New Projects–Halloween!

I haven’t posted in a while because I’ve been dang busy. I had to write a novel and a novella on top of each other, and I should be starting yet another novella, but I decided I’d rather do minis today. 🙂

I also burned out a little bit on minis (as I do from time to time), but once I decided to start a Halloween room, my interest came back. I figure if I start now it might be done in time for Oct. 31.

This will be a witch’s shop and apothecary. It’s a kit–I love kits–in 1/4″ scale. The books and jars in the back wall are photo cutouts, but they look 3D.

The shop will be stuffed with all kinds of spooky stuff. I love working on Halloween projects, because it’s the only time you can say “I need more skulls!” or “Where’s my ichor?” and not be thought a little weird.

More photos as I progress. It will be electrified with a glowing fire and candles.

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. https://evandesigns.com 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 (www.robinbetterley.com)

Kitchen

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.

Bathroom

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:

https://www.robinbetterley.com/shop/secret-books-original-size/14?limit=60

The reeeelly small secret books: https://www.robinbetterley.com/shop/secret-books-teeny-weeny/12?limit=60 

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: https://www.robinbetterley.com/shop/watercolors/22

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

Westville: Landscaping

Yay, I finished landscaping the Westville! I’ll share a couple of techniques I experimented with.

I added a grass sheet around three sides–but I think a grass sheet on flat board looks unnatural. Most lawns aren’t flat. They’re hummocky and humpy, as we discover when we mow (I no longer have a lawn at my real house, which is fine by me.)

This weird-looking thing is packing material from something or other I ordered–I think an electric tea kettle. It’s cardboard. When I looked at it, I thought “pavers” so I saved it.

This is nice material, because it was easy to tear apart and then cut into shapes for a front walk. I sealed it with satin varnish, which did not change the color or deteriorate. I didn’t try to paint it, but it’s essentially paper so probably that would work.

I decided to glue the packing material on the base randomly to make small humps in the lawn.

The grass sheet glued on over the humps. It makes the lawn look more realistic, I think. This packing material could be mounded to make hills and so forth. The texture is bark-like–it could be used to make a tree or a fairy room inside a tree trunk. Many possibilities.

I used paper patterns for the grass sheet–it does not look good if it’s not all one piece, because the seams show.

I added flowering plants, window boxes, a hedge, little trees, etc.

This little wagon is a cute kit I picked up at the NAME show in Tucson a few years ago.

Tip: I used double-stick tape to hold these window boxes on. Because of the texture of the house and the smooth painted wood of the box, glue did nothing but sit there. My husband finally said, “you know, I have some great double-stick tape,” and I commandeered it! At least a few small pieces.

This old-time wringer / washer is by a miniaturist in the Netherlands. I found it at an online show a few years back. I thought it would be appropriate on the porch of an antique shop. The handle spins the washer around–it’s precisely made.

Inside are the dirty clothes and the soap. I love it.

The sign for “Westville Antiques.”

I used the same packing material to make pavers across the back.

I was not at all sure about this house while building it, but now that it’s done and landscaped, I like it.

I’ve started putting in the jumble of furniture. I’m going let it sit and then seriously fix up the interior.

For now, I’m having the “I finished this project, what now?” blues. I have many other projects I can start, but I kind of stare at them, unable to fix on one. It’s not because of the pandemic–I’m always like this! Once inspiration strikes, I’ll go full steam again. I probably just need a break. I’ll look at other people’s minis for a few days. 🙂 Oh, and write books. I should be doing that.

 

Beacon Hill: New Chandelier. Westville: Finished interior

I added a new chandelier to the living room of the Beacon Hill. I purchased this from Luminations by Mr. K (Tim Kraft) at the Good Sam show last October.

Easier to see what it looks like with the light off.

I took the chandelier that had been here, one I made, and moved it to the Westville:

That lets me segue to the Westville: I have now finished all the interior moldings (baseboards, cornices, and other trim) and trimmed the raw edges of the house.

The closet under the stairs is ready for junk.

I’m going to do the outside landscaping and then move in! This house will be an antique shop, a nice jumble of finds.

You might notice that I changed the appearance of this blog. I wanted something a little cleaner and easier to read. I think I like this theme, but I’ll see! Don’t be surprised if it changes again. 🙂

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: https://www.etsy.com/shop/jdayminis. 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 (http://www.reallyravinminis.com)

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.

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:

Kitchen.

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!

Westville Instructions

I’ve heard from several miniaturists over the years that they’ve obtained Greenleaf kits missing the instructions. I decided to scan the instructions for the three houses I’ve done (warmup sheet, schematics, and instructions) to help out. I’ve done the Westville, and I will do the others I have soon.

Go here: https://jennsminis.wordpress.com/greenleaf-instructions-schematics/

for PDF files to download and print.

Hope this helps.

For other houses, contact Greenleaf–I hear their customer service is very good, and they’ll get you the missing instructions.

https://shop.greenleafdollhouses.com/ (phone and address at bottom of page)

Thoughts on the Westville

I’m still adding baseboards and things to the Westville, but the house is essentially done, so I wanted to do my “thoughts on” post.

1) I think this is a good first Greenleaf house. The main pieces are simple, though they take a bit of wrestling to fit together precisely. As always, I had warpage, and the delicate filgree on some of my pieces crumbled to dust when I punched them out of the sheets.

2) The staircase was the least complicated of the Greenleaf houses I’ve done. There’s not much more to it than the steps and stringer. No complicated landings, and the railing is a single continuous piece.

Post featuring the Westville staircase.

3) The Westville is roomy for such a small house. Four main rooms plus an extensive attic:

The two largest rooms are deep (14 inches). I thought of putting a wall crosswise in either of them to make a small room at the front (e.g., a bathroom in the upper room) maybe viewed through open double doors. I won’t for this house (it’s an antique shop), but it’s an idea.

4) The bay windows are simple too–two walls that butt together to form a triangular bay.

5) Also you can see in the photo above, I reinforced the base with extra wood strips. As with all Greenleaf houses, I don’t find the foundation pieces sturdy enough for my liking.

6) The porch I found a little tricky because the instructions weren’t that clear, but once I had all the pieces laid out, it was fairly easy.

My post on the porch

7) The shutters were simply two sandwiched layers–the trickiest part is that there are so many! One thing this house has an abundance of, is windows! 11 of them.

My post on the shutters.

8) I went a little nuts on the exterior, wanting to try a stucco and stonework look.

I’m not sure I entirely like the result, but it was a good learning experience. I can also picture this house sided and painted in pastel colors, maybe used as a dress shop or flower shop.

9) In conclusion, I’m glad I put together the house. It has a small footprint but a lot of room. It could be a full regular house (with kitchen / living / dining, bedroom / bathroom, attic), and it lends itself well to other interpretations: A shop, a guest house, studio, library, old farmhouse, so many things.

This is the simplest of the Greenleaf houses I’ve done. It would be a great learning house before tackling some of the others (like the Beacon Hill!).

The biggest problem I had was, as with all their houses, the wood that is very thin and easily disintegrates or warps. Part of that is the climate I live in (very dry), and part of that is probably shipping (boxes get too hot or cold). The good thing is that once it’s glued together and finished, the warpage is hidden, plus I was able to compensate for the trim that crumbled away.

As I continue finishing the interior and landscaping, I’ll post more pics. I plan to make this an antique shop, where I can put all the things I’ve made or collected that don’t yet have homes. Stay tuned!

Click the “Westville Dollhouse” tag on the post or search “Westville” to see all posts on this house with the full build.