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Friday, October 29, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Problems With My First House

First off I would like to thank Sue Heaser for answering my email about the hurricane lamp.  She is one busy lady so it was very kind of her to answer.  She said she was glad I enjoyed the project. She is planning to put up more instructions and projects on her website in the New Year. She likes to wait about 6 months before she puts up any project after it has appeared in print. – It is only fair to the magazine. People can meanwhile buy the back issues of the Dollshouse and Miniature Scene magazine from their website if they want the project.  So now I am anxiously awaiting to see what she will pick for her projects in the New Year.  Whatever it is, it will be neat because she is very meticulous in detail and explains her project so well.
Last night I worked on the backs of the fronts of my house.  My fronts open.  I should say they come off. Initially it was to swing open but I used lightweight MDF for the house and a person in the know told me that the front was too heavy and the hinges wouldn’t stay in.  Then I thought I would put in the pop in thingies, but was told they would loosen and come out.  MDF certainly created some probs...   I had to jury-rig it to stay put with little eye screws and makeshift hooks as I couldn’t find anything small enough.  It works and I am not afraid of the front falling off anymore.  Because the fronts come off you really don’t see the backs of them but I painted them and put in the moldings around the windows.  It just looked too plain to me so I decided to put up valances.  I didn’t really want full curtains as I have lights and I want the interior of the rooms to show when they are on. That was another of my problems.  I have lights in some of the rooms but for some reason I cannot find the connections on the 2nd floor so it is dark.  It seems odd to me that it is the whole 2nd floor so I feel I must have a short there.  When I laid the tape wire I took photos of each room and made a diagram showing in inches up the wall to where I wanted the sconces and across the ceiling to where the lights would go.  Also along the bottom of the walls so I could use table lamps where I wanted.  But alas, the best plans go afoul sometimes.  I want this house to be fully lighted and I don’t want to trace down the problem and find I have to rip out wallpaper and redo this house.  I found a neat website that sells battery operated mini lights.  How cool is that?  I get them in a few days and I cant wait to see them.  http://www.manhattandollhouse.com/html/battery_operated_miniature_dol.html   So that brings me to the valances.   I went rummaging around in my stash and found some ¼” spools and here is what I did.  I stained the spools with a furniture stain pen and then I cut the spool in half, flattening one side with sand paper so it stays in the miter box while cutting and glues easier to the windows also.  The rod is a stained meat skewer. Really cheap at grocery stores and you get a lot in one bag. I find they come in handy for a lot of things.   The skewer fits perfectly into the spool holes. Glued them together with wood glue and glued the piece of ¾ “ lace to the rod with tacky.  Too easy…  It dresses up the backs a bit and still lets the light shine through. You will note I still have some touch up painting to do.  Unfortunately I couldn’t finish my project as I ran out of spools so guess what I am doing today, lol... Michaels here  I  come!!! Till next time, Mini Hugs Lady Jane




Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Front Of My House


Well I am here to disappoint!!!  So sad, too bad for my 2nd post.  But when all was said and done I realized I took the hurricane lamp from a magazine and it probably isn’t legal to explain it. I guess I need to watch that!!!  So in order to keep myself out of “hot water” I can tell you where I got the instructions.   I took it from “Dollshouse and Miniature Scene Magazine” Aug. 10/194 edition which I bought at Borders.  The article is very well done by Sue Heaser and easy to follow.  She also has a web site www.sueheaser.com    and if you go there you will see to the left of her page a main menu, click on projects list and you will see a bird cage and parrot made out of polymer clay in 1" scale that you can download to make.  That will be my next project to make as it is sooooo cute.   She also promises more to be added to this list and I have emailed her and asked if she would be so kind and think about putting on her Hurricane Lamp so you all can make it.  Going forward I would like to show you the outside of my house in this post.  This I can explain how I did!!!  YAY… 
The front is painted a medium grey first and then you lay an adhesive brick template on top of the house.  The kit which you can buy at any Dollhouse Store comes in any scale  with a red clay substance that you mix with water and slather on top of the template.  As it dries you remove the template and wham there is your brick.  It is so realistic.  Messy, but fun to use!!!  If it is messy, I enjoy using it.  I still can hear my mom's voice in my ear, saying "Lady Jane, get out of those mud puddles". I really enjoyed making mud pies, lol...  Anyway, you would want to test this first on a piece of plywood before applying it to your house, which I did, and found easy to use. To be safe, practice first.  I dabbed some white paint here and there on some of the bricks to make them look old and I really liked the effect.  You then can glue your windows and door in by scraping a little of the brick off to fit them in quite easily.  The roof is a slate looking sheet bought at Earth and Tree, handrubbed with a blue/black wax shoe polish with baby powder scrubbed in to give it an older appearance.  Buffed with a rag, sealed with a matt finish varnish and  glued on. The chimneys are made with the same brick template and I smudged some blue/black shoe polish on some of it to look like soot from coal residue.  The side of the house is a sheetrock joint compound I swirled on to simulate a mortar appearance and then painted off white.  The bottom front of the house is just little stones glued on to suggest a basement.   The front steps are blocks of wood glued together to form the stoop, painted with a light grey paint with sand mixed in.  That was a little tricky to get the dimensions correct cause that came out of my head, but I think it really adds to the final touch to the front of the house.  And there you have it! A very realistic looking brownstone house from the early nineteenth century.  There are 2 shops in the downstairs.  A tea room on the left and a toy shop on the right.  Eventually I will add an attached greenhouse to it and incorporate it into a village scene that I am pondering.  I haven’t quite worked out all the particulars as yet, but that is my plan going forward. I will fill you in as it becomes clear to me.  Thanks for reading my blog and I hope some of my tips will be helpful to you. 
















Tuesday, October 26, 2010

One mini, two mini, three mini, more!!!
That’s how it is in the World of Miniatures…  I just can’t seem to get enough when it comes to them.
 Many moons ago I purchased an old printers tray and started to fill it. I became obsessed.  When the tray was full - my mini fixation fell away, much to my chagrin. (all that time I wasted, oh my!)  Working and other life’s bog downs took over and I forgot about my minis, but everywhere we moved my printer’s tray came with me.   All those little wonderful mini’s I had fun collecting, gifts from friends and family kept getting dusted and repositioned through the years and then one day I wanted MORE.    That meant a house to display MINIS in.  My hubby’s hobby is wood working and he fashioned a brownstone frame for me from plans we got at Earth and Tree Miniature Store.  I learned a lot watching, fetching, measuring and learning how to fit a rectangular box together and I actually cut out a few  windows . When all was said and done he said “Go for it”.  And go for it I did. First I finished the outside front of the house with brick and the 3 sides with a drywall compound to simulate adobe type finish, I added a slate roof.  I put electric tape inside the rooms so eventually I could hopefully add some lights.   Over the years I have made rugs, dolls, polymer clay food, a  grandmother’s  clock (of which I am exceedingly proud of),  furniture, etc.   
I want to share my love of Miniatures with like enthusiasts.  I belong to a Dollhouse Club and we do minis  twice a month and have much fun….  Please if you love miniatures and don’t have a club near you, Start One….  You will reap the rewards….People have such great imaginations.   There are wonderful sites out there in cyber space also. Some of the people in our club have been doing minis for 30 years.  Believe me; they are definitely   Artists….  I have been a member for 3 years now and am still amazed at what they come up with and I rack my brain to come up with something also.  Even though I have been doing minis for about 5 years, I am certainly a novice with much left to learn.
My blog will be about sharing information. What I learn from fellow bloggers and what I come up with on my own.  I am hoping you all will share your wealth of knowledge also.  Join me on my journey into the land of miniature.  We’re sure to have fun…
If any of you out there have any ideas of your own, please don’t hesitate to share them.  We all want our mini’s to look like the real McCoy and strive for that end.

One of the most recent mini's I made is this cute little hurricane lamp.  I will tell you how to make this little guy in my next post.  I am exhausted trying to figure my way around this site.  So till next time, 
Mini Hugs,
Lady Jane