Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Boxed into a corner!!!!

At least that's the way I'll probably be feeling by the time I'm finished! I decided I should probably start some tidbits while I try to make up my mind about what I'll make as "gifties" for this year's Camp Mini Ha Ha. I downloaded two different designs from A Lavender Dilly on Etsy. Now, this is a shop located in Australia so the recommended weight of paper to print these on was 200 gsm. Here, in Canada, even though our official units of measurement have been metric for decades, we're kind of schizophrenic when it comes to metric versus imperial measurements. For instance, when buying meat in the supermarket, we post the weight in kilograms, then advertise it as price per pound. When it comes to paper, we still tend to refer to the weight in pounds (per ream - 500 sheets). The biggest problem in converting the gsm (grams per sq. metre) to pound weight is that different types of paper comes in different sizes - 8 1/2 by 11 inches; 11 by 17 inches, etc. - so 500 sheets of one size paper does not compare to 500 sheets of another. Let's not even talk about how that then translates to gsm!!! Bottom line - it doesn't!! So, to make a long story short - and when have I ever tried to do that?!? - I made an executive decision and had the boxes printed on 65 pound card stock. It seems to be the perfect weight, thankfully.

My first attempt to put the boxes together, I decided, against the actual instructions, to score them on the inside, instead of the outside as recommended, before folding. As a result, the box tops did not fit over the bottoms. Once I actually followed the instructions and scored them on the outside, it worked fine. The only adjustment I had to make is that, on the two larger sizes, the ends with the tabs on them need the height to be trimmed a bit as, once all four sides are folded up, the ends are a little higher than the sides. Luckily I found this out after cutting out and gluing together only a couple of sets so was able to cut all the others out correctly.

My plan is to put together 4 sets a day so will have them all done in 9 days. Sweet!! Now if I can just think of what to do for my gifties...

Moving on, remember my Dorian Grey attic scene? When you last saw it I mentioned I was going to put chimney pots on top of the chimney I built to hide the wiring. I went online to a chimney pot manufacturer to find images of the various kinds of pots. I found this one:

They call this style "The Bishop". Now, why they don't call it "the Rook" is beyond me!! Anyway- of course that's exactly what it looks like to me so what could be easier than dragging out the old set of hand-turned and cut chess pieces I bought at Value Village last year? They're quite rustic - not a very practiced hand made these but. that's what I like about them. Measuring the length of the top of the chimney, I decided I would use 3 chimney pots. I want the middle pot to be taller than the other two so I chose two rooks and a king to use. I will cut off the top of the king, of course, then will paint them to look like natural terracotta. All in all I am quite pleased with them and will show you a picture when I have them done.

Switching directions again - anyone watch the latest video on "Creating Dollhouse Miniatures"? It's a three minute video showing a miniature dollhouse store. So cute - and very well done with all of the boxes of dollhouses, accessories, finished dollhouses, etc. Lots of inspiration here.

And, to finish today's post with more inspiration, I mentioned the two books of Brian Nickolls that I own and love. Each of them have about a half dozen plans for constructing different buildings along with detailed instructions for cutting, constructing and furnishing. The first is "Making Dolls' Houses in 1/12th Scale". I love all of the projects in this book but I think my favourite is probably the fisherman's cottage. Another one I would love to put on my list but even Santa doesn't have a list as long as mine is beginning to get!

The second Brian Nickolls book is "Making Character Dolls Houses in 1/12th Scale". Another great book with easy to follow instructions and lots of drawings and pictures - I like lots of pictures! I think it's a hold-over from my kindergarten days. Anyway, I do love the pub in this one, as well as all the other plans but, I think my favourite plan in this book may be for the cider house. He even gives plans for making the apple press and cider mill.

The last one I'll show you is a new one I just got in last week. I haven't had time to go through this one in any detail yet. Written by Julie Warrren, "Step-by-Step Dolls' House Furniture Projects in 1/12 scale" is, strangley enough, exactly what the title says it is!! Go figure!! Seriously though, it does seem to have detailed cutting, construction and finishing instructions for a couple of dozen projects which look like they should be fairly easy for even a beginner to follow. Whenever I get around to making something, or even reading through it in more detail for that matter, I should be able to give you a more informed opinion about it!

I end this post with another suggestion that everyone out there think about what inspires them most, in this mini hobby, and then share it with us. We can never have too much inspiration! TTFN!!!


  1. First, thank you for explaining the whole paper thing. I was going to buy some of the box downloads from weloveminiatures, but paper weight was confusing. I did the lavender dilly Xmas boxes on regular printer paper (mod podge sealed) and they looked great too!

    I was interested in the julie warren book. I always love her facebook posts. Where did you get the book? Amazon?

    My inspiration are my design magazines and design accounts on Instagram. And sometimes ebay....I like a vintage piece, but I get cheap and then try to figure out how to make it or modify something I already have.

    1. Kat: I so get what you are saying. Right now I am scouring Pinterest for ideas for making beautiful French country furniture and accessories. So many great examples there (real-life size), just waiting to be miniaturized! Yes, I got the book from Amazon. As for the boxes - yes, I guess regular paper stiffened with Modge Podge would make them stiff enough but I'm just too lazy to do that many steps! The 65 pound cover stock is just the right weight for mine and that makes me happy. :-) - Marilyn D.

  2. Hello Marilyn,
    I look forward to seeing the boxes all put together! I have been away from blogs for a few weeks and I am very excited to read about a Dorian grey roombox. that is one of my favourite books! Thank you for recommending those great books. I'll keep my eyes open on book sites.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac. Nice to hear from you. Just so others know - besides my many, many books, Giac's blog (English manor dollhouse - see link in the right column) is another great inspiration for any miniaturist. He is a prodigious talent, to be sure! - Marilyn D.

  3. Love the chimney pot idea and how amazing that you just happened to have vintage chess pieces that will work well for that purpose...just goes to show that you must look for inspiration everywhere and keep the most unusual items 'just in case'! The most amazing chimneys I've ever seen were on Hampton Court Palace in London, England as the workmanship on each was unique. Where does my inspiration come from? It all began with Giac's blog (I still will refer back to older entries in his blog when 'stuck' on something that he has dealt with!) Now I will also use Pinterest, other blogs (for home and room design as well as miniature), miniature magazines and nature. The short video of the dollhouse shop was very detailed. The books you've recommended look intriguing so I shall have to look for them. Those pretty little boxes for Camp Mini Ha Ha are looking great! Did you print them yourself from your computer or have them printed commercially? Now we shall look forward to what you will place inside! Cheers, Alayne

    1. Hi Alayne - I had the boxes printed at Staples because my printer wouldn't handle 65 ib. paper and the colour wasn't printing very well. As it turns out, the next day Staples actually had a good sale on an HP office printer - much heavier duty than the smaller printers for home use. I should be able to do lots of different things with this printer!!!! - Marilyn

  4. Hi Marilyn! Thank you for all of the research regarding the paper weights. I am lousy with numbers and although as you have said, Canada has been metric for decades, I am still a "pounds and inches" girl. Funny though, I've never before noticed the discrepancy you've mentioned between the kilogram weights on the supermarket labels and the price per pound advertised in their flyers, so there must still be some old school die-hards like me, who also can't navigate our metric system.

    Your idea of using chess pieces for the chimney pots is Very Clever and are you going to duplicate the pinking on top, as in the photo, too?
    I had a good chuckle when you said that you "decided against following the instructions" as how to score the boxes on the top, rather than on the underside and then later found out why, which sounded just like something that I would do! hahaha
    And also like you, I can't have too many BOOKS and/or magazines. I am an avid paper hound just like my mother and I'm always on the look out for more. Storing them though, always presents a huge problem, yet when I had them in boxes in my garage, I missed them like old friends, so now they're back inside and on shelves where I can see them and easily access them. I always find them comforting, informative but most of all- INSPIRING! :D


    1. Hi Elizabeth. The rooks already have really shallow cuts in them. I think I will deepen them with my mini mitre saw before I paint them. I'm also thinking of adding a little more design to them.

      I love books and magazines too. I have way too many - - wait - - that's not possible!!! :-) - Marilyn