Monday, October 24, 2011

matboard, the tickle trunk

Went for my flu shot on Saturday. The frame store in the mall was closing that day and was selling packs of matboard for $3.50 each so I picked up three. It's handy for so many things: walls, floors and making items such as kitchen cupboards so eventually it'll get used. And these are nice big pieces. (Framing shops will sometimes give you pieces for nothing so you might want to check any stores near you.)

Also hit the jackpot at the SHAVA book store (great used book store run by the Sturgeon Hospital Auxiliary). Found two J.D. Robb books that I didn't have. Had such good intentions of not reading them until I was on the plane but I'm afraid my resistance was low and I read them yesterday so today and tomorrow will be spent clearing up my 'to-do' list. VBG

The tickle trunk is just about finished and most of the items are packed in a hockey bag ready to go. WestJet only charges $20.00 for a second checked bag so it's a darn cheap way to get it to Ontario. I have to dig out the sewing machine and add some things to it but just about ready to go.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Dollarama table finished

When I'm doing 'black lacquer' furniture, I 'paint' it with black permanent marker rather than paint.

Painted with black marker:
 First of two coats of Americana Dura Clear satin varnish:
 Sanded with brown paper and given a second coat of varnish then the brass drawer hardware added (two Houseworks 1124 and one Houseworks 1103):

In place below the bedroom window:

The bedroom in the Bombay house. Still have to dress the bed but haven't decided what colour to use. The carpet also needs to be taped in place but won't be doing that until I wire the house. (The wiring has worked it's way to near the top of my 'to-do' list.)

Dollarama table

What a great idea to tile the table, Judy!

Which leads to another idea...

My first thought was to cut out a piece of the table top, tile and install a sink. That  would be a bit more labour-intensive than I'd want to do but what if you added a piece of wood up the back for a backsplash then tiled the table top and backsplash and added one (or two) of those fancy above-counter sinks. Something like this:

If you Google images above counter sink bowls, there are lots of ideas.

I'm just waiting for the second coat of varnish to dry on the table then I'll install the drawer hardware and show you how it turned out.

For now it's still going to go in the bedroom but I may end up using the sink idea myself as I do have black bathroom fixtures in that house.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Furniture from Dollarama

Dollarama currently has some dollhouse furniture in stock. Can't remember all the pieces because I don't need any furniture but I did pick up a couple pieces to experiment with. They're nothing special (drawers don't open, for example) but they can make nice filler pieces in a scene.
The finish is a bit too red and definitely too glossy for my taste and the wood isn't as smoothly finished as I would like in most cases.

I removed the drawer pulls (just wooden plugs) with a pair of pliers and sanded off all the glossy varnish.

Filled the holes where the drawer pulls had been with spackle.

At this point, it actually looks not too bad and could be used as an aged piece.

HINT: I don't use a great deal of spackle but like to keep it on hand. All too often I'd go to use it and find it had dried out on me - even with the lid on tight. I've been storing the last container I bought upside down and that seems to do the trick to keep it from drying out.

My first thought was to finish this with a black lacquer look and brass handles on the 'drawers' as I have a weakness for black lacquer furniture. Then I thought it would be more practical to keep to a wood finish. Once the gloss finish is removed, these pieces can be given an over coat of brown marker (the furniture retouching pens from Dollarama) and you end up with a nice finish with just a touch of the red showing through.

BUT I took a look in the bedroom of the Bombay house where all the furniture so far is black lacquer look and realized that the table would fit perfectly under the front window.

So black lacquer it will be. If I get another of these tables I'll do one in a wood finish for my stash.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Mini tools, doll

Forgot to tell you about a couple highlights of our MEE meeting on Tuesday night.

Lucille and Tina took a miniatures cruise just after our Show and Sale. Lori Ann Potts taught one of the workshops they took on the cruise and gave them some new tools to use when working with miniatures. They made sets of them to share with all of us.

The first (from the left) is a popsicle stick with a strip of double -sided tape on it to hold small items such as beads while you work on them. This would be great when making things such as perfume bottles. The second is a 2' square of wood with a piece of velvet glued to it. This holds very tiny things such as beads or nails in place so they don't roll around or get lost on your work table (or worse yet, the floor). I've used  spaghetti to pick up and position beads (just moisten the end with your tongue) but this has the added refinement of being sharpened on each end. (This was done with a sharpener used for fine drafting pencils.)

My name was drawn for a door prize and I got a great little doll by Judy Mitchell.
Although this corner shelf that the doll is on is solid wood, I have a couple somewhere LOL with filigree sides. I have a particular affection for them as they remind me of one my Dad made for my Mom in the early days of their marriage. I'll have to dig one out and add it to the Victorian style parlour, especially as I've come across a few knick-knacks that I've found in my stash since that room was made.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Time flies

Sometimes the time you allot for a simple task just doesn't fit...

My 'to-do' list for the next few days until I leave for Ontario is a mile long so I decided that one thing I could get done and off the list was mailing some beads to fellow miniaturists.

One of my online miniature groups is Canada Minis. Each fall we have a Pass It On Challenge where you share miniature items with other members of the group. These are things that you might have too many of or that you bought for a project then decided not to use or sometimes things that you make that you want to share.

When I was at Bedrock Supply, I picked up a bag of very tiny seed beads (25 beads to the inch) in their clearance bin. Great deal - about 20 14" strings of beads for $3.00! So I offered several strings up on the PIOC and had to get them in the mail to the lucky winners.

Then the fun began. When the beads were packaged, about ten strings were put together and the ends tied in a knot.

Well, there was no way I could get that blinking knot untied to separate the strands of beads. So I thought I'd just get a needle and run a second thread through each strand then cut away the original thread. But the beads are too small for anything but a beading needle - and I couldn't find mine. Now what?!

So I dug around and found a spool of fine wire and restrung the beads on that. Worked well enough but took forever to do - the first string took darn near an hour! Fortunately the next three went faster each strand. But what I thought would take 10 - 15 minutes ended up taking about three hours!

All to get ONE thing crossed off the 'to-do' list.

So I said to heck with the list and went out to the library with Joanne to hear Gail Bowen, author of the mystery book series featuring Joanne Kilbourn, speak as part of STARFest (St. Albert Readers Festival). Had a wonderful evening filled with laughter.

Monday, October 17, 2011

organization, costume

I was out and about Saturday. My first stop was at my Mom's building next door where they were having their annual bazaar and white elephant sale. Picked up a shelving unit that I think will work well in my workroom.

The shelves are 16" x 12" with a rim around the edge. The spacers between can be either 6" or 12". There are six shelves but one is pretty badly warped. I've putting them together 6" apart and will put the unit on my work table to hold various projects. KIS shoeboxes will fit on them too.

or I can use just one section as a tray to work on my lap.

Later in the day I was in Dollarama and found a great pumpkin costume for the tickle trunk! For only $2.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Storybook Dollhouse

About two years ago, with a lot of help and encouragement from a fellow American miniaturist Dick Tabor, the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton club began working on a dollhouse filled with references to children's literature. Dick provided a list of literature he had used in his dollhouse with the same theme and club member Joanne Root who works in the children's department of the St. Albert Public library added her suggestions.
The sides of the house have handles for easy transport and a sheet of matboard with  book covers from some of the books represented in the house.

The house, an RGT QuickBuild colonial, was purchased from a MEE member who had used it as a demonstration model in her business. Members of the club were divided into geographical groups and each group was assigned a room in the house to furnish.

The house was completed and displayed at our Show and Sale on September 18, 2011, and donated to the Children's Department of the St. Albert Public Library on October 11, 2011.

Library Director Peter Bailey and Children's Services Coordinator accepting the dollhouse on behalf of the St. Albert Public Library
After the presentation of the house, the library hosted a lovely tea party for club members who were able to attend.
Library staff at the tea after the presentation. Joanne Root, MEE member and library staff member, on the far right.
The pictures of the house can also be seen on my Fotki site.

Our local paper also did a writeup on the presentation.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

reading day

I told Leanne yesterday that as soon as people saw the new bookshelves in the library there would be more bags of books donated...and this morning I saw just how true that was.

Started the day by taking all the pages for "The Book" down to the library as the table there was ideal for collating the twelve copies. First thing I saw was bags of donations!

Got the pages collated then started on shelving the donations. And, of course, found several books that I look forward to reading! Had such good intentions of getting work done around the condo today BUT one of the books donated was "Rhett Butler's People" by Donald McCaig. This is an "authorized novel" based on Margaret Mitchell's "Gone with the Wind", one of many of my favourite books. I quite enjoyed the author's take on Rhett's background but wondered if he had even read GWTW as some of the storyline just didn't ring true to me, particularly his characterization of Melanie. Having said that, it was a good read and I did enjoy it.

I did read the other sequel, "Scarlett" by Alexandra Ripley several years ago but quite frankly have forgotten most of the storyline so will be re-reading it again soon. I do remember enough, however, that I have to wonder how the Margaret Mitchell Estate could authorize two such different 'sequels'.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mommy/Daughter day

Leanne and I finally got to spend the day together. Our first stop was at the new Crate and Barrel store at Southgate (opened yesterday). Didn't buy anything but sure enjoyed looking at all the beautiful stock...and quite reasonable prices too.

Stopped at the Dollarama there hoping to find some of the 1:12 furniture but they didn't have any.

Then we headed over to Hobby Wholesale where I picked up some brass tubing (with an eye to making some light fixtures one of these days) and a couple new blades for my mitre box saw.

Next stop was Bedrock Supply, 9535 - 63 Avenue, where I picked up some beads and jewellery findings. Tina M. had told us about this shop about a year ago but it was my first visit. Great place! They didn't have all that I was looking for but did have an incredible selection of beads and other things. A real joy to spend time there.

Bindels Ornaments in the Netherlands has some great tutorials for lighting (and other things). You can also order kits from them.

We stopped at Michael's where I showed great restraint! Only bought the little package below. I can see some great necklaces and earrings coming up.

We picked up some groceries, went for a wonderful dinner at Buffet Royale (incredible prime rib AND a chocolate fountain) then called it a day.

Now I'm off to bed to watch the last Harry Potter movie.

Friday, October 7, 2011

What a week!

In addition to setting up the miniature display at the library Monday morning, I went out to dinner Monday night with a group of ladies that I used to work with at Cuts School. We've been having these little get-togethers for about 20 years now - not as often as we used to but about four times a year. Had a great time catching up since our last visit.

Tuesday night I skipped our club workshop as I had to gather together a bunch of paperwork for a Wednesday morning appointment. Then I got a visit from a woman in the building who wanted to donate two bookshelves to the condo library. I committed myself to the donation then had to spend a couple hours rearranging furniture to make room for them.

Wednesday was my appointment, our condo coffee club and, in the evening, the final meeting of the 2011 Show and Sale Committee. The co-chairs hosted a lovely wine and cheese at the new home of one of them. Wonderful time!

Thursday I got a call from the owner of the bookcases that they were ready to be moved so I called two of my neighbours to help with that and we got them moved and in place. So last night was spent shifting books around to utilize the new bookshelves.

We are so fortunate to have this great library in the building.

Spent time throughout today making labels for the shelves and attaching them. Very pleased with how everything turned out.

Each year my Christmas present to my Mom, sisters and some friends is a collection of e-mail forwards, poems, songs, news clippings and quotations that we refer to as "The Book". I collect these things all year and save them to a file on my computer. Had a bit of a set-back when my computer crashed but managed to get back on track.

So I started printing 12 copies of it yesterday and finished printing this morning. Then decided that I didn't have enough for it so between errands around the building found a few more things to put in it.

Collating and binding it will have to wait until Sunday since Leanne and I finally found a day that we're both free so tomorrow is Mommy/Daughter day. No idea what we'll end up doing but we'll be spending the day together!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Some recent purchases

If I had known how many people, especially miniaturists, would ask about my SmartCart, I would have mentioned it last week when I bought it on sale for $14.99 (half price) at London Drugs. (I chose that link for pictures because it shows it opened and closed.) It's great for regular shopping and even better for transporting miniatures and/or supplies and tools.

I was thinking yesterday that in addition to jewellery findings I would probably need some brass wire to make a chandelier and I remembered seeing coils of brass snare wire at Canadian Tire. (My mom and I had quite a giggle this morning wondering how many people, if any, would know what snare wire is!)

So I went there yesterday and got two 20' coils of it - one 20 gauge and one 22 gauge - $3.99 each. (Just checked and they both work with the Swarovski beads.)

Another thing they had was a display of dowels (in diameters 1/8" and larger) and 3' lengths of square wood (poplar). They were out of the 1/4" but did have 3/8", 5/8" and 1/2" in stock. I picked up two strips of the 3/8" to make the corners of my market stall for this year's club project. Very nice straight wood and only $1.49 a piece for the 3/8".

Dollhouse Month

In conjunction with Dollhouse Month and the donation of the dollhouse to the Children's Department of the St. Albert Public Library, Joanne and I set up a display of miniatures on the second floor of the library.

Joanne took in her miniature book store (a delightful piece of art); her 1:48 house; some dolls by Georgee Prokiw; books by Lee Ann Borgia and ones Joanne made from Ann Vanture kits; a small shop and a Hallowe'en scene by Sunni D.

I took in my displays from the Doll Show plus a birthday party in a pocket watch that I made in Dallas years ago.

Even before we finished putting up the display, there was a lot of interest in it.

The home gym and Joanne's 1:48 house:
 Joanne's book store, Brillig Books, from the front:
 Front porch decorated for Hallowe'en; Hallowe'en hat box by Sunni D.; ghost and witch; Ferraro Rocher pyramid filled with items by Jewell from New Zealand; Ferraro Rocher bell Christmas scene by Lorry S.
 Pocket watch scene, books in case
 Front of the 1:48 house, gift shop, retirement scene, Queen Mom doll by Georgee, and case of Ann Vanture books
 Book store from the side
Book shop from the top
 Collection of books by Lee Ann Borgia and books from Ann Vanture kits

Side view of the book shop with Georgee Prokiw doll added