Cool Auction Find #2–Quarter-inch scale English Cottage


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In my last post, I said that I’d bought this English Cottage at auction “accidentally.” True. When this lot came up, no one was bidding on it. I thought “I’ll click one bid and kind of get things going.” Click. Congratulations! You have won the bidding! Next lot . . .. Oops.

I wasn’t that bothered–the picture showed a cute 1/4 scale house, and I could put it on the long table behind my sofa with my other 1/4-scale houses. What I didn’t realize was it’s on a base that’s about 2 feet x 2 feet!

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As you can see. But as I started “walking” around the property, gluing back bits that had come loose in shipping, I began to appreciate the amazing creativity that went into building and landscaping this house. Scroll for pics and click for closeups!

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The tree on the right side of the house has a swing for fun on summer days.

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The front door is approached through a cottage garden and stone walkway.

English cottage front door

An arch with purple flowers outlines the front door.

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A rose climbs around the front door, blue hyacinths (or maybe hydrangea or irises) grow under the window, and a pot of geraniums perches on the windowsill.

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View of the right side of the house from the vine-covered stone wall that separates house from road.

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Following the wall around to the right side of the house.

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Pull-back view of right side of house.

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Going around the tree with swing, we see that this family not only has a lovely flower garden, they have an extensive vegetable garden as well.

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Looking at the veg garden from the back. Hard to get a closeup, but they have carrots and lettuce growing here. I puzzled a bit over the stick trellis as I glued it back together, then I realized–they’re bean poles! Growing up in cities in arid climates, I’d never seen one before. Now I know why we refer to thin people as “bean poles”. (See? I learned something via miniatures.)

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The inhabitants of the house have a garden shed, complete with tools (which you can see leaning on the door in the previous pictures). They also have a well.

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The covered well, complete with rope and bucket.

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Pull-back view of the left back side of the house.

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Photo is a little blurred, but behind the clump of trees on the left side is a little pond with a swan and a bench beside it. Another nice refuge on a hot summer day.

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Continuing around the left side back to the front.

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Left front garden. An extensive flower garden!

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A closeup of the brilliant flowers. I don’t usually like figures in my scenes, but these two–the woman and kneeling gardner–go well with the house.

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The front door. Let’s go inside.

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The interior was a bit difficult to photograph, which is why I don’t have many pics, but click them to see what you can. The walls are finished with “whitewash”, with little pictures on them. The furniture is cozy and overstuffed. Most of the furniture is plastic–this house was done in the late 70s, early 80s, I think, and the plethora of quarter-inch things we have now wasn’t available. But the furniture is very well finished and goes with the house.

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Floor is nice stone. If you can see the skirted table on the right, it has breakfast waiting with a tea cozy over the teapot. Plants decorate the deep windowsill.

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Upstairs is a big bedroom with a bathroom in the corner.

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I love the detail of the water heater over the bathtub. Before houses had one big heater for the whole house, each appliance had its own heater to heat up just enough water for what you needed (bathing or doing dishes in the kitchen). The house I lived in in Germany had separate water heaters in bath and kitchen, which had to be filled with water and the heat turned on in advance.

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The bathroom corner is screened from the bedroom (I removed the screen in other pictures so you could see where the stairs came up).

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Bedroom side with cozy four-poster waiting to be snoozed in.

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Here’s a closeup of the thatch and chimney. I like how the chimney is crumbling and crooked.

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The thatch is made of some kind of straw-like material, I’m not sure what. It’s well done, with good texture.

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The stone wall that goes all the way around the house is incredibly detailed. Hours/days/weeks/months of work went into this house and garden. Remember, this is all quarter-inch scale (1/4″ = 1 foot), so it’s tiny!!

This house sits in my workshop on a shelf, and since I’m in my workshop room every day, I get to gaze at it. I’ve fallen in love with this little house. A happy accident!

Landscaping Weekend


Mini-ing this weekend was re-doing the landscaping on the 1/2-inch scale Cotswold Cottage (in addition to more windows! Have only three more, woot!)

I didn’t like how the original landscaping of the Cotswold Cottage came out, so I pulled off the glued-on foam and the plastic bricks and redid everything. Used a grass sheet instead, and clumped green foilage for bushes.


The back patio and side yard. French doors lead to living room; back door leads to kitchen.


Little seating area outside back door.


Back door (to kitchen)


Added new potting bench. Want to fill out this bench with more accessories (dirt, flat of plants, and so forth)


Cattails grow outside the kitchen’s imaginary wall.

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Full shot of front door.


Front of house (front door) and patio. Under the lean-to is the electric works.


Right side of house with back door and patio. 


While I was landscaping I took time to fill two pots with greenery and flowers to hide a spot outside the Blue House B&B.


This is the bedside table of The Big House. (Didn’t do anything with this, but I thought it looked pretty, so snapped a pic.) 

Blog note: I added a search box and a category drop down to the blog so it would be easier to find posts and info.

One-Day Project #1–Half-Scale Trailer landscape

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Sometimes I like to do a mini project that takes only an afternoon, not weeks (or months)! I finally found a display box the right size for the half-scale trailer and fixed up a little scene. (Husband actually spied box in The Container Store–he has a good eye; I totally missed it.)



This trailer obviously has been here a while (as indicated by the dead grass beneath and the weeds growing around the rocks behind the wheels and hitch, not to mention the blocks holding up the other end). Maybe it’s a retired couple who have decided not to go anywhere too quickly. Why, when you can read a book and sip iced tea in the sunshine?




Half-Inch Fairfield Landscaping / Wiring experiments


I’ve been quiet on this blog because I’ve been crazy busy in my non-mini life . . . finishing a novel, writing and publishing a novella, going over copyedits of another novel. All in three weeks.

Today, whew, get to talk about minis!

About one year ago, I pulled the first parts of the Fairfield out of the box! This month, I finished it!

Base: In the few minutes I got away from writing in the last couple weeks, I bought a piece of plywood and cut it to size (18 x 18)  for the base of the Fairfield. (Cut it myself, thank you!) Here it is half painted and waiting for landscaping.

Right (open) side of the house. The wiring is one great big mess–am using Houseworks plugs and power strip, an  easy and convenient system, but an eyesore. The only reason it looks neat here is because I wrestled the wires into submission.

Solution? Build a cover. I did this for the Blue House, so gave it a try here. It’s amazing how much better everything looks with a piece of wood over it.

Nice and neat. I’ll figure out a way to hide the transformer lead wire too. As you can see in the above photo, I’ve started furnishing and accessorizing the kitchen.

Landscaping: I want realistic landscaping but I don’t want it to be too fussy. Also, I’m constrained for space. I need this to fit on a shelf in my living room. So the base is fairly small (18 x 18). I decided to go with brick paper to form a walkway to and around the porch, and grassy areas which I’ll fill with flowerbeds, shrubs, trees, whatever.

The flower bed won’t stay there. I’ve put it here out of Temptation’s way (my cats: Temptation 1 and Temptation 2)

But yay! I’m pretty much done with the building and decorating of this house inside and out. (Furnishing and things to come, of course). I’ll try to write up my thoughts of the whole process and post it soon.

Cherrydale Exterior

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I’m slowly finishing the exterior of my Cherrydale. Front porch with wreath I made on the door. Chair w/ cat I bought at an “estate sale” at the Mini Time Machine museum (100% of proceeds went to the museum). Obviously chair was made for Halloween, but I thought it would look cute on the front porch.

View of porch and landscape from the side. Sign says “The Blue House Bed & Breakfast.”

Side porch.

Back (kitchen) door looking through back gate.

The whole front. I plan to put in a porch swing. When I took pics, I realized front door needs a step up. Plus the extension wing looks a little bare. Needs vines or shutters or both.

Details of the side garden.

Another detail of the garden. Click to enlarge.

Pat Balazs Mini Cottages

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I always love the articles about Pat Balazs’s houses that appear from time to time in Miniature Collector. I want to crawl into the pages and explore beyond the photos in the magazine. Bless her, she has a website! With many more pictures of the cottages. 

The April Min Collector features her Lilac Cottage.

Her miniatures are beautiful and so well crafted, and give me much inspiration.

Tale of two projects

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I can’t do just one thing at a time. I stay fresh by going back and forth.

I’ve started back on the Blue House landscaping and garden, plus I’ve roughed in the third floor hall (former bathroom) on the Big House. Pics below to tell the story.

The back entrance area paved and the gate and fence put up.

Closeup of back entrance stairs and stuff.

The garden bed started. I’ve used Little Goodies kits (she’s out of business, but I have them left over), as-is flowers from HBS, marigold kits, and paper punched flowers by me.

Closeup of the flowers. I plan to fill the bed.

On to the Big House:

See my last post for what this looked like before (an old bathroom). Roughed in the new walls and floor. Put in photo and brick wall for atrium/grotto scene (it looks like a shower right now, but no, it will be a tiny garden with a window in front of it). Lights are roughed in place.

Good progress for a couple of weeks in my spare (very spare) time.

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