Monday, February 6, 2012

Been a while...

Hopped on here for just a minute to check in. I've had a nasty cold and haven't been doing much of anything except knitting the same dishcloth pattern over and over again in different colors of yarn while watching Law & Order reruns.

I'd like to extend a warm welcome to my new followers! I was surprised to see that I have a few new followers even though I haven't posted lately. Thank you for taking time to read my blog. (This goes for all of you who've been with me for a while too.)

Mini stuff soon! I promise.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Witch House Progress

I haven't posted much lately, but I have been pecking away at getting things done on the witch house and it's coming along... I've been busy finishing the exterior. I had to add on to the roof to make an overhang (not sure what I was thinking when I originally measured and cut the roof pieces). My daughter has been asking lots of questions about the witch house... I finally explained to her that this project wasn't completely planned out at the beginning. Instead, it has been a process... a journey that is developing over time. She seemed satisfied with that. It has been a bit therapeutic for me. I'm having to be patient while I consider each "problem" to be solved or wait for the answer to what to do next, while I wait for "inspiration"...

An example of this is the roof shingles. I wanted to use wood shingles, but couldn't find any in the right scale. So the witch house sat on my kitchen table while I mulled over what to do. Then, toward the end of December, I bought a 2012 calendar for the kitchen. Part of the packaging was a piece of cardboard that seemed exactly the right thickness. Ruler, mechanical pencil and my favorite pair of scissors plus a little time, and "Voila!" Witch house shingles!

The next example of this was what to do about the exterior walls. I had a stack of illustration board that I had rescued from the recycling bin... So I cut and glued pieces to cover the exterior walls. This did a couple of things: first, it hid the rounded edges and corners of the box; second, it eliminated the need to sand the surface. I painted the entire outside cream and let it sit on the kitchen table for a few days while I thought about what to do next....

Enter the tattered kitchen scrubby! I had decided I was going to use a sea sponge to dab on a little darker color to make the exterior look a bit like stucco and not so "new", but I didn't have a sea sponge... Rooting around in the kitchen, I found an old (clean) kitchen scrubby that was falling apart and had big pills all over it. Turns out it was the perfect thing to dab on the paint.

Again, the witch house sat around for a few days while I thought, "What next?" Some architectural details were needed. The tall, narrow house made me think of Tudor style houses. I looked through my wood stash but didn't have anything the right dimension. Then I came across the leftovers from the bamboo placemat I deconstructed to make Abigail's floor. Perfect thickness and width for whatever scale this little house is. I painted several strips with dark brown paint, then trimmed and glued everything in place. Here's a (blurry--sorry!) picture of what the witch house looks like now:
Not too bad, so far, I think... Up next, some aging and some ivy...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Wanna run off and join the (mini) circus?

The Penobscot Marine Museum has extended the run of its popular circus exhibit for another month. The free exhibit is comprised of art, photography and memorabilia, but perhaps the biggest draw for us mini-loving folks would be the Bex Brothers Circus, described in a press release by the museum as, "a complete circus scene comprised of thousands of scale models depicting every element of a traditional circus, including sideshows, clowns, trapeze artists and animal acts."

The Bex Brothers Circus is on loan from its owner and creator, Capt. Les Bex, who has spent decades creating the 3/8":1' scale scene. If, like me, you can't jet off to Maine to see the exhibit, Kay Stephens has written a great blog post about the story behind Bex's circus scene, which includes photos and the story behind certain scenes, as told by Bex himself.

It sounds fascinating to me (all except for the clowns!). Admission is free. The exhibit is open every Saturday and Sunday from 11 to 4 through February 26.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mini Hoarders

The Kitchen, 2011 by Carrie M. Becker
No, I'm not talking about people who hoard miniatures. I'm talking about hoarding IN miniature. Hoarding in 1:6 scale, to be exact. 

(Confession here: Every once in a while I watch "Hoarders" on A&E. I call it "train-wreck TV". It's like... well... a train-wreck. You don't want to watch, but you can't look away. The stories of these people are often sad but I still watch because I'm curious about the relationship between people and their stuff.)

Anyway... I came across an interesting project created by Carrie Becker. A ReMent collector and photographer, she has created 1:6 scale miniature scenes fit for the Hoarders show and photographed them.

Becker writes about her project, "I have a love of all things miniature. As a young adult, I collected small Japanese toys from a company called Rement. During the summer after completing graduate school I had some down time and decided to use my commercial photography skills to shoot my miniature collection as though it were "real". Also during that time, I also frequently watched shows like "Hoarders" and "How Clean Is Your House?" With that in mind, this past summer I began creating the images that are presented here, though I reflect their inspiration as a mirror and not a judgment. For me, this series about creating a small, but perfect world where the viewer cannot distinguish between what is reality and what is fiction."

Check out the gallery on her blog "Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse". Wow!

Don't miss the other photos in her portfolios. I find the Kansas farmhouse series particularly interesting. If you see something you like you can order a print from her Etsy shop.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

In the News: Japanese Man Crafts Dollhouses from Broken Acoustic Guitars

I love recycling, upcycling, repurposing and reusing things that have outlived their useful lifespan. I'm always squirreling something away in my stash that I think I might be able to use one day and Goodwill is one of my regular haunts. You might recall that the witch house is being constructed using an old oak tissue box cover from the 80s that I picked up at Goodwill. I've also used a lot of scraps of various materials that have been lying around.

When this article about a Japanese man who creates dollhouses from broken acoustic guitars showed up in my RSS feed reader today, I thought "hey that's cool!" and thought I'd share. These should be called room boxes or dioramas, though... but I won't quibble... I just like that he is using something that would otherwise be discarded.

You can read the whole article and take a look at the pictures of his completed work here.
I really like the sewing room and the traditional Japanese toy store. Which do you like best?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Fisher Price #250

I found it!
Here it is on Etsy and it's in great shape!
(If only I had some extra bucks to spend... it's okay though... finding this gives me hope that one day when I DO have a few extra bucks, a #250 will turn up just like this one...)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Arthur is here, the Arthur is here!

I feel like Steve Martin in "The Jerk" when the phone book gets delivered!

Must... focus....on finishing Abigail's room and the witch house... must... focus....

Monday, January 9, 2012

A trip down memory lane...

For some reason, we don't really "spring clean" at our house... We clean and get rid of things after Christmas...maybe it's our antidote to the craziness of the holidays with four kids. Anyway, the other day I took a couple of bags of books to our local library to donate them to the "Friends of the Library". While there, I spotted a copy of Muppet Magazine from 1982, featuring Ricky Schroeder on the cover. Flipping through the pages instantly took me back a few decades. The trip down memory lane was well worth the dollar I spent. (It was also entertaining listening to my kids read through the magazine--especially when they got to the Monchichi advertisement... "It's a monkey. It's a baby. Monchichi? Oh, mom...")

Driving home, I got to thinking... "I wonder if I can figure out who made that dollhouse I had when I was about 5." After a little bit of internet sleuthing, I found this--the Fisher Price Dollhouse #250. This was my first dollhouse and I'm tickled to find out that some of the furniture is available for sale on Etsy and on eBay, and the cost isn't terribly exorbitant. I even found a house just like mine on Etsy, but it had already sold. (Don't tell my husband, but I'm seriously considering acquiring the #250 again.) Here are some pictures of things I've found on eBay:
The bathroom and kitchen fixtures... My fingers still remember the feeling of the plastic and the texture on the shower door. The dollhouse people's clothes were not removable so they took showers with their clothes on...
This is the exact fabric that was on the sofa that I had.
I remember that my grandfather superglued it to the base so it wouldn't come off.
This is the house... It's missing the chimney and maybe the sliding door on the second floor...
I'll hold out for one that has all of its pieces.

Thanks for stopping by and humoring my little trip down memory lane... Have a great day!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Let's think of something to do while we're waiting...

I am a child of the 70's... I grew up watching Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood and every time I have to wait for something, be it in a doctor's office or waiting for something to happen, the song he used to sing "Let's think of something to do while we're waiting, while we're waiting..." runs through my head...

There were a lot of things about Mr. Rogers that appealed to me as a kid (and still do now that I'm an adult with teenagers)... As an adult, I really appreciate that he promoted kindness--something this world desperately needs. As a kid, I loved Picture Picture (always informative) and especially loved when the trolley would "take us" to Make-Believe, where my favorite puppet characters were Henrietta Pussycat and Daniel Tiger. (Even as a kid I was on my way to becoming a crazy cat lady... Mr. Rogers was probably the first step...)

Anyway, you might wonder what the heck this has to do with miniatures... Well, I'm waiting for The Arthur to arrive. *sigh* And I keep having to think of something to do while I'm waiting... So I've been working on the witch house (shingles are on the roof and the sides and back of the house are prepped for painting) and Abigail's room (all finished except for the baseboards and a bookshelf that I still need to build). (This might be a miracle here... I'm actually finishing things before I start a new project!) Pictures of both projects will be forthcoming.

If you want to hear the song, you can listen to it here.
It really is a catchy tune, and you can't ignore the wisdom in it either...

Let's think of something to do while we're waiting
While we're waiting for something new to do.
Let's try to think up a song while we're waiting
That's liberating and will be true to you.

Let's think of something to do while we're waiting
While we're waiting 'til something's through.
You know it's really all right;
In fact, it's downright quite bright
To think of something to do
That's specific for you.
Let's think of something to do while we're waiting.

Let's Think of Something to Do While We're Waiting
By Fred M. Rogers
© 1982

Saturday, January 7, 2012

New Book: Edwardian Era Miniatures in 1:12 Scale

On New Year's Eve my husband and I made a foray into Portland to visit Powell's Books. I, of course, immediately found the shelf with books about miniatures and doll houses. I found a copy of this book by Jane Harrop, published in the UK in 2011.

Each chapter covers a different room and provides some background on Edwardian times, beliefs of the day and discusses objects commonly found in the Edwardian home.

The best part is the clear step-by-step instructions for building furniture and making accessories typical of the Edwardian era. I appreciate that the author uses supplies that are easy to find and not terribly expensive.

Also helpful are the sections at the back of the book that include a glossary, templates for each of the woodworking projects with dimensions in both inches and metric, as well as a list of sources for both the UK and the US.

I'm looking forward to making many of the projects in this book. You can find a complete description of this book on Amazon.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Anxiously waiting...

For Christmas, my husband gave me a gift certificate to Hobby Builders Supply. I decided to order a dollhouse kit! This will be my first dollhouse kit and I am excited. I decided to get a small kit for the first one to see how things go. Abigail's room is basically just a room box and the Witch House hardly qualifies as an official dollhouse, so this is a big step. I chose the Arthur from Greenleaf.
I'm a little bit "on the fence" about the gingerbread trim at the top and under the eaves. I might switch that out for something else. Also, I have no clue what color scheme I'm going to go with...

I've already started assembling furnishings from my stash that I will use and have started thinking a bit about how I want to decorate... I'm thinking early 20th century cottage... I love pink and green and roses, but I don't necessarily want to go "shabby chic" with this. We shall see how it all comes together....

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

The sun is shining here and I'm going to take that as a good omen for 2012.
My "resolution" for the year with regard to blogging: be more consistent!
I wish peace, health, happiness and prosperity to you all for 2012!