by brae  

There is a Proxxon Scroll Saw in residence!  It barely fit under the tree.  :D  Elga already told me that parties and power tools do not mix (though I already knew this), so it will be set up and tested another night...minus the egg nog.  ;D

My parents gave me two Bespaq honeymoon cottage chairs.  Mom said the table is on backorder, though I am worried it might be discontinued.  :\

I also received some new dinnerware: Rachael Ray Little Hoot salad plates, soup bowls and mugs.  So cute!  My former dinnerware that these replace will make its way to the local goodwill store.

Of course, I treated myself to a couple of fun things while I was shopping for presents to give to others.  :D  I bought two fun ceramic items from Anthropologie: a 6-egg tray and a berry basket.  I like hard boiled eggs, and this is the perfect way to store them in the refrigerator.

The berry basket can hold onions, tomatoes and/or avocados until I use them.  The crabby pitcher and jar are from a place I used to work many years ago.

I also received gift cards, clothing and other wonderful gifts from friends and family at the various parties I attended this extended holiday weekend.  Presents are always nice, of course, but the time spent with loved ones was the best part.  :D  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Happy Holidays 2012

by brae  

I set up a quick living room scene since the Christmas tree I decorated for the Newport is too tall for the Heritage parlor.  :O  I'll have to make grandma a tree of her own next year.

The couch, chair and coffee table are Bespaq, and I have a third chair to match.  The afghan is by Mary of Roslyn Treasures.  The curtains are a Marimekko design printed on regular paper, folded and tacked to the sides of the window.  The rug is from Dales Dreams.  The Shaker step stool was made from a kit by Miniature Wood Creations.  The wood is so nice I just sealed it as is with satin varnish.

The red paper bag and box with tissue on the couch are by Patrizia Santi (the shoes are at Baxter Pointe Villa).  The kitting, plant and table in the corner were purchased.  I made the bag of wrapping paper rolls.

The mini cookies on the dresser are from the swap arranged by Gail at Dolly's Gallery Miniatures.  Gail made glitter stars and trees, and Denise made gingerbread men.   The plates are from A Lavender Dilly, and the doily is from Stewart Dollhouse Creations.  The mouse is from a box of miniatures a group of us send around as an ongoing swap, and I made the topiary and cards.  The snowman bead was purchased some time ago.  I bought the frame and printed the owl drawing by Dürer to fit.  The dresser is a House of Miniatures kit made in a more modern finish.

I made all of the wrapped gifts except for the red one with the white bow.  That came from the traveling swap box as well.  :]

The wreath I bought a couple of years ago.

The lovely Caterina hosted her annual Christmas Swap this year, and my gifts came from M Carmen.  She sent me a lovely assortment of holiday minis, starting with a festive centerpiece with frosted pine cones.  It's very Pottery Barn.  The tea pot is by Jason Feltrope, and the tray is from artbase on etsy.  I made the cookies in the tin.

M Carmen also made a wreath from tiny pages of music paper with Santa in the middle.  Very vintage!

The postal service was a little rough on the remaining box of minis she included, so I am not sure how she meant for it to be originally.  There's a wooden box with a few minis glued in place: garland, a Santa hat, more of those adorable tiny pinecones.  Running around loose in the box were ornaments, ribbon, Christmas plaques, rolled paper, cards, candy canes and pinecones.  It's the perfect box for grandma's attic in the Heritage.  :D  And, I don't mind in the least that the contents escaped the box; I'll be able to use them displayed in the box and to decorate besides!  Thank you so much, M Carmen! 

As with my Jasper in real life, Cora is after the gift wrap!  :O

The floral painting is by Elga's daughter, Naomi.  It's so well done; the photos don't do it justice.

Wishing you all the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year!  Thank you for all the support and friendship!

Curtain options and furniture painting

by brae  

The swinging windows in the Heritage bedroom are wonderful architectural details, and I don't have any plans to cover them up.  However, grandma needs a little privacy and options in case she'd like to nap during a bright, sunny day.  :D  I did some scouting around on the internet and found two great options for adding curtains to a Palladian window, similar to the arches in the Heritage.

First, you can add curtains to only the swinging window portion.  The arches are high enough that no one would be able to see in even if they remain uncovered.  I would use a simple white fabric for this option.

image from

The other option is floor to ceiling curtains that sit outside of the entire window frame.  These would mask the entire window when pulled closed.  I would use a muted grey fabric so it wouldn't interfere with the light colored furnishings.

image from Camille Moore

Lyssa and I are leaning toward the first option of curtains only for the swinging window.  :]

The other task on my agenda is finishing the bedroom furnishings.  For the nightstands, I'm thinking a semi circular pattern of flowers on the tops, some coordinating flourishes on the sides and front drawer, and a few details on the legs.  Here they are painted Vintage White by Folk Art.

Karin, a member on the GL forum, has been creating tiny floral paintings and embellishments in her dollhouses using the instructive books by Donna Dewberry.  I checked out a bunch of these from the library, and they are full of wonderful designs with straightforward designs.  Here's the design I've chosen from Donna's books.  She also has instructions for painting birds, butterflies, dragonflies and bees.

Here's an example of a painted side table showing some detailing on the legs.

image from The Perfect Decor

For the dresser, I like the idea of painting the facade as a whole.  I'll give it a slight aging wash first and then paint vines and birds.  Here it is with its Vintage White base coat.

Here is an example from Patina: the Aria Chest.

For the Bespaq bed, the simple change from mahogany...

To satin almond was a world of change.

I found this lovely example from Houzz showing a painted ivory bed.

I don't plan to add any painted detailing since there will be so much going on in the room besides, but Lyssa and I thought a little wear would be appropriate.  Here's a fantastic example from European Paint Finishes.

Detail of the wear patterns...

I'll end up somewhere in between these two examples.  :]

Wiring...a necessary task

by brae  

I've gotten far enough into the build that I need to start addressing the wires that will eventually be housed in the chimney.  I have some wires lengthened and marked with masking tape so I know what is what.

Others are just hanging around, too short, and I need to plug them in to see what happens.  Haaaaa!  What a mess....

I decided to take some time tonight and remedy that issue.  All the wires will come down the wall behind the chimney and that will require a track to the back of the baseboard.  I cut the landscaping foam but kept the piece to later plug the channel over the wires.

I use the tiny clear, pre-cut shrink tubes by Cir-Kit when when I need to keep the wire joins thin, usually within a channel inside the walls or floor boards of the building itself.

For the wires that join inside the chimney, the thickness of the wire joins doesn't matter since they will be loose in the flue so I use shrink tubing from Evan Designs instead.  This is a length of black tubing you cut yourself.

The result is comparable to the clear tubes just slightly thicker.  I use a small lighter to shrink the tubing, putting the flame just close enough.

If you get the flame too close, you can use liquid electrical tape.  This won't hold wires together like a shrink tube, but it replaces any lost insulation.

I decided to use a 3V flickering orange LED for the parlor fireplace, the same method used for the jack-o'-lantern on the front porch.  I cut a channel in the landscaping foam and then drilled a hole into the cellar doors.

I wired the LED to a 3V battery adapter with a switch.

It's a softer, more realistic light than the static red bulb.  I'll have to make a movie of the flickering.  I love how spooky the fireplace looks in low light.

I taped the wires in place here and there to keep them tidy.  Much better.

Once the remaining wires are in place, I'll finish the landscaping and then add the chimney.

I even added the plugs at the ends.   I use a 12-switch power strip, and yes, there are more than 12 lights to be plugged in at any given time.  My transformer can definitely handle them all on at once, but I am more of a use-them-when-you-need-them type when it comes to lighting anyway.  I could certainly add another power strip, but I don't.  :D  And, yes, I know it's already a bit of an octopus...ah, well, it works for me.

Having the chimney hiding the wires makes the Heritage completion seem like a solid reality.  It won't be long now!

What's old is new again

by brae  

Tonight, I rewired the vintage polka dot Lundby sconce from my childhood dollhouse as well as the two others I recently found on eBay.

I prefer to use LEDs with long life or replaceable bulb units when I hard wire lights, but that wasn't an option for these for a couple of reasons.  First, the holes in the lamp where the wires feed were too small for the NovaLyte LEDs I had on hand.  I couldn't use the ones from Evan Designs, because they have rectifiers along the wires (basically, little circuit boards).  Those definitely wouldn't fit.  The screw type bulb socket I tried was too big, and the bi-pin bulb socket won't work since there is no room inside the shade to manipulate the bulbs and the shade is not removable.

So...I am using the non-replaceable candle bulbs with varnished wires from the Chrysolite lamps I installed in the Heritage.  Since those light kits came with removable shades, I switched these bulbs out for replaceable bulb candle sockets.

Additionally, these three lights will be installed on outer walls.  What I will do is make the wire channels a little wider in one place so I can coil extra wire there.  In case I ever need to replace the bulbs, I can remove the strip of siding on the outside and rewire it with a new bulb.  It might sound like a pain, but it's at least a plan.  :D

Here they are taped in place around the daybed.

They are going to be fabulous mood lighting!

The other one will go above the front door.

I love the way lighting transforms a miniature build even so early on.  :]

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