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My Little Corner of the Net

Monday, December 30, 2013

How It All Started

I have been asked quite often, how I got started collecting miniatures.  As far back as I can remember, I loved to play with miniatures, and design scenes.  I spent countless hours as a boy building elaborate houses with Legos, Lincoln Logs, Tinkertoys, 
and my erector set.  I used to draw all kinds of houses and floor plans too.  My wife and I had a chuckle a while back when we discovered a few of my old floor plan drawings - each one had a large "play room" designed into it.

The first few images are snapshots of some of the first miniature furniture I was exposed to.  It is all by Kage.  These particular pieces were stored in a shoe box at my Great Grandmothers house in Parowan Utah.  I used to love to get that box out and play with them as a child.  She gave them to me as a child and my collection has grown.  To see my Kage collection, click here.

When I was around 5 or 6, I inherited a slightly used, Fisher Price Little People house and a few pieces of furniture that came with it.  I have written about it before here.

Soon after that, I also got the Fisher Price Little People houseboat.  

Early in my childhood, Star Wars hit the big screen.  I loved it, and collected the action figures.  I soon was building housed for the Star Wars figures with my Legos, Lincoln Logs, and the erector set.  I had built a working elevator with the erector set that I used over and over.  I discovered some furniture that was the same scale as my Star Wars Action Figure and began collecting it.  It was by Fisher Price also.

I removed the chalk boards from my toy box, and used them as floors, while creating walls with my Lincoln Logs and Legos.  I found a toy box just like my childhood one for sale online! 
Mine still had the hutch/shelves attached on top.  At any rate - the chalk boards pop right out and make great floors for Lego Houses and Star Wars People.

I still have the Fisher Price furniture that I used to play with.  More to follow.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Glass Bead Christmas Tree

This is a re-post from last Christmas.

My mother in law gave me a kit that she had purchased nearly a decade ago.  It was a Christmas Tree made from glass beads. The kit had a few ornaments and a wood base and a glass dome and hundreds of miles of wire and glass beads. The branches took a very long time to try and get into place and attach to a wire armature.   I added a few items including a string of working lights.  I hid the battery pack in the giant red present.  The lights are by Lemax and I was disappointed that they are not very bright.  I used a some antique ribbon that I found in an old building nearly 25 years ago in Nevada.  I believe it dates from the 1920's.  

Here are all the items under the glass dome.  I hope that you all have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Village 2013 - The New House

Since we moved into the new house earlier this year, I have been racking my brain trying to figure out where we were going to set up the Christmas tree, the Christmas village, and how we were going to do the outside Christmas lights.

As the new miniature room was finished, and we were moving the miniatures from the garage, I saw the sheets of plywood that I have used under my village in previous years.  I had been going back and forth between setting up the village upstairs in the new studio, or finding a more public place for it.  It doesn't help matters that our living room is octagon shaped with traffic coming and going from 4 sides. Then it hit me! 

 I could move the couch out a couple of feet from the window, and wind it around the back.  Kind of like a window display.  I decided to add a dramatic slope down to the floor on the kitchen side so that my little nieces and nephews could enjoy the view too.

First step, drag all of the boxes out of the garage and pull the foam inserts out.

I stacked to empty plastic tubs under the sheet of plywood to give it the desired height.

Here is the view from the other side

I cut a piece of foam core to fit the oddly shaped corner of the octagon shaped living room and I traced around the curve of our sectional.
I supported it with 3 smaller plastic tubs left over from our move.

I had my son 'strength-test' the new base.

The next step was building up areas with the pieces of foam and creating the sloping mountain down to the lower level.  I think adding a lot of variety in the terrain makes the village more interesting.

We did a preliminary layout of the village and moved the foam around until everything looked just about right.  Keep in mind, we are going to cover the rest of the area with fabric batting and fake snow to smooth out the ups and downs.

 I won't go into the lighting this year, but you can see details of how I light the village by clicking on my post from last year here.

Here is the "skyline" from across the room

Here is the skyline including our Christmas tree and its reflection.

I added some snow flakes hanging from the ceiling this year.  My son loving calls them "apocalyptic" snow flakes because they are so large in relationship to the scale of the people and buildings.

I hope you enjoy the village as much as we do each year!  

To see the 2015 village click HERE

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Move In Day

Everything is in the studio.  
Now I need to find the right place for everything and unpack.

The other half of my day was spent hanging Christmas lights outside.  
The small arched window above the garage is the miniature studio.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Studio Progress

There is a light at the end of this tunnel!

 There has been a lot of progress on the studio this past week, in fact I have had a hard time keeping up with things ( like this blog!)  The walls are in, textured and painted. The new laminate flooring is in and the baseboards went in yesterday.

 We have been shuffling items back and forth because grandma got the same flooring in her area.  She will be sharing the studio with me.  Notice we still do not have all the electrical installed ( outlets, coverplates, and even some of the fixtures)  No door knobs yet on either of the two storage rooms and no grilles on the mechanical vents .  I am going to finish painting tonight and install the window blinds.

The finish carpenter is installing a wider window sill / shelf for grandma's plants.  We are getting excited to finish up and move into the space.  We have guests arriving next Monday for Thanksgiving so we have to have it all wrapped up by then.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Studio Update

The walls are taking shape.  Hopefully the contractors can finish up the drywall today.

 The space measures just under 500 square feet.

 The area with the windows is going to be Grandma's craft corner.  She likes to do scrapbooking.

 I am going to have a busy weekend.  I have to paint the walls and ceiling because the floor installers will begin next Monday!

The Energy Star windows designed for our region of the country.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Woolaroc Lodge and Wild Animal Preserve

Frank Phillips enjoyed a cabin out in the country not too far from his city home in Bartlesville, OK.  The Frank Phillips home can be found here

The lodge was constructed in 1927 and consists of a large cabin structure that connects 8 bedrooms - 2 of which were for Frank and his wife.

The Lodge was unusual for the day and still contains much of the original furniture, decor and art work.  It overlooks one of the lakes located on the property.

The walls are lined with animal heads and antlers, none of which were hunted.  All of the animals on display died of natural causes and most of which lived on the 3,700 acre preserve that makes up the property

One of the more unique pieces of furniture in the lodge is the pine bark covered Steinway piano, custom made for the millionaire family.  It is actually a player piano !

In addition to the large drive-thru animal preserve on the property, it also houses a premiere world class museum which features the Phillips gun collection which has one of the most complete Colt firearms collections in the world.  There are also both historic and modern native American art displays and collections of unique items from the Phillip's travels.

One of the most fascinating displays that everyone always talks about is a case full of actual shrunken heads from South America

Mr Phillips and his wife are buried on the site in this mausoleum.

Here is another link to the Phillip's city home here