September 7, 2014

September 6, 2014

My Vintage Motorhome Project

My vintage motorhome remodel progresses very slowly. Always much slower than I would like it to.

I don't want the focus of this blog which is about making miniatures to become a blog story line about remodeling a motorhome. They are two very different things even though skills needed, materials and  tools used do overlap at times. But people have been asking about it so here is a bite of what is going on.

When I first bought it, little 4 cylinder truck with a tiny motorhome on it.This particular brand of motorhome has a very strong following and it is difficult to find a low mileage one at a fair price.

The size of the whole motorhome is only 18 feet long from front bumper to the back. It will fit into a regular parking space. Now there is a challenge for you fit what you need for living and working into a standard sized parking spot. Well at least it will be just me and maybe the cats a lot of the time and if my friend comes to where I might wander he will surely bring along his own mobile workshop. Yes he does seem to be a soul mate at least in that aspect of our lives.
The interior as I purchased it is
35 years old and badly needs updating.
Appliances are worn out and rusting
Electrical for the coach needs upgrade too as well as new energy saving lighting and eventually solar power.

It was an almost bargain priced candidate ready for sweat equity. If I want to have the chance during the first decade or two of my retirement years to become being what is called a "snow bird" heading south for winter and north for summer this will be how I can best manage to make that idea a reality.  Month by month a bit of labor and some funds for materials trickles into it.

The standard configuration of small motorhomes is not a match for my need to have a workbench and storage for tools and material so customizing one is also the only option available to me. It will be my Makerspace on wheels.

That  gold shag carpet so poplular in the 1970's was applied to areas jut below the ceiling and even some of the wall surfaces.  It had to go. Particle board framing in cabinets is broken so they got torn out too. Wood grained vinyl wall paneling. Has anyone ever actually liked the look of that fake wood grained surface? I have mostly replaced that with new plywood sheets. The original ceiling is still intact, that would be a big mistake to remove as it is what is known in the construction trade as a SIP, a structural insulated panel. It would be impossible to replicate in a remodel.

A motorhome under going a remodel makes for some  unusual photos, not all of them are easy to understand unless you are there at the time. I am not in a stage on the project where there is anything very attractive about it. It looked much better when I started but that is the nature of such things. However I am at the point where I am just starting to put the new pieces back inside after doing repair work and a few needed structural changes such as better support for the upper cabinetry.

Concept layout for the interior with 6 foot workbench on one side, reclining couch to rest my back on that turns into a guest bed. No soul to this image, it does not show any realistic finishes on the surfaces.The 3D CAD model was just created for space planning purposes. The large closet looking structure at the right represents the existing tiny one piece fiberglass bathroom. The kind where the whole thing is a shower stall with a drain in the floor and the toilet in the center of it. I am not changing out the bathroom, I am only going to make a new door with frame and a new medicine cabinet for it. You can't see it from this view but there is space for me to pull up a swivel chair to the workbench. When using the recliner my legs can be stretched out under the workbench. Laptop/TV/blue ray DVD  sits on top of the workbench for recreational viewing time. I have a lightweight, three legged, collapsible, swivel chair that can be stored in a cabinet. It also doubles as a chair to take outside. The chair was designed for use by hunter's who need to be comfy while sitting for hours in hunting blinds. Tiny homes require creative furniture solutions.

Damage in the floor by the rear corner was from an old plumbing leak and also from water getting in through leaking tail lights and the cargo compartment door. The bad layer of wood had to be removed and new plywood patched in. Fortunately it was not a difficult job. There are almost always a few unpleasant surprises of this type when remodeling older structures.

My friend in this photo is helping me with a new layer of plywood that goes over the original floor to get rid of the saggy issue in front of the bathroom and kitchen area. Both sides of the plywood were covered in fiberglass and epoxy. Then it was coated with epoxy on the bottom side to bond it to the original floor, both were screwed together as well.  A lot of work and expensive to do but it fixed the issues. A helper is essential at times when there is a lot of epoxy to work with as it starts to cure much faster than I could have managed on my own.

The original tail lights were corroded inside, the lenses were cracked and water was leaking into the inside of the motorhome. Had to purchase replacement ones from Ebay. Someday I will upgrade them to all new LED lights but not in the near future. The list of things to do is way too long to get to be able to do all upgrades at once.

 I had to shift the vent stack plumbing for the bathroom a few inches so I could build a new closet that is full of drawers for storing tools and supplies for making miniatures.

This area used to have a small closet with two tiny drawers and a useless rod for hanging clothes. There was a furnace below it and a broken refrigerator next to it. Two very large holes, a couple of feet square each were cut out in the wall for venting the old refrigerator than ran on propane. Filling in those holes with fiberglass was a big job and a nerve racking one as I don't have a lot of fiberglass experience. But at least I had a helper on that task. A new 12 volt refrigerator that needs no vent  to the outside will be installed next to the sink and stove. Changing location of the fridge was needed to fit in a good sized workbench.

These are the two panels I have just finished building, they are the sides for the new storage closet. The white pieces are the runners for the drawers. Metal drawer slides and wood drawers would be way too heavy for a 4 cylinder motorhome so for my drawers I am using Cambro translucent food pans that are made to go into salad bars. They are designed with lips on the sides that  slide into storage racks. Labor savings for me since I don't have to fabricate the drawers. 

The cabinet structures inside a motorhome are built differently than what is done for a regular house. They need to be light in weight and also somewhat flexible but strong so they don't come apart as the motorhome wiggles down the road. This type of construction is called "stress skin panel". The framing is glued onto thin sheets of plywood rather than being made as a 3/4" thick plywood structure.

My motorhome was created with a fiberglass shell. It was made in big molds in two halves, an upper and lower, then bonded together along a seam line. On the outside there is a metal trim band all along that seam to cover up the rough edges of the two halves. The seam does not leak but they sometimes put too long of screws into the banding and they punctured through the fiberglass. Over the years the stainless screws corroded and left a few small open holes that leaked water into the interior.  I had to remove wall panels on the inside to fix the leaks and put a layer of fiberglass on the inside of the wall along that seam line to prevent more minor leaks in the future.  In the photo below taken from the interior of the shell you can see those screws breaking on through the fiberglass. The bed in the overcab area was getting damp from it and the water coming in was also causing the particle board framing on the lower edges of the bottom cabinets in the kitchen area and elsewhere to come apart.

 I added in some wood blocking while I had the wall panels removed. There is no wood or metal framing inside of the fiberglass shell.  It is a self supporting structure of relatively thin fiberglass. The thin plywood interior wall panels were only attached at the floor level but the bottom of the upper cabinets was suspended off those 1/8" thick wall paneling. As I wanted to improve that situation while I had the paneling out I used epoxy to bond some wood blocking strips to the inside of the shell where it was strongest at the upper edge, lower edge, along the seam line and also just under the window openings in the rear.

  Photo below shows the original situation of 3/4" by 5/8" inch strip of particle board on the backside of the plywood wall panels that was helping to suspend the upper cabinets.....way scary as screws do hold good in particle board in a structure that is flexing as it goes down the road. That small strip of particle board over very thin plywood and a few screws into the 3/16" plywood of the ceiling are all that was holding the upper cabinets in place. Plus remember those original upper cabinets were just 1/8" plywood framed with 5/8" x 3/4" strips of particle board.  The yellow surface at the left of the photo is what the inside of the fiberglass shell looks like. That metal square poking through it is for the exhaust port of the vent fan over the stove.

The fiberglass shell of my motorhome takes a Z shape at the top of the walls where it transitions up to form the roof. That Z shape forms a strong structural beam that runs along the length of the coach. I have epoxied solid wood boards along the side and bottom of the fiberglass Z shape on the interior. That wood will now give me something solid to screw into to help assist in the support of the upper cabinets. Plus across the upper back wall I am adding in a new upper cabinet so I have epoxied in more wood support for hanging that new cabinet.

If you look closely you can see that slight arc in the ceiling. I had to cut that support board for the new rear upper cabinet to match it. Sometimes making temporary bracing for holding in pieces such as this one while the adhesive sets requires a bit of creativity with boards, wedges and clamps. I don't put fasteners through the fiberglass shell, epoxy has to do all the supporting  the blocking. You can see that I now have some paint on finished wall panels. The ceiling is going to be planked with yellow cedar after the cabinets get installed. That will create a cozy gypsy wagon feel.

I have put in support cleats and the seat base for the rear reclining couch/bed. No face frame on the front of it, just some random boards to support the front edge for the moment. Face frame work comes later in the project after all the basic cabinet framing is done. This has now become a handy place to stack tools and supplies up off the floor. Plus the weight of them is also a test to be sure my base will be strong enough to support constant use. So far its holding the weight very nicely.  Remember that I have to build things as lightweight as I can but still have them strong and of course I am not quite sure how strong my structure really is as this is the first motorhome cabinet job for me. I have to make somewhat educated guesses about all the details of construction. There are no sets of plans for this kind of work.  The photos below are showing the lightweight aluminum bracing that goes from the front face frame to the back wall to support the seat boards. I am putting storage bins under those boards.

The cross bracing supports which hold up  the seat boards are pieces of 1" x 1/8" T-bar aluminum. I had a lot of it on hand so that is what I used. Very strong stuff for its size and weight. I had to cut notches in the ends of the T-bar and chisel the seat support cleats so the bracing is level allowing the seat boards to lay flat against the cleats on the back and side walls that support the bed. I will secure the seat boards in place with Velcro so I can lift them up to access the storage area below.

I used my Proxxon bandsaw with a bimetal blade to notch the aluminum braces, very sweet saw, it will travel with me in the motorhome for making miniatures. Of course a Dremel Motor with various accessories also gets used on this remodeling project almost everyday. It truly does have 1,000 uses.

So today the list of tasks to be done still stretches far in front of me for some time to come. Even after the cabinets are done I have the upholstery work to do.  But all such projects progress one piece at a time and when the last piece is fitted it will be a lovely space to be in. I love the big windows in it and I can change my vista to interesting new scenes now and again if I choose to do so.

Maybe next time I post something about this project I will have that workbench installed and I will then be using it for working on the face frames for finishing the cabinets.

Old Town in Black Dress

Old Town 2014 dressed up for Halloween
 Halloween glitter houses are now available in my Etsy store.

September 5, 2014

Spooky Village Updates

I now have some of the Spooky Village versions of my Tiny Village series in the Etsy store.

I will have to wait until tomorrow to finish posting the Old Town 2014 series in the Halloween glitter house black colors. I ran out of the right kind of lighting for the photo shoot. As expected photographing black objects is very tricky. There is an overhead skylight in the room I am in. I can't shoot the photos until the afternoon as Sunlight coming in makes too much color contrast. What is amazing is that I have to take the photos in very low light so there is less contrast. The background paper also has to be of a fairly dark mid range value. Only then will the camera be able to read contrast in the shadows and also see some highlights on the black objects without totally washing them out to a grey color.

So the trick is less light focused on the objects and less contrast. Not at all intuitive to the average, casual photographer such as myself. I will have to practice a lot more but for now at least I have the kits in my storefront for this Halloween season.

I will finish up the photos for the last two kits tomorrow afternoon. Then I must get back to work on my Vintage motorhome interior remodel while the weather is still warm. I don't want Jack Frost nipping at my toes before I get the heating system installed.

May 14, 2014

learning new techniques

I am getting ready to make trim moldings and cabinetry for my little vintage motorhome. The motorhome will become my new work space for making miniatures.

I have decided to use a cabinetry style for my project that is inspired by the architects Greene and Greene. They are famous for the Gamble House which is now a museum in Pasedena, CA.

One of the features of the cabinetry are small wooden plugs that get installed over recessed screw heads. They are of a contrasting wood. A bit like beautiful buttons dressing up a jacket they dress up and accent the wood work. But of course I want to be efficient in my methods of work so I sought out a tutorial for them.  You might want to watch it if only for the method of safely controlling small pieces of wood on a router table while you put a profile on the edge. That part of the segment is at the end of the video at 14:30 minutes.

March 12, 2014

Up scaling

Now that I have gotten the little paper buildings for "Old Town" up on Etsy and the instructions are posted it is time to shift gears and get back to some 1:12 scale building work. Not a change of time period though, I am still in the middle ages! What can I say, I am drawn to half timbered buildings.

So out of storage comes two unfinished projects. The half timbered "Coastal Cottage ", a Normadie, France inspired building that will eventually have a thatched roof. That is seen in the photo above in its current state. There has been a good ways of progress towards completion of the interior but it is lacking the roof and some interior details as well as a proper base. I drug it out of storage because I needed to get my brain jogged into a different mind set for scale. I have to start looking at and thinking about anything except the thousands of tiny pieces of paper that have invaded even my dreams in the last few months as well as littered every inch of the workspace floor.

But the primary project, I will be working on for next few months to come is the large 1:12 scale Elizabethan Birdhouse shown above. It is not nearly as far along as the dollhouse but it is a higher priority to get completed. It is going to be over the top special so I am really excited to see it finished. It will have one bird nesting box in it but it will serve much of the year as a light fixture in the garden. Looking at this image I realize I have not modeled the leading on the window panes. Oh well I will get to that sometime before I cut the window glass.

Both those projects got set aside when life intervened as it all too often does with other commitments and health issues too. It will be more difficult to work on them now as I have retired with a small pension and needed to let my large workshop space go since my budget can't stretch that far. But I still have space to work in courtesy of my best friend Don. A much smaller area to be sure but I do appreciate having it. Actually my first tasks will be to reorganize some of my shelving and belongings to create more work surfaces for assembling the larger projects. Plus I need a work table on wheels so I can spin it around to reach all sides of the buildings. But that spinning table comes later, at the moment both projects are in the flat panel phase. I do as much work as I can on the various sides of the buildings before I fix them into place. See the ever useful duct tape in the photo of the dolllhouse? No project is complete without it for at least a temporary time.

Unfortunately progress will be much slower than I like as my back does not tolerate long periods of standing, sitting or bending. But slow progress will get me there eventually, hopefully by the end of October when I need to go back to working on glitter houses.

March 8, 2014

How to fold tiny pieces of paper

Tips for folding tiny pieces

 This article is a reprint from my blog for assembling my paper house kits. 

Folding small pieces is easy with a little bit of help from your tools.
1. a small pair of straight, smooth jawed pliers
2. a pair of eyebrow type tweezers with a straight across tip that close flat on the mating edges
3. a craft knife, use the sharp or the dull side right against a fold line

If you bend against a straight edge of some type it is easy to fold accurately.
Tiny delicate details should be supported by clamping over them with tweezers or pliers if those pieces are right next to a fold. That will often be needed where there is a door or window very close to a fold line, especially on the Micro scales buildings that are made from thin cardstock.

The tools

Bending longer pieces with flat jawed pliers clamped next to the perforated bend line.
You can also use the straight across tip for folding shorter pieces or reaching across longer sections to get to a fold line.

I always have my craft knife out when I am putting the kits together. It is my number one, quick bending aid for folding small parts that are not too small or delicate. Yes I do use the sharp edge right by the perforated line but as it is being held still there is no danger of cutting the paper or myself.

I also always have on hand a pair of flat nosed, good quality, eyebrow tweezers.

When I am folding next to an area such as a door or window that is very close to a fold line I clamp over that delicate area to stabilize it putting the tweezers tip against the perforated fold line. Then push on the stronger area on the other side of the bend line to make the fold.

Now here is a very delicate area to fold, a double door to open right next to another bend line for the sides of the building.

The tweezers are used to clamp over the building side fold line and also go up against door's hinge fold at their tip. Then I slid my craft knife in the cut opening of the door and used the flat of the knife blade to push the door open against the flat of the tweezers tip. This way there is no deformation of the cardstock parts as everything is well supported.

March 7, 2014

Tiny "Old Town" now on Etsy!

© Karin Corbin 2014  Tiny Old Town
Micro Tiny Old Town  © Karin Corbin 2014

Be the first on your street to own an entire city block of buildings from old world Europe!

Available in the same two scales as the original Tiny Village kits. 
Karin Corbin's Etsy Store

March 5, 2014

red roof prototype

I just cut and assembled the first prototype of the 1:48 scale cardstock building. This is not the final design. As always the prototypes tutor me on what improvements I might want to make. Yes those are my micro sized houses inside a 1:48 scale structure. They work out to be a nice size for a child's toy house of indeterminate scale. Well I suppose I could determine the scale if I did the math. They are 65% of 1:220 which is of course not a standard dollhouse scale.

I  have no idea when this will be ready for sale. I need to get a more powerful cutting machine to handle the heavy weight cardstock. The new machine will also be able to emboss which is going to be fun for adding texture. I will order it this week.

Then I have to try different papers and such and figure out things like what to use for door knobs, window handles and such. I am even going to venture into making some small scale flowers to fill up the planter boxes. Now don't laugh, I have never made flowers for dollhouses before as buildings and furniture are more my thing. But I figure even I can manage to wrap my head around punching out a five petal flower and dot the center with paint then glue it to some foam and stuff those boxes full of posies.

February 28, 2014

Red Roof 1:48 dollhouse

I have been asked a number of times if I was going to make small scale dollhouses. The answer is "of course". My back no longer tolerates a lot of standing and sitting needed the big dollhouses but I am adaptable. So here is the CAD model for the first 1:48 house. I will cut the first prototype tomorrow.

There are always refinements that have to be made to prototypes so it won't be released as a kit in the immediate future. Plus I have to make decisions as to the materials I will be using and what machine I will use to cut the parts. This first prototype model will be cut from heavy, high quality card stock.

The project is inspired by a mid  1920's Gottshalk Red Roof Dollhouse. A fairly typical European bungalow for that era. I thought it would be really fun to do something from that time frame. A future series of the "modern" Tudor Tiny Village buildings will tie into this project. My own neighborhood has a lot of charming Tudor bungalows from that era.

February 11, 2014

All in a row

Just playing around this morning with sticking the Old Town buildings together in a tight row. All that is required to do that is trimming back some of the roof edges with small detail scissors and a knife. Then some glue between. The row when assembled this way is 5" long and 3/4" deep.

The buildings can all be used individually or assembled in various combinations such as the one in the photo above.

February 10, 2014

Xtra sharp craft knives

I am one of "those" people who sharpen their #11 knife blades. In fact I sharpen them before I use them. Those blade edges feel rough to me when they are new as I am so used to how they  feel when beautifully sharpened. No I am not one of those crazed people who loves the physical process of honing tools.  Instead I have a quick and easy method that takes less than a minute to get the job done. My sharpening tool is very portable as it is the size of a credit card. So if you are heading off to a class or club meeting it will tuck right into your traveling tool bag.

My sharpening system:

One Xtra fine, 1200 mesh diamond coated piece of credit card sized steel. I bought mine at Rockler (see photo below). But sometimes I see them in hardware and sporting goods stores. You must have  the Xtra fine grit.

Remove the label from the back of the card and on that back side adhere a piece of 3200 Micro-mesh abrasive paper also purchased from Rockler. Another source for this kind of micro grit is for polishing out scratches in acrylic (perspex) windshields.

I use 3M carpet tape for the adhesive as it is wide to cover the surface without having a seam but you could also use a spray adhesive. No lumps on the surface under the paper allowed. This is VERY important as you must have a flat surface to hone the knife properly.  One reason this system works better than regular sharpening stones or leather strops is because the surfaces are so flat.

Method: a drop or so of water on the diamond side. Holding the knife so the tapered edge of the knife is flat to the surface of the diamond card give it 10 strokes or so per side of the blade. Next turn the card over to the micro mesh side, drop of water for lubrication and another 10 or so strokes to polish the blade edge.

Because the #11  knife blade is so short I am really only working along the edges of the card. But if you are sharpening the flat chisel type craft blades #17, 18, etc. you can do those in the center of the card as your knife handle won't get in the way.

 You can wash your card with soap and water if the grit starts to get filled up with metal that you have honed off the blade. No solvents please as they will destroy the micro mesh paper.

Unless the blade breaks you can use the same knife blade for ages and always keep it scary sharp, even sharper than when it was new out of the package :) Some people actually like using blades with broken tips if they don't need the tiny point for cuts so there you go, no waste at all.

Now that my accidental knife point prick in my thumb has healed over while I wrote this posting I can get back to doing the tutorials for the Old Town project. to  purchase these items.

January 26, 2014

Castle in the Air

I don't think I ever got around to posting  this project. Sometimes I make my tiny buildings in larger sizes.  This one is sized to be an ornament on a Christmas tree but of course it can also sit on a table or mantel piece.

This will be sold in a series.  Most likely 4 castle types of buildings to the set. I will have to design two more buildings to go with this one and the castle tower house from the 2014 Old Town series. I also need to make 3 more snowflake designs. Something for me to look forward to!

January 19, 2014

Micro size "Old Town"

I have begun making up the prototypes for the micro sized version of the "Old Town" 2014 series. So far so good. There is always a question of the perforations being strong enough to hold together but weak enough for easy bending.

All that time I have spent working on fine tuning my cutting machine has really paid off. I can now cut windows with divided light mullions in this scale. Used to be they would tear when I tried to make them in the micro sized pieces. Also no hanging chads which is critical when making window panes that small.

January 12, 2014

Old Town ready to rock and roll!

The cutting files are all done to perfection now. Eight buildings in this grouping. I hope you like them!

I think I will celebrate being ready to cut and package them by going out for Sunday breakfast!

Now I can get started writing the step-by-step directions.

January 6, 2014

My favorite sharp pointed scissors

photo from Amazon

It has been a while since I did tool talk so I think I will indulge myself in a snippet of it as I have this tool out for use today.

I have owned quite a few small, sharp pointed scissors over the years. Including the ones all the quilters rave about. But not one single pair comes even close to the precision and quality of a pair I purchased at a fly fishing store. The point of this scissors is so sharp and precise it can easily pierce you so you need to be sure to keep a protector over the tip when not in use.

They have a fine adjustment screw for tension when cutting varying thickness of materials. The finger loops are generous and comfortable since this is a product designed for use by men. There is a little rubber bumper between the loops to prevent a hard, pinching close. Not many companies pay that kind of attention to details or put their manufacturing dollars towards that kind of feature.

The blades are thin enough to sneak in and make tiny snips and the point is precise enough to do exactly that.

Here is a link to the Dr. Slick Catalog page for this item. DR. SLICK CO
These scissors are available from a lot of sources, you might even find them locally if you have a fly fishing store around. But not all fly fishing scissors are of this quality. This is the premium pair in the Dr. Slick line of tools, worth the extra dollars they cost. 

They will always be in my tool box.

January 2, 2014

"Old Town" for the New Year

I am off to a good start for the New Year! I was working on this project on Christmas Day and on New Year's Day too. I did not mind, it is fun work designing these little buildings. A real paper house binge! This set will sit on the top of a 6" long by 3/4" deep dollhouse miniature fireplace mantel or shelf or on a table top. If you trim the roofs so the sides of the buildings touch, as in the real neighborhoods of this type the group will be about 5 1/4" inches or so long. If you need it shorter then just take some of of the buildings and use them elsewhere. That need for adjusting the group to a custom length is why I am leaving the roofs untrimmed. It is easy to trim the roof back flush with a pair of detail scissors or very sharp craft knife.

The lineup of the prototypes for "Old Town" the first release of the Tiny Village series that will happen in early 2014. I like to put them together and take a photo and stare at them for a while. This is an important design tool. I can see that I need to adjust window sizes on a couple of the buildings. But overall I am fairly well satisfied. So just a couple of days of fiddling with minor details and I can start on the assembly instructions.

I am working on a new way to light this group with LEDS but before I get into that I have to get the supplies and run some experiments. Looks like I had better build a 1:12 scale fireplace to display them on at the Seattle Dollhouse Show in March. I think something in pear wood with Tudor style carving; don't you agree with that idea? I need to get my carving skills tuned up as I have that large Elizabethan Birdhouse to get back to work on. It will have a ton of carved details on it.

tags: winterhuisjes, paper houses, cardstock houses buildings, glitter houses, putz, Christmas village, miniature, micro, paper Christmas village

December 25, 2013

December 20, 2013

Old Town Clock Tower Gate

Tiny Glitter House, Putz by Karin Corbin
 The old cities in Europe often had a number of gates into the different sections of town. This is my interpretation of one of those buildings. I found a photo of a real building of that type which had the tower coming into the building at that same 45 degree angle. That angle really livens things up a bit!

No clock on my prototype.  I will have to make one to put on my instructions website as an option that can be used as a printable.  But it might be nearly impossible to tell what it is on the micro scale version if there was glitter over it.

I love the look of that crystal star under the house. It is a crystal wine glass turned upside down. Certainly makes for a classy display stand for a prototype. But even better is that it elevates it above the clutter on my worktable so I did not have to clean up just to take a quick photo. Now that really speeds up a photograpy session.

December 14, 2013

Welcome Harry Potter Fans!

photo coypright Karin Corbin 2013

photo copyright 2013 Karin Corbin

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2013
Just playing with the prototypes for the new "Old Town" section of the Tiny Village series. It will be a little while yet before I get all the tall buildings designed, cut, photographed and the instructions written. But at least I am on the path to get there. The folks at my local coffee shop are long used to see me bringing in buildings to assemble. But they have never seen them used like this before now.

I made no attempt to get everything perfect, this is just conceptual play time. A reward to myself as well as good motivation to keep on going with the process of hatching new buildings. But the ancient medieval sections of European cities are far from perfect so perhaps a bit of chaos, gaps, leaning this way and that is actually very appropriate.

If anyone has ever wondered about the scale of the Tiny Village set it is basically done at Z scale in model railroad, 1:220. But truthfully it is a very loose Z scale as I am not trying to recreate scale models buildings from measured drawings.  However it will make a charming snowy train scene, especially if you can find (and afford) a brass Z scale train set. Or of course you could paint a plastic set white, silver or gold.  The Z scale people and other accessories will work with the Tiny Village. There are unpainted sets of people available in Z scale, that kind of item is probably not going to be in a local train store but you can get them on the internet.

Holiday displays

photo copyright Karin Corbin 2013

Holiday display pieces can be very classy without costing a lot of money. The photo above is a 3" wide crystal salt cellar with a few of the Micro Tiny Village buildings set on top of cotton batting. Very simple to do as well as classy looking. The salt cellar cost me $1.00 at the local thrift store.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2013

I now have a whole table full of lead crystal glasses, candlesticks and vases purchased for under $25.00 from my local thrift stores. Those colored 50% off stickers and senior discount helped out.  Turn a wine glass upside down and you get an enclosed dome at the bottom as well as a display stand on top. An upside down narrow champagne flute can hold a decorated bottle brush tree in the "dome" with a glitter house village up top. Some of you will already have a china cabinet full of lovely pieces that can be used to make a temporary display. But don't drink too much "holiday" while you work or you will get nothing done and all the glasses will need washing.
photo copyright Karin Corbin 2013

Of course I have no idea what will happen to the crystal Christmas display when I am finally finished with it as I don't have a fireplace mantel and my dining table rolls from side to side when it is stormy.  My workshop space is not a good place for fragile crystal either. There is no china cabinet in my life; crystal and motorhomes do not mix well. But it is important in terms of marketing to show these kind of display ideas using my designs, so it is still a good investment of my time and money. I know, one of you can invite me to a New Years dinner party and I can bring the centerpiece! I have a lot of work to do if I am going to get this display pulled together by January 1st. But I know you enjoy those behind the scene shots so here you go...