Stairs, Balusters, Railing & more…

I am getting a bit closer to having the first floor staircase compete, the staircase is completely handmade, using basswood for the treads (steps), paperboard for the stringers (thats what the threads/steps sit on, paperboard for the risers (back of the step), florist wire for the balusters, (spindles) paperboard for the railing and I decided to carve down a newel post, although I’m not sure if I like it 100% or not…Might be a bit to plump at the base? What do you think?

The staircase is in a VERY ROUGH state at this time, I promise you will see a remarkable difference with its progression…

Remember in the last post the Hear Thee Hear Ye comment!!! Well I DO NOT WANT TO reconstruct this staircase!!!

OH, and in the previous door post, I said the exterior front door was being reconstructed, the exterior of the door is finished, minus the hardware, HOWEVER…that doesn’t mean the interior of the door is complete, as you can clearly see in the image below!!!



Looks like the builder left a bit of a mess for someone to clean up! OH thats ME!


Front Door Fix

It seems I have be negligent towards the French Chateau build, while operating the Tiny Dwelling Etsy shop, so….. I set aside a bit of time to work on the Chateau.

Well….. instead of starting on another interior room, I decided the front door was not to scale with the rest of the exterior facade, so….a tiny bit of demolition was need to remove the old (shorter) door to make room for the more appropriate sized door…
I’m much happier now, with the overall front facade with the new door size…

Looking at the before door, notice the size of the door in comparison to the windows… TO SMALL!!! I’m not sure why I didn’t notice this when I originally constructed the door to begin with!!! I was probably so excited about the whole house, that I overlooked it!!!
Hear Thee or Hear Ye: Do it right the first time, so you’re not redoing it later!!!

Door hardware pending…

*Excuse the light exposure, I HAVE NOT repainted the HOUSE!

Also, notice I added a touch of Autumn to the front steps, even thou the house isn’t finished, I can still decorate the steps!!!




The Thorne Miniature Rooms

As you may know, this past April, Tiny Dwelling participated in The Miniature Show in Chicago (see post titled: Chicago Miniature Show 2016). During the show I had hoped to visit the Chicago Institute of Art to see the Thorne Rooms…

The “window of opportunity” didn’t present itself for a visit to see the Thorne Rooms, it did however present its self this past week, as my family and I returned to Chicago.

A little history: (Pieces and parts taken from varies online articles)

Narcissa Niblack Thorne (May 2, 1882 – June 25, 1966) was born in Vincennes, Indiana, in 1882; her parents moved to Chicago when she was a child. She was educated partially at home and partially in public school. At age 19, she married on May 29, 1901 to James Ward Thorne, an heir to the Montgomery Ward department store fortune. They had two sons, named Ward and Niblack.

As a child, Narcissa loved dollhouses, she had family members whom traveled the world and often  returned with “trinkets” perhaps they were dollhouse miniatures, as gifts to Narcissi. She then began purchasing miniatures as she traveled the world to add to her growing collection.

Unsure at what point in her life, Mrs. James Ward Thorne, decided to begin designing an constructing miniature rooms, she befriended very talented artisans to help her create the miniature rooms she envisioned. The first known work was exhibited in 1932.

It is believed that one hundred Thorne rooms are known to exist. The Art Institute of Chicago holds 68 rooms, 20 are held by the Phoenix Art Museum, 9 by the Knoxville Museum of Art with the remaining two located at the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, and the Kaye Miniature Museum in Los Angeles. In addition to these rooms, the Museum of Miniature Houses located in  Carmel, Indiana showcases one Thorne room.

If you want to learn more about Mrs. James Ward Thorne, Google the name and or Thorne Miniature Rooms, to learn more.

NOW….. back to my visit to the Thorne Rooms in Chicago.

Visitors are greeted by two not so miniature lions!




Each of the photos below were taken within the exhibit, many through the glass enclosures that housed the individual rooms, or artifacts.

A very brief history of the Thorne Gallery.

An original sketch on display.

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Below is an overview of several master skilled miniature artisans who were commissioned by and worked alongside Mrs. Thorne in creating some of the miniature rooms.


Claus O. Brandell an immigrant from Sweden, settled in Cincinnati, Ohio before partnering with Mrs. Thorne. Mr Brandell designed and made many of his own tools used to create his miniature works of art. Happy to learn Mr. Brandell resided in my hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio and was of Swedish descent, I too, have Swedish roots…

Could we be related?  Perhaps Mr. Brandell is the person responsible for my becoming interested in miniatures!


Lee Meisinger was a young lady whom Mrs. Thorne established a relationship through the Art Institute of Chicago to create miniature petit point needlepoint pieces for her miniature rooms. The precision of the below petit point needlepoint is 30 stitches per inch, which later Mrs. Thorne also requested 40 stitches per inch for more delicate silk projects.




Alfons Weber from Germany, was another master carver commissioned by Mrs. Thorne to create miniature hand carved molds to be used to cast miniature gesso moldings for several miniature rooms.


Another master artisan commissioned by Mrs. Thorne was Kupjack, I seemed to have lost my information on this individual. I remember Mr. Kupjack to be a master miniature furniture maker. Google Kupjack miniatures.

Due to the complexity of the individual rooms, capturing the entire room was not an easy task for me or the camera I had (iPhone). Each room was behind a glass enclosure, therefore casting a glare when attempting to photograph.  I did manage to capture two of my personal favorites.

You can see more detailed Thorne Room images via Goggle images.

This image: French Salon, note the various petit point pieces… My favorite room.

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This image: Window within the English Bed Chamber Room… I really love how the light filters into the setting.

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To those individual(s) responsible for the various positioning of lights within each of the Thorne Rooms, I will call you the master lighting artisans, these individuals truly bring these rooms to life.

This image: Portrait created of Mrs. Thorne in 1915.

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This image: Mrs. Thorne viewing one of her miniature rooms. I wonder how many people have viewed this vary room since this photo was taken…


I enjoyed my visit to view the Thorne Rooms and if you are ever in Chicago, I would recommend visiting the Chicago Art Institute. With a $25 entry ticket, you will see firsthand the invaluable master level works of multiple miniature artisans.

Email Reply

I received a lovely email today from Mrs. Rik Pierce of

I have been reflecting on my experience at the Chicago Miniature show and with that, I decided to send the Pierces an email. I wanted to let them know how very happy I was to have met them and what an inspiration they were to me, as a newcomer in the world of miniatures. I also shared with them the Tiny Dwelling blog, so they could read and see first hand, how I enjoyed meeting them at the show.  Not really expecting a reply, today in my “inbox” I had an email from Mrs. Pierce!

It seems they too, were happy to have met me at the show!

Here are a few of her excerpts from the email:

Hello Rebecca!

You are a breath of fresh air to the miniature world! Where do you get all your stamina to do soooo much?! Your story was delightful and I really enjoyed reading your account of the Chicago show and viewing your many photos. We were pleased to talk with you, and you are welcome to visit us in our home if you are ever in the Vancouver WA area.

You are a very interesting young lady and I’m sure your enthusiasm will take you far in whatever avenue you pursue. We wish you well and hope to see more of your beautiful work in the future.


Marcia Pierce
Frogmorton Studios


If you’re reading this Marcia, thank you for your lovely reply, I so appreciate your kind words!

Mr. Pierce, perhaps my sharing of our meeting, just might be the little extra encouragement to help you continue to make progress with his healing.


Chicago Miniature Show Wrap Up

This was our last and final day in Chicago.

Today was another day I was looking forward to, as we were heading to the Chicago International Show, prior to making our way back home.

What I discovered at the Chicago International Show, were many artisans at various skill levels, suppliers of goods (tools, trims, molds, etc) and others selling miniatures purchased straight from miniature wholesale companies. The show consisted of three rooms, with one room called the “Doll Room”, however, I will say there were some pretty cute rabbits and bears as well!

When we entered, we were happy to see dollhouses, overall,  I thought I would have seen more dollhouses or miniature houses at these shows, I did not. Below are a few of the dollhouses/building we discovered upon entering the show.

These houses/buildings were not your typical wood structure, they were constructed from old books and smaller travel cases. I found this building concept to be interesting, as I like to give something old a new purpose and what a great idea to use old books and travel cases. Perhaps in the future I might give this a try, I also have an antique wall clock case , I have been waiting for a perfect project for its use, and now seeing these non traditional methods of construction, I just might be designing a house or room within the clock case.

Below is the inside of the first image above, constructed using a travel case. Clever use..


I had hopes to meet several miniature artisans participating in this show, those particular artisans, in which I have been fortunate enough to have some of their pieces in my miniature collection. I absolutely knew, I wanted to cross paths with who I discovered next! What I didn’t know, is that Mr. Rik Pierce of Frogmorton Studios, would be sitting at the next table after the dollhouse/building display.

Mr. Pierce was selling and signing his latest book with the assistance of his sweet wife Marcia. Mr. Pierce is thought to be very notable in the world of miniatures with many awarded achievements both domestically and internationally. The Pierces and I talked as if we had met before.  I brought my copy of Dollhouse Miniatures magazine into the show, in hopes that Mr. Pierce would sign his feature for me. I felt honored that within the same issue that Mr. Pierce had been featured, my Tiny Dwelling had also been featured.

Mr. Pierce was much obliged to sign my magazine and we even took a photo together! I am very happy I had the opportunity to meet Mr. Pierce at the show, his wife shared with me, he had been in a terrible automobile accident and she suggested this might be his last show. It was evident that Mr. Pierce was pleased to share the photo book with me, it was as if each photograph he was being transported back to the time he made each of the structures featured. He is full of miniature knowledge and I told both he and his wife, if I lived closer, I would visit with them regularly.

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What a treat! To learn more about Mr. Pierce, Google his name or take a peek at

After I got my bearings together, I ventured on into the rooms where the artisans were set up, my mom had made a friend and decided to sit a chit chat awhile while I explored the show ( I really think she was tired, mostly). There were so many amazing sights to see in many price ranges. I will say, I didn’t recall seeing anything greater than the $43K miniature table, I spoke about earlier from The Miniature Show!

All in all,  I enjoyed the entire experience and I do plan to VISIT the shows next year, I will however, stick to only selling via my shop, as this method is SO MUCH EASIER than taking your shop on the road!

If you have thoughts of attending the Chicago miniature shows in 2017, maybe I will see you there!

I will end with a few photos from the “Doll Room”, remember I mentioned rabbits and bears! I think I forgot to mention Goldilocks!

The END…..

Now, I can get back to finishing my Miniature French Chateau… STAY TUNED for updates..

*Amendment: Mr. Pierce and his sweet wife Marcia, will continue to participate in miniature shows. However, while Mr. Pierce continues to recover from his automobile accident the Pierces will stay a bit closer to home.

Chicago Miniature Show Day 3

Today was the final day of The Miniature Show. However, today was also the first day of the Chicago International Show and the last day for the third show, Three Blind Mice. All three shows were in different locations, all within 10-20 minutes away by car.

Many people who traveled to Chicago, for the miniature shows, had already visited The Miniature Show during the Preview event, while others visited on Friday (day 2). It was expected the number of people attending today, would be somewhat less, as many were awaiting entry into the Chicago International Show, which opened to the general public on this day.

I didn’t mind a slower day, as it allowed me to rest a bit, re-visit other vendors tables, mingle with other miniature artists and spend time with my mom. I think by this point, I was ready for the show to be over. I REALLY wanted to see the other two shows.

Today, was also the day I was going to treat myself to an amazing miniature and I knew just what that something was going to be! Lucky for me, my very special purchase, was just a few short steps away!  The amazing miniature black iron tiered pot rack with copper pots below is created by the husband and wife team, The Getzans, I was so happy to finally meet them and see their amazing copper wear in person.

I knew I was going to really like the pot rack and copper pots, but….. OH MY GOODNESS!



I knew just the perfect spot for the pot rack! I will let you decided, what do you think?



I’ve decided to make these set available through the shop and other amazing items from the Getzans. So… if you like the set, I know where you can get your own!!

Jennifer from and I did a little trading of goods. Jennifer makes lovely miniature books, letters and others, take a peek at her shop.

Jennifer’s boxes will find a special spot within the “sewing room” in the Chateau, but for now, I will enjoy them in another setting, as the “sewing room” is aways away from being complete!



This next photo is the grand prize wining entry into the miniature contest. The person who made these beautiful clay roses traveled from Poland!

Take a peek at Gosia Suchodolskas Etsy shop: to see her other lovely creations. Gosia shared with me that she is a school teacher in Poland.



All in all The Miniature Show was a wonderful experience for me, I received very nice feedback from customers, I met Sandra W, who was one of my first Etsy customers, Romana in Italy was my very first customer, I finally met the gals from Dollhouse Miniatures, I saw and met many talented miniaturist from around the globe, I purchased a few miniatures to take home, I had my copy of Dollhouse Miniatures magazine that Tiny Dwelling was featured in signed by a VERY NOTABLE miniaturist and a photo taken also! (I will be posting that photo in the final Chicago Miniature Show post), I created new memories with my mom by my side, new miniature friendships are beginning to bloom and so much more…..


I will have one last post with what I discovered on our final day in Chicago.








Chicago Miniature Show Day Two

After a long travel day the day before and a good nights sleep, I was more than ready to tackle the day ahead. This is the day that I finally met Sara Vix from Dollhouse Miniatures (remember she originally suggested I consider participating in the show), Auralea Krieger, Editor of Dollhouse Miniatures, and Lauren Nielsen ( I think Lauren was an intern?, sorry Lauren for not remembering).  Finally meeting Sara and Auralea was a real treat, VERY sweet ladies… Oh, and Auralea, she is AMAZING talented as an artist as well as an editor!


Left to Right: Auralea, Sara then Lauren


I still needed to bring the miniature house in from the truck, as you can imagine, I was a very proud walking in with miniature house, right away people started asking me, if I made the house, my reply “yes”.  Several exhibitors recognized the house from the book (The Big Book of A Miniature House/ previous post), they all had very nice comments and seemed as happy as I was to see the house come to life. At this point, I decided I was in a pretty good place with my table, so I treated myself with a walk around the room to see the other tables.

The room was filled with a variety of miniatures from around the world. Most of the miniatures price points were CONSIDERABLY higher than my most expensive item priced at $104.

Below is a table that was priced at either $43 or $46 THOUSAND dollars, YES, thats right, OH MY!



The above doll stood at only approximately 2″ tall, but it did include a box!



This miniature crystal artist was represented from Ireland, remember all the sizes are 1:12″ scale.


I believe this represented artist was from Belgium. I really loved these sweet little hats with their millinery, 1:12″ scale (approximate dime (10 cents) in diameter. They were $100+.  I have a pretty large stash of vintage millinery, perhaps I should start putting it to use!


This is Hermann Straeten, from Germany, he makes amazing clocks of all styles. He was a very nice man, I just loved the two clocks on the left. Hermann also created other miniatures from plant pods, he is extremely talented.


This was an artist represented, country uncertain. These were very beautiful dimensional mixed media framed art pieces, again 1:12″ scale.


For the shows Preview Event, all exhibitors tables had to be ready to”GO” by 3:00. By the time 3:00 arrived, I had rearranged the table and rearranged a few more times, before I was happy with how the table finally came to be.



The Preview Event started, we were treated to delicious foods, drinks and music. The early shoppers were eager to get started.


Stay tuned………for Saturday and Sunday.


Chicago Miniature Show 2016

Since the beginning of entering the world of miniatures, many veteran miniaturists have said to me ” You sure are starting out BIG”, well……. my theory is, why not!

The idea of participating in my first miniature show came to thought, when Sara Vix with Dollhouse Miniatures magazine and I were finalizing the feature article of Tiny Dwelling slated of the March/April 2016 issue (previously post). Sara was such a delight to work with for the article. Sara was the person who suggested I consider participating in The Miniature Show happening in Chicago, the show was in conjunction with two other miniature shows that were taking place. It seemed to be a wonderful suggestion and fortunately my families schedule, allowed for me to take Tiny Dwelling on the road and to see  what participating in my first miniature show would be all about..

My mom (Marlene), made the trip with me. I like to include my mom in as much as possible, and what better way to experience my first miniature show with my mom by my side. Preparing for the show, required many hours of advanced creating, as I truly had no idea what to expect going into my first miniature show.

I am no rookie at the national show scene, as I have in years past hosted a local juried art show in the community where we live and I have also participated in the Country Living Magazine Fair shows, in Atlanta, Georgia.

Having hosted a juried art show and participated in the Country Living Fairs, I had a pretty good idea how to have a successful show. The first year I participated in the Country Living Fair, my booth/space was selected by Country Living to be part of a feature on the Nate Burkus show! I was completely surprised when someone approached me, asked how I felt about filming a segment with Sara Gray Miller (at the time), Editor of Country Living Magazine for the Nate Burkus Show? Of course I was interested, although, I had no idea who Nate Burkus was at the time, my two friends, Missy and Paige, who came along to help me with the show, assured me what had just been offered was a really great thing.

Missy (aka: Missy Moo)                         Paige (the photographer)


 Sarah Gray Miller, myself and the Nate Burkus production crew.


This show was my first national show at this size of venue, the year was 2011. I was creating life size repurposed  furniture, combining with antique and vintage goods to have a tiny business, somewhat like Tiny Dwelling only in life size scale!

The Country Living Fair was locate in Stone Mountain Park, in Atlanta, Georgia, a wonderful outdoor setting, under a canopy of trees in the forest, (see above photos).

We worked so hard, had laughs, had frustrations, but, I like to think we all created memories. I returned two more years to participate in the Fair, to SELL OUT all three times! I decided after three shows, the year long preparation that led up to the shows, the uncertainty of my helpers schedules, my own families schedule and the overall direction the show was going in, I decided not to return. Initially the show was to suppose to only be antique, vintage and handmade items.

Missy returned with me the second  year and my friend Tammi experienced the Fair that year.  Having participated the year before, I had a better idea of what to expect, allowing more free FUN time to be had.

Missy Moo                                  Tammi (aka: the coffee drinker)

The third and last year, I didn’t take as much “stuff” with me. I didn’t need extra helpers, as I could manage the space myself, however, this time my son, Blake wanted to come along with me. His school excused his absence, as an out of the classroom learning experience. Blake has always loved to help, enjoys spending time outside, loves learning and most of all loves spending time with his mom. Having this be my last show, having Blake with me to experience it, was a great lifelong memory we created for both of us. We brought our bicycles along and rode back and forth from the hotel we stayed in across the street from the fairs location. WE HAD SO MUCH FUN!

Blake was the banker, while I was the greeter.



My mom also came to two of the three Country Living Fairs ( unfortunately the two shows she came too, the booth was so CrAzY busy, I forgot to get a photograph of my mom and I!

Sorry, I got off track, this little off set allowed you to learn a bit more about how I got into miniatures. MUCH MORE MANAGEABLE all the way around!

I failed to mention, during the time between my last Country Living Fair and staring Tiny Dwelling, I opened my towns first creative arts studio, The Makery. Heres a little peak inside:

If you want to learn about that adventure, take a peek here:


OK, BACK to the Chicago Miniature Show post!!!


So… leading up to the show, I created many miniatures to take to the show, being my first miniature show, I didn’t know what to expect. I thought it would be a good idea to do a mock table set up, here at home before I left for the show. WELL…..what I didn’t realize is I had made so much to take to the show an once on site, I started unpacking, I quickly realized I could have used two tables!  This became somewhat of a challenge, and I thought created a “visual overload” on the table!  Most people liked the “full” table and said its was simply more to look at..

Before                                                      After

Close up of table.



This is how the miniature house was on display for the miniature art contest, I decided with all the time thus far constructing the house, the house would be better protected in a glass case during the show. There were many entries in the contest, I and another person, Jennifer from were the only two “rookie” miniaturists who entered pieces. Jennifer and her husband, traveled some 12 hours from Canada to participate in her first show, just like me..

Some of the other pieces entered were available for purchase, ranging in prices from $24,000 to under $100.00!

So needless to say my miniature house didn’t acquire enough votes to win at any level!

I will post a photograph of the grand prize winner, a bit later.

What I did win, were many eyes were on the house, wonderful comments, customers and new miniature friendships were made over the many discussions of the house.

I discovered this inside the house.

Reading this after a long first day, that involved 6+ hours of driving, unloading, table set up, and sitting down to eat dinner at 9:30, I waited to read my note just before I went to sleep for the night.

My now, soon to be 16 year old son, who at the age of 12 went to my last Country Living Fair show, knew just exactly what his mother needed to end a very busy day.

Stay tuned for DAY TWO.

Back From The Show

My OH MY, are the words that come to mind with regards to my experience at the recent Miniature Show in Chicago!

I have many photographs to share with you and I would like to also share my overall experience.

I hope/plan to have the show entry posted within the next several days, until then, I will leave you with a few “teaser” photos.

Layers of Packing, More Packing, “Mock” Table Setup, Awaiting Loading and All LOADED!