The Den of Slack

Half scale how-to: jam, brie, crackers, and a champagne bottle

Swap time is rolling around on the Half Scale Minis Group and I have an idea I’m excited about, but of course I won’t be able to talk about it for a few months.

While I was thinking about this I realized that I posted about the basket I made for the last swap, but never showed how I made the goodies inside the basket. Luckily I prepared all of the pictures already. Now let’s see if I can remember the steps…

My swap item was a Northern California gift basket containing a jar of jam, a brie wheel, a box of crackers, and a bottle of champagne.

I made the jam jars out of Lite Brite pegs. I got the idea from this Joann Swanson tutorial, which is mostly about creating bottles from Christmas lights, but also has instructions for making bottles and jars out of acrylic rods.

I shopped for Lite Brite pegs on eBay and soon realized that different sized and shaped pegs were sold in different years. The ones I bought are from the 1960s and they’re 1 1/8″ inches long.

I separated out the colors that could realistically be jam.

Using my razor saw and miter box, I cut off the pointed tips, and then cut a 1/4″ length. I saved the pointed tips to use as gum drops in the candy shop I’ll build one of these days. Never throw anything away!

I sanded the raggedy edges with an emery board.

Next, I cut the legs off of silver mini brads to make the lids.

These are exactly the right size to slip over the top of the jar.

I made the labels by shrinking down pictures off the Wild Pear Co. website. This is a local business that sells jam at the farmer’s market. The flavors I picked are strawberry, apricot, pomegranate, and pineapple.

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Turret House — floral trim and corbels continued

Continuing with the floral trim, I wanted to add it to the bump-out on the side of the house. I did this on my original Queen Anne Rowhouse, but painted the roof instead of shingling it.

This time I decided to shingle the roof. Not my best work.

The problem here was that I measured the first two rows, but I eyeballed the top row. These are partial shingles and I should have cut off a bit more so the spacing between rows would look more uniform.

I thought I could fix it by adding one more row of shingles at the top, but that might have made it worse?

Here’s how it looks with the trim.

In hindsight I wish I’d mitered these corners. When I originally cut the pieces, I had *just* enough and couldn’t be picky about where in the design the side pieces came from. I figured there was no point in mitering the corners if the designs wouldn’t match up anyway. But since I ended up buying more trim, I should have cut new side pieces, matched up the designs, and mitered those corners. Alas.

This is a piece of roof trim I had left over. I originally bought this for the Victorianna but ended up not using it, and then I cut the tips off of some of it to use on the front facade. The remaining piece is just long enough to fit here.

Luckily, I never throw anything away! Before I decided not to use this on the Victorianna, I had cut a few small pieces that I saved. This gave me enough for the two side edges. I painted the trim gold.

But I don’t think gold is right. Maybe it should be blue? Since this is similar to a railing, I’m going to hold off on finishing this until I do the railings. I think the railings will be blue, but not 100% sure yet.

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Turret House – floral trim and corbels

I like how resin trims and appliques can be used on dollhouses to emulate the accents on Queen Anne Victorians. These are the Four Seasons houses, located at Waller and Masonic in San Francisco (image credit Wikipedia).

I tried to do something similar on my original Queen Anne Rowhouse, using resin trims from Unique Miniatures and 1:12 trims from Victorian Dollhouse Wood Works.

It doesn’t have the delicacy of the trims on the San Francisco houses (or the Little Belle, for that matter), but I like the idea and was thinking about this when I picked out trims for the Turret House.

I wanted to use a resin trim on the 1/2″ front surfaces of the porch ceilings, but I couldn’t find anything I liked that was the right size. (The flower and vine trim on the Queen Anne Rowhouse’s gable is 1/2″ tall, but I couldn’t find it in stock anywhere.) I ended up using laser cut trim with gold paint behind it.

On the sides of the house there’s a 5/16″ strip under the roof, overhanging a larger piece of 1/2″ trim.

Lawbre carries this 5/16″ resin trim. It comes in a package of three.

When cutting it, I couldn’t make the cuts just anywhere — I had to be careful to make sure the design would be nicely centered and not abruptly cut off at the edges. The three pieces gave me *exactly* enough trim to use under the roof on the sides and back of the house, above and below the roof of the dining room bump-out, and above the front door.

After painting it blue, I went over the details with red and gold.

Here’s how it looks on the front door. This space is slightly taller than 5/16″, but the crack at the top is camouflaged by the shadow.

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