Saturday, November 16, 2019

The Golden Deer

We had this same discussion a few weeks ago about decorating our mini houses for Halloween. Now how about Christmas? I haven't in the past done much to decorate the houses, but this year I seem to be in the mood to decorate. I have suspended any major building projects, actually procrastinating the roofing project on the Bellingham Farmhouse and flooring in the Westville, and trying to figure out the Betsy Ross project. I also have Christmas presents to crochet, but here is a fun project to embellish your houses for the holidays: Golden deer.

Just wonder through your favorite craft store or down the aisle of gift shops or even the supermarket and you will see how popular those gold, glittered deer are, so of course you might be tempted to add a glittered deer to a fireplace mantle or a tiny Christmas tree for you mini house. Here's fun little project.

Some years ago when I was excited about scrap booking, I was introduced to embossing using glittery powder and a heat gun, but I never wanted to invest in more stuff and decided that I didn't need the extra tools and product.

But as I tired to design the holiday cards for the veterans a few weeks ago, I wanted original, unique, and pretty cards, so I invested in the embossing tools: a heat gun, gold embossing powder, an embossing pen, and the ink pad that has the clear ink that is applied to the card stock with a regular rubber stamp or acrylic stamp.

I have a hard time resisting trinkets and doo-dads, especially for Christmas, so I picked up a package of little deer just because they were cute.


Step 1: Apply ink to the deer. The first deer I used the pen to apply the ink, but didn't get into all of crevices, so the second deer I pushed down into the ink foam pad for good coverage.



Step 2: Cover the deer with embossing powder. Looking more like very fine glitter, the powder will stick to the inked figurine. It looked like a lot of powder and wasteful; however, I'll use tweezers to remove the deer from the pile of glitter and then pour the glitter back in the jar. I used computer paper because it will form a bit of a funnel to return the excess powder to the jar.


The little deer is nice covered with the powder and is ready for the heat to be applied that will melt the powder.


CAUTION: THE HEAT GUN GETS VERY HOT. NOT FOR CHILDREN!

It only takes seconds for the gold granules to begin to melt. Move the heat gun back and forth over the deer and heat it until the powder is all melted.


And now I have a golden deer that I will add a string to hang on a miniature tree.



 But what if you don't have a heat gun and don't want to invest in product for a one time use? On one these deer I used gold acrylic paint. Can you tell which one?



The first golden deer was painted with gold acrylic paint. It doesn't quite as rich as the other deer, but the acrylic paint has flecks of gold in it, so there is sparkle. I had to apply three coats to get good coverage. Because the deer has a very slick surface, the first coat of paint does not adhere, so I let it dry and added another coat and then a third coat of paint.

I can image gilding other items: an angel perhaps or a star or those pretty white doves. Now that I have an embossing system, I can emboss other things. A chair maybe? A picture frame? The embossing adds a bit of texture and a richer finish than paint does not. The powders come in a rainbow of colors, too. Right now I have green and red.

What might you emboss?


Find of the Day

In my own home I have for years purchased two large poinsettias. I do a pink tree, so I like the pink poinsettias, so of course, the mini houses will have poinsettias, too. I have been searching online for poinsettia flower kits, but really didn't want to spent the time to make them or the money. Today I found these at Tuesday Morning. They are just a little larger than 1:12. Each package of two was $4. Not bad. While they didn't come in pink, they did come in red, white, gold, and silver.


I can't wait to see how everyone decorates their little houses for Christmas.

And lastly, I am still having problems posting comments blogs hosted by Blogger. I think I have solved the problem of not being able to post on my blog, but I still cannot leave comments on other Blogger blogs. Nor have I figured out why, so I will email my comments to you, if that's okay with you. 

Thanks so much for visiting. Have a wonderful week. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

Keeping in Touch

I don't have much to share this morning since I have been busy doing other things. I have finished up gluing the furniture back together for the San Franciscan that I hope to deliver to Jennifer this week. The dining table has a broken leg, so I set about making a replacement.

 Simple enough. I outlined a pattern on a piece of thin basswood, probably 3/32" and cut out two for thickness that I'll glue together. Sanded the rough edges and tried to shape it like the original.


 And this is what I have. It might work, but I am thinking that a Circut would cut a more perfect leg. No. I am going to rush out and buy one--yet. My daughter's cousin-in-law has one, so we will ask her to cut a leg. I need more convincing.



Betsy Ross Project

From 1/4 inch foam board I cut the mock-up walls with the front wall 16 inches wide since the museum house is 16 feet across the front.  Now the larger window that I returned would fit, but it would not represent the original 1776 window. I am actually more concerned with a more historically accurate representation on the inside. My thinking is that the window would have been smaller because windows in the 18th century were a luxury since they were taxed, along with closets.


I like the way things are fitting together here, except I will not use this fireplace. The side walls should be 25' long, but I'm not going to extend the walls that far.


But there is a problem. As I read more about when Betsy Ross lived there from 1777-86 and took two virtual tours of the rooms, I am torn between how to approach this project. So the 360 panoramic video shows the shop sparsely furnished, but I imagine it cluttered with furniture in various stages of repair along with bolts and scraps of fabric and tools. 

The second video, has a narrator who describes each room and makes the point the Betsy may well have made the flag in the upstairs bedroom because if British soldiers happened to stop by the shop to see what she was up to or even to commission their own flag of some sort or have a chair reupholstered and discovered the colonial flag, she would have been arrested for treason, as was her second husband for transporting goods to the colonies across the ocean. He died in a British prison, so she knew the risks.

I am really trying to figure out how she would have handled making such a massive flag in her bedroom? It was a 10 foot flag, bigger than a bed cover or bed quilt.  The windows on the second floor are different, too. There are two windows on the second floor. Easy fix. It makes sense that she would have worked only during the daylight hours and probably sat by the window to do her hand stitching where the light was better which she certainly could not do downstairs in the shop.

Or is the narrator's assessment of where she might have worked on the flag just speculation? All of the art work--which is the only record that history provides along with her grandson's anecdotal accounts of his grandmother's life--depicts her sitting by a window or by a fireplace stitching the stars in place.

Maybe I am over thinking it, but I like the idea of her working in the bedroom. Quite possibly she did the cutting of fabric on the work table in the  shop and pieced it together upstairs in the bedroom, so I have to decide which room I will make.

 Make both you say? Then I may as well build the entire house, but that's complicated, too. I'm going to share my source so that you can learn first hand about the Betsy House as it may have been in colonial times and as it is today. Perhaps you will have some suggestions on how you might approach this project.

The Betsy Ross House Fact, Myths, and Pictures

Thanks for visiting.  Have a great day and remember our veterans.

Thank you to our veterans for their service to our country and their sacrifices.
God Bless American




Monday, November 4, 2019

Salvage

Sometimes perhaps it just isn't worth trying to salvage old dollhouse pieces. These pieces came from the Junk Man, and they are destined for the San Franciscan. We've seen this bedroom set and the fireplace in houses on Pinterest where they look nicely finished and authentic.

These kit pieces, though, were so poorly assembled and badly finished that I am wondering if it really  is worth the effort trying salvage them; however, that they are going in an abandoned row house seems to justify the efforts put them back together. The photos don't actually do justice showing the terrible stain and what must have been an attempt to give a fine, shiny finish. Instead the transparent coating is too thick and badly applied and cannot be sanded away.

The bed is worst; so bad that I am wondering why I spent the better part of last evening trying to put it back together.



 

The foot board is just leaning against the bed for show. I struggled to get it glued back on, but I couldn't clamp it, so I tried rubber bands, still the glue wouldn't hold--or I grew too impatient.



This photo show the excessive amount of glue used which in some joints I tried to scrape off. I decided to leave this clump on as a for my own glue, Alene's Tacky glue, but I couldn't get a tight enough bond. I'm now considering my options.

Next the dining set is in relative good shape, except it is missing a leg. I have this kit in my stash, so I'm going to carve a new leg, now realizing that with a new Circut I could cut a new leg.


The vanity is is fine shape, even with its smoky blurred mirror. 




Next, the fireplace. At first I was going to try to remove the Christmas wreath that is so solidly attached, but I'm leaving it.


The mantle precariously sits in place, but you can see the rest of the pieces below it.


Laying it flat, I pieced it together.


Then began to glue it together. I'm missing pieces, but that's okay.



One tiny post had broken off in place, so I dug in my stash to see if I had a bit of lumber that would replace the broken part.


Almost a perfect fit. I glued it in place and sanded it down. You can see where it is supposed to go at the end of the post, but I put it in place and glued the post to it.



Not perfect, but I'll add some brown paint and it will be okay.

 

And here it is. The fireplace has been reassembled, minus 3 pieces. The very top of the mantle should have 3 posts across the top, but two look okay.


One post is crooked on the right, but that's okay too.

Betsy Ross Project

 And I did a bit of work on the Betsy Ross room-box. I'll do a test-run out of foam board since I've never made anything from scratch.

I had put the project on hold because I didn't know the dimensions of the original house until I found a wonderful website yesterday that told the story of the house. A lot of mythology surrounds Betsy Ross and questions about the authenticity of the story that she made the colonial flag, but it seems, based on what her children wrote about her, she did make that flag for General Washington.

The house is another story, too. She did live there, maybe, and she did carry on her husband's upholstery business after he died. The question has always been where was the original house was actually located and is the museum house that claims to be her house really that house? Today, it seems to at least represent the house that she probably lived in.

In the beginning it was a simple three story colonial or Georgian band house. Each floor was one room, with the kitchen located in the basement. With such a simple design, I will could build build a four story house, eventually. The Real Good Toys house that I build for Lily might have been perfect.

The website that I found had all the details that I needed to help me decide how to build my room that will demonstrate the making of that flag, include a 360 panoramic video of the room. At one point an addition was built on the back of the house, enlarging it with as many as 8 families living there.

My first question was how big was the room? The exterior of the house was 16 feet wide and the the side walls were 25 feet long, so I measured 16 inches across; now my door, shelf, and window fit.

The house was renovated along the way, with one photo in 1907 showing the door on the opposite side with a very large shop window that spanned the entire front of the store,  while an 18th century sketch show the door on the other side with colonial pediments across the top of the door and a small multi-paned window. I returned the larger window that I had and bought this this smaller one that opens. I imaged that the window might have been able to be open to get fresh air, especially during the summer heat. Windows were also taxed then, so working houses had fewer, smaller windows.

The 360 view gave me a better sense of how the house is laid out. With so many unanswered questions about the house, I feel that I have more freedom to offer my interpretation of Betsy's work room, following what we hope is historically accurate.


Thanks for visiting. I always enjoy and appreciate your comments. Speaking of which, I am finding it increasingly harder to leave comments on Blogger blogs, including my own as I try to reply to the comments left here. In doing my research, I have realized that it is a Blogger issue. I found an article that I'll share with you, but honestly, I don't think it fixes the problem. Perhaps you have better answers. So, those of you who post on Instagram and Facebook, you will find my comments there.

I have also changed my comments to a pop-up window, hoping that will solve my problem on my site. Let me know what you think.




Sunday, October 27, 2019

Happy Halloween

Some love to decorate for every holiday on the calendar. Others don't bother. I am someplace in the middle. Halloween is not my favorite holiday, not because it violates some religious code or because it scares little kids, or even because the idea of going out begging or offering threats to get bags full of candy seems a bit greedy, rather because I was horrible at creating costumes for my daughters. My idea of a cute costume was to curse the aisle of Target to find the latest rendition of the current TV cartoon creature. I still remember the Big Bird and Strawberry Shortcake costumes made of plastic in the mid '80 that concealed my daughters' identities. I do hope they have forgiven me.

My daughters do much better for their children.

Then there are those out there who decorate the dollhouses for the holidays. I am much too busy trying to figure out a roof for the Bellingham and getting the San Franciscan done and delivered to Jen to make cute decorations for the miniature village in the basement.

But hold on. I have done bit of Halloween decorating this year.


I love this house. It was my first big project. A $100 house that was in sore need of renovation. It taught me a lot. You can see more if you search Blue Farmhouse because it was once blue.


Looks like the kids have returned from Trick or Treating with a bag full of sweets.


Nor do they seem too alarmed that there is skeleton on their porch.

Inside, the mom of the house decorates as I do: throw a container of fake seasonal flowers on the table and call it festive.


Across the room, the Bellingham has a few gratuitous pumpkins rotting on the steps. They've been there for weeks. The skeleton just might be grandpa.


The home maker here isn't creative either. She's more concerned with keeping her hair pink and shopping, still the cat seems to appreciate the decorations or is that empty cereal bowl with a spot of milk in the bottom that attracts her attention?


Across the way, at the Lafayette where the mermaids and Mooshkas hang, it looks like they managed to get a couple jack-o-lanterns on the front porch. Search for 'Lafayette' and 'Mooshka' to see how this little house actually got me started. I found it for $5 at at huge sale of junk. I enjoyed working it and it, too, taught me a so much. 



And that is the extent of my Halloween decorating in the miniature village.

Now for a technical issue that I have been struggling with. I am not able to leave comments on other blogs, especially some that use Blogger, as I do. I replied to the two sweet comments left on my last post, but those replies have disappeared or were never posted. I am upset because I can't leave comments either. I've done some research and found this article, "Do You Have a Problem Leaving Comments on Blogger Blogs?"

Apparently I am not alone. Has anyone else had this problem? How do we fix it? Any suggestions will help. 

Please forgive me, then, for not replying or even leaving a comment on your blogs. I try. If you are on Facebook or Instagram, I always leave comments, but there's nothing like leaving a nice comment on the blog post itself. I haven't yet started putting the dollhouses and miniatures on social media. I only have half a dozen followers on IG and I would probably start a new Facebook page for the miniatures, until I sort all of this out, I'll continue use the blog and I will faithfully read yours, love and appreciate your comments and try to keep up on the other platforms. 

Happy Halloween, friends. 

Thanks for visiting.

I am back. I just did some more research since my comment on another blog did not post. Here is what I found: Just checked my 2 Blogger blogs and for those wanting to set up as you suggest the option is in Settings> Posts and Comments > Anyone
I then turn on Comment moderation, to prevent spam, and add my email so that I am notified when a comment has been made.

I have made these adjustments on this blog. I hope my comments now are preserved. Perhaps you might want to double check your settings if you think that you are losing comments. 




Wednesday, October 23, 2019

I Looked in my Stash and Found. . .

As I opened the blog and saw the date, I was aghast that it has been a month since I last posted. Can I account for my time? Well, yes: LIFE. We were talking with friends the other day who are bit younger than we are about retirement. They were wary about retirement, wondering what they would do with all that time without a job. Trust me, the days fill up, especially if you have varied interests to keep you occupied. I've got a few irons in the fire, which accounts my lack of working on my miniature projects.

I got side tracked, too, with a project that I will eventually put together. I belong to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). Each year they sponsor a creative contest with categories in very creative endeavor from crochet to poetry to doll making to sewing to music, and quilting. I came up with the idea to build a room box depicting Betsy Ross making the colonial flag commissioned by General George Washington.

Digging in my reserves, I came up with some pretty 
rudimentary items. The window is too big, so I will
buy a window that opens in the center, as I would imagine
a late 18th century workshop might have.
What a fascinating woman she was. Briefly, a Quaker, who married young and outside her religion, much to her parents disappointment; widowed at 24; remarried and again widowed when her husband was captured by the British and shipped to London to be tired for treason where he died in prison. I believe that she had two girls from that marriage. To keep her family fed, she continued her husband's upholstery business which she worked until she retired in her late 70s.  She remarried a third time and had more children. She was a working class woman who probably just kept her head above water. As I researched how I wanted to portray her flag making, I found the same half dozen paintings that depicted her dressed in a fine day dress, sitting comfortably, hand stitching the stars in place. That scene would be easy to bring to life in a 1:12 room box.

The Betsy Ross flag was a massive 10 feet long.
Mine is six feet long and 4 feet wide or 6 inches by 4 feet.
I won't sewmine together; rather, I will have her working on
the stars, all hand cut and hand sewn. Thesewing machine
wasn't invented untilthe 1830s  in France, and Eli Whitney
had the first Americanpatent in 1846. I may redress this doll, but I have
 found dolls at HBS thatmight work.
Then I found photos of her workroom in the Betsy Ross House Museum in Philadelphia and I decided that I would try to recreate that room. Not such an easy task because I have little to go on. I will write the museum to see if they can give me dimensions of the room. The front of the house has gone through several renovations over the last two centuries and the current facade does not represent the original design in 1777 and it is doubtful that there would even be a drawing of the original building. I will go by what might be more historically accurate instead of representing the museum's interpretation of what Betsy's workshop might have looked like.

This project, however, is on hold because when I finally read in detail the guidelines for the DAR project I realized that Betsy Ross pre-dates this year's theme: interpretation of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, women's right to vote. I might be able to tweak the project maybe: While she couldn't vote, Betsy Ross still contributed to the colonies' fight to win independence from the English. I do plan to compete this project--sometime.

As I read about your endeavors in miniatures, some of you are expressing the same thoughts as I am: Will I build another big house? Yes. I have one more, a San Franciscan 557 that my daughter has. I have yet to complete the one that I have been working on, my goal for the week, but I am now struggling over how to electrify it. As I look at the current lines of houses that Greenleaf and Real Good Toys carry, there really isn't a house that I just have to have. While the exteriors are interesting and different than the two farmhouses that I have, the interiors are the same. No challenge there.

As for older kits, especially those made of that thin plywood that splinters and breaks, I will avoid those kits, especially after what I have gone through with the San Fran.

Others have been writing about their creations from their stash. I love these projects. It is so much fun to see what you have come up with as you search through your left over supplies. I throw very little away and have quite a mess of wood pieces. Most of my miniature time this fall has been spent working on apothecary shelves. Let me show them to you.

I have already shared the bed that I made for my grandson. He has a Duracraft Lafayette that will be his Halloween house, so now he has a bed for it.



Next he needs an apothecary. I dug in my stash to find this shadow box. Long Story short, I was told that a junk dealer specializing in toy cars had some dollhouse furniture, so I trotted off to his Quonset hut with my husband to see what he had. I left with six boxes loaded with miniatures, some good, some pretty junky, but I have managed in one way or another to use most of what I bought, like these two shelves. This one sat on my work counter collecting dust and cobwebs, which I left in place. It dates back to the decade when these little shadow boxes were all the rage. This one was filled food themed items, like eggs and a Morton salt container. The eggs will appear again later in the post. 

  1. Alligator: Hobby Lobby pack of weird animals
  2. Shells: collected from various beaches by various friends
  3. Skull: Tim Holts pack of 12. Cool bones
  4. Books hand made
  5. Globe of skull beads: Joann's; globe jewelry finding Hobby Lobby
  6. Butterfly cut from scrapbook paper
  7. scorpion and moth: Etsy store: Easy Cut and Print
  8. Crystal ball: Marble (my collection), jewelry finding
  9. Bottles: a variety from HL and Tim Holtz
  10. Labels: an Etsy store, not impressed. Don't show up
  11. Pumpkin: HL
I didn't glue the items in in case Nathan would like to rearrange it. I did seal some of the bottles shut with glue, like the tall one with blue food dye.



This next apothecary is for my daughter. It will go in the San Fran. This piece also came from my extensive stash. It is a House of Miniatures cabinet that was so poorly glued together and falling apart. At first I was going to fix it, but decided to leave it as it is because the San Fran is in just as bad a shape. It will be perfect for what Jen wants to do with her house. I've put a few things in it, and it is ready to send off to her.


The scrolls were fun make from Easy Cut and Print on Etsy.





I'll have more to say about the Greenleaf Westville, a charming little four room house with lots of character. You've seen it on the blog before. It is one of three that I bought. I have decided to keep it original, making it a turn of the 20th century apothecary with a weird woman who lives there. I've had so much fun working on this one. It is still in the developmental stages, with the faded wallpaper and bare floors.




Looking through the windows gives a different perspective of what is inside. I find that it helps to create a character or a theme to bring a house together. I don't know if I will have a doll to add or the imagination will suffice.




So with this house, I am trying to use the furniture and pieces that came with it. The kitchen will serve as part of her store front with the sales counter in place by the stove. Small and cramped, the kitchen will serve that dual purpose.


From my stash: old table (junk dealer), chairs: I bought them from another old guy who ran a TV repair store where he had his wife's collection of miniatures and dollhouses for sale. I think at one time she had a miniature store and he he was trying to get rid of her things after she passed. We drove by the other day and he is out of business. 

As I dug through my stash I found the scales and the coffee grinder came from the general store that I had purchased when I first started my bad habit. The copper pots came from Etsy, a fish pot and a dutch over. I had the tea pot.


The living room will be her study where she delves into all sorts of things. The curtain is temporary, left over cheese cloth. I've built my own apothecary shelf that needs to be finished. The eggs were originally in Nathan's shelf. Lots of ancient volumes that cover everything from astrology to astronomy to human anatomy. 


I love how my shelf turned out. Best piece that I have made so far. 


The furniture for this house came from kits. In fact I have the same kit in my stash. I will make a new quilt for the day bed. The upstairs bedroom serves as her living space and her sleeping space. I have the chamber pot and washstand, but I also have bathroom fixtures in the fourth room, not pictured because I don't know what to do with that room yet. 

I have to decide on flooring. It has carpeting that is faded and dusty, but I am thinking marble tile? I decided that working with the house as it is makes sense for a turn of the century worn out house, much like our grandmothers might have lived in.

But here is the real Elephant in the room, the Duracraft Bellingham, my modern Texas Farmhouse that I started three years ago. It needs a roof. I am procrastinating on that, along with install the chimney that is made of miniature plaster brick and is very heavy. The gables were poorly installed so there is a big gap between the gable and the roof that I have to find a way to close.  Right now there is a make-shift copper gutter. There is also more trim that needs to be glued in place. 


There are other things on my plate, too. As recording secretary of my DAR chapter, I now have other obligations. DAR is a service organization, so one of our service projects this year is to make holiday greeting cards for soldiers. Since I have a large stash of scrapbooking supplies and a Circut my sister-in-law and another member helped to make cards last week. We have 40 packets that will go the VA hospital in Cheyenne, Wyo. Each packet has 3 stamped cards that soldiers can use to send holiday greeting to loved ones. (No, Joddi, I have not purchased the new one. After I saw the Martha Stewart gold edition, I am really tempted.) 




Veteran's Day falls on November 11th, so I have started the second round of cards, all hand made. My goal is to make 60. There are 50 beds in the VA nursing home in Cheyenne and I want a "Thank You for Your Service" card for each veteran in the nursing home. So far I have pulled supplies from my scrapbooking stash, having to buy more cards, but that's another stash where I have a lot of stuff.


Finally, I have to share Elinore's (12) miniature project. She and her sisters have the massive collection of horses, barns, fences, and on an on. She build a loft to one of her barns. She has watched me build and proudly showed off what she has built. I love her imagination and her ability to create exactly what she wanted.


The clothes pins are hooks for her bridles. 




So there you have it 

Now it is time to get on with my day. Thanks so much for visiting. 

The Golden Deer

We had this same discussion a few weeks ago about decorating our mini houses for Halloween. Now how about Christmas? I haven't in the p...