New Project to Add to the Queue….and That’s Okay

Sorry folks – this was meant to be posted on Monday. But sadly, some serious doody hit the fan at work. Metaphorically speaking of course.

While the dust hasn’t cleared yet (and my veins on my forehead are still bulging out, according to a very wary BK)…some very happy news cropped out. Which I want to share to you guys. ‘Cause again, I’m all for sharing the wealth.

What’s the great news you ask? Well…the folks at 3StarStudioArts released the following kit. And I’m so &%@!@* excited!

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Mme KP sent an email out announcing its release this past Sunday, but I didn’t get a chance to sit down and read the fanfare until later that evening. Which was perfect timing in retrospect – especially since I made the mistake of checking my work emails and seeing what has essentially become a meltdown of sorts. But I’m not gonna go that route — let’s just say I looked at my work email, gave them the mental flying birdie, then went back to Mme KP’s email so I can wrap myself with happy/giddy thoughts.

So back to the kit. For starters, the 3StarStudios teamed named the kit “The Tiki Bird House”. The official description of the kit says that the kit was “….inspired by majestic thunderbirds, Native American tipis, A-frame cabins, surfboards and the flair of glorious polynesian buildings.”

I can definitely see the polynesian features, while the middle component definitely screams A-frame (*swoon*). I was initially puzzled by the majestic thunderbird reference until I saw the photo showing the upper part of the house. Then it made total sense (and many apologies for the dim bulb moment on my end, that’s for sure).

Top view of the Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

Don’t laugh folks, but when I saw the word thunderbird, I immediately thought of that puppet action show from the 1960s “Thunderbirds are Go!”. Granted, I wasn’t even in existence when this came out….but I recalled seeing this on weekday afternoons and being fascinated by it to no end. Though the way the eyes move kinda creeps me out…

(sigh) Alrighty, time to get off the time warp and chair, and onward to the review!

What I loved the most about this kit is the interior. The rooms look generous in size, and the rooms within the A-Frame section call for an interesting challenge in decoration. BK and I had a good time deciding on the photos whether it’s really 4 rooms or two rooms with two roof terraces. The ladder’s a nice touch too (but you all know me — that’ll go in my pile of spare parts). 😀

The Tiki Bird House
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

But here’s the best part — you’re probably wondering what scale this kit can accommodate? Is it 1:12? Maybe the 1:16 scale? Half scale? The correct answer is — all of them! Even one of the members of the 3StarStudioArts team graciously provides a demo (it’s a plus that like the ARC, this is something even the kids can play with). The 1:12 and 1:16 scale works really well with the kit’s overall structure. For half scale, it gives the appearance of a house with really high ceilings (and really show off the big windows on the first floor. Talk about delicious mod goodness).

How the different scales look
Photo used with permission by 3StarStudioArts

So the kicker question is: did I get this? Well…yeah, I did. But to justify, I did get my tax refund back early (as I tend to file pretty early in the year out of habit). So…I’m going to consider it as my victory gift. I’ll figure out where to put it once it’s been constructed — based on the description, the house comes out to about 29 inches long x 16 inches high x 15 inches deep. So it’s a good sized house. As for the material, 1/4-inch MDF is used – which I’m intrigued about (no I haven’t thought about kitbashing this yet).

If anyone else has ordered this kit…do share! I’d love to hear folks thoughts and what they opted to do with the kit. I’m still deciding on what to turn mine. I could go for another modern house/villa, but a museum or even a nightclub came to mind….

But for now…I’ll have to wait for this baby to arrive while I start working on the DCC. Reserving that for the next post!

Sally Forth Comrades! Let’s Do This!

One of the biggest perks surrounding the miniature hobby (or in my case, the heart of my obsession) are the contest builds. Every year, there’s a contest calling for all miniature fans to tap on their creative juices and build something amazing. The biggest one that I know of is the annual HBS Creatin’ Contest hosted by miniatures.com. The rules are pretty simple — you purchase the kit HBS created and assigned for that year’s competition and transform it to whatever pleases you.

Of course, the challenge behind this contest is the time. Contestants need to complete their build and submit photos of their work the contest deadline of  December 16, 2015. But given the kit’s are available pretty early in the year…you practically have almost an entire year to complete the build.

For the 2015 contest, the HBS is selling Denise’s City Cottage kit. At first, I got a little confused with the name (“a cottage in a city – wha?”). But once I saw it on the website – I fell in love. Think it was the curved roof and the double doors that sucked me in. And the overall dimensions of the kit (imho) are pretty generous at 20″ wide x 11 3/4″ H x 15″D. You can at least do a really tricked out great room or set up two living spaces inside.

The Denise Cottage Kit Image from Miniatures.com

The Denise Cottage Kit
Image from Miniatures.com

I’ve traditionally opted out of participating with contests mostly due to two reasons. The first one was because of time. Up until recently, I had to pull longer work hours at my job. So whatever free time I had, I used to spend it with BK, my family and friends. But after the promotion last year…and my slowly settling into the new responsibilities (i.e., delegating the work and being allowed to work from home), I’m slowly finding more time to devote to the hobby. Score!

The second reason you might ask? As weird as it is…competitions actually make me nervous. Mostly because despite what I write on this blog, of all the projects I’ve worked on…I tend to look at my projects as a means to learn and improve my skills in the hobby. In a way, I still look at my work as amateurish compared to others. Trust me, I’ll list names of folks whose miniature projects still leave me bug-eyed and breathless (you know who you are, you guys – I still love you anyways).

So imagine my surprise when the ever awesome folks at miniatures.com contacted me with an interesting challenge: they’ll provide me the Denise City Cottage — in exchange for chronicling my build. I was instructed that I cannot use what I build to compete to keep it fair for the contestants who did purchase the kit to join the contest. Which I’m in full agreement.

Which brings us to the point of this post…because my provided kit arrived. Thank you folks at miniatures.com! And thank you FedEx delivery dude for dropping this off during the crappy weather we’re having. 🙂

Wha, what is this?

Wha, what is this?

I didn’t get a chance to open it since my nephew’s staying with BK and I this weekend. He recently joined the US Navy Sea Cadet program, so once a month, he stays with us for the weekend since the drill site is closer to us versus my parents. We actually look forward to having one of the rugrats (our nephew and niece) over. But the downside though is that I need to clear the dining room/miniature workroom just so we have a place to comfortably eat our meals together. 😛

So until I get a chance to open the kit…I’m going to share two important things. One is my gameplan for this kit. And the other…well, let’s get through part one first.

Obviously, I’m going to go for something modern. Not only because it’s along the style I enjoy, but because of my muses.

S.H. Figuarts Daft Punk Figures – Thomas Bangalter (left)
and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo
Image from Tagroom.Daily

These figures are based on the French electronica duo Daft Punk. I’ve posted a video of one of their songs in an entry regarding the Neville House – especially since I’ve been a huge fan since my college days. I usually don’t buy merchandise outside the occassional CD or tracks. But when I saw these figures on bigbadtoystore.com….I had to get them.The fact these poseable figures are about 6″ tall – hell bells yeah! My doll cast are super lucky to have these two celebrities in their lineup. One thing’s for sure, parties are going to be fun with these two gentlemen handling the music. 🙂

Now that I have my residents…it was time to figure out what I wanted to do the Denise City Cottage Kit. Given that my muses are musicians by profession….should the place be a residence? A recording studio? A secret creative getaway? All the above?

(I got lazy and went for the last one. I know, that was pretty anticlimatic. Sorry guys.)

After a quick search online…my eyes landed on this particular design.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the Trendir.com website)

Given that the kit has a curved roof to begin with, I wanted to continue that shape using a different roofing medium. For the front and sides, I loved the play of the metal beams and wooden slats with the floor-to-ceiling glass panels.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the Trendir.com website)

As you can see in the above photo, the back of the house has the curved roof continuining almost all the way down to the foundation. But with the kit’s back opening….still debating whether to try to expand the floor plan by having a deck of sorts. Still hammering that detail out though.

Another thing too…the landscaping is going to be a challenge. Oi, this is going to be interesting how I’ll tackle the landscaping issue. I’ll have to build an expanded base for the Denise City Cottage kit (aka the DCC) to rest on. And if I do that…landscaping is going to be mandatory. Holy $^#@snacks smokes, my supply list keeps growing….

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the Trendir.com website)

In terms of the interior….I love how the wooden slats play a role in the interior design of the room. But I think that’s all I’m planning to incorporate into the (hopefully soon) final design. I don’t want to alter the DCC’s original interior layout of a single large room. I think for my figures, they’ll want to have as much space as possible. Especially when they’re taking a break from work and stuff.

Metal Roof House – designed by Sluijmer & Van Leeuwen via Contemporist
Photo credit by CornBreadWorks (from the Trendir.com website)

That’s what I have fleshed out so far. I know for the next of couple of days, I’ll need to seriously hammer out what I need to do. There’s definitely going to be a good amount of kitbashing of the DCC to implement the components in mind. Hopefully, I’ll be able to describe the steps as I start the build.

So that’s part one of my entry that I wanted to share. The second part is something I’d like to throw to my readers.

Given that I’ve officially confessed the reason I have never competed in a contest build…I’m actually really grateful for miniatures.com to giving me this opportunity. Not because I’m excited about getting a chance to try out this intriguing kit…nor is it because I’ll be sharing my build with you all. But also in a way, this is a great opportunity for me to get over my fears. As BK pointedly remarked “You must be doing good work babe. Otherwise you wouldn’t have been asked to chronicle your build on your blog. It’s almost like getting sponsored!”

So in light of this….I actually want to share this call to arms to those reading my blog. In the spirit of taking up the challenge and facing my fears….I’d like to ask you guys to perhaps do the challenge along with me. If the HBS Creatin Contest interests you (I mean, the grand prize of a $1000 gift certificate is a pretty sweet deal if you ask me), I say go for it! Join me in the banner of all things pertaining to miniature awesomeness! Submit to your creative side! I mean, come on — I can’t be the only one on the planet with a miniature obsession right?

(Really hoping somewhere out there, there’s a roar of the crowd going “heck yeah you crazy woman!” That would be preferable versus hearing the chirping of crickets.)

Okay, I’m getting off the soapbox now…and off to Home Depot (will mention that on my next post).

Victorious Dilemmas – Oh Noes!

Given the last entry was on the cathartic note…hopefully this one will give you all a chuckle at how inept I can be sometimes.

A few weeks back, someone posted a listing on eBay on the CB2 Miniature Neville House. I was pretty excited when I saw it because I had meant to get one when Crate & Barrel’s more mod sibling store released it around 2011. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a CB2 anywhere near me so it was definitely a no go.

Anyways, so once I saw the listing, I put a max bid and left it at that. Next thing I knew, a bidding war erupted. I gave up in the end because the price just got too high for me to justify it. So the listing ended, and off it went to its new owner. Until a new listing showed up. The start price was a bit high at $75, but I put a low bid thinking that I’ll probably get outbid yet again. That is until a few minutes ago — and I got the notification from eBay saying I won it.

Finally! Ye miniature gods, thou hath answered my call!

Picture of CB2's Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

Picture of CB2’s Neville House. Photo found on Houzz.com

I saw blog entries about this house from Call of the Small and MiniModern (which inspired me to keep an eye for it). Granted, it looks like it can accommodate stuff from 1:16 down, but given BK and I are moving things into storage….I’m only allowed to keep smaller scale minis to display around the house. Yes, the ARC III is safe — that’s permanently taken residence on my dining room table as part of the decor. That’s partly why I’m trying out other scales to circumvent the whole space issue going on at home. Yeah, sneaky on my end. But hey, it’s an obsession — and sometimes, ones does desperate things. 🙂

[Update: Modern Mini Houses shared her entries about the Neville House since she owns one too! Thanks for sharing the pics with us!]

Sorry, digressing here. Back to the post!

So while I’m shaking off my stunned surprise that I won the Neville House (really, really thought I’d be outbid at the last second)….I also came across this beauty on Etsy.

Half scale (1:24) DIY cardboard dollhouse.
From Melissasminiwereld.

During my hunt for half scale items on Etsy (just to see what’s out there), I found this shop called Mellisasminiwerld where Mme. Sipma creates 1:24 and 1:48 scale minis out of cardboard. Talk about intriguing! I love the details around the windows and door. And the fact it’s cardboard….it almost screams a delicious challenge to find ways to decorate the exterior.

I contacted Mme. Sipma on the dimensions for the half scale version, and the lovely shopkeeper told me that it’s about 30cm high x 18 cm deepx 23 cm wide (about 11.8 x 7 x 9 inches).  Hmm…I can definitely fit that atop the bookcase….

Egads! I want this house too! But now I have the Neville being shipped here soon….and I need to flesh out The Retreat! What am I gonna do??? Even more, how am I gonna explain to BK why there are more kits coming home when I’m putting a good bunch of my currents ones into storage?

Curse this obsession! No…wait – yay for obsessions!

But I guess there’s only way to settle things. And that’s playing rock paper scissors lizard Spock!

Schematic of the game.
Image from The Recidivist.

Though Sheldon definitely explains it way better (sorry, my love for the Big Bang Theory knows no bounds).

What do you guys think? Should I go for the cardboard house? Maybe use that as the Retreat? Or as a counter to it? Ack, this and the flu’s making me loopy again!

Meanwhile…Weird Nostalgia

I’m not going to lie to you folks. Being stuck in bed sick…actually sucks.

BK was right in guesstimating that I have some kind of flu bug. Getting the tell-tale aches and pains, the fever and chills. It totally, utterly, completely sucks. While I initially enjoyed sleeping in a bit (versus getting up at 5 am every day to get ready for work)…it got old fast. Luckily, BK put a pile of books on my nightstand, some bottles of water to go with medication, a sleeve of crackers….and my laptop before he left for work. Talk about best nurse ever.

That was until he sent me a message from the office. Well, more like a directive.

Sweetie,

Hope you’ll feel better soon. Take your meds, stay hydrated, and munch on the crackers if you’re slightly hungry. You need to eat.

Also, I want you to stay in bed and rest. You can go downstairs to watch some TV or make your ramen if you want. But no working on the minis.  I know, I’m a stinker for saying that. Just want you to rest.

My brain did do a mental pout, but BK was right. The aches and pains will make it a little hard for me focus on the minis. Especially the next project now that the ARC III is done (still doing decorations, but the main work is officially done).

Then again, not sure if the flu’s making me somewhat loopy, but…I kinda found myself thinking back to my past. Bear with me though – it does end up being connected to the new project.

About 8 years ago, I had been dating a guy for almost 3 years. We moved in together, practically ran a household together….I seriously thought, in my (retrospect) naive self, this was the guy I was gonna end up marrying. He was nice, smart, and definitely hit my wish list at the time of what I found physically attractive in a dude (tall, dark, and handsome). But just as I thought things were going in that direction….he suddenly announced over dinner that he and I needed to live separately. Suffice to say, things went extremely downhill after that. I later found out he was seeing someone behind my back….that he referred to me as just a “female roommate that’s moving out”. And later on, after I finally had the strength to confront him, admitted that he just didn’t see me attractive anymore. It literally felt like the world exploded, then got sucked back in to the point it imploded.

When I finally moved out, I stayed at my sister’s place. In my haze of trying to keep myself together at all costs, I made the crazy choice of buying a place – a tiny studio apartment in the relatively expensive area of North Bethesda, MD. My friends I could tell were shocked at the decision, but they supported me, and in their way, tried to keep me busy by visiting me. I threw myself — and my savings — to renovating the studio while I worked longer hours at the office. I guess in a way, I wanted to focus on something else other than trying to fix the hurt.

It wasn’t until my best friend MC came over one night, and (ever being the movie nut), commented that “you’re doing exactly what Frances did in that movie, Under the Tuscan Sun.”

I actually have that movie, as it was one of my favorites flicks to watch. So we pulled it out, and watched. And by the time the credits rolled, I was sobbing uncontrollably. At that point, I knew I couldn’t hide from it anymore. And that I needed to move on.

In a weird sort of way, things started to perk up after that movie. I started to sleep in my new place, and actually rested fitfully. I started thinking less of my ex (and was actually distant when I returned the last of his items). My studio became more and more like the home I wanted to return to after work. I continued making improvements of the studio. Though it was my uncles who helped me, not “…the muscular descendants of Roman gods.” Ah well.

And after allowing myself to lose a bet, my friends pushed me to try meeting someone online….and I met BK. Soon, what started as a nervous Friday night dinner turned to a July 4th holiday weekend together…to him and I practically taking turns staying at each other’s studio apartment. Until he suggested two years later that perhaps we should get a place together. At this point, he was practically living with me in my tiny retreat…and we needed more space for ourselves and for our pet rats.

I did end up selling my studio…and we were both teary eyed about it. Think for the both of us, the place helped BK and I meet and cement our relationship. It gave us a place to help me mend and become the person I turned out to be. And for BK, who moved from his home state to DC for work…it gave him a chance to establish roots.  In weird sort of way, it was just like indeed like the movie. The place helped us find the happiness we were looking for, but in unexpected ways.

Then it hit me…maybe for the new project, I should build a such a retreat. Not an Italian villa (they’re not really to my taste actually)…but perhaps a cozy cottage where a recently single, brokenhearted soul is trying to start fresh.

For starters….it’s definitely going to be a different scale. Half scale (1/24) that is. And am using this as my base.

JJ’s Cottage from Real Good Toys.
All rights reserved.

Instead of using the base and foundation sides, I might see about getting an MDF base cut out. If you look at the image above, the parts create what looks like could be either a front porch — or a somewhat narrow base at the front of the house. Not sure if I’m feeling that though. Maybe it was from the landscape work at the ARC III, but I want more space at the front to set up a garden. With a patio, bushes….maybe flowers….and definitely a tree or two.

I started to search around for images to help me flesh out features. Then I recalled BK discovering this website called www.circaoldhouses.com when he was searching for historical homes for sale. The listings here are amazing — definitely worth checking out if you need some ideas. Or dream.

And from this site…I saw this house and knew this was going to be my muse.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods  Photo from  www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods
Photo from www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods-2

Gingerbread Cottage in the Woods
Photo from www.circaoldhouses.com. All rights reserved.

I’m hoping to give the exterior a shabby, quaint feel…as if the house too is being renewed as its new occupant.

For the interior, a sample of the pieces in use (I can’t wait to use the bed and the pieces assigned to it). I definitely want wallpaper, but on the fence about going for something shabby chic, or stick to more modern/neutral patterns. I definitely see the new owner as someone from the nearby big city, but who’s also experimenting on some new tastes….

Bed, table and credenza are part of the Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Couch was an eBay purchase.

Bed, table and credenza are part of the Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Couch was an eBay purchase.

Just another angle. Sorry for the use of flash.

Just another angle. Sorry for the use of flash.

As for who will be lucky occupant of this place (calling it “The Retreat” for now. Yeah, I know, talk about creative huh)? We’ll have to wait and see. Well, I’ll have to wait and see, given it’s coming from overseas. Stayed tuned.

In the meantime…I think I’m gonna play “Under the Tuscan Sun” on my laptop to help me get sleepy. Methinks someone is due for a nap. <yawn>

The ARC III is Ready!

Woot! Finally! I didn’t think I’d finish this on time. Probably a good thing…because as I’m typing this…I’m sick as a dog. 😦

But I guess it was bound to happen. My office mates have been in and out with whatever bug has been hitting the area. Add that to the stress at work and lack of sleep – well, it was a recipe for disaster. Not gonna complain though – at least (crossing fingers) it’s not the flu.

Sorry, digressing here….let’s get the meat of this post alright? Advanced apologies for the numerous (and probably grainy) photos. I took these kinda early in the morning and I don’t get as much natural light as I’d like. Despite this technical setback, hope you guys enjoy the pics!

Exterior of the ARC III

Exterior of the ARC III

Similar to the ARC II, I did a stucco finish for the exterior walls and did some landscape on the front. To create the textured walls to a reasonable 1:16 scale, I used a packet of modeling dust from Richard Stacey. It’s designed to create a “stone” effect on 1:12 scale wood trims like windows and such. I think I got this on eBay awhile back since it’s a UK based product. [Update: found the eBay vendor that I bought the modeling dust.Still has them, and in different colors]

For the ARC III, I mix the packet with equal parts water and tacky glue until it had the consistency of paste. Then dabbed it on the walls using a sponge brush. But the dust I had was a grey color, so after putting on about three layers (I wanted to use up what I made), I let it dry completely before painting it with Americana’s Light Buttermilk craft acrylic paint. To help break up the cream stucco, I installed some wood trim painted in steel gray to add contrast (and to hide the slots that attached the second floors to the walls).

Side shot of the ARC III.

Side shot of the ARC III.

For the front, I kept the landscape simple. I had extra diorama supplies from Michaels that I tend to stash in my craft drawer. The grass was installed by sprinkling this grounded turf over a layer of Modge Podge. The small and large bushes were purchased from miniatures.com. The stones in the walkway were also from miniatures.com, while the gravel in between them was some model ballast I had from a long-ago project. The toad statue was a splurge purchase from Manor House Miniatures (supposed to be for 1:12 scale…but it was too adorable to resist).

BK thinks the lawn is too manicured. Eh, I’ll update it later.

A slight spin of the lazy susan here (BK got this for me to go with the ARC)…and here’s the finished interior.

Interior view of the rooms

Interior view of the rooms

Just another shot. Please ignore the mess behind the ARC....

Just another shot. Please ignore the mess behind the ARC….

In terms of furnishings, I wanted to deviate a bit from how I decorated the ARC II. So it was a combination of vintage Lundby items, a few vintage items that I rehabbed (am sure I’ll be scolded for this), pieces from my awesome gift courtesy of 3StarStudio….and a new miniature vendor I found on Etsy (Monsieur Orloff of Multiforminiatures). And of course, whatever I could find in my collection.

So let’s begin the tour shall we? Before Cilla and Rowen get back and boot us all out of their house.

The Kitchen/Dining Area

Stove and sink are vintage Lundby. Dining table and chairs are a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Accessories from Lundby. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures.

Since part of the fun challenge with the ARC is figuring out ways to decorate the spaces, I had to be really strategic with what I wanted to use. I definitely wanted to use a Lundby kitchen set, but I wanted the more vintage stuff from the 60s and 70s. I did an intial search via eBay and Etsy, but it was either there were crazy bidding wars or I had to pay overseas shipping from the UK (where there are more 1:16/1:18 scale items). And I dunno about you all, but the exchange rate between the US dollar and the British pound was enough to give me pause.

I went back to the “We Love Lundby Club” website and found that they have a section that sells vintage Lundy pieces available for purchase. Another bonus? The lady that sells the pieces is local (she literally lives in the same neighborhood my best friend M grew up in). So for $22 (including shipping), I got my kitchen set. From there, I started to flesh out the room.

Close up of the kitchen.

Close up of the kitchen.

To solve the storage issue for Cilla & Rowen, I needed to create a cabinet above the sink to store their tableware.  I was about to cop out and construct a simple shelf unit until I saw this miniature roombox on eBay. Think it’s supposed to replicate a roombox for 1:12 settings. But when I compared the dimensions against the Lundby sink….realized it might make the perfect cabinet to use.

Check it out! A sliding panel to keep the dusts out!

Check it out! A sliding panel to keep the dusts out!

I picked up a couple (along with other supplies — the seller offers free shipping if your purchase is $25 or more. Had to use up my eBay bucks anyway) and once they arrived, I sanded and painted one in white before installing it on the kitchen wall. I put a wallpaper to decorate the back…which you’ll see again later.

The dining set.

The dining set.

As for the dining set…this was one (of 4 sets) of furniture I requested a custom order from Monsieur O of Multiforminiatures. I came across this Etsy shop back in October, was excited to see another artisan making modern miniatures. But what fascinated me with his shop was that he seemed to specialize more on 1:16 scale (though he does 1:12 and even 1:6 scale). At the time, I had the ARC II completed so I couldn’t justify a purchase. But the minute BK gave me the ARC on Christmas morning….all bets were off. I knew for my new house, it had to have one of his creations.

Will admit, was very nervous sending an inquiry to Monsieur O about ordering pieces. At this time, most the items he had in his shop were sold, and given it was the holidays, I wasn’t sure how crazy his production schedule was like. But Monsieur O made the process pretty straightforward. He even provided me updates and an opportunity to pick out fabrics if the pieces needed it. But in the case of the dining set…I knew I wanted a walnut finish and a roomy seating for four. And boy did he deliver.

Close up of the dining set - with "padded seats".

Close up of the dining set – with “padded seats”.

When I got the set (along with the pieces in the next set of photos), the chair originally didn’t have cushions. Rowen seemed fine with it, but Cilla had other ideas. She wanted cushions in the chairs — and the fabric had to fit the mid-century theme. Lordie, talk about pressure!

Luckily, it was a straight forward task. For the cushions, I used 3mm thick cellfoam and sliced out a pattern that matched the shape of the seat. Then with some tacky glue and a toothpick, did the slow (and somewhat messy) task of wrapping the cellfoam shape on a square piece of fabric. In terms of fabric, there’s a shop on Etsy called WeeWovens that sells squares of hand made modern patterned fabric. The shop sells 4″ squares of it starting at $1.00. For the dining set, I managed to cover all four seats using just a single square. Am seriously crossing fingers that Cilla liked how these chairs turned out.

As for the table runner — I cut a strip of scrapbook paper that looks/feels like canvas cloth. To make it “drape” like actual fabric, I cut a piece of foil, which I then folded and trimmed so that it’s the same length as the scrapbook paper, but a few millimeteres thinner width-wise. Then glued the resized foil in the back of the paper — which allowed me to bend the paper and drape it nicely.

Now that we’ve covered this room, let’s head to the next one on the first floor.

Living Room

ARCIII-17

ARCIII-16

Midcentury living room set (sofa, table, credenza and chair) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Plant stand is actually a side table from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Pillows by Otterine’s Miniatures. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

This is one of BK’s favorite rooms in the ARC III (he’s pretty proud of the end result when I showed it to him). The pièce de résistances are definitely the living room set from Multiforminiatures. I loved the play of the warm walnut wood stain against the nubby champagne/cream fabric of the upholstery. Adding Miss Brae O’s adorable pillows helped provide a punch of color. Yeah, I know they seemed big, but in 1:16 scale…they look like they could pass for 24″ throw pillows. Besides, it’s my house and I’ll furnish it with what I like darn it!

This and the dining room table/chairs were the first set I ordered from Monsieur O. In a way, I got the pieces of furniture I’ve dreamed of owning. Except it’s smaller, and I don’t have to break my back moving them when it comes to dusting them. Win!

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In terms of the wall art – I didn’t want to hang a painting above the credenza. The brick wall kinda screamed for something unique — and light colored, especially amidst all the dark colors. A quick rummage in my drawers came up with these laser cut beads from 3StarStudio Arts got me thinking. Perhaps Rowen and Cilla want an art installation of some kind?

Close up of the finished  wall art in the living room.

Close up of the finished wall art in the living room.

I ended up directly glueing the maple beads to the wall. And in true fashion, BK stopped by to check the progress — and we had the following conversation.

BK: What are you doing hun?

DK: Installing wall art. What do you think?

BK: What’s it supposed to be?

DK: I have no idea. Do I look like the smart one here? Maybe the Big Bang? I mean, the bead in the center looks like it explored and all these galaxies are forming…

BK: That sounds really artsy. Or fartsy. Or both.

DK: Hey, I’m just pulling that out of my butt  – I never said I was Neill Tyson de Grasse! Since you’re the genius in this conversation, what do you think it is?

BK: (peers at the layout) It looks like an animal. Maybe a dinosaur?

DK: What is it with you and dinosaurs? Just because I said “no, we’re not buying chicken nuggets in the shape of dinosaurs” last week, we always come back to dinosaurs in every single conversation we’ve had.

BK: But it does look like a dinosaur! Maybe like a pterodactyl face! <makes weird squaking noise>

DK: ……am I being punished for not getting you dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets?

BK: No. But if you let me get some in next grocery run, I’ll consider you forgiven.

Three years of marriage, and apparently the secret to making my husband happy are dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets. Pass the word.

After forcing me to pinky-swear to BK that he’s allowed to add the darn chicken nuggets in our next grocery list, we settled on calling the artwork “Orbits” (as in planets/asteroids orbiting the sun). Frankly, I don’t think either Cilla or Rowen are going to see that. But hopefully they’ll like the artwork in the end.

The Study/Office

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Office set (credenza, chair, and desk) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Wall art is actually part of the chandelier that came with the ARC kit from 3StarStudioArts. Fabric from chair from WeeWovens. Grey wallpaper from PoppetsDollyBits. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

The second floors have literally smaller floor plans, so I really had to be careful with what I used. Funny thing is, the furnishings on this entire floor were the second order I placed with Monsieur O. I was so happy with the outcome of the living/dining sets, I came back to ask to be put on queue. And as always, Monsieur O delivered in the pieces.

I wanted the office to be something that both Cilla and Rowen could easily take turns using. So I tried to make it neutral while being as stylish as possible.

Close up of the workstation.

Close up of the workstation.

For the second floor rooms, I actually decided to try out an Etsy shop I discovered called PopptesDollyBits. The shopkeeper’s based in the UK, but she specializes in making wallpapers in various scales — including 1:16 scale. I couldn’t pass up trying it out so I ordered the white and grey parquet for the study. It’s supposed to be used as flooring, but it actually looks good as an accent wall. As for the wall art — the ARC kit actually came with parts to create non-working chandelier. But for here, I just applied a light cherry stain to one of the pieces and stuck it to the wall as art.

And of course, like the dining room chairs, I installed padding and upholstery to the office chair. This time a I chose a mod green pattern to compliment the renwal lamp shade and the green plant. The rug is actually a 1:12 scale rug, but instead of trimming off the fringes (which would just create more fringes), I just folded the white edge/fringe part under the rug and secured it with glue.

ARCIII-23The Bedroom

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Four poster bed is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Bedside table is a rehabbed Strombecker 3/4″ scale nightsand. Lamp also a vintage Strombecker. Wallpaper purhcased from PoppetsDollyBits. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

Sorry again for the fuzzy photos. I might need to ask my sister for suggestions on better lighting tips when taking photos.

I wanted to keep the bedroom simple but still playful. The bed I think is actualy meant to be a child’s size bed. But given the size of the bedroom floor….I think it fits the space perfectly. The wallpaper is also a 1:16 scale piece from PoppetsDollyBits that I had to trim to size to fit the side wall. If you look at the wallpaper closely….you’ll notice it’s the same paper I used for the upper kitchen cabinet downstairs. Hey, might as well use my purchases are much as possible I guess….

In terms of the table…it’s actually a vintage Strombecker night stand. The piece is meant to be 3/4″ scale (or 1:18), but it was the perfect height to house a lamp (also a vintage Strombecker) and an alarm clock. I found the table and lamp at a yard sale over the summer – actually, it was two of each. And was able to buy all four pieces for about $5. Heckuva lot cheaper than what I’m seeing on eBay lately.

But there was a huge downside though to my victory find. For starters, the tables were in bad shape – the paint was chipped, and several areas had rough edges. The second — both tables were of a different color. One was a nice celery green color which I didn’t mind. The other was a weird salmon color. Luckily, the two lamps matched (green base with a yellowish-cream shade) and were in good shape so I left those alone. For the tables though….I can almost hear some screaming over here, but I ended up sanding both down and repainting them with a red acrylic paint and sealing them. Figured the room needed a pop of color — plus, it would make the green lamp stand out better right?

Unfortunately, by the time I took this photo, I had to revarnish the second table. And it wasn’t dry enough for me to move into the ARC III. So until that’s dry…I’ll post an updated pic later.

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Since there were alot of patterns going in the bedroom (from the bed and the walls specifically), the wall art had to make a statement. And seriously, what could be a better statement than hanging a picture of a giant robot above your bed?

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The art was something I’ve used in the Victorian Mod Cottage from long long ago. It’s actually a travel poster of some kind. It always cracked me up.

Art from the Victorian Mod Cottage

Art from the Victorian Mod Cottage

It actually works pretty well here. And it makes the red nighstand(s) appear to belong more in the room. The room’s still pretty barebones compared to the rest of the house. I’m still going back and forth of installing a rug, or something. Guess I can mull that over while I recover from my illness in the next few days.

Close up of the bedroom art.

Close up of the bedroom art.

Rooftop Terrace/Patio

I have to save the best for last. This has always been my favorite area in the ARC kit. Mostly because I don’t have this in real life….but man, the opportunity would be awesome though. Besides, Cilla and Rowen will want a place to enjoy the outdoors….and entertain guests once the weather starts to get warm.

View of the rooftop terrace.

View of the rooftop terrace.

As I mentioned in the last post, I wanted to use the chairs and table from the Butterfly House furnishing gift set I received. To follow the theme of all the chairs in the ARC…these got upholstered with a fun yellow fabric from WeeWovens. Think I might need to start stockpiling on these…

Midcentury living room set (sofa, table, credenza and chair) is a custom order by Multiforminiatures. Plants from Suebee's Miniatures. Plant stand is actually a side table from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Pillows by Otterine's Miniatures. Accessories from purchases and private collections.

Plants from Suebee’s Miniatures. Chairs, side table, main table, and credenza from the 1/24 Butterfly House furnishing set from 3StarStudioArts. Wall art components also purchased from 3StarStudioArts. Fabrci on chairs by WeeWovens. Accessories from Lundby Stockholm set (private purchase).

The “stone” flooring was actually a 1/24 flagstone paving sheet I purchased online. It was a splurge on my end, but I love the effect it gave on the rooftop. Plus, it makes the furnishing stand out even more.

Close up the chairs. Love the fabric pattern!

Close up the chairs. Love the fabric pattern!

Now that we’ve toured the ARC III, why don’t we let Cilla and Rowen come in and scope out their new digs. So far, so good.

The couple checking things out.

The couple checking things out.

Looks like Cilla’s trying out the bed. It might be a bit cozy for the two of them during bedtime, but it doesn’t seem like they’ll mind that.

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In the meantime, Rowen’s up in the terrace. Given how he’s manging the plants…looks like the greenery are in capable hands. If you’re good Rowen, I might give you a lift to the local nursery if you need to do a supply run….

Inspecting the plants on the terrace.

Inspecting the plants on the terrace.

So you guys…how do you like the new place? Any thoughts? Guys?

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Uh…is it me or is it getting hot and heavy here?

Rowen & Cilla enjoying their new living room.

Rowen & Cilla enjoying their new living room.

Ack, seriously guys?? Get a room! Or better yet, go upstairs! There’s some impressionable folks reading this entry. Like this blog writer <covers eyes with her hands>.

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Well, given neither one waved an angry fist at me, I guess I did a pretty good job! Onwards to the next project I guess!

Correction from BK: Onward to the next project after I recover from my illness. And based on the thermometer, BK thinks I have the flu. Cad-nabbit!!!

So folks, if you’re interested in any of the stuff I’ve posted, I tried to put links to the vendors and places. Hope those help, and to the vendors I’ve showcased here — thank you so much for your awesome creations. Now I have a dollhouse I can proudly install in my dining room — and not give away to my mother*. 🙂

*Still love you Mom. And yes, I’ll still continue to give you little gifts to furnish your little home as well.

Achievement Unlocked!

After displaying my slightly embarassing pics of the packages I’ve received over the holidays….I did try to be constructive with the loot I’ve received. Mostly to keep track of what I have in order to work on my first build of the new year….which I’m pretty excited to do.

Yes, I still have the CC. Seriously, the whole egg carton into bricks is making me cringe. I’m still working on Dasha and Lena’s home, so please don’t yell at me. I haven’t forgotten it. But BK got me something over the holidays that’s making me dance in pure excitement.

Hah! I wish!

So most of you know that after building the ARC II, I ended up giving it to my mother to enjoy. And despite that generous gesture….I was missing that house. My dining room felt empty without it. I guess BK picked up on my mood because on Christmas Day, he actually got me another ARC dollhouse kit from the ever talented team at 3StarStudios. My in-laws were definitely surprised at my reaction given I almost tackled my husband to the ground and gave him numerous hugs & kisses.

The ARC Dollhouse. Image used with permission by 3 Star Studio.

The ARC Dollhouse.
Image used with permission by 3 Star Studio.

Of course, the challenge was that I had to wait until BK and I returned home to do any work on the (yeah, I know not imaginative) ARC III. But in the meantime….I went online and began to order my supplies. Which all arrived (luckily) a week after I’ve opened the packages that were held during our absence.

So now I’m ready…so ready to get to work! I have a plan…and I want to see if I can make it a reality!

Oh sweet mother, I hope it doesn’t come to this!

Swoon? Why Yes, Please

Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since the last post. Work has really gotten stressful since the last time I wrote an entry. My job promotion this past April has pretty much entered the managerial sphere….which I have no experience in doing whatsoever. So it was essentially a HUGE learning curve, and while I emerged victorious in some, there were others where I seriously thought my bosses should fire me on the spot….

I’m really hoping to see some breathing room in the next couple of weeks. The CC is still not finished (Dasha and Lena are NOT HAPPY with me at the moment), and I did some work on the vintage Lundy Stockholm (need to load the pics). Also on queue is a little mini project for my in-laws (will have to post the entries after the holidays, since it’s part of their present), and a dollhouse for BK’s coworker’s daughter, whom we absolutely adore. So yeah….busy year…

….and it might get busier, now that Monsieur Z and Mme KP just released yet another droolworthy kit from their Etsy shop….the Reversible Row House!

Photo from 3StartStudios. All Rights Reserved.

Based on the shop’s description of the product – essentially you can flip the dollhouse kit upside down. So there’s no right or wrong side in terms of the rooms. It’s actually really cool given that you can flip the rowhouse if you want a different layout of the room. And the best part? This is in 1:12 scale folks — which is a first for me to see come out of this shop. Warning though folks, the price is a little bit high, but from my experience with the ARC, you’re getting a high quality product (the wood is so easy to work with and sands beautifully when it comes to painting the surfaces).

Dear lord, am salivating as I type this. The impatient part of me wants to plunk down an order just so this is my inventory. But then again…my family has been bugging me about what I want for the holidays. *creaky wheels starting to turn*

Again, do check out the 3StarStudio’s shop on Etsy and scope out their stuff.  And Monsieur Z and Mme. KP — please keep cranking out these beauties! I might be losing space in my house, but that’s okay. Maybe BK might be open to getting us a bigger place (insert BK laughing and going “nope!”)….