Category: "Dollhouses"

Ten Years?!!

by brae  

Ten years ago this month, I began blogging about dollhouse miniatures. Who knew that a simple fever would turn into a full blown illness?! haaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

I started with my childhood dollhouse - a lighted Lisa of Denmark/Lundby house. Mom had asked if I would mind giving it to my young cousin (she's a young woman now!). I renovated it and discovered the worldwide online miniatures community.

House After

You can find all the details from the various builds mentioned below from the links in the right sidebar. Cue the highlight reel...


2009 - 2010

Mom bought me a brick Newport to replace my childhood dollhouse, because I foolishly thought I would build only one house. I wanted a big house so I could decorate every type of room, so I added a two story addition and a garage made from the Foxhall Conservatory. I later sold the Newport.

The last complete dry fit I did before selling the Newport.

Range hood lighting and spice rack.

The guest room.

Master bathroom with café shutters.

The garage.  :D

It was building Baslow Ranch for the 2010 Greenleaf Spring Fling that changed my whole view on miniatures. After building the ghost town ranch, I realized I preferred building theme structures.

The Burrowing Owl was added well after the build was completed and was my first miniature animal.

I also opened my etsy shop in 2010.



This year marked the second Greenleaf Spring Fling entry for me - Baxter Pointe Villa.

Mini magazines made from my own collection of Coastal Living magazine, a huge inspiration for the build

I started to discover my love of vintage furniture kits.

Experimenting with turning wood into porcelain.

Making modern minis.

And, of course, the saltwater aquarium.

After the Spring Fling, work began on the Haunted Heritage, all because of a purchased chair from Kris at 1 Inch Minis.

Here's the chimney mockup and the inspiration at the beginning.

Adding pizzazz....

A dry fit in the beginning....

Merry scarecrows, even though the Heritage was a long way off from being finished.

Added a broken down portico.

And, made a sofa to match the inspiration chair.

Started a working pocket door.

During 2011, I bought a Greenleaf Glencroft kit and a vintage Golden Gate View kit by American Craft Products.

The Glencroft is still in the unopened box as of 2019, but the Golden Gate was started as The Brownstone (still in progress as of 2019). I began the Navajo cross-stitch rug that was finished in 2012...



This year was a pretty steady year for mini work. I started making my birdfeeders that I still sell in my etsy shop.

My love of vintage kits also includes light fixtures.

I installed a fancy parlor floor that took a loooooot of work. Strange, I haven't done a floor this complicated since. haaaaaaa

Making curtains got easier with practice.

I sold the Newport this year to a gal who is continuing to add to it over the years, and I quickly replaced it withd a fantastic craigslist deal on a vintage kit....the Woodline Victorian House for $12.  No, that's not a typo. Of course, it's still in the box as of 2019.

Around April in 2012, the third kit for the Greenleaf Spring Fling took over, and I built The Aero Squadron Lounge.

I built two trees - the dogwood for the Lounge...

...and the old tree for the Heritage.


I made hens, chicks, eggs and a hen house.

The most challenging part of the build had to be the 1:32 scale Sopwith Camel, built from a plastic kit by Academy.

I finished the Navajo rug. The stitching time was 189.5 hours, and the rug was cross-stitched on 32 count Jobelan in parchment.  The finished size is 5 3/16" x 8 7/16". Shortly thereafter, I started the Blue Medallion rug.

Work did continue on the Heritage with a jack-o'-lantern.

I revamped a Bespaq bed.

And, I made some clay cookies once I got to playing.

And, then I started a third house for the year with The Artist's Studio, made for the first Undersized Urbanite contest. This build was completed in 2013 since the contest ran from late 2012 to early 2013. Here you can see the leaf deck in mockup form.

Rustic crate bookcase....



I continued work on The Artist's Studio, finishing early in the year.

My work included a scratch built wood stove.

And, there was a hummingbird tile shower surround made from my original artwork.

The window wall keeps the dust out but lifts off for easy access.

The biggest challenge was the leaf deck inspired by a real life Trex deck.

I finished the Blue Medallion rug that lives in the Studio.

It was such a fun project.

I also made a big push toward finishing the Haunted Heritage as well.

kit photo compared to my build photo - front

kit photo compared to my build photo - back

With my bonus, I treated myself to this 1908 Miniature Underwood Typewriter by Ken Byers of Shaker Works West.

I made the Bees and Trees rug using a French knot kit by Teresa Layman. This rug lives in the Heritage bathroom.

And, I started the Brownstone this year. Busy, busy!

My condo was struck by lightning in September, and we were out of the house for just under a month during repairs. Upon returning, I built Walnut Bay Light in a month and a half to make the HBS Creatin' Contest deadline in December of that year.

I also began my first attempt at a 1:144 scale house, which also still sits incomplete in 2019.



I spent my mini time this year on The Brownstone until other projects took over, as usual.

To see the overall general plan, here is the Sketchup image from Mike with the window detailing added by me in PhotoShop. Obviously, this doesn't show the planned garage.

I found a partial vintage Queen Anne kit by Carlson's Miniatures that maybe someday I can do something with, though I have been stealing its parts over the years for other builds since it's really not usable without the timber frame walls which were completely missing from the kit.

kit photo on box front

photo from instructions showing frames being assembled

I bought some vintage plans for future projects - must live to at least a 100 at this point. :]

drawing from Decorating & Craft Ideas magazine

With the condo freshly renovated from the fire the previous autumn, it seemed a good time to pack up and move to a bigger place after 10 years there. While staying at mom's for the bridge between selling the condo and moving into the townhouse, I build Roland's Retreat for the What's in Your Attic? contest by Real Good Toys.

And, I rounded out the year with year another vintage kit - the Country Estate by S/W Crafts - this time complete.



I bought a Greenleaf Orchid kit for a someday project inspired by this old house in my mom's hometown (the house is long gone).

Woody's House

I worked on two Denise's City Cottage kits from HBS. One was purchased for the contest and held in secret; the other was sent to me free by HBS to blog about during the year. The latter was Milo Valley Farm - a build inspired by old barn find cars. It's still unfinished as of 2019, but I did get pretty far on it. (Some of these photos of Milo Valley Farm and the Datsun are from 2016, but I figured it was easiest to keep them grouped).

Knob and tube wiring.

Sliding back to keep the dust out.

The Datsun 240ZG by Tamiya.

Cinder blocks from Mini Materials.

I started making 1:12 scale license plates, which I still sell in my etsy shop.

These are made from paper but look like old worn metal and even have the embossed detailing of the real deal.

I entered my laundry craft room in the Shapeways contest this year.

I made a quick change room called The Maple Room from a Real Good Toys Traditional Room Box kit. I can use this for both dust-free storage and photographing minis.

The purchased HBS contest kit turned into Otter Cove, an upscale waterfront vacation property with a mid century modern inspired interior.

I made The Nine Horses wallhanging this year.

And, I made the Tree Ring Rug in 77 hours over the course of 61 days. Yeow.  My inspiration was a lovely rug by YLdesign called the Woody Wood Rug.

I started the Tribal Foxes rug and put Watson Mill into dry fit to wind up the year.



I worked some more on Milo Valley Farm but it still sits unfinished as of 2019. I considered making a horse using a Breyer thoroughbred model as a base. Interestingly, this project has resurfaced in 2019. :]

I entered Ye Olde Taxidermist in the HBS Creatin' Contest this year.

I made the Model T Van from an Entex kit - this is 1:16 scale but works for an outdoor vehicle.

It has LED lighting.

I made my first truly fabulous tree using a wonderful tutorial by Connie Sauve and candytuft from Scenery Solutions.

I had some fun making skeleton flamingo lawn ornaments that I still sell in my etsy shop.

I made dolls, too. Dolls in general aren't really my thing, but this was a fun diversion.

To finish the year, I picked up on Watson Mill again - testing motors and mocking up the sails.



I continued working on the Tribal Foxes rug and started the Persian and a redo of the Mod Flowers Rug. Needlework projects always come and go with a few getting finished here and there. :D The foxes are done as far as stitching goes, but I have yet the finish the edges.

I worked on Watson Mill mostly - figuring out the final wood sails.

Sails in motion....

I completed a circle library for the main floor.

For reference, here is the original.  I skipped the long curved trim for lack of space.  Besides, I like mine as is.  :]

no discernible source

I also started a dumbwaiter.

I made a Z scale mill - the Archistories Windmill 'Marienfehn' - that was originally intended for Watson Mill, but it was too large for the space in the end.

A little movie....

I made (and sold) two bargello benches.

I'm remaking these in different colors.

I started yet another needlework project - the Gazelle Rug (still unfinished as of 2019).



Random mini work this year.... I attended a full sized Paint Night event but made a mini painting.

I had a commission to make a 1:25 scale RX-7 for a wedding cake table.

I started an N Scale A-frame - Riverwood Cabin, but this project has languished.

I entered a full sized fabric contest with a mini sewing room.

I entered Half Clocked in the HBS Creatin' Contest. It seems a contest deadline is my best motivator for completing a project. :D



So far this year, I've started up the horse project from 2016 - that's Jebediah McCants, ready for finishing.

I started an RFD (rural free delivery) Mail Wagon by adapting a 1:12 scale Doctor's Buggy by Model Trailways.  This can be pricey depending on the retailer, but I found a great deal on amazon for $50 plus free shipping.

And, I am currently working on Ivy Hollow, RFD Post Office for the HBS Creatin' Contest.

To decorate the post office, I've started a French knot rug using a vintage Sue Bakker pattern.

Stay tuned....


And, I'm still going, even if blogging isn't as prevalent as it used be. I love writing and sharing miniatures, and having it in blog form means I don't have to keep a written journal. I can, and often do, search my own blog so I don't have to reinvent the wheel every time I want to repeat or improve on a past technique.

Thank you all for the continued support, and thank you to all the new readers who stop by and stay!  Cheers!  :D

Half Clocked

by brae  

The wait is over!!  Introducing Half Clocked, my entry in the 2018 Creatin' Contest by Hobby Builders Supply.  Some images in this post can be clicked to enlarge. Click here for a complete list of posts on Half Clocked, including how I made things and the materials used.  I will make more detailed posts and add info to this one in the coming weeks.  Since I ran myself down to the wire, I didn't have time to make the big post as usual.  :]

Half Clocked is situated in a market village known for its unique shops, mountain scenery and beautiful gardens.  While the shop has timepieces for sale in every price range, the main attraction is the working cuckoo clock on the face of the building.  Every hour and half hour, the cuckoo emerges from his home and bellows the time to the delight of onlookers.  Half Clocked is open daily from 10 to 4, but the cuckoo sounds from sunrise to sunset.


Structural Changes

It all started with this year's kit, the Three Gables House.

My original idea was to cut the kit down to the bare minimum depth in the front and make a wall-hanging cuckoo clock with minis decorating it.  Then I thought, "Why have a normal cuckoo clock for a real life house when you can have a giant cuckoo come out of the front of a mini clock shop?!!"  :D  As soon as I searched, I immediately found two examples: one in Eble Uhren-Park, Germany and one in Britain.

The doors and windows that came with the kit were great, but I ended up rearranging their placement. I cut six inches from the depth, so now it's much more cottage-y.  I filled in three windows on the sides, leaving one single side window to conserve interior wall space.

I cut a new front for the building since that was easier than trying to plug the large hole in the kit wall and then swapped out the main door for one a little fancier: a Design House shop door #1014.

I cut a new enclosed gable board to have more wall space inside.  The roof now has two smaller matching skylights as well.

My modifications made for an open back structure, so I had to make a new back wall if I wanted something to keep the dust out.  I originally considered a hinged back wall, but since I decided to have an eave on the back, hinging the house-shaped wall would not work. It would bind on the roof overhang. The solution, magnets.  The back wall was cut from a piece of 1/4" thick plywood.  I finished it front and back to match the rest of the build but added small pieces of K&S 0.008 thickness tin sheet left over from the Otter Cove kitchen.  It works well enough to keep the dust and light out, though the wall did warp a bit and the magnets are no match for that.  :\

Unlike Ye Olde Taxidermist, I remembered to decorate the interior of the back wall.  :D  The vintage bird prints are from the Newport, made from images from A History of British Birds, published in the 1850s by Rev. Francis Orpen Morris.


The Cuckoo

Having a working cuckoo clock enclosed in the structure didn't seem that out of reach until I started looking for a mechanism to build around.  It hadn't occurred to me that I would need a pendulum and weights for the classic mechanism.  :\  So, then I searched for tabletop cuckoo clocks and found this amazing MUJI cuckoo clock.  It's a small, concise mechanism with actual bellows for that authentic sound.  In fact, I liked it so much, I couldn't bear to take it apart and had to order a second one to incorporate into Half Clocked.

Taking it apart turned out to be relatively easy, and then I just had to build my wall to suit.  Fitting it to the back just required some braces.

There's obviously the hands and the bird, but there is also a light sensor so the clock doesn't sound when dark and a test button to make the cuckoo come out on command.  :]  I had to line up my holes just so.


The clock face on the front wall went through many different versions before I settled on the final layout.

I had this lovely wood rabbit I bought back in 2012 from artbase.  I always knew I wanted the rabbit on the clock face, but I didn't want to alter the original for my purpose.

I made a cast of it instead using EasyMold Silicone Putty and Alumilite Amazing Casting Resin, my first time using an opaque resin.

It turned out well considering my original mold was not that great.  You often can't tell you have a bad mold until you cast something in it.  But, the resin was sandable, and I did not want to start over.  The instructions recommended painting right away, but the acrylic brown I used did not want to stick. I washed the paint off and then used a spray primer.  The paint adhered to the primer without issue.  Pretty great for a maiden voyage, and it works well for my purposes.  :]

The flowers are Finishing Accents by Darice, the Tando Creative chipboard clock dial was leftover from Roland's Retreat, and the flourishes are new old stock Architect's Choice bracket kits from All About Miniatures.  The gables are finished with Greenleaf speed shingles in half scale, and the scallop trim is from Diminutive Details purchased at a local show (CheckMouse now has these trims).

Originally, the door was meant to open and was cut as one solid piece.  Since the cuckoo mechanism came from a modern clock without a door, I planned to engineer the hardware to fit.  The parts didn't work out partially because my door hinged on the left (fairly common in cuckoo clocks) and partially because the cuckoo arm extended on a curve instead of straight back and forth.  I surrendered the battle and made a split door that's always open.

The white modern cuckoo got a makeover with acrylic paints to better resemble the real life great spotted cuckoo.  :]


Exterior Detailing

I went with a brick base again, so I was back to the egg carton brickwork.  For the porch landing and walkway, I made a straight brick border with a herringbone center.  I couldn't find a true example of vertical bricks on the riser in real life from a quick image search, but it doesn't look terribly out of place.  These are painted my standard Liquitex Burnt Sienna.  For the grout, I mixed spackling, neutral grey paint, black paint and Aleene's Quick Dry glue.  I added the glue just in case the paint made the spackling too thin to stay put.  I replaced the kit post with a Houseworks turned post.  Finn was a great buddy during the build. (He was made by JMDS.)

Above the brick, the stucco is a relatively easy though fickle finish.  I spread spackling over the two walls where I filled in openings; the other two I left plain.  After it dried, I sanded the areas smooth.  The walls didn't have to be completely flat.  I just needed to mask the window outlines so their halos wouldn't be seen later.  Next up was a coat of Americana White Birch.  This is a satin paint, so it has a lovely sheen once dry.  I tapped the paint on with the flat side of a foam brush to achieve a light stucco finish.  I stained the trim pieces Minwax Jacobean.  I love this rich, dark chocolate brown.  :]  I'm usually a white trim gal.

The door frame is stained Minwax Jacobean to match the rest of the trim, and the door is painted Night Sky by Americana. Though there are not a lot of colors available in the satin paint, I do like that using this paint eliminates the need for a final varnish coat.  I added a paper kickplate.  I also had to cut a new window insert since the paint apparently swelled the wood so much the original would no longer fit.  I eliminated the draft that most dollhouse doors have.  Since adding the draft block made the amount of room for hardware so limited, I opted for an old style center knob.  Quirky, which fits.  :D  The hardware is by Classics.

I painted the porch ceiling stucco white so it would brighten the space.  The front porch light is a coach lamp from HBS, and the door mat is a silver metal piece I painted black.  I made the sign using a graphic from iStock.

I opted for subtle signage since I imagine it would be fairly obvious to passers-by which building was the clock shop.  haaaaaa

Thanks to Sheila, we know what bargeboards are.  :D  I stained lengths of 1/16" x 1/4" basswood to attach to the exposed edges of the roof using Minwax Jacobean.  On top of that, for the gables, I added Paulina trim from Heritage Laser Works.  These are only 1/32" thick and very delicate, so I had to come up with a way to stain them without breaking them (full post on that process here).

There's a lovely space that is perfect for a built-in dovecote (just ask Sheila).  I did some scouting around online, and found this great site for inspiration and instruction before attempting to make my own dovecote (parts one and two).  Originally, I was going to cut a triangle and then cut the popholes, but I wasn't getting good results.  So, I re-engineered my approach.  I'm very pleased with the end result.  :]

My doves were made with Hearty Super Lightweight air dry clay and a little paint.  :]  The clay was easy to work with and set up overnight.  It's still pliable enough to squeeze the fat little birds into the popholes.  :D

I used Greenleaf speed shingles for the roof.  These are laser cut, thin wood.  I use Quick Grip glue, which is stinky and messy, just the way a fun project should be.  Utilizing movies and/or TV in the background makes the job bearable.

There's one valley on the roof, so I lined that with Tyvek and painted it Liquitex Iridescent Bronze.  The roof color was achieved using a mix of these paints by Folk Art: Villa Green, Succulent, Greenscape and Basil Green.  There's a Tudor house near my office with a green grey roof that I just adore, hence the color selection.

I ended up having to tone down the coloration with Slate Green by Americana and then using some aging washes to add depth.  (Full process here.)  But, the greens gave the Tyvek flashings a wonderful patina.  For the one roof hip, I cut a piece of cardboard to cover the join, painted this Liquitex Antique Bronze and gave it a light patina to match the rest.

It's not quite the color I was aiming for, but I truly love it.  :]


Interior Detailing

I added a removable interior wall (parts one, two, three, four and five) to allow access to the clock mechanism while disguising its presence from the inside.  I used a Classics narrow door since other interior doors looked proportionally too large for the space.  I wanted to be able to access the front room more than the narrow door would allow, so I always planned to make the insert wall removable.  This was a bit of hassle since I didn't want the board to have gaps all around it nor did I want to continually risk scuffing the floor and ceiling moving it around.  So, I cut the wall into two pieces - one to be a permanent part of the structure and one to be fully removable with the door acting as the handle.

The wallpaper is scrapbook paper Happenstance - Fluke by The Paper Loft.  It is flat paper, but it has a printed design that looks like old fresco.  You might recognize it from the first floor of Watson Mill.  For the enclosed gable, I opted for plain drawing paper.  It's not pure white, so it works well for the space without being too much of a contrast.  Since there's a warm white vaulted ceiling, I didn't think a big blue triangle would look right.  The flooring is Houseworks red oak stained Minwax Jacobean and sealed with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish.

The removable wall trims were originally painted Ceramcoat Waterfall.  It was nice, but it was darker than I wanted once in place.  I was trying to make the door blend more with the wall as if to say, nothing to see here.  I mixed the Ceramcoat Waterfall with Ceramcoat Blissful Blue to get a lighter color.  I painted over the base coat of Ceramcoat Waterfall, and the result was much closer to my original idea.  The brass plate is from The Dolls House Mall.

The baseboards around the room are Minwax Jacobean.  I thought it might end up looking weird to have dark baseboards on the removable wall.  Typically, when you're painting a door the same color as the walls, the trims are also the same color.  I didn't want blue trims throughout, so I mixed the styles.  Somehow, it works and looks relatively seamless.  :]  It might not be the cleanest solution, but I just didn't want dark trim to interfere with the line of sight when the structure is filled and I needed that large of an opening.  The wall is a tight fit, which is just fine.

This won't need to be removed often - just twice a year to change the time and replace the battery.

There wasn't a lot of space for lighting once I cut down the structure, so I chose recessed ceiling lights and two alcove ceiling fixtures for the interior.  I've put NovaLyte can lights in past houses, but they require a 3/8" thick board to sit flush.  In this instance, I faked it with LEDs from Evan Designs and nylon washers.

I put in eight lights for the ceiling. It might seem like a lot, but the vaulted ceiling is high above the living space and I wanted to be sure there was plenty of light.

I ran these wires along the roof to the enclosed gable and down through the small front room to the landscaping board. They aren't easily replaceable, so let's hope they last a long time. Hence, the reason to use long-lasting LEDs.

I added two new old stock ceiling light kits by Illinois Hobbycraft to the front alcove.  I used LEDs for these as well.

I was originally going to use Houseworks 8-light windows for the skylights, but one fit perfectly and the other didn't.  Since they would be right across from one another, there was no way to disguise the variation.  I checked the kit windows, and they were the same size.  Since they come as separate fronts and backs, they are easier to paint and finish.  Plus, you don't have to worry about slight differences in wall/roof thickness.  I painted the interiors White Birch and the exteriors Slate Green, both by Americana.  I cut new acrylic inserts since the kit glass was smaller than the full opening, and I didn't want them to shift out of place.

The interiors blend well.  I thought dark brown rectangles would be too much, so I didn't stain them to match the rest of the trim.  I think this was the right choice.



Furnishings, clocks and such

The birdhouse kit is from Art of Mini.  Originally, I had painted the birdhouse green, but then I thought, "Why is just about every birdhouse I make green?  I'm sure birds like other colors."  So, I painted over that with Battleship and painted the roof Bittersweet Chocolate, both by Americana.  Now it's a house suited for the unassuming bird who doesn't like to draw attention.  :D

This later ended up on the outside of the building.  Debora made the beautiful brass clock.  The brass had naturally aged while in storage, and that made the hands hard to see.  I added a little black paint to bring them back.  I cut and painted a block of basswood to serve as the wall mount and added the clock to the porch.

The trestle table is a House of Miniatures kit.  After filling in any minor gaps with wood putty, I stained the piece Minwax Dark Walnut. I touched up any glue/putty areas with brown paint and then added a coat of Delta Ceramcoat Satin Varnish.

The Shenandoah Designs tiered server is one of those frustrating three-legged contraptions that make me swear even more than usual but often turn out so nicely.  I started with a coat of Basil Green by Folk Art.  I had to paint this since I always get glue everywhere when putting together any three-legged stand. I used one of the small rubber stamps with the same paint as the French side table to add some detailing.

The French Side Table kit is from Art of Mini.  

For the French side table, I started with a coat of Bittersweet Chocolate by Americana. I want this to be an old table, perhaps once stained and lovely then re-purposed with a coat of paint (or three).  The Folk Art Vintage White paint I had was very thick for being rather old, so I added some water.  With the dark undercoat, it took several layers to even out.  That added to the refinished look unexpectedly, so a nice happy accident.  I rubbed the paint with a piece of brown paper bag to remove the high spots.  Then I used a light grit sanding stick to bring out some of the dark details from underneath. 

I added metallic detailing with Taupe by Folk Art.  I used a rubber stamp and the same paint on the top (technique detailed here).  I rubbed the piece again with a piece of brown paper bag until I had a nice sheen. The legs warped a little, but that adds to the antique least that's what I tell myself.  :D

I have no chimney, but I am using a fireplace with a false brick insert.  The fireplace was part of a miniatures lot I bought online.  I have two that are very similar, and one is for the Brownstone.  They are heavy, well made and have crisp detailing.  The material appears to be some sort of translucent resin.  There are no markings or manufacturer details.  The seller indicated that she purchased them in 1996 at The Dolls House Toys Ltd., Covent Garden, London.  The fire screen is by Ellen Moore.

The modern side table was inspired by the Oly Studio Ichibad Side Table and made with Tiny Turnings.  I needed some sort of cash transaction station for my shop, so I added a vintage desk from my stash and stool from Boutique Miniatures.  The desk is a cheap miniature, but it has always appealed to me.  It was also from a collection a friend gave to me after his mother passed, so it has that sentimental draw as well.  The laser cut Victorian wall clock is from D-Tales Miniatures, bought at the Bishop show.  The hourglass is fron Here Today Gone Tomorrow, and the pintail drake decoy is by Linda Master.  The Art Deco working clock on the right mantel top is from Halls Miniature Clocks.

The black grandfather clock was made from a Chrysnbon kit.

For more details and pics of the clocks and accessories on this side of the room, click here.

The ivory grandfather clock is also Chrysnbon.

The blue Mora clock began with a Miss Lydia Pickett Cottage Clock (you can see the construction in parts onetwothreefourfive, and six).   This is a 1:12 scale kit by Robin Betterley's Miniatures.

Yeah, had to have a cuckoo clock in the cuckoo clock, right?  This awesome kit is from MiniaturasMyE.  It came with a wood cuckoo, but I wanted a little more realism.  I thought I had a half scale bird from Barbara Meyer, but I couldn't find it.  Instead, I used a full scale bird and shaved it down to fit.

The fancy plant stand is from Arjen Spinhoven.  I didn't want to lose the carved detailing, so I stained it Minwax Driftwood and finished with Delta Ceramcoat Matte Varnish.  The working clock on the top is from Halls Miniature Clocks, and the ceramic rabbit and brass seal figurine were likely from Manor House Miniatures.

The rustic table is from Barbara Begley Miniature Gardens.  At the last minute, I realized I needed a I swiped the Tree Ring rug for the space.  Now, I can leisurely make a replacement.  :D  I've made the Banjo wall clock from Cynthia Howe Miniatures before, but this time I went less traditional.

For more details and pics of the clocks and accessories on this side of the room, click here.

The gable clocks are made from kits, jewelry findings and watch parts.  Please click here for the detailed post.

The tiered table has a selection of small clocks that I picked up from shows, but you can find them online.  I made the bird statue from jewelry findings, and the spiral vase is from Patricia Paul.


The Landscaping

I went with a modest and tidy landscaping for the build since it seemed reminiscent of a simplified cuckoo clock.  The landscaping board is finished on the edges with iron-on veneer edging.  I then glued layers of white 1/16" foam sheets by Woodland Scenics using Weldbond glue.  I went with thin foam so I could keep the land relatively flat on the baseboard while still allowing for natural unevenness.

For the grass, I used Heki Summer Meadow Field Grass.  It has a paper backing that isn't the easiest to seam, but I do like the color, variation and texture.  I also had it in my stash already, so that saved on costs.

Since I planned to have 20 shrubs around the structure, I opted for mulched areas. This cut down on the grass quite a bit.  I added Woodland Scenics Fine Dark Brown Ballast as the mulch base, to serve as dirt. If there were any bare spots in the mulch, this would blend well.  I held it the ballast and mulch in place with Woodland Scenics Scenic Cement applied with a pipette.

The shrubs were made from Styrofoam eggs, Styrofoam trees from Hobby Lobby and and loose railroad scenery foliage.  You can find the tutorial here.  I'm a huge fan of Squeeze Me trees and shrubbery, but if you need a lot of them, it can get very pricey.

Of course, at the last minute (two days before the deadline) I decided I needed flowers around my shrubs.  My twenty shrubs.  Flowers do not go a long way and take considerable time to make, but I did it.  :D  And, I think they add just the right amount of color.  These were made from Bonnie Lavish kits, HBS So Easy kits (also Bonnie Lavish) and flower punches with origami paper.  The flower pots on the porch were from Manor House Miniatures.

And, of course, you want to see the cuckoo in action.  :D You know, it's interesting to work on a miniature house that is constantly reminding you of time passing by while you're building it.

That's a wrap (for now)!!  :D


Thank you to Debora, mom and my boyfriend for all the support during this crazy process of building!  Thank you to Samantha for not spilling the beans with her spot-on guess a couple of weeks ago!  Thank you to everyone for the encouragement along the way.  It means the world to me.  Best of luck to all who entered and thank you to HBS for another wonderful kit this year.

The HC - bricks, bricks, bricks...with still more on the to do list

by brae  

I'm going with a brick base again, so I was back to the egg carton brickwork.  I like to work on bricks with the panels still removable, but this can cause problems with alignment even with careful measuring.  If I were bricking a whole house, I would likely have to just deal with applying the material after assembly to make sure I had the rows as straight as possible.  Luckily, there is landscaping planned to disguise any obvious issues.  Plus, grouting tends to even things out a lot.

For the porch landing, I wanted a straight brick border with a herringbone center.  I started with the front step, using vertical bricks on the riser.  I couldn't find a true example of this in real life from a quick image search, but it doesn't look terribly out of place.  I just didn't want to carry the horizontal rows from the front and side walls around the porch step.  I'm replacing the porch post with a Houseworks turned post, so I had to fill in the space a little with strip wood.

For the herringbone center, I printed 1/4" square graph paper.  The bricks don't align to the grid perfectly as you glue them in place, but it is the best tool for keeping things relatively on track from row to row.  I spaced these very close since this is a walkway and I wanted to minimize the grout.  A welcome mat and plant pots are great for masking any inconsistencies.

Once I had the herringbone pattern glued to the paper, I cut a template to determine the best layout.

I marked the border, cut the herringbone section and glued the paper to the porch.  Now I can finish the straight border.

I still have the long side wall and back to brick as well.  There will also be a brick walkway later in the landscaping phase.

The HC - back wall and insert wall, part 1

by brae  

Since I want to glue the roof in place and have the back open, I needed to figure out how to hinge a wall.  Nothing is glued in place just yet so I can engineer on the fly.  I have cut 3/8" square basswood support beams for the back sides and new beams for the ceiling.  I'll likely be cutting the back wall as one piece, so the beams will give it something to abut when closed.

I'm also making a small room up front under the gable.  I cut a 1/4" thick plywood board to fit the space and then planned my trims and door.  I'm using a Classics narrow door since other interior doors looked too big proportionally.

A blog reader asked about how I cut the skylight holes, so here is a link to an old post I did on making cuts without power tools (technique learned from Real Good Toys).  I still use this method a lot, and it works really well on mdf especially.  Here are the cuts in process.

However, now I often finish the cut with my scroll saw to get a cleaner final cut.  The scroll saw can and does wander, but these holes are fully enclosed by the door or window they house, so it's not a huge deal.

On the other hand, if you use a component that is smaller than the existing hole, you need to fill it.  I typically use strip wood.

Since I want the door to open into the main room, I needed to pad the edges of the door casing (here's an old post on that technique).  I didn't need it to be neat since this side of the door won't be seen.  I'll make any minor adjustments once I'm ready to install the insert wall.

I want to be able to access the front room more than the narrow door will allow, so I will be making the insert wall removable.  This is a bit of hassle since I don't want the board to have gaps all around it nor do I want to continually risk scuffing the floor and ceiling moving it around.  So, I will cut the wall into two pieces - one will be a permanent part of the structure and one will be fully removable with the door acting as the handle.  This will make a lot more sense once I get the trims cut and in place, but here is the plan in dry fit.  The outer side panels and upper panel will be permanent, but the door and its two adjacent panels will be one removable unit.

The HC - time to get bashing!

by brae  

This year's contest kit will go by the nickname HC for now.  You know me, love to keep you guessing!  :D

The doors and windows that come with the kit are great, but I need to rearrange their placement for my idea.  I'll likely cut down the depth of the building as well, so I won't be using all of the components, either.  First, I swapped out the main door for one a little fancier - a Design House shop door #1014.  The kit door goes into the stash in its place.

On the inside, I'll be plugging up the front window and making wall shelf niches on either side of a narrow door to fill the space.  I'll cut a new front wall since that is easier than patching the existing one.

I'll also be enclosing the gable space on the interior to have more wall surface.

I found some new old stock Houseworks picket fence packages recently.

I might need to raise the building foundation a little depending on whether the fences end up blocking too much.  It's mainly to enclose the area around the building in a decorative manner so true scale height is less important.

There won't be too many previews of my build, though I will share progress on the niches, some furnishings, etc.  I'd like to dig out The Scale Cabinetmaker magazines and try a few pieces to fit.  And, I hope to continue work on Watson Mill, but time is already strained.

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