10 posts categorized "Charlene's miniatures"

Susan A. Nancy Horticultural Library



The exterior is clad in wooden rustic siding strips, stained with Zar Golden Oak, and egg carton brick, painted Thalo Blue, not grouted.  The additional exterior walls and planter boxes were built from foam core board, to keep the weight down.  The signage was cut on my Cricut, from adhesive vinyl, placed on pieces of mat board.  The sidewalk was made from cork, and the plants are plastic, from the craft store.


The wall hanging plant was a gift from a new miniaturist friend, Deborah.  The birdbath was made by April Wright, I filled the basin with clear resin and mounted it on a "concrete" plinth so as not to obscure the base, though the plinth should have been a bit shorter.  The tiki planter is from Charlene's estate (no maker's mark on it), as is the light fixture.  The two garden orbs are a large marble and a metal lamp finial.


On the shelf above the room, the checkers board, lamp and folk art piece are from Charlene's estate.  The little house was a gift from my best friend Susan.  I made the smoke detector from a white button and two small rhinestone stickers. The two paintings to the right of the rare books cabinet are also from Charlene's estate.  I meant to make a botanical print to go there but ran out of time.

Inside the front door is a coffee bar and a bathroom.  You can catch glimpses through the bathroom door from the right angle, but that room is closed off.  It was supposed to be lit, but I forgot to put the light bulb in the sconce before I installed it and didn't discover the error until it was too late to rectify.

Inside the entry, the broom is from Marquis Miniatures, the wastebasket was a gift from Nancy Enge, the clock a gift from blog reader and friend  Bridget.  The coat and hat are from Charlene's estate, the rest are mass produced pieces.  The tile floor is made from paper rectangles glued to a cardboard template.  I made the cupboards, counter, shelf and mini fridge.  The shelves are inset into a window hole I didn't want to place a window in.  The glass container holds peppermints made by Blake at The Miniature Bazaar.  The most attractive mug was made by April Wright, as were the two in the main room.  One of the sconces arrived broken, but instead of returning it I used it as is.  I added colored resin to the coffee pot, as well as the two coffee cups in the main room.


DSCN5656 (2)

DSCN5656 (2)

DSCN5656 (2)

The brass vent cover on the wall above the window was a gift from Pepper.  The two wooden chairs, the white console table, the clock on the wall between the windows, the painting next to the brass lamp, and the black lamp on the center table are from Charlene's estate.  The rest of the furniture came from my stash, with the exception of the two Chrysnbon chairs, which were a gift from Susan.  The carpet is an upholstery fabric remnant, the wallpaper is textured cardstock.

The leather purse and suede backpack where made by Jo-Ann Shaw.  The clock shelved in the bookcase is from D Tales Miniatures.  I made the brass lamp, the modern lamps are from miniatures.com.  The landscape painting partly obscured by the yucca was painted by Mike A.  The yucca plants were made from Nancy Enge's kits.


The iPhone is from LiLu Minature.  The Reese's was a gift from Deborah (that's my daughter's favorite candy bar).  I made the pencils by coloring and whittling pieces of spaghetti.  The coffee mug is from April Wright, the open books from Little Things of InterestNancy Enge made the open journal.  The other journal, file folders and folio were made from Nancy's kits.  I made the closed book.


I made the suede journal and the succulents.  The file folders are from Nancy, the wooden tray the succulents are planted in is from artbase.


Susan made most of the books on the bookshelf.  Kat made a few, I made the rest.  The journals, folios and vertical file holders were made from Nancy's kits.  Nancy resized the original journal down a bit to make some that would fit on the lower shelves, she now sells both sizes.  Nancy, thank you (again!) for doing that so quickly so that I could meet the deadline!  I made the majority of the books on the round bookcase because the shelves were so short only a few of the books Susan sent would fit.

Let's see, what did I miss?

Oh!  There is a pair of wee red spectacles I bought the last time I went to the Bishop Show in Chicago, from Dollhouse Isako.


 I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Let me know if you have questions.

One last picture, because I really like how the electric and gas meters turned out.




more holes

After the walls had dried and I removed the clamps I drilled holes and cut grooves for the wiring.

When that was done I glued on the top wall piece and the slanted roof supports.  I put waxed paper under them so they wouldn't stick to the flat roof piece, which I don't want on yet.  I also glued together the base of the porch.


It worked!  No stick!  The flat roof piece slid right out.


I measured for the placement of my porch light, then cut a hole in the roof piece with my jeweler's saw.  If you ever have a chance to take Diane Almeyda's jeweler's saw class at the Bishop Show in Chicago, do it!


I didn't take a before picture of the ceiling fixture I am going to use.  It is one from Charlene's stash.  I showed you guys the furniture she hadn't used yet, but there were all sorts of lighting and building supplies as well.   I managed to pry off the brass filigree thing from the bottom of the fixture....I'm not sure where it landed.  Then I scraped off the old, deteriorated foam mounting stuff from the bottom. 

The light is going to be inset into the ceiling in order to hide the level at the base, and minimize the profile....



That should work nicely.  Next up...figure out which power supply of Charlene's is the correct one to use, and make sure the lights work. 

Kat, I meant to tell you, the pin vise I threw in the box I sent you is from Charlene.  :)


Keli's miniature repair shop


Starting with the clamped table, moving clockwise....

The light colored table had been repaired before, but not properly.  I sanded two layers of dried glue off, re-glued, and clamped it.

The long, dark table...well...I dropped it.  Half the legs and apron pieces flew off.  Thankfully it only came apart at glued points, so was an easy fix.

When I picked up the half-moon table the drawer fell out and the front came off the drawer.  Obviously, I hadn't realized there was a drawer.  I sanded the old glue off and re-glued.  When it's dry I'll put some knobs or pulls on the drawer so that it is obvious the table has one.

The clock had wooden finials on the top corners, one of which came off.  Because the surface area to reattach it was so small, I snapped the other finial off, then removed the glue residue.  I also had to put a wee bit of E6000 on the bottom of the metal door pull and push it back into its hole.

The candle wreath had a couple of pieces of lycopodium that needed to be re-attached with a dab of tacky glue. Easy peasy.

The floral arrangement is beyond repair.  The flowers had fallen out and were all over the floor of the drawing room; I propped them into place when I took pictures.  I will use the flowers to make a new arrangement in a vase, and add leaves to what is left of the base to make a new plant.

The sofa....the poor sofa.  As you can see, all the glue let loose and the poor thing is in pieces.  It is obvious repairs had been attempted before, unsuccessfully.  It was in place in the room cleverly held together with scotch tape and tacky wax.  I will reassemble this sofa, but it won't be the same color when I'm done, as sanding off the layers of glue and removing tape residue will ruin the finish in enough spots that it will need to be painted.

The birdcage needed to be re-glued on one side.  After the glue has cured I need to touch up the paint in spots.

All in all, for the number of pieces that were moved, in place in the rooms, from John's house to mine, the number of repairs needed is minimal.


Charlene's tower

None of the furniture and only some of the accessories were tacked down in the tower.  I discovered that when we tipped the house to carry it and all the furniture slid to the back and a few things fell out the open windows, which I didn't realize were open until then.  Fortunately there was no breakage.

Because nothing was tacked down, and because the accessories are few, in comparison to Charlene's other rooms, I think this was the last piece she was working on, and didn't finish.  Also, the vanity says "J Larsen, 1996" on the bottom, and pieces in the other rooms were dated in the 80s.










Willum's Work Shop

DSCN4490 (2)

Charlene must have loved her husband, William, very, very much; there are some wonderful tools in his mini work shop.  I can tell each piece was selected with great care.  It was his Christmas present in 1982.  In 1982 I was in the eighth grade.  I can't help but wonder what it would have been like to meet Charlene then, to have her teach me what she knew.





The dog and cat are lesser quality miniatures than anything else in her collection, so I suspect they have special significance...perhaps they replicate family pets or were made for her by a loved one.

I am fascinated with this workshop.  I love good tools, even in miniature.


Many of the tools function.  I kept gasping with glee, then running out to the living room, one tool at a time, to show Husband.



He yelled "ouch!" when I tested a saw on his arm.  The blades had to have been cut down from real ones.


Look at this perfect, tiny, perfect little hammer.  Swoon.

DSCN4482 (2)

The rifles are spectacular as well.  They aren't my cup of tea, though, so after I admired their craftsmanship and stroked them a few times I boxed them up to re-home in Susan's mini mansion.  I texted her pictures and could hear her peals of joy even though it wasn't a voice call.


The bolt action works!  Incredible!




Charlene's kitchen

Yay!  The lights work!  All but one is lit, hopefully the one that didn't only needs a new bulb.

This structure needs some repair....the walls let loose from the base and many of the roof tiles are no longer attached.   I don't have room to keep this building, but I'll find a good home for it after I fix it.









A note about wax versus putty (blu-tack, or similar)...

This room was the most difficult to reassemble because several things flew around the room during the move.  The pieces you see in the room remained there because they were put down with wax.  The pieces you see on the table were put down with blu-tack.


The brittle blu-tack was difficult to clean off, and left stains on the wood furniture.  This gorgeous cabinet is going to need to be refinished if I can't figure out how to get the rest of the putty residue off without damaging the piece further.


Wax, on the other hand, wipes right off everything with no damage and holds its consistency and effectiveness over time.  If you use putty in your builds, please stop.  Buy some wax.



Charlene's cabin

The wires on this one have broken away from the power supply and need to be fixed as well, so I can't light this one up either.

All of Charlene's builds have plexiglass screwed to the open side to keep them clean (smart!).  This one must have had the plexiglass installed some time after the build, because it required some dusting inside before I got the camera out.  I forgot to dust the exterior before I took the pictures though.










Charlene's legacy, or John's gift...part one

...I'm not quite sure what to title this.

I brought everything in the house, piled it in my dining room, and started to sort through it.  I cried a little.  It's all so heartwarming, and so beautiful, and so overwhelming.   There are seven rooms in five structures (one structure is a three room tower), a box of stash goodies, and a box of supplies.

How I'm going to approach sharing this, I've decided, is to reassemble each room as close as I can to how Charlene finished it, using pictures taken before the rooms were moved and  the furniture and accessories slid all over.  I'll compose one blog post per room, to share, honor, and appreciate Charlene's passion for miniatures with all of you.  Then I need to give adequate thought to what to do with everything.

Let's start with the contents of the boxes, since everything is now spread out on a table in my studio and needs to be taken care of before I can move a room there.

DSCN4387 (2)


The table is hand painted...beautiful work....no artist's signature...there are also three hand painted plates to match, one in the center of the table and two to follow in another picture.

I had no idea what that funny looking thing front and center is, Susan told me it's a cranberry scoop. 


Speaking of not knowing what something is...what's this?


There's an eye hook on the back...or what I'm assuming is the back...

DSCN4390 (2)

The inside isn't finished, is it just part of a piece and not the whole piece, do you think?