Monday, December 28, 2009

Nearly Finished!

I posted about this rug kit from Joan Grimord I was working on about a month ago. Right after I posted, I lost my last threader, and lost some steam. I finally remembered the other day that I had some hair-thin wire tucked away. With a homemade threader, I was able to finish the design today!
All that's left is to finish the back. I've volunteered mom for that task. I quickly stuck it into Pheobe's room with the extra fabric tucked under to get an idea of how it will look in the room when everything's done. I'm not sure that I should have used quite so much orange and I definitely made a lot of mistakes, but overall I'm happy with it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

White Christmas

Woke up this morning, and this is what I saw:I love the view from our kitchen after a good snow fall! Hope everyone has a good holiday. We've certainly started celebrating around here!

P.S. Mom made the maid a few months ago. She's one of my favorites.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Micro Roombox

Here's a tiny room box that I whipped out a few weekends ago, when I had a bit of time. Most of the pieces were already made, so it came together much quicker than it would have normally.

The room box is about 1" wide, and 3/4" deep.

I've been playing with different ways to make small-scale plaster. In this box, I tried a putty that I had lying around. I like the effect, but it was a bit difficult to work with.

I tried to do a bit of aging on the tapestry and carpet. The book on the table has a real leather cover, though it can't be seen now that the book is glued down. I make a whole bunch at once, and then use them as needed. I'm unhappy with the tapestry rod. I'll probably replace it with something a bit thinner and older looking.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Tiniest Chateau in the World?

Those little paper dollhouses I posted a while ago made me remember the most challenging project I've ever done in paper. I found this paper chateau online last year and couldn't resist trying my hand! However the graphics were a bit blocky so I decided to scale it down a little, so that everything would look better. Somehow, the palm sized model I was going to make shrank quite a bit...
The picture above shows the chateau in progress, before I'd started the dormers or chimneys.
Here it is with all but the right-most chimney. See how crooked the chimneys are? Next time I try something like this, I'll just use scraps of wood or styrene. The chimneys were the hardest part, far harder than the dormers. I had to print out many copies, because I kept squashing the chimneys and yes, dropping dormer parts.

I normally prefer to design my own really tiny paper houses, because I can make allowances for the thickness of the paper. However, considering that this was intended to be built much larger, it had surprisingly few problem areas. There were only four really tricky folds in the wall construction, and then those dratted chimneys!
It's been sitting on my crafting table for the last year, high up where I can see it, but it can't come to harm. Lately I've been thinking about doing something else with it, either adding it to a mini scene, or using it to make a Christmas ornament, but I can't decide. Does anyone else have an idea?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Quick and Easy Miniature Hooked Rugs!

Anyone who knows me, knows that I have no patience for needlework. I love the finished products, but I can only ever manage to get about three stitches done before giving up! I've tried the french knot method of making hooked rugs, and just couldn't get through them. However, I when I found these punch needle kits they looked so quick and easy that I just couldn't resist.
There are no fancy stitches, and you don't even have to knot the threads. You just push the special needle through the fabric, and it creates a hooked effect on the other side! I'm working on the Antique Rug kit for Phoebe's room. I changed the colors around to look a bit better in the room without trying to match the wallpaper exactly.
Here is the carpet after about a week of intermittent work. I started off packing the stitches far too tightly, so the design is a bit distorted in places, but I'm not worrying about that too much.

Here's the back side of the fabric. You can see the design a bit more clearly from this side. When I decided to change the colors around, I copied the printed fabric a few times, and colored the copies with colored pencils to get a sense of how I wanted the colors to work.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Micro Dollhouse Collection

I started experimenting with making 1/1728th scale houses (dollhouses for 1/144th scale, or dollhouses for dollhouses for dollhouses) a while ago. These are some of the houses and roomboxes I made out of paper, perched on a penny.

This house was supposed to look like my big dollhouse, though I had to simplify by removing the upper porch. The house shown in the picture below is actually a bit too big, I've since shrunk the graphics down a bit.

I could only fit four rooms inside, and I decided to make it open backed, rather than front opening like my real house.

This was an attempt to copy an antique German roombox. I can't just scale down the real graphics, because they would just turn to shapeless blobs. Instead, I recreate the main features, simplifying as much as possible.

This was one of the first houses I tried to make, so the construction is fairly simple. It's still one of my favorite houses though, perfect for the corner of a micro nursery!Here's the inside. I used bits of laser cut paper on the roof, but I'm still looking for something a bit more delicate looking.

There are free tutorials for some of these houses here, if anyone is interested!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Micro Roombox

And it's been another month since my last post! Time flies! I was looking through photo files the other day, and I came across these old pictures of a 1/144th scale roombox I made acouple years ago.
Unfortunately, I don't have any other photos, as I sold this box on Ebay shortly after finishing it, and the better photos have since disapeared. Lots of little handmade details, including a canterbury full of sheet music (front right) and a blue and white firescreen (back left by the fireplace). The walls were covered with fine gold silk, and the carpet was fuzzy. The box was a butchered bespaq piece. The only things not made from scratch were the (heavily modified) roombox and the oval metal frame.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I love to be surrounded by art. I bought a whole stack of musty old art books at the local book sale this summer, and cut them up to paper my dorm. It is the same way in my dollhouse.I can't seem to resist paintings in miniature. This copy of Renoir's In the Meadow is probably my favorite painting. Josephine Meyers does amazing work, and the painting has a lot of sentimental value as well.
I found this painting of ships at the IGMA show a few years ago, and couldn't resist it. The paint has a lovely dimension in real life, which is hard to find in miniature. Most of the paintings I see seem to be thinned down oils, applied with near-invisible brushstrokes. The strokes in this painting are so lively in contrast.

This painting is by an eBay seller named Sylvia Rose, who sells mainly dollhouse curtains, tapestries, and re-upholstered furniture. She only lists a few of her oil paintings on vellum each year. Many of her paintings are copies of Vigee Le Brun, one of my favorite artists, so I'm always tempted to bid, even though I'm quickly running out of wall space in my dollhouse!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Bamboo Chair

This was one of the very first miniatures my mom made for my dollhouse. I desperately wanted a bamboo chair for the parlor, but couldn't find anything that looked right. Nothing was quite as delicate, and the "bamboo" all looked unnatural. So mom made the bamboo by wrapping wire around thin dowels, then built the chair. The rush seat is made from stained string. I painted the chair.

P.S. Sorry about the picture quality. I found my camera, but the charger was not in the case for some odd reason. Two steps forward, one step back.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The upstairs hall

This is a rather quick post, since I've misplaced my camera and have to use old pictures for the moment.
I'm afraid that the hall is in a bit of a mess in the photo. The petite point rug came from a beautiful but badly damaged vintage purse. My grandmother used the frame of the purse to make a new bag which she carried during my aunt's wedding! I haven't yet had the rug backed, so it's normally in storage.
There are lots of people in the hall,mostly named after favorite book characters. The little boy in the back, leaning against the banister is from The Wren's Nest. His name is Ned (Edward), after one of the characters in Louisa May Alcott's book An Old Fashioned Girl.
The little fellow in blue is named Ellis, called Eli for short.
The nursemaid is Martha (the maid in The Secret Garden), but the baby is still unnamed.
The dog, a Bedlington Terrier, is named Marmalade after a dog that I knew as a child. Marmalade's mother, Crumpet, is sitting in the dog bed in Lottie's bedroom.
I hope to post more pictures of the house and other projects this weekend.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Little Leather Boxes

I've been working on more tiny houses, but don't have my camera at the moment (it's at home and I'm at school), so I dug up this photo of an old project instead.
My family loves these gold-tooled leather boxes from Florence, Italy. So of course I had to try making them in miniature a few years ago. They were actually a very quick project. I designed various shaped box patterns on the computer, printed and cut them out. Then I stained masking tape (a stain pen helps quite a lot) and stuck the paper patterns to the sticky side of the tape. Then I cut every thing out again, and assembled the boxes. Since I didn't want the boxes to open, I didn't bother finishing the insides, but a bit of velvet paper on the inside would probably do the trick. The "tooling" is just a bit of gold paint.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Tiny Paper Houses

I've been working on a few tiny paper houses. I design them on the computer, often looking at antique dollhouses for inspiration.

This house was one of the first I created. It was loosely based on photographs of a Tri-ang dollhouse. The doors open to reveal four rooms.
This house was my attempt to make a miniature of my own dollhouse. I couldn't figure out how to make the upper porch though, so it's not quite accurate.
This is the interior of the copy of my house.
This is another tiny dollhouse based on an antique dollhouse. The interior has four rooms. The roof of this house is very difficult to put together.

I did not design this paper model, but I re-sized it quite a bit. I found the model at this website, and printed it out at about 5% the original size. It took me a few days to put together, since I had to take frequent breaks, and I lost at least half the dormers before they were safely glued!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Two more scrap screens

Well, I never expected to be away from this blog for so long! It's been a crazy few weeks, but now that I'm back at school things should settle down. I have worked on a few miniatures in the interim , though I haven't done much more with the miniature school besides a bit of very dull shingling.
I dug out the extra unfinished screens I ordered for this scrap screen project,to make two more scrap screens.
For this screen, I used the dividing pieces which were included loose with the unfinished screen (from Matlock Miniatures) which I had left out on the first screen. I also added a narrow gold trim at the last minute, just before the varnish went on.

I'm really pleased with the way that the gold breaks up the black and helps define all the different panels..

After finishing the black screen, I wanted to try another screen with a dark background. I used a deep blue (though it is lighter than it appears in the photos below) for my third scrap screen. I left the dividing pieces out, and just left the screen with single panels. I went online and found 9 period illustrations (of Greek myths) which I glued in first. Then I surrounded the illustrations with the scrap. This was actually the most labor intensive screen of the three, since I had to use very tiny pieces of scrap in most areas or risk covering the large central images.

As with the first screen, all the individual pictures were hand cut. None of the images are repeated more than once on a screen, though I had to reuse some pictures on all three screens.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Nothing new

Sorry to have abandoned the blog for the last few days. I haven't done much miniature work lately, other than a bit of shingling on the finishing school. I've had a slew of errands and appointments this last week, and I've been preoccupied with finding things for my dorm. I had my wisdom teeth out this morning, so I expect to be out of things for a while longer, but I promise to resume proper posts soon.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

New House!

I always thought I'd be a one dollhouse person. But the summer before last, I found the Greenleaf WillowCrest and fell in love. The house was dusty and falling apart, and had been painted with vivid oranges and turquoise. It's been in the attic, gathering more dust since then, but now I've finally brought it down. I eventually plan to make it a girl's school in an alternate world where magic is quite ordinary....

I've repainted the orange exterior with creams and grey-browns. I was originally going to paint tromp l'oeil stonework all over, but decided that would be too busy.

The interior needed to be entirely repainted, but the stairs were a complete pain. I ended up having to paint some parts blindly, then peek through the windows to make sure I hadn't missed a spot.
This is the lantern for the entrance hall. The ceiling rose is an embossed medallion from a Christmas card. We've gotten some amazing embossed and laser cut cards over the years!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Painting Update

Real life interrupted part way through painting, so I didn't get as far as I'd hoped. I did manage to work on the very top part of the painting, which I'd been avoiding since it was all very complex architecture. I've got a much better idea of where all the different elements are supposed to go now, though all I really did was lay out the basic shapes of the largest architectural features. I did have to fudge a bit, but I think (hope!) the space will make more sense as I go along. Right now, I'm noticing all the wonky angles and the poor, painted-over columns... I'm not sure how much time I'll have over the next few days, but I hope to snatch bit more time. We also just got two more sets of storage drawers for supplies, so all those wandering materials will finally have a home!

Sunday, July 5, 2009


I got the chance to take an introductory oil painting class after school last year. I've always hated acrylics, because they dry so quickly, especially when I'm only mixing a little for miniature paintings. The other day I was rooting around in my box of miscellaneous pieces, and I came across some miniature oil paintings I hadn't finished.

I have quite a few brushes as you can see, but most of them are in relatively poor condition, since I received them secondhand or used them so much that they are just worn out. The largest fluffy ones are actually makeup brushes that I use to dust my dollhouse.

I found these brushes at the Sturbridge show and really got a chance to use them today. They were amazingly helpful!

Here is one of the paintings I found. I had really only gotten a chance to block this one in, before I abandoned it. I decided I'd try to salvage it, and make it something I could actually hang.Below is the painting after the work I did yesterday.

I'm excited that I may be able to finish this painting. Of course I still see lots of things that need to be fixed, and large parts of the painting are still untouched, but it's going a bit faster than I expected.
This was the second painting I found. I painted this on a crooked piece of wood, at a funny angle, which caused some chaos when I tried to paint the features.I went back in and straightened out the mouth a bit, and lowered the eyes a little (still a bit cross-eyed and eyebrow-less). The hands could use lots of work as well. I'm concentrating on the first painting for the time being though, and letting her wait a little longer.
I'll put another picture or two of my progress up sometime tonight.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Christmas in July

I've been busy with another micro project in addition to the cottage.

It never fails. Each summer, I get an incredible urge to make a winter/Christmas themed miniature. For some reason I just can't seem to make miniatures with the season!

The Christmas tree in the corner is made from a glue covered toothpick dipped in model ship's ballast and then painted green. There are a few red and green wrapped packages, and some unwrapped toys. I carved the wooden doll (in front of the tree) from a toothpick, adapted from instructions on Frances Armstrong's site.

The 1/1728th scale dollhouse is made of paper. I patterned the house after a photograph of an antique dollhouse, but took some liberties with the design. Tutorials I did for similar dollhouses are available through the MicroMini group on Yahoo. Membership is free, and the group is tons of fun!

The painting above the fireplace is another of the watercolors I did a few weeks ago.The fireplace has brass andirons and a fender. I still want to add a dog in front of the fireplace, but besides that and perhaps a few more details the room is done.

I've also been working on a few 1/12th scale things. I'll try to get pictures up soon!