Sunday, August 20, 2017

A dollhouse castle for my son

I've spent the summer building a dollhouse castle for my son, using the paperclay techniques I learned in Teresa Layman's wonderful class.  I recommend checking out her website:

Here is the beginning:  one front wall with the bottom floor:

My children and their 2 cousins play with dollhouse furniture and 3 dollhouses all summer at their grandmother's house, and I thought my son might want his own, so that the girls can have their own. (I offered my daughter her own as well, but she prefers the dollhouse that my mom built that is out here.  I should have taken pictures of that dollhouse.)

I have to admit that for some reason, when I first discussed it with my son, I thought the Dolls House Emporium castle would be an affordable option, but maybe I saw it when it was on sale or I just misread the price, but with shipping, it was going to be too much, so I realized I should just make my own.

For the floor, I used an awl to cut lines in the plywood to simulate flooring, and then I used Otterine's nail technique (although I did not add rust because I was afraid I would get that everywhere).  Then I stained it cherry.

Here is the door (same technique used as the floor) -  I used the plywood that I cut out:

I wanted to create a stained glass window, and I figured it should be a picture of a knight.

I had my local copy shop print out a knight picture on a transparency:

But I didn't check it closely enough at the shop (in a rush as usual), and part of the armor on the leg is missing, plus my son liked the brighter color, so I used the color printout behind a piece of plexiglass.  I painted the plexiglass with modge podge, but I don't think you can really see the effect.  Maybe I will use the transparency on the second floor. I still like it. 

Then I started painting the castle wall.

With the door and windows (the castle was renovated and so they put in modern windows :).

I bought a beautiful door handle from Olde Mountain Miniatures, which I still have to attach, but for practical use, I just partially screwed in a screw - because my son will have to use that to open it.  I fear the other handle will quickly come off if actually used as a handle.  The door has to be sanded more because it sticks. 

I also worked on the interior walls and glued it together (although not that one wall dividing the living room/dining room from the kitchen which still needs a door cut out).  I am thinking about tiling the kitchen, but the wood floors are very easy so maybe I will do that again. 

I managed to finally sand down the window to fit in the stained glass window and glued it into the partially painted wall.

Then I couldn't resist playing with it with some furniture.

I am thinking about covering this wall in this velvet fabric.

And then I added one of the front walls with these amazing bi-fold hinges I bought on Amazon that work so smoothly - perfect for kids to play with!  I love them.  

And here it is:

We have left my mom's house until September,so hopefully I will be able to work on it again on some September weekends.  I am excited to attach the other wall and to finish painting that other wall. 

The second floor (with its three bedrooms), though, may have to wait until next summer.

Have a great week!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Micro-mini Provence Flower Shop

I wanted to see how to make flowers in 1/144 scale when I was making the 1/144 living rooms , so I looked for the 1/144 roundtable kits I had bought from Amy Rauch from the last N.A.M.E. magazine.

(After every show, they sell the roundtable kits via the magazine, so even if you can't attend a show, you can still buy some of the kits.  This is great, but also why I have SO MANY kits.)

Here is the outside of a little Provence flower shop (the Amy Rauch Tuscan kit)

Have a great week!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Colonial Williamsburg: Dollhouses at the Art Museums

We went to Colonial Williamsburg for spring break and I was really hoping we'd be able to visit the art musems (specifically the Dewitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum and see the dollhouses), but I doubted that we would have time.  

Ironically (and fortuitiously for me), the museum cafeteria turned out to be the only place that offered lunch without a 2 hour wait!

I should have taken more pictures, but here are two beautiful dollhouses. 

I like to read the history of dollhouses and how they have been loved.

And here is the Morris-Rushford dollhouse

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Planting flowers

I stopped by My Tiny Dollhouse in NYC and purchased this little planter of flowers, so I had to make a little scene with it (with what supplies are not packed away).


I bought the herb pots many years ago on Etsy.  And I made the back fence with coffee stirrer sticks.  And some day I will actually finish this, especially as I am now so inspired by the garden shed of My Miniature Madness.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 26, 2017

Packing up Malibu

I am almost done packing up my Malibu dollhouse, as you can see.   My dolls are exhausted from all the packing.  They have collapsed on the floor. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

True2Scale Forsythia with French Pitcher Kit

This True2Scale Forsythia Kit has been on my wish list for a very long time.

I love the French blue pitcher and I love forsythia. 

 As soon as the forsythia started blooming again this spring, I kept thinking I should buy it.
And since I was making pitchers, I thought I should buy it to see this pitcher design.  Good justification, right?  (Another funny thing is that I think I first didn't buy it several years ago because I thought it seemed complicated, but it's not (and probably my skill level/confidence has increased.)

It took me a few evenings, but it was very easy and kind of soothing to make.  I loved the way the paper became little flowers.

Unfortunately I did lose my pitcher's handle, so I had to make my own, and I made it a bit too big.  Also I realized that my paint came out too dark a green on the leaves.  

But overall I am really happy with my forsythia and the beautiful French pitcher. 

Through the windows of the Malibu kitchen (someone needs to clean up all the parsley on the floor that fell off the parsley plant when it got knocked down):

And another view:

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Shabby Chic Mailboxes

Every April, my club, the Big Apple Miniaturists, has a swap.  This year I signed up to do it.  (Last year I was traveling.)

Our project this year is a porch facade with a garden (although we haven't seen the completed version yet).  Mine will be shabby chic, although the porch facade has been modeled on a "Painted Lady" house.

I like to do swaps because it gives me motivation to try out various projects that I've been eyeing.  

So, first I made this shabby chic mailbox based on the blog Cinderella's Moments tutorial.  This is a great tutorial - very detailed, lots of pictures and helpful tips.  It's also a great blog to follow for shabby chic.

Then I made some pitchers based on this youtube tutorial (in French, but you could still figure out the patten and measurements easily): (un broc pour le bakery)

I highly recommend using Deco Art Triple Thick Gloss Glaze to get the porcelain look. 

I thought about making parsley plants, but some club members are very good (i.e., professionals) at making flowers. 

The pitchers were easy and fun, but I was waiting for the paper to arrive, so I started making mailboxes.   Plus I thought they would work well for a porch. Maybe next year, I will make the pitchers. :)

And here are 12 (and then I made an additional 2 more for my children, who each wanted one.)

I put my mailbox outside my bakery door because it seemed to fit really well there (maybe I will make another for my porch):

Have a great week!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Soldering LED lights to copper tape - Take 1

In the middle of packing away all my dollhouse stuff, I signed up for a LED dollhouse lighting/soldering online class - because one of my goals for this year was to learn how to solder.

The online class was offered by Luci Hanson of Cascade Miniatures and LED-N-Minis.

I also recommend her website for LED lighting supplies.

Apparently half the class was from Canada.  (I wonder if it was a mini club).

First, there were pictures up on her website in the classroom section which showed step-by-step how to run  the tape and make the connections.  Then there was a class via chatroom which ran through those pictures, and then there was a video class where she did video demonstrations!  And then she answered questions by email all week - even sending mark-ups of the pictures that I sent her of my work to show how to improve/fix it.

She is offering another class this summer - I highly recommend it!

Right now I use the plug method and just attach plugs to all my lights with wires.  And it takes me ages to attach the plugs, so I thought soldering might be easier and more secure.

In the class, we first run our copper tape on a sample structure (which is not in any particular scale). Here are my copper tape runs - I made a few mistakes because I didn't run them close enough etc. (And I glued the building together wrong because I was trying to catch up in the class that I joined late.  But it still served its purpose.)

Since I haven't used copper tape before, I found this part of the class very useful, although I was late to join the online class and rushing to catch up.  I'd bought a copper tape kit years ago and read the book, but never actually ventured to do it.  (I also don't use wallpaper all that much).

And then on Monday I tried soldering for the first time after watching some Youtube videos.

I did manage to get the 9 volt battery holder soldered to the copper tape (and producing light when I touched the wires to it), but I did not succeed in getting my novalyte LED light soldered to the tape.

I'm afraid I burnt the wood.

I emailed the instructor and she looked at my pictures and gave me some tips and instructions.

Right, I will try again!

I seem to have gotten it soldered, although my solder kept first breaking off into little silver balls, which would eventually kind of melt in a plop when I applied the soldering iron.

You are supposed to apply heat to the copper tape (but I think not so much heat that it starts to curl - as mine did).  Then when you put your solder to it with the soldering iron, it should be so hot that it just melts.  That did not happen for me.  Room for improvement there.

Did my soldering work?

The suspense!

So now on to the connection to power.  I received a cord with spade lugs and 2 brass screws, so I atttached that.

I attached the 9 volt power supply with the male solderless connection (yes, now as a result of this class, I know what that means).  And I hoped it would light.

And it does!!

Super exciting!  So happy! (I keep turning it on to see it light up!  My family was also impressed.)  And I was also relieved.

Anyway, if anyone has seen any good Youtube videos on soldering, please share!

And for NAME members, Luci is doing another intro class this Sunday during the online Sunday "chats".

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Big Thank You to Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures

I received the best Christmas present from Pepper of MitchyMoo Miniatures: lots of wonderful miniature goodies!

I am just sorry it has taken me so long to show them.

After opening the box again at Christmas, I put all the little miniatures back in their box and packed the box away in my MVP miniatures box (along with TYA Kitchen etc. (and some other stuff that I have been looking for which I forgot to index)), thinking the construction would happen soon . . .

Here is the small box (the best things do come in small packages):

And then all the goodies:  I love them all!

This wreath is so beautiful.  (I am still a bit perplexed on why mine is so soft.)

Beautiful pottery by Causeret, an adorable polar bear, and a beautiful wood vase.

I love these pillows, the Japanese light (that works!), the electrical goods (my home is going to look so realistic!), and the words!  Pepper is so talented and generous.

Another reason I can't wait until this renovation is complete and I can play with all these goodies in my dollhouses!

 Thank you again Pepper!  And thank you most of all for being my friend :)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Painting, Puttering and Packing

The top floor was a single woman; a married retired couple lived on the second floor; and a family with a young baby lived on the first floor.

All the furniture in Waterside Way has been packed up, and now the question is how to move it.  I built it in a room that is only accessible by a spiral staircase.  I don't think it will fit up the staircase, so I think we might have to lower it out the window.  Fingers crossed it all goes well - if we can even find someone willing to do it.

It looks so empty without all the furniture and mementos of dollhouse life.

I am almost done packing up the room, but I do keep getting distracted by little projects I had started, and so there is a fair amount of just puttering around the room.  

Meanwhile, I am still determined to finish the Malibu dolls house, and so I am painting.  And painting.  Every time I think I should be able to glue something together, I look at it closely and decide it needs another coat of paint. 

Here's another painting session - my kids wanted to paint and so I said: Great, I have so much dollhouse painting to do - but they stopped painting before I had finished too much of my dollhouse-related painting. 

Have a great week!

Monday, April 17, 2017

A belated Happy Easter!

Happy Easter Monday!

This is from my daughter's stash/scene (because I am almost all packed up - just roomboxes and dollhouses to go - it only took me about a year :) ).  The IGMA show has a children's corner section (where no adults are allowed) and they have some amazing items, including this one.   She loves going to that show.

Meanwhile, for Easter, my daughter wanted some clothes for her dad doll for Easter, and so I made some shorts.  First I used the American Miniaturist magazine patten, but they seemed to come out too big.  (I think I didn't follow the directions properly, so then I made my own pattern, but I am going to try to the AM pattern again and follow the instructions more directly.) 

Have a great week!

Friday, April 7, 2017

SoapBox Derby

N.A.M.E. is having fundraiser and selling kits to make these race cars.

We are ready to go!  My little girl has even found an experienced driver!

We will confess that we didn't win in the duck NAME fundraiser, but we're feeling lucky!

Have a great weekend!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Pets and Parsley!

A new cat has arrived in the Malibu house and he seems to be causing some trouble.  It looks like he attacked the parsley plant, knocked over a chair while jumping on the table, and is now primed to go after my hanging lamp...

(Or my children placed him on the table after trying to find all the animals in the Malibu dollhouse - there might be over 10).

In other developments, I created 3 herb plants for my witch's garden house - 
2 parsley and one mint (based on the instructions in the Dolls House Magazine).

Have a great week!