Friday, January 30, 2015

Well, that didn't take long...

Joe and Joy just moved in yesterday and already they wanted to remodel the kitchen. In all fairness, I'd mounted the upper cabinets too low to be able to use the stove or lower counter and it had been bugging me. Just not enough to want to change it until Joy tried to use her kitchen, which then looked like it had been built for children. So, with a bit of heat and prying, the cabinets came out, the wallpaper was replaced, new tile was put in and the cabinets were replaced. I also got the other porch post/support in. The tiles are mini mosaic tiles from Hobby Lobby - another gift from my husband. They are a bit thick but I think they look great in the kitchen. Now, Joy's happy and if Joy's happy, Joe is happy. And I'm happy, too. Apparently, life is just happy here today, lol.

Have a wonderful weekend, my friends!

A Whole Day to Play Leads to Major Progress

 I used diluted acrylic stain to age the plaster and then, instead of the included exterior trim, I used mini tiles (a gift from my very thoughtful husband) to trim the doors and windows.
 The doors are all blue - French Blue to be exact. How appropriate!
 The previous owner of this kit had purchased all of the plastic "wrought iron." I painted all the white pieces black to give my house the look I wanted. The bay window roof is copper with a patina.
 All that's left on the outside is the chimney and roof. What a difference a day makes!
I know that a lot of miniaturists do not put dolls/figures in their scenes because it takes away from the illusion. I fall strongly in the other camp. Almost all of my houses have people - most made by me but some from other artists and a few resin or other manufactured dolls. These are Houseworks dolls. As soon as I saw Joy, the pregnant mama here, I knew I had to have her. She and Joe, little Jamie, and soon to be sibling, look quite happy that their home is nearing completion. It's hard enough to get their toddler to nap on a good day but the construction has really disrupted her schedule. :-)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

If it weren't for snow days I'd get nothing done at all...

 School was cancelled again today due to freezing rain and snow. The trip down the hill to take care of the chickens was a slipping and sliding experience, lol. But the day home from work has given me time to get some exterior work on the French Country house done. Here it is after the plaster work and before aging. I used a mix of latex paint, several colors of acrylic paint, gesso, and sand. The house is not as white as it looks in these photos. It's actually more tan than white. The aging wash will give me just the look I want.
This is dry now so I hope to be back with updates later.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Fun with beads

 The upper hallway got a pretty two tiered chandelier. The mini people are gonna be banging their heads all the time but I love how delicate it looks.
 The bathroom also got a pretty little chandelier for over the tub. I think I want one now, too. :-)
Have a wonderful day!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Really Finished This Time

 I found a problem with the light fixture over the table (the tack that I used as a ceiling mount was poking through the upper floor) so I had to take it down to fix the problem. While it was down I decided to make it black to tie into the kitchen decor better. I also added a spacer bead to keep the tack from going all the way through the ceiling. I had to take the pot rack and light fixture over the island down to get to the back so I gave them a coat of black, too. The 'embossed' detail on the rack shows much more clearly with the solid black finish. Be sure to poke the photos so you can see the details.
 I changed the candle tray to a smaller one. That way the ottoman can still be used for feet, lol. My favorite thing on the ottoman, though, is the baby name lists and pen. There's a baby name book on the side table. The doll I ordered from HBS is the Houseworks Joy. She's pregnant. The little details like these are what makes a dollhouse feel lived in.

The bathroom got a small piece of art for the wall. I think there will be a shelf on the right wall over the tub. Where else will the shampoo and such go? ;-)

Have a blessed day, my friends!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Just a few more details

 I added an ornate hanging bracket to the bathroom mirror. It looked too contemporary for the rest of the room before.
 The stove end of the upper cupboards needed a bit more to look finished so I gave this silver frame a bit of black patina and framed the rooster that was already there.
 I found the mini Eiffel Tower in the boarding house. It is more appropriate here and is just the right extra this table needed.
 I made an ottoman to act as both coffee table and footstool. It's upholstered with a French script scrapbook paper. The candles are pencil erasers with a black thread wick and glue melting wax drips.
That's all for tonight. The little details are making this house a home. I'm sure the residents, Joy, Joe, and little Jamie, would love to have doors, though. That's going to have to happen soon! Joy and Joe are now ordered, too. I've got to get the house move in ready!

A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place

 I spent some time on Pinterest this afternoon. I knew I wanted a pot rack for this kitchen but I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted or how to make it. After pinning several options, I dug through my miscellaneous junk in the craft room and this is what I came up with.
The base is a tea light cup. The metal is soft enough to cut the bottom out and punch the needed holes. I added scrapbook sticker vines and dry brushed some black paint to give a bit of patina. The chain and jump rings came from my jewelry making supplies and I made S hooks from sturdy black wire. The light fixture "shines" through the bottom. I love when I get just the look I wanted from bits of nothing scrounged from the various craft supplies and "junk" I deem worth keeping. :-)

Have a wonderfully blessed week, wherever you are!

Saturday, January 24, 2015

I Thought I Was Happy

 Anyone who has followed my blog for any length of time knows that sometimes it takes a few "improvements" before I am satisfied with the results. The living room chandelier was one of those times. I didn't dislike it before but it wasn't quite right. I started with the collar at the top (and this is the 3rd edition collar, lol) and then decided it needed some bling. Adding the bling would have been much less challenging if I'd decided on that path before the chandelier was fixed to the ceiling. But with some twists and turns and other maneuvers I managed to get the crystals attached. I think it's an improvement. What do you think?
Back soon with some exterior ideas...

A Very Enlightening Afternoon

 At least in the mini world - although none of them are working lights. I reworked the bedroom chandelier and I am much happier with it. The four arms are spaced the way I want them and the swags of beads sparkle beautifully when the light hits them.

I actually made the bathroom sconces when I first made the chandelier but forgot to post a photo. These were made with various jewelry and scrapbook findings and beads.
 The revamped console and end table are not lights but that's coming later in this post. I gave both pieces a more worn and rustic finish, leaving the tops of each in the original wood finish. I'm especially happy with the console. It's a much nicer looking piece now.
 The beautiful potted roses were made by my friend, Brenda. The worn finish of the pot is perfect for this room. I also rearranged again. I'm still working to find just the right layout. This may be the one.
 The living room light fixture was made from an odd piece of something that my son found in our driveway. I like the egg basket effect of the wire mesh. The bottom loops, with a little help, fold out just a bit to give it a floral feel.

Once the front door is on, this room is nearly finished. I want some sort of coffee table but I don't know just what yet.

At some point I really have to address the outside of this house. I'm closer to knowing what I want anyway. At least I am making progress. ;-)

We have our first victim to the nasty stomach bug going around here. My poor daughter (and I, as caregiver) spent a horrible night sleeping on the bathroom floor. If we have another victim, it will be me. Fingers crossed that we won't pass it around.

Hoping you have a blessed (and much healthier) weekend wherever you are.

Monday, January 12, 2015

A Mini Mini Project for Snow Day #3

 You've already seen the skillet in an earlier post but here it is after a coat of black nail polish. I left the insides of the pans silver.
 The strainer was made from an old faucet filter. I have no idea what the pot started as. I figure if it's been in the junk drawer so long that I don't remember it, it must be fair game for miniatures, lol. It had a hole in the bottom that I filled with paper. The handles are also made of paper. I cut most of the filter gasket off. I left just enough to act as handles.
The strainer fits neatly inside the pot - perfect for cooking pasta. :-) I wasn't inspired enough to bring the whole house out to work on it. But a little detail work always leads to a more realistic dollhouse and I could bring just a few supplies out on a tray to do the pans. There will likely be another snow day this winter that I can dedicate to the French Country house itself.

Have a wonderful, blessing filled day!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Snow Day #2 - And this time there's snow!

I know because I've trudged through several inches of it to do chores twice today. Brrr - it's as cold as it was yesterday, too. But it sure is pretty with the sun shining on it.

I ended up alone today so I spent some time on the French Country house.
 First up was the chandelier for the master bedroom. It looks so pretty with the vaulted ceiling. The wicker cradle was a gift from a friend several years ago. I want to get a resin couple from HBS to be the parents and I love the pregnant young woman. With the toddler upstairs, the new baby will be in mom and dad's room at first.
 Speaking of the toddler's room, it got some new things, too. I raided a nursery room box to find these goodies. The blocks are just beads but many of the other items were made by miniature friends. I made the afghan on the bed.
 I made pendant lights for over the dining table and the island. They are fairly simple but I'm happy with the results. The lights are similar enough to look good in the same room without being identical. The rooster on top of the range hood was a lucky find. I'm not sure where he came from but was part of an earring. The rest of the earring gave me the unique light hardware for the island light.
I also made a greasy skillet since they are having burgers for lunch. The pan was made with a makeup tray, a paper fastener, black beads, and a bit of beading wire. The "grease" is amber Gallery Glass paint.

This house is progressing slowly but surely. Soon I need to make some decisions about the exterior. I think I have a plan but I'm not 100% sure yet. At the rate I'm going with this house, I'll have plenty of time to decide, lol.

Have a wonderful and blessing filled weekend, my friends!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Snow Day!

Well, actually it's a bitter cold day off school. Windchills in the negative double digits. Brrr. But it's the perfect day for crafting and cooking. Daughter number one had purchased some wood dimensional and laser cut ornaments from Hobby Lobby that needed bling for next Christmas. She's decided to go with browns, bronzes, and green for her tree next year. So with a bit of paint, Mod Podge, glitter (in fun colors!), and hair spray to seal we came up with these:
 I am in charge of decorations for our church ladies' retreat coming up later this month. The speaker's theme is Queen of Quite a Lot. We decided to go with a Mary Engelbreit type style. I could never do justice to ME's wonderful art but I came up with a centerpiece idea using a similar style. The pots will be filled with chocolates for the retreat. Chocolates have been a tradition started at our first retreat 15 or 16 years ago. Can't let the ladies down, LOL. I have 10 more of these to paint. It will be fun coming up with different designs and colors.
 Since my husband and I (and daughter #1) have stopped eating wheat (and many other grains), finding bread recipes that we like has not been easy. So when I do find one, we enjoy the occasional treat. This is zucchini banana bread. Yum!
 With the bitter cold, and now snow (it started as I was writing this post), it's a perfect night for chili. Legumes are another thing we've mostly given up and corn is one grain that doesn't cause issues for any of us. So that's what I use in place of beans. This pot of chili is anything but traditional but it's gonna taste good. :-)
I know that many parts of the US are experiencing the same bitter cold temperatures that we are. Stay warm and safe! Wishing all of you, wherever you are, a day filled with blessings!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

A Year in Review -2014

I was afraid I had nothing to post for 2014 in review but I am happy to report I did manage to complete a few projects.

February was the most mini productive month due to all the snow we had last year.

Here you can see the half scale house I built from a boot box.

For Valentine's Day I made a mini scene in a cardboard suitcase. This was for an Odds and Ends Challenge for a mini group I used to belong to. You can see more photos here. In April, I turned  a cardboard house from Hobby Lobby into an adorable half scale cottage (if I do say so myself, lol.) Click here to see more. My stone cottage led to a commissioned one for a family member's daughter. It was a Christmas gift and she loved it! Here are more photos. And the final completed project for 2014 is a mini version of our chicken coop - the Crooked House Layers Club. Click here for more pictures. I've been working on the French country house since the middle of July. Wow! I don't think I've ever taken this long with a project. I hope it's worth the wait!

Happy 2015! May your new year be happy, healthy and full of life's blessings.

Happy New Year!

I got the best start to the new year - a whole day to work on minis. There are plenty of other things I could have/should have been doing (Christmas decorations down, anyone?) but my husband and I decided to spend this rare day alone relaxing and doing things we enjoy doing. So I made some good progress on the French country house.

The stairs are supposed to face the other way but the console didn't fit that way and I like having the steps come up to the bedroom door. That way the mini people have to go back to get to the bathroom. That gives them a bit more privacy, lol. In order to make it work I had to do some 'bashing.' This is the first time I've done a major alteration to stairs. So I know the final product is far from perfect and it's likely that the mini people couldn't realistically use the stairs as they are now - but, then again, rarely are dollhouse stairs realistically operable anyway.

So here they are, in all their glory. ;-) I'm actually very pleased. I finished the back of the steps with a matte board panel so you don't see the ugly step backs. The console fits perfectly, without jutting into the kitchen doorway - I think it probably holds the mini television since the couch and chair face that way.
So after spending all day on the stairs, I got a chance to do a tiny little upgrade on the chairs. I almost got out of bed last night when the idea came to me but I managed to restrain myself. I just added a narrow strip of black paper around the seats of the chairs. That little bit of paper makes them look so much more finished.
And here they are, back in the kitchen.

I've had a very productive day in miniland. Tomorrow I'll have to go back to the real world and get the Christmas things put away and the snowman things out. Monday it's back to school so I want to have all of that done before reality hits.

Last year I did a year in review post. I will have to see if I actually completed anything in 2014. Real life, aka Daughter #2's wedding, took most of my creative energy for the year. Totally worth it but I'm very glad to get back to my mini world.

Have a blessing filled day, wherever you are!