New Projects

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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: Shoe House–Finishing Touches

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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.

Beacon Hill: Left Side–Chandelier

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I have chandelier!

I made this myself with findings from JAR / JAF and Cirkit candle holders and bulbs. It was a challenge!

Can’t remember if I showed the garage light, but here it is. (I purchased this one.)

I had to dial way back on minis to finish writing a book and turn it in, but I’ve returned to finishing the Beacon Hill.

Not much left! I need to make a chandelier for the middle floor room on this side, then put in floors, trim it up, and I’m done!

I’m gathering my thoughts on making this big house and I’ll do a tips / lessons learned post on it later.

Beacon Hill–Catching up

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I’ve been working on the Beacon Hill since I returned from Chicago, in between working hard on about four books at once. I have made some progress.

The left bay window is finished and installed. You can see I have much cleaning up to do.

I also finished the inside of the garage (painted) and added a light.

This gadget is a junction splice between the tape wiring and the power supply. It can be used with LED lights (the black and red posts where wires can be placed), or simply screwed into the tape (which is what I did). I bought this from Carl Sahlberg at http://www.cr2s.com.

A bad photo, but this shows how the inline switch plugs in. The black cord leads to the transformer / power supply.

It works!

Roughing in floor and staircase.

Floor stained and installed. I need to finish it.

I’m trying to decide whether to go with the piano …

Or the harpsichord. I like how they both look.

Staircase is almost finished. I had to take it apart to stain the treads and railings while having everything else white. I broke four of the spindles and had to replace with Houseworks ones. I’ll show more of the staircase when I’m done with it.

Moving to the other side … I have much of the outside trimmed and finished.

  

Playing with furniture placement.

I decided to switch the bathroom to the top floor. The fixtures fit well in here, better than they did in the second floor room. Oh well. They match the wallpaper too.

The other side of the top floor will continue the bathroom. The washing and sitting area.

First floor / ground floor. Entrance hall will double as a sitting room.

This is my reasoning behind building the tall bay window extension–so I’d have more room for furniture! Not sure that the sofa in the window will stay, but it might.

Upstairs will have another sitting area / writing room. I plan to add a desk, either in the bay window or behind the staircase.

This is now the bedroom. Not much space, but it could be cozy. Everyone has a mannikin with a tutu in their bedroom, right?

Kitchen is still empty. I keep putting in the stuff I have for it, taking it out, debating arrangements. I’ll get there.

That’s it for now. Sandy has to make sure all is well beneath, though.

It’s definitely getting there!

Chicago Show–Workshops

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To say I had a blast at Chicago International is an understatement. I hope to return next year.

I could not stay the entire week because I had to do a reader event in Milwaukee, so on Friday afternoon, I left (after shopping until I dropped), and drove from Chicago north.

Workshops I took during the week:

Magic of the drill press with Tom Walden. Who knew? You can use a drill press for routing, carving, shaping–all kinds of things!

We made a table, which I did not put together all the way. I need to fix and finish it. I took Tom’s beginning class, but would love to go to the advanced class another time.

A radio made by Tom Walden using a drill press for everything except the knobs. (An example he passed around in class). Behind it you can see the holly and ebony table I’m working on.

Second class: Electricity!! Carl Sahlberg (Creative Reproductions 2 Scale: http://www.cr2s.com) taught this one. I of course went to his table the next day and bought all kinds of supplies to try out, including strings of LED Christmas lights.

We made a working fan with a light!

All the fun tools! We didn’t keep these–but all supplies for the class were provided. I learned to solder! Much easier than I thought, though I’m sure I’ll set the cats on fire if I do it at home.

The basic fan put together. The blades were laser cut for us. The board with electric tape was for us to practice laying and working with tape runs.

Bottom of the fan. The light socket has been threaded through (you can just see the tiny socket waiting for a light).

Lightbulb installed with globe over it.

It works!!!!

These two workshops were all day (9-5) with a short break for lunch. Intense, but I learned so much.

In my next post, I’ll give highlights of the show and things I bought. Before I went I feared I’d end up broke and having to sell the cats, but happily I found many lovely things without going over my budget.

 

Beacon Hill: Left side continued

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I’ve glued together the left and left front walls and put in the second floor. I went all over it with a thin coat of latex to seal the wood and then started laying in the electric tape.

As you can see, I cut a hole in the second floor for the stairs I’ll put in myself.

Added the third floor and finished putting in the tape wiring. This used a 15 ft. roll of the tape.

I decided against a staircase going to floor three so I could have more room on the floor for furniture. I’m thinking I’ll leave two sides open, so more can be seen, which means I’ll have to put in columns to brace the unsupported corners.

What I learned from building the first half: Glue together the walls before painting and decorating. Warpage is greatly reduced. You can make paper patterns of the walls for wallpaper and install after running in the tape wiring (if using tape wiring).

What I learned from other projects: Bending the tape wire in 90-degree turns is much faster and easier than splicing. I show more details on tape wiring here: https://jennsminis.wordpress.com/2015/08/10/half-scale-bungalow-lights/

Now to decorate walls and ceilings, make and put in lights. I’m going to attempt some ornate chandeliers. I’m excited to be progressing!

Beacon Hill: Trimming interior and building outer wall.

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I did go back to the Beacon Hill and finish trimming the last room on the top floor, and the secret tower room.

This space will continue the bedroom–be a sitting area.

I had to do a ton of trimming here: Around the corners of the tower ceiling, the corners of the back wall, plus picture rail-like trim to cover slots, the raw edge of the divider wall, plus the usual baseboards and cornices.

This photo shows more how it will be one big room.

I trimmed up the tower room as well, including the window–which the kit has no interior trim for as this room is not supposed to be seen from the inside. The floor is scrapbooking paper–I was feeling whimsical. Maybe it’s an interesting floor cloth. I’ll do more with this room later.

All right–now that the interior is trimmed, time to build the outer wall for the side I cut away and trim the exterior.

I realized that before I could build the wall, I needed to build another wall sconce. The rear of the front hall is dark (chandelier is pretty but doesn’t generate much light). I need a matching one to the first one I built.

Out came my findings and paint. This sconce will go with the chandelier and other sconce already done. Painting the finding.

Gluing together the back, mirror, and arm with candle socket.

Finished sconce (which does light–I checked!)

The base wall. From this I will build a two-story bay window. The sconce had to be installed before the wall went up.

The base wall glued in place. Now I need to build the floors, sides, roof, and outer wall that will hold the windows.

By the way, I did finish the Creekside Studio, one of my interim projects. I’ll post those photos in the next post.

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