Hope everyone enjoyed their Memorial Day weekend! While the temperatures here in the Washington DC area were fantastic (sunny, hot, and low humidity), BK and I weren’t outside as much as we liked. In short, we both got sick at the last half of this glorious summer kick-off weekend.
On the other hand, the first half was pretty awesome. We got to see my bestest friend JC finally tie the knot with her longtime partner AG. While we weren’t able to see the actual ceremony (the room in the courthouse was small), luckily mutual friends were present to take photos. So it was nice after the tasty dinner reception at Rasika West End to go through photos on the Metro ride home. Man, I seriously cried.
With this random note aside, off to the main point of this post — showcasing a vendor I found on Etsy.
Like most Etsy finds, this was an accidental find. Yes, I know it’s not exactly modern, but I am a sucker of all things cute.
Linda Irwin set up this shop to showcase her dollhouses and related minis. As you can see, there’s a rustic charm in the houses she built. For me, they remind me of the beach cottages in BK’s hometown in the Cape Cod area. Except the colors are still bright and fresh (and not worn down by the salts). It just put a huge smile on my face since I could easily imagine spending summers renting such a cottage, and having family and friends coming in and out for meals.
After adding her stuff in my Favorites folder, I was very surprised to have gotten a message from Linda thanking me for the add. Next thing we knew, we were shuttling messages back and forth. Talk about bonuses — an Etsy shop selling cute cottages owned by a super sweet lady? Score!
FYI about her cute stuff — the items in her Etsy shop are in the smaller 1/4 scale (versus 1/12 or 1:12 scale). But she does accept custom orders so if one of her eye candies is to your likin’ then you’re in luck. And if you do order one of her masterpieces, do share — safe to say there’s a good number of us who are super curious on how it turns out.
And Linda – thanks for the messages! Until I won the lottery and can afford a beach cottage in real life, I’ll just visit your shop and sigh over your stuff. Hope you don’t mind!
To see more of her stuff, please visit Linda Irwin Cottages on Etsy. Be prepared for some rustic cuteness.
(As for the blog title — yes, it’s that song from the musical “Grease”. Yeah, yeah, I know it’s cheesy and stuff. But it’s cheese-tastic nonetheless)
Holy crap, three entries within the space of 48 hours? What the hell is happening here? Hopefully am not gonna jinx this! <crosses fingers>
Now that the books are all finished, the mini gods must have been in a good mood…because the local USPS mail lady showed up at the doorstep with a package for me. Alas, it’s not the supplies for the Primrose though. On the other hand….it was just as fantastically awesome.
I came across Atomic Blythe’s shop on Etsy during Mother’s Day and fell in love with her miniature furniture. Not only were the prices reasonable, but seriously, how can you not love this couch? Am an absolute sucker for blues and circles. Plus, I don’t think I can ever convince BK about getting a couch like this in real life. So having it in 1:12 scale will do.
So did I end up buying this couch you ask? Darn tootin’ I did! Happy Mother’s Day to me, that’s for ^@#& sure!
While the package arrived on yesterday, I finally opened it this morning and (according to BK) spent the following hour or so rummaging through my bins of minis (which has gone from 3 rubbermaid containers to 4. God help me with this obsession) until I found this table.
I actually bought this table on eBay, but found out shortly after that the Minis2X has an Etsy store. If you got money burning in your pocket, definitely check out her store. That way I can live vicariously through you. Because seriously, I’d be willing to eat cereal for a month if I can furnish a house or roombox with her stuff. Unfortunately my husband and our pet rats aren’t going to roll with that idea anytime soon.
With the table and sofa in place, I asked my resident Italian supermodel Pia if she’d grant me the honor of posing with them. If you ask me, I think she’s already making dibs on these pieces.
Have to say, I need more mid-century pieces — I got an idea of (yet another) project to try. Do you have any suggestions? Let me know!
This past week I got to enjoy a rarity at home: having the apartment to myself while BK was away on business.
While I enjoy my husband’s company and all, I do enjoy the moments where he’s out and I can pretty much do whatever I want at home. Like opening my pantry cabinet o’ shame and eating Spam for dinner (yes, I do like my Spam). Or finally having a chance to clean the apartment thoroughly. Or watching my pile of movies BK refuses to watch.
Or better yet — I can actually spend a series of evenings working on the minis.
Sadly, my packages didn’t arrive this week so the Primrose had to stay at my worktop’s corner for another week (starting to worry if you ask me). In meantime, figured some easy, almost mindless projects would be a good way to pass the time.
I had amassed a good number of bookcases in my inventory of minis, but I never was able to find books to populate the shelves. Most shops carry some that are ready made — but they’re either too plain, or too expensive if you want the really nice looking ones. And while the world’s embracing the Nook and Kindle as a mode of literary entertainment….there’s still something pleasurable about reading a physical book. Plus they just look so damn nice on a shelf.
As an experiment, I chose three bookcases to populate, and three types of books to try out. Two are actually kits I bought online or via eBay respectively while the third was something I decided to make on my hand. Overall, they worked fine I think.
The first were book kits I purchased at Manor House Minis. It was pretty basic in scope — you have a sheet of shiny, almost plasticky paper that has the book covers and another sheet of laminated cardboard. All you do was cut out the covers (depending on which kit — they all at least can make up to 20 books),. Then on the cardboard sheet, cut out the “pages” that correspond to the book cover, and glue the pages together to form a stack. Then you wrap the cover around the stack and you have a book.
Verdict on this kit? They’re not bad I guess. The covers look nice enough, but cutting out the cardboard pages was a pain in the rear. It took a little longer to cut them out using a ruler and a sharp X-Acto knife (definitely use a new blade if you do this). Plus, when you glue the matching stack of pages together, you have to be careful in making sure they’re all even on the sides. Otherwise, if you try to wrap the covers around the stack to create the book, it will look lumpy. Not sure if I’ll get this kit again…but I guess in a pinch, it’ll do.
The second kit was easier that’s for sure. I actually saw this as an eBay listing – the seller basically sells the book kit using precut pieces of very thin leather. For around $6USD, you get a bunch of the precut leather “covers”, a bunch of precut basswood pieces and premade paper pages. All you do is again to glue the covers around the wood blocks or the paper pieces to make the books.
It was ridiculously easy, and if you wanted to make the spine more prominent, a thin gold or silver marker would probably do the trick (though I didn’t do that to my stacks – couldn’t find my darn markers to begin with!). But if I need more books, think this will be my first choice. Unless I want to make my books readable/viewable like the wedding photo book….these will make good fillers.
The third type of book – it was kinda more of an experiment if anything. Because I was using a white shelving unit, I wanted to populate it with more “fun” looking books. Was initially thinking of using cardstock, or maybe designing some patterns on Illustrator and printing them out….until I found my stash of origami paper.
For starters, I had to go through the origami sheets and picked out ones with small patterns. Once I made my choices, I rummaged through the supplies and found strips of wood in various sizes. Since I was working in 1:12 scale, figured I should stick to wood strips that were didn’t exceed 7/8 inches in width or thickness.
Using a ruler as guide, I cut out rectangular blocks of wood from each of the strips. I tried to make them as random as possible. After cutting out the number of blocks I wanted, I sanded each pieces (several of them had one side sanded to create a more “rounded” spine) before painting them white. Once the paint dried, they were resanded and painted one last time.
As the blocks were drying out their second coat, I took the origami paper (they were 3×3 inch squares) and cut them into strips. Because the height of my wooden “books” varied from a mere 3/8 inches to almost 7/8 inches, I did the same for the paper as well.
After everything was set, it was time to wrap the covers around the books.
Picking up a wooden book, I picked out a paper strip (whose height matched the height of the book) and initially wrapped it around the book. Notice that I didn’t glue anything yet — I wanted to “measure out” how much of the paper strip I needed to cover the book.
Once the amount is determined, the paper strip was removed, I used my glue stick and smeared a thin layer on the front, spine, and back of the wooden block. Then I wrapped the paper strip back on the block again, gently pressing the paper against the glue.
Once the paper is glued, I used a small sharp scissor to cut off the excess paper strip (which I reused again on the next block of wood). And voila, a book! I kept repeating this step until I used up all my paper strips and wooden blocks. Since everything was prepped, the assembly went by quickly.
After everything was assembled, I used a pair of tweezers to carefully put them in my white shelving unit. I ended up using some clear gel Tacky glue to hold them in place of the shelves.
Add a couple of home decor accessories (also from Manor House Minis) — and the shelves were done. Now I just need a place to display them in!
I finished these projects late Thursday, and left them on my work table in the dining room. But when I checked this morning, I found my mini counterpart doing some polishing. Probably a good thing too — the apartment gets ridiculously dusty!
Well, at least this explains why my Sharpie markers have little dents on them….
I know I need to write up posts about the Primrose construction. But at the moment, I have to suspend postings about this project since I’m still waiting on certain “logistics” to arrive. Apparently, I had assumed I had things in my inventory that I could use…and it turns out I don’t. So once I get my said “packages” — figured I’ll work on some other items.
After my posting regarding the wedding photo book, I actually got a good number of messages from folks via email. Most were comments, but the ones that caught me by surprise were the suggestions to make the book thinner. They did agree that the book was just too thick — “thicker than any English anthology book I’ve suffered in university” as one person wrote. Or my personal favorite “…it’s thick enough to be used as a murder weapon by the dolls!” That is also true as well!
So the last few days, I decided to try out the suggestions people gave. Okay, correction — ONE of the suggestions.
Many recommended that I use plain computer paper to make the pages. As you recall, I had reservations doing that in the initial project. It turned out – quite happily actually – that it did reduce the thickness of the book by 50%.
It was definitely easier to work with the computer paper – it was thin enough to be able to do any trimming to make the pages even. Plus, I was able to get away with mostly using my (huge ass) pile of glue sticks during the assembly process. Plus, with the pages being thinner, I was able to adjust the dimensions of the book cover. Instead of building the spine to be 1/2 inch thick, it was down to 1/4 inches.
Overall, it worked great – though I have to admit, I do like the texture of the pages in my original book. Maybe next time, if I use the linen text paper for future books….maybe not create as many pages.
After the book was done and the glue dried out, I randomly selected one of my (many) mini dolls to model it for me. Luckily, Monica was more than happy to oblige. Though I think I’ll have to make her one to put in her home (one of the few dollhouses I did complete – posting on that coming soon, I hope)!
Credits: Monica doll is a Heidi Ott 1:12 scale doll. Wig is also a Heidi Ott product. Sweater and pants were Ebay purchases. Wedding photos courtesy of the ever talented Sarah Culver of Sarah Culver photography.
Considering that I still have my vintage A-Frame House (carefully stowed away on the shelving unit) waiting to be built, hopefully the following can be a type of appeasement to folks asking me when I’ll be building it.
Apparently someone on eBay is selling a vintage A-Frame house as well. It’s not the same as mine, but it’s pretty awesome looking nonetheless.
Will keep an eye out — though am hoping someone out there is going to put the winning bid. And make something super awesome out of it.
After another rambling entry regarding the wedding book I made, I ended with it a question: so whom amongst my (fast) growing group of mini dolls will be owning the book?
Well, that’s a pretty simple answer actually. Ladies and gentlemen — meet BK’s and my 1:12 scale counterparts.
There’s a bit of a story behind them. At least in terms of how I got them.
I got BK’s counterpart (Bryan) via an auction listing on eBay by an artisan from the UK. She was selling dolls she created and dressed in 1940s fashion. I almost wanted to laugh when I saw this doll because it had similar features to BK. For starters, the hair style looks exactly like my husband’s preferred haircut. And second, the sweater vest and checkered pants…if BK could, he’d wear that everyday. Assuming he’d find a place that carried those pants in his size!
Needless to say, I put a bid on him and luckily, won the doll. This was in late 2010…at this point, BK and I were engaged, and this doll was one of the very few mini-related purchases I made. Mostly to keep my sanity from the preparations. When I received him a few weeks later, I was thrilled at how detailed he was. Then I realized that I needed my counterpart to have the same dimensions as this doll. But at this time, the artisan was no longer selling items of eBay. So I was left thinking my poor male doll would be without a companion for awhile.
Fast forward to March 2012, and imagine my surprise when I saw a listing on a doll similar to mine on eBay. When I went to check the seller’s other listings, I was thrilled to realize that a) it was the same artisan and b) she was accepting custom orders. So I quickly sent an email, and before you know it, we were messaging back and forth on my custom doll. Theresa (the artisan) was super awesome — she kept me in the loop of my doll’s status, and even provided me photos to review before I submitted my payment. This time, I made sure to keep her contact info in case I needed additional orders.
Needless to say, by early April, I received my counterpart. Am really happy how she turned out — Theresa faithfully reproduced a 1960s wrap dress I saw in an old advertisement that I have adored. She even matched the color of the dress to use on the doll’s heels. Until I find that same exact dress in real life, at least my counterpart is wearing my fantasy outfit.
The only detail I need to add to them are glasses. BK wears a pair of rimless glasses that he adores, and I have my pair of black nerdy frames. I picked up some eyewear but they don’t look right on the dolls. So unless someone has suggestions, that’s another item on my to-do list. Assuming I finish the Primrose kit bash in time (more on that later).
So now that I have the mini counterparts completed, it’s time for them to look at their wedding book…and make plans to celebrate their 6 month anniversary somehow.
Yes, I’m aware that the above title is based on a B.o.B/Bruno Mars song. A song that I adore thank you very much. I mean, it’s got a good beat, and the lyrics are pretty sweet. What’s not to love right? Well, yeah, it also helps that they’re both cute (especially Bruno Mars – that smile of his is so darn charming)!
But figured this is an appropriate title for this entry, given that it has a little over 6 months since I married BK. So yes, I’m pretty happy to acknowledge that.
Since BK and I were unable to do much to celebrate this landmark (we both have to work long hours for most of the month), I wanted to at least do something to commemorate this event. Then it occurred to me — why not make a miniature photo book of the wedding? I mean, I made one for our families and key relatives. So why not make one for my (growing) brood of mini occupants?
When it comes to actually making one, I came across this particular online tutorial on making miniature books . It appears to be pretty simple in concept — you create pages using strips of paper folded accordian-style, then gluing it in turn on a precut “bookcover”. Sounds simple enough.
So I started by looking at the real-scale version of the wedding photo book I made for family. To make it easy on myself, I rounded to the nearest inch – so my real wedding photo book was about 12 inches wide x 9 inches tall, and about an inch thick. Since I’m working on 1:12 scale (1 inch = 1 foot), that meant that my miniature book needed to be about 1 inch wide x 3/4 inch tall. In terms of thickness, figured I’ll have to wait once I finish assembling the pages.
To create the pages, I used my Adobe Illustrator CS5 program to help me organize. I created an 8.5 inch x 11 inch document, then created 4 strips that were 3/4 inch tall each. Once the strips were created, I divided each strip to 1-inch increments to represent the individual pages. I used the Pen tool to make the guidelines visible — these are the areas where I’ll need to fold the strips to make the accordion shape.
Once the guides were installed, then began the painful task to inserting photos. When the wedding photographer BK and I hired (the ever talented Sarah of Sarah Culver Photography) provided the photos, there were over 700 shots. And as beautiful as they are (they still make me cry whenever I look at them), I had to limit which photos to use. The last thing I wanted was to make the photo book be so thick, it might as well be an encyclopedia.
To make sure the photos would still be clear enough to be seen in 1:12 scale, I used the original raw files the photographer provided (they were 241 dpi) and simply resized them to fit within the individual “pages”. I had to play around with various layouts and sizes for the selected photos to at least show a (condensed) story of the wedding. I even had pages where I wrote a little message of sorts — that pretty much required me to use some ridiculously small font sizes (like 2-3) and converting the text into outlines so they’ll print clear. For some weird reason, this was alot more of a challenge versus making the actual wedding photo book our families got over the holidays!
Once the photos and layout where finished (*insert fist pump moment here*), it was off to printing out the sheet. I couldn’t use cardstock because it’d be too thick once the strips were folded, and I was worried regular computer paper would be too thin. Decided to try a middle route and just use some leftover linen text paper from my wedding craft stash. It actually turned out really nice once I printed the file from Illustrator – it gave a crisp, parchment like look.
After printing it out, I used a ruler and bone folder and used the guides I created earlier to create creases. This to make sure that when I began folding the strips, they’ll fold neatly and as close to the same size as possible. After that, I cut the strips out, and started the folding process. This part is again pretty straightforward — you simply fold along the creases to create an accordion-like pattern.
Since I have four strips total, I had to basically string them together to form one long strip. The following graphic hopefully makes sense (if not, I did include a rough explanation):
The way I did that was at the end of each strip, the last “page” I had left intentionally blank. Each blank was then cut down to a panel of about 1/4″ wide, and used a good glue stick to apply adhesive on both sides. Then I attached that panel to the first panel of the next strip, eventually making that 1/4″ panel be sandwiched between the two panels from that new strip.
I kept repeating this step until all the strips were folded, attached, and glued. And the pages were officially done. To make sure the pile stays tightly knit, I smeared a thin layer of Elmer’s glue to create the book’s spine before clamping the book between two small blocks of wood. I wanted the glue to dry to a gummy layer.
I then cut a rectangular panel from a piece of index card long enough to form a stiff inner cover for the pages. I glued the gummy end of the spine to this card, then trimmed it to match the dimensions of the pages.
As for the book’s cover, I wanted to mimic the wedding photo cover I made. So I remeasured the dimensions of my new pages: it was still 1″ wide and 3/4″ tall. But because the strips made the book thicker than anticipated….I found out that the spine was actually 1/2″ thick — the equivalent of about 6 inches in real life. (&$#%^@# — I did make a bloody encyclopedia!!!)
So back to my trusty Illustrator program, I used the new measurements to figure out how big my photo cover needed to be. I basically created a rectangle that was 1/2″ wide and about 7/8″ tall (I added an additional 1/8″ to provide some wiggle room) to act as the cover’s spine.
Then flanking the spine, I drew a rectangle that was about 1 1/16 ” wide and 7/8″ tall to house the cover design, then a thinner rectangle (about 1/4″ wide) as the cover flaps. Hopefully this screen capture makes sense.
From here, I chose some more photos provided by my wedding photographer, then resized them to properly fit within the rectangles I created. Then I applied the titles and it was basically ready to be printed. In this case, I used some leftover photo paper from a long-ago project. I wanted the cover to have a sheen to it — plus just in case I spilled something on it, the stuff should slide off (and protect the inner pages).
After the design was printed, I cut out my cover, and used my bone folder to create the creases needed to fold it into its proper shape. Then I used a thin layer of Tacky glue to glue the cover to the card cover of my inner pages. Then it was back to getting clamped and weighed down until the glue was dry.
And there you have it — my wedding photo book.
I actually showed this to BK once everything was dried (I had to use a needle to “open the pages to make sure none of the pages got stuck together). He was pretty impressed — especially with the fact he was able to read the text I wrote in the last pages. Of course, he had to freak me out when he asked if I could make another wedding book to send to this parents. I sure hope he’s kidding about that! Plus, I hope my photographer doesn’t mind that I did this with her photos! >_<
Some sample pages (again, thank you Sarah Culver Photography for the beautiful photos!)
With the book now done, I was left with the kicker question: who will be the new owner of this said book?