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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roomboxes

When I started miniatures, I bought a dollhouse. Eventually I bought 4 one-inch scale dollhouses and ran out of room for them. I've sold most of my one inch scale dollhouses, but hung on to a few one inch scale projects I just couldn't let go of. Roomboxes seemed to be the answer for these projects (yet to be completed), but finding the perfect roombox proved to be a challenge.

I've also made mistakes when buying roomboxes. The ones to avoid are ones without a plexiglass cover. You need the plexiglass to prevent dust accumulation. You still need to dust the outside of the box, but at least the contents are virtually dust free.

Another consideration is the size and materials used for construction of the roombox.
  • Figure out your needs (what will go in there) and measure, measure, measure. For one inch scale, you need at least 9" high walls to accommodate for curtains, moldings, ceiling lighting mixtures etc.
  • Some boxes come with glass, others with plexiglass or acrylic. Both types can develop cracks, but plexiglass is lighter and less fragile than glass, but can sometimes be more expensive than glass.
  • The thickness of the plywood or MDF used will determine how heavy the box is. The typical roombox is made from 3/8" thick MDF or plywood---sturdy, but heavy if you have a big box. This can be an issue when moving around the item (a consideration for me since I'm only 5' tall and underdeveloped biceps). On the other hand, you don't want something really thin and flimsy and can't handle the contents of your project.
  • Plywood takes up paint easily. MDF takes many coats of paint for coverage, but is easier to wallpaper because it has very smooth surface.
Here is a sampling of roomboxes:
  • My favorite is from Real Good Toys. Hobby Builders Supply (http://www.miniatures.com/) has the best prices especially if you sign up for their newsletter for special sales notices. The boxes are made of MDF, but come pre-painted. You can put them together in 5 minutes. There is a plexiglass cover. They appear sturdy, but are lightweight. Only downside is limitation in sizes, and if you want to add lights, you have to drill a hole or route to hide the wiring.
QuickBuild™ Mini Display Box
Quick Build Mini Display Boxes:
Mini (#9040):  5 3/4"W x 6 5/8"D x 5 7/8"H
Small (#9041):  8 3/4"W x 6 5/8"D x 9 3/8"H
Medium (#9042): 10 3/4"W x 6 5/8"D x 9 3/8"H
Large (#9043): 15 1/4"W x 10 3/8"D x 10"H

These are Real Good Toys roomboxes with fancy laser cut trims, made of 1/4" MDF, comes unfinished, all are 15 1/4"W x 10 1/2"D x 10 9/16"H.

Victorian Room Box   Victorian
 Colonial Room Box    Colonial
Americana Room Box  Americana

These roomboxes from Scale Creations come with grooves to hide electrical wiring. Prices include free shipping to USA. Made from fine plywood. http://ccwmfg.tripod.com/
standard roombox

You can get a roombox with a drawer base beneath and pre-cut outs for windows from Steve Harvey Miniatures (http://www.steveharveyminiatures.com/?p=design1)
Single room, version B   Duplex as it comes standard

You can get a custom roombox to your taste: http://creativeroomboxes.com/shop/
Blossom Time  Gracious Living  Kyla's Haven

I love these (available through Lynlott Miniatures http://www.dollhousejunction.com/product/2877.aspx), but they are in Pennsylvania and shipping is at least $25:
Room Boxes Extrordinaire!

Robin Betterley Birdhouses

These are free printies from Robin Betterley's blog, Star Feather Farms (http://starfeatherfarm.blogspot.com/2011_03_01_archive.html).

1- Under April 2011 archives  are : Pink Easter birdhouse, Checkered Heart birdhouse (pink & blue version)  scroll all the way down to see the downloadable printies.

2- Under March 2011 archives are: Tall birdhouse, Old birdhouse, Bee Cottage, and Lady Bug Birdhouses

Under the March 2011 archive you can also see pics of a QS Sunflower Garden vignette in an Altoid tin case---very cute.

Betterley Secret Books

Calling all MicroMini fanatics! Robin and Shawn Betterleys' Secret Books series now complete (almost). There are two more books planned but not yet revealed.

Here is a listing of the Secret Book series (http://www.robinbetterley.com/secret%20books/secretbooks.html)

1- The Fairy Princess Amme
2- Castle Spells
3- A Thrilling Halloween
4- A Visit from St. Nick
5- Herbs and Teas
6- Birchwood
7- Bunny Tails
8- Cabin Fever
9- Liberty & Freedom
10- Sweet Annie's Storybook
11- Adventures of Lydia Miss Pickett
12- Flutterbye Butterfly
14- Loaf & Ladle

All book kits  are 144 scale or smaller, except Loaf & Ladle which is quarter scale. All books have separate interior furnishings for sale except for A Visit from St. Nick which comes with a Xmas tree printie for embellishment. There is also a table/shelf to hold all the books.

Quarter Scale Bliss Houses

Cynthia Howe Miniatures now offers reproduction Bliss Houses in quarter scale. The houses average 6-7" high and 5" wide. The kits come with house structure, base for house, furniture, some accessories and landscape material (varies with each kit), all for $140 (shipping separate). Sign up for her newsletter to learn when newest kit is available and for special sales notices (usually on her Bespaq line).

This is a listing of the Bliss houses in the order offered. There will eventually be 12 houses and more to create your own Bliss Street.  See website for more details & to purchase.  http://cynthiahoweminiatures.com/shop/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=21

1- Keyhole house
Quarter Scale Bliss Keyhole House Class/Kit
2- Stained glass house
Second Quarter Scale Bliss House Class/Kit
3- Balcony house
Our Third Quarter Scale Bliss House Class/Kit

Free Printies

Here's a great set of free printies, courtesy of Country Living magazine.

http://www.countryliving.com/cm/countryliving/data/CH-CL-Ephemera1.5.pdf

http://www.countryliving.com/cm/countryliving/data/CH-CL-Ephemera2.5.pdf

Paper Toys

Everything on this website is truly free, no strings attached. A lot of great printies that can be used for minis or real life, just reduce to scale desired.

http://www.thetoymaker.com/2Toys.html

Paper Minis

You can create a lot of dollhouse miniatures with ordinary paper and "printies." Paper Minis by Ann Vanture provides a lot of printies for this purpose. She also makes wonderful kits for making your own DH books.

Sign up for her newsletters, and you will automatically receive free printies from her every week or other week. All printies are provided in PDF format and is a breeze to save and print. Most printies will be sized for 1", half scale, quarter scale, or doll scale (1:3 or 1:6). February is the month where for every $5 spent in her shop, you receive an equal mount of printies from her stash (she says they're not to her standards, but I couldn't see anything wrong with them).

The newsletters provide announcements for new kits on offer, special sales, interesting sites around the web (focusing on miniatures, of course). She has a gingerbread decorating contest (printie on her site) every yr where you can win a $75, $50 etc gift certificate from her website based on who gets most votes from her readers. Last year (2010), only three people entered the contest, so they all won something.  She has also started a contest for people who submit the best printie (voted by newsletter readers) and they also get a gift certificate to use on her products.

You can really accumulate quite a bit over time. Check it out.
http://www.paperminis.com/

Fireside Stitchery

If you're looking for reasonably priced 22 mesh  canvas or silk gauze for petit point, this store has the best prices for these items. Look under "unpainted canvas." Shipping is free if you purchase $35 or more; $4.95 for orders less than $35. If you sign up for the newsletters, you will get notification of periodic 20% discount specials, which decrease the price even further.

Of course, to get these good prices, you need to buy in fairly large quantities (1/4 yd or more). If you only want to buy small amounts, check out ebay, microstitchery.com, janet granger's website, felicity price miniatures (mesh canvas only, she calls it "etamine"), and natalia frank ("scarlet sails miniatures").

http://www.firesidestitchery.com/fs/upcanvas/index.cfm?fuseaction=getupcanvasList&CategoryId=63

Widget Supply

This is one of my favorite stores for buying supplies, especially tweezers, hemostats, and the like. They have all sorts of items for the crafter/hobbyist. Prices are better than Hobby Lobby, Michaels, and Joanns, and shipping is not outrageous. They have different specials every month. Check it out---you may not leave the site for a long time.

http://www.widgetsupply.com/

Joan Adams Miniature Rugs

I recently purchased a Joan Adams catalog of her miniature rug charts. Joan Adams designed numerous charts for dollhouse miniature rugs to petit point or punch needle in the 1980s-1990s. I am a fan of her work because they are detailed, but many of her rugs can be stitched on 22-30 count mesh canvas whereas many petit point rugs for dollhouse miniatures have high counts, and in order to be reasonably sized for the typical dollhouse, requires stitching on 40 count or higher. She also had a wonderful sense of color and finished rugs from her design are gorgeous from the few I have seen.

Below is a listing of charts from the catalog, so you have an idea of the scope of her designs. I have listed the stitch count in ( ) and the catalog # in bold. The catalog and charts can still be purchased, but through her best friend Juanita Goolsby. Sadly, Joan died April 5, 2011. Juanita is currently looking into donating Joan's charts to the Guiild School as a lasting legacy to Joan's work. I will post more on this as events develop.

The catalog I bought was printed on 8.5 x 11" paper folded over and stapled in the middle, printed front and back, features black and white pics of completed rugs, and a description of the chart's design/colors/origins. The catalog lists 46 rugs, but there 2 file boxes in existence of all her charts in Juanita's possession, so this is just a sampling of her designs.

1- Kazak/12K (215 x 165)
2- Chinese Vase/59CV (139 x 189)
3- English Floral/100EF (127 x 175)
4- English Floral companion/100COMP (90-153 and 69 x 159)
5- Herati/185H (205 x 269)
6- Blue Bird/302BB (103 x 125)
7- Dhurrie/124DH (173 x 242)
8- Saruk/7S (203 x 273)
9- Spanish Admiral/105SA (123 x 215)
10- Persian Flower Saruk/178PF ( 181 x 229)   Large flowers in border
11- Rose Aubusson/255A (177 x 225)
12- Blue Dragon/98BD (187 x 259)
13- Aubusson 6 and 240 Companion rugs/COMP2
14- Pink Kashan/190PK (173 x 221)
15- Heriz/1HZ (165 x 111)
16- Ushak Bird Rug/179UB (149 x 201)
17- Chinese Shou/46CS (261 x 201)
18- Persian Hunt/36PH (234 x 190)
19- Heriz/2BH (185 x 235)
20- Violet Aubusson/250VA (165 x 205)
21- Cartouche Aubusson/220CA (177 x 215)
22- Lattice Aubusson/231LA (181 x 265)
23- Persian Saruk/177PS (181 x 229)  Small flowers in border
24- Konia/202K (193 x 245)
25- Savvonnaire/245S (198 x 225)
26- Savonnerie/240S (157 x 201)
27- Thousand Flowers Prayer/60PR (285 x 377)  designed for 40 ct or smaller
28- Blue Tabriz/111BT (175 x 253)
29- Portuguese Floral/104PF (139 x 225)
30- Aubusson/247A (177 x 221)  Raspberry and cream design
31- Ushak Garden/210UG (207 x 237)
32- Chinese Fret/95F (185 x 233)
33- Red Dragon/99RD (173 x 223)
34- Aubusson/138A (163 x 215)     Soft blue and cream background
35- Dhurrie/126HA or HB   Chevron design in pink, green & beige
36- Chinese Lattice/53CL (89 x 199)
37- Aubusson/6A (205 x 306)
38- Chinese Lion/65L (203 x 273)
39- Teddy Bear/303TB (128 x 166)
40- Chinese Butterfly/56CB (201 x 289)
41- Panda/300P (93 x 116)
42- Wreath of Roses/13WR (143 x 182)
43- Indian Trees/106IT (208 x 276)
44- Daghestan/114DG (159-249)
45- Caucasian/21C (155 x 231)
46- Tabriz/112T (135 x 225)

Here are links to some rugs from Joan's designs. If you have pics to share of finished rugs from Joan's charts, please email me so we can post the picture or the link.
http://www.etsy.com/listing/21334134/vintage-handmade-miniature-rug-doll&usg=

I have on order 22 of her charts, and as I complete them, I will post pics so people can see how marvelous her designs are.