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 . . . .

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Ready for the Weekend

As you all know from the last few blog updates, I was not happy that my Hunter's cabin was getting pretty fancy for a rustic weekend retreat.  And the kitchen was always too small for large appliances (link to fridge post). I had an oven/stove for the kitchen but it was fairly posh, modern, and large:

Also, I didn't like a stove/oven wedged between the wooden pantry and wall: my maternal instincts were worried my miniature Hunter would accidentally set the house on fire. So I got rid of the stove oven.

But I couldn't find a Coleman style camping grill to replace the fancy stove. So I bought the Hunter a microwave. And then I discovered an electrical grill on Etsy (MiniMonday3 Etsy Shop)! Since there is limited space in the Hunter's kitchen, I had to make a microwave cart to hold both the electrical grill and the microwave!

Rather than reinvent the wheel, I bought a 2" wide lower cabinet base. This also appeased my realistic nature since now my Hunter also had somewhere to store dishes and utensils.

Electric grill barely fit on the base. But now I needed a top part to hold the microwave....


Used some scrap woods and trims to add side supports and a top shelf. Then finished the base cabinet's drawer and cabinet door.


Gave it a nice honey oak stain like the real life microwave cart I had a few years back. Added the electric grill and microwave and put it in the kitchen:



Since the inside was basically done now (few minor details to be dealt with but overall it's finished), it was time to deal with the landscaping and outdoor areas.  I know nothing about fishing (or hunting for that matter).  But I know that when we've gone to the beach the beach houses have "fishing tables" for guests to clean the fish they have caught.  So I decided to make one for my Hunter too.  Found this photo to use as a guide and got my scrap woods together:

Spray painted the woods gray and the top piece white and glued them together to create a basic table:


Then I taped my trims together so my drilled/carved holes would all line up:

And accidentally added some holes to my kitchen table too (oops):

Luckily my table is so "well loved" that no one noticed a few extra bits of love.  Once the table and trims were glued together I realized Hunter would need a shed for storing various equipment that would/could be needed (chain saw in case a tree fell and it needed to be cut into smaller more manageable pieces; fishing rod; ladder; shovel; etc.).  So I made a shed:

Made side walls by gluing various wood scraps together
After gluing my three sides together and beginning to work on the door THEN I remembered that I wanted one side to be "open" so that you could see the shed's contents.  So I had to use an exacto knife and cut away part of a wall.  All my planning goes out a window once I start playing with minis!
Ready to stain or paint.  But whenever I applied my weathering product to the raw wood, the wood would warp so I had to place "heavy weights" (aka salsa jars) on the wood to keep it flat while the stains dried.


Shed after a coat or two of the weathering product and now with a tin roof!  Had pewter color hinges but only brass handles so I used a Sharpie marker to darken the brass handle for the shed:

Despite my best efforts the door still warped a bit.  But that's ok cuz it's supposed to be a rustic, aged, slapped together in a weekend shed.  After I aged the tin roof a bit I moved on to the landscaping:
My Hunter pulls right up to the cabin so I needed to put some gravel down (leaving a marked area for the tires).

A layer of some thick sod material a friend had sent me made the right side of the yard look great.  But the left side was a little skimpy and since I'd run out of sod I needed another solution.  Plus it was bothering me that this was supposed to be a cabin in the woods and there was only one tree!
So I ordered some more Bill Lankford trees and some low, squishy bushes and glued everything down:


Bat motel to help keep the mosquitos away

Glued some birds in the trees

My shed and fishing table right by the hose

An assortment of things stuck in the shed

Every forest needs some woodland creatures running about

Inside the Hunter's coffee mug, video game controller, slippers, and dog wait by the fire

Fly tape and a fly swatter kept handy to keep bugs away

Pantry and cooking area

Basic bedroom set up: Fresh linens out of the trunk and the hunting stuff ready for the early morning

Bathroom, squeaky clean

A little hunting cabin in the woods.

So now that the Hunter's Cabin is finished, I have moved on to 2 quick little projects of Art Deco shoe shop and a Shop's Windows roombox.  And of course, since I thought they would be "quick little projects" they will take me months. LOL

Saturday, March 13, 2021

Creature comforts in the Hunting Cabin

I always have issues with finding small fridges (like dorm size fridges) for my dollhouses.  I needed a small one for my beach stall and ended up having to make it (Beach Stall Post).  And this fridge for my Hunting Cabin was causing me the same issues.  I had bought a regular fridge and stove for the Hunting Cabin kitchen and there just wasn't enough space so I have since removed both of them.  But I never found a smaller fridge to replace it with.  So, time to make one!

Scrap wood glued together
Had some scrap wood that I cut to the approximate size (based off of a real dorm size fridge for sale at a Home Improvement store).  Then I glued it into a box shape and spray painted the base black.  The front "doors" of the fridge I spray painted silver (to resemble stainless steel).

Spray painted and glued together
Glued the doors to the fridge because no one will ever know if it opens or not (except me) but it still didn't look finished.  Just looked like a box.  So I searched for some scrap wood trims to paint silver and turn into door handles and it was done:
Coffee maker and eventually a crock pot will store on top of the fridge

Door handles make it more realistic, even if it doesn't open

Small little fridge chillin' in the corner

So my Hunter can now bring some milk, cheese, frozen Hungry-Man dinners, etc. to the cabin for weekend meals!

Next up: I wanted to make the Hunter a relaxing area (it rains some weekends and then hunting and fishing might not be options).  There was always a TV for entertainment but the mantle on the fireplace just wasn't big enough for too much more.

Entertainment area before
So the mantle had to be expanded.  First attempt was the wrong stain match; I thought I could fudge the stain color since I couldn't find the original Dark Walnut stain I had used and I thought Antique Walnut with a dry brush of Ebony would work ok, but it was obviously different:
Such an obvious addition on top

So I cut the crown molding again and another strip wood to be the top of the mantle and bought another jar of the Dark Walnut stain.  Stained the new pieces and glued them in place (and promptly found my old Dark Walnut stain I couldn't find prior which sparked the whole "I can make it work with these other stains" debacle).  But now the TV, DVD player, sound system, and Playstation fit on the mantle!

I love the gaming system I found from this Canadian seller on Etsy (Etsy Seller MiniMonday3). The detailing is so great:
Now I need some games to stack up there too


So my Hunter has some creature comforts while enjoying a weekend vacation.  And speaking of creature comforts, that poor puppy needs a water bowl, food bowl, and dog bed too!  I'll take care of that tomorrow.

Then I just need to finish up the kitchen (ditched the traditional sized stove at the same time as the traditional size fridge so now I need to make a microwave cart to hold the microwave the Hunter cooks in as well as the electric grill that is also used to make weekend gourmet meals such as mac-and-cheese casserole! LOL) and I need to tackle the landscaping!  This project is so close to finally being finished!  Now I just need to resist the urge to start a new project when I have so many others waiting to be worked on!

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Hunter's Cabin

This little house was supposed to be a run-down cabin in the woods, but things kept getting nicer and nicer (especially in the bathroom) so it's become a hunting cabin in the woods that the hunter is slowly renovating so (s)he can retire and live there one day.  But, for now, many aspects of the house are still rustic, and the hunter is basically living a glorified camping lifestyle when hanging out there on the weekends.

The kit was a Real Good Toy's Keeper's House (aka Cape Cottage Jr.) that I modified to have a foundation, a chimney, and some ridiculously small front steps.

Originally I thought I would finish the kitchen and foyer area today (thanks for the snow day, Mother Nature!). But I ran into an issue - mostly being that the stove was too big and too nice for the kitchen.  So I need to find a more rustic, smaller stove (like a Coleman camping stove).  So, I worked on finishing the shower instead...

About a decade ago I had created this shower stall out of balsa wood:

I installed it into the house:
At some point in time I even wallpapered it with "tile", painted the room, and installed flooring!  It just needed a shower head, shower valve (the handle to control the water coming out of the shower head), a rod, and the shower liner.

I had an old broken whisk that had the perfect wire for the shower curtain rod.

Used my wire cutters and needle-nose pliers to cut and shape it more into a curved rod.  My next issue was finding a fabric that looked like a plastic shower liner.  But nothing really looked right.  Fabrics look like fabric (and we know fabrics and I don't always get along!).  I really wanted something that had the slick, plastic look of a vinyl shower liner.  So why not use actual plastic?  I cut up a plastic grocery bag into a 6" x 5" rectangle and put a piece of tape over the "top" edge to reinforce it.

Used my paper punch to create little 1/16" holes at the top, strung the liner onto my rod, and used an earing rubber stopper to hold liner in place.

Since I couldn't fit my drill into the bathroom (years ago some genius went and glued the shower in place already) I had to use a tack to make my holes and stuck the rod into the holes.

I always have and use the best tools. LOL

So the shower liner and rod are in place! (Technically it needs a tiny piece of sliver where it goes into the hole so I have not glued it yet so I can add that when/if I find something that will work.)

Glued the shower head and valve in place and THE SHOWER IS DONE!


As you can see in the photos above, I turned on the electricity once the shower was done - to discover that at some point in time in the last few years, the fireplace stopped lighting up.  And of course the wiring for it involved me sticking my entire head into the dollhouse and turning my head at odd angles.  I eventually gave up trying to access the wiring in the chimney and drilled a hole to beneath the house and ran the wires to the tapewire accessible right by the junction splice (much easier to get to!).  After an hour with the fireplace wiring, I did get the flames working again.  Now to attempt to make a Coleman camping grill for the kitchen, and work on creating a proper mantle to hold the TV, DVD player, sound system, and PS4 that I want to make for my hunter....

Puppy is so happy his fire is back on to keep him warm on this snow day!