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, November 1, 2018

Customer's Little Fixer-Upper

This home came in needing some obvious repair work (mostly shingles and window work)...
Before: back of house
Before: front of house

You can see where the shingles on the back roof needed to be replaced.  As well as some on the side and front roof that needed to be replaced...
Before: Back and side roof need replacement shingles
Before: front roof missing a large section of shingles
I found some left over shingles from another project and did some painting to match...
The shingles in a row are from the house
They weren't quite the same shape and the new painted shingles were a flat finish whereas the old shingles had a faded semigloss coat on them, but overall they blended in well enough.
Back and side roof now shingled
Front roof is now shingled
Customer wanted the shag carpets removed (she wants to pick out and install new carpets herself).
Customer also wanted us to remove this carpet, which I had already begun to pull up before I remembered to take a pic
So it doesn't look particularly pretty, but floor is ready for it's next carpet now.
I also removed all the broken window panes and installed one plexiglass pane in each window opening. And I reattached the front door with a tape hinge (door is too thin for a hinge and customer didn't want to spend an additional hour of labor it would take to install the hinge onto the door and house when child will probably just break it off. So I opted for a tape hinge so door still opens/closes but quick, easy fix for mom when it breaks off again after excess use.)

Overall this quick little job gave this "good-bones" house a much needed fix-up.
BEFORE: back of house (Once more)

AFTER (overall view of back of house)
BEFORE: front of house (again)
AFTER: front of house
I cannot believe it is November already!  Have two more customer houses coming in this month for work so I need to get some more of these houses that are still here finished!

Thursday, October 4, 2018

2 Year Water Anniversary!

Can you believe it's been 2 years since my water experiment? (First blog post on water effects)

So it's time to check in....and I'm happy (bored?) to report: absolutely nothing!  They appear to be exactly the same after 2 years!  I lightly dusted them with a wet rag (had to dab on the Scenic Water one as it is a gel consistency as opposed to the others which have a solid surface).  And inspected them.  And I didn't see any significant change in two products, and only a minor change in the other one.

Here they are (Then and Now photos):
THEN: First few days of the water effects

NOW: Water effects as of today...looks pretty much the same.

THEN: Day 1 of EnviroTex Pour-On in Painted Bowl
NOW: EnviroTex Pour-On in Painted Bowl is the same

THEN: First few days of EnviroTex Pour-On
NOW: EnviroTex Pour-On is basically the same as it was 2 years ago...

THEN: Day 1 of Solid Water, cloudy issues starting at bottom
NOW: Solid Water did seem to react some more with birdbath color/material or it has yellowed a bit.
THEN: First few days of Scenic Water
NOW: Scenic Water still there, bubbles and all...

NOW: Noticed pock marks in the surface but I can't recall if they were there before.
Solid water had a noticeable, yet still minor, change this time.  Two years ago, Solid Water had an immediate reaction (to either the paint or material the birdbath was made out of) and the "water" has either continued to get cloudier or the "water" has begun to yellow.  It is hard to say which/what is happening, but there is definitely a difference with this product.  And Scenic Water has pock marks on the surface; but I suspect they may have been there before and I just didn't notice them as clearly until now.  EnviroTex Pour-On continues to be the front runner with no noticeable changes after 2 years!

In fact, I had made a pond that took 3 different pourings of EnviroTex to get the depth I needed (as you can only pour roughly 1/8" or so at one application).  After 1-1/2 years of sitting, no cracks have formed, no pulling away from the edges, no issues whatsoever!  So even my deep water example is good (except for all the bubbles that were in it as I poured it)!

My little pond, complete with fish and bubbles...

...so many bubbles.  Bubbles!  BUBBLES!  My bubbles. (It's a "Finding Nemo" reference for those of you who aren't crazy like me.)

From a distance and without direct light on it, you don't really see the bubbles though.
So we will continue to wait and monitor the progression of the water effects...check back next year and we'll see where they are at!

And for those of you that have made it this far into the blog post: Yes, it's been several months since my last post.  Things got stressful over the summer and I spent more time at the doctors than I would have liked, but I'm back and fairly healthy, so I'm attacking my miniature projects again!  However, the many summer weeks with more mental energy than physical energy did add two more personal projects to my mental list of projects I want to do and I will be working on them this winter!

Meanwhile, I still have my Mansion to work on!  Mansion is currently flipped upside down so I can paint and install the Ballroom Ceiling (sneak peek pic below).  Need to get the ceiling finished and flip the house right side up again so that I can then finish the exterior of the addition!
I have a lot of these little bits on the Ballroom Ceiling to paint in the next few weeks.
And I have 5 customer houses in right now that I should be working on as well as 3 other small projects I want/need to do by Nov. 8th for a friend's birthday!  Busy month ahead!

Friday, June 8, 2018

Mansion Mini Mojo

I've been working on finishing up some details on the right side of the mansion...
First attempt at crown was too pink
Lady's bedroom crown molding was too pink, especially with door and window molding being gold (baseboards had been stained to match floor and glued in months ago). Technically (someone told me) the baseboards and crown should match but mine won't. It's not a real Victorian, it's my FANTASY Victorian so if it doesn't match, no big deal.  And now looking at this photo I realize that I'm missing the little piece of baseboard to the left of the doorway.

So I wanted crown molding that would add some color, coordinate with the gold door frame/window trims, and yet still be light and airy. Lawbre makes a molding that I painted pink and gold:
First coat pink

Highlighted in gold
And then I went crazy with myself and also added pearls. So fancy!
Little pearls above gold painted parts
Once those were ready I did some minor soldering repair behind the left removeable wall and then glued the crown moldings in place...

Next I worked on the front coach lights.  There are five other coach lights to be installed in various places around the exterior, but these on either side of the front door were important to get in as the wires have to pass thru the foyer and butler's pantry so those rooms can't be started until the front lights were in place.
And I finally put the wallpaper up in music room!  I cut the trim to fit but haven't glued the crown or baseboard in yet...I will do that after I remove the protective film off the flooring.
Looking into the music room from open right side of dollhouse

Door on the right leads to library...

Looking into the music room from the foyer.
I painted double bead trim to trim out all the panels, but I still need a shell-type piece to trim out the top of the larger panels (can't just frame them out in a rectangle)...so that will be another project to tackle some other day.
Shell design creates a bump in the top that prevents me from doing a straight framing job around the panels.
With the front lights finally being wired, I can move my decorating focus back to the inside (although I really need to stay focused and finish the exterior too -- I swear I have miniature ADD).  In anticipation of decorating the foyer I cut a wall for under the stairs:

I was hoping to do more this past month or two (haven't really shown the mansion any love since March), but real life interrupted my play time with broken A.C. units (at home and at work), broken hot water tanks (at home and at work), various doctor visits, end of school year events/projects, and summer colds.  I can't wait for summer; I hope to rekindle my mansion mini mojo and make great progress the next 2 or 3 months!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Dallas Miniature Showcase 2018

So last weekend I got to take a mini vacation!  Literally and figuratively!  It's been two years since I've attended the Dallas Miniature Showcase (Dallas Mini Show 2016 Adventure) and the show has a new promoter so it seemed like a good excuse to go crash at my BFF's house in Texas and have a fun girls' weekend!  (This is a long blog entry, but there's a lot of pretty photos of miniatures so I recommend you stick with it! LOL)
Still happy to be going despite the multiple flight delays due to bad weather in Dallas
Descending into Dallas
Still a little hazy due to the bad weather they had that morning

The highway looks miniature from the air!
My friend and I spent some time playing with her miniature projects, from electrifying a dollhouse baby house (1:144 scale) to shingling her toy store and shingling a Greenleaf house she is donating to a good cause, to laying out her future projects (her hunting lodge, a Harry Potter scene for her nephew, her bakery, and her oriental scene); we accomplished a lot in a day and a half! She also demonstrated scenic grass for me (more on that later in this blog).

The new show promoter also had out several tables for people to display their creations they've been working on (to motivate those of us low on inspiration lately).  My BFF displayed her Tiki Hut Cabana (2014 Post about Tiki Hut) and a Truck scene (pics later in blog).  Unfortunately, due to the weather I suspect, not many people brought exhibits to share.
My BFF Julie's Cabana she made in honor of her close friend Carol
Marc Mead shared his display (sorry interior shots have a bit of a haze to them - that's the plexi and I kept getting a reflection no matter how hard I tried not to):

I almost missed the dome ceiling! Sometimes not being graceful and almost falling over gives you a new perspective on viewing things. (Yes, that was a fancy way of saying I almost fell while leaning over to look into the box, but in the process I happened to see the ceiling).

The sitting room adjoining the bedroom
And Sandra (whose miniature business had a table at the show -- I bought little eggs from her 2 years ago) put out an exhibit as well -- I love how she filled the windows!
Sandra's little shop
Love how the little black/white check in the window mimics the flooring inside!

The local miniature club had out displays of their project they had worked on in a recent club meeting:

I loved those so much I'm thinking I'm going to make one too!

I'm not sure who brought this exhibit (there was no name on it) but it was breath-taking!

Simply stunning!  I'd love to know if the person who created it made it in a class (I do recall an advertised class to create a box similar to this) or if s/he came up with the design themselves!

I also took random photos of some things I loved but could never afford (LOL):

Julia Stewart's Aristocratic Attic table was a glittery, feathery, sparkly distraction of goodies (jthoreson77@gmail.com)...

Julia's flamingos brought a smile to my face!  I loved them!
Wilson from Dollhouse Linens & More (will55@windstream.net) had so many beautifully dressed beds and dining room pieces!

Dollhouse Land (lauracrain2@aol.com) had some lovely...Shabby Chic? Country French? How about I just say "lovely miniatures" because I'm awful at identifying decor style!
My favorite doll dresser Tish of Versailles Fashion Dolls (tishtierney@yahoo.com) had a table (and yes, a doll may have ended up coming home with me)...
This lady and her naughty kitty could be it's own scene all by itself!

This Flapper would look stunning in an art deco modern setting

BFF says she's tudor; I thought she was more Edwardian. But then again, I am terrible at identifying decor/time period styles so let's trust BFF.
Sir Tom Thumb (pkinney@miniaturewoodcreations.com) had some interesting miniatures...if it exists in real life, it's available in miniature somewhere! LOL.
Is that a....

...Yup.  It's a guillotine.
I'm not sure whose table this was (Miniature Designs out of GA, maybe?) but someone brought this to sell:
Replica of Chip and Joanna Gaines shed

Love how the light comes thru the doorways!
I bought these goodies from a New Zealand business, Tiny Finery (janisaham@gmail.com; Tiny Finery's Etsy shop however she admitted she doesn't put much up in her Etsy shop and it's better to just email her):
Shoes came packaged in a shoe box and shopping bag!

I don't like shoes in real life, but I am getting quite a collection of them in miniature.

And then there's this little piece...
Not just a clown for me
I know to you it looks like a clown toy (and that's all it was to me too when I first saw it and debated about buying it for my Mansion's nursery shelf).  But this little clown has a sweet story.  Most other items on this artist's table were more expensive than I wanted to spend so I assumed this little un-priced toy would also be expensive, but I kept going back and picking him up to look at him. A member of the local mini club was standing there purchasing things and noticed me constantly going back to look at the clown.  So she asked how much it was and proceeded to put it on her bill and then gave it to me! She something along the lines of, "If you go back to something more than twice cuz you like it, then you need to own it!"  I was speechless -- how wonderful that there is such a generous, kind lady out there in the world!  I'm certain my socially awkward "thank you" didn't come out sounding right, mostly because I stuttered something about thinking of her whenever I looked at a clown.

Some other goodies I got from various vendors/artists:
C is for Cookie!
"I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It's not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love."
And now for a collection of photos of my BFF's work (she makes incredible scenes!).  She has them scattered around her house:
Her Santa Stall

Constructed in a Ron Hubble class, she finished it off and decorated it after making it

She made more than 3/4 of the books in this scene! (I made the box for her as a Birithmas gift years ago)
Her Alice in Wonderland scene in a lantern...
Inside the lantern...
So fresh and colorful!

Her trash porch is covered in plexi so sorry for the hazy reflection of the white french door!
Flowers in the tire are my favorite detail!
And, the best scene (in my opinion) that she's created in the last few years is this roadside stand Flower Truck:
The Flower Truck

Absolutely stunning!
So many beautiful flowers in so many colors!

Love the lilac hues on the Iris plants

That little gnome is so cute! (Yes, Julie made those sun flowers!)
So this incredible Flower Truck scene was made for ME!  It was my Birithmas (Birthday and Christmas smashed together) gift!  She made it in secret -- I didn't know about it until after she'd finished it!  And, just like all those tiny books she made in her bookstore, she made ALL those flowers, one at a time, out of paper and wire!!!  Every. Single. Flower.  She also made the dark wicker basket on the far left. You all probably had guessed she had the patience of a saint since she puts up with me as a BFF.  But here's tangible proof (of either her patience or her craziness).
Up-close pic of basket on far left that friend made and of the sign that she painted to match flowers
So, yet again this weekend, I was rendered speechless and blown away by another person's kindness (and talent, in this instance)!  It is absolutely stunning!  But I couldn't resist playing with the frolicking dog...
Let's go for a ride and feel the wind in my fur!!!
And here's that static grass I mentioned earlier...
Long field grass needs to be cut!

Grass sticking up
...she told me that static grass was what she had used to create the varying height grass in this scene so I wanted to see what was involved in using it because my hunting cabin and Irish cottage will need landscaping!  I am hoping to landscape the hunting cabin this summer so there will be an in-depth blog post about it then!
Bye, Dallas!  View from my late night flight back home to the East Coast!
After the show I have so many more ideas and things I want to try (from furniture making to landscaping)!  And I bought a few items for my colonial kitchen so I may pull out that roombox and finish it finally!  We'll see -- so far all I've done since being home is unpack my suitcase, wash all the dishes/laundry my family left for me, and I'm still trying to get caught up at work (lots of people want estimates to have their dollhouses fixed up!).  We'll see what the next few weeks bring...