Chicago Spring Showcase of Miniatures July 2021

by brae  

Whew! Long time since the last post. I've been reorganizing my house and crafting spaces, but I have also been making minis behind the scenes.

There was finally a mini show on! The Chicago Spring Showcase of Miniatures is on through Saturday, so you still have time to shop if you're in the Chicagoland area. It was great to see people I haven't seen since 2019! The time does fly by. Now, on to the goodies!

Calico Garden. Bee box

Bundt cake and peeps donuts

T&D Miniatures and Dollhouses. These folks are the hosts of the show. :]

All About Miniatures. Greg has a huge selection of kits in various scales, landscaping and delightful OOAK creations.

Sago palm

Herb table

Skeleton table

J and K Minis. They have a huge selection of unpainted metal minis.

Jancrafted. I bought the last of her amazing trees. I can't decide if I would plant it outside of a house or have a real Christmas tree indoors. Either way, Chester is sure to climb it. :D

She had vintage goodies as well.

A Pocket Full of Wishes. Always a wonderful collection of handmade and vintage minis. I love this sewing machine/spatula tractor! :D

This is such a cute gift-wrapped house.

A Little More in Miniatures. Another staple for landscaping and interesting accessories.

WCD Miniatures. A mix of vintage and new. I always find goodies here.

Breakfast in bed, coming right up!

D-Tales Miniatures. So many beautiful pieces to choose from.

itty bitty mini (m)art. A new vendor with a fantastic selection of retro tech. They have 1:6 scale as well.

Cluny Animals - introduction

by brae  

I've been meaning to tackle the Cluny Animals rug designed by the late Bobbie Schoonmaker for many years. There are other projects ahead of it, but I recently took some time working on re-charting the pattern in PatternMaker Pro. Charting into the software makes it easy to swap colors and make modifications to the layout, which is what I planned to do. Working on the chart little by little now means it will be ready for when I want to dive into stitching.

I drew a cat in the same style as the other animals to replace the original monkey, and it came out well if I do say so. I've decided on a size slightly smaller than the original with mine to be stitched in French knots. I made the border rabbits mirror one another and rearranged the placement and direction of the animals for a flow of color and direction more pleasing to me.

While meant as a rug, this size can also serve as a wall hanging.

Here is what the original looked like.

Watson Mill - update 2021

by brae  

I've been working on Watson Mill off and on since the end of 2015, building several other mini structures in between bouts of mill construction. I am back to the mill once again.

I had the structure covered while in storage in my workroom, so the dust didn't build up. The wallpaper in the bedroom buckled, though, from the fluctuations in humidity. I should have glued the thin, vintage paper to a backing paper to make it more substantial before gluing in place. I don't think I have enough to redo it, unfortunately. I would love to find the wallpaper again, but that's a long shot. It's vintage MiniGraphics called Gallery Flower. There were at least two colors of this paper, and this is a lighter beige.

After masking the edges of the wood floor, I wet the paper surface to weaken the glue.

I used a palette knife to scrape the paper away. It was rather easy work with such thin paper.

When I removed the wallpaper from the bedroom, the wall light did not survive. There's no way to rewire it, and of course it's discontinued. By miracle of miracles, I found another! Just have to wait for it to arrive. As for the wallpaper, I will have a look through the papers I have on hand and do a quick search for alternatives.

Whinnie's Terrace - Honorable Mention

by brae  

Whinnie's Terrace has received an Honorable Mention Award in the HBS Creatin' Contest 2020! Thank you to all the fine folks at Hobby Builders Supply and to my friends, family and followers for all the encouragement and support along the way! I'm thrilled to have been recognized! :]

Click here for a full list of Whinnie's Terrace posts, including how I made things and the materials used.

Thank you, sweet Whinnie, for being a wonderful muse.

Whinnie's Terrace

by brae  

I had a different idea going for the HBS Creatin' Contest at the beginning of the year that came to me before I saw the kit, The Corner Place. I built a few things that I loved, but I couldn't get the final piece to look the way I wanted. I ended up taking a fresh kit and starting a more modest idea shortly before the deadline.


Whinnie's Terrace is a quiet space to enjoy a meal, test your green thumb, and play with cats. Named after one of the sweetest cats to ever live who has left us for the rainbow bridge. I built a place of beauty and serenity to remember her by.

This is the first time I've dedicated a whole build to an exterior, so my selection of minis to include was different from what I normally do.

The glass block window I made for the previous project found a home here, so not all of my previous efforts had to be stored away.

I made some minis, bought some minis and received some minis as gifts.

After finishing the staging, I really wanted a burger on the patio. :D

I made only two modifications to the overall layout. I closed up the small side window and shortened the catwalk to a landing only.

My muse Miss Whinnie from back in 2018. She loved hanging out in this old patio chair, so I thought an outdoor space in her honor would be a lovely project for a dismal year.

The terracotta hexagon tile flooring was made from polymer clay (parts one, two, and three)

It was labor intensive and time consuming, but I was very pleased with the end result.

The walls are covered in wood brick made from skinny wood craft sticks by Creatology. I've done a tutorial on this finish in the past with a different brand of sticks, but it's the same process.

For the back wall, I had to measure each row carefully to make sure it was even and level all the way up and around the window opening.

For the side wall, I had to cover only part of the lower wall with bricks since I applied what I term bamboo waterfall paneling to the majority of the wall. I used uncut sticks to give the same layer depth to the portion without bricks. I later painted the bricks White Birch satin by Americana.

The bamboo is from a table runner, and I left the finish untouched.

I freely share nearly every process when I make things with very few exceptions. The glass block process is one of those exceptions, so there is no tutorial or materials list at this time. A few people have asked whether I would sell the blocks, but it's hard to make individual blocks that look realistic and easier to make whole window sections. (Glass block window post one and two.)

I originally wanted a working hopper vent for the window, but in the interest of saving time, I opted to make a solid window for the middle. I could have filled in the space with more glass blocks, but I like the break in the pattern the window provides. I built the window from styrene sheet, styrene rod and rippled water sheet.

The stairs were made using the mdf catwalk support from the kit, stair stringer and tread stock from Northeastern Scale Lumber, and random basswood. The stain is Driftwood by Minwax. The railings are vintage stock from Northeastern. I wish things like this were still made today. Fine accessories like these can make such a difference.

Under the stairs, I added a hose, holder and spigot. I've always wanted to do one of these, but I never had a build where it would fit so well.

I later added a watering can from Shepherd Miniatures and a vintage trash bin by Ken Ketteridge.

The fancy wrought iron door is a kit from Art of Mini.

The door is painted Lilac Love by Folk Art, and the wrought iron is painted black brown. I built a door frame from basswood since this was not included with the kit, but this isn't a working door. I added rippled water sheet as windows to simulate pebbled glass.

Once I got to lighting behind the door, the original paper I used for the shade proved to be too thick. I replaced it with a light swirl vellum.

I added gentle aging with pastels. It's not an old door, but it has been exposed to the elements for a few seasons. The door knob is from Sussex Crafts, and the keyhole cover is from HBS. Since the amount of room for hardware is so limited, I opted for an old style center knob. The Meyers wall light is from HBS, and the thermometer was made by le mini di Pierluigi.

The French knot rug depicts five felines near and dear to me: River, Cloie, Jasper, Whinnie and Cosmo. They've each touched my life in a special way. The original pattern was made by Anne Ritter, and I was inspired by the rug made by Shelly Norris from this pattern. I altered the position, shape and size of the various cats to better suit the real life cats they represent. The rug measures 3 1/8" by 1 3/4" and took me 28 hours to stitch.

Of course, I had to include a lovable feline in the courtyard, so I chose Roux made by 2014erok.

I made a container tree so that the space would have a large shade plant without permanently placing landscaping features (parts one and two).

I made some flowers and leaves to fill in around the base of the tree. It's just enough to finish the look of a container tree.

I added a pair of cardinals by Mini Gems, too. :D

The sink is a vintage metal piece I bought at a local show years ago. I aged it with acrylic paint and added a metal washer for the drain. I've seen a lot of inspiration photos showing old shutters or windows above a garden sink, but I didn't want to attach anything permanently to the wall that might limit the versatility of the build. I built a standing shelf using a door bought from a local show and basswood. I did have to replace the screen from the original since it was damaged. I added Chrysnbon hooks and a towel on a rope made from a scrap of fabric. The broom and dustpan set is from D's Miniatures, the rustic pitcher is from Sinny's Mini Art, and the doormat is from A Little More in Minis.

I made the milk carton flower from a true2scale kit, the purple flowers were a gift from a friend, the mister bottle is from HBS, the mushroom and acorn birdhouse are by 64tnt Miniatures.

I made a side table from a Hepplewhite Serpentine Table kit by The House of Miniatures. I cut the table top to a rectangle and replaced the legs. It's painted Folk Art Villa Green over brown, then aged with brown paint washes.

It's now an old table repurposed for the courtyard. The old drawer is by Dollhouse Smithery and the square pot is by Braxton Payne.

I'm not much of a gardener, but I can keep most potted plants alive as long as they are hardy species. :D My small setup includes a water bottle from Shepherd Miniatures, a crate by Dollhouse Smithery, Miracle-Gro by Wright Guide Minis, nasturtium and petunia seed packets made by me from a Farrow Industries kit, and butter and milk containers from a true2scale kit.

The patio set is a vintage white wire set scraped, repaired, repainted and upholstered in retro inspired fabrics. I cut a new tabletop from rippled water sheet.

I decided at the last minute what I wanted on the table for staging the scene. I added a citronella candle (made by me) and a Venus fly trap plant by Lamis Minis in case the candle doesn't work. :D

The placemat is vintage, and I made a quick napkin from a scrap of fabric. The Pellegrino water and chocolate milk are by Alma. The burger is by Sugar Charm Shop.

This all made me so hungry while taking pictures.

The rug is vintage and sent to me by Robina. We're not sure who made it, but it's an expertly woven rug in beautiful colors.

The various plants were purchased, gifts, or made by me. The frog is by Spencer's Nook.

This one was made by my dear friend Debora. :]

To control the lighting behind the door and the view through the glass block window, I made small room boxes to attach to the back. The back of the build is covered in a remnant of real life wallpaper. The boxes are painted and papered, and held in place with support blocks and magnets. I added LEDs to each box.

This helps create the illusion of an interior building on the other side.

I didn't want a full room behind the window, so I chose to make it look like a hallway or stairwell, with a couple of plants on the window sill inside.

Behind the scenes in my kitchen photo studio. :D

This small build brought me a lot of joy, and I couldn't have asked for a better muse. We miss you and love you always, Whinnie.

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