Projects: Veneered box and Dora’s Little Loft

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I want to share two little projects I did when the Westville grew too frustrating, and then I’ll turn back to the Westville build.

First, I finished up the box I started in the class with Geoff Wonnacott in Chicago.

I added the hinges myself, plus all the filigree and lock. Papered the inside of the box and then finished the outside with shellac.

The hinge pins were long pieces of wire snipped as close to the hinge as possible and then ground down with a Dremel. I was amazed at how well that worked! New techniques to know.

The second fun project is a kit called Dora’s Little Loft–almost 360 degrees different from the box above.

This is a kit by a Chinese company called Robo Time, which specializes in 3D puzzles and miniature scenes. I’ve seen these kits in various catalogs that come through my house (like Acorn and others), and I purchased this one because it was just cute.

It has a retro feel and is very colorful. The kit contains *everything* in the room–you make all kinds of accessories and little decorative objects, all out of paper, wood, wire, clay, and findings and beads.

Everything here I made from the bits of wire, paper, and fabric in the kit. It’s cleverly put together, even if some of the accessories are a little fiddly.

A tip: Superglue (krazy glue with brush applicator) saves a lot of grief when working with the projects made of wire.

I can put together another post with tips and tricks on this build.

Meanwhile, here’s details of the finished piece.

I used my own pink fabric for the chair, but everything else came from the kit (they include the chair’s fabric, but I liked my color better.)

I chose this kit instead of the plant shop, because I didn’t want to make so many plants. Ha! This one has 19 different potted plants, plus the rose vine and a tree! I cut out many leaves …

I love the details of the cat’s food bowl, milk, and enclosed litter box.

The light fixture with led light and battery box is included–battery box is hidden in a niche beneath the scene. It was one of the easiest lighting hookups I’ve done.

Scale? It’s sort of 1/2 inch, sort of 1 inch. It’s not really exact. But it looks fine. The finished scene is about 8 inches x 10 inches, maybe 10 inches high.

I enjoyed this kit so much (when not cursing at it), that I looked to see what else they had.

HBS (miniatures.com) has four–this one (Dora’s Loft), the plant shop, a kitchen, and a mini camper (I like that one and might get it too).

I searched Robo Time’s website for more, and there are many more. A bookstore, a coffee house, a porch, other shops, all kinds of them. I purchased another one–a music studio–because I play guitar and piano, and it looks cool.

You can purchase directly from Robo Time–they have a U.S. warehouse, so the shipping is from the U.S. (and shipping is free if you spend about $50). They’re also sold through other retailers, and Amazon. Prices are cheapest at the Robo Time site or HBS (miniatures.com)

Anyway, a fun little interlude before I got back to the Westville.

Next post–Westville porch, bay windows, and starting the roof.

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.

Interlude: Finishing smaller projects

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I needed a break from the Beacon Hill so finished up some quarter inch and micro scale projects.

This is the cute little Sunnyside Gardens, a microscale shop in the “Watercolors” series by Robin Betterly. I had completed the shop before, and now I finished the interior and landscaping kit. (I could have decorated the interior myself, but sometimes kits are more relaxing for me).

We have pots of plants, crates of seedlings, garden soil, garden tools, all kinds of fun stuff.

The interior is a bedroom upstairs of woodland themed furniture, and the shop downstairs, which includes a seed rack and display counters for all the garden goodies.

I had to wash out the exterior to get the photo of the interior through the door. Seed counter and pots inside.

A fun little kit. It’s on display in my living room with the first kit in the series (the cafe). Gee, there’s room for another kit next to the garden shop.

Next: Finished up the landscaping and added an outdoor tub to the quarter-inch scale Creekside Studio.

Decided to put a little vegetable garden here.

This kit turned out really well. I got this from Suzanne and Andrews Minis (link in sidebar under Quarter inch Resources). They don’t have this particular one anymore, but they have a similar kit called “Seaside Cottage,” which has a complete second floor.

Obviously, this needs furniture! Which I will do one day. Right now, I’m ready to return to the Beacon Hill and finish the outside details I need to build on.

Creekside Studio (Much needed break from Beacon Hill)

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Taking a break from the Beacon Hill, I built this kit. Creekside Studio by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis. This took me about a week–it’s 1/4 inch scale. Nice to do an entire build in a week!

Front door and porch.

The back door.

Right side of the house.

Left side and interior.

Suzanne and Andrew offer a landscape base for the house as well, which comes with material to do the dirt and grass. I thought ahead and purchased it when I bought the house kit.

The blank base.

The base provides the height for the porch steps to reach the back door.

I’ve painted the stones on the base here and added grass and dirt. I’ll plant a ton of flowers later–thinking of doing a vegetable garden too.

The “creek” looks like it has water in it. It’s triple gloss sealer.

The full creekbed side of the house.

The back door. I’ll put in bushes, flowers, and other fun stuff.

Right side of the house. I’m thinking of putting the kitchen garden here.

A fun kit, glad I bought it.

Beacon Hill: Trimming interior and building outer wall.

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I did go back to the Beacon Hill and finish trimming the last room on the top floor, and the secret tower room.

This space will continue the bedroom–be a sitting area.

I had to do a ton of trimming here: Around the corners of the tower ceiling, the corners of the back wall, plus picture rail-like trim to cover slots, the raw edge of the divider wall, plus the usual baseboards and cornices.

This photo shows more how it will be one big room.

I trimmed up the tower room as well, including the window–which the kit has no interior trim for as this room is not supposed to be seen from the inside. The floor is scrapbooking paper–I was feeling whimsical. Maybe it’s an interesting floor cloth. I’ll do more with this room later.

All right–now that the interior is trimmed, time to build the outer wall for the side I cut away and trim the exterior.

I realized that before I could build the wall, I needed to build another wall sconce. The rear of the front hall is dark (chandelier is pretty but doesn’t generate much light). I need a matching one to the first one I built.

Out came my findings and paint. This sconce will go with the chandelier and other sconce already done. Painting the finding.

Gluing together the back, mirror, and arm with candle socket.

Finished sconce (which does light–I checked!)

The base wall. From this I will build a two-story bay window. The sconce had to be installed before the wall went up.

The base wall glued in place. Now I need to build the floors, sides, roof, and outer wall that will hold the windows.

By the way, I did finish the Creekside Studio, one of my interim projects. I’ll post those photos in the next post.

Break from Beacon Hill but back soon

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This time I did have to take a break from the Beacon Hill. Too much!

I turned to other kits I had bought and stashed. First, a microscale flower shop:

I think one appeal of microscale is that you can build a whole house and landscape it in a weekend! That and it doesn’t take up much display space.

These both are kits from Robin Betterley: https://www.robinbetterley.com/collections/watercolors

Next, I started a quarter inch scale kit from Suzanne and Andrew’s that I’d been hoarding for a year or so.

This kit is called  “Creekside Studio”  in 1/4″ scale. Very small, a first floor and a loft, the first floor divided into two rooms by a cabinet. (I see this kit still for sale on Suzanne and Andrew’s site, so if interested, grab it. Their kits get retired.)  Creekside Studio by Suzanne and Andrew’s Minis

I’m almost finished with the structure. I’ll post pics when I’m done. This one is taking me about a week to finish (maybe two).

But I’m still plugging away on the Beacon Hill. I now have interior trim done for the second-floor room (will be the bathroom):

and the left half of the top floor, which will be a bedroom.

One reason for my slowdown, other than dollhouse fatigue, is having a lot of work to do at my job (real life). Minis had to go on the back burner for a while, always a bummer.

It’s also nice to do simple kits to step back from a more complicated one. Suzanne and Andrew (http://andrewsmini.com/miniatures/ ) and Robin Betterley (https://www.robinbetterley.com) have fun ones that look great when finished. (I promise I don’t work for them or do endorsements for them; I just like their stuff!)

I hate to admit it, but I can’t resist a great kit. I keep telling myself I will design my own houses, and then I see a fantastic, well-designed kit, and in it goes to my stash. But I swear I will make them all! I decided a few years ago that there’s a difference between collecting and hoarding …

More Beacon Hill anon.

 

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