Oh, Oh Those Summer Nights…

Miniature Cottage with Awnings and Flowers.
Photo (and permission to use it) courtesy of Linda Irwin Cottages.

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)

Some Mid Century Lovin’

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!

Daydreaming perhaps?

Credits: Mid-Century Sofa by Atomic Blythe (Etsy); Coffee Table by Minis2X (Etsy); Pia the Supermodel by Theresa Hutnick (Etsy);  Pia’s clothing is a Pippa outfit purchased from Ebay.

Reading’s Good for You


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.

A (blurry) closeup of the books. For the 2 walnut bookcases, I used the book kits and randomly put them on the shelves.

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.

Yay! Done!

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!

“Finally, the crazy woman made us some books to read!”

“This is great – we got some novels here, a couple of biographies, and some history books! Isn’t this great Bryan?”

“Uh-huh….that’s great hun.”
(Humina, humina….check out those headlights! Heh, heh, heh)

Well, at least this explains why my Sharpie markers have little dents on them….

Note to self: my counterpart isn’t afraid to wield heavy objects. And I need to start hiding my Sharpie markers. Also, who made that Maxim magazine for him anyways???


Wedding Photo Book – Update

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%.

The photo books side by side. The one on the left is the revised version. Talk about a big difference!

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)!

Monica Branford checking out her friend’s wedding album.

Scoping out the reception photos.

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.