Saturday, 4 December 2021

The idea seems to be growing

The idea of a few room boxes seems to have grown.  The original idea was to (re)make half a dozen of the rooms from Dalton House.  This immediately changed into five of the Dalton rooms and a brand new large Elf kitchen project as I couldn't rejig the Dalton one into the room box space.

I wanted to do it after giving up on making miniatures so that I could save (and display) some of my favourite things.  How I wish I had known this would be the plan when I first began this game as I have sold and given away some lovely pieces over the years that cannot be replaced.  Take note newbies out there - hang on to every little thing because you never know when you might want it again.

I have decided the planned music room needs enlarging - it needs to be wider - so it will now occupy a shelf to itself.  This demanded a rejig of the boxes on the shelves and this led to a box vacancy.  I felt the bedroom might be the modern room to fit in that space as it is probably the least contrast to the  Georgian style rooms around it.  Whilst deciding all this it seemed a shame that the simple bedroom was getting a reprieve whereas the more interesting Rec room and the Hive (my workroom) would be effectively 'binned'.  They are now in play.  Six rooms will now become nine.

Most of these will need to be set out in a different way as the dimensions of the Dalton House rooms and the measurement of my boxes are not the same.  I am suffering particularly from lack of depth.  If you go down this route any time be very determined as to what size you want your boxes to be and buy the cupboard accordingly.  I could have had a deeper 40cms Billy which would have been spot on but the whole point of my getting rid of the house was to give me more space in my office (now also my workroom) so the 30cms compromise was the right decision for me.

This had led to a bit of a struggle.  The rooms, as they were originally, have become fixed in my mind and  seem immutable.

So, more challenges ahead and a longer project than I thought.


There may be a bit of a pause here for a couple of weeks or so.  My daughter and family will be staying with us prior to moving into their new home a few houses away so I am not likely to be playing minis for a while.  👏

Saturday, 27 November 2021

Library - furnishing

 The rug came from My Tiny World and as usual I have removed the pesky fringe.

The desk is a particularly nice piece, very fine detail and simple, unlike most Jia Yi stuff.  Again, my apologies for not remembering the vendor at Miniatura and my being unable to find them with an extensive web search.  The drawers do open and will be filled.

The chair suffered a broken leg in all this mauling around but was fixed OK with a dab of wood-glue and gel superglue.  This is a Jia Yi  piece made specifically to go with the desk

I am fairly sure the library steps also came from the same vendor but it doesn't look like a Jia Yi piece.  I have a very similar House of Miniatures kit but obviously I had a bout of laziness at some stage and decided to buy a ready made.

So, as you see, there's not much furniture to share or chat about in the library.  You haven't escaped ........  you can expect screeds of photos and words when I come to dress this room.

Saturday, 20 November 2021


This should really have a subtitle of  The pedants guide to 'stuff'. 

Painting needed for the library was just the ceiling.  I tape the front edges of the boxes when doing this and press down really well so the edges finish paint free when the tape is pulled off.

Here is my third order of the same three pieces of (pricey with postage charges) Les Chinoiseries wall paper.  First lot went in Dalton House, the second lot went in the cardboard fiasco but I was grimly determined to have this paper for the library.  I even have matching fabric and red silk for the drapes.  They never got made for Dalton and (obviously) can't be used in the room box.  So to just get three papered walls mostly covered by book shelves is an expensive fixation. Enjoy every little inch you can see here.

I like to cut wallpaper from the bottom up.  The thinking behind this is that if I trimmed the top edge to remove the name strip and then measured for the strip of paper I would end up with two edges cut by me both of which may not be all that wonderful.  In the main that wouldn't matter if was a bit wonky because generally the edges will be covered by coving and skirting.  By using the bottom edge as an already cut edge I have just saved myself one lot of cutting (times three on all three papers) and I have an absolute guarantee that the pattern will all run perfectly in line around the room.

I make a thin card template of the height of the room, lay that on the paper in three or four places marking the top, remove and join up the marks using a yardstick.

Wallpaper prep - left to right - wet flannel to keep wiping sticky hands clean, dry soft cloth for dabbing paper in place, border adhesive, dry flannel to dry hands after cleaning, ruler, sharp scissors of a good size to get lengthy cuts, paper scorer for any folds needed, propelling pencil

Et voila one painted and papered library.  
The Dalton House library had one of my trompe l'oeuil effects behind a partly open door but there is no way I have room to replicate that here but I still wanted that central door.  Little did I know what a kerfuffle that would be.  I contacted and ordered (in turn) from three of my trusty suppliers for the usual flat back false door that I used in Dalton house attic apartments back walls.  First one came with a stupid back frame which needs the hole to be cut to set it in.  Double whammy - no way was I doing that.  Second one the same but this supplier said the factory in China who had made the perfect false doors had changed hands and in the process changed the design on this door.  She has contacted them and there is a promise to change back but clearly that will take an age.  Meanwhile I had a conversation with another vendor who makes his own stuff and was assured his were flat back.  They are but I am too fussy.... they are a rectangular piece of routed MDF so the wood quality is not good and I like a separation between frame and door.  Nothing for it but to do a cobble of my own.  Firstly breaking down a normal opening door kit and removing the pin, paint, add door furniture and stick to the wall.

The usual framing is then too thin to go around the door and look right.  Luckily I had two sets for some reason so they were trimmed to size as they were slightly too tall without the threshold piece in place, and then glued back to back to make the required thickness..

Door frame added and it all looks OK.

I miss the clever trompe l'oeuil effect and the figure walking through the door but I have to keep impressing on myself this is not what these boxes are about they are simply mementos of work done and hold things I don't want to part with.

The light went in next.  This was a straightforward centre of the room light and there are no lamps to add to this room.

There has been much switching around of various lights from room to room.  This is not unusual in this mini game as I am never quite happy with the range of lights available to us, but this seemed to be the least worse for a library atmosphere.  The Dalton House room was fitted with down-lighters (can lights) in front of the shelves and had a system to control the humidity and temperature of the room to help preserve very old books. 😂

Just a reminder to test each time you do something with a light - is it working OK before you start?  Still OK when wires threaded through and light glued in place?  Still OK after extending the wires if you need to?  It is easy to do  -  just press each wire (after splitting in two and exposing the copper wires)  on to the terminals of a nine volt battery.  Not easy to see here but I am pressing one wire on on terminal with my ring finger (left) and then touching the other terminal with the other wire (right).

The wallpaper went in well and there is no nasty gap in the join of ceiling to wall, plus this is a modern room so I decided against coving even though it was all painted ready to go.  It brings too much distraction into the room where I want the shelf contents to be the focus.

So it was just a matter of cutting four small bits of skirting,

The skirting and shelves are not glued in place yet as I want to dress the shelves first to save me fiddling around inside a room doing it.

Here is a reminder of where this room began having been gouged out of Dalton House.


Saturday, 13 November 2021

Sitting Room - Furnishing

The rug came from My Tiny World and for once I left the fringe on.  I think fringes are OK on rugs but not on full size carpets - I have no idea if anyone else would understand my distinction.

I bought the mirror years ago from Elite Petite at a show.  I have just had a rummage for them and can't find anything beyond 2018 and no actual site.  Shame if they are no longer trading.  The sold lovely window dressing items and many other nicely laser cut items in at least three different scales.  This was a piece of mirror glass that I had and an unpainted frame, which I painted gold with a pen.

The important furniture in this room is from Alsion Davies Miniatures.  I was lucky enough to have met her at her first show and bought these as slight seconds - I truly can not tell you what the flaw is supposed to be and I am very fussy.  I recommend you visit her site just to while away some time in perfect contentment.  Her work is beautiful.  Her assembled and painted pieces (as these are) are to die for.  In those days she hadn't yet spread her wings.  I think her items are now self assembly and for you to finish - I may be wrong - go look.  I am back there tonight because I have just remembered she also does lovely tureens and things now.

I have a pair of each of these.  The passion for symmetry trumps all.

Perfect size lamp tables for an alcove

A couple of miniature miniatures, if you see what I mean.  This room will also have a couple of larger paintings of 'people' when i get round to finding them

Always remembering my rooms are in a lived-in-now Georgian house I am happy to include modern alongside traditional - especially when I can't find a traditional piece I like.  Lets face it Georgians didn't have coffee tables.

So the final furnished room waiting patiently for its dressing.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

Sitting Room

 Frabjous day, Calloo callay...

Having succeeded with the trial box,  I ordered and received the pieces for the other five boxes.  I am going to mention the company again as it was perfect service and perfect product and that is not something you can say often these days.   Cut my plastic   They offer many materials, colours, thickness etc and have lots of potential uses in your home and garden as well as your hobby.  Mine were cut to the exact mm, packed brilliantly so arrived in a perfect read-to-go state.

I am now trying to work at a good pace to get all the boxes made up for all the rooms.  There is no point in detailing how each is done as that will be extremely repetitive.  I will do my best to show you one a week furnished.  At the end of that time the plan is to draw all the electrics together and get those sorted and then it will be the fun part of dressing each room - again I hope to share one a week and then, my friend, that's me finished......   unless the mini itch strikes again.

Here comes the sitting room.... pretty much the same order of attack as the dining room but with small differences like half painted and half papered walls, a different fireplace fitting and table lamps exiting via pretend sockets.  

1. Glue

I made up the box and glued the chimney breast pieces together.

2. Paint

I painted the ceiling, two coats as before.  

For the lower half of the room which was also painted I marked up the line where the paint will meet the paper.  I do this by using a piece of stiff card cut to a three inch width.  I slide this round the walls and draw a pencil line where it comes to.  I then use masking tape to guide me when painting.  You could to this another way and roughly guess the three inches and paint and then mark up neatly for where the paper will go to and the paper over the excess paint.

The black splodge is where there is a gap in the fireplace for the smoke to go up the flue and you can see to the back of the box when it is in place.

I also paint all the trims and varnish the floor ready to go in place.  

3. Drill

There were four holes needed for the wiring in this room.  

The easiest was the central ceiling light.  

One was then needed on the back wall for the fireplace and was centred from side to side and at the right height for the wire from the fire to exit.

Finally two holes were needed for the table lamps.  This was a bit of a fiddle as I had to put in the lamps and tables to see if the 'usual' socket position would work for them.  

Quite often in my new build real house the sockets are about two feet from a corner and eighteen inches from the floor.  I cut a template measuring two by one and a half inches and put that in the corner each side and marked where the socket should go.  I then put in the tabe and the lamps and decided that would work OK.

4. Floor

I cut the floor to size checking carefully at each step.  You do need a template if there is any doubt that your room is not a good even shape.  Luckily with these boxes they are pretty true in terms of being rectangular.  For the first time I didn't do a 'temporary' fix for the floors as they will never need to come out to fix any lights 'below' as they would in a project..  This time I removed the sticky back cover paper from the walnut flooring and laid it straight down.

5. Chimney breast

This fireplace required a slightly different treatment to the one in the dining room.  This time it is designed to fit snugly edge to edge with the fire surround.  Needless to say when I originally bought these things I settled for the nearest I could get.  There is a very tiny gap around the edge of the fireplace (which doesn't show as long as there is no light there) which needs to be 'blanked out with a black painted paper trim.  Here are the components for this fire.  The chimney breast and painted cardboard inner hearth as before, the blanking piece of paper and the fire.

I absolutely love Phoenix Model Developments for all kinds of thing.  Over the years I have bought tons of things from them - cookers, fires etc.  I did paint this one with a touch up nickel paint  but it isn't really needed

The chimney breast was painted and papered.  I make all the folds in the paper before gluing and used a paper scoring tool to make good creases and keep life simple.


The whole chimney breast and fire unit  was assembled and glued in place.  I hope you can see the little folded out edges on the paper that are glued to the back wall.  I do this for all wallpaper joins so that you get a really neat join with no gaps.  (PS I can now see in this photo how the fireplace is not set exactly centrally - sadly I didn't spot it before completing the room.  It now annoys me and sometime I have to work up enough courage to see if i can push it out and adjust it now everything is all glued in place.  Right now I can't see how.

6. Paper

The rest of the room was papered.  Please click here if you need lots of information about how to paper a mini room.  Wallpaper. and here if video is more your thing   Wallpaper video  I think there are a couple there.

7. Trims

Trims went in as normal - coving then dado rail then skirting.  The coving was a bit of a pig as it is dentil coving.  I had a lovely one when I did the original sitting room but it seems to have disappeared.  I found one vendor but it was 'out of stock' so I got a slightly different one which proved challenging to paint without gumming up all the spaces between the  'teeth' and, like its predecessor it can't be cut to make super clean corners as there is to much detail on it.

8. Electrics

The centre light went in just fine.  I threaded the wire through the hole, put tiny dots of super glue on the ceiling rose and gently and carefully pulled it upwards until the rose made contact, just then need to press for a few seconds and Bob's you uncle.

I wish I could say the same about the table lamps.  i have always loved these lamps but they have given me problems from day one - missing one ball foot when purchased, wonky lampshades, one light flickered until I could get the bulb seated properly and most of all the very fine wires are a real challenge.  I have had them for so long I had forgotten how to expose the wire from their painted (?) coating.  Too fine to use wire strippers, teeth and nails didn't work, knife pretty much just cuts right through.  Finally light bulb moment and I rubbed them gently with very fine grade sandpaper.   Note the magnifying glass which got used at every stage of exposing the wire and then joining it to some more wire once in place so that they can reach the connector strip.

I used the sockets (I invented) for added realism.  They are made by Delph Miniatures.  Basically you thread your wire through from front to back, exit th wall and stick the socket in place.  Extensive explanation is here.  realistic sockets.

Tah dah - light, fireplace, lamps all in place and all working

The comes the task of adding a couple of feet of wire to the back to be sure of being able to connect to the power supply eventually.

So, another box prepared and awaiting its furniture.

Saturday, 30 October 2021

Dining Room - Furnishing

   I thought it would mean less clutter if I furnish each box when it is done even though it probably means doing it all again when I get to the dressing-the-room stage; for example in the dining room I will need to access the display cabinets to fill them.  I would still like to light these but I can't convince myself to drill a hole in a vulnerable part of an (expensive for me) mini. 

The first thing to go in was the rug.  This came from My Tiny World which I think had something like 600 rugs to choose from and at good prices.  It is one of the fairly ubiquitous Turkish rugs you see around so obviously there are other vendors. 

I really don't like fringed rugs - no, idea why - so I get rid by either coating with fray stop and cutting off the fringe, or turning over, gluing down and taping when dry as I did with this one.

I love all things Georgian (style) as I am a sucker for symmetry, so there will be multiples of some things.  The first is a pair of glass display cabinets.  These will hold some of the dinner service and maybe some silver.  I am sorry I can't point you in the direction of the vendor.  It was a stall I always visited at Miniatura but can't for the life of me remember the name and I have searched. These are part of the Jia Yi range of furniture.

The next pair are House of Miniatures Huntboard kits and are also a case of hunting them down.  Most of mine have come from eBay.  I was lucky in being able to buy several when I was part time living in the States.  

Huntboards are  tables which can be easily moved around grand houses and laid with buffet style food such as a hunt breakfast (post hunt).  They make excellent 'serving' tables in a dining room.  They are a comfortable standing height so are taller than a table.

I love making up House of Miniature kits and may well do some (and sell) if I still have the mini bug after this project.  (The tiny drawers do open)

I worked my way through several iterations of dining chairs and finally landed on these.  The set of six  were a spoil myself purchase (with birthday mini money) from Masters Miniatures

The table is another House of Miniatures kit probably from a lengthy eBay search.

I love this table and would have loved it more if I had room for the extra leaves..  The mass of legs is because of its brilliant design.  The real life Hepplewhite three piece dining table was two demi lunes which could be used as such or put together to make a small round tea table.  You could then add in another slim table to make a small dining table (as in mine) and then add one or two more flaps to create any seating length you needed for grander dining.

The inlaid wine cooler is by Masters Miniatures again and I can honestly say these photos do not do it justice.  It is in perfects scale and beautifully made - a joy to handle and look at.  I am hoping to find 'ice cubes' and a bottle the right size to go in it after I have made a 'lead' liner.

The over-mantle mirror is a lovely detailed one which I think is from Sue Cooke. 

I am not convinced it isn't overkill for this room.  I had a simpler round modern mirror in here at one time, which I liked, but have swapped it round trying to find the right one for the sitting room

The paintings for this room are from Ellie de Lacy.  when I first started in this game I found a wonderful person who made paintings to order so in Wentworth House I got precisely what I wanted and beautifully made and for a sensible price.  Sadly she disappeared.  For following projects I made a reasonable stab at making my own grand paintings but they were never professional looking so I moved on to these..

I chose two 'eating' paintings.  They did not have to be Georgian as I see all my rooms as being in the present in some large house (like Dalton House 😀)

A little tip here.  A general guide for hanging mirrors and pictures is that their centre should be between five feet and five feet six from the floor.  Basically this is so that the viewer is looking straight on at the painting.  Obviously there are times when this will change.

.... and so the dining room is furnished for now....  dressing to follow in several weeks time.