All posts by 3smilingdogs

Creating and collecting miniatures have long been a part of my life. They bring me inner squeals of joy when I make an individual piece or finishing up a setting that looks like I could walk on in if I was resized to that scale. Hopefully, they will bring you a little smile to cheer your day.

Building a Library

As I mentioned in the last post, I have found it enjoyable to search for beautiful books to fill my library.   There are many sources and the internet is a helpful aid in pulling it all within reach.

Pinterest again was a great help in finding sources.  There are so many! Some are already reduced and ready for printing to use for mini shelves. This one is such a link–    Herbie’s Collection of Printables

Graphic designers love to pin the book covers for design inspirations.  One such board lead to the library collections of several universities with wonderful sources.  You can spend hours enjoying the visual glory of time honored works of printers in the past.   Here are few of my favorites from following Pinterest board leads.

Publishers’ Bindings Online, 1815–1930: The Art of the Book. University of Wisconsin–Madison. A great collection, a little hard to search at first but wonderful covers and spines. Try searching  keyword “art nouveau” to get started and then clicking various highlighted items to browse deeper.  Plan to get lost in this library!

Here is a board of book covers to start with Beautiful Antique Books.  After that just keep looking and pinning covers that appeal to you.

If you like children’s literature –  the Baldwin Collection of the University of Florida is a good place.  Again, it takes some time to figure out the system enough to search but well worth it.

Here is another place to browse and gain some insight into some lovely rare books.   Pirages Fine Books and Manuscripts  It also has pdf catalogues of their books.

Making miniature versions it is not simply finding a complete book cover and shrinking it down in a smaller copy.  Sometimes it is possible but generally there is tweaking of colors, lettering, or a need to create a back cover in a similar style to match the front. At times some of the detail has to be eliminated so it doesn’t because a blob when sized down.  It is not possible to show a step by step process to do this because the steps would change with which graphic program using, what version and even what kind of computer.  There are too many variables to nail down to be helpful.  Don’t let that stop you.  Experiment in a graphic program without a time deadline to build some skills if you are craving to do it.  Remember to be child like and just try things to see what happens. Patience and accepting that it is not an instant gained skill will help.

I  realized my book making skills have grown over time when I compare my current books to earlier ones created years ago.  All that tinkering added up over time! So hang in there if you give it a go.

So to celebrate the love of books…….

I am sharing a file of book covers – Mini Books from Miniature Whims

Here is the wood and inner cover patterns for them – Sizing for Mini Books

I like the book covers to be backed with a solid color cardstock before wrapping them around a wooden book form.  The inner cover hides the white backside of the graphic covers and adds some sturdiness to the mini book.  If the white backside of the individual books shows the realism fades and it quickly looks like paper wrapped chunks of wood.  So for me the added step creates a better book. For the best results use good paper (presentation paper is good choice) and set the printing to high quality(300 dpi) not speedy.

Enjoy the books and add to your miniature library.


In Search of a Good Book….


This little shop is an attempt to capture my love of books and the many happy times that I have spent browsing in bookstores.  There is always a thrill of finding the perfect book of the moment when scanning the shelves.  The rich layering of detail in this shop was very satisfying, to recreate my feelings associated with books in a miniature setting.

My bookseller is using his spare moments wisely between customers to read.  It always makes me smile thinking of all the times I’ve read a bit more while I waited for something to finish or start. There is that instant transportation from reality to a place described in the pages of a book when you start to read.  It’s a magic trick that doesn’t grow old.


The rich colors of blue and gold on the exterior front windows invites the casual stroller to come inside.  The warm glow of light shows the books within.


The shelves are full of colorful books of all sizes with ornate covers that make your fingers itch to pull out the one that catches your eye, to browse the pages within. The artwork of past eras still work to draw the book to your attention.


It took a lot of books to fill this small book shop.  I am embarrassed to say how long this project has been around unfinished.  There has been many stops and starts over time  from various interruptions but I was determined to finish this time since there was only a few things left that it needed. So now I get to share it with you and invite you inside this tiny corner to book heaven!

I did at one time think there should be no repeated books but abandoned that idea due to the shear volume of books the shelving needed.

The paintings on the walls needed to reflect the love of reading.  I settle on these two to fit the bill.  The relaxed reader in a summer hammock and the thoughtful reflections of the serious reader were perfect.  They are now framed and have a home in the shop.


The outside cart stacked with a casual assortment of books was another detail I enjoyed adding.  How many times that has worked to stop someone passing by to look just for a moment and then get drawn into going inside for more?


The snail light is a favorite piece.  It is an unique and quaint light source.  I like to think it reflects my bookseller’s taste for detail that spills over into the book choices on his shelves. My photography skills don’t allow me to show how beautiful it is lit (just a glowing blob in the photos) so here is a photo of it unlit to see the detail.


Books abound in the shop and there is even have a place below the elevated floor to display more.


This project is completed but started another journey of discovery, finding book covers to use to build miniature books to fill the shelves. I have gotten drawn into recreating book covers just for the shear pleasure of it, even though these shelves are full.

As things go with books, there is never a clear stopping point of how many you can have. More about this new exploration in the next post.


A Halloween Trick

I know, I know, October is almost GONE but I wanted to share a seasonal item currently at Michael’s that has quite a bit of possibilities.  They are clearing out the Halloween things at a deep discount now so you might be able to still find them.  Here is a Halloween trick for you using one object to create something new. Happy Halloween!

The JACK-O’-LANTERN straws !!!   They come apart!!!!

The 4 stacked pumpkins can be separated!  Ummm…   Use a sawblade to separate them into 4 individual jack-o’-lanterns.  Yes, the tops of 3 of them look ugly but that is easily fixed.  Just sand lightly with FINE sandpaper and use an emery board for the inner edge.  The sanded area looks dull at first but fine when wiped with water.

saw them apart
first one nice rim, 3 others are rough
lightly sand with FINE sandpaper
use emery board for the inner edge cleanup

Here is some of them doctored up.  SO COOL!!

Doctored up individual jack-o’-lanterns


First one is stuffed with a cotton ball wrapped in a double layer of black panty hose material.  It fills the pumpkin so only one face shows.

The second one I covered both faces with black tissue paper inside the pumpkin and made a paper base since there is no bottom.  Using a large needle heated by a candle I poked a hole on each side to attach a piece of black cording for a handle. I then filled it with Halloween treats.


The third one came apart at the seams but seems like it could be used when you wanted a flat back.  A wall planter?  A light (remember to only use LEDs with that idea, so no overheating issues with regular bulbs)?  Who knows???

Here is a couple of them in my pull cart ………


Hopefully you can get a bag of the straws before they are gone and have fun exploring their potential.  ENJOY!

Pull Cart wanderings

Fall is finally here — the wind is blowing and the leaves are tumbling everywhere.  I am enjoying the change of season, staying inside to play with my minis with a glance outside now and then to enjoy the rich fall colors.

I had to tidy up the workspace to actually do some work and needed a project to get the creative juices flowing again after the pause from all the summer activities.

Pinterest again fueled the fire!

I have been looking at old photos of carts pulled by goats and other trained animals.  I definitely would have loved one as a kid — they have far more charm than the modern dirt bike but I am an animal lover of most furry things.

This picture really caught my eye.  I loved the curve and wicker look — how far could I go without actual building a wicker one ???

Goat Pull Cart from Pinterest

So off I go with a basic line and form to create this. A start  but much more is needed to get the feel of that cart in the photo.

The start of the pull cart

So I wander about in my supplies not knowing what I am looking for — just searching.  Good grief, its the handles of a shopping bag that catch my eyes!  I swear miniature minds work very oddly.  The handles will give me the bulk and rounded edges I wanted.

Shopping bag handles have the right look and texture
Bulky trim for the top edge of the pull cart

Still missing the texture — so I wander about some more digging in the supplies.  I have no desire to paint it to create the wicker look — so what do I need? A textured paper does the trick!  Ya!

Textured paper added to the sides

Needless to say it is a process to create something in your mind to an actual physical form but so very satisfying when it all pulls together.

I further the look with some wheels, a harness, and the sweetest little goat to lead my cart.  I had other animals but this one was my favorite.  It is from the Schleich line of animals found at the local farm supply store but I imagine a toy store would possibly have them.

The perfect goat for my cart

I toyed with many ideas of what to fill the cart with but settled on Halloween items due to the time of year.  I think I might have to fill one with various cheeses later –especially goat cheeses.

First attempt at filling the cart
Finished filled pull cart

Do I need to say I have created quite a mess pulling out various things that didn’t work? This is not a straight line process like the pictures present.

So I guess I need to clean up my workspace AGAIN ….. Oh well ….. as I glance at my new pull cart with a smile of satisfaction.


Summer ending and Fall beginning

I am a bit surprised by the time gap from the last posting.  Summer got away from me and miniatures laid abandoned for the most part.  I had a day here and there but other activities called.

If it was sunny, I was in the garden –the flowers enjoyed the attention and I had the visual satisfaction of all the work.  It had been a long time since I really put the time in before the weeds claimed the ground.  It made my summer something to savor this winter.

Aside from the gardening, we had a construction project of a stone patio and sun room.  This required a lot of moving things out of the way and then back in place.  I did rethink some things and cleared some clutter.  The project is DONE and I am ready to turn the page to fall.

So fall has official started  (contrary to the weather–very hot at the moment but due to change this week) and I am ready to slow down a bit and treat myself with playing with my miniatures again.

I did dabble here and there this summer on short bursts, so I do have some things to share.

I have gotten into the habit of Pinterest browsing in the morning with my tea.  It inspires you and gives you many idea when you are researching a topic visually.  Even if I didn’t get to make minis I got to daydream about them.  One of the post that got me excited was a doll presentation display.   For some reason the face and dress drew me and I wanted to create something similar.  I showed the picture to Pat Boldt, a fellow miniaturist that makes dolls.  She had a similar doll mold and I was ready to try my hand.

❤✄◡ً✄❤ La poupée ❤✄◡ً✄❤ This is the mold I used for one of the little porcelains I made. Such a sweetie.
Doll Presentation Display from Pinterest

Here is the similar doll from Pat Boldt undressed


Here is my version with straw hat, collared dress, a brush and comb set and a little purse.  I even added a simple heart charm bracelet on her wrist.  It was a delight to see it all come together and finding just the right things to make a grouping.

A sweet faced doll with her finery

I enjoy seeing a finished project that came from one of my wanderings on Pinterest and getting to share it with you.  Until next time…..





Dome Delight

Sometimes I am enchanted with a single piece or vignette that I am not ready to put in a larger scene of a dollhouse or roombox so a small display under a dome is just the ticket. I can also rotate my treasures so things aren’t stale in my displays and my eyes can seek out the details up close when I am in the miniature mood.

This fall I discovered some small glass domes at Michael’s that allow me to display a seasonal favorite or special miniature.  They still carry them  but they keep moving them around in the store. Currently they are in the fairy garden section. They are inexpensive, running about $5 to $7 with several sizes.

Small Domes from Michael’s
They come in several sizes.

Another cover for a small grouping is a cheese tray.  I got this one at the thrift store for $3. I will admit the glass is thicker than a dome and distorts things a bit but the price was right.  A footed glass cake stand is another option.   Garage sales and estate sales can provide some interesting covers if you keep your eyes open.


The luggage trio is by Bobbie Johnson of Colorado.  I made the other 3 pieces many years ago.  I am not sure who made the green trunk but I love the aged peeling affect it has  for a well traveled look.

Since I am on the subject of small displays, I wanted to share some of my favorites.  Not all are dome covered but  I wanted to share some eye candy.


The spring garden display and gnome floral is by Laura Crain of Dollhouse Land. I love her use of color.  Well balanced and feels like a bit of the outdoors captured.  They always perk me up in the winter.

The doll and 2 bunnies are some old favorites from the late 90’s.  I have two of the dolls by the same artist that I got in 1997 when I was on the East coast at a miniature show.  I have never seen her work since but love the detail.  They have viscose hair, lace trim and ribbon added to the pinafores.  All the rest is polymer clay. Here is the two dolls and their markings.  If you know the artist’s name, I would love to know it.


The bunnies are by Becky Delk.  She made lots of sweet children and animals in the 90’s. She was at the Denver show and NAME conventions when I was able to get some of her creations.  The detail is incredible with the dresses having checkered pattern, strips, etc all created with her manipulation of the clay.  They amaze me.  I think she burned out due to her work being so popular.

Two stylish bunnies by Becky Delk
Dolls by Becky Delk
Closeup of detail
Giraffe by Becky Delk
Giraffe closeup

The small gatherings under a dome or cover is a much better way to enjoy your miniatures than tucked away in a drawer until you have a place for it in a scene.



Breadcrumb Trail

I have gotten a lot of things done this month.  It was not one big project that presented itself well in a posting.  It been a stead focus on small details that added up to something.

I greatly enjoyed my candle carousel that was on the shelf in my Christmas house.  Its a mini version of a German Christmas decoration that uses the heat of the candles to set them in motion.  I would gently blow on my mini version and watch the blade rotate the carousel. It would make me smile each time.  It was also fun to share this with my little granddaughter when she was visiting.


Pardon the pun –but it set my thoughts a whirl with the desire to create one myself but not Christmas related.  I had worked with some silhouettes on another project. So that was the beginning. Combining those ideas was the path I followed this month.  I spent many hours fine tuning to make it work smoother than the first attempt.

The trail of what if I tried this, or this, or this kept the impulse going.  I created the first one based on the silhouettes.  That was so much fun that I decided I wanted a heart one being that it was February and there were hearts everywhere.



When I finally got them to the finished stage I was so excited with my new toys that I wanted to share them.  The magic of these carousels are not captured in a single photo.  Motion tells the story.

So it lead to me making a you tube video of each of them working.  That was something new for me!  I do realize that this is super basic for some people but I hadn’t attempted one before.  It seemed very intimidating and I never had something to share that way before. It was much simpler to do that I ever dreamed.  It really made my day to learn a new skill!

Carefree Childhood Video

Fluttering Heart Video

I didn’t have a set path to begin with but followed the breadcrumbs of experimenting that lead to my carousels and making the videos.

I do have the carousels available as kits on the website (also learned to put the video there too) and some assembled on the Etsy site, if that is of interest to you.

To end this post—

I urge you to follow a creative whim occasionally.  You might be surprised by the unexpected pleasure of the journey!




Memory Lane

One of the side enjoyments of making a project like the Christmas House was the trip down memory lane. So many bits and pieces have been made or purchased over a long period.

The feather tree in the alcove is a prime example.  That was made from a roundtable kit from a NAME convention at least 20 years ago.  It has been in a drawer for a long time and ALMOST thrown out several time from being battered.  Really glad that didn’t happen.  I don’t think the room would be as cozy without it.


The Let it Snow Shelf was an impulse buy from the past that never fit in any scene. I would pull it out and try it places but it just wasn’t right on a wall until now.

The stuffed stockings are by Paulette Svec and Carl Bronsdon. The tiny bear hanging in the stocking astounds me. Both of the stockings are hand crocheted so they hang like children stockings.


The filled punch bowl and cups I painted some years when I was heavy into painting Chrysnbon dishes.  I still think they are the nicest scale dishes for the price.  I painted lots of Christmas sets for sell but never used that set in any setting.  Now there is some stacked on the side board and the hutch upstairs. Sweet!


The tray and basket of treats were from  roundtables of Carl Bronsdon. They had so much detail, had the fimo foods included and were easy to assemble.  Fun times!


I cherish the dolls in the dining room and upstairs.  The fair hair girl with Christmas ornaments in hand was given to me by a friend that has since past away.  The red haired lass I got this fall.  Years apart in coming to my house but look so like sisters to me. Both are made by Carol McBride.

My young man was made by Barbara Cooper of the Wren’s Nest.  She made wonderful painted pull toys and dolls.  She also passed away a few years ago. I miss her laughter and stories when I would visit with her at shows.  Her dolls are so usable with swivel heads and arms and legs that bend that allow them to be adaptable to the getting ons in the room.



Times and events long over but the memories remain to relive when my eyes wander over the scene. It adds another layer of satisfaction to doing miniatures.

Christmas Early or Late

I’ve been quiet lately.  I started looking at my collection of Christmas items in early December and decided I needed to create a setting to use them instead of storing them. It was a project that quickly got out of hand.

I had a started wall house that was assembled and painted on the outside but completely bare on the inside.  It had been sitting idle for sometime with the original plans abandoned.

I played house with the various Christmas pieces, arranging them in multiple ways.  Finally a story developed to fit the arrangement.  At that point there was a direction and focus to what was placed where.

Entire Wall House
Entry to the celebration
Awaiting the guests
Faces all aglow with Christmas magic
Packages wrapped and ready for Christmas morning

It is finally a stage that is presentable.  There is a few things to add at a latter date, such as the mouse family celebrating Christmas in the attic.  Currently they are in only in my imagination.

So I am either late or very early for Christmas depending on your point of view.  I am an optimist so I AM EARLY and my Christmas treasures gathered over time have a home!

Discovery in the Floral Aisle

In the creating of seasonal plants for my floral shop decked out for Thanksgiving I explored the aisles of the hobby shops for bits that I could use to add the proper seasonal colors.  I found the nicest sprays that have a wide range of colors to work into the arrangements.They made great clusters of grapes in my turkey cart and were another texture/filler in the bouquets. It looks like something the floral department has for each season, just different colors, so I am checking for them this spring too.

You may find some uses for them too.They were inexpensive and took acrylic paint well for touch ups.

Magical transformations from one thing into something different is always a thrill!