The Den of Slack

Brackets from JMG Miniatures

I haven’t done anything with the Victorianna since October when I worked on the porch. I wasn’t happy with the sunburst brackets, especially at the short ends. I thought it might look better to use brackets that curve inward, so they form an arch when they’re so close together.

Right around this time I placed a order that included a pair of small dragon corbels, intending to use one of the corbels to cover up a gap in the downstairs staircase (more on that later in this post). I used the extra to make the faux rake for the Four Seasons Roombox.

These brackets are made of cardstock, not wood, but they’re pretty sturdy and I like the detail. The manufacturer’s website has several more styles than are on, in different sizes, at half the price. Unfortunately, ordering directly from JMG Miniatures turned out to be a frustrating experience. In the interest of full disclosure, there’s an explanation of what happened down at the bottom of the post.

Here’s how the new bracket looks compared to the original bracket. I like how the curve compliments the sunbursts over the window trim, rather than competing with them like the original brackets did.

Paint scrapes off these brackets more easily than wood. Also, a layer of paper sluffed off two of the spokes on the dragon corbel (making them dangerously skinny). The same thing happened with the other dragon bracket when I painted it for the rake, but it didn’t happen with the webbed brackets I’m using on the porch, which aren’t quite as delicate.

Like with the window trim, I love how the curves of the brackets compliment the curved pediment over the door.

They blend in more than the original brackets, almost getting lost when you look at the house from a distance. I think that’s okay? They give the tops of the posts a nice shape.

And this looks much better to me than the two sunbursts did in this small space.

Moving inside, here’s the gap that needed to be filled at the bottom of the stairs. I didn’t like the thought of running baseboard all the way to the newel post.

Instead, I ran baseboard to the edge of the wallpaper and used the dragon bracket to cover up the rest of the gap. The staircase to the right of the bracket is flush with the floor so it doesn’t need a baseboard or anything.

I added teeny tiny baseboard pieces to the other side of the fireplace, too.

Now that this is all finished, the off-center fireplace looks kind of odd. Maybe I should have bashed this piece of wall to put the fireplace in the center. I’ll add a small table or fireplace tools or a vase or something, to balance it out.

I took this opportunity to play with the dining room furniture I bought for this room, which I haven’t posted pictures of yet. Ironically, with the table there you can’t even see the new bracket and baseboard…

Okay, so here’s what happened when I placed an order with JMG Miniatures:

I placed the order on November 4, my credit card was charged… and then nothing happened. I got an order confirmation but no shipping notification. On November 12 I emailed to ask when the order would ship. No answer. A day or two later I tried again through the contact form on the website. No answer. On November 19 I called the number on their site and left a voice mail with my phone number. No return call.

On November 28 I sent another email, this time copying the owner’s personal email (which is given on the outgoing voicemail message) and said I was going to initiate a chargeback with my credit card company the next day if I didn’t hear anything. He called me within half an hour, very apologetic, and said he was going to send it out by UPS with a tracking number. He also offered to let me pick out an acrylic chandelier off their site as an apology, which was above and beyond what I expected.

I finally received the package on December 9, opened it up, and… the items inside were wrong! Undecided about which brackets I wanted to use, I had ordered two different styles — the vineyard bracket and the webbed bracket. I’d ordered enough of the small sizes to do every section of the porch, and also ordered one set each of the big sizes so I’d have the option of using the bigger ones on the entryway. Instead of receiving five small packs and one large pack of each design, I got five packs of small webbed brackets, one pack of small vineyard brackets, and six packs of large webbed brackets. The packing slip was correct; someone made a mistake when they packed it.

By this point I was so frustrated — and even embarrassed to be complaining after they’d sent me a free gift as an apology — that I wrote to tell them about the mistake and said I didn’t want to mess with it anymore. I didn’t get a reply. Of course, I didn’t ask for one, but it ended the whole drawn-out exchange on a bad note.

I don’t want to badmouth a small business for what was hopefully a fluke. Human error happens. I’ve worked in customer service, so I know firsthand that sometimes a simple attempt to buy something online turns into a comedy of errors. But in spite of that, by using JMG Miniatures’ product on my dollhouse and blogging about it, I’m implicitly endorsing them. If even one person is going to think about ordering from JMG Miniatures because you saw their brackets on my Victorianna, I want you to know the whole story first. Caveat emptor.


  1. Dear Emily…the new brackets are definitely better in shape and design for this house project than the sunburst brackets especially on the short side of the porch. It is a lovely improvement and serves as a reminder to all of us that we shouldn’t settle when something strikes us as out of proportion. Looking forward to seeing more! Cheers, Alayne

  2. You are so talented. Nice job. Love this house.

  3. I agree the new brackets look so much better. If you want to make them stand out more, building them up with some strip wood to make a larger right angle could work but I love how they look as is.

    As for your buying experience, yeesh. I haven’t purchased from them but if you’re looking for full or half scale I’ve had very good luck with Victorian Dollhouse Woodworks as well as Heritage Laserworks.

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