A Week’s Hiatus

Just a quick note to let you know that work continues on the doll house. My son and I just returned from a week’s vacation, we went out to Utah’s Arches National Park. We hiked and explored and roamed and goofed off. It was heaven!

IMG_4041We had absolutely the most perfect weather, ranging from a comfortable high 60’s and low 70’s during the day and dropped down into the 40’s at night. Just beautiful! Since we arrived on Saturday, we dealt with lots of other folks, but once Monday arrived, we darned near had the park to ourselves. I did a lot of walking and hiking, pushing myself on some trails that might have been just a tad too much. But lots of breaks and icing the knees during the evenings helped. I swear I lost 15 lbs during the trip!

I collected a lot of stones during the trip, the plan is to use them to build a fireplace in the doll house. I’ve am making real progress on the kitchen cabinets and The Kid is constructing me a aluminum range hood too!

I will let you in on a secret: working on 1:12 scale is ever so much more difficult than 1:3 or 1:4 scale (the scale for the American Girl sized dollhouse I did previously). The details are the devils, I swear!

I should have an update for the kitchen soon!

julie

 

 

 

 

Dollhouse Miniature Wood Blinds: A Tutorial

If you haven’t followed along, you should know that I have stopped all other projects to finish the dollhouse my Father built me many, many years ago.

I have worked on it periodically over the years including paint the exterior white and finishing the ceilings in all the rooms. I also did a touch of remodeling; my Dad built the house to be in the period of something like “Gone With The Wind” including ‘slave quarters’ above the kitchen and a large, unused attic. I did away with the segregated room on the second floor by adding a hallway and then a staircase to the attic, now turned into four separate rooms.

So recently, I had the dollhouse moved into the living room, front and center of the sofa and between it and the television. Well, the television is elevated, but you’d be hard pressed not to see the dollhouse with any glance.

So, for the last couple of weeks, I have been busy painting rooms, laying floors and ordering furniture. I had quite a bit of pieces that I had collected or been given over the years but it was collected without much thought as how I really wanted to finish the rooms. I had two living room suites – sofa, loveseat and char – in two different colors and finishes, both of which I have opted to not use and instead have settled on some very neat black leather pieces. They’ve not arrived yet, and I am waiting on having them in hand before I find the supporting accessories.

I’ve created a design plan for all of the rooms, all beginning with their floors. I had original written a post that I wanted to complete the house room by room, but found out early on that it was necessary to have the floors defined and installed before you can really move on to the room’s wall color and the type of furniture.

dollhouse-numbered-roomsAnd once you’ve done the floor in one room, it just makes more sense to complete all the floors and walls before moving onto any one room. I have most of the pieces in the sewing room (#1) and it was the fact that I kept having to move pieces out once they were in place that brought me to this plan.

Just tonight I have completed the last floor, save for the rooms with carpeting. Two rooms have tile, four rooms have laminate floors, two rooms have ‘to scale’ wood floors, two rooms will have “carpeting” and one is left with the original floor (the attic storage space) and the hallway has a Popsicle stick floor. I will talk more about these as I progress.

I’ve been steadily working on window treatments too. The first is the home office (room #2). I wanted to have mini-blinds but try as I may, I could not find any ready made. So, I ventured into making some.

I had these coffee stir sticks for some time and have been playing with making other things. This seemed the perfect start. I picked out some beads at Michael’s… some smaller and others a little taller. I also picked up some thick natural thread at at the same time. Here is what I started with:

IMG_3947I clipped the ends of the sticks and measured for the window size. Here is the window ion which it  will hang:IMG_3954The sticks weren’t long enough to place a single blind across them, so I had to make separate blinds. I used the hole punch – a single, tiny hold in each end.IMG_3951I threaded the jute through it, added a bead and repeated. Then completed the other side. Once done. I used a dowel and drilled holes to match the blinds, threaded it through and tied it off. I added a dot of super glue to each knot to ensure it would hold tight.

IMG_3953At this point, I realized that I made it too long! There is going to be a desk top that runs just below the windows. So I made another one, a bit shorter.IMG_3956I glued a 1/4″ square rod at the bottom, not only to hide the bottom knots but also to add some weight to hold the blind taut.IMG_3957Next, I cut two pieces of 1/8″ balsa and two 1″x 1″ pieces for a valance and glued the edges. Once dry, I laid the dowel into the valance and glued it in place.IMG_3955I also cut four short pieces of thread and glued a small bead to the ends to simulate the controls for the blinds. I simply added them into the glue.IMG_3970.JPGNow completed, I simply hung it in the window! I used simple white glue to hold it in place and once dry, it is done.IMG_3972Next up is to install the countertop for the computers! This room is nearing completion!

julie

 

 

 

A Round Up: A Little of Everything

I have been both a) lazy and unable to get productive and b) working like crazy to get things done. LOL

One thing I have been trying to do is to get my photographs in order. Its not easy when I have a multitude of cameras and photo devices and then too, a number of computers that I use on a regular basis. I need a server and then about six to eight months to get everything organized!

This morning, I have already spent a good chunk of time trying to locate my “before” pictures of this sewing machine cabinet I have completed. Its been done a while and just sitting in my foyer. Today is the day I make it a priority to get it ‘gone’.

A while back, I picked up a couple of sewing machines in cabinets… I mostly got them for the cabinets. I have enough sewing machines that need repair, I don’t need to add to that sewing machines that are forty or fifty years old.

This is the last cabinet to be completed. It originally was just the top with the four drawers down the right side, but I enclosed the other half, added a glass holder and an ice bucket and painted it in a festive turquoise color. The black of the cabinet is such a vivid contrast!

I am just going to show the photos I have found and later will update them.

Its funny as the color photographs different in different light. It really is a wonderful, bold turquoise, reminiscent of the fifties.

Work continues on the dollhouse, I’ve opted to paint all the interior walls and lay all the flooring at the same time (instead of one room at a time). I’ve recently ordered the necessary cabinets for the kitchen and things are moving along. I’ll give you an update soon.

And because I can never be without something for my hands to do, I recently printed out an image of Hello Kitty being a bit irreverent and had it to cross stitch when I was watching a movie or television. So, without further ado:img_3944

Another project that I was able to finish was the transformation of these large plastic tubs into Lego storage devices. Me and The Kid love red vines and I have been saving these for something important for some time.

I finally saw this on Pinterest and knew I had to do it. img_3940I had six empty buckets and after a few coats of very yellow spray paint, I simply used my paint pens to draw their faces:img_3941Alas, The Kid opted not to use them (most of his Legos are gone and he’s a bit too old for these cute storage buckets, so they were given to our pizza delivery guy after he commented that his boy would go “ape shit” over them. (And no, it was not his tip!)

So, now on to working on organization and more dollhouse work.

julie

Miniatures, Doll House and Dreams

So having gotten most of the projects that I had started (over the past year) completed, I am going to take advantage of avoiding the cold and work inside. On my dollhouse. With the help of my son and his best friend (my other son from another mother), the dollhouse has been safely moved and placed into its working spot. I expect that I will work on this a long time: until I either get finished or I get sick of working on it. I am finding working with 1:12 miniatures is a lot more tedious and time consuming than the 1:3/1:4 miniatures for the 18″ dolls (American Girl-style dolls).

It seems to take a lot more time and energy to do the smaller scale. Not to mention it seems to cost more! What I have been working on so far is getting a rough idea of how I want to proceed with each room. Originally I thought I would approach it on a room by room basis, but found that as I worked through the furniture and decorating needs, it seems to make more sense to more than one at a time. I mean, like when I pick up the flooring needs for one room, it just makes sense to get what I need for all the rooms that have similar needs.

I have numbered the rooms so that when I write about the rooms, I can also refer to the room number in addition to what I am calling the room.

 

dollhouse-numbered-roomsSo the rooms are designated to be:

  1. Attic Sewing Room
  2. Home Office
  3. Second Bathroom & Laundry
  4. Attic Storage
  5. Master Bedroom
  6. Master Bath
  7. Hallway
  8. Boy’s Bedroom
  9. Baby Girl’s Nursery
  10. Living Room and Entryway
  11. Dining Room
  12. Kitchen

So, yes, this is a large dollhouse and now takes up a large chunk of living room real estate:

dscn4885But is always in view to keep my creative juices flowing. I’ve begun planning floors and colors and the necessary cabinetry for the kitchen as well as stove, refrigeration and cabinet with sink and a microwave. Rough estimates are in the two hundred dollar range! And the kitchen is one of the rooms that requires copious amounts of extras… including a diner style booth and table and food and dishes. I bought a set of flatware tonight for a whopping $1.67! But, WOW!, it all adds up.

I have a couple of furniture pieces that have to be finished and written about still. I just couldn’t resist giving y’all a sneak peak at the project that is going to be consuming much of my time in the next year!

julie

“I Spy” Mirrors

Today’s reveal is something that I have been working on for some time. It doesn’t hurt that while preparing, it allowed me a lot of trips to thrift stores, something that The Kid and I enjoy immensely. I was collecting toys and trinkets for these mirrors:

dscn4854The vertical mirror was first (above) and then the horizontal one (below) was next.dscn4844The photos may be a little confusing as I set the mirrors up to reflect the other… but the first is in portrait and the other in landscape mode.

I started working on the ‘portrait’ mode first… and didn’t expect to do more than just this one. I had picked up a framed mirror in my travels and thought it would be fun to do this. I looked for small, fun objects and toys and used hot glue gun to attach the items. It was just a hit or miss as to what fit and looked good.

I won’t spend too much time talking about them, they are both pretty straightforward. I will mention that The Kid built the frame for the second mirror. I had so many toys that I needed to do a second one. I am keeping eyes open for more ‘stuff‘ that would allow me to complete a third.

Hope you enjoyed seeing them half as much as I loved making them!

julie

A Miniature Miniature

Hopefully that title grabbed your attention!

I am finishing up a lot of bigger projects as my garage has now been turned into some kind of storage place for cars! Go figure!

I am planning on working on the dollhouse that my Dad built for me many, many years ago. I had always begged and pleaded for a dollhouse and when my Dad became ‘sorta retired’ and started to work a lot more in his workshop, he finally built one. And it was huge! And, I found out later, it went to my oldest sister. Sigh.

I had heard something about it as I was living in California and my parents were in Iowa. My sister lived in the same town. Made sense.

Later, my sister wanted to return the dollhouse to my Dad but I jumped in and claimed it. My Dad would later drive his van with the dollhouse out to California. It was the only way he felt comfortable delivering it. And then when moved from California to Missouri, I had a shipping company build a professional crate to hold the dollhouse when we used a moving company to move us.

But I digress. It has been sitting in a special place in the basement for about ten years now. The most I have done is paint the house white and buy tons of materials for it. Now I want to spend this winter completing it. I am getting The Kid and his buddy to carry it up from the basement to a space here in the living room.

So, on to today’s activity. I’ve built a dollhouse for the dollhouse. 🙂

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Going through all of the ‘stuff’ that I had purchased over the years was miniature furniture, scale 1:24, whereas the big dollhouse was 1:12. So, while watching television, I worked on the little dollhouse.

I started with a little cabinet that I had bought. It was a piece that had two levels and an “attic”. I removed the doors and the front facing piece that was in place of the attic’.

I used scrapbooking paper for the walls, floors and ceilings. I was fun to try different patterns together and it was simply a matter of gluing the paper with white glue.

Most of the furniture was brown and I did little to alter it. I did paint the stove and the old fashioned telephone black and I cut down the toilet from one that had an overhead tank to something more modern and to get the sink it there, I had to shorten the base. All of the little pieces such as the lamps and the pitchers, were glued down. Well, the pieces are glued down, since it isn’t for active playing.

I also added “siding” to the house, using Popsicle sticks and painted. The back roof was done with the larger rounded edge of ice cream sticks and stained.

img_3902It is to go into the little girls’ room in the larger dollhouse. This one? Stands about five inches, which in 1:12 scale, it would be about five feet tall.

Happy to answer questions, if I can. I will leave you with more photos:

img_3898Many of the pieces had to be placed into the house using long tweezers and some of the smallest pieces didn’t have much space for glue… the little towel rack kept falling out of place and even… I think it came out okay.img_3900There are more pieces available and I may be looking to create another mini-miniature dollhouse.img_3904The bedroom has a blue blanket (included in the set) but I added pillows – just a couple of very small pieces of white felt. There is a mirror setting on top of the dresser.img_3900The kitchen boasts a water pump and a sink vessel. A lamp sits on the dining room table.img_3898The little dining room table was actually two round tables. I removed the tops and cut a very small oval table from the end (the thinest part) of a wood wedge and just glued the two sets of legs to it.dscn4864Some of the wonderful touches are the roll of TP in the bathroom, as well as a towel rack.dscn4863I wish I could tell you the brand or where to buy these sets, they must have been in my storage for some time. I really don’t recall at all. My son thought that I had picked them up an estate sale… over the years, I have always been on the look out for pieces, materials and supplies to complete the dollhouse.

julie

Antique Thread Box

Okay, so I want to clear this up from the get-go… its the thread that is antique, not the box. 🙂

A while back I was the lucky recipient of a massive CraigsList haul of fabric. Pieces that ranged from scraps to full bolts of cotton and upholstery fabrics. Stuff that clearly ranged as far back as the seventies – lots of gold/orange/avocado green/brown combinations and newer. Such great stuff! I’ve already put some of it to use after spending nearly a week to sort through it all.

Well, in that load, there was also some other accessories. Thread, zippers, bias tape and ribbons. The thread is what I wanted to talk about.

These few spools of thread came from an era where the spools themselves were made of wood. To be perfectly honest – and I had a mother who sewed – I don’t recall the last time I saw a wooden spool. I’ve not really researched it, but I think there is some history there. And they are cool looking.

So, I wanted to be able to display them in my sewing room. I searched eBay for an antique or vintage thread holder, and one not too large, as I didn’t want this to be another one of those collections that I went out and bought a few hundred spools! (Trust me, I have been known to do dumb stuff like that!)

Well, I never did find one that I really liked, but seeing all of those on eBay and other Google searches, I had an idea of what I wanted.

Out came my trusty paint stir sticks. It is a simple enough design and I think I had everything measured and cut and the clamped to allow the glue to dry in less than an hour. I added the back, gave it a good sanding and then painted it.

DSCN4254Cute, huh? I love the simplicity of the design and there is some room to add a few spools. Down the road. 🙂

Now to find some wall space left in the sewing/quilting room!

From Rough Vanity to Sweet Nightstands

I have had many projects planned and with my recent push to get the garage cleared out, I’ve finally gotten some long overdue furniture projects completed. And took the time to take the necessary photos as well.

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This piece I picked up a while back at a thrift store. I had gotten the two sections separated and that’s where it stayed for quite a few months. I actually was able to get a special boost from completing the outdoor bench from school desk chairs, as it provided me with the two additional legs that I needed for each cabinet.

Once I attached the legs, I got a whole new energy to complete the project. Taking a queue from the existing appliques, I glued appliques to the drawer fronts – initially to hide the previous hardware holes – and found the perfect glass knobs.

I then did a quick sanding of both cabinets and legs and launched into the priming and painting. I used a beautiful shade of off-white, more like a creamy vanilla color. With a couple of coats, the cabinets had a beautiful finish, but something was missing.

I had this unique spray paint leftover from working on the carousel horse (soon to be showcased) that had a glimmer of pearl glitter and using that over-sprayed both cabinets. It was just the trick. I attached the knobs and the piece was set.

I am thinking that this would be a perfect compliment to any little girl’s room, couldn’t you just imagine these flanking a big canopy bed?

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One more project down and only a few hundred to go! JK!

julie

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An End to a Frustration

For some time I have been lamenting, investigating and wishing for a new heavy duty sewing machine that would handle all of the denim and leather that I threw at it. I love my  Singer machines, some I have had for lots of years, but they aren’t intended to be used with heavy duty fabrics. I have a couple of basic Singers and two more advanced Singers. Those machines are made for more lightweight sewing… quilting pieces and clothing. My experience sewing with denim – and especially the seams and waistbands – has been notably difficult. One project ended up with over fifty needles and I’ve broken a couple of throat plates and even broke one sewing machine!

So, after listening to his mother swear and bang my sewing table, The Kid took it upon himself to do a little investigation into my blog, Pinterest and Facebook page to figure out what I was looking for in a heavy duty machine. And this is what he went out to purchase:

img_3882I pretty much had decided that a Jonome was going to be my next purchase. It was wonderful for him to have understood what I was looking for and more specifically, what I wasn’t looking for.

Now my Singers – The XL-150, two XL-1000’s and an XL6000, are machine intended to do embroider work (as well as being sewing machines). I have invested a small fortune in the specialized embroider card disks, so I continued to purchase the same make, albeit newer models, of Singers. Its hard to make the change once you’ve invested that much in a system, but what I am finding now is that it is hard to find servicing – let alone parts – for these machines. But, oh how I love them!

There are a few things I might have changed – things that I have gotten accustomed to using the other machines – namely the option of not using a foot pedal. Was pretty used to touching the “go” button on all of my other machines, and now I have to change that behavior.

But as an aside, I have already spent the better part of twelve hours sewing together denim seams. If you are a regular reader, you know that I love to dissemble well worn blue jeans and turning the parts into new projects. And one thing I love to utilize is the leg seams on jeans.

olff-ffHere is what sewing together a lot of seams looks like:

img_3884I have to line up the edges and then have it quilted. I figure that a soft flannel backing would suffice without any batting.img_3883This thing weighs a ton, so I am hesitant to add any more weight to it. But additional quilting on it will help hold it together and hopefully be a nice finishing touch. I am thinking about using the ‘blue jean gold’ thread and then finish the edges with waistbands (which were also harvested from more than 200 pairs of jeans).

I am also working on a quilt (or two) made from more waistbands. And the bottom seams of each pant leg. I’ve got lots in the process!

But it is the new Janome machine that has allowed me to make actual progress for the first time in a long time. Thanks to my wonderful kiddo!

We don’t celebrate holidays like most other folks… it was my intention to treat everyone every day as if each day was unique and special. Can hamper this blog, as I don’t make Christmas decorations or other religious trinkets (although I have made holiday themed quilts for friends). I love that others celebrate in their own styles and traditions, and I don’t begrudge it for those who do. But I don’t wish people Merry Christmas or Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa or whatever. But I do wish everyone a wonderful day to celebrate (or not) however you wish.

julie

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Puppy Pillows

So, I have to start off by clarifying the term puppies. I call all dogs puppies regardless of its age, whether it is 3 months or 3 years or 13 years. When we delivered these to Wayside Waifs, the kennel section of the place was closed, but I asked if there was any way to sneak in and see the “puppies” and the woman we chatted with said that they didn’t have any puppies. I had to explain to her the same thing I just wrote; ‘puppies’ just mean dogs, young and old.

So you know that I have been on an active quest to get my garage to a point where I can actually store a vehicle in it. Novel concept, I must admit. Well, after much work and quite a few projects completed, I am successful!

img_3866This is the larger side of the garage and you can see my little SUV is safely snuggled in. There are still a couple of projects that still need attention, but this is relatively clear for me!img_3865This is the smaller side of the garage and my little sports car tucked in for the winter. You can see the wonderfully organized shelves that The Kid put up to replace all those mismatched shelving units. So neat and organized!

img_3880The next step was to clear out the attic closet space so that I could clear more of the space in the guest room and I figured out a way for The Kid to store most of his collection of military uniforms.

Now that his closet is cleared, we’re going to frame the floor of the attic space behind his closet. I’ve been referring to it as the ‘Cave’, and we should get about ten feet by fourteen feet of room (at least 6 feet high). It’ll be perfect for whatever he wants to do with it, I think storage but who knows.

In clearing out the attic closet, I had to do something with the bed pillows that I “collected”. Whenever I replace bed pillows in my household, I can never bring myself to throw out the old pillows, so I don’t! Actually completing a project using them is the step back from edge of being a hoarder!

So instead of throwing them away, I create covers for them and donate them as dog beds. This time, I was able to use some of the upholstery samples that I picked up a while back from CraigsList. Its a simple design and I use Velcro to close it.

So, I will just cut to the end project photos:img_3867I was going to try and make a few bed quilts using the upholstery sample books, but many of them (and of course, the ones I seem to like the most) are not machine-washable… which is a neccesity. img_3873The shades of black and white is my favorite (this is four regular sized pillows). img_3872I saw this pattern in the latest copy of one of my quilting magazines and did spend some time creating the patterns using denim. Here I thought I’d make one and then reverse the colors. Kind of interesting though and it made for almost the perfect size for the pillows. They’re stuffed in there pretty tight. But I am hoping some little dog can beat down the perfect little spot to snuggle.img_3871My plan was to use this as a backing material for one pillow, but I had more than enough and it was just happy and cheerful, so I went for it.img_3870Leftover upholstery fabric in black complimented this set of fabrics.img_3869Tried to do as many different colors as I could. And use up more of the samples.img_3868I had all of these oranges sewn into a nice little patchwork, and with a little rework, was able to make two orange beds. I keep stumbling over fabric that I had tucked away that was perfect for the backings on these two. I tell myself that this is why I hang onto ‘stuff’, because someday I will have a use for it! (I did throw out a bit and gave away quite a bit more in this recent spate of organizing, however.)

The Kid and I drove out and delivered them yesterday. Hoping to see the ‘puppies’ but the place was closed to the public and apparently ‘quiet hour’ for the dogs as well. Oh well, it will just give us an excuse to go again another day.

julie

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