Fun with (Artist Trading) Cards

Since I started moving to modern miniatures, one of my biggest challenges was the decor. Notably wall decor.

Will admit I relied on the stylings from other modern miniature blogs like Mini Modern where I got introduced (and hooked) to displaying mini Rex Ray paintings and what not.  Or lately, I do enjoy randomly using laser cut beads and arranging them to look like installation art.

Living room in the ARC III.

Living room in the ARC III.

Or using my Photoshop/Illustrator/Fireworks to resize existing work. Vintage travel posters are always a reliable standby.

But again, I didn’t want to rely too much on these options. Hence my discovery on Artist Trading Cards (ATCs) and ACEOs (Art Cards, Editions and Originals).

I didn’t know much about them – but I remember seeing these cards for the first time at a local art festival where BK and I used to live. I initially thought these cards (they’re about the size of a baseball card, about 2.5 x 3.5 inches) were business cards advertising the artist. Until I saw they had price tags – price tags that imho, were WAY more reasonable than the actual life sized pieces.

Jerry’s Artrama gave a good definition of what ATCs are:

“…Artist trading cards (commonly referred to as ATCs) are miniature pieces of art that are traded around the world. Artists create, trade and collect art at organized “swap” events, either in person or online. The only official rule for ATCs is the size: 2.5″ × 3.5″.

Essentially (if I’m understanding it right), the intention is to give artists another means to trade and collect works from other fellow artists. Which is a pretty darn cool idea. Even cooler for a miniature dork like me? They’re another source of artwork to grace my miniature scenes. Especially if I wanted something big.

So whenever I can get a chance, if I see an ATC card, I usually try to pounce on them and buy copies if I really love the design. One such artist is Poxodd – definitely fell in love with the ATCs for not just how colorful they are, but it had that delicious mix of the weird and fantastic that I couldn’t resist.

My first ATC cards from Poxod. Initially purchased from Etsy, but available at

My first ATC cards from Poxod. Clockwise from top: Communications Operator, Swamp Dweller,  Cactootsy – Poxoddland Band #2, and the Bellmeister – Poxoddland Band #3. Initially purchased from Etsy, but available at

I had initially planned to use some ATC frames (D’s Miniatures and Collectibles on eBay carries some nice ones that can fit them nicely). But I was worried having something frame them these prints would detract the eye from the card’s overall design.  Guess this meant another trip downstairs to my (just recently cleaned) dining room for a quickie project.

My implements of war for this project...and a sorta assembly process. Just work with me people.

My implements of war for this project…and a sorta assembly process. Just work with me people.

Again, didn’t bother with taking step by step photos because (a) was winging it overall and (b) it happened pretty quick. I prolly banged this out in about 30 mins….way less than it’s taking me to write this blog entry. (“Slow and steady wins the….nope, still plodding along”).

But basically what happened was this:

  1. I measured out the dimensions of the ATC card – as stated earlier, they’re about 2.5 x 3.5 inches.
  2. I used some 1/8×1/8 inch wood strips and cut out pieces needed to make a frame that’s the same size as the ATC. To make it faster (since I had 4 cards), I used about 1.5 wood strips to cut out 4 pairs of the long sides for the frame….then when made another 4 pairs for the short sides. Cluelessness Laziness Airheadness Efficiency at its best I guess.
  3. Once the pieces were cut, I group them into four sets (each set having 2 long and 2 short ends). One set at a time, I sanded/wiped down before getting some beeswax woodpolish to make them nice and shiny.
  4. After all the sets were prepped, I used my corner tool (the thing in white) and started assembling them one set a time. I’d glue one long/one short together using Tacky glue, let it set a few minutes, then attach the remaining long/short pieces to form the frame.I used a fast grab type of tacky glue so the pieces would set quickly for me to gently slide them off the tool onto my work mat so I can work on the next set.
  5. Once the sets were dried enough, I attached an ATC onto a frame using GlueDot strips along the back edge of the card before pressing it onto the card. I ended up putting a pile of heavy books atop the framed art cards to make sure the glue strips had a chance to bond onto the frame…and for the frame to stay nice and flat.

End result? I got my lovely ATCs from Poxodd set to look like they’re artwork on a canvas frame…and I got to a chance to display the back of the cards (to show the artwork’s title and the artist’s name. Win!).


Was pretty happy at how this on the fly project worked out. So much in fact…I actually had extra pieces that made the frames. Ended up bagging them so now I’ll have a template to use the next time I decide to do this for future ATCs/miniature artwork.

Let's hope I don't lose this...I really don't want to waste my lumber supplies figuring this out all over again.

Let’s hope I don’t lose this…I really don’t want to waste my lumber supplies figuring this out all over again.

In the meantime…looks like my new roombox’s new occupants made dibs on a couple of the prints. I’ll think about it. Right now, the place still looks like a disaster zone! (shudder)


Hey! What are you doing??? Put those back – no never mind, they left the cash on the table. My bad!


New Year, New Distractions

Good lord, what a year 2016 had been…and given what most of us are seeing in the news, it seems like the new year will be a doozy as well.

Yes, it has been awhile. 2016 got crazy both in the work front and home front, and to be honest, I just didn’t have time for anything short of sleep and using the bathroom. Not exactly the life I wanted to enjoy daily, but let’s just say certain things popped up in life that I had no choice but to answer.  So with the new year…all one can hope for is to start where we last left off. Which in my case, a buttload a lot.

Figured for the new year, I needed to start something small. In this case, I decided to tackle a roombox to display some Lundby pieces.

The finished product.

The finished product. Roombox was a custom pruchase from RoomLotus. Lundby Stockholm kitchen unit purchased from Little Citizens Boutique.

And in pure, Miniature Obsession fashion, I didn’t exactly take pics of the actual construction. It’s hard to describe but the moment I sat down in my dining room and started working on the roombox…it’s like you’re in the zone. You don’t want to stop until “oh, let me finish cutting this last piece of trim” or “almost done sanding these guys…y’know I might as well roll into painting the trim”.

However, I did take pics of what I did from converting the Lundby Stockholm Kitchen Set from this…

Stockholm Kitchen Set. From the Little Citizens Boutique website.

Stockholm Kitchen Set. From the Little Citizens Boutique website.

…to this. Mostly because I wasn’t exactly going all ga-ga at the turqouise/white tile backsplash. Luckily, it wasn’t as complicated as I feared it would be.

A little better...don't mind I fudged it a little bit.

A little better…don’t mind I fudged it a little bit.

For starters, I had to use one of my X-Acto knives to free the upper cabinets and the range fan/hood. The entire thing is essentially glued to a MDF board which made it easy. The not so fun part was making sure I didn’t scratch the cabinets in order to cut away or loosen the glue.

Hah! They're freed!

Hah! They’re freed!

Once the items were freed, I used the blade to scrape the “tile” background. It was basically one huge plasticky-sticker, so about 75% of it peeled off easily once you scrape up a corner to pull on. Anything that was left behind took a few quick scrapes to remove. Once the backboard was done, I started doing the same for the upper cabinets.

Bare as...babe's bottom. That's PG enough right?

Bare as…a baby’s bottom. That’s PG enough right?

Didn't realize the white "backing was really just a paper sticker..with really sticky residue. :(

Didn’t realize the white “backing was really just a paper sticker..with really sticky residue. 😦

All cleaned and purtified. Of all things, a rubber eraser removed the residue.

All cleaned and purtified. Of all things, a rubber eraser removed the residue.

From here…was kinda winging things along so hopefully the following makes sense. Because I wanted certain areas of the now bare backboard to display the file, and others to be the new backdrop for the cabinets, I traced the area where the cabinets would need to be positioned.


Ignore the stupid chicken scratch on the upper left corner. I started thet habit of having Post-It notes on hand to scribble dimensions and stuff.

Once that was done….it was time to cut some tiles. I used these Victorian tiles since they were all I had on hand looked small enough to pass for Lundby scale.  I only had two sheets on hand, and because they were just a wee bit short on the width side (so I couldn’t use say one whole sheet to cover the background), I had to piece things together to make it look as seamless as possible.

From here, I cut some white cardstock for the cabinets’ new backdrop but trimmed off about 1/16″ all around. I wanted the cabinets to have the background, but be able to actually attach them directly onto the MDF backboard. For glue, I ended up using some GlueDot strips to hold the cardstock and tiles, and a thin smear of tacky glue to put the cabinet and range hood back in place.

Tiles installed.

Tiles installed.

For fun, I wanted the kitchen and sink units to have some fun drawer liners. I dug through my desk drawer and found my pack of origami squares. Kinda wish I had these in my kitchen cabinets now – something about the yellow and blue makes me chuckle for some disturbing reason.

Silly, but a little distraction didn't hurt anyone.

Silly, but a little distraction didn’t hurt anyone.

All in all, I guess this wasn’t such a bad endeavor for one day. I revamped a furniture, and was able to turn a barebones roombox into something that was ready for move in. *gives mental high five*



Old Town Classics

(I promise this will be the last entry for today. You can tell I’m seriously stalling from doing the work I’m suppose to do for the office….)

As promised in the previous entry, this is more of an update on another miniature project I created for BK’s and my wedding back in 2011….


Which our wedding photographer Sarah Culver somehow made magical on that day. Seriously.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

The cardbox at our designated gift table. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Some cheeky humor from us.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Made bunting to indicate that this was a card box. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Many of BK’s and my relatives didn’t know my obsession love for miniatures until they saw this cardbox and arbor. Not only was it popular with our guests – even surprised me by posting about the arbor in their January 2012 montage. For awhile, I was popular! 😀

After the wedding, I ended up storing the card box (which is actually the Seabreeze roombox from Victoria Miniland). I knew I was going to reuse it as another miniature setting for my collection. But at the time, I didn’t know what I wanted to put in it. Because the roombox was designed based on the old townhouses from Old Town Alexandria (where BK and I lived up until a year after our wedding), I was going to aim for its interior to reflect its exterior. At least, what I could see from outside the townhomes during walks around Old Town.

Again, thanks to my obsession, – apparently I did pick up a couple of pieces here and there — I think this as close to the classic styles I was able to glimpse in those townhomes. And of the old hometown that BK and I miss from time to time.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Rewaxing the hardwood floor.

Though before I could move the pieces in, I had to do a thorough scour of the roombox. For starters, I had to wipe off the years of dust that accumulated using a damp rag and a cheap nail brush from the dollar store (definitely useful for brushing dust in corners). Once everything was wiped down/brushed off, I used the beeswax polish to re-polish the walnut flooring.

Once the floor was polished and buffed, I started to hang some pictures and moving my pieces in….

Movin' them in....

Movin’ them in. Check out the newly polished floor! Shiny!

…and before I knew it, I was done. Well, I should have finished quickly. It is a single room for crying out loud!

The finished sitting room.

The finished sitting room.

I wanted the setting to be a formal sitting room of sorts. A mix of antiques and comfy seats. Someplace I’d imagine the owners would want to curl up with a good book to pass this lovely Sunday afternoon. Versus sitting in front of a laptop and reviewing contracts like this crazy blog writer <groans inwardly>.

Left side of the room.

Left side of the room.

Right side of room.

Right side of room.

In terms of what I used: the in-laid writing desk chair was purchased from The chairs were an eBay purchase from Small World Minis. The bookcase, side table, rug and tea chest were random pieces won from eBay. Lamp, tea sets, other accessories were purchased from Manor House Miniatures and local miniature shops.

Upper view.

Upper view from the open ceiling panel. I popped out the plexiglass sheet to take this shot….

Bastian - my chipped ear dog.

Bastian – my chipped ear dog.

As for the dog (Bastian) — he was actually a gift that I got back in college. Even though my parents wanted me to focus on schooling, I did some odd jobs here and there to earn some extra money to pay for other expenses (like books. And eating out with friends). I had a short stint of being a French tutor for this kid. He learned about my hobby for miniatures, and on our last day of tutoring, he actually surprised me by giving me this porcelain pup. I can still see his embarrassment when he pulled it out of his backpack – the ear fell off from getting jostled around his bag. Despite that little accident — Bastian has remained one of my most prized minis.

Close up of the portraits.

Close up of the portraits.


RevampedCardbox-08As for the portraits — I did a random search on Google images for 18th century portraits. Specifically American portraits. Not sure why, but I got the feeling that whoever is living here, would have traced his/her ancestry to the period. Which could be plausible, given that Old Town Alexandria was founded in 1749, and was incorporated as a town around 1779 (source: Wikipedia).

Sorry…digressed there. Once I found the pictures I wanted, I resized them in Photoshop and printed them on cardstock. I had some that had a canvas texture – which nicely replicated the feel of the pictures of looking hand-painted. At least that’s my take on it. 😛

Now that the room’s completed, I moved in the new occupants. I actually found these guys inside the cardbox when I pulled it from storage. Guess I had assigned these two to be the master and mistress of this residence.

The room's new occupants.

The room’s new occupants.

Because we were going for an Old Town Alexandria theme….I ended up naming the male doll as Mr. Philip Alexander. After a Captain who in 1746 created an estate on what eventually became the town of Alexandria itself.

In terms of (the doll) Philip’s bio, he used to teach history at Georgetown University up until this past May, when he decided to retire and work on his books. Mostly the history of Alexandria and on maritime trade of the late 1700s. If he’s not writing, he’d be doing his next favorite activity — taking Bastian around for walks in their hometown. As you can see from his outfit….he likes to wear a coat and tie whenever possible.

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Close up of Mr. Philip Alexander

Despite being a history professor, Philip is considered somewhat of an eccentric by the locals. Even though he was able to trace his lineage as far back to the Revolutionary War, there are rumors that there’s a bit of madness that runs through his family. In fact, there were rumors amongst the faculty that Philip would sometimes be seen having spirited discussions with portraits of his ancestors. Whether these rumors are true or not, no one could contest the fact that Philip is also known for his generosity and love for pranks. Especially during finals week.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Admiring (maybe chatting?) at the portrait of his ancestor, Sir Francis Alexander.

Philip’s wife Tess (or Theresa), is also a history buff. In fact, she volunteers at the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association – the nonprofit organization responsible for the care and maintenance of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. Like her husband, Margie was able to trace her lineage back to the 18th century – it turned out her parents came from a line of sea merchants in Connecticut. In fact, the portraits on the right side of the sitting room are portraits of her distant relatives – Lawrence King and his wife (and Tess’s namesake) Theresa Christina. Which is oddly appropriate for Tess, given her love of the water. She hopes that now that Philip has retired, perhaps they can finally look at getting a boat. And start taking Trent and George’s kids on boat trips on the Potomac River during the summer months.

As for how they met…they actually met at Williamsburg, Virginia during their college years. Philip was visiting friends who were attending summer school William and Mary. Tess in turn got an internship at Colonial Williamsburg and got to play the role of a seamtress at one of the shops. Philip was taken by Tess’s bubbling personality and her passion for the historical period. Tess in turn was smitten by Philip’s sweet nature and his never ending supply of jokes. Even after 25 years of marriage, they’re still acting like newlyweds — much to the amusement of their nephew Trent, whom he sees as his honorary parents and grandparents to his and George’s kids.

Philip's wife, Margie (Marjorie).

Philip’s wife, Tess with the portraits of her predecessors.

Like Philip, Tess is fond of jokes and pranks. So it doesn’t help that they both seem to encourage that characteristic from each other. 🙂

Philip and Tess joking around.

Philip and Tess joking around.

Hopefully these two are enjoying their new home — and I sure as heck hope I don’t get surprised from one of their pranks. For a moment, I thought I saw Tess put a whoopee cushion on Philip’s chair when he went out to walk the dog. This is going to be interesting…..

Sunday Lazing

With the ARC II completed, figured something quick and different might be in order for my Sunday. Especially since today, I have some things I need to complete for work. 😦

Given that it’s the height of summer….perhaps something of the outdoor kind is in order. So I decided to turn something that I haven’t touched since my wedding day.

 Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

View of the entrance way at the Mount Vernon Inn. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of the arbor. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Photo of the arbor. Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Closer view of the vines and bunting.  Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Closer view of the vines and bunting.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Another view of the bunting.  Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

Another view of the bunting.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.

When BK and I got married in 2011, we wanted to get married at the Mount Vernon Inn just outside George Washington’s famous estate (we are both history nerds…and 18th century history are one of the eras we can agree upon). Because of the location…and the fact we came from huge families….and that we were paying the bulk of the wedding ourselves….we had to be creative in terms of stretching our funds. Of course, that meant doing alot of smart purchases and DIY’ing as much as possible. Including the decorations.

The arbor was actually a kit I found on eBay years ago…and which I had almost forgotten I had until I was scouring my bins looking for glue (was in the middle of another wedding DIY project). When I saw the kit, I knew immediately where I wanted to display this. At this point, my DIY funds was getting low, so I really had to make do with what I had on hand. I couldn’t even drive to Michaels to get a tube of acrylic paint or a glue stick.

But in the end, I made a white arbor with oak planking, while autumn vines wrapped around the posts (since we were getting married in October). The bride and groom figures I actually got as a wedding topper kit someone was selling at the OffBeat Bride forum (I got the topper kit in exchange for some invitation supplies I had that I didn’t need anymore). If you know someone who’s getting married, definitely recommend this site for inspiration — saw AMAZING and creative ideas that brides and their SOs made for their day.

I thought the finished product looked okay, but photographer extraordinaire Sarah Culver (and her husband Zeb) of Sarah Culver photography made the arbor look beautiful. Heck, it’s been almost three years now, and the wedding photos Sarah took still make me cry. So Sarah, in case you see this, please know that you’re one of the few people on the planet who can make me cry on the spot. All you have to do is put one of your photos in front me and watch the waterworks. 🙂

But I guess that’s enough of living the past. Onto the present, my fellow readers!

It took some finagling (aka, removing the vines), some regluing (a few side posts fell off), and alot of patience (aka, dusting the crap out of whole arbor). But after digging around my bins o’ crap, and waking up BK’s & my 1:12 scale counterparts…..the arbor now has a new purpose. What used to mark our wedding….now has become a favorite outdoor spot for the now married couple. 🙂

The Arbor Revamped.

The Arbor Revamped.

Another view.

Another view.

I was going to take the pics in my dining room/crafting station. But with the sun out and the humidity still reasonable (the Washington DC metro area is ATROCIOUS for its summer humidity. Thanks founding fathers for choosing a former swamp to become our nation’s capital!) – figured I’d better take the whole setting and take the pics right on our patio.

Close up of the "worn" patio chairs.

Close up of the “worn” patio chairs.

The vines (used both the insta-fern and small leaves kind) were an impulse purchase from Kitz Miniatures (this is a must to-go place for most miniature supplies). Most of the plants were things I bought on clearance from miniature shops, or via eBay. The worn out patio table was purchased from a nearby miniature shop. The patio chairs were actually part of a unfinished patio set I got from one of Manor House Miniatures‘ weekly sales deals. I really only wanted the chairs, so the table that came with it got stored away for a future use.

For the chairs, I sanded them first to remove any rough spots before painting them with red craft acrylic paint. Sanded it again to smooth it out, then repainted another layer. Once that dried, I took sandpaper and cheap nail file and started scuffing it to make it look like it was all worn out from years of use. Then the while thing was sealed using my now favorite wood sealer.

The chairs prepped and painted.

The chairs prepped and painted. You can see the one of the left I started the scuffing process….

I ended up resealing the whole arbor with more of the beeswax polish…just to protect for years to come. Then I got started on decorating it.

Right side view.

Right side view.

Left side view.

Left side view.

On the photo above, I used an empty planter from Manor house miniatures and filled it with extra leaves from the vines I used. The flowers were actually these tiny paper flowers from MulberryCrafts (an eBay seller).

Once the decorating was done, I had to rouse BK and my 1:12 scale counterparts to model the new arbor for me. They were a little cranky getting waken up early on a Sunday morning. But they agreed after I promised to get them some mocha lattes and croissants at the local coffee shop down the street…

Daphne & Bryan enjoying their new outdoor space.

Daphne & Bryan enjoying their new outdoor space.

Garden-00375If you noticed, I still kept the bunting from the wedding decorations. I wanted to keep that there so BK and I will always remember that special day three years ago….



Guess they decided to switch seats....

Guess they decided to switch seats….

Thanks for checking this out! Maybe if I get the coffees quickly enough in all of us, I will try to post an update on another miniature item from my wedding day…

Want a hint? I actually wrote about this in July 2011….


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.

They Got Nothin’ On You Baby

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.

What I was doing with Illustrator. Oh you magical program you -- how much I love thee!

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. 😛

Signed, sealed, delivered. I'm yours! Oh wait....

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.

My poor-ass attempt to explain how I made my strips of "pages" into a single (albeit long ass) chain.

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.

Tadah! A (thick) pile of pages!

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!!!)

Screenshot from my Illustrator program. Note the dimensions used.

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.

Finally! Talk about a challenge to make!

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!)

The front cover. Sorry for the fuzzy quality -- my desk lamp gives off pretty crappy lighting.

Photos courtesy of Sarah Culver Photography. All Rights Reserved.


With the book now done, I was left with the kicker question: who will be the new owner of this said book?