Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Really, truly...well probably....last purchase ever from American eBay

Whenever I am here I overdose on American eBay for minis.  There's a running average of about 150,000 items even if you restrict it to USA only, compared to about 70,000 in the UK.  That said, when you consider comparative size of the two countries, UK is doing much better pro rata.  The heck with statistics I just have more to go at over here.

So here's my last find/bargain:

It is probably a Houseworks item but was described as having come out of an estate sale dolls house, so it was a bit of a punt as to condition and if it was working OK.  Seller said it was.

Hey presto, it was.  Here's a reminder of how to test your lights easily.  Just a nine volt battery and split the wires and touch each to a terminal.  Doesn't matter which one to which.

I am struggling to find a plainish chandelier for the dining room even if I was prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it.  These Houseworks ones cost about twenty pounds at home, I think.  I got this for twelve dollars including postage so I am pleased with my last find.  Also at that price if I do find the perfect one before I come to need it, this won't be a huge loss.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Guess who..

I had to come out of my (24 hour) retirement because I received a package today that is so exquisite it has to be shared with other mini folk.  My other half is a rock but hasn't a clue what I am whoopee doing about.

Parcel one was my marble top table kit and was expected and very nice.

My second parcel was a raffle prize I won at the Orlando Show.  The organiser sent me a message on during the second day of the show to tell me to go and collect it.  Unfortunately we had left early so I suggested she just re-used it.  She kindly said she would mail it.  A time elapsed.... Turns out she was caught up in her son's wedding.... So I just forgot about it.

This was in my second package

It is in half scale and the detail and workmanship is incredible.  The name on the base is Linda Tulchinsky.  I so wish there was a way to thank her.

It is in a plastic cube

And is three-sided

I will make an album of photos showing every little detail when I get home and put the link here, meanwhile just click on these pictures to enlarge them and just look at this ladies work.  For any one-twelfers the height of the building is just over five inches and the table is about one and a quarter inches high.  That might give you some idea of just how tiny those pots of acrylic paint are, not to mention the pencil.  You may spot an empty cupboard on the right - believe it or not it has actual runners in it and some plastic box/trays which slot in.  They have fallen out in transit and I would like my long-nosed tweezers.... back home .... to help me put them back in place.

Isn't this just the best.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Take a breather

You will probably be relieved to hear this is my last post here until I get back to the UK and am settled back in.  I am reduced to using my ipad because my desk top computer is to be killed and scrapped and I am not fond of mixing iPad and blogging.  

You won't be missing anything; between now and departure any mini related twiddling with consist of gluing and staining fifteen furniture kits.  Even by my reckoning that would be a pretty boring process to follow.

See you in November.  Don't forget about me.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Cutest video

Go and take a look at the cutest mini video.  I wish I knew how to send it to my blog but never mind this will take you there.

CIL paints

Monday, 5 October 2015

Still staining

I am sorry if the staining saga is getting a bit much but I don't have anything else to share and I also want a complete record of my build.  I suspect this is really like watching paint dry...

So far I have given up on Kiwi shoe polish, Danish oil with stain, Minwax Wiping stain and Finish and have returned to plain old wood stain.  The current plan is a two step process of wood stain and Deft semi-gloss spray cellulose lacquer finish.  Haven't got that far yet - spray arriving tomorrow.

Here are two demi-lunes I have stained with Minwax red Mahogany.  They have one coat on them so far - am considering two.  There is very little visible grain showing through which is actually a bonus, I think.  One issue I have with ordinary furniture is that the grain in the wood is way out of scale.  This is why expensive artisan stuff is so expensive.  They spend a lot of time and dollars finding the perfect piece of wood with the perfect grain size so that it all works perfectly in scale.  Obviously if we mere mortals are working with kits or unfinished pieces the wood will not be of that quality so, as I said, I am pretty OK about covering the grain with dark stain or better still paint.

I started in the usual way with this 'experiment' by rubbing down with 400 sand paper and staining one table before assembly and assembling the other before staining....

stained ready to assemble - terrible wood quality on the apron underneath

the other is wood glued and ready to stain

If you are not very good with glue then I would stain first and then build - that way any excess super glue will be a bit shiny but at least they will be stained everywhere.  If you choose the other method and assemble them first, if you apply the wood glue badly, the stain won't take over the excess glue you will end up with bald patches everywhere.

I am OK with glue so I am happy to do either.  It is probably easier to stain and build but just to be awkward I think I am going to spend a couple of days building them (in the kitchen) and then take them en masse (about fifteen of them!!) to the garage and stain them all in one go.  It is a smelly and messy process and I want to do it outside.  

The difficult part about doing it this way is when you have to clean off the excess stain.  After about fifteen minutes you need to clean off any stain that hasn't soaked in and it is hard on these small pieces trying to get in all the nooks and crannies.  Indeed with the pre-build table you saw here I managed to shove a leg off.  

As you can see at the end of the staining process there is no difference between the two if you have applied the glue carefully.

I went over the marble-topped table I had previously stained with Danish Oil with a coat of the Minwax and it looks better for it.  That marble is going to be a pig to mask off when I spray the wood with lacquer.

(I have another one of these on the way and a full size Queen Anne 'bufftet' table with a marble top)

Apologies for camera angle - centre leg is not wonky!

Here is a shot of the two table tops to show you what I mean about wood quality affecting your finish.  Same treatment, material, operator - totally different result.

As in real life it is important not to get bogged down in details.  When finished both of these will look just fine because your eye will primarily be on the vase of flowers or decorative piece standing on them not on the table top itself.  We don't scrutinise, we just take mental snapshots and impressions of things.

I am resisting a second coat, I think it would be too dark.  Opinions welcome.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Back to the Future

A little bit of my past arrived in a carton today.

I am probably the only person who is loving this stuff and I totally understand if you don't feel this is what dollhousing is about but, for some of us it is as much about representing our lifetime as it is about replicating history.  I have no particular preference and I love both.  On this project (after a U-turn earlier in the game) my Georgian is now a 2015 house.

So much for 2015, I go and buy retro 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s etc furniture.

I first saw this Reac furniture for real in a miniature (mostly trains!) shop in Calgary years ago when I had just started with minis and I fell in love with it then.  I have come across it now and then on EBay and when webtrawling since then.  I have finally conceded that it needs to be admitted to one of my projects to pander to my lust, so here it is.

Once I decided I wanted it I spent an age trying firstly to find a vendor and then to find a vendor at a price I could afford.  The average price (if there is one) is probably around £20 - £30 per piece I have seen them as much as $90! and even more.  Eventually I came across a company in Canada (full circle) who claim to be the sole North American importer of Reac (???).  I was thrilled to find they charge $10 or $15 dollars per piece and ordered these.  

I still love them.

The Eames chairs and ottomans (I have two sets) are for the Rec. room.  The rocker, arm chair and sofa could be for there or for the apartment.  I won't know until I come to play with them.  Looking forward to that day.