How to see all posts

A number of people have found it difficult to see the whole blog. At the bottom of each page, there is a "newer post" and an "older post" link. just click on these to see more posts. There is also a list of pages by month in the left sidebar.

Friday, September 30, 2016

More ikebana, some ornamental trees and a kimono and stand

My first project for today was to put the bare bulb I forgot yesterday into the tokonoma. Now it's ready for when I find the battery connector.

The next project was to use another lampwork bead, some flowersoft and a tiny flower from an old kit to make another ikebana for the room with the Buddha.

Then I dug out some old Woodland Scenics tree forms I had gotten years ago, and tried to make some ornamental trees for the landscaping. One of the tree forms was white metal that I painted and shaped, and the other was plastic that can be bent and holds it's shape. After bending them into the best shapes I could get for ornamental trees, I glued Flowersoft onto the branches using Aleene's clear tacky glue. I think they might be kind of small for the scale of the house, but there isn't that much room for landscaping, so I'll see how they look when I get more landscaping materials.

Next, I made an origami kimono. It's way too big, but at least I know how to do it and can try again with smaller paper. I also spent hours making a kimono stand from memory of some I had seen on the internet. Unfortunately, that came out too big too. I measured carefully to what I thought would be a good size, but when I put it into the house, it looks huge!!!

I also tried making a coat hanger out of a paperclip to hang the kimono with. I didn't worry about it being straight because you wouldn't see it anyway.

I'm going to try to talk my husband into taking me to Hobby Lobby tomorrow, to see if they have any landscaping supplies. We used to be able to get them at our craft store in Ellsworth, Maine, but the lady who bought the store didn't tend to business, and it's closed now. I need basswood too. That's another thing we used to get at the closed craft store. Anyway, hopefully, I will be able to get some Landscaping stuff without sending away for it!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Installed top floor lights, electrified the portico and built battery boxes

Today I installed the lights in the top floor. The two ceiling lights are wired, the little shoji lamp in the irori room is wired, and there is a light in the bathroom. Unfortunately, I still haven't found the other battery connector, so I can't light it up yet. I also just realized that I forgot to put a light in the tokonoma, so maybe it's just as well I didn't hook everything up yet!

I finished the battery boxes today. These are now mounted on the back of the ryokan, one on each floor, so I can keep each floor independent from the others so I can move it more easily.

Here are two lights I made for the portico. The little sticks on the right one were straight. I guess the glue hadn't dried completely, and I must have moved them. I need to fix that tomorrow.

This is the back of the portico. In order to hide the holes where the wires to the lights went through, I glued on two jewelry findings. I was planning on putting the batteries at the bottom and making planters to hide the batteries in, but luckily before I did that, I remembered that the doors slide open, and I couldn't block the bottom with planters. Anyway, I made battery boxes above the doors instead. I left the wire and switch peaking out of the left hand side so you could see how they work. I will paint over the little bit of wire that is visible above the jewelry findings to camouflage it.

This is the house closed and lit. I only wish I could light the top floor!

The ryokan has essentially been finished for a while now, with the exception of the last two tiny armrests for the legless chairs, and permanently attaching the roof on the portico. The only parts of the kits I don't plan on making are the 50's style TV sets, and the 50's style overstuffed chairs. I guess I'm just not a 50's girl, even though I was born in 1952!

Anyway, today I finished the last two armrests, and installed the portico roof permanently. Before, I had just set it on top without gluing it because I knew I would be moving it around a lot, and it would be easier to work on without that heavy roof attached. The kit had a large slab of black modeling clay that you are supposed to spread out and push down into the wooden framework below the tiles. This gives you more surface area to attach the roof, and it doesn't show from underneath.

I also strengthened the bottom posts of the portico, since they seemed to like to come loose with a lot of moving. The kit gave you two little wire things to push up through the bottom and into the bottom of the posts. I enlarged the holes and glued cut off toothpicks in to hold them more firmly to the base, and it's much sturdier now.

Tomorrow I will put a light into the last tokonoma, and make more accessories. I will need to start getting some landscaping soon!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Got the second floor rewired, and worked on the lighting agan

Today I finished rewiring the second floor, so the ryokan is back together again except for the parts of the stairs that have to be removed every time I take it apart. I also made another light for the top floor, put a nano chip into the crooked little floor lamp I built last winter, started making lamps to go on either side of the portico, and started making battery boxes to go on the back of the ryokan.

This is a closeup of the lamp I made for the kitchen.

This is the one in the reception room.

Here is the one in the spa.

This is the a photo of all the lights lit, and the photo below is a closeup of the two floors that are wired. I definitely need to tone down the light in the phonebooth, but that will be easy. All you need to do with LEDs is to paint them with a little acrylic paint! I love the fact that they don't get hot, so they can be used anywhere.

I still haven't found the battery connector thing for the third floor lights though. :-(

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

More electricity, and I made more lamps

Today was a funny day. It has been cold here for about a week, and today was a dark and damp day, so it was really quiet. Most of the day, I worked on electrifying lamps and making more. It's funny, because I have been planning on using my die cutting machine to make some lamps, and today I actually made some that way. When I got home and was ready to do another blog post, I saw a comment from my online mini friend Jodi, suggesting that I use the die cutter to make lamps. I guess great minds think alike!

Anyway, it was so slow today, that I took all the levels apart on the ryokan, so I could wire the bottom floor. The roof was just sitting on top of a table in the shop, and the other two floors were on the floor of the shop. I got the bottom floor all done, then decided to rewire the middle floor, because I had forgotten to hook the telephone booth light into the middle floor wiring. By the time I started this, we started getting all kinds of company and customers, and my shop was a mess of ryokan parts!!! :-0

Anyway, we were there late, so I didn't get a good photo of the lights I made today. I'll try to take some better photos tomorrow!

This is the little fake stone lantern I made a while ago from the kit. One of the great things about those Pico LED Nano Chip lights is that they are so tiny I could put the little chips in through the tiny holes in the lantern!

This lantern will be out in the garden, so I added some fake moss to it. I will play with the moss again tomorrow when it has had time to dry, and try to make it more realistic. The outside lights are each wired into their own 3 volt coin cell thingy. I figured if I kept them separate, I could arrange them any way I want when I get around to landscaping.

This is the bottom floor all wired. The rest of the floors are all sitting around the shop waiting to be put back together. These are the three lights I made today. For the one in the kitchen, I drew a triangle shaped piece with a flat top, and copied it four times with heavy metallic copper card stock, and four times with rice paper for the lining. There are holes cut into the copper paper so the light shines through.

For the other two lights, I used a couple of my dies for card making and my die cutter, then lined them with rice paper. I was trying to make something besides shoji style lamps. They do look like copper in real life, and are very sturdy. I'll try to take better photos tomorrow. Hopefully, I will also get the middle floor rewired,

I'm sort of bummed out. I can't find the 9 volt battery holder thingy for the third floor, so I won't be able to light that floor until I either find my other one, or send for a new one. Sometimes I swear there are little gremlins who sneak in and make things disappear!!!

Oh yeah, the little Van Brode Mexican man is holding down the fort for the owner, while he goes out to get supplies!

Monday, September 26, 2016

Got the lighting, and lit part of the house up today!

Today I got my lighting stuff from . I got reels of positive and negative wire and 5 3-volt nano chip lights in the pico, or tiniest size, (This size is great for our minis, it lights up a lot more than you would expect, even though you can barely see the tiny chip)! I got those 5 chips as kits containing the battery holder, switch and a coin battery. I also got two more room lighting kits, (1.8 mm LEDs), shrink tubing, 5 9-volt and 5 3-volt pico nano chips without the whole kit, 3 sizes of fiber optics, and 5 9-volt and 5 3-volt 1.8 mm LEDs.

I'm glad that I got such a wonderful variety of sizes and voltages, because I am finding a use for all of them.

I made this light for outside the portico. It is quite tall, and the pico nano chip lights it up really well. The paper looks a little wonky, but I wanted to leave two sides so I could remove them in case I ever need to access the lighting.

I can't believe I forgot to turn off the flash on my camera's phone when I took this picture, but you can still see the middle floor lit up. It was pretty exciting, because this is my first attempt to electrify a house!

Darn, just now I noticed that I forgot to hook up the light in the phone booth!!! That stinks, because it means I will have to hook it up to a separate battery.

I put those little Van Brode figures that I bought yesterday in, just so I could judge sizes for when I want to get dolls for the house. As I figured, these are too tiny, but I left them in because they were having such a good time having an international festival in the ryokan! :-D

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Got a soldering kit so I can work on lighting, also some miniatures

Today we went off the island to go grocery shopping. Our Radio Shack is having a close out sale, so I went in and bought this soldering kit at 60% off so I will be ready to work on the lights for my ryokan. The tracking says the lighting will arrive tomorrow, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed!

We also stopped in to a little antique/vintage shop, and I saw these figures. They are marked "Van Brode Clinton, Mass". I looked them up and saw that they were included in the company's cereal in the 1950's.

They are about 2" tall, and there are a lot more of them available. I got these six for $1 each. At some point, it might be quite fun to paint them, and make a miniature theater roombox, with backdrops of the countries they represent. I could make little platforms on either side of the stage with the figures waiting in the wings for their turn to perform.

They aren't very expensive or rare, so I don't think I would mind painting them, and it would be a fun project!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Screen and other items for the ryokan

I had a more successful day today. This morning I ordered a bunch of LED bulbs, wire, battery housings, shrink tubing, and other things so I can do more lighting. It will be good to finally see the lights I finished lit up, and to make more!

I also made a few more items.

The first thing I made was a screen. It is two sided so I can use it in different rooms, depending on the color. It isn't going to be in this room, I just stuck it in there for the photograph. This side has blue chiyogami paper.

This is the opposite side in pink.

Another thing I hadn't done was to put the fabric covers over the mirrors on the dressing tables. These are the same two dressing tables, but the chiyogami paper "fabric" shows up better in one photo, and it lays better in the other. I need to look up why the mirrors are supposed to be covered though. That's one of the reasons I love building this house, it lets me learn about different cultures and traditions!

I built a large lantern for the outside of the ryokan. It's not completely glued together yet though, because I have to wait until the bulbs get here, so it looks a little wonky in this photo. I used a patterned mulberry paper, and will wait to see it lit before I decide whether or not to add little sticks to make it into a shoji lantern.

This is the handwashing basin I made yesterday. I'm still not quite sure what I want to do with it. It needs more "water" in it, but I'm waiting for the first layer to dry before I add more. The little vase thing is kind of interesting because it has those drain holes in the top, and a large hole below. (It's just like the vase I put the umbrellas into the other day). Anyway, I am trying to find some small bamboo "pipes" to make water come into the top. Then I want to use another bamboo "pipe" in the hole in the bottom, and make it look like the water goes down from the vase into a stone basin below. I'm not sure how it will look, but the vase is so neat that I want to find something imaginative to do with it. I need to do something to the dipper. It looks kind of strange with a bamboo handle and a fimo cup on the end!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Worked on more accessories today

I'm not terribly excited about what I made today. I made cushions for the last pair of legless chairs, and another set of armrests, used some origami paper to simulate fake yukatas, (everyday kimonos), to fold up and put in the cubby holes in the changing room, finished the inkstone and calligraphy brush for the desk in the reception area, found some tiny stone fish and put them in the kitchen, and made a long handled ladle, and worked on a "granite" tsukubai, or hand washing basin that will sit outside the door to the ryokan.

The inkstone and calligraphy brush look really huge on the desk. I will probably make different ones at some point, because I'm not happy with these.

I have a bunch of tiny stone fish in my stash, and thought I'd try two of them on the table in the kitchen, but I don't really like them on there. The fish are really cool though, so I will probably try to use them in some other way.

The yukata look too tiny in the cubbies, but they aren't that bad, I'll leave them for now.

I didn't show the tsukubai, because it isn't quite finished, and I'm not sure I'm happy with that either.

I think I need to send for some things so I have more to work with. Making do with found objects isn't always satisfying, but waiting for packages is really fun. Maybe it will get me out of the doldrums!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Worked on more accessories today

I worked on a lot of accessories for the ryokan today. The first thing I did was to add some tiny sticks to the stove. I like it better now!

The next thing I tried to do was to add some burnt sticks to the irori. I actually tried to burn some real sticks, but the only lighter I could find was an almost empty one that I use to light candles when the power is out. I got a few burnt, but not enough before the lighter stopped working, so I'll have to try to remember to get a lighter tomorrow. I did add some vegetables to the little pot that hangs over the irori. I used paper glaze to glue them in. The other bowl is one of my sushi bowls. The wax I used to hold everything in isn't noticeable in real life, but it shows up a lot in the photo.

I'm trying to work on something for the other rooms besides the kitchen at this point, so I decided to put some of the cocktail umbrellas from my stash into an umbrella holder. They really look too big, and I think I will age them a bit because they are too bright for my taste. The holder is also from my stash. I'm not sure what it is supposed to be. It is wooden, and has five tiny holes inside, that I stuck the ends of the umbrellas into. It also has a big hole drilled into the back side of it. I have no idea what that is for, but it is an interesting piece, and the five little holes were great for arranging the umbrellas. I don't like the design I put on it, but I'm not much of an artist, so it will have to do until I get some nice Japanese vases and things to replace it with.

I hung the scroll I made from the kit last winter in this room. I need to print some more designs out so I can make scrolls for the other rooms.

This is what happens when someone distracts you. While I was staining these buckets and barrels, we had some company. I stuck them in the house quickly, then forgot to paint the bands around them after the company left. I never noticed it until Just now!!! I'm not sure yet what the barrels will "contain", but they are in there waiting for a decision.

There is a little ink stone in one of the books that came with the kit. I think it was supposed to be made with paper, but I made mine from Fimo. It will go on the receptionist's desk. The calligraphy brush is made from the end of one of the umbrellas. (I trimmed the umbrellas down when I put them in the stand). The other things are very tiny Fimo cups I made. The Fimo stuff is waiting to be baked. I like to wait until I have quite a lot of stuff before I bake. Hopefully I will have enough done tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Ikebana, chopsticks, tables and food

What I did today was more successful than what I did yesterday. I built two tables, made chopsticks, and tried my first attempt at ikebana, as well as playing with my fimo sushi. I tried adding rice to the sushi I made yesterday using liquid sculpey, and tried to make some of the sushi shiny with the liquid sculpey. The rice didn't stick, and the sushi didn't get that shiny, wet look that I see on the internet, so I made the sushi look wetter using a paper glaze stuff that I use on my greeting cards. The sushi I tried to stick rice to was so tiny that it didn't matter that the rice didn't stick.

I made the chopsticks using some really really tiny sticks left over from the kits. They look better than they would with toothpicks, but they are still heavier than I would like them.

I don't know a lot about ikebana, but I like the looks of what I made.

I am really glad I always save the punchouts from the windows when I build other dollhouses, because they are the perfect size for table tops, and saved me a lot of time.

This photo shows the ikebana in the dragon room tokonoma, as well as showing that the dish has more to eat in it than it did yesterday.

This room has one of the tables I made today, and the other ikebana. This one has the most artistically arranged food in it, with vegetable sticks and chopsticks, but I forgot to take a close up of it in my food photo lower down on this page.

This shows the kitchen table I made today. I tried to simulate marble for the top of it. I also added a couple of tiny paring knives, and some sushi being prepared for guests.

Another plate of sushi with some chopsticks in the irori room.

More sushi in this room.

This shows all except the best plate of sushi. All the food is only in there with wax so I can change it out if I want to later. The first dish is not artistic at all. I am going to change that one. The second one is the sushi being prepared for the guests. The third and fourth ones are more artistic.

Those big pieces of sushi are supposed to have salmon on top. They aren't red like it shows in the photo, they really are salmon and white, but I used too much white and not enough salmon color. Oh well, I guess we learn from our mistakes. :-)

This is my first attempt at ikebana. I've been trying to think of something to use for vases, then I saw some vases in the books that came with the kits, and they reminded me of some lampwork beads I have, so I used those.

The blue one stands on it's own, but the green one, I had to stick into a crystal button that is shaped like a dish. It does look like a vase in a saucer in the ryokan. I made the flowers from some kits I bought years ago. They are really incredibly tiny! The other flower things are florists wire dipped in glue and then into flower soft that I had for my card making, and some Woodland Scenics turf. The leaves are slivers of scrapbook paper.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Made more sushi today

It didn't come out well though. The sushi that came out well looks too much like the sushi I made yesterday. Even though it uses different colors, it is too small to tell the difference. I tried making some rolled up sushi, (rolled up like jelly rolls), but it wasn't great. I tried to coat it with "rice", but the "rice" didn't stick, so I will try sticking it on with liquid sculpey tomorrow. I tried another kind with raw salmon on top, but the salmon came out too light. I guess I need to practice some more.

Anyway, I put some sushi from yesterday into my lacquer ware, just so the dishes wouldn't be empty. It's only in there with wax so I will be able to take it out later when I make chopsticks and some better food. The photo is below.

I don't think it was my day today, because I got my loaner phone from T-Mobile today. My last one was a Galaxy Note 7 exploding phone. I am getting a non-exploding Note 7 when they are available, because it was a wonderful phone. (Except for the explosive part). I'm glad I got the loaner, (Galaxy S7 Edge), but when I got home, I went to log in to my wifi, and I don't remember my password. :-( Here at my house, there is no cellular signal except for a very faint and unreliable one from the ATT tower in Manset, Maine, so I can't use it without wifi. Anyway, it's going to stink if I have to reset my router, and then set it up again.

Well, I'm off to look at sushi, so I can try some better stuff tomorrow. One thing good about a bad day, is that probably tomorrow will be much better!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Lacquerware, teapots and sushi canes

Today I finished a few imitation lacquerware dishes. I also decided to add some tiny lampwork teapot beads from my stash. I put a few of those into each room so those rooms wouldn't look so bare. Two of the rooms I added them to are in the top picture, and two in the bottom one.

I'm going to make a larger table for the gold room in the photo above. There were only two tables for the three tatami rooms. There is supposed to be a futon in one of the rooms rather than a table, but I really don't like the looks of the futons as much as I do the tables, so if I do a futon, it will be at a later date. You can see the little ivory lantern I showed yesterday, on the stand in this room.

The photo above shows my first attempts at Fimo sushi canes. I made two different kinds, but they are so tiny I can't see the difference in them without using a magnifying glass. At least now I know I can make them easily, so I will be able to make some more that don't look quite so much like these. From the amount of canes I haven't sliced up yet, I can see that I will have a never ending supply of sushi!

Friday, September 16, 2016

More kitchen accessories and some tiny treasures

Today I added more of the things I had in my stash, and finished the hangers for the kitchen extension. I think they add a lot to it and make it look much more like someone lives here. I also painted some dishes black with red inside to simulate lacquer ware, and some other containers white, I will try to decorate those at a later date. I need to research Japanese designs first.

A long time ago, I went to an auction at a house down the road from me. There was a box of old and sort of trashy sewing stuff, and I was the only one who bid on it. I got it for a song, and was hoping there would be something neat inside.

I was in luck! These very tiny carved ivory things were in there. One is a carved and painted little lantern. It looks like it was attached to something at one time, but now, all that is left is the tiny lantern thing on the left in the photo. I put that on one of the dressers in one of the tatami rooms, and it looks like a vase or something. At some point, I may hang it like a lantern, but it looks kind of cool as a vase.

The next ivory item is an egg. It screws apart in the center, and has a tiny chicken inside. I wish I could have gotten a better picture of these with my phone.

The other item is shaped like a bullet. It had chinese writing painted on it, but that is mostly worn off. When you screw the end off, it contains three very tiny dice with little dots on each side. I may try to find someplace in the ryokan where I can put the egg and bullet thing at some point, because they are very cool. In the meantime, I thought I would show them off here, because, after all, they are miniatures!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Adding some copper accessories

Today I was going through my boxes of stuff I've had forever, and I came across a lot of copper things. Not everything is really in scale with each other, but it does make the ryokan look more "lived in", so I will use it until I can replace some of the things that are really out of scale. (The knives are really huge compared to the pans, but I'll keep them there until I find or make some better ones).

The pans and things on the walls are stuck up there with wax, just so I could decide where to put them. Over the copper pans on the left, I made something to hang pots on, and I am working on more of those so I can hang more things on each wall. They are a narrow strip of wood which I stained. Next, I drilled tiny holes and glued common pins in each hole to act as hangers. The pins were cut off quite short, and then I glued the first one to the wall. I will hang the pots on it tomorrow, once the glue has had time to harden. There will be a matching hanger at the same level on each section of wall.

The "pans" over the sink are actually some jewelry findings that my granddaughter saw when we went to the craft stores in August. They were meant to hold cabachons, but they really do look like pans!

The copper pails were also in the box of stuff I've had for years, and I think they look cute in and under the sink. I had a lot more of the copper, but I gave it away a couple of years ago. Now I wish I still had it, because some of the pieces were really unusual. I'm not thrilled with the broom, but it helps fill the kitchen up.

Here is some more of the copper. The cups are really large compared to the other things, but they are pretty, so I have them in there for now. There is also a copper pan with two handles, and two deep bowl things that also have two handles. The copper items on the cabinet on the right are a pitcher and a thing that looks kind of like a spittoon.

I'm not sure where everything will end up eventually, but at least the main part of the kitchen is a little less bare now.

I put another little copper bucket under the sink in the changing room. As I look at these pictures, I am realizing that I still have a lot of things left to do to the ryokan, but that is good, because I love working on it!