Monday, December 17, 2012

Upgrading a Mass Produced Refrigerator

Years ago when I started stockpiling miniatures for my then "future" dollhouse, I purchased what was, at the time, the most current refrigerator on the market.   But over time, the fridge looked dated and less than impressive.

Several times, while cleaning and organizing my studio and mini stash, I considered throwing it away.  But I always kept it, thinking that 'someday' I would recycle it into a more modern version of itself.  'Someday' kept getting put off -- I think I was concerned I wouldn't like the end result.  Finally, I decided to roll up my shirt sleeves and take the plunge.  I'm glad I did!

Refrigerator with handles removed and hole cut in left side door

I first removed the handles to the side-by-side doors and then cut a square hole in the left side door.

Then I fashioned the water and ice dispenser using wood, black paper coated with sealer, a straw, and polymer clay.

I reattached the handles and painted the entire outside black.  It took several coats.  Then I sealed it with Krylon Matte Sealer.

Refrigerator, front view

Side view

Close up of water/ice dispenser.

In it's new home in my mini kitchen.  :)
I still need to make and add some decals to represent the command buttons.  It's on my list of things to do.  :)

The next project, of course, is stocking the fridge. :D

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Creating a Low VOC Dollhouse or Roombox, Part 2

The kitchen

A few days after writing my last post, I had to remove the roombox from my office 
and return it to the garage as the chemicals off-gassing from the plywood were 
making me sick.  The sealer that I used did greatly reduce the fumes, 
but unfortunately, it was not enough.  :( 

I was really disappointed and took a few days to contemplate my very 
limited options and then decided to build a dollhouse out of foamcore. I hope 
I'll be able to make it strong enough to last a long time. 

So far I have the kitchen mostly completed and have ordered the wallpaper for 
the adjoining dining room.  I'm very excited about the progress and will post 
 pics as the process moves along.  In the meantime, do you notice the 
black fridge?  The outside is almost finished and I'll be writing about the 
transformation in a future post.  Until then, happy mini-making, everyone.  
I'm looking forward to catching up on what ya'll have been up to soon.  :)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Making a Low VOC Roombox or Dollhouse, Part 1

What do you do if a) you realllly want a dollhouse and b) are allergic to the products (MDF and plywood) that most dollhouses are made of?  I developed an allergy/chemical sensitivity to the VOC's (volatile organic compounds) that offgas from MDF and plywood a couple of years ago while making this dollhouse.
Not yet aware that I was allergic to the MDF (I thought
I had a respiratory bug),
I couldn't resist setting up the rooms and playing with
the furnishings prior to painting, papering, and wiring.

Since then, I have been "between dollhouses" as I looked for an affordable alternative that met my requirements for both size (had to fit against a wall like the one above) and number of rooms.   Unable to find one, I turned to trying to find something that would seal in the offgassing vapors, thereby eliminating the problem from its source.

I learned about a product called Safe Seal* that, when applied to the mdf prior to gluing together, painting, or wallpapering, claims to virtually seal in the VOC's  and prevent them from off-gassing into the environment. 

I recently ordered a quart of it from a company here in the U.S. and received it in about a week.  It cost just under $15 which, ironically, was just a few cents less than the cost for shipping.  So for about $30 I'm ready to start my experiment.  (I'm still smarting over paying $15 for shipping to get a $15 item to me, but I had no choice.)
It is a milky liquid about the consistency of water  that goes on easily with a foam brush

If it works, it will be the answer to my dilemna! I tested it on one of a trio of inexpensive roomboxes that have been off-gassing in my garage since I got them as the fumes were too toxic to have them in the house.  If it works on the one, I'll proceed with the other two and then onto a dollhouse!  :)

Here you can see all the pieces laid out on the table which I have protected
with a plastic sheet.  I used weights to flatten out the warpage.

As you can see in the above photo,  once again I couldn't resist 'playing' with the kitchen cabinets and appliances which have been packed away for far too long.  It seems to be a pattern with me when I'm putting together a kit -- work for awhile, then play for awhile.  ;)

So now the big question ~~ did it work?  My current feeling is that it helped significantly although it did not remove the fumes entirely.  I did give each piece, including all of the edges, about half a dozen coats.  The directions state that one coat is usually sufficient, but in this case the fumes were particularly pungent and it took repeated coats to reduce the odor enough that I am hopeful I will be able to tolerate it with the exception of one board -- the first story ceiling/second story floor -- which is a lost cause.  Numerous coats have not been successful in blocking the odors sufficiently and I'm going to have to substitute some foamcore for that piece.  I think foamcore will be ok as I'm not planning on putting anything very heavy in that room.   Perhaps I'll use two pieces of foamcore stacked on top of each other for double strength. 

In conclusion, I'm hopeful that with the exception of that one board mentioned above, the sealer reduced the off-gassing enough that I'll be able to tolerate it in my small workshop.  Let's keep our fingers crossed!

And now more play time- erm, I mean research and development.  ;)

And next time I'll share how I updated a tired and outdated mass-produced fridge from the mid-90's (see above photo for the "before") into something any self-respecting miniature kitchen would be proud to 'wear'.   Ok, that might be an exaggeration, but you can decide for yourself when you see the "after" pic(s) next time. 

Bye for now...  :)

*I do not work for the people who make or sell Safe Seal and I am not being compensated for this write up in any way.  I am merely telling about my experience in the hopes of helping others.*

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

S'more Luggage Sets and a Treasury!

I've been keeping the lil elves busy making luggage sets.  I'm trying to build stock for my next show but it's slow going.  I also have an idea of how to display them at the show but I haven't figured out how to make it happen yet.  Stay tuned for more details on that!  ;)

And one of my dollhouse outdoor decor garden sculptures has been featured in this
really cute Treasury curated by Lisa of TopsTreasures.  Thank you, Lisa!

'It's A Small Small World...' by Lisa

Pink Cake 04

DollHouse Miniature...

Miniature Red Velve...

Chocolate Pastries ...

Dollhouse Miniature...

miniature sewing bo...

Limited Edition Spo...

Dollhouse Miniature...


OOAK Designer DOLLH...

shabby chic wall sh...

Dollhouse Furniture...

Fully Finished Farm...

Pink outifit at 1.1...

miniature office in...

Miniature rose bouq...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

New Season, New Listings

Hello everyone.  Once again, it's been awhile since I've udpated this blog.  Another summer has come and gone and Autumn is upon us.  I've been busy enjoying my new grandson and I've also managed to add a few new listings to my Etsy Shop

The set in the above photo is a new fabric pattern and I love the geometric swirls as well as the black/white/taupe colors.  Contrasted with the solid black sides and the stylish
hardware, I think this set looks very modern.   

This set is also in black, with small gray circles.  This fabric pattern has been very popular and I'm glad I finally got another set made and listed.  It's hard to keep up as they take me quite awhile to make and I'm always improving the design.  For instance, the shoulder strap on the carry-on bag is now adjustable, just like the real thing.  :)

If you're wondering where Categories went on Etsy, here's a tutorial I wrote for the
teamMIDS Blog to help you out.   If the new Browse feature is more your cup of tea, you can find dollhouse miniatures under Home & Living > Collectibles > Miniatures.  Browse is sorted by "relevancy" whereas the Categories are listed by recency.

That's all for now.  I need to get back to work.  Take care, all, and I'll "see" you again soon.  :)

Saturday, August 18, 2012


What's New at WCM

I typically take a bit of a break from miniatures in the late spring/early summer
to catch up on household and gardening projects and to reset my
creative balance.  Working outside in the yard and
creating/organizing/refreshing life-size surroundings
always inspires me and by the time I return to my studio, I
find I have more ideas than time.  Isn't that always
the case?  :)

So, to bring you up-to-date, the Whimsy "staff" has increased
by one with the birth of my adorable grandson!
  Oh, he's not making many minis now, but we'll
get him started on that soon enough.  ;)

I've also been working on a collaboration with my
sister, a very talented artist in her own right.  More
about that later as that unveiling will be a post
all of its own.  :)

In the meantime, supplies for making and packaging
miniatures are now available in my shop!  Hop
on over and take a peek.  New items will
be added regularly.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I Won! I Won! I Won! :D

A Bohemian Bazaar hosted a Facebook Giveaway and
I won one of the prizes!  How awesome is that?!?

These pizza slice earrings look good enough to eat!

Thank you, Blake.  I love your mini's!  :)

Blake makes really cute scale miniatures and also jewelry. 
Check out his Etsy shop to see what's currently

Monday, May 28, 2012

teamMIDS Blog Renovation

As many of you know, I am the BlogMistress for the Team MIDS Blog.
One of our newer members, Matt of Particularly Unusual, recently offered
to help redesign and update the team's Blog.  After a few weeks
of renovation, it is now live again.  Please go check it out
and let us know what you think.  Matt worked really hard
over many redesigns and was always a pleasure to work with.
I hope everyone likes it as much as we do!

In honor of his extraordinary talent in creating unique and unusual
miniatures, and also to thank him for all of his hard work, his work
is the subject of the newest blog post .  Please be sure
to read it and leave a comment.  Thank you!!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Meet the Staff

A lot of people have been posting pictures of their workspaces
lately and I must say I really enjoy a peek into the
world of the creative people I so much admire.  
But, I haven't
quite worked up the courage to share photos of my
own workspace yet.  I suppose it's not really any different than
anyone else's, but it's mine.  My own personal little
space where I get to shut the world out and let my imagination
create new worlds for me and, hopefully, for the
collectors who purchase my works.

So in lieu of showing my workspace, I'm going to introduce you
to the WCM staff.  :) 
Meet Mickey and Hershel.
As you can see, Mickey's office
is on the "2nd floor" and he's our ("our" meaning "my")
Investment Manager.  Here's a closer look.
 Mickey helps me save my pennies for a rainy day.
I'm not quite sure what his staff does.  They just
kind of hang out and look cute.  :)

Hershel's office is on the third floor and he has a
staff of two.  They're twins -- CootieBug1 and CootieBug2.  :)
I have a high-calorie compensation package 
(e.g. I get paid in chocolates ;)).
I just turn the Hershey's tag crank and a delicious
little chocolate Kiss is dispensed into Hershel's hands.
It's the cutest thing ever!  And sure beats standing
in line at the bank to cash a paycheck!  :-)

It must have been Bring Your Kid to Work Day when
that photo was taken as there appears to be a
tiny Hershel on the floor between his feet.  ;P

Ok, all kidding aside, I suppose it's no big surprise that
my office/workroom would be filled with whimsical
knickknacks, childhood memorabilia, and anything
else that makes me smile and inspires my creativity.

I just recently added this adorable little Rock Family made by
Zeenawackcrafts to my whimsical collection.
Aren't they CUTE?!?  They're keeping a
Jack In The Box antenna ball company on another shelf.  :)

All right, that's all for now.  Thanks for reading and
I'll see ya next time.  <3

Monday, April 30, 2012


I just updated the post, Oops! I Did It Again!, with
links to the listings now that they're live.

Click your way on over and check them out!  :)

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oops! I Did It Again! :)

From left to right:  Waldo, Sparky, and Petunia
The three latest puppies in my Third Series of Dollhouse
Outdoor Decor.

Waldo, Sparky, and Petunia hanging out on
my 1/12th scale patio.  

 Waldo is a little fiesty and should be adopted by someone 
with lots of energy.  Sparky is fun-loving and always up
for a game of fetch.  Petunia is sweet as pie and 
has a sweet tooth.   :)

These lil guys (and gal) will be available 
tomorrow in my Etsy Shop.  
They're each about one inch long and are already potty trained.  ;)

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gone to the Dogs! ;)

From left to right:

Curious Jorge seems to have found something in the grass that has
caught his interest.  He's the most curious of the trio.

Sweet Pea has spotted treats on a nearby table and
begs for one.  She's so adorable, how could
anyone resist her?  

Alto has found the same treats.  By the
look on his face, I think he's conspiring to find
a way to get them -- with or without 
human help.  ;)

I'm having so much fun photographing these lil doggies' 
adventures.  I might've found a new hobby.  ;)


Thursday, April 19, 2012

Back to Work!! :)

The Mini Show is over and it was a great show!  
Thank you so much to all of the collectors and miniaturists
that support my work and stopped by my table to say
hello and maybe added one (or two or three) 
of my creations to their collection. 
!!!!!THANK YOU!!!!!

I took a day or two to unpack and reorganize my workspace but now
I'm back to making mini's and I'm listing again in my
Etsy Shop.  If you haven't stopped by recently,
please do have a look around.  I've been listing new
luggage sets and outdoor decor. 
an exclusive fabric professionally printed
under license and exclusive to Whimsy Cottage Minis!

I think this set is another leopard print but I'm not sure.
If anybody can help me out identifying this animal print, please
let me know in the Comments section.  :)

And again, I'm not sure what type of animal print this set  is.
Any ideas??

Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of my new Cheetah Print
Luggage before it sold.  But not to worry, I'll be making more.  :)

And now for the debut of my new Outdoor Decor garden sculptures.
I call these the "Groovy 'Shroomage" Series.  
I can't decide which one is my favorite.

I've also introduced a new line of Outdoor Decor
dog sculptures.  All but one sold at the Mini Show and
this remaining lil guy sold yesterday. 
  I've made more and will be listing them soon.  
Each one has his/her own personality!  They are inspired 
by a real life one I have on my own front porch.

Ok, back to work for me.  I'll try to be back soon
with more pics of the birdhouses I introduced at
the Mini Show.  Until then, happy mini-making!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Countdown to the Mini Show

The miniature show starts in ten days and anyone who has
ever prepared for a mini show knows exactly what I'm going through
trying to get ready in time.  Busy! Busy! Busy!  But in a good way.  :)

A hearty welcome to my new Followers.  Come on in and make
yourself comfy.  There's coffee and donuts in the breakroom.  ;)

I have to get back to work but here's some little birdhouses
I've been working on.  I love how they turned out!  

Until next time, happy minimaking!  :)

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Has Sprung!

It's been awhile since I made a post, had to dust off the blog dashboard.  ;)

After completing the luggage orders, I started working
on Spring-inspired minis.  This is a birdhouse vignette
and a 1/12th scale model of a 1/12th scale "miniature living garden"
which makes it a 1/144th scale garden in a 1/12th scale garden pot.
The 'stone' pathway leads to a 1/144th scale park bench
which sits in the shade of the tree overlooking the flower
garden and miniature gazing ball.  

I've made several of each in different colors and arrangements and
I love them all, but these two
are my favorites and I think I will really regret it if I let them go so they've
found a new home in my own miniature patio.  :D

Have you ever sold a miniature that you wish you'd kept
for yourself?  Of course, it's impossible for me to keep everything
I make as my need to create exceeds the amount of
space that I have, so I'm happy when my
creations find a new home with
another collector who enjoys them as much as I do!

Ok, that's all from me for now.  I must get back to work.
The miniature show is less than a month away and
I'm in panic mode.  Until next time, Happy Minimaking!  :)

Monday, March 5, 2012

New Luggage Sets

Good morning, everyone and Welcome to my new Followers!
I'm trying to make my way around to all of the blogs.
There's so much creativity in the mini community!

I haven't posted in awhile as I'm still really busy with
luggage sets and also some real world spring cleaning.
(I much prefer mini-making, lol!)

I'm also currently working on a custom order luggage set in 3/4" scale.  It's very
challenging as I've never worked in this scale before.  Has
anyone else tried 3/4" scale?  It's a nice step for me as I have been
planning on making the luggage in 1/2" scale for awhile now anyway and
3/4" scale is halfway between one inch scale and half inch scale.

After I catch up on the luggage orders, I'm looking forward to switching gears
to either plants or 1/144th scale houses/furnishings.  I am
preparing for another mini show so there's lots to do!

(My "to-do list" keeps getting longer.  ;))

Speaking of which, I better get back at it.  Toodles for now.  :)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Busy, busy, busy!!! :)

It's been crazy busy here in the Whimsy workshop and
I've been working the poor lil elves' fingers to the bone!  ;)
It's great being busy with orders, etc., but I'm also
looking forward to finding some time to work on some of
my own projects soon.  It's a juggling act, isn't it?!?  :)

I've added a new style of purse to my Etsy shop
I really love navy blue and silver together, don't you?

Pink and black are always the perfect pair!

And who can resist the elegant combination of black and gold??

I also finished another set of animal print luggage for
a shop in Pennslyvania.  I really like how it turned out!
Animal print is so popular right now!

And now I'm back to work on another custom luggage order, 
but I leave you with a new teamMIDS 
Mini of the Week to feast your eyes on...
How cute are these?!?  I love 'em!  :)