January 25, 2017

Hey in a week it will be a year since I started my blog! I estimated at that time that it would take me about 2-3 years to finish my mini house, and I still think that’s about right. I sure am enjoying myself, and I’m learning a lot.

I’ve been working on the kitchen cabinets, as you can see from prior posts, but I ran out of wood and had to wait until I could go get some more. So in the interim, I started on the shower.

To make the “stone” shower walls, I printed out on glossy photo paper a photo of some granite I really liked and glued it to some Bristol board, folding it around the sides and gluing it down on the back, mitering the corners with a razor knife. I trimmed it so that it didn’t go too far onto the back of the Bristol board.

I needed two slabs, one for the rear wall of the shower, and the other for the left wall. The right wall will be rigid clear acrylic “glass” with honed edges and the front will have a partial wall of the acrylic “glass”. By the way, a shout-out to TAP Plastics, who will cut the acrylic to order for you for a small charge, and mail it to you (or you can pick it up if there is a TAP Plastics near you). Here is their website: http://www.tapplastics.com

I should have the acrylic shower walls/door in a couple of days.

Here is my planning/thought process as I worked out the shower details:

Now I have to think about the shower pan. What color should it be?

It should be about ¼ inch high at the sides, and the bottom will need to be 4” x 7” outside dimensions.

Each of the two shower wall panels will need to be 9 ¼” high as they will rest on the shower pan sides, and go all the way to the ceiling. The ceiling is 9.5” high.

Wait a minute – another thought – I could simply run the shower panels from the ceiling all the way to the floor, and then install ¼ inch “shower pan” sides for the two open sides of the shower. I could cover those sides with more of the stone panel photograph so all would match, then install the shower floor stones inside on the existing bathroom floor. Since it is not a real shower, I don’t actually need a shower pan, just the appearance of one. (This is what I actually did.)

Have to think about the thickness of the pebble floor. It will probably be about 1/8” thick, which will fill up half of the “shower pan” thickness plus a little more for the mortar bed (which will be quite thin since we aren’t dealing with actual water in this environment). This is probably okay. Otherwise I could consider making the “shower pan” sides 3/8th of an inch high which would be about 5 or 6 inches in regular (1:1) size. That’s too high for true reflection of scale so I’ll probably just deal with the “fill” depth caused by installation of the floor pebbles.

So here is a picture of the shower slab walls in place (they are not glued in yet, just standing there):

Before I glue everything in I will install the wallpaper.

This is the rest of my speculations on the bathroom:

I’ve made some decisions about the vanity. The stone vessel sinks are kind of a grayish veined stone. I’ve found a photo of a light colored limestone that I will use for the countertop. The floating vanity will be a medium or a darker wood to contrast with the light countertop, which in turn will contrast with the medium dark vessel sinks.

I will be building the vanity and countertop myself. Might purchase the faucets or might try my hand at making those too. We’ll see.

Here are some to use as inspiration:


I have a lovely freestanding tub from Marion Russek’s Shapeways shop (previously shown on this blog):

As you can see, Marion makes a tub filler, but I’m considering a wall mount filler because the tub will be next to a wall. Here are some I am using as inspiration to make my own wall tub filler:

As you can see, the last one is very similar to Marion’s. I think I will print out small photos of these, set the tub in place and hold the fillers up to see which one I like best.

I bought some chrome paint from the model section at Hobby Lobby and I am going to try it out to see how realistic it looks.

I am really excited about constructing the pebble floor of the shower. I already had some dark gravel I can use for this. It’s been picked through to remove detritus and lighter colored stones. Here they are in a bowl, waiting for installation:

I will use gray grout to provide some contrast, so you can see the stones. Black grout would not provide enough contrast and white grout would provide too much contrast.

Below are some floating vanity inspirations for me to consider in designing and building my floating vanity:

These are all different but all interesting in their different ways.

January 15, 2017

A friend of mine commented that there should be a current picture of the entire house. She’s right, but I hadn’t wanted to do this because my mini house looks like exactly what it is – a construction site! In other words, not very pretty.

But here goes – this is the house as it is now, with construction tools, supplies and debris in and on top of the house:

To the left is the two story foyer which will also eventually be an art gallery. Bottom right is the great room. The kitchen will be in the left rear, the dining area in front of the kitchen, and the living area to the left in front of the fireplace.

Upstairs the center room is the giant bathroom, and the remaining large room is the bedroom.

The stairs go up to the roof. On the roof will eventually be railings and a roof patio/BBQ/garden and either fireplace or fire pit. There will be lots of plantings.

In the bathroom, the large shower will be at the left rear, with the toilet beside it, under the narrow window. The floating vanity with vessel sinks will be on the right wall. The freestanding tub will be at the left wall between the front of the house and the door to the foyer.

In the bedroom, the bed will be under the rear window, flanked by nightstands with lamps. There will be a dresser on the wall to the left, and the great red egg chair shown in an earlier post will be at the front right corner. There will be more art on the wall in this room, and in the great room as well.


Since I took the photo above (several days ago), I have sprayed the coat of paint/primer on the fridge, and tomorrow I will spray the first coat of the stainless steel look paint.

I have started to glue the cabinet boxes together, as well. I’m using my lovely new (Christmas presents!) mini-clamps and clamp-square to hold them in place while the glue dries. This process has been fraught with frustrations – thinking I cut something incorrectly, cutting new pieces and then realizing I had mistakenly tried to put the original, correctly cut pieces on the wrong edge of the cabinet box back. Sigh…do, undo and redo. At least I enjoy the process and am in no hurry.

I am also working on my first landscape painting. It is nearly done. I’d say it isn’t horrible, but I don’t love it, either. I think I want to paint a bunch of landscapes to get more practice.

I’ve found my favorite relaxing meditation – watching Bob Ross painting videos. You may laugh, and it IS funny, but he’s so sweet and so mellow that it is just terribly relaxing to watch him. When he paints  he lives in a lovely world where nothing is bad and you can paint whatever you want. Such a pleasing fantasy! For a few minutes its nice to live in that world.

I’ve actually learned quite a bit of useful painting tips and techniques from watching the Bob Ross videos. And now I am addicted to painting videos, and not just Bob Ross’ videos. I watched a couple of videos on how to paint waves and sea foam, and I can’t wait to try it!

I’m happy to finally be doing what I wanted to do as a child – art and dollhouses!

January 8, 2017

Well it’s been a long time since my last post. I knew that Christmas would make it pretty much impossible for me to do any work on the mini house or the blog, and sure enough, I was just too busy spoiling my family, LOL!

We had a wonderful Christmas except that was the day I got a really nasty flu. I was able to get through Christmas dinner but then I was seriously ill for the next week and not doing that great for the one after that. So instead of using all my lovely holidays off work for oil painting and working on my mini house, I could do nothing but sleep, watch TV or read.

So today was the first day I have been able to work on my mini house. I also got some good progress on my landscape painting as well, so it was a good day.

I’m still working on the refrigerator. Here’s a picture of the progress so far – structure is basically done but needs to be painted and the doors glued on:

The rubber bands are there to hold on the doors in the right place. Once I’ve painted the fridge I will glue on the doors – it won’t be an openable item, though I could do that if I wanted. There’s no need to do this for my purposes, however.

I also got some great Christmas presents for my mini house:

These are going to be vessel sinks in my mini house bathroom. This is the Etsy site for the vendor: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrystalRiverGems?ref=l2-shopheader-name

This is a darling tiny feather duster:

From this Etsy shop – Mere Miniatures at https://www.etsy.com/listing/475232104/a-miniature-feather-duster-112-scale?ref=shop_home_active_21

And this MOST lovely fruit and cheese plate made by a lovely young lady in Bulgaria at Esty shop Kikimora Handmade:

Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/287691509/112-dollhouse-miniature-food-dollhouse?ref=shop_home_active_5

So I’m pretty happy with my haul!

Happy New Year!

November 27, 2016 # 2

I forgot to post a photo of the completed fireplace with the firebox installed. Here it is:


I’m not super happy with the contrast between the brick in the firebox and the darker grout. I will probably paint the bricks a darker grey. The current grey is so pale that it looks white. I think it will look better darker.

November 27, 2016

I’m actively working on the kitchen right now. There’s nothing completed yet and it may be a while before there is anything really worth photographing. But for fun, I have photographs of the plans, the parts and, LOL, the mess! Here you go:


Above is the drawing for the back wall portion of the kitchen. It is actual size, so I cut these out and made patterns out of them for cutting the bass wood. Yes, I decided to make the cabinet boxes out of wood, though I am using very thin stick-on veneer for the cabinet doors once the boxes are completed. The blank space between the drawers is the stove. Above it will be a range hood and vent.


Above is a view (sorry, partially blocked by my temporary dining light fixture) of the cabinet back wall template in place. You can see that the wall to the left is out of square, and the ceiling is also a bit out of square. So just like in real houses, I will probably have to use shims. I do have some very thin wood and cardboard for this purpose.


Above: interestingly enough, the top of a large tub of cat litter makes a very good “sawhorse” for cutting thin wood!


Above: stacks of wood cabinet parts. I stacked them by section.


Above you can see that I wrote the name of the piece along with an “s” for “side”, so I know which parts go together.

What you don’t see is that there will be toe kicks. I have not cut these out or even marked them, at this point.


Above is how obsessively organized I can sometimes be. I’ve put each set of parts per cabinet into its own plastic bag so they don’t get mixed up or lost.

I’ve recently reviewed Kris’ tutorials on 1inchminisbykris.com, as to the modern stainless steel stove and refrigerator. I’m going to construct mine of wood and alter the method a little but these are SUPER helpful and I am really grateful to her for posting these tutorials! Kris is really talented, creative and detailed.

November 16, 2016

More work on the fireplace – the mantel is installed!

Here is a picture:


So next I started work on the firebox lining. Here’s the back and sides:


Shout out to Otterine (here’s her blog – http://www.otterine.com/blog/blog1.php), thanks SO much for the idea to use egg cartons to make bricks. Though we don’t have proper egg cartons (our Farmers Market egg company uses styrofoam : – / ) I did have some Bristol board in varying thicknesses. Since the interior brick of the firebox could be smoother than the egg carton texture, and since I have Gesso that I can use for some texture, I think it will be alright. In the picture above you can see that I’ve glued on the bricks and that’s all so far. Tomorrow night I will apply the Gesso and then I will use my paint and make it a light grey, like this photo:



And I will grout it. I have some grout handy and can change the color with some paint as needed.

I am also toying with the idea of skipping the granite or marble (faux) for the kitchen countertop. I think a matte acrylic would be lovely. I’ve found that TAP’s website will allow one to order pieces cut to size. I’d still need to make an opening for the sink but I think I can acquire the cutting blades I’d need to do this, and I’ll order extra pieces to practice on.

TAP has a bunch of videos about working with acrylic and it is very tempting to spend yet more money on some supplies and start playing around with making some things for the mini house. But I think I’ll restrain myself – this isn’t an inexpensive hobby. In fact, I think my next project will be something like a fairy cottage made entirely of found objects, involving very little money.

But for those of you who like to geek out (as I do), here is a link to TAP’s website: http://www.tapplastics.com/product_info/plastics_information/acrylic

Enjoy watching their how-to videos – I did! Note: they can’t ship their acrylic glue to California, but there are products on Amazon that can be shipped here.


November 13, 2016

Well I finally gave in and actually grouted the fireplace. I just didn’t like it without the grouting, even though it is supposed to be dry stack. So there’s a little grout.

Here it is:



The mantel is stained and once the grout is fully dry, I will install it.

I spent the other part of my work time on the house removing the ceilings and inserting spacers, and then gluing the ceilings in. I know I may need to remove them in future, but the screws I used did not support the ceiling properly. It is not that hard to take a scraper and break the glue hold if necessary, and then re glue the ceiling in place once any changes or repairs have been made.

I have to make a decision on the shower design. I have decided not to work with real tile, partly because I do not have the proper cutting equipment for fine tile work. I’m going to use this tutorial to make my tiles from a photo printed on paper and glued to Bristol board:


Don’t let the Dutch language at the top of the page for the above link confuse you. Josje is so wonderful she has the tutorial in English too, bless her! My Dutch is just terrible, LOL! Just scroll down to near the bottom of the page for the English version.

I might print this photo for the tile “stone”:


Or maybe I will dispense with the tile idea and make the walls of the shower full stone slabs like this one:


But with a pebble stone floor like this:


Grouted, of course. I can use aquarium or decorative gravel from a garden store. Jackalope Pottery in North Hollywood has some great tiny rocks which are sold for use in container gardens, including some that look like the above.

I’ve been spending some time before bed at night rooting around through the hundreds of miniature blogs and other websites, picking up lots of great ideas, which is motivating me to make more of my own furnishings, not just the house itself.

I’m definitely having fun!


November 7, 2016

It’s been busy at work and I was out of town last weekend, so did not do anything until today.

I’ve installed the electric fire, connecting it to the electrical tape I ran behind the fireplace. Below is a photo. As you can see, the electric is connected but the inside surface of the fireplace has not been installed:


The other thing I did tonight was cut the mantelpiece and stain it to match the hearth. It is drying, so I did not install it tonight. Also, I need to fill the larger spaces between the fireplace stones with “mortar” before I install the mantel. It would probably be easier to install the paper lining of the firebox before I install the mantel, as well!

I’ve been rooting around over at: https://mitchymoominiatures.blogspot.com

Pepper’s posts give me good ideas and her links help me pick up even more lovely ideas. I am now inspired to make my living room lamps. I purchased lampshades and bases from Shapeways for the bedroom lamps, but I hadn’t found any I like for the living room. Because she is in the UK, one of her suppliers for lampshade parts wasn’t going to work for me, but a bit of googling found me a US supplier of basically the same part. And what a great idea it is to deal with how to fasten the lampshade to the base! In the future, you’ll get to see the final product.

October 30, 2016

I’ve gotten the stacked stone installed on the fireplace! The hearth is in, as you could see in the last post, but I need to fabricate and install the mantel and then fabricate and install a wood cornice to cover the gap between the top of the stone and the ceiling. Here’s how it looks now:


As you can see, there are a number of places where the stones don’t fit together tightly. The glue that I used to fasten the stones in place is the right color for mortar, so I will likely fill some of the larger gaps with the glue “mortar” to neaten things up.

I had to pull each one of the stones off the mesh backing, then clean off the bits of glue and mesh from the stones before I could install them. It’s a bit time consuming, to say the least! And for partial stones, I had to score and break them with a tile cutter, or nip them with the tile nipper to make them the correct size. As you can imagine, a few stones got ruined in the process.

And of course the stones aren’t all uniform in size so the lines aren’t as straight as I would really like for them to be. I did minimize this by adding glue in strategic spots but there’s still a bit of an issue.

October 27, 2016

I’ve been working away on the stacked stone fireplace. I’ve installed about half of the stone, and have installed the hearth shelf. Here’s a picture of the work in progress:


The scotch tape and paper clip box are pushed partly inside the firebox, supporting the run of stones that go across the top of the firebox. They are sitting on the hearth shelf. Which I can only make out of wood because there will not be a real fire in the fireplace, LOL! Ahh the  joys of dollhouses – no building codes, and you can leave out what you don’t want to deal with or have no interest in.

For instance, I have an opening at the top of the stairs to what will be the roof deck. Because I don’t have to worry about it raining into the house, I don’t have to make a stairwell room on the roof – it can just open right up there. Lovely!

And, I don’t have to have a closet in my master bedroom. After all, the dolls’s clothes are permanent, so they don’t need a closet to keep anything  in. And nothing has to be stored because if it isn’t out in the house, it isn’t needed!

And no plumbing needed either. What a relief.

It’s been close to a  year since I started this project, and it will be at least another year or two before it is finished. I am unable to put a lot of time into it, but that isn’t a real problem for me. I am enjoying the process. Getting it done will be good, but I am not impatient to get there. I really love building things so taking my time on this is fine with me.

I may redo things as I move along. I don’t have much problem thinking of that, as I can take the time I want to take to fix anything important to me, or I can ignore what is not so important.

And sometimes ideas take time to percolate through my brain and fully form themselves. So I’ve thought of a few better ways to do things already. Maybe I will redo them. Or maybe I won’t!

I think I may fill some of the cracks between the stones with grout, which will not show too much. I can use my baking supplies – plastic pastry bag and icing tips to do this. What fun!