I tried leaving this message below in reply to a comment left by Mollie, but it was too long for Blogger to accept as a comment, so here it is as a special blog post. For my other followers, 2013 in Review and my first 48th scale house are coming soon!
It's always great to find another Tasmanian miniaturist! You're right that there aren't a lot of resources for a miniaturist here though. If you live in Hobart, there is a group called the 'Miniature Enthusiasts of Tasmania' based there. They don't have a big online presence, but I did find a Facebook page for them through which you can probably get in touch with them. It's : https://www.facebook.com/pages/Miniature-Enthusiasts-of-Tas/133925716655741 They run a bi-annual fair in Salamanca, the next one is due for mid 2014. It attracts most of the 'big' miniature stores from around Australia.
I've heard there is also a group in the Launceston area where I live, but have never found any contact details for them. Eskleigh run a Doll, Bear and Miniature fair every year at the Launceston Casino which will be held on the 12/13th April 2014. I shop there every year but somehow manage to fall into conversation with people from the other end of the state or the mainland, never with anyone really local! There are usually only three or four dedicated miniature stalls there compared to twenty doll and bear stalls.
There used to be a shop in Burnie, but they closed up to move to Queensland. I think they moved for family reasons rather than business, so there must be a reasonable amount of miniatureists in that area (enough to support the shop at least), but I can't give you any leads on who to contact in the area.
I rely on the internet to buy, discuss and show off miniatures. Some good Aussie stores run by friendly and reliable people are Fairy Meadow Miniatures in Sydney and Tom Thumb's Miniature Emporium in Melbourne.
I usually don't light my houses. This is for two main reasons. Firstly, if you are going to put wired in lights in your houses, you need to plan exactly where they will be before you start work on the house with very little scope to change you mind part way through. I just can't work like this; I change my mind, discover well laid plans just won't work or don't look as good as they were supposed to or just make it up as I go along which makes putting a light exactly there at an early stage very restricive. But that's just me, a lot of people would read this reason for not usuing lights and laugh. The other reason I don't use lights a lot is the cost. You'll need to buy a transformer to connect the lights to the electricity (usually around $30) plus a board to plug the lights into (around another $30) plus all the lights (anything from $10 to $100+ each). For an entire house this rapidly adds up.
When I have used lights, I've only ever used the wire and plug method to install lights. This involves taking lights as they come when you buy them, chopping the plug off the end of the wire, threading the wire through holes drilled in the houses walls and floors to take the wire to the back of the house then re-threading it onto the plug and plugging it into the circut board. This seems incredibly daunting at first and it is horribly fiddly to get the plugs wired back on right, so much so that after the first house I wired I swore I'd never do another. When I did do a second house I actually kind of enjoyed doing the wiring though, so I guess all it takes is experience and a lot of patience. If you have a cat, they love playing with the wires that come out the back so you'll need to tape them down securely or hide them behind a false back to the house. This photo of the back of Preson House should show you what I mean: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dollshouses/7673510526/in/set-72157629823856854 I have a sheet of instructions that came with the first lights I bought that I can scan and email to you if you'd like and if you are in the Launceston area I'd be happy to meet sometime and try and explain how it works in person.
There is also something called the copper tape method. As I understand it you need to use a soldering iron to do this, something I don't have so have never looked to closely at. Basically to do this you need to run the copper tape to wherever you want a light, then attach the wires that come out of the light directly to the tape. Another reason this doesn't appeal to me is that the copper tape doesn't appear to be insulated at all, so you'll be running electricity in direct contact with MDF walls and paper wallpaper. It just doesn't seem safe to me.
A third option is to use LED battery lights. These have no wires to deal with, no transformer or power board to buy, but they produce a fainter light than mains wired lights. You install them by glueing a magnetic disc to the ceiling where you want the light and the light just magnetically clings to this disc so you can easily remove it to occasionally change the battery or swap the light if you decide you don't really like it. Another problem with the battery lights is that you'll need to turn each on individually by reaching into the rooms and flicking a switch on the light itself whereas mains lights can all be turned on at once by using a single switch at the back of the house. Most dollshouse stores have both battery and wired lights, but one of the best ranges of LED battery lights are at www.minimumworld.com if you want to take a look.
If you'd like to see more of my miniatures I have photos of all my past dollshouse on Flickr here. Preston House and Dawncrest Castle both have lights installed.
I hope this helps and will be glad to answer any further questions (and go into more detail about the lights) if you want. You can email me at: firefae @ y7mail .com (please leave the spaces out of the email address, I'm just typing it this way in an effort to avoid automated spam!).
A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:
The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:
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I have also added a separate page to the blog for the Tower of Magic with a brief summary of all the rooms of the ToM in the one spot. The link is just below this and above the main body of the blog, or you can just click here.