Food for Thought (Hopefully First of Many)

While I will do my best to write entries that will amuse those who read my blog….Mme. Pepper of MitchyMooMiniatures wrote a very interesting entry recently. And it definitely got me thinking – not just about the miniature hobby in general. In a way, it brought up the question of just what is proper etiquette when it comes to blogging about miniatures.

In her blog entry “Copyright”, Mme Pepper wrote (imho) a very clear, succint entry about copyright in miniature blog entries. As she clearly pointed out, most of us want in our settings, essentially smaller scale versions of real-life items. And from that perspective, to have that said “piece” usually means one of two options. You either look for it to purchase. Or, you attempt to replicate it.

Now when it comes to replicating, some of us have that rare talent of just being able to wing it, make something, and it’s a masterpiece. Others (like myself) tend to check other miniature blogs for references or inspiration, or if we’re lucky, tutorials of how to make said replication. For those of us who go that route — we strive to follow such tutorials to the word and create what the instructions told us. Or we use those tutorials as a guide, and perhaps come across a better method that improves on the final product.

That last part is what intrigues me. If you wrote a tutorial, posted it online, and found out someone found a way to improve your steps to produce a better product — how would you react? If you ask me, I’d be freakin’ thrilled. Because it told me that what I wrote up, and posted (for the purpose of sharing. Because that’s what the bloody Interwebs is for right?) worked for someone else. If that someone else credited me for providing the initial layout? That would be nice -an icing to an already delicious cake known as victory.

But I honestly don’t expect folks to do that last part. Why do you ask? Because even with all the hullabaloo about copyright/infrigement/intellectual property laws – especially when it comes to online stuff — the bottom line is this (again, imho):

You post it online – you are essentially sharing it with everyone else.

There. I bloody said it. I mean, think about it. Isn’t that the point of people being online nowadays? Well, at least initially when the Interwebs was introduced. You want to share ideas, connect with folks you probably wouldn’t be able to do in person, or in your lifetime. At least that’s partly why I write what I can for this blog.  Because I want to share my love for the hobby with everyone. And whatever knowledge I have decided to impart by posting them online. Because again, I want to share what I know, and hopefully….someone will come along, see what I’ve accomplished, and go “huh, this looks interesting. let me try it out.”

It really saddened me to read what Mme. Pepper had to write about. To see that there a few folks within the miniature community who would be willing to kick down a fellow miniaturist mostly on the basis that “hey, you stole my idea. I’m going to sue your ass.” Again, repeat statement in italics.

You post it online – you are essentially sharing it with everyone else.

Have I copied things from other miniaturists you might ask? I’m sure I did. And if I did, I do try to make it a point to credit them out of respect. Respect that they decided to put it online for folks to see and read and admire. And — I’d like to assume — to inspire the rest of us to try it out and see where our own creativity will take us. Plus, I like to apply credit where it’s due — because I want others to see these sources of inspiration. Because let’s face it folks — this hobby is not cheap. And I’m sure alot of miniaturist will agree – that sometimes we look to our fellow miniature enthusiast for inspiration and guidance on how to make things we’d like to have for our settings, but simply cannot afford.

If you haven’t read it, I truly suggest reading Mme. Pepper’s post. It really does make you wonder. And at least for me, it definitely makes me look differently at miniature blogs now.

Anyone Looking for Some Brinca Dada Furniture?

Now that I’ve accepted the fact that I have two Lundby Stockholm dollhouses soon to live under one roof, it was time to do yet another round of inventory in my bins o’ crap. Mostly to see if I have anything that I need to give up or sell to make room for the soon to arrive packages.

After going through everything (BK decided to amuse himself by parking nearby and watching the drama unravel before him), I decided to give these guys up.

But before I put these guys up on eBay….anyone in need of Brinca Dada furniture? I got these on eBay probably about a year ago.  I have the kitchen, office, bath and bedroom set.

BrincaDada-Kitchen01BrincaDada-Kitchen03BrincaDada-Office01BrincaDada-Office03BrincaDada-Bath01BrincaDada-Bath04While the boxes are banged up from being in storage (and surviving a move), the pieces are in great condition. I’ve mostly kept them in the boxes, and sometimes pulled them out just to make sure they’re still in one piece.

The only exception though, was the bedroom. I got this set also on eBay…but got it in a cheap price because the bed was broken. I glued it together because it was a relatively easy fix. But figured I should disclose that fact first.

BrincaDada-Bedroom01BrincaDada-Bedroom03

Where the break occurred (shown in circled area).

Where the break occurred (shown in circled area).

If anyone’s interested, just let me know in the Comments area. Otherwise, I’ll post it on eBay over the weekend.

Really Need to Curb My Insomnia

You probably know of someone who ended up buying something very ridiculous in the middle of the night. Perhaps it was due to insomnia, or maybe they had to pull an all nighter. Either way, it seems that loss of sleep always leads to receiving a package at the doorway and going “I ordered WHAT?”

Apparently I need to add myself to that growing list of folks. The last two nights have been pretty crazy with last minute projects that needed to be done before the end of the week. So instead of being in bed at a normal time…apparently I’ve joined a program where sleep is a nonexistent concept.

I guess in between emails, coding, and reviewing one inane document after another, I did a random search on more Lundby items….and realized I got an email confirming that I’ve purchased this.

Lundby Stockholm dollhouse. Photo from www.lundby.com.

Lundby Stockholm dollhouse. Photo from http://www.lundby.com.

While my miniature obsessed side is clapping her hands in joy (a vintage and modern Stockholm dollhouse under one roof? Capital!), the sleep-deprived, supposedly mature self immediately though “okay, how am I gonna explain this to BK?”.

Before I could gather my wits together, I found more emails for order confirmations for more Lundby stuff. To put in said Stockholm dollhouse.

Good lord, I need to get some sleep. And probably change my PayPal passwords and hide my Visa card before it gets out of control…..

Old Town Classics

(I promise this will be the last entry for today. You can tell I’m seriously stalling from doing the work I’m suppose to do for the office….)

As promised in the previous entry, this is more of an update on another miniature project I created for BK’s and my wedding back in 2011….

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Which our wedding photographer Sarah Culver somehow made magical on that day. Seriously.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Made bunting to indicate that this was a card box. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Many of BK’s and my relatives didn’t know my obsession love for miniatures until they saw this cardbox and arbor. Not only was it popular with our guests – even OffBeatBride.com surprised me by posting about the arbor in their January 2012 montage. For awhile, I was popular! :D

After the wedding, I ended up storing the card box (which is actually the Seabreeze roombox from Victoria Miniland). I knew I was going to reuse it as another miniature setting for my collection. But at the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to put in it. Because the roombox was designed based on the old townhouses from Old Town Alexandria (where BK and I lived up until a year after our wedding), I was going to aim for its interior to reflect its exterior. At least, what I could see from outside the townhomes during walks around Old Town.

Again, thanks to my obsession, – apparently I did pick up a couple of pieces here and there — I think this as close to the classic styles I was able to glimpse in those townhomes. And of the old hometown that BK and I miss from time to time.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Though before I could move the pieces in, I had to do a thorough scour of the roombox. For starters, I had to wipe off the years of dust that accumulated using a damp rag and a cheap nail brush from the dollar store (definitely useful for brushing dust in corners). Once everything was wiped down/brushed off, I used the beeswax polish to re-polish the walnut flooring.

Once the floor was polished and buffed, I started to hang some pictures and moving my pieces in….

Movin' them in....

Movin’ them in. Check out the newly polished floor! Shiny!

…and before I knew it, I was done. Well, I should have finished quickly. It is a single room for crying out loud!

The finished sitting room.

The finished sitting room.

I wanted the setting to be a formal sitting room of sorts. A mix of antiques and comfy seats. Someplace I’d imagine the owners would want to curl up with a good book to pass this lovely Sunday afternoon. Versus sitting in front of a laptop and reviewing contracts like this crazy blog writer <groans inwardly>.

Left side of the room.

Left side of the room.

Right side of room.

Right side of room.

In terms of what I used: the in-laid writing desk chair was purchased from dheminis.com. The chairs were an eBay purchase from Small World Minis. The bookcase, side table, rug and tea chest were random pieces won from eBay. Lamp, tea sets, other accessories were purchased from Manor House Miniatures and local miniature shops.

Upper view.

Upper view from the open ceiling panel. I popped out the plexiglass sheet to take this shot….

Bastian - my chipped ear dog.

Bastian – my chipped ear dog.

As for the dog (Bastian) — he was actually a gift that I got back in college. Even though my parents wanted me to focus on schooling, I did some odd jobs here and there to earn some extra money to pay for other expenses (like books. And eating out with friends). I had a short stint of being a French tutor for this kid. He learned about my hobby for miniatures, and on our last day of tutoring, he actually surprised me by giving me this porcelain pup. I can still see his embarrassment when he pulled it out of his backpack – the ear fell off from getting jostled around his bag. Despite that little accident — Bastian has remained one of my most prized minis.

Close up of the portraits.

Close up of the portraits.

RevampedCardbox-07

RevampedCardbox-08As for the portraits — I did a random search on Google images for 18th century portraits. Specifically American portraits. Not sure why, but I got the feeling that whoever is living here, would have traced his/her ancestry to the period. Which could be plausible, given that Old Town Alexandria was founded in 1749, and was incorporated as a town around 1779 (source: Wikipedia).

Sorry…digressed there. Once I found the pictures I wanted, I resized them in Photoshop and printed them on cardstock. I had some that had a canvas texture – which nicely replicated the feel of the pictures of looking hand-painted. At least that’s my take on it. :P

Now that the room’s completed, I moved in the new occupants. I actually found these guys inside the cardbox when I pulled it from storage. Guess I had assigned these two to be the master and mistress of this residence.

The room's new occupants.

The room’s new occupants.

Because we were going for an Old Town Alexandria theme….I ended up naming the male doll as Mr. Philip Alexander. After a Captain who in 1746 created an estate on what eventually became the town of Alexandria itself.

In terms of (the doll) Philip’s bio, he used to teach history at Georgetown University up until this past May, when he decided to retire and work on his books. Mostly the history of Alexandria and on maritime trade of the late 1700s. If he’s not writing, he’d be doing his next favorite activity — taking Bastian around for walks in their hometown. As you can see from his outfit….he likes to wear a coat and tie whenever possible.

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Despite being a history professor, Philip is considered somewhat of an eccentric by the locals. Even though he was able to trace his lineage as far back to the Revolutionary War, there are rumors that there’s a bit of madness that runs through his family. In fact, there were rumors amongst the faculty that Philip would sometimes be seen having spirited discussions with portraits of his ancestors. Whether these rumors are true or not, no one could contest the fact that Philip is also known for his generosity and love for pranks. Especially during finals week.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Philip’s wife Tess (or Theresa), is also a history buff. In fact, she volunteers at the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association – the nonprofit organization responsible for the care and maintenance of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Like her husband, Margie was able to trace her lineage back to the 18th century – it turned out her parents came from a line of sea merchants in Connecticut. In fact, the portraits on the right side of the sitting room are portraits of her distant relatives – Lawrence King and his wife (and Tess’s namesake) Theresa Christina. Which is oddly appropriate for Tess, given her love of the water. She hopes that now that Philip has retired, perhaps they can finally look at getting a boat. And start taking Trent and George’s kids on boat trips on the Potomac River during the summer months.

As for how they met…they actually met at Williamsburg, Virginia during their college years. Philip was visiting friends who were attending summer school William and Mary. Tess in turn got an internship at Colonial Williamsburg and got to play the role of a seamtress at one of the shops. Philip was taken by Tess’s bubbling personality and her passion for the historical period. Tess in turn was smitten by Philip’s sweet nature and his never ending supply of jokes. Even after 25 years of marriage, they’re still acting like newlyweds — much to the amusement of their nephew Trent, whom he sees as his honorary parents and grandparents to his and George’s kids.

Philip's wife, Margie (Marjorie).

Philip’s wife, Tess with the portraits of her predecessors.

Like Philip, Tess is fond of jokes and pranks. So it doesn’t help that they both seem to encourage that characteristic from each other. :)

Philip and Tess joking around.

Philip and Tess joking around.

Hopefully these two are enjoying their new home — and I sure as heck hope I don’t get surprised from one of their pranks. For a moment, I thought I saw Tess put a whoopee cushion on Philip’s chair when he went out to walk the dog. This is going to be interesting…..

Sunday Lazing

With the ARC II completed, figured something quick and different might be in order for my Sunday. Especially since today, I have some things I need to complete for work. :(

Given that it’s the height of summer….perhaps something of the outdoor kind is in order. So I decided to turn something that I haven’t touched since my wedding day.

 Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

View of the entrance way at the Mount Vernon Inn. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of the arbor. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of the arbor. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Closer view of the vines and bunting.  Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Closer view of the vines and bunting.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Another view of the bunting.  Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Another view of the bunting.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

When BK and I got married in 2011, we wanted to get married at the Mount Vernon Inn just outside George Washington’s famous estate (we are both history nerds…and 18th century history are one of the eras we can agree upon). Because of the location…and the fact we came from huge families….and that we were paying the bulk of the wedding ourselves….we had to be creative in terms of stretching our funds. Of course, that meant doing alot of smart purchases and DIY’ing as much as possible. Including the decorations.

The arbor was actually a kit I found on eBay years ago…and which I had almost forgotten I had until I was scouring my bins looking for glue (was in the middle of another wedding DIY project). When I saw the kit, I knew immediately where I wanted to display this. At this point, my DIY funds was getting low, so I really had to make do with what I had on hand. I couldn’t even drive to Michaels to get a tube of acrylic paint or a glue stick.

But in the end, I made a white arbor with oak planking, while autumn vines wrapped around the posts (since we were getting married in October). The bride and groom figures I actually got as a wedding topper kit someone was selling at the OffBeat Bride forum (I got the topper kit in exchange for some invitation supplies I had that I didn’t need anymore). If you know someone who’s getting married, definitely recommend this site for inspiration — saw AMAZING and creative ideas that brides and their SOs made for their day.

I thought the finished product looked okay, but photographer extraordinaire Sarah Culver (and her husband Zeb) of Sarah Culver photography made the arbor look beautiful. Heck, it’s been almost three years now, and the wedding photos Sarah took still make me cry. So Sarah, in case you see this, please know that you’re one of the few people on the planet who can make me cry on the spot. All you have to do is put one of your photos in front me and watch the waterworks. :)

But I guess that’s enough of living the past. Onto the present, my fellow readers!

It took some finagling (aka, removing the vines), some regluing (a few side posts fell off), and alot of patience (aka, dusting the crap out of whole arbor). But after digging around my bins o’ crap, and waking up BK’s & my 1:12 scale counterparts…..the arbor now has a new purpose. What used to mark our wedding….now has become a favorite outdoor spot for the now married couple. :)

The Arbor Revamped.

The Arbor Revamped.

Another view.

Another view.

I was going to take the pics in my dining room/crafting station. But with the sun out and the humidity still reasonable (the Washington DC metro area is ATROCIOUS for its summer humidity. Thanks founding fathers for choosing a former swamp to become our nation’s capital!) – figured I’d better take the whole setting and take the pics right on our patio.

Close up of the "worn" patio chairs.

Close up of the “worn” patio chairs.

The vines (used both the insta-fern and small leaves kind) were an impulse purchase from Kitz Miniatures (this is a must to-go place for most miniature supplies). Most of the plants were things I bought on clearance from miniature shops, or via eBay. The worn out patio table was purchased from a nearby miniature shop. The patio chairs were actually part of a unfinished patio set I got from one of Manor House Miniatures‘ weekly sales deals. I really only wanted the chairs, so the table that came with it got stored away for a future use.

For the chairs, I sanded them first to remove any rough spots before painting them with red craft acrylic paint. Sanded it again to smooth it out, then repainted another layer. Once that dried, I took sandpaper and cheap nail file and started scuffing it to make it look like it was all worn out from years of use. Then the while thing was sealed using my now favorite wood sealer.

The chairs prepped and painted.

The chairs prepped and painted. You can see the one of the left I started the scuffing process….

I ended up resealing the whole arbor with more of the beeswax polish…just to protect for years to come. Then I got started on decorating it.

Right side view.

Right side view.

Left side view.

Left side view.

On the photo above, I used an empty planter from Manor house miniatures and filled it with extra leaves from the vines I used. The flowers were actually these tiny paper flowers from MulberryCrafts (an eBay seller).

Once the decorating was done, I had to rouse BK and my 1:12 scale counterparts to model the new arbor for me. They were a little cranky getting waken up early on a Sunday morning. But they agreed after I promised to get them some mocha lattes and croissants at the local coffee shop down the street…

Daphne & Bryan enjoying their new outdoor space.

Daphne & Bryan enjoying their new outdoor space.

Garden-00375If you noticed, I still kept the bunting from the wedding decorations. I wanted to keep that there so BK and I will always remember that special day three years ago….

Garden-00379Garden-00380

Garden-00381

Guess they decided to switch seats....

Guess they decided to switch seats….

Thanks for checking this out! Maybe if I get the coffees quickly enough in all of us, I will try to post an update on another miniature item from my wedding day…

Want a hint? I actually wrote about this in July 2011….

Cardbox-1

Holy Smokes Batman! It’s Done!

I couldn’t resist. I had a ton of things waiting impatiently at the bins. All ready to move into their new home.

Ladies and gentlemen – I present to thee….ARC II!! <insert trumpet fanfare here. Preferably something from the Baroque period. Compositions by Lulli would be ideal.>

While I already shared with the folks on the goodies for the living room and bedroom…it’s time to show the rest of the place. So come on in and have a lookie!

The ARC II in its new location: the dining room.

The ARC II in its new location: the dining room.

This was actually BK’s idea. Since our dining room houses our mid-century dining set…it seemed to make sense that my new mid-century house should take its new role of being our permanent centerpiece. Though I might need to get a bigger lazy susan to accommodate its size…

Another view. Please ignore the mess that's in the background. That's all of my dollhouse DIY supplies/crap.

Another view. Please ignore the mess that’s in the background. That’s all of my dollhouse DIY supplies/crap.

The front yard. I need to spruce this area more with perhaps additional plants/flowers. For now,  I'm putting this potted plant near the door.

The front yard. I need to spruce this area more with perhaps additional plants/flowers. For now, I’m putting this potted plant near the door.

Now comes the interior. Most of the pieces you’ll recognize this post and this post. The others were some splurges purchases I made online. Definitely can see the appeal for Lundby doll furniture!

Interior of the ARC.

Interior of the ARC.

For starters, we’ll begin with the living room. The chairs are vintage Petite Princess occasional chairs that I won on Ebay or found at Ruby Lane. The bookcase and coffee table were part of the ARC dollhouse furniture set from 3StarStudios. Pillows were an Ebay purchase. Plants were part of my massive splurge from eBay seller Suebee’s Miniatures. Accessories on the bookcase were a combination of purchases from Manor House Miniatures, and some stuff I DIYed.

Archie-06

Another view of the living room...and dining area.

Another view of the living room…and dining area.

For the dining room, I decided to take a stab at trying out the Lundby doll furniture. Its scale worked great on the ARC II….and even better that Amazon.com and AlexandAlexa were having some pretty awesome sales on Lundby furniture. So again, splurged once more (thank god I paid off my credit cards). Definitely learned that you need to shop around when it came to Lundby items…some were cheaper than others. The dining set (table and chairs) I got at Amazon, while the table settings were actually part of a Lundby Stockholm kitchen accessories set.

The dining set.

The dining set.

For the placemats on the dining table, I cut out rectangles from a 12″ x 12″ sheet of rattan scrapbook paper that I got from Michaels. It’s literally a thin woven sheet of rattan that was glued (?) onto a thin piece of cardstock. To make it more stiff, I glued the individual rectangles on another piece of thicker cardstock. That way, there’s some weight to them.  I was planning to glue down the silverware onto the placemats so they don’t fall off. But decided to plunk each setting inside a drinking glass instead….it looks more casual that way don’t you think?

Close up of the table. There's even a matching pitcher and cake! Yummy!

Close up of the table. There’s even a matching pitcher and cake! Yummy!

From the dining room….is the kitchen. I used a TOMY kitchen set for this since I wanted something of a vintage vibe. Plus, I couldn’t resist the butcher block-esque countertops.

The kitchen area.

The kitchen area.

I ended up removing the far left drawer of the stove unit in order for me to flush the sink unit against it (for the L shape). It looks somewhat weird, but it actually worked out perfectly. The size of the kitchen units overall fit very snug in that side of the ARC. Plus the brick wall made everything pop.

View of the kitchen.

View of the kitchen.

Another angle. Love the accessories.

Another angle. Love the accessories.

The accessories you see are the remaining pieces from the Lundby Stockholm kitchen set (the clock, the coffee maker/mugs, the pots). The plants are also purchases from Suebee’s Miniatures.

Love the clock against the brick wall.

Love the clock against the brick wall.

The coffee maker and the little espresso mugs crack me up. Whoever’s living here must be super well off. Or a savvy shopper like my mother and older sister….

Is that Keurig? Or a Cuisinart coffee maker? You decide!

Is that Keurig (sic)? Or a Cuisinart coffee maker? You decide!

Now that that first floor has been scoped, now it’s off to the second floor….

The second floor.

The second floor.

The bathroom is actually comprised of two Lundby bath sets. The sink and toilet are part of the Stockholm bathroom set I got from AlexandAlexa. I love how it looks – the modern look is a nice play against the 1970s lemon-vibe of the kitchen down below. Plus, the bright white pops against the faux slate stone wall that’s behind it.. The tub is actually part of a different bathroom set I got from Amazon. I wanted to use the tub in the ARC II, but I have plans for the shower unit that came with it (spoiler alert: it’s for the Stockholm dollhouse). Despite being two different sets…they look like they’re intentionally part of a single set!

My dream bathroom. Can see BK enjoying a soak in that tub....

My dream bathroom. Can see BK enjoying a soak in that tub….

After the bathroom, comes the master (and only) bedroom….

Archie-16

Like in a previous post, the bed and side table were part of the ARC Furniture set. The pillows and blanket (which is actually a 1:12 scale baby blanket) were eBay purchases. the plant on the table is again from Suebee’s Miniatures.

But the feature I am most proud of in this room — it’s actually the “installation artwork” above the bed.

Close up of the bedroom.

Close up of the bedroom.

This “art work” is actually a wood bead from 3StarStudioArts. When I bought the first ARC, I purchased this bead alongside it – with a special request. That is, I asked if Z and KP would be so kind as to sign the bead so I could display it on the ARC on its completion. I was honestly worried they’d think I was a total crackpot. But they happily obliged. Which is awesome, because they gave me a means to provide a signature to their creation — and what has become my newest addition to my collection of minis.

Insert more trumpet fanfare here. Seriously.

So Monsieur Z and Mme. KP — this is for you both! Thanks so much for your support and for giving me this opportunity to build your creation. If you want to use these pics, lemme know. I took them with my smartphone so apologies if they’re kinda crappy looking and all. :S

After the bedroom, it’s time to head up to the rooftop terrace…

Outdoor escape indeed.

Outdoor escape indeed.

For this area, had to keep it simple. I set up the Lundby Smalad Garden furniture set. And added the rest of the plants I bought from Suebee’s Miniature shop (yes, I bought alot. But then again, I had to because these plants constantly got snatched up).

Close up of the left side....

Close up of the left side….

...and the right. All the sudden, I want to sit outside on the patio...

…and the right. All the sudden, I want to sit outside on the patio…

Whatcha think? I’m so happy this was completed….now I have something to play with when I’m in the dining room. Plus, I can see the look of amusement on everyone’s faces when they go into the dining room…and see a dollhouse right there. Guess this is the slippery slope to this madness huh?

One down…off to the others! Like finishing up the CC next <insert screams of agony here>…..

Final Stages

Hey everyone — yes, this is WAY, way, wwwwwaaaaaayyyy overdue a post. And for that I’m really sorry! :(

Things picked up rather fast since the last post. Because BK and I had schedule to go up to Cape Cod to see his family (and see his grandmother at Martha’s Vineyard), I was clocking in long hours at the office to make sure everything was in place during my absence. It was pretty harrowing — I didn’t realize how those final 5 business days took a massive toll on me. I’d arrive at my office just before 7 am…and was literally the last one to leave the building around 8-9 pm. Suffice to say, BK was pretty upset since it meant he had to pack up the car by himself the last evenings before our trip.

But once we got up to the New England region….it was amazing. We both got to relax — at least I managed to relax for the first time in years. Got to spend time with my in-laws and my grandmother-in-law (who I absolutely adore), and most importantly…got to spend quality time with BK. And realize a bunch of things. Like the importance of not letting work get in the way of life. Or perhaps that it’s time I start to look elsewhere.

Or as BK cheekily pointed out “….you need to go back to your hobby. I miss seeing you work away on your houses.”

Man, talk about lucking out with him. :)

Now that we’re back…and I’m slowly getting back in the pace at my office (albeit with much resistance), I finally was able to pad downstairs in the dining room/craft room and attempt to finish working on the ARC II. Granted, I did this around 6:45 am this morning, and it’s now 9:16 am….so am reporting to you what I just did.

During the trip, I was seriously debating what to do for the ARC II’s exterior. BK had suggested maybe doing stonework using egg cartons. I actually blanched at the thought of doing that (because we all know my “wonderful” progress with that idea with the CC right?).

Getting prepped for the exterior work.

Getting prepped for the exterior work.

So after much thinking (and gorging on seafood at the Cape),  I made the call to do a stucco exterior instead. So after rummaging through my bins, I found one of jars of Greenleaf stucco powder. Which I proceeded to mix with a bit of water, and several globs of Titanium white acrylic paint in a spare plastic cup from last weekend’s 4th of July BBQ at the house (hopefully more on that later).

stucco-03

Have to admit, was a little nervous making the mix. Was worried if I put too much water, the powder would be a watery mess. Too little water meant the stuff would be too thick to be able to spread easily on the ARC II’s exterior walls. Luckily, it panned out in the end. Though for added safety measure (because I’m a paranoid freak like that), I mixed a big tablespoon of tacky glue to the mixture. Mostly to make sure that it does stick to the walls — and on each other if I end up doing layers.

Once the stuff is mixed, I started to spread it out. Sorry, I didn’t take pics of the actual process. But I used a couple of 2 inch sponge brushes and a plastic dinner knife to spread the stucco. Plus I had to move quickly since the stuff starts to dry out very fast.  I found out later that having an extra plastic cup filled with hot water and a plastic spoon nearby the mix was super useful. If the mixture got dry, a few spoonfuls of the water and a quick mix….we were golden.

So after about an hour of application and some layering…..I got to this stage.

View so far.

View so far.

...and another.

…and another.

Overall, it gave the effect I wanted. Though I might have to go back and add more layers to cover where the floors attach to the walls. You can make out the slots despite the layers of stuff. Looking back, I probably should use have used either wood filler or caulk to fill in those slots. That might have generated a more “smooth” surface to spread the stucco. But overall, not bad.

And as you can see in the above photo….I got some of the stucco on the grassy area of the front yard. I was able to dab them out with some wet Q-Tips. But the others…well, I kinda cheated and resorted to camouflage. In the form of bushes that is.

Yeah I know it's cheating.

Yeah I know it’s cheating.

Some of the stucco got on the inside edges of the door and windows — but a quick wipe with damp kitchen towel did the trick.

So while I let the stucco dry (I put the ARC II by the patio door so the morning light could shine on it and start the drying process), I tackled the roof.  I had originally planned to have the roof receive the same treatment as the stone path in the front yard. But after calculating how much it would cost to get enough stones to cover the whole roof….had to resort to plan B.

Faux flooring paper. Image from Manor House Miniatures.

Had extra sheets of the faux “slate flooring paper” from Manor House miniatures. Granted, it’s set to 1:12 scale, but the pattern’s subtle enough that it should work. At least that’s the theory my delusional creative extraordinary brilliant mind was thinking….

Nothing special here in terms of what I did. I just used the ARC’s roof/second floor ceiling panel to trace the shape onto the paper flooring, cut it out and attached it to the roof using good ol’ YES paste, making sure the paper is applied smoothly. Then sprayed it with matte sealer to make sure it doesn’t get scratched up later on….

The finished product.

The finished product.

Once the paper was set….it was time to glue it onto the ARC. It took some adjusting, but managed to secure it in place.

After the roof, I installed the railings. I painted the top rail using Titanium white acrylic paint (I kept the edges plain to show the dark brown finish), while the posts were painted the same turquoise blue I used on the ARC’s bed. After sanding the edges and repainting them, they were then glued into place. For parts this small, a fast grabbing tacky glue definitely helped.

Railings installed.

Railings installed.

stucco-07

Top railing applied.

Top railing applied.

Woot! It's done!

Woot! It’s done!

And there you have it….the ARC II’s all assembled. Now I just need to let everything dry some more….and I can start decorating. THEN I can safely say I’m done!