Tag Archives: dollhouse miniatures

My miniature magic shoppe and coffee roastery, Cafe Morgana! Part 1, the magic side.

Cafe Morgana Dollhouse Miniature Magic Shoppe and Coffee Roastery by Suzanne Forbes May 2021A project long in the collecting, but short in the making!

Yes, this dollhouse miniature magic supplies store and coffee roastery was envisioned and built out in just eight months. I started it last November when I realized the miniature patisserie and espresso bar wouldn’t hold all my mini coffee shop stuff.

Cafe Morgana Dollhouse Miniature Magic Shoppe and Coffee Roastery by Suzanne Forbes May 2021I had been researching dollhouse storefronts anyway, soo….

I ordered this very wide one from a UK seller, one of the last of the many orders I placed with all the wonderful UK miniature shops before Brexit.

Miniature espresso bar with Re-Ment Snoopys Coffee Roastery pieces by Suzanne Forbes Dec 2020It fit perfectly into the shelf below the bakery.

Since it wasn’t a structure, just a front, I decided to build walls, floor and ceiling rather than apply wallpaper and flooring directly to the shelf.

I cut and fit foam-core board to line the interior, then wallpapered it.

Let us not speak of the evils of dollhouse wallpaper. And the only, only decent adhesive is this one. “Yes” paste? NO. Some maker processes seem to have a fishhook learning curve, where the price of confidence is a punishment-for-hubris fuckup that will ruin your day.

Since I have fucking had it with individual dollhouse lights and dollhouse wiring, I used LED strip lighting.

I placed the strip at the front of the ceiling and the storefront covers it perfectly! I ran the strip through the foam wall and put the battery pack with its on/off switch in the little space I built for it.

Using pre-stained dollhouse molding helped to hold everything in place and cover joins. As I’ve said before, miter-cutting the moldings is also the fucking devil.

Since I’ve had it with fucking staining dollhouse moldings and furniture (let us never speak of matching Kitty and Illyana’s dressers to the rest of the furniture in their room in the X-Mansion dollhouse) I bought everything pre-stained and varnished!!!

Well except for the beautiful pointed door from Bromley Crafts, I did have to match-stain and varnish that. But it’s so cool!

Cafe Morgana Dollhouse Miniature Magic Shoppe by Suzanne Forbes May 2021I am so thrilled to have a nice place for my Tia Dalma and Vanessa Ives figures!

I’ve been imagining a perfect setting for my McFarlane Toys Tia Dalma figure (she was played by the marvelous Naomie Harris!) since 2006!

I guess I’d been sort of secretly, not telling myself I was doing it, planning a magic shop since even before then, back in the early Oughts when the Moore Action Collectibles Buffy and Angel figures were coming out with all these cool magic shop accessories. Dollhouse miniature magic shoppe with hand sculpted one 12 scale unicorn skull by Suzanne Forbes May 2021

I gave Tia Dalma a lot of cool stuff from other Oughts McFarlane figs, like Rasputin’s belt.

dollhouse miniature magic shoppe with McFarlane Tia Dalma figure by Suzanne Forbes May 2021And she has Elizabeth Bathory’s goblet of blood!

Plus the pendant from the Re-Ment Witch House set. I almost never buy whole Re-Ment sets, even though they are really cheap. But the Witch House set coming out at the same time I was working on this diorama was divine madness!

Of course I made some new jars of pickled snakes and lizards, using UV resin which worked so much better than all the things I tried in the Oughts for my first dollhouse laboratory. One of the bottles cracked as it cured, but dozens were fine.

dollhouse miniature magic shop with rement witch house by Suzanne Forbes May 2021I filled maany little jars with powders, herbs and dried twigs, and many more with roiling UV resin glitter goo!

The Warlock Shop was Herman Slater’s shop in Brooklyn before Magickal Childe in Chelsea.

It was both fun and tedious filling all the jars. I got lovely labels from UK miniature co. My Tiny World, which has incredible Magic, Herbalist, Chemist and Apothecary ranges. The tall shelves of mysterious jars were a tribute to some of the happy childhood memories I have of my father.

He liked to go to Magickal Childe, the witchcraft supply shop and occult bookstore on 18th St., just two blocks from our home in Chelsea.

He didn’t buy much there, maybe some obscure resin for replicating a historic shellac on a reed basket or something, a couple fantasy books, but he liked the place, and so did I.

We would go there and wander around and look at stuff for hours. I loved the mystery of it all.

dollhouse miniature magic shoppe by Suzanne Forbes May 2021 Magickal ChildeThe bunches of drying herbs have a similar childhood association.

At some point in the 70s – maybe around ’75? – one of my father’s girlfriends was really into natural pigment dying for yarn and cloth. She came to our ramshackle farmhouse in Maine, where we spent August every year, and went wild. She chopped swathes of goldenrod from the fields across the street, and hung it up in bunches to dry in the stall of the barn. She filled our lobster pots with boiling water and flowers, and I learned the word “mordant”. Then the batches of yarn were hung up to dry too, in shades of golden yellow and tan.

It was fucking beautiful and magical, the witchy DIY hippie activities that went on at that house, my father’s huge batches of homemade blueberry and blackberry jams (I learned about “pectin”), his making candles in a hundred year old Shaker mold, our skeletal Victorian toaster with a cloth cord and one setting, “Burnt”.

These things were the good part of the Seventies, to me.

dollhouse miniature magic shoppe by Suzanne Forbes May 2021 Magickal Childe jar of eyeballsAlso, in the corner etagere, you can see two marbles, which at this scale are mystic orbs!

One is an antique marble that my Beloved Friend-Muse-Patron Barbara and her husband Justin dug up in the backyard of their Oakland Victorian! It is a reminder of how they gave me sanctuary and a home after my terrible second divorce.

And the other is from a barrel at a thrift shop along the Jersey Shore, from a day drive I went on with my mother-in-law a couple years after Sandy. It was a good day.

You can also see the Mandrake plant from the Re-Ment Witch House series.

I had a book at our cabin in the Adirondacks as a child that contained the John Donne line “Get with child a mandrake root”, and I learned what they were and have been intrigued by them ever since. I am working on sculpting some mini ones for the garden of the patisserie! The jar of eyeballs on straps is from a McFarlane Pirates of the Caribbean figure, I think!

I sculpted the unicorn skull completely from scratch out of polymer clay in 2013.

witch and fairy fevesIt was a reference to the life-size one Five & Diamond had in their Valencia St. window. It’s amazing, right? I am kind of amazing.

All these little witch, fairy, and wizard figures in the cabinet and top of the shelves are Feves. Feves are tiny porcelain or metal figures baked or inserted into cakes, in France.

Here in Europe they are very cheap and easy to collect from ebay.fr. My favorite seller sends them to me in a cigarette pack! In the US an excellent seller on Etsy has them.

Unfortunately, shopping for feves reveals that France is fucking racist. You can learn a lot about a country by what they miniaturize.

 

Dollhouse miniature action figure witch and magic shoppe by Suzanne Forbes May 2021Gandalf and Frodo rolling up to the counter with their purchases is one more childhood story.

My father read me The Hobbit, and then the Lord of The Rings books, at night throughout my childhood. Thousands of hours of reading; it took years. And he sang the songs! Like he sang the songs of the dwarves under the mountain! He loved folk music and sang them in that style, in a deep voice.

Shit, it brings tears to my eyes, We loved those books together so profoundly.

Dollhouse miniature action figure witch and magic shoppe by Suzanne Forbes May 2021 Gandalf and FrodoAnd going to see the Bakshi movie at Loews 42d St. in 1978!

I pulled some kind of kiddie hustler move and got us to the front of the line! I was pretty sharp for eleven. I had to be. But now that he is dead, I can grieve for the things my father did that weren’t harm.

I hadn’t spoken to my father for years already in early 2002, when I wrote him a final amends letter. The first Jackson Lord of the Rings movie had been released, and I was sure he had seen it.

In the letter I apologized for all the harm I’d done in my using days (lots of lying about money, stealing drugs etc.) and also thanked him for the things he’d done and given me that became central to my survival and to my happiness.

I mentioned the beautiful natural food we ate in the summers in Maine and how knowing about good food enabled me to work in fancy food service and pay rent when none of my other skills could support me. I talked about the way fantasy books had provided a place of joy for me all my life. The letter ended with “I hope you liked the movie.”

He never replied, and I didn’t expect him to. He never became accountable for the harm he did to me. If I was famous, if I had become a big success as an artist, he would have contacted me. But I am just a working community artist making art that celebrates regular, not-famous people.

My husband said, when I mentioned this theory, “What do you mean? You are a huge success! People love your art!” And I agree; I am a huge success, on my terms, and my life is a life of service, the life I want and the life I chose.

All the moments hidden in this diorama are part of the person I am, the beauty and mysteries that fed me like a mandrake root.

Part 2, the coffee shop side, coming soon. Other deeply personal dollhouse and miniature projects, also often with some very serious stories:

The Poison Apple Patisserie

Danger Room work in progress!

My first action figure dollhouse.

Laboratories underneath it.

My action figure subway station.

A New York City subway car, underneath a dollhouse in Berlin.

Projects for the X-Men Dollhouse – a blackboard for the library

The X-Men Dollhouse – nearly finished, and the goddam lighting

The X-Men Dollhouse – stairs and lighting

The X-Men Dollhouse – wallpaper and assembly

The X-Men Dollhouse – getting started!

Lila Cheney and Lilandra customs.

My Rahne and Dani lovebird action figure customs

Douglock custom figures hanging in Kitty and Illyana’s room.

 

Christopher Street Day in Berlin: miniature rainbow ice cream party collab with Littlest Sweet Shop!

Rainbow CSD party Littlest Sweet Shop custom rainbow ice cream collab with Suzanne Forbes June 2020It‘s Christopher Street Day and Germany is celebrating Gay Pride🌈 !!

I am so delighted to share the incredible artisan miniature cake and ice cream I commissioned from Littlest Sweet Shop for my New Mutants and X-Men Marvel legends figures !!!

Rainbow CSD ice cream party collab Littlest Sweet Shop x Suzanne Forbes July 25 2020I wanted to do something special for Germany’s big Pride day, even though I couldn’t go to an event.

So I commissioned an array of gorgeous miniature ice creams and cakes from Nadia of Littlest Sweet Shop. She is a superb creator of artisan mini food, and she really pulled out all the stops!

Rainbow CSD jelly roll cake by Littlest Sweet Shop by Suzanne Forbes July 25 2020Look how exquisite and beautiful they are!!

Every detail is perfect!! Including the tiny rainbow sprinkles on the Choco-Taco!

Rainbow CSD ice cream party collab Littlest Sweet Shop x Suzanne Forbes group shot July 25 2020

What a wonderful party!

I included some of the gay X-Men and New Mutants, including Rahne and Dani who are now CANONICALLY GAY in the New Mutants movie, and the lovely trans lady action figure customs I recently made. Northstar is chilling with ally Puck!

Littlest Sweet Shop Pride rainbow ice cream and cakes July 2020This was my first time making a good-sized commission from a miniature food artisan, and I was so lucky to work with Nadia!

Although I had the idea at the last minute, Nadia graciously accepted the commission and was an absolute dream to work with.

Rainbow CSD ice cream party collab Littlest Sweet Shop x Suzanne Forbes beautiful trans ladies July 25 2020Nadia committed to the Pride theme 200%!

She carefully matched the colors from the Trans Pride and Bi Pride flags, as well as making all the foods from the same color “batches” so they would match. She sent me photos as she worked! And she took a lovely photo series herself, where you can really see the details.

Rainbow CSD ice cream party collab Littlest Sweet Shop x Suzanne Forbes July 25 2020 Shan has a tacoOf course I had to order some of Nadia’s miniature ice cream tacos, or Choco Tacos, for the lesbian mutants!

X’ian Coy Manh (Shan to her friends) holds a nut decorated Choco Taco – you can choose whole or with a bite out!

I took over a hundred photos for this shoot.

Between lighting and editing, I feel I have graduated from a person who should never touch a camera to a poor amateur photographer.

Rainbow CSD ice cream party collab Littlest Sweet Shop x Suzanne Forbes Rahne and Dani gay mutant love July 25 2020It’s actually a big achievement and I am proud!

I will never buy or learn the equipment to become a real doll or toy photographer like the ones in my post on Action Figure Activism, but at least I am improving.

Danielle Moonstar action figure custom with Littlest Sweet Shop mini foods for Pride by Suzanne Forbes July 2020For this shoot I used the Marvel Legends Danielle Moonstar/Mirage figure head, even though she is a bit grouchy.

I finally found one in the UK, got it and quickly customized it to try it out. (My mom has one found for me by the lovely fellow behind She’s Fantastic Made of Plastic, but who knows when it will get to Berlin.) Honestly I like my own custom Dani Moonstar figure (last year’s Pride post) better for tender domestic teenage mutant love, but this sculpt is beautiful and fierce.

Marvel Legends Danielle Moonstar custom by Suzanne Forbes July 2020I had two of the Hasbro Marvel Legends Juggernaut Series Kitty Pryde bodies.

For this one I sculpted Dani’s fringed boots with my beloved Apoxie Sculpt, then painted them with regular artist’s acrylic.

I sealed them with “Matte” Mod Podge which is reading really shiny so I will probably mask off Dani’s body and spray them with Liquitex Matte Varnish, which is what I use instead of Dullcote.

Anyway a quick version that looks ok! I wanted to use the “official” movie tie-in Dani Moonstar figure’s head on the weekend when the director and all the cast of the New Mutants movie were doing a panel talking about the film’s amazing queer love story.

Littlest Sweet Shop shop imageThe real stars of the shoot are the rainbow treats from Littlest Sweet Shop.

Shop TheLittlestSweetShopUK on etsy here for ready to ship treats in 1:12 (dollhouse) and 1:6 (fashion doll) scale, and visit the Littlest Sweet Shop website to buy exclusive items (Slushy!!) in the online store, enjoy the blog, and see all the possible items you can commission if commissions are open! Or just enjoy the photo gallery!

Nadia is truly an incredible artist who is dedicated to making the most lifelike and beautiful miniature food.

thanks so much for your beautiful work for my Pride feast, Nadia!

X-Men and Action figure dollhouse projects and action figure customs:

Danger Room work in progress!

My first action figure dollhouse.

Laboratories underneath it.

My action figure subway station.

Projects for the X-Men Dollhouse – a blackboard for the library

The X-Men Dollhouse – nearly finished, and the goddam lighting

The X-Men Dollhouse – stairs and lighting

The X-Men Dollhouse – wallpaper and assembly

The X-Men Dollhouse – getting started!

Lila Cheney and Lilandra customs.

My Rahne and Dani lovebird action figure customs

Douglock custom