October 12, 2018

Well where have I been?

After working diligently on my mini house, I stopped at the end of September to deal with all the holiday busy-ness. So, you ask, what happened after the holidays were over?

We bought a house! No, a big one, not a mini house. And in another state, no less. It took a huge amount of time to deal with the purchase matters, and it was a couple of months before escrow closed. Once escrow closed, it was months of packing on weekends, in addition to working full time. So fine art and miniatures fell by the wayside.

And then we moved, not just to another house, but to a new state more than half way across the country. Hello to four seasons, muggy summers, cool fall weather, cold winters, and lovely spring greening. We moved in almost 5 months ago. Many things to be fixed or updated, many many pieces of furniture to purchase and put together, and flooring installation in the 3 season porch. We LOOOVE our new house, but it is still an ongoing project.

I do have my art studio set up in our basement, my craft/miniatures area, and my workshop mostly set up, though I still need to install the pegboard for my tool storage/display.

The living room at our house is the man-cave. The basement is the woman-cave! And the basement is HUGE – about 1600 square feet, unfinished but dry and high ceilinged. It came with tons of storage shelving already in place, and decent lighting, which I have massively improved.

So it may still be a while yet before I can take the boarding off of the mini house and start work anew. But it will happen!

October 17, 2017

I haven’t been working very hard on my mini house, and what I have been involved in is slow going.

I’m working on the interior doors. There’s a lot of cutting involved. And a lot of gluing. For that purpose I got a lovely Micro Mark gluing jig. Here’s the link:


I am having fun, sort of, with the frosted glass door centers. Here’s a picture of my first try. Not too bad considering the tiny tiny cutting issues, but it does need some work (keep in mind that the frame will be stained before the whole thing is glued together):

The other thing it needs is: for application you are supposed to wet the glass and then apply the frosting film. I did not do that because I wanted to see if I could even pull this off without going out of my mind from the concentration on the tiny tiny details of the cuts involved. I mean, this door is like 6 ¾ inches tall by less than 3 inches wide! So those little cuts are LITTLE TINY CUTS. Whew!

But in doing the process I learned a lot, so I don’t think doing it again three more times (for three doors) is going to knock me out or anything. Well, at least I hope not!

Below is a picture of something completely unrelated to my dollhouse; namely, Miss Daisy, the epitome of cuteness! Enjoy…

September 24, 2017

Yes, it’s been a long time since my last post. I’ve been busy, and doing other things, including working on the mini house rather than posting about it. I’ve posted some of the progress on my personal Facebook page, and also my Minis Under Construction Facebook page.

I’ve finished the kitchen peninsula, except for creating or purchasing and installing the faucet. You won’t be able to see any of this work from most views into the dollhouse, unfortunately, but I had lots of fun doing it anyway.

Here’s a photo:

You can see the dishwasher, “stainless steel” apron front sink, and microwave.

Below is the “stainless steel” sink after painting but before installation.

Below is one of the doorways showing the jamb and threshold installed. They have a light stain on them. There will be trim installed around the doorway openings after the doors are constructed, fitted and installed.

And here is one of the doors being built. As you can see, it has a wooden frame with an acrylic “glass” making up the bulk of the door. The paper lying on top of the acrylic is a pattern I am going to use to create art “glass” in the door. I have window frosting paper which is sticky. I will cut this out along the lines of the pattern, leaving pattern of clear glass in the frosted field. I think this will look very nice.

I’m expecting there may be some difficulty doing this especially working with such small cut out areas. We’ll see how this goes. I just don’t want either fully frosted “glass” or clear “glass” and I liked this pattern the best of the ones I found online. Mine probably won’t be exactly the same but it will be similar.

I went shopping at JoAnn’s for notions to use for the shower head and the door knobs and escutcheon plates. Did not have much luck with pieces for escutcheon plates. I will probably have to cut my own from aluminum sheeting. We’ll see. Maybe a store with a better jewelry findings department, or a hardware store, would be better.

I did end up with a bunch of jewelry finding pieces that together will make a nice shower head.

August 2, 2017

I’ve been having a lot of fun constructing the kitchen cabinet hardware. I struggled with how to make the handles for the cabinets and drawers. I knew I could use tiny aluminum rods to make the bar style handles, but I could not figure out how to attach them to the cabinets but not directly flat onto the cabinets. I wanted them to be on some kind of riser so that they stand above the cabinet or drawer surface. But it had to be something that I could glue to a rounded rod surface. What to do, what to do…?

First I tried Fimo. Nope, nope, nope. Then I just sat and cogitated for a while. Bingo (light bulb goes on above head, like in a cartoon), what about a tiny silver bead?

Then to work, rooting around through my bead stash (I sometimes make jewelry), and presto, a small tube of tiny silvery glass beads. Lay them out, a drop of super glue, set the aluminum rods onto the beads and wait for them to dry. It worked! Yaaaayyyy!

Here’s the prototype:

You can see two smaller cabinet handles at the upper right in the photo.

Tonight I did an assembly line of longer drawer handles and shorter cabinet handles:

The handles do stick to the cutting mat so they have to be gently detached with a craft knife or box cutter blade. If they fall off, as they sometimes do, I just re-glue them. In the background of this photo above, you can see the upper cabinets with handles already glued on.

I’ve also been working on the kitchen peninsula and the “granite” countertops. First, I designed a pattern for the part of the island that faces the front of the house, so there is not just a boring expanse of wood veneer. Then I cut the pattern into the veneer and applied the veneer:

You can see the black paint showing through for contrast.

I then made an apron front sink out of basswood, and gessoed it with multiple coats to smooth out some of the wood grain. This will be painted with “stainless steel” colored paint and will be a “stainless steel” apron-front sink. I had to cut out a place for the sink. Only some of the veneer is applied on the other side of the peninsula as in one portion there will be a dishwasher and in another, a microwave. But here’s what it looks like as a work in progress:

The “granite” countertops were fun to make. I “shopped” for the granite by going online and saving many photos of marble and granite. Then I printed them all out and wrapped them around the peninsula countertop basswood (countertop shows in the above photo with no “granite” applied) and then picked the one I liked best.

I’ve already finished the countertops for the small counter sections against the back wall in the kitchen. Here’s a photo of the countertops before installation:

And here’s a photo of one of the base cabinets with the handles and countertop installed:

And here’s a closer view of the upper cabinet that goes above the base cabinet in the photo above:

Another fun thing – a kind wood artist on Etsy custom made a spalted maple wood floating vanity for my dollhouse bathroom. Here’s the chunk of wood, not installed yet – it will have a countertop on it and vessel sinks:

I absolutely love spalted maple. The pattern created by the fungus as the wood decays is gorgeous. The wood is treated to stop the decay, and the wood artist sealed the piece. Can’t wait to install it!

The Etsy shop is called Snookworks, located in Canada, and here is a link to the wooden tea light holder that inspired me to request a custom piece (without the recessed holes for the tea lights): https://www.etsy.com/listing/501705063/rustic-tealight-holder-live-edge?ref=shop_home_active_22

This wood artist has a lot of other beautiful things in his Etsy shop too.

July 16, 2017:

I’m continuing work on the “nuts and bolts” of the mini house; trim, cabinetry, and will have to get the doors made.

Here is the trim in place in the greatroom:

And the kitchen peninsula is in the works – I have finished the cabinet box and spray painted it black, in preparation for the wood veneer to be applied. Here it is:

Sigh…I have now noticed that the pendant lights are off center. Not sure what I am going to do about this. I will think about it later.

The nice thing about a hobby is that though some things must of necessity be properly sequenced, because it is a hobby and not a job, I can jump around and work on whatever appeals to me.

So aside from staining and installing more base and crown molding, I am going to make the “stainless steel” apron front sink. It will be made from basswood. I’m not yet sure if I will simply paint it as I have done with the fridge, or if I will use my sheet aluminum to line it. I’m leaning towards trying the process of lining it with the sheet aluminum. If that doesn’t work I can always paint it out.

I printed out tons of pages of marble slabs for the countertop and am having a lot of fun trying them out. So many choices, but only one can be picked!

July 11, 2017

Lots of progress on the dollhouse, but it still doesn’t show much yet. I’ve stained and installed the crown molding and base molding in the 2 story foyer. Need to get more lumber or molding for the rest of the house now.

Here’s a photo of a bunch of molding stained and ready to install:

And now, a photo of the installed moldings:

Also, I started work on the cabinetry for the peninsula in the kitchen. Here is the cabinet box in progress:

It’s got a coat of black paint on it but the wood veneer will be applied over it. You’re looking at the kitchen side of the peninsula, and you can see the tiny toe-kick at the bottom. There will be a “stainless steel” apron sink, a microwave, dishwasher, cabinets and drawers on this side. Pity they won’t be visible from the front of the house : – (. But I’m installing them anyway. I’ll know they are there!

The reverse side of the peninsula (the one you can see from the front of the dollhouse) will have an abstract pattern carved into the veneer with the black paint showing through, just for kicks.

I’m pretty sure I will be using marble “slabs” for the counters. We’ll see…so many cool stone photos online, but can’t use them all!

I found a vendor on Etsy that will make me a chunk of spalted maple that will be my bathroom floating vanity. I’m going to dowel it into the wall, put a “limestone” slab countertop and the vessel sinks on top, and I think it will look just great! I’ll post a photo of it and a link to his Etsy shop once I have it.

I’m starting to get a little jazzed about finishing the house itself, so that I can start on making the furniture, which will include the couch, living room lamps, bed, nightstands and two dressers.

July 2, 2017:

I’ve actually gotten quite a bit of work done on the dollhouse over the past several weeks, but nothing all that thrilling to look at.

  • I’ve stained the foyer staircase treads and landings.
  • I’ve wallpapered both stories of the foyer with the same paper I used in the great room.
  • I’ve purchased more molding which has yet to be stained. This will be base molding and crown molding.
  • I repaired the lighting run into the foyer, which had stopped working.
  • I bought myself a fun little toy – it is a tiny clamp on work light for model workers—perfect for miniatures.

Here is a picture of the foyer, wallpapered and with the stair treads and landings stained. The stringers will be painted grey or maybe white:

On the left is my little mini clamp light. At the rear on the bottom floor is my REAC Barcelona bed (E-Bay). This will be a nice place to sit and admire the artwork, once it has been hung.

So I have a number of things I can work on:

  • Drawer and cabinet handles for the kitchen cabinets.
  • Kitchen peninsula.
  • Baseboards and crown molding.
  • Miscellaneous finishing projects (such as raw edges of floors and walls.
  • Doors and frames.

And then it will be on to finishing the exterior of the house, including the roof deck, and furnishing and then decorating the interior. That will be a lot of work. Like Pepper at mitchymoominiatures.com, I am probably going to have to do egg carton stone on the exterior. Oh boy. That will be a workout. But real stone is too heavy. AND, I still have to make the removable front of the house. More cutting and measuring and finishing.

I plan to make the following furniture:

  • Occasional tables for the living rooms.
  • Lamps for the living room.
  • Bed.
  • Nightstands
  • Patio furniture.
  • Dresser
  • Bathroom floating vanity.
  • Some of the plants.
  • Some of the décor objects.

So still PLENTY of work left to do!

June 14, 2017

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve been pretty busy on the dollhouse but I did have a long break working lots of overtime and helping my mom before and after eye surgery. Work is still a mess but I’m trying to power through it.

Meanwhile, lots of changes in the dollhouse.

Here’s a recent shot of the entire house:


So what’s changed? Well, there’s wallpaper in both the great room and the bedroom now. That was a bit of an adventure. You know how when you buy a dollhouse that has to be assembled, they tell you to wallpaper the house before you put it together? Yeah, there’s a reason. It’s very hard to put paper into a small room, especially a deep room. However, I did not have much choice since this house was built from scratch and I did not know for sure what paper I would use at the time I built it.

In the end, I worked it out. I used two methods to apply the wallpaper. One was to use YES paste, applied with a cheap paintbrush. The other, which I liked better, was a glue transfer paper product with peel off surfaces on both sides. You peel one side, stick it to your surface (in this case, scrapbooking paper) and then you peel off the other side of the paper, which leaves the sticky glue. Then you apply it to the wall, and burnish the paper against the wall. That worked quickly and easily.

And as you can probably imagine, cutting out the holes in the paper for the windows was a giant pain. I did all right, however. Not perfect, but good enough. And where there are imperfect areas at ceiling or floor, well baseboards and crown molding will eventually cover those.

I chose a couple of rather retro papers for the bedroom and great room. The great room and two of the bedroom walls have a white paper with a kind of striated gold irregular pattern. It reads as very mid-century modern. The statement wallpaper in the bedroom is also a bit mid century modern. By itself I’m not completely happy with it, but I think that once the dark blue drapes and the bed and nightstands are in place, it will look really great. If not, well, I can always replace it.

Here you can see the wallpaper in the great room:

And here you can see the “statement wall” wallpaper in the bedroom:

The flower pattern is in dark blue, green, red, yellow and a pale turquoise. There will be navy drapes and red accent colors elsewhere in the room, including a red “egg” chair. The bed will be under the window in the statement wall.

I also pulled the shower completely out and redid it. I used the same “granite” for the shower floor as I did for the sides. And the “drain” is a jeans snap! The acrylic “frameless glass” is installed and the only things left to be installed are the shower head and water control handles. Here is the shower:

In the great room I have made some pretty good headway with the kitchen. The upper cabinets are hung, and the under-cabinet lighting is stuck in place, but the wires aren’t hidden yet. And I’ve just placed some loose pieces of scrap basswood on top of the lowers to show where the countertops will be.

Sorry about the flash but I couldn’t get good light otherwise.

And here is a photo from further back, showing the general appearance:

The under cabinet lights are so bright they washed out that middle part of the photo and I wasn’t able to compensate for this. Also, as you can see, my temporary dining room pendant light and the island pendant lights are blocking some of the view of the kitchen build. These cabinets are not all fully installed yet so some shimming and straightening are still to come. But you get the general idea.

And something kind of amusing – I was toying with making the shower floor a pebble based floor, with pebbles in grout. I just didn’t like anything I tried and gave it up eventually. But I got a good laugh out of one of my test runs. I used sand colored grout and tan stones, which I applied on a plastic container lid to see what it would look like. I can’t decide if it looks more like a cow-flop or more like cat barf. You pick, LOL:

And I was sick last Sunday and got NO oil painting done :-(. So this coming weekend I hope to work on both  miniatures AND oil painting. I am nearly done with my landscape of England’s Lake Country. It’s going pretty well though I think I will make a few changes. I’ll post that when it’s done even though it isn’t miniature-themed.

And we have a long 4th of July weekend coming up. We are off at my office both Monday AND Tuesday – YAY! Plenty of play time.

April 23, 2017:

I’ve been working a heck of a lot of overtime, so I haven’t done much on the dollhouse over the past month. But, I DID finish the stove, and here it is:

I also worked on applying the wood veneer to the kitchen cabinets, which you can see below:

I have to finish the veneer on the cabinet above the fridge, and then I will install the undercabinet lighting strips and then install the wallpaper. After that, I can install the cabinets.

And then—it’s on to the kitchen island and then the countertops!

March 11, 2017

Well I’m gearing up for a visit from my daughter and grandson. Can’t wait until they are here!

Meanwhile, working on the dollhouse. I’ve finished the fridge. Here it is:

I’m not sure how much I like the handles. Might change them out. I’ll think about it for a few days.

I’m still working on the stove. Still spray painting pieces, then will be ready to put it together and put the knobs on. So no picture for that yet, except that you can see it in this photo of the back wall of the kitchen:

These look a bit funny right now, because the uppers are sitting on top of the lowers, the over-fridge cabinet is sitting on top of the fridge, and there are no cabinet “doors” installed yet, just the flat fronts of the cabinets. Worse yet, there are post it notes on two of the cabinets so that I don’t mix them up with the other cabinets. But hey, it’s progress!

I’ve dry fitted the frameless “glass” shower walls, and you can see them here:

I might have a picture of a nearly completed stove tomorrow, but I will be busy child-proofing the house and will try to work on my oil painting tomorrow as well.