Saturday, 26 September 2015

13 A look at ELF furniture kits




I am sorry this is over-long - never seems like it once I start nattering but certainly does when I come to play back but barring gross errors I don't want to have to do them twice.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Back to work - best way to stain and polish a kit

I bet you had forgotten all about the chairs I am experimenting with - ooh, sorry I meant, making.




I left you with one built with wood glue and then stained.  Results:


  • wood glue on clean wood is the best bond for sure
  • any surplus glue won't take stain or paint so you have to be super careful
  • it is difficult with small complex pieces to get the stain in and around all the tiny shapes evenly once it is built.  It is even harder to buff the piece.
The other chair had just been stained with the same stain - Minwax Wiping Stain and Finish - while it was still in pieces.  

On the recommendation of a vendor who said it was what she used, I bought a very particular glue from the Atlanta show called Weldbond which claims to stick any material to anything including glass to glass.  Now this is where you have to be cautious - just because I never took to it is not a reason not to try it.

I had a go with it; indeed several goes.  I could not make it tack up sufficiently to release a piece and certainly not enough to hold parts firm enough to allow me to continue adding another part; so it never got a fair test of strength as it never got to the dry stage.  I am not a person who could join up one piece and leave for an hour or better still overnight as recommended.  I want to get something built once I have started so I need a glue with a fairly quick tack.

Ultimately I returned to Superglue gel.  Results:
  • it will glue stained and painted surfaces together
  • it makes a fast bond to allow you to build the piece
  • it is a strong bond but wouldn't be great on anything being played with as it does 'snap' quite easily
  • any excess will dry shiny but the gel is very controllable and all glue needs the ultimate care when applying
  • I found it much easier to stain and buff the pieces before assembling
I did also try Kiwi brown shoe polish as a stain, again the same vendor recommended it - her work was excellent and she said that was her method.  Maybe it is all about the wood it it going on?  It didn't work well on my test pieces.  Two applications was still a very thin colour and I found it difficult to get it on evenly, slow to do and smelly!

The shoe polish did however 'improve' the finish on my already stained pieces so you may want to consider using a brown shoe polish like a furniture polish.  It evened out and deepened the colour but it didn't give much of a shine.

obviously the foam seats need covering

Here is the correct way to finish the kits:

  • brush on a base stain and wipe off the excess and allow to dry
  • brush on or spray on a sealer and allow six hours to dry
  • go over the furniture with 000 steel wool
  • highlight by applying glaze stain and removing in areas of wear (there is also a more complex method of blending stains and highlighting that you can do at this stage).  allow 24 hours to dry
  • buff the surface until you are happy with the finish and then apply the top coat of varnish or lacquer.  Do two or more coats rubbing down with 000 wire wool in between.
Sadly I am all for shortcuts; my excuse being I will never be able to make/build museum standard pieces so there is no point in frustrating myself trying.  

I will be applying Minwax stain with a brush from a tin or one of their terrific pens. Will probably do two coats, rubbing down in between and adding a coat of satin finish polyurethane varnish to seal and give it a slight sheen.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

So much for my promises



Last post I said - no more purchases....  Unfortunately I am unable to work on any of my furniture kits as we have a few days of realtors coming to view the place.  We are sort of 'interviewing' as we are thinking of selling the condo this trip.  This means I can't have all my clobber parked on the end of the dining table.

So you will just have to suffer another round of 'look what I bought.

This is what I got from the Atlanta Show.


I saw someone's lovely work and asked her how she finished her furniture.  The reply was she used brown Kiwi polish and a satin polyurethane coat.  She did this on the cut pieces before assembling them.  I asked what glue she used that didn't object to sticking finished pieces together and this was the answer.  It does claim to stick anything to anything including glass to glass!  From Hobby Builders Supply.  You can get a great catalogue from them.




I bought this because I am an eejit.  I thought HO scale was 144th (ish).  I have no idea why I thought I knew such things.  This was to make 'stuff' for Elizabeth's work room.  HO scale is about 1:87 (so roughly half of quarter scale).  If it is any use to anyone let me know and if you want to pay the postage I'll mail it to you.  If you are in the UK I'll mail it when I get back - cheaper.



The scale on these two pieces of fabric is just lovely, both in its weight and also in the pattern.  They are both sagey sort of colours.  The first is from Purple B Emporium (Bradley Meinke) and the second is a Mini Graphics (probably defunct now?) piece which claims to have matching wallpaper and carpet..... somewhere.





Shoes in a metallic sort of green for my Annelise for just £5 and the gorgeous jug of flowers are from my all-time favourite - Clara's Cuties.  I swore I would not buy flowers as I have a ton of materials to make them myself, but..... I came away with three.


A micro geode and a stand to glue it to from Kreative Goodies.  She had a lovely selection and in good scale.


Apologies for not noting the vendor - this was a good buy and I weakened because I loved the pot.




I think I have mentioned before that at most shows I come away with the naughty purchase made when my brain has turned to show-sponge.  On one occasion it was a half-scale house from Toptoise which I ended up having to sell on for a considerable loss just to recoup some of the utterly insane money I had spent on it.  This time it was two pieces from Talley's Turnings.  I just loved his work at the Orlando show, but I resisted;  but the show-god sent him to this one so was clearly trying to tell me something.  The little stoppers come out and fit perfectly, they stand straight as a die and are lovely to touch.  These are turned from some sort of nut.  I am sorry I can't remember what.  I hope I recover from worrying about spending silly money on my hobby and just get to the stage of enjoying them guilt-free.





These were all from the same vendor.  She gave me a receipt, so I thought I had her name but, sadly, there was no name on the receipt.


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If you want to read about the Atlanta Show and find the link to all the goodies at the show:  Dollshouse Trips and Shows  


To read an account of my trip to Atlanta and follow a link to the Botanical Garden photo album:  My Clavering

There will be a published review of the show in Dolls House & Miniature Scene magazine at some time.



Thursday, 17 September 2015

Last of the buys I promise

OK, I promise you this is the last of the purchases ordered from the UK and coming to me here in the States.  Again, thanks to the kindness of an eBay seller we managed to do a deal on several items she had up for sale and she held on to them until I arrived here.  As a seller myself now and then, I know what a faff that is to do.  So five pieces for forty bucks including delivery and faff I think I scooped a bargain and I thank Carla.

If you like 'modern', seek out the great fifties/sixties classics out there made by Reac (?) in Japan.  Not easy to get hold of and a lot of them are discontinued.  Sadly, their wonderful office chair is one.  I really, really want that.

Right now I am trying to find the best place to buy the lounger and ottoman.  Prices and origins vary greatly so I am sussing out the possibilities.

Meanwhile as I said, here is what I have so far.....


five beautifully packed chairs

I have three Bofinger-Stuhls (Helmut Batzner, 1964)

.... and two Mezzadro Chairs (Achille Catiglioni, 1957)

I love the detail, even captured the wing nut

The reason my 'Georgian' house has them is that the Rec room is being furnished with Elizabeth's collection of retro furniture that she had in her London apartment which has just been sold.  See, there is a perfectly logical reason for everything once you have made up a story!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

American workroom

Having ordered a ton of kits to be delivered here in Naples (FL) I thought I'd bring a basic box of tools with me to allow me to build some of them.  It goes without saying I miss the luxury of a whole room of my own to work in like I have back home but I know a zillion people who work in bits of their home that they can snaffle now and then and create masterpieces so it won't kill me to utilise the end of the dining table for a while.




The trolley in the background was one I bought last year when I intended to do 48ths!  It is now defunct so I thought it might be a handy place to stow 'the work'.

The two mats on the table were a dollar for both from our local dollar shop - something to save the dining table?


Here is the sum total of kit I have here to work with.  Incidentally, I decided to have a go at one-step finishing the wood using Danish Oil as this was an oil with a stain and maybe would would work like the oil I had used at home on the ELF kits.

I never found out.  Even after applying a strong bloke (married to him) and pliers the top refused to come off.  It didn't however, refuse to leak.  The subsequent smell and mess made me decide to try another approach.  We took the Danish Oil back and swapped it for this:


The promise being you could wipe it on and surplus off and you would end up with stained furniture with a sheen.....

I made up a chair and struggled to wipe on and wipe off said stain.  It is a double cream consistency and very hard to apply on fiddly little things.  The chair was a simple shape so it would be hellish on something as complex as a grandfather clock.


The result was not a nice colour and uneven distribution and very little sheen.


You can see where it hasn't covered any glue spots - to be fair that's par for the course with any stain and I am determined to stain pieces first and hope that super-glue will do the job of joining up the bits.

I think it looks like it has been acrylic painted and the paint wiped off - yes! I have even tried that in the past.

The finishing kit which you can buy ($25) for this furniture has a four step process.  I did it on one piece four years ago and it was the right thing to do - the finish was excellent but I keep trying to be lazy and find a one-step method.  It would also help others to have a go if it was kept simple.  

Right now I am living in hopes that Minwix answers my query and suggests a product that actually works!  Suggestions welcome.





Saturday, 12 September 2015

12 Update on the house




I uploaded my twelfth video in my YouTube set of Dalton House videos and I clicked on an option to share it on Blogger - so I did.  Like magic it just dropped in here.  I am mighty impressed.

I also clicked on an option to share with my Circles - as far as I know I don't have any!  If I do I apologise to anyone who got this duplicated.....

You can tell I am mini bored over here already as I am scratching around for anything to do that's related.  I might have a go at assembling some of my House of Miniature kits.

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What I bought at the show

If you want to read about the Orlando Show that I went to last weekend you need to visit my Dolls House Trips and Shows blog.  Just click here:  Orlando Show.

It has taken me a while to realise I hadn't shared what I bought at the show....

For the first time ever I went loaded with money and the intention of having (pretty much) what I wanted but, sadly, I only bought a couple of things.  Equally sadly, because we left early,  I forgot to go back and buy a couple of other things I had seen but needed thinking time.  So I now have to get to a show with Tom Walden and Talley's Turnings on site.  Cunning plan.

My first purchase was something I have seen at a couple of shows and wanted and resisted.

This beaten brass coral will be a lovely piece of d├ęcor somewhere in my house.  I have thrust three pictures at you because I wanted to try and convey just how pretty it is.




It does seem to have a couple of minor 'creases' but it was the only one he had and, when asked for one, he had to rootle it out of a box from under the counter.  I am just happy to have it for the princely sum of $20.



I wanted you to see how good the scale is - lovely proportions.



... and with the light through it.

The maker is Ron Stetkewicz - do click on his name and check out his site he has some lovely things.  You really do need to see his father's ships!!!

He has followed in his father's miniature footsteps and, maybe, his young son will do the same.  I bought two of his first forays into the miniature market at the show:


This was not any sort 'encouragement' purchase, I actually intended to struggle with folding a paper plane in scale and anything else I could manage as it was something my son did/does and I wanted it represented in the house.  Why do that when a clever little chap has done it for me.  The scale, again, is lovely and I thank him for his patience.

The Little Dollhouse Company hails from Toronto - so that was a heck of a treck to Orlando.  This vendor is something of a whole show in themselves.  They have a phenomenal range of goodies made by all kinds of artisans some of which are displayed in a nifty rolling-shelf showcase.


This is a tiny portion of the zillion things they have with them on their main stand.

I only bought a couple of things.  The wine glasses are very nicely and finely made - thin-stemmed, uniform shapes, all precisely vertical and no wobbles and something of a bargain at six for thirty dollars.  Apologies for duff photo - but, basically, you know what a wine glass looks like.

wine glass seen through fog?

end of lipstick and tweezers

This is the moment where only mini people will get it....  I am incredibly thrilled with these tweezers.  They are a perfect in-scale replica of the ones I use and yes, they 'tweeze'.

So endeth the first Orlando show.







Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Christmas part two

Straight into the piccies..........

probably not going to be used now its 2015

pair of sofas to match the window seats

can never have too many chairs

my perfect 99 cent clock

complete with marble top (need another)

corner library chairs

no idea what to do with these

pair of demi-lune may now be surplus

more chairs

saw a real life one so wanted this

Post script:  I had just finished typing and posting yesterday's missive where I mentioned the missing window seat and, hey presto, my husband appeared with said package.  It had been held by our postie since June awaiting our return because the vendor had addressed it to me instead of my neighbour as arranged!  What a fantastic service - try that in the UK!

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Christmas comes early

I have just flown across the pond to an early Christmas. My neighbour arrived with a Santa sack - well, OK it's a posh rubbish bag - stuffed with goodies.

Ooooohh!
This is what was inside....



still ooohh!

While I was in the UK I had bought some absolute bargain House of Miniatures stuff from EBay.  Every one was a great.  I don't think there was anything over five dollars.  I even got a beautiful clock for ninety-nine cents.  Our super-duper neighbours below us took them in for us.

might have a pair of these???

this was a pricey buy - over $20 but I have always loved it

This is a complete chimney breast and fireplace in a very simple Adam style.

one down one to go

I bought one of the window seats from one person and another from someone else.  I particularly want one for each window in the sitting room so I need the pair for it to work.  The only problem is I am 'missing' is the other seat.  This is the only package to have gone astray.  I am on the case.

candle stand

This was a four-item deal where I wanted the other three, but I do like it

table with removable leaf

I can mess around with the size as you can add a centre leaf if I have space enough.

two boxes

I have four of these here, but I also have another two at home, so I have my set of six dining chairs.

OK, there were eight photos in this post and that's probably enough to go at.  Come back tomorrow for the other ten.

Why aren't there emoticons for blogs - I rarely use them - but right now I want a little row of smiley faces.