My Dollhouse: Working on Details

I’ve been spending much of the past couple of weeks working on all the details of the dollhouse. Sometimes when I get up and see the house, it makes me think of moving into a real new house… trying to get boxes unpacked, putting my touch and making the house unique and reflective of my personality. Trying new stuff and techniques, and just plain having fun.

Nothing big to report, but wanted to show you some of my progress. I finished installing the stair cases and the railings. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but working in the 1:12 miniature can sometimes be majorly frustrating. And on occasion when I look to recreate something in miniature, it can be extremely frustrating! Trying any number of different ways to approach and not having any luck. But so much more has been a positive experience.

Just inside the double doors from the porch, is a curved white staircase.DSCN4906I love the way it plays with the black and white tile. If it weren’t for the lantern sitting there, doesn’t this totally look like a full sized house? And I have to laugh that there is a bathtub in the entry way! In our house in California, there was a few days when during the master bathroom remodel, we had a bathtub sitting in the living room. πŸ™‚DSCN4903At the top of the curved staircase, we arrive at the second floor hallway. The floor is actually Popsicle sticks, trimmed and laid in a variety of lengths and then stained and the coated with two layers of polyurethane. If you follow the hall towards the front of the house, you will be met with the next set of stairs.DSCN4902You’ve now arrived in the home office. Work is still going on here, but the floor has been laid (coffee stir sticks) and the work top has been placed; it rests on two small cabinets, one on either side of the wall. A center shelf has been place to have access to a printer and other necessities. You can also see the wood blinds have been installed with a natural valance. Taking advantage of the light in the dormer makes working in this room delightful.

DSCN4905This is the boy’s bedroom, including it to show you that the floor has been finished – just this room and the master bedroom have carpeting – and that the baseboards have been installed. It seems that so much has been done, but yet so much remains to be done!DSCN4904A shot of the master bathroom. I laid the tile floor early on in the project, and that’s about where it has been for some time. I recently purchased a second bathroom set, as I was not really excited about the original set… but not sure that this is the direction I want to go either. I’d like to do a chest with a bowl set on top, I think. The shower pan – seen in this shot – is going to be surrounded by tiled walls, which it seems I’ve also been working on forever.DSCN4900Using this grout, I finally completed that chore for the walls. I figured it would be easier to lay the tile (on a background of paper) and do the grouting and finishing and then install it.DSCN4899This are the walls grouted, just need to wait until it completely dries and then install it. I have the shower head and controls somewhere in this mess… I know it looks organized, but trust me, it is an organized mess!

Okay, that’s about it for today. I hope you will come back to see progress as it goes forward and gets closer and closer to be completed. I promised myself not to start or work on anything else until this is done. And I saw a fantastic piece on CraigsList today that I would have loved to grab… but I swore an oath to this dollhouse! LOL

julie

Miniature Books: A Tutorial

dThe closer I get to finishing something, the more difficult it becomes to concentrate on getting it done. I think I am like this about a lot of thing, not just this dollhouse. There has to be a concerted effort to take the last steps and do the final details. Always. I almost need to have someone who might be able to pay attention to the details for me!

Today, this is a quick tutorial on making books for your dollhouse. Early on, I did a row of books for these book shelves I had initially intended to use in the living room.IMG_4106Here’s a close up of the books on the shelves. Not independent books, but simply printed rows of books. I think that they look okay for the number of books they represent, but when I tried to do this for the bookshelf in the nursery, it just didn’t look right.IMG_4107So I ended up making a bunch of little books, specifically children’s books. I like the way that they are all different sizes and colors!

IMG_4100I made a little tutorial on how to make these books, I sat and did this while watching a movie – so around 90 minutes to two hours to make these. This did not, by the way, include finding the book images and creating the doc. This, I have done for you!Childrens Books and Childrens Books2Β  and Childrens Books3.

Just using some scrap poster board of foam board, and after cutting out all the images, I paste half of the book image to the edge, about to the half of the spine, leaving the other half unglued.

Then I cut the foam board around the book image and then proceeded to fold the remainder of the book over and line it up to the edge and glue it. It gets easier as you go.

I attempted to make a video tutorial. I’m a little self conscious about it, but I’m going to put it in this post anyway. Maybe based on feedback from you, I can remake it. If it is any good, I will copy it to my YouTube channel. I’ve not done a lot of these, so please be gentle!

So, once you have the books you need, you can place them in your shelf or lay them on table tops. I just sort of jumbled my books into the bookshelf, perhaps like a little one might in trying to put away her books.

Okay, enough for today. And remember!, I’d love all feedback!

julie

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Tools of the Trade: Working in Miniature

If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I have been working exclusively on a 1:12 scale dollhouse that my dad built many years ago. After completing it, the dollhouse was initially given to my older sister (and oldest child) because she was local to my parents at the time (my theory). It sat in her basement for a number of years and literally did nothing to the house – although, to her credit, she purchased a few furniture pieces and supplies necessary to complete the house. I think it was her that laid out some bucks when it came to electric lights, something that I am not doing or using.

Anyway, I am guesstimating it sat in her basement for at least ten years. When she decided to sell her house and relocate, the dollhouse went back to my parents. At this point they were living in their retirement home, which was much smaller than the home they previously lived and raised their family.

So, eventually the dollhouse ended up with me. And once I had it, I wanted to work on it, but for such a small scale house, it was huge project. I got as far as painting the exterior, as well as replacing all the interior (homemade) doors with six panel/prehung/trimmed doors. This was the first that I realized that I would need some very specific tools (that I did not own) to make accomplish projects. The first tool I bought specifically for this was a Dremel. I have since purchased two more, one cordless and one that came with a shit-ton of accessories.

So, the purpose of this post today is to show you some of the tools that will come in handy in working in miniature. Let me preface that with statement with the fact that I didn’t see the use or need when I worked on the 1:3/1:4 scale dollhouse that I built last year, but working in such a small scale of 1:12, did I find the need for specialized tools.

First, I want to show you my work space. I have a specific room in the house for sewing and quilting and other fabric related projects. When it comes to working on the dollhouse, it went front and center in the living room. At one point, I needed to have it higher for comfort, it has since found its new home on the kitchen island!

IMG_4081Needless to say, the consensus in the house is that needs to go and as soon as possible. πŸ™‚

So the workspace I have is on the right corner of the couch:

IMG_4095I have my computer and access to everything around me. To my left and all the way around to the right hand side of the couch…IMG_4089There isn’t a lot of planning on what goes where, it generally depends on what I am working on at the time. But you see my miniature tool box and glue and some of the bits and pieces in this photo.IMG_4090This is more required stuff. The basket is more miniature required tools (on top is my mini hack saw) and yet another organizer of ‘bits and bobs’.IMG_4091Normally this table is where the house sits. I used a couple of drawers from the basement storage unit for organization. It looks a complete disarray, but there is a method to my madness!IMG_4092This is yet another storage area. I had used it when I was just collecting pieces and it was a nice solution to keep this safe and dry. By the way, the trunk was one of about 20 or 30 trunks that I ‘upcycled’ in my early days of crafting (like thirty years ago). Most were given as gifts to friends and family, but I managed to hang onto two.IMG_4093The right side of the couch. With this much “stuff” it can be a nightmare putting my hands on the specific thing I am looking for. I organize and reorganize all of this a couple of times a week, to refresh my memory as to what I have left to install and remove what I know I know I won’t use in this particular dollhouse.IMG_4099Here are some specific tool sets that I have bought. When you’re working on this scale, it is important to ease of work to have small tools.

In the photo below is a hand drill which enable you to make very tiny holes in very tiny things. Absolutely is without a doubt one of the most useful tools that I have. It also came with another half dozen tiny drill bits.. So worth the $15 I spent on eBay (and I saw many cheaper).IMG_4098And this leads me to three of my most recent and favorite tools. You absolutely need short, well marked rules. My son found the metal ones (I had him get me three) and I love the transparent one for getting measurements within the walls of the dollhouse. And of course, it goes without saying that small scissors are a basic requirement. I have a bunch of these, but then they are the high grade scissors I use in sewing all the time.

IMG_4097This particular area on the floor in front of my couch is lovingly referred to as “my black hole”. Working with the 1:12 scale of objects for the dollhouse means little parts. And I mean little, tiny, small, almost microscopic pieces.Β  And it can be difficult to hang onto them while working with them. And of course, it never fails to fall and immediately sneaks under the couch.

As you may be aware, I had both knees replaced last year, and with it went the ability to kneel. I have to try and fish the object with a long rule or wood dowel that I might be working with. Usually, it requires The Kid to come down with a flashlight to retrieve it. And no sooner does he do that and head back upstairs, than another pieces drops and disappears! Gah!

Come back soon for an update on the dollhouse work! I hope that this is beneficial and as always, I love comments!

julie

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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 itΒ  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

 

 

 

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

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. πŸ™‚

dscn4863

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

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