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 . . . .

Friday, September 11, 2020

Trick or trick!

You read that right: Trick or trick! This Halloween cabinet contains no treats. Perfect for a witch or warlock, it's loaded with everything from unicorn horns to eye of newt.

The cabinet started out in a mahogany stain finish with a mirror backing.  I removed the backing (cracked the mirror too in the process but decided to not repair because a cracked mirror seemed more authentic for a Halloween type piece). Then sprayed it purple for Halloween!

I needed to make everything to fill the cabinet. I had started that years ago when I made some items for my friend's witch's scene (Making a few witchy things).  But I needed to fill all my glass bottles and find some filler pieces...
Made some mushrooms to fill in my dirt bowl since I only had 1 manufactured mushroom.  The larger, yellow mushroom is the industry made one.  The smaller tan mushrooms are the ones I made out of FIMO.  "Dirt" is some used and dried out coffee grinds mixed with glue.

Jars were all filled with various mythical/mystical things....

From leeches, blood, and eye of newt to mermaid hair and moon beams, these jars were filled with anything a witch (or warlock) would need.  My favorite jar is the "Essence of Ghost" jars, which unfortunately gets shoved away in the bottom part of the cabinet, but here it is up close:

So the cabinet was finished, and like the first one of these I made 2 years ago, this one also sold out within days of being completed...

First made leeches (down there on the first shelf) for my wizard's cottage back in 1999. I should be worried that I enjoy making them so much...

But, come on, aren't they cute???  (Yes, I described jars filled with leeches as "cute".  You gotta problem with that?  Don't make me concoct a brew to curse you for laughing at me!  I've got the leeches to do it!)  Sorry, my inner witch came out there. LOL

Crystal ball, tea pot, candles: the basic starter kit

Not sure you can read it, but the scroll on the table top lists a Shrinking Spell to reduce yourself to 1:12 your size.

Dragon eggs, snug in a basket, just in case.

There's my Essense of Ghost, hiding in the back right.

I no longer have any more of these cabinets, but I do intend to make more witchy things...I have an uptown witch's vanity I'm currently working on but getting my kids settled into online learning is top priority this week.  And then, for the first time ever, I may skip right into the Christmas spirit - BEFORE THANKSGIVING!!!  And that tells you how truly freaky and spooky 2020 is.  Trick or trick!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

I see the light (house)!

Final customer project has been completed...customer wanted this Real Good Toy's Lighthouse kit assembled and bricked.

All the parts, labeled and ready to start assembling.

Started to glue it together, but (as you can see in the photos) this was right when the store was closing so I had to bring the parts home and finish the lighthouse at my home.

Wired for electricity and interior was primed for whatever decor the customer wants to do!  Love that the beacon light blinks! 

Exterior was still just painted brown at this point.  Customer wanted the exterior bricked, but still light enough that she could move it from the living room table to a display table on her balcony.  So real bricks were out.  We settled on a textured brick paper.

Customer is very happy with her lighthouse!  And I am happy that I am able to work on my own projects now, guilt-free!  I have already made one item (a Halloween Cabinet -- it'll be my next blog post) and it is going up for sale on the store's website tonight!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

When all else fails: Chocolate!

The shop is officially online only now.  I have just about finished packing up the brick and mortar shop.  Between inventorying and packing, it's been hard to find time for my own personal minis.  But I decided to sign up for an online class with Ruth Stewart of Stewart Dollhouses (stewart dollhouse creations website).  My children and I had done one of her mold kits before (Bunnies and Chicks) and I had excitedly ordered a cake kit and some supplies a year ago but was too intimidated to actually do anything with them.  So when BFF sent me an email that Ruth was having an online Zoom class making miniature chocolates, I jumped on it to help motivate me back into miniatures!

The package of supplies I would need arrived via mail.  It was very well organized!
So neat and prettily packaged

Okay, this company really has their stuff together! Labeled, instructions, and just about everything I would need for the class (except my Exacto knife, tissues, and a toaster oven or regular oven).
Class started at 10 am (EST) and we jumped right into making chocolate boxes and tiny chocolates from molds.
Very similar to her other molds we had done, but I was still glad she was on my cell phone Zoom showing us how to get the clay into all the nooks and crannies!

Got all 4 boxes on the first try! And made a few chocolates for them too.
Some students had issues with their boxes breaking or burning (toaster oven malfunction) but mine turned out great on the first try so while others made replacement boxes, I made another set so I'd have multiples for my confectionery shop (or maybe I'll have enough chocolates for an entire chocolate shop instead of just a section in my confectionery shop, but then I remind myself that I need another project like I need another hole in my head.  Let's just focus on some boxes of chocolates for the confectionery shop).

After lunch we added decorations and details to our boxes:
Squiggly lines decorate my heart boxes.

Yes, my boxes are being decorated while taped to extract bottles.  Thanks to my youngest's baking habit I'm loaded with these bottles! LOL
They still need some minor finishing up, but overall they are "done" enough for me.
Rose on heart box. All made from clay, even the rose and leaves.

Hexagon ribbon and bow box and a hexagon ribbon and rose box. All made from clay.

My seashell chocolate boxes need Belgium sea shell chocolates in them, but I don't have that mold yet.  I could put the regular chocolates we made in class in these boxes, but I think some nice white chocolate and Belgium sea shell shaped chocolates would be more appropriate.

We even decorated the sides of these itty bitty boxes!

Shells are real, but everything else (even the Coral) is made from either clay or "frosting" (a special compound made by Stewart Dollhouse Creations).

Sides of my rectangle boxes.  These are supposed to have more decoration on top, but I was so pleased at how nice my lines were, I didn't want to cover them (all those hours helping my youngest decorate those sugar cookies she makes really helped out!)

My goodies
I tried to make white chocolate boxes but I think a chocolate design would look better than the pink I picked so I'll remake these....
Needs a dark chocolate design to really pop on the white chocolate
At 6:30 pm my kids started bugging me about dinner and dying Easter eggs so I had to leave the Zoom class (although I think they were just about done - Ruth had covered everything we were supposed to learn; we were all just concentrating and working on our boxes together, from different parts of the country).  So in my haste to clean up I manged to do what I had carefully avoided doing all class long: I sliced my fingers on the razor blade we were using to cut, create, and move our clay creations around.  Not only did I do it once, but TWICE, within minutes.  Oh well, at least I did it after class was over so the band aids didn't hinder my progress. LOL

Ruth is teaching more online classes and I've signed up for another one in May to keep my motivation going.  I still have to inventory and pack up the floorings, wood trims, and electrical tools from the shop so I know my motivation will disappear again as I tackle those boring (to me) categories to get them up on the website this week.  But after that, I hope to jump into my own personal projects....problem is, I will probably take out my Cottontail Confectionery shop instead of the mansion or the Irish Cottage (the two personal projects I should be playing with)!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

Wrapping up customers house

How embarrassing.  I have been so busy with packing up the shop and other life issues that I never finished or posted this blog update.  This house was finished almost 2 months ago for a customer. The "before pics" were lost on old phone that died. So I only have these:

In Progress: adding siding
I never liked how you can see each siding seam
Multiple coats of paint help hide the worst seams, but I still see them

House in Progress
This little one (well, I guess she wasn't that little -- she has 10 rooms) was damaged in a basement flood and needed to have everything stripped/removed.  Then we sprayed everywhere with KillZ to inhibit mold growth.  Then we installed the siding, shingled, rewired, rewallpapered, and installed flooring throughout the house (except the brick in the "kitchen" which customer wanted to keep so it was not ripped out).  Here were the final pics:
House all finished
Front porch and lights

Interior is all wired and finished too
Fireplace is lit too
Dining room is a cozy room
Kitchen (foreground) and Parlor Entry room
Middle Floor bedroom
Hallway and bathroom behind the door...
Pretty wall sconces in the bathroom.
The bathroom once wall is opened (wall is on a hinge)
Middle Floor's other bedroom
Attic Hallway
Attic Nursery
Attic Room (I don't recall if it was a sewing room, girl's bedroom, or nanny's bedroom)
House was picked up around mid-December and a lucky young lady got a fabulous gift on Christmas!

The frantic packing at the shop is finally over; we still have many items left to sell (they are on sale! Stop by the shop to get great deals on what's left!  LOL) or I have to photograph and pack them up.  But the pace has slowed down now so maybe I'll get to work on my own projects.  Well, after I dismantle all the displays and shelves at the shop.  So far my parents, youngest daughter and I have demolished about 5.  Only about 65 more to go....