Tax Refund? What Tax Refund?

Despite the rough year that was 2009, was pretty surprised that when it came to filing my income taxes, it was bittersweet. Not because I had to file two state returns (since I moved from MD to VA mid-year) that were a pain in the @$$, but thanks to my local H&R Block office, was able to get a decent federal and state refunds. Granted, majority went to paying my credit cards. But I kept a small amount to fund the projects.

Okay, it wasn’t that SMALL — but stretching $200 to cover more than one house? Talk about a challenge!

At the moment, am grappling four projects:

a)  The Rye dollhouse — after having it shipped to my place from a fellow Greenleaf forum member, I actually started working on it as early as January 2010. But the process was slow — there were WAY more parts than I thought, and often had to prep the pieces before I can begin the assembly process. Was able to use parts of the tax refund to purchase components and a few materials to begin the construction. Will post pictures as I progress with the project.

b) The Loganberry Mill — This was one of those “impluse” purchases I made with the refund. I mean, come on, $15 for a kit? Score!

I read glowing reviews about this cottage and wanted to try it out. Surprisingly, the reviews were right — construction has been straighforward (alot of the parts I custom cut since I wanted to do a Spanish-style cottage). At the moment, just waiting on alot of the parts to arrive. Bought some windows from France and wallpaper from a UK based miniature shop, so I’ll have to go on hold until those arrive (sniff, sniff).

c) The RGT Tudor House — this was the second “impulse” purchase (bought the kit for $70). The house is very cute, and if all goes plan, will be my first dollhouse that is made entirely out of plywood (compared to MDF which is cheaper but heavier).

I wasn’t too crazy about the original design. It’s cute and all, but almost gear towards being a child’s plaything. Since I live in Old Town here in Alexandria, VA, am surrounded by lots of cute rowhouses. So am thinking I’ll try to make it look like a row house for one of my dolls.

d) The Duracraft Farmhouse — funny thing is, I got this in early February (just before the Washington DC area got hit with the snowstorm) via Craigslist. The lady who sold it to me
bought it as a birthday present for her daughter but the kid lost interest. Was pretty stoked that I got it for a mere $50 — this is usually a kit that’s hard to come by, and I’m proud to report that it’s mine, all mine! (insert maniacal laugh here).

Of course, didn’t realize how heavy it was until the day of pickup. I had to struggle a bit to bring it inside the apartment — much to BK’s surprise/amusement. He’s been lamenting how our dining room is not longer accessible thanks to my kits/projects. Don’t know why he’s fussing to be honest with you — it’s not like we eat in the dining room anyways. 😛

Sadly, I cannot open this until the other projects are done. Though I cheated and used the wood planks that came with the farmhouse and use them in the Rye dollhouse. 😛

On top of this, also went through a flurry of online ordering — more wallpaper, more windows, doors, woodwork. So you can imagine how quickly the $200 disappeared in my hands.

Now I’m hoping this will keep me busy and keep my dolls happy.

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A Holiday Project – Completed!

The Victorian Mod Cottage's Exterior View

I mentioned in my last entry that I received two dollhouse kits as a Christmas gift (which I found later that it was designed to “keep me out of trouble”. Gee, thanks everyone). Of the two, one I had to give up and give away for scrap parts because the parts were made of die cut, thin plywood. Each piece I cut out to prep simply snapped into smaller pieces. Suffice to say, I opted to give the parts away before contemplating making a huge bonfire out of it.

Luckily, the second kit had a successful — and happy — ending. It was originally supposed to look like a quaint little “Victorian” cottage. Given that period stuff isn’t my thing, decided to try to modernize it. Granted, it’s not ultra modern like the other blogs I frequent and admire. But at least it gives the impression of someone who definitely has that taste.

What do you think? This is the first time I used this slideshow feature from Picasa (for bigger shots, just access this gallery link). I really love how the brick walls turned out. Plus, I finally had the chance to show off the pieces I had bought from Mini Modernista. I’m hoping to order more of her stuff soon. She released several new items on her eBay sell page (which always get snagged — dammit!!).

As for the artwork above the bed — they’re my new favorite band. The group’s name is Monkey Majik and they are actually made up of two brothers from Canada and two guys from Japan. Really fun songs (both in English and Japanese) — and it’s a bigger bonus that they’re pretty cute. Luckily BK’s not jealous or anything…

Apologies to All

To quote Fiona Apple from her first song “Criminal”:

“I’ve been a bad, bad girl…”

There. I admitted my guilt.

Then again, I never knew I had people following this blog until I started getting messages about when I was planning to post an entry or — god forbid — I had abandoned this blog and my projects completely.

As for the answer — guess the most accurate one would be to say “not really”. I still work on my miniature projects, but unfortunately with this economy, I had no choice but to put it in the back seat. At the moment, having a job and making sure the household is supported kinda have to take priority you know?

So again, I’m really sorry to the folks who were left wondering. As a form of appeasement, I’m breaking down what has happened since the last entry:

1) due to unforeseen circumstances (and space issues), I sold the Tamarack and my Winston dollhouse.As painful as it was (since I was pretty proud of how they turned out), I’m happy to report that they went to great homes.

2) So far, none of the dolls have an official residence yet. I got a two kits kits for Christmas, but one was so disastrous I ended up giving up the salvagable parts to another miniaturists for scrap.

3) The second of the kits I got from Item #2 — am proud to report that not only did I complete it, but furnished it to a (sort of) modern theme. True, it’s not as fantastic as Modern MC’s settings. But hopefully it will do the modern miniaturist fans proud. Will post a new entry on it after this (I promise).

4)  In late November 2009, I joined a miniature forum hosted by Greenleaf dollhouses. True, it’s not all about modern minis, but the members have been the most welcoming and helpful group I’ve come across in regards to dollhouses/miniatures. Definitely learned alot of techniques from their posts/galleries/blogs, and am eager to apply them to my projects. In fact, I added them to my list of links here — the work they do is fantastic.

5) On December 2009, a member of the Greenleaf forum was selling her Tom’s Mill Rye kit. For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it’s an Arts & Crafts style bungalow. Been wanting one for ages, and after weeks of scrimping/saving, I finally was able to purchase it. Will try to post updates on it as I slowly get back to managing this blog.

So far that’s it. I need to start transferring entries I wrote in Word and putting them here.

Again, thanks everyone for your patience — hopefully will be back in the swing of things. 🙂