Monday, June 3, 2019

To Scale

I'm sort of winging it tonight. I'm maybe taking a break from the miniature work room, but not really.

I am pretty hopeless because I go downstairs to clean, or sort, or organize, and I end up playing or making something tiny. I really do want to finish the Bellingham, but, then, I can't get in the mood to do the roof. And then there is the bog. I and can't let it go all summer while I garden and clean in preparation for the entertaining that we will be doing, beginning June 22nd. So I decided to write about scale for my Face Book group. They have a lot of questions about scale, so I'll post here and on Face Book: Dollhouse Miniatures Tutorials and DIY. It's a large closed group with members from all over the world. The requirements for membership and posting are simple: posts must be tutorials or instructional on how to do something, but members ask a lot of questions, too, such as "What kind of glue should I use?" I've learned so much from the group and in return I try to share what I have learned.

One question deals with size or scale so, here is my lesson 1:12 scale and how to judge size. Remember that 1 inch equals 1 foot, making it pretty easy to calculate.

Our obsession with minis and creating our own accessories for our houses either because we are on a tight budget or can't find what we want in any sort of store, or we are just creative, keeps us on the lookout for items that we could use to fashion to something.

This little container, example. I carried it off from the complimentary continental breakfast from a hotel on a recent trip. I thought the I it would make a great Le Cruset dutch over. I dug in my button stash and found a nice coat button that fits perfectly as lid then I use the back of an earring for a handle. It would be really cute.

The butter tub and button make a really cute dutch oven, once painted.

While the butter tub looks about the right size and looked really small in the basket filled with butter tub it is not 1:12 scale. 
This is my purchased dutch oven that is 1:12 scale. But  let's do another comparison.

Compared to my real dutch oven and the purchased mini, there is a BIG difference in size.

Let's ask Barbie to see what she thinks. 

Dolls the right scale will help figure out if an accessory is to scale. My butter tub dutch oven would be perfect for the Barbie Dream House. Yes, I have one--my daughter's 1980s house with many furniture and many of the accessories. Little girls who come to visit still enjoy playing with it. 

Lids from water bottles make really cute little hats as do little craft hats that can be purchased by the package. 

The first hat, I just painted with acrylic paint, cut a brim out of cardstock and painted it, wrapped some ribbon around the hat and added a pretty bow and a small silk rose. The second hat is covered with cheap muslin fabric. 

The individual jelly tubs that some restaurants serve make great storage containers in bathroom and kitchens. Here I've tucked in homemade bath towels, extra shampoos and lotions, and toilet paper. I didn't necessarily build the bottom shelf so that the tubs would fit--it happened by accident. Dumb luck. The wastebasket is a lid to a small spray bottle.

The little butter tub might work for a sink, compared to the purchased sink, though it is too deep, so it would probably work for under the counter installation.


And finally, the kitty that I foundat the garden center.  I felt pretty confident that she would be perfect in the farmhouse. She has made herself quite at home, doing what cats do, jump on the table and lick the milk that the kid left in the cereal bowl.

You won't always get the exact correct size, but I find that using what is already in the house, like the kitty  on the chair, will give a pretty good idea to help you decide if you can use the piece. I find, too, that my little mini Happy Meal Barbies make perfect 1:12 people to live in my houses. The are just a little over 5 inches, making them 5 ft. in real life--just like me at 5'2''. 

Now go make something cute for your dollhouse. 

Thanks for stopping by. 

Sunday, May 26, 2019

Storybook Toy Store Renovation Nears Completion

We have another cool, cloudy day in Northern Colorado. which leaves us wondering if Spring will ever reach her full potential. With more rain in the forecast for tomorrow, I may just be inside working on the minis instead of out in the yard trying to get the flower beds looking pretty again.

We are hosting three parties this summer. In June my former colleagues from the University will gather hopefully NOT for one last time then in August we will host the "meet and greet" for my husband's 50th class reunion, and the next weekend we host a wedding in our barn. So we have lots to do, including getting my basement ready for company, which I means that I am trying to finish up my two current projects, the Toy Store and the Farmhouse.

I would like to say that the Toy Store is finished, but it is not; however, is any dollhouse really finished? I am going to put it on the shelf for now. The future plans include a climbing vine, an outside sign, but those will be winter projects.

Here then is a summary of the Storybook Toy Store:

If you remember, I found three houses at the local antique store just a few blocks away (it's a really little town), all made by the same lady and all dating probably to the '90s. All aged, faded, and once I got them home smelling badly of cigarette smoke. The toy store seems to have lost its odor, especially with the new wallpaper.


With the first house of hers that I purchased, before I wasn't interested in miniatures--I just wanted a dollhouse--I had no desire to remodel, redo, or, renovated. Then the bug bit me.  I was, with this house, at first inclined to leave the exterior as is.

Even at first inspection, I was growing very attached to this little house. Given its age, I had to test the electrical system. I had already purchased one of this lady's houses, a giant Franklin Farmhouse and the electrical in that house worked, so I thought this should, too, but you never know.

The lights are on.

At first, I like the green exterior trim, but it began to look drab, so as I searched for Victorian shop fronts, many were bold looking, Dickens-like, so I gave myself permission to paint the exterior wood and I loved the transformation. 

It's fun  to see an empty house and to inspect it to see how it was assembled so that you can figure out how to disassemble it.

All fresh and clean. 

I began adding the toys that came with the house. There were so many.

The round table and the pink shelf are mine. These are only part of the original toys, and I began collecting more toys: Ebay, Esty, and other online shops, but the original builder had a really nice collection of toys, some handmade, signed and dated, indicating that she had gone to miniature shows, just as I do. It must have originally been a Teddy Bear Store, perhaps inspired by the one in Estes Park, a mountain resort and tourist destination--best known for Rocky Mountain National Park and even more so, perhaps, for The Stanley Inn, famous for Steven King's novel, The Shining, which it is said that he wrote it there, certainly the hotel's history of resident ghosts inspired his novel--anyway I digress--.

I had my own inspiration, a carousel full of toys. I love the print of the carousel on the divided wall. I still haven't really found a way to incorporate it, but I began playing with all sorts of ways to organize the store. I went on Pinterest and looked at miniature toy stores, some so beautiful and magical, but they were stocked with pricey (and beautiful) antique and vintage toys. I decided then that my store would be a combinations of vintage and new toys.

I also looked at retail toy stores to see how they are organized and how toys are displayed. Granted there are few brick and mortar toy stores left; there is one in Denver, but it's in an area where I seldom go, so I got some ideas from Pinterest.

The white counter came from my reject box. I originally built it for the Duracraft Farmhouse as a bathroom counter and sink, but didn't think that it was good enough, so I built another one. But it seems to fit in the toy store. I also build the little bookshelf, again sort of an experiment using balsa and bass wood. I purchased the display cabinet from Hobby Builders Supply, but I am disappointed in it for two reasons: I wish I had purchased a white one and the doors in the back don't stay closed.

Many of the real toys stores used cable ends as shelving. Some painted out, some natural, some decorated. I created mine using wood circles that I purchased at Hobby Lobby--they don't seem to be available there now--. The package came with a variety of sizes. I dug in my stash of sewing threads and found wooden spools. I have to tell you that I hated using those vintage wooden thread spools, but I did. They are not a rare find, so they got repurposed. And the jelly tub holds books nicely, too.

The work crew got really excited when the vintage Fisher Price school bus showed up on the premises, but it is a little big for the store, but I love it. I still have my girls' FP toys.

I have spent a lot of time playing with the store and making things, such as the printable barn, then I bought a kit from Dave and Wendy--some of you have met them as they are now traveling to the miniature stores around the country. Stop and say 'hi.'  I still have to make the barn, but I'll get around to it.

The original builder had such a lovely collection of vintage toys on display in the cabinet. The ones on top are mine. I think my favorites are Mickey and Minnie Mouse, barely an inch tall. I have searched Pinterest for these tiny metal toys and if I find them, they are very expensive. The detail, especially the faces, is so perfect. Some tiny minis have distorted facial features that sort of ruin the face.

I even considered making a wall to give the interior more interest, but decided that it took up too much space.

A wood railing would be nice, too, I thought, but again, it would take up too much room.

I moved things around.

The original builder must have been a Denver Broncos fan--this little doll, handmade, surely must be John Elway with his blond hair. Look a the tiny calculator. A more modern store would probably have an iPad. And Humpty Dumpty, another signed and original piece, as is the clown in the far corner. 

I made the basket during "I'm going to learn how to make baskets" phase. I also built the chair from a kit. My first. The little Raggedy Andy doll came from Dave and Wendy. It is handmade and online very expensive. I love the little bear with the book. He's a reader, always has a book in his hands, but his glasses give him trouble.

More play. Finding things in my stash, such as a vintage pair of chairs from The Littles.

These are a rare find, the Disney fairies from the series of movies dedicated to Tinker Bell. The spool table is just perfect, but the fairies are too big. The American Girl has taken Cinderella's shoe--again.

All the King's Men have suddenly appeared. (Left over form the room box that I did for my grandson). I love my phone box, purchased from Minimum World, shipped from England.

Given the age of the house, it is amazing that the lights still work, the only testament to copper tape wiring.

Well the lights sort of work, but then don't when you mess with them. I tried to unscrew the white cover to clean it, but it didn't screw off. Good news. The main piece is build so that it can be rebuilt.

I bought the cute hutch from Hobby Lobby. It fits nicely, adds needed shelving, but take the space where my carousel drawing would go. I have played with what I would put on it, and I think I will be rotating inventory because the toys look more interesting on the shelf. And the corner is dark with out the globe sconce, so I will add a button ceiling light.

Two projects were left. One was to paint the hutch. At first I thought that I would paint it white, but I decided on pink with white drawers and gold handles. I originally painted the legs white, but later I put gold on them and roughed it up. I will add water slide decals to the cupboard doors and maybe paint them white.

I thought I had a better photo of the super heroines along with the gnomes. They are actually buttons.  

Make sur to purchase your favorite bear. They are 40% off this week. More outside.

And I painted the cable end shelf white.

Barbie welcomes us in, declaring that she is open for business. Note that  she points to banner above the window to our right, Bears are 40% off.

The tea kettle is a jewelry charm. Cute and a bit large, but it fits.

I wanted an airplane, but only one I found that was very small was nearly twenty dollars, so I found two of these vintage airplanes at the antiques door here in town. Vintage perfect. Scuffed and well played with.

Pooh Bear and his friends are rare in mini scale, so these are craft buttons. The other little people my daughter found and gave to me.

Someone's in the Phone Booth. I wonder who?

Oh look who just coming out of the Phone Box. I hope she stops by the store.

And Thank You for stopping by. 

Friday, May 17, 2019

Wallpapering 2.0

I've joined a Face Book group, Dollhouse Miniatures, Tutorials, and DYI. It's a closed group, so those interested in joining have to request admission and then be accepted. There are rules, but basically members are supposed to only post their 'how-to' tutorials. Face Book is not particularly my forum, blogging is, but I get such good ideas and it's so much fun to share mine. One question those new to dollhouse building have is how to or when to wall paper, so here is a brief tutorial on how I wallpaper.

To begin: with a new build it is wise to make templates before you assemble the pieces. I use a roll of butcher paper because you can cut large pieces. You will get an accurate template of the house's walls.

If you are renovating a thrift store find (lucky you!) then I use computer paper and press it against the wall, running my finger around curves and widows and doors so that I have impressions then cut out what I need to, such as this template that has been pieced together and taped. Someone asked me why I didn't make templates when I started the house. I did. But I forgot where I put them. This house has been a three year project.

This is my attic room in the Bellingham Farmhouse. You can see that is a very difficult space.

Cutting: I use a metal ruler as a cutting edge and an Exact blade,  with a new blade. I also have used a rotary cutter, and my scrapbook paper cutter (like the one in you school's art room. Mine's a Martha Steward. Great for straight lines.) I've left the white border otherwise the sheet is too short. It will be covered with crown molding and base board. This is Itsy Bitsy. I like the company because the walloper is nice quality and the company offers coordinated patterns in nice collections.

 Now the paper is in place. I used Grandam Stover's Mucilage, a nice gooey paste that goes on nicely. I spread it on the back of the wallpaper and and put the piece in place. I use an old credit card to smooth out the air bubbles and the excess glue.  You can see that it laps over the the corned, covering up the gap in the corner--and there was a gap between the two walls. Add 1/2" inch on each side.

You will see that the side wallpaper will slide nicely right into the corner and you have a very clean corner where the two walls join.

Even on the right wall, I have a nice corner. Not sure if I will paper that far wall. It's an attic.

This just may my favorite room of the house, I think. 

Wallpapering can be daunting for new builders. Here are some suggestions:

  • Start with a simple room, a nice box. Make a a template; best before you assemble the house, but not always possible, especially if you are doing a remodel.
  • Measure twice or three times or how ever many you times need to get a perfect template, cut once.
  • Where to buy wallpaper: I use because of their  variety of papers and and the quality. I also use scrapbook paper because there is such a great variety or patterns and it is cheap. In fact I used scrapbook paper in every room of the Bellingham Farmhouse, except for this attic room because I couldn't find anything I liked. Remember to keep the scale of your house in mind when you select a printed paper. 
  • I have made all of the mistakes, ripped, torn, cut too short, not ordered enough of a discontinued paper--a I found a very nice lady online who was able to find a piece. Bless her. Finger Tip Fantasies Dollhouse and Miniatures in Deleware. I've had to remove paper, because my wiring failed,  so buy a bit extra. 
  • How much wallpaper should you buy? I have found that even small rooms may require three sheets. Scrapbook paper will require more.
  • Keep a damp cloth handy to wipe away glue the has gotten on the wallpaper. Wipe gently because you will wipe away the ink. I spay the scrapbook paper with a sealer to strengthen it. 
  • Print your own? For me it takes too much printer ink and I've never tried to set the ink. I just wouldn't print wallpaper. Some do very successfully. 
  • In the end, you will do what works best for you based on these things: skill, desired results, budge. 
I read all kinds of suggestions for glue: hot glue, tacky glue, regular wallpaper glue for the real houses, but Friends it pays to buy quality products, so I use glues sold by wallpaper outlets because they spread nicely, clean up easily, and removed easily.

Good luck with your wallpaper projects.

Exciting New Finds!
If you are like me, you are always looking miniatures--everywhere. I found this soap dishes at the Garden Center. Perfect size for 1:12 bathrooms.

The Westville is scheduled to get a total remake. It didn't have a bathroom to begin with--now it has a bathtub. I will use a free standing faucet from Shape Ways if I can't make my own. Pink has to approved everything. She likes it. Thankfully.

I searched the Internet to see if these cute tubes are available anywhere else and they are. 

That's all I have. Thanks for visiting.

To Scale

I'm sort of winging it tonight. I'm maybe taking a break from the miniature work room, but not really. I am pretty hopeless becau...