Stone Cottage done. Westville to Continue


I pretty much have the quarter-inch scale Stone Cottage done and ready to display. I have not finished the wiring, because my cat ate part of it. He is fine, but the wires are now too short and I’ll have to replace or splice. At least he didn’t eat the LED chips.

(I took these photos before the landscape was completely done, but the grass is all on now.)

This was a good learning experience about what worked / didn’t work with stucco, and how to work with Creative Paperclay (much easier than I feared).

I will return to the Westville and start finishing. Interior first, I think, with tape wiring, then the stucco and stonework when the outside is one continuous surface.

Before that, I will be going to the Bishop show in Chicago–primarily to take classes. I signed up for four! All day ones a couple evening ones. I intend to learn a lot. I’ll share what I made and what I purchased (cause I know that’s going to happen).


Westville: Stonework practice–Painting

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I painted the stonework I made with the Creative Paperclay in my last post. I’m fairly pleased with the results. This has been a good learning experience.

Painting started with making a base wash of gray. This is a very, very light wash: 1 drop of black plus one drop of burnt umber mixed in a plastic shot glass of water.

The next step was to paint stones with a darker gray wash in a random pattern.

Next the other stones were painted with a brown wash. Then random stones were highlighted with burnt umber and burnt orange.

It turned out a little bit more brown than I wanted so I washed it over with gray again until I liked it.

That’s my paperclay experiment. I like the results, it’s much easier than I feared, and so I will do stonework on the Westville.

For now, I want to finish this little house.

I’m adding LED lights from Evans Designs (made my own fixture below). Here I’ve strung the wires from the house, which I’ll thread through the base to hook up with the battery switch there (that’s the plan, anyway).

Roof pieces painted and ready. One thing I love about quarter-inch scale is the roofing is ready-made, usually from railroad modeling supplies. So much easier than gluing on one shingle at a time.

I’m almost done with this house, then I’ll switch back to the Westville.

Westville–Paperclay Stonework/Stone Cottage


The paperclay turned out to be easier to use than I feared. I kept it in a ziplock bag after opening, quickly digging in each time I needed some and sealing it back up again.

Here’s the base stonework on the quarter-inch experimental house step by step.

First step is to build up the shape of the walls. Here’s my bare wall coated with yellow glue (wood glue or titebond).

Next I put a roll of paperclay at the base and then smoothed it up with a plastic tool and my fingers (tool easily purchased at hobby store, e.g., Michael’s)

For some reason, I had to remind myself to add the glue to the wood, but it’s essential. I guess I figured the clay would just stick to everything itself (like it does to my fingers), but no. The glue holds it in place while you form it.

Base walls are shaped and ready for the stonework.

The kit includes a mold for the paperclay stones. This is quarter-inch scale. I’ll have to make my own for one-inch scale or figure another way to make stones when I do this on the Westville.

Paperclay smoothed into the mold.

Molded paperclay glued to the base. I cut away the excess and reused.

Poking with a stencil brush adds a little texture.

Made little stones to add to the base. These were easy to roll with my fingers.

I dabbed each stone with glue then placed it at the bottom of the wall.

Filling in the stair wall was a little trickier, and involved lots of fingerwork and trimming. This is the stair wall half done (above).

Stair walls done.

When I came back after letting everything dry overnight, I saw that the paperclay had shrunk (it does that), and it had pulled away from the top of the wall (as you can see above).

I added a row of stones under the ledge. They look darker in the photo because they were still wet, against the already dried portion.

The stonework is mostly done. Now to let it dry and then paint it.

This part was much easier and went much more quickly than I feared. I’ll see what happens in the painting stage!

Westville–Exterior plans


I had this great idea to do the exterior of the Westville with stucco and paperclay stonework.

Not that I’ve ever done anything with paperclay before.

But–I had a quarter-inch scale house kit in my stash which is stucco on top, creative paperclay stonework on the base. So, for practice, I took it out and started it.

This is the structure so far. It’s a simple house (a couple of rooms). I have stuccoed it and put on the trim, and I will do a build-along for the paperclay part. A learning experience for me!

For the stucco, I used carpenter’s wood filler. I’m not sure I will do that again to stucco the Westville. I live in a dry climate (and it’s a dry time of year), and the wood filler was already half dried by the time I took it out of the container. It was impossible to smooth down, and I ended up with a much thicker coat than I wanted. But it’s rustic, right? So I will experiment with other products and see if I can find something better (textured paint comes to mind).

The interior is simple but a nice space. This is Stone Briar Manor from Suzanne and Andrew’s minis. They based it on a real house, which is now a library, so I might make mine a library too. (If I don’t chicken out making all those books …)

This kit has been retired and no longer available. They’ve retired a lot of their kits, which is sad, because they’re fabulous!

But peeking on their site just now (, I see they have a Fairytale house that looks cute. Also a Seaside Cottage that is a variation of the Creekside one I did. I really love their kits so I hope they continue them or bring back retired ones from time to time (which is how I got the Stone Briar one).

More on paperclay to come!

Mini Show 2019


As usual I went to the Small World Miniature Club show and sale this year, and as usual, found some cool exhibits to photograph (and bought too much, also as usual).

I thought this room in a microscope was a great idea!

I love the unusual room box.

Below: Nice Microscale house.

I love this Victorian house. I think it’s 1/4″ scale.

Another lovely smaller scale house.

Nice vignette.

House on stilts.

Haunted house: Note the skeletal hand in the window.

I have a thing for grungy bathrooms, unless it’s one I’m using.

Front and back of a cart–so pretty!

Love this scene of little boys building a plane out of crates. “Girls Keep Out!”

This is “Fox and a Hen House” by Connie Sauve. She is amazing!


And there’s the fox …

Another house by Connie.

I love looking at everyone’s minis. We all come up with different things–the creativity inspires me.

I bought a few fun things that I’ll post when I get everything sorted out.

Shopkeeper Doll class


I took a little break from building and went first on a cruise, then came home and took a doll making class from Fern Vasi today.

Made this guy:

She made the armature and head and cut out the fabric pieces. We dressed him and did his hair and accessories.

Started with this:

Here he is with pants and shirt on.

And done. I made his eyebrows and mustache too!

I love him! I might put him permanently in this room box which is under construction.

This is my first-ever attempt at a doll, so I’m pleased. I realize I only dressed him, I didn’t actually make him. But it was a lot of fun! Three hours flew by.

The Westville–Building the Shell


Note: When I talk about right and left walls, I mean as you’re looking at the house from the front.

The first step is to slide the right front wall onto the first floor. (I have masking tape around the door, because a door piece broke off when I punched it out. I’ll make it more stable when I add the actual door.)

Note that the Right side (on the right here) and the Left Front (on the left here) look almost identical. I had these pieces punched out and unlabeled, and it took me a few minutes (and staring at the schematics) to tell them apart. The left front has a notch on the side that slides over the second floor. (You’ll also see that my pretty cutouts on the bay window openings are a mess. They crumbled to nothing when I punched out the pieces.)

Below: The right side glued in place to the first floor and the right front wall. Masking tape holds while glue dries.

Back Foundation piece: Mine is warped (notice bend at the bottom).

I don’t think the foundation pieces in these kits are anywhere sturdy enough for the house. I like to add extra and thicker strips underneath for more support. (I talked about this also when I built the Fairfield and the Beacon Hill).

The foundation piece is 7/8″ wide, so I’ll have to find or build up strips to that width. I will put them in later, though, because A) I need wood strips; and B) I want to make sure I don’t block slots or other pieces on the bottom.

The back foundation piece goes along the back part of the first floor.

The next step is to put on the second floor. The instructions say to slide this into the slot on the front wall at a steep angle, and they’re not kidding. It’s next to impossible to slide this without holding it almost vertically to the front wall. (I seriously wrestled with it during the tape together, and learned.)

Once the second floor connects with the slots on the right wall and front wall, I found it easier to lay the house down on the back to keep it stable while everything dried.

I let each step dry for a couple hours each.

The partition wall is next. The long straight parts face the back of the house; the slanted part is the front.

Again, I had to kind of wrestle this in. It was easier to stabilize and let dry with the house lying on the right side.

Below: The next step is to insert the partition wall extension. I puzzled over this piece a long time, because there are no drawings or photos in the instructions as to where it goes.

I got a clue when I fitted it against the left front wall (the one that hasn’t been glued on yet!)

This extension fits between the left front piece and the right front piece, forming the wall of the front porch.

This is the extension piece glued in place on the first floor, butting against the right front wall. You can see the staircase end of the partition wall here.

Also note that the extension piece juts under the house to form part of the foundation.

I hope that’s clear. This piece really baffled me for a while.

Now to put on the left front piece!

The notch on the side of the left front goes over the second floor.

The left front piece in place below. You do have to wriggle it and wrestle it into place. Once again, lying it on the back and letting it dry like that helped.

At this point in the instructions, they say to stop and build the staircase.

You’ll noticed, I haven’t finished any of the walls yet–I am doing this differently from the Fairfield and Beacon Hill where I finished a lot before I glued together. I’m trying it this way because:

  1. I’m trying to minimize warpage
  2. Bare walls stick better when glued
  3. I want to use tape wiring so don’t want to put in wallpaper or paint beforehand.
  4. I’m not sure how I will decorate yet.

What I might do at this point is put a quick layer of latex paint on it. Latex paint is good at sealing the wood, and I’ll use a light color (the Almond Paste shade of white left over from the Beacon Hill) so that I can paint and wallpaper later.

I have a bunch of wallpaper / ceiling tiles / flooring in my closet, bits and pieces left over from other projects. This house is more or less my “use up my supplies” house. I’m having fun already!


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