Alki Point

From 1998 - 2004 my husband and I were absolutely blessed to live and raise our kids on Alki Beach in Seattle. First, in a tiny 700sq ft home on Marguerite Court, and then in a wonderful 1940's bungalow. The homes there are a symphony of styles, from old vacation cottages to multi-million dollar modern architectural masterpieces. I still miss getting to see the majestic Olympic mountains in full sunset glory on our evening walks.

This photo and the memories are the inspiration for my future 1/12th scale miniature project called Alki Point. The home below has the style I'd like to capture, and the kit below that is the starting point. Not sure yet where this project will fall in the queue, but I'm really excited at all of the possibilities!


Once I had ordered the kits from Greenleaf, I employed the power of Publisher to create a layout. I just use the Shapes tool to draw the rooms and furnishings, setting the Properties to the exact measurements. This gives me an idea of what I'll be able to fit in the space, and how I can lay things out.

I wanted to do something in a more modern type of look, since I have never attempted this style before. I had been reading about 3D printing, and thought it would be fun to design everything myself! I watched some Shapeways tutorials, signed up for a free TinkerCad account, drew out some ideas and then set about creating things to fill the space.

So far, I have designed lamps, wall art, headboards, sinks, faucets, tiled shower walls, shower pan, shower rain fixture, bathroom accessories, bed side tables, pendant lights and several decor pieces.

I have actually received a couple lamps, a headboard and some wall art. They turned out just as I'd hoped! Several of the other pieces I designed are in production now. Once they have been successfully printed, I can offer them to anyone in my Shapeways Store.

The Greenleaf kits have arrived, and I am really excited to start building! I'd like to raise the structure a bit for more headroom, so I am hoping to do a dry fit in the next few days.

Photo courtesy of
Once used as Washington State Seal
The official translation of the word Alki, a name the Native American Chinooks of the area  gave to the peninsula long before it existed within the state of Washington, is "Bye and Bye" or "Hope For The Future".

The actual Alki Beach neighborhood is home to many old Seattle family homes, some great modern ones, some amazing restaurants and some magnificent views including the Seattle city skyline, the Puget Sound, and the Olympic Mountains.

We were lucky enough to live and raise our kids there for six years!

When I first saw the Greenleaf kit from their 2012 Spring Fling contest (the winner of the contest named it the Asahi Tea House) it immediately made me think Modern. This was new to me, because I never fantasized in that realm before! It reminded me of the spectacular modern homes dotted along Beach Drive. I knew that someday, I was going to fulfill this modern fantasy, but I didn't expect it to be so soon!
After putting the barn aside, I started getting my workspace (dining room) cleaned and organized. Boy it was nice seeing my table again! And being able to see into the kitchen! Even my son said "whoa" when he walked in. Sometimes you forget how big something is until it's gone!

I'm planning on combining two kits, side by side, and changing the orientation so that the lower roofed side will be the front. This should give me room for a small bath and kitchen, and a bed and living space combined. Think small and modern beach rental.

My friends at the Greenleaf forum have assured me that I am going to LOVE working on 1/8" plywood as apposed to 3/8" MDF. Anna from Sweden was also so kind when she took photos of hers in progress and made a .pdf of instructions for me! Hers is going to have a Steampunk theme!

I took out all of the pieces, familiarized myself with them, and then laid them out on the table. This really helped me to visualize what I needed to do to each wood panel to make this new arrangement work.

I measured the back wall and determined that with the floor height, once connected to the walls, it is less than 7" tall. I'm thinking that this is not going to work well, because it might be an issue with the 3D printed tiled shower stall I made. It is 7" tall. I had to guess the height before the kit came, and I was a little generous.

So, in researching how to add an inch or so to dollhouse walls, I came across Daphne's blog post from April 2012. She raised the height of her Primrose using the walls from a second kit, then covered them with 3mm cellfoam to keep them straight and add strength. Sounds reasonable to me, so I ordered the cellfoam from Amazon. Gotta love Prime. I'll have it by Thursday!

I'm going to add 1/8" x 3/4" basswood to the bottom of every wall, minus where a door opening is going to be, then glue, pin and laminate each exterior wall section in the cellfoam.

So in the meantime, I added some window openings to the left end wall (bedroom/bath wall). I used an engineers square (newly acquired) to mark and score the plywood, then just slowly scored, and scored, and scored until I had cut it through. It wasn't bad in terms of being my first time bashing 1/8" plywood, but man I used a lot of #11 blades. Good thing I had a new pack on hand!

The original kit has a three ply beam that you can see in the opening end, and the walls have a notch where it sits. Mine is no longer opening on that side, so I had to re-position the beams from both kits. I decided to center them on each of their walls, and made the new notches to accommodate them.

Tonight I'll figure out what to do with the walls which will now be the front of the house. I am thinking large windows and/or sliding doors. That's going to take some brain power, a little coffee and some sustenance. Maybe even some ice cream! :0)

I saw the word gray when I was looking for fabric for the Alki Point. You know how a word that you've been writing the same way for years suddenly looks completely wrong? This was one of those moments for me, because I find myself using the alternative; Grey.

Of course I had to Google it and find out if I've been a complete dork all this time, or if there really were two grays/greys. Here's what I found:

Gray vs. grey

Gray and grey are different spellings of the same word, and both are used throughout the English-speaking world. But gray is more common in American English, while grey is more common in all the other main varieties of English. In the U.K., for instance, grey appears about twenty times for every instance of gray. In the U.S. the ratio is reversed.
Both spellings, which have origins in the Old English grǽg, have existed hundreds of years.1 Greygained ascendancy in all varieties of English in the early 18th century, but its dominance as the preferred form was checked when American writers adopted gray about a century later. As the Ngram below shows, this change in American English came around 1825. Since then, both forms have remained fairly common throughout the English-speaking world, but the favoring of gray in the U.S. and grey everywhere else has remained consistent.
Some people make their own distinctions between gray and grey. You can find some interesting examples in the comments below. There is nothing wrong with these preferences, but they are not borne out in broader usage. For most people, gray and grey are simply different spellings of the same word.
Both spellings are used for the participles, grayed/greyed and graying/greying, as well as for most of the words and phrases involving gray/grey. For instance, grey area/gray area, referring to an area having characteristics of two extremes, is commonly spelled both ways. So is graybeard/greybeard, referring to an older man with a beard, and gray squirrel/grey squirrel (which refer to closely related types of squirrels on opposite sides of the Atlantic). There are at least a couple of exceptions, though: greyhound, for the breed of dog, always has an e,while grayling, which refers to several types of fish, always has an a.

So apparently, both ways are okay! Just remember to use both versions if you are searching for anything in that specific color family. BTW... Dork actually means "infected whale penis", so be careful using that word around fishermen! :0)

Now - on to to fun stuff! 

Today was all about spackling. I spackled walls and beams and door frames. I really like the cool and creamy feel of spackle, so it was a fun day for me! I got to squish and spread and glop and get completely messy knowing I was just a hand washing and vacuuming away from being clean again! Next time I am feeling a little anxious, I'm going to break out the Dap and just play in it for a while! Very therapeutic! 

I used the punch out doors from the kit as the pattern to make two tall transom type door sandwiches. The thinking is that one part will attach to the outside and one on the inside with the "glass" sandwiched in between. I am not going to make them opening doors. I am hoping to figure out a way to make the roof come off to access the inside. 

I got to pick out and order paint and fabric. I'm going with grey and white and pops of melon. What do you think?

Sample from Home Depot Again

Sample from Home Depot Again
Acrylic Grey Accent Color
Acrylic Melon Accent Color

Bedspread Fabric

Sofa Fabric

I received the cellfoam today. Boy that was disappointing. It was dented, all 4 pieces had a big chunk of the corner broken, and it was not at all what I was expecting. Think really thin, cheap disposable cooler foam. I thought it would be more like a pool noodle. It is going back, and I am just going to reinforce the exterior of the walls with cardstock. I probably don't need it - the 1/8" x 3/4" extender trim (to add height to the walls) seems to be very sturdy. 

Tomorrow will be filled with dust as I sand all of the spackled pieces smooth. Then, I'll prime all the walls and clean up the mess I've made again this week. My thoughtful daughter is coming here for the weekend with presents for me! No special reason. She's just awesome like that!

One of the things I find myself ogling over in photographs of modern interior design are the wood floors. Sometimes they are very linear with thin, long planks. And sometimes, they are surprisingly rustic with wide reclaimed boards. Somehow, this combination of clean and minimal along with some well loved accents really works. In one of my inspiration photos, they even carried the wood planking onto the bed wall in lieu of a headboard.

With the interior of the Alki Point, white and grey are to be the prominent colors (a combination which can seem cold if you're not careful). I needed an element to balance their cool tones with some warmth. The floors seemed like the perfect palette! And what a perfect opportunity to branch out a bit in terms of working with a different wood medium.

I have used Houseworks wood flooring sheets a number of times, and I have even made wood floors and floorboards using basswood. These are great solutions and give you really nice results, but I really wanted to achieve a custom look with these floors. One option, which I have seen beautifully done on many mini blogs, was to make wood flooring from veneer, This seemed like an exciting endeavour!

I found a nice pack of wood veneers on Amazon, and they really had some great reviews. I got them within a few days, and I am very happy with the selection. After calculating what I received in my pack, I will have enough veneer to make ten 11 x 17 wood floors for the price of two. There are a couple drawbacks; 1) You never know what you are getting. They are truly a sample pack. 2) None of the veneers are labeled, so unless you know a lot about wood species, it's anybodies guess what they are.

I found 4 sheets that I liked the pattern on for this project. They were in the brown or grey-ish brown family to add some warmth. Kristine from Paper Doll Miniatures used her paper cutter on her veneer, so I gave it a try! I cut all of the pieces 1/2" in width, then made several lengths ranging from 6" down to 1-1/2". It was a great solution!

I had to be really paying attention when I made the cuts, as some of the types of wood were more brittle than others and wanted to shift. As long as I held on good to the piece I was cutting, they were pretty good. There was a bit of a scrap pile from my learning curve. I painted the floor burnt umber as a background in case there were gaps.

I read a few How To articles on real sized wood floors, and basically came to the conclusion that I just needed to start in the center and work my way from there. It took the better part of the day to get them glued down.

Although I didn't really have any trouble with the Grandmother Stover's glue, I still would do a section and put a lead weight on them for a bit. When it was all finished, I put a layer of waxed paper, then plywood, then all the heavy stuff I have on hand and let it sit overnight.

This morning I set about the detailing. There were some gaps that I thought were a bit large, and due to the slight variance in thickness, it needed a good sanding. I watched a couple YouTube videos, and was surprised to learn that even real life wood floors have gaps! One of the things that they do to fill them is to mix sawdust and a little wood glue as a filler. Then they stain it along with the rest of the floor. Who knew?

I filled in a couple slivers with scrap pieces, then kind of left the sawdust in the cracks as I sanded. I wondered how my sawdust was going to blend in since I was going to leave the floors natural. I started with 220 grit, then did a 400 before my first coat of satin varnish. It was nice and smooth! I let it dry for a couple of hours, then came back with an 800 grit light sanding before the second coat.

After the second coat, I wasn't liking the satin finish. It was just a little too shiny. The cabinets are going to be shiny, so shiny floors would just be too much! I sanded again with 800 grit, then applied a matte finish.

Here is the end result, and for my first time, I am completely happy!

Here is the three sided mock up with the wall lifters. One of the slots I cut on the back was is a little off, so I need to work on that. Before I can dry fit the last/front wall I need to make the window frame. There is barely any wall left to stand up as of now! The walls have been spackled, sanded, primed, sanded and probably need another round.

My Shapeways order is almost finished in production, so hopefully soon I can do a little decorating mock up to make sure everything will fit.

The next step in the building process was to get the front window wall window frames figured out. I needed them done before I could truly do a "dry fit" and make sure there were no fatal flaws (remember the barn? Boy I do!). I removed a good part of that wall for windows, so I needed to add some strength back.

I had a general idea of the size and number of windows I wanted, because I had drawn them out on the piece before I took the scroll saw to it. I based them on the window cut outs in the kit.

I set off the smoke detectors taking measurements. Add a 3/4" x 6-1/2" piece next to the door frame, measure the hole height and length, add the 1/4" thickness of the trim wood, subtract the 1/8" mullions x 3... There is still soot coming out of my ears when I sneeze or cough!

Once I was fairly confident in my measurements, I decided to draw everything out in Publisher. This way, I could print it and hold the mock up to the window opening to see if I had measured correctly. Plus, I could then use the pattern to square my frame up. My gluing jig is not wide enough!

I had to cut everything for two frames, one for the outside and one for the inside. I made the cut list, and and just cut the pieces one at a time with my Easy Cutter. I ended up needing 32 1/8" x 1/8" mullions. For those, I broke out the rip saw and taped 6 pieces together so I could cut six pieces at a time.

Once I began gluing the pieces in place, I started to realize that with all of those mullions, the frame was kind of taking on a Mid-Century feel. Whoa! I had to stop and reevaluate my whole plan here! Was Mid-Century really what I was going for? No! No, no, no, no!

Too bad I didn't figure all of this out before I hacked 6 pieces of 1/8" x 1/8" x 24" into 42 1-1/5" pieces.

So, I glued only the outer frame pieces and the 3 horizontal inner frame pieces. Much better! But wait, what was I going to do with the pre-cut window mullions in the walls, the ones in the roof wall pieces, and the ones I'd purposely left in the door frames? Oh yeah! I can just cut those out!

Phew! Not that I am against Mid-Century in any way. I made a fantastic Mid-Century home in Sims 3 that at last count had about 300 downloads, but that was not my vision for this build!

Where I am trying to go with this build is Modern-Modern. In other words, the Contemporary, current version of Modern. Not the modern that was modern in the Mid 20th century. Make sense?

Oh, well. Whatever. I am not a purist in any sense of the word. I just want what I want and it is not vertical mullions... We'll see what I actually end up with... :0)

In my last post I was making windows. I forgot how long that takes. Apparently, for me, on a project this small, it takes three days! It would have been faster, but I had to wait for the garage to heat up a bit before I could paint.

I had something like 14 frames to make. That meant I had something like 14 frames to sand, fill, sand, and paint. That meant a lot of waiting in between. I found myself getting really board, so I took lots of TV breaks while I waited. I watched the first episode of Master Chef Junior. How cute are those kids?!? Guess I'll have to wait until tonight to see the next episode!

I had to be very gentle. I have a tendency to get really enthusiastic with my sanding strokes. There were at least two frames that I broke apart and had to re-glue. Then, I had to re-wait for them to dry.

One of the mullions broke off just as I was getting ready to spray the paint on it. I told it to go take a flying leap, then just left it apart from the frame. I'll wait and re-glue it on after the paint dries. If I don't smash it first. Just kidding... kind of... I'm waiting for paint to dry now.

I kept waffling, too... Should the window frames, front wall, door frames, and beams be black or grey? I looked at a bunch of photos, thought black was the way to go, but just before I went out to the garage to do the deed I chickened out. I imagined the finished project sitting on the shelf in front of me. In the end I decided black was just a little harder to keep clean. Rustoleum Satin Granite seemed like a more neutral option. I'm almost out. If I run out before I am finished I'll have to wait for more to come from Amazon.

I could start the wall texture paper. Oh, wait... I am still waiting for that to come in the mail.

I could start painting the little accessories from Shapeways. Oh wait... I am still waiting for that package to come in the mail.

I could start making the platform bed. Oh wait... I am still waiting for the fabric to come.

Oh wait a minute! The tracking says there was a notice left in my mail box. A notice? I was here all day! What the b-l-e-e-p!

Oh! The notice says that the carrier lock on our box has been broken since 11/10? A work order has been put in to fix it? We are still waiting for the fix? Until then I have to drive to the post office to pick up my mail? I guess I'll have to wait in line there, too.

Oh brother. Do you ever feel like the universe is conspiring against you? Just to teach you some patience?

But I don't wanna wait! I wanna live by the motto on my garage door!

I'm in that part of the project where I am second guessing my color choices and wondering why I hadn't thought about certain things - like wall coverings. Really, Jodi? Is this your first time?

I could have just painted the walls, but not me! Nope! I wanted to complicate everything as much as possible texture. So, I dug through all my little stash places to see what I could come up with. I found some scrapbook pages left over from some project and thought I'd try painting it to see how it looked.

It was green with a bit of a cross hatch texture, so I thought I'd better put a couple coats of primer on it. It looked like the texture was going to show through, so I decided to paint it next.

I put two coats of the grey paint sample paint from Home Depot. It definitely dried a little darker than I was anticipating. It also has a surprising bit of sheen on it for being flat paint.

That's where I started questioning my choices in color combinations. I brought everything I have gathered so far to the table to look at all of it together. Paints, fabrics, flooring, exterior, interior, textures.

Some of my grey fabric looks kind of blue. Some of it looks as though it has a greenish tinge to it. The primary grey paint matches the high gloss cabinet film from Elf Miniatures, and that matches the solid grey fabric, but is that too matchy matchy and too much grey? The grey that I sprayed all of the trim is definitely light, but is that a good thing? Suddenly I realize that I am inadvertently and literally making a 50 Shades Of Gray vacation rental!

What's my solution? Oh! Great idea! Buy 3 more yards of fabric online that "look" like the right grey and wait a few days for them to arrive!

Then my brain decides to second guess the painted scrapbook paper. Will it unwrinkle itself with the wallpaper paste? Should I put a couple coats of matte sealer on it before I put it on? Is that too much grey? Maybe I should buy some white textured scrapbook paper and just give myself a couple days to decide.

Once I start in on this kind of thinking I begin and end in exactly the same place. Like 15 rounds of this. Before I decide to just go for it. Most times, everything turns out great and I am happy. But then, the Barn happened. And now, I am afraid to mess everything up again. Hump. There's no hope for me...

So, I spent HOURS on Etsy. Distraction was good. Then I went through my stash of leftover project parts and pieces and decided to put wooden strips on the upper half of the back wall. I started this after 10:00pm and did not go to bed until 1:00am. I like the texture, but am I going to stain it? Will it compete with the wood floor?

I managed to get the wood wall finished, and get the divider wall between the kitchen/bathroom cut. sanded, wood installed etc.

I managed to start thinking about the ceiling/roof and make sure I had wood for that.

I finished up the spray painting, and checked that the window frames still fit.

But really, it doesn't seem like I got much done over the weekend. I'll try to make some decisions, then get back to it on Tuesday...

A few weeks ago I posted how I started watching tutorials on Skillshare. That lead me to a 3D iterating software called Tinkercad. I started playing around with making modern 3D miniature stuff for the Alki Point project. That lead me to upload about 50 different designs to Shapeways. And that lead me to printing them. The above photo is the bulk of my designs, although I have several more either being printed now or that I am saving up to order. I know that I am behind the curve by a couple years with this stuff, but I say better late than never! It's just so exciting to finally get to see these little gems in real life!

My photos are taken with my phone so are not the best, and these are the raw Strong, White and Flexable prints. I am still deciding how I am going to finish each piece.

Afterglow Lamp Base - Cost $5.59. Shade Cost $5.51. I love the "stepping" from the printing. It gives it a pottery or natural fiber look and feel.

Shown without Shade to illustrate how bulb and socket fit perfectly.

Channel exit for the cord. I made six different lamp styles. All are designed with the bulbs and wiring in mind.

Persuasion Bedside Table. It has non opening drawers on both sides. Cost on this one is expensive (IMO) - $36.11

Forethought Headboard. I'll make it into a platform bed for the Alki Point. I made three different headboard styles. This is the only one I have had printed, so far. Cost $32.98

Enliven Undermount Kitchen Double Sink Cost $13.31. Faucet sold separately, cost $2.13

Enliven Square Nesting Bowls Cost $12.04

Large Coastlight Modern Planters. Cost $18.86

Steadfast Shelf Sized Vase Set. Cost $5.83

Exhilarate Back and Side Tiled Shower Walls. 1/16" grove can be grouted for contrast. 4" x 7" Back wall $22.78, 3" x 7" side wall $15.85. Shower pan is made to fit and is 4" x 3" x 1/8" and costs $12.14. Shower unit with mixer and rain head costs $4.89. Wall mounted low profile toilet costs $11.14. I'll get better "in use" photos once they go into my project.

Exhilarate bathroom accessories include: Sink $8.28, Faucet $2.22, Trash Can & Soap Pump Set $6.57, Towel Bar, Towel Holder, TP holder and 3 Hooks Set $11.66. 

I also made pendant light shades for the kitchen and bathroom that accommodate standard 12 volt sized bulb and socket sets. Two different styles of modern cabinet hardware, modern door handles, wall art pieces, a brunch set and subway tile kitchen side and back splashes. Those are in production now, so keep your fingers crossed with me!

If you want to give 3D designing and printing a shot, I'll be happy to answer questions or help in any way I can! All you need is an idea, some measurements to convert to scale, and a willingness to spend a little time and money. Believe me - if you love to make, you'll love this process!

I've been supremely lucky to have extra free time for the past few weeks. I have taken advantage, and really enjoyed working on projects, reading blogs, and just being in an overall relaxed atmosphere!

But, that's all about to change. Coincidentally, both my job and the holidays ramp up at the same time. Tomorrow is really my last slacker day for a while. Work and getting the house ready for holiday guests will take precedence over my mini life.

I've gotten enough done on Alki Point to see it begin to take shape. Once I made the decision to order the textured white scrapbook paper for the wall covering, I kind of found my way again. It is 12" x 12",  80#.  I love the texture, it went on easy, and painted up really nicely. Now I'll have a good supply for future projects!

Framing side of wall
Knowing that the paper was on its way, I went to bed Monday night thinking about how to construct the bedroom/bathroom separater wall. I needed it to conceal the future bedside lamp wires, so I decided to construct it like a RL wall. Well, sort of. I don't think my studs would pass inspection. There are really no fire breaks in it, but hey, it does the job, right?

Wall in the jig
I knew I would put wallpaper on the bedroom side, but I wasn't quite sure about the bathroom side. I debated; should I order more tile walls from Shapeways, or do something else? In the end I decided to use more of the flooring strips I used on the upper portion of the bathroom and kitchen walls.

Wall after constructing
Wall with paper and newly mixed paint color

Speaking of paint... The grey sample I ordered (Behr Paramount from Home Depot) was really too dark for such a small space. I mixed it with white until I got more of a silvery grey. I decided to paint only one accent wall in the living/kitchen area, then the partial wall behind the bed.

This photo shows the bathroom side of the partial wall. I am still trying to decide whether to leave it as is, or add a piece of plexi as a see thru wall. I guess I'll know once I cut the plexi for the shower and see how that looks and installs. I'll be using two part epoy to adhere it to the White, Strong and Flexible tile wall and shower pan. That's what was suggested on the Shapeways forum, so I'll let you know how that turns out.

It was a little stressful trying to decide how to finish the flooring strips on the walls. I tried a little grey stain on a sample piece, but didn't end up liking the way it looked. Too uniform. I might as well have painted the wall grey.

I wanted some texture, and to mix the modern elements with a little shabby and reclaimed. I tried a little light grey acrylic wash, but the water was really raising too many hairs on the wood. I could sand them after, but I found that most of the color also sanded away.

Then I thought I might just paint them white. After I applied the second coat, I'd lost most of the wood slat texture. Oh poop!

So, I searched again for my favorite inspiration photos, read a couple RL whitewashing articles, and decided to try my luck doing a little sanding after the second white coat was thoroughly dried. I loved it! So that's what I did!

Here's the dry fit, and sadly, this is where my progress will most likely stop for the next couple weeks. I'll try to sneak in a few hours here and there. Shhhhh!

As some of you know, for several weeks I'v been busy learning about and iterating 1:12 scale items for 3D printing through Shapeways. I started out designing each piece for my Alki Point project. I thought it would be so much fun to decorate with stuff I actually made. I quickly got carried away! It is amazing that we now have the technology to create a piece on a computer, then actually see that idea come to life!

So far, my print tested inventory includes many lighting and plumbing fixtures, furniture, and decor accents. Before I made my items available to everyone, I wanted to make certain that they were:

1. Printable with no issues.
2. Looked in person the way I envisioned.
3. Were perfect 1:12 scale.
4. Functioned the way I intended.
5. Were used in an actual project where I could take "in Action" photos. I am still working on that!

This took a good deal of time and financial investment, but was well worth it! I feel confident in my designs, and have made them available in my Shapeways store. In the iteration process, I keep certain principals in practice so that my pieces are affordable. This means in the rendering photos you may see items stacked on top of one another. Saving printer space means the item costs less money. For items with many small parts, like my brunch set, Shapeways prints them inside of a material sack (sintershell) so that no pieces are lost. I have many more items in production or just waiting to be print tested, so check back often to see the new designs.

If you see an item that says First To Try, that indicates that it has not been successfully printed yet. Not to worry! There are a series of checks that have to happen even before an item is allowed to be available for sale. Once an item has met that criteria, it can be placed in my store. Once an item is ordered, it goes through another series of printability checks. If it does not pass, you are given a refund. Fortunately, none of my items has failed! Everything I have ordered has come in ready for me to paint, finish or just display!

I'd love to hear your constructive (please) feedback and suggestions for product improvements. If there is a need for an item that I have not filled yet, please tell me about it! I love a challenge! It would be so wonderful to see photos of how you used these pieces in your project. We are such a creative community, and everyone's ideas just tickle me!

A ~G-I-A-N-T-I-C~ ~T-H-A-N-K~ ~Y-O-U!!!~ to Alice for being my first customer! I am just so grateful that you believed in me! :0)

Thanks for stopping in!

My Miniature Madness Shapeways Store

Making stools for Alki Point!

Inspiration photo on the left, 3D rendering photos in strip on right.

I've ordered two ($13.90 ea. minus the 20% coupon this week). I'll let you know how they turn out, probably get them the second week in December!

Also, just a few words. Book holder words that is...

Now back to work! No, I promise! I'm working, I'm working!

I know we are all busier than a one legged man at a butt kickin' contest, but I got my next Shapeways delivery today (man they ship fast!) and wanted to share!

This is the first time I've gotten an order in a sintershell. That's what Shapeways does for you when you have a product with lots of little parts. It's a mesh of sorts, printed around the items so they won't get lost in production. In my case, it was the Brunch Set.

It's a tough bugger to open up - it's made of the same material that your items are getting printed in. In my case, White, Strong & Flexible I opened mine up with small wire cutters. My mind is still processing ideas for what I can do to recycle this sintershell. Basket? Dish rack?Shower caddy? Hmmm...

Here are all of the little wonders safely out of their shell! Square lunch plates, salad plates cappuccino cups, and vase (short enough so that the flowers don't block the guests from seeing each other at the table).

The rest of the bathroom tile came (changed design plans after I ordered and needed more) as well as the subway tile back and side splashes for the kitchen! Tomorrow is all about family, Friday I'll need to get some job work stuff done, but Saturday and Sunday ARE MINE! Alki Point is going to start becoming, my friends! Yippee!!!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, everyone! And Happy Black Friday shopping for those brave adventurers willing to go out to the stores. Any trinkets I buy will be done wirelessly and safely behind my front door!

If you've stopped by to see what I am up to recently, you know that I wanted to try something completely new with the Alki Point project; making 3D printed items for the majority of the interior design. I have most of them in my hands, but now what do I do?

I needed to decide what I wanted the finishes to look like, and then do a little execution research. What type of adhesive should I use to adhere them to my wooden dollhouse walls? How about gluing it to one another? What kind of paint should I use? Can they be sanded? Primed? Filled? Do they melt like foam does if spray painted?

Several hours of research later, I came away from the Shapeways Forum on Post Production Techniques like most everything else I research. There is really no absolute. Try what works for you and then post your experience to the collective record in the forum. Okay, so I am going to experiment a little, and hope I don't ruin anything in the process.

I should point out that there are many, many different types of material available for you to have items printed in. Plastics, metals, precious metals, sandstone, ceramic, acrylic etc. I have only had them printed in three different materials so far:

~White, Strong & Flexible - Flexible, slightly gritty surface, bright white.
~White, Strong & Flexible Polished - Smoother finish, slightly glossy, bright white.
~Metallic Plastic - Grey with metallic specks, stiff and brittle.

So, until I am able to purchase things in other print materials, this post will pertain only to White, Strong & Flexible and White, Strong & Flexible Polished.

The forums pretty universally recommended that you wash all WS&F pieces thoroughly with soap and water. I filled up a Rubbermaid tray with hot, dish soapy water and used a washcloth to scrub each piece. After a good rinsing, I laid them on paper towels to dry.

The WS&F material is actually Nylon 12. It is pretty porous when not polished, so sealing it with a dip of Future wax or priming before painting was also recommended. I wanted to see how porous it would be un-primed as part of the experimenting.

I didn't have to buy any paint or sealer because I already had these on hand. The Krylon is supposed to be white paint and primer in one. The chrome metallic does not say to use on plastic. It says "for use on wood, metal and more". I hoped the "more" meant Nylon 12. I probably really need to varnish the metallic finish afterwords, so I'll give the gloss spray Mod Podge a try.  

The white paint took four light coats to reach this point. I just coated each piece lightly, letting each coat dry for about 45 minutes in between. One of the tile walls was printed in WS&F Polished. I noticed a more uniform coat of paint, and it seemed to soak into the nylon less. My conclusion is to pay the extra few cents when possible, and have the piece polished. Feels and looks smoother, as well.

The metallic paint is certainly more apt to soak in. I painted at least five coats, also letting them dry thoroughly in between. When I would go out to the garage to check on them, you could see the nylon white coming through in some spots. Notice the piece of wood I am using - the chrome looks promising!

The high temperature today was 39 degrees, so it is cold, but the humidity is low. I had a space heater in the insulated garage, so it was probably somewhere in the 60's in the airspace around the paint. I am going to let all of the pieces dry overnight, then I'll varnish the chrome pieces.

My next post on Post Production of 3D Prints will be about what I find attempting to glue the shower tile walls to the wood bathroom walls.

Until then, I am going put on some bigfoot podcasts, measure the bathroom and kitchen and start making the cabinets!

If you are planning to buy and finish any 3D printed miniatures in the future, here are a couple of helpful tutorials from Shapeways on glues and paint:

The code for 20% Off + Free Shipping this weekend is BFDEALS.

After drying overnight, the chrome painted parts were dry and looking promising. The bathroom faucet seemed to have some debris or badly painted bumps, so I sanded it lightly with 0000 steel wool. The sanding took a good deal of the sheen off, and left it looking like it had received a coat of watered down black paint. I guess if you are going for the well used look, this might be just fine. Sorry I forgot to take that photo!

These are test pieces, so I decided to go all of the way with them just to see how good or bad the results would be. I added the sinks and toilet to the metallic pieces ans sprayed them with the Mod Podge gloss.

I DO NOT recommend this! It seemed to actually dull and crackle the chrome finish, and now the sinks and toilet look like they have debris in the finish. :0( Not sure if it is just the Mod Podge, or the reaction that the chrome paint would have with any aerosol varnish.

Back to the drawing board... With the new pieces, I am going to try wet sanding, priming, white spray acrylic for the sinks and toilet, and the chrome again for the fixtures. Maybe I'll try Triple Thick to add the shine. More updates to come...

Hope it will turn into something good,,,

To be a miniaturist is to be a risk taker. Each time we push the boundary of our skills we take a risk. Each time we try something new, we know there's a good possibility that we could fail miserably, costing time, frustration, and let's face it - money.

We see the work of so many outstandingly talented people, trying to rein in our little green monsters and wondering how long it will take before we are "good" at this. If I spend enough time. If I spend enough money. If I just keep trying...

But when we do succeed, oh how wonderful it is! That is when the risks finally pay off. We practice and practice our new little skills until we have it mastered. The joy of marveling at this little thing you dreamed is such an amazing high! That adds fuel to our raging fire, and we are ready for the next new challenge.

But miniatures can be like bad boyfriends. They treat you terribly for months. You dream of them, longing to spend time with them. You sacrifice time with friends and family for them. And in return, you get just enough satisfaction to keep the relationship going.

When you've finally had enough of the frustration, and are just about to break up with him for good, suddenly, magic happens. Some beautiful and perfect act of giving back, and you are back in love once again.

In moments of utter disgruntlement, like I've had today, I try to remember all of this. I pause, I slow my heart rate, I breath, I center and then I remember that I love all of this.

And then this happens...

I just wanted to post a couple of tips on some things that helped me this week...

I bought a couple Elf Miniatures kits for the Alki Point. This was my first time using the aluminum sheeting, and overall, it was pretty easy. I can see that practice will definitely make things more perfect, but I can live with my newbie results. Don't magnify the photos too much. Luckily, I have some thin aluminum metal sheeting from my husband's old RC truck days. I can practice practically for free! ;0)

I used contact cement, tacky glue, Weldbond, and 2 part epoxy. I have to say that the contact cement was my favorite. If any of it squirted out (even after so carefully spreading it thin and not too close to the edges), once it dried it was easy to just pull it off with no residue. I like the ability to clean things up. We won't talk about how many times I positioned things only to pull them off and quickly wipe off the adhesive!

Actually, yes we will talk about it. I was getting frustrated trying to get the fridge and oven door handles straight, level and plumb using only my tweezers and my 4X magnification clip on lenses. I was dreading how I was ever going to get the little knobs equally spaced. I even considered leaving them off. Then I decided that I should not let things that are so little be the boss of me. And here is the tool I devised to do the job.

I cut down some toothpicks, sanded them flat, then added a dab of museum wax. This way, I had a handle for the little bastards pieces.

I stuck the toothpick wax tool to the top of the knobs, used another toothpick to add the epoxy to the undersides, positioned them exactly where I wanted, then let it dry. Once the resin was set, I plucked off the handle and wiped the wax away!

I wasn't too happy with the plain Elf cooktop. I added some 1/16" basswood underneath to give it some dimension. I cut it deep enough so that I could add a piece of aluminum strip on the front edge for knobs. I had a pack of old Houseworks brass door knobs. With a coat of red paint, they don't look half bad. The knob plate thingies look like they could make great drains, too!

The next thing on the 'to do' list was to make the legs for the bathroom vanity. I had some aluminum rod, also left over from my husband's RC truck days, so thought it would be perfect. It really would have been, but cutting through the first piece broke the only "for metal" blade I have. Should have used the rip saw and not the scroll saw, I guess... (post note: Husband now informs me that he has a specific tool for cutting metal tubing. Day late, dollar short...)

So, I had to punt. I remembered that I have a nice big container of every sized dowel you could ever want. I thought 1/8" would look chunky enough but not too "Melissa & Doug" if you know what I mean. I also remembered something else I acquired from my wonderful, handsome, crafty and handy husband - aluminum tape!

It's the stuff that is used on HVAC ducting. It really is made of aluminum. It is very thin, comes on a roll and best of all it is adhesive! Oh this opens up a whole new world of possibilities!

I cut the pieces to size, peeled off the paper backing, and rolled the dowel on it. The one on the left is the aluminum that broke my blade, and the right is the taped dowel, Not so bad! And if you @#%^ it up, pull it off and try again!

Here is the vanity with it's new legs.

And here is the link for the Venture Tape. I think from now on I'll just call it Adventure Tape!

The next batch of my Shapeways models have arrived!

From Left to Right:

  • 22.5 Degree Topless Coffee Table (add your own acrylic or wood top)
  • Camber Cutout Double Bookshelf
  • NOW Book Holders
  • Coastlight Decorative Bowl
  • Resplendent Vase Sculpture
  • Masculine Sculpture
  • Hip To Be Square Lamp (with very small shade. Regular shade is larger)
  • X Sighting Topless Side Table (add your own unique top)
  • Scale Six Piece Composition Frame Set


Pose Counter Stools

All are 1/12th scale.

Check back to see how all of the 3D printed items will be used in the Alki Point project!

Wanna see all my little wonders???

M3 1:12 - My Shapeways Store

I have reached the point in my project where I pull every item out of every crevice and cranny, lay them out in front of me, and try to decide where every piece should go. Today, I mostly just stared at all of it and got a lot of nothing done...

I have to decide what to make of all of this:

And this...

And this...

Oh! I figured this one out! Mostly...

But I am still puzzling over this...

And this...

But while I was "thinking", I came across this:

It was in one of the drawers of my grandmother's antique sewing table. It is a Russian Doll sort of flat head screwdriver, gradually getting small enough to almost work for a doll's shop. It looks to be brass, and it looks like it is made from old bullet casings. My grandpa was quite an inventive guy, and made some very clever tools. Did he make this, or was it issued to him when he was in the Army? Hmmm... A mystery, but a warm heart smile today, for sure!

In between making more messes, and spacing out a lot, I managed to scrounge up an old but useful item to help me in my endeavor to do a better chrome job on 3D plumbing fixtures a-la-deux.

A perfect dust cover so that maybe I will have less particle and more chrome finish this time. I WILL NOT be putting ANY sealer on this batch!!!

With any luck at all, I'll wake up tomorrow full of creative certainty, and some dry and shiny faucets to install.

I'm up to my elbows reorganizing my work space today. It's funny how much mess you can create just trying to get a better handle on all of your "stuff". The mail came, and in it some little treasures I've been waiting for. What a welcomed opportunity to take a break and share a "find" that I found last week...

I was putting together the mini refrigerator and oven front kits from Elf miniatures. Included in both kits were handles. Just square stainless steel rod cut to the appropriate length. I looked at it and thought it would be really handy to have some of it around to make my own cabinet handles, pulls and furniture legs.

I began looking at metal stock on MicroMark and other hobby suppliers. I was disappointed in the selection, and offended by the prices! Necessity and being thrifty are the mother of thinking outside the box for mini resources. So I began my effort to find the perfect metal for a much more reasonable price.

Enter eBay, and what they call Steel Key Stock. It is stainless, even more nicely finished than the Elf handle material, and it's only $3.71 for 5 (five) 1/8" x 1/8" x 12" pieces! One stick of this stuff can cost up to $7.00 through hobby retailers! Plus, they are zinc coated to help keep it from corroding over time. That means it stays shiny and modern looking!

I ordered it on 12/1 and got it in today's mail. not too bad at all! I have not had an opportunity to cut it yet - I am thinking my little hacksaw or coping saw will do the job, but I will definitely let you know.

Here's the link to the eBay seller I purchased through. He's got other sizes, too.

If any of you have info to add or better material or resources, please let me know! I'll update the post!

You know how you can be in a room with 100 people and still be lonely? If none of those 100 people love miniatures, it can be the loneliest place on Earth...

That is the main reason why, last spring, I began this blog and started to devour every other miniature blog I could find. I realized very quickly what an incredibly kind, sharing, supportive and unbelievably ingenious community you are! I found my people, and all of you are the same brand of crazy as me! Yippee!!!

No one in the mini community has ever made me feel like the new weird girl. In fact, any contact and comments left have been so very, very kind! It has been incredible, and I really feel the welcome. Thank you all so, so much!

To celebrate this milestone, I'd like to give back! These are the crazy holidays, so I'll leave the drawing open until New Year's Eve. Just leave a comment on this post, and your name goes in the hat. Whatever I make or buy for the Alki Point between now and 11:59 pm December 31st, 2015, I'll double. One for me, one for you!

What a grand adventure! This is going to be so fun!

One for me...

Bath Vanity Accessories For Me

Chrome Shower Fixtures And Acrylic Wall Added (paper stays on for now)

One for you...

Bath Accessories

One for me...

Espresso Machine
Based Loosely On This Model

One for who?


Post your comment on this post. You might me the Who!

Enjoy your weekend, all!

One of the details that I wanted to include on the kitchen shelves at Alki Point was a beach sign. I've seen several really cute signs for sale on Etsy and elsewhere, but I really enjoy making stuff so I thought I'd give it a whirl. Here's what I did.

Stuff You'll need:

  1. Color printed photo of the sign. I got ideas online, but ended up making my own in Publisher. I just sized my design then printed on regular paper.
  2. Wood scraps sanded and cut down to the size of the sign you'd like (I left a little room around the edges of the photo on mine). Mine are 2"x1"x1/16".
  3. Paint & paintbrushes. I used white to lighten up a turquoise I had, then a dark grey for aging washes.
  4. Mod Podge and old paintbrush.
  5. Small ball stylus.
  6. Ruler.

Paint on the base color for your sign and let dry. I used a lighter than I wanted coat first. I also used a color similar to the printed design. This helps to make the print appear to be part of the actual sign.

If you want to go for a little color depth, apply a bit darker second coat and let dry. Make sure to cover all of the edges well. And if your sign will be seen from the other side (or you're just a victim of raging OCD) repeat the process to the back. You really only have to cover the edges here, but I like to paint and see the mottled finish. I get a sense of accomplishment from it! :O)

Once the paint is dry on the wood, give the edges a light sanding. You're going for the look of an old sign with some of the paint worn down/off.

While your wood is drying, apply a coat of Mod Podge to your prints (the ink should be good and dry by now). I Mod Podge before I cut out the signs. I like to have a protective coating on them before I handle them too much. When dry, cut out your signs. You can give them rippled, curved, torn edges etc. depending on the finished look you are going for. I love the look of shabby sprinkled in with modern, so my signs got rounded edges and aging.

Once you're happy with the amount of wear, coat the back of your sign with Mod Podge and affix it to the wood piece. Let partially dry.

Decide how many "planks" of wood your sign will have. I tried 3 and 4 boards to see what I liked best. Once you've decided, lay your ruler across the sign, and using the edge of your ruler, run the stylus back and forth until you reach a depth you like. It is easier to do this with softer woods, and before the Mod Podge dries.

Use the stylus to also make dents on the ends of the boards. These will be your nail holes. Dot the holes with the color you'd like for the "nails".

Now it is time for an aging wash! Just water down you dark color (can be black, brown, grey - whatever you have) and apply coats until you are happy. Don't forget the edges! If you have too much, you can wipe away or swish more water on it.

Spray with varnish if you like - I didn't because I like the finish just the way it is. I am not too happy with my nail holes. I think I'll tinker a bit more with these...

Do you ever hesitate before you permanently attach fixtures or walls? Boy I do! I am always nervous that I have forgotten something, and that attaching it might be a big mistake! Today I decided that the only way to move forward on the Alki Point project was to just do it already!

Here is the bathroom. I permanently installed the toilet and the sink unit. I attached the last sheet of tile to the partition wall (no photo yet), but I won't install that just yet. I almost removed the protective sheeting from the shower wall, but decided to wait. I have painted the replacement Shapeways TP and towel holder etc... and need to install them after they dry. Chrome paint takes forever to dry!

I glued most of the decor stuff to the kitchen shelves, let that dry while I made dinner, then attached the side wall after that. While I had that taped and glued, I took the opportunity to run more wood glue along all of the seems that cannot be seen. I want to make sure since these are two kits turned into one that there is plenty of points that help support any stress.

One of the fun little projects was making some little plants. I have a drawer full of silk and plastic plants and flowers. Some are left overs from the 90's when fake floral swags were cool, and I also pick up things from Joann's when they go on sale. They are in order of before materials used, and after completed below.

And these are for my giveaway Who!


Having been hijacked by the new puppy (training is constant the first few weeks) and all of the holiday workload, I managed to squeeze in a few hours to make the sofa for Alki Point. It was my attempt at constructing using only a photo, and while not perfect, it is a great starting point for future improvements. 

Both MitchyMooMiniatures and 1inchminis have wonderful furniture tutorials, so I recommend visiting their web sites and reading everything before you settle on one method over the other. My method here is probably not explained as thoroughly, but here is a .pdf with cut list and and patterns, in case you'd like to give this one a try:

Make A 1:12 Scale Modern Style Sofa

My starting point was this sofa. I found it after searching the interwebs for 'apartment sized modern sofas'. I searched for the measurements, then did my best to convert them, based on guessing a lot of the time, to 1:12 scale.

The materials I used are as follows:

  • 3/16" foam core
  • mat board
  • quilt batting
  • cotton fabric
  • The Ultimate glue

I even turned my cutting mat over to the "pristine" side for this project! 

I started by cutting the bottom, back and sides from foam core.

Then I glued them together.

Next, I got out the mat board I ordered from Amazon. This was my first time using this stuff. Maybe it was user error, but I found it quickly dulled my Xacto blades, and was a bit much for the job. My 85# cardstock was easier to work with IMO, but I recommend you try it for yourself.

Next, I measured the sofa base and cut a piece of mat board to fit.

Then, using a glue stick (based on Kris' recommendation), I affixed a piece of the fabric, leaving about a quarter inch around to attach to the sofa base.

Then, you guessed it! I attached it to the base using The Ultimate glue.

Bottoms up!

Here is where, apparently, I stopped to smoke a little crack or something, because I FORGOT TO TAKE A PHOTO OF THE NEXT STEP! Here is where most people would just redo the thing and take new photos once they realize that they were an idiot, but not me. Nope. I want you all to know how I often lose my mind. VERY FREQUENTLY! 

What I did was, I cut a piece of mat board that was the height of the sofa arms and back, and the length needed to wrap all three of them together. I then glued my fabric so that the bottom had a nice crisp edge.

I left the fabric loose at the top, so that after I had glued the piece to the sofa, I could use the excess fabric to cover the remaining arm and back mat board.  

Does it make more sense with the photos?

Next I made the banding for the arms. Here is where I will tell you NOT to do what I did. 

A) Do not cut the mat board the same width as the sofa arm. It looks better when it is just slightly smaller in width than spilling over the edges.

And B) Go all of the way to the bottom of the sofa with it. I thought it would look better if I stopped at the top of the sofa base, but now regret it.

Moving on! Next, I cut the foam core for the bottom cushion and the two back cushions. I wrapped them in the quilt batting 

Then covered them in fabric.

Make neat little ends, like wrapping a present. Yes, those are my chubby little fingers. If you put a tap in my rear end, Ben & Jerry's would flow out. Please don't. It might hurt!

Next, I used a pilot hole punch from a lighting kit to poke a hole through the fabric and into the foam core. This is for the dimple buttons. I am using silver colored brads. Kris shows you a better way to make fabric ones with paper but I can't seem to find the link now on her site! Dip the brad ends into glue, then push in and let dry.

Now for the legs...

I wanted to use some of that stainless tubing (you know the stuff that broke my metal blade before hubs said he had a tool for the job?). I used said tool, it took forever to cut through, it was so hard to get the tubing to line up to the blade/measurement marks and tighten down without moving that all 4 monumentally difficult pieces were not the same size and it %*$$#& me off so much that I gave up.

Aluminum tape did not produce the desired effect, either, so I went with good old paint. Burnt umber to match the wood flooring.

In the list of things I will do differently next time, add drilling holes for toothpick dowels to the list. I just went with gluing wood to fabric, and I know I will live to regret it.

Also, not pictured but in the trash can are about 7 attempts at bolsters and throw pillows. Some attempted with fabric glue, and one hand sewn that looked like it was my first day in 8th grade home ec. I am blaming the fabric. Pillows still need to be made, but it's best to wait until my patience tank is filled up again. After Christmas.

I am working on the pattern sheets and updating all of the adjusted measurements. I hope to have them posted by the end of the year - which is next week! Yikes!

With the sofa taking up it's footprint in the living room, it was now time to decide on the coffee table. I designed one and had it 3d printed, but I wasn't sure I was going to use it. I had to see the space first. I purposely left it without a top, so I could decide to use either plexi, or wood once I saw it in the space.

After reading a post on Pepper's blog, I found a Rustic Live Edge Spalted Maple bookmark on Etsy.  I just loved the beautiful pattern, plus it came with a little piece of wood that was meant to stick out from the book. A perfect little chopping board for the kitchen. If a thing has multi purposes, it sells me on it every time! I found several good candidates just by searching for 'wood bookmark' or 'wood slice'. When I saw the table with wooden top in the room, the decision was made! I had to cut it shorter and round the edges, but that was easy!

I got really excited when I found the inspiration photo! The rustic wood, tray, flowers, books. glass buoy float, and jacks! Surely I could source or make all of these!

I found a really cheap set of jacks on eBay, with free shipping! Score! I liked the metal finish, so I didn't even have to paint them!

For the glass buoy float, I was able to find clear glass one hole beads on eBay, as well. I wanted the glass float to be similar in color to the inspiration photo, so I painted a few of them with Gallery Glass.

I globbed a good amount on, and when they dried, the finish was perfect! Much like sea glass! In the photo two of them have dried a bit, and the third has just been painted.

Here are all three after drying. Sticking the toothpick in the hole to paint them worked great! I stuck them in the foam to dry.

I had a fisherman's net set left over from making my dad's fishing cabin lamp, so I decided to use the netting for the glass buoy. It was a little too vibrant, so I dabbed on watered down white latex paint to dull it a bit.

Once both the netting and buoy were dry, I attached the netting by using a toothpick to stuff the excess into the hole in the bead. A dab of clear drying glue was used to secure it.

To finish off the details, I made a jar full of sea shells and tiny starfish. They are on the metal tray (recycled from an old electric razor and painted chrome) with a candle and a bud vase. There's a basket on the shelf with pine cones, and a book covered in a bit of a pretty coral cardboard package.

I love the look, and it is really perfect for the small space! I'm so glad I took the time to space plan the project before I got started this time!

The interior door trim has been affixed to the wall, as well as the wall sculptures that I made and had printed from Shapeways. I found that getting the spacing perfect was just a matter of inserting wood spacers while everything dried.

It's getting exciting now that all of the little details are coming together! Next, I'll be working on the bedroom area. No sew bedding is going to be challenging, so send good wishes my way!


As many of you know, a few weeks ago I made my 100th post! To celebrate, I announced a giveaway. Anything that I purchased or made for Alki Point during this period would be one for me, one for the lucky winner. The drawing will be done at 11:59 on December 31st, 2015. The winner will be announced on New Year's Day. There's still time to enter, so just post a comment to this blog post: Post Comment Here

It was time to make the bed for Alki Point. I already had the 3d printed headboard, so I had to figure out what kind of bed to make for the giveaway. I went to my handy box of beat up and discarded old furniture to see what I could come up with. Aha! A headboard!

Now I just had to make a simple frame. I used 1/8" x 3/4" basswood for the outer frame, 1/8" x 3/8" for the three cross braces, and two Skinny Sticks as supports.

I glued the frame as a separate unit so that I could work with the headboard by itself. I sanded it and gave it a couple coats of a medium grey paint after adding legs to the end of the frame.

I covered the back and side pieces with the same quatrefoil fabric I had to use on my bed. I also painted the part of the legs that would show.

I traced and cut 3/16" foam core to make a headboard insert. Then I glued on two layers of quilt batting to give it an upholstered look.

I covered it with the same fabric, attempting to match up the pattern on the back of the headboard. Then I used Kris Compass' Upholstery Button Tutorial to make tufts in the center of each tile. For buttons, I used sewing pin heads pushed right through the thread. I cut the excess off with nippers, then secured them with a bit of glue on the backside.

After attaching the completed headboard to the frame, it was time for a mattress. I used the same 3/16" foam core, covered again in quilt batting.

Thinking that the recipient may want to match their own sheets, blankets and pillows, I finished off the mattress with a piece of white cotton. The 'One For You' bed is all ready for it's new owner!

Intermingled with making this bed, I was making the one for Alki Point. I started off pretty much the same way, with a frame made of the same materials, I just painted it in the same grey that I used for the cabinets.

I used the same quatrefoil and white cotton for this bed. The white cotton is actually a handkerchief  that I had on hand. I liked that there was a perfect finished and sewn edge that I could use as a sheet edge. I used Heat Bond to attach the sheet and bed cover together. This was nice to have only one piece to attach to the mattress.

I will hold off on making the bed and decorative pillows. I want to do a good job, so I need more practice. The last batch I attempted were horrid! This just might force me to bring grandma's sewing machine down from the attic and get it serviced! If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.


Drum roll please...

Please send an email with your shipping address to jodihippler (at) gmail (dot com).

I have some very exciting things for you! As soon as you receive them, we can share what you got with everyone!

I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. For reading and encouraging. It is truly an honor to be part of such an outstandingly kind and incredibly talented community. In a world where kindness is the exception, I treasure the kindred soul in each one of you!

Now let's make 2016 a year where all of our mini dreams become reality! Then let's share them with each other!


Let's just get one thing straight: I am not a seamstress, I do not hand sew very well. I did complete some cross stitch kits way back in the day. They were not very good, and I didn't enjoy doing them very much. Short attention span, I guess.

On a sewing machine, I once completed a one piece shorts outfit for my daughter using an actual pattern. She was 4. She is now 28. On the same machine, I sewed a Super "A" cape for my son, which he wore until he was about 8. Beyond that, I am intimidated by anything sewing related. I know, that is more than one thing, but you get my point.

I admire the very talented embroidery pieces done by folks like Brae and Casey, but I lack the intestinal fortitude required to commit hundreds of hours for just one piece. I guess maybe I am just lazy... So, how does a lazy miniaturist make rugs for her projects? With computer, printer, and special paper. Here's what happened...

There are several miniature rug printing How To's out there, but I found that it was hard to source the paper. A few of the web sites no longer exist, were out of stock, or in one case, said it was in stock but actually had not stocked it in four years. I'll direct you to Fancy Papers For Printies by Otterine for her very useful experience.

I'll focus in this post on the materials I used, where I found them, and my experience using them.

I experimented using both S.E.I. Velvet Paper and Hygloss Products Self Adhesive Velour Paper in white. I am printing on a Canon MG7520 Inkjet printer - nothing fancy. I am using free images of rugs found searching Google Images as well as patterns created myself in Publisher.

I purchased the Hygloss Products Self Adhesive Velour Paper on Amazon, but as of this post they are out of stock. I did find it on eBay, but only found the color variety pack that included 10 sheets. Two were white. They do have Lt. Blue and Beige, so those might work for you. Both packs are 8.5" x 11", but Amazon only offers them in a 5 pack The per piece price works out to be $.99 through eBay and $2.39 through Amazon. Both are free shipping.

I found the S.E.I. Velvet Paper on the S.E.I web site, but I accidentally ordered it in "cloud". It looks like a light blue cloudy sky, and if you are printing full color rugs (no shades lighter than the paper), it works fine. They do have it in Coconut and Porcelain which both look to be white/off white. It is sold by the 8.5" x 11" sheet for $1.50. Shipping is $7.99, so to make it worth while I ordered 10 sheets. With shipping included, that makes it $2.30 per sheet.

I am still looking for other reliable and affordable source for specialty papers that can be used to print rugs. If anyone has information, please leave it in the comments so everyone can find it.

The Set Up

Neither paper nor their websites offered instructions. Because I have experimented using fabric paper on this printer, I just proceeded in the same manner. I only loaded one piece at a time into the print tray to avoid any chance of the printer mis-feeding and picking up more than one sheet.

The program that I use to create and manipulate graphics is Publisher. That is because it generally does everything I want and more. Because I paid for it when I purchased my computer, it is free. If you have PhotoShop or something similar, you probably already know all that you need to about using graphics. If you use Word or Paint, just make sure you are using the best possible starting photo (300x300 min), and not attempting to resize it larger than double it's original size. Doing so will produce a very pixelated rug.

All of that being said, I'll proceed in Publisher giving Publisher instructions. Since most Microsoft basic program functions are universal, I'm confident you'll be able to follow along. If using PhotoShop or on a Mac, I can't be of much help. I don't remember much from my old Mac tech support days nearly 20 years ago!

Prepare Your Print Layout

In the Page Setup menu, set your paper size to 8.5" x 11". Set your Margins to 0 on all four sides.

Your page should look like this:

Insert image/s:

Resize image/s to fit your space. Right click on image, then:

Enter the height and width. If you have Lock Aspect Ratio selected, then enter the height, then Tab out of the box, the width will be calculated for you. If you uncheck the Lock Aspect Ratio box, you are free to resize both width an height. This may distort your image, so play around with both ways. Control + Z will undo any unwanted changes.

A note on color. Found the perfect pattern but don't really like the color? If you want a tone on tone sort of thing, do this:

Right click on the photo, then select Format Picture:

Under Color, select More Colors:

Pick a color family and shade (there are a million different options here so play around with it):

Click OK, then OK again. You can play with the brightness and contrast settings to dial it in. Don't like it? Control + Z then try again.

Arrange image/s on your paper. To move them, drag using your mouse, you use the arrow keys on your keyboard when the image is selected. Try to print as many rugs as possible now, using up all available space.

Once you are satisfied with the layout, select Print and set the advanced print settings. Each printer is a little different, but you should have settings that allow you to choose:

Paper Type: I chose Fine Art Paper as this tells the printer that the paper is thicker than normal. Your printer may have closer options.

Print Quality: I chose High as this will allow the printer to use the maximum amount of ink possible.

I followed these steps and then printed on both types of papers.

The Results

S.E.I. Velvet Paper
The Packaging: Comes in a sturdy and re-closable clear plastic envelope.

The Print: As expected, the blue sky/cloud pattern showed up when the image has a light or white background. Not as vibrant as the images themselves, but would work well when a muted or soft image is desired, or when printing an image in the blue family. Other than my personal printer not being easier to use, I found this paper to be wonderful! I will order some coconut.

The Texture: Very soft and velvety, very sturdy, will not have an issue with lying flat. Not shiny, does not appear to have a "right" or "wrong" nap.

Cutting It: I used both scissors and a ruler/x-acto knife. Both were easy, but my lines were straighter with the x-acto.

Hygloss Products Self Adhesive Velour Paper
The Packaging: Comes shrink wrapped in clear plastic. Will have to find an envelope to store it in so that it is protected from dust and other things that may come into contact with it.

The Print: The paper reacted beautifully with the ink. It did not smear or run. Other than my personal printer not being easier to use, I found this paper to be wonderful!

The Texture: The Texture: Very soft and velvety, very sturdy, will not have an issue with lying flat, especially due to the self adhesive backing. I am not going to actually stick my rug down to the floor. I'll just leave it lie as I am not sure what the adhesive would do the wood flooring. Not shiny, does not appear to have a "right" or "wrong" nap.

Cutting It: I used both scissors and a ruler/x-acto knife. Both were easy, but my lines were straighter with the x-acto. I did not find that cutting through the adhesive backing made any difference at all.

My overall assessment of both papers is A+! I will definitely be printing rugs for all of my projects!

I was emailing with an internet friend and telling her that I was working on Alki Point doing really boring stuff and that I probably wasn't going to blog about it. She reminded me that even in the mundane, there are warnings, tricks and lessons for others. So okay - hope someone gets something out of this!

Remember the wall that I made to separate the bedroom and bathroom? You know, the one I purposely left a channel in so that I could run the wires for the Shapeways lamps through it to the outside wall where it would be hidden by the siding and tie into the roof piece containing all of the wiring that will be removable? Whuuuuuuuuuuuaaa (deep breath in). Well, I glued the dang wall in thinking I could fish the wires through to the outside. No problem, right? Optimism is often my downfall...

It was not going to work, so, after gently ripping out the wall and scraping off the glue residue, I used a piece of 20 gauge copper wire with the electrical wire tied to the end and forced it through to the end for both lamps before I had to re-glue the wall in place (now tethered with wires) and get it clamped before it misaligned and left glue in all the wrong places. Whhhhhhuuuuuaaaa (another deep breath in)...

Wires through, taped in place, lamp bulbs checked, lit up nicely, crisis managed, all is well that ends well! Thank goodness!

Now for baseboards... Measured, cut (used this saw I got for my birthday - it's awesome) sanded, painted, sanded, painted, sanded, painted, rubbed with paper lunch bag, installed (all but front wall, more on that later).

Installed "net art" which is a leftover net painted white to represent monotone texture/sculpture kind of thing although I am nearly completely uneducated about what "art" is so I am guessing here that it actually is art or at least in my mini world it can be. Whhhhhhuuuuuaaaa (another deep breath in). Notice the tape holding it in place while drying because it is not flat on the back and there were very few actual points of contact where the glue met the wall.

Bed, nightstands, lamps, baskets glued in place now (still trying to muster "pillow courage"). Baseboards visible...

Glass buoy on coffee table recovered in hemp twine (didn't like the look of the fish net. If it bothers you, get rid of it!). Rug and sofa "permanently" installed. Baseboards visible...

Over the weekend, hope to get plexi and trim installed on the front wall, then affix to structure... Or maybe lie in bed with the hubs and catch all of the NFL playoff games with naps in between. We'll see... It's the weekend - do what you like!

Happy Friday my friends!


One thing I learned back in 2004 when decorating our first house was, you've got to have sticks! Every design magazine I've ever looked at whether modern, contemporary, traditional or retro all have one thing in common - sticks! In my current house, which is very traditionally decorated, I have two wonderful tall jugs/vases with... you guessed it... Sticks! I find that bringing wood elements into any design adds the perfect little touch of natures majesty.

Alki Point needed a little design element in the corner connecting the right wall with the front wall of windows. I made a large Asian looking plant in a resin wicker basket, but it seemed a little too big for the space. After all, we are not trying to block the view of Puget Sound. It needed just a little pop of nature so that when guests gazed out the big wall of windows, they'd have a little perspective. Here in the Northwest, we often combine elements of water with forest.

Luckily, I had some really awesome planters that I designed for Alki Point. The 3D printing process done in White, Strong and Flexible leaves a wonderful pottery type texture that is a perfect organic balance to the modern and sleek elements. I also just so happened to have several harvested, saved and recycled materials to create an interesting stick sculpture.

The ones on the left are pieces that I "borrowed" from an artificial arrangement that is stored away just to be borrowed from. The sticks on the right are "borrowed" from some stocks of autumn leaves I have to decorate the front porch for fall, and the sticks in the middle are actually huckleberry branches harvested from our beautiful Gifford Pinchot National Forest on vacation last summer. I always come home with lots of forest treasures!

I decided on a good length, then cut them down with my nippers. I was able to get two sticks out of some of them.

On the test arrangement, I decided I wanted them to be sticking out of the planter just a little more.

So I filled the planter about 1/3 full with hot glue. I let it cool completely before placing the sticks so that they would not sink in. I added just a little glob to the end of each stick before I placed it in.

The whole project took about 10 minutes, even with stopping to take photos. I love all of the different textures together, and the planter is just what I was hoping for!

Now for the Asian plant that I did not use here (but will use in the future, or maybe outside the structure)...

I picked up a branch of this artificial leaf at Joanne Fabrics a while back. I have no idea what type of plant it's supposed to be, but the leaf color and markings combined with the dark brown stem reminds me of stuff I've seen in the Japanese Garden here in Seattle.

The container I'm using is one of the resin types that I picked up on a HBS/ order. I start by just squeezing a bit of the hot glue to hold the first branch in place. I like to get several of them just tacked in place. That lets me arrange and angle them the way I like. Once I am happy. I'll fill the rest of the container about 2/3 full of hot glue. I hold onto the branches until the glue is set, because the hot glue will melt and sort of wilt them. That is a good thing, trust me.

Once the hot glue has cooled, you can further arrange and pose the new plant with floral wire. I just play around with it until I am happy with the pose. Then I wrap the wire around, give it a twist, cut off the excess, add a dot of hot glue to hold it in place, then camouflage the wire as best as possible.

To finish off the planter, I add a layer of white glue. I use a toothpick to cover the entire surface under the plant.

I used rubber "bark" that I have on hand from HBS to cover the glue layer. The glue dries clear. You can use dried coffee grounds or tea leaves as well. Just apply over the glue layer, let dry, then shake off the excess.

Although it turned out to be a littler larger than I was intending it to and was not right for the space, it will work out great someplace else!

Hope you give sticks and plants a try if you haven't yet!

It's been an exciting few days which started with the Seahawks' shocking last second victory over the Vikings due to a missed chip shot 27 yard field goal. I am still pinching myself over that one. I do feel very bad for the Vikings and their fans. Been there... Remember last year's Superbowl? If you are a Seahawks or Patriots fan, you'll never forget it.

I opted for option #2 in plans for last weekend. I was feeling pretty nervous about all of the things I needed to do for the front wall of Alki Point, so I spent most of the weekend watching football playoffs with the hubs. I practically eliminated the front wall that came with the Asahi Tea House kit so that I could have a wall of windows. I was a little concerned in my ability to pull off such a radical bash. Did I measure everything correctly? Was the lexan going to slip in between both sets of window frames like I planned? Had I thought of all of the variables? What if I really messed up? How was I going to fix it?

Thank all of the wonderful blessing/luck/good fortune/karma/guardian angels/planning/past mistakes etcetera - it all worked out magically! The scoring tool was perfect! I made sure to secure the 1/16" thick lexan to my cutting mat with painters tape, then secured my steel ruler to both the lexan and to the cutting mat before I started to score it. Nothing moved on me, so my score lines were perfect each time. After scoring with about 14 passes, all I needed to do was cut through the film on the opposite side with my craft knife. Only one small edge had to be sanded a bit, due mostly to paint build up on the frame.

With the front wall "glass", interior window and door frames and door handles installed, I could now attach the front wall to the structure - another scary proposition. Did I measure the door height to floor accurately? Did I cut the slots for the tabs in the right place? Gulp... Only one way to find out... Other than having to sort of jimmy the floor under the bottom of the door a bit, and enlarge one of the slots slightly, it matched up perfectly! Like I planned it or something! Actually, I did do a LOT of planning and dry fitting along the way and it paid off!

After the wall was attached, I just stared at Alki Point for a while. Then I got out the roof pieces and started fooling around with those to see how things were going to look. It was then that I realized that everything is totally coming together like I first saw it in my mind's eye. That is such an exciting and rewarding feeling, and why all of us do what we do. Right?

Then, I looked over at the poor pillowless bed and remembered that I still had some challenges in front of me. I thought "why are you so afraid to make a stupid pillow?". Really? I have enough pillow making material that I could screw up twelve times and still be able to start over. Shelley was even so kind as to find a great tutorial, give it a go, take in progress photos, then email it all to me! If she was willing to do all of that for me, I at least owed her a try! So I did...

I used a little fusible web on the first couple throw pillows to see how it would work. On the grey pillows, it worked well enough that all I had to do was hand sew the last opening. The coral fabric did not want to stay together, so I ended up hand sewing all of them. I made several of them and just finished the best four.

For the bed pillows, I covered 3/16" x 1-1/2" x 2" mat board pieces with quilt batting using Tacky Glue. Then I took cotton handkerchief material and glued it over the batting. For the pillow cases, I ironed seems into the material, then hand sewed two sides leaving one open to slide the pillows into.

My stitches are okay - not as clean looking as I'd like, but I got some experience and learned some things. I think I need to let go of the idea that everything should turn out perfectly. I am happy and can live with the pillows I made, especially when I look at the project as a whole - I think Alki Point, for the most part, is turning out just as I had hoped!


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