Sunday, May 29, 2016

Loft In A Box

Hello y'all.  Yes, I have been negligent in blogging.  Not that I am not making minis, I just haven't had the time to sit and write.  Or finish what I started writing.  The garden has consumed me! And replacing the basement sink (a fiasco) and now Miss Kitty's birthday prep.  All I have had in me is to make mini scenes and post them on Instagram.  If you need a regular fix, find me there!

Remember when I purchased the Real Good Toys room box from The Little Dollhouse Company a while back?  It's been finished for some time now.  Did I take proper pictures of it empty? Nope.  Typically me.  But I did do a loft scene inside of it.  Recall, this was the room box that was supposed to be "simple" and just for taking photos.

 Bahahaha. As if I could make anything simple.


This kit is made from precision milled MDF. It really fits together perfect. But the assembly instructions seemed.....sad.  White glue and nails? Oh come on, that would leave me with night,ares and a fear of touching it because it might break. Out comes the constructions adhesive and about 20 small screws. The thing looked like Frankenstein before I sanded and painted the glue away! But this bad boy is rock solid.

I made the choice not to glue the roof piece to the 3 sides (also part the reason I glued/screwed as much as I did). It's so hard to photograph in a roofed anything, and this box is for making scenes and taking pictures of them!  So, the roof comes off, but the front plexiglass still slides in just fine. It nicely keeps the dust out since it sits in my work space.

The Floor

To use wood strips, veneer, or popsicle sticks. The eternal question that faces many Miniaturists. Having had success with iron on veneer made into siding for the half scale house, I said, why not veneer again?

This was non adhesive veneer. Purchased at Home Depot in a large roll.  I used many knife blades, but made countless long strips. Then I cut them into 6 varying lengths, I.e. 1 inch, 2 inch, 4.5 inches, etc. and for further variation I stained half of each length group with 2 coats of stain and 4 coats of stain. This gave nice variation. After all, it is a converted loft!  Since I went with a dark floor and the strips are "rustic" I painted the mdf under it a dark brown.

I glued it all down using LePaige No More Nails.  3 rows at a time, stopping to press and dry with a heavy book. And don't forget to put parchment paper down between the floor and the book!

The floor was finished with a satin polyurethane.  Even the satin was a bit too new looking, so I took some extra fine steel wool and rubbed down the floor 2 times to take the shine down a few notches.  And its much easier to photograph when its less shiny.  

The Window

I said 2016 was the year for trying new things. So.....building custom anything made me a bit scared. Not that I couldn't do it, but I didn't know where to start or find the supplies.

Fast forward to finding The Credit Valley Railway Company Ltd. for my glue jig. There, they had lots of tiny styrene trims, like quarter round, U channel, etc. things I needed but didn't know where to buy!  I did a happy dance. If you`re interested, it was Evergreen brand.  The plastic sheet for the `glass` was from The Little Dollhouse Company.

I cut the plastic to fit the opening I had cut out in the wall.  I used a quarter round trim on both sides of the window to secure it to the frame.  All I had left was some fine U channel, so I used it to add smaller panes to the top of the window and give it a transom effect.

I was very nervous to make this window.  Zero clue what I was doing and I put it off.  Annnnnnnnnnd it was really simple to do in the end.  You just need to watch your gluing and not be sloppy as some glues can adhere to the plastic if you make an inadvertent drop and they won`t come off.

The Bricks

I made the bricks using white mat board. Much easier AFTER you recall you own a mat board cutter (from cutting many a photo mat). Might this tool have been useful in previous projects? Was this tool sitting in the furnace room beside my work bench? Had I kicked it a few times since starting minis? Yes to all.  But did its usefulness dawn on me. Nope.

I made many strips of slightly varying width and then cut varying brick length. If it was a loft, I figured the bricks were likely old, worn and patched so this approach would work.

I glued them down with tacky glue.  Then I sealed them with Americana Dura Clear Matte Varnish that I applied with a brush. I grouted using the goes-on-pink-dries-white spacking from Home Depot. Then I painted it all with 2 coats of eggshell finish interior paint in "Romance" by CIL (my real life trim colour). Then I sealed it again with 2 coats of the matte sealer.

The Baseboards

The baseboards are a Victorian baseboard from Houseworks. I enjoy that they are much taller then a regular board.  And I painted them "Romance" too!

And The Rest Of The Loft Series

Where To Buy - Where To Find

Sunday, May 01, 2016

O.M.E.G.A. Show - Oh Boy!!

I went to the Ontario Miniature Enthusiasts of Guelph Area mini show today!  I went with my wad of fun money to behave myself.  Then I saw many sellers took credit cards.  Game over.  Good intentions out the window......

I had the amazing fortune to discover the table of good being sold by the estate of June Simpson, IGMA fellow in furniture, a fellow Canadian.  June had suffered a health event, and subsequently a close friend and miniature enthusiast was selling large portions of June's mini estate for her.

The cupboard was one of two.  The other (likely in better condition) was kept by June's friend.  This one was missing 2 latches and has a bit of wood separation on the back, but it is still stunning.  I thought I was all done shopping....then turned around and saw the cupboard being place on the table.  I bolted and grabbed it!

It was made by June from what I understand, during a mini class.  The bottom states it was originally owned by Neil and Sherry Burke of Cornwall, Ontario.  I have emailed the folks OMEGA to get the sellers contact, as I have forgotten some of the story she told me about its history.  There were some seriously pushy grannies beside me (not buying, just jostling to look at stuff) and it was hard to focus with hands full and being bumped.

This bench was also from the estate.  It is a signed piece by Judith Blondell from 2001.  The seller said that while she knows Judith's pieces fetch a good price, she was willing to sell this at far less then market value.  I was grateful and excited!

The bench and the chest are by Lutie Anne Presley.  She is Canadian and sells mostly via shows and now online with Small Scale Showcase.  I saw the pieces at the MET show last fall, and I regretted not getting them then. So I grabbed them today.  Beautifully made.

And while I grabbed many small things from the show, below are some fun bits!

From Out Of The Ordinary

From Petite Images

More to come eventually when I sort through all my goodies.  I've been killing myself in the garden recently.  But now everything is cleaned out, dug up and ready to plant.  And I have killer grass this year! I have to say, we tried corn gluten on the grass for the first time (along with the usual dirt and fertilizer) and it looks like a golf green out there!

Next up will be making a Frozen bonanza for Miss Kitty's birthday in June.  I have a few crafty things to make. And I need to give thought to the 2  tier cake with frizon characters...gah!