Friday, October 26, 2018

Company Meeting...

So, as you know I have been keeping this blog up for quite a few years. I have bought and restored about 8 (maybe more) of these houses since 2008 (10 year anniversary!). I have often let the blog alone for a year and then come back with fresh ideas. Some of you might remember the weird google reboot when most of the photos were lost until a very helpful follower let me know to log back into an old account and it would repopulate the lost photos, thankfully it worked or this blog would still be a wasteland of random post text and not much else. I have watched the page views balloon to over 100,000, members grow to over 50 and lots of encouraging comments. Lately, I have been trying to reply, I write them, click reply and they don't appear.

I think I have fully covered every topic I can regarding the house. Thus, I have drifted into another aspect of my collecting which is crafting dioramas using vintage Ideal, Renwal, Marx and Plasco furniture and action figures, Barbies and PVC figures as the characters. I have started a Twitter account (@Miniopolous) to promote it, but so far havent figured out how to gain any traction. I started a Facebook profile (Johnny D'Plasticio) to post the narration along with the photos. I would call it a cross between Robot Chicken and The Far Side. I would love it if my loyal followers here could follow/friend me on that account to support me there (feedback welcome so I can improve). I have truly enjoyed making this blog and will always look back fondly. I look forward to posting funny scenes with my new hobby and I hope you all will follow me on the journey. =-)

FB Profile: Johnny D'Plasticio

FB Hobby Group: Mid Century & Mod 1/16 Scale Mini Plastic Furniture

Just an FYI

So, you know how most of these houses have faded to dull, beige-ish colors and now we have to go to great lengths to fully clean and spray paint the house white again? Well, it turns out that the flame retarding chemicals added to stuff in the 70s not only causes cancer and reproductive harm but never really halted fires that much to make it worth while anyway. Below is the document. =-/

I think we all knew that plastic does not accelerate fires, it just melts in the heat.

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

More Staging Tips

You can create and improve on these rooms any way you wish (one of the reasons why I love this house, the smaller rooms in the new house you cannot do this with). I found the rock cubes in a thrift store, I still have no idea what they are, but they work so well in mini rooms. The black squares are felt coasters I spray painted black for a wrought iron effect, and the potted plants are 99 cent store. The patio furniture is late '80s Arco (not bad, I just wish I had the chaise lounges to match). 1971 Malibu Ken look on as he tends the BBQ. 

 Also Arco is the jacuzzi tub. It came in blue and brown originally, then pink and purple, this one I sprayed the inside with auto metallic blue spray paint (highest quality I have ever used, worth the extra cost for a flawless finish), the outside is dark brown, though any shade will do, take the time to spray it so the wood grain will really pop. The mix drinks are drink stirrer tops from cost plus world market with the sticks snapped off, they are the perfect scale. I never did find a pair of sunglasses that 1978 Ken can actually wear.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Just Having Some Fun This Week

While she initially had her doubts about meeting for coffee, afterwards Strawberry thought to herself, "We do have a berry lot in common". 

Monday, October 8, 2018

Yep, My Flipping Days are Done

So, when one buys a house, they arrive filthy and battered, and you get to clean up this mess at the end of unpacking

 Took me nearly 45 minutes to wade through the garbage to make sure I wasn't throwing away any pieces.
 Yep, still finding shards of post covers since they were not packed properly.
Oh joy, now I get to vacuum...

Then, when selling it, after refurbishing it (week of work), the crazy bidder never paid or responded to emails. No Buyer of any of the 5 homes I redid ever bothered to leave positive feedback. =-/ 

FYI, the next buyer did pay but of course she is across the country so the USPS rate for 33.3 pounds in an oversize box ground is $179. FedEx is only $71. Use string tape to secure the flaps and corners, its going to need it. My net profit for my time and trouble of restoring this one: ZERO dollars. I paid $60 for it and sold it for $60 plus shipping. 

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Let There Be Light

I have bought little lights from the dollar store before to set up in the house, but I didn't really love any of them. I now order these $2 LED string lights from China via Ebay, They are powered by one AA battery, lasts awhile of you don't leave in on too long. You can bend the wire into any shape you want, it could illuminate a fake lamp, or dangle from the ceiling in a cluster as I have done here while the battery box rests on the upper rafter.

This red lamp is exceptionally cool, they also sold blue, but I just opened mine and it works until you take your finger off the button. So, the red one stays. I wish I bought more from the dollar store when they had them. 
Below is the light unit, it arrives from Asia with the long LED string bound, and when I opened the envelope, I thought, Oh this would make a cute doll house chandelier, and so it did! It sure beats trying to figure out how to wire this house the traditional way via plug ins and battery units. They come in all different colors and even a christmas version with all the different colors. You can paint or contact paper the battery pack box white to make it blend in better. 
I bought a 70 cent clear christmas ball from Michael's and fed the LED string light into it for this look:
 Here is a $3 LED camping light from 99 cent only store, it illuminates a room pretty well also.

A Frame Dining Room Staging and Inventory - Compare and Contrast

 I finally got through all of my storage and I uncovered a ton of kitchen items, I had a few bags of 70s kitchen stuff, and realized I had multiples of some items, so I compiled as complete a set as I could for my personal China Hutch and had all these leftover pieces, namely 3 bud vases, 2 tall coffee pots, a tea pot and 2 pitchers, plus scores of saucers and cups. I gather that many of you like staging the house like it is seen on the box photos. So, here are clear shots of what originally came with the hutch, mainly it a place setting for four. I had white shakers and pink goblets, so it was confusing to know what came with the blue hutch verses the later pink one. It seems they reversed the colors on some but not all of the items. Speaking of color, I still have the one hutch that heat faded to green, I am actually leaving it on my sunny kitchen window sill this week to even out and intensify  the color, I am kind of torn, I love that my blue hutch is still factory blue like its new, but the green one seems more '70's cohesive' in color scheme, almost matching the green desk. I had a factory pink vanity, but sold it in favor of my faded to salmon color vanity because the entire bathroom set I have is salmon colored so I thought it was a better match, plus the pink one reminded me too much of bubble gum.

The white set below as some of you might know is the 70s Sindy set, (from Australia or UK?), For it's time and that it was off brand (I have the hutch and dining room furniture), I am impressed with the quality, the setting is very high end with the candelabras, china and flatware. Gloria has been good as well about producing mansion quality kitchenware at bargain basement prices. 
Below is my own personal Sindy dining room, set with Gloria crystal, china and flatware. The model is Jane Seymour as Solitaire in Live and Let Die. She always goes well with my 70's dioramas. These rooms don't cost much to make, just some 99 cent store foam board, contact paper and hand made (mostly from magazine clippings) art and rug. The table cloth is a mens handkerchief from Walmart. 

 Many people, myself included, have custom painted and staged the pink and white gloria sets, they are well made, so totally worth the wait from China, there are even US sellers, but usually its still cheaper from Asia, I normally buy 3-5 sets at a time so I won't need to order (wait) again for awhile. The scale is perfect (larger than Mattel), can be painted any color, and since the table is really large one can set very grand functions.
 This is as it comes, just hope you get the 'cut crystal' glassware version, and not the plain glasses.
 The other Gloria set I am not as wild about, but is arguably one of the best out there. Bravo on the room diorama!
As I am fixated on translucent things, it started with the yellow hampster tunnels as a child, This is my current dining room set up. I still never got a complete set of blue dining room chairs, but I do have these 4 yellow ones from the Barbie electronic (talking?) house from awhile back. The translucent green dish/kitchen set I believe dates back to the 60's based on it's design. That's another reason why I like getting big mixed bags of stuff on ebay. There's always a great rare piece if you look long enough, then you can compile great collections like this one below. At one point, I amassed a large set of 60's pink and blue formal china and flatware that I sold as a lot, the buyer was thrilled to get it and the profits helped to pay for the pieces I keep.
Speaking of green, here is a hutch i picked up a few years ago as part of a larger lot, I kept it because it was different- it is green! It's a nice alternative to the baby blue original, and it goes well with my salmon colored bathroom set and striped of the stripes green living room set. It's currently for sale on ebay now.

Speaking of fading and collecting, if you are picky like me, it pays to get a few duplicates of the items you are interested in to raid for parts and upgrade to the best of the best, plus, had I not bought this second Ferrari, then I would not have realized there was the sultry dark merlot color and also a bright candy apple red version:

Naturally, I was raiding the 2nd purchase for parts (namely the windshield) and immediately noticed the variation. I have since restored the lighter red just for fun prior to selling it back on Feebay sans the glass. I do plan to make Sculpey side view mirrors for all the cars, I have 3 Ferraris and a grey corvette, so I think I will make all side view mirrors black for ease of production, wish me luck! FYI- for anything large, previously shiny and presently scuffed/scratched, use the good old standard I have referenced before, MacGuire's PlastX auto finish cream, make sure surface is debris free, buff on with a SOFT and CLEAN rag, use gloves, buff to a high shine, windex and you're done. May not remove the yellow from windows and windshields, but its super glossy after. I found it very easy using white sticker labels from the office supply place to reproduce missing car stickers/decals, I taped off the sides to sharpie in the black stripe, new seatbelts were fashioned out of black paper and I had extra license plates via the DMV specialty plate brochure. I need to pick up a real estate magazine to cut out some mini maps to include with the cars. I made a replacement gear shift out of a q tip clipped with toe nail clippers to proper length, and sharpie'd black. =-) 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Misc. Musings

Save-A-Lot had their annual end of summer sale and clearanced these ice cube trays, they are identical to the 1977 side by side yellow fridge trays. So, for my $1.05 each I snagged a few sets to nostalgically stage my own fridge. 

 I am in the middle of renovating the house thats lived in storage since I bought it a few years ago. The posts were terribly damaged in shipment due to poor packaging, they kind of remind me of shoe string fries here. Anyhow, I sat one night while watching TV putting it all back together, I even utilized the bag of pieces I had from other renovations. I was able to reconstruct quite a lot, not all, and was left with very little unusable pieces, this is my third or fourth time making post covers from the remnants this badly damaged set, there is an art to it and learning curve, I was better at it this last go round than before, taping techniques improved, blending post cover strips from other post covers nesting the curved edges was increased as it works and is better than not matching at all, in some cases the post is almost half tape, but I used good quality thick Scotch box tape and it really helped with rigidity. It will still take a ton of spray paint to finish these, but I have nearly a complete set from these yellow shards.

Here is a "Frankenstein" post cover made up from at least 3 different ones, nesting the curved corners really helps. Once painted, the thick tape will be nearly undetectable. You'll be pleased with the results and the satisfaction of saving another set of corner covers from the rubbish heap.

This is what your complete set of post covers should look like:
Also, this week while I was crafting I took this pic, if you are getting into custom paint jobs and improving stuff, it might be worthwhile to invest in one of those magnifying glass stands with the clips to hold small items, I really used mine this week:

In the search for a more "Mod" retro 70s look, I wanted a hanging egg basket chair, since an affordable 1/6 scale one was unavailable on ebay I made my own using about 20 cents worth of thermostat wire. Not too shabby for my first pass at this.

This house looks so familiar...

From Your Local Neighborhood Michael's

This week, I had time to peruse all store aisles while looking for polymer clay. I found this interesting section of plastic panels/sheets. There are all kinds, corrugated, flat, clear and translucent. One could fabricate many things with these sheets. Perhaps wall panels to fill in the openings, translucent sky light panels, frosted panel when the closet is missing, walls with door cut outs to separate bedrooms, kitchen from living area? endless possibilities here. 
For the clear clay, if you had the pasta clay roller machine, replacement windows could be made, fashioning the yellow trim from the auto tape I posted about earlier. 

 Here is yellow polymer clay, with the pasta roller machine, new doors could be made in any way you want them, solid, like the originals, or solid with the texture/pattern imprinted on them before baking in the oven. Maybe one day I will try this out. I am thinking it is way too time intensive to sell for profit, but a nice alternative to factory original, and if one is on a tight budget and cannot afford to have a compete house, just buy the old shell for $60-$100 and make all the missing pieces this way.

In the spirit of being crafty, I bought a couple of translucent blue storage bins at (you guessed it), to fabricate custom replacement doors for the 1978 blue Dream furniture China hutch. if yours are missing and you don't want to invest in originals, then this is a great in the meantime solution.

 I did not bother adding handles because I didn't think it was worth it.

 Speaking of being crafty, I am playing with the idea of closing in the house (temporarily) to see what it looks like solid, here I closed in the windows with yellow dollar store poster board.

Not too shabby... 

Monday, September 10, 2018

Take Inventory and Stage Your Home Using the Original Brochure

Fans have asked, and here it is, the original scanned brochure pictures of the 1977 Dream Furniture line.

To enlarge, click on the photos to expand them and see greater detail. For better inventory taking purposes, viewing the original instructions as best, I have a few and will scan when time permits, but they are on google or ebay as well. 

Different versions of the box show either the closet door mirrors facing out or in. That is a personal choice, I chose to have mine facing in, one it adds a nice little surprise when opening the doors, and two, thats how I did the mirror on the inside of my real closet door. Since the long pegs are supposed to be on top, if the stickers are already applied, the choice is made, but if you are adding new ones, then decide before applying. 

Presently, I have my A Frame staged with 3 extra floor pieces (the ones I got for $18 total on ebay awhile back), the yellow 'Vette, some dollar store cacti and two MGA Bratz World Mansion palm trees. I was collecting the World Mansions for awhile a few years ago. I also collect He Man (See MOTUC figures), the houses, when painted, made a great "Palace of Eternia" or "Crystal Palace" for She Ra. In 2015 you could get them for about $65-$125 dollars each, now they are not on ebay and are on amazon for $450. I would upgrade them by using lots of custom painting, window panels, floor panels, and contact papering the floors and ceiling. Overall, a great effect. Anyway, the palm trees are total Socal fab, so I use these for the A Frame now. Having the extra floor pieces works better than just having the triangle sections because then there is a full size patio or driveway outside to stage a complete area and it is not cramped up. I like having mine in the window so the light filters through it during the day.