Sunday, April 5, 2020

Fireplace and Floor

First of all, I hope you're all doing well.  We're still here.  Folks at work are making masks for the people at our workplace who have to deal with the general public.  I'm bringing hair ties because I buy them as cat toys.  Jack can share since he hasn't played with these yet.

I'm working out of our office this week and my husband is working at home.  Which is good because while we love each other, too much togetherness tends to make us annoyed with each other.  Seriously we had this stay at home thing down way before it was necessary.  We don't go out unless we have to.  But we like our alone time.  Even from one another.

Yeah, I never said we were normal.

But on to more fun topics like mini-ing.  In my last post I was trying to figure out my window colors.  I decided after messing around with them that the Nautical and Cloudy Day would work very well.  I'll probably do a little bit of aging on them just to give them a more dreary gothic look but here they are for now.

See what I mean about the colors?  I needed enough of a grey for the outer color that it wouldn't clash with the beige book or the gold book on the end.  I think these work.

They just look a little too clean to me.  Definitely needs some aging.  Drippy black paint could do the trick. We'll see.

I'll admit that I spent a lot of time researching flooring and how to make a narrow room look wider.  So I went with a herringbone.  It's a slightly more modern type but I really didn't want to do all the angle cuts.  Plus I'll have a rug on the floor and furniture so I don't want it to stand out too much.

I got this far and stopped because  I don't want to get carried away and do the whole floor when I needed to figure out the layout and depth of the back wall bookcases and fireplace.

So I got out my graph paper and worked on that.

I'll have an inch spacer column on either side of the fireplace, and another on the end closest to the open wall.  The far wall will have a smaller column.

I pried off the bottom trim of the bookcases because I'll end up building them up a bit and adding some paneling I think.  If nothing else I'll have the baseboards wrap around the bottoms.

So I started experimenting with trims to go with the corbels.

In the end I decided to go with this:

I build out my fireplace with foam core board and matboard.

And glued on my corbels then added spackle to look like stone.

I thought about doing it in white but that would be too bright in the room.  So I got out my greys and started to layer them on to look like stone.

I spent a little time building my mantle.  I wanted it to protrude slightly out from the fireplace on the sides, to bump up against the columns on either side.

I'm very proud also that it's level.  That's not easy for me.

If you'll recall from my drawing I drew columns up from either side of the mantle.  I'm planning on that being wood and paneling over the fireplace, with a picture of Poe and his wife.  And hopefully sconces over the little wood carvings on the columns.

I don't want the woodwork above the fireplace to protrude out from the wall too much more than the bookshelves but I need the portraits to show so they'll have to push out from the wall a bit.

So far I'm happy with how it's going.  I need to get going on my window treatments soon and the chair and chaise lounge.  But I want to have a good idea of how much floor space I have and I need the back wall mostly done before that can happen.

I hope you all are staying healthy and safe.  Thankfully we all have this hobby to keep us busy right?

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Window Exterior Colors

I'm having a debate with myself.

I've seen a lot of room boxes with stained exterior trim for the windows.  Which I get, the box blends more with a shelf.  But I don't necessarily want it to blend into the shelf.  I want it to be a little house that happens to be made of books.

To that end, I can't have the color clashing with the books, but I don't want it to totally blend in either.

I painted my mullions black.  I'll add a gloss to them, maybe a semi-gloss.  And I painted the door black.

The paint colors go from left to right, Heavy Fog, Cloudy Day, Nautical, Grey Sky and Rainy Day

And here are the colors up against the door and windows.

I'm leaning towards a thin outline of the Nautical around the mullions and possibly a thin strip of it on the pediments.  And the rest I was thinking Cloudy Day because it has a touch of blue in it but it won't clash with the pale blue book that is next to the window and door.

This was my lunch break today as I worked from home.  I do not like working from home much.  A laptop does not compare to two screens and desk space at work.  Granted, getting to sleep later has been nice.  But I don't do well without an organized day (as all of you might have guessed from my lists and fixation on details).

So.  Opinions?

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Decisions, Decisions

I spent a lot of time this weekend planning, looking for furniture in my mini stash, and looking for the right wallpaper.  I plan to have purple drapes, so it can't clash with them.

I couldn't find anything that I liked at a reasonable price.  I looked at some miniaturized versions of real wallpaper but I couldn't justify spending so much money.

So I turned to scrapbook paper.  None of mine would work.  I need something in either the perfect shade of purple or in a neutral that's striking enough to be a bit gothic looking.

Enter Hobby Lobby.

I think it'll work pretty well.  We'll see how long it takes to arrive.  It was only twenty five cents per sheet which is great.

I felt like last year I took the easy way out with my floors.  I was concentrating on books and the stairs and railings and making everything look real.

This year I want to do a more interesting floor so I've been looking into herringbone, parquet... and I still haven't completely decided, though I'm in love with how Marion's floor looks.  I ordered some popsicle sticks since I'm almost out of mine.  I don't want the wide plank floor look like the WQRC had in the stillroom/workroom.  I need something narrower so the popsicle sticks will work better.

I'm also researching gothic looking fireplaces and trying to decide if I want to use my House of Miniatures Fireplace kit and bash it or make one of my own from scratch.

I showed you the new door last week.  I had some pediments that matched it so I microwaved the windows and removed the tops of them.  Then I added the pediments and on the smaller window I turned it into a twelve light to match the larger one.

It gives the windows a more cohesive look.  I'll add a knocker and handle to the door.  I'm planning to paint the mullions black.  The rest of the window and door trim, I'm not sure.  I might try to do an aged paint using a crackle finish.  Not sure about that.  Something to consider.

But the door has to be black I think.  Something moody.

I had my walls cut out and my floor.  So I glued the ceiling and two walls in.  One of them is hinged on the book cover which is handy.

Knowing that I'll have the fireplace and bookcases on one wall I started to plan out my ceiling details.  I learned the hard way last year that ceiling embellishments can't go to the walls or they'll run into the crown molding.  And having the 'plaster' ceiling medallions and corner details looks ridiculous without crown molding so I can't skip it.

Finally having gotten them situated I glued them down.  But I'm reasonably confident that I won't have to pry them up and move them this time.

I want cornices over the curtains, but nothing frothy and delicate the way NOLA House had.  So I got some of my trim and cut it into lengths to go over the windows.  My ceilings aren't as high as NOLA House so I can't get too crazy with them.

I'll cut some small pieces and angle the ends of the fronts to make them stand out a bit from the walls.  But I don't want to do that because I'll want to paint or stain them and I can't until I determine the color of the bookcases and the rest of the trim.

I want to add wainscoting but I'm not sure about how elaborate I want it.  So I'm still thinking.

But I did add the 'plaster' to my ceiling.  I used the same method as last year.  I added a lot of the texture medium and very little paint in an effort to get a plaster effect.  It's subtle but it worked pretty well.

I deliberately used some lumpy paint in places to give it a slightly rougher look.

Then I found the desk I plan to use and got my bookshelves.  The box is meant to represent the fireplace.

I'll end up building up the bases of the bookshelves and adding panels to mimic cabinets.  I have a corner bookshelf but I'm not sure I want to use it.  I'd rather build out some wide simple wood panels between the walls and fireplace and bookshelves.

Whatever I decide to do about the wainscoting I need to decide before I begin the bookshelf/fireplace wall because the trim has to look the same.

From the above angle I know a herringbone floor would look gorgeous.  But I don't want to do a million and one angle cuts so I'm still debating that.

On the plus side the ceiling looks pretty cool from this angle.

So I'll be spending time looking for different options for the fireplace and floors and wainscoting.

I've been going into the office, all of last week while my husband worked from home.  This week he goes into his workplace and I'm home tomorrow.  Luckily I have a printer from work and several things I can do once I log into my work computer from home.

Let's hope that works because it didn't when I tested it Friday night.

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy.  We'll all get through this, even if it seems insurmountable now.  And terrible as this is, I keep comparing it to the Spanish Influenza outbreak and realizing that we're really lucky to have the medical knowledge we do.

So I'm counting my blessings.  Which includes all of you out there who keep me company just by sharing this hobby with me.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Walls, Windows and Doors

So far I'm not quarantined at home.  Texas has shut down a lot of the service industries, hair salons, nail salons, restaurants and bars.  But folks like me who work in an office aren't being told we have to stay at home.  We're prepared to do so if need be, we all brought things home so we could work remotely if we had to.

I hope everyone else is doing well and staying safe and healthy.  Let's just all be sensible and try to stay sane.

I did get the last two books gutted.  And figured out where the windows and doors would go.

The books have been glued together.  And then I had the fun part of cutting through the books and spines to make the openings for the doors and windows.

My wrist hurts now.

Oh, I found a Yorktown door in my stash so I figured I'd use it instead of the kit door.  I think it looks a little better?

But I cut out my walls and added some matboard to the book spines to strengthen them.

My matboard is held in place with my sophisticated clamp method.

I'll use foam-core board for the walls and floor (or ceiling possibly), to keep the build lightweight.  And matboard for the ceiling (or floor depending on how things work out).

But to give the books a more antique look, I painted the tops of the pages with gold.

Believe it or not, all this took me quite some time this weekend.

I need to start building out my fireplace and bookshelves, and get half of the room built at least so my measurements are accurate.

I'm still debating the floors...Something simple or herringbone... I don't know yet. But I do need to make some cornices for the windows.  Something suitably Victorian and ornate but shabby.

This should be fun!

I'm going to have a drink now and think about wallpaper I could use and paneling I can make for the room.  Something suitably gothic and interesting.  Any suggestions?

Please stay safe and healthy.  Self Quarantine if you can.  Take sensible precautions.  Enjoy your mini time.  I hope all of us make us through this.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Finally Back To It!

So I've been gone for almost a month.  Which is due to flu and recovering from that and just in general dealing with allergy stuff on top of recovering.  And you know, that work thing that allows me to continue with my hobby.

Working for a restaurant company makes any health issue problematic and a widespread problem can really damage a small business.  So we're all waiting to hear what steps are being taken beyond the common sense caution advised.  And we're not sure if those of us that could work from home will be told to or if we'll be working in smaller shifts in the office.  It's all still up in the air at the moment.

So fingers crossed we all can figure something out.  Small businesses are really going to suffer no matter how much government help we might get (eventually).

I've been working on hollowing out the books my husband got for me. You recall the box o' books?

This is only one stack of the paper that will get recycled.

Soooo much paper!

But I only have two more books to hollow out.  See?

I spent some time today working on a floorplan and figuring out the measurements.

I'm thinking 17 1/2 inches wide and 11 1/2 inches deep.  Though I might take one book away and use that as a place to hide the electrical works.  That would take the room box down to 16 1/2.  Which I still think is a lot of space.

Here's my idea of the floorplan.  I have a computer program called Campaign Cartographer which has an add-in for Cities and Houses.  So I took a print screen of it.  Each of the little spaces in the border represents an inch.

I marked where I'll put my hinged wall with bright pink.  I'll add a fake window to the right wall to give the room more detail.

It feels good to have a game plan even if I am going through Xacto blades like they're potato chips.

The room looks a little empty to me, but I figure I can fill in some of the space with some things from Poe's stories.  A cask of Amontillado, a purloined letter, a black cat, the obvious trappings of a detective... That sort of thing.

And in an effort to have something I could put up on Instagram I borrowed the WQRC garden and the flowers from the Craftsman Tiny House to make a little spring scene.

I also got an Amazon gift card for Christmas and used part of it to buy a copy of Janet Storey's 'Making Upholstered Furniture' and I'm looking forward to trying out some of her methods combined with some of Kris's tricks.  I also ordered one of her chaise kits to try because I couldn't resist.

I hope you're all staying healthy and safe.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Congratulations Nancy and Morgen

And to the other two winners of second place and the Grand Prize

Edit: Just got some more info from HBS/ about our winners and thought you all might like to have some background on the builds.

– February 20, 2020 Hobby Builders Supply/, manufacturer and wholesaler of quality dollhouse components since 1975, has announced the winners from its 2019/26th Annual Creatin’ Contest.  The recently completed contest centered around the Serendipity Shed ( There were over 130 entrants from almost every state and four foreign countries, with many first-time entrants, including the grand prize winner. They used their imagination to create many different designs including bookstores to teddy bear hotels to she sheds, and so much more.

“We were blown away by all of the interestingly creative projects with intricate details,” said Kara Deason, Marketing Director for Houseworks Ltd.  “We had more entries than last year, including experienced miniaturists to people creating their very first projects.  From all of the amazing projects it was very difficult for our panel of judges to choose the winners.” 

You can see more photos at HBS/ but here are a few.

Third Place:

Sea House Leadlights

by Nancy Enge & Fenn Foxx

According to Nancy, “I always like to retain recognizable elements of the starter kit, so deciding what those are helps define the build.  The interplay of light, texture and form between the windows, structures and landscaping is my favorite part of the piece. I advise spending a lot of time at the beginning sketching, thinking, dreaming, and researching about what your build might be. Think about where, what, when it is. These parameters will answer a lot of questions as you build. Take your time, love what you do and learn by doing.”

Second Place:

Brown Bear Lodge

by Michell Bryant & Lamon Small

Since my uncle and I are a team, we both looked at the kit for inspiration and we saw everything from a western store to a pawn shop, but could never really come up with a design we both could agree on,” says Michelle. “We had pretty much given up, and I stared at it for weeks, when one day it came to me.  It was the perfect hotel lobby in a hotel for bears! Then the idea grew from there. Every hotel needs a tavern so The Honey Hole was a natural addition. Then we decided the bears would be having a beekeepers’ convention, and of course they would need ‘cub care’ center.  I love seeing my imagination come to life, seeing a project from the very first idea to the end result.  And I love that anyone can look at this project and see the story we are telling. We advise people to never enter a contest to win.  Instead create things that you love and let the project evolve. Sometimes we might think we were going in one direction but it didn’t work out, and we didn’t fight it and it ended up so much better.”

First Place:

Elle Peinte

According to Morgen, “The windows and doors of the project reminded me of those seen in old Parisian buildings -- beautifully large windows and French doors letting light stream into warm, well-loved living spaces.  I knew that I wanted those features to be the centerpiece of my build.  I love how it looks like a framed piece of art that can be hung on the wall.  My tip is to follow your passion and create what speaks to your heart. Only you can tell the story you want told.” 

And the Grand Prize:

She Shed

by Inger Henriksson

She is a first-time entrant to the Creatin’ Contest.  “This kit inspired me to make my dream studio that I wish I had in real life,” says Inger.  “I found a picture of a rough and weathered garden shed on Pinterest and that got me going, and the rest sort of took off on its own. My favorite part is the porch with the dog on the sofa and a good friend coming over for wine and cheese in the cool afternoon air.  I have changed every kit and almost every readymade piece of furniture to my own liking.  Instead of using real wood for the exterior and interior, I copied old wood from a wallpaper webstore, cut strips and glued to thick cardboard in irregular widths to mimic the real thing. I also added color with an inkpad and made dents and deep grooves on the dark brown interior wood. The patio floor is pieces of a cork sheet made old and worn with acrylic paint and inkpads.”

Amazing, all of them!

Congratulations again!