Saturday, 14 July 2018

New Project! And Yet The Old Ones Remain...

It's been a busy spring!  I was tied up with Miss Kitty's school, so minis took a back seat.  BUT, as I am not one to take on too many projects at once (cue the laugh track), I decided to start this years Charity Build!  It's not needed until April 2019, but I like to plan ahead.

Last years Ikea house was a lot of work.  While I love 1:12 scale, it ends up being large and time consuming.  So, I went hunting for a kit to save me time and space.  After all, not everyone wants to bid on a large dollhouse, so something smaller has mass appeal.

On Ebay, the "caravan kit" aka a camper/trailer depending on where you live in the world, isn't quite 1:24, definitely isn't 1:12, so its more like 1:16 scale.  What is important to know, is that Calico Critters (aka Sylvanian Family) can fit!  

The shell of the trailer is pre-built, which I was not expecting!  The best part of this deal is that its made really, really well for a $60 CDN kit (direct from China with free shipping).  It's solid wood and all the pieces fit if you just chose to use it as is.  Could I leave it as is? No.  That minty sorbet green was a bit much and didn't have mass appeal.

I went to my trusty CIL melamine kitchen cabinet paint.  The body is a soft grey and the trim is my go to off white.  I stayed away from bold and gendered colours as it allows it blend into a family home and ensures any child would like to play with it.

I used Krylon's stainless steel finish paint on all the window and door trim.  I then painted and applied the corrugated paper to the exterior.  The floor is a thick, textured faux wood paper that I applied with wallpaper paste and sealed with matte Mod Podge.

I started the interior and have mostly finished the furniture.  Working smaller is a bit of a pain in the ass with all the little bits to fiddle with!

The plan is to mount it on a board covered in grass and have an outdoor scene to go along with the trailer.  It does come with wheels and a hitch for the exterior.  The electrical it came with is a bit sketchy to say the least, so I think I will wire it myself with LEDs and build a "storage" box on the outside the trailer to hide the wires and battery pack.

And In Other News.....

I have also restarted my mid century build.  Recall me mentioning the peeling Houseworks wood floor sheets?  Well, here it is! (see below).  It was glued down, and all that was applied was a thin layer of satin varnish.  It was fine for a while, but slowly started to give.  I attempted to pry and glue the problem areas, but it was too tough.  I just flipped it over and started again (&%*#$!!!! floor).  

Anyhoo, I now have it glued down and have started painting the walls, paper, etc. to move ahead when the trailer is done.

Monday, 28 May 2018

2018 OMEGA Mini Show

 I attended the Ontario Miniature Enthusiasts of Guelph Area (OMEGA) mini show on May 6th.  I always considered this show to be smaller (no pun intended), but it has grown over the last few years.  And I enjoy the diversity, and most of all, the affordability of the artists at this show.

I've "been around" long enough now that I've developed a good rapport with artists and sellers, so they know what I like and will ensure they have brought with them goodies I can't leave behind.  Is that a new level of weird?

Pacific Wood Imports

This retailer is at all of the mini shows.  Thankfully!  They import direct from Asia.  Over the last year I've noticed an increase in fine and unique minis from Japan, which makes my wallet itch.  The bowls, cloche, wood bridge and the wood root table are from Japan.  A very pushy woman was itching to snatch this table if I put it down, as if! The two baskets were made in Thailand.

 Sweet Somethings Miniatures

Nancy Pequegnat's mini creations always speak to me!  I bought a few food items (since I don't do clay work), but the Tim Horton's coffee croissant stole my heart.  My real and mini life aren't complete with out Timmies.  

The table is from Pacific Wood Imports.

Small Scale Showcase

I didn't end up purchasing anything from Carol this time, but I won the first door prize!  It was this beautiful frosted cranberry glass bowl by Glasscraft.

My husband and I learned our lesson.  At previous shows we could never locate the raffle ticket we were handed at the door.  This time I kept them safe and low and behold I won!

 Merriam's Miniatures

Merriam is fast becoming one of my favourite tables to stop by and shop at.  She's been making minis for the past 10 years, but has been an embroiderer for years. I think I have a connection with her because like me, we dabble in a little bit of everything mini!  Thankfully, she does amazing clay work, so I buy from her rather then try my own hand at it.  I grabbed some all sorts, jelly beans, jujubes, peanuts and salad.  

The two pillows were rejects from the kits she makes.  But they were priced so well that I couldn't leave them behind.  And let's be honest, me stitching a pillow takes forever!

Martha McLean Miniatures

Martha always knows what I want.....which usually means a variety of purses made by a South Korean artist.  But this time...oh this time....she had a stunning selection of TYA Kitchen items she purchased at the Chicago International Bishop Show.  I kid you not, I saw the TYA in the case from 5 meters away and knew exactly what it was before I had to ask.  What stood out was the killer espresso machine that catches the light like a mini beacon....with its $200+ price tag I left it behind.  And though it pained me, I just bought the pot.  Next time I will start the show at Martha's booth!

Out of the Ordinary Miniatures

Out of the Ordinary always has a few surprises.  Lots of general mini items all neatly organized by category.  But this time, their assortment of mini clothes caught my eye.  The shirt and kilt are wearable (if you are a mini)!  The shirt is so neat, all the seams are stitched, not glued.  And the kilt even has a handmade kilt pin!!

Grandpa's Doll House

Liz has to be one of my favourite mini retailers.  Great customer service and amazing items.  She's moving away from mass produced minis and focusing on the finer items and estates.  Which is music to my ears!

Grandpa's Doll House has a yearly Daily Deals sale that starts in January and runs a few weeks.  I always order a lot, especially building supplies, because the prices are great.

I picked up my order at the show.  And then shopped even more!  Mr. Peanut was an estate piece I got at the show.  Words cannot describe how cut he is in real life.  Cheers to the artist that made him, you did great.

And nothing better then to round out the show and my empty pockets then with a table full of free books!!  Including several books I was eyeing on eBay and never got to purchasing.  Straight into my mini achieve for future mini making.

The Golden Girl

Oh hello again....back once again from the upside down.  Well, in honest, our computer was on its last legs and the process of opening Chrome or a .jpg took 10 minutes so I had to wait until I got a new computer.  And now I'm living in 2018 with a computer that doesn't act like its straight out of 1989.

There have been some set backs in my build.  Mostly busy in the non mini world, but I did have one issue.  More on that soon when I take pictures of the annoyance.  

But in amazing news, the Charity Dollhouse for Miss Kitty's school raised a considerable amount of money!!! The Silent Auction was a huge success, and everyone loved the dollhouse and the tooth fairy houses.

In the mean time....behold my mini tinkering!!

The Golden Girl 

Does anyone else find it terrifying that the 1980's are back in style.  You can call it boho all you want, but its the 1980's (and early 1990's) all over again.  From high waisted mom jeans to rattan everything....look out Goodwill, the hipsters are coming for you!

Joking aside, I have a fondness for 80's era and 80's inspired miniatures. What is one more niche mini market to collect when your collection is ever growing?!?

Could you imagine Blanche, Sophia, Dorothy and Rose sitting around here gossiping?

Where To Buy / Where To Find
  • vintage rattan furniture by Diane Mitchel
  • Table by MiniModels
  • Rug stitched by me (kit by Janet Granger)
  • Wicker woven table (vintage kit) by OmniArts

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Mini bits!

I could tell you how far I've come with my build, but that would be a lie!! Ha.  Actually I was waiting for a 1/2 inch rectangle paper punch to make brick for the interior wall.  In my mind a punch would be faster, but waiting a month for it to arrive seems to have killed that time advantage.


While the project sits waiting for me, I did play around with some minis.  

It turns out that my package to Anna-Maria was on the slowest boat known to man.  Almost 12 weeks after shipping, it arrived.  In her initial package to me, she sent me this beautiful trestle table kit which I finished in American Warm White.  She also made the wire basket (swoon!).  The 1960's vintage metal chair was an eBay find.  The beautiful seascape is by Rebecca Hymes.  She paints gorgeous pictures in 1:12 and sells them on eBay.  I love her work!

I have been burning up the sewing machine lately.  Making table clothes, place mats, and baby cradle bedding for Miss Kitty's school.  The ladies at the fabric store must think I've crazy since all they see me buy is meters and meters of flannelette in random prints. But by the time I'm done a project the thought of making mini bedding is not at the top of my list!

Sunday, 11 March 2018

The 2018 Charity Build

Drum roll.....the Charity Build is done!  I struggled on a cute name for the project, so Charity Build it shall remain.

The Recap

I started this build as a side project last summer for Miss Kitty's nursery school's silent auction in 2018.  Anyone can solicit for donations, but not everyone can make a dollhouse!  While this house is definitely aimed for the well over 3 years of age crowd, our school has lots of older siblings that would LOVE this.

The house hits the auction block in May.  I'm hoping to get a few competitive moms pitted against each other. 

The house is the IKEA Flisat.  One wall was removed from the lower level to make an open concept living space. The kitchen cabinets, TV cabinet, toilet, tub and bed are all glued in, but the rest is free to be played with.

Many items in the house were generously donated by Keli and Jodi.  In addition to what you see in the house pictures, I have a large box filled with a ton of donated accessories and additional furniture so little minds can be creative.

In The Beginning

I painted the structure with kitchen cabinet paint. The floor is the original pine that I stained a medium brown (it hid the grain well!).  The wall paper is scrapbook paper that was glued down with wallpaper paste and sealed with matte Mod Podge.  

All the wall art is from the internet, mostly art that I would love in my own home but lack the wall space for. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen cabinets are an eBay find. I pried off the oven hood and vent, then I applied tiny tile paper as a back splash.  The faucet was donated by Jodi and 3D printed in metal.  You can find it in her Shapeway Store - My Miniature Madness.  I had only read about 3D printing in metal, and I have to say the end product is pretty impressive!

The items you see displayed on the counter also came from Keli and Jodi.  The mixer and the oil are even more adorable in real life. Keli sent the cats and they fit perfectly in the kitchen.

The Living Room

I made the velvet couch extra deep to allow for large dolls to sit comfortably.  I settled on Sylvanian Family/Calico Critters as my family of choice.  They're small and cute!  The dress was crocheted for a 1:6 Kelly doll, but works perfectly in 1:12 (and on a Calico Critter!).  I made the Chanel purse from wood and paper.  Every momma Koala needs Chanel, right?

The Bathroom

The toilet and tub came from a lot at a vintage and antique show 2 years ago.  One of those things that just sit around in the basement until the right project comes a long.  Jodi sent the little scrubbed!  The blue mat was made by the same lady that made the dress.

The Bedroom

The bed is made of palettes which I thought was very of the moment and chic.  Probably not the greatest for the longevity of your mattress or back, but its all in the name of style. I upholstered the headboard in grey cotton.  There was a back and forth about tufting it and thankfully I talked myself out of it!

The bedside lamps took 2 months to arrive from China.  I thought the first order was lost, so I reordered.  And waited.  Then they both arrived on the same day last week!  The lamps were the final piece of the puzzle, so I was happy they showed up.

The storage cabinet came from Keli, but I repainted and stuffed it with decorator books!  The cutest piece in the room (in my opinion) is the peg board.  All those little doo-dads and paper bits!

So there you have it! One more thing off my to do list.  I've never taken pictures as quickly as these ones.  It was a nice sunny day, but so bone chilling cold that I barely had the back drop up and house out before my fingers were frozen!

I made a PVC pipe photo back drop for Miss Kitty's birthday last year.  Nothing cuter then little ones posing with photo props!  But if you reconstruct the back drop frame with the same pieces of pipe but make it shorter, it makes for a great photo back drop for minis.  Just toss a sheet over the frame and use some clamps to keep it from blowing away.  Here's a link to what I had based mine on.  I got the pipe and connectors at the hardware store and cut the pipe at home with my saw.  Quick, easy and cheap! 

I will let you know the final bid.....and see if I do another for next year.  If I do (and yes, I'm sure I will regardless), it will be the Primrose or the Orchid since I have them in a box in my basement (4 years and counting....).

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A New Build....A New Year!

Well, hello again.....

It's been a while, hasn't it?  I have been mini-ing, but my blogging has been a bit slow.  

Here's the update:  

  • Over Christmas, my grandmother passed away.  I decided to take all of her sewing notions, threads, and assorted items to add to my pitiful sewing collection.  I now have more thread in weird and random colours then I will ever know what to do with!
  • I spent a good long while working on mini items to swap with Anna-Maria.  I'm currently stressed out because they haven't arrived yet!! I didn't do tracking because it would have pushed a tiny package to close to $125 (WTF Canada Post!!!!), so given that I've never had issues I mailed it.  If there are mail faeries, I hope they have my package and will get it to her!
  • I finished the Charity Build.  Given the crap-tacular winter we have had here, I haven't been able to photograph it to show it in its glory.  It appears to be warming up a bit, so I will venture outside for some natural light.

The Build

I purchased the Greenleaf Spring Fling 2012 contest build as a Christmas gift for myself in 2016.  It was January 2018 when I decided to build it, so in terms of general miniaturist hording and delaying projects, I think I'm still making good time....hehehe.  

This will be another modern home.  The greenhouse side kit with the windows will be turned on its side, placed on a lower wall and made a sunken living room/bedroom.  The other add-on on the side of the house will become a bathroom.  I was going to use the fruit stand add-on kit, but its too small and low, so I will just build it out of scrap wood.

To access the living room, I will cut out most of the right side wall.  I'm also adding in 2 high windows to give light, but also leave me some lower wall space for furniture placement. 

The front of the house will have symmetrical and asymmetrical features.  I love the high windows and below them at ground level will be planter boxes.  To highlight the roof line, you will note (below), a double line running beside the door, along the right roof line and down the right side.  This will be a beam that will bump out of the front.  Maybe it will feature a splash of colour, different bricks....not sure yet!

Up to this point, I've done my cutting, primed all the wood, sanded and pressed everything flat. I'd like to say that's the worst part, but I'm sure something else will take that title soon enough.  

I also ordered LED lights from  I used their LEDs in my last build and they work brilliantly.  I also purchased the chip-battery and switch kits to make it easier to hide the batteries.  

I have been toying with designs in my head.  Nothing has stuck yet, so I will wait for inspiration.  Unlike many of you that build with a design in mind, I just seem to build and roll the dice.  I think I'm actually just to lazy to plan and like to tinker which results in my "we can always fix it later" attitude (or my having a tantrum and leaving the build for a month until I make peace with it).

And in stitching news

I decided to stitch some Hello Kitty inspired pillows.  Stitched on 32 count silk in a continental stitch using DMC cotton thread.  After searching the internet, I resigned myself to having to make my own chart.  I also decided since I would make Hello Kitty, she would need her friend Badtz Maru (the grumpy penguin).  Badtz's progress is a bit slow because stitching the black is hard on the eyes!

Drum roll please.....I bought my sewing machine yesterday!  By chance I found that Janome had a massive sale for all their dealers, so I managed to get a machine that I wouldn't have normally afforded in the price range I was aiming for.  My laziness and procrastination paid off!

I have also discovered my disdain for sewing was due to my old machine being a piece of trash.  I had this beauty up and running in 15 minutes and it sews like a dream!

There you have it! I have caught you all up on what I've been up to!