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.

 

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.

Small projects: Redone scene and tiny kits

I’ve discovered that when I’m writing a long novel, which is months of work, I prefer doing short mini projects. This gives me a sense of accomplishment on the days when I’m wailing: “I’m never gonna get this book done!” (I do this on every single book; just ask my husband.)

First short project: I was cleaning out my closet, trying to organize the mass of junk that gets thrown in there, and I came across pieces of an old scene I’d done years ago, a turnaround vignette showing inside and outside a front door (1-inch scale). Its first manifestation was a Christmas scene–Christmas tree and gifts on one side, and presents left outside the front door on the other.

I gradually took that apart, moving the Christmas items to other scenes, and I had planned to do a grungy scene–peeling wallpaper, boarded up window.

But when I took out the wall looked at it, inspiration struck.

I covered the old wallpaper with scraps of leftover paper, and repainted the door and window (celery green, if you’re interested). I gathered some pieces that didn’t have a home, and voila, instant scene.

On the “front” side, I refreshed the grass (by brushing it clean, getting all the dust out of it), and covered some gaps in the bricks with “rose” material I had leftover from another project. A few extra plants and I was done.  (I’m proud of the bricks–I made them out of Fimo, cut into individual bricks, baked, and glued on. I must not have had anything else to do that year.)

It’s very simple, but I’m pleased with how it turned out.

I pulled out some other inexpensive little kits from my stash and have been happily putting those together. Next post will be about those.

Interlude: Finishing smaller projects

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)

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.

Moving and Mini Show

I haven’t posted a lot lately, because I’m getting ready to move! Not far, but that means packing up all my minis and transporting them a few miles. I’m sweating.

Meanwhile, our local mini club had their annual show and sale. I shopped! Found some lovely things as well as practical ones. I highly recommend the Small World Mini Show in Phoenix.

Enjoy some photos I snapped of the exhibits. These are from local miniaturists.

IMG_4194 IMG_4195 IMG_4196 IMG_4198 IMG_4199 IMG_4201 IMG_4202 IMG_4203 IMG_4204 IMG_4205 IMG_4206 IMG_4209 IMG_4210 IMG_4211 IMG_4213 IMG_4214

Shoe House Landscaping

IMG_2790 (600x800)

I had a little challenge with the final exterior on the Shoe House, because I had wires to hide. I had purchased this wooden base from Michael’s a while back, and realized that the hole in the bottom (the base came like that) would be perfect.

IMG_2789 (600x800)

I gathered all the wires (splicing on more wire where they weren’t long enough), stuffed them through the hole, then pieced artificial grass around it (the German grass sheet bought at Hobby Builders Supply).

IMG_2788 (600x800)

IMG_2787 (600x800)

Ready for landscaping and finishing.

IMG_2792 (600x800)

Shoelace is a piece of grosgrain ribbon that came with the kit. I painted it black and dabbed on polka-dots… or rather, Mrs. Mouse did. She didn’t like it plain.

The most amazing thing about this ribbon is that it was lying about loose while my entire real house got packed up and then unpacked (for reflooring). When I needed the ribbon, I found it right away! That will never happen to me again.

IMG_2791 (600x800)

The rest of the landscaping is model railroad supplies, painting, and glue.

Bushes around the base, which hide the wiring and hole are clumpy green model rr landscaping stuff. I tore pieces to the size I wanted, dipped in quick-dry tacky glue, and stuck it around the house. Then I dry-brushed blue, pink, yellow, and red for flowers.

The vines: I used vines to cover the wires coming out of the house. Here’s how I did it:

I took 0000 steel wool and pulled it apart until I had very thin strands but still a bit meshed together. I painted them green. You could spray paint these, but slathering on dark green acrylic craft paint worked fine.

I glued the painted strands of steel wool to the house where I wanted them (over the strands of wires). Once that was dry, I dribbled tacky glue on the strands (a small area at a time), and sprinkled loose green model railroad landscaping foam over them. When dry, I shook off the excess. Did this until I had fairly uniform green all over the vines.

For flowers, I dabbed the vines with tacky glue (I use Aleen’s Quick-Dry tacky–it’s a white bottle with a silver label), and then dribbled on colored loose model railroad foam. I’m finding that mixing colors (blue with white, red with yellow) makes the flowers look more natural and realistic.

IMG_2790 (600x800)

And that’s it! The inside still needs finishing touches, but I’ll get there. I can never build a house in one go .. I have to work to a point, put it aside, and come back to it. That way I stay excited about the project instead of burning out.

I have another 1/4 scale project I’m working on, then I think I’ll return to 1″ scale for a change!