Another DIY Moment During Memorial Day

Yes, I know this weekend officially kicks off the summer season. But if anyone of you live in the DC Metro area, it has been summer since April. The only thing “official” about this weekend is the introduction of humidity…which, ironically, is my kryptonite.

So far, this weekend has been quiet which is FANTASTIC in my book. The past couple of weeks have been a challenge and it’s nice to be able to just laze about the apartment. Of course, “laze” simply means more time for my habit/hobby.

Even though I made a couch not that long ago, I really wanted to something constructive and challenging. Again, my biggest hurdle in this crazy project o’ mine is the lack of modern but affordable miniature furniture. True, there are vendors online that I can get designer modern stuff. But these are so darn pricey…I mean, I want to have some $$ left over to pay my mortgage you know? So lately, I’ve just been resorting to converting existing pieces into something more to my taste. Like this project.

On Saturday, I went back to my local miniature shop because I needed to return some items I purchased last week. Luckily, the cashier was nice to not only let me do the return, but let me convert the return into store credit. With a receipt showing my new store credit, quickly made a beeline to my most favorite part of the store — the clearance bin.

After some digging around, I came across this living room sofa set. The shape reminded me of the sofas you see at IKEA — just minus the tacky fabric. Figured this can be a worthy set for a conversion project. Plus it’s $12 for three pieces — can’t get any better than that.

Also found amongst the garden stuff a wooden shelf that looks so much like the IKEA Expedit bookcase (yes, I am familiar with IKEA because I’m a shameless fan of their stuff…and I used to work there). Once these items got tossed into my shopping basket, I quickly went ahead and purchased them using the store credit…before I started going nuts and buying stuff I don’t need (at the moment).

When I got home (spend the rest of the day with BK in Alexandria to enjoy the weather), I unpacked the new items and started to work. Was lucky to find in my trusty bin o’crap some fabric I bought at (where else?) IKEA in their ‘As-Is’ section, as well as the wood coloring markers.

After working on them for a couple of hours, I present to you the finished products. Much to my surprise, it looks pretty good.

The reupholstering was a lot harder — had to scrape the old glue and stuck fabric from the wooden frames before I could start draping the new fabric. Had to use my sharpest scissors to cut the corners to make them fold neatly (and slicing my fingers in the process).

The bookcase, luckily, was an easy one. Had to sand some areas, then colored the whole unit with the marker before applying the varnish. It really does look like the Expedit bookcase. Rats, maybe I should have gotten another one…I can see this being a popular item with the dolls…guess another miniature shop trip is in the works. Need to go back anyways…they had a sign calling for anyone who’d like to be a contractor. Build/assemble dollhouses, do custom work….wondering if it’s something I should try. BK thinks I should, but I dunno. Something to think about I guess.

After everything was completed, I moved the pieces to the Eocháin apartment and set up the kids around it. Maddie enjoys bringing her toys to the couches during playtime (while the resident dogs keep an eye on her). Aidan seems to enjoy lounging on it with his guitar.

“~Lie awake in bed at night. And think about your life Do you want to be different? Try to let go of the truth,
the battles of your youth, ’cause this is just a game

“Addy, what is that you’re singing?” Maddie asked.

“Nothing, squirt,” he replied back.  “Just go back to playing with your toys.”

“~It’s a beautiful lie…It’s a perfect denial. Such a beautiful lie to believe beautiful, beautiful lie makes me-“

“Are you singing about ‘Laney?” his sister continued. “Cause you’re always making boogie eyes at her when she comes over -”

“You mean ‘googly eyes’,” Aidan answered. He quickly realized he said too much.

Maddie drops her blocks and pays attention to MacArthur, who quietly padded up to sit beside her. She starts giggling as she sees her older brother’s face turning red. “Addy liikees Laney! Addy likes–”

Aidan has no choice but to pull out the old and reliable solution against annoying little siblings.

“MMMOOOMMMM!!! Maddie’s looking at me funny!!”

*Aidan’s singing the song “A Beautiful Lie” by Thirty Seconds to Mars. Sung by the ever beautiful man Jared Leto of course!
The name “Laney” that Maddie used refers to Selene Tremaine.

Need to Wipe the Drool….Excuse Me….

First off — hope everyone’s enjoying the Memorial Day weekend! Yesterday was nice and sunny, and now I just woke up to the news saying how the DC Metro area will be cloudy with scattered showers during the holiday. Man, so much for going outside to grill some hot dogs or maybe my homemade bulgogi-inspired flank steaks… 😦




Ever since I came across Modern MC’s Mini Modern blog on her growing (but freaking AWESOME) dollhouse/miniature collection, it’s become a daily ritual for me to check it at least twice a day. Not only does she have a section that shows what interesting pieces are on eBay, but she provides interesting news on products and what not.

Take this for example. Late Friday afternoon, she posted an alert about how a modern children’s furniture company called Argington had a set of their furniture but in miniature (Modern MC reported the scale to be 1:10 but should work in 1:12 scale). It wasn’t until I got a closer look that I was completely floored.


Sadly, Modern MC reported in her blog (and Altera in the comments) that the set is not for sale.  Nuts! Just when I was ready to sell a kidney or blood. Or maybe dip into my 401(k). I mean, this counts as hardship right?

Ahh, so sad. Guess I’ll just stick to my usual avenue of getting miniatures…


So Long How Are We Staying Here?

“Hun, any word from the contractors about the house?” Daphne asked.

“No…” Bryan pulls away from the computer with disgust. “CIPMC* is behind schedule with Trent and George’s place. So we’ll be here for awhile.”

Daphne sighed as she sits down on the couch. “I know it can’t be helped but…this place is awfully cramped for us and the dogs.”

*CIPMC stands for the writer of the blog, aka ‘Crazy Incompetent Pinay Miniature Collector’. Figured I’d use this as the name of the company building the Eocháins and the Valentine-Johnson house….

Just Bumming Around

Despite going to bed around 3 am this morning (see previous post), I woke up a few hours later. Since I couldn’t sleep, decided to pull out the trusty bin o’ crap and see what I can do in the meantime.

I had forgotten that I won this daybed on eBay late last year. It was listed as a daybed, but apparently it’s a stylish sofa from AG Minis. It was in okay condition — the white paint was chipped in some areas, and the main seat cushion was pretty worn out. Ended up using some nail polish to match the original varnish and covering the old cushion with some scrap fabric.  After making the pillows, it looks way better than before.

Finished look of my "funky couch". Need to do a slipcover though....

Hmm…think I’ll stop for the day. Suddenly craving a sandwhich, and from the look on BK’s face, looks like we’ll be spending the rest of Sunday outside. Works for me!

Caught this when I was storing the furnishings away in my storage bins. Looks like Ethan and Emily wanted to test out their parents’ new bed…

Ethan and Emily trying out the new temperpedic mattress their dads George and Trent just bought.

Having A Mastercard (Though I Used A Visa) Moment Here

And more than likely, will have more of these if I continue this habit hobby.

With the dining set dilemma still fresh on my mind (and with Friday being payday), I decided to see what I could do. Armed with a goal (or two), my trusty Visa checkcard, and a measuring tape (yes, I always keep it in my purse), I drove down to Once Upon A Time, the miniature shop closest to my place. Even though I made a list and a budget, those fizzled the minute I walked into their dollhouse/miniature section.

Three hours later (and at least two purgings of my shopping basket), I finally left the shop elated — and poorer than before.I didn’t exactly find a dining set for the soon to arrive china cabinets. But I did come across this set collecting dust in the shop’s clearance bin. It’s not bad looking — the wood looks like pecan, and the rattan was in excellent condition. Plus, it kinda reminded me of the dining furniture I might see at Crate and Barrel. Of course, unlike CB’s infamous prices, this was actually cheap. The original price was set to $30, but I got it close to 50% off.

I dug deeper into the clearance bin (must have been lucky — the shop owner was in the process to marking down and putting new items in the bins during my search. More purchses – woot!!) and came across this bed. BK saw it at a shop up in Frederick MD and noted that it looked similar to my bed back at the apartment. In a way it does — but I wasn’t crazy about the wood color and the bedding. A little too ‘country’, to be honest. On top of that, the price tag said it costs about $80. I dunno about you, but I may be obsessed, but I’m not that crazy. Guess the financial or miniature gods heard my sarcastic thoughts, because a few months later, I find that same bed at my favorite shop. Luckily, the shop keeper gave me a price discount on the spot when she saw me contemplating over it. Thanks Betty for hooking me up!

Before shots of the bed and dining set

After picking up a couple of more items (I can see my family and friends rolling their eyes if they saw what I bought), I made a quick run at Michaels to see what I could do about changing the wood color. Was worried I’d have to sand the pieces down and apply stain/varnish on them. But a sales person actually suggested that I try using the wood coloring markers instead, and a water based craft varnish.

An hour later, and $10 less, I finally drove back to my apartment. In between dinner, laundry, and watching ‘Taken’ with BK (good movie by the way), I was able to transform the clearance items into these:

The bed and dining set after their transformation

BK came by the dining table (where I was working) and impressed with the end results. And I was actually surprised when he officially declared (before he went to bed): “Hun, THAT should go with the Eocháins. The other set can go back with Trent and George.” Of course he made no comment on the bed — he already knew it was going to Daphne and Bryan after all.So in short I experienced the following:

One dining set: $18

One double bed: $40

Two wood markers, a brush set, and bottle of varnish: $10

Making items that ended the dining set wars: Priceless

I hope this closes the book the whole dining room fiasco. Two families get two dining sets. And I go to bed one happy (but tired) miniaturist.

Bryan testing out the new bed Daphne bought

Apparently A War’s Brewing…

…a home decor war, that is.

If you all recall, I meant to give George and Trent a dining set that I modified not too long ago. But BK insisted that it instead go to the Eocháins instead since it was more to their taste as well (besides, BK argued that the extra seats would be useful if Daphne or Bryan’s parents decided to show up unexpectantly for dinner). So the Eocháins scored the Danish set while the Johnson-Valentine household will get something else.

Unfortunately, while surfing eBay, I came across this cabinet. True, it’s from Hong Kong (meaning $$$ in the shipping department). But it’s pretty. And I can’t find this anywhere else. And price-wise, it’s not bad at all.

Plus, it would look great in George’s office. Something very traditional — something Trent would probably agree in having in the house. Though he’d probably be putting barricades around to protect it against the resident pair of ankle biters. Or stocking the cleaning closet with either orange oil, Murphy’s Wood Soap, or Pledge (did I share the fact he’s a bit OCD?).

In pure fashion I shared this discovery with BK. What I didn’t expect was the conversation to go into this:

Me: Was thinking of putting it in George’s office. Whaddya think?

BK: What? It should be in Daphne and Bryan’s place! It’d be a great china cabinet!

Me: Whoa there buddy. They already have that Danish set. If you want this cabinet in their dining room, then George and Trent get their original dining set back.

BK: But I like that set too….

Me: Good lord hun, they’re dolls. I don’t think they’d mind.

BK: [long pause] Well I mind…

Seriously, the gmail chat went on like this for a good while.

After doing some number crunching and checking the vendor’s other items, I decided on a compromise. I’ll get two of the cabinets (one for George’s office, and another for the Eocháins) and go from there.

Though I might give the Danish dining set back to Trent and George. Good thing Trent and Daphne are good friends….

The Campbell Residence

After unpacking some purchases, can safely say that Marcus and Alicia’s house is now open for public viewing. I don’t have the place fully decorated, but the main furniture pieces are in place.

Curious what you all think. I’ll probably be adding/subtracting items as time goes along. But at least, the newly weds have someplace they can call home.

For the rest of the photos, you check them out at this gallery.