Posts Tagged ‘dollhouse miniatures’

A Token of Affection

Monday, August 13th, 2012

On July 27th, after completing Braxton Payne’s  “Cruise Ship Cabin” ( ) and Ann Vanture’s Bookcase/Doll House ( , I rummaged  through my storage bins for my next project.  My  goal of spending at least a small portion of each day in my studio/workroom (OK – I do enjoy the studio appellation!)   is really beginning to pay off ;  less orphaned and ignored kits in my storage closet and more finished items to show in my display room.  I chose a big one this time – another of the Cynthia Howe (  one-twelfth scale kits; truly  a “youngster” in my stash, as I purchased it in January of this year. Maybe I am catching up?  Hm, unlikely!

 The “Token of Affection” hutch is a 1/12th scale kit (6 1/2 inches tall) and, as you can see, loaded with details.  I spent several hours on July 27th and more on the 28th, simply sorting all of the parts needed for the hutch (42 separate pieces) and the wonderful items to fill it.  There are 7 old-fashioned, multi-layer valentines included in the kit – that’s approximately 63 pieces of very intricate artwork to cut out!  There are also porcelain blanks and decals for plates, a decorated tray, gift boxes, perfume bottles, a romantic fan,  valentine candy boxes & a hat box, standing figures, a candy jar, floral gift basket . . . . . . altogether,  24 small tins (excluding the hutch pieces) and approximately 160 tiny parts to be sanded and painted, trimmed and applied or cut out snip-by-tiny-snip and assembled, plus minuscule decals, metal findings and rhinestone embellishments. All sorted, lined up, ready to start; this was my “What have I gotten myself into” moment!

It took a few days to build the hutch; there’s that ‘waiting for the glue to dry’ factor again.  Slowly, my tins filled with completed candy boxes, perfume bottles and valentines, instead of just holding their components. I am convinced I could have constructed a full-size fan in less time than it took for me to precisely cut the six blades/vanes, string them together, create a tiny tassel for the end of the hanging cord, arrange them carefully into an open-fan display and glue them in that configuration, but the end result looks lovely and it was worth every moment!  Making the gift boxes (bottom shelf) was easy – making the very small bows to adorn them was a real challenge :)

 I added a dressing table tray of cosmetics and a pink hydrangea from my stash and made several extra perfume bottles from beads and findings  – finished the hutch and all of its goodies in time to show it off to my family when they arrived at home. The unanimous vote: the hutch is lovely, and they now have all the proof necessary to have me certified as insane!  Since they do not seem to be in any hurry to have me committed, I shall go to my studio and search for the next project – more proof for them and hours of enjoyment for me!



Especially for fans of “short stories”

Friday, July 27th, 2012


I have been collecting miniature (1/12th scale – 1″ = 1′)  books and book kits for several years, many of them from Ann Vanture at . When she offerred the kit shown above, the McLaughlin Brothers Bookshelf,  I ordered it immediately.  It sat in a bin for several months, patiently waiting for me to take it from kit state to completion. (Storage bins feature heavily in this blog ~ have you noticed?)

I started this project  in early July, just after completion of the quarter-scale green house. There were three major steps: Build the basic bookcase; install  the  ceiling and wallpapers, glue down the rugs & flooring paper; glue the outside graphics in place on the exterior back of the unit. The back of the bookcase suddenly becomes a very decorative dollhouse and it’s interior is ready to be furnished with 1/144th scale furniture.  Still,  its intended use is as a bookcase.  As I blogged earlier this month, all went well until I carefully glued the wonderfully detailed “front facade” paper on Upside Down!  I set the shelves aside, contacted the creator of the kit for replacement artwork and began sorting the pieces of my next

I am so grateful to Ann; she quickly mailed a replacement of her original art work (for a very low fee), and I was able to complete my bookshelf today!

Here is a view of the interior, before I packed it full of tiny books (i.e. “short stories”)








And here it is, holding a portion of my collected books (almost all of them with readable pages!)



Welcome to my cruise ship cabin!

Friday, July 27th, 2012

I completed another UFO [Un-Finished Object] today!  This one-quarter scale (1/4th inch = 1 foot) kit is still offered on the creator’s website, , but mine was produced in 1986.  It spent many years in the “Round Tuit” stash of a fellow miniaturist and several years in my own stash before I decided to brave another smaller-scale project (my hands really are more comfortable working in one-twelfth scale)!

The Cruise Ship Cabin kit included printed paper for the rug, wallpaper, port-hole drapes and bedspread, plus wood-grained paper to cover the visible portions of the furniture. (The latter had changed its hue over the years of storage and was now a rather alarming shade of orange.)  I did use the wallpaper, but opted for a bit of short-napped velour paper to give the carpet some visual depth. The draperies were a lucky find; a short bit of tightly pleated ribbon from my stash.  Another lucky find was the very thin, nautical-striped fabric which I used for the bedspread and a chair cushion.  The furniture and the exterior of the vignette were stained with a Min-Wax stain pen.  I located a very small print of steep, snow-capped mountains and placed it behind the plastic cover of the port-holes; the scene is very similar to the view we enjoyed from our cabin on our two Alaskan cruises.

(This project was started on July 19th, but did not get worked on every day.)



Three Strikes and . . . . .?

Friday, July 20th, 2012

I may need a padded cell – very, very soon!

My miniaturing woes started on Tuesday, July 17th. I had finished the interior (papering the walls, ceilings and floors) of a wonderful 1/144th scale bookcase kit by Ann Vanture ( . If you have looked at her site, it is the McLoughlin Bros. Book-of-the-Month Dollhouse Bookcase. Although the inside is meant to hold her wonderful books, the interior is fully finished as a three-story dollhouse. The exterior is a gorgeous, crystal clear print of a house with wrap-around porch and balconies ~ the shading and detail are so well done that it truly looks 3-dimensional ! (Can you tell I love this kit? LOL!) Well – it was late in the evening (apparently way too late), but I carefully aligned and glued the front facade print onto the bookcase and placed weights on it to ward off wrinkles and bubbles while it dried. Then I actually left it alone, instead of trying to rush the drying process and mucking up everything! (There is a good reason why many miniaturists sign  their messages with “Waiting for the glue to dry”!)

Wednesday, July 18th. . . . went through the now-traditional, post-surgical morning bickering with my intestinal tract, watered all of the drought-stressed outdoor plants and then rushed to my studio to glue the sides and top/bottom flaps into place. Picked it up, flipped it over to admire the inside, and. . . . . yep – I had glued the façade on Upside-Down!! Major upset! I managed to remove the print and sand off the remaining paper & glue   residue and sent a panicked e-mail to Sooooo, Smaller Scales Project #4 is now carefully boxed and set aside, awaiting the replacement print from Ann (which she is providing at no charge other than postage).

Rooting around in my bins, I found “Dolly & Her Trunk” (my mystery kit) , which includes one photo and absolutely no other information.  Yikes!  Not only are the parts list and directions totally missing, but no maker’s name or contact information is contained in the kit!  I sent the cover photo to all of my on-line miniatures groups to see if anyone recognizes it; meanwhile, Smaller Scales  Project  #5  is set aside, waiting for possible help of any sort.

 Thursday, July 19th. . . . Returning to my stash, I pulled out Smaller Scales Project # 6 – The 1996 version of Braxton Payne’s quarter-scale “Cruise Ship Stateroom”.  It is still available from him (,and hopefully the modern kits include a  photograph of the completed vignette,  as well as a thorough set of instructions !  Some Internet searching   produced a couple of  rather small photos; I am working from them and a very sketchy, abbreviated set of destructions.   (There are several small bags of tiny parts, each bag carefully numbered. Wonderful, but those numbers do not appear anywhere in the instructions!) This evening, while cutting a replacement  back wall  (a piece which went missing from my kit), I failed to notice the small piece of clear plastic with the printed portholes which was lurking underneath the piece of cardboard I was cutting!  I didn’t cut clear through the plastic, but there is a quite unseaworthy line scored  across one porthole.  I’ve been muddling through on instinct and the somewhat helpful photos. . . . .so far, so good.  Right now, I’m “waiting for glue (and paint) to dry”.  Still,  I am beginning to believe Fate is strongly suggesting that I stick to 1/12th scale!

Happy miniature adventures, everyone!




Friday, October 1st, 2010

Woke up at 4:40am (hate it when that happens!) and got up when Tom’s alarm went off at 5:30am. (Hate it when that happens, too! I’m retired, but just cannot make myself sleep through his alarm the way he did mine when I was working.)
The only way I can describe my mood today is giddy; felt appropriately foolish for dancing around the first floor and chortling, but could not help giggling throughout the morning. I left the #*@! purple orchid plant (1/12 scale) overnight so the glues could set completely, inspected it under strong magnification and padded the he– out of it for shipment to its new home this morning. With color choice difficulties, mobility issues and fatigue-factors presenting challenges, this order has taken a very long time to complete, but the buyer knows me well enough (at least I believed so) to bear with the delay. There’s been some “static” about this order since about 60 miunutes after she placed it! She happily bought a white phalaenopsis orchid plant with a yellow throat, deep pink lip and the typical ‘spike’ leaves of the species. . . .then decided an hour later that she wanted a purple orchid (with a color contrast) and the smaller/fatter leaves of other species!! It has been hard to overcome the irritation factor plus physical issues and do a complete re-make for no extra charge!
Once I had delivered the dratted purple orchid to the UPS store, I came home and triumphantly completed a standing needlework frame kit (destinened for my “Sew Be It” shop and a wooden school bus toy (to be added to the FAO Shortz display.)
Can’t help it – I am STILL giddy, and plan to complete at least two more kits tomorrow!