Thursday, March 31, 2011

A sample to go, please

I was asked to send a sample suitcase to an event planning company in New York City. They are planning a travel themed wedding, saw one of my suitcases on my blog (how cool is that?!), and thought they might make good place card holders. If the client likes the sample, I may be making 100 mini suitcases for a July wedding. Lots of "ifs" for now but I did get the sample made and sent out. And, for the first time, I actually made patterns as I went so that it would be easier to replicate multiple suitcases. Even if the wedding thing doesn't work out my suitcases will now be much improved.
I also found a new glue (to me) that works really well with leather. It's Fabri-tac by Beacon Adhesives and I'm sure many of you have used it but this was my first time. I used regular tacky glue for the lining but the Fabri-tac was great for bonding the leather to the metal.
I'm not sure why the leather shows up gray -it's really a dark brown. While glue shopping, I found some leather lacing strips in colors I use for the suitcases. That makes the handles all very uniform in width. See, I'm learning lots of ways to improve the cases so there's a positive result no matter what the final outcome happens to be. :)

Another positive outcome is that I've found sources for empty tins and leather scraps. Up til now all of my suitcases have been made from recycled mint tins. I haven't run out of mints in a long time. ;) But a mini tin of Altoids is $1.29 (and you have to find a store that sells them - not an easy task sometimes) and the empty ones come out at 55 cents each. Plus they won't smell strongly of mint, lol.

I'm excited about the possibilities - any time miniatures get some "exposure" it's a good thing. Now to just sit and wait that's the hard part!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Well, I tried to be finished

Just a few small changes this time - Dad's trousers are brighter (more like the originals); Mom has tiny bows on her shoes just like her real black flats; there are white stripes in the afghan; I added a flower to Mom's sweater to make it look more like something she'd wear. I think I'm finally satisfied although it took a couple of layers of paint on those trousers to get to something close to the real ones.

Oh, the other detail I added today was the levers on the recliners to elevate the foot rests.

It will soon be time to find a new project. Stay tuned! :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Edits-because I can't ever just be finished

Looking at the photos of Dad's real beard led me to make some revisions in the mini one. I think I'm happy now - but no promises. ;)

Just for comparison

This photo is my family with my inlaws in about the time frame my minis are supposed to be. You can also see the pine paneling.
And here are the infamous trousers. ;)

They're here!

Mary and Dick have settled in to their recliners. Their puppy, Panda, is snuggled up against Dick's feet. All three started out as resin figures ordered from Mary was made from the Grandmother June doll. I sawed off the bun in her hair and glued on soft gray curls. I repainted her skirt and added a blue collar to the sweater. I painted over one knitting needle to turn the project into crocheting and painted ripples on the needle work to look like the ripple stitch in shades of blue. (She's crocheted ripple afghans for many family members.) Eyeglasses were made from thin wire with gallery glass lenses. (The lenses aren't completely dry yet so still look a bit white. That will clear up once it's all dry.)
Dick was made from the "Richard" doll. (How appropriate!) He took more work but looks very much like my FIL did. From top to bottom - I added combed back salt and pepper hair and a long beard with mustache. Eyeglasses were shaped around a small square dowel and I used dimensional liquid for the lenses. I repainted his shirt to look like a gray heather sweatshirt and his trousers to match a purple/pinkish pair that seemed to be his favorite. They showed up in nearly every family photo, lol. He's wearing his favorite slippers and Panda, the puppy, is at his feet. Panda is a repainted "Sanford."

I added wedding bands to both dolls. It's so appropriate that Dick is reading - he was one of the most educated men I knew. He had a college degree, was a librarian and a farmer, and his knowledge of Scripture was unbelievable. I really miss him.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

It's Mini Time!

I spent a wonderful few hours making minis today. Yay! Unfortunately, I can't share them with you all yet because they are for a swap. I will post photos when I can, I promise!

Have a great week!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Some new inspiration

My daughters and I were out shopping yesterday and stopped by our local Border's Bookstore. It is going out of business and all magazines are 40% off. (Books are 20-40% off) I bought the two mini magazines they carry - Dollshouse and Miniature Scene and Miniature Collector. I've read other issues of each before and both are filled with great projects and eye candy. I've already learned how to curl feathers - I'm not sure why I didn't already know that but my saloon girls look much better in A Rose Among Thorns. :)

I'm hoping to find some new inspiration for my next project as I read through the magazines. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

I will get back to minis soon

My middle daughter is home on spring break this week so I'm not having a lot of time to mini. What time I do have has been spent on a series of nursery commissions for an etsy customer.

I'm in need of some inspiration for new minis. Does anyone have any ideas for things you've wanted in mini but haven't seen? I need a new challenge, lol.

I hope you are all having a wonderful week!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

More options for miniatures shoppers

There are a couple of relatively new kids on the block in the online shopping community. Both Zibbet and ArtFire offer handmade miniatures. Many of my team mates from etsy are branching out into these new areas.

Only a few of us have currently opened Zibbet shops but Small Time Shopping is a really fun one to check out. Becky offers items for dollhouses, pets and people. Other team members have registered but not yet opened shops. I've seen some lovely handcrafted minis made by sellers I've not yet met. Please stop in and check Zibbet out. (My shop is De-Lightful Minis by MiniDe.)

On ArtFire you can find many artisans of handcrafted miniatures. Many of my teamMIDS friends have opened shops there. I'll give you a few links to get you started, :).
PolkadotToadstool offers an exciting collection of dolls, miniatures, and more.
MinibyDesign has amazing handcrafted contemporary miniature furniture.
DarkSquirrel makes a wonderful selection of potions, filled cabinets, steampunk minis and more.
Miniature Cabin Decor offers beautiful rustic and shabby decor perfect for your country cabin or house.
Whimsy Cottage Minis has a small collection of her luggage and small scale houses listed.
Dales Dreams just listed her brand new gingham collection.
Blue Kitty Miniatures has a lovely selection of cakes, cookie jars, plants and home decor.

Keep watching as more of your favorite artisans open shops on both Zibbet and ArtFire. One more bit of info about each site - on Zibbet you need to register to purchase just like on etsy (but only for a short while longer-Zibbet is updating soon and registering will no longer be necessary for purchase) but you don't have to be registered to purchase on ArtFire.

Happy shopping!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Change is in the air...

...and in my shop. Due to privacy issues and other problems with my previous selling site I am relocating my shop to There's a link that should take you directly to my shop at the top of the sidebar on the left. I've just begun to move items so if you've been watching something in particular, please be patient. It will show up in the new shop soon. :) Oh, and the new shop name is "De-Lightful Minis by MiniDe." I've combined my blog name and the name of my previous shop - hopefully making it easy for everyone to find.

Have a great week everyone!

PS The shop name is now a live link to my new Zibbet shop.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A few updates

I haven't posted a photo of the whole house since I finished it so I thought you might enjoy seeing it all at once, :). The photo in front of the house is of my inlaws' dog when she was a puppy. I'm going to recreate her for the house, too.
The beautiful pie on the counter was made by my friend, Gaye, of My Small Obsession. I moved the veggie tray back to where the cake used to be. The pitcher of tea and the glasses, and the mug of tea steeping by the stove are new additions.
The table holds another mug of tea and a stack of mini plates that are my interpretation of the real ones we used to use at family gatherings. Now we use disposable mostly as the family has grown so much. The flowers in the window are new, too.
The only change in the living room is the apron trim I added to the table. It just didn't look finished before.

Now I just have to wait for my HBS order to come so I can customize Mom, Dad, and Panda and I think this project really will be complete.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The house was a hit!

Just a quick post to let you all know that the family loved the wall house. Grandkids and great grandkids (as well as the "boys" and their wives) all commented on different things that stood out for them. One of my great nephews (he's 3) desperately wanted to set the tricycle back up - he kept asking me why things were glued down, lol. He was very curious but very gentle and asked some really good questions.

Before taking the house I added and changed a few things. I'll post updated photos sometime this weekend. I'm helping my sister move tomorrow so it isn't likely to be until Sunday.

I just ordered some resin grandparent dolls and a dog from HBS. I will add some hair and repaint a few things but I think they will work well for the house. You will all be among the first to see them. :)

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Here's the accessorized living room. There are magazines, puzzle books, newspaper, Bible and cup of tea all on or under the table.
The kitchen is finished now, I think. I made a bread box and canisters for the counters. My MIL's are all metal. I don't think they're brown anymore but they used to be. I also made the teakettle and the vegetable tray. The final thing I did was to paint the stool "cushions" a brighter blue like the real ones.

I think all that's left is making the residents and their dog. Once I've had time to work on them I will post the final photos. Thank you all for following along with this project!

Play time!

I finished the library late last night (this morning?) There's something for everyone here just like in the real room. Books, puzzles, board games, blocks, dress up clothes, toys, and pool are all available. The real room is very large and all the upstairs bedrooms open off of it. I had to give the feeling of the real room in a very tiny space but I think I've succeeded. Under the books shelves are stacks of board games and a basket of toys and dress up clothes. The pool table looks as though the kids have been playing with it again - where are all the striped balls?! The black chair represents the old, extra dining chairs that are brought downstairs for family dinners. They are all painted gloss black, too.

This project is nearly complete. I'm working on accessories for the kitchen - canisters, bread box, tea kettle, etc. I "filled" the living room end table with the type of things you'd really find there - magazines, newspaper, Bible, and Mom's cup of tea. I still need to make Mark's parents and then that room is finished. The basement has been dirtied up a bit with muddy footprints and grease spots on the floor.

Tomorrow evening I will be with a lot of hubby's family members. I hope to take the wall house along. I will let you know what everyone thinks. :)

Have a wonderful day and I hope spring is "springing" wherever you are.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Let's take another look

If you look closely on the floor next to the water heater you'll see a mouse. I am terrified of mice so making these guys was not fun, lol. There's another one over by the wood pile.
I remembered the mirror and sconces my MIL has in the living room yesterday so I added those. Mom has some silk flowers tucked in over the top of the mirror so I did that, too.
Today's project was making all these tiny books. A few of them are printies but most were made from scratch. I used a tutorial from American Miniaturist to make long rows of books and added single books every so often for interest. The area under the shelves will hold stacked up board games and puzzles and a box with toys and dress up clothes. Then I need to make a scaled down pool table (so it doesn't overwhelm the small room.)

I'll need to add Mom and Dad (hubby's parents) and then I think it will be finished - if mini projects are ever finished.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I am so happy with the finished basement. I was able to put in many elements from the real basement and figuring out how to make the water heater and furnaces was actually fun. The greenish tan gas furnace was made from a Jones Soda mint can and some thin metal for the vents. The wood furnace is part of a plastic box with a metal door and foil covered straws for the vent pipes. The water heater is a film canister, buttons, jewelry findings and a larger foil covered straw with a label cut from a photo.
The shelf holds everything from paint and extension cords to deer antlers - although those are actually in the attic of the real house, not the basement, lol. Under the stairs is a safe for important papers and small collectibles. I could probably add a little mouse coming out from under the stairs as someone suggested.
The kitchen counter is ready for a party - there's a birthday cake, chips, barbecue skewers of beef (the chips and beef were made by wonderful Small World friends, Gaye and Brenda) and a cheese ball and crackers (this was a consignment shop purchase and was unmarked). I need to add a vegetable tray at some point.

So the upper room/library has been papered and floored. It's just waiting for bookshelves along the back wall. Then I need to fill it with bunches and bunches of books. My FIL was a librarian in addition to a farmer. He drove a bookmobile for many years. The center room of the upper story is lined with floor to ceiling shelves filled with books. When our children were small, there was also a pool table in that room so I will make one I think. At the least I need extra chairs and a wooden high chair or two if I don't use the pool table. As part of my "research" I watched a family video from 18 years ago. My youngest was a newborn and our daughters and all their cousins were playing in that upper room. The oldest grandchild was "interviewing" them while videotaping. It was all very cute and I got a good look at the room again. I don't want to repeat those days but I'm so glad to have so many wonderful memories of those large family gatherings.

It's getting messy in here

The gas furnace is now installed and there's an empty shelf waiting to be filled with miscellaneous junk. There's also a breaker box mounted on the wall over the wood pile. I'm working on mini paint cans now for the shelves.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hey, maybe it really is a basement

The water heater is installed as is the wood burning furnace. There's also a gas furnace in the real basement so that will be coming soon. Then I need a safe under the stairs, a breaker box, and some shelves for "stuff." If there's still room after all of that I need a makeshift workbench - a door or slab of wood on sawhorses. Hubby was providing details this afternoon so that I make it authentic. We've been together since I was 14 (I'm 48 now) and his parents have always lived in the same house and I've never been in the basement. I'm not sure why - I guess I never had a need to. :)

I took a break from minis this evening for the last session in an amazing workshop on prayer. I learned so much and plan to make some changes in my personal prayer life.

Tomorrow is a very busy day but I hope to have some updates for you. I hope you all have a wonderful Tuesday.

Basement work

The basement is off to a good start. I've got the steps with a handrail and you can just see the bottom edge of the door at the top of the steps. The tricyle is lying on its side at the bottom of the stairs.
The right side photo shows the floor joists, plumbing pipes and wood pile for the furnace. I still need to add the furnace and water heater and miscellaneous basement junk. You can look at it and tell it's a basement so I'm happy so far, lol.

And the winner is....

Here are all the names mixed up and ready for me to draw the winner.
And Ara wins! Ara, please email me your mailing address and also let me know if you still prefer the 1:12 set. As soon as I have your info I will get your chosen sofa and table set in the mail. Congratulations!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

A few more details

My MIL loves jigsaw puzzles. Sometimes they will turn into an entire family activity when we visit. This puzzle in progress came from Jim's Printables.
The kitchen got a light fixture and the dining room got a ceiling fan today. The living room also got a ceiling fan but I'm not entirely happy with it yet. I'll post a photo when I get it right, lol.

It's nearly midnight here so it's almost time to draw for the giveaway. See you all tomorrow with the winner!

Last day to sign up!

Tomorrow I will be drawing the winner of the give away. Go here for rules and information.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just a few details

First I worked on the recliners - I added tufting to the back and some stitched details to make the chairs look better. I also added family photos around the room. Then I made the lamp -there really is one very similar to this in the living room now. The tiered shade was easier than I expected - yay! I was nervous about how to make that work.

I also added the picture window to the dining room and made lace curtains for the dining room and kitchen windows.

The basement will probably be the next room to work on. I'm not looking forward to the concrete work in there. Hubby also said that you can see the floor joists of the story above. Not sure how to replicate that in such a low ceiling room. Lots to think about.

Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

I got a lot finished today

I was out and about with my daughter again today. I found a rather cheaply made table and chair set that I could cut down and make over for the wall house dining room. The chair on the left is how they looked at first. The real chairs are Windsor style so I put in spindles instead of the single horizontal slat. The chair on the right is finished except for varnish.
The bar stools are new today, too. I used wooden wheels for the seats and dowel rod and toothpicks to make the legs and supports. The real room has a large picture window on that yellow wall. I think I'm going to have to put one there in the mini room or it won't look like the real room.
Here's a closer look at the kitchen side. The range and the sink cabinets are actually all one piece - the bottom half of a Michael's hutch. I added the center doors and drawer and the smaller cabinet at the far end. The other lower cabinet is also the bottom of a different style hutch.
The two green recliners with a vintage style end table between them. On the left is a "gas" stove for heat and atmosphere.
While out today I found the perfect little brass tricycle. I used a Sharpie to color the red and black and it looks really cute. I'm using the half scale stairs that I didn't use in the bungalow. This room will probably end up taking the most work, lol.

It was a fun mini day. What are you all working on?

Progress on the kitchen and dining rooms

This is far from perfect but it does look a bit like the real one. My MIL uses it in the dining room sort of as a china hutch. I couldn't bring myself to purchase the walnut stained one that HBS sells and then paint it white. Making it was a wiser choice even if it isn't exactly right. Since I've known hubby (for 34 years!) this cabinet has been black and then the white - I'm guessing that it's walnut under all the paint.

Mine is made from a leftover bit of hutch from the lower cabinets, a stamp block, some mini shingles, and random bits of wood and metal for trim and legs. I added packaging plastic for the "glass" door and beads for the handles.

This area is progressing nicely. I need a round or oval oak pedestal dining table and some chairs and a couple of stools for the snack bar. I also need curtains for the two windows and the big things are finished in these rooms. There is a large picture window in the real dining room on what is the back wall in this house. Since there are windows looking in when the front is closed I will put some sort of artwork on the back wall instead. Oh, I also need a ceiling fan for the dining room and a light fixture for the kitchen. This room is the farthest along.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kitchen and dining rooms in the wall house

I sacrificed my last two Michael's hutches to make the lower cabinets and the secretary below. The upper cabinets were made from more stamp blocks. I designed and printed the wallpaper to resemble the real kitchen. The layout is very like the real one. The fridge would be at this end so there's no room for it.
This secretary will be painted white and mirror and knobs added. I will fill it with decorative stuff and add a "glass" door. I am so pleased with this.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And then there was more

More work done on the wall house, that is. I was up late last night adding a few things. There's now ceiling trim, carpet, window cornices and curtains. The carpet is a sample piece of upholstery fabric. The curtains were made with coffee filters. They are the right color and are lightweight and drape nicely when coaxed with a bit of glue.

The little room at the bottom will be the basement. I know I will have stairs and a red tricycle because my hubby rode his trike down the basement stairs twice as a toddler trying to follow his dad. Even though the rest of the house will be decorated as it is today I want to include that bit of family history.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

It doesn't look like it should have taken all day...

The living room in the real house is pine paneled and has a framed wallpaper mural on the main wall. I need to figure out carpet, make a ceiling fan, 2 dark green recliners and a 1950s/60s style 2 level end table - that's the minimum I need. I'll have to see how much room is left after that. The real room is quite large. We now have the recliner that was my father in law's so it will be easy to copy.
The process of making the pine strips is easy but time consuming. The three craft sticks show the process. I used light and dark stain markers. If you look at real pine paneling you will see random knots and occasional dark curved and straight lines. Over time even sealed pine ages to a beautiful warm, golden color.

Giveaway Reminder

This drawing is for those followers who've been reading my blog for awhile so if you started following no later than February 28, 2011 you can enter the drawing here. The winner can choose either the 1:12 scale sofa and table or the 1:24 set.

Good luck!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Wall House continued...

The only thing left to do on the outside is make ivy growing up the house. I won't do that until I finish the interior because the ivy is fragile. The sealer I used wasn't dry when I took this photo. The grout for the stones will be gray when everything is completely dry. I am very happy with this transformation!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 1

The wall house "spoke" to me today. It will become a mini representation of my inlaws' home. There is still much to do to the exterior before I even begin on the rooms but I did make a lot of progress today. The shingles will be dark gray and there will be stonework up to the bottom edge of the lower windows. The real house has an enclosed porch with lower stone walls on the front and the only door on the porch is a metal screen door. I'll be just be giving the illusion by putting stones at the base. The house already looks so much better. I like the dimension and texture of the shingles and the stones on the chimneys.

Tomorrow is another thrift store shopping day with DD so I won't be working on the wall house. I'll post progress once I make more, :).

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

A new house

I spent the afternoon with one of my daughters. First we visited the Home and Garden show and then a furniture resale shop. The H/G show was not very exciting but we bought some honey. We went to the resale shop looking for things to furnish DD's new apartment (she's moving into her own off campus apt this summer.) We didn't find anything for her but I found this wall hanging dollhouse/cabinet.
The exterior is 1:12 scale. The interior rooms are not accurately scaled. They are either low ceilings for one inch or very high ceilings for half scale. The door doesn't line up correctly but I'm not going to worry about the inconsistencies and just decorate for fun. Probably in one inch scale.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Give away reminder for followers

Don't forget to sign up for my 2 year/250 follower give away if you were a follower on February 28, 2011 or before. You need to comment on this post to enter. Good luck!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

A new baby

I helped a friend make a dollhouse for her twin nieces for their last birthday. Yesterday they got a new baby brother and they told Aunt T that part of their family was missing. :) So I was commissioned to fix that problem. I made the crib from various wood scraps and cocktail skewers. The baby was sculpted from polymer clay. Hopefully, the girls will be happy.