Friday, September 13, 2019

Random minis

This post will be a bit of a mish-mosh, as several things have been happening.

First, Dollhouses, Trains and More, our local (about a 30-minute drive away) miniature and hobby store, announced that it would be closing its doors at the end of October.    It is sad to lose a brick-and-mortar store, especially one as large and well-stocked as that one, but the good news was that everything is 40% off.  We made a pilgrimage on Sunday, and I probably spent more than I should have, but I tried to buy things I knew I would actually use. 

A few highlights:

I bought a lot of frames, including one that was perfect for Samantha's cardinal painting, so that is finally framed and hung in the bungalow.  Woo hoo!

Second, I made a minor splurge on a Victorian settee to replace the rather ungainly day bed I had in the Fairfield's upstairs sitting room.  Now the end table looks a bit large (sigh), but I do think the settee fits the room better.  I still need to replace the pots on the etagere.

I also got half a dozen half-scale cats because I always like animals in my builds, and . . . 40% off!  I love this little cutie who has taken up residence on the rocking chair in the Fairfield kitchen.  The kitty-cat love of my life was a gray tabby with white paws and bib.  Effie likes having her as company in the kitchen.  She is an unusually well-behaved kitty and never gets on the table.  😉

My next project for the Fairfield is supposed to be the window boxes.  I have purchased several from Heritage LaserWorks and just need to make them up and fill them.  However, I've gotten sidetracked with my Christmas baskets.  I am trying to make truly equivalent baskets in both 1:12 scale and 1:24 scale.

Things I am thinking of including:
  •   A box of chocolates (you've seen these already, but here they are again):

  • A bottle of port or brandy.  The middle bottle is supposed to be 1:24 scale and is what I have been using in my half scale baskets.  The bottle on the right is a 1:24 scale "liquor" bottle.  I added some Gallery Glass to deepen the color.  I'll need to paint the top with Testor's and add a label.

  •  Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix.  The 1:12 jars aren't great, but the original jars I got seemed humongous to me.  I can never tell if that's because I am so used to working in half scale or they really are huge.  These are a bit smaller.

  •          A book.  I have two different options.  A Christmas Carol:

And A Visit from St. Nicholas (aka Twas the Night before Christmas):

In both scales, A Christmas Carol has a full synopsis of the story; Twas the Night Before Christmas has the complete text of the poem.
  • Christmas mugs.  Still can't find half-scale mugs, but I have a plan of action for making some, based on some mugs I received in a half-scale swap and a tutorial I found on YouTube.  In the meantime, here are the 1:12 versions.  These are just inexpensive 1:12 white mugs, decorated with fingernail decals.  I have a large pack of decals I bought to use for some Christmas decorations in the Merrimack, and they really stick well.  There are some tinier ones that should work on half-scale mugs.

  •          Coffee

  •          Gingerbread men. 

A couple of years ago, I bought a very nice mold from Stewart Dollhouse Creations for 1:24 scale, and I have been using that.  When I bought the molds for the 1:12 scale chocolates, I also bought a gingerbread mold, but I am not as happy with it.  So for fun, I thought I would see if I could make my own. 

I printed out a generic gingerbread man image in the size I wanted—a high-resolution version on paper and several regular versions on card stock.  I stacked four card stock men, with the high-res paper image on top, and after gluing them together, sanded around the edges. I used glue to outline the mouth and the wrist and ankle frosting (unfortunately, you can't really see that in the picture), and glued microbeads on for the eyes and buttons.   

I have some Easy Mold 2-part silicone putty from Blick; you mix equal parts together, and then you have about three minutes to make your mold.  It cures in 20 minutes.  It takes only a little bit each time, so I still have plenty left, even after all my experiments (and there were more than I detail here 😊).

On my first try, I glued a toothpick directly to the back of my gingerbread man and stamped him into the mold.  The problem was it was difficult to get an even impression, and the silicon tends to smoosh up around the edges, making it difficult to fill the mold with clay and then scrape any excess off evenly.

When, after a couple of tries, I realized that was just never going to work, I glued the gingerbread man to a small square of mat board, then glued a toothpick to the back.  I didn't try to stamp more than one cookie, and I left my prototype in the silicon until it had set.  

The silicon still pushed up around the edges, but I was easily able to slice that off with my utility knife, making a smooth, even mold that was easy to fill.

He's not perfect, but I don't think he turned out too badly.

And that was my mini week.  I won't be able to mini for a few days, but I'll definitely still be online to see other people's work, which is always such a treat.  Have a great weekend, everyone!


  1. I can't get over the tiny gingerbread men! I'm so sorry to hear your store is closing. That's always so sad.

    1. Isn't it, though? Being able to find nearly anything we want online has the downside of causing physical stores to close, and there were always things I could find there that were unique and special. *sigh* I will miss them.

  2. Bittersweet. It is sad to hear of another miniature store closing. I’ve taken to getting supplies from our family owned hobby shop, and ready made items from the Portland Miniature Show (which is in a few weeks!).

    Thanks for the great cookie tutorial. I haven’t done mold making yet, but you have given me a great reason to give it a try.

    1. Do give mold making a try. I suspect you would be very good at it. :-) Hope you find a lot of great items at the Portland Miniature Show!

  3. I always love to read about your clever solutions and the gingerbread man looks pretty spectacular to me! I am also happy (and jealous) that you got to go spend more than was reasonable at the closing mini shop!
    The baskets are going to be incredible! You achieve the best possible detail in all you do and I can't wait to see the finished product!
    If it sounds like I am rushing, I am! No time to enjoy my usual blog Sunday, oh life please return to normal again!!!

    1. No worries! Thanks for the kind comments. I am late responding and commenting because we've been in San Diego. Wonderful trip, lovely weather, and now I get a few extra days to mini. Hope all your family activities go well!

  4. Sooo disappointed in Dollhouses Trains and More closing! I went there once in 2014 and was in awe. I was planning to visit next year after Chicago mini show, but won’t be now. Sigh. Well, you at least got som benefit from the closing - your kitties are adorable! And the new blue settee looks lovely in the Fairfield. Lastly I think your mini mold making went well - I like the resulting gingerbread man! Have a good week.

    1. They were a truly amazing store, and I will miss them. If you are going to be in the Bay Area, maybe you'll get a chance to visit Peg's at least. She always *says* she is going out of business, but I don't think she is. :-) She was buying more items when I was there in June.

  5. Oh the plusses and minues of miniature Going out of Business sales; yet it was great for you to be able to get in on the "good buys" early on. I know that internet sales are taking over these days, but when it comes to physical brick and mortar stores retiring, it's like the end of our childhoods all over again. :(

    Your Christmas books are Adorable Deborah and I love both of them! The illustrations in the Christmas Carol, remind me of my FAVOURITE movie version with Alister Sim as Scrooge; a MUST WATCH Christmas tradition. The NIght Before Christmas is a Classic and remember watching it in grade school Christmas productions.
    And I LOVE your mini gingerbread men and your clever solution of backing your cookie mould with a piece of cardboard which is such a BRILLIANT idea which I am definitely going to try! :D

    1. Thanks, Elizabeth! The Alastair Sim version of a Christmas Carol is the absolute best. It's on my yearly watch list, too.