Category: "Books, films, and other media"

The Tree, part 1

by brae  

What's a haunted farmhouse without a big ol' creepy tree in the yard?  :O

To build my tree, I used the tutorial from the DVD Master Miniaturists: Landscaping Primer with Diane Myrick.  This whole series is just awesome!

Diane made her tree from 40 pieces of floral wire, but I used 66 pieces: a mixture of 18" pre-cut floral wire in 18 and 22 gauge.  I supplemented the height with 14 pieces of 32 gauge floral wire purchased on a spool that I cut into 20" lengths.

I wanted roots on mine, so I staggered the wires so that the thinnest wires were loose at the top and the thickest wires stuck out at the bottom.  I wanted one long root, so I made sure I had a bundle for that as well.

Diane's tutorial shows a tree with foliage.  Since the Heritage is set in the autumn, my tree will be mostly bare (I think).  Ha ha.  To that end, I spent a lot of time shaping the branches.  I also left the house side minus a branch, which might have hit the portico at some point.  ;]

Here's a nice aerial view of the tree, which stands 18" tall.  :D  The tree has a spindle on the bottom that's inserted into a box for right now.  I will be adding a foam base when I get to the yard portion of landscaping for the tree to sit on, and the root tips will disappear into the ground.

There are a lot more steps yet, so stay tuned!  Lyssa's building a tree, too!  Go check it out!

Parlor ceiling board and first gable installed

by brae  

I decided to finish cutting the crown molding pieces while the ceiling board was removable but I won't install them until later.  I might have to re-cut one piece that seems temperamental, but it's a good start.

I glued the ceiling board in place.  I used a large clamp to hold the side wall inward and canned goods for weight along the outer edge.  So far, so good.  :D

I glued in the first gable - this is the bathroom side wall.  I used a carpenter's square held up with canned goods to keep the wall straight.

Since the gables are loose in the connector channels, I added small shims of wood to hold the wall flush on the inside.

Added trim on the exterior will help hold the gable in place.  Right now, the trim is just held in place with mini hold wax.

This trim piece will be cut to fit next to the chimney, then painted and aged later in the build.

Woo-hoo!  The second floor has begun!  :D

Kitchen crown molding

by brae  

I've had crown molding painted for the Newport for some time but didn't end up using it in any of the rooms.  Since the kitchen has a partially textured ceiling and gaps in the non-textured part (a characteristic of the way the kit is constructed), I decided to add some crown molding painted white to match the ceiling.

The two inner corners have small protrusions created by the dividers used in the construction of the house.  On the Greenleaf forum, Mike had posted a picture of corner blocks used in crown molding (here's a real life example).  These fill in the corners and you need to cut only 90-degree mitres - much easier than angled mitres.

I opted for 3/8" wood blocks from Hobby Lobby, cutting a notch in the back to fit the corner protrusion.  As you can see, it's easier to cut these without the ceiling in place yet.

Here they are held in place with some mini hold wax.  I couldn't install them until the ceiling board was glued in permanently to ensure a good fit.  The corner blocks might be slightly too big, but they should blend well enough once they're painted white.

After cutting wiring channels for the kitchen ceiling lights, I glued the ceiling board in place and used a few finishing nails for added structural support.

I installed the strip of wood across the front of the bay window to hide more ceiling gaps.  Working in this deep, narrow room was not easy, so I am glad I installed all of the windows, window treatments, interior trims and baseboards before putting the ceiling board in permanently.

I really love the way the crown molding completes the room.

I glued in the corner blocks and decided to span the crown molding across the front of bay window ceiling board instead of continuing the crown molding inside the bay.  The bay window is now a cozy nook.

As expected, there are some minor gaps here and there as well as some paint chips.  I'll fill those in next, but not tonight.

Once the touchups are done and the lights are permanently installed, this room will be done except for decorating!  :D

Scratch built single bed

by brae  

One of my favorite dollhouse furniture books is Thirties & Forties Miniatures in 1:12 Scale by Jane Harrop.

There are a lot of great projects in this book that are both classic in design and usable in a more modern setting.  I plan to make several of the items, but I decided to start with one of the more straightforward designs listed as "beginner" level: the single bed.

I used balsa wood for the build since I am not sure where I would find the obechi wood the book indicates.  Balsa can damage easily, but I love the way it looks once stained.  It's also very easy to cut.

Here's the bed in construction.

I love the look of the bed with the high headboard.  I used antique pine stain from IKEA.

click image to enlarge

The most difficult part of the whole process was making sure the slats on the headboard and footboard were measured exactly.

click image to enlarge

The bed has two flat boards that I left unattached.  Once I figure out the bedding, I'll decide if I need them or not.

click image to enlarge

1920s wicker furniture book

by brae  

The second story of the Newport dollhouse has a conservatory, and I wanted some wicker furniture for it.  I did the usual Google search for ideas and ran across a blog entry from Casey's Minis referencing a book called Art Fibre Weaving by Grand Rapids Fibre Cord Company published in 1925.

I borrowed a copy through interlibrary loan, though the one I received was published in 1927.  What a fabulous little book!  It's written about real life size furniture, but the techniques could easily be adapted for minis.  The history of the book itself was also interesting.  It was repaired in the 1950s but was in overall decent condition.  Of course, it had only been checked out three times before my request.  It still has its original date due slip, which notes that a 2¢ per day fine will be levied against the delinquent borrower; the first checkout stamp precedes a note of a 4¢ fine.  Tsk tsk.  :D  I found it especially interesting that the last time it had been checked out was in 1974.

I liked the book so much I've been searching for a copy to buy.

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