Thursday, November 5, 2015

Lounge corner, guest bed, dining area, lamps again... and finishing the inside

Loads of photos to show this time... ;-)

You probably noticed: designer lamps are really a passion of mine...
The first thing when I entered the venue for a birthday party last week, was looking at the lighting! I thought that these were awesome (Foscarini Tress) - and tried to make them in mini the next day. I got there - not quite as perfect as I wanted though - but after trying with string, fine paper, gesso, 2mm ribbon I settled for 60g paper, glue and gesso. And a tiny nano LED - after all it is just for ambience.

First thing I made for the lounge corner was the sofa. Not only did it have to have a 'light' appearance (heavy furniture in this small place would be suffocating ..) but it had to have the dual function of use as guest bed.
I shortened the legs somewhat because it was too high like this..
LOUNGE CORNER: Then there was the bookcase. I made one with foamed PVC - again as 'light' as possible but it turned out to be too solid and sturdy. So, I had these USM Haller 3D models I made a year ago (and never used): they looked perfect! Painting the chrome railings was a bit demanding because the base unit was not polished when printed and very porous... tricky. But you will have to look extremely closely to find the messy spots :-)
The bookshelf I made to look as similar as possible with 1mm foamed PVC. 
The printer is as well made from foam board. I enjoyed to finally use some of the loot from the Kensington Fair: vases from Ray Storey, wood bowl for the plant, baskets and a collectors item vase (on top) I found in at the Basel Dollhouse Museum two years ago.
The low table which Carol laser-cut for me from a design by Swiss Damian D, the candle from Roni, and this wonderful orchid from Petite Fleur (Gill Rawling): they all look great together. I printed the picture on fabric (thanks Annina) and did a bit of extra for the cushion. 
But I imagined sitting there and watching telly and doing nothing with my hands - not possible! So, how about a knitting project?

DiNING AREA: it took a bit of thinking to figure out how to hang the ceiling lamp above the dining table without attaching it to the ceiling, which I want to be able to take off. I fed it through the kitchen cupboards into a beam across the room - and I just see that I need to level this out ;-(

And I found a perfect place für Annina's shelf, filled with the wonderful pottery from French Elisabeth Causeret

With this, the interior is done now and I am ready to tackle the roof and the outside.
The ceiling with the spotlights is ready...

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Things are moving slower than planned - but then life has its priorities.
Mine is the business at the moment. I am looking forward to the weekends with nothing to do.. but winter is in sight. Darn, I will miss the daylight for doing my mini stuff!

But I would like to show you some progress which dates back a while already. The kitchen turned out to be a real beauty:
Love the knives I bought at the Kensington Fair from Pierluigi Pirovano!


Looking in from the outside

... and sneak preview of the lounge corner ...

as long as the kitchen is tidy is is not bad to look at from the sofa either...
I did the kitchen fronts with foamed PVC, front for oven and dishwasher comes from Elf (ha, Roni and I now found out how to make these tiny knobs though...), lighting is nano LED, glass on the back of the working surface and sink&tap from my own 3D models on Shapeways (Evelin Klotz has an even nicer sink though..).

Once the bulbs are in the soil and we switched to wintertime - I am sure I have more time for my hobby again :-)
Next up is to complete the lounge/dining corner with all the deco stuff that goes with it, too.
BTW: I could do with a mini sewing or knitting basket - if anyone knows where I could get this...

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Making the Entrance Door

I must have smelled that this entrance door is going to be a challenge! The amount of time I spent on it is staggering...

I wanted it to be a real one fitting into a frame and shutting tight. And I wanted the hinges to be hidden. And different on the inside and outside. And obviously open and close. Mhh...

I started by making an inside frame/door with 2mm foamed PVC with the idea of hiding the hinges between the the inside and outside frame.
In order to really secure the hinges in the existing 'steel' container frame there was only one thing to do: empty the house, turn it on its side and use the Dremel to cut grooves into the 2mm plastic wall!

I was nervous to mess up but it worked, sigh...

I used a 3mm foam board between the two doors so that I could press the hinges into the foam and the two door parts would really fit together without a gap. 

... now to modern door handles with a key hole...
I looked at these old fashioned brass handles it came to me in a flash!
 I took them apart, filed the knob flat on both sides, added a piece of silver band and spray painted it!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Doing a bit of interior stuff: entrance and bedroom

Seeing the decorating concept coming together is fun and so rewarding! And I am so pleased to finally find a coat that looks perfect hanging, without the usual stiffness to it :-) It was made by Bette Jo Chudy of Shadow Box miniatures - a bit of find because there is not much of her work in the internet. My supplier was Kirsten Faust. 

The only issue in the bedroom was whether to have more storage space above the bed. But then - this house is so tiny that every possibility has to be used!
Storage even under the bed ;-)

'Dream' made by Carol Mitcheson

Cupboard fronts and shelving all done with foamed PVC 1mm
Candle in the jar from Roni Bailey
Taking photos in these small spaces is another issue - very few I can take horizontally.
But I don't think that this matters much...

Monday, August 10, 2015

Industrial aspects

Last week, I joined the two containers, did the wiring and the floor. I  found these great basswood panels at and took a bit of a shortcut since I wanted a light and non-glossy floor ;-). Worked like a charm - except that not all of these boards were identical in color and it took a bit of fiddling around to give it a uniform look. If it was single boards this would have looked natural, but with 6 in a row it definitely looked odd! Next time I make a note to them when I order so that they select the panels according to color...
Centre unit not attached yet - but needed to see what it would look like ;-)
I then was able to measure the exact base frame, cut out the openings for the prongs of the fork lift and inserted the hooks for the closing things for the doors. 
Because I definitely was not keen on producing 16 identical 1mm thick (!) corners by hand I had them done in 3D printing a while ago - ready when the big day comes.
Here the parts I worked with
.. resulting in realistic lower framework

Next were the hinges and fittings on the (one and only) original container door. That took some thinking because I wanted it to open so that one can see the utility part with the electrical main board and boiler behind it. I put a socket in there as well for attaching the lights that will be in the roof part.

So, it now looks very impressive with all these fitting and rods :-) The opening next to it is for the house door - still undecided on what this should look like.
Just need the lock for the chain... I will eventually find one in the right size.

And just for the fun of it: the letterbox is ready for the postman!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Workshop with David Neat

Learning never stops! 

I have followed David's Blog for quite some time and there is always so much to learn from them that I wanted to see the man in action!

14 of us took part at his 1-week summer course at the University of Arts in London. Ronnie and I were the only ones from the miniature/dollhouse scene - it was super that we met each other.
And University of Arts (UAL) is a very inspiring location with all the students and fantastic architecture.

David thought there was not much to learn for me - ah, but he was definitely wrong! Just look at the length of this blog...

Day 1:
We built a house facade with foamed PVC, 2mm and 1mm version. I learned today:

  • sanding made easy: attach the grinding paper with double-sided carpet tape to a piece of wood (90° exactly). This makes sanding much easier and gives you dead straight edges!

    • Only glue foamed PVC with super glue
    • First time I used a scalpel (instead of a Japan knife) - wonderful to get into corners..
    • No need for hunting thin strips of wood - use veneer and cut your own.

    Day 2:
    This is the kind of scalpel work David does....    
    And it was training day for working with the scalpel
    Making of furniture 1:25
    The simple chair made with 1mm foamed PVC was enough for me...
    Fauteuil made with 5mm foam board
    To top the day, Ronnie and I went to 4D Modelshop at Leman Street!!  
    EVERYTHING a model builder could use and want. They even make 1:12 trees on order! 
    We now have so many ideas - we will be busy for a while.. 
    Check out their website - they are delivering internationally, too.

    Day 3:
    Today was about making shapes with styrofoam, making figures with wire and... 
    Since figures are not really what I want to make, I stuck to making small, fiddly things with styrofoam (to get to know the handling of this), managed to bend the foamed PVC (works with a hairdryer) for a stool surface and using Super Sculpey which is much easier to use than Fimo (bakes at 130° as well).
    Not much I can present photo-wise  - except David in full action!
    We all loved it when he tried to find the words to tell one of us in a nice way that 'this is not good enough' ;-)
    And a great tip from a classmate David: instead of using the usual super glue that has the tendency to run: use super glue gel and then apply punctually with a toothpick. Much better to control...

    Another classmate, Ronnie Bailey, found the solution to making knobs for the stove! That was a bit of a challenge: over after-course Prosecco(s) we evaluated various solutions, from making moulds to cutting metal rods. Typical model maker attitude: why buy it for 50p if you can make it for £20 ;-)

    Day 4:
    Big surprise: David, the model railway builder, brought me some NOCH synthetic grass, which he suggested as bristles for my scrubbing brush. This and a dab of super glue gel worked like a charm!! BTW: the handles are carved from foamed PVC.
    So, today was all about surfaces! I made a stamp sample with Super Sculpey using real pebbles from outside the building, we imitated wood on foam board, some of us made trees from chicken wire (I turned this into an 'organic' chandelier..) and we carved shapes into blue Styrofoam (the stuff used by builders for insulation). 
    This stamp would have to be concave so that it is easier to press it into the foam board and that there are no obvious boundaries in the pattern.
    ..something like this...
    David manipulating a photo to make it look 'used': make area slightly damp with water, then use wire brush to scrape it
    A commercial vinyl wallpaper with 2-3 color washes
    Spent the evening walking 2km along the Regent Canal (yes, a real canal with boats and all in the middle of town!) to Camden and landed up in a huge, lively market with an open air cinema, loads of food stalls and plenty funky people and shops - fantastic atmosphere!
    I want, I want!

    Day 5:
    Painting surfaces was the main theme today. And this is something that only comes with experience... I considered myself a total failure! I finally got the concrete look ok, but the stones?? igitt...  
    Even David battled to get it right. Here dry brushing it - but much too yellow...

    Here the different facades on the sample we made
    Concrete, yeah!
    Doing 'freestyle' stuff like my 'organic' chandelier was much easier - now it just needs lights ;-)
    Unfortunately I had to leave a little earlier to catch the flight back and I missed David's demonstration on soldering. But it is pretty well described in his blog and then there is a book he wrote as well. He reckons that he does some of the things slightly different today but the basics are still right and valuable for model builders. 

    All in all: it was a great week and I will definitely do a short course with him at UAL again!