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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

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. 🙂

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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

Every Little Girl Needs a Dollhouse or Two… Right?

I don’t think I’ve ever talked about my dollhouses. I was never a very ‘girly’ girl, growing up mostly surrounded by my brothers and their friends. I like to play baseball (not softball), football, climb trees and pretty much anything that the boys did. So, I didn’t have the normal toys that most girls play with – although I did have an EasyBake oven and some Barbie dolls.

So, after I had grown up, some how I did get a bit more feminine. I think I started to maybe wax nostalgic for something I think I missed. About the same time, my Dad was working less and spending more time in his wood working shop, so I asked if he would build me a dollhouse. Many, many, many weeks and months later, he did complete it. He sent me photos occasionally to show me progress, and I started purchasing materials, furniture and anything that might work for completing the dollhouse. He built the structure, I was going to decorate it and furnish it.

The only downside was that I was living in California and this monstrosity that my Dad was building was 2000 miles away in Iowa. I brainstormed ideas until I found out that my Dad had given my dollhouse to my oldest sister! She lived in the same town, so I suppose it was just an easy answer, but I was severely disappointed. I had been the one to ask for it, want it and already buying stuff for it.

So, I bought myself a kit and built a little dollhouse. It wasn’t anything fancy, but it did satisfy the desire to build, paint and furnish one.

I didn’t get a shot of the front of the house, but it was completed in the same style. It sits downstairs in a little alcove on these great drawer stacks that originally were bought for storing my fabric in our house in California.

DSCN3378They are nice enough looking and they have nice deep drawers for storing all my little collectibles.

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Because, you see, after many years, my oldest sister had litterally done nothing to the dollhouse that my Dad built. In fact, it was sitting in her basement and with her kids running through, they had actually broken some of the porch and its railing. I had been visiting for a holiday and made a remark about it and my sister said that I should have it, that she didn’t have the time or patience to work on it.

Now the next hurdle was getting this monstrosity to California. A long story short, my parents drove it out in their van when they came to visit. Yowza!

Believe it or not, we had to turn around and move it back to the Midwest – Kansas City – when we moved in 2004. This time we had a shipping place build a custom crate for it and it went on the moving truck with all of our worldly goods.

It took awhile, but it was finally unpacked and moved into the little alcove. Over the years, I have slowly collected materials, furniture and all sorts of great stuff. I painted the house, made a couple of changes to the setup of the house (like turning ‘servants quarters’ into an additional bedroom.

I’ve been thinking about my pledge to finish all the projects that I have started and I’ve done pretty well. I have spent a couple of days, on and off, looking it over and taking photos and making a mental inventory of the supplies, crafts and furniture that I have. Trying to figure out if I have the umpfh to actually get it finished.

The only issue that I see, is that this behemoth is in the basement and all my tools and most of the crafting tools and materials are on the first floor. And the sewing room and fabrics are on the second floor. That would entail a lot of stair climbing… I am going to have to think about the logistics on this one.

In the meantime, here are a few photos of the house in its current state. It was a little tough to get a shot of the front, but you can get an idea of how big the house really is. Oh, and the trunk under the table is also full of supplies for completing the dollhouse.

Oh and FYI… this house is the generally accepted standard of dollhouses, in 1:12 scale.

DSCN3365Couple of other notes, my Dad had actually built little doors, windows and staircases, which I have since replaced with more modern versions.

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The little photo book in the photo below are some of the original photos my Dad took while building it. I need to scan in those photos and share them with you.DSCN3377So, there lies the project. Will I finally get around to finishing it?

julie

Strawberries! And Another Vanity Restore

First, let me just brag about the crazy awesomeness of my strawberry patch! A couple of weeks ago, the patch was covered in little white flowers and last week I harvested about a pint of sweet berries. Me and The Kid went out last night to check the pumpkin patch and I thought to give the strawberries a quick check! Yowza!

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I did find a couple more of those pesky snails, so it would seem I need pesticide. Or some natural bug killer. One more thing on the TO DO list!

Oh, here is a quick shot of the pumpkin patch. These were started from seeds kept from last year around Halloween and sprouted in the kitchen. We were worried at first that they wouldn’t grow, but should have known better!

IMG_6559I have also been working on another vanity, originally I had hoped to keep it for myself, but the house is already overflowing to stretching the seams! This had a great story behind it, the man who I got it from told us that it was built in US-occupied Japan and was built with old growth oak. There was a lot of beautiful wood in the piece, unfortunately, it had been sitting in his damp basement for way too long and had a lot of wood and veneer damage. So, I salvaged what I could, which was sanded and re-varnished. What I couldn’t replace was replaced by maple plywood and painted a high gloss ivory. The handles were painted a matching color and replace. I also painted the last 40″ square mirror to match and it looks spectacular. The matching bench seat was all oak, so it too, was sanded and re-varnished. I covered the top with a gorgeous two toned upholstery fabric and viola!, perfection!

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Isn’t it beautiful? I love the way the two tones play off of each other. (You can see the reflection of the as-of-yet still-unsold doll house! :-().

DSCN2472A quick shot of the kid helping with the vanity. I am the luckiest mom to have been blessed with The Kid. He is the antithesis of what I was at his age! Thank heavens!

And not to go on and on, but isn’t CraigsList just the best thing ever?! I don’t know what I am going to do with it, but a student of architecture was giving away one of his projects and I had to have it! Not quite the normal scale of 1 inch to 1 FOOT scale that most dollhouses are, none of the existing furniture or fixtures I have will work in this house. And did I mention it was HUGE? It stands about 4 1/2 foot tall and the base is 4′ x 4′ but it is FRIGGIN’ COOL!

photo 1

photo 2The Kid has claimed one of the remaining Victrola cabinets and has been working on it. I think it will turn out even better than if I had done the work. He has a great imagination and loves the wood working. If it just weren’t already getting so hot and muggy!

More stuff on the way! Come back soon!

julie

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