Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses, Miniature tutorials

Custom Modern Lighting

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Custom made “Modern Wire Ball”  light fixture (please excuse the dog hairs in the picture. Can’t be avoided at my house!)

So I got inspired by my friends over at the Greenleaf forum, to try my hand at making a modern light fixture. This was the result.

To be honest I’m so happy with this fixture that I might have to rethink the entire lighting plan for the San Franciscan.

In fact I’m stretching the truth to say I custom made it, because it’s essentially constructed out of premade components, super glue & spray paint.

It’s incredibly simple but incredibly effective.

So forum member SewMini asked about modern fixtures and pointed to this one as an example of what she was looking for.

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Later that day I was in my local Choice store (Australian version of a dollar store, though hardly anything costs only a dollar. 😉 ) and found these balls in the craft section

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I thought the smaller balls would be great for pendants and the larger ones for a statement light in the middle of a room.

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Smaller pendant size

I wanted to use the smaller size to start but I didn’t have any G.O.R bulbs so I had to raid my lights stash for a fixture and that meant, I had to use the larger wire ball if I had any hope of fitting it within the structure.

I tried to replicate the fitting in the inspiration piece by attempting to shove a simple 3 arm chandelier into the wire ball… umm.. no.. that didn’t fit… so I rummaged some more and came up with one of these ball pendants. I actually think if I make another light, I would try to find a half scale 3 arm chandelier and change out the chain for a 1:12 scale one to get the look above.

I ditched the bottom spindle taped off the ceramic bulb and spray painted it silver using Rustoleum “Satin Nickel”.

I also sprayed the wire ball, so that there would be continuity of colour. I actually prefer the silver of the original ball but getting that finish in paint would be near on impossible and they just don’t seem to make many dollhouse fixtures in silver. If I used G.O.R bulbs or GOW bulbs I would have been able to keep the colour as long as I could find a tiny chain to match. Much easier!

I think this light could also look great in a antique copper colour or black for a more industral feel.

Once everything was dry I tested the light to make sure it worked. then worked the wire apart in one section and pushed the ball pendant through. I then repositioned the wires over the hole and strategically centred one wire at the top to attach the chain ring to. A dab of superglue does the job of holding the pendant chain to the ball. but you could use a bit of jewellry wire also or you could fashion the wire of the ball so that the top of the fixture holds it on.

You will need to fiddle with the chain ring a bit to make sure the pendant sits straight and centre in the ball. It helps to hang the fixture from something for this step as the weight of it hanging helps and you will get a true indication of how it will hang in your dollhouse.

For light bulb changing, just snap off the glue (this is the reason for just a dab and pull the bulb out.

 

 

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

The Dining Room is coming together.

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So this is the latest dry-fit of the dining room. I think it’s coming along nicely.

The coffee stirrer floors have been cut and attached to their template. They are bare wood right now but will likely be whitewashed or painted white and the substantially distressed.

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The stairs fit… just! the hole and chiselled channel are for the wiring for the porch light. I need to run some crack filler around the staircase hole and sand and paint it I also need to trim out my stairs with bracket detail and a stringer board against the wall.

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Testing out the fireplace in situ. The chimney breast still needs to be wallpapered.

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The firebox needs grouting and some more paint washes. I might coat the mantel in a wash of white chalk paint also.. it’s looking a little grubby.

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I also need to make the marble hearth (just a paper place marker here 😀 ) I saw a tutorial on making marble effect out of polymer clay, so I think I’ll give that a try. My back up plan is to print out a marble effect from the web. Cover a piece of mat board with it and then spray it with high gloss non yellowing varnish or coat it with modge podge.

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I still have a lot of work to do. I need to decide if I am continuing the painted wood wall all the way around the room (with the exception of the chimney breast). I also need to decide if I’m doing pressed tin look on the ceiling (I won’t be doing that if all the walls are wood, I don’t think. Then with those decisions made, I need to cut all the baseboard and cornice, install the lights trim out the chimney breast, doors & windows… etc, etc, etc… long way to go, but it’s nice to see a room look a little bit like a room.

Posted in Miscellaneous, Other things

Brisbane Dollhouse Extravaganza haul :)

So I went to the Brisbane Dollhouse Extravaganza on the weekend. If I’m honest I didn’t have high hopes for anything too extravagant.  😉

I mean, how many people in Brisbane could be into Minis & Dollhouses right?.. Wrong! It was actually really surprising how many stalls there were and how many people were there. There was a great selection of stuff. New, Hand made, & second hand. A lot of things were cheaper than you would pay online with the added bonus of no shipping costs.

The hard corers were there early and snapped up all the really good bargains, but there were still some to be had. You had to be quick though! I have some serious regret for dilly dallying over a working Grandfather clock for $10. I walked away to think about it and someone else snapped it up. :/

Also, I guess it pays to check your bags on checkout. I snagged a Franklin Mint Bathroom sink for $5 but when I checked my bags when I got home the item wasn’t in the bag… There was another item missing as well. I don’t think it was intentional on the part of the vendor (they are working from fold out tables and boxes and don’t really have a set up to keep track of the stuff you hand over to hold aside until you are finished shopping at their stall) but super disappointing because it’s was a pretty rare find.

So anyway.. on to the good stuff… here’s some pictures of some of my haul.

First off, OMG this bunny bear!

He/she is sooooo adorable, I couldn’t resist! She was rather expensive (I think she’s a girl because she has pink on her feet and ears.) but sooo worth it. I think I’ll name her April.  😉

She has moving arms & legs and a little tag from the maker on the back. She’s from VonneBears. Evonne who makes these bears had so many cute miniature teddy’s I could have spent an absolute fortune at her stall but I had to contain myself. Luckily she has an Esty shop so I will just have to content myself with collecting over time.

Next I treated myself to some TinyFinery treasures.

This dress, handbag and shoes were calling my name. Again, if I’d bought more cash with me I would have shopped for hours. 😀

The imaginary inhabitant of my house is going to be so stylish.

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So cute! The shoes came in a shoe box complete with tissue and were then placed in a tiny shopping bag.

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The shoe detail is lovely, they even have tiny little buckle detail & labels inside like real shoes. Could the brand name be any more adorable “Mini Choos”… Get it? 😀

The bag has lovely trim detail. It also opens, with a magnet clasp. Inside it even has a little side pocket. I assume for a miniature mobile phone? lol

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Please excuse my fingers I was super gluing something earlier in the day and well….. we all know how that goes.

Continuing on the clothing theme, I bought some undergarments from a lovely mature lady who makes them all herself. She is retiring from selling and so had all her stock marked down. I didn’t get her card… so I can’t link you.. but I doubt she had a website anyway.

We had a lovely chat about how crochet is a dying art form and how she must have great eyesight and a steady hand to make her lovely creations.. again.. should have taken more money. She had lovely crochet miniature handkerchiefs and lovely lace tops in boxes and flower arrangements and *swoon*…it was all so lovely, it was hard to be restrained and only buy a few items.

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Corset, bra & panty set and a wedding horseshoe. 🙂

The detail on these pieces is lovely. Tiny little crochet flowers, bows & crystals (not showing up very well in the photos) are sewn in.

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I also bought these tiny doilies from her.So pretty.

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I then headed over to a vendor that was selling mini food imported from Germany, because I wanted a cake. Well.. I got three. 😀

You can’t pass up a deal they were $5 each or 3 for $10… Three for ten it was!

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Then I went looking for bargains and I found this 1930’s style gas refrigerator.. I’ve been coveting one of these for a while but they were always about $70usd plus shipping on eBay. I got this one for $30aud and no shipping 😀

It has a few dings in the paint but nothing that I can’t touch up with appliance paint.

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I also picked up some vintage kits I’d been wanting. A couple of cane seat chairs a dining set & the bathroom accessories kit from Chrysnbon, a gramophone from Phoenix Miniatures and this Fireplace kit from HOM. I’ve never seen the Fireplace before, it’s called the “Tidewater Virginia Fireplace circa mid 1700’s” and it was only $5.. can’t go wrong.

I also picked up some window and door components including a full length victorian/georgian bay window for $10. Bargain! Many light fittings, all of which i will need to paint or modify. A couple of resin dogs that I plan to flock. A little woven basket, another cheap little mass produced teddy bear and a pencil sharpener in the shape of a toilet! I think it might be just the right scale and it has a lot of detail and is more modern than most dollhouse miniatures out there.

Safe to say… I’m a show convert! Now to start scheming for time off work to go to the Sydney show. 😀

Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses, Furniture

Making a 1:12 Fire Chimney Breast & Hearth

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I bought this Mantel in an Ebay auction, can’t remember what I paid for it but it wasn’t very much.. the shipping was more because it came from the UK. :/

It’s made of plaster I think and it’s a bit banged up with chips out of it and edges broken off.

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But I don’t really care, I liked the fairly simple traditional style and given my house is going to be a bit shabby, I just think it adds rustic charm. 🙂

In my imagination my house has been around for a long time and had many owners and the fireplaces have had a few bangs as the little people moved their furniture in and out.

I could just prop this fireplace up against the wall and be done with it, but that doesn’t make my realism loving heart sing. So now I needed to build it a chimney breast and hearth.

I started by making a chimney breast out of foam core. I used the dimensions of the mantel plus half an inch on each side for the the face of the breast. Then I decided how deep I wanted the firebox to be and cut sides to match (about an inch because I have a particular phoenix miniatures insert in mind).

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I measured the inner dimensions of the mantel and cut out the hearth space by marking the middle point of the chimney breast an marking half the width of the inner dimensions of the mantel outwards off this mark. This way the hole is centred on the chimney breast.

It’s pretty rough, but it doesn’t have to be pretty because it will be covered with card-stock and the mantel will cover the rest.

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I did cut mitred corners because I wasn’t sure what kind of finish I was going to give it at the time and I filled in any imperfections with spackle and gave it a sand. The mitred corners were relatively easy to make because I have a Foam Werks bevel cutter which does the job with ease. Any mistakes were operator error.. lol

Next I made the fire box to fit inside the hearth using the cut out piece from the mantel face as the back and then measuring the side walls of the chimney breast for the sides.

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I then started bricking it with egg carton bricks. You’ll note my fire box has a “lid”.. this is not because I want the chimney to be bricked up, but because I don’t want anyone to be able to see up the fireplace chimney breast as this will be where I hide most of my wiring for the house. It’s really just to give the illusion of the bricking continuing up the chimney.

It’s good to have a little selection of bricks to choose from as you go. And there is my pile of deconstructed egg cartons. 😉

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With chimney breast and Mantel in place… for a look at progress and to make sure everything is straight.

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Firebox back done. 🙂

The shims between the roof & the sides are just to give the roof a bit of height and an angle so that it’s not massively obvious when put together. Remember it’s supposed to be an illusion 😉

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And with sides complete and breast and mantel in place. I think it’s turning out well. 🙂

Next up is painting the bricks. I gave them a base coat of burnt sienna stippled on and then used a black wash to soot them up. This fire place has been used… alot!

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I’m not worried about the little spots that don’t have paint, it kind of looks like left over mortar on the bricks. I like that, it adds an old brick feel.

I still need to seal this and then grout. Not sure what I’m going to use for that. Either paperclay or spackle are most likely. Once I have that done, I’ll used some dark washes to dirty it up too.

Here’s what it looks like all together. I love it! 😀img_2638

And in the house.

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Ignore the “marble” hearth.. it’s just a place marker. I still need to make a proper one. That should be interesting! 🙂

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Basement Progress

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So I’ve had a little bit of progress on the basement (Please excuse the state of my craft room!)

I took the original foundation off the house (tip: vinegar works well to loosen glue. Drizzle a little on both sides of the joint and wait a while for it to work it’s magic. Eventually you will be able to pull the pieces apart with a bit of muscle.)

As you can see I’ve cut the out the garage door and given it a coat of primer. I haven’t cut out the basement apartment’s door yet because I’m not exactly sure where it will go on what remains of the wall. Ideally I would have wanted it directly under the other doors but the Garage door took up a bit more space than expected so it can’t actually line up. I might be able to get it close by having the garage and the door share the trim between it but there are some internal struts/runners that allow the garage door to work and they may impede the operation of the door… The other option is to centre it on what remains of the wall… not particularly happy with that option either. I think I will have to wait a little while.. figure out the stair configuration and landscaping design and then revisit it.

I chose a french door style for the Basement even though it’s not very security conscious 🙂 because the basement will have limited windows and it will be kind of doing double duty as a door & a light source. 🙂

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Currently these are the only other windows in the basement. So you can see my need for the door! The Garage side will get a larger window as it is on the low side of the imaginary hill. (This house will be on a  landscaping board that will simulate a hill, like most San Franciscan row homes!) The ground level on the Apartment side will be just below those basement windows & the chimney I am yet to make will fit snugly between them.

Slow progress I know but… baby steps! 🙂

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

Second Dry Fit

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As you can see from this latest dry fit, I’m making slooooow progress.. lol. I had a bit of a setback when I moved the house downstairs and the main structure fell apart :0

Not to worry, I wasn’t happy with the glue fit anyway so this gave me an opportunity to redo it and get a tighter, straighter bond.

I can’t dry fit the main roof just yet as it requires some constuction to make it sit on the side walls.

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Here is a close up of one set of the working windows… One of my favourite elements of this house for sure… but pretty fiddly! Scared of having to glue these in one day… Yikes!

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And as you can see… I’ve managed to build that basement I’ve been banging on about. 😀

Garage will be on the right side as you face the house… basement apartment or room on the left… Haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

The old foundation pieces will be removed later in the process… Just wanted to dry fit it up to see if I liked it. 🙂

Posted in Accessories, Decor, Dollhouses

Coastal Decor

The other day when I wasn’t feeling well, I decided to take a break from building and make a few decor items…. I was looking at my coffee table shell bowl and realised there were a few teeny tiny little shells and even pieces of coral in there…. Well, inspiration struck and I decided to make some modern coastal decor for my far off in the distance Hampton’s dollhouse… one day….

Not satisfied with just the shells I rummaged around in my charms and findings for nautical/coastal type items and found the fish skeleton and a seahorse… in they went to the mix.

I used jewelry pins to secure the shells, coral & fish to bases made of cut up coffee stirrers topped with cut up skinny sticks which were then stained with furniture touch up pens. I drilled tiny holes in the bases to attach the pins to the base and glued them to the back of the shells. With the coral I drilled a hole in the bottom of it as well to secure it to the base with a pin.

The base of the star shell is made from two clear plastic beads.

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Not content to stop there.. I rummaged around in my fabric stash and made some blue motif cushions.

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Then I got distracted by my bead box and made quite a few perfume/cosmetic bottles & jars…. I got a bit carried away…  😉img_2474

Posted in Dollhouses, The San Franciscan

A few small jobs

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Did some random jobs today… first I spackled the corner of the bay where there was an incorrectly cut piece provided in the kit. I just need to wait for it to dry, sand it and repeat. I don’t need to be too precise as there will be a corbel over this area. But I do want to make it at least good enough that it’s not noticeable when the whole house is together.

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I made another wooden wall. This one with the door at the other end (front of dollhouse not rear)… I’m still undecided as to where to place the door on the first level so this gives me options. If I opt for the front, then I’ll use the other wall for the second floor. If I opt for the rear, I’ll use it either on the 3rd floor for the bathroom door or in the basement if I create one.

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I also punched out the rest of the windows and painted them all. Now ALL the kit windows are painted completely. I am considering adding some more windows. One in the side wall of the kitchen above the sink, possibly a dormer in the attic bathroom to gain some floor space and if I build a basement garage as I would like to, I would add up to 3 windows on that level…. we shall see what eventuates! 😀

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