Sunday, 11 March 2018

The 2018 Charity Build

Drum roll.....the Charity Build is done!  I struggled on a cute name for the project, so Charity Build it shall remain.

The Recap

I started this build as a side project last summer for Miss Kitty's nursery school's silent auction in 2018.  Anyone can solicit for donations, but not everyone can make a dollhouse!  While this house is definitely aimed for the well over 3 years of age crowd, our school has lots of older siblings that would LOVE this.

The house hits the auction block in May.  I'm hoping to get a few competitive moms pitted against each other. 

The house is the IKEA Flisat.  One wall was removed from the lower level to make an open concept living space. The kitchen cabinets, TV cabinet, toilet, tub and bed are all glued in, but the rest is free to be played with.

Many items in the house were generously donated by Keli and Jodi.  In addition to what you see in the house pictures, I have a large box filled with a ton of donated accessories and additional furniture so little minds can be creative.

In The Beginning

I painted the structure with kitchen cabinet paint. The floor is the original pine that I stained a medium brown (it hid the grain well!).  The wall paper is scrapbook paper that was glued down with wallpaper paste and sealed with matte Mod Podge.  

All the wall art is from the internet, mostly art that I would love in my own home but lack the wall space for. 

The Kitchen

The kitchen cabinets are an eBay find. I pried off the oven hood and vent, then I applied tiny tile paper as a back splash.  The faucet was donated by Jodi and 3D printed in metal.  You can find it in her Shapeway Store - My Miniature Madness.  I had only read about 3D printing in metal, and I have to say the end product is pretty impressive!

The items you see displayed on the counter also came from Keli and Jodi.  The mixer and the oil are even more adorable in real life. Keli sent the cats and they fit perfectly in the kitchen.

The Living Room

I made the velvet couch extra deep to allow for large dolls to sit comfortably.  I settled on Sylvanian Family/Calico Critters as my family of choice.  They're small and cute!  The dress was crocheted for a 1:6 Kelly doll, but works perfectly in 1:12 (and on a Calico Critter!).  I made the Chanel purse from wood and paper.  Every momma Koala needs Chanel, right?

The Bathroom

The toilet and tub came from a lot at a vintage and antique show 2 years ago.  One of those things that just sit around in the basement until the right project comes a long.  Jodi sent the little scrubbed!  The blue mat was made by the same lady that made the dress.

The Bedroom

The bed is made of palettes which I thought was very of the moment and chic.  Probably not the greatest for the longevity of your mattress or back, but its all in the name of style. I upholstered the headboard in grey cotton.  There was a back and forth about tufting it and thankfully I talked myself out of it!

The bedside lamps took 2 months to arrive from China.  I thought the first order was lost, so I reordered.  And waited.  Then they both arrived on the same day last week!  The lamps were the final piece of the puzzle, so I was happy they showed up.

The storage cabinet came from Keli, but I repainted and stuffed it with decorator books!  The cutest piece in the room (in my opinion) is the peg board.  All those little doo-dads and paper bits!

So there you have it! One more thing off my to do list.  I've never taken pictures as quickly as these ones.  It was a nice sunny day, but so bone chilling cold that I barely had the back drop up and house out before my fingers were frozen!

I made a PVC pipe photo back drop for Miss Kitty's birthday last year.  Nothing cuter then little ones posing with photo props!  But if you reconstruct the back drop frame with the same pieces of pipe but make it shorter, it makes for a great photo back drop for minis.  Just toss a sheet over the frame and use some clamps to keep it from blowing away.  Here's a link to what I had based mine on.  I got the pipe and connectors at the hardware store and cut the pipe at home with my saw.  Quick, easy and cheap! 

I will let you know the final bid.....and see if I do another for next year.  If I do (and yes, I'm sure I will regardless), it will be the Primrose or the Orchid since I have them in a box in my basement (4 years and counting....).

Sunday, 18 February 2018

A New Build....A New Year!

Well, hello again.....

It's been a while, hasn't it?  I have been mini-ing, but my blogging has been a bit slow.  

Here's the update:  

  • Over Christmas, my grandmother passed away.  I decided to take all of her sewing notions, threads, and assorted items to add to my pitiful sewing collection.  I now have more thread in weird and random colours then I will ever know what to do with!
  • I spent a good long while working on mini items to swap with Anna-Maria.  I'm currently stressed out because they haven't arrived yet!! I didn't do tracking because it would have pushed a tiny package to close to $125 (WTF Canada Post!!!!), so given that I've never had issues I mailed it.  If there are mail faeries, I hope they have my package and will get it to her!
  • I finished the Charity Build.  Given the crap-tacular winter we have had here, I haven't been able to photograph it to show it in its glory.  It appears to be warming up a bit, so I will venture outside for some natural light.

The Build

I purchased the Greenleaf Spring Fling 2012 contest build as a Christmas gift for myself in 2016.  It was January 2018 when I decided to build it, so in terms of general miniaturist hording and delaying projects, I think I'm still making good time....hehehe.  

This will be another modern home.  The greenhouse side kit with the windows will be turned on its side, placed on a lower wall and made a sunken living room/bedroom.  The other add-on on the side of the house will become a bathroom.  I was going to use the fruit stand add-on kit, but its too small and low, so I will just build it out of scrap wood.

To access the living room, I will cut out most of the right side wall.  I'm also adding in 2 high windows to give light, but also leave me some lower wall space for furniture placement. 

The front of the house will have symmetrical and asymmetrical features.  I love the high windows and below them at ground level will be planter boxes.  To highlight the roof line, you will note (below), a double line running beside the door, along the right roof line and down the right side.  This will be a beam that will bump out of the front.  Maybe it will feature a splash of colour, different bricks....not sure yet!

Up to this point, I've done my cutting, primed all the wood, sanded and pressed everything flat. I'd like to say that's the worst part, but I'm sure something else will take that title soon enough.  

I also ordered LED lights from  I used their LEDs in my last build and they work brilliantly.  I also purchased the chip-battery and switch kits to make it easier to hide the batteries.  

I have been toying with designs in my head.  Nothing has stuck yet, so I will wait for inspiration.  Unlike many of you that build with a design in mind, I just seem to build and roll the dice.  I think I'm actually just to lazy to plan and like to tinker which results in my "we can always fix it later" attitude (or my having a tantrum and leaving the build for a month until I make peace with it).

And in stitching news

I decided to stitch some Hello Kitty inspired pillows.  Stitched on 32 count silk in a continental stitch using DMC cotton thread.  After searching the internet, I resigned myself to having to make my own chart.  I also decided since I would make Hello Kitty, she would need her friend Badtz Maru (the grumpy penguin).  Badtz's progress is a bit slow because stitching the black is hard on the eyes!

Drum roll please.....I bought my sewing machine yesterday!  By chance I found that Janome had a massive sale for all their dealers, so I managed to get a machine that I wouldn't have normally afforded in the price range I was aiming for.  My laziness and procrastination paid off!

I have also discovered my disdain for sewing was due to my old machine being a piece of trash.  I had this beauty up and running in 15 minutes and it sews like a dream!

There you have it! I have caught you all up on what I've been up to!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

A little bit of everything!

Christmas is almost here!  I have been playing around with minis, but I haven't had much inspiration to make Christmas scenes.  Maybe I need more rum and eggnog!  

Well, what have I been up to.....

The charity house now has cushions!  But I have to say, while I love to photograph outside, its been a little cold! More has been completed, and I`m waiting for a nice day to take the house out on the front step and get snapping.  Wait, is it really `snapping`when you take the pictures with your cell phone...

I also made a pegboard for the house.  Dollar store cork and nail art!

And in the land of Tooth Fairies 

Well, for the silent auction, I also came up with the idea of a tooth fairy mailbox.  Gone will be the struggling parent hunting for a tooth under a pillow or jammed in a tiny special tooth fairy pocket (my poor mom!).

The mailbox opens and I put a small piece of wood inside to make a very shallow space for the tooth to sit (easy for a parent to grab a tooth!).

The door opens to reveal a special far off fairy land.  I have some tiny mushrooms to add into the lawn, but they are clearly being shipped on the back of snails all the way from China. 

Miss Kitty has yet to see these and demand one for herself.  I bought another box frame for her version, but I need to get the rest of the items.  Hers will be a little more luxurious over my final clearance fairy garden special items from Michael's.

The wood boxes are from Dollarama.  I added a wood back.  The grass, doors, hardware and mailbox are off of eBay.  Bunting and fairy bits are from Michael's.  The enchanted scene inside the doors are from a Frozen movie poster book. 

And completely unrelated

I purchased this chair in 2016 at the Brampton garage sale mini show.  It was from an older collector that was selling off their collection.  They didn`t have details on this chair, but its was only a few dollars.  I saw the quality in its hard carved seat and turned legs and saw its real value.  

This collector attended may miniature gatherings in Southern Ontario and belonged to mini clubs in that geographical area. So, it may be a Canadian piece, or not!

I would love to know the maker.  It`s marked SHAW `93. 

What I know: It`s not by Jo-Anne Shaw (IGMA).  I emailed her and asked.  Someone suggested Don Shaw, with a makers mark of Hand Carved by Don Shaw The Bear.  I have to look into that one still.  Anyone have any ideas or leads.

My goals are to get my Christmas minis out and have some fun...and show you some bits that I`ve been making.  Fingers crossed that happens before Christmas!

Monday, 20 November 2017

Mid Century Sofa

I find myself smack dab in the middle of cold weather.  The kind where you get a bit grumpy and not particularly inspired.  I've been a bit busy with Miss Kitty's school, so as long as I can make minis parked on the couch at night, its good.  Ask anything more complicated and that's touch and go.

And might I add, taking picture outside in natural light is COLD!! My brick driveway is really cold to lay down on to get a good angle!

There are some projects brewing.  Some stuff to fill my early 2018, but for now, it's mostly finishing the little things in the charity build.  Still no sewing machine.  It will either be Christmas or my birthday at this point....but the desk top computer on which I am typing is facing a slow and (at times) painful death, so I suspect it will be the first item to be purchased. But in a pinch I could hand stitch pillows and a duvet if needed.

Right now I'm pondering a padded headboard.  And I didn't like my attempts at a bathroom sink, so I will buy one next time I'm at The Little Dollhouse Company.  

The Mid Century Sofa

Sooooooooo, the sofa is what happens when you're on Instagram and you follow the feeds of mid century retailers and architectural designers.  I love the sofa and side table combo.  

The sofa is made of 1/8" birch plywood, stained in a dark walnut and sealed with a matte finish.  I styled my room with some new and vintage goodies.  The wallpaper is scrapbook paper that was originally destined for the charity build.  I opted against green for that because people either love or hate green, so I went with blue and white which is more appealing to a greater number of people.  It really is like staging a house to sell.

And then I played around with a few other minis.....

The brie and french bread wrapper are from Paper Minis.  I've been eyeing the french kit for a while and then I saw it all made up on their Facebook page.  Game over.  I caved and ordered it.  The wicker basket was from a kit.  My first attempt at weaving a basket.  No crisp corners, but I'm pretty pleased.  

Today I was at Desseres and they had their DIY Christmas stuff on sale.  Staring at me as I walked in.......another advent calendar.  This one will be for my husband and I to share next year.  This is a totally do-able quick project (or so I tell myself in November 2018 when I haven't finished the mini scene for the middle or done anything else to it).

Saturday, 21 October 2017

2017 MET Miniature Show

I didn't think I was going to make it to this years Miniature Enthusiasts of Toronto (MET) show.  My husband and I were out of town, but managed to get back into the city within 5 minutes of the show opening.  He sat in the car doing work, I shopped!

Because I thought that I wasn't coming to this show, I had purchased several "wants" at the Bowmanville show, so my list wasn't long.  That said, it wasn't like I had any money left in my pocket when I left the show.....

Vendors (that I don't know personally), now recognize me at shows.  Not sure what that says about my purchasing habits.

I started off at Marie-Luce Pelletier's table.  She make beautiful pottery and said she was likely going to retire after this show.  I hear retirement, and I quickly make sure I have purchased the pieces that I really love.  I have several of Marie-Luce's pieces that I purchased at antique shows, but this was the first time buying from her.  The jug and covered bowl are extremely delicate.  The itty bitty vase is stoneware.

Martha McLean Miniatures is my dealer of choice for handbags.  The luxurious, "can't have in real life" bags in mini compel me to take them home.  I learned they are by Gayoo Lee of South Korea.

The knit sweater coat was made by Lise Ashby.  There was a entire table of mini makers from Montreal representing the Miniature Enthusiasts of Montreal.  Their show is April 7-8, 2018. 

The toque (hat) is from an estate and was sold by Liz at Grandpa's Doll House.  The pom-pom on the hat was what made me buy it.  It's so tiny!  I also bought some texture brick paper from her.  I'm itching to use it on my next project.

Fay-vourite Crafts and Miniatures Co. continues to have amazing plant kits.  I purchased a croton this time and some plant stakes.

Pacific Wood Imports sells a huge variety of mini items (similar to what you find on ebay, mass produced), but I could not say no to the shelf (and it was $4).  I would spend more time and effort making it then just buying it.  The odd "thing" I bought will become a lamp, very retro looking.  Kinda looks like a turd when its on its side though.

I first discovered Sweet Something's Miniatures at the Guelph show, and regretted not buying more.  I'm not a clay maker, so I have to buy these items.  There's only so much I can devote my time to!!  Nancy's banana's are very realistic.  If you're wondering, the blender is Mini Fanaberia which I purchased via Small Scale Showcase a while back.

The mirror and table were made by MET member Eleanor.  The candle stick and copper vase came from Fay-vourite (above).  The turned wood vase and the hand woven rug are made by Harvey and Janice Temeer of Tremeer's Treasures.  They are an older couple and they both do amazing needle work.  I can only hope to see half as well as them when I'm their age.

While I'm not a Christmas mini nut, the items made by MET members were just too cute to leave behind.  The place mats were stitched and had matching napkins.  The stocking was very well done, and I found a second pair of green and red socks (bought some last year).

There will be no Brampton "garage sale" show this year, which made me extremely sad.  My love of retro minis usually means I find lots at these types of shows because people sell them off.  Alas, maybe the garage sale component can be worked into the Guelph or Bowmanville show. 

My wallet appears safe until the spring....maybe....nah.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

2017 Bowmanville Show - Minis Gone Wild

I had never been to the Bowmanville (Ontario) Miniature Show before, and I have to say, it was a solid show!  There weren't too many vendors there, and 2 that I love had to cancel due to emergencies, but the ones remaining were exactly the ones I wanted to see!

I started off at Small Scale Showcase.  Carol always has amazing items.  I purchased a salad bowl and salt and pepper shakers handmade by a Ukrainian artist.  I also picked up a Mini Fanaberia kitchen scale.  

I then moved straight across the room to Maggie Melinda Custom Miniatures (by Janet Harvie).  She had some sell off deals at her table, and I said sold!! She is absolutely lovely to deal with, and if you want custom furniture, I would highly recommend her work.  I now have several pieces in my collection and they are beautiful and well crafted.  

And she had some of her own mini collection for sale, so I grabbed the two gold end tables. 

Across the room I went to A Dollhouse Shoppe.  They sell all kinds of minis, but the last show I attended in Fergus, they had an artist I love, Gunther's Miniatures.  Recall the bed and the bench I purchased? Well, I had to have more of his incredible work!  I purchased a rose wood coffee table and an art deco sofa table.

Now that I had exhausted my "must have" list, I took count of my cash on hand (not too many vendors taking credit cards!) and set off on my hunt.  

Fay-vourite Crafts and Miniatures Co. is always good for kits, especially the ones she makes herself.  But what caught my eye at the end of the show (and also caught the last of my cash too!) was this beautiful handmade leather purse.  She told me it was made by a recently deceased artist, Jose Gomez in Spain.  It actually opens!

1000 Island Miniatures has a mix of things, old and new.  I grabbed this vintage TV that I plan to refinish and make slightly more realistic.  It needs some work.  The lamp had a retro vibe and the bag and thermos were, well, just kinda cute!

Petite Images had a lot of cute items, but I couldn't say no to these Halloween mugs.  Look at those happy little pumpkins!

Kim Stewart of Vintage Miniatures continues to make really amazing kits, she never disappoints.  Her wicker kits are very well crafted, I just completed the wicker tray kit I purchased from the Fergus show.  Most importantly, her instructions are great so you don't have to guess as you are learning. 

The paper chain kit was a bit of a whim purchase.  I was going to make a mini chain to celebrate Miss Kitty's birthday this summer, but never got to it.  Now I can make one for Christmas!!

And as I was out of cash, in need of coffee and getting hungry, I called it quits and went to find my husband working away on his laptop in our car.  He's a keeper that one! Drag him to a mini show a good distance from home and he happily works as I get my mini on!

Here's to hoping I make the MET Show in October!