Well This Is Sucky News…

This never fails to crack me up.

No, this does not pertain to the Sedona roombox. In fact, it’s safely secured in one of the closets on the second floor — along with the rest of my stuff that were on top of my dining-room-table-turned-workshop.

BK and I will hosting some friends next week, and we started scouring the house from the ground up. No, I’m not saying we’re complete slobs (I clean the house twice a week – thanks Mom for the OCD tendencies). But if company is involved….let’s just say BK thinks I go absolutely cray-cray in having a clean home. Hey, someone has to keep the place clean right?

Anyways…sorry for the rambling.

Since I was waiting around for the door to arrive, I figured maybe I should work on the Primrose. Yeah, remember that little house? The last time I worked on it was April 2012, after installing the floor and wallpaper. After that was done, I ended up wrapping and packing it away, since that’s about the time BK & I began house-hunting.

So I thought “well, the Primrose is in storage. Can’t work on the Sedona till the stuff arrives…maybe I’ll do two homes in tandem.”

That sounded like a great idea….till I started looking for the box where I packed the Primrose.

I checked the closets upstairs….closets downstairs. Then I went outside to our patio’s storage shed and looked in there (and freaked out when I came across a HUGE wolf spider). Then checked the closets once more. I couldn’t find the box where I kept the half-built house.

At this point, I’m freaking out. Then it occurred to me to ask my husband if he had seen the container. This is literally the transcript of our conversation.

Me: Hun, remember that house I built before we moved? I put it in a box and could have sworn we moved it in.

BK: Was it the box with the Delmonte pineapple logo?

Me: Yes!

BK: The one you used painter’s tape to seal it?

Me: Yes! Yes! Where did we put it???

BK: <long pause> We threw it out…cause you fell on it and squashed it flat remember?

Confused

According to BK, that’s what I looked like.
Minus the awesome kung-fu moves of course.

Based on the poleaxed expression that was plastered on my face, BK explained that during the actual move day, I was frantically rushing between the first and second floors of our house, moving boxes around to the right rooms. And in my rush, (according to BK), I tripped on some empty boxes and rather than going face down, I twisted my body enough to land on my bottom. And crushed a box in the process. More specifically, the Delmonte pineapple box wrapped in blue painters tape. That had the Primrose inside.

Funny thing is, I started to remember falling on a box. But it didn’t register at the time that it was THAT box. Guess the day’s activities really kept me busy.

Suffice to say, am pretty bummed at this sad news. Guess that explains why I couldn’t find the house to begin with. Guess for now, have to decide if I want to get another Primrose kit and redo everything…or just start something else.

Man, what a bummer.

 

 

Yaaaayy!!!! Yaaay!!!!

Aren’t they adorable? (photo from dezeen.com)

Granted, I saw this on Mini Modern’s site…but I gotta shout out the good news.

It appears that IKEA is planning to produce dollhouse scale versions of its more popular furniture pieces. Yes, it is prolly gonna be either smaller (or bigger) than the scale I typically work with. But it’s still good news nonetheless. I mean, do you all have any idea how hard it is to find their old Lillabo plastic furniture? They’re pretty fun to use in modern settings if you ask me.

Oh man, hope these babies come over to the US. Would totally pounce on these! Can easily see these working on an apartment setting. Or loft. Or gracing some kid’s room (that’d be a swank place imho).

Read the article (from dezeen magazine)

In the Meantime….

My new purchases - a PRD table and a pair of chairs from MINIMAGINE

My new purchases – the X Dining Table from PRD Miniatures and a pair of chairs from MINIMAGINE

While construction on the Sedona roombox is on hold (it looks like the stuff I ordered to do the lighting is scheduled to arrive today – yay!)…figured I’d post some entries on the new stuff I’ve acquired over the last couple of days. And the awesome folks who make them. 🙂

Most of you know that two of my biggest pet peeves when it comes to modern minis are a) they’re not exactly available and b) the ones that are available can be a big investment. And given this is isn’t exactly a cheap hobby (am now resorting to having a monthly budget), it can be frustrating. Yes, there’s always the option to DIY them. Then again, I don’t exactly have the skill level (let alone the facilities/resources) to pull that off. Luckily, there’s a growing number of folks who are stepping up to meet that challenge.

For starters, I finally took the plunge and purchased my first piece from PRD Miniatures. Had initially held back because the ones I’ve lusted wanted were on the pricey end (but man they are beautiful). I didn’t frequent the site until recently, when I saw the site added a Quick Ship section. And that’s where I saw this X Table – and for $40, heck yeah! I’ll have to get this again in white and the square top version in the near future.

So if you haven’t checked his site — please do (and sign up for his newsletter for updates). His stuff is really drool worthy. Along with Mme Doris from MiniModernista, I’d be buying stuff here constantly. (Attempts to hint to BK about the M112 Pods haven’t taken root. Will keep trying though)

As for the chairs — I accidentally found them when doing a random search on Etsy. Mme M from MINIMAGINE actually makes furniture for 1:6 scale (for all ye fans of the Momoko/Fashion Integrity/Barbie dolls). But she can do 1:12 scale if you ask. She was really nice to set up a custom order for me to have these chairs in red (since I wanted them to go with the table). And even though Mme M is based on Poland, was really surprised on how quickly these lovelies arrived at my post office. In fact, I ended up placing a custom order for more chairs in different colors to keep on hand. Have a ton of tables in my inventory, but no chairs to go with them. My dolls need fun chairs gosh-darn it!

And apparently, that last statement was accurate — my new additions to the miniature doll cast are giving them stamp of approval (I’ll write about these guys soon – their house is the next on my construction list once the Sedona is complete).

They like it! They really do!

They like it! They really do!

Aw Man….First Roadblock

Guess it was bound to happen huh?  Was wondering when this would come along…

After checking the tiles were dried out enough (some of them appeared to have curled up during the drying process; a slight pressing seemed to have solved that issue quickly), I started installing the tiles on the floor. They did shrink a bit as they dried, but not as much as I had thought. But that’s okay — the edges were a little rough, and I had to use a pair of sharp shears to trim them down. Figured I’d trim a couple of dozen pieces, then start gluing them down on the floor.

When it came to installation…the tutorials started giving varying suggestions when it came to glue. Some suggested PVA (which I’m gonna guess is the equivalent of Sobo Glue here in the United States), others mentioned using wood glue or even Quick Grip. Since I didn’t have the former (and I wasn’t going to waste my limited supply of the latter)…figured I’d try my reliable standby of Tacky Glue (the Fast Grip formula). And no, this isn’t my poor-ass attempt for sponsorship. Though it’d be awesome to get some discount coupons for the glue — I definitely go through them quickly.

And so the installation begins. And no, this isn’t a paid advertisement for Aileen’s Tacky Glue. Though I’m perfectly open to that opportunity. 😛

 

Am sure I did this wrong, but I placed the first tile at the lower left of the floor (there’s a groove there for the plexiglass “shield” of the roombox). Then began installing the next tile towards the back wall. In order to keep as even a spacing between the tiles as possible, I cut up some strips of wood (about 1/8″ wide and 1/16th” thick) and used them as my guides.

Just another close up of the tiles.

Just another close up of the tiles. You can sorta make out the wood strips/guides I was using on the far most row….

As for the glue…I think it held up well. I had to apply a thick smear on each tile and press it down on the floor to get it to adhere. But after letting it set for a minute…you can tell it wasn’t budging anywhere.

So I kept going with the rest of the tiles until I got to the last row…which I didn’t install any tiles. Because I realized that I hit my first roadblock — I didn’t factor in for the door.

Almost there - oh wait....

Almost there – oh wait….

I had ordered an interior French door from Earth & Tree Miniatures in NH to use for this roombox (because I wanted a glass door type of door for my resort room). But it hadn’t arrived yet in the mail..and I wasn’t sure if the threshold and its trim would require me to trim the tiles down to accommodate that. So until I get that door…I’ll have to stop here for now. Curses!

Man, just as when I was on a roll with this…time to go back to the list, and figure out what I can do in the meantime….

For now, I can only admire about 98% of the floor.

For now, I can only admire about 98% of the floor.

 

Sedona Roombox – And More Preppin

Now that the jig is dried, it’s time to start making the tiles.

Alot of the online tutorials called for the same steps – rolling the air dry clay to a certain thickness, then cutting out the tiles based on the desired styles. For this though, I wanted to try this particular set of tool(s) out:

Square Cutters

Tadah! My tile floor shapers/cutters! Purchased from Plastics in Print

I found this square cutter from Plastics in Print, an Etsy vendor. The cutter’s made of plastic, which means it has to be hand-washed after use. The store sells a 1/4″ and a 1-inch square cutter, but they do take custom orders. In my case, I opted to get a 1-inch square and requested to have a 3/4″ square — figured those would be the most common sized tiles I’d make from hereon. Much to my surprise, the vendor not only made my custom piece, but shipped it fast.

Now that I have everything, I started making the tiles. Luckily, today was a bit of a mixed bag weatherwise in my area — perfect excuse to just stay in and work. 🙂

Using about 1/4 of the DAS clay, I mushed the clay for a bit to get it a bit pliable. Then, after putting some wax paper over my jig, I used my acrylic roller and started smoothing it down. Since it needed to be about 1/8 thick (and my clay wasn’t gonna spread to the entire width of the jig), I cut another piece of 1/8″ thick basswood to act as guide. Then kept folding/rolling until it was as level as I could manage.

Smooth operator....smooth operator... sorry.

Smooth operator….smooth operator… sorry.

Then, I took my 1-inch square and started pressing it down on the clay. Though when I pulled the cutter out…the square actually stayed inside of it (d’oh!). Turned out smearing a little bit of petroleum jelly on the cutter solved that issue.

Wooho! It works!

Wooho! It works!

I needed to put the tiles someplace where they can air dry on an even surface. So I took one of my baking sheets and lined it with foil and wax paper. And placed each tile there.  As for how many I needed….I measured the main room and found it was about 9 x 13 inches. And each tile is an inch square…about 117 tiles give or take. Plus, since these tiles will shrink as they dry (a lot of tutorials cautioned about allowing the DAS clay to dry for at least 24 hours), so that will give me some wiggle room to adjust them as needed.

Letting them dry.

Letting them dry.

Just kept repeating this process (and getting more clay from the package) until I got the number I needed. Didn’t take a photo of it, but made thicker tiles using the 3/4″ square cutter. Not sure where I’ll use these, but…will see as we go along.

So far so good. Floors are prepped…hopefully I can start working on either the walls. Or take a stab at the electrical. Will see.

The Sedona Roombox – Preppin’ Time

After figuring out what I was gonna be doing with the Santa Fe roombox (which from hereon will be referred as the Sedona Roombox. Or just Sedona, cuz I’ll eventually get lazy. Just FYI), I spent Saturday morning making a mental list in my head of what I need to do. Unfortunately, making a mental list wasn’t such a good idea for me – my brain apparently operated with the following:

  • Measure out dimensions
  • Coffee
  • Figure out flooring and exterior
  • Coffee
  • See what I have on hand vs what I’ll need to purchase
  • Get. Coffee. Now. And Bagel. Lest I destroy you.

That last bullet point prompted me to have some coffee BK was (luckily) brewing. And a bowl of cereal. Sorry brain, you can’t have everything.

Once the brain (and stomach) were safely placated, I fished out a notepad and started re-writing the list. Definitely knew for sure that a) I wanted to roombox to have stucco walls on the outside but that b) the inside would have parts of the walls in stucco, but others with some wood paneling.  That c) I’m gonna attempt to install lights in this roombox (a first in my lifetime!) and that d) tile and stone floors were the way to go.

So with this list finalized (and in writing), I started researching online on stone/tile floors. I know there are vendors out there like the UK-based Richard Stacey who carries fantastic stone/tile flooring and roofing products. Could have gone that route — but frankly, I really needed to watch my budget. I wanted this project to cost me way less than an actual plane ticket to Sedona. Plus, as much as I love my minis….well, I also want BK and I to eat you know. Plus we have a house which means we gotta pay the mortgage too.

So I started checking out my favorite blogs and forums about making one’s own tile and stone flooring. I came across a bunch of tutorials of folks using styrofoam, egg cartons….and air dry or paper clay. That completely intrigued me – I’ve never worked with either medium before, and have been impressed with what folks have created.

Image

What I’ll (hopefully) need to make the adobe tiles and stone floor for the Sedona roombox.

At the same time, well….I actually had both types on clay on hand (Hobby Lobby, why have you become such an online addiction to me??). Couldn’t help it — I get their emails about free shipping and reminders of their ever-present 40% off coupon on the highest priced item. They know how to feed my need to hoard re-supply my craft boxes.

With the supplies checked, I went through my bookmarks and actually found this tutorial from So Mini Projects. The ever so talented Wanda wrote a tutorial on how she made her paving stones using DAS clay (thanks Wanda!) — and what caught my eye was how she created a jig to help her roll out the clay to an even thickness using a vinyl tile and some scraps of wood. That’s actually a brilliant idea!

Sadly, I didn’t have a vinyl tile on hand. Looks like a Home Depot run is gonna be in order. <sigh>

Update (6/8/13 at 9 pm)
Well, after getting sidetracked, I finally made it to Home Depot and got what I needed to make the jig. And behold the finished product! Pretty simple to make really — I took some balsawood strips that were about 1/8 inch thick (since that’s the thickness I want the floor tiles will take), mitered them to frame the tile, then glued using some Quick Grip. Now I just need to let the glue cure before I can start making the tile floors!

Finally!

Finally! It’s done! Not bad for an under $3 tool!

Take Me to Another Place…

…yes folks, I’m quoting part of the refrain of Arrested Development’s “Tennessee” (a pretty awesome song imho).

Let’s just say this week has been a bit taxing at the office. One would think that during the summer months, the work load would generally decrease as more people are taking time off for vacations and what not. Apparently that logic failed to pass that memo in my office. >_<

So as I sat in my cube thinking how I’d want to be anywhere but there…it got me thinking about what project to start. Then I thought “well I can’t freaking afford a vacation nowadays…why not build a vacation spot?”

Lucky for me, I had this in storage….

SanteFeRoombox

I originally got mine on eBay around the time BK proposed to me, and the seller didn’t post much info on it. So I had to dig around. Apparently, this is called the “Santa Fe w/Patio Room Box” by Fantasy Crafts. It’s came already assembled and it’s all made of plywood (with acrylic panes to cover the top and bottom). Apparently this company manufactured a bunch of room boxes — but so far, I’ve only come across one online shop – Marions Merry Minis — that carries it. Ended up bookmarking this shop, since it carries some pretty interesting houses and roomboxes (*cough* gonna be broke again *cough*).

With the Santa Fe now taking residence on my work table/dining table (luckily BK doesn’t mind we don’t eat at the dining room — he actually prefers having his meals in the living room. Or at our patio if the weather’s decent), I now needed an inspiration. Considering it’s essentially a room with a small patio.

So I did what any rational minded person would do. Start Googling.

Sedona-Resort-Pics

Images from the Sedona Resort & Spa (Source: http://www.enchantmentresort.com)

Granted, I’ve never been to a resort in Sedona. Heck, never been to Arizona either (though I heard it’s beautiful there). But seeing these images, I suddenly had visions of a high-end getaway of sorts. Maybe a high-end room with its own private patio. Stucco walls, stone/tile floors…maybe some wood panelling. And a mid-century piece to boot!

Huh. Looks like my project’s been decided. Time to start crackin’. And hopefully I don’t bite off more than what I can chew!