Way Cool Miniatures

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I want to share some of the coolest minis I’ve found. The first is a box of Lord of the Rings books and maps in Spanish. I bought this from the artisan (who is from Spain) on an online sale that was chock full of wonderful things. I had to restrain myself.

(Señor Anillos means, in literal translation, “Ring Lord”)

The side of the box with the cast of the film version.

Inside are the three main books of the series (Fellowship; Two Towers; Return of the King), plus a secret drawer!

The books are printed throughout. This one is The Fellowship of the Ring.

Inside the secret drawer all all kinds of maps! There is one from the Hobbit and also the ones that lead to Mount Doom.

The craftsmanship on this set is wonderful. I first read The Lord of the Rings when I was about twelve, and nerded out on it big time.

This set satisfies both the nerd in me as well as the miniaturist. It really is beautiful.

Next is the Metamorphic Desk by Ferd Sobol.

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Backing up–When I went to Europe a couple years ago, one reason I booked the trip we did was because it ended in Basel, giving me a day of free time to go to the Miniature Museum there. (I know how to plan…) I’ve posted photos of what I found there elsewhere (Basel Miniature Museum (Spielzeug Welten Museum)

There they displayed a metamorphic desk:

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I loved it! When I saw that Ferd Sobol had built one, I ordered one from him when I attended the Chicago show last year. He makes limited editions and I knew that when they were gone, they’d be gone and I’d regret it forever if I didn’t grab one, so I indulged. Hey, I work hard. I should have a beautiful desk, right?

Here it is in the left half of my Beacon Hill. The chair pulls out, the two halves slide open, and a drawer compartment pops up. (The drawer contains secret letters!)

I got to choose the wood, the inlay design, and the fabric for the chair.

You can see it a little better here, and below:

It’s beautiful, and the workmanship is superb (he is brilliant). Here’s a link to a video about the desk, from Ferd Sobol’s site–you can see it better than in my photos.

These two are so far my coolest minis. Both are displayed in the left half of the Beacon Hill, which is my “show house.”

Beacon Hill, Left Side–Interior pretty much done!

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After taking a break from the Beacon Hill, I was inspired to go in and finish the left side’s interior furnishings. Except for the garage, I pretty much have it how I want it. Click photos for larger versions.

The first floor music room.

Second floor living room / study, with gorgeous desk by Ferd Sobol. I knew I’d kick myself for not getting this desk that I absolutely love, and I am so glad I went ahead and bought it. It’s amazing, and I’ll do a separate post on it.

The bedroom. The showpiece in this room is the bed by June Clinkscales. Isn’t that beautiful?

June also made the bed stairs, which I turned into a nightstand.

I filled this house with the beautiful things I’ve been collecting either at shows or through auctions. It’s my fancy house.

More shots below! Click for larger pictures.

Below is a cellarette by J. Guthiel and a Lord of the Rings kind of collection of books and maps in Spanish. I’ll put that in a separate post too. (Way Cool Miniatures)

One final thing I did is to use posts to support the side of the house that I cut away. These are Houseworks porch posts, painted and cut to fit.

As you can see, I have much more to do on the garage. I’m going for woodshop-y clutter. I’m looking for and collecting more tools and benches / shelving. The car is a little too small (I think it’s 1:18 scale), but I like Mustangs so I’ll try to make it work.

There we have it! I’ll do a future post on the right side of the house, which too is almost done.

More Nob Hill and Mini Framed Art tutorial

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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.

Chicago Show–Stuff

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Showing a selection of beautiful things I found at the Chicago show.

An overview of the goodies.

Wendy Swale’s pillows and specimen (shells) tray. I’ve been purchasing Wendy’s pillows for years (have them all over my dollhouses), and it was exciting to meet her. She is the sweetest lady! I couldn’t resist these pillows and also her tiny paperweights and minerals (below).

Mirror in background is by June Clinkscales.

This “fossil” I got from Wendy is paint! From the car factories in Detroit when the cars were spray painted. The overspray built up on the machines, layers and layers, and now these pieces are collected. Apparently yellow is highly sought after.

Another artisan I was excited to meet was Troy Schmidt of Red Dragon Pottery. I’ve been admiring his work a long time. I purchased a Japanese tea bowl, a pot with wooden handle, and an ewer with a dragon spout. Lovely.

This beautiful Celtic knot by Diane Almeyda can be worn as a pendant or hung in a dollhouse window. Best when the light is behind it. I chose this particular one because it goes with my “Shifters Unbound” series of books (the Shifters wear collars with the Celtic knot.)

I love this tutu! From Julie Stewart at Aristocratic Attic.

Laura Crain had a ton of things at her table I could have glommed. I restrained myself and bought this pretty chair and pot of hydrangeas. I am thinking of putting the chair in the bathroom of the shabby chic side of the Beacon Hill.

The standing mirror is by Pete Acquisto. Not only is he very talented, he’s also the nicest guy. Just a regular person (sure), who happens to make amazingly exquisite miniature silver pieces. I love his work.

Couldn’t resist the beautiful captain’s desk, made by Bruce Phillips (BHP Fine Miniatures). It has several compartments and secret drawers.

You can just see the pulls of the hidden drawers beneath the tray. They really are there.

Two Brooke Tucker-style pieces. I liked the bling on the lamp. And bowls for the cat who has everything.

June Clinkscales is another artisan who is lovely in person. I took a picture of this bed I fell in love with then said, what the heck, and purchased.

The color and style will fit perfectly into the top floor room of the left side of the Beacon Hill (which will look much better once I have a floor and a window and other details …)

Last but not least–electrics!

From Carl Sahlberg, whose electricity class I took, I have power supply, circuit boards, and LED Christmas lights, both in color and warm white. I might use the warm white in one of the Beacon Hills.

I was a little intimidated by the circuit boards, but they’re very simple. I’ll have more on that later.

I did make one other purchase (or at least a down payment) from Ferd Sobol. When I get that all paid off and in my hands (or on a table touching it very carefully), I’ll do a presentation. 🙂

Fun projects #2 and #3

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More fun. This time two simple projects:

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Again I found these plans in The Scale Cabinetmaker. This lounge chair is made of straight cuts of wood with a little drilling and pinning. It really folds and unfolds, and the back can be adjusted (note the grooves in the bottom back where the rung fits.)

I did not make the grill–it’s there for effect!

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These pieces are from the Realife Miniatures Victorian parlor kit from ages and ages ago. I’d made it as a teenager and the set went in the first version of The Big House. When I was able to afford better furniture, they of course got put in a box.

I decided to see if I could salvage them. I took off the kit’s original fabric, refinished the outsides, and reupholstered in some nice jacquard-like fabric. The rocking chair’s fabric is a little different (a cotton paisley), but the pieces look nice together.

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For the table, I had to bend a new piece of 1/32 basswood, and refinish everything. But now the table stands square (it rocked before), and everything looks lovely!

Now I have a nice furniture set, and no house to put it in. Hmm….

Fun Project #1

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I’ve been working on some fun projects since I last posted.

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I made this trunk on stand from scratch. Found the plans in The Scale Cabinetmaker, I believe volume 4, issue 1. I’m always looking for unusual things to build, because I figure the usual stuff–chairs, couches, tables–I can find commercially. I thought this project wouldn’t be too difficult. (It was and wasn’t.)

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I modified the lid, because I didn’t have the right thickness of wood. The plans called for the lid to be carved out of a 5/8 piece, both inner and outer sides carved. I didn’t have the tools either to do this, so I built a regular lid with four sides, soaking and curving a 1/32 piece of mahogany for the top of the lid. Then I covered it with “leather.” (How I made the faux leather below.)

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The trunk opens to reveal an interior with a lift-out tray, which I covered with scrapbooking paper (the paper looks a little like a Monet painting, and pasted in, it looks like old leather).

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I drilled holes and put in every single one of the brass nails (from Houseworks) in all four sides myself. Front and back had 15 each, sides 9 each.

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I’m proud of the stand because it actually worked. I had grand intentions of making the cabriole legs myself, but then I found premade legs of the exact size I needed (I mean exact) in my stash. I figured the universe was telling me to use them, so I sanded and shaped them a little.

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The back legs, however, I cut myself on a scroll saw. I’m pleased that they turned out right and both the same!

I am also pleased because the plan called for the bottoms of the sides to be rabbeted and the bottom fitted into the groove. I’d never rabbeted joins before, so I learned a new skill! I think the added work on the joinery made the stand solid and sturdy.

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The plans called for real leather, but I didn’t have enough, nor did I want to waste it if it didn’t work. So I made a lot of faux leather, very simply.

The base is mulberry paper. This can be found at art supply stores or other places that carry handmade paper, or online. This paper is thin and inexpensive.

I laid out a large piece of mulberry paper on waxed paper. I mixed burnt umber oil paint with artist glazing medium. (I used water-cleanup oil paints which are both cheaper than oils and dry faster. The glazing medium is a common commercial brand I found at Michaels.)

I painted the paper (one side only, because the other side would be glued down), and hung it to dry overnight. The paper turns out soft and supple, looking and feeling like leather.

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The hasp and loop for the lock I cut out of a .005 brass sheet. My first time working with brass. Fun. The hinges were Houseworks.

I’m very pleased with the result!

Lisa’s Country Cottage–Part 3

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The fun part–stocking the antique shop. (Click on photos for larger versions).

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I’m still working on the structure, but I wanted to stop and place everything on the inside now that the three main walls and the porch are put together. You can see where I wired in the coach light from outdoors–that will be hidden by a hollow beam.

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The wraparound porch will house more antiques.

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It was fun to go through all my boxes of *stuff* and pick out things I’ve always liked but so far have had nowhere to put. I’ve got old, new, and blue–I don’t think I borrowed anything, unless it was from houses I remodeled.

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I bought the plates on the Welsh dresser from Ginger Landen-Seagal (I’m sure I butchered that spelling) at the NAME show in Tucson. They are made of paper! Punched out and gloss coated. A great way to fill a cabinet.

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The owners sell everything in this antique shop, including the Shaker table and bench the owners use as their checkout counter. The table, bench, and ladder came from the auction last fall.

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The tiny tops in the pink bowl really spin. They were a table gift at NAME.

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The owners keep track of sales on the very modern laptop, but use an old-fashioned land line phone to take orders from their customers.

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Another shot of the plates and things on the dresser.

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Here’s an example of how I mashed up old and new. The lowboy and the mirror above it I put together from House of Miniature kits ages ago. The lowboy still looks great–a lesson on what a good finish can do for furniture. The mirror was sad and falling apart–I took it to pieces, restained it and replaced the old, heavy glass with a lightweight thin mirror. You can see that I repainted the Chrysnbon Victorian chair and gave it a crisp new cushion.

The lamps are old: The rose shaded kerosene lamp still works–I have wired it in. The other two are old lamps from who-knows-where (non-working). The spatterware is from the boxes I bought with The Blue House, but the pink bowls are a recent purchase I made on Etsy from MiniatureMakerSupply. The china cat is a bead I bought from a bead store in Sedona, the minerals on the little stands from the goody bag from NAME.

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On the other side of the shop is another table full of goodies. The tea set is Rueter, the lamp a dollhouse shop purchase, the table, another House of Miniatures kit I painted. The pitcher and bowl on the floor is one of the very first purchases I made for a dollhouse, way way back when I was about twelve or thirteen.

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More old and new with cheap mixed with pricey. The stool is a Bespaq harp stool, with a leather book by Marilyn Crockett on top of it. The tavern sign I bought from Laura Craine at NAME. No idea where the little aspic molds came from, or if they’re even meant to be minis.

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Old office chair (a commercial piece), with various objects I found in my supply boxes–a carpetbag, plastic flip-flops, the hats from the Chrysnbon hall tree kit.

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On the dresser is leftover, mismatched silverware tossed onto the decorative plates.

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The round pillows on the old Victorian sofa came from a coat my mother had when I was a wee, small child (she called it her “car coat.”)

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On the lower shelf of the dresser are more plates, a basket full of the blue spatterware, and a fish poaching dish.

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Upstairs!

I crammed the tiny attic by leaving the bedstead bare and putting things in the space inside it.

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Within the bedstead (another House of Miniatures kit) is a House of Miniatures three-drawer dresser, ladderback chairs I bought in Hong Kong, a plant table I’d had in The Big House bathroom, topped with a hatbox, which came free in the goody bag at NAME.

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On top of the dresser is another old oil lamp (non-working), again one of my earliest dollhouse purchases, along with two kits I put together specifically for this shop project.

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This neat little toiletries box was a mega-round-table kit by Lisa Engler at NAME. (I bought another from her, called Napoleonic influence, which you can see in my post here: https://jennsminis.wordpress.com/2013/08/06/what-i-made-at-name/

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This is a spool box kit I got from Debbie of Dragonfly International at a mini shows. Fun and easy–I put it together while watching TV one evening.

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More old + new. The jewelry box is a Rueter Porcelain piece I got from Hobby Builder Supply only a few weeks ago (hey, I had bonus dollars to spend). It’s on top of a “painted” trunk from the Realife miniatures colonial bedroom kit. I didn’t put the trunk together–the ladies I bought the Blue House from did.

The Clare-Bell Brass Works wine decanter and goblets set I bought in the 80s. To say it was tarnished is an understatement, but doesn’t it look pretty now? The secret? Lemon juice and salt! Who knew?

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A very familiar paperback novel sits on the trunk as well.

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Ah, The Care and Feeding of Pirates! That has to be my all-time favorite cover from that publisher. Though when I wrote the book, it wasn’t that small!

I didn’t create this mini book, however. It was TreeFeathers, selling it on Etsy. She’d made a set of pirate romance novels, and mine happened to be one of them! I was alerted to this fact by a blogger/reviewer of romance novels–I thought it was so cool I bought the set!

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The porch. Plenty will fit on the side porch, which I haven’t finished yet.

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An overview of the downstairs room.

I fixed up most of the lighting yesterday (and it all works, whew), though I need a few more supplies before I’m done with that. I’m using round wiring and hiding it under the porch roof. I’ll show how I do that in a later post. (Need to take pics).

Almost done with this house! The structure itself is not very complicated–recommend for a beginner. Though the house kit is off the market now, Houseworks has similar ones.

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