Saturday, August 29, 2015

Mocking me

One good thing about having my HBS Denise's City Cottage kit living on my dining table is I get to stare at it while I drink my morning cup of tea.
Side view of a taped-together modern dolls' house miniature kit, with a set of white french doors propped against the wall and a park bench next to them.
And get motivated to do more than just stare. This morning's cup of tea took quite a while to drink as I was taping together the kit bits
Rear view of a taped-together modern dolls' house miniature kit, with a cardboard wall and two small windows inserted.
 and cutting new wall templates out of cardboard
Front view of a taped-together modern dolls' house miniature kit, with a cardboard half-wall and two small rooms, one with a bed in it.
in order to see if my original plans would work, or if I needed to change direction before I start cutting more than bits of cardboard...


Friday, August 28, 2015

Finish it off Friday: a terrifying realisation

Pieces from a HBS modern dolls' house miniature Denise's City Cottage Kit on a table.
This morning, as I finally opened my HBS Denise's City Cottage kit, I realised that I. Have. Never. Built. A. Dolls'. House. Kit. In. My. Life.


(The closest I've got was designing my bay villa, which I then paid someone else to build for me.)

After breathing deeply, I sorted the kit pieces out, checked the instructions, and then spent quite some time reading More Minis @ Blogspot's very detailed posts on putting the kit together.
Pieces from a HBS modern dolls' house miniature Denise's City Cottage Kit arranged neatly on a table.
Then I ran away to breakfast with a friend, who dropped past the hardware store with me afterwards so I could pick up some more undercoat (because my mini life seems to be a constant round of undercoating things at the moment).

I was very happy to spot this on the mistint trolley:
One litre tin of mistint paint, marked 50c, on a table in front of pieces of a dolls' house miniature kit.
That's the inside paint sorted, then...


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Friday, August 21, 2015

Finish it off Friday: Fifteen minutes at a time...

At last weekend's ProBlogger training event, one of the things that stood out for me was hearing how the organiser had wanted to write an ebook, but felt he had no time. So he got up 15 minutes early each day and spent that time working on it. Three and a half months later, he was done.

I realised I needed to do the same with the three big miniature projects (if there can be such a thing?) that I wanted to have finished by the end of the year:
  1. the retro caravan kit (which I have already started and am trying to get into the habit of spray painting a bit of each day until I've undercoated all the pieces, boring as it might be).
  2. the HBS Creatin' Contest kit (which is still sitting in its box on the kitchen floor, waiting until I find the space to unpack it).
  3. and the Lundby hack, which has been waiting for my attention since December.

So today, I refocused on the Lundby hack, which I set up on top of a bookcase in the lounge back in December, confident that they fact it was sitting there, in full sight of the sofa, in all its glorious colour, would mean I'd be forced to get cracking on it:
Corber of a lounge, with a half-built Lundby dolls' house on top of a bookcase.
 Instead, I just stopped seeing it. :-/
A bookcase in a lounge, with a half-built Lundby dolls' house on top of it.
(Has something similar ever happened to you?)

So here's my starting point, a 2011 Lundby Smaland House:
A  half-built Lundby dolls' house.
Right from the beginning I'd thought I'd like to turn it into a cafe/ bar/ live music venue.

Downstairs, I decided that the original bathroom area would be a good kitchen space, and discovered that I could put the bathroom wall in backwards so the door to the room was at the rear of the space.
Interior of the bathroom of a half-built Lundby dolls' house. In the room are a selection of kitchen fittings.
I also decided that the internal stairs took up too much room so removed them. Instead, I was to add a door to the back wall, which will lead to toilets, the office and storeroom.
Interior of the ground floor of a half-built Lundby dolls' house.
I want to leave the wall between the original kitchen and dining areas out to make a large, open-space room offering chairs and tables and sofas to sit at while you have your coffee and cake.
Interior of the ground floor of a half-built Lundby dolls' house, with tables and chairs.
 Upstairs, I'm planning to have direct entry to the bar/ live music venue from the outside balcony, and possibly expend the roof to cover it. Inside will be a small lobby area,
Outside view of  ahlaf-built Lundby dolls' house, showing french doors to where a balcony should be.
 And a large, open-plan live music area with bar and a range of seating options.
Interior of the first floor of a half-built Lundby dolls' house, with sofas and band equipment set up.
I'm using band equipment from a Playmobil set, which is about the right scale, because the Lundby instruments set (60.5061) has been discontinued.
Band equipment set up in the corner of the first floor of a half-built Lundby dolls' house.
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A(nother) good mail day

Look what I found in the post box today,
Spetmber 2015 issue of The Dolls' House Magazine, with mailing envelope.
 with this on page 29!
Page from The Dolls' House magazine September 2015 issue, showing a modern dolls' house miniature school-themed scene.
I originally made the scene back in 2011 inspired by a number of gifts I'd received, from M1K1, Call of the Small and Mitchymoo Miniatures.

And I liked the photos so much I still use one as the wallpaper on my phone:
Mobile phone withg wallpaper depicting a modern dolls' house scene of a pile of books with a large apple on top, and a jar of pens and pencils next to it.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pizza from the post office

 Early last year I sent a pizza box, packed with crafty bits from the Typo Not Quite Right table, to a mini friend in New Zealand.Yesterday the box returned, refilled with mini goodness. 

The women at the post office thought it funny that I should be asking if a pizza box had arrived, and got quite excited when it did!
Post office assistant holding a pizza box which has been sent through the mail.
I couldn't wait to get it home and see what was inside...
Opened pizza box, showing a range of paper craft supplies.
A range of paper supplies strewn in a box.
 What was inside was lots of lovely crafty loot, including some more letter sets to make my box brooches with, scrapbooking paper, cutouts, stickers and bits of bling.
A range of paper craft supplies arranged on a desktop.
 My favourite bits so far are these plastic pieces which look like modern resin vases,
A packet of wooden cutouts in the shape of hearts and clouds and five plastic vase-shaped pieces.
this badge (which my friend explained was supposed to be 'I spot Damien Hirst' - but decided that 'I spot dolls' houses' was also appropriate),
Badge saying 'I [spot] DH' on top of a sheet of wood veneer.
these cardboard cutouts in the shape of gates, 
Scrapbooking cutouts in the shape of fancy gates.
and, finally I can never resist a daisy... 
A set of coloured round push pins, a bag of daisy sequins, and four wooden dolls' house plant pots.
So much inspiration to work with. Thank you, Sandra!

Monday, August 17, 2015

A conference, miniature-eyesed

A conference lanyard on a desk in a hotel room. On it is a miniature camera, and next to it are a number of clear plastic containers which look like miniature planters and sinks.
 I've just spent a few days on the Gold Coast at the 2015 ProBlogger training event.

Although I'd checked to see if there were any miniature shops close to the venue, I realised that I probably wouldn't have time to see anything more than the inside of the conference centre and my room (I was right).

So imagine my surprise when the miniatures started finding me, even before the first session started!

Olympus was running a #SpectacularStories contest, and were giving away miniature cameras. Alas, more like 1:6 scale that 1:12, but a miniature is a miniature, right?
Miniature camera displayed on an open hand in a conference hall.
And then at lunchtime, I spotted these trays under some of the cakes:
Plate with two small cakes on it. One is on a clear plastic tray. In the foreground is a hand holding up another of the trays.
And instantly thought 'miniature sink!' Which got me haunting the tables with to find any more that had been discarded. On the hunt I also discovered taller containers which had contained jelly: perfect for re purposing into large modern planters...

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Sew over it...

Modern dolls' house miniature scene of a vintage sewing table and Eames chair in front of a black wall displaying a poster with vintage pins on a checked fabric.
And it is done. It's not perfect. And any thoughts I had of painting it to make it look more like iron and less like plastic have completely disappeared.
Detail of a modern dolls' house miniature scene of a vintage sewing table and Eames chair in front of a black wall displaying a poster with vintage pins on a checked fabric.
The (terrible appropriate) poster is one of Cider Teak's new business cards, which I snaffled off her at a bloggers' brunch on Sunday, for exactly this spot.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sewing bee

Instructions for a dolls' house miniature treadle sewing machine, with a tube of glue.
Thanks to Judy, Susan and Fran, I think I might be on the right track this time (assuming my ancient tube of Polystrene cement isn't completely glugged up, that is...)

#Frugal15 Week nine

Mosaic of images showing a selection of groceries, three meals and a batch of banana choc chip muffins. The meals are avocado, roasted tomatoes and feta on toast, salad nicoise and lentil sauce on pasta with cheese.
What a difference a plan and a shake-up of the routine makes!

I bought filo pastry, which was used in three dishes, which ended up covering six meals: my favourite potato and pea tarts, a vegetable filo parcel (with mushrooms and brussel sprouts) and filo triangles, which were stuffed with spinach and feta or leftover tuna mix from a salad ni├žoise I'd made earlier in the week. And lentils made their first appearance during the challenge, in a deliciously hearty lentil tomato sauce, served with pasta and cheese.

And I baked banana choc chip muffins.
Mosaic of images: three showing cafe breakfasts and one showing tickets to a movie and two glasses of wine.
It helped that I had breakfast out three times during the week. (As I said to a fellow frugalista at the last one, being frugal isn't about depriving yourself so you feel hard done by. It's about being mindful about how you choose to spend your money. And this week I chose to use my spending budget on catching up with friends old and new over breakfast. Twice. The third time I was lucky enough to be shouted).

And speaking of shouted, I was offered free tickets to see the new movie Holding the Man at Palace Electric, so shouted a friend a night out at the movies. It's the second free preview I've been to in as many weeks!

Saturday, August 08, 2015

Sew frustrated

I was feeling so confident yesterday. Smug, even.

I'd found a large photo of the completed Chrsynbon sewing machine online and enlarged it enough to understand how all the pieces fit together. I did a dry run.

And then started gluing. Which is when I began to have doubts. Because the spots where things glue together are very very small. and many things need to be at different angles to many other things. Not to mention things that seem to need to be able to move freely.

I took a deep breath. And glued one end to the middle piece. Used a couple of blobs of blu-tac to hold the two pieces at 90 degrees to each other while they dried.

Then, before I went to bed I glued the other end piece on. 'Pah!' I thought. 'This is going to be easy-peasy'. And I drifted off to sleep planning the scene I'd make today with my completed table.

This morning it all turned to custard. I picked up the structure to start adding the treadle and the wheel. And the whole thing fell apart:
Pieces of a dolls' house miniature treadle sewing machine kit strewn on a tabletop.
(There was almost a Saturday scene of a whole different sort...)

Friday, August 07, 2015

Finish it off Friday: Feeling sew-sew

This week's pick from the box of unmade kits is a bag of sewing machine bits from a Chrysnbon sewing machine I picked up for $2 at one of this year's shows:
Plastic bag containing parts of a dolls' house miniature vintage sewing machine kit.
It didn't bother me that most of pieces were missing, as the bits I needed to make a sewing machine table were still there.
Parts of a dolls' house miniature vintage sewing machine kit laid out on a table.
But it wasn't until I unpacked the pieces this morning that I realised that maybe having the instructions could be useful.

I decided that I could wing it, with a mixture of staring deeply at pictures of the completed items from the kit
Completed dolls' house miniature Chrsynbon sewing machine kit.
 and researching pictures of full-sized versions online...

Oh, and in case you're wondering: work on the caravan continues slowly but surely.
Dolls' house miniature retro caravan kit side piece, drying after being undercoated.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Ten tiny travel tips

Modern dolls' house miniature hotel lobby with a corner sofa, an egg chair and a Noguchi coffee table in shades of red, white and grey.
(This post is part of the ProBlogger/ Virgin Australia Top Travel Tips competition. Because what miniaturist wouldn't want to be in the running to win enough air miles to travel around the world visiting famous miniature sites?)

1. Put your clothes in zip lock bags before packing them

Modern dolls' house miniature bed with a suitcase and range of clothes and toiletries on it. On the suitcase are two zip lock bags.
  • Your clothes will take up less room in your case.
  • The bags will protect the contents of your case if it happens to get wet (ie: in heavy rain while it's being transported to the plane or if it falls off the wharf as your lugagge is being loaded onto your cruise ship).
  • If customs want to see the contents of your case it'll be much easier to pack and unpack for them than individual items.

2. Pack a length of bubble wrap and a spare fold-down bag inside your case

  • You'll probably buy a few things while you're away. Having bubble wrap on hand gives you added protection for getting more delicate items home. 
  • And the spare bag will come in useful when you realise you've bought too much to fit into your main case! The bag I use folds completely flat but is robust enough to stand up to being checked in, and cost me less than $30. And because it takes up so little room, it's no dramas if I don't need to use it on the return trip...

3. Take a small roll of duct tape

Modern dolls' house miniature desk with a selection of travel necessities arranged on it, including a tablet, guide books, digital camera, passport, glasses and a roll of duct tape.
It doesn't take up much space and can be a life-saver. Use it to:
  • Tape up that bubble-wrapped parcel!
  • Temporarily fix your case/ shoes/ glasses if they break while you're away.
  • Hold together the curtains in your hotel room or cabin so that annoying gap at the top doesn't let the morning light in to wake you up before you're ready...

4. Instead of locking your checked luggage, use cable ties to secure it

Although locks are permitted on luggage, you need to be aware that airlines are allowed to break the lock if they need to access your case: which means your case is unsecured until you buy a new lock.
Cable ties are cheap, lightweight and you can keep spares in the outside pocket of your case: so if your bag is inspected, you can replace the tie easily. (They're also a great way to identify your bag and are less likely to get ripped off than luggage tags.)

5. Pop a small pair of scissors in the outside pocket of your checked case

You can cut the tie when you arrive. (I usually keep my keys on a Swiss army knife: once I've removed it from my keys for flights, I add it to the outside pocket so I know where it is when I arrive and can reattach my keys).

6. For long flights with stopovers, pack a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, pack of baby wipes in your carry-on bag, along with socks, underwear and a spare top

Modern dolls' house miniature dining table with a carry on bag, toiletries and spare underwear on it.

Trust me, there's nothing more wonderful that being able to clean your teeth, 'wash' your face and underarms, refresh your deodorant and change your underwear after being in the air for hours on end. And the baby wipes can be used to clean your tray table too, if you're concerned with what's been on it before you met it...The spare clothes can also be life savers if your checked luggage doesn't arrive at the same time as you do: you've got the basics so won't need to race out and find replacements immediately.

7. Don't put your home address on your luggage tags

Burglars are known to patrol airports, looking out for addresses of premises that might be empty. Use your email address or mobile phone number (especially if you'll have access to them while you're away), or a PO Box number or work address. Also remember to include contact details inside your case in case it gets lost and the luggage tags have come off...

8. If you're travelling with someone else, pack half your clothes in their luggage (and vice-versa)

Modern dolls' house miniature living room with two suitcases, two handbags and a carry-on bag in the foreground.

You'll thank me if one of the cases goes missing...

9. Plan to send postcards while you're away?

Modern dolls' house miniature Noguchi coffee table holding a glass of champagne, a bowl of chips, a Virgin Australia magazine, a selection of postcards, a pen and a sheet of address labels.

Before you leave, print sticker sheets with the names and addresses of the people you want to send cards to. It'll save time writing them out, and will also make it clear if you forgot to send one. For long trips, take two or three sheets.

10. Take a folding water bottle

It packs down to nothing. Which means you can start your day's sightseeing and shopping with a full bottle and end it with an empty bottle and room in your bag for all those souvenirs you've picked up!

And just in case you're wondering why this post is titled 'Ten tiny travel tips', all the photos are of 1/12 scale miniature scenes...
Modern dolls' house miniature suitcase, being held in front of an office scene.