Sunday, September 29, 2013

Dollhouse Building Tips - Removable Stairs

I needed a way to remove the staircase so I could clean them and get to the wallpaper behind them.  After some head scratching, I found a way using an overhanging top step and molding on the floor.

I was able to add a lip on the very top stair because my stairs ended at the back of the house where the top stair would not be very noticeable.  I glued a piece of bass to the top step so it ‘overhung’ catching on the upper level floor.  This prevented the staircase from falling down.

On the lower step of the stairs, I glued molding to the floor where the bottom step touched the floor.  The molding was glued around the bottom step (but not glued to the step – glued to the floor only).  This kept the bottom of the staircase in place so the staircase itself didn’t need to be glued to the floor. 
Molding cut to fit around bottom of stairs

To remove the staircase, I just gently lift the entire thing up about an inch to loosen it from the molding and twist and pull it out without hitting the chandelier.  I plan to stain the upper overhang a little so it blends in better with the upstairs flooring.
Upper floor (way back) you can see the overhang

Bottom floor - molding is only glued to the floor, not the stairs.

Hope this helps someone else with the same problem!  I plan to do it with my 2nd floor staircase also because on that level I plan to have a light fixture behind the stairs (those stairs will be see-through – hopefully in an upcoming blog).

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Houston Tom Bishop Show

Show purchases follow.  I met an interesting lady today, Cynthia DuBose.  She works in silver clay (Art Clay Silver)– a medium she molds then fires (with a cooking type butane torch).  It was amazing to watch her.

Cynthia DuBose and her Silver Art Clay

She takes some clay and forms it over a glass button to make a dish.  She trims away the excess (every dust particle is saved) then finishes the edge by sanding.  She dries it out on a candle warming pad (like the ones you can use to keep your coffee warm).  She checks that all the moisture is gone by setting it on a mirror and looking for condensation.  She files and sands the edge with an emery board.  Then she puts it on a stone and hovers over it with the butane torch until it is “peach” colored (glowing) for 2 minutes. 

Then she douses it into water for an instant cooling.  When removed it has a whitish dry finish which she buffs off with a very soft wire bristle brush.  She has smaller tools for buffing in the tiny crevices.  She uses it in several forms: the clay blob that you can roll and shape, a more watery consistency she squeezes from a syringe (for fine lines) and a sort of paper form that can be punched with a paper punch. Items larger than a quarter she fires in a kiln but small items she fires right on the desktop with a torch.

The cost of the silver clay varies with the market but a little blob, about the size of 2 or 3 quarters would be about $30.  But you can make amazing detailed miniatures with it.  She uses it for jewelry, too. Even more interesting, it doesn’t tarnish as fast (or maybe even not at all) as sterling because it is purer.  And even more helpful to miniaturists is that it shrinks 12% - so you can make it bigger then it gets smaller as you torch it.

 If you want to contact her, she only does classes (doesn’t sell her work).  Her name is Cynthia DuBose ( and she is a Senior Instructor with Art Clay World.  Thanks, Cynthia, for sharing with us!

And now for show purchases:

Karen Markland Halloween pails

Paulette Svec Shabby and Halloween Stockings

Paulette Svec tiny fabric pumpkins WITH STEMS!

Brooke Tucker lamp

Buying minis even makes up for all the Houston humidity and rain!!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Christmas Market Stall FINISHED!!

My market stall was a project from a NAME Day held in Saginaw, TX in July 2012 hosted by the Mini Endeavors club.  I finished the market stall back in May 2013 but am just now getting the photos uploaded.  In my last blog (actually 2 blogs ago) I promised that the next one would be some of the finished items.  Well, here it is.

Here are some close ups of the different sides:

Front right side of counter.  The ornaments were made from my Sept. 2012 blog tutorial.  I made the little partitioned box from scrapbook paper edged with a gold paint pen.  The Feather Tree was a project from the NAME Day event.  The stacked tree top ornaments are just beads stacked on a toothpick and lots of glitter.

Front left side of counter.  Victorian cones and ribbon candy under a dome were made by my talented friend, Karen Haggard.  She also gave me the pot of Christmas Cookie pops by Jen Tuttle of Miniholiday.  The soldier is a painted metal miniature.  I made the tray of cookies and ornament under a dome.

Lower front: I dyed the pink Christmas Tree and painted the smaller one white.  All the ornaments and tree toppers as well as the ornament wreath were made from similar techniques mentioned in my earlier tutorials.  The Merry Christmas crate was donated to the NAME Day by Through the Keyhole dollhouse store.  It contains several tote bag items from the event.

Its hard to see but the items on the shelves are:  Top shelf - large nutcrackers are from wine glass charms.  Smaller ones are painted Metal Miniatures.   Middle shelf - Boxes of ornaments including some reproduction "Shiny Brite" ornament boxes from one of my favorite Ebay sellers, Sue's Little Things. Bottom shelf - Glitter house village which I put together from a Carol Kubrican kit (True2Scale).

The left side of the stall has hanging candy items mentioned in my August 10 2013 blog.  The red and white stocking was one of my earliest miniatures purchases from way back in the 1980s.  I wish I knew who the artist was.  The two net stockings were from Lori Ann Potts of Mustard Seed Miniatures - also vintage but purchased recently.  I modified them by adding items inside the socks and adding a paper card and string.

 The right side of the stall:  On the shelves are boxes of Christmas Cards made from some printies provided in the NAME Day tote bag by the late Donna Aldrich.  I wrapped blocks of scrap wood with a strip of folded antique looking scrapbook paper then glued on a card cutout and a thin film of clear plastic cut from a packaging blister.  The flower pot Santa & snowman were projects from the NAME Day event.

Inside the stall I put a little area for the stall owner to sit.  The curtains were described in an earlier blog.  The little stool is the bottom half of a Chrysnbon chair with a chair pad added.  The little filing box is just a block of balsa covered with a metallic gift wrap and a staple for a handle.  The Happy Meal was a tote bag favor.  The little box of ribbon candies (on the counter above the Happy Meal) is another item from Sue Ayers.

Well, glad that I have finished one project...only a hundred more to go!