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......

Sunday, March 2, 2014

More Wisteria and inside the Bookshop

Another week has passed with a little more completed.  The wisteria so far are just trial and error, trying to find the best way to create them that look the most realistic.  I don't have a lot of experience working with Flower Soft.  It looks so fragile, even once it's glued to the ground covered stems I created last week.  Maybe one of my readers have used the product before and knows a little more, I would love feedback.  I think I will need to spray them with some sort of sealer once the glue is dry.  Otherwise I think they will just fall apart with time.  There's still a little trimming required before I can spray them as well, but I like the fullness better, and I like the little bit of Nut Brown flower soft I added to my mix, I think it gives the flowers a slightly wilted look, which I think will work with the street scene. 

I also need a little better weather!!  I can't do the spray sealer inside my craft room, and right now there is about 10 feet, yes I said feet, of snow on the ground.  Not really outside crafting weather.  Here's a close up on the wisteria, you can clearly see the trimming necessary here, plus the little bit of brown wilting colour!  I like the fullness much better now.

I have a little bit of any assembly line going here now.  The green bases are drying to the left of the foam and the wisteria stems are drying to the right.  And yes, I have some leftover tulips from my garden shed project on the top of the foam.  I will have to open an Etsy shop soon to sell all these extras I keep making!!

Why the glue was drying and there was no more room on my drying rack, I moved on to the inside of the book store, and started rolling my "vintage" maps.  I think I will tie some with old "cord" and stack some in tall baskets.  I love the vintage look of them though.  Again I have hundreds of maps made, I have to learn a little restraint!  That Etsy stop is getting closer to a reality!

I started testing out some of the documents and maps in the bookcase with the books I had added before.  I need to complete a lot more books, I like to see this bookshelf overflowing.  But it's nice to see the concept coming together. 

I still have to confirm the name for the shop as well, because the sign has to be attached before I can stabilize the wisteria vines.  I am thinking I will use one of more ancestor's names.  My Great great grandfather, who died the year my father was born, 1936, had an unusual name, Ephraim Titus.  It's actually a name from the Bible, but it kind of sounds more like a fatal disease to me!  But it definitely sounds old, so I am thinking:-
Ephraim Titus' Vintage Books & Maps.
I also have to think of a name for my second shop.  Danielle Steele wrote a book called Fine Things, which was about a man who ran a department store.  I've always liked the shop name ever since I read the book, and again I may add to this name for my shop. 
I purchased a laser cut hanging sign from "Grandpa's Dollhouse" during their recent Daily Deals promotion.  I still have to let Liz know what I want to have engraved on the sign.  I think I will use this sign for the second shop.  I am thinking, "Doreen's Fine Things", which is my mom's middle name.
One thing I did not do this week was shape leaves, I had enough of that the week before.  This is going to be one of these task I will definitely procrastinate on!  It's just so tedious and boring!
Again thank you to all those who take the time to read my blog and especially to those who leave comments, it's so much appreciated.
Until the next time.......