Yet another 1/4 project–Shoe House

I bought this shoe house from Suzanne and Andrew’s minis a few years ago (see the link under “1/4″ Scale Resources”). They list it on their site as “semi-retired” so I hope they bring it back. It’s very cool. This image is from their website–I haven’t finished yet!


My “story” for this house is: It’s a shoe that mice found discarded in an attic, and decided to make into their house. These are evolved mice, so they built the house part onto the shoe and will furnish it.

The walls of the first and second floors are curved outward, a neat design. Because of that, the parts are of thick mat board.

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Windows are included in the kit. I love the Victorian look of these. My color scheme is going to be pink and white, a bit different from the colors used on the prototype.

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The walls are bent by carefully scoring and bending. Carefully! 🙂

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The two first-floor and two second-floor walls bent.

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The first floor partly put together. Flooring comes with the kit, though wallpaper does not.

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I didn’t have enough quarter-scale wallpaper scraps (or anything tiny scale) to wallpaper all the walls with the same pattern. Then I reminded myself, “They’re mice.” They’d grab anything they could find from the people whose house they live in. So different papers abound in the house.

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The walls being glued together. The inside is finished first.

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Inside the resin shoe. The space is small, and will be covered by the first floor. I plan to light it with an LED light, and make it the kitchen.

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The inside of the kitchen is viewed through the front door.

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And a window on the other side.

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More pictures as I continue!

Lisa’s Country Cottage–Part 5–Getting there

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Front roof with dormer is on, and porch roof is laid in place. Painted the roofs gray–debating whether to keep them like that or do shingles. I dislike shingling! I’ll think about it.

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For the back half of the roof, I decided to forgo the solid roof piece and make a light frame with acrylic (it’s wood strips around a piece of acrylic bought from Hobby Builder Supply). The enclosed roof made the attic dark, and I’ve crowded a lot of things in there. I wanted them to be seen.

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Here’s the whole thing from the back. You can see that I’ve set it on the foundation, but haven’t glued it on yet.

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The downstairs interior mostly how I want it. This photo shows the old sconce which is wired up ready to light.

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The porch will hold antiques too.

Next, I will finish hiding the wiring, then trim the rest, glue it to the foundation, and do finishing touches. I will probably put the whole thing on an 18×18 board, which will aid with a place for the lighting plus the front steps.

Then I’ll decorate the porch with more “antiques.” The fun part!

Southwest Porch Re-Done

The Southwestern Porch I made for my mother years ago started to fall apart, so I took it home, repainted, reglued, and touched up. I added a few new pieces, and built a case for it out of picture frames. Ordering custom-sized frames was a bit expensive, but I like the way they look. (If I’d known then what I know now, I’d have bought standard-sized frames first and made the room to fit.)

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Repainting the walls, regrouting and cleaning the tiles gave it a fresher look.

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This is the only photo that shows the right side. The right side and the bottom are pieces of plywood cut to fit. I used a picture frame on the back (wall with windows), with no glass, then did the front, top, and left side with frames plus glass (acrylic).

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The left side is not screwed or glued in. It fits between front and back walls, held in place with hooks. This way, if things get knocked over inside, it’s easy to remove the panel and put everything upright again.

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The case helps protect the inside from dust, and most importantly, my mom’s inquisitive cat. It also finishes off the box and makes it look nice.

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These beautiful hand-thrown pots are from Poco Pots. I collected from her every chance I could before she retired.

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A couple of souvenirs and a hand-painted Indian plate are not to scale, but this box is for enjoyment, so it’s all good.

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I added this Arts-and-Crafts shelf unit with more collected plants and pots.

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Chair is a commercial piece aged by me. We can pretend it came out of an old church, found at a rummage sale.

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Enjoy more photos of the finished box! Click for larger versions.

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Seen at Mini Show– Tree House

At the Small World Miniature show and sale this year, I was fortunate enough to see this tree house. If you shop at Hobby Builder Supply, you’ll recognize it as one that won a prize in their Creatin’ Contest this year. I’d seen it in the HBS catalog and emails, and then there it was in person! I think they did an awesome job. The tree isn’t real–it’s made of covered PVC pipe! The staircases and railings alone had to be a chore. Click for larger pics and enjoy!

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See more pics of this plus other winners (people have amazing imaginations!) at

Sparrow Cottage, Part 2

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The exterior of Sparrow Cottage (kit by Sue Herber). I didn’t take as many pics as I built the exterior, but it was pretty straightforward. (BTW, thought the English Yew Green was a bit dark, so I softened with a wash of very watery antique white, wiped with a paper towel.)

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The gable piece that forms the porch walls also is the backside and wall of the kitchen shelves (see previous post).

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The pots of greenery and window boxes with greenery are also provided. Everything you need! I dabbed the greenery lightly with different colors of craft pain to simulate blossoms (used pink, crimson, blue, and a touch of buttercream).

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The kit comes with stone paper that’s glued around the right side and front, and then around the foundation and into the porch (which is formed by the foundation and two pieces of wood that jut out, covered with stone paper to hide the seams).

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The most challenging part for me was painting and cutting all these 1/8″ wood strips to form the half-timbering. The wood strips are the only things not provided–I used three 24″ strips total for the house.

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But I got it done. A nice touch is the little birdhouse that goes under the eaves of the main gable–hence the name, Sparrow Cottage.

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Here is the bathroom set I bought from an artisan a few years ago at a local show. I’ve not had a 1/4 house with he space for it until now! I’m happy it’s found a home.

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Interior and exterior finished. Now I need to furnish the house! I will be building things and gathering accessories. And probably starting another kit (oh, wait, already have…posts on it forthcoming).

Quarter-inch project–New–Sparrow Cottage

Because I’m not happy with doing one project at a time, I pulled out another kit I purchased a bit a go. I’m also determined to make all these kits, so here we go! (As always, click pics for larger versions.)

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Sparrow Cottage is designed and sold by Sue Herber, who comes up with some lovely and unusual quarter-inch scale houses. I’ve already built two of hers, the Dutch House and the Arch de Provance

Sue sells her kits at shows and also on her website: I don’t see Sparrow Cottage anymore, so it must be gone, but I do see Honeysuckle Cottage, which I bought from her at the NAME show, which I will do next.

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First floor, foundation, and outside walls go together first, and base color put on the house. I couldn’t find the colors she suggests (paints change their colors often), but this is close. I used Ceramcoat English Yew Green for the base; the trim will be Apple Barrel brand Country Gray. (Will show the outside in the next post.)

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The kits come with everything–stone and shingles for the facade, windows and doors, and wallpaper and flooring paper for inside. I chose to use scribed flooring from Northeastern (The Quarter Source carries it; as do some hobby stores), which I stained before gluing in. The tile for the kitchen is paper included in the kit. I sealed it and gave it a shine with a light coat of Ceramcoat gloss varnish.

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Living room painted and papered. I didn’t use the paper that came with the kit–this is leftover, probably from another of Sue’s kits. I’ll use the paper from this kit in another project.

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The kitchen has a built-in china cabinet in the wall. Neat! It’s roughed together as the outside walls go on.

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Kitchen papered and nearing completion. You can see through the shelves, because the back wall of it is part of the exterior put on later.

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The staircase is not in the kit. This house has enough room that I wanted to experiment with stairs. So many 1/4″ house don’t have them! It came out rough, but this is an old, rickety cottage, so it fits. 🙂

The staircase is a bashed kit from Karen Carey ( She has several different stair kits). I glued each step to the back edge of the previous step, the whole thing supported by the wall.

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Staircase goes behind a false wall in the living room. I did that so I wouldn’t take up all my wall space–want a place to put furniture. Next pics are various angles of the staircase.

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As you can see, I finished of the staircase wall with a false wall and door that could lead to a closet or stairs to the basement.

I found it much easier to finish the entire downstairs, including putting in the doors, cornice, and curtains before gluing on the second floor. Not much space in there for my large hands.

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In fact, I finished the second floor wallpaper too, using the second floor as a guide to placement, before gluing in the second floor.

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Here, the second floor has been installed and roof already glued on. The roof parts are prepped with the shingle paper first, before the kit goes together. Much easier to put on finished roof pieces.

I made a couple changes to the second floor. First, I painted a lot instead of doing all wallpaper (and again, I used paper I already had).

Second, I moved the dividing wall way to the right. The original position was under the big slope of the roof which is kind of hanging out in space now. The staircase coming up would have made that room too small for my purposes, and I have a bathroom set itching to be used. So, moved the wall to the right, forming a small bathroom. The remaining open floor space will be a loft bedroom.

Painting instead of papering meant I had to cover a lot of raw edges, but small wood strips got the job done.

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The interior more or less finished. Next post will show the exterior going together and the completed house.

Quarter inch scale is a refreshing break for me–instead of spending a year (or ten) on a house, I spend a couple of weeks, then put it on display in my living room. Another motivation for finishing the kits is learning–I want to design a 1/4″ house of my own (someday).

Lisa’s Country Cottage–Part 4

I have been doing so much since I last posted! Still chugging away on the cottage, plus I got the hankering to do some 1/4″ projects. More on those in next posts.


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Tape wire systems confound me. I’ve tried to use them, but for some reason, I can’t quite get the hang of it. Part of the problem is, I like to decorate (e.g., wallpaper and paint) before I put the house together, to keep it from being a big mess and a pain. Tape wire requires you put the house together before you run the tape, and then put wallpaper etc on top of it.

I prefer a round wiring system with the plugs, extension cords, and power strip with switch and fuse from Houseworks. I do have to plan somewhat what lights I’m going to use and where beforehand, but I can add lamps by the simple procedure of drilling another hole in the wall.

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I don’t much like soldering or using heat shrink tubes either, but I’ve found a way to put things together using mini extension cords available from HBS (one-plug and three-plug). The hardest part (besides sticking tiny pins into the plugs when I need to run a wire through a hole) is hiding the wiring.

A nice feature of this little house is the porch roof. A flat porch ceiling will be covered by a sloped porch roof. In between, I’m sticking the wiring. I’ll find a way to make the porch roof removable, so I can fix problems or add / subtract lights.

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I’m using both indirect and direct lighting here. This is a Nova Lyte (warm white), which will light up the room. I will also use regular dollhouse lamps, but I’m finding that those, especially in older lamps, the light is weak. I’ve started to like indirect lighting enhanced by the warm glow of lamps.

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I have the pitcher-in-bowl lamp plugged in and ready to go.

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Some of the downstairs lamps will come out through the porch–wires will go under the foundation and up to the power strip on the other side (more pics when I have everything attached).

For “how” I’m doing it–very simply. I figure out where I’ll want the lamp inside (after I’ve finished painting or papering the walls). Lamps on tables or on the floor have to be placed in after the house or roombox goes together. Sconces can be attached after the wall is finished but before the wall is attached to the house (easier that way, in fact). Chandeliers are placed first, so that wiring can go up through the floor above–flooring can hide the wiring if necessary.

I run the wire as inconspicuously as possible to a hole I drill in the wall (using a 1/16 bit in my Dremel). Holes are drilled where they will be as hidden as I can make them. Wire goes through hole. On other side of the hole, I attach a two-pronged plug plug

This wire is usually too short to reach the power strip on its own, so I use either a single-plug extension cord

singleplugcord or a 3-plug cord if I have lights nearby (also cuts down on number of cords / plugs going out to the strip).


All the plugs then go to a power strip, which I usually locate at the base of the house. The strip easily hooks to a dollhouse transformer. It has a switch so that I can switch the lights on and off without having to plug and unplug the transformer. Also a fuse, so if I do anything stupid, it will pop and cut the lights.


I locate the power strip in back and cover it with something–I usually build a little cover out of wood strips, that looks like part of the foundation or a big garden bench or something.

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The lower room has plenty of lights–on the back tables plus a large sconce on the left wall that can’t be seen in this pic, but I’ll show it when I post final, final pics.

More as I do it!