Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Second Shop

Have you ever had all these plans that completely go bust, just when you look out the window?  Our plans for this day was the first barbeque of the season with family.  But then I opened the curtains at the patio door.  Yes this is snow, and it's May 3rd, but it's Newfoundland!!  Don't know where Newfoundland is located, look it up on the internet.  An island in the north Atlantic Ocean, with temperatures that rarely get colder than -5 Celsius, but also never get hotter than 20 degrees.
So what does one do when it snows in May, will we work on more miniatures!!!  I have started working on the second shop interior in the street scene.  I found a picture of a shop interior, which kind of looked vintage and second hand, and I printed it on an 8.5 x 11 page and glued it to the back wall of the shop.
I lowered the floor of the window display, and now you will see the items in the window better.  Here's a shot with a few window props and the backdrop can be seen behind the props.   I'm please with how it's turning out, but space is pretty tight in the window, and I want to add a few more props around it.  I like the natural covering that came on the unfinished Bespaq chair.  It's the same chair I'm using in the castle room, I purchased a set of four several years ago at Ron's Dollhouse Shop in Orlando, Florida.  I still have to stain the wood, which I am planning to do to match the mannequin.  The mannequin was purchased in Barcelona two years ago.  It's a mass produced piece, but I think it looks great.

The interior shop showing the floor lowered and the back of the props.

 I removed all the fabric pieces from the chair, you can see them lying on the painting sheet behind the chair.  Sorry I should have turned off the flash for this shot.

Then I gave it a coat of stain.  It looks a little blotchy right now, but I will sand and retry once it is dried.

I have to tell you about this new stain I found at Michaels.  It's a non drip stain that you can squeeze out just a small drop.  I love it, it's very thick, and it rubs in nicely to the wood.

 Even better, if you squeeze out too much, you can brush it back into the tube!

I did a little work for the Book Store as well.  As you know I have called it Ephriam's, who was my Great Great Grandfather, who was born in 1885 and died 1936.  I have one picture of him shown below.  I took an old Chrysnbon frame and used a bit of the same stain I used above and rubbed into the frame.  I reduced several pictures until I found the ideal size to fit the frame.

And here is the finished picture.  Ready for hanging in the book store.  I love it!

I'm on the road travelling for work starting tomorrow, so I may not get any miniature work done in the week.  I plan to take one of my needlework projects on the road with me, it may be my only miniature accomplishment for the coming week.
Hope you've enjoyed my work today.  Thanks to everyone who left such kind remarks, it is so motivating.
Until the next time.....

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Inside and Outside the Street Scene

It's been a quiet week in the workroom, but I still have lots to share from my previous accomplishments.  Now that I have all the trim finished outside, I could now dress the interior portions of the window boxes, which well only be seen from the outside.  It's more stacks of old books, documents and maps.


Now that the windows are dressed, here's what they look like from the outside.  Once I install the lighting, it will be a lot more visible.


Here's more shots of how things look all put together.  Still have to add the wisteria and vines.



I also stained the moldings on the inside of the other shop window.  I didn't put interior moldings on the above shop windows, I don't think they will be seen.  But with this window and the angle of the shop, the interior moldings will be seen slightly.  This is the floor that I have placed too high, and I have decided I will lower it, that's a future project.  I do like the flooring I used for this project.  I found it at the Little Dollhouse Company in Toronto, Ontario.  It's printed on cardstock, but it looks very realistic.  To add a little more realism I scored the lines.  I know it can't be seen in the photograph unfortunately, but I do like the effect.  I also put on coat of paint on these walls.  Not a lot will be seen, but it should help to keep in bright inside once I add the lighting.

Hope you enjoy the work so far.  I write my final exam on Thursday for the course I took this semester, and I am planning on taking a break from my studies until September.  It should give me some time to complete this project during the summer.
Thanks for all the kind comments on the last posting.  It means a lot to me, and it's so encouraging to continue.
Until the next time.....

Monday, April 21, 2014

A little more trim and a whole lot of travel

It's been a few busy weeks of business travel and last minute studying for my upcoming final for this semester's courses.  All this has put my blogging behind.  I did, however, get to do a little mini shopping on one business trip to North Carolina, which was good.

This past Easter holiday week has also given me a little play time.  I finished all the molding around the book store entrance, finished the vent under the window and painted the interior of the second store and installed the floor.

I think the moldings around the door close in the entrance a little bit, but it is a miniature, so only small people will need to fit through!  I also think I've installed the window box floor in the second store a little too high, this may need to be lowered.  I will sleep on this a little bit and decide.

 I don't know if I ever shared the inspiration picture for this storefront.  It comes from one of the storefronts in the Harry Potter attractions at Universal Studios.  Interestingly enough, I didn't realize this when I started the storefront.

I hadn't seen the top of the building when I built my version.  I am glad I choose this version, which again is interestingly enough, also from Universal Studios, but this I knew, and I had taken a lot of pictures of the brownstones there when we visited several years ago.  It was just several months before the Harry Potter attractions opened when we visited though. We were disappointed at the time, because we could see the top of the attractions from outside, but couldn't get in to see it.
This was my inspiration for the top of the storefront.


With the moldings finished around the exterior windows, I now can dress the bookstores windows on the inside.  That will be my next blog post hopefully!

In the past month of travel I've had lots of time to spend on my Pinterest boards while sitting in airports and spending nights in hotels.  There's over 2100 followers on my boards now and over 35,000 pins, over 20,000 pins are on miniatures!  If Pinterest interests you, drop by and check out the boards at

Happy Easter to all.

Until the next time....

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Over the Threshold

I'm pleased with the work I accomplished this week on the street scene, not because it was a lot, but it was something I was hesitant in completing.  I had mis-cut the floor around the door opening, and with the floor glued in place, I was apprehensive about getting the floor unglued.  It turned out to be a relatively easy task thankfully, and I was able to insert a piece and I added a wood threshold to cover the insert.  I stained it to match the wood work around the window.  I still have to add window trim, even though it won't be seen from the outside. 


I tapered the edge of the threshold board.  Wouldn't want any of the bookstore customers tripping on their way out the door!

I am leaving the accessorizing of the two ledges on each side of the door until I add the moldings on the outside of the windows.

I also got to add the Open/Closed sign.  It's a laser made sign, but the wire was too short and I added a piece of cord to get it at the perfect height.

I am so proud to finally give the bookstore a name.  I drafted it up in Microsoft Word, so I had limited fonts available to me, but I am proud of the end product.  The shops name, as I mentioned a couple of posts ago, is named in honour of my Great Great Grandfather, Ephriam, I decided to drop his second name, Titus, started to sound too much like a disease!  So it's called Ephriam's Vintage Books, Manuscripts and Maps.  I think I will shrink a picture of the old guy and place it in the store!  I only have one picture since he was born in 1855 and died in 1936, I'm pleased I have that one.

I still have to add lighting, it was very dark inside once I placed everything's place!

I've removed the vine for this picture, but I am starting to really like the overall look!

Thanks again for everyone's comments.  It's very much appreciated.
Until the next time......

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Inside the bookstore

I've had another productive week in the workshop.  Finally did more work on the interior walls. You've seen the wall that the book shelf lays against, but I have yet to show you the window wall. This wall will not be seen from the outside, so I didn't bother wallpapering it to match the back and right side wall, also didn't have any more of that paper!  But I did paint it to match the background of the wallpaper.  I had drawn the lines for the stones on the outside wall on the wrong side initially and painting over these lines with this colour took about four coats to completely hide these lines.

You can also see I built a ledge under each window.  I thought about building low bookcases under the windows, but since you can't see them once everything was in place, I just filled in the space with beadboard that helps stabilize the recessed door.  It didn't stain well, but I think when I fill the ledges with more books, documents and maps, the variation will be hidden and again it won't be seen from the outside.

I cut the floor incorrectly, and I still need to detach this floor and fix my mistake.  I still have the piece I cut out and more of the floor tile, so as long as I can pry the floor from the walls without too much damage I should be able to fix my mistake!

I also still have to add the window trim in the coming week, and I have to distress everything with a little bit of dirty wash!

I attempted to distress the book shelf from last week's work.  I found the shine on the book covers made it difficult to age those covers.  I find that you see what you missed when you take photographs, and you can see what you need to add.  Here's the shelves before I aged them.

And this is afterwards.  I still think I need to do more, but it's a start.  The whole look I am trying to achieve is definitely a little unkempt and disorganized and also neglected.  Don't know if I am there yet.   Marisa, you asked if this was a shop belonging to a world traveller, great question!  I've been thinking a lot of my great great grandfather as I've created this project.  He died in 1936, the same year my father was born, so a man I've never met.  But I've heard so many wonderful things about him.  He was a bit eccentric, not formally educated, but had a fantastic memory and was a great storyteller.  I have one picture of him taken when he was in his later years.  I am thinking of reducing it and hanging it in the store.  I've decided to use his name in the store name as well.  He was a trapper, and probably never used a map to get him anywhere, but he knew his way around his hunting grounds.  So this project will be a combination of my two hobbies, miniatures and genealogy.
Here's the front on view from before the aging.

And this is afterwards.  You will see that the books on the top are a slightly different.  Once I glued everything in place the top got rearranged a little.  I also curled up the map that is over hanging on the edge of the shelf to give it a more worn look as well.  I think more aging is definitely required.  I've been using chaulk pastels, and this is my first time using these to age a project.  It's a little bit of trial and error on my part.

I have still not been brave enough to start the lighting.  It's always an area that scares me!
Work as continued on the wisteria and leaves, but that's just too boring to show right now!!  Thanks for all the feedback.  It's really appreciated.
Until the next time.....

Sunday, March 9, 2014


I was very fortunate to have no assignment in my course due this week, so it gave me lots of time to play in my workshop.  It's been my most productive weekend in about 6 months.  I got so much accomplished, and I have sore fingers to show for it. 
First I made lot more books.  I used a cutout page from Minaturas Magazine that I had picked up in Barcelona two years ago.   I am not totally pleased with the glossy finish on the books but once I finish aging everything I think I can cut back on the gloss.  One problem I ran into with these books was with the gold stamping I used on the edges.  I actually made these cores several MONTHS ago, but I couldn't get the gold stamping to dry.  I even tried spraying on a top coat of clear lacquer several months ago, when the weather was better outside, but I was still getting gold finish on my hands and the covers of the books as I glued them together this week.  I won't use this stamp again!
You can see I made lots of books, and I still need more!

Then it was on to making the old documents look older.  I had already prepared the edges in the tea dyed stamp I had showed in a previous posting. 
But they still looked to perfect, so I balled them up into little wads of paper, and let them sit for a few days.  Again another assembly line!
Once I unballed the paper they had a great look of old worn documents.
I had printed several pages of old maps and aged the edges several weeks ago, so now I had to roll them up to place them in the bookstore.  This was a relatively easy task.
I rolled up a lot of the old document pages instead of balling them up (and yes it gave my finger tips a risk, you can't imagine how badly up fingers were hurting by then!)  I like the rolled documents as well.  I also glued a pile of the maps and papers into an old wood box that another miniature friend had given me years ago.  It's a great little box that even has dovetailed edges.  You'll see a close up of the edges later.  I also have the stack of leather bound books that I purchased at The Little Dollhouse Store in Toronto.  I think I am going to use these in the window of the bookstore.

I also framed an old map to use on the wall.  You can see it below with the filled bookshelves placed in the store.  I had to remove the front wall of the shop to dry fit this in place.  I still haven't glued all the books on the top, because I wanted to ensure I had sufficient head room.  The floor is also not shown, because it's attached to the front wall.  I think I shouldn't have done this and I may try to unattach the floor and glue directly to the bottom of the room box instead.

Here's a shot from the top showing some of the detail.

And a front view looking down a bit.  I also filled the tall basket with lots of maps.

You can see the tall basket here.  I had soaked the basket in a dirty wash, which was probably not the wisest thing to do, because this basket is taped together with masking tape.  I had to glue a few slats back in after I did this.  The wash doesn't show clearly in the picture, but I know from experience in the past that it will get grayer and grayer each day.  You can also see the stack of books closer here as well.

Now you can also see the dovetail edge on the box.  It's so tiny!

You can click on the images to see better close ups.  You can also see the dates are still messed up on my camera.   Each time I turn the camera on it shows a different date!
Hope you enjoyed everything I completed this week.   I still got lots of leaves shaped and wisteria flowers made.  That assembly line is coming along as well.  I didn't want to show you more of this because I know you've seen it all before.   Next I have to work on the sign for the outside, some molding under the outside window, plus a vent under the window, and I have to dress the interior window sills.  Also have to do lots of aging to all these interior furnishings and accessories.
I also have to put some thought into the lighting.  I bought several lighting strips and one fixture from Grandpa's Dollhouse last September while at Camp Mini Ha Ha.  Wayne ensures me that they are really easy to install.  So if my writing looks a little more electrified the next time, wiring wasn't as easy as Wayne said it was going to be.  I love lighting in miniature settings but it is the most intimidating challenge for me.  Funny thing is, my educational background is in architectural engineering and interior design, which covered a full course in electrical servicing and another course in lighting, so I have a sound foundation, but very little hands on experience!
Wish me the best!  Until the next time......