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

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. 🙂

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.  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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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

Wonderful World of Paint Stir Sticks

A while back I ran across some decorating schemes using paint sticks. I’ve been using paint sticks for many things, from whole projects to repair. The one I am going to show you today was actually The Kid’s idea. He came up with the idea and did all the work. I am so impressed, and happy too.

DSCN2386See, this is how I’ve been storing my glass paints. I started with those tubs, left over from cookie dough, but I soon filled them up and expanded to a small cardboard box. But when that overflowed, I knew I would have to do something a little more ‘constructive’. I started talking about it with The Kid, mentioned that I had a few dresser drawers that might work, but left the design and build to him.

And this is what he came up with:

DSCN2387This is a bunch of paint stir sticks. Lots of cuts and glue. But this is so cool! I loaded it with the paint bottles head in, so that I could see the color from the bottom. It also keeps the glue at the tip, which is handy since you’re not supposed shake this paint, so keeping the paint at the tip makes it easier to use right out of the box.

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I buy paint from Home Depot constantly, so I don’t feel bad about taking a handful each time I go it. You can see the branding in orange paint.

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Here it is loaded up. The dividers are placed with just a hint of a downward angle, to keep the bottles from falling out when moving it. He added a handle to the top to move it easily.

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This is a little chart that I put together (work in progress) that shows all of the different colors of paint dry. I have found DSCN2393that this is essential, as many of the colors look nothing like you might imagine they would be dry. I have had to remove some paint on a couple of projects when I found that the color dry was nothing like the color wet. I have a list of the colors and their numbers that gets stored behind the frame. Its an interesting piece of art all on its own, I think.

So, I had promised to write a few posts about what I use paint stir sticks for. This is the first. I also used them a lot when building the doll house, especially in the kitchen. I glue them side by side and then use them as thin, yet strong boards.

In thess photos, the fronts of the bottom cabinets and the little cabinet next to the fridge were built using the stir sticks. Also the pub table and stools. They are made of 100% pine, so they are wood, and can be used in any way that one would use wood. At least in small portions. Which when working in the scale of doll houses, is perfect.

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The little wood box next to the fireplace was another project. I’ve made numerous and varied sizes of boxes, sometimes just to hold supplies.     DSCN1893

The doors and shelves were a perfect place to use the paint stick wood. Nice and thin, yet strong and paint-able. The perfect size when working in miniatures.

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Some more shots of the wood as it was used:

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DSCN1876I find that whenever I go to Home Depot – which is often – I stop by the paint department (if I am not already going to that department specifically) just for a handful of sticks. And sometimes I even use them to stir paint!

We’re having a wet and cool stormy day here in the Midwest and I am thinking that not much is going to get done. At least not anything outdoors.

julie

 

 

PS…for those interested, I am not being paid for nor sponsored in any way for the mention of any products or stores in this post. I just like the way that these particular products work and want to share with you!

Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

Have been taking it a little easier since we’ve completed and delivered the doll house. Working on some smaller items while I relax a little.

A couple of things that I wanted to do but never seemed to have the time to do, was to create a sign for the half bath that is down at the end of the hallway. There are two doors together, one for the laundry room and one for the bath. Inevitably, guests sent down the hall open the wrong door. I saw a sign like this on Pinterest, I think, and knew I wanted to do something similar.DSCN1523This was done with a plant hanger (Home Depot) and a precut and routed plaque (Joann’s) and then just searched online for a font that I liked. I did this all freehand, although I was looking at specific designs for reference. I then used plastic shower curtain rings that I split with a hack saw and just slipped through holes drilled in the face and then around hanger. Hand painted the two rings black. Then two screws and it was done.

I thought that having this particular door completed sort of made the other one seem kind of, I dunno, bare. So, I created another for the laundry room. I wasn’t paying much attention and I created the lettering just a little tilted, so I just mounted it on the door a little tilted as well. Unless you know that it isn’t level, I don’t think you’d notice.

Laundry Room SignI’ve always been one of those people who seem to never be able to sit still and just watch television no matter how interesting the show or movie. I have to have something to do with my hands. So I hand sew, or paint or decorate or create jewelry. My latest diversion is creating food and accessories for the 18″ dolls. Once they have a kitchen, they have to have something to put in it, right?

So, I’ve started with food cans:

DSCN1557These are made from 1 1/4″ diameter dowels and the labels were printed from images I found online. I sized them correctly once, created a template for future labels in Photoshop. I used a real can and figured scale, something about 1:3 and 1:4. Mark the interval, also 1 1/4″ and cut them on my band saw. I lined them up and spray painted the tops and bottoms silver like cans. Then simply cut the labels out and adhere (I used a glue stick) onto the “cans”. I cannot wait to get the pantry in my doll house’s kitchen filled. I am also working on cereal boxes, pasta and mashed potato boxes and if I can find the right sized jars, I will do peanut butter, jelly and salsa as well. It allows me to be able to sit and still create.

And speaking of creating, I purchased a set of ‘knives’ on eBay for my kitchen. And the Kid did a wonderful job creating a small knife block for it. Didn’t it turn out wonderfully?

DSCN1559I included the chap stick so you get a sense of scale. And yes, the knives do come out of the block.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that cross stitch and rug hooking. And this time I did it to the dolls’ scale. First is cross stitch:

DSCN1517Once I had it all finished, I added the fringe on the two shorter sides to give it a more authentic look. I used plastic canvas so that it will last longer, I think it may be a bit more durable. The other is a hooked rug that I made using brown and white alternative yarns. It is very soft and will look nice under the corner of a bed or sofa.

Rug1And with that, I will wrap up tonight’s blog. It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow, or so I hope. I think the Kid and are hoping to plant strawberries in the garden out in back of the house. A nice wet area that gets lots of moisture and sun.

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon! Oh, and as always, keeping making beautiful things just for the sake of it!

julie

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