Friday, December 2, 2011

Picture as proof!

I said there was a skeleton in the dining room of Ariel.  And here is the picture as proof only there are 2!   I don't remember setting them there; it was awhile back. But I took this photo for the sake of 2 other items.

The first is that tea cosy on the table which was a gift from my boss (from a trip she made to Korea) and is actually a thimble but which I thought would make a very elegant mini tea cosy.  And since Ariel is the house with the oriental touches, this is where it will go though it will probably end up in the drawing room when I get that ready enough for it.

The second item is that pumpkin there.  It is actually a tangerine (or an orange) that dried up like that at my Mom's apartment.  I found it while we were unpacking the 2nd last of 3 boxes from the move.  Mom said Timo (her cat) had been playing with it and I said it looked like a mini-pumpkin and she agreed.  So here it is although I really ought to build that roadside stand I plan to which will sell pumpkins and gourds and fall paraphanalia.

Lastly, WOW, enlarged, close-up shots reveal every flaw and shortcoming.  That floor just may have to go!
The dado will smooth out once or if ever I get the chair rail put in.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Finally ordered the book....

I have long wanted this book and I have just today ordered it:
The teacup on the cover alone is very interesting, makes me want to put one of mine in a room and take a picture of it.

Right now nothing is going on in Facetious.  I am out on a quilting-jag and simply pass by poor Ariel which has a skeleton lying in the dining room, a sorry state of affairs but fortunately, the family does not yet live there since it isn't finished.  They are safely esconsed in the Imperial, Facetious's premier hotel which, alas, will never be built because I don't have the space for it.

At least they are spared the indignities and covert goings on (aka "the coffin") at the site of their future home.

But when this book arrives I suspect things WILL begin to happen again.

I just took a gander at the insides of this book thanks to's feature that allows it.  WOW!  One's jaw drops and the eyes glaze over.  I think there will be loads and lashings of inspiration in this volume.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Just an inside

I finally managed to get a picture of the inside of Gateman's, the funeral shop.   It is of course no where near finished but is presentable I guess.

The walls are just too BARE!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The other part of the Ohio River Towns tour

I'll start with another lovely photo of the
Ohio River valley.

Hillforest didn't allow photos to be taken inside so I'll just show this outside one which I thought interesting because of the rounded front.  It would be quite the accomplishment to replicate in miniature.   The first floor curved section housed the entryway to the house and the second floor was a morning room which the tour guide said was where the ladies of the house spent their mornings having breakfast, writing letters etc.  It was the most charming room with the curved wall of windows overlooking Aurora and the Ohio River and to be able to sit there in the morning having your breakfast which has been made and brought up to you, ahh, the life!
I'd love to have such a room in Ariel but I don't see how I can do curved walls much less windows.  But, I could do sections or an octagonal room perhaps - we will see....
We also saw the Schroeder Saddletree Factory and at first we saw what I thought was perhaps the offices of the place.   The Schroeders were hard-working German immigrants who made the wooden part of a saddle and other items.  During the Depression they made over 2 million clothespins on this machine.  That cute fellow in the blue jeans on the right is my husband. 

Towards the end of the tour I asked about where the family lived imagining great wealth and a mansion somewhere.  To my surprise the guide said they always lived right there next to the factory, they raised 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl) who lived all their lives in this small place.  Here is how the front looked:

 The fourth home we saw was the Schenk Mansion which is also now a Bed & Breakfast.
It is huge with 35 rooms!   The owners let us walk about and take as many photos as we liked and I wish I had taken more.
There had been a wedding the day before, hence the white chairs.

We even got to climb all the way up to the tower room.  I discovered something about stairs that I needed to know.  I had bought a set of stairs from the local hobby store and felt that they were too steep, too narrow for the dignity of my Victorian era home.  I planned to use them for the servants stairs to the basement and even then I wasn't too comfortable with them.  I bought some good wide Houseworks ones for the main floors.
But in the Schenk Mansion and in Hillforest and the Lanier House I encountered the steepest stairs I've ever used and often my size 8 foot hung over the treads by inches!!!    So, as I pointed out to my hubby and am now doing here, I am more than comfortably assured that those cheap narrow, steep stairs are just the thing for the lower level and will also be used for the upper rooms of Ariel.


Meanwhile, the Main staircase of the Schenk Mansion required a photo

Both the Schenk & Lanier homes had these wonderful interior shutters which I have not seen done in a dollhouse before.  Of course both houses have 3 brick thick walls too.

Several of the bathrooms had COPPER TUBS that were very long and the owners said that oddly enough the men liked them best because they were large enough for them to lie comfortably in.   I tried but could not get a good shot of the bathrooms (which were surprisingly narrow yet perfectly functional).

Above are a couple of the bedrooms, the dining room and a photo of a fireplace surround up in the tower which I found interesting.

And to end with another fine view this one from the Lanier House looking out over their front garden to the Ohio River - how nice it would be to have such a view everyday!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Nothing made but plenty of inspiration!

Hubby and I went on a bus tour of Ohio River Towns and besides the simply fabulous views and scenery....
we also toured 4 historic homes and I got some photos of some items I fully intend to make.  First is a bed step stool that also housed a chamber pot.  This was in the Lanier House in Madison, Indiana.
I also was thrilled by all the restored facades on Madison's main street and decided I want my towns small row of stores to look something like.

The Lanier House also had 10' tall doors, both front and back entrance hall doors and the pocket doors!   Aren't they simply majestic!!     I do want pocket doors in Ariel.    I also noticed they had period carpeting nearly everywhere which was laid down in not very wide strips.   And just look at those fabulous curtains!
And then there was the dining room done with scenic paper, gold curtains and a patterned floor that you'd think would clash but it didn't.  I have been inspired by not only the furnishings but also the wall/floor combos in this house.


And just look at these delicious wash stands calling out to be made in miniature!

Look at the brightness & pattern of that carpeting too!  Wow!

More tomorrow....

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

2 floors put down in Ariel

 Who is the fella?  I don't know his name and he is really supposed to be over in the Red Dragon Tavern playing poker.  Poor man has no shoes!
Just as the title says....

And in case anyone thinks I slave away with veneers which I couldn't afford to do anyway, nope - these are paper copier products cut out and glued down bit by bit.

I even managed a coat of water-based poly-U, just one.  I am quite happy with the results although the lack of a baseboard is decidedly glaring.

I also do not like bare walls....

Monday, October 24, 2011

Making Inkwells & various other bottles

Elga asked if I'd mind sharing how I made my ink bottles.   I am inspired by old ads usually from Sears & Roebuck or Montgomery Ward 1890's catalog reprints or reprints of old ads in books like this one.
Then I keep an eye out for amber colored, clear or black beads in square, oval or round shapes.  But I've made a ton from a purchase of a big bag of clear plastic pony beads.   Into the top sometimes for inkwells, I will glue (all with plain old white glue) a black smallest size eyelet.   That is optional but nice if you can.  Then I glue on top (again with a fat blob of plain old white glue) another bead of what seems to be an appropriately-sized top.   I have some hexagon, faceted black plastic beads which work perfectly.  I've used hematites, fake pearls and even the little round white tip from one of my lancets (diabetic testers) as you can see in the pic below.  I painted that black with glossy acrylic paint this very morning.    Sometimes I put a seed bead below or above the "top" to add effect.   I cover the hole in the black beads with a blob of black, glossy acrylic paint or if I used a gold or silver bead I'll use a 1/2" pin of which I have a bunch of silver and gold types on hand.
Labels - I print off stuff from online and cut them out and glue them on, rather finicky work but well worth it.

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Solomon Bandstand

In looking up my records of Facetious I found this:
The Solomon Bandstand (in Bantering Park).  The Solomon family has recently donated to the town of Facetious a bandstand for the park.   The design by Solled A. Brick (of Merebrick) is based on something he saw when in England (from Christiane Berridge’s book).   A brass quartet plays there on weekends.
I am hard at work on this bandstand and have a few pictures to share.  I have three brass instruments but will need a fourth in order to have that quartet.   I see no reason why a string quartet also can't play on occasion but such a group will have to be formed and primarily - instruments will have to be bought.   Ah, The Facetious String Quartet!    It is placed on green stuff but that is not Bantering Park.  I was just trying to get a feel for how it would look on greenery.

 Painting the gold on is very tedious but looks wonderful when done. could be a brass and wind quartet and have a flute for the fourth instrument.  I'm going to have to look up what pieces I expect to hear and what instruments are required for them.  Ought to have music playing somehow, like a music box and maybe even LIGHTS!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


I bought one of those LED battery-powered lights which I meant to put in Slothaven's parlor but once I saw how BLUE they were....   Last night I discovered the shades screw off (!) and I applied with white glue a yellow tissue paper overlay, virtually a "gel" over the shades and bottoms of each of the five lamps.   Then it was alright to hang and it only looked right in the hallway, oddly enough.
So although the parlor remains unlit I am thrilled with the light in Slothaven and just love turning it off and on.   But I now fully realize how much work is needed on this hallway and on the door.

I also bought a fall tree.  I just plopped it on my just made board and took a picture to see how it would appear.  I could be happier with it but maybe after time and with better surroundings....  My favorite thing right now is the leaf that fell off while I was stretching out the branches, that is realistic enough.   The "bushes" have not had anything done to them yet so they look pretty silly - ignore them.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A bon mot

I don't remember where I got the idea for this but I'm doing it more and more.    I glue (white glue) items to a clear piece of plastic (like the stuff covers items you buy) and then grip wax that to a table top or not.  It makes it easier to create a little set piece you can move around.  The glass here was the tip from an eyeliner.

What is going on here?

One could well ask....     I was cleaning up some cheap wine bottles I bought many moons ago and repainted the tops.   In the background are some tables-in-progress and a bit of my first garden also-in-progress to the left.   I was working on about 6 things at once all weekend, it was confusing but fun!

I'd recently bought some plain bottles for my bar and I waxed 'em down to the counter just to get them out of their package.  I also glued some really cheap bead & push-pin glasses to a bit of clear plastic and stuck them onto a lower shelf where they really won't be very visible but I'll know they are there.
I like this overhead view.

And just for this photo I stuck the bar back into Ariel's morning room (which seems to make a nice bar).
One of the finished pedestals with the blue bit which I actually got in Paris in 1977 is also showing itself off here.
Those bar bottles need some labels - I'll be working on that soon.
Seeing this makes me want to change the paper in the bar/tavern!

Weekend Fun!

I actually had an entire weekend (almost) to make mini's in.   The first thing I did - thank you Casey's Mini's for the idea, was to stop by the local Dollar Tree and get some wonderful items.  I got those mini-skeletons which will be handy for the doctor's office and other places in town.

I saw a set of black hair curlers and was at last able to make the fireplace grates described by Jean Nisbet in Making Your Dollhouse Special.  
The three pedestals I made from Hobby Lobby findings with a "checker" piece on top.

 Here is the unfinished version and another finished version.
I also found these "trays" which I am turning into shelving units for the stores.  The first one I made I used shoe polish on which I just read of on someone's blog.   I used brown since that was what was on hand and was very pleased with the results.       

In the second photo I am using one of my quilting rulers which I am finding incredibly handy for miniatures.     

The third photo shows the 1/16" x 1" piece of balsa I used for shelving.
The decorative top bit is from Hobby Lobby.

And the last photo shows the finished piece being loaded with "stock" - some ink bottles and desk blotters.

And also inspired from Casey's Mini's blog I made 3 tables for my Cafe using bits of wood also from HL.  I didn't paint them yet because I could not decide what color they will be.