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!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dolly dumps

Now don't panic, I'm still working on the Newport, but decided to show you a couple of upcoming projects. They sort of fell into my lap!

The first one, a Fisher-Price castle, was in the back of BB's truck last week when he & J were here to do some work. I think it was on its' way to his girlfriends' daughter, but I got to it first. I have plans for it, too. The first thing to go will be the bright green 'grass' around it; it's a lot brighter than the photo shows.

This other project was found in Michaels'. I love to meander around craft stores, I surely do. My eyes are always peeled for cool little crafty/dollie/ stuff. Today I found this! It's a birdhouse! It was marked down to $3.49; how could I resist? I got it home, and decided to take the back off it so I can put a floor in it, and then put in a little furniture. It might be close to 1/2" scale. I didn't measure it, and anyway, I'm not going to abandon it even if it doesn't fit any scale exactly. I'm just going to decorate it so that it looks fairly mini-real. I have a little none-scale/ 1/2" scale chair that might fit just fine in there.