Friday, 1 November 2019

It's Christmas Time! with HBS and miniatures.com







The Christmas countdown is on! While most of us haven't started Christmas shopping yet, if you want to get your Christmas minis ready, the clock is ticking.  Fear not, you have time and hopefully I can provide some inspiration.  Hobby Builder Supply (HBS) and miniatures.com asked me to put together a Christmas scene using an assortment of products from miniatures.com.

Those of you who have followed me all these years might have noted I haven't always posted elaborate Christmas scenes, but this year I started early (June!) and was determined to make a not one but TWO Christmas scenes.



The Room Box


The first part was choosing the road less traveled, meaning, I decided to make a new room box for the Winter White Christmas Scene.  If you're interested in a bit of that journey, check out my post The Formal Room Box

Two important features of the room box are the fireplace's brick wall and the fireplace itself.  The brick wall is a piece of MDF covered in the Embossed Light Brick Sheet.  I primed it and painted it with the wall colour.  The Jamestown Fireplace comes unfinished.  I chose to paint it my wall colour and used the same brick sheet to line the inside of the fireplace.

Once the room box was completed, I began assembling pieces from miniatures.com and my collection.  Many of the pieces from miniatures.com were painted or embellished to work with my scene, so please take a look at my shopping list at the end to find all the items.







Winter White Christmas Scene




We begin by peeking into the mini family's living room.  They're safe and warm from the cold snow.



The Tree


The Douglas Fir Trees make the perfect Christmas tree.  It has lots of flocked branches that are the perfect place to dangle Christmas balls and garland.  I simply cut a 1"x 1" square of wood, drilled a small hole in the center and glued the tree in place.  A small dab of wax held the base in place.  miniatures.com has an entire Christmas page where you can find ornaments for your tree.







The Fireplace


While this family might not be toasting marshmallows (given how clean the fireplace is!), I'm sure Santa can find his way down.  The Jamestown fireplace comes unfinished.  I simply added a little of the brick paper to the inside and then painted the entire thing  in my wall colour.







The fireplace features two trees, painted white using spray paint.  The Four Green Mini Trees, and many other bottle brush trees on miniatures.com, can easily be sprayed a colour to match your Christmas decor.

The Gold Bamboo Mirror....well, its not gold anymore!  Using an x-acto knife, I gently pried the mirror from the frame.  I then spray painted the frame white and glued the mirror back on.



Will Santa Visit?


It would appear the mini family left some milk and cookies out for Santa!

I continued to make some easy modifications to my furniture items.  I took the White Storage Table and cut off the tiny legs to lower it to coffee table height!  Even though it was already white, I have it a coat of white paint to match my walls.  This versatile piece has a shelf underneath of display baskets or other accessories.

The table also features Three White "Simple Shapes" Vases and How The Grinch Store Christmas.  Santa won't be disappointed with his 3-Pc. Cookies for Santa Set (and a note written to him).



 

Other Secrets


The living room also features the beautiful unfinished Hudson Side Table.  To age the wood I diluted grey paint in water and brushed it on the table.  The paint darkens the nooks and crannies and a little light sanding distresses the wood.

The table is also topped with one of the Set of Three Pink Candy Dishes that I spray painted metallic to match my decor.  Just be sure to select a spray paint that can adhere to plastic.  I used a bit of wax to adhere the dish to cardboard before I sprayed, because I learned the hard way that the paint stream will knock it right over!





One of my favourite pieces is the Dress Form on a Stand.  This is a simple black plastic Chrysnbon piece that is very versatile. Using a make-up sponge I dabbed the form with gold paint.  Once dry, I used linen to cover the bodice, which was adhered using a regular tacky glue.   





The simple and beautiful Unfinished Demilune Table is tucked up against the wall.  I used a white, water-based stain and antiqued by dry brushing it with grey paint.






Christmas Dinner


Now, I couldn't just make one scene, could I?  When I think about Christmas, I always think of the delicious food and the groaning table.  The mini meal is much more exciting to work on then the real life meal.  Not that I don't enjoy it, but preparing that raw turkey tries my Christmas spirit.





The Dinner


I chose the Garnished Turkey and Platter, which is full of detail and the centerpiece of the meal. I added in the Turkey Dinner Plate with Side of Cranberries and the Green Bean Casserole to complete my meal.  For added realism I use the Carving Knife and Fork Set along with the 3-Pc. Silver Flatware Set.





Come Have A Look Around!


If turkey isn't your thing, try the Garnished Ham Platter.  I apologize, I didn't think to supply a vegan option at this meal ;).  




Those little Christmas trees I used in the previous scene made their way over here too!



The Book of Mini


As I may have mentioned, I was generously included in The Book of Mini by Kate Unver.  The great folks at miniatures.com and HBS also have 3 images included in the book too.

The holiday season is almost here!  Consider giving your loved ones a copy.  Kate is a huge champion of our hobby and you can follow her at The Daily Miniatures (@dailymini) on Instagram.  Her Instagram features mini artist from around the world.  It has led me to make a few discoveries that I would have never known about!





So, I can officially say that I've crossed something off my holiday list, my miniature scenes!  Thanks again to Hobby Builders Supply and miniatures.com for their support with this post.  




Your miniatures.com shopping list!




Here's the shopping list for the living room:

How The Grinch Stole Christmas book

3 pcs Cookies for Santa Set

Set of Three Pink Candy Dishes

Two Dress Forms on Stands Chrysnbon

Hudson Side Table

White Storage Table

Douglas Fir Trees

Jamestown Fireplace

Embossed Light Brick Sheet

Unfinished Demilune Table

Gold "Bamboo" Mirror

Three White "Simple Shapes" Vases

Four Green Mini Trees (painted white)



Here's the shopping list for the Christmas dinner:

Garnished Ham

Turkey Dinner Plate  with Side of Cranberries

Garnished Turkey and Platter

Green Bean Casserole

Carving Knife and Fork Set 

Four Green Mini Trees (painted white)

3-Pc. Silver Flatware Set



This post received support from Hobby Builders Supply and miniatures.com



Sunday, 27 October 2019

The Birch Rug Tutorial



If you ever wanted to tackle a small stitching project, then I have THE project for you!  This cute little 3.5" x 1.5" birch rug can fit into any miniature space.  

My tutorial is available in American Miniaturist November 2019 (Issue 199).  It's two colours and one stitch (the tent stitch).  I swear, you can do it! Throw on the TV and stitch away.








Wednesday, 23 October 2019

Living In A Living Room



I started to organize some of my minis.  It was a scary thing, so I did two boxes of furniture and stopped.  I need to devote a cold winter weekend to taking everything out and sifting through it.  Including my work space and the cabinets who's depths I haven't ventured into in quite some time.

I'm not saying its a "horde" but I freely admit that there's a lot of stuff very nicely labelled cute boxes that need addressing.  I need to make a date with my label maker machine and attack!

But since I had a few minis out....and needed to store some of my summer finds, I took the time to play around in my new room box.

As you can see from my last post, I can easily swap out the fireplace which is held in place with museum wax.  Pro tip (and by pro I mean that it took a long time to figure out): museum wax residue (not clumps!) comes off easily with a rubbing alcohol swab/square or a q-tip soaked in rubbing alcohol.  It hasn't ruined any of my painted walls, painted paper, or other surfaces.  But test your surface first!

Let's tour the room!






This room is a bit of an homage to Warren Richardson.  He made the beautiful sofa and chair which I purchased in Florida.  These are still widely available and on eBay, both in tan and black.  They are beautifully made!  I also realized that he made the floor lamp too!  But I've had that for some time now.  




Care for a drink? I have a nice Chianti in a sweet wrapped bottle tucked in the bar. 


Or maybe you want to relax, play some cards and enjoy a cigar.  




No matter what you choose, listening to some music is always a good idea.  



It's always nice to dig out items in your collection and see them up close.  I enjoy re-envisioning them every time I take them out.  





Where To Buy / Where To Find


Leather Bag - by Jose Gomez
Bar and Bookcase - Jane Harrop kits
Pottery - Alex Meikeljohn
Leather Sofa and Chair - by Warren Richardson (via The Toy Box in Cocoa, Florida)
Guitar and Chianti bottle - Grandpa's Doll House
Records and crates - Keenderson Miniatures
Coffee Table - MiniModels
Blue Floor Lamp and reading glasses - MitchyMooMiniatures
Credenza and record player - by me



Saturday, 7 September 2019

The Formal Room Box




The room box is now emptied of its mini bounty....and ready for its Vogue photo shoot.  

The room box is made of MDF and measures 18.5" long 14" wide and 12" tall.  The fireplace brick bump out is permanent.  However, the fireplace isn't glue in, its just held in place with a dab of wax.  This way I can change the style or era of the room.  

The brick wall is embossed brick paper that I glued to the MDF, then primed and painted.  Even 3 coats of paint (primer + 2 top coats) didn't provide complete coverage, but I loved the shadowy effect so I didn't continue to paint.  I highly recomend painting the embossed paper if you're looking for an easy way to bring brick into your project.  No egg cartons, cork or paper brick cutting.  Just glue on the paper and paint it!

I was originally going to put a removable left and right built in cabinet on either side of the fireplace.  However, I ran out of steam and decided that I'd do it later or.... never.  We shall see!






The windows were made of plastic model making quarter round strips and clear acrylic sheets. I did this same window technique for my Real Good Toys room box a few years back.  

When I say "window technique" all I really did was sandwich the acrylic between the strips of plastic.  The strips are also glued to the frame.  It's a cheap and efficient way of making large windows.

So there you have it!  One project done, 30 more to go!




Saturday, 31 August 2019

The Summer (mini) Round Up - Projects On The Go!



I'm writing this asking myself how summer is almost done.  Good thing I didn't set too many mini making goals for myself!

I have actually finished the room box since I last wrote. But before I could take pictures I began staging it for a scene for Hobby Builders Supply and miniatures.com.  Got a little too excited to start the room and I didn't take pictures of the finished product.  But soon, I promise, I will have the room box emptied and I will show it to you.

Summer Travels


We took Miss Kitty to Florida and had a nine day adventure at every theme park imaginable.  As a reward for surviving, I convinced everyone that we should stop at two miniature stores in Florida.  Thankfully, they were both located in the general vicinity of where we stayed or were travelling near.

Our first stop was at Ron's Miniature Shop in Orlando.  The store had an incredible amount of inventory.  My challenge was shopping with a six year old that wanted to explore and have all my attention.  It was a balancing act, but we both came out happy.  If you're in the area, definitely check the store out.  I would have loved it if items were not all behind glass so I could have explored more.  It's challenging to keep asking to open up locked displays as you browse!



Lots of acrylic letters (by Ron), a resin skull and a whip (made of wire)



Non-electrical acrylic chandelier and bench (by Ron)


Fun little bits!


Moroccan inspired table (laser cut cardboard by Ron), two vessels by Alex Meiklejohn and vase trio by Susan Johnson


Film reels!  I've never seen a mini version before so I had to get them



Working table top chest of drawers (by Ron)



Our trip to the Kennedy Space Center also included a stop in Cocoa to visit  The Toy Box.  The little store was packed with fine collectibles and general miniature items.  My best find was a leather and metal sofa and chair set by Warren Richardson (not pictured).  In fact I didn't have a chance to photograph the Toy Box items yet!  I got a clear jug of beer, the sofa/chair, and a vase by Alex Meiklejohn.




Other Bits

The scene I'm staging, of course, does not fully match my style of miniature collectibles.  While I had lots of items for it, there were more then a few things I had to make.  Nothing is worse then not being able to have your vision come together. For the last month I've spent my evenings working on furniture, decor and rugs.

One item was the Bay Tree which I made from a kit from The Miniature Garden on Etsy.  If you're new to florals or like me just want to get to the end product without a whole ton of fuss and cursing, these kits are perfect.  I've never run out of leaves or petals, lots of wire and great instructions.  I got the tree and a weeping willow kit for Christmas.  One of two down, now will I get the other one done before this Christmas?



And you get a peek into the room box and some of the other staging I've completed!  

Don't even ask about that advent calendar I was going to make for myself.  It's still sitting there 99% untouched waiting for me.  Waiting for Christmas 2020....maybe.

I'm looking at the start of school and a lot more free time up head, so I plan to translate that into a lot more miniature making and blogging!









Sunday, 28 July 2019

Hello Summer!

 


When isn't summer busty?  I always think I'll have more time to sit and make minis.  I've squeezed in some late evenings to get some projects moving and take on additional projects (because who doesn't love taking on more projects!!).

Work with me here people, there's been a lot of mini things happening!

The Mid Century House


You know its been a while when a coat of dust and assorted fluff accumulates on a project because its been sitting on the furnace room floor!

Building is a little like playing Jenga.  You have to be strategic and think 5 steps ahead so you don't end up with a headache.  But you still have them, regardless, right?  I managed to finish off the kitchen wall with its floating shelves, under lighting and aluminum sheet back splash.  But before I could secure that wall to the structure I needed to make decisions about the bathroom.  That same wall would hold the bathroom vanity and lighting (which would feed through the wall and be concealed behind the kitchen cabinets.

3 months.  Yes, it took 3 months to procrastinate about what I wanted for the bathroom.  Time was spent on Pinterest, design magazines and Instagram.


The front exterior wall also needed to be cut and finished as its part of the bathroom wall.  I added the ribbed wood cladding to it.  I then realized I could see light between where the new right wall (see picture) butted up to the original structure (the panel with the door, left).  Also, the single strip of black wood between the two sides looked rather underwhelming in real life when I placed landscaping in front of it.  Sigh.  No, I didn't walk away for another 3 months, I added a second strip of black wood, sliced off some cladding and fixed the appearance and the gap in one shot.  

Then I vanished.  I varnished while tired and in a rush.  It didn't go as planned.  I grabbed gloss, not matte.  So the right side was shiny and the left was matte.  Much swearing.  Not sure how I missed the GIANT GLOSS LABEL, but I did.  So now both are shiny gloss that I dulled with super fine steel wool.



Before I could move on with the bathroom lighting, I realized I needed the vanity to set the tone and give me a reference for notching the wire channels and light position/size.

Using the "modern bathroom" hashtag on Instagram, I pulled together a few favourites.  I also wanted to tie the bathroom to the kitchen, so after I had all my wood cut, I veneered each piece and the cabinets edges.  The counter is a very thin tile.  The sink is from ELF Miniatures and the wall mount facet if from Paper Doll Miniatures Shapeways Store.  

The flooring is a sheet of railroad scale "sidewalk" plastic.  I will leave it white.  The wall tile is also from the railway store.




I notched the wall using my Dremel.  Once everything is correctly placed, Ill drill through the wall into the kitchen to run the wires and battery.



I made wall mounted wall sconces using a different veneer and thin metal rod.  Cutting veneer sheets is easy with a very sharp Xacto knife.  The tough part is gluing it and not having it stick to your fingers.



New Roombox

My "why not" project also started in July.  The Restoration Hardware catalogue was sitting on my workbench and the Ethan Allen summer ad had arrived.  I suddenly wanted a white living room space.  Do I have additional time for this? Nope, but why not!

Its a rather big room with big ceilings and windows.  No sense making it small and having it feel jammed with furniture.



When completed it will have 3 walls, the window wall, the fireplace wall and the blank wall.  I may add a removable roof with lights for stability, but for now 3 walls is enough work.

I opted to take the easy route for the brick wall.  I used embossed brick paper, primed it and painted it the wall colour.  Even after 3 coats with the wall colour the brick paper still bleed through, but it adds dimension and gives it a very aged look up close.

The floors another story.  I used a birch veneer roll that had adhesive on the back.  Simply heat your iron to melt the glue and set the floor.  It works like a charm!  But there was a catch.  I had to slice the strip in half lengthwise to get the 1 cm width, but that resulted in wobbly cuts here and there.  When laying regular wood floors, you don't see the gaps and can fill them.  But the veneer glue when melted and dried, looks glaring white.  Very visible against my grey/brown floors.



So, when I finished the floor, and 3 coats of stain and palm sander-ing, I had the colour I loved, just with gaps.

I sprayed it with 2 coats of matter oil based spray varnish.  Then I solved the glue issue.  I mixed an exact match floor stain with craft acrylic paints.  Using a fine brush I painted all the white, then wiped off any paint that got on the boards.  The oil based varnish meant it wiped perfectly clean.  After the paint was dry, I added 1 more coat of matte varnish and it was flawless. 



I'm now painting the window trim the same as the wall colour and will apply a final wall colour coat too!




And now here's a little mini fun!  I always bring minis to the cottage.