Friday, October 30, 2015

Tea for Two update

Hi Friends. You  probably don't remember my little carriage clock room box from a zillion years ago. I think I've only shown it once on here and it was a work in progress.  It's almost done!

Not bad for something I built when I was 20.  I'm now 37.

AHEM. Anyway. Forget that detail about my age or how slow I can be when it comes to finishing projects.  Many irons in the fire, always many irons. And so on. Basically this project got stuck on the table and put aside while other things took over.

Also, good decorating takes time.  Mini collections don't become awesome over night.

Well, here are the details.  The table and chairs are House of Miniatures kits that I put together.  The blue tea set came from an Ebay seller in Thailand. I made the little punched tin bread box, tiny cakes, and napkins. The walnut plank flooring was leftover from the Willowcrest house.

The corner shelf is a pre-assembled bookcase that I painted. I think I bought the dog and floral plate from Shellie's Mini Mania. I made the cake stand on the top shelf. The other things probably came from Michael's.

I think this needs a few more things, maybe a rug, maybe some artwork, definitely more goodies for the corner shelf. I was trying to eye things at the Good Sam Show to use in here, but out of all the stuff I saw, nothing struck me.  That just means whatever it is, I haven't found it yet.

Bye for now!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Good Sam San Jose 2015

Hello friends, I'm back!

I was looking back at my last post and I'm sorry that's it's been such a huge gap from then to now. My newest "mini" was a huge investment and completely worth it. The baby came in August and she's in perfect health. I had plenty of Braxton-Hicks contractions to make me think she was going to be early. Instead she was a week late.  Bear with me a moment while show off our newest bundle, Natalie May.

Back in July, I started planning on attending the Good Sam Showcase in San Jose. I made hotel reservations and checked out the Friday workshops and the Good Sam Academy classes.  I was very tempted to do the copper class with Alan Hamer, but I ended up missing the registration deadline. Having a new baby distracts you sometimes, or in my case all the time.

Then, as we got closer to the show, the hot-shot 9 year old got invited to the yearly Pop Warner Scholastics Banquet to recognize his awesome grades. However, it happened to be the same weekend as the mini show. At that point, we decided to divide and conquer.  Husband stayed home and took the two big kids to the football game Friday, the banquet Saturday, then bird hunting Sunday.  I took the baby and mother-in-law and drove over the hill and down to the bay.

I have to say, after wanting to go for years, it was great to finally get there!

First, there were so many nice people! Having a baby was a huge advantage because she was a great conversation starter.

Second, the minis were fabulous. There were displays in the hall of different scales by various local mini lovers. Here's a sample.


The IGMA table had some amazing items on display advertising the guild school courses. Someday I might go that route.

Tons of talented artisans filled the room, people I had heard of for so many years plus new ones. There were things I wish I had the budget to buy. Ferd Sobol's furniture. Takumi Takanashi's animals. Bluette Meloney's roomboxes. Miyuki Nagashima's porcelain. Lars Mikkelsen's furniture. Red Dragon Pottery. Shaker Works West. However, I managed to get a few awesome things without breaking the bank.

I ran into Jan Patrie of Autumn Leaf Studio. I used to visit with her back in my college days when she worked at the mini shop in Reno. She hasn't changed a bit.

There were also the free tools and techniques workshops before the show opened on Sunday morning, I had a chance to make a box of soap taught by Deb Laue of Dragonfly International (shown way below) and get some punch needle pointers from Sallie Evans. This was her project from the Friday workshop.

Now for the loot. I couldn't help myself. I have been in a city lacking any real miniatures for far too long.

Baby doll and crochet blanket from the estate sale. Pat Boldt undressed and unwigged child doll. I picked this one because the sly, sideways look reminds me of Haley. Peaches and cherries in a basket, mug of cocoa, and crock of pickles by Jan Patrie. The pink bunny came from the White Elephant sale.

Hairy Potter Craig T. Roberts vase and bowl. Green pothos plant from Marie Petrik .

Peony arrangement from Marie Petrik. I actually won the peonies as a door prize!

Blue hydrangea arrangement by Laura Crain. Janet Uyetake Tiny Towne Hawaii grape basket and champagne tray. These bunnies are from Sylvia Mobley.

Unfinished Bespaq rocking cradle from Maritza Moran because her painted goods FLEW off the table.

More bunnies from Judy Orr. Soap box project from Dragonfly International.

Fireplace from A and R Miniatures

Jewelry from Bobbie Johnson.

I found tons of goodies for Haley from the White Elephant sale. She asked for a couch, a side table, and bunnies and I came through for her. She was my assistant while I photographed all the loot at home. Some of her shots were pretty good. I think she has an eye it.

So there you have it. My big weekend in the Bay Area. Stay tuned for more minis because I'm all fired up with this fresh inspiration from the show! Bye for now.

Monday, April 20, 2015


Hi Friends! I'm back with more detail. I'm even a little bit surprised at myself for getting so much done in the last two weeks. I know, my idea of "so much" is different from someone else, but busy moms have only tidbits of time for themselves.

To catch up, I applied paperclay to the entire front portion of the house in phases. I couldn't do the whole wall at once because I am too slow when I have to carve the little bricks with a ruler and X-acto knife. But it turned out well enough and I stopped being so critical of how straight (or not straight and seriously imperfect) my carving turned out after drying.

Like before, I overlapped the edges a bit to allow for shrinkage. I trimmed those areas with the X-acto blade after the clay dried to tidy up things. I also enhanced the gaps between some bricks that were not deep enough or shaved down areas that were too thick and lumpy.

I painted up the bricks using a dry brush technique. It took 2 or 3 times to layer up the paint just right. I really like it though. I like it much more than when I did the fireplace on my son's cabin. Also, since I had tried to rush things, I tested painting the damp clay and it didn't work as well as painting dry clay. I stopped and waited for it the whole wall to be ready. Patience paid off.

I ran out of paper clay, so instead of buying another pack, I finished the upper bedroom wall with the white paint and tissue paper stucco technique. It's consistent with the upper portion of the other side wall so it works.

Now I need to seal the painted paperclay bricks with something and apply grout.

I'm starting to think about the windows and doors. I have some bass strip wood I got from Hobby Lobby and Michael's that should take care of most of that.  I also picked up some baseboard molding from Hobby Lobby for the interior trim.

We're entering what we call "birthday season" so my project time will be more limited as birthdays come up and the school year ends. Haley has a science project due this week and Eric has been practicing for the computerized standardized testing at school. There is also the Mini Maker Faire at the end of May.  I know the organizers and I've been invited to show and tell my minis and crafts, but I'm not up to it at the moment. I'd love to go, but I will pass this year.

I will definitely see you again very soon! Bye for now.

Friday, April 17, 2015

So Delicious

Hello again, friends.

I bought some more very yummy dollhouse food. It arrived a few days ago (OK, maybe a week ago) You've heard of Kim Saulter at some point, I'm sure.  I have a few of her adorable sets. She has a Facebook page and an Etsy shop that I a hawk.

I just recently ordered this fantastic Easter themed baking set. I think the combo of cake, cupcake, and cookies did me in. I love the tiny flower on top of the cake. (Just a note, all these photos came from Kim's Etsy shop and were taken by Kim Saulter)

Also, back at Christmas time, I got one of her Christmas cookie sets. There were tons of decorated sugar cookies, gingerbread men, and a loaf cake.

I've also shown off some of her other cute things, like the French toast set and blueberry pie in my Willowcrest house.

I can be so funny about what to add to a scene for detail, but when it comes to food I have no trouble. I guess I just love food, real or miniature!

I've admitted this before, I'm not so talented with polymer clay. I haven't given it a good shot, but I also have other loves that come first. So, keeping my own talents in mind, I have no problem supporting other artisans. Keep up the cuteness, Kim!

Bye for now!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

More paperclay progress

 Hi Friends!

Hooray for finding time to work on the house!  I had a furlough day this week. I took care of the important things like taking Kid #1 to the dentist, taking myself to the OB/GYN for a baby check up, and a huge grocery shopping trip. Then I had some time in the afternoon to play with the modern house. I got busy with the paperclay some more.

I managed to shave down the yucky spots along the base and patch with fresh clay. While it was damp, I carved in the brick pattern. I let it dry and it was good.  The secret was adding extra glue and not stretching it too thin. I noticed the clay seems to have a shrinkage direction as well. The patch spots dried really fast.

I started going up the front wall with the paperclay too. My rows got a bit skewed, but I was able to poke them with the X-acto blade to straighten them up mostly. I still need to carve off the excess dried clay around the corners and finesse the ends to go with the pattern on the side wall.

Also, I tested out painting the brick. It looks great!!! I dry brushed four colors over the dry clay.  I used craft acrylic in brick red, brown, darker brown, and gray. Not bad for puttering around for an hour.

Now, my plan is to finish the bricking. Once that is all done, I will probably work on the faux cedar siding for the bedroom's front exterior wall. Then after that, I'll deal with custom doors and windows. I still have to order all the right stripwood pieces and some acrylic window material.

Oh, I almost forgot! I just ordered yet another dollhouse. I sprung for the Beachside Bungalow by RGT. See, I HAD to do it! sent out a 40% off coupon for April Fool's Day and there is no way to turn down a deal like that.  I'm already picturing it, maybe yellow, maybe weathered gray wood. Who knows how it will turn out, but yay more fun!

See you again very soon!

Friday, March 13, 2015

Paperclay progress

Hi Friends!

I have been fairly busy lately. I managed to buy a pack of paperclay, but then it took me over a month to find time to do anything with it!

I used the clay on the modern house. After I carefully rolled, applied glue, carved little bricks and all that on the side wall, I was hopeful.

So I let the clay dry and looked at the result. I was very unhappy. It shrank a lot more than when I used it on the log cabin.  I had cut it long and left room for expected shrinkage. Still, it shrank too much and left huge, awkward gaps in the brick pattern. The gaps were not just along the edges, but also in the center of rows.

I know my original idea was that the modern building was partially an old converted brick building with a new small addition on the side. The brick pattern does look wavy and old, but it might be too irregular for me. The gaps along the base are definitely no good.  I'm going to have to make some changes before I do the big front wall.

Setbacks. They happen.

Once the brickwork is good enough, I can paint and grout it. I was planning on making it a dark red dirty brick. The thought of having a some kind of faded logo painted onto the brick even has some appeal.

I also realized that I've talked about my idea sketches without actually posting them! Well, I'm fixing that now.  Here are my sketches. The blue squares are blue Post-It notes I cut out. I drew different window pane patterns on each square to test out what pattern looked the best.

In the next photo, I don't have a kitchen window. I added that later after I started to work on the house.

Hopefully, I'll be able to patch up the wonky clay and get back into business quickly. Between doctor appointments, special events with the kids, and just regular daily life, I've been lucky to find one hour on the weekends to do something fun. By the way, we're expecting another baby, a girl, in August! So my energy has been drained by supporting new life.  Moms, you know what I mean!

Anyhow, I'll try to keep up on the blog, but I can't promise it. I'll be back when I'm not sleeping. Hopefully it won't be another month before I can manage to post again.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Dolls are coming

Hi again my Friends!

I'm excited about something new. I have never really gotten into dolls for the dollhouses before. Ages ago, around 1997, I ordered a kit doll from Dana Burton of MiniatureArt. I was able to request the doll pre-painted and wigged, so that was great. Then never finished it. I sort of got hung up on what I wanted her to wear, so she's been incomplete and naked since.

BUT, I'm ready to give dolls a try. No kidding!

I got the naked doll out and I'm getting some really good ideas for her. I bought some tan yarn to do her body wrap over the wire armature. Then when I get some time in the coming week, I'm going to sit down and work on her. We'll have to wait and see what suits her style.

Just two days ago, I ordered a wonderful new kit, for a steampunk/Edwardian lady, also from Dana Burton of MiniatureArt. She's called Phaelon and you have to see her. Click this link to look.

I'll definitely share some more pictures when she comes in and I work on her.

See you again very soon :)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Mini Mod Takes Shape

Hi Friends!

I actually got something done on this house yesterday!!! The kids were wrapped up playing video games, so I took over the kitchen floor. The table is currently covered in Haley's Lego creations, and there would have been fits if I touched them. She's been on a kick remodeling her Lego Friends houses into one mega-house.

As for my new and improved modernized house, I made some great progress. Inside, I had glued up the gray stripe wallpaper a few weeks ago. I got around to trimming the excess out of the window openings.

As you might remember, I had sketched the exterior of the house. I began painting to follow that sketch. The undersides of both roof pieces have bright white for the portion inside the house and Valspar English Tea Party (deep dingy brown) for the exterior.

The smaller bedroom wing is now the same deep dingy brown on the exterior walls. And, amazingly, it coordinates with the espresso damask wallpaper. How I managed to match them with never even holding them together is honestly a miracle. I do plan on adding some trim on the long wall to look like modular panels and cedar-stained planks to the brown portion of the front. Since I didn't electrify this house, I will need to buy some battery-operated LED lamps. The bedroom is going to be very dark and dramatic.

Over by the new front door, I painted the upper part one coat of bright white as a base layer. Then, to simulate stucco, I added crumpled white tissue paper with decoupage glue. Eventually I will add some paint to dirty up the stucco. I used my teeny tiny embroidery scissors to cut off the excess tissue.

My next step will be to cover the remaining exterior walls with paper clay sculpted to look like brick. I will need to order a bunch of window and door-making strip wood.  It turns out that all the factory openings are not standard size. I will have to make them all myself.  That's OK. I didn't want standard-looking doors and windows anyway!

One more thing, for Christmas, I had asked Dear Hubby to get me an ELF compact corner kitchen. He didn't have a chance to order it for me, but gave me to OK to order it myself. I ordered the kit version along with a European-style stainless fridge kit. I got the black and gray ebony wood effect (which is now no longer available) for the cabinets and black and silver granite counter-top. I can't wait to put it together! It's going to look so slick and amazing!