Welcome to my life . . . .

This is a blog about my passion: dollhouses and miniatures. This particular blog was started to follow my miniature dream: to create a Victorian Mansion. But work on my Mansion is slow. Very slow. Sloth slow. Ice Age glacier movement slow. Why? Because I am easily distracted by other personal miniature projects (I have 50+ roomboxes and 15 dollhouses in various stages of incompletion) and because I work for a miniature shop and am often up to my elbows in miniature projects that aren't mine! So, I thought, some artists work in a particular medium (woods, watercolors, clay, oils, etc.), I work in progress . . . .

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Mansion growing by leaps and bounds...

Not a lot of "explanation" this time: I'll let the picture speak for itself.  Addition is together and final top floor is dry fitted!  Have some adjustments to make (addition and main house don't match up exactly) but overall I'm thrilled!
Time to start decorating the exterior!!!!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Loose Ends or ADD?

I admire the miniaturists who have one project and work only on it until it is complete, and then they start the next project.  So organized.  So focused.  So diligent.  I am not one of those miniaturists.  And I jump around...a lot.  I'd like to think it's the sign of an active mind, but I know it's just my lack of focus (Oh, look!  Something shiny!).

So, first up: The Mansion!  I decided I wanted windows on the back of the house.  And not just any plain rectangle windows.  Let's make them a difficult shape!

Then I took apart some Exterior Double Pollinade doors by Majestic Mansions and made the door panels into the windows:

The Mansion has been worked on every single day but for the most part the progress is boring: I've had to sand every single one of the addition's 17 window and door openings.  Luckily I did that before decorating the rooms (as opposed to the right side of the house).  But since I hate sanding, especially when some needed to be sanded down by as much as 1/8", I would only do one opening a day.  And with 17 openings, it took over 2 weeks to do that task.

And I'm still working on the customer's house that had water damage to the front porch roof (Introduction to Customer's House).  Customer had informed us that she had no deadline for the house; just wants it done by the end of the year.  So I was able to put it aside for a few months and focus on the other 4 customer houses I had in that needed to be done ASAP.  But now I have time to finish this one. Since we had removed the damaged porch roof, several original shingles could not be salvaged due to mold, splintering, warping, etc.  I spent a few days painting new cedar shingles to match the older, discolored shingles on the house.
Arrow is pointing to old shingles; circle shows real color of cedar shake that I've painted
There are 2 old shingles on my paper plate; all the other shingles I've painted to match using a mixture of the ivory, brown, and gray paints seen in the photo.  Then came the fun part of shingling the porch:
BEFORE: Original Picture of house with damaged porch roof in center

BEFORE: Up close photo of water damaged roof
IN PROGRESS: Photo from April of new roof being glued on porch
IN PROGRESS: New shingles on porch roof

IN PROGRESS: New shingles match older shingles quite well!
So now I need to measure, cut, and install the exterior rails and then I move on to the interior!

During these past two weeks I also got distracted, er, I mean, I created a wall gun cabinet for another customer.  Had two customers in on the same day looking for gun cabinets.  Where upon I realized we did not have any in stock.  And the only one I could find from my distributors didn't fit either customers' needs.  So I am making them some...
Got various scrap woods and trims, started to stain them all
 Since I am a messy gluer I need to stain all my pieces first with at least 1 coat of stain...
All my pieces drying

Made a box for a wall hanging gun case...

Trimmed it out and made sure rifles fit in it; can even fit a third one if she wants.

Cut frame trim to create glass front cabinet doors.

Just need to put hinges on and this wall hanging gun cabinet is done
 First customer came back in and saw this and loved it!  And then realized her "man cave" room is on the top floor of a dollhouse with a mansard roof so she has no straight walls to hang the cabinet on.  So I started over and made her one with a slanted back to hang properly on her walls...
Slanted at back

Still needs trims and doors and to verify it fits in her room
So they are still works in progress (just like this blog and all my projects) but they will be finished up by next week...

And, to end with something pretty (Oh, look! Something shiny!), I did install the Mansion's Lady's bedroom ceiling medallion thing ("thing" is a miniaturist's decorating term for me)...
Still need to put up crown molding...

Doors fit!  Just gotta paint them now...

Looking thru from sitting room to the bedroom

Bedroom with it's pretty furniture in place
I tend to be more productive in the Fall so hopefully there will be lots more to post about soon!

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Moldy Horror

I was playing with my Mansion, arranging the Lady's Bedroom furniture, and went off in search of a rug that I knew I had somewhere for the bedroom.  Most of my mansion's furniture is kept in sealed clear roomboxes so I can see what I have even though the mansion rooms they belong in aren't assembled or decorated yet.  A few months ago these boxes were moved from the dining room (my usual work area) to the basement (aka dark, dank spider hotel).  And while searching for the M.I.A. rug in these clear acrylic storage roomboxes on the basement shelves, I was horrified to discover that one box had an explosion of mold in it!
In the dimly lit basement I noticed the faint fuzz of mold on EVERYTHING in the box
Brought the clear box up to the kitchen for further investigation
I was devastated.  I've never experienced anything like this.  And I didn't know where to begin to clean it up.  All the pieces (except maybe the mirror) had mold on them: glass, wood, fabric!  And of course they were expensive Bespaq pieces.  I was sick to my stomach.  Following advice from friends and colleagues I cleaned the pieces with non-chlorine bleach.  I mean, heck, the miniatures were already ruined.  What else did I have to lose?
My supplies of brushes, towels, rags, and non-chlorine bleach in a cup
Process was simple: take the moldy piece.  Lightly wipe it off.  Gently scrub it with a toothbrush dipped in the Clorox (the non-chlorine "for brighter colors" version of Clorox).
A Bespaq piece I had embellished with a gold marker years ago. Mold was growing on the bottom, highlighting (maybe even creating?) the cracks in the wood finish.

Using a toothbrush to gently get the suds into all the nooks and crannies. Seriously, my dentist would flip if she knew what I do with those free toothbrushes they give me. LOL

In the future I think I will need to sand and restain the bottom area where the cracks are but I was so pleased the mold came off as easily as it did!
Luckily almost all of the pieces cleaned up well!
End Table
The mold is even growing on the spider webs or cotton ball remnants stuck between the legs and center post!
All clean!

Might even look better now than it did before the mold grew on it! LOL
Next came the nail-biters (the fabric pieces):

Most of the mold was on the wood pieces with just a small amount touching the fabrics.

Spots all over the arms and legs....

All cleaned up nicely!

Squeaky clean.
I was very worried about the sofa fabric as it had a big old spot front and (almost) center....
Sofa was hit hard by the mold for some reason...

Those mold spots on the fabric were not gonna be fun to deal with

Mold all in the details and carvings of the side
All cleaned!

Mold came off of fabric reasonably well!

Thanks to floral design and decent clean up job, I can barely tell where mold had been!
Sofa, all clean and ready to be admired again
Coffee table was covered in mold; looks like it was dipped in sugar crystals -- not sure why the area my finger swiped from months ago did not grow mold (circle marks are from glass vases that had been displayed on the table...
Cleaned up easily.
Ultimately, I did lose one piece (a chair) due to a moldy black spot I could NOT get out and the fabric faded from my vigorous scrubbing trying to get the spot out.
I circled the mold spots on the fabric as they do blend in with the fabric design

The dark dot under the arm rest was the big problem.
Spot is still faintly there but my scrubbing at it has faded the fabric around it

Stupid spot.
But if I decide that Mansion room absolutely needs two chairs, the furniture is still available for sale so I can get another brand new one and use this chair to reupholster in a coordinating fabric or in another scene!  What a relief!

And I wiped down the other 10 display boxes with the non-chlorine bleach even though they didn't show any signs of mold and I have returned them to the dining room table....just to be safe.  I can once again return to working on the actual Mansion structure now that this crisis has been dealt with.  With the Lady's bedroom being completed and the window openings being cut into the addition pieces, there will definitely be a more exciting blog update in a week or two!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Yellow Glenwood

Been working on this customer's house for a few months (in between other customer projects) and it's now finished!  This Real Good Toys Glenwood was originally brought to us for porch railing repair and roof shingling.  Customer added on porch painting, interior finishing, and window trim installation once work was underway.  Before and After photos:
Before: little lady looks nice
After: little lady looks stunning!
Please admire the bay roof: my shingle-lady (aka Mom) spent a lot of time and did a fantastic job on it!  Her patience for shingling far exceeds mine!
She matched up the shingles so nicely!
The interior needed to have walls glued in place, priming throughout, ceilings painted, wallpapers and floorings installed, and stairs finished.

Before: good bones!
After: All ready!

Before: Attic rooms
After: Attic Rooms
Before: Middle level
After: Middle level

Before: First floor
After: First floor

Before: Bay rooms
After: Bay rooms

Before: Getting ready to prime interior and porch
After: Getting ready to head home to it's owner
Customer will be in next week to pick it up and then I believe it is getting packed away for when granddaughter comes along...and so another beauty is passed on to the next generation!