Cool Stuff from the Chicago Show

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And now for the gorgeous things!

From Aristocratic Attic

June Clinkscales. Her work is breathtaking.

Back of the chair from June C.

Laura Crain. Fits well in the shabby chic half of my Beacon Hill.

Ulus Miniatures www.ulusminiaturas.com Just amazing things! So detailed and perfect.

A tea caddy from Geoff Wonnacott. He’s talented, and and a nice guy too.

Scroll Chest from Eamon O’Rourke.

From the O’Rourkes again–a Medieval potty. The moss is the TP.

I had just told my husband I was going to cool it on buying kits, but he waves at this table and says, “Have you seen this?” So I purchased this kit for the wine box vignette and the little house below. It’s all his fault. (Jill Castoral)

Gorgeous half-inch scale vignette by Japanese artist, Fumiko.

I put this cat by Sue Veeder into my Halloween room. Doing what cats do!

Fan girl moment! Me and the incomparable Ferd Sobol. I bought his book and also the caned chair in my hand. The Sobols and their daughter are so nice.

Quarter inch scale sofa and chair by Debbie Young.

There wasn’t much quarter-inch scale there, but what I saw I glommed. These are by Debbie Young (Young at Heart) and True2Scale minis.

Lovely quarter-inch furniture from a British artisan–Seaside Miniatures.

I’ve loved Wendy Smale’s things since I started buying her pillows years ago. She does a lot of minerals, shells, fossils, and scientific collections now.

More kits from a German vendor–these looked fun.

The plaques are from Teapots and More Minis; the suitcase pile, chocolates, tray, and macaroons are by Betinha Murta, and the espresso machine from Mini Fanaberia, a Polish artisan who makes appliances that are so detailed (refrigerator lights come on and everything). www.minifanaberia.com

Cute little girl from Pat Melvin.

By Fern Vasi. I actually bought this one in March at the Small World show, but she was also at the Chicago show. She calls it “Parrot Head.”

I also found a lot of fabric and trim from Miniature Luxuries and accessories from Cottage of Miniatures who had a huge spread of hundreds of tiny things (like garden hoses and tools, boxed and jarred foods, desk accessories, bathroom accessories, and much more).

This is only a sampling of what was there. Every time I went into the ballrooms (3 of them), I’d find something new. The show runs Friday through Sunday (closes Sunday at 4), and still you wouldn’t see everything.

As I said in my last post, totally worth it to buy the Friday preview ticket. Go through the show catalog beforehand to find the artisans that are a must-see for you, and visit them first. Then take a step back and browse. Take breaks in the main hall or lobby to breathe and keep calm.

Next post–Workshops.

Stone Cottage done. Westville to Continue

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I pretty much have the quarter-inch scale Stone Cottage done and ready to display. I have not finished the wiring, because my cat ate part of it. He is fine, but the wires are now too short and I’ll have to replace or splice. At least he didn’t eat the LED chips.

(I took these photos before the landscape was completely done, but the grass is all on now.)

This was a good learning experience about what worked / didn’t work with stucco, and how to work with Creative Paperclay (much easier than I feared).

I will return to the Westville and start finishing. Interior first, I think, with tape wiring, then the stucco and stonework when the outside is one continuous surface.

Before that, I will be going to the Bishop show in Chicago–primarily to take classes. I signed up for four! All day ones a couple evening ones. I intend to learn a lot. I’ll share what I made and what I purchased (cause I know that’s going to happen).

Westville: Stonework practice–Painting

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I painted the stonework I made with the Creative Paperclay in my last post. I’m fairly pleased with the results. This has been a good learning experience.

Painting started with making a base wash of gray. This is a very, very light wash: 1 drop of black plus one drop of burnt umber mixed in a plastic shot glass of water.

The next step was to paint stones with a darker gray wash in a random pattern.

Next the other stones were painted with a brown wash. Then random stones were highlighted with burnt umber and burnt orange.

It turned out a little bit more brown than I wanted so I washed it over with gray again until I liked it.

That’s my paperclay experiment. I like the results, it’s much easier than I feared, and so I will do stonework on the Westville.

For now, I want to finish this little house.

I’m adding LED lights from Evans Designs (made my own fixture below). Here I’ve strung the wires from the house, which I’ll thread through the base to hook up with the battery switch there (that’s the plan, anyway).

Roof pieces painted and ready. One thing I love about quarter-inch scale is the roofing is ready-made, usually from railroad modeling supplies. So much easier than gluing on one shingle at a time.

I’m almost done with this house, then I’ll switch back to the Westville.

Westville–Paperclay Stonework/Stone Cottage

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The paperclay turned out to be easier to use than I feared. I kept it in a ziplock bag after opening, quickly digging in each time I needed some and sealing it back up again.

Here’s the base stonework on the quarter-inch experimental house step by step.

First step is to build up the shape of the walls. Here’s my bare wall coated with yellow glue (wood glue or titebond).

Next I put a roll of paperclay at the base and then smoothed it up with a plastic tool and my fingers (tool easily purchased at hobby store, e.g., Michael’s)

For some reason, I had to remind myself to add the glue to the wood, but it’s essential. I guess I figured the clay would just stick to everything itself (like it does to my fingers), but no. The glue holds it in place while you form it.

Base walls are shaped and ready for the stonework.

The kit includes a mold for the paperclay stones. This is quarter-inch scale. I’ll have to make my own for one-inch scale or figure another way to make stones when I do this on the Westville.

Paperclay smoothed into the mold.

Molded paperclay glued to the base. I cut away the excess and reused.

Poking with a stencil brush adds a little texture.

Made little stones to add to the base. These were easy to roll with my fingers.

I dabbed each stone with glue then placed it at the bottom of the wall.

Filling in the stair wall was a little trickier, and involved lots of fingerwork and trimming. This is the stair wall half done (above).

Stair walls done.

When I came back after letting everything dry overnight, I saw that the paperclay had shrunk (it does that), and it had pulled away from the top of the wall (as you can see above).

I added a row of stones under the ledge. They look darker in the photo because they were still wet, against the already dried portion.

The stonework is mostly done. Now to let it dry and then paint it.

This part was much easier and went much more quickly than I feared. I’ll see what happens in the painting stage!

Westville–Exterior plans

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I had this great idea to do the exterior of the Westville with stucco and paperclay stonework.

Not that I’ve ever done anything with paperclay before.

But–I had a quarter-inch scale house kit in my stash which is stucco on top, creative paperclay stonework on the base. So, for practice, I took it out and started it.

This is the structure so far. It’s a simple house (a couple of rooms). I have stuccoed it and put on the trim, and I will do a build-along for the paperclay part. A learning experience for me!

For the stucco, I used carpenter’s wood filler. I’m not sure I will do that again to stucco the Westville. I live in a dry climate (and it’s a dry time of year), and the wood filler was already half dried by the time I took it out of the container. It was impossible to smooth down, and I ended up with a much thicker coat than I wanted. But it’s rustic, right? So I will experiment with other products and see if I can find something better (textured paint comes to mind).

The interior is simple but a nice space. This is Stone Briar Manor from Suzanne and Andrew’s minis. They based it on a real house, which is now a library, so I might make mine a library too. (If I don’t chicken out making all those books …)

This kit has been retired and no longer available. They’ve retired a lot of their kits, which is sad, because they’re fabulous!

But peeking on their site just now (https://andrewsmini.com/miniatures/), I see they have a Fairytale house that looks cute. Also a Seaside Cottage that is a variation of the Creekside one I did. I really love their kits so I hope they continue them or bring back retired ones from time to time (which is how I got the Stone Briar one).

More on paperclay to come!

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.

Minis last month

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I haven’t posted a lot since Christmas, but I’ve been making minis. Mostly kits, as they are soothing after a hard day’s (week’s, month’s) work. As usual, click photos for larger pics.

What I’ve mostly been doing is decorating the interior of the Petalstone (1/4 inch scale), which is this house:

 

I’ve put together kits for the hall benches at both entrances:

Plus the dining room table and chairs:

In the attic is the writing nook. I am in awe of anyone who can design a 1/4″ scale computer and printer. I never would have thought of that!

The kit makes about 162 individual books. In 1/4″ scale. (Wow.) I have made about 90 of them. I’ll make the others when I can, and use them in other projects.

This is the conservatory kit: Potting benches, plants, plants, plants, pots, crates, etc.

We even have some gardening boots!

I had only planned to do the kits for the conservatory and writing nook (because I loved all the accessories), and then decided, what the heck. I’ll just do the kits for all the rooms.

This is a Robin Betterley house and room kits (Link in my sidebar under quarter inch scale).

I am, though, getting the hankering to do another Greenleaf kit that’s sitting in a box in my closet (the Westville; so much smaller than the Beacon Hill!). I’ll see.

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