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February 2016

9 posts from January 2016

Creatin' Contest 2016 - first dry fit


It's a small space, but it's big enough to accommodate my vision.  This will be the first kit I don't make major changes to....all the doors and windows will stay in the same additions to add space....should go together fast and easy for a change :)

I just jinxed myself, didn't I?

The porch doesn't ring my bells, so I'll focus my changes there.  That, and I need a skylight and a back wall.  I also need access, so need to decide whether to make the back wall removable, or hinge the roof.


Let the fun begin!

numbers kitchen set

I got bored yesterday, with no project to work on.  I should have gone to the gym, but I slightly bashed a couple of House of Miniatures kits instead.


I stained them ebony, assembled them, then finished them with a coat of brown antiquing wax.  They have a lovely brown/black finish, which I find much warmer than other blacks.

I don't like the gap between the doors of the top cupboard, and also that the handles aren't even.  If I display it with one door open a bit it will be unnoticeable.  If I display it with both doors closed I'll have to fix it.

These are meant for the 2016 build, but since I don't have that kit yet I'm not sure they'll fit.  We'll see.  Maybe I'll make them fit. ;)

new stuff

First, better pictures of the little items Susan sent in my October box.

Little wooden houses Christmas tree ornaments.  Kate wants me to paint them, but I like them as is.



A half-put-together Chrysbon stove and bathroom set Susan didn't like, which is lucky for me because I've been wanting the bathroom set!  Some mini crocks, bowls, and pots....a couple of Chinese guardian lions...and a pretty Christmas gee-gaw that opens up.  She also sent an antique glass bottle, made in the time period of 1890ish-1920ish, with manganese used as a stabilizer.  In time, exposure to light turns causes the glass to turn purple.  It has raised markings on it, but they don't photograph well. 

I adore the little brown's a better picture...



Blake had (is still having) a grab bag sale at his etsy store.   I bought two, then sent most of the cakes to Blondie for her bakery (cakes aren't my thing, I wanted the pumpkins and candy).  I was delighted with my purchase, so bought two more, and greedily requested the bags with the most pumpkins.  :)  Whoo-hoo!  I got a tower!



Brae alerted me when mini materials was having a sale....



I've been buying collage and altered art supplies from Alpha Stamps for years. It seems the miniatures bug bit them :D




 They're best known, at least they were when they first opened shop, for their collage sheets.   I only bought one of the parquet flooring sheets because I wasn't sure if I was going to like it.  I can't say for sure until I use it, but so far I do :)

I ordered the Tiny Magic Books & Potion Labels Collage Sheet (far left) on both paper and clear stickers.  Take a look at their whole selection of collage sheets for miniatures, they've got some cool stuff.



I got the kitties and goats from the toy section at the grocery store, and the laser-cut paper sheets at JoAnne's.  There were two sheets of each design in the package.  I have no idea what I'm going to do with them.

Whew!  I think you're all caught up now :D


Kat sent me an early Christmas present in late November.  You've seen a couple items already, in the Tropical Beach House...


I have plans for that number paper for the 2016 contest build :)


Bridget, a long-time blog reader, and winner of the 2015 contest kit giveaway, also surprised me with a Christmas present...


It's a old library book turned into a, right?!?  She didn't even know I used to work for both a public and university library.  It was packed with goodies.  I tidied up the stack of paper stuff because it reveals where she lives, you'll have to take my word for it that it's neat stuff.  I especially liked the long letter :)


I pulled out the letter first…was reading when Ester walked up and started sniffing all over the presents…I didn’t think much of it, I thought maybe she smelled Bridget's cat… the time I flipped over to the second page and read that she included catnip as a present for Ester, Ester was rolling all over it and purring….I burst out laughing.   After I finished the letter and put it down I got swatted every time I tried to take an item out of the box….Husband was in the room by then, we were both laughing hysterically.  The way she was licking the fabric I thought perhaps the catnip was inside it, so I teased it out quickly, taking a couple of smacks, but she jumped down on the floor to follow it, rolling around on the tissue paper and molesting the fat quarter.   She seemed content to stay on the floor as long as I kept supplying her with catnip scented packaging, which allowed me to open all the goodies Bridget sent.


Thank you both, Kat and Bridget.  I love it all, loved the unexpectedness of it, but most of all love that you thought of me :)


Another present arrived the same day as Bridget's.  It was not unexpected, but that does not diminish the wonderful generosity and sincerest affection that is my bestest friend.  My October box!  Yay! 

Unfortunately, the pictures I took didn't turn out well at all, it was darker in the room than it seemed at the time.  I put all the goodies away already, but will gather it all together for better pictures this weekend.  Except the stuff I already ate ;)


I teared up a bit when I pulled out the big brown glass bottle.  It used to sit on top of Susan's hutch, and I commented one day that I absolutely loved it.  She pulled it down right then and set it aside to send me. ❤❤❤  She also gave me one of her favorite purple manganese-glass bottles.  (You'll see after I take better pictures.)

I'm smiling again as I write this post, I feel so blessed.

the 2016 contest kit

When I first saw this year's HBS contest kit I was unimpressed and uninspired.   Zero ideas.  Having swooshed it around inside my brain for the couple of weeks since, I now have approximately 87 viable interpretations.  Sigh.  I'm not sure which is more perplexing, too few dreams or too many.


The only sure conclusion I've reached is that it's going to remain a cottage, though I assume it will be added on to, it's pretty small.

I'm also waiting to hear if HBS is going to do the blogger outreach campaign again this year, and if I will again be invited to participate.  If it includes a free kit I'm going to keep it, and do two builds.  I'm not sure yet whether I will blog about both of them or unveil one when it's finished; one of the ideas I'm fostering seems like it should follow that path, as it would best be viewed as a completed work.  However, since I've changed my mind 564,972 times already....

I'll have to get the kit in hand, and in dry fit, before I decide.

Tropical Beach House - deck, beach and lighting


First of all, Happy New Year, everyone :)  As you noticed, I've done a bit of a refresh here.  The blog is now on my own domain,, but all your old links will still work...nothing broke!  The new design is responsive to different screen sizes across multiple devices, so should be easier for everyone to read.  The post-to-post navigation is improved as well.

Now, on to the last post about the beach house details....

I made the beach from several thin layers of sand poured over layers of Elmer's white glue.  I had tons of free beach sand at my disposal, but opted to use clean play sand purchased from the hardware store.  I didn't want to sift out debris or have insect eggs hatch later, inside my studio.  The last few layers were poured around tiny real shells.  The shells were left over from the Chantilly build, I don't remember where I bought them, but they're readily available on ebay....I checked because I couldn't find where I stashed them at first and thought I was going to have to buy new ones.


There is also a bird on the beach, made by Barbara Meyer.  He's hard to see but that's why I like him, he looks real.


Barbara also made the cockatoo perched on the planter box and the lizard on the wall by the shower.


The gorgeous goldfish bowl is another item that I bought years ago but didn't have the right home for until now.  It was made by Miyuki Kobayashi

The cactus came from Grapevine Miniatures, the bird-of-paradise plant from Carol's Bloomers.  The big palm was made by inserting leafs laser cut by JMG Miniatures into a pine cone.  The dracaena was made with leaf sheets and instructions from Pepperwood Miniatures.  I made the rest of the plants.


The surfboard is a mass produced piece.  I chopped a bit off the bottom end to make it look like it was stuck further down into the sand.   The snorkeling gear is handmade, the tag said "by Barb".  The beach towels were cut from baby washcloths.


The chairs were purchased from WCD Miniatures, I made the table.  The sushi was an ebay find, it came in a round black dish that was larger in diameter than the table, so I forcibly removed some sushi pieces to relocate into a plastic take-out container I made from chewing gum packaging.  The chopsticks were cut down from flat toothpicks.


Originally there were two cocktails on the table, a pina colada and a pink martini, but I knocked the table over while dressing it and broke the stem of the martini glass.  I replaced it with a bottle of beer off the bar.  So as not to waste the pricey martini I flipped it over, filled the empty space with wax, and made it a flask-shaped bottle on the bar, in place of the beer bottle I stole.  It adds a nice shot of color there.



The cocktail and beer bottle, as well as the shrimp cocktail between them, were purchased from The Little Dollhouse Company.  The fantastic orange sandals were made by Patrizia Santi.

The only thing I've yet to talk about is my unsuccessful experiment in lighting.  I used electroluminescent strips in the shower and on the ceilings.  They look really neat, but they're not bright enough to light up a room and they cause the power supply to emit a harsh and distasteful buzz.  I had to retrofit some LED fixtures to provide enough lighting to view the rooms.  I had an electroluminescent, blue, rope light I was going to run along the bottom of the deck, but didn't bother to.