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!


Closing Some Loops

Another Sunday…and yet again, I ended up finishing something that was hobby related. Though I guess this time, it’s perfectly okay given that (a) the house is finally cleaned (hurray!) and (b) I really wasn’t in the mood to do anything pertaining to office work (double hurray!).

I did do some work on DCC – but most of it were just sanding the lumber pieces to make the beams and horizontal slats for the exterior. Which would honestly make for a boring-ass entry. Plus, I had to play baby-sitter to my resident Daft Punk duo. I’m doing everything in my power to not let them know of my remaining collection in storage. I really DO NOT want to be coerced to drive down to the storage unit just so they can check out the bins a la dumpster diving style. XD

Anyways, back to the point of this entry. Yes, it’s about the Neville House, and no, it didn’t get kidnapped like the ARC I. It’s more of an update on what I promised to do to resolve the piss-poor craptacular poorly thought-out, constructed rail on the front deck. If you recalled from previous entries, my attempt to create a “glass” rail left me with a version that was tilting forward due to lack of bracing/support.

*Insert long sigh of disappointment*

In “Change of Game Plans”, I did a to-do list of how to correct this seriously craptacular gross miscalculation. For starters, instead of one continous, single rail, I would install posts in specific intervals on the front deck. Then in between the posts, I’ll install pieces of plexiglass that are sandwhiched between two wood rails/channels…


Where the posts will be positioned. The numbers indicate the foundation supports underneath the deck/whole house.

…..and install a support brace on the right side of the Neville house to anchor the new rails.

Side view of schematic.

Side view of schematic.

I said that it would be a straight-forward task. What I didn’t expect was how quickly I finished the task. Think for this…it took about 2 hours. Probably could have been made shorter sans the whole cutting plexiglass part.

To begin, I removed the existing railing. And given the crappy job (finally! the censor police didn’t cross this crap out  – dammit!) I did on that, it came off pretty easily. A quick scrape to remove any glue residue and a thorough sanding pretty much made the deck ready for its new piece.  Next, I cut out and prep the posts. I used a piece of 1/4 x 1/4 inch stripwood, from which I cut four 1 1/2″ tall posts.

The cut posts.

The cut posts…and the (now) rail-less deck.

I sanded each piece until it was smooth all over, then applied some beeswax polish to give it a golden finish. At this point, it was time to do some installation.

All waxed and ready to go.

All waxed and ready to go.

Sorry for repeating this photo, but it quickly gives you an idea of where I’m planning to install the posts. The ones on the far left and right are obvious, but the two inner ones were a bit of a challenge given that I needed to make sure they align to the mullions of the deck windows (shown in the yellow arrows). It’s perhaps a minor detail, but I wanted to maintain some kind of symmetry if possible.


Using the above photo as a guide, I installed the posts starting from the left. I used Quick Grip adhesive because I wanted the posts to set pretty quickly. To make it a little easier for me, I positioned the posts to be flush against the front edge of the deck. I stacked some MDF pieces to act as barriers and to make sure the posts are flushed and even.

Making sure the posts are attached flush.

Making sure the posts are attached flush.

Once the 4th post was attached, I did a bunch more measurements for the anchor braces. Again, I used the 1/4 x 1/4 inch stripwood to keep things consistent.

Measuring out the support brace parts.

Measuring out the support brace parts.

Once the parts were cut, I decided to do a dry fit run to make sure the braces were even. Good thing I did that, because I realized the following problem.

Well this freaking sucks.

Well this freaking sucks.

If you look at the above photo, you’ll notice that the main deck (the area in the middle) is flanked by a strip of dark wood (mahoghany). Problem is, the strip on the right (where the windows rest) is higher than the left side. In terms of a solution, I went the easy route by making sure the lower support beam is even via shims. And in terms of shims…I just used some spare 1/4 x 3/8 inch stripwood I had on hand. To make sure the shims stay in place, I planted some acrylic paint bottles pin the strips/shims while the glue dried.

The brace on the shims.

The brace on the shims.

Once the bottom brace was secured (I used more Quick Grip adhesive – I wanted the glue to quickly grab and hold), the top brace was applied. I used a small T-Square to make sure it was as even as I could make it. It looks kinda crooked here based on the angle shot I did.


Support brace completed.

After the support braces were in place, it was time to install the lower rails for the front part of the deck. I purchased more 1:24 scale porch railings on eBay (it was a little cheaper) to use for this project because I wanted to use the bottom rails (they were more square in shape). Once I measured the distance between the posts, I sawed the pieces and sanded them smooth. Once the wood pieces were waxed and prepped, I used Tacky Glue to glue and clamp the bottom rails into position.

Installing the lower rails.

Installing the lower rails.

After the lower rails were installed, I used the measurements of the bottom rails to cut the top rails. I wanted these to be prepped and ready to go once I cut the plexiglass to fit. And in true fashion, I didn’t take pics of the process. Which was probably good, given that I initially cut out a strip of plexiglass that was 1 3/8 inches in height. Only to find out that it was too tall for my already installed railings. So I had to recut the plexiglass strip down to about 1 1/4 inches. Will not lie folks — cutting plastic sheets is no picnic. I ended up pulling out the vac after all was said and done just to make sure I didn’t have pieces of it strewn everywhere.

But once the plexiglass pieces were cut down to size and ready, this part went fast. For each section (luckily there were only three), I dropped the plexiglass so the bottom edge is right inside the groove of the bottom rail. Then I took the top rail, dabbed glue on the ends, and carefully slid it in place. I wanted its channel to rest directly on the top edge of the plexiglass, but also have its edges stay tightly flushed between the posts. I used rubber bands as clamps until the glue dried.

Finished rail 1 of 3. Hard to see the plexiglass at this angle though.

Finished rail 1 of 3. Hard to see the plexiglass at this angle though.

Soon, I was repeating the above process on the other sections…only to slap my forehead when I realized the far right fail is shorter than the others (d’oh!). Too late now I guess. 😛

The new rails.

The new rails.

But in the end….I finished the tasks. And this actually looks much, MUCH better!

Woot! It's done!

Woot! It’s done!


It’s hard to make out the plexiglass, but it is there. Once everything dries, I’ll need to wipe it down to remove smudges.



The new support braces. Hopefully this keeps the railings even and flushed!

It's done!

It’s done!

Am pretty pleased with the result. Whatcha think?


The Roof! The Roof! The Roof is —

….definitely not on fire. And I’m referring to both my actual house and minis. Because the latter would be bad, but the former would be….definitely worse.

Sorry, in a weird mood this evening. Think it might have been due to work. Even though I worked from home today, the stress levels were high enough to give me a headache. I was pretty relieved when my shift officially ended – I just wanted to walk away from my laptop and get a breather of sorts. Luckily, all it took was to curl up on my couch, and read a few chapters off a book I got as a holiday gift. After that, I was back to (as BK likes to put it) my oddball self.

Which was good…’cause I wanted to do some minis. Or more accurately, do some additional work on the Neville House.

Given that there were really only two parts left — the roof and the rails for the front — I decided to at least finish the first one. Correction — the first one was the only part I could work on, given I had to wait for supplies to arrive. But luckily, the roof should be straight forward.

To start, I started to measure and cut out the materials to cover the roof. In this case, I had some corrugated black cardstock that from a splurge purchase at Michaels last November. I measured the gaps between my wood strips on the roof, and transferred the measurements onto the cardstock. Luckily, I only had to use one 12″x12″ of cardstock — I only needed two strips that were about 2 inches wide, and another two that were about 2 3/16 inches wide.

Cutting the cardstock to size.

Cutting the cardstock to size.

After cutting out the strips, I did a dry fit to make sure they fit perfectly between the wood strips. And they all fit perfectly! Score!

Dry fit run.

Dry fit run.




After that, I removed the cardstock and wood strips from the roof. Just to make sure none of the roof’s wood surface peeks out, I was going to paint the roof a solid black. So I pulled out some painter’s tape to protect the roof’s sides.


Prepping the roof for painting.

I ended up not taking pictures in the process because 75% through the painting….I realized the painter’s tape was starting to peel away from the roof sides. And the black paint started to seep. And in true fashion, I started cursing profusely like a sailor as I removed the tape – and began to paint the sides. So much for Plan A. Now it’s Plan B — having the entire roof painted in black. Guess in the end it worked out since I only needed to apply a single coat.

While the roof dried, I sanded the wood trim and painted them black as well. And again…did not take pics of the process. (sigh)

Once everything was dried (I ended up reading a few chapters from my book to pass the time), I sarted to put the roof pieces in place. I started by installing the outermost strips first. I used Brae’s suggestion of applying the tacky glue first, then adding a few drops of super glue every couple of centimeters along the length of each strip…then pressing it down into place. And the pieces stayed put sans gaps!

After the far left and right strips were glued and secured, I attached the 2 inch wide cardstock strips using a thin layer of Tacky Glue. I carefully moved the cardstock strip to make sure it’s fully flushed against the first wood strip. Then I waited about ten minutes before installing the second set of wood strips. Then the other set of cardstock strips were installed.

Waiting for the glue to set before installing the second set of cardstock strips.

Waiting for the glue to set before installing the second set of cardstock strips.

Before I knew it, I was installing the center wood strip….and I was done. Capital!

Tadah! A finished Neville roof!

Tadah! A finished Neville roof!


Am pretty happy how it turned out. I had thought of applying a glossy finish on the wood strips at first. But looking at the roof…am glad my laziness overrode that idea. This definitely matched What I had initally thought for the Neville house.


The Neville House. Sorry for the fuzzy photos.


Was worried the black roof would be too stark….but in a way, it seemed to provide a nice break from all the waxed wood tones of the main house.

Guess all that’s left now is the glass rail….which I can start once the final parts arrive in the mail within (hopefully) the next few days. And even though the interior is pretty much done….I have to wait for certain items to arrive too. (sigh)

View of the interior.

View of the interior. It looks so empty….

I know folks…I feel your pain. I’m getting impatient too. But for now…hopefully this might help whet the appetite. Or not (you can shake your fists at me. Just don’t throw random stuff in my direction. Not sure if I want to get clocked in the face at the moment…)

A sample of what's moving into the Neville House.

A sample of what’s moving into the Neville House.
Mid-century chairs created as a custom order by Multiforminiatures

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….


Some (Late) Weekend Goodies

I meant to post this during the weekend, between this entry and this entry. Think my scatterbrain-ness (is that a word?) is indicative of I need a vacation.

But with the ARC II getting close to completion…figured I should provide a follow-up with what happened to the furniture pieces I mentioned in a previous post (the Sunday Line Up).

For those of you who don’t remember, I had these pieces that needed finishing. These were part of a furniture kit set that I bought alongside the first ARC. I saved the other pieces for future projects, but I wanted to use these guys for the ARC II.

SundayTask-3On Monday (and a bit of this evening), I finished them!

The coffee and nightstand.

The coffee and nightstand.

The coffee table and nightstand I went for a simple route. I stained the legs using Rustoleum’s Touch Up Markers. I found them on clearance at the local Michaels store, and decided to try them out. I used the walnut stain, which showed beautifully showed the grain of the baltic birch plywood. For the table tops, I covered the laser-cut edges with painter’s tape and painted the top with FolkArt Titanium White craft acrylic paint. I had to sand it again, before repainting the top once more.  Once that dried, I peeled the tape (to expose the edge), and glued the pieces together. Then for extra sheen, rubbed some of the beeswax wood polish I bought from Etsy.

The bed for the ARC II.

The bed for the ARC II.

When it came to the bed, I did ask you guys if I should go for a more traditional finish or maybe go quirky. The results (both from the poll I posted and from verbal responses) were actually stalemate. I ended up having my niece break that tie when she spent the weekend at my house, helping me clean up my work room. And she came across a tube of this very neon, bright turquoise-like color acrylic paint in one of my discarded boxes. Not sure why, but thought I should give it a try. And looking at the photo now, am pretty glad I went this route! I painted the pieces with this color, sanded them, and glued them together before doing a final coat and varnish. As for the mattress — I just cut a piece of cellfoam to size. Kinda feel bad for whoever will sleep on this — sleeping on that might be the equivalent on snoozing on a morgue slab or something. 😦

Of course, I saved the best for last.

The bookcase.

The bookcase.

In my excitement of assembling the bookcase, I went ahead and glued it all together before I could even sand the pieces (let alone read the directions. So again, sorry KP and Z for screwing that up!). With that ship sailed, I just decided to use the wood stain marker I used on the table legs and make the bookcase have that same finish. And it appeared to have worked out.

Because the bookcase was very dark, decided to balance it out with some very bright accessories. In this case, I made the “books” by cutting up blocks of wood from various sized wood strips. I sanded them down, and painted the edges white to denote pages. Then, I randomly selected patterns from my stash of origami paper, cut them into strips, and glued them on the blocks to look like covers. Basically the same exact “books” I did in an entry way back then.

As for the accessories, the vase on the lower and top shelf were purchase from Manor House Miniatures. The turquoise Buddha head statue and the shell on a stand (on the top shelf as well) were purchased from Cyd’s Etsy shop Mod Pod Miniatures. The green Buddha statue was another purchase from Manor House Miniatures (definitely worth signing up for email updates for this shop. Every Sunday, they send out a list of what’s on sale for that week. Tend to score some good finds that way).

Was pretty excited at how these turned out, so I decided to test them out on the ARC II. At least on the side of the ARC II where the living room and bedroom will be situated.


View of the living room and bedroom on the ARC II.

View of the living room and bedroom on the ARC II.


Close up of the living room.

Close up of the living room.

In the above photo, I had the bookcase flanked with a pair of Petite Princess chairs. One of them I mentioned in an earlier entry. The other chair was another eBay winning bid (I couldn’t pass up the starting price). The pillows were part of a set of 4 that were also an eBay purchase. The plants on the table were purchased from SueBees’s Miniatures. Sue (the store owner) typically lists vintage 1:24, and 1:16 scale pieces. But she recently started to sell some adorable plants. Think I might get more later.


As for the bedroom, I used a 1:12 scale knitted baby blanket as bedding. The green and multicolored pillow was purchased from Miniatures from Avalon, while the blue/white pillows were part of the same set as the pillows used in the sitting room. The tall plant also came from SueBees’s Miniatures.

Am really happy how this is turning out. And once I finish the exterior, I can finally do something that I’m looking forward to share with you all — having the ARC fully furnished. Stayed tuned!




Monday Madness (Sorta)

Granted, I should have written this yesterday (Monday). But then again, why does the most activity happen on the last day of the holiday weekend?

Memorial Day 2014 overall, was pretty relaxing. BK and I managed to finish errands we kept putting off, and it was just so darn nice to be able to kick back and do whatever we want. Like finally going through the shows we recorded on the DVR. Or enjoy our patio before the mosquitoes will start descending on us. Or in my case, be able to work on my minis. Though I feel like I’m breezing through building the ARC II compared to the tortoise rate I’m dealing with regarding the CC.

Telling you — by the time I finish cutting up the stones and bricks, I’ll probably start bawling the next time I see an egg carton come by way. Or blubbering in terror. Take your pick.

Anyways, back to the story (I do this all the time, darn it!).

Based on my last entry, I needed to fix the screwup mess I made with the ARC II’s front panels. So early Monday morning (thanks insomnia for giving me 3 hrs of sleep), I started the daunting task of resanding the panels and repainting them again. The first layer, I used FolkArt’s Wicker White acrylic paint. But after sanding that down, I switched to using Americana’s Light Buttermilk instead (since I wanted more of an off-white/cream tone).

I did this about 3 times until the panels were not only as smooth as I can get them to be, but also have the paint appear even. It definitely looks a lot better.

After three rounds of sanding/painting...these are done.

After three rounds of sanding/painting…these are done.

Once the paint dried, I put a thin layer of Ceramcoat’s matte varnish to seal it. After that sealer dried completely, I proceeded to finally glue them together. A thin layer of tacky glue was put on the edges before I flushed the panels – wanted to be sure the seams between the panels were fully fused shut (and keeping everything square).



But as you can see in the above photo, despite my taping and clamping the pieces together, the walls still formed a slight gap. So onward to Plan B.

Plan B - installing corner molding/trim.

Plan B – installing corner molding/trim.

“Plan B” was essentially covering the area where the panels meet with some corner molding. Typically I use these as an exterior part of my dollhouses, but I had these smaller/shorter pieces lying about. Figured “hey why not?”. So I sanded them, painted them in the Light Buttermilk paint color to match the walls, then installed them once the paint dried. Not only did these guys covered the gaps, but also forced the panels to stay at a perfect 90 degree angle — which how I wanted to them positioned.

Plan B installed.

Plan B installed.

Once that was installed, I went ahead and installed the left wall and the bedroom/first floor ceiling on the ARC II. Despite the pieces sliding into place, I found that I couldn’t get a good seal where the front wall and the left side wall meet. Again, I ended covering it with a quarter round trim that I cut, sanded, and painted to fit.

The corner trim in the living room.

The corner trim in the living room.

The bedroom trim.

The bedroom trim.

Once the walls and floor were positioned, I applied tacky glue along the seams from the outside and clamped the pieces in place using masking tape. So long as any excess glue stays on the outside, will be happy with that.

Now that the left wall is installed, it was time to work on the right wall (the side wall for the kitchen and bathroom). Since I used egg cartons to create a stone/brick effect, it was time to start painting…Not going to lie folks — I was pretty nervous when I got to this point. Mostly because am terrified of screwing this up royally.

The right wall before the painting began.

The right wall before the painting began.

I decided to tackle the bathroom wall since that will more than likely give me the most amount of angst and anxiety. Since I wanted the bathroom wall to look like this (or close to it):

Inspiration for the bathroom. Photo from the Architecture and Design site (

I resorted to using the following acrylic paints in an attempt to replicate the look:

My lineup for the "slate" wall.

My lineup for the “slate” wall.

With the paints, I made my mixes and wash on a chinet bowl…..


….and started applying them. Again, this isn’t my strongest suit, so you can imagine the number of times I cringed when I worked up the layers. After working on it for 30 minutes, I decided to leave it alone to dry — and frankly, to stop myself from doing something ridiculously stupid drastic.

The "sorta" finished look.

The “sorta” finished look.

With the bathroom wall drying, I moved to the bottom half — which was the brick wall for the kitchen. Luckily, this one was a breeze.

I took inspiration from Brae when she used egg cartons on her beautiful Haunted Heritage. In terms of paint, she used Liquidtex’s Burnt Sienna as her color of choice for the bricks. I was pretty intrigued by this, so the minute Michaels advertised a 30% discount on their paints and brushes, I pounced on picking up 2 tubes (along with a slew of sponge and taklon brushes).

For my brick wall, I put a small amount of the Liquidtext on a paper plate, and using a 1-inch sponge brush, started to dab the egg carton bricks. I have to say, the color is pretty spot on — Brae, you are a genius! This looks amazing!!

The bricks coming to life! Well, sort ot.

The bricks coming to life! Well, sort of.

Some of the “bricks” had more pronounced bumpy areas (yeah I know — but it’s hard to describe) so they didn’t get as much coverage. I initially went back and pressed the brush down a bit more to press the paint against the surface. But awhile awhile, I started liking the unevenness it gave to the walls. So I ended up leaving those alone.

Close up of the bricks.

Close up of the bricks.

So in about 10 minutes, the kitchen wall was done.



I put this wall aside to dry (the Liquidtex says it’s a heavy body — and because the paint came out rather thick, figured I should give the paint more time to fully dry out). Once that wall is dry, I’ll seal the brick and stones with some Modge Podge before attempting the apply grout. That’s right folks — I’m stressing the word “attempt”. Hopefully I don’t screw this up or something…. 😦

ARC II: More on Archie’s Construction

Saturday turned out to be busier than expected. Rather than being able to continue working on the ARC II, there were additional errands to run, and other household chores to do. So by the time I was ready to sit down and do some work, it was already past 10 pm. Figured I’d let myself work on the house until 12:45 am…and write my progress before going to sleep. So again, apologies if this entry might just as long as the last construction entry.

To start, I ended up changing the layout of the stones for the ARC II’s front courtyard. Because of my online purchases late last night, I had to adjust how the stones were set up in order to accommodate the bushes/shrubs I bought. Once I was happy with the new arrangement, I ended up using a pair of tweezers to dip each stone into some tacky glue, and apply them in place.

The stone path's new arrangement. Hopefully this is a better layout...

The stone path’s new arrangement. Hopefully this is a better layout…

Another view.

Another view.

Since I needed to wait for the glue to dry….I then moved to working on the ceilings. At first, I was just about to paint the first and second floor ceilings with a bright white. It would have been easy and probably fast, mind you. But something told me to use the leftover flooring used in the CC.

Applying the leftover pine flooring for the sitting area's ceiling.

Applying the leftover pine flooring for the sitting area’s ceiling.

I had some sizable scraps of the southern pine plank flooring (talk about a mouthful saying that!) after I had finishing applying them on the CC’s rooms. I couldn’t exactly chuck them away, and luckily I didn’t — the scraps were enough to allow me to piece them together to use on the ceilings.

The process was straightforward enough — I cut the scraps down into segments, and glued those segments to fit on the side where the ceiling would be. I kinda cheated a bit by putting some layers of wax paper atop the glued planks, and ran the iron over them using the lowest setting possible. Then (still with the wax paper covering the part), I piled a stack of heavy hardback books on top  to press it down for a couple minutes.

Waiting for the glue to dry....

Waiting for the glue to dry….

Once the glue dried enough, I turned the part over and trimmed out the excess. Then each was sanded and another layer of my (now favorite) wood polish was applied.


I did the same thing for the second floor ceiling (for the bedroom and bath). The area I had to cover was a a rather funky shape, so I had to cut the pine flooring into three medium size pieces and made sure the edges were flush against each other. Just so it looks like it’s actually one continuous piece that covered the ceiling.

The ceiling for the bedroom and bath.

The ceiling for the bedroom and bath.

Once everything was polished (and sanded — the edges were a little bit jagged so I had to spend more time to sand them), I did another dry fit run to see how the new ceiling looked. Not too bad!

View of the ceiling in the sitting room area.

View of the ceiling in the sitting room area.


View of the pine ceiling from the kitchen area.

View of the pine ceiling from the kitchen area.

View of the second floor ceiling. Bedroom is on the left side, bathroom to the right.

View of the second floor ceiling. Bedroom is on the left side, bathroom to the right.

To complete the ceiling part entirely, there’s a part of the second floor ceiling that’ actually overlooks the front part of the ARC’s front courtyard. Again, I could have just left that alone – but my worry was that if I glued the second floor ceiling/third floor patio area, it’d be difficult for me to go back and decorate that underside. So I took some silver embossed scrapbook paper, trimmed it down to a smaller rectangle, and did a dry fit to see how much I’d need to cut out.

Applying the metallic scrapbook paper.

Applying the metallic scrapbook paper.

I cut from the 12×12 inch sheet an 8×10 rectangle, and tried to flush the paper’s straight edges to the guides I drew on the ceiling. I wanted to make sure that I didn’t block the areas where the ceiling connects to the walls. After applying a thick layer of YES! paste to apply the paper, I waited until it set enough so I could again cut out the excess (and dulled another blade in the process. Darn it, guess a reorder is needed).

The finished product.

The finished product.

Now that the ceilings were completed, I finally caved in and applied new flooring for the bathroom. I mentioned in the last entry that I had to wait for my order of cork sheets because Michaels didn’t have them in stock. I ended up going back to the store this afternoon to get some more stuff — and found a 12×12 pack on sale on their main center aisle. I used one of the sheets, placed the floor upside down, and cut out the needed shape.

Getting ready to cut.

Getting ready to cut.

The cork sheet is about 1/16 inch thick, so I had to use another new blade to make sure the cut edges stayed clean (otherwise, I’d get jagged/crumbled edges). The cork was then glued using some Weldbond, then resanded the edges again to make sure it’s flushed against the wood.

BathroomFloor-2Then did another dry fit. Not bad I guess!

New bathroom floor.

New bathroom floor.

So in about a day…I’m almost done with the interior. This is what it looks so far. I was starting to get tired at this point – figured I’d better do another dry fit to check things before figuring out my next steps for Sunday. Not bad right?

Day 1's worth of construction completed.

Day 1’s worth of construction completed.

For the front walls of the ARC….I picked up some off white/cream acrylic paint to use (FolkArt’s Parchment). The stuff’s pretty thick which I liked, but after applying the first layer….I might need to let the stuff dry completely and sand the surfaces down to make it smooth. Definitely a reflection of my getting tired and needing sleep…usually when I paint walls (especially wood walls), I put a layer of paint gesso, let that dry, and sand it. That ensures having a smooth surface — and the paint will appear more even during application. Crap, guess we know what I’ll be doing first thing Sunday morning. 😦

The walls. I forgot to put gesso first and sand it. Hence it looking very uneven at the moment. *sad face*

The walls. I forgot to put gesso first and sand it. Hence it looking very uneven at the moment. *sad face*