Wednesday, November 7, 2007

It's a small world

Well, COLD happened. It always does, sooner or later, and this year, it sure was later. I mean, here we are in November, and we're just now starting to get the Autumn feel?! It's a good thing, really, the change to the cooler's just that...I hate going out to The Gabby House when it's cold like this. And this is nothin' compared to a month from now when there could be snow and ice on the ground...YIKES!

Yes, I have heat out there, but I keep it to a minimum; just enough so things don't freeze. But, to actually play out there I need to crank the heat up for a good 20 minutes or so before said playtime...and in order to do that, I have to go out in the cold, into the the cold Gabby House, crank the heat, and then come back in the house to wait for it to warm up out there.

I know, I know, we all should have such hardships to complain about!

Since I haven't been out to play in The Gabby House for quite some time, I have been playing with my African violets in my house. Now, you may think African violets have no place being in a minis blog, but you know what? There are such things as MINI African violets..(see photos above). The three plants pictured are Allegro's Winsome Pink, Baby Doll(with no blossoms) and the trailer is Pixie Blue. I apologize for having so little bloom on these plants; that's partly due to my recent monthly grooming session, but mostly due to the fact that I just got the idea to post photos of these plants in this entry!

The definition/description of a mini African violet is that it must be less than 6" around. In a show the judges actually use an embroidery hoop (6")to ascertain whether or not a particular plant is eligible for a ribbon. Also, generally the size of the leaves are smaller than a standard A.v. Pretty much, if you buy an A.v. at a local supermarket, or garden center, you will most likely be buying a standard; rarely a mini. ( For anything unusual, you really need to mail order from some of the A.v. vendors that are online.)

I don't know when I'll be getting out to the Gabby House again; Prolly not til I get in the winter mode and get used to the cold weather. I do have a project I am planning to begin soon, here in the house. I'll talk more about it in my next post, when I also will tell you a little about the miniature show I went to a couple of weeks ago.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Give Me One More Shot

This is sort of a P.S. To the last post. As you may or may not know, I am not a computer whiz...hee hee, and I seem to have a great deal of trouble loading photos to show with my posts. This last go 'round, I was only able to load 4, I think, but I have two more that go with that subject. Here they are.

I looked through my posts pertaining to the Birdhouse house, and I can't find any thing about how the gigantic snake that's hanging out in the back of the house came to be there. I may have told my sister, but now I'm telling you.

When I first began to work on the house, I was trying to fill in gaps with Paperclay(not Celluclay.) I had a long, thin line rolled out to fill in a gap that ran along the length of the back,(where the back wall came out.) One minute it was a long thin line of clay, and the next, when I looked at it, it had morphed into a snake! I did nothing to this piece of clay; I didn't put a crimp in his tail, I didn't make his eye; they both just appeared. Really. All I can think of is that Rene (my ghost)played a trick on me.(He used to use one side of the Gabby house before it was the Gabby house as a work shop.) Who knows, maybe he still hangs out there from time to time.

And no, this is not a story to get you in the mood for Halloween! But anyway, I like the snake, so he's staying. I guess you could say he's like a guard snake to Polly and Pauly.

The other photo is a close-up of the roof. I just used broken pieces of shingling and just glued them on. Again, the shingle material is just stained that way; I don't do anything to it.

Ok, so that's all I have on the Birdhouse-house. Now back to our regularly scheduled Addams family house, A.K.A. My creepy dollhouse.

Deja Vu

I know you've seen the before photos before, but since all good home re-habs should have before and after shots, I now also offer the after photos. Not bad for a little $3.49 birdhouse I bought at Michaels, eh? Ok, so it's not 100% yet; I have a little touch up to do on the snake, as well as the base of the house, but it's pretty much finished.(Yaaay!) And I do mean finished.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Is It Over Yet?

Sometimes I hesitate to post photos of stuff that I haven't finished, or still have to work on. Since I usually work on more than one project at a time, however, it sometimes seems as if they'll never get done. But if I were really strict and didn't show you WIPs,* then you'd never get any photos! And anyway, very often, as we all know, a project might never really be truly 'finished,' so I might as well show you the struggles along the way. It is after all, about the journey, isn't it?

The only trouble with that, is, is that I am very slow to accomplish anything. I dilly. I dally. I paint. I re-paint. I painted this staircase three different times before I decided on its final colors!!! ( And I still have to touch up the 'wood' part.)

*Work In Progress

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Our House

I've been trying to find another occupant for The birdhouse-house; I just didn't want Polly to live alone. I bought another Polly Pocket, but there's only room for one bed, and even if the other Polly Pocket was her sister, I didn't want them to sleep in the same bed. ( I cannot imagine sleeping in the same bed as one of my sisters.)

Unfortunately, the 'community' of Polly Pocket seems to be Amazonian in their approach to life; it doesn't have any guys in the group, so I have had to 'invent' one. Introducing...Pauly Pocket. Pauly is Polly's boyfriend, and although he doesn't live with Polly all the time, he's a frequent visitor. Very. Frequent.

( I'm still not totally happy with Polly & her beau living here. I think they're a little small for the place. I might move them to another house...when I finish it.)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I got you, Babe

Yes, she certainly did. it seems Kate from has tagged me. Yeah, I definitely feel like a cool kid now, myself.

O. K. So here's the deal. I write out 6 things about myself...and then tag someone else. 6 someone elses, in fact.

1.I read about 1-2 books a week.

2.I have a dog and three cats.

3.I am a pretty good shot with a bow and arrow.

4.I have lived in four different states, and about 15 different towns.

5.I laugh at everything(especially myself)

6.I love to play the slots at casinos.

Hmmm,uh, all have is I tag Gina. What say you Gina?

(Just so you know, this is not a usual post. We return to our regularly scheduled blog tomorrow, or, whenevah.)

Sunday, September 23, 2007

True Colors

Yesterday I was in Michaels', and what do you think I found? a tub of 18 clear squeeze bottles to put paint in. And it was on clearance for less than $4.00. There were two tubs left and I bought both of them, giving me 36 bottles in all. The only trouble is that each bottle is 4 oz, and all I need is 2 oz. But that's o.k. I can actually see what the color looks like easily. Plus, no more I-forgot-to-flip-the-bottle-lid-shut scenario.

I 'posed' the bottles around the picture, just because I like it. It was a book cover off a book by an author who wrote inspirational fiction more than 70 years ago. I loved reading her books when I was a young woman; still do.

After I had transferred a lot of the paints into the bigger containers, I began to paint the birdhouse-house! Wheee! The basic color is dark olive green, and the window trims are purple. Then I have gold trim in there, too. I goofed, though, because you can see where the white of the walls I installed inside show in the windows. I remember Miss Gina mentioning something about painting something a while ago, and making sure the unpainted side did not show out the other side thru the windows. There's no way to fix it, unless I put trim inside the windows as more window trims....that's a lot of fuss, tho. As The English call it, that's getting 'fiddly.'

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Gimme Shelter/ Closer To Fine

You know, I have always loved working in the Gabby House. I get out there and I turn on talk radio or HGTV, and just immerse myself in my little world of miniatures. I have my tools out there, materials, and even the phone. Sometimes the cat(s)cruise on in, the dog hangs out on the floor, or just outside the door, and all is well.

It sounds idyllic, doesn't it? It is...from about the end of April until the end of September. Then it starts to get a little colder...I have to leave the(electric ) heater on all the time. I have to put a coat on to go out to the GH, and then, then(!) when it's 20* and snowing...or has snowed...I hafta practically get a snowsuit on, and wear boots to get out there. And then I get out there and I have forgotten to bring something out, or turn something off in the house...and I hafta go back??? FOR--GET IT!!!!!!! Who the *bleep* wants to go outside in the middle of an ice or snowstorm???

For the past three weeks I have been looking into buying another house. My present house has about 1400 sq.ft, really perfect for lil ole me...or at least it prolly would be if I didn't have three cats, a dog, a couple of hobbies ( non-sport trading cards, dollhouse/minis, and African violets on plant stands ) that all take up about another 500 sq. feet! That's why the GH has come in so handy for the trading cards and mini stuff. But as I've said, it's a pain sometimes to go out there; I want everything to be in the same place,so that I don't have to get all ponied up to go do my hobbies! It's actually only about 40 steps from my back door, out to the GH, but the ground around the pool is uneven, and slippery when there's ice on the concrete.

I'll prolly stay in Framingham, because I like it here.

Next time I'll have photos of the birdhouse-house, I hope. I did finish the furniture, but I didn't begin to paint the outside of the house. I did play with paint however, and you shall see the results of that too!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Long Time Gone

Hiya. I am alive and kickin', in case you were wondering. My sister has been here visiting from Indiana since Monday. She likes minis too,and has quite a collection; no place to put them, however (as in a dollhouse.) Although she prolly won't ever build or even decorate a whole dollhouse, I think I may have her convinced to try a room box. Maybe someday.

Yesterday we took a trip to Dollhouse Treasures in Braintree, which is about an hours drive from here. I usually keep my spending somewhat under control when I go there, but they have a lot of cute, gotta-have stuff there, so I always manage to put a smile on the lady's face when I go, if you know what I mean. I think my sister kicked in quite a few bucks for her own little finds, too.

I don't have any photos of recent work, because there has been no recent work! However, I have included a guest appearance from Max the cat in his zen position (his favorite)

Tomorrow I finish up the birdhouse-house furniture, and maybe begin painting the outside.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

She Has Funny Cars

I went into Toys-R-Us to get a game the other day. While I was in there, I decided to look for a small doll that would go in the bird house-house. I was kind of thinking of Polly Pocket.

Although I had only noticed it once or twice before, I just was always a little fascinated with her 'genre'. I think I had even bought my daughter a Polly Pocket something few years ago, prolly cause I thought it was cute. I don't think she was thrilled with it; she wasn't ever much into dolls. She had horse fever and instead of people dolls, she had horse 'dolls.' LOL!

Now see, If I had known then that I was into minatures and the like, I would have kept that little Polly Pocket myself. As it was, it took me a few more years before I found this wonderful hobby, and DD's Polly Pocket is long gone.

When I started the Birdhouse-house rehab, I knew I would have a difficult time with ascertaining what scale to go for. 1" was definitely out; 1/2 scale was, too. 1/144 was waaay too small. That's actually why I've been making all the furniture; there is no official scale size that can go in it.

Back To Polly Pocket. I didn't know if she would fit in with the furnishings and non-scale scale, but she only cost $2.99 and came with a cute little car. I tried her out in the house, and she seems to like it. The toilet is a little big for her, but if she hangs on, she won't fall in. (I worry about things like that.)

As for Polly Pocket, man that is one confusing group of dolls. There are two sizes of Polly Pocket about 1 1/2" and then there are the 3" ones. There are about a zillion ka billion different ones, the little ones have cars, the bigger ones are more into fashion and come with clothes. I love to read up about fun little things like that, but the Polly Pocket website is really just set up for little kids to play games. Oh well, at least I now have a human who will dwell in the birdhouse house, along with a couple of non-humans.

Monday, September 3, 2007

If You Were a Carpenter

Well,I'm not. A carpenter, I mean. I have made all the furniture for the birdhouse-house, though! Look, I don't mind buying furniture for my Addams Family house, (1"scale) and I have a 1/2" scale project for which I will be buying most of the furniture, but I think it's kind of fun to make stuff, too.

At this point in my miniaturist 'career', I pretty much stick with cardboard when I make my furniture. I seem to be cutting up a lot of small cardboard boxes because pretty much everything I've made has been square. The little square boxes already have straight, square corners, and that's a good thing when you're trying to make furniture that looks halfway convincing!

Today I 'made' my visiting son and his friend come look at my dollhouses. I am just so proud of myself for my accomplishments in this hobby; I just had to show off. When they saw the Addams family house, they thought that was cool, but while my friend's son was looking at the birdhouse house, I saw a look in his eye-just for a second, but it was definitely a look of wonder at the tiny little things he was looking at. Now I ask you , how can anybody not have a look of wonder on their faces when they see a mini scene, (especially one much more sophisticated and more highly detailed than mine?)

Paint it, Black

That's what I'm doing, painting all the nosing for the Newport, black. I've been painting all daaay, it seems! ( Today's Labor Day. How appropriate.) I don't really mind, though, because when I look at the few pieces I have put up already, it really streamlines the house; makes it look finished, or at least more-so than without it! (Gee,that was a really long sentence, wasn't it?)

OK, now it's two days later. I have finished painting, as well as putting all the nosing up around the outside of the house. Next, for the outside, I have to think about how I'm going to install the brackets, as well as the railings around the porch areas. I'm pretty sure I'm going to abandon the railing idea. Instead, to keep the creepy mood going, I think I'll prolly get some creepy looking 'wrought iron' fencing to put up along the edges. One of the Addams family movies had that kind of fencing, and since this house needs a parapet of some sort, I think I'll go see what I can find to use. Oh, it'll be creepy, for sure.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Stuck On You

I put the walls up. Yeppers, I did. That's what all the laughing in my last post was about...I bet you thought I'd put it off again, huh? but no, once I got that paper mache stuff going, and had slapped a bunch on the castle, I realized that IT WAS TIME!!! I am so proud of myself.

Now I have to put the roof tops on, but first I have to paint them, because the underside of the roofs are going to be the ceilings of the third floor, and so I have to paint all that stuff before I glue them down.

I think the paper mache as mortar was a good idea. That stuff dries hard as a fact, here's a photo of a rock I made out of paper clay a couple of years ago. See? hard as a rock! ( The official name of the paper mache stuff I use is Celluclay. )

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Monster Mash

Arrrgggh, me MON-STOR HAND, and me been playing in paper mache paper clay...(not to be confused with the white Creative Paperclay)

Honestly, it just started out as an idea. I mentioned in my last post that I was partly afraid of gluing the third floor walls down because there were a couple of gaps between the walls,(and they weren't going to able to be fixed with a little spackle, either.) We're talkin' MAJOR gaps. I needed thick, clumpy, heavy-duty-gap- filler for these babies! So, I got to thinking. I had some of that paper mache cellulose stuff hanging around from when I was in my paper mache phase (that lasted about 2 weeks.) Would that work? If I mixed some Aleen's in with it, and used it as mortar?

I also had another idea concerning the paper mache. The little Fisher-Price castle I was (thinking about) working on has some gaps where windows open, or the cannon rolls out, etc, and I wanted to close them permanently. I figured the grey color of the paper mache would blend right in with the grey color of the plastic walls, so had been thinking of trying that theory out.

Well, today I got me a big old bowl, put some water in it, and then added the paper mache cellulose. (cough cough) Man that stuff is dusty, so be careful. Seriously, I took precautions not to breathe it.

And then I began to play. I was just going to fill in the little seams in the walls on the castle, smooth it out, and go on with other projects...but instead, I realized that although I could just use the paper mache to just seal all the seams up, and then paint it to look like vines climbing up the walls of the castle...I just couldn't stop putting it on the walls. The plastic walls look like stone blocks, and would have been fine if I had stuck to my original plan, but it looked even better where I had smoothed on the paper clay. And so I continued. This is as far as I've gotten. Tomorrow means a trip to A.C. Moore.

Of course, do you see what's really going on, here? The walls of the Newport. I got all that 'mortar' ready, and then used it on the castle instead of on the main project! Or, wait. Did I? let's see next time...on Mini Mumble! hahahahaha

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Dancing Queen

My friend Nancy loves to watch Dancing with The Stars, but I don't. I'm too busy fancy dancing around my Newport; shingling, painting trim, gluing trim, and cleaning the Gabby House for the third time(this week)..all because I'm afraid to take the final step of gluing the walls of the third floor on. I went thru this with putting the third floor-floor down, and I got thru that just fine, but the actual act of gluing all 5 sections down is so...well, final, you know?

If I knew things would line up perfectly, and joints and walls would mesh together, it wouldn't be so bad. But I know I made mistakes along the way; A supporting beam put up wrong; the floor not being as level as it could be...I've done a dry run and I see the problems. Oh, I think I can fix them, and maybe it will all turn out ok, but still.

The part that has me worried are the four outer walls (two on each side of a supporting wall.) The scary part is that when I glue the corners together, they have to hold each other up. There's one supporting wall in the center of the house, but because something isn't quite level, there's a gap of about 1/8 of an inch between the supporting wall and the walls that need the support; the ones that have to hold each other up on one end. YOWZA!!!!!!!! oh, I'm just not looking forward to this at allll.

On the good news end, however, here's a little project that I have completed. it's not very exciting or sophisticated, but it was fun, and pretty much instant gratification. I actually had pink sand and a blue bench, but my son Gabby (22) said the bench needed to be brown and the sand needed to be sand colored. lol. I knew he was right, but when I had started the project, all I had was pink sand and wanted to use it up. Besides I was too lazy to go buy sand at the craft store! In the end that's what I did. I'm thinking something else should be in the right corner, but then it might cover up the sharks in the water.

Tomorrow...the third floor goes on!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

I Got a Name

Since I have started in on this wonderful hobby of miniatures and dollhouses, I haven't known just how to describe what I do. Now, I love building my dollhouse and the other little scenes I create, but it never occurred to me to refer to myself as a...a miniaturist? Me? naaw, that's for all those other people; the ones who make and sell their beautiful items, or own their own stores, or have written about the hobby. But me?, I just,um, play with dollhouses, and yes, sometimes make furniture. But to call myself a miniaturist? aww, that'd be puttin' on airs!

Note: The definition of a miniaturist according to Merriam /Webster is technically 'the art of painting miniatures'

A few weeks ago I was visiting a new neighbor who is from another country. As I was leaving, I mentioned I was going to work on my dollhouse. The young mans' ears perked up, he smiled and said..."Oh? A dollhouse? Who are you building the dollhouse for?" I replied, "For me. It's my dollhouse!" The look on his face was one of confusion, as he was prolly thinking "This woman is building a 'toy' for herself?" I just smiled and walked away.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the Gabby House painting something mini-related, and my pool maintenance person was going in and out of the little room next to where I was working, and I didn't know if she knew I was there or not, so I said to her " don't be afraid, I'm in here painting" and she said "Oh? What are you painting?" ( I think she thought I was an ARTIST.) I said..."oh, well, I'm building a dollhouse..." and she just dismissed it and walked away.

Last week I was at our African violet club cook-out, and my friend Janet and I were talking about our hobbies,( besides the obsession with African violets) and it just popped out of my mouth that "I'm a miniaturist"... and she looked at me and said " Ohh? You are?" She seemed really impressed that I did that for a hobby. Now, maybe she had no clue what a miniaturist is, but the fact that I put a name to what I do, instead of just saying something like "I play with dollhouses" got a reaction out of her; a favorable one! So, the next time someone asks you, don't be afraid to say "I'm a miniaturist."

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Making it in Massachusetts

Since I have a lot of projects going on, as I complete construction and move closer to the need for furniture, I realize something has got to give.
Let's face it, the mini hobby can be expensive...especially when it comes to furniture. And all of my projects need furniture.

I allot a certain amount of money every week for my trips to the dollhouse store(s). I spend every penny of that, and occasionally, more. Eeek. I mean, I have some nice things, and I'm happy I bought them, but they're all pretty much impulse buys. You know how some people go crazy buying shoes? I'm like that with miniatures.

Once I get my Newport built, I know I'll prolly fill it up with the majority of the furniture and most of the knick knacks, so there is some purpose to my buying the items. But then we have the three other projects I have going on. And they are more like half-inch scale size, so even if I have things left over from the Addams Family, they just won't fit inside the smaller spaces.

When I look at prices for 1/2 " scale, I don't see a 1/2" price! lol. Nope, the smaller scale is also expensive. And then, to make matters worse, some of the 1/2" scale things I bought are too big for the projects I bought them for. Aww, eventually I know I'll use the pieces I bought, but meanwhile, what to do about furniture for the birdhouse house? And don't tell me about the next size smaller, because that's tooo small.

I've been reading online, as well as magazine articles, about making your own furniture. I got to thinking, and planning, and tried a little bending, and cutting, and this is what I have so far. I mean, it's the basic shapes, but it seems to be a good idea. Sort of reminds me of the old truism....give a child a toy, and she ends up playing with the box. And that's just what I did, played with the boxes!
So far there isn't much to see, but I wanted to share the vision, and the next time I'll have it looking more like the furniture it is going to be. I hope.
At any rate, I don't think I'll be putting Ferd Sobol Editions out of business any time soon!
And still more shingling...

Monday, August 6, 2007

Oh Yeah, Ricky?

A guy friend/neighbor of mine came over the other day and I showed him all my projects, which, admittedly, have not all been started. I showed him the Fisher-Price castle, two empty boxes, The Newport(1/2 finished) the hatbox, and the birdhouse-house. I wasn't really looking at his face, but I think his two eyes were prolly rolling around in his head as he burst out.. "you have too many things going on!" Hahahahaha.

Sure, I have a lot of projects I am working on, or planning; so what?! I pay my bills, I feed the cats & the dog when they're hungry, I shower every day, and eat three squares. I even make contact with the outside world at least a couple times a please, the rest of the time, leave me alone when 'I'm in my own little world'. lol.

The first photo is the inside (so far) of the birdhouse-house. It is no longer a birdhouse; I think a family of dragons is moving in, due to circumstances beyond my control...
The second photo is what results when you hurry and don't pay attention to which side of the wall you are shingling. I decided to turn it into a kind of a 'bats in the belfry' scenario, but have to work on it some more.
The third photo shows my tower walls shingled and glued together-except for the one I goofed on. Ah, well, it's optional to put the back on; I can use the tower as a room, I think Cousin Itt would like it up there as his room.
I am also shingling the front roof panel. I really like shingling, and that's a good thing; there is a lot of shingling to do on this house!

Field Trip!

Yesterday was Sunday, and since I wasn't able to go to a dh shop on Saturday, I decided I would go yesterday instead. I chose to visit Earth and Tree Miniatures,, which is amazing. It's located in Amherst New Hampshire, about two hours away, and makes a nice little day trip for me. Once I get there I plan to stay for at least an hour, and try to get out of there for under $200. Not that they're more expensive than any other mini store; it's just that they have everything you could possibly 'need', and I 'need' everything! Not to be mean, but,...I'm somewhat happy they're not closer. LOL.

Another place I have been to is Dollhouse Treasures. This shop is a little closer, and a little smaller. It is located on the first floor of a small colonial house in Braintree, Mass. I love this place, too. It is run by a mother and daughter team, and they are both very helpful whenever I go there. The last time I was there, I had an elderly friend with me who can't see very well, and while I was in another room with one of the women, the other one was spending time with my friend and entertaining her!

When I got home, it was too late to hang out in the gh very much, but I tried out a few new pieces of furniture in the room they are going to be when the house is finished. One thing I have noticed about mini beds, is that the pillows are always stupid looking. I'm going to have to remedy that, because I want the beds to look inviting (and be comfortable!) for the little people who will be living there. :o)

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hot house

I generally try to keep Fridays and Saturdays empty of major household duties, as well as any social engagements. I do that because I like to dedicate those two days to me and my mini projects. On Fridays, I play pretty much all day out in the gh, and on Saturdays I can take a 'field trip' to a local dollhouse store. I have 2 tried-and-true-stores I visit on a regular basis, and 4 more that I haven't checked out yet.
For all the time I spent in the gh on Friday, I didn't get too much done. A little wallpaper, a little trim, a little sanding and planning on the birdhouse-house, and a whole lot of cleaning up the gh. Besides, it got waaay too hot after 3 pm, so I had to get outta there.

I decided not to go to the dollhouse store yesterday because it was just too hot again. Since I couldn't proceed with my Newport, I played with these guys a little.
Not that I did much of anything with them, but I took the front columns off the birdhouse..and wait 'til you see what's happening on the other side of the door!