the market.

There is only one room in the mill unseen so far - the office, where the bookeeper is working late, after everyone else has gone home for the day.


spring fling is DONE

When I saw the kit it brought to mind the buildings at Marie Antoinette's hamlet, in Versailles, France, which I had the pleasure of visiting last year.  I decided to turn my kit into an old mill, with the exterior reminiscent of the buildings at the hamlet, and the interior a fairly accurate representation of how an actual grain mill functions.  I have named it Moulin Cerulean, (Cerulean Mill).



These are the three photos I sent as my contest entry.  I'll post pictures with details in the coming days, right now I'm exhausted.

I'm seen some other amazing entries start appearing on blogs and forums, I'll post links to those later as well.  I wish good luck to all who entered!

more detail

I want to show you a close up of the bulletin board before I glue it in place.


It's full of momentos from my daughter Kate's and my trip to France last summer.  There's a Paris metro map, a metro ticket, train ticket, and a ticket from the tram at Versailles, which took us from the chateau to Marie Antionette's hamlet.  Some receipts...from a restaurant where Kate and I had the best quiche ever made, from Kate's dress shopping extravaganza, and from Fragonard's.  Dead center is one of my favorite pictures of Kate...standing on the streets of Paris, smiling the biggest smile I've ever seen.

There are a few other fillers...a calendar, a botanical print, a vintage stamp, a cartoon, and a business card.