Dollhouse Reveal: The Sewing Room (#1)

I wasn’t going to necessarily write about the rooms in order, but this was actually the first room I worked on and the first to be finished.

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The key to any good sewing or craft room is lots and lots of storage space. I give the illusion of that in faux cabinets across the length of the room. I made it look like four doors covering, each with “hinges” which were the bottoms of very small Christmas bulbs glued to one edge and then the “knob” which is a sewing pin with a “pearlized” head (pushed all the way in).

When we first moved to Kansas City almost 13 years ago, my craft/sewing/quilting room was the first one I really set up as well. Of course we set up beds and filled the kitchen with food, but the first one to get extra attention and cabinets and details and “finished”. Made perfect sense to me!

DSCN4968Here is an overall photo of the room. It is a tad dark, and I had trouble with photographing all of the rooms even though I tried to bounce light off large white surfaces.

You can see that I’ve set the room much like my own, with two tables: one for the sewing machine and one taller for the cutting table.DSCN4969Many of the objects in this room are also in my sewing room. The sewing machine is set up with fabric and scissors and a pin cushion. Up against the back wall is a cabinet designed to hold lots of fabric, and a couple of antique irons on the floor (just like my real sewing room)!

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I have a cutting mat and a rotary cutter. Scissors are nearby as well as some patterns and buttons. There are stores of ribbons and patterns neatly lined up on the back cabinets and a dress form.

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The wall behind the cutting table has a cork board, on it some helpful instructions and patterns, and s small shelve  which boasts has a nice display of colorful buttons. On the other side of the door we have a calendar and a small chest filled to the top with ribbons, buttons, lace and other wonderful materials.DSCN4972A quick shot of the floor. This particular room is made up of sample tiles from Home Depot which were cut to make squares. I like the randomness of the stripes and colors.

Come back soon for more rooms to be revealed!

julie

Want to see all of the rooms? Use these helpful links:

Dollhouse Reveal: More of the Exterior

One of the things I forgot to add to the first post of the dollhouse reveal was some of the original photographs.

I had asked my Dad for a dollhouse ever since I can remember. I was the seventh child and of the six before me, four were boys (and two more following). Lots of little boys in this house. It was kind of unusual for my Dad to have to do ‘girl’s toys’ but I kept asking. Finally, about the time I got married, my Dad finally got the time and energy to build a dollhouse. It took him quite a few years and I had moved away from my parents (in Iowa) all the way to California. When Dad finished the dollhouse, I guess he couldn’t figure a safe and affordable way to get the house to me, so instead, he gave it to my oldest sister (she is 11 years older than me) and who lived in the same town.

Well, fast forward about ten, maybe fifteen years and the dollhouse sat almost untouched – some of her children and grandchildren messed with it and broke a few things – and to my sister’s credit, she did buy a lot of stuff for the house. But then came the time my sister and her family decided to move to Colorado and no longer had a place for the house. Time for it come to me! Believe it or not, my folks drove the house out to me in their van!!

Let me show you some of the early pictures:

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Isn’t it grand? A few things that happened during this transition was the base of the of the house was lost along with the railings and stairs on the porch.

Another issue that I felt needed to be changed was the fact that the kitchen had its own staircase to a secluded room above it – which just happened to be the “servants quarters”. Now I know this is supposed to be one of those broad sweeping houses from the old south, but this layout didn’t settle well with me. And as with anyone who buys a house, they want to make it their own – well, I wanted to make some changes to make this house my own as well.

So, out went the kitchen stairs – and an old fashioned kitchen – replaced with a gleaming and sophisticated red and white kitchen (reveal later). I opened the wall between the kitchen and the dining room and placed double doors for easier access. Next, a hallway was opened up so that the former servants quarters could be accessed and it became a nursery.

I also had to open the attic floor to allow a staircase up, added a wall to create another space and doors between the rooms to allow passage from one to another. Since I was having to invest in doors for the new rooms, I opted to replace all the doors for a more cohesive look. This also went for the addition of the stairs and I had previously purchased a gentle curved staircase, so out went the originals including handrails. All of these additions and changes not only created extra cost, most of the time it also created more work in widening and heightened to accommodate the new doors. This was really tricky with the sloped ceilings in the attic.

Then both the exterior and interiors were painted white. Lots and lots of cans of white spray paint. Remind me to tell you the lesson I learned about using spray paint in the same space as your red sports car. 😦

The house was turned upside down and I used this “ceiling texture repair” to give all of the ceilings a nice finish. Now it was finally ready for decorating to begin:

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The house was moved up to the living room for easier access (no running up and down the stairs to the basement) and eventually all the supplies and tools were relocated to this area. I am so lucky that I live with people who are accommodating!

julie

Dare I Say It? The Dollhouse is… DONE!

I guess technically, I don’t see the dollhouse as ever really being “done”. I will be constantly adding or changing the house as I find small objects that will be added. And I still want to add clear plastic “doors” to keep the level of dust down and prevent any prying eyes and fingers from invading its interior.

But, I have gotten the dollhouse to the point where I feel that it is done. It has been renovated and painted. Its windows, doors and staircases have been replaced and updated. Flooring has been laid, built-ins completed and the house has been furnished and ready for someone to move in.

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When I first moved the house to the living room from the basement, I took this photo to use as a reference when describing or referring to specific rooms. I will include it in the posts over the next several days as I reveal the work that has been done.

Today, I want to show you the outside, or more apt, the front of the house.

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Here it is, in all of its simplicity. I’ve done only a minimum, as I’ve run across a shortage of funds right now. Three major things missing are the porch railings, the widow’s walk railings and shutters. Purchasing these particular items are going to cost somewhere in the realm of the three hundred dollar mark, so out of the budget right now (I actually have work to do on the real house I live in!).

They will be easily added when funds are available without impact to the interiors, so I am not concerned. I did make and install the flower boxes and seeing as it was ready for the fourth of July, I wanted to include a flag. I had enough leftover railings from the interior to fit the small balcony, I plan to match the railings on the porch. I also have a small working porch light that I have to figure out how to install.

So, this is the first in a series of posts to show you the house. I have taken a ton of photos and also created some tutorials on how I did a few things that I will also add as I write.

For now, I will just leave you with more photos of the front:

DSCN4994DSCN4993DSCN4992DSCN4991DSCN4990Please keep coming back! And if you have questions about anything you see, please let me know in the comments section.

julie

Trying Something Small 1:50 Scale

You know, I have no idea how I stumbled on to this little project. I ordered these little people from eBay.IMG_4224Then with a little gift from The Kid, I painted the figures. My eye sight seems to continue to improve, but this is some painstaking work and I need the magnification.

IMG_4223Then I simply built a little box – using paint stir sticks – to the size of all of them. I searched the internet for an appropriate photo, was looking for a 50’s era street scene, but I like the one I ended up using. I elongated it and then cherry picked the particular section of the photo:

Screen Shot 2017-06-05 at 10.20.53 PMCarefully scored the corners and folded it and glued it into place. Then I carefully glued the little people into place.

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Here are some close ups of my plastic citizens:

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Let me assure you, going smaller in scale is not for me! In fact the 1:12 dollhouse that is so close to be completed isn’t even the best scale for me, but rather the 1:3 or 1:4 which is the American Girl doll-type sized dolls. So much easier!

But it was a fun exercise and was something that I could work on while waiting on the final pieces of the 1:12 dollhouse to arrive.

Hope you found this interesting!

 

A Diversion to the Dollhouse

This CloseOkay, I am this close to finishing the dollhouse but I am having to wait on a few last items to come in the mail. The inside of the house is done, but just have a few details to add to the outside of the house, such as shutters on the windows, railing for the porch, door handles and a knocker. I may include a few other things, such as a mail box and an American flag. Oh and I have been working on a large semi-round welcome mat. I am almost done with the flower boxes, It is amazing how little in scale the items are for a dollhouse but what a large impact (including price) they can be!

So as to not waste time waiting, I launched into the next project on the list: the denim rag rug. Over the past year I have collected hundreds of old jeans, deconstructed them and then cut them into three inch strips. I completed about half of them and then I sort of got overwhelmed by the sheer amount.

So, as much of my projects go, I set it aside and planned to get back to it. At the beginning of this year, I decided that I really needed to get some of these long overlooked projects done and vowed not to start any new ones and complete the ones I had started. I would select one project and work on it until it was done. Such was the decision to start with my dollhouse and I have done really well so far.

So, having to wait for the last pieces to arrive for the dollhouse, I didn’t really want to start working on the next project, but I don’t really want to waste the days while I am waiting. But that is the trap… waiting for supplies and working on another projects and then never getting back to the original project.

So, I spent the better parts of three days cutting the remaining denim into three inch strips. (I didn’t take a photo before I started but there were three piles about two feet high. If I had to guess, I would put the number at somewhere between 100 and 150 pairs of jeans’ worth of fabric.)

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This is the end result. The next steps are to connect them to make about 15 foot sections and then to iron them and fold and sew them. The scraps left over are going to be given away, the last time I made them into scraps for quilts which, do I have to say it?, still are not assembled into the quilts they should be.

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So, rather than creating yet another project that has to be completed, I am going to give them away on Craigslist. Spread the joy, right?

Okay, The Kid and I are doing a binge watch of ‘The Office” and really not getting anything done. What a great day!

julie

Almost Done: The Dollhouse Project

Today, in the mail, the final piece that I had been waiting for came. The dining room table and four chairs. I spent last night gluing all of the pieces into place with the exception of the dining room. So, upon its delivery, the pieces were assembled and then glued into place as well.

This, officially, means that I have finished the interior of the house. I have to fix a few shingles on the roof and replace the “tar paper” on the roof and I am hoping to still purchase shutters and do some decorating on the front outside of the house. Been looking into how to craft a porch chandelier, something like the one that hangs in front of my real house.

Also, the plan is to take a bazillions of photos and I’d like to do it outside for really good lighting and access to all angles. I want to take pictures through windows and use a mirror to a good view to all of the rooms. So wouldn’t you know it that the day it is ready for photos of the interior, the heavens opened up with a thunderstorm!

IMG_4161So, rather than spoiling the surprise – you can see how dark it is in the house (the real one and the miniature one!), which doesn’t lend to good photos. Instead, I am going to work on the porch, primarily working on the porch light.

Come back soon for a myriad of photos… and send good thoughts about the weather!

julie

Dollhouse Flooring: Lots of Options

In the process of completing my dollhouse, I found that there are many options when it comes to flooring. I think that my Dad’s intent is that all of the rooms would have wood floors, but then when he originally built the house it was supposed to be a early 1800’s house (complete with servants’ quarters). I, of course, updated the style of the house to be contemporary; I likened it to actually remodeling a real house to standards of the day (bathrooms, running water, electricity and a modern kitchen).

One thing I learned the hard way was the doors and door trim. I think even before the flooring goes in the doors should go up. I did it the hard way and now with trying to get the pre-made doors installed, I am finding that the openings are being blocked by high floors – especially where I used miniature tile. Thankfully, The Kid is tackling this job for me.

So back to floors. I have used a wide range of flooring options and even created a few that I didn’t use. Originally, the kitchen was to be a pale shade of yellow, as I had purchased this awesome fifties’ style dining table and yellow chairs.IMG_4157As you can see, there were a number of flooring options, including the checkerboard pattern in yellow. In the end, I used a red and white checkerboard pattern, which is reminiscent of the entry way and living room black and white.IMG_4155The kitchen is laid with samples that I ordered from WilsonArt’s website, but the black and white is actually individual tiles that I got from Home Depot.IMG_4153For the ‘sewing room’ I also picked up some green variegated tile samples and cutting to squares and then laying them in the checkerboard pattern.

I meant to mention this wonderful person’s name that I met in Home Depot and am just now getting around to writing the post. If you’re ever in the Kansas City area, look for Cheryl Lupton, who spent time with me brainstorming about ideas for flooring. She had inexhaustible enthusiasm for the challenge and loved the time we spent together! (Hi Cheryl! Sorry it took me so long!).IMG_3930Anywho, Cheryl was the one who showed me the tile samples that they keep in the store. These are about 2″ x 3″ rectangles and I just cut them into squares and then adhered them with E-6000 glue. I was going to visit several Home Depots so that I didn’t take all the samples displayed, but wonderful Cheryl told me to take all I wanted! Yea! Saved a bunch of time, driving and effort.IMG_3929She was also the one who told me I could order samples of the laminate online as well. And I am going to share that with you here: http://www.wilsonart.com. Just browse through all of the different types of laminate and once you find something that interests you, click the link to order samples.IMG_6154There is a limit of some of the colors or styles and you can only order 50 samples at a time. I think I went a little overboard when I found out, and ordered way more than I could ever use. (I am still trying to come up with a project that will use them!) I had ordered lots of pink samples and one in particular had a woven appearance and the right shade of pink. So, two of the laminate samples made up the nursery floor.IMG_4147So, laminate samples for the kitchen, living room/entry way, sewing room and baby’s room. Somewhere along the way, I had a package of “real wood” miniature flooring from HouseWorks. IMG_4085I wanted the dining room to have a beautiful wood floor and after taking the largest piece for the dining room, there was enough left to piece together for the attic home office. Sort of makes sense that one would do a patchwork of what is available for the floor in the attic. It turned out pretty good, I think!IMG_4149So, for the two bathrooms, they got tile. Some time back, I ran across these large packages of assorted colors of mini tiles to be used for making stepping stones. By buying three of them, after sorting I ended up with a nice selection of colors and about half of it was white.IMG_3967So in one bathroom, the floor and the shower walls are actual tile! Blue and white went on the floor in an everyday checkerboard pattern with a white row of tiles around the edges.IMG_4151

Now, the other bathroom, which is also the laundry room, is done in green and white tiles. I didn’t have enough of any one shade of green, so I used three different shades of green alternating with white. Viola!IMG_9260You have no idea how difficult it is tiling with 3/8″ tile! I had some issues keeping them level and straight!

Okay, that takes care of eight of the 12 rooms. For the boy’s bedroom and the master bedroom, it was always in my mind to use carpeting. Again, I had some packages of dollhouse miniature carpeting from a company called ‘MiniGraphics’ that had been purchased somewhere in the past 25 years. When I purchased it, it was for the living room along with some light blue sofas, so it must have been sometime in the 90’s. I had also made curtains, blue and yellow plaid over sheers. So much different than what I ultimately decided to use.

IMG_4156So, off to one of my many jaunts to JoAnns. I knew what I was looking for but not sure if I would find it. But of course, I did, and the tight weave and low plush made it the perfect faux carpeting. A deep grey color would work as a perfect neutral, although I only needed it for the two bedrooms. Bought enough to carpet every floor in the dollhouse!

IMG_4150So, we’re up to ten of the 12 rooms with the flooring complete. The hallway in the upstairs was one that I hadn’t planned for and the floor plan change ended up with quite a bit of square footage (inch-age?). This was a chance for me to experiment a little and having watched an online video about using Popsicle sticks and so set off to implement this for the hallway. I cut different lengths and then laid them down using the E-6000 glue, then staggered the lengths and used a wood putty to fill in any spaces. I then stained them using a medium oak color and then put two coats of clear polyurethane to seal the color. Turned out better than I expected. If I did this again, I think I would buy coffee stir sticks – they are a bit more narrow and would fit the scale better.IMG_4152(What do you think of my little clip board? Also made from laminate!!)

The last room is actually a storage space in the attic and it will remain without a finished floor, much like real attics.

So, there it is. I hope that this has helped in some way. Sometimes you just gotta jump in and do it and figure it out as you go.

Thanks for stopping by! Come back when I am finished and unveil it! It’ll be soon!

julie

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Dollhouse: Getting Closer to Being Done

I seem to spend more time on the dollhouse rather then writing about the work being done. Much of the work seems pretty routine and, well, obvious, so I am not writing about everything I do. If you ever have questions about something that I’ve done, please ask and I will elaborate. Sometimes what seems straightforward to me is confusing to someone else. And vice-versa.

So much of the work done over the past couple of weeks has been about getting the basics done so the furniture can go in. Of course, the kitchen is primarily “basic”, so a lot of work has been done there. I’ve also done a lot of prep for the doors, floors and trim. I can see the light at the end of this tunnel!IMG_4078The greatest amount of work (and fun!) was the kitchen. I had ordered all of the cabinetry in kits, that is, I had to assemble it all. To make sure it all fit correctly, I made templates for both the walls and floor so that it would fit in like a puzzle.

I used pieces of laminate that I had ordered from Wilson (ordering info further down the page). The way it worked out, that back piece acted as a “plate” that the cabinets could be glued to and then placed into the house. And as a bonus, it became the backsplash, a jaunty little fiftie’s motif in red, white and turquoise.

IMG_4102This was the short “stove” wall… The Kid created the range hood from stainless steel. Initially it was a little short, so I added the little cap at the top.DSCN4896A shot of the long wall with kitchen sink and ‘fridge. I still had to cut the section for the window.IMG_9853The floor is actually another pattern of laminate sample. The only issue I had working with it was weighting the flooring down as it dried. You can kind of get the sense of the air pocket under the floor in the photo above.

IMG_4125With much of the dollhouse complete, I finally moved it off the kitchen island back in front of the fireplace. Much of the window treatments are done, furniture found and purchased, and lots of little details being worked on.

One thing I goofed on was adding the baseboards before installing the doors. I was waiting on the purchased hardware to arrive and just got ahead of myself. Now that it has arrived (and changed from brass to silver finish), I’ve prepared all the doors for installation. I think this is going to be a bigger deal that it should, considering that I think I will need to trim the baseboards to fit the doors.IMG_4124Larger than most starter dollhouses, it requires quite a few doors (and the two IMG_4123inside/outside doors are already installed)! Here I was adding the door knobs. As I mentioned, the pre-purchased door handles were all brass colored. Laying them onto a sheet of poster board and securing them for painting with a glue stick.

You can also see a few of the miniature trivets that I purchased off the internet. Since the kitchen is red and white with a pop of turquoise, some of the trivets had to be sprayed painted.IMG_4128

The doors between the dining room and kitchen were designed to open together, instead of knobs, I made push plates. I cut these from metal-look laminate as well. I had several selections to choose from, here are a couple of the sample tiles.

They really look like metal!

While I was at it, I cut kick plates for the front door as well (to be installed at a later date).IMG_4126Things are progressing and am quite close to adding the details. And then a gigantic photo shoot will occur to show off the whole thing.

Down the road a little ways, I am planning to add clear plexiglass doors to keep the house from getting dusty. Initially I thought I wanted to finish it and then never touch it again, but instead of a single sheet on the back of the house, I decided to construct two larger doors for adjustments or so new items can be added. I am also going to place a clear “wall” onto the back of the boys’ room.

When I started the project of completing this dollhouse, I vowed to work on nothing else so as to not distract me from the task at hand. I have a little bit of crafting ADHD and tend to easily get drawn into other projects and consequently end up with a lot of unfinished projects. Now it seems that I should be finishing up the house at about the same time I will be going back to work! I will work furiously to get all the little details written about in the next couple of weeks.

And please! I love to share my projects and the way I went about doing things. But I love to hear from others as well… comments and questions are the icing on the creative cake!

julie

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. 🙂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 Books2  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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