Wednesday, November 19, 2014

LEGO Ideas

Every time I walk through my kids' room, there is inevitably a random LEGO to be stepped on. When the LEGOs make their way to the rest of the house I find myself pulling my hair out wanting to through them all away. Then I stumble upon the LEGO Ideas website, and I'm reminded of what great building blocks they are for the imagination. (pictured above is White Lake House)

LEGO Ideas is another brilliant idea by LEGO. Anyone can submit an idea to be built. They just have to gather 10,000 votes of support and then their idea will be reviewed and possibly turned into a LEGO product and sold around the world. Genius idea for LEGO to not have to pay designers nor advertisers. I mean they've convinced millions of people that they need tons of tiny pieces of plastic and now they are getting us to do their work for them too, sheer genius. (pictured to the left is Box N)

Some of the designs are truly impressive. Click on the links to see more about the designs and projects. This Modern Modular Furnished Beach Front House is one of my favorites. It was originally designed in pink, but I love the grey shown here.

House of Incredibles and Lego Architecture Studio Project were two other fun ones that caught my eye.

Madoka's House is another of my favorites. None of these designs have enough needed support to become a product, but I really appreciate the efforts of the designers and love seeing more modern design out there. Now maybe the next time I'm screaming as I jam another LEGO brick under foot, I'll think of what cool creation it could have been.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

THIS COULD BE YOURS! PRD Miniatures Workshop at Chicago International

Come meet me in Chicago! Mini2b and I will be spending Wed and Thurs, April 15-16 taking the PRD Miniatures workshop to make this incredible Mid-Century Modern room box. Space is limited so sign up and join us! Here are all the workshop details:

Lisa & Paris Renfroe Wednesday, Thursday 9:30am-5pm $595

"Students will participate in the assembly of a 15”d x 15”w x 11”h mid-century modern room box and select from a variety of finishing materials to complete the inside of the structure. The room box will feature lighting, a window wall with interior access, and a fireplace. Included are hands-on instruction for setting up the recessed can lighting, installing a fireplace with actual flickering lights, installing flooring material and applying a variety of finishes to the interior wall spaces and fireplace surround. The finished room box will be a perfect prelude to shopping the Chicago International Show for your own furnishings and accessories. A box will be provided for transporting or shipping the finished room box. Reservations must be received by April 1, 2015."

Here is the workshop page:

To sign up for the 2-day workshop, print and fill out this form here, then send form with payment to Tom Bishop, 10528 Oak Meadow Lane, Lake Worth, FL 33449.

More information on Chicago International April 17-19, 2015 can be found here:

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Last Day of Good Sam Show

Good Sam Showcase of Miniatures
Largest Sales and Exhibits of Dollhouse Miniatures west of the Mississippi

October 11th & 12th, 2014

Doubletree Hotel San Jose (1/2 Mile from San Jose International Airport)
2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, California
Show Hours: Saturday 10am-5pm, Sunday 11am-4pm

(I went on Saturday, I'll post pics later tonight)

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Last Chance! Prices increase Oct 7th. :(

It is with much regret to inform you that my prices in my shop are about to have a HUGE increase. Shapeways used to base their prices on a start up fee plus a fixed price per cubic inch of material used. As of October 7th they are implementing a new pricing structure that includes labor, material volume and machine space. The new pricing structure lowers the cost of material used but drastically increases the cost based on the size of the model. For small pieces the prices are dropping but for modelers (train scale, 1:24, 1:12 scale) we are seeing double and triple+ the costs. Shapeways made the announcement 2 nights ago with one weeks notice until the changes hit. I have been scrambling to see if there is any way to make my furniture more affordable by the new rules to no avail. My designs need to be 1mm thick to be true to scale and structurally solid. I have spent the last 2 years perfecting my designs to meet the old requirements to use the least amount of material that results in the highest quality pieces, but now the rules have changed. My goal was to make affordable, high quality, modern furniture and decor that is not available elsewhere. Now I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I think the prices they are asking are ridiculous.

If you have ever wanted one of my bookshelves, side tables, chairs or collections, you have until Monday, October 6th to buy at my reasonable prices. On Oct 7th all of my larger items will be hit with Shapeways new increases from $10 - $40 each. Enjoy the prices before the increases at my shop:

The sets in Collections will jump in price as now there will be a labor charge per piece in the set, so there won't be a discount buying all the pieces in a collection. They will cost the same as buying each piece individually.

My dining tables will be $2-4 cheaper, so don't buy one now. Some of my vases will be 0.10 to 0.15 cents cheaper but most are increasing $1 or more.

Shapeways has been working on the pricing structure for 2 years, and supposedly designs like mine have been losing them money, but I'm furious that they never mentioned anything about a broken price structure and now we have one week to adjust to their drastic changes. There's more info on the Shapeways forum on this topic with over 13 pages of comments from frustrated designers lamenting the price changes in the last 2 days. Sigh. I'm pretty torn up over the changes but I'm still committed to designing affordable modern miniatures. I will be looking into other options, but it may mean only designing small decor items and not larger furniture pieces. I guess a good thing couldn't last forever.

Enjoy while you can:

Saturday, September 6, 2014

One week left for PRD Summer Sale! Up to 50% off!!

The PRD Miniature's Summer Sale ends September 15th, don't miss out on 10-50% off the entire store. Paris and Lisa have added over 200 new products from cutting edge modern furniture and on trend accessories. The new products look like they came straight out of the high end designer magazines. Check out all of the new items here:

Among the new items, you'll see PRD Miniatures is carrying a line of my accessories and side tables. These items are in stock and ready to ship and many have been Parisfied with gorgeous paint treatments. Head on over and check them out. :)

(Apologies for my absence, summer with the kids at home was busier than expected and then I was bit pretty badly helping recover a terrier size dog from a doberman. I can't use my index fingers and thumbs at the moment, making typing SUPER SLOW. As soon as my hands heal up I hope to be posting much more often again. So much to share. Mini smiles to you all.)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bay Area - Come see me at Parking Lot Sale Sat 8/30

Okay, it's a hot mess right now, but tomorrow I will have my first display set up at the Annual Summer Fever Parking Lot Sale hosted by Dollhouses, Trains & More. Stop by and see my booth! (I'll make sure I post pictures for those of you not in Northern California)

Dollhouses, Trains & More
Summer Fever Parking Lot Sale
300 Entrada Dr, Novato, CA 94949
Saturday, August 30th from 10am-3pm

I hope you're having a Happy Summer!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Earth and Tree Miniatures

Earth and Tree Miniatures is kind of like dollhouse Mecca for me. My first modern dollhouse was The Antrim that I purchased from them in November 2007 (only 12 kits were made). Earth and Tree Miniatures is a family run company that is not only a miniature shop but they also make and design their own dollhouses and a line of doors and windows. All of the houses at Earth and Tree were originally designed by Kari's husband, Tom Berkner (Tom's Mill). He named all of his houses after towns in New Hampshire. Tom passed away in 2005. Kari's son-in-law Ryan now builds the kits and houses for the company. Tom had designed so many houses that after he passed they had to eliminate a few of his designs from production. The Antrim is no longer available, but Earth and Tree continues to sell one of my favorite contemporary dollhouses, the Merrimack, inspired by a house in Minnesota.

My trip to Mecca involved another hour and a half drive on our way to the airport to leave beautiful New Hampshire. Luckily, there was a coffee shop across the street, so I was able to ditch my mister and the kids for a quick shopping excursion. The biggest treat was having Meagan of drive an hour each way to meet me (yes, she's alive! She's doing great, just busy and working on other projects, but hopefully she'll be back in the mini world soon).

Earth and Tree Miniatures blew my mind. It's huge; the largest miniatures shop I've seen! 3,000 square feet to be exact. I was able to meet Kari's daughter, JaNeen, who was running the shop that day along with her adorable 6-yr old son that made us free pass tickets to come back anytime (it's always free to shop there, but it was really cute that he made us tickets). The shop is amazing, they have everything you can think of for your miniature needs. In every room there are finished dollhouses that you can shop right out of. They have dollhouse furniture and miniature accessories in 1" scale and half inch and quarter inch scale. They have a ton of building supplies, lighting supplies, landscaping supplies. If I had more room in my luggage I would have purchased some of their great flooring, but luckily they sell online so I know where to buy (it's just always nice to see in person). I only had an hour but easily could have spent all day looking at everything. Here are the minis I bought that I could fit in my purse. If you are every near New Hampshire, Earth and Tree Miniatures is a MUST visit stop.

Earth and Tree Miniatures and Dollhouses
276 Route 101 #1
Amherst, NH 03031
603-673-8707 phone
603-673-0175 fax

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Little World Miniatures & Miniatures Museum in New Hampshire

This last week I fell in love with New Hampshire. We rented a house on Lake Winnipesaukee with 8 adults and 6 kids from my mister's side. Vacation dreamland! Bumper boats, ice cream, mini golf, sluicing, kayaking, swimming, bumper cars, ice cream, hiking, go karts, beach, Fun Spot (where they filmed the Donkey Kong world record setting documentary "The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters") oh did I mention the ice cream? So much fun!

I even met Bill Clinton!! Well, Bill & Julie Clinton of Little World Miniatures. We drove an hour and half to Ossipee to visit their shop that they run out of their home. Bill & Julie are an adorable and friendly couple who have been running their shop for over 30 years. They spent many years and earned many awards doing the miniatures show circuit on the East Coast, but after serious injuries from a car accident they have been unable to attend the shows. Back in the hey day some of the shows had 3,500 people in attendance.

Their living room is the museum portion of the shop filled with Bill's mother Esther's collection of houses from the 30s - 50s along with houses they have built and decorated themselves. They have one of the first wood dollhouse kits that replaced the tin houses when metal was in demand for the war effort during World War II. Esther lived into her 90's and played with her houses up until she passed.

Little World Miniatures has a wide variety of miniatures, supplies, electric lights and dolls along with kits and assembled houses for sale. Bill & Julie were wonderful to talk to. Every miniature had a story. It was great learning the history of so many of the vendors, and a little sad that many items are out of production due to artisans passing away with no apprentices to take over, along with the smaller audience of collectors.

If you can, I encourage you to take a trip this summer to your closest dollhouse shop, and if you're in New Hampshire, definitely stop by and meet Bill & Julie in Ossipee. Here are the goodies I purchased.

Little World Miniatures
Bill & Julie Clinton
103 Route 28 (off Route 171) at the "Log Cabin"
Ossipee, NH 03864
Open 7 days a week 11am-5pm