Good Sam Show 2019

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I haven’t posted lately because I’ve been traveling the world (Portugal, London, Rome). I came home long enough to do laundry then flew off to the Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures in San Jose.

First–this is the cool thing I made in a workshop! Taught by Michael Yurkovic (Atomic Miniatures). The chaise is made of aluminum tubing, pinned together just like the original full size one. The prototype is in the background. We drilled many holes and inserted many tiny pins. (This was an all-day workshop.)

A couple of neat minis on exhibit:

This is called “Thadeus Smith-Jones — Bibliophile”

This one has an illusion of being far deeper than it is. The box was about maybe eighteen inches deep, but mirrors and lighting make it look like it’s going much further back. It’s called “A visit to the hall of mirrors.”

A quick trip (Fri workshops; Sat-Sun show), but fun. I’ve been trying to get to this show for years–finally made it!

 

Miniature World: Victoria, BC, Canada

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On my recent vacation to the Pacific Northwest, we stumbled on this gem of a museum around the corner from the Empress Hotel in Victoria.

Of course I had to go inside!

It’s less a museum for individual dollhouses or miniature artisans but dioramas and scenes in miniature. Very well done and so cool.

Click photos for larger versions.

They had quite a few scenes of battles in WWII and WWI. Somewhat depressing but also so very well done!

The scene below is called “Chelsea 1815” when the victory over Napoleon was announced.

There was much more than military miniatures, however! So much.

They have a continuous diorama showing cities all across Canada at the turn of the twentieth century. Toronto, Quebec, the Maritimes, Calgary, and more.

I looked very hard for Murdoch’s house and Police Station number 5. 🙂

Another Napoleonic display.

This was a display of many famous European castles if they were all close to each other. 🙂

Nice display of WWII planes.

A car show on the green in a small town.

Below are dioramas of First Nations houses and totem poles.

Gulliver captured in Lilliput.

A coach heading for Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

Below: Charing Cross in London in the 17th century (Samuel Pepys diary).

I don’t remember which town this was, but, if you look into the window of the theater, you see a “movie.” What you see is your own face. It’s cute.

London again, and the Thames River.

There were many whimsical displays as well, like the dwarves diamond mine from Snow White.

They do have a few dollhouses, including this lovely house. It is fully enclosed with the layout of a real house, with large windows for viewing the inside.

  

Swiss Family Robinson’s treehouse.

These are some highlights, but there was much more, including a space station:

So glad we found this place!

Chicago Show–Workshops

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I had hoped to finish my workshop projects before I talked about them, but um … I will finish them but I’m waiting for the cool magnifiers I ordered to arrive. That’s a good excuse.

I took four workshops, and learned much!

Workshop 1) Mold making with Michael Yurkovic

This was the basic process of making a silicon mold and then casting. We brought a piece we wanted to replicate.

I took a ceiling medallion, because I’m always looking for them, like this one, and it’s not always in stock (I purchased at Hobby Builders Supply some time ago).

This is how the bottom half of the mold turned out. He taught us how to press the piece into clay, build a moat, and pour the rubber. I did make a top half, but for this piece, since it’s flat on one side, I really only need the one half.

We then poured resin into the mold, let it harden (didn’t take long), and voila!

The original and the cast piece side by side. I lost a tiny bit of detail, but not much.

The biggest worry in this process is air bubbles. You have to go slowly and carefully or bubbles happen.

The materials come from a place called Reynolds Advanced Materials, and I have seen the casting silicon and resins in my local art supply store (Arizona Art Supply, which is an awesome place). Reynolds also has showrooms in larger cities and they do mail / website orders.

I hope to use this method when I do stone work for the Westville–I have some stones I can lay in a wall shape, then make a mold from them, which I’ll use with Creative paperclay to made a stone wall facade. (These are good intentions).

Workshop 2: Artist’s atelier by Eric Goddard

This was a two-day class where we finished and decorated this roombox. (He nailed together the very basic box before the class). We did the window, the faux stone wall, the closet, and started work on the accessories.

Lots of work on the little details–we laid the bricks and cut mullions for the window, which was not as straightforward as it seems. The mullions are at a slant and an odd angle, as you can see, so math had to be done.

An LED strip outside the window gives it a soft glow, which goes well with the incandescent bulb in the closet.

I am not finished (still need to age / wash the brick wall, age and paint spatter the floor, and get my accessories together).

In the middle of this class, I came down with a cold (not because of the class but because of the cold weather, which I am not used to), and had to skip a few hours of the morning session, but I was still able to get this far. I’ll finish it now that I’m home with my own tools, lighting, etc.

Workshop 3: Box with Geoff Wonnacott

A workshop with Geoff has been on my bucket list a while. Finally got to one of his classes, which was the evening of the day I caught the cold. So I was a bit miserable, but I soldiered on.

A lovely little box with veneer. It was a short class, so he had cut the pieces, which we glued together to shape the box and lid. We added all the filigree, and I will hinge mine when I get the magnifiers I mentioned above. Need it for this!

Putting together the box is a bit trickier than you’d think, because the corners have to be just right, or it doesn’t sit square. Much trial and error. The filigree is tiny tiny.

What it will look like in the end. Geoff wrote very detailed instructions, and I’m fairly confident I can finish on my own (knock on wood).

Workshop 4: Aging wood techniques with Eamon O’Rourke.

We did not build anything here, but learned aging tricks and about French polishing (shellac diluted with denatured alcohol and poured onto cotton balls inside T-shirt cotton. This makes a pad which you then brush over the wood).

The top piece was aged via distressing the wood (spoons were involved), and staining and wiping and staining again.

Bottom piece was French polished when it was bare. Then stained a bit, wiped, French polished again. Looks beautiful!

These were ordinary pieces of I think oak, and they turned out amazingly well. Good techniques to learn. Again something that seems like it should be easy, but it was a lot of trail and error and plain work.

Eamon is such a fun guy, I recommend any class he teaches.

Those were the four workshops I went to (determined even though I felt crappy for a couple of them). I will be taking more! (As soon as I can find the time …)

Back to the Westville now. I’ve advanced through the staircase and bay windows and outer walls, and the next posts will catch up on all that.

Mini Museums–Europe

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A couple weeks ago, I ran off for a long vacation with my sweetie, on the lookout for minis! I made a pilgrimage to the Spielzeug Museum in Nurnberg, Germany, which I had visited long ago (it has grown), and found a mini museum in Prague which unfortunately I did not have time to visit.

First the museum in Prague I had to miss. It is in the grounds of the Strahov Monastery near the castle district. Many restaurants and beer halls in the area to make for a fun day. I was up there after everything was closed, sadly. If I’d known it was there earlier …

Happily, I did make it to the Spielzeug Museum (Toy Museum) in Nurnberg. I was on a walking tour, we had free time, and my first question was “Where’s the Spielzeug Museum?” It was two blocks away, and I was there!

The Museum occupies this pretty building (with construction tape–they were fixing the sidewalk).

Select photos of kitchens and dollhouses.

They have many toys and games from days gone by as well. I thought these kits of metal pieces that makes a car or working pump pretty cool.

Noah’s Ark in a box.

You look through these little peepholes to see a 3D image inside. It doesn’t look very 3D to my phone’s camera, but it did to my eyeballs. Scenes seemed to stretch to infinity.

  

More fun stuff that caught my eye!

  

This little train goes back and forth across the door opening, with chugging and puffing sounds.

 

The crowning glory of the top floor:

  

They run the train on the last Saturday of the month, and I was there on the first Saturday. Oh well! It was still a wonderful train layout.

Of course, I needed a souvenir! Reuter Porcelain had this little set for Nurnberg in the museum’s little gift shop.

After that I went down the street, bought a bag of chocolate truffles at a lovely pastry shop called Neef, and returned to the tour bus on time. A great outing. 🙂 (And the truffles were excellent.)

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. 🙂

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–Garage

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On with the Beacon Hill!

As I’ve talked about, I set the left side of the Beacon Hill on top of the Houseworks garage.

 

I decided to proceed finishing this house from the bottom up, which means finishing the garage first.

Touched up outside paint, finished inside paint, and painted the floor.

Houseworks has a garage door to fit this kit, so I painted and installed it. Tip: Do not paint the rollers or the roller tracks if you want the door to work (it rolls up and down). I used this same door kit in the Mechanics Garage I did a few years ago.

Outside finished and trimmed.

I didn’t construct the garage exactly to the specifications of the kit, because I needed a flat roof, and the kit has peaked sides. I could have simply cut the peaks off the sides, but in the absence of a good power saw I decided to use other pieces of the kit to create the side walls.

This leaves me with a hole in the upper left side, because that piece of wood was supposed to be a floor with a hole for a ladder or staircase. Now it’s a window!

I went back to my own “Windows Tutorial” (link below) and did a custom-made window. First lined opening with 3/8 strip wood.

Making the two window frames from 1/4″ strip wood.

Frames ready for plastic or micro-glass in between. I imagine most people’s windows will be neater than mine.

The finished window with outside trim and sill (I haven’t trimmed the inside yet).

The Windows Tutorial post shows in detail how I put together custom windows. This method will let you make any window for any size of opening. Very convenient when you have an odd-sized opening or want to make different styles of windows without relying on what’s commercially available.

Now we have the garage! I need to do more trimming on the bottom.

While looking at this house head on, I made the decision not to do the entrance stairs up the side. I like how it looks, I can pretend there’s a way up from the garage, and it will be easier for me to display in a tight space, which was why I cut the Beacon Hill apart in the first place.

I will most likely put the left bay window in where it’s supposed to go.

My decision is not set in stone–I might change my mind again. But I like the simple appearance of the house as is.

If I do put in the bay window, I’ll prep all the parts.

Next thing for me, though, is the Chicago International Show! I am going this year for the first time! Signed up for workshops and everything. Let’s hope I don’t spend too much money. 🙂 I have $ set aside and a budget. Really.

Hopefully I’ll be able to take some photos of exhibits of cool minis. Which I of course will share!

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