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 . . . .

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Mansion Update (mostly words with some pics)

I took two steps forward and one step back on the Mansion.  When I started the exterior work it occurred to me that I really wasn't happy with the Lady's bedroom's flooring.  So, while papering and painting the exterior and while cutting the stone siding to fit in place, I also ripped out the Lady's bedroom wooden sheet floor and replaced it with a Brodnax wooden floor.
Gluing down the Brodnax wood squares to create a design

Old flooring on top, more interesting newer floor on bottom
I'm loving it in the room!
And as long as I was in a flooring mood, I also tackled the music room flooring.  I had always known the music room flooring would be "green marble".  They are sticky tile sheets by Model Builder's Supply out of Canada.  I had used them before in my tea house and learned some tips/tricks from that experience 18 years ago.  First, don't place the whole sheet down at once or you can tell exactly where the sheets start/end:
I can see exactly where the 6 sheets are when I laid them in the room to get the idea of how it'd look
So I knew I was going to have to break off each tile to mix them up before applying them to my flooring template.  And, to save some money on the project, I bought "seconds" (tile sheets that were imperfect: they are not perfect 1" squares).  Some were 1" x 7/8" while others could be 1-1/8" x 1-1/8".  Which meant that each tile had to be measured to make sure it was the same size as the other tiles in the row.  It was a tedious, laborious task with a lot of tiles needing to be either trimmed down or discarded, but overall the end result was satisfactory!  (Pictures show the flooring with protective film on the tiles so that is why some look wrinkled or hazy.)
Measuring out the tiles
All done!

And in the house it went!
I papered the bays with wallpaper liner to hide some imperfections in the wood seams.  Then painted them Trailside Tan.
The house with the wallpaper liners on the bays
The table saw I use to cut the stone siding is (of course) bolted to the workroom table at work, so every evening I would mark where the stone needed to be cut, take it in to work the next day and make the cut, then return home in the afternoon and clamp the piece in place so I could hold up the next piece and mark it for cutting the next day.  A slow process (might have been easier to unbolt the saw to bring it home), but it gave me the excuse to take the time to work on the Lady's bedroom flooring and the music room floor!
Stone siding isn't glued on yet; just clamped in place until I get them all cut
So I am making progress!  Now I have hit the stumbling block of deciding on trims and shingles...this massive of a house would have had slate or Spanish tile roofing.  But slate is gray or black (wouldn't "match" my color scheme).  And the Spanish tile roofing available on the market is too red/orange for the house (and I am not patient or crazy enough to make my own tile roofing one at a time -- looking at you, Marjorie! http://www.sticksandstonesandstyrofoam.com/).  Wooden shingles wouldn't look right, in my opinion.  And asphalt shingles are the wrong time era for this fantasy Victorian mansion.  So time for more coffee and chocolate while I debate roofing options....

Saturday, January 6, 2018

Customer's Apple Blossom

Customer brought us her partially finished Walmer Apple Blossom dollhouse to finish for her.  Although it was dropped off at the end of summer, we didn't get to start working on it until after Halloween since we were working on the Rotted Porch Roof dollhouse (Blog Post about our late summer and early fall work).

This Apple Blossom's interior was mostly finished.  Customer had wired it and wallpapered four of the six rooms.  Needed us to put ceiling papers in four rooms and finish wallpapering the top two rooms.  Also she wanted us to complete the exterior: attach the front porch and railings, paint everything (customer had previously painted some trim pieces but they all needed another coat or two to match with the pieces we had to prime/paint), assemble and install the windows and door, and shingle the house.
BEFORE: Customer had stained the porch floor so I had already put wax paper and blue painter's tape down to protect it before I remembered to take the "before" photos
AFTER

BEFORE
AFTER

AFTER
Customer also wanted us to finish wallpapering the interior.  Four ceilings needed paper and the top two rooms needed wallpapers.
BEFORE: Interior top rooms needed to be papered

AFTER: Top two rooms and ceilings were papered
Currently I am working on a customer's house that was ruined in a basement flood as well as a customer's Victorian Doll House by Woodline (First post about current Woodline project).

Due to the holidays my own personal miniature work was put on hold: I had to pack it all up so my little nieces and nephews visiting my house didn't play with the delicate parts or hurt themselves with my tools.  So, unfortunately, there was no progress made on my mansion.  And even though we had two snow days this week, I still did not get any personal mini'ing done since my eldest (about to turn 14 next week) and youngest (9) have both decided they want their real life bedrooms to be redecorated so I have been distracted with wallpaper removal, paint samples, and rearranging furniture the last two days.  But after teenager's birthday sleepover party next weekend I will attack my mansion with a gleeful energy!  Stay warm, my friends!!!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Gifts for Friends

Holidays are here!

I had made an extra Verdi dog (Making Verdi) with the intent to give it to the lady who made my Queen of Hearts doll (Tish Tierney's dolls), And, earlier in the year, I had spray painted a chair for a little "Thank you" project for her.  But the scene of just "dog and chair" didn't come together until BFF suggested adding a Mad Hatter's hat and then she also supplied a cake for a stand. So the little "Thank you" gift of a dog on a chair became a more elaborate holiday gift scene.  My BFF and I decided to join forces and give our mutual friend, Tish, a little Alice in Wonderland's Queen of Hearts theme vignette.

But BFF's cake was purple and white; we needed red and white.  (Yummmmm....cake!)  So I broke out the paints one evening...
Used to be purple
Now red!
And the gray stand got a coat of paint too...eventually (didn't photograph that until scene was finished).

Then came the hat.  In theory I had a plan.  The vertical part had to be wider at the top than at the base.
Made my rim and top circles out of cardstock.
We wanted the harlequin design on there so I bent a playing card to be the tall cylindrical part of the hat.
Using spray adhesive I attached black fabric to the cardstock I had used to create the brim and the top of the hat.  Glued some feathers and a green ribbon on to it. Sounded like it should have been a quick and easy endeavor yet I still managed to take all evening/night to make it, with several texts back and forth with BFF about design, color(s), and execution of the project.
All done and ready for the scene!
I love the green feathers in the hat that match Verdi
So that "Thank you" scene/holiday gift was ready and all shipped off to the friend in early December!
With the dome on it

Dome off
I also made a little plastic ornament filled with kid trucks in the dirt/sand for my childhood friend who doesn't own any miniatures, but admires them.  We've been friends since we were about 9 and 10 years old and I liked that this gift harked back to those childhood memories of playing in the dirt by the little pond and stream in her back yard...
These Tonka mini toys were sold at Target earlier in the year (they still may be, I'm not sure).  I painted stripes on the plastic ornaments...
Ornaments have their first coat of paint; need about 3 more...
And I added some dirt and sand, glued the trucks in, and glued some trims around the opening to make little childhood scenes...


Finished those gifts for my childhood friend just moments before our gift exchange. Whew.

Texas BFF knew she was getting filled shelves for her clock shop scene for Christmas.  She wanted drawers filled with metal doo-dads and accessories the clock shop owner would need to repair clocks.  The issue was her drawer shelves were with her in Texas and I'm in Virginia.  But I had the same shelving unit for sale in my shop so I could use it's shelving drawers to make plastic template shelf liners and glue the clock accessories on the liners.
Used blister packaging to cut liners

Liners fit into the drawer shelves

Easily removed and inserted

My steampunk items that will become clock shop paraphernalia

Various left over bits from other projects that will also be clock shop paraphernalia; lesson to be learned here is: don't ever throw anything away!!! You never know when you'll need that little scrap of paper clip for a scene! LOL

Organized the bits and pieces for groupings in drawers
All glued in place on the liners

Was one drawer short (ran out of bits and pieces)
Drawer liners in their drawers
There were 12 drawers and I only had enough metal bits and liners for 11.  So friend will have to fashion/glue some bits and pieces into that last drawer.  Yeah, I'm a crummy friend, skipping out on completing this project, but that's because I was secretly working on her REAL Christmas gift...

Looks good in my cabinet so I hope it will look good in hers!
Now, I feel badly cuz BFF knew that I was making those drawer fillers for her and it was just those 2 blister packs of metal bits that cost less than a Wendy's Combo meal (yes, everything relates to food for me).  And it took me no time at all (just one evening) to sort and glue them to the liners.  So, a long time ago I had told BFF that I would make her items for her Mardi Gras scene.  I think (I hope) she forgot about that, so hopefully these next little gifts will be a surprise for her to open Christmas morning...

I bought a set of face masks from Reutter Porcelain but needed them on a stand so I could decorate them in Mardi Gras fashion!
Gotta get the mask face onto a stand

Upturned bowls with a toothpick glued on for the stands

Painted them gold and added a dash of glitter


Faces are glued to the stands
These hair clips had perfectly scaled feathers in the perfect colors!

Glued the feathers to the back of the face

Glued lots of feathers!
 
Used glitter scrapbook paper and a fleur de lis template printed off the computer to cut out fleur de lis designs to cover the back of the face where the feathers were all glued.
So the back looks festive too.
Needed to add some bead necklaces to the King Cake I had made previously in the year....

Cake is ready...as are some extra bead necklaces to hang around her scene

Made the necklaces by "drawing" the necklaces in glue on plastic bags and dumping a bunch of no-hole beads on them.  Once dry I could peel the necklaces off, leaving them flexible.
I know the necklaces will probably not survive the trip to TX, but if she can salvage them enough to use them somewhere in her scene, it'll be a success in my book!
To soften the faces I added accessories of beads and chains; Gluing the chain around this face....

Ultimately got 3 chain drapes before calling this face "done"



I am now realizing that this one really needed a froo-froo collar, feather boa, or something...doesn't look finished.  Oh well, it's boxed up and shipped off now so BFF will have to add whatever she thinks it needs (if she thinks it needs anything -- which it does, just saying...LOL)


So that's it for this year's holiday homemade gifts!  I hope all of you (all 4 of you who read this! LOL) have a peaceful, wonderful, holiday!