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6 posts from August 2011

Hoosier cabinet

When I saw Brae's blog post about her kitchen with the old fashioned refrigerator, stove and sink in the room I thought to myself 'she needs an early 1900s Hoosier cabinet like I see in antique stores'. 

Brae's kitchen
Brae's picture of her kitchen layout

Since I was going to see Brae in a few days I got to work.  This is what I came up with, from the materials I had on hand...


I didn't have much time, so the drawers and doors on the bottom of the unit don't open.  The center bin in the top doesn't either, but the two top doors with glass do.  Well, they did anyway...I buggered up the one on the right while inserting pins as hinges, so I had to glue it closed after I made some repairs.

I did take the time to include a pull out cutting board.  Unfortunately, I made it with such a snug fit that it's almost impossible to pull out.

I had intended to let Brae fill the top cabinets, but since I had to glue one shut I filled it first.  I had to make do with what I had on hand, which was tough since the majority of my stash is 1:24 scale.  I discovered that in a pinch extra large, large and medium 1:24 bowls work for medium, small and extra small 1:12 bowls.  The can is 'shop size' in 1:24, so was big enough, and the piggy bank  is kind of scaleless.  I had some 1:12 bottles left from making the pub to fill the remaining space in the back of the cupboard.

Despite the buggered door I had to seal and the sticky fit cutting board I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I don't usually make aged pieces, but I got the feel I was going for.

I thought it would be neat if the cabinet smelled like a kitchen, so I drilled three holes in the bottom and made a sachet full of baking spices to put in the base.  I also put in some essential oil that reminds me of the smell of the cleaner my mom used when I was young...floral with a strong pine Pine-Sol.  I fumbled the bottle when I was pouring, so instead of a few drops half of the bottle went it.  It was overpowering.  I put a piece of cork on the bottom to cover the holes, which worked, thankfully, to reduce the aroma to something only smelled when the cabinet is held.  The baking spices can't be smelled at all though, the excess essential oils totally mask the spices.

The cabinet does smell like my Mom's kitchen though, as she did more cleaning than baking :)


I need some advice on a better product to crackle paint.  What I'm currently using I got off the clearance rack at JoAnne's probably ten years ago...I'm close enough to using it up that I won't feel guilty throwing it away now.

I'm using a two step process that doesn't actually crackle the paint.  I brush on a clear, thick, sticky goop in step one, then after that's dry I brush on a different clear, thick, sticky goop.  What cracks is the layers of goop, not the in order to get a two color effect I have to brush on another layer of paint over the cracks to fill them, then wipe it off.

In this picture I stained the wood, painted it green, then distressed it.  Next I used my crackle stuff on it, then rubbed brown paint into the cracks.  Now I have to go back over the piece to take off dollops of goop on corners and scrape it out of the space around the drawers.  It also leaves a shiny finish I don't necessarily want on certain pieces (it's okay on this one though).

 I'd like to use something better.  I'd like to paint on a coat of brown (for instance), then paint a coat of green over it, then use something that will crackle the green....or better yet, mix something in with the green paint that will make it crack.  What does everybody else use?


going to the Bishop Show

I decided a couple of weeks ago to go to the Bishop Show in Chicago the last weekend of this month.  I've got a lot of accrued vacation time to take, so I planned to stay a few extra days so that I can visit the Field Museum, Shedd's Aquarium and Museum of Science and Industry while I'm in town.

I wasn't as excited about the trip as I knew I should be, then finally concluded it was because I had to go alone, since my daughter couldn't get the time off work to go with me.  It's more fun to visit the museums with someone, so I'm kidnapping my teen-aged nephew for the week.  Now I'm excited!  We're going to have a blast.

As an added bonus I get to meet Brae while I'm there.  I'm as happy about that as I am to go to the show :)

the office in the mill

I received a couple of emails inquiring about my absence...thank you for the kind thoughts.  I was a bit under the weather, but am feeling fine now.  I also received an email from Beth, a beginning miniaturist who saw pictures of the mill on the Greenleaf Forum, requesting close up pictures of the office and asking, in specific detail, where I sourced my materials.

First I'd like to congratulate the winners of the 2011 Spring Fling contest.  I'm honored to have been considered alongside such talented ladies. 

Charlan and her sister, Kennie took first place with the Downhill Ski Shop, which was my personal favorite.  Jennifer's La Luciole took second place, and my friend Brae came in third with Baxter Pointe Villa.

All of the contestants turned in fabulous work, you can see a gallery of all the entries here.

Now, on to the requested close ups...don't forget that you can click on the pictures to enlarge them.

The wallpaper is scrapbook paper, Recollections Time Frame-Sands of Time.  The floor is made from basswood, milled on my table saw then stained in light golden oak.  The rug I purchased from ebay seller Mini Bee's Knees, who graciously makes custom sizes upon request (which is particularly helpful because I usually work in half scale).  I made the bulletin board and picture frames from scrap trim...I posted a close up of the bulletin board and detailed the contents before I glued it in place.  The Paris Exhibition print and the agricultural map of  France (which you can't see because it's hung on the wall behind the open door) I printed from vintage non-copyright pictures downloaded from the internet.  The curtains were made by my mom, out of the same fabric from which she sewed the grain bags.  My mom also made the bookkeeper's dress.  I bought the cardigan on clearance from Buttercup miniatures.  I made the bookkeeper's necklace from copper chain and and a bead...which I need to redo, I was in a hurry to meet the contest deadline so it's not as well made as I'd like.  The Heidi Ott doll, with wig and shoes (I repainted the shoes), were acquired from Lesley's Miniature Knitting.

The filing cabinets and the upholstered chair I bought at  The chair is more expensive an item than I usually buy, but I had a 40% off one item coupon, which allowed the splurge.  The Chanel handbag and bust I picked up at the miniatures show in St. Louis last April.  The cat was made by Sally of Miss Sally World(She's in the process of changing domain hosts, so try this temporary link if the first doesn't work.) 

I made the file folders full of paperwork myself, out of bits of leftover papers.  The metal screen in the windows I picked up at Hobby Lobby.  The brass hardware...window pulls, hinges, door knobs, nails and curtain rod...I purchased from Minimum World

The mahogany desk is a Mc Queenie Miniature's dressing table kit from Minimum World.  I also bought the computer printer, calculator and non-working table lamp there.  The porcelain box and tea cup have been in my stash for a while, I don't remember where I bought them.  The pencils and pens I made from toothpicks and bits of wire.  The pile of paperwork, file folder and manila envelopes I made myself.  The top pieces of paperwork are vintage French invoices sourced from the Graphics Fairy, scaled down and printed to size.  The wastebasket is merely a plastic cap from something in my medicine cabinet.  The laptop, as well as the iPad on the other desk, were made by Etsy seller LiLu.


I was planning to make a little table to set the printer on but instead picked this one up at a local toy store a few days before the deadline.  It's a mass produced piece I repainted.  In hindsight it probably took as much time to sand and repaint the expensive table as it would have taken to just make one myself out of scraps of wood for pennies, but I got a little crazy the last few days.

The battery powered LED floor lamp I purchased from Manhattan Dollhouse.  I didn't want to incur the time and expense to wire the whole mill.  There is also a battery powered coach lamp on the exterior of the mill.  The black paint is coming off around the switch on the bottom of the time I'll buy a brass fixture. 

The desk is a Mini Mundus sofa table kit from Minimum wasn't tall enough that I could slide the bookkeeper's knees under it once I sat her on the chair so I added pieces of wood to the bottom of the legs to increase the height of the desk.  The telephone was also purchased from Minimum World.  The pencil cup was a gift from my friend Susan, the pencils and pens are more toothpicks and bits of wire.  The pad of sticky notes was cut from a pad of sticky notes :)  The diagram on the desk is scaled down and printed from the diagram of how a grist mills works that was my 'bible' for making the mill.  The cup of tea is from my stash of odds and ends...the orchid is by IGMA artisan Era Pearce...the plate of creme brulee and ladyfingers is a vintage piece, artist unknown...the tea cozy was knit by Helen Palenski of Auckland, New Zealand (no website)....and the chair the bookkeeper is sitting in was made by Jacqueline Kerr Deiber of Glen Ellyn, IL (no website).  The orchid, creme brulee, tea cozy and chair I acquired at the miniatures show I went to in St. Louis last April.

I found the business card for the artist who made the pigeons but lost it again...sigh.  I probably put it in a safe place, so I'm sure I'll stumble across it again.






I shall call the bear Henry

Susan and I are going to fill the drawers of the Halloween boxes we're making for each other with cabinet of curiousity type items.  With that in mind I accompanied my husband to his brother's house in the country last weekend, to see what kind of curiousities I could find.  I ended up wandering around lost in the woods for two or three hours.  A forest management company thinned the thick forest around eight years ago or so, so the topography was much different than I remembered.  Even my husband, who grew up there, commented on how disorienting it is now.

I wasn't too worried about being lost, as I knew if I didn't return eventually my husband would come looking for me...and I knew that although the forest is quite large it is bordered by four roads I'm familiar with, and I was bound to stumble on one of them eventually.  Though I second guessed that second thought when I realized I had come upon a clearing with a distinctive tree for the third time.  I deduced that the reason I was walking in circles was because I was avoiding the large patches of thorny raspberries that had sprung up wherever sunlight made contact with the forest floor.  To not walk in another circle I pushed my way through a dense fifty foot wide patch of raspberries as tall as I am, using a thick stick to push the vines down in front of me so that I could step over them.  I was wearing capri pants and a t-shirt, so my lower legs and arms got all scratched up.  I rested for a while when I got to the other side, cursing myself for taking a walk on an extremely hot and humid day with only a specimen bag and a bug kill jar, without a bottle of water...and being thankful that sharks are in the ocean, not the forest, because I was pretty bloody.

I set off in what I thought was the right direction, and eventually heard someone else walking in the woods.  Assuming it was my husband looking for me I started in that direction.  It wasn't my husband, it was a bear.  Fortunately the bear was more frightened of me than I was of it so ran away from me. I decided turning around and walking in the other direction would be a good idea.  It was, because it wasn't much longer before the skyline indicated a clearing was ahead, and that clearing turned out to be the field behind my brother-in-law's house.

By the time I made it back to the house my face was so red that I frightened my husband.  After a few glasses of water and a brief rest I was fine.

I did gather some curiosities :)

I'm back online

I've been having intermittent connectivity issues.  I had Charter come out yesterday to take a look.  .I was losing some signal coming into the house because squirrels had chewed on the cable, then I was losing signal under the house at the splitter.  A very nice man named Bill fixed everything for me, so I'm back online again.

My modem, router and Mac are in my studio...Bill sincerely complimented me on all the artwork in here...he liked Susan's ghoul the best.

Keli's Hallo box