Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Almost Done


Well, I've been back mini-ing with a vengeance.  Once I got the bathroom done, things happened very quickly.  I got the roof/ceiling cut out, LightingBug lights installed and roof on.  I added the chimney and stacked circle detail that was already ready to go.  

Next it was time for the railing.  Posts cut – check.  Holes drilled – check.  Washers spaced and glued down with JB Quick Weld – check.  The railing itself was a bit of a problem.  Wire generally comes coiled, and despite my best efforts, I can never straighten it out properly.  It always looks a little drunk.  So I bought some silver metallic elastic cord to use instead.  I think it works OK.  Right now, the ends are just taped to the back of the house, in case I decide to change it, but railing – check.  Then came the post caps, and everything came to a screeching halt.  My prototype used some Reflections brads from Michaels.  I removed the legs, and the tops formed the exact caps I wanted for the posts.  They came as part of a mixed set—silver, copper, black and pewter.  Naturally, there weren’t enough of the silver ones to complete the job.  No problem, I thought; I’ll just buy more.  It’s a lesson I should have learned long ago—if you like something and know you’ll want to keep using it/use it in future, buy more now.  Which, of course, I hadn’t done, and now I can’t find them anywhere.  I tried other brads, but none worked—too big, too small, too flat; none matched.  

GRRRR.  I finally took the legs off the pewter ones (of course, I had plenty of those) and used Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish in chrome on them.  That was pretty amazing stuff, and I’m quite happy with the result.  They’re not an exact match to the silver ones, but they actually work better with the washers, so caps – check!

For the deck, I made up some furniture from kits I had purchased at one of those estate sale tables at the Stockton Miniature Show.  They are Cane Creations from Twin Palms Miniatures, which does not appear to be in business anymore.  I have no idea when the kits were made.  There is one black-and-white photo of the finished piece (from only one, not-very-helpful angle), a lot of very dense instructions, and some hand drawings, so I’m guessing they’re not of recent vintage.  The instructions were a bit hard to follow, and, for the chair at least, following the instructions would not have yielded something that looked anything like the cover photo.  I found the rattan somewhat difficult to work with, and the confusing instructions didn’t help, so the pieces look a bit . . . rustic.  But they’re patio furniture, so they don’t need to be super elegant, and I’m glad to have used my kits.  I also found the foam for the cushions was cut very oddly, so I ended up cutting my own.  The fabric was printed with my ink-jet printer.  

The Star Line deck chair is a kit from 
Michelle’s Miniatures, and, fortunately, it made up beautifully.  It will likely also get a cushion, but I haven’t decided to print more of the chair fabric or try to find something complementary.  I have a few more plant kits coming from SDK Miniatures, but then it’s just landscaping, and I’ll be done with the Art Deco house.  *sigh*  It’s always a little sad to finish a project.

Luckily, I have a new project to plan for—the Real Good Toys lighthouse and cottage!  Here is my idea:  Lighthouse first floor—tearoom.  I have two absolutely lovely Charles Rennie Mackintosh tea table sets from Jane Harrop that I have been wanting to put together and use for a long time.  For my birthday, I got a nice little slanted display case from Bauder Pine to display little goodies.  Lighthouse second floor—book store.  I know I can make bookshelves and books, and another birthday gift was a little center display table from Mini Etchers.  The third floor may just be a stock room.  If I can fit a desk in there, I will.  The cottage will be a nautical museum and gift shop. 

I had a lot of fun “shopping” my stash to find items I could use.  These included a metal “shell collection display” that I bought at the very start of my mini-making.  I just wasn’t as comfortable painting small things back then, so I got as far as the blue background and stopped.  That has now been finished and will go in the museum/store.  As part of the “fill the shelves” swap from the online Half Scale group, I had received a lovely shell décor piece that will also work nicely in the gift shop. One of my little purses, the one I call “Under the Sea,” could work, too.  

Oh, and I still have some left-over marbles that I got to make the Japanese fishing floats for the Merrimack’s rec room, so I’ll have to add a couple of those. 

Of course, we’ll need some boat models for the museum.  My mother gave me her old charm bracelet, in the hope that I could use some of its charms, and it had a Viking long boat and a sampan.  With some paint, they will do just fine.  

I also have a sailboat charm and a ship’s wheel charm, as well as some shells I bought at the annual sale/swap meet at Peg’s Dollhouse in Santa Rosa.  And I have some seashell nail art stickers to decorate mugs.

Then I went the tiniest bit crazy and starting ordering some things from Life of Riley (her baked goods are so exquisite!), Timber Ridge StudiosTrue-2-Scale, the Virtual Dollhouse (if you’re willing to do some painting, she has so many inexpensive metal minis in half scale), and various artists on Etsy.  I know I can print out and frame art, but real miniature art just seems so much nicer to me.  Two have already arrived—the acrylic painting on the left is by Lucia Crippa of LuArting; the water color on the right is by Paula of Pbjewelryandgifts, both on Etsy.

Ooh, toys! I’ll need toys.  I ordered an itty, bitty amigurumi whale with spout from SuAmi (who made the badger in the Sagamore Hill library), and then I decided to try to make some of my own toys.  I started with a little braided octopus—the kind I once made at summer camp.  I used a round metal bead for the head, and even though it had a fairly large hole, I could only stuff enough embroidery floss through it to make a hexapus.  😊 Still, I think she’s cute, and I’ll keep her.  While hunting around for a good example of the braided octopus, I discovered a tiny octopus crochet pattern and decided to be brave and tackle mini amigurumi again.  The original pattern calls for embroidery floss (the full six strands) and a 1.5 mm (US size 7) crochet hook.  I used one strand of embroidery floss and a .7 mm (US size 14) crochet hook.  For my first amigurumi, I think he turned out alright.  He’s sitting on a penny for scale.  Then I tried a little whale.  He’s supposed to be two colors, but there was something funky with my color changes (I have to experiment with worsted yarn so that I can see what I was doing wrong), so I ended up making him a solid color.  Inserting stuffing through a hole the size of a toothpick was the hardest part!  I had to put a little thread around the microbeads I used for his eyes, because the black was disappearing against the blue I used, so he looks less like a whale and more like, well, a fish, but that’s OK.  Once I sort out my color changes, I may try the two-color version again. 

Then the spousal unit asked if I was going to include a ship in a bottle (oh, sure, I can’t even find bottles I like in half scale, let alone one with a ship inside) and some scrimshaw.  Scrimshaw—in half scale?!?  You’d need a microscope to make it/see it!  (But I'm still thinking about how I could do it.) Then Mom suggested a Nantucket lightship basket, and that got me doing more planning.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to have more ideas than room!

In other news, I received my second COVID shot today.  Woo hoo!  Dose two!  I am looking forward to two weeks from now and being able to get together with vaccinated friends in person.  Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy.  Thank you for stopping by!


  1. Congratulations on finishing your Art Deco house. I have been doing an Art Deco project with the doll group, but I can't share it yet. The entire time I was thinking of your build.

    Your crochet skills are amazing, and the animals are adorable.

    I got my second vaccine Monday and was on the couch for 2 days, but I feel 100% today. I hope you breeze through your inoculation.....

    1. Can't wait to see your Art Deco project! I'll bet it's wonderful. Congrats on your vaccine status. I was a little under the weather last night and this morning, but doing OK now. :-)

  2. Hi Deborah. You finished!! That is awesome! From what I can see the rattan furniture looks great, so well done on deciphering difficult instructions. And there’s nothing mor annoying that getting part way through a job and discovering you don’t have enough material to finish something, so pleasing for you to find a good solution. And lastly your crochet animals are gorgeous! So so cute! I am impressed. Take care. PS great that you got your jabs!!

    1. Thanks, Shannon! It was very frustrating not being able to find those brads, but I'm happy with how it finally turned out.

  3. Yay for the 2nd Dose! If you start feeling lousy give yourself the weekend off. I love the house. So elegant and I love all the curves.

    1. I think by this weekend, I should be fine. I'm feeling pretty good now. I got my shot on Wednesday so I wouldn't ruin the weekend. ;-) And thanks on the house. The curves are what I like about it, too.

  4. I just love the way the deck came out! It's wonderful with all of the perfect little furnishings!
    The new lighthouse project and the nautical theme are going to be so much fun! I love all of the ideas and things you've collected, so far!

  5. Nothing like a new project as motivation to finish the old one. I must admit though, that I will miss the Art Deco house. It was both interesting and fun to watch the whole process. And the result is amazing. I look forward to see the Lighthouse project come together.