Friday, January 23, 2015

Christmast Box/House

So I have a couple of friends who aren't as insane about miniatures as I am but they are, shall we say, enablers.  By which I mean they encourage and say 'No that isn't strange at all' when I talk about turning waterbottle caps into quarter scale ottomans.  Or when I near the end of one project and bid on no less than three different dollhouse kits.

I won two of them.  What was I thinking? 

Or when I see the Creatin' Contest and decide I want to enter that this year.

Yeah. They and my husband...supportive, encouraging, wonderful enablers.

My husband sees the dollhouses all the time.  He's patient and always warns me when it looks like a cat is about to become the building inspector and when I'm eyeing the 'building' room (otherwise known as the dining room) speculatively for more space for my miniature projects he doesn't comment on the five cats, small house, madness that I've wrought.

Seriously, he really is patient.  And he's always amazed at the detail and what a miniaturist can do with time and imagination.

The ladies at work though, Linda and Rita respectively, don't really get to see much of my hobby (obsession?) unless its through this blog or on my phone.  So I wanted to do something special for Christmas for them.

For Rita, I found a little birdhouse.  I got the idea from Otterine's blog, (she nuked a contest piece to take it apart.) And so I put it in the microwave, which warmed up the glue, and I pulled the pieces apart.  Sadly I did not take pictures because my brain was completely immersed in the project and not in my blog. 

But I made a little chair, and ottoman, and a little bed. Painted the outside and shingled the roof.  I put up wallpaper, laid floors and put up trim, all carefully varnished and shiny.  And a little cardinal with a TV and a Christmas tree in the corner with a few presents.  It was very cute.

But for Linda's my blogger's brain kicked in and even if I couldn't blog about it until after I gave her the gift, I remembered to take pictures.

Instead of a birdhouse I started with a fancy box.  It was Christmas themed with a snowman on the front. Which was fortuitous as Linda loves snowmen and has some that stay out year round.

Back of the box

Front of the box.
You can see in the picture above how I added hinges to add some steadiness to the glued together edges.

You see, I cut the corners to make the box open and close like a door, glued the two edges together and stablized the whole shebang with hinges.  The hinges are pretty cool, got them from JoAnn's when their paper craft stuff was on sale.

They'd stand out more on a plain box but hey, no one is perfect.

And then I had to decide on the colors inside the box. I wanted them to be elegant but still Christmasy.  So I decided on these two for wallpapers.

The scrollwork is for the parlor and the diamonds are for the bedroom.
And of course we had to have a plaster ceiling.  But I wanted brick for the main floor. 

It's a bit garish with the walls at the moment but it pops out nicely later on.
And for the loft area I decided on a wooden floor.

This is the same flooring I used in Rita's birdhouse.
And in order to keep the lower floor from looking too red I decided that it needed paneling on the walls.

Not polished/varnished yet.  And obviously, not on the walls.

I didn't have convenient cutouts for windows so in order to get some light inside the house I stuck mirrors one of the 'walls'.

I made a little door out of some spare pine flooring I had.  After all, we have to be able to get into the house right? The door knob is a bead with a pin through it and bent to hold the knob in place.

So far so good right?
 And now we've got some of the wallpaper up.

The trim will help finish off the whole effect.

Second floor wallpaper and the 'window'

Don't mind that blank spot on the first floor. There's a reason for that.
Personally I love the look of a two story fireplace/chimney even if high ceilings make heating bills a nightmare.  And I wanted to try out a quick bricking technique I read about on Otterine's blog.

So...I made a fireplace.

In its raw, cardboar with brick paper inside, state.
Then I added the egg carton bricks and a mantel.

Much more like a fireplace right?
And then we add paint. 

And a base to the fireplace...what's that called? Hearth? Yeah let's go with hearth.

And of course, every fireplace needs a chimney.  Cardboard was my friend on this build. Everything is cardboard based unless its really thin wood. Swear to God.

Not too bad.
And here we have it...glued to the fireplace.

Not too bad I think.
Then came adding trim.  Around the windows and door.  Then around the walls.  And a few thicker pieces on the two side walls in order to support the loft.

I really wanted to make the windows look more real, and hold them to the wall better.
Here I added the loft.  That's always interesting because cardboard boxes curve slightly.  I had to make it uncurve or at least so the curve didn't show as cracks around the second floor walls.

I ended up gluing like crazy and useing nail polish bottles to hold everything in place.
Oh, and my pride and joy of the house was the light.  It's a battery light on a magnet stuck to the ceiling. So Linda can take it out, turn it on, and stick it back up there. It's not totally to scale but Linda's a forgiving sort.

And it'll give enough light for the lower floor too.
Once I got all the trim up and everything varnished it was time to do some of the fun stuff.

Furniture!  And of course...

A tree.

A small tree from Houseworks and acrylic beads stuck into the branches with Sticky Tacky glue.
The cats decided it should be a playtoy and I had to make a few repairs...but it still turned out well.

Then I started on the furniture for the ground floor.  A loveseat.  In a nice neutral tan/taupe corduroy.  I got the idea from

This is my second try, the first was too large.
An ottoman.  I put pins in the side folds to hold them tightly but I don't have a close up picture to show them.

Fake leathery goodness.
Christmas Decor.  After all, what's a fireplace if Santa isn't going to come down it to fill the stockings?

Teeny tiny stockings!
And a wreath!  With long ribbons so they can hang down the bricks of the chimney.

I couldn't help myself. It needed the rose.
And then I started on the upstairs.

There's got to be a bed.  And since Linda is crafty and sews really well, her house needs a sewing machine.

I wanted something neutral to counteract the nearly pink walls.

And then of course I couldn't just leave the bed plain like that.  This is an homage to my grandmothers house where she had the windows onto the porch behind her bed.  The curtain rod is a Q-tip stripped of cotton with wooden beads on the ends.

I deliberately used the selvage for the bottom so the curtains had fringe. Love!
I had a few other little things to add.  Just...finishing touches.

Things for the mantel...

Taken before I fixed the little elves totally in place.
Some pictures for the walls...

A really good shot of the paneling and floor too.


And a little table with a bowl of shells. Since Linda helped me go through a bag of shells I'd bought for good miniature ones.  And some throw pillows for the love seat. Very important right?

I made the little table myself out of woodsies.  Painted with nailpolish for a nice gleam. Christmasy!
The sewing machine upstairs...
And some frou frou pillows.

You can still see the glue I used to stick it down.  And you can barely see the bed 'feet'.


Here's a good shot where you can see the wreath on the chimney with the ribbons hanging down.

Another bent pin to make it go into the cardboard and stay.
And a nice shot of the complete downstairs with a snowman for Linda.

Something is missing though... Hmm...
The inhabitents!
With a little present behind him!

And then upstairs...the lovely wife is wrapping gifts of her own.

She's a pretty thing isn't she?


  1. The wreath and stockings are just so cute! As is the entire house, but I just love what you did to take it up a notch! If I ever have a baby girl, she will have to share this hobby with me, since I am a bit jealous seeing you decorate and create with so much enthusiasm. Can't wait to see more!!!

  2. Wow. So awesome. You are so much better at all those tiny little detail things than I ever could be. I'd lose patience and chuck the whole works out the window halfway through. Go you!