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 15, 2018

Snow Day: Bunnies and my Peeps! (Ruth Stewart kits)

Mother Nature decided that Northern Virginia needed a little Winter decorating so our little icy rain weather became 3" of snow and a cancelled school day (and that means I don't open the store)!  So today just became: Mini Play Day!!!!

We participated in the Molly Cromwell miniature show last weekend and my little shadow (my youngest) joined me to help out...
Crammed as much as I could onto our little table :)
While at the show she took the children's free class and LOVED every minute of it - and she did a great job decorating her witch's table and assembling the 2" high paper house!

I love how she glued her book upright and the bat on top!

She added "smoke" (cotton ball) to the chimney when we got home
And now she is hooked and wants to help me with everything mini related (however, she is still not allowed to help paint the mansion's ballroom ceiling. That's my fun project!).

So last year my friend and I attended the Philly show (Philadelphia Miniaturia show) and I purchased several little FIMO mold kits from Ruth Stewart of Stewart Dollhouse Creations (Stewart Dollhouse Creations website)....
Wonderful, easy, step-by-step directions and photos!
I have been waiting for a play day to make them!  And now I have help too!
Squishing the clay into the mold

Scraping it level in the mold

So easy a 10 year old can do it!

I'm playing with the chocolate mold...

Teenager wanted to try too.

Popping them out of molds once they were cooked

Other teenager had to try it too

They were so excited to pop the minis out of the molds

Our "mini" mini collection.

They still need eyes painted on, but our little chicks are so perfect!

Love the little peanut butter cup chocolates!
Chocolate bunnies were the hardest to squish and level in the mold, but once the bows and eyes are painted on, they will look fabulous in my Cottontail Confectionery shop!

Little bits to put on a tray

I even attempted to free-hand make a cake.  It'll need icing. And it will have to be buried in the back of the shop. LOL

Made the gingerbread, cakes?, and icing blobs from a different mold I'd bought two or three years ago. Need to get Stewart's gingerbread men mold cuz these ones were too thick.
So I'm hooked and looking to see what other kits she has and what other supplies will make it easier for us to play, er, I mean, create more fun things!  My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed our snow day!  Thank you Mother Nature!

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!