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Half scale accessories

I love the detail accessories add to a mini scene but don’t usually have the patience to make my own. That’s why I love participating in the Half Scale Yahoo Group‘s annual swap — I end up with dozens of accessories that I theoretically could have made myself, but never would. I just found homes for some of the items from this year’s swap and they look so good I was inspired to post pics.

The swap theme was shabby chic, which I’m not a huge fan of, but I guess my pastel puzzle house fits the bill. Up in the bedroom, this tray, vase with flower, and perfume jars came from the swap.

This little trunk looks nice in the nursery (which I should really get around to finishing one of these days…) The rug was from last year’s swap.

Heading downstairs, hutch in the kitchen off eBay a few years ago and it’s been empty ever since. The two gray cups, tea box, and cookbook came from the swap. The goblets are wood turnings I got at an estate sale. The bread box (which I may end up painting) is part of a Warwick Miniatures kitchen set that recently I got at a mini flea-market for a whopping $0.25. (I’m using some of the other items from the set in other kitchens.)

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Half scale kitchen canisters tutorial

For the second year in a row I participated in the Half Scale Yahoo Group swap. Last year the theme was “treasures in the attic” and I made record albums. This year the voting was very close between “shabby chic” and “kitchens” and since I have several kitchens that need to be filled up, that was my preference. When shabby chic won I figured what the heck, nearly half the participants wanted kitchen stuff, so I’ll make some anyway!

Once again this year we had to make 46 swap items, so I needed to find something that I could easily do assembly-line style without losing my mind (and without costing too much). I found a nice blog about creating miniature canisters out of dowels, with a button + seed bead for the lid.

I went to Joanns Fabrics to get my supplies. Dowels were easy, but I couldn’t find appropriate buttons. I wanted to make two canisters per participant so needed almost 100 buttons of a uniform size, and they just weren’t available — the ones that came in bulk were either too big, too small, or all different sizes mixed together. I would have had to buy 25 of the 4-button cards at a few dollars each, which was cost prohibitive. Then I stumbled across these “cardigan buttons” that were the right diameter.

Turned upside down, the part that normally sews onto a sweater looks like a handle on a lid, which saved me the extra steps of having to fill in the button holes and glue on a seed bead. I’ve thrown out the packages now and can’t find the buttons online, no idea what the brand name is. They were $0.99 for a package of nine (according to the label) and oddly several of the packages had 10 buttons in them. And they were on sale for buy one, get one free — so I spent about $5 on 100 buttons.

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My second Shapeways experience

Satisfied with my last experience shopping at Shapeways, I placed another order a few weeks ago. Pretty Small Things had just added some office type furniture to their shop including a file cabinet, which is an item I’d been wanting for the Rosedale’s home office. While I was at it I also ordered an industry stool and rolling desk to go under the window, and a few other pieces to take advantage of the flat rate shipping.

The order had an estimated shipping date of March 25, which came and went. When you log into your account and view your order, Shapeways shows you each item’s manufacturing status (Processing, In Production, and Complete). I kept an eye on it for a couple of days and noticed that the industry stool and file cabinet kept going from “in production” back to “processing”. On Monday I emailed to ask what was up and I got a response the next day saying that the stool had finally been successfully printed after several attempts, but the file cabinet would have to be canceled since it kept breaking. :(

The customer service rep did say that if the designer uploaded a new version of the file I’d be able to reorder it. Like last time, they asked if I wanted a credit or a refund through PayPal. With no new version of the file available, I opted for the refund. They apologized for the inconvenience and immediately shipped out the rest of my items.

The next day I got an email from Pretty Small Things letting me know that there was a new version of the file cabinet available. Argh! I emailed Shapeways again and asked if they’d waive shipping so I could reorder. And they did! One day later, my original order showed up — they’d upgraded it to overnight delivery. Once again: excellent customer service. I’ve placed my re-order for the file cabinet (plus a Windsor settee I was on the fence about ordering last time) and those are now showing as “in production”. Fingers firmly crossed, since that file cabinet was what I really wanted in the first place!

In the meantime, here are the rest of the goodies. The big splurge was this Eames chair (which comes with a matching ottoman). This is printed in color, and although the coarse texture isn’t quite right for the “wood” or the “metal” base, I think it makes the white part look convincingly like upholstery.

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Gull Bay shingles

A few weeks ago, when Geoff helped me cut holes for the dormers I’m adding to the Gull Bay, I had him cut rectangles. The Houseworks front-opening Victorian, which I have in my stash, uses the same kind of dormer and it comes with a rectangular hole, so I figured that was the way to go. But after the holes were cut I changed my mind and decided a peaked hole would be better to add in more light.

I taped the dormers in place and stuck a pencil through the window holes to draw around the inside of the dormer roof.

Then Geoff helped again with the jigsaw. He said I should learn how to use it, but he does *such* a good job…

With that taken care of, I got started on shingles. On my puzzle house I stained the shingles with Minwax Ebony and really liked how they turned out, so I planned to do the same with the Gull Bay. Fortuitously, my Ebony stain can was almost empty. When I went to the hardware store to buy more, I saw two new Minwax colors on the shelf – “Classic Gray” and “Weathered Oak”. Something about the “new color!” burst on the cans compelled me to buy them. (Marketing!!)

Here are swatches of all three – Ebony at the bottom, Classic Gray at the upper left, and Weathered Oak on the right. Once I saw them there, I really liked how the gray looked with the yellow paint.

I started by staining the roof. This is kind of unnecessary since the roof gets covered up with shingles, but I always do it on the change that a tiny bit of roof will show through somewhere.

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