I Finally Get It

I used to spend a lot of time wondering how some of my favorite mini artists could possibly look at a kit and come up with a great way to bash it, especially so it no longer really looked like the kit itself. All of my own ideas for alterations to a kit build came long after I received it, did a dry fit, and spent some time pondering what it would be.

Then it happened.

Hobby Builder’s Supply announced their 2015 Creatin’ Contest, and the kit’s potential smacked me in the face.


The front isn’t quite what gave me the inkling. I looked at it and really thought hard about another tiny house, much like the one I started for last year’s Undersized Urbanite contest (and am still working on…). But the dimensions are a little too big for a good tiny house – and a little too small for a “small home,” in my opinion. I’d have to come up with a lot of good ways to fill the empty space.

Then I saw the back of the build.


I don’t know what it is about the back here that really made it stand out to me, but it did. I had been browsing home plans recently in preparation for, of all things, a new house to build in Minecraft. I have a good deal of experience with both Minecraft and Sims architecture, so my requirements for house plans are pretty strict. Specifically for Minecraft, I need a small house but one with enough room for very thick walls, since that’s the nature of Minecraft blocks.

I finally found a house I really liked for Minecraft. It’s out of my usual comfort zone – I typically prefer more traditional style builds, and this one is very contemporary/modern.


The floor plan is going to need to change a bit; here you’re looking at it from the back. In the end, I’ll essentially have an open-front home with a really magnificent “back” of the house, haha. I’m still trying to decide if I will add a basement, and what I will do with that…but there’s some time to figure that out, still. In the meantime, I’m going to have a lot of fun actually walking through my 3-D version in Minecraft, and envisioning recreating it in miniature.

So, long story short, I’m throwing my hat into the ring for the Creatin’ Contest. Hopefully I won’t get bowled over here. I am planning to make this a public build, because I really enjoy sharing my ideas here, and because my photography skills need some practice. But I really can’t wait to see what happens when the kit arrives!


Fun Find at Target

I haven’t had much time to work on my own minis lately, let alone document progress, but I wanted to share a fun find from running errands the other day.

IMAG0824This immediately jumped out at me as a “quick and easy” roombox base, or even a small dollhouse (1/2″ scale would work pretty well – or even as a toy dollhouse for some Calico Critters!).  If you’re interested in starting in miniatures but don’t know where to start, or if you’re just looking for your next minis project – this would make a pretty great start!  The shelf itself even comes with hardware for wall-mounting.  I was SO tempted to pick one up, but I really couldn’t justify the purchase that day with all the projects I’m already working on.

Piecing Together the Puzzle

After spending a good chunk of time on my thesis this morning (yay me!), my cognitive abilities were pretty much shot – so I happily took a nice break and measured out the walls for my Undersized Urbanite scratch build.  I picked up the necessary lumber and foam core at Michaels on Friday, but our weekend was spent visiting friends so I wasn’t able to get to a whole lot (though I did end up making a lot of changes to the staircase – that will almost definitely get an entire post to itself).


(please excuse the terrible photos, it’s nighttime and I don’t have the best light)

The Undersized Urbanite rules dictate that any decorating done prior to the start of the contest on September 30 will be disqualified, which rules out any painting, staining, or woodwork I plan on doing since that will all be part of the decor.  However, because the contest does allow any dollhouse – pre-built, kit construction, or scratch-build – I did decide to go ahead and cut out the pieces I had drawn up on foam core.  When I start putting it all together at the start of the contest (since I will have to be decorating as I go) it will go together more like a kit build.

IMAG0736Briefly pieced together with scotch tape!

This may have been a really bad thing because now I just can’t wait to get started.  Hopefully I can divert this energy back into my thesis until the contest opens…ideally, I’ll have a finished draft of my proposal at that point and be just about ready to defend it!

Also, stay tuned: Coming soon, I’ll be showing off my absolutely favorite, must-have tools for miniatures work and building.  I always pick up so much when others share their most useful items for crafting, so I thought I would put together a post on it.


Undersized Urbanite plans!

I was so – SO SO SO – excited to get the Undersized Urbanite announcement from The Little Victorian today.  I immediately subscribed to all UU updates, and I can pretty much guarantee that I will keep checking the website daily regardless of how often I actually receive updates…I tend to be obsessive about things I like.

So, what am I planning?  Well, I have never entered a dollhouse contest like this.  Most contests revolve around a specific kit, where entrants must purchase it and all build the same thing, putting their own spin on it.  I am always entirely blown away by the pictures posted at the end of the contest; there are always some truly incredible things done, with some of the most amazing and realistic details I’ve ever seen.

But in order to build and decorate a dollhouse, I really need it to “speak” to me – by which I mean I need to be immediately struck with inspiration when I see it.  If that doesn’t happen, I’m not going to build it – forcing creativity has never, ever worked for me, and even if I did end up with a decent finished product, I would never be satisfied with it.

The Undersized Urbanite is different, and I love that.  Entrants can take whatever doll’s house they want, or build their own, or make one from a cardboard box or (as suggested on the contest’s site) a crate from IKEA.  Recently I have been inspired by the idea of tiny living – not just miniatures, but human-sized tiny living 🙂  It’s a lifestyle I think I could really get into myself, and lately I’ve been dreaming of it as a nice retirement or at least a getaway later in life.

And so, I plan to enter!  I won’t share my final floor plans here, but I do plan to share much of the story of my build as I go through.  As part of that, I have also decided to share one of the first drafts of my floor plans with you, as well as my method:

Presentation2I’ve also removed labels, so currently it still really only makes sense to me 😀  (I’m possessive like that, sorry).  I am incredibly excited to get started, and in all honesty I’m going to be drawing out my wall templates today to prepare for cutting things out and fitting it all together!

I’ve promised my husband that this will be a thrifty build (…..relatively. I mean, who am I kidding here?).  I’m hoping to end up spending less than this would cost if it were actually a kit build.  As such, the walls are going to primarily be foam core, with a wooden floor.  I’ll be cutting everything myself, and as I have no power tool knowledge aside from how to use a hand-held drill, I’m really not looking to make this difficult.

Foam core will be easy, and my miniature building wood of choice is actually balsa – it’s classified as a hardwood, but it’s literally so soft I can dent it with a finger press.  It’s incredibly easy to cut with my craft knives.  However, in my work I’ve discovered that it’s also an incredibly thirsty wood – and it will happily soak up large amounts of wood glue, making it just as sturdy as most other woods, as well as easy to sand and paint.  Thus, it’s perfect for my skill level!

Now…off to my drawing board 🙂