Monday, December 31, 2018

Last Post of 2018

Kristine asked me if I'd take some pictures of the Wicked Queen's Retirement Cottage at night with all the lights on.

I'm still no great shakes at photography but I did my best.

The lights don't show in the tower very well.

The pictures didn't come out too badly.

Sunday, December 30, 2018


I haven't wanted to post this.  Maybe because posting would make it more real.  I put all my energy into the WQ RC and then my Christmas projects and tried to not think about it.  But I can't put if off any longer.

You've all heard about the cats.  We have five.  Drusilla, Helo, Miho, Tali and Jack, if we list them from oldest to youngest.  Technically we think Helo and Drusilla might be the same age.  All of them are rescues, found on the streets by us or a co worker who knew we'd take in another furry family member.

I found Drusilla back when we still lived down in Orange.  It was after a huge storm, and she'd been scrounging for food with some other stray cats and living behind the 'shop' of the company I worked for.  The guys had been feeding them bits of their sandwiches.  Drusilla was young and intrepid enough to circle the building (very large) and go to the front office where she pawed at the glass door.  The receptionist shooed her off but when she went to lunch her substitute saw Drusilla and said 'Hey doesn't Sheila like cats?'

The rest of was history.  The box they found for me to transport her home in lasted all of five minutes in the back of my car, she was out of it and climbing all over, wanting to see everything.  She had fleas and ticks and abrasions and she was young enough that she hadn't gone into heat yet.  That was around the year 2000.  We think she was nearly a year then, at least that's what the vet told us.

We called her Drusilla because we had a big grey tabby male cat named Spike who just loved her from the start.  They both made the trip from Orange up to DFW in the back of my Saturn station wagon.

We had a lot of changes going on at one time.  We'd lost Isabella, the fluffy cat whom Dru didn't like but knew well.  Isabella was familiar and she was gone, and then we got Helo.  Helo went everywhere, had no respect for anyone's territory, and couldn't understand why this little female cat wasn't friendlier.

Drusilla started getting a little...agoraphobic as she got older. She didn't like change, she didn't like Helo, and she just wanted to be left alone.  So she got to live in her Daddy's study most of the time.  She had her own bed and window shelf and climbing tree and she was very happy for a good long while.  She was the only cat to ever have a bed.  Probably the only one who'd actually sleep in it rather than ignore it too.

About three years back Dru was diagnosed with kidney trouble and put on a special food when we noticed she'd begun losing weight.  She did pretty well for a couple years though she was older and getting a little creaky.

She still loved her shelf and looking out the window and the loud music her Daddy played.  But this last year she started getting thinner again and not as interested in her food and I started mentally preparing myself.

Three weeks ago Monday we brought Drusilla into the veterinarian's office to see if there was anything else we could do to make her comfortable.  Unfortunately the answer was no, there wasn't.  Dialysis was possible but she'd be unhappy and uncomfortable.  It would be more for us than for her. She didn't even have the energy to protest the car ride or the indignity being put in a cage.  And this was not a cat to suffer in silence.

She didn't like being brushed anymore and had no interest in the smelliest tuna.  It was time to say goodbye.  Our doctor very kindly pointed out that she'd had nineteen years of life, had been happy and comfortable for most of them and that was longer than she'd have ever had on the streets in Orange TX.  And he reassured us that we were doing the right thing, the unselfish thing, by letting her go.

December 17, 2018 Drusilla went to join Spike at the Rainbow Bridge.  

The other cats are a bit confused, they didn't know Dru that well except as the cat whose food they weren't allowed to eat and whose room they invaded when the vacuum cleaner was running.  They're cautiously exploring the 'new' window shelf and climbing tree.

I can safely say that I'm ready for 2018 to be over.  We're going to be a four cat household again, at least until another cat finds us.  One always does.  I'm going to try and take some comfort in that.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

My Christmas Project

Our Christmas party at work was on Thursday and to do something nice for the office I made a doorprize and we had a drawing.  I couldn't blog about it until after the party because I wanted it to be a surprise and one of the ladies in the office reads my blog a lot.

I had a lantern I'd gotten a while back from Hobby Lobby so I made a floor out of popsicle sticks and added paneling and garland around the sides.  I had a small Christmas tree which I decorated.  And an old brass chandelier which I hooked up to a battery so it would light up.

I couldn't fit a nine volt battery under the lantern base so I built it up with some trim and have it half a floor so the battery would have a place to rest.

I made the table from a round woodsie I scalloped using my Dremel sander and painted with chalk paint to make it look distressed.  The chair I made with wood and foam covered with some fabric.  I got the little train from Hobby Lobby and the snowman used to be an ornament.

I made the wreath using Pepper's method with wire and bells.

We had a drawing after our Christmas lunch and one of the ladies in our office won it.  She was very excited because she follows my blog.  She and her mom are doing a dollhouse of their own.

One of the IT guys liked it so much he asked if I could make another for his wife.  So once I get my materials together hopefully I'll have more pictures.

Merry Christmas everybody and have a happy and safe Holiday season!

Monday, December 17, 2018

The Wicked Queen's Retirement Cottage - Details & Sources

Well I finished with two and a half days to spare.  Big sigh of relief here.

I took more than a hundred pictures during the whole process but I promise not to inflict all of them upon you.  And I'll try to keep this in some semblance of order.

So first the garden. I made the tree using a slightly modified version of Luke Towan's tutorial.  Rather than use wire for the entire thing I wrapped the wire around six inches or so of a wooden dowel to give the trunk some thickness and a sense of age.  I used Candytuft like Brae to imitate the leaves.  I got most of them from Scenery Solutions.  Can't say enough nice things about that site and the nice guy who runs it.

I added the apples by drilling through them and threading them with some dark embroidery thread for stems.  I had to do some research to find out what type of apples they would have in Tudor England and it turns out they weren't much like our modern apples.  I got mine from WowMiniature on Etsy. The brownish mushrooms under the tree are from WowMiniature as well.

The vegetable garden is a mix of vegetables I made and bought, leeks and lettuces from Jodi's tutorial.  The cauliflower is from IrinaMiniatures on Etsy.  I also got the toadstools from her, they're the more speckled ones under the tree.  The cabbages in the garden are from PureJoyMiniatures on Etsy.  I made the mint and chamomile plants.  The green onions are from WowMiniature too.  I got the carrots from myminicorner on Ebay.  I cut them into pieces and used reindeer moss to make more of them since I was 'planting' them.  The soil is made from two parts Elmers glue and one part coffee.

The rabbit is from Steve Panner.  His name is Lewis.   I got him on Ebay and he came with his own carrots but he likes to steal lettuce and carrots out of the garden.  I think he goes after the cabbage too but he's never been caught.

I got the gates from, and the stones from Hobby Lobby a while back.  I guess they aren't selling the gate anymore, but it's really pretty.

Kristine from Paper Doll Miniatures made the door for me.  She's been an absolute angel and so supportive with this entire process.  That door got me going and so enthusiastic when I'd been sort of plodding along.

I made the windows using a modified technique from Glorious Twelfth I found on Pinterest. Instead of lead strips I used aluminum mesh, the type you put inside a sculpture for support.  Since I can't cut straight lines to save my life it was a good compromise.

I made the bay window using some of the kit window frames cut down and fitted with casement windows and trimmed out with more knotwork trim and molding.

The rocks are from Hobby Lobby, from their model train section, as is the moss.  I added the weeds with some fake vines I also got from Hobby Lobby.

I bought these windows and the casement windows from  I didn't use the frames, just the windows, at least for these single ones.  The knotwork trim is from Manchester Dollhouse and Wood Works.

I made the decorative piece at the peak of the eaves from a spindle piece, part of a newel post and a wooden bead.

I made the oriel window out of two bay windows, which I got from  I had to make casement windows to fit into it.  The windows on the lower level are from the kit, at least the frames inside are. I made the actual windows and shutters from scratch.

I got the chimney pots from Minimum World.  The dragons are plastic from Amazon.  I primed them with gesso and then painted and aged everything once they were glued to the pots.

The pigeons came from Ebay, a very nice lady made them for me when I asked if she'd have more auctions.  She's at DebbieMiniatures.

A little closeup of the dragons on the chimney pots.

I made the support timbers from wood I bought from Hobby Lobby and the braces are from  Manchester Dollhouse and Wood Works,

The plaster is paint and a texture medium, another technique from the awesome Glorious Twelfth.  You can't see the texture as well in the pictures but I used a stiff bristle brush to make sure it looked like plaster.  The beams are thin strips of wood, something that should be flooring really, stained with Minwax Dark Walnut and cut so they look irregular, as if they were hand hewn.

The stones are cardboard, the type that you get from toner cartridges and ceiling fans blades.  I painted them various shades of grey and coated them with a satin polyurethane then used the mortar from to finish them.  I should have worn rubber gloves when I did that.

The tower is made of Quaker Oats boxes and cardboard, and then finished with my homemade Tudor windows and Magik Brik.  I got that off Ebay and used the Dollhouse Stucco from as mortar to give it a slightly different look than the cottage. I can't find the link now but they sell it under tints and textures.  Greenleaf makes it.

The roof is cardboard of varying thicknesses, painted black, then two different shades of grey to give it the look of slate.  I got the technique here.

Boadicea came from Ebay, and I've been very tempted to get her a brother or sister but it will need to wait.

A couple of pictures from the front door, giving us a view of the ceiling, beams and shutters all the way down to the tower staircase.

I made the drying rack from strip wood, spindles and other wooden pieces.  The fish, and onions are from IrinaMiniatures.  So are the cabbages, onions and some of the carrots in the baskets on the floor. Also the mushrooms in the bowl on the table.

The cloak is from Anna, and the axe from Minimum World.  The clogs and spoon holder are from Keli and the spoons are from Minimum World.

I made the fireplace and chimney for the kitchen out of balsa and more cardboard stone, then aged it with charcoal.  The table, hutch, chair and sink are all from Minimum World though I made the sink stand out of wood strips and newel posts.

The jars, wooden bowls and goblets are also from Minimum World.  Most of the black cauldron/stewpots came from them too.  I got the 'silver' plates off of Ebay.

The mortar and pestle are from myminicorner on Ebay as are the eggs, and carrots in the basket on the floor.

The footed cauldrons/pots are from an online mini show.  The bread is from myminicornerThe basket of rolls is from Keli and the cake is from RealisticMiniature on Etsy. 

I made the little lantern and coat hooks.  Also the handled basket with the vegetables in it.  The sconces are ones I made with altered candles from some purchased sconces that looked too modern to me once I started to put them in the house.  I also made the candles on the table.

The baskets on the floor are from Wicker Miniature on Etsy.  The butter churn, barrel and bucket are from InSomeSmallWayMinis on Etsy.  The 'rush' mats are from Minimum World.

I got the oven hook at an online miniature show.

Medieval Morsels created the pottage and roasting chicken (or duck or goose) along with the drip pan.  I made the bread board but Mary made the bread in the background and the bread on the table as well. She also made the honey and small wood jar of peas on the table.

There was a lot of work that went into this room, the shutters were particularly annoying with their hinges and little screws.

But on to the bedroom we go.  The furniture is from Minimum World.  They had a barewood sale and I bought a bunch of furniture and stained it different colors.  The wood paneling is also from Minimum World.  It darkens the room but it gives it such a rich look I couldn't resist.

The fireplace is resin, painted and aged from  I made the box and cushion for the crown.  The crown is a ring from SimplyCindiii.  The mirror is from Smallsminnimall.

I made the candles and red necklace.  The silver box is from Shapeways.  I made the candelabra.  It looks a bit like some candles are tilting but I like it.

The tapestries are from GreenGypsies.  The books are from a lot of different places, including Hobby Lobby's jewelry aisle, Little Things of Interest and Lilliput's Treasures.

I made the rush mats for the bedroom.  I like that they look a little scuffed, I imagine they need replacing and she'll have to harvest more rushes and braid some new mats.

I made all the bedding, adding a second mattress and sheets as well as the curtains and blankets, woven and fur.   The tassels weren't easy to make but I really like how they look.

Bathsheba is from Miniature*pets on Ebay.  Anna made the pillow.  I got the lute off Ebay.

The tower stairs weren't easy.  But somehow I managed to get them done without killing myself, a cat or wrecking the stairs.

For my first time I think they turned out well.

The workroom is the result of a lot of research and invaluable help from Keli.  Without the wool she sent me I'd be reduced to using watercolors on cottonballs to get wool.  I doubt it would be a good look.  The hutch and shelf is from Minimum World.  The loom is a kit from SDK Miniatures.  They only had half scale but when I asked they very kindly offered to get one cut in 1:12 scale.

I made the drying racks and the standing candelabra.

I made the hourglass in its holder out of a necklace, I was very excited to make it actually turn in its stand.  It's useful for timing how long wool has been dying.  The wooden jars are from Hartwood Woodturning.

I got the spinning wheel on Shapeways and thanks to some feedback managed to get the wool and thread on it correctly.  The baskets are from Realistic Miniature.

I made the floor out of tongue depressor woodsies.  I made the bolts of woven fabric and the spun thread on the cupboard and the wool cards.

The workroom involved a lot of thought.  I bought most of the furniture from Minimum World.  The scrolls and a couple of the crystal balls came from felix1415 on Ebay.  The spilled potion bottle is from Amber of HuesDesigns on Ebay.  She was really great when I asked if she'd be doing any auction soon.  The crystals next to it are from Keli.

The scrolls, wax and seal on the desk are from PiccoloInfernoFG.

Cleopatra, who very much enjoys the stillroom's chair, is from Maya Schippl.  I have such a weakness for her animals. I need a twelve step program.

I made the potion in the cauldron.  It's bubbling over, Cecelia Alyse had better check on it.

The tarantula is from Mini Fanaticus.  She sent me a little crown as a surprise for the queen as well.  I didn't end up using it since I had one but it was very sweet.

I made all the magically pouring potions and the dousing apparatus.

The cage is from Keli, but the mice are from ginko305 on Etsy.

The bucket is from Keli as well.

You're all fairly familiar with the tower room.  I made the furniture here to match the curve of the walls.  All of the astronomy apparatus in the room are things I've made.  I also made all the scrolls on the shelves.

Bathsheba and Cleopatra are messing around.  They'd better not move the telescope.

But the view from up here can't be beat.

The magic potion holding the parchment is also from HuesDesigns.

A few shots of the workroom through the windows.

I'm sure that I've forgotten something, so if you see something that you just must know where it came from feel free to ask!  Hope you're all having a great day and everyone got their submissions in on time.

I'll leave you with another look at the cottage.