Shoe House

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Now that I have a workspace, I can finish some projects that got pushed aside. Scroll down for the furnished interior of the shoe house, which is inhabited by Mr. and Mrs. Mouse (Mrs. Mouse likes polka-dots and pink).

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The kitchen is enclosed in the base of the shoe. I’m keeping it very simple, because you will only be able to see it through the front door and window once the house is fixed to the top.


Kitchen viewed through window (before I glued the top part of the house on).


The living room with the furniture placed, waiting for accessories and decoration.


Bedroom. Hard to see, but the bed cover is blue with polka dots. Pillows are a cute kit from The Quarter Source.


A glimpse of the bathroom, with lights.


Front door with kitchen beyond. Because this house has two rooms that are more or less hidden, I put in LEDs to make them easier for viewers to see. All rooms have indirect lighting except the living room, because I really liked the ceiling light.


Lit-up kitchen through window.

Now I need to disguise the wires, landscape the small base the house is on (which will help hide the wiring), and put all the finishing touches on the inside (accessories, plants, pillows, pictures).

Workspace / Honeysuckle Cottage (Quarter Inch)

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The flooring is done, walls painted, baseboards in! My real house looks fabulous. I took the opportunity to update my workspace. I replaced an elderly table nearly bent in the middle and boxes of stuff everywhere, to new table and tower of sliding drawers (Container Store had a big sale). I took a picture while it was all nice and neat, because it’s not going to stay that way!!! (Already isn’t)


New project–dabbled on this while waiting for flooring, because it was easy to put away in a shoebox when I couldn’t work on it. This is Honeysuckle Cottage, a kit by Sue Heber. As you might guess, I’m fond of her kits (have done four of them now). She’s retired this one (which I bought about a year ago; her kits don’t last long–if you’re on her site and see a kit you like, grab it now!).


Everything was provided for this house, including all landscaping materials, doors, windows, shingles, tiny wishing well, walkway (though I made my own), flooring, and wallpaper (I chose to use other wallpaper, and the wallpaper for this house ended up in another house).



The interior waiting to be finished and furnished.

Sparrow Cottage

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I’m going absolutely nuts not being able to work on minis. Someone hand me some wood and a glue bottle!!!

In lieu of making minis, I can post pics of them. I am working on posting final pics of all my projects (and I have many). Today it was Sparrow Cottage, a 1/4″ kit I built in 2014. The pics are here:

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I haven’t posted much here, because at Thanksgiving, our water heater broke and leaked all over the garage, seeping into the living room (the real-life one). Wooden floor in living room was totally shot. Because the flooring was discontinued, we have to replace the flooring in the entire house. So–minis had to be packed up and put away.

The good news is, none of my minis were affected in any way (except having to be packed).

But–as soon as the bedroom I do my hobbies in is re-floored–I’m back to mini-ing! This is also giving me the opportunity to clear out and reorganize (trust me, I need to).

When I’m back up and running, I’ve got several projects planned. I’m actually going to put together the Beacon Hill!!! I did a mock up of it, to decide what to do already, then had to pack it away again (sigh).

To keep sane, I’ve been working on the Honeysuckle Cottage 1/4″ scale kit by Sue Herber. Pics when I can get to them.

It’s very hard to have to go on a crash diet from minis. I’m having withdrawals.

On the other hand, my kitchen didn’t have to be torn up, so I’m getting my creative frustration out by cooking!! I’ve tried so many new recipes since Thanksgiving. :-)

Because I don’t like posts without pictures, here’s a fairly recent one I took of the side porch of Lisa’s Country Cottage (one-inch scale)

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You can see the rest of the cottage (an antique shop) here:

More when I am not frantically packing or moving furniture from room to room …

Sassy Lady

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I rarely buy dolls, but when I had a chance to get this one by Marsha Backstrom, I couldn’t resist. I love her attitude, her confidence, her dress sense, and her indifference to age!

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Love that hat.

I wanted to display the doll somewhere (a) my cats wouldn’t get at her; and (b) in a setting that went with her. I decided she’s just gone shopping to supplement her wardrobe–or at least what’s underneath it.


Here’s all the stuff I gathered–shoes from Sylvia Rountree (Dolls’ Cobbler), and lingerie and more shoes I found at Mainly Minis (they carry terrific accessories).

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Here she is, surrounded by her just purchased accessories.

I built a quickie scene in a display box, and here is the final product. This sits in my foyer to greet guests.

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She’s gaw..geous!

Easy Quarter-inch scale lamps

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I’ve been enjoying learning to make 1″ scale lamps, and I’m finding the techniques easy to translate to other scales. It’s tough to find lamps in 1/4″ scale. By making my own I can design them to my specifications.

And they’re easy! Because quarter scale is so small, there aren’t a lot of parts involved. What you do need are good tweezers. I have two that I swear by:

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1) A set that you squeeze to open and holds things when you let go (I’m sure there’s a name for this tool)

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2) Fine-pointed tweezers that will pick up the tiniest beads.

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I bought each of these at our local annual miniature show, but small tool places like Micromark and JAR-JAF miniatures should have something similar.

The other thing you need is good glue. JAR-JAF recommends jewelers cement. I don’t have that and make do with crazy glue (the bottle with the brush in the lid) and the Ultimate glue.

Beads and Jewelry Findings:

JAR-JAF has a huge selection of findings and beads–you can download their catalog from their site and browse all the fun shapes they sell. Nothing has to be expensive; e.g., you can get a dozen of whatever for $1.25.

Jewelry-making aisles of hobby stores will have a ton of stuff, and if you’re lucky enough to have a bead store nearby, that’s great too!

I’ll show you how I did a couple of lamps, just by looking at beads and things and putting them together.

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Here’s supplies for lamp #1. The blue beads are from a hobby store. The finding for the lamp base is from JAR-JAF, # 677. The lamp shade is #1302. The pin is #688 (a blunt end pin). The tiny gold beads are #711 as you can see.

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Build the lamp from the base upward, using the pin to hold everything as it’s glued. Only small drops of glue (the Ultimate or crazy [super] glue or a mixture of both) are needed.

I wanted a small lamp for a bedside table, so I stacked beads until it was about 1/4″ high. I glued the shade on the top. I added the top greenish bead as a finial, but it’s really too big, so I did not put on anything after the shade in my other lamps.

Clip the pin that sticks out above the shade with nail clippers or wire clippers (cut into a wastepaper basket because the pins will fly).

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The resulting lamp. This one is not electrified, but with LEDs being so tiny now, you could carefully remove the pin and run wires down the shaft (once the glue is completely dried). Lighting Bug sells an LED kit with a transformer and battery box for smaller scales. They also sell the LED bulbs with wires separately, as does JAR-JAF.

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For now, I’m doing non-electrified lamps.

For this lamp, I used the clear little tubes, #1515, from JAR-JAF. These are mostly used to make lusters for 1″ scale chandeliers and sconces, but I thought “Hey, quarter-inch lamp body.”

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The finished lamp on display. This was nothing more than base, clear tube, crystal bead, lampshade (again #1302), built up on a pin. I found I needed to have the bead on top of the clear tube to give a more stable base for the lampshade.

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Another lamp with dark blue tubes I found at the beading/jewelry aisle of hobby stores. Again, I don’t think the top gold bead is needed. It’s too big in proportion to the rest.

Since doing these with findings I had on hand (leftover from 1″ projects I’d completed), I browsed through the JAR-JAF catalog for more 1/4″ scale-looking findings.

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I came across more possibilities for lamp shades: #1316 and #814, plus the gold tubes (#1399). They also have a kit for a 1/4″ torchere lamp with the light included for $7.

I highly recommend the book “Bangles, Baubles, and Beads,” from JAR-JAF, which has instructions for many lamps, some incredibly easy (some more involved). They have instructions for a couple of 1/4″ chandeliers, sconces, and accessories.

The trouble is, it’s addicting. Pretty soon I had to have a way to keep things organized. This is only one of my trays:

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These are quick and easy projects–what takes the most time is waiting for the glue to dry!

A Note from the Scale Cabinetmaker

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Received this comment, and I thought it would make a good post:

A couple of quick comments. First, thank you, Jenn, for your continuing support of The Scale Cabinetmaker. We are still reintroducing TSC to the miniatures world, since there was a nearly 20 year span where it was only available on places like ebay.

In reference to the comment about figuring out the dimensions in TSC. We always used the “full dimensions” so that models could be built in any scale, or as the case with the rolltop desk, in full size. The trick is understanding the architects rule. Standard rulers are divided by eighths; engineering rulers by tenths, and architect’s rulers by twelfths. Pick up a architect’s ruler and take a look at the different scales. For most miniaturists, you will only be using one side. Find the scale that has a “1” at one end of the scale and “1/2″ at the other end. The “1” inch scale is used for 1/12th and the “1/2″ is use for 1/24th (or half inch) scale. If you look at the “1” side of the scale, you will see something that looks approximately like this (yep, writing this without using graphics is a whole lot harder–my apologies for keyboard drafting):

1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I…
(inches) 0 1 (feet) 2 3 …

The marks (numbers) to the left of the “0” equal inches; the marks/numbers to the right of the 0 equal feet. So, a practical example. Say you have a table that is 32″ tall. 32″ = 2 feet, 8 inches.
1 I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I I…
(inches) 0 1 (feet) 2 3 …

This is sort of a quick explanation of how to read the ruler and the dimensions. We are in the process of adding some new sample articles to our main website (, and I’ve made a note to add the article on scale measurement and the architect’s rule to the list of free samples. Give me a week to get it up online.

We finally managed to trudge our way into the 21st Century, at least in terms of publishing, and have released all 20 years of TSC, by issue, as downloadable pdfs. We added the first two Cabinetmaker’s Guides to the list of pdf based books this past week (in time for the first volume’s 50th birthday). The download documents can be found on also finally set up a Facebook page and a Pinterest site for Dorsett Publications where we give out free tips and updates on new books and so on.

Jann says:
I love TSC. Just scrolling through, thinking, hmm, what can I try to make, is great therapy! :-)

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