Wednesday, November 30, 2011

more on floors 2

I spent a lot of time running around on Monday trying to find paste floor wax to finish my floors but have to admit I was too lazy to walk to WalMart although I've been told they might carry it. Certainly nothing in any stores nearby. I did find some Kiwi neutral shoe polish at London Drugs but didn't buy it at the time and by the time I realized none of the stores closer to home had any neutral, I didn't feel like walking back there. So I settled on some Meltonian neutral shoe and boot cream.

After sanding the floors, I applied a coat of it with an old cotton handkerchief, let it dry then buffed it. It's not noticeably different in the picture but it has a soft sheen and darkened it ever so slightly so there's not quite the contrast (to my eye anyway) there was with the doors (which I had stained years ago and wasn't about to replace).

The next time I'm out and about I'll pick up the Kiwi neutral to have on hand as it has a good wax content and I think it would give a bit better sheen but for these floors I'm pleased with the way they look.

And they'll look even better once they're taped down with carpet tape.

BTW, Cedan also makes a product called Pan-L-Trim edgebanding in white melamine that I'll someday try as a countertop.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Connie Sauve

A group of us are planning on going to Arizona in March to visit the Mini-Time Machine Museum in Tucson and attend the Show and Sale in Phoenix.

Connie Sauve had announced in The Camp, one of the online miniature groups I belong to, that she would be at the Mini-Time Machine Museum with a display of her miniatures today. Was so disappointed at the time that she would not be there when we are. BUT even though she won't be there, her miniatures will be on display until April 29 so we will get to see them in person. Her work is so wonderful and detailed that I am just thrilled at the thought of seeing it in person. One piece I'm especially looking forward to seeing is her Hickory Dickory Clock Shoppe.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

more on floor

Since I was redoing the kitchen floor, decided I'd take pictures along the way and better explain the process.

You need a firm surface to work on. DH Vern was such a wonderful supporter of my work in miniatures and would often bring home things he scavenged that he thought I might use at some time. He brought home a scrap of laminate flooring that I tucked away in a corner and it was perfect as a base for this. Here I've come to the end of the poster board and there is an overhang of the iron on wood so I've put a strip of wax paper underneath that so the adhesive doesn't stick to my working board.

The eighth strip has a black mark running through it that ruins the line of the wood so I ran the iron over it to release the adhesive and removed that strip

and replaced it with another strip...

Here you can see the floor from the back. I'll trim off the extra wood with my utility knife once the adhesive has cooled and set.

Here all the extra bits have been trimmed off:

The kitchen flooring in place:

And both new floors in place:

As I took the pictures, I realized that I still haven't erased the lines I pencilled in for the tape wiring. Must do that....

But aside from that, even with the floors being unfinished, I'm REALLY liking the look.

Secret project, Finally some progress on the Bombay house

Over the past week I've been working on a project for a young miniaturist I met last weekend. It's to be part of a Christmas gift from family members so I'm not going to blog about it until after Christmas. I've had such fun putting it together!

I finally got working on the hardwood floor for the living/dining room of the Bombay house.

I cut a piece of poster board the size of the floor and ironed on strips of red oak edgebanding.

This stuff is great to work with. I cut 16 strips just a tad longer than the length of the  poster board and ironed it on one strip at a time. It's very forgiving. If you see a gap between strips, you can move the strip while the adhesive is still hot - or if you goof (one piece didn't reach the end of the poster board), you simply run the iron over that strip to loosen the adhesive and pull it up and move it. Once all  the adhesive had cooled, I trimmed any overhangs with my knife.

Yippee! Perfect fit!

It still needs to be sanded. I really like the colour as is so am debating whether or not to stain it. If I leave it (or for that matter if I stain it), I'd like to give it a nice finish with paste wax but haven't been able to find any. Once it's finished , I'll have to figure out approximately where I want the floor lamp in the living room because I want to run that cord through the floor and under the flooring. Once that's taken care of, I'll be able to tape it down with carpet tape.

The flooring in the kitchen runs in the opposite direction so I'll be redoing it.

Still trying to decide how to handle installing the stairs...

Drill bits

I've been using these a fair bit (no pun intended VBG) lately and thought I should mention them.

The smaller sizes are 1/16", 5/64", 3/32" and 7/64" which are good sizes for mini work. I bought these at WalMart for, I think, under $10 and Amazon currently has them for on right now for $5.75.

You might want to put them on your stocking stuffer wish list.

Saturday, November 26, 2011


I've had this in my mind for quite some time and finally decided to try it out for my young miniaturist friend.

Soft sponge 4 1/2" x 2 3/4" x 1 1/2" (8 for $1 at Dollarama)
2 3/4" foam hair curlers (pack of 8 for $1 at Dollarama)
piece of matboard 10 1/4" x 2 3/4"

Score and fold the matboard in 2 3/4" from each end.

Remove the plastic piece from the inside of the foam curler and slit the foam lengthwise.

Wrap the matboard around three sides of the sponge and slip the split foam rollers as shown. I'm going to cover the foam so I'm just holding it in place right now.

I have a suede look shirt that I picked up at Frenchie's in Nova Scotia that will be used to upholster the foam.

I cut a piece of fabric to cover the sponge. Not the best choice of fabric. Between the sponge soaking up glue and the fabric being a polyester blend, you really have to be patient and glue one part at a time then wait for it to dry before proceeding to the next step.

I wrapped the fabric around the sponge overlapping it at the back. I only glued the back pieces - not the bottom, top or front. Once that glue dried, I trimmed the ends a bit and glued the fabric to the ends of the sponge. I then glued the entire seat in position on the matboard and placed it in my gluing jig with a book against the open end to hold everything in place until the glue dried.

Boy, if I thought gluing that fabric in place was hard, it was nothing compared to trying to glue it to the foam rolls. I cut it to cover the outside with just enough to cover the slits on either side. I wrapped the fabric around the piece, gluing the ends into the slits and sliding a popsicle stick in the slit to hold the fabric in place while the glue dried.

Then I cut slits all around the ends, spread them quite liberally with glue, and tucked each piece into the middle of the roll.

When I put the arms back on, I felt they were too high so I cut the matboard down by 1/2" - which was probably a bit too much.

Not thrilled with it but it was a fun experiment.

drawer for the Michael's hutch

Sorry it took so long to get back to this but RL is getting in the way (big time) of minis. LOL

Yesterday, four of us took the "Homes for the Holidays" Christmas house tour in Edmonton then went out for dinner. When I got home there had been a problem with the condo guest suite that I look after renting out and had to deal with that.

My work room is such a mess that it has to be cleaned (or at least tidied) before I do anything more (can't find a thing), paperwork has fallen behind and I've undertaken the most fun project for a young miniaturist so the blog may be a bit neglected in the next couple days.

Anyway, on to the drawer.....

You'll remember that when I took the hutch apart to stain it, I also removed the false drawer front from the bottom of it.

It has been sanded and stained.

I measured the bottom of the drawer opening. I subtracted the thickness of the drawer front from the depth and cut the drawer bottom. the drawer back was cut the same length as the bottom. It's not quite as high as the opening as I don't want it to fit too tightly. The end pieces are cut to fit between the drawer front and the back.

Left: drawer front
Centre: drawer side, drawer bottom, drawer side
Right: drawer back
 Using wood glue, the bottom of the drawer is glued to the drawer front. Lego blocks hold the wood in position while the glue dries.

The sides are glued on top of the drawer bottom and to the drawer front.

The drawer back is glued to the bottom and against the sides.

I didn't fill the drawer/door pull holes before staining because I have some beads I plan on using for pulls.

The tool is a Xuron sprue cutter that I got at Hobby Wholesale in Edmonton. It's a modelling railroading tool and makes great flush cuts. The beads are a string of Christmas trim.

Sorry, between the size and the sparkle, couldn't get a very good picture. The round faceted bead will be the pull and there's a small section sticking out that, when filed down, will fit in the holes.

And here's the finished cabinet:

The wood doesn't take stain very well and the grain is too large for scale which is one reason I prefer to do them with black or red markers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

couple wonderful links

Have to run out to do some errands but thought I'd share these before I leave.

Miniature artisan, Peter Tucker, has made a wonderful scale conversion spreadsheet (for PC and for Mac) that takes the work out of converting real life measurements to the various scales. Click on 'enable editing' when you save it to your computer. Then you put a short description in column 1 and the RL measurement in column 2 and the RL measurement will be automatically converted to the measurement in various scales. Peter has generously given me permission to post this information here.

He also has a blog where you can read about how he does some of the incredible work he does.

On Canada Minis, we've been discussing Trash to Treasure which, as you know, is one of my favourite topics. Linda McD gave me permission to share Minitreasures wiki Trashminis pages with you. Eleven pages of incredible T2T which will have you running to your stash to try things out.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Michael's hutch

Those wonderful little hutches from Michael's have all sorts of possibilities. They can be bashed, of course, and parts of them used for upper and lower kitchen cabinets but even as is they can be finished quite nicely.

My favourite way to finish them is to 'paint' them with a black or red marker and give a coat of satin varnish.

The trick is to remove the doors so you can get into all the nooks and crannies more easily.

I've always done this by heating the top of the hutch with my hair dryer but the glue on this one just would not release. So I tried something I had read about but never tried myself.

I popped the entire hutch into the microwave oven for exactly one minute on high. That loosened the glue enough that the top piece of the hutch could be pried off quite easily and the doors removed.

This model has a fake drawer at the bottom. I wanted to remove the front of the fake drawer so I could make a real drawer so I popped it in the microwave for another minute and got the drawer front piece out.

I then pulled off the door and drawer pulls with a pair of pliers. I may put them back later or I may replace them with beads of some sort.

The doors are absolutely flush with the shelves so if I add 'glass' to them, they won't close properly so I need to remove the shelves and trim them by 1/16". So back into the microwave for another minute.

After the shelves are trimmed, everything has to be sanded, then stained. (I use the furniture touch up pens from Dollarama.)

Once the stain had dried, I cut plastic for the 'glass' for the doors. When I'm doing something like this I measure for the size I need (in this case, 1 1/2" x 3") and 'draw' templates that size in a Word document. I tape the template to the plastic I'm using and cut to size then glue it in place.

Here the doors have been put back in place.

I spread wood glue along the top of the hutch, and replaced the top, making sure that the top hinge pins fit in the holes in the top.

Tomorrow I'll build a box to make a drawer for the bottom and put handles on the doors and drawer.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Weather, Room by Room dollhouse

Winter is definitely here! Monday we had a skiff of snow but today we had about 1/2" snow  with winds of up to 40 km/h from the east so a very cold, blustery day. Wouldn't exactly classify it as a blizzard as I could see across the parking lot to Mom's place but it was not a day to go out unless you had to. Right now it's -15C (4F)with a windchill of -25C (-13F) but hasn't snowed for a couple hours.

Everything mini-wise has been put on hold while I get ready for Mini Day Out on Saturday and the arrival of my friends from Calgary tomorrow night.

This morning I met with a building tenant who will be renting the social room for some family events in December. I happened to mention Mini Day Out and she has two great-nieces who are interested in "little things" so I suggested:

1. she bring the girls by to see my houses and room boxes;

2: that she bring the one who is visiting this weekend by our MDO to take a look at what we do, and

3: that she could borrow my Room By Room dollhouse (or portions of it)

for the girls to play with and give her some idea of what to get them for Christmas.

As a result of this conversation, I went to and found this great buy on a 1:12 furnished/peopled house . Unfortunately it's out of stock at that price.... But it is a great deal- house, furniture and people....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Bathtub, toilet and hutch in

I finished filling the hutch and put it in place:

Took another look at the vacuum cleaner and decided I needed to paint it to make it look more realistic:
Added a handle to the toilet tank and put it and the toilet paper holder in place:

The vanity still isn't finished. Found my hardware box and have handles for the drawers but having a big problem trying to decided what to do about the faucet and taps so it's still on the drawing board.

Decided to tile around the bathtub even though I haven't yet decided to put in a shower. A while back I showed you a couple headbands that I bought because they looked like great small tiles. The problem at this point was that they were silver and black and I needed gold and black. So I took my gold Pilot pen and painted the centres of each piece.

You can see where the upper right is now gold.
I glued these pieces onto black cardboard starting 1 1/4" up. The bottom 1 1/4" will be attached to the bathtub with carpet tape.


Once the tile walls were attached to the bathtub, I should have put the additional carpet tape to hold it in place on the bathroom walls and slid the bathtub into place. But I didn't! I put it on the back of the tile walls and ended up positioning the tub too high and couldn't reposition it without damaging the walls. 

Fortunately, the tub was at least level - about 5/16" off the floor but level. I ended up cutting a piece of 1/4" balsa topped with matboard to make a base to fit under the tub. Perfect fit!

I actually think that the tub looks better being a bit higher so I guess it all worked out in the long run. There is some of the white showing from the base of the tub so have to deal with that too.

Hopefully I'll figure out the vanity tomorrow and get it finished. Then I'll be able to finish accessorizing.

Still need to add the door and window frames, curtain rod and make curtains.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kudos to Barb!

My friend and neighbour, Barb R., just finished knitting forty pair of mittens and forty toques for a class of students at St. Catherine's School in Edmonton's inner city. That is such an incredible gift!

Now she is going to start knitting scarves for the 650 Special Olympic athletes who will be competing in St. Albert and Jasper February 28 to March 3. The goal is to present a handmade scarf to each of the athletes, coaches, and family supporters (all 2500 of them). If you're interested, you can read more about this project and how to contribute here.

I did sneak a little mini-ing in today. I am a HUGE fan of Chrysnbon kits, especially the bathroom accessories...

Used my Pilot gold pen to finish most pieces, Sharpie red pen for some others, and nail polish to paint the toothbrush handles.

Still haven't finished cleaning my workroom but did get a good start on it.

Taking the weekend off...

Yesterday ended up being a family day :-)

DD Leanne came over in the morning to pick up the rabbit. (I had been pet-sitting while she and Rob went to the Dominican Republic for a week.) Had a good visit with her.

After she left, got a phone call from DS Carol. She and BIL Fred were at my Mom's. Frantically wrapped her and Marie's Christmas presents and took them over for her to take home with her. Had a good visit but had to leave before other sister Shirley and her husband Grahame arrived with Chinese food as I was going out for dinner with Leanne and Rob. (We ended up at Tony Roma's and had a great meal - hadn't been there in years.)

My workroom is such a mess that I can't find the box of hardware with the handles I need for the bathroom vanity so I have to take a break and do a cleaning before doing any more work on the house.

Our Pass It On Challenge on Canada Minis has ended for another year and I have to get all my offers in the mail to people who won them.

Also have to get the MEE club newsletter written and distributed before our Tuesday night meeting.

So hopefully I'll accomplish most of this today and can get back to work on the house tomorrow.

Friday, November 11, 2011

can hardly wait

Now that the two rooms on the left of the house are electrified, I can hardly wait to see it when I'm finished.

laundry room

Got the ceiling lights installed. The one above the laundry room has a smoky look cover and I tried painting it with a clear frost glass stain to lighten it up a bit but it didn't help.

Dug out items to go on the laundry room shelf. Had most of what I wanted but didn't have any Lysol cleaner or spray starch so made some up on the computer and used my rose making tool to form them (a quilling tool works best but mine broke and this is a passable substitute).

I really hate to glue things down unless I know that I absolutely will never want to move them around but even more I hate to try to move a room/house and have everything go flying around.

So I got some Moveable Miniatures Glue from Luba Barnes in Spruce Grove. It comes in a nail polish-like bottle and you coat the bottom of the item with it, let it 'cure' for an hour (they suggest two or three coats) and it will stay in place until you want to move it. Great stuff! But very time consuming.

While that was drying, I did some work on the bathroom vanity (still a work in progress).

When everything was ready, I filled the shelf then hung it in the laundry room. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture until after it was in the room and the picture is not good.

The iron is ready to put on the shelf. I found one ironing board that I had made about 20 years ago but the leg was broken and the other ironing board is nowhere to be found at the moment. Added the laundry basket and the vacuum cleaner which was an accessory (along with the laundry basket) to a doll I got at Dollarama.

So I'm declaring the laundry room more or less finished and the glass wall is now up.
Now to tackle the bathroom...finish the vanity, add the tub, toilet and hutch and accessorize it. Also need trim around the door.

The sconces keep falling so they need to be glued in place.