He's just misunderstood

by brae  

I grew up reading Dr. Seuss books and have always loved the whimsical characters.  My childhood copy of The Lorax is still on my bookshelf and is in rather good condition.  I've even been to the Dr. Seuss National Memorial in Springfield, Massachusetts.  It rained the day I went, but I still had great fun viewing the sculptures.

So, I was over the moon when I discovered The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss.  You can see many of the works here.  My personal favorite was Cat from the Wrong Side of the Tracks.  I contacted the folks at Dr. Seuss, and they granted me permission to reproduce this print in miniature for my personal collection.  Hooray!  :D

I think it will end up in the Brownstone ultimately, but it might make appearances elsewhere in the meantime.  I also plan to make a frame for it eventually, so I made the art crate a little larger than the print.  In this photo, you can see the slight texture of the scrapbook paper I used that gives it a canvas quality.

I made the art crate from basswood scraps darkened with a touch of brown paint mixed with staining medium.  The nails are bronze paint.  It is non-opening.

I cut a stencil using the Cricut to dry brush lettering and symbols.  :]  I used recycled office supplies for the material since it's very close to true stencil plastic.

Considering the success with the small parts of the letters, I could likely make even smaller stencils.  I did have to pause the cut a few times to remove tiny bits of plastic that popped out so they wouldn't get caught or interfere with the blade.

The trial was a success.

I cut away the excess so they would sit flat against the wood.

These were relative large in scale, but the crate is large and needed clear markings.

One side turned out better than the other, so I have a definite right side.  Yes, that's a packing list pocket, bill of lading, invoice and certificate of authenticity.  :D

Gustav's Mill - part 1

by brae  

I have the week off from work, and yesterday I built Gustav's Mill -- the Archistories Windmill 'Marienfehn' in Z scale.

I bought some 21-gauge tipped glue syringes since the portions to be glued are so small.  Elmer's wood glue worked well with them.

The kit goes together easily since the parts are so accurate.  The instructions are clear with good drawings.

The motor does work with a 3V battery holder.  There are two diodes included to slow down the revolutions per minute (from 33rpm to 15 rpm according to the instructions).  Those will be added later once I get the display table built for it.  The motor has a quiet wind-up toy sound that's rather satisfying.  :D

I got out my soldering materials to attach long wires to the motor.  I left a lot of length so I can have more to work with later.

The X brace has been left unglued.  I plan to make a modest landscape for the display, so I'll add it once I get that in place.

I didn't take many photos during the building process since the tiny dabs of glue dry too fast.  :]  The sails are also just lightly glued right now.  I'll add a stronger adhesive once I'm done.  I want to be able to remove the sails during the landscaping process.

The tiny doors can be displayed open, but I like them closed.  There was no breathing when handling those tiny hinge accents.

The hub looks so big and solid, but the centers are thin black paper circles applied with needle tip tweezers.

I love the wee windows.  Yes, they have "glass" in them.

One of my favorite parts are the red stone slabs.  Just a pop of color in the mix.  You can also see the fine siding texture here.

Of course, I know you want a movie.  :D  This was taken with the two diodes taped in place, so this is the final speed of the sails.

Watson Mill - arched door, part 1

by brae  

I wanted an arched door for Watson mill to keep with the curved aspect of the facade, and as mentioned before the door opening had to be moved to the side to avoid the sails.  There's a relatively low ceiling on the first floor at 7 3/4" tall, which knocks out the ability to use the lovely Palladian door that stands just under 9" tall.  I also didn't want to overpower Gustav's modest stature with an enormous door.  Enter the Designer Home Hogarth window with shutters.  I bought this new old stock window at a local miniature show.  I have only the one, but if I am meant to find more in the future then it will happen.  :D

Using the trim as a guide, I measured the future door against the wall for comfortable otter accessibility.  Check!

I cut the inside bits on the scroll saw.

Pieces of strip wood were added to fill in as needed.

I filled, filed and sanded (and sanded).  More sanding will be required during painting as well.  These types of routed trims are not forgiving.  :\

The tools of the trade: a needle file set, a homemade sanding block and Minwax Wood Putty in natural pine.

Since doors open in, the frame will be reversed with the fancy trim on the inside.  I'll look for some fancy long hinges and an interesting door latch.  An oval side window might look good here as well.

On the outside, there will be a nice deep entryway.

Of course, with all the filler and residual tabs, the frame will need to be painted instead of stained, but I'll choose natural colors to blend and perhaps do a bit of faux finishing.  I won't cut the opening until much later, after I've built a few things for the interior and tried out some layouts.  These sorts of choices and trials are why I keep my houses in dry fit for so long.  :]

Watson Mill - circle library, part 1

by brae  

I've taken the plunge and purchased a crafting machine.  :]  I opted for the Cricut Explore One, even though there are more advanced models out there.  I wanted to keep costs down, and I don't foresee needing to speed through projects or having the ability to write and cut in one step.  They were running excellent sales at the end of the year as well, so I was able to pick up a starter set with a deep cutting blade, mats, tools and sample materials for a good price.  The Bluetooth capability was not a necessity for me, but if I change my mind, there is an adapter for the machine I have.

I have not explored the creating software very much, but I did have a look at some of the included projects and I can see a lot of value here.  I'm looking forward to trying out some ready-made projects as well as developing my own.  :]

I fired it up today to help cut some consistent 5/8" wide cardboard strips.

So much faster and easier than measuring and cutting by hand.  Plus, no variation in widths.  :]

What did I need all these strips of cardboard for?  To make the starting base for a circular bookshelf.  I moved the circles down and over after my first dry run, so my lines are a little off.  I've marked tall shelves so I can make large books, which take up more room and will require me to make fewer of them.  There will also be room for knick-knacks.  Gustav seems to approve.

Here's my inspiration photo (no discernable source, unfortunately).

While I can't put in a bay window due to the rotating sails, I can put in a sliding window to let in more light and a spring breeze.  This is a new old stock Houseworks window.

Baxter Pointe Villa is for sale

by brae  

I'm finally listing a house for sale (here's the listing on eBay).  I doubt I will let go of many, so this is a big step for me.  :]  I'm located in the Chicago area if someone coming to the April shows is interested.  Due to the delicate wind turbine and porch, the house cannot be shipped.  For the full write-up on the build, click here.  :]

The exterior has approximately 1,700 cedar shake shingles, each individually cut and glued in place.  The custom built chimney features egg carton brickwork.

The house has four rooms: kitchen, living room, bedroom and bathroom.

The 12V lighting is all hard-wired.

The house features one of my custom made aquariums.

There are flameless lighted candles in the fireplace.

The kitchen cabinets are fixed in place and feature working doors and drawers.  The sink is custom made, and a removable half fridge is included.

There are two barstools included for the breakfast bar.

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