Back to the StoneBriar cottage

Jumping around mini projects keeps me fresh. I do these for fun, after all, not profit (the opposite of profit), so I just do what strikes my fancy.

I decided to get back to this house–finished the exterior about a year ago. My first challenge is to restore the wiring my cat ate (not chewed on, ate.)

I found the ends of the severed wires, made sure the bulbs still worked, and spliced on extensions.

I brought the wires down out of the bottom of the house, but the house sits on a plaque (included in the kit), with nowhere to put junctions or a battery pack. So I built a frame:

These are wood strips I think 3/8″ x 1/8″. Glued them together and the house and its base on top.

Wires waiting to be added to battery pack.

I use the coin battery with switch from Evans Designs, which are wonderful for small scale houses. They carry tiny LED bulbs of various sizes plus the battery packs with switches, all very handy!

I hooked everything up, and to my delight, the lights now work.

I will organize the wires and hide them with molding.

According to the kit, this house is based on a library in a small town in New England. I decided to make it a library myself, though I know this means me making a ton of books!

But I think it will work. The main rooms downstairs will be the library, and upstairs will be a reading room. We’ll pretend the restrooms are behind the upstairs partition wall in the stairwell.

I’ve started sorting through my kits stash to come up with furniture, shelves, and so forth, and of course, books! I’ll post more when I get started.



Petalstone Quarter Scale House

A quick note to say that the Betterleys are retiring the Petalstone 1/4″ scale house that I put together a few years ago. They’re taking orders for the last batch until the 15th of July (that’s this coming Wednesday).

Petalstone Pre-order

You have to make a $50 deposit to hold one for you. The kit contains everything, including all landscaping, the base, electric system, all windows and doors, wallpaper, lamps and chandeliers, curtains, and rugs.

Below are a few pics of mine, and the post where I show some of the build is here: Petalstone Build

The interior with the furniture kits.

I promise I do not work for them! LOL. I am getting no kickbacks. I simply wanted to alert you if you are interested in this house–get it now, or it will be gone.

Pickett Pond Interior (1/4″ scale)

I’ve put together nearly all the kits to furnish the interior of the Pickett Pond (pics of all follow). Some of these kits (though not all) are still available at Robin Betterley’s site (


Living Room

This under-the-stairs day bed is my favorite piece. I love all the books (which were easy). I also like how all the throw pillows on this and the sofa are regular bed pillows, so people can sleep anywhere they can. Important in a vacation cabin.


The downstairs bathroom is partly outside.

Sink, toilet and shower are inside.

Tub and towel rack out on the porch. No running water out here! Tub is hand filled.

Upstairs bedroom / loft

Hanging bed and nightstands.

A dresser with another day bed fits under the eaves.

A bench full of games and books for rainy days.

The Porch and Pond

A big picnic table for family meals outdoors.

This rowboat kit is very realistic–I put together the ribs, keel, bottom boards, seats, gunwale, oar locks, and rope, and sanded the oars to give them shape.

So that’s the Pickett Pond. I really like this house–the colors and the warm, rustic feel. I only got to do the cabin thing twice when I was a kid, but I remember the informality and how indoors and outdoors kind of blended. I’d love to vacation at the Pickett Pond! (but with more running water and electricity…).


Stress Builds

About a month or so ago, my mom fell and had to go to the hospital for a week and then a rehab place for two weeks. I was so worried! (She is home now and doing very well. Better than she was before, even!).

To keep myself calm while I fretted about her, I built some easy and adorable kits. Very soothing.

All of these are microscale or 1/144 (1/12″ of 1/12″)

A “Secret Book”. I love these. A little room slides out from the “book.” This is a Robin Betterley. I collect the kits (which are inexpensive) and do them when I need a stress break.

Secret books series:

The reeeelly small secret books: 

I have a thing for books. This kit is by Desert Mini Makers–she has now retired. I bought two of these kits from her Etsy shop when she discontinued everything, and decided to make this one. The books are resin (3D printed), and I painted and covered with the art. She even provided a little clear plastic cube for display.

 Scene from the back.

I can make or hunt up a microscale table and chairs to create a sidewalk cafe.

Last, this microscale house in Robin Betterley’s mini shops series called “Watercolors.” I have all the shops! (a bakery, a garden shop, and this one, a children’s shop.)

The kit comes with everything in these phots, and is fairly simple to put together.

The shops series:

I have the newest one too (Lavender Lane), though I haven’t built it yet. Saving it for next stress time!

Revisiting older 1/4 inch project: Nob Hill

I went back to this 1/4″ scale house and finished the last two rooms I needed to furnish.

This house is called the Nob Hill, a kit from Suzanne and Andrew (who retired and shut down their online store last year, wah!).

I had two rooms left to furnish: The living room and the dining room.

I bought a few things specifically for this, and also went through my stash and put together some furniture and accessories.

Finished living room.

Dining room.

This gorgeous kit is by Jean Day (JDay Minis). Her Etsy shop: She has beautiful kits, very reasonably priced.


I can’t remember where I got the beautiful mirror, but I picked it up at a recent dollhouse show (probably Good Sam) for $5. The chest is a kit by Really Ravin’ Minis (

Chairs, table, and rug are pieces of the furniture kit made for this house. I used the rest of the kit in another house (the French Quarter). The chairs and table are 3D printed, and I painted. I had leftover pillow fabric from the daybed, which lends a nice contrast.


Overview plus a peek at the dining room.

This is another kit from JDay Minis. I love it! This is a hutch kit plus two accessories kits (1. plates and things, 2 Wooden cutting boards etc.) The dishes are white, and I added decals. (JDay also sells plate kits in different colors).

The hutch in place in the dining room. I have the wooden spoons in their holder in this pic.


The table and chairs are from Robin Betterley’s miniatures. They’re called “A la Carte” pieces and are sold separately, which is nice. I like mixing and matching, and each piece is reasonably priced.

On the table are little roosters that came with the wooden accessories kit for the hutch.

I might add a few more accessories and maybe a table to fit under the dining room window, but essentially this house is done.

The rooms below I’d finished previously:


Lots of cookbooks.

Entrance hall and stairs.

Glad I did this house. It looks nice sitting on the mantel in my living room, and now all rooms are furnished!

Pickett Pond: Part Four, Landscaping

The Pickett Pond landscaping–pond and grass / trees–is something that could be taken to other projects.

The pieces for the landscape: A picture frame nailed to a wooden base, foam core, and printed art.

First I cut the foam core along the line shown in the previous photo. Core pieces are stacked, glued, clamped.

Foam core in place in the frame and painted black.

Foil fitted around the pond area to keep the casting resin from leaking around the frame.

The artwork is a print on heavy paper in shades of dark blue and gray to resemble the bottom of a pond. It has a 1/4 inch lip on the straight sides which I folded up and creased.

A tab wraps around the corner to keep the art piece stable.

Fitting the art piece into place in the pond.

Before the pond is poured, the shore is made from paperclay and a mold.

The mold makes a rough stone wall, which I then enhanced with rolled up pieces of paper clay.

The paper clay covers all the rough edges of the foam core and hides the foil.

Front steps are flattened stones of paper clay.

I painted the paper clay with several thin washes of gray, then by dry-brushing burnt umber and gray on random stones.

Green dots stones on the waterline to look like moss and growth.

The bottom of the posts are also touched with green (the pond has already been poured here, but I painted the posts beforehand.)

Weathering the posts: The posts (1/4″ wood strips) were first painted white, then scraped with the blade of an X-acto saw to wear them. Then I brushed them with light washes of gray, and before installing, dry-brushed them with green paint.

I used Easy Cast clear casting epoxy to make the pond. I used 4 oz (2 oz of casting liquid and 2 oz of hardener mixed together in a cup). Easy Cast can be found at Michaels and probably by mail order.

Mix, mix, mix. Let set a minute to keep too many bubbles from forming, then pour.

The pour was very shallow, but with the painting beneath and the rocks sticking up, it looks much deeper. The resin has a nice shine, a good effect.

Right after I poured, I set the house in place, with the posts going into the pond, then let the pond dry and cure for 24 hours.

I didn’t photograph step by step of how I did the grass and so forth, but I used the thin chopped foam from railroad modeling as well as rr modeling ballast for the dirt (paths and between stones on steps). Spread glue on a small patch, pour on the green foam, press down, move on to next spot. Tap off excess after everything has dried and touch up bare spots.

The trees came with the kit, but I imagine they too can be found from rr modeling sites. Because the landscape base is foam core, it was easy to poke holes to “plant” the trees.

Clumpy green stuff was used to make bushes and brush.

There we have it. This is a cute little house, and I’m looking forward to decorating the interior.

I’ve since gone back to wallpaper and finish the inside of the Westville and do the front door, which I’ll post about soon.

Pickett Pond Build: Part Three, Railings and Fireplace

  1. Interior railings and fireplaces.

I started with the railings, as one part goes behind the upstairs fireplace. It was easier to put it in first, then the fireplaces, then the rest of the railings.

Parts for interior railings.

Parts for fireplaces and the chimney, unpainted resin.

Railings were fairly straightforward with the spindle piece fitting into grooves in the top and bottom rails, with posts fitting into notches on the end. Part A is put onto the end of one railing so that the second railing end can be fitted into it at a right angle. It lends stability.

I painted the railings with the mix of slate blue and hippo gray. This small piece goes into the house first.

The fireplace pieces are painted with washes of gray and then randomly dry-brushed with burnt umber, dark green, and hippo gray.

I sanded the pieces a lot before I painted them to get them to fit precisely into place in the house.

First floor goes in with fireplace facing the bay window / front door side. A lip at the top hooks on to the second floor opening.

Second-floor fireplace faces away from the stairwell. When the two parts are in place, they create the illusion of the fireplace going all the way up through the house.

Now I added the rest of the upstairs railings.

Once railings and fireplaces were all installed, I put on the back piece of the roof.

2. The outdoor porch railings.

The porch railings were definitely more challenging!

There are three sets of porch railings, one for the corner by the front door, one running around from the front of the house toward the barn door, and one wrapping from barn door to the back of the house and the bathroom wall.

First, I glued the bottoms of the railings at a right angle.

I found it soooo much easier to paint the all the pieces before installing the railings.

The paint scheme for the spindles is similar to the windows. From top to bottom: winter blue, nautical blue, slate blue/ gray mix, trail tan.

The rest of the pieces I painted gray.

The spindles fit into groove in the railings, as do the end posts.

Posts fit into notches in the railings, thin part up.

The top rails fit across the upper posts. The whole piece slides in here. My roof didn’t sit down all the way correctly (I always have warpage), but I shimmed them into place.

The rest of the railings follow the same procedure–they’re just longer. Many more spindles to paint!

These fit nicely. I touched up the paint before gluing in place.

The back railing wrapping around to the bathroom wall.

Back railing. In this shot you can also see the chimney, painted like the fireplace, glued to the roof.

With railings and fireplace, the interior and exterior of this house is done! Touch-up as always, but that’s the build!

Next: Landscaping, which can be translated to any project.

Pickett Pond Build: Part Two, Windows and Doors

The windows in this house are beautiful–and crazy to paint.

The different kinds of windows are bundled together. Fourteen in all!

Each window consists of a jamb that lines the opening and three layers of window that stack on top of each other, plus the glass.

I’ve base coated the windows with gray, and the part that will have multi-color paint in white.

The paints for the multi-color parts. In the jars: slate blue mixed with gray and denim blue mixed with gray. From the bottles: nautical blue, drizzle gray, winter blue, and trail tan.

The front window trim painted with the variety of colors. The instructions have a chart as to what goes where. I felt like I was a kid doing paint-by-number. 🙂

The three parts of the window. The thin gray piece goes on top of the multi-colored trim. The multi-colored trim goes on top of the thick gray piece. The window glass fits behind this in a niche formed by gluing the pieces one on top of the other.

The back side is glued onto the house so you don’t see the raw wood.

The completed window.

The window in place in the house.

One thing I changed from the instructions: Instead of gluing the thick jamb that goes into the opening to the window and then installing the window, I glued the jamb by itself into the opening and then glued the window on top of it, centering it on the window opening. Much easier!

The window openings in the house are precise, and if one tiny piece of shingle is in the way, those jambs will not go in. I had to cut and sand and curse before the jambs would fit. When I tried it with the window attached to the jamb first, it was a pain in the butt. My way was easier.

If I had realized this, I would have installed all the jambs before I shingled.

The windows on this house taught me a lot about precision painting. Using the right brush helped enormously. Here are the tiny brushes I used. They were also new and so not clogged up with paint. I washed them thoroughly every time I did a color to keep the brushes soft. I was able to paint even the tiniest space without too much overrun. I could touch up with the brush or a toothpick when the paint was dry.

The pieces for the oval windows. You can see a square window being glued and clamped in the top left.

It takes time to do these windows, because each color has to dry, and then the glued-together window has to be clamped and dried. Remember I said there were fourteen windows? Even overlapping drying time with other windows, it took a while!

These windows have the added touch of the little carved flowers in the top arch.

The front bay window windows.

The bathroom window.

The tall upstairs windows have the flower carvings. I used toothpicks to paint!

I think these three windows–the upstairs dormer–came out the best.

The doors use much the same system of painting. My door jamb broke so I glued it in in pieces.


These will become a door sandwich. The winter blue paneling will show on the exterior side.

Front door pieces: Left, the front of the door, with trim glued together. Right, the interior side of the door.

The front door, installed with the stoop.

Front door interior.

The “barn door” for the side of the house.

These were fun to paint. Again, the small brushes made all the difference.

Finished barn doors in place.

Whew. The windows and doors were the trickiest and lengthiest part of this project.

Next post: The railings (exterior and interior) and the multi-story fireplace and chimney.

Pickett Pond Build: Part One, Main Construction

As I said in my previous post, I decided to do this house because I liked the colors plus the woodsy charm. I’m imagining an old, rundown house a couple decided to renovate and restore as a getaway for themselves, their kids, and grandchildren.

Paint colors: There were many, and I could never find Rain Gray (Ceramcoat). I substituted Hippo Gray, as it seemed to be close to the same shade (the kit had a paint color chart with blobs of the colors so I could buy a close match). Colors are:

Rain Gray, Drizzle Gray, Denim Blue, Trail Tan (all Ceramcoat), Slate Blue (Anita’s), Nautical Blue (Anita’s), and Winter Blue (Deco Art Americana), along with white, black, dark green, and burnt umber. They also suggested Bamboo (Ceramcoat), but I couldn’t find it so I used Trail Tan, whch was close.

  1. Main Structure

The main walls and floor put together and the downstairs wallpaper and floors glued in. The paneled walls are a layer of wallpaper with a sheet of “beams” (made of very light card) glued on top of it.

The bathroom is constructed as a separate unit and glued on after the outside walls are shingled. Here I’ve put in the wallpaper (not completely glued in) and the floor.

The porch floor, which is scribed sheeting, put in on the base and around the house. Painted white and aged with washes of watered down gray.

2. Shingling the house, plus porch ceiling.

The next step was to shingle the first floor outside walls. (I shingled the walls before putting on the porch roof–I neglected to take photos with the porch roof absent.)

The bathroom exterior shingled with corner trim added, and the bathroom now glued onto the house.

This is the kitchen wall on the right side of the house (looking from the back). As you can see, there will be a false door that leads to the bathroom. The shingled wall is the bathroom wall, which sticks out onto the porch, like a lean-to tacked on to the main house.

The nice thing about the shingles was–they were in strips that just needed to be cut to length, and they were already this color. No painting!

Now I added the porch ceiling, the underside of which I painted Winter Blue.

The upper side of the porch ceiling. The only problem I had was–if the house walls aren’t together exactly, exactly, the porch ceiling is a tough fit. It’s one piece that’s slid around the house. I unfortunately had to split mine in half and glue on the right and left halves separately. Most of this piece is covered up, thought, so it didn’t really matter.

The rectangular pieces glued to the second story on top of the porch ceiling are supports for the porch roof pieces. Triangles are glued one to each wall in the back of the house. The sides of the triangles facing the interior of the house need to be painted gray, as they’ll be seen. The side facing the exterior will be covered.

3. Stairs

Before the porch roof is put on, it’s time for the interior stairs.

Construction was pretty easy, once the first tread, shown here is put onto the stringers, tabs into slots. At the top, the landing and the last tread are added the same way. This gives the staircase some rigidity as you add the treads and risers.

A fun thing about the staircase is that all the treads are painted different colors. Here you can see the treads and the paints I used. The jar is a mixture of Slate Blue and a small amount of Hippo Gray. Colors from left to right: Drizzle Gray, Hippo Gray, slate / gray mixture, Denim Blue, Nautical Blue, Slate Blue, and Winter Blue.

Here I’ve put the art on the risers and glued the risers on. There was no instruction to paint the risers, but I used the Drizzle gray. Not much of that showed, but I wanted to make sure the edges were covered. I’ve also painted the fixed tread Drizzle Gray.

The staircase assembled with different colored treads going up. The staircase fits flat against the wall, so the treads are flush on the right side, and the right side of the stringer doesn’t need to be painted.

4. Second floor and installing the stairs

Before the stairs are put in, the second floor needs to go on. These are spacers that I stood up and and clamped to the walls to hold the second floor until it’s dry. There are no interior walls in this house (which I like). One of the spacers has fallen over in the photo below, but you get the idea.

The first floor ceiling paper and the “beams” that go over the paper.

This is the card beams glued over the ceiling paneling. I glued this to the ceiling. Once the second floor was glued in place and dry, I added the flooring paper.

The second floor in place. Now the stairs are glued in.

The stairs have no railings. It’s a good thing I don’t live in this house, because I’d be falling every time I tried to go up or down.

5. Porch Roof

The porch roof pieces (and main roof pieces) are milled, so they can just be painted and glued on.

The instructions say to spray paint the porch roofs silver, but I never have any spray paint, so I used brush-on acrylic (metallic silver by Ceramcoat). I did several coats. Because the paint didn’t adhere completely, it gave it a nice aged appearance.


The triangular roof piece fits in the niche created by the porch roof and the triangles previously glued onto the porch ceiling. (See niche on left in photo below)


I clamped and let dry for a while.

6. Second Floor and Main Roof

Next, I marked and glued shingle strips to the second floor sides.

The main roof is next. I decided to glue on only the front half of the roof, so that I could finish putting in the fireplace and interior balcony railings before attaching the back roof.

The front roof pieces with undersides papered and beamed for installation. At the top is the dormer roof and dormer sides, then the front roof.

Front roof is put on first, then the dormer sides added.

Triangles fit the correct way between front wall roof.

Corner trim glued to dormers. Finally, I added the dormer roof.

I shingled the front wall but decided to simply paint the triangle dormer sides. Much less hassle!

Inside of the front part of the roof.

The rear roof papered and ready to go. I set it aside to go on to the doors and windows, which need a post of their own.



Pickett Pond (Quarter Inch Scale)

In the month since I last posted I built the Pickett Pond kit.

I hadn’t planned to get this kit at all. I’d seen it on websites, but wasn’t interested, until I saw a finished one exhibited at a mini show. I loved how the house looked, subtle blues and grays, resting on a dark blue pond. I ordered it. Then of course it sat in my closet a while. The kit has been retired, and in fact, Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis, who sold it, is completely gone now. They made it in collaboration with Robin Betterley, but they no longer sell it either.

Because of all that, I decided to photograph the build. Also, the instructions did not have an abundance of photos or drawings, so I thought if anyone else had the kit in their closet and wanted more pics, I could at least provide them.

Even if no one has the kit anymore, the landscaping / pond technique is interesting and could be used on any project.

Here are some shots of the finished house and then I will post more step-by-step pics. This is quarter-inch scale (1/4″ = 1′).

Front porch / front door.