Artist’s Loft

Last year at the Chicago show, I made this one-inch scale artist’s loft in a class. The basic box had been built for us, and then we learned faux bricks, aging techniques, lighting, and how to make the mullions for the window (much harder than it appears, because you have to cut subtle angles to compensate for the slant of the window).

I filled the box with odds and ends minis I’ve collected over the years.

The painting (which I did not paint, but it’s an oil painting), is of a bouquet of roses and a cup of tea. I just happened to have a bouquet of roses in a vase and a cup of tea. Instant still life.

You can see the faux brickwork here (made of cork). I aged and stained the table (from Hobby Builders Supply) and added art accessories I’ve been collecting (from Etsy and shows). The drafting triangles and cutting mat (on bottom shelf) are by an artist from Mexico who does fabulous work.

Corner filled with odds and ends. The chair is a commercial one I’d aged for another project. The trunk is a kit.

I chose the wallpaper from scraps provided in the class–I’m saying it’s a woman artist in the loft, and she painted the wallpaper herself.

Behind the scenes: The window is lit up with an LED strip of white or “outdoor” light. The wires from the closet light (an incandescent bulb) join the LED wires into the tape wire. The blocks under the window are pieces of scrap wood glued down for extra support for the window wall.

A good class, not too hard (though time-consuming, one and a half days), but i had a nice piece, mostly finished by the end. I fixed it up with my stuff, and recently repaired the wiring (which had come apart during transport).

It looks nice sitting on the fireplace mantel in my living room.

 

Beacon Hill: New Chandelier. Westville: Finished interior

I added a new chandelier to the living room of the Beacon Hill. I purchased this from Luminations by Mr. K (Tim Kraft) at the Good Sam show last October.

Easier to see what it looks like with the light off.

I took the chandelier that had been here, one I made, and moved it to the Westville:

That lets me segue to the Westville: I have now finished all the interior moldings (baseboards, cornices, and other trim) and trimmed the raw edges of the house.

The closet under the stairs is ready for junk.

I’m going to do the outside landscaping and then move in! This house will be an antique shop, a nice jumble of finds.

You might notice that I changed the appearance of this blog. I wanted something a little cleaner and easier to read. I think I like this theme, but I’ll see! Don’t be surprised if it changes again. 🙂

Westville: Stonework practice–Painting

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.

More Nob Hill and Mini Framed Art tutorial

Before I could put the roof on the Quarter-inch scale Nob Hill and hook up the electricity, I had to furnish the entire second floor.

I needed to finished the bathroom, bedroom, and room in the front–so here’s what I did.

Bedroom before I put the roof on.

Finished with roof and lights. You can see the front room, which I decided to keep simple, like an extension of the bedroom.

The bathroom is a kit created for this house by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis. I added the towels, bottles, decals, and plants from my own stash and leftovers from other kits.

A peek at the bathroom through the window.

For the pictures: I search the net for vintage pictures or classic paintings and then size them for the house I need. I measure real pictures and posters and calculate the dimensions (easy for 1″ scale). These are quarter inch scale, and about 1″ x 3/4″ and 1″ x 1/2″.

I line these images up in a Word doc file (inserting each image and making columns), and then print on card stock using my color printer (when it has ink, which it usually doesn’t). I do many of these at a time and keep them in a folder. As you can see, I have more than one copy of the same picture, so if I mess it up, I have a second one handy.

For the frame, I cut pieces of molding that I’ve stained or painted. In this case, since it’s so small and informal, I cut straight pieces of 1/16 inch wood strips, stained them, and then glued them around the picture. For bigger pictures, I will use picture-frame molding and miter the corners or, even easier, buy a frame and size the picture to fit before I print it.

I glue the frames right to the cardstock and then cut it out with an X-acto knife.

This makes for quick and easy art to stick on the walls.

So now the Nob Hill has a roof and lights! Next, I need to furnish the downstairs.

New Projects

I haven’t posted much lately, not because I haven’t been doing minis, but because I’ve been writing so much I don’t want to be anywhere near my computer when I’m done. After a day of my laptop, I want to go analog, so I paint, glue, cut, no computer in sight.

But … I’ve built a couple of kits that I enjoyed and am working on another as we speak.

For Halloween, I completed this spice tin (quarter-inch scale). Click photos for larger versions.

A fun little project that introduced me to another way to light minis (because I broke the switch on the battery box in the kit–this is typical of me).

Anyway, the kit came with a lighting kit–LEDs plus battery holder and switch from Evan Designs. This is a cool, easy way to backlight minis, especially great for the smaller scales. When I broke my switch, I easily ordered another one straight from Evan Designs, whose website showed me all the LED lights and switches I could buy! Very inexpensive too.

Christmas Project

I realized I didn’t have enough Christmas minis (I have one vignette and that’s it), so I made this:

This is a microscale “Secret House” kit from Robin Betterley. I have the kit for the interior furniture, but haven’t put it together yet.

I’m working on another Christmas project, a (one-inch scale) Christmas Peddler’s wagon (again from Robin Betterley–my husband got me a gift certificate last year, and I went nuts.)

I’ll post pictures when I’m done. It’s teaching me how to put together a wheeled vehicle, which is very clever.

I also put together another house kit (quarter inch), which I’ll show in the next post.

 

Older Projects–Paris game room

I’ve been seriously busy this last month on work and travel, but I’ve been updating previous projects, mostly upgrading the electrical systems.

I built this games room a while back–the story is: A room in an old apartment in Paris on an upper floor, either in the 18th century or owned by someone who collects antiques.

I’ve changed and added things to this room over the years. This time I added a chessboard and pieces (I did not make; I purchased), and added an LED bright white light to shine behind the window.

I’m very proud of the gaming tables (below), because I made both myself.

The backgammon table came from instructions in The Scale Cabinetmaker (Vol 17, Issue 3). I made the playing pieces, the dice–everything!

The card table I made from plans in a book called Reproducing Period Furniture and Accessories in Miniature (I found it at a used book site somewhere). The cards are laid out in a game of piquet.

The decor on the walls are retro tarot cards (I think from the 19th century).

I put new LED light above a hole in the top of the box–replacing a fluorescent that didn’t do much. Now you can kinda make out the rooftops of Paris. I coated the window in clear nail polish to give it an old, bubbled glass look.

This is one of my favorite rooms, and I enjoy returning to it.

Older Projects: Shoe House–Finishing Touches

Now that my obsession with the Beacon Hill has been satisfied, I’m returning to older projects and cleaning them up or adding finishing touches.

I returned to the Shoe House (Quarter-Inch Scale) to add decoration and furniture to the downstairs rooms plus overhaul the electric system. It had become disconnected and a tangled mess during my move.

I soldered! I learned this in class at the Chicago show, and now I have my own soldering iron and everything (cats beware…)

Scary stuff! But I am finding that the connections are stronger and more reliable. As in, the lights work!

I had to repair almost every connection, and add new lead wires. I got the green connection junction and battery box from Lighting Bug. It’s an LED kit. For each fixture one wire feeds to the positive, one to the negative lead wire (red for positive, black negative), and those wires are screwed into positive and negative terminals in the junction box. That is hardwired (by the manufacturer) into the black battery / switch box. I now just flip the switch on the black box, and the lights come on!

The kitchen is in the bottom of the shoe, only visible through the door and window.

I added all kinds of decorative touches (pictures, plants, dishes, books, pillows, throws, various accessories) to the living / dining room.

I tend to save accessories that come with other kits that I didn’t use with the original kit, which help scatter finishing touches throughout the house.

Upstairs I added pictures, pillows, nightstand accessories, and a folded throw at the bottom of the bed (you can barely see it–it’s pink).

Fixing the lighting systems lets me get a better photo of the bathroom, which, like the kitchen, is only visible through door and window.

 

I’m pleased with how everything has turned out.