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.
Miniatures are magic at times. Wednesday started out as an overcast gray kind of day here. All damp and muffled outside. I looked out the window and veered for the workroom instead.
Out of sorts with the weather -umm— so what should I work on????
I have 2 projects at the present that I have been bouncing between. One is the Orchid Hill House and the other is a florist shop. I am trying to get the florist shop down to exhibit it this fall and the deadline is approaching fast.
I have been doing fall flower arrangements of late (miniature of course). The wonderful autumn foliage colors this year have kept me inspired. I have had a ball doing them! Some for the project, some as gifts for friends and even an overflow into my Etsy shop (the same name as this blog) ———–
So I wondered what if I changed the colors of a little cart that I have used as an Easter arrangement and had a turkey pulling it instead of a bunny? I love the graphics from old postcards that had whimsical images of bunnies, turkeys, etc for the holidays. That is actually how the original Easter egg cart evolved that I have had filled on the Etsy site and offered as a kit on my website . ………………
I totally got absorbed in the transformation of that Easter cart into a turkey cart. It was cheery and sunny in the workroom despite the gloomy weather outside……
IT WAS MAGIC!!!!
So thinking about how much fun I had with this simple project and wanting to celebrate several things………………………………………
the start of this blog
my Etsy shop
the revamping of my website
I am giving away Turkey Cart kits (you have to fill them with flowers/ candies, etc) for the month of November!
Free with orders this month or if you send a Self Addressed Stamped Envelope (SASE) to:
Lisa's Little Things
15998 94th Rd
Topeka, KS 66616
It is odd how this room created the story of this home’s inhabitants. I didn’t start with a story and build a dollhouse around it. I just was going to create a dollhouse from a structure I had brought many years ago. I had played with many ideas but never loved one idea enough to begin it. So it sat waiting. Also, I wanted to conquer the fear of wiring an entire structure. I have mainly stayed with roomboxes. A mighty ambitious plan but you know how fired up you can be on New Year resolutions. I will not state what year but it wasn’t 2016 goals. It has been a meandering path but I think it may be finished this year. I am saying that quietly and with fingers crossed.
Determining what each room was going to be was the first thing – sewing room, servant quarters, bedroom, a child’s room, entry hall, stairway nook and the drawing room. This is so a wiring plan could be planned and laid out under flooring and wallpaper. Each room’s function was dictated by a stash of furnishings that I wanted to see in use instead of storing away in boxes. Someday had arrived. Use it. Modifications were made to the original structure to accommodate these rooms and the wiring. Also, I wanted to be proactive to be able to get to things if the lights didn’t all work later. Nothing more frustrating that a dead light that you can’t fix long after it is done.
I pulled out furniture and played house to get a feel for what furnishings would work. It was OK but it had no life to it. Yes, it is a dollhouse but for a miniaturist it is a world, a place, that if it were physically possible we would go there. As a reality check, I know it is not possible BUT imagination plays a large role in this hobby.
In playing house, the staircase nook came alive. The plants(orchids), desk, peacock glass wall, and the warm color tones stirred into a story. Uhh??
The orchids are important. Orchid Hill House became the home’s name. An older woman, her daughter-in-law and a granddaughter are the house inhabitants. This is due to the dolls and the rooms they seem to fit in. There are no men in the household at the moment except for the butler. This is due to the father and son off on a voyage exploring for new orchids. The ladies gathering in the drawing room are meeting for the monthly meeting of the orchid society. Now there is life and a purpose to the inhabitants residing here! All because of a staircase nook, that I now can imagine my lady writing her letters to husband and son far away or completing her notes for the talk this afternoon to the ladies at the orchid society meeting. Imagination crawls out of hiding sometimes and leads you down a path you were not expecting. That makes my day when it happens!
Every time I look at this area it invites me in. It has become one of my favorite scenes. Everything flowed together as I decorated this little nook at the top of the stairs. I wanted to use the peacock stained glass piece a friend had given me to hide the stairway entrance on the second floor. Naturally, it needed a light to bring out the colors behind it. Then the green tone went with the warm browns. The space needed plants, so I raided the stash of mini treasures that I have collected over time. My beautiful tall orchid on the pedestal by Karl Blindheim finally had its spot. Pottery by various people decorated the desk and bookcase. Lovely teals and blues. I won the rug in an auction at the Denver Dollhouse show. The vase holds feathers from my own peacocks.
I got the curved staircase wall done (a very big sigh of relief here!!). I will be posting about the details in another post. Trying to get to current spot of where I am on this project and will have to work backward to fill in the gaps. Starting in the middle of the story does pose some problems but it is where I am on this project.
I papered the wall between the entry hall and the drawing room. I have 2 wall scones on the wall in the drawing room. My wall is 1/2 inch thick gator board which is light weight and doesn’t warp. I carve out a little channel for the wiring to sit in the gator board so the wallpaper doesn’t show the a line where the wiring is. The wall has a smooth surface instead of a tunnel line like a mole trail. I didn’t get a picture at the time so here is an example of a wiring tunnel on a scrap piece of gator board.
Fall has been good this year with a refocus on my miniatures with a renewed outlook. I have had time to made decisions on two projects that I was stuck on. I am bound and determined to make headway and hopeful finish them. I am a novice on this blogging project so bear with me learning. I am going to see saw between the two projects if it isn’t too confusing. I am working on both of them at the same time. When I need a break from one I switch to the other one. Both have had long incubation periods and are pass the beginning phases. They are stuck in the middle and need to progress to a FINISHED stage.
So this is the journey from the middle to the end. I will be better at the whole journey story on the following projects upon completely these two structures. You have to start somewhere, right?
Today’s story is about Orchid Hill House. It is an attempt to complete an electrified house instead of a roombox. I have mainly done roomboxes and not a complete structure with multiple rooms that need the wiring all tied together. It has been a lesson in planning electric layout. Hence, a lot of stop and starts. Saga of a stuck in the middle project.
First rule of miniatures for me is that if it is yours you can do it however you want! It is not graded or have to be done a certain way. So it may be crazy but I abandon the front facade of the structure and made it the back. I don’t have a turntable base for it and when I want to look at it, I want to see the inside scene not the outside windows and front door. So my point of view is looking to the interior rooms without peaking thru windows or a small doorway.
Here is the original kit picture. It was a Real Good Toys Model #PR-225.
I changed many things to make it MINE. Good or bad, it is mine. Walls changed and only put the first part of the staircase in. You have to imagine the stairs being somewhere just not visible in the view. I didn’t want all the space wasted with a staircase getting to the top floor. I covered the window on the left room on the second floor and added a smaller servant’s bedroom on the 3rd floor. I removed the right railing on the staircase. It looked awkward and had the brilliant idea of having a curved wall (how to do it wasn’t worked out at the time-just that was going to be -yikes). If you haven’t figured out that created quite the stopping point for a length of time BUT happy to report that is finally figured out and will give the how to info on that in another post!
Here is a closeup of the cabinet. Carl designed it and was part of the shoppe class. It is a very nice display cabinet for foods. Anne Caesar from the Kitchen Captive made the cookies on the cake stand and boxed ones on the right side of the shelf. The boxes are mine, named Old Castle boxes(not the most creativity title). They are great fillers.
On the third shelf are my clover boxes filled with meringues that I made. The boxed rose candies are beads but look great as molded chocolates. The belingot container on the left is a favorite. The subtle coloring of the bonbons always draw my eye to them.
Here is more photos of the previously mentioned shop. With an open side and no roof it allowed all the individual foods to be visible and not hidden in the shadows. All the bits that I had treasured have a home! So many treasures and memories tied to them.
I loved the wicker table. I recolored the table top to blend better to its companion pieces. I created the doilies. Draped doilies always seem to add elegance and warmth, at least to me. The cabinet on the right was from Philly show a few years ago. Brought it on a whim but had no immediate home for it BUT now it is looks perfect in here.
The tiered wire stand allows the individual foods to shine. Love miniature foods especially the sweets. Yummy without the guilty pounds!
I started this blog about a year ago and really just let it set idle. I think the problem was no set purpose to the blog. I wanted to share some of my thrill of creating miniatures, I just didn’t have a clear vision how to present it. The internet has allowed people to share far and wide. It has became our community. Due to all the inspirations I have found helpful, I want to give back some of that.
I love the journey from a mere idea to a captured mini version of some object or scene. I relive the journey when I look at it, all the time spent making it or all the things I have purchased to fill it. Perfect contentment.
I took a class from Carl Bronsdon at a NAME convention in 2014. It was a structure that captured a beautiful facade but allowed you to really see the inside well. One side and roof is absent so the detail of my minis really shine.
Here is the whole kitchen. It brims with food and china. I can imagine that is it smells inviting from the freshly made soup and warm cake. All that snow is outside but I am toasty inside in the kitchen. Below is a peek in the hutch, no need to go to the store, enough for many more meals.
I created this cozy kitchen corner some time ago but decided it was an appropriate image for this batch of cold weather lately. The painted hutch was by Becky Brown many years ago. It set the tone for the room. I started digging out various chicken related pieces to add to the room and it became this warm inviting kitchen. There is another small cabinet in the pantry, a terra cotta hen on the shelf, a framed picture of chickens in the barnyard and of course the bowl of chicken soup on the table. Hot tea in the teapot with honey ready to sweeten it to go with the soup. Then a slice of freshly baked cake warm from the oven. I think a short afternoon nap may be in order after this meal.