November 22, 2023

In Memoriam: Mourning in Miniature

A peek in the window.

 It may be past Halloween, but I decided to keep working here and there on the miniature Funeral Parlor. And... it's finished! (Click photos for full size.)

 I have to admit, I had to laugh seeing it done. Yes, it's a bit weird and death isn't funny, but there's enough terrible and sad things going on in the world, so hope you get a chuckle out of this. 

This idea started with the gag coffin hubby found at Goodwill. A great find as it's the right size and I'll never find something like this again! It actually is a stop smoking gag gift and has a button you push for corny sayings. But it fit my purposes!

Someone remembered her with roses....

In my project stash, I had this Arched Roombox kit I bought a super long time ago. Since I lost the top front arch piece (of course!), I had to figure out what to use instead. 

I decided to decorate the building front using a plastic brick sheet. I painted part of the top and edged the windows with hat straw I also painted. I wanted to make it look like a reclaimed old store so I added light lace curtains in front and added an old-looking General Store sign. I like the two-tone brick.

You can see a slight edge on the sides from the plastic corner edge moldings (from Menards in the wallpaper section) we glued to the sides and bottom of the box with Quick Grip. It worked perfect to hold the front in place and also let me slide it out if needed.

We also cut a top cover for the roombox from plastic out of a large poster frame (Hobby Lobby 40% off sale) and glued that to the corner edge moldings to fit over the sides of the roombox. These glue well using JB Weld Plastic Bonder. (We use the tan formula which leaves a slight opaqueness but holds super strong.) 

(FYI: the poster frame plastic and the corner moldings also can be used to make a more reasonably priced dollhouse case. I cover my houses so I don't have to dust them and to avoid the dog hair! We made a cover for the Witch Cottage this way (since the hardware store wanted to double their acrylic prices!) and also glued in reinforcements along the inner bottom of the case from thicker 1" acrylic strips we cut. A lot of steps with measure, cut, glue, but it ended up not as pricey and a decent case.)

Initially I'd thought of making this roombox into some kind of store, with green paper on the bottom of the walls. Then I put it away and decided to use wood wainscoting instead. I like the old-fashioned wallpaper as it gave it a vintage parlor look. 

I think the door was a great addition. I used doors I took from another dollhouse kit and made a fake entrance. There's a garden calendar scene behind the lace to make it look like it goes somewhere. I added vintage landscape art on the walls to fit the look of the room. The pillars are plastic cake decorating pillars that we painted gold and part-gold.

Right side of the room:

I used a couple vintage furniture pieces - one of those black and gold Chinese lacquer tables from part of a set, and a gold Petite Princess chair which fit the decor here perfectly. Funny how you end up saving furniture pieces for a long time (years!) and then finally, they fit just right into a certain project! ha!

The mourners and the "deceased" are of course those strings of plastic skeletons from the Dollar Tree. (I keep stashing them as they keep getting scarcer  (remember when you got 12 on a string??) and somewhat cheaper made (if that's possible? ha!) I painted them white and made eyeballs from Crayola Model Magic air-dry clay. I also made their clothes and wigged them. Even skellies like to be fashionable, you know. 💀😀 But they're fun to dress and just make me smile. We can all use that. 

The Exterior:

On the sides, I decided to continue the painted brick on top with some stucco-like paper painted the same shade on the bottom. Since I didn't want plain walls, I added a mortuary sign on one side and "ghost" brick signs on the other side to give it some interest. The back is covered with the painted stucco-like paper, too.

The full room: (I didn't turn the lights back on.)

So for now, this is how the room will look. I may add a sign-in register and desk, and a few more chairs and mourners yet. I'm going to leave it this way for a while, I think. I have the other roombox that I like to decorate as a Christmas scene with my vintage mini dolls. I'll set that up next.

Hope you enjoyed seeing something a bit different! I'll be back working on the Park Ave. Mansion next. The ceilings are papered, I'll attach the lights and then we can glue the floors in. Hope to show some progress on that soon.

Thanks again for visiting! Be sure to come back to see what's next!

November 19, 2023

New Mystery-Crime Story Coming!


Happy to say my story, "Wildfire," will be in the anthology, (I Just) Died In Your Arms: Crime Fiction Inspired by One-Hit Wonders, Volume I. Should be coming out in December.

Always loved this sad song, so I tried to give it justice. Thrilled about this. (And if you've never heard it... (what?) here's a link on YouTube.

The stories included will be a treat to read and are fun, too! Definitely some memorable choices. (I love It's Raining Men! and The Rapper always makes me think of a certain time period. I like 96 Tears, too.)

Included are: 

Christine Verstraete: Wildfire

Song: “Wildfire” by Michael Martin Murphey (1975)


Barb Goffman: Teenage Dirtbag

Song: Teenage Dirtbag by Wheatus (2000)


Leone Ciporin: Life in a Northern Town

Song: Life in a Northern Town by Dream Academy (1985)


Adam Gorgoni: Bitch

Song: Bitch by Meredith Brooks (1997)


Bev Vincent: Somebody’s Watching

Song: Somebody’s Watching Me by Rockwell (1984)


Wendy Harrison: It’s Raining Men

Song: It’s Raining Men by The Weather Girls (1983)


Josh Pachter: The Rapper

Song: The Rapper by The Jaggerz (1970)


Sandra Murphy: Pigeon Talk

Song: 867-5309/Jenny) by Tommy Tutone (1981)


Joseph S. Walker: Come On Eileen

Song: Come On Eileen by Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)


Jeanne DuBois: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye

Song: Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye by Steam (1969)


Vinnie Hansen: 96 Tears

Song: 96 Tears by Question Mark and the Mysterians (1966)


J. M. Taylor: It’s Hard to Die

Song: Seasons in the Sun by Terry Jacks (1974)

November 15, 2023

Half Scale Dollhouse Mansion 2: Brick & Colors

Brick, brick!!

As I mentioned in the last post, I started working on the Half Scale Park Ave. Mansion

I wasn't real sure how I wanted to do the exterior, but I knew I wanted the grout lines to show as the outside is etched like large bricks. Every house I've seen so far has been one color and beige or tan. (Click photos for full size; more posts in left column archives.)

Well, as everyone knows, I'm a color person! Now I really wanted to wait for more of this to be built before I shared, but I'm impatient! So... I tried a few different shades and it turns out that the Americana Milk Chocolate paint is a nice rusty-brownish color! Brushing it on lightly, as I didn't want to do heavy coats, it also lets some white background show through, which gives it more of a worn look. I added some patches of gray paint also for aging. I like the results. Whew! Glad that's decided!

Papers, papers...

(Oops! I'll fix that top corner edge now that I see it! ha!)

Next, it's one of those think-in-stages things - or you'll be sorry! Part electric tape in, but!! Choose papers as the center tower has to be papered and the windows installed before that is glued on. This is what I'm deciding on - the third floor is the only one I'll use the walls to make three rooms - hall on left and two sitting/sleeping rooms for boarders. The diner owner will live in the right side room, which will be brick walls. I decided on the tree print scrapbook paper in the top center tower. 

It's Curtains! Well, some...

I kept thinking the lace should be switched on each floor because of the colors, but I wanted the lady owner to have the golden-color lace since she's moved to the center floor now. So I found this brown fabric which actually has a leaf print though it's really not visible once I folded/glued the fabric. But it made a cute little valance to match the third floor paper. I edged it with Bunka. I'll make longer curtains, too, if needed. I may add some kind of valance over the gold lace yet if I find something that looks right and goes with the fabrics. We'll see.

Added: I kept thinking it needed... something. But? Saw someone else's curtains and thought this would work better - just cut another piece of the lace for the top. Now it looks more "finished."

 ** Idea! Maybe I'll make wood valances again from the wood fans as I did in my Victorian dollhouse bedroom! Hmm....Nah.... see what I did above. I'll keep the wood frames as original to that other house. The bottom wall is textured brick paper from Starboc2 on Etsy. 

The tower has to be glued in yet, but this is how it looks so far. I decided on the same sand color for the windows as I used for the grout lines.

My other idea is to make faux walls to fit in the space to the left of the windows inside to give the illusion of exits to the hallway stairs. I'm thinking of only using stairs on the first floor. I want to try adding lighted exit signs on each wall. We'll see if the idea works. I have to try making small boxes and print out transparencies with the word EXIT on them. One of those ideas I've got in my head, so it better look right! haa!

( Forgot to add the front photo so far to give an idea how it looks. I really like the color.)

Second floor...

I had changed my mind (of course!) and am putting the elderly owner on the second floor instead as I wanted her to have the fancy entrance door. As Jeanne did in her building (see last post), I'm going to make a sitting area with a fancy fireplace at that side. I am thinking of adding some bookcases and elements from Brooke Tucker's Golden Christmas book. 

I have a pair of lamps someone made based on the book that I'd bought in my half scale group some time ago. I was sooo lucky to find the book online last year at the incredible price of... $5! This book sells for $$$. I'd searched for years to find it. I also had previously bought the Miniature White House book online super reasonable. (There's a couple of the White House books online now for under $5. I usually have good luck at ThriftBooks.) 


Compared to the other houses I've recently done, especially The Fairfield, this house really isn't as big or complicated. Pretty straight-forward building wise. Just have to keep at it. Simple rooms. What will take longer are the pieces I want to make. I still have that diner in mind and have a few ideas how to do that floor. I'm again going to use my favorite black/white tile scrapbook paper floor and going to see if the bold red/white stripe paper I found will work on the walls with lots of Coca Cola signs, etc. Stay tuned!

Not a big update, but wanted to share some progress!

Thanks again for visiting. Come back soon for more updates!

November 06, 2023

Next Project: The Half-Scale Mansion

 I'm on a book-high at the moment, having just finished reading Stephen King's latest, Holly. (Marvelous!!) So my mind is kind of caught up in that wonderful feeling when you read a good, satisfying book! 

I have been working a bit on the temporary funeral parlor - lights are in and working, trim and wood wainscoting panels are done, and I have a few things to do next. But, as I tend to do, I set it aside for a bit to actually start the Park Ave. Mansion. The completed photos are only the kit: I'm not that far yet. (Kit images, LaserDollhouseDesigns.)

As usually happens with these projects, at least for me, it's hard to start until you have your color choices figured out. Had to paint the sidewalk a light gray first. Then I decided on Sandstone for the basement stairs, which look pretty cool, but I have to say, did not go in as easily as I'd thought they would. But I finally got it.

This is another house you have to think of the building in steps so you don't mess it up. So I figured at least the bottom of the house's front walls have to be painted first since they butt up to the sidewalk. But... what color to do the brick? Do I fill in the grout lines, and what color for that, too?

Of course, I chose a color I liked, and in the back of my mind, knew maybe I shouldn't since I had... one bottle. Ceramcoat Raw Linen. And I couldn't find any more locally, so had to find a similar color as I want the grout lines to stand out. I ended up with DecoArt Americana Bleached Sand, which may or may not have more of the slight greenish tone rather than too white or gray or yellowish. So we'll see. Have to repaint the small parts I did. 

No biggie. The idea I had was to pounce or stipple the bricks themselves with maybe a red-tone paint or maybe tan with red accents. I saw a photo of a reddish-brick rowhouse and I liked that rather than just tan. Still deciding... I know, boring stuff. Well, bear with me. 

Modern Or?

I am not looking forward to painting all those windows. I am thinking of the same light sand color as I am going to attempt a more modern interior, which I've admired in dollhouses but have never done. For inspiration, here's a great modern interior done by Jeanne H. shared on the FB HalfScaleMinis group. (Used with permission.)

She only used one hallway wall as they really take up a lot of space otherwise. (I love the flooring; opposite of the floor I used in the Witch Cottage second-floor bedroom.)  I was thinking of deleting the walls mostly, too. When I checked, the bottom floor ended up with really small rooms if you follow how it was designed. Not sure about all the stairs, too, as they take up space. Then only have the halls with doors? Faux doors? Not sure yet. I'll have a better idea when I see the front and side walls glued.

 We'll see how that turns out. It may be more modern only on the top floor where the rich older homeowner lives. She has renters on the other floors, an antiques store or diner on the first floor (haven't decided), and a shabby-but-neat sleeping-living room or two on the second floor. Not sure yet.


 I am leaning toward having a diner on the bottom basement floor which could have a small counter (wanted to do a back cooking counter but not a full kitchen), and some store items. Remember the old Woolworth's counter and booths within steps of the store shelves? (They had great grilled cheese!)

 Or maybe just a small back counter (with griddle, sink, fryer, fridge, etc.) and a smallish counter to sit at with stools. Just a few seats...?  I think I still have copies of that old Joann Swanson Nutshell News project to make a 1" scale diner/cafe... will have to hunt for it. (* Here's an index of Swanson's projects on her blog. * Her Thanksgiving how-to could be useful. * Ideas  - diner project on YouTube.)

It's been a while since I made Fimo food....I made these in 1" scale  for my rooftop BBQ in a wall-hanging cabinet.

 It would be fun to figure out how to make the items needed and the food, I think. And it would be something different (and much smaller!) in half-scale. I keep picturing the burgers frying on the grill! (Check out this vintage Woolworth's Diner on FB. Apparently the last one around in CA and last story I saw said it was going to be restored and re-open?) I'd have to get a stainless steel-look spray paint for the cooking counter to look right, I think. (See images of counter and old Woolworth's at Atomic Redhead.)

We'll see; this is brainstorming yet... as you know I change my mind - a lot! haa!

Decisions, decisions!

Added note: Admitting I wasn't real keen on what to do here... but!! The colors decided it. I picked a different color (and yay! the grout lines stayed whitish!) so I got the outside painted and really like it!! I'll show pix soon!

So, that's where it stands for the moment... This will take a bit to get to more of a showable stage, so stay tuned!

Thanks again for visiting and be sure to check back for what's next! 

November 01, 2023

October Update: Halloween & More


Scene from my Haunted House.

Thought I'd add a best-of-the month and show highlights for October.

Halloween in Miniature went well, though it did seem long (well, to me, since I was scheduling things! ha!)

The month's best post:

Besides the first post, everyone must like witches! 

The witchy post for Day 2 got nearly 100 views and counting as of this writing. 

Next popular was the first skeleton post on Day 3. 

Also popular was Linda's cool ghostly parlor on Day 6 and JP Sligh's Witch's Kitchen, with my companion short story on Day 8. 

This month's projects:

I finished the half-scale Witch Cottage, of course. Check out the videos. 

I got the skeleton funeral parlor long-set-aside roombox out and made some updates. Added some faux doors to the side, which I thought turned out well. I'll share more as I get it done. 

Don't worry, this'll be over. ha! I'm done with Halloween, too, (except for my cottage). It'll likely be changed then to a store. I don't decorate much for Christmas except in miniature so I'll probably change this to a Christmas store for now and then a doll shop, I think. I have quite a few mini-mini dolls here and there so maybe it's time to put them in one place.

I'll also be working on the half-scale Park Ave. Mansion. Stay tuned for updates! 

 Thanks again for visiting!