Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton 15th Annual Show and Sale

We're holding our 15th annual Show and Sale on Sunday, September 18, 2011.
The dealer registration forms have finally gone out. If you or anyone you know might be interested in selling at the show, please contact me. I think this is going to be one of our best shows from dealer reaction so far.

Today was disappointing. I was all psyched up for the new work table/desk from Canadian Tire and it was out of stock. Got a rain check but new stock isn't expected for about 2 1/2 weeks. That aside, I managed to get most of the workroom cleaned up and hope to finish and be back on track tomorrow.

Monday, May 30, 2011

This is not working....

When I reorganized my workroom mid-March, I moved the table which had been in the middle of the room 
to along the right hand wall. That made the room much more spacious-looking but I had my doubts about how work-friendly it would be.

For awhile I thought the ironing board would make a good, adjustable work table. It didn't - it wasn't stable enough and the padding didn't make a good work surface.

So I ended up working on clipboards on my lap while sitting in the easy chair. By the time I finished making something my back would be sore and there would be tools and materials spread all over the floor around me. (I'm a really untidy miniaturist.)

So I made the decision this morning to bite the bullet and get a small table to work at. My first thought was the 2' x 4' folding table that Canadian Tire has on sale on a fairly regular basis. Unfortunately, it was on sale last week. Then I remembered that this week they have an work desk on sale for only $34.99. From the look of it, I should be able to try using just one section of it and add the other if I need more room to spread out. (Wipe that grin off your face!) We weren't able to pick it up today but we'll go tomorrow and get it after Leanne gets off work.

That'll give me tonight and tomorrow to finish tidying the workroom and checking off the rest of the things on my RL to-do list.

Then back to the barroom. I'm playing with a lot of ideas for the shelving behind the bar but it just hasn't gelled in my mind yet so hopefully by the time I get caught up on RL and get the new workspace in place, I'll have decided exactly what I'm going to build.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Room by Room dollhouse

When DD Leanne was living in Dallas about 8 years ago, we found a couple of these rooms at Kay Bee Toys on clearance for about $12. She later picked up a couple more and I bought one through a miniaturist on Small Stuff for a total of five rooms: living, dining, bed and bath rooms and kitchen. The rooms clip together with magnets. Each room has an electrical system powered by batteries. Each room has a light and  at least one sound effect. For example, if you press the button on the microwave oven in the kitchen, it sounds like a microwave cooking. The rooms are furnished and have a good selection of accessories.

Over the years, it has been very popular with young visitors to our house.

Vern ran into two of the rooms with his scooter last weekend so I had some major repairs to make before it could be put away again.

Although the repairs were time-consuming, the rooms are once again usable.

I had only brought down four of the rooms. Here they are stacked together with the furniture in place. The accessories are not in the rooms here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

the telephone

When my friend Eileen and I discussed our projects last fall, she offered me a Chrysnbon wall telephone kit from her stash. (Eileen's from Nanaimo, BC, and I'm from St. Albert, AB. We met in Fall River, NS, where we were both visiting our friend Cheryl.)

Here it is made up along with an Edmonton Telephones directory from 1944 and a WWII poster. I used a dark brown marker to stain the telephone cabinet and it worked beautifully.

The telephone, sign and directory will go to the left of the door.

Eileen sells beautiful 1:12 scale miniatures including readable books, games, polymer food, sewing room items and Christmas decorations. Her work is meticulous. She made me a lovely set of Diana Gabaldon books for my collection and it's just perfect. I highly recommend her work.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Slow day

Here's the first blanket chest made from Shelley's kit:
Here's the finished white one for the bedroom project:
It's painted with Apple Barrel gloss white acrylic paint sanded with brown paper.

Here are three tables by Shelley that I mentioned yesterday. the dark ones are display tables with glass tops.

I stopped at the Public Library yesterday on my way to Dollarama and found two Jeffrey Archer books on their sale tables of withdrawn books. I started reading "Cat O' Nine Tales" last night on the premise that since it was a collection of short stories, I would read one or two then get to work on my long list of RL chores. HA!  I simply cannot put a book down once I start reading it.......

So didn't get too much done today either RL or mini although I did manage to replace the cord on a living  room lamp. Went to use it in the other day and discovered that the rabbit had been chewing on it and just about destroyed it. We're darn lucky it didn't start a fire. It must have been that way for quite some time as he no longer chews cords - just the spines on any books that he can reach.

While Jonah and Holly were here, they had a great time playing with the Room by Room dollhouse. Unfortunately Vern ran into one of the rooms with his scooter so I have some major repair work to do on that also.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

bit of both

The pictures and news clippings that I wanted from Mom are in storage at my sister's in Peace River but I think I may have copies of some of them here. Hope so anyway.

I found a batch of WWII government posters online that will be perfect for this theme and the flags I wanted and a coronation  portrait of King George VI so things are coming along.

Made it to Dollarama and got a mirror for the shelving.

Dug out the blanket chest kit. It was made by Shelley Acker in Nova Scotia for Camp Mini Ha Ha one year. She was selling an extra at the last CMHH I attended so I picked it up. Shelley makes truly lovely furniture and I'm lucky to have several coffee tables that she has made.

I stained the inside to make it look like it's lined with cedar. The trim around the bottom is mitered and that did NOT go well. Tomorrow I'll paint it white and add the lid. I'm just too tired to try to attach the hinges tonight.

Change of pace

I was going to start building the shelving behind the bar today but when I looked through my box of mirrors last night, I discovered that I didn't have a mirror that would work so tentatively planned to go to Dollarama today and see what I could find. Then I'm not too sure exactly what would go on the shelves and don't want to build them until I have a plan.

While these rooms are supposed to be 1940s, I had sort of picked the year 1940 - even found Edmonton telephone directories from 1940 and sized and printed out the covers. Was interesting to see that in 1940 they printed two directories - one in January and one in July! Edmonton Telephones has a wonderful website with pages and pages of pictures of telephone directories over the years - and telephones too. Unfortunately the telephones aren't dated so that part of it isn't the great resource it could be.

Last night, my mind had been playing with the idea of sports memorabilia. Period NHL logos, Edmonton Eskimos, etc. Well, the CFL as we know it and the Eskimos didn't exist then and the Six Team NHL started in 1942. Scratch that idea!

Lying in bed this morning pondering all this, I had my "aha" moment. Remembering how I wrote yesterday that the beer stein wouldn't be appropriate in the bar since we were at war with Germany, I decided to redate the rooms to late 1944/early 1945 and use it to pay tribute to my family members who served in WWII.

As the neighbourhood bar, it will have newspaper clippings and pictures of 'neighbourhood' men serving overseas, a map of Europe, a pictures of King George VI, the Union Jack, Red Ensign and the RCAF flag. Maybe even a picture of Hitler pinned to the dart board?!

I'll have to go over to Mom's and borrow some pictures and newspaper clippings. And reinstall my scanner to get it working again.

All of this is going to take some time so for today at least I'm going to put the barroom aside and build the blanket chest I mentioned yesterday and get it ready for the next project, the bedroom.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Good day for minis

My Mom, who lives in the building next door to us, came over to play cards with Vern and brought me about a square metre of a beautiful dark green velour. It will work as carpeting but is also thin enough for a bedspread or upholstery. Has definite possibilities for the bedroom which is my next project as I plan on doing it in  white and greens.

Then I got the mail and there was a whole package of minis that I had bought at a garage sale on  Canada Minis. Not too sure yet just what I'll do with what I bought but I'm very pleased with everything.
I love the candlesticks and beer stein. Ordinarily I'd put the beer stein in the bar but since it's set in 1940 and we were at war with Germany, probably not a good idea.
I love this little wall-hung unit.
Can always use more hardware in the stash: Chippendale drawer pulls and and key plates with keys. I have a kit for a great blanket box/hope chest in my stash that might work in the planned bedroom - can see a key plate and key with it.
 Bedding set, candles and adorable telephone pull toy.

I made and installed the table and booth in the barroom. The table is just a piece of basswood 2" x 3 1/2". It's supported at the wall by a strip of 1/8" square pick and a single square pick holding up the outer end.

Tomorrow I hope to build a mirror-backed set of shelves for the back wall. Still trying to decide exactly what will go on the shelves. Liquor bottles, of course, glassware, maybe some sports memorabilia? Some coffee mugs? Coffee pot?

I'm just not seeing it yet....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Getting started on the bar

I have a head start on the friendly, neighbourhood bar as the room itself has been decorated for sometime.

This roombox is only 7 1/2" deep so I'm really limited as to what will fit in it. At this point I'm thinking the bar will go on the left hand side with mirror-backed shelving behind it. On the right to the right side of the door, I'll put in one booth that my detective will use as an adjunct to his office. Even with 24" wide tables, I'd need almost 11" of depth for two booths. And there certainly isn't room for a pool table so I'll settle for a dart board at the front of the right hand side.

Even a small bar is going to take up a LOT of room. 1/2 - 3/4" deep shelving against the back wall, at least 3" space between the shelving and the bar, about 2" total depth for the bar itself. That will leave only about 2" for the bar stools.

First the booth. I built two singles and a double using dimensions from the restaurant supply site I mentioned this morning.

Here are the singles as that's all I'll have room for on this project. The seat is a bit low but once it's upholstered, it'll be the right height. The bench backs come in heights of 36", 42" and 48". I went with the highest back for privacy.

 Here I've cut a piece of matboard and two layers of batting the size of the seat.
 Stained the wood.
This cotton is one of about 15 fat quarters that I bought in Nova Scotia last fall. I didn't need any more fabric but the selection was incredible and almost all were $1.50 - $2.00. Just couldn't resist!

I placed the batting and matboard on the back of the fabric. Placing it on the bias like this makes the fabric more manageable.
I trimmed the corners a bit then ran a bead of glue along both long sides of the matboard.
Folded the fabric over the matboard and let the glue dry.
Trimmed out some of the remaining fabric to eliminate some of the bulk when the ends are folded.
 Folded the sides of the end piece in
 Folded the end back and glued in place. Then did the same with the other end.
 The seat in place.
Made the second seat then used the same technique to make the back cushion.
 Just FYI, here are the single benches with an unfinished double between them.
Tomorrow the seats will go in the room with a table between them to form the booth.

Restaurants and Bars

For anyone planning a restaurant or bar, this is a wonderful website. That part of the site gives layouts and sizes. For example, if  your booth table is 24" wide, the booth backs should be 5 1/2' apart; if the booth table is 36" wide, the booth backs should be 6' apart.

Click on any of the furniture choices at the top of the page and you can find just about any style of furniture - and the measurements.

One of the most helpful sites I found.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Two UFOs down - mumblemumble to go LOL

Well the grandkids (and their parents) left a couple of hours ago. Had the most wonderful visit!

They are such delightful and polite little people and it's such a joy to spend time with them.

Spent Friday at the waterpark at West Edmonton Mall, Saturday had a family dinner and went to Fort Edmonton Park yesterday so didn't get much mini-ing in. LOL

But I did keep to my vow to post something here every day even if the last couple posts didn't have anything to do with the project at hand.

This morning I added coffee stains to the carpet, a few cigarette burns here and there and a scorch mark where he set the hot coffee pot on the table instead of back on the hot plate.

I'm declaring this project finished - at least until I get around to making a trench coat to go on the hat rack.

The next project will be the bar below the detective's office. I'll be building most of the furniture for that so it could take a bit longer to do.

But for today I have to get the pictures of the office up on my fotki site and that's going to take some time to do.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Making a can of Carnation milk ... or anything else for your pantry

Open a Word document. Insert a table 1 x 1. This will give you a long strip across the page. Click on the table and at the top of your tool bar, Table tools will appear with two choices underneath – design and layout. Click on layout. About midway you will see where you can choose the height of the cell. A Carnation milk can is about 4 ½” tall so choose a table height of .38 inches.

Do a Google search for vintage label Carnation milk and copy one into your Word document. Crop as necessary and size to a height of .38”. Copy the sized label into the left hand side of your table.

Print at high print quality and cut out the strip.

If you have a quilling tool, you can use it at this point. If not, a ribbon rose making tool will work.

If you have neither, you can make the rose making tool quite easily. Drill a small hole in the end of a piece of dowel (the handle of a worn out foam paint brush works well) and glue in a darning needle pointed end first. Clip off the end of the eye of the needle, leaving the two sides of the eye. (You should wear eye protection when doing this. Another good idea you can try when cutting off bits that are likely to fly around the room is to put the item to be cut inside a paper bag and make the cut inside the bag. The bag will keep the cut piece from flying around.)

Starting at the blank end of the paper strip with the 'label' on the outside, use the tool to roll the strip on to itself. When the entire strip has been rolled, glue the label end to the 'can'. Slip the can off the tool, paint the ends silver with some nail polish and your can is finished.

Sorry these pictures are so poor. It's late and I just can't seem to get decent pictures tonight.

This general method can be  used to make cans of all sizes to fill your pantry. This one was done on a page with narrow margins in a portrait orientation. I should have used landscape orientation to give the strip more length and make the can larger in diameter. For much larger cans (like large coffee cans for example). you may need to use two strips of paper to form the can.

One set of cans I did mimicked a generic brand that has a yellow label. For those I chose a table 2 x 1. I put my cursor on the dividing line within the table and dragged it to within about 1" of the left hand edge of the table. I then clicked on that first cell and chose Design under Table Tools. On the right hand side of the tool bar, I clicked on Shading and chose the colour yellow. This coloured that end of the strip yellow. I then added a generic picture of the vegetable the can would contain and typed the description under that. When it was rolled up the entire can appeared yellow with the picture and typed name showing.


My colouring agent of choice for many pieces of furniture is a marking pen (Sharpie permanent chisel point is my first choice but most any will do) - particularly when I want a black or red finish.

House of Miniature Federal kits:
 Michael's hutches in black and red:

All the above pieces were stained with Sharpie markers. I prefer them to paint as there is no build up and no raised grain. (Especially love that for drawers - no problem with fit.)

Some pieces and some colours (white in particular), you have no choice but to use paint.

So often when you paint basswood with acrylic paint, the water in the paint raises the fibre of the wood and you end up with a rough surface. My best efforts to sand lightly with an emery board would end up taking up more of the paint than I wanted. That was fine if I wanted an aged look but since I usually do more contemporary pieces, that wasn't what I was looking for.

Over the years, I often saw the suggestion to sand painted wood with a piece of brown paper bag. Read it - and ignored it - on a regular basis. After all, what on earth would rubbing a surface with a piece of brown paper bag accomplish?

Then I tried it!

Oh, my goodness! It really works! And works well!

Oh, my! 3 exclamation points - am I getting the point across?

It gives a beautiful smooth finish with a lovely gloss.

I Googled it tonight and one of the messages I came up with compared it to sanding with 320 - 400 grit sandpaper.