Monday, January 31, 2011

January 30th - Day 30/335 days to go!

Today I made an adjustment to the size of the kitchen window since it is the obvious place to put the kitchen sink....however, the window was too long and part of it would have been behind the sink...a strange look. I measured the height of the kitchen sink that I'm going to us, cut a piece off the wood that I punched out from the kitchen window opening and glued into the bottom of the hole. Now the window will be just above the sink once the trim finish is added later. I know that I deleted the windows in the kitchen bay and now that the kitchen window is smaller it might seem that it is going to be a rather dark room....but....all the cabinets are mostly white, the wallpaper I have picked is a light colour, and there will be lighting, so that should keep the room from looking like a dungeon.

The window trim in the kit will have to adjusted to fit the new window size....but I don't see that this will be a least I hope not.

I also made a new fridge. I had one but it was too deep for the space that I wanted it made a new box, stole the two door off my old fridge and....ta da....a new sleeker fridge that fits!

I spent the afternoon doing minis with a friend and it was a ....great afternoon!

In the evening, I made an upper cabinet for the wall above the fridge....always a wasted space and in such a small kitchen, I didn't want any "dead" areas. They match the upper cabinets on the other wall. I still have to put the shelf and backing on but the main part is done.

I know it may seem like I'm....all over the place between construction and decorating....but, sometimes it's nice to take a break from all that gluing and sanding and just be.....creative!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

January 29th - Day 29/336 days to go!

Today I....made the false walls to hide some wiring on the first, second and third floors, made templates for flooring on the first floor dining room and parlour, second floor hallway, third floor hallway. Hum, doesn't sound like much but it took a good part of the afternoon.

Tomorrow I'll do more reinforcing with glue on the third floor and likely make a few more flooring templates. I'm also doing to spend the afternoon with a mini friend....definately a great way to spend the afternoon.

Tomorrow night (if all goes well), I'll spend a little time on the chimney. I guess I'm going to have to bite the bullet and install it according to the directions (sucks for sure). I still haven't decided how I want to finish the chimney so I'll just work around the whole house when the time comes.

And that was it for today!

January 29th - Day 29/336 days to go!

I spent today doing the interior walls (Step E) on the first and second floor. This is also the step where the front piece should go on but I have dry fit it and will install it after I do some work on the wiring. I did ensure that I left the right amount of space so I can install it a little later without having to much trouble.

I also did Step F which is installing the third floor interior walls.'s looking more and more like a house now!

Step G is the chimney. I have punched out the pieces and am disappointed in how the chimney gets installed. Part of the chimney is included on sheet 9 as the left wall of the house. This piece has the opening for the bay on the first floor (left side), a second floor window....and the left wall of the chimney. My opinion is....and yes, I'm not shy about expressing it is.....what were they thinking???? I'm sure they could have made the left wall similar to the wall on the other side of the house and then the chimney could have been on its own and installed as one whole separate piece. This would have made it much easier to finish. Now it has to be finished while it is attached to the house. I know this may not sound like a big deal....but....if someone wanted to say....brick it....or make it look like a stone chimney....they have to work keep moving the whole house around while they apply spackle or brick. Being attached to the house is fine if all one wants to do is paint it but that isn't what I want to do. I'm annoyed....but I'm hoping that while I'm sanding the chimney pieces, I'll cool off and come up with a finishing plan.

While the glue for the interior walls was drying and I was punching out the chimney pieces, I also finished the two chairs to go with my parlour sofa. I dug around in my "maybe" box again and found a coffee table too! More white paint and it doesn't look too bad. I'm going to try to use up as much as I can from that "maybe" box. I hadn't been in it is quite a while and I'd definately forgotten what was in it. It was almost like Christmas again.

I'm also going to mention sanding. No, I'm not going to complain but I have found something that works better than just plain ole sandpaper. When I was going to start the dollhouse, I went to Walmart and bought three new nail files. Not the regular kind....these are 7 1/2" long x 3/4" wide x 1/16" thick. They have sandpaper on both sides and thin foam in the middle....and only cost $2.97 each. I am still using my first one and I've already done lots of sanding! They are easy to hold and fit perfectly into the slots so they can be sanded easily. They also give you a straight edge when sanding the tabs. I love them! I've been using them for many years and they really are convenient. And....if you happen to break a nail while doing minis....they are right there ready to fit that too! I do have sanding pads that are 3" wide x 4" long x 3/4" thich with sandpaper on one side and foam on the other and I do use them to sand the larger areas.

So, I think I accomplished a fair bit today and it finally looks like I've done something LOL.

Friday, January 28, 2011

January 27th - Day 27/338 days to go!

Today it was time to do some work on the interior walls. I have dry fit all the walls on the first and second floor....with some minor adjustments (which translates to more sanding grrrrrrr%&*#@*) and have them taped in place waiting for glue.

I decided not to make a closet in the large second floor bedroom since it would be of little value or use and I'd rather have the wall space to put an armoire on instead. I left the punch out for the closet door in the wall and filled the seams with glue....lots of glue. I find that if I work the glue into the seams with my finger and fill them up as much as possible that they do hold.....and the wallpaper will also add strength when added.

I also removed the third floor pieces from sheet 11, 12 and 12A. I'm trying to find a nice way to express my displeasure and disappointment in the quality of the wood in sheet 11. Just when I thought the quality couldn't get any worse than it already was.....ta da...sheet 11 came along and reared its ugly grain. I didn't even try to punch out the pieces and instead opted to cut them out with an xacto knife. Even with a brand new blade, the wood was disintegrating here and there in little pieces as I slowly and carefully cut the pieces out. Some of the corner pieces were separating between the layers of wood so badly that I stuffed them with glue and secured them with tape while they dried in the hopes that, in the morning, I will have been able to salvage what might resemble a secure corner. I have my fingers crossed. 

Tomorrow I will glue the first and second floor walls in place and then start....sanding the walls for the third floor.

Yippy (NOT).....more sanding!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

January 26th - Day 26/339 days to go!

Today I was....a bad girl.....shame on me. I did some more sanding on the pieces for the next step and then I needed a break from sanding. Image that LOL.

I decided to "play" today since I thought I deserved a little break from job, at least for one day.

Yesterday I found a sofa in my "maybe" box and today I decided to see if I could make it something similar to a sofa/chair set I saw on the Neiman Marcus website a long time ago. I had copied the picture so I still have the visual inspiration to go by.

As you can see, the original sofa was.....boring! Your standard issue Victoria sofa....and not an expensive one for sure.

I'd stripped off its fabric, three coats of white paint, made templates, dug through my fabric stash....and found the perfect solid coloured pink fabric for what I wanted. Sadly I only had a small piece.....about 5"x5". Not enough to do much with but enough to get my little brain working in high gear and the creative juices flowing. It would also be enough for a small spot on the sofa and the two chairs.

A quick trip to a local quilting shop and also to Fabricland....and I had what I needed....and it goes with the wallpaper I made for the parlour. I spent the rest of the day re-upholstering the sofa.....and ta it is!

Hum, for some reason the round centre piece looks red in the picture but it is actually pink. The background is the sample wallpaper I made for the parlour.

Tomorrow I'd better to a good girl and get back to my construction job!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

January 25th - Day 25/340 days to go!

Hum, what did I do today?

I made an additional piece of trim for the second floor staircase. It seems my eyes didn't notice that I'd forgotten about the necessity to leave room for the had to modify the trim I'd already made by adding a notch and then extending the trim to add more support. I stained it, sealed it, and then glued it in place. I also made the trim for the opposite wall on the third floor opening as well as made all the other finishing trim for the second floor opening. They are all stained but I still need to seal and install them.

I did some more.....sanding (yuk)....on the walls for the next phase of construction. Did I mention I'm having a love/hate relationship with sandpaper? I swear that the wood has a mind of its think you have it sanded smooth and all those little wood fibres are under control and then.....they appear again just when you thought it was finally safe to continue. I'm also now vacuuming my craft room more than ever before too. Yes, those nasty wood fibres end up on the floor.....even the little slivered ones....and I'd rather they were sucked into the vacuum then found their way into the bottom of my foot. Yes, I'm a barefooted miniaturist!

I also spent some time today using my 3/16th cherry veneer on the kitchen floor. The final conclusion....I love it.....and NO sanding required during the installation!!! I purchased my cherry veneer strips from Lee Valley Tools. They come in a tube, are 24 inches long, and there are three widths to pick from....1/8 inch (approximately 300), 3/16 inch (approximately 225), 1/4 inch (approximately 150). The tube is stuffed full of veneer and I've made the kitchen floor and the library floor already and it doesn't even look like I've used any at all.

And speaking of the floor plan, I guess now is as good a time as any to....unveil the master plan! I will mention that this "plan" isn't etched in stone, but I think it will give me enough variety in room decoration to hit most of the mini highlights.

I also spent some time today looking through my "Maybe" box of mini goodies. I call them my "maybe" minis because....maybe I shouldn't have bought them on the speculation that I'd find a place to use them in the future, maybe I liked them when I bought them and maybe I don't now, and just generally maybe they were a good idea at the time.

I found a sofa, two matching chairs and an ottoman. Ah....a light bulb moment happened! I can remove the fabric from the sofa, the chairs don't have any seats or fabric, remove the fabric from the ottoman.....paint the furniture white and then put fabric back on in the colour and/or pattern I want! Excellent idea if I do say so myself....and no need to purchase any more furniture! I'm a genius! Hum, don't I wish that was it, actually I'm just being frugal since I need to buy some additional light fixtures for the house.

Well, that is about all I did today....but tomorrow is another day!

Monday, January 24, 2011

January 24th - Day 24/341 days to go!

I sealed the banisters and second floor staircase today.

I finished the third floor trim around the opening and installed it (after a little modification so I could get the staircase in). I didn't glue in the banister because I still have to wallpaper the wall over the opening but at least now I know what it is going to look will be much easier to make a false floor without having to worry about the banister and how to work around it.

I glued in the trim for the second floor staircase and dry fit the banister. I'll glue it in after I do the template for the flooring.

I made a matte board sub-floor for the kitchen.

I also made a poster board template for the dining room and living room. It is much easier to make the flooring templetes before the interior walls are in. I'm sure there will be some trimming to do later, but that is usually minimal.

I make the original floor template out of poster is cheaper and more flexible and if I mess up (which I do from time to time), I don't feel bad if I throw it out and start all over.

I also sanded the interior walls for the next step of the construction.

And now.....I'm pooped!

January 23rd - Day 23/342 days to go!

I spent this morning painting banisters, another coat of white paint on the side and underside of the stairs for the second floor. I also added the cherry trim. I stained the trim for the stair openings.

This evening I did a test floor to check the height to make sure that it would be level with the trim. I use matte board since it is sturdy enough to glue the wood strips on to and doesn't curl after the stain as been applied to the wood. I was almost in shock when I found out that the opening trim and the floor are actually the same height....first try out! It's a miracle!

I'll leave them all the pieces I did today to dry thoroughly overnight and then tomorrow I will seal them with varathane and install them.

I looked at the assembly instructions to see what the next step is after I install the second floor staircase. I'll be on Step E then....hum, "E"....that's Step 5 in numbers. Wow, it's been 23 days and I'm only heading on to Step 5! This next step will really make it start to look much more like a house. It will be time to install the tower front and interior partitions.

I can hardly wait!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

January 22nd - Day 22/343 days to go!

Today I worked on finishing the cutouts where the staircases fit into. I had this idea in my head and it was time to see if it would work out in reality. The idea was that I would be able to put the banister on this trim and them still be able to have a removable floor on the second and third floors. The purpose of the removable floor is that there will be wiring underneath it and if at some point in the future I needed to get to it...I would be able to. Sounds good in theory right?

I decided to try the third floor opening first since it would be the easiest. It was also time to use that ole carpenter's rule too.....measure twice, cut once.

I didn't want to just trim the opening, I also wanted to trim the wood sides of the opening as well.....hopefully all at one time. The other consideration was the top step or top tread that would lead onto the floor. I wanted it to look like a real riser.

The first picture is the cutout on the third floor. The space on the wall that will be wallpapered I can easily trim later. The second picture is of the trim (just remember it isn't glued into place yet). The third picture is how it will look once the banister is attached and it is secured into place. This will give me an edge to make a template of the flooring, and an edge to run the wood flooring up to.

Once this was completed I tackled the second floor opening. A little trickier since there was much more fitting needed to accommodate the two banisters on the staircase and a space on the front side of the stairs.

Just need to stain, seal them and then I can glue them in!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

January 21 - Day 21/344 days to go!

Today I put a second coat of white paint on the second floor staircase, added the cherry trim to the treads, stained the treads then glued them in place....and.....I actually sanded the staircase until it finally sits flat on the second floor....YIPPY!!!!

I also sanded the railing for the landings on the second and third floor in preparation for painting.

I still have to paint the underside of the staircase, seal the whole thing, then I have to do the trim for the staircase openings. I think I've found a way to do that so I can glue the landing railings in place and still have the floors removable. Hopefully my idea will work out when the time to implement it comes. I always worry that those light bulb moments of mine will turn out to be....DUH moments instead.

I'd like to thank those who have send me their "comments". I do appreciate your input and it's nice to know that I'm not alone here!

Friday, January 21, 2011

January 20th - Day 20/345 days to go!

Even though today was "Mini Day" with my friends, I did find time to work on the second floor staircase.

I have just one word for how I spent that time.....SANDING!

Since the staircase didn't sit level, there was no way that I was going to be satisfied with how it looked. That space under the first riser kept taunting me to get rid of it. I realize that nothing is perfect, but I don't see anything wrong with at least striving for as close to perfect as possible.

I also put my first coat of white paint on the staircase.

Since my 1/8th stripes of cherry finished off the first floor staircase nicely, I'm going to use it to finish off the treads on this staircase too.....but....I'm going to glue them on before I do the staining.

Once I can install the second floor staircase, I'll be able to "test" my idea on how to conceal the wiring. I have my fingers crossed!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

January 19th - Day 19/346 days to go!

Well, I have to tell you that today....I was like a miniaturist on crack! No, I wasn't actually on crack since drugs aren't my thing....I'm too high on life! But I was in high gear and accomplished much more than I thought I would.

I sealed the wood on the first and second floors, installed wallpaper on the two staircase walls, completed a counter top for the kitchen, made a wood floor for the kitchen, added the staircase bannister for the second floor staircase....and still had time to get my blog done before my brain shut down for the night. I definately surprised myself today....and that's not an easy thing for me to do.

One of the things I like to do for my mini projects is make my own wallpaper. I know, I could buy it, but I like the diversity of making my own. Once I have printed a sheet, I head over to Staples and have it colour copied on 100 weight card stock. It's definately more work than purchasing wallpaper but the end result is more to my liking.

I have worked out the wallpaper layout for the whole dollhouse. The main floor dining room, the second floor hallway and the third floor hallway will all have the same paper. It will tie things together nicely. When picking wallpaper it is always important to remember that unlike a real house, a dollhouse, particularly an open back one, lets the viewer see all the rooms at the same time so it usually looks best if the wallpapers compliment each other. I think I've managed that with my colour scheme and the theme of the house.

Here is the paper I installed today on the staircase walls on the first and second floor:

I'm going with a French Country Rose theme so there will be lots of pinks and that french butter yellow colour. The trim will all be in white.

I did learn one thing today and that is that I'm going to have to paint the interior walls white before I install any more wallpaper. Even with sealing the wood, the glue wasn't that fond of the finish and I almost panicked when the wallpaper didn't look like it was going to stick. But sometimes more is better....and that seemed to do the trick when applying the glue. I like to use "Yes" holds well (at least it always has in the past), doesn't yellow and is easy to clean up.

I still have to finish the second floor staircase and as you can see from the picture, it doesn't sit flat on the second floor so there will be some.....sanding to do to get it level. It's only about an 1/8th of an inch but in miniature that make it look like a huge space.

The first floor staircase was a nightmare to install. I read the instructions and then failed to get the stairs to fit. Tried both again and again failed to squeeze them into place. Yes, there was some grunting....and some blue air around my fierce facial expressions. Then I cut off one of the tabs on the dining room side and....poof, it slide into place with a few stragicially placed shoves. It was much like trying to fit that preverbal square peg into that round hole.

There is a small space along the bottom of the staircase that the flooring will fit under....and that will give it that finished look that I want. Notice I'm being very optomistic about the "fit" thing.

I was also very disappointed in the trim that "they" gave to finish off the bannister on the stairs. Even after I cut it out with an xacto knife and didn't punch it out, it still disintegrated at the first sight of the sandpaper. I only did a few pieces as it was becoming an effort in futility. I have some 1/8th inch cherry strips that I used to trim the first floor staircase and it actually looks....okay. At least it didn't fall to pieces sanding required!

So, that is what I did today. I doubt I'll accomplish as much tomorrow since it is "Mini Day" with my two friends. And who knows, we might actually get some minis done between chatting, eating and drinking tea!

January 18th - Day 18/347 days to go!

Today was second floor stairs day.....punching out the pieces....sanding.....more sanding....and yup, more sanding. I've come to the conclusion that Greenleaf must have shares or be a subsidiary of a sandpaper company. The up side is that I'm getting much better at it.....I can zone right out and just keep on sanding. I glued the risers to the framing, glued the railing to this section since they are all going to be white....and then it was sit and watch the glue dry. Not really, I did it just before bed so the glue had overnight to set.

There was a huge OMG moment today.....and I almost freaked out! As I was cutting out the pieces for the bannister railing and stair posts.....and I only did a few.....they were starting to disintegrate in my hand.....splinter after splinter of wood just kept fraying off.....YIKES! That was even before I could think about sanding them.....and they do need sanding. So I'm doing an experiment.....I sealed the edges with glue....and hopefully that will stop the destruction. I stuffed as much glue into the little pores of the wood as I could in the hopes that this would hold it together.

I may have to rethink this part of the stair construction. I do have some 1/8th inch cherry that I could use for the bannister and just not put in the stair dewel posts. Hum, might have to make another executive decision here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

January 17th - Day 17/348 days to go!

Today I figured out the wiring. Since I use round wire instead of tape wire there is always the issue of where to hide the wiring and also how to access it should I need to change a bulb.

The downside of the Greenleaf wood is that it really isn't thick enough to make grooves in to hide the wiring within the floor and not take the risk of weakening it. I realize that no one will be dancing on it but it is part of the structural integrity of the house and due to the thinness it isn't the strongest to begin with.

I think I've come up with a plan that will least I hope it will.

I also figured out just what I'll need to get the wiring job done. I have some light fixtures already, lots of round wire just in case I need to add some length, shrink wrap, socket bars and transformer. I just need a few more ceiling fixtures to match the existing ones.

I have a wiring plan!

Monday, January 17, 2011

January 16th - Day 16/349 days to go!

I spent today working out two construction issues.

The first is the dead space in the kitchen on the left side of the bay area. I decided to fill it in so that the wallpaper would rap around that corner smoothly. It isn't a big space so it won't be missed. In fact, it is an ackward space not only to paper but also to use for much of anything and the only way to see into that space would be through the front window.

The second was the bulkhead leading into the bay area. It is part of the side of the house so in order to maintain the structural intergrity of that wall I decided that I'd work around it....not fight it but find a way to use it. The decision needed to be made now (or at least shortly) since it had to be done before papering and during the construction process. I contemplated what would be involved in the removal of it first. Hum, not the easiest place to get a saw into....a dremel would work but could be very messy (and of course that dreaded.....sanding) and then there was the issue of the structural aspect itself.

In order to make it work for me, I needed to figure out the kitchen layout. After moving things around again and again, I finally came up with a solution....cupboards along that wall! The sink will go under the window (which is going to create another issue since the window needs to be shortened from the floor upwards) but I'll worry about that another day. I also have to think about what I'm going to do about a fridge. The spot that I want to put the fridge in will create a dead corner. I can fill it in with a cupboard which would be visible from the front window but I'd also have to make a custom fridge that would be not as deep as the purchased ones. That's do-able!

So, I spent the day making cupboards to work (and fit) with the bulkhead! No sense coming up with an idea and then not making the actual cupboards to see if it really is going to work or not. Funny how sometimes things work so well while they are still in your head and then later the reality is a disaster. The upside is also that I have lots fill the cupboards with.

As you can see....they fit! I'm not sure if I'm going to wallpaper the bulkhead or use some trim to make it look like it is part of the cupboards, but that decision is a ways aways.

PS - the dead space I was talking about first is to the left of the cupboards and runs from floor to ceiling. It is about 1/4 deep.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

January 15th - Day 15/350 days to go!

Today was both a mini house day and a big house day. I'm renovating a bathroom in my house so it was a trip to Rona for a new toilet. I find it interesting that even though toilets only seem to come in two styles there is a huge range in the pricing from $80 to $400+. Would anyone really notice the difference between the cheapest or the most expensive? Would anyone every walk into someone's bathroom....gasp and then say "OMG they have the Cadillac of toilets?" I rather doubt it.....a toilet.

I did solve the interior door issue on the Beacon Hill. I modified the door with some trim, picked up some small round crystals from Michaels today to use of glass doorknobs.....and voila.....acceptable interior doors.

The door on the left is what they give you in the kit. It is just the cut out wood from where the door is to be. The middle pictures shows the trim I added in the middle and around the edges. Two counts of white paint and the doors aren't too bad (if I do say so myself).

Saturday, January 15, 2011

January 14th - Day 14/351 days to go!

Today was "MINI DAY" with my two mini friends......I love these days!

I showed them my "modified" Greenleaf interior door and I think with another coat of paint it might actually!

I'll add another coat of white paint, take some pictures and post them. I guess my thought at the beginning of this project was to see if it was possible to use what is included in the kit to make a really nice looking dollhouse....something that even a picky person like me would be happy with and I'd like to try and stick to that intention. If so, then it may just be possible to make....a silk purse out of a sow's dollhouse terms.

Friday, January 14, 2011

January 13th - Day 13/352 days to go!

Today was....thinking day. Time to think about the wiring, time to think about what to do with the interior doors, time to think about finishes (and when to do some wallpapering), time to just....think things through and plan the best way to get it done.

I did take what will be the kitchen door and played with it a bit. The original was...awful! The wood is less than desirable and what "they" think of as a door really is just a piece of punched out wood. It definately needs to be perked up to make it even look like a real door. There is also the installation and framing to think through as well. The easiest would be to make it a non-functional door but that isn't really what I want.

I am soooooo tempted to change the doorway shape...a little shorter and a little wider....and then purchase some good quality interior dollhouse my son reminded me....I did say that I was going to finish the house "as is" from the kit. What was I thinking when I made that statement!

The original idea was to make the kit "as is" and spend the extra time getting the best out of what was provided. Yes, that would mean sanding until I couldn't stand sanding anymore....and using lots of polyfil to smooth out the wood. That said, I'm now not so sure that even that will satisfy my thoughts on the quality of the final outcome.

But, I'm not at that stage yet where I might have to make another...executive decision.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

January 12th - Day 12/353 days to go!

I spent today watching glue dry! Okay, I didn't actually sit and watch the glue dry but it is a slow process and it often feels like you are just sitting there waiting for one stage to finish so that you can get on to the next one....which actually what happens.

Of course, my little brain is working overtime with thoughts of what to do with certain aspecta of the house. I still haven't finalized the wiring issue.....and then the interior door issue popped up yesterday. What is given in the kit is....awful! So that will be something I will need to explore in the near future....perhaps while more glue is drying.

I would also like to take this opportunity to say "HI" to those who are following this journey with me. Please feel free to make comments, give suggestions or even a gentle kick on my backside if....the spirit moves you!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

January 11th - Day 11/354 days to go!

Do you ever have one of those days where you feel like you'll get nothing done and then all of a sudden you get this burst of energy and you accomplish way more than you ever thought possible? Well, today was one of those days.

I now have what actually looks like it might eventually be a dollhouse! I assembled ALL of Step 2! The instructions are confusing but thankfully there were pictures to go with them. Gotta love those pictures. I still have lots of glueing to do....but even with the tape holding it looks like a dollhouse!

The instructions should have mentioned that a third hand might have been helpful in the assembly but after much grunting and the add of boxes to support floppy was done.

I skipped a few steps and dry fit the kitchen bay wall so that I could make a decision.....leave the side windows in or take them out. While the bay windows bring in lots of light, they leave little room of cabinets or other decorating ideas. The room above only has the front window and it there seems to be enough light. Since rear open dollhouses are usually viewed through the back, the closing in of the kitchen bay windows does really seem to make much difference from a viewing point of view. So, I made an executive decision....I will eliminate the kitchen bay windows in order to put in kitchen cabinets.

I even found time today to paint three of the four chairs that will be going in the dining area! OMG...I was Super Woman today LOL.

Monday, January 10, 2011

January 10th - Day 10/355 days to go!

Surprise! Surprise! I'm actually going to post early this evening.

I spent today solving my "ceiling" situation. Should I just paint it or should I paper it? I finally decided on wallpaper. The effect is much nicer and definately far less boring than just plain ole white paint. I found some wallpaper a few years ago in the clearance bin at one of the local hardware stores.....five rolls of wallpaper that looks much like old plaster so I bought all five rolls. Yes, I realize that I went a little overboard with that purchase but it has been one of those things that I'm glad I did it. The wallpaper has been used in quite a few projects. Today my memory was failing me since I couldn't remember if the wallpaper was paintable or not so I did a sample piece. The original is a beige-ish colour and since I don't want my ceilings to look like the occupants of the house are a gang of chain smokers it was either paint it or don't use it. The wallpaper painted white is going to be....perfect!

As you can see from the left side of the picture, the white is going to look like a plaster ceiling which is very much like what would have been original to a house in the time period of the Beacon Hill. The right side is the original wallpaper.

I spent today making a pattern of the underside of the second and third floors and gluing them onto the sealed wood.

I'm going to log out now and start painting them white!

January 9th - Day 9/356 days to go!

For those with a keen eye, you will notice that my blog is undated the morning after the fact. It has become very clear to me that doing this blog late at night just isn't going to work. By midnight my fingers and my little brain aren't always connected as well as they should be, and often I've been having a...nap...and don't wake up until 1 or 2am and then it's definately just straight to bed for me. So, in the interest of actually sounding like I have all my brain cells charging while I'm typing, I'm going to do yesterday's entry first thing the following morning.

I now have the staircase sealed and the gloss on the walnut treads does look good (if I do say so myself). I sealed the white as well and I have my fingers crossed that the sealer will not yellow. I also sealed the ceiling side of the second and third floor pieces.

I spent some time thinking about the lighting and since I have a few lights left over from my "Westerfeld", I'm going to use those, add more as needed. I'm actually going to be economical! I'm still trying to figure out just how to hide the wiring but I suspect one of those light bulb moments will come to me....shortly I hope.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

January 8th - Day 8/357 to go!

I didn't accomplish much felt like a lazy day so I just went with it. I did get all the pieces for Step 2 punched out and sanded. I also punched out a few of the pieces for the second floor staircase and put them aside in the "staircase drawer" of my little cart where they will be safe until I am ready for them.

I have this....habit....of putting things in a safe place....and then never being able to find them again or at least not for a long time....and definately not when I want them. So, this construction process is...organized or at least as organized as it is going to get. I have a little cart with drawers for things such as parts, electrical, building supplies....and I am hoping that this will eliminate having to hunt (and curse a little) when I can't find something.

I have also come to realize that there is a downside to doing this project in my "Mini Studio". All my other pending projects are staring at me....wondering when it is their turn! Oh well, they have been patient for this long, I suspect they can be patient a little longer.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January 7th - Day 7/358 Days to go!

Today I applied the third coat of white paint to the main floor staircase....I think that should be it! I also did a bit more sanding on the treads, stained them and glued them into place.

Tomorrow I will seal the treads with a gloss varathane. The container says that it doesn't yellow with age. I'm not sure I fully trust the manufacturer's words based on past experience. I will also seal the white part of the staircase as well. Worse case scenario is that down the road I will have to repaint it white again....and I've had to that in the past before. I'm hoping that varathane has improved over the years and I can trust their "won't yellow" claim.

After much mental debate, I've decided not to stain the interior floors before I assembly the dollhouse. In order to hide the wiring, I'm going to have to make small grooves in the second and third floors and that would make the whole staining process a waste of time. I had always intended to do strip wood floors anyway, so it really just makes sense to not bother staining underneath a false floor. Yes, the wood floors will be false so that I can remove them should I need to do anything to the electrification later change a fixture or a light bulb.

I'm not a fan of tape wire so I will use round wire on this house. I've used this method in the past with great results though I've also had more substantial thickness of floors to work with. Hum, maybe I'd better figure out the wiring layout before I do the assembly so I can make the groove pre-assembly. Decisions, decisions...but best to make them before and not have to struggle later!

Wow...I just realized that I've actually only done Step 1 and Step 3 since Step 2 is the assembly of the dollhouse shell.....and its been a week already! Maybe a year to this project isn't as long as I thought it was going to be. Okay, I won't start to panic yet and I do work well under pressure....but NO pressure here....yet!

January 6th - Day 6/359 days to go!

I spent most of today with two "mini" friends. We try to get together once a week and I have to admit that it is always the highlight of my whole week. They are very talented, always encouraging, definately an inspiration.....and truly a pleasure to spend time with. There is always lots of talking, great food, not always lots of mini things getting done, but it is a perfect way to spend the better part of a day!

This evening I put a second coat of white paint on the first floor staircase. A third coat will be needed for sure. I also spent over an hour sanding the treads before I will be able to stain them.....hopefully tomorrow.

You will notice as I progress that I often have great plans for the next day and sometimes they get accomplished and sometimes they don't. That is one of the great things about being retired, my toughest question each day is "what do I feel like doing today?" I've become a do what the mood strikes me person....and I love it!

I don't want to rush this house and while it is not my first kit house, it is the largest kit I have done. My first kit house was a small four room cottage. The wood was much better quality than the Beacon Hill and no sanding was required. The second was an Ibec farmhouse. Ibec doesn't make dollhouses anymore which is unfortunate because the quality of their houses was incredible. It was simply a matter of taking the pieces out of the box and assembling sanding required. My third kit house was the Apple Blossom by Walmer. It was another house of excellent quality and the construction process also required no sanding. I have made one other kit from Greenleaf....their travel trailer, so I was somewhat prepared for their wood, and the need for sanding, but I guess even that kit didn't prepare me for the task at hand.

Even before I purchased the Beacon Hill the one aspect that had me wondering if I really wanted to do it was the fact that I knew I would be disappointed in the quality of the wood. I find myself wondering why they feel compelled to use what I feel is inferiour quality wood when other companies can use wood of a much better quality. Their designs are excellent and certainly eye-catching. I also wonder how many customers don't buy their kits simply because of the wood they use. I know it has been the major thing that has kept me away from their kits for many years and likely would have again this time if I had not given in to my long desire for the "design" of the Beacon Hill. Are they aware of this "problem"?

Oh well, tomorrow is another day (I sound like Scarlett O'Hara), I will suck it up, grab my sandpaper (which I purchased a large package of).....and keep going on this project!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

January 5th - Day 5/360 to go!

Before the question is asked.....yes, this post is a day late. I was going to post last night but I was busy doing one of the things I'm very good at.....watching tv with my eyes closed and absorbing it through my skin. I woke up well after midnight and went straight to bed. I find my evening nap helps stop me from being too tired to fall asleep in bed at night LOL. This evening nap thing happens only when I miss my afternoon nap which is something I've started to enjoy now that I'm retired. I suspect my boss would have frowned on this activity. Hum, talk about a bad attitude.

Anyway, I did work on the house on day 5.....I painted my first coat of white paint. By the looks of it, there will be at least two more coats required to give it that.....smooth look. I also filled in all the tiny gaps with poly. It may sound a little picky but as I'm sure all miniaturists know those little gaps look huge when you shrink things down to 1/12th scale.

If I can avoid the curse of the recliner chair this evening, I'll stain the stair treads and add another coat of white paint to the staircase assembly as well. I might even be ambitious and punch out the pieces for Step 2 of the house construction (wishful thinking on my part).

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

January 4th: Day 4/361 days to go!

I didn't have much time to work on the Beacon Hill today since I spent some time being Grandma...twice today in fact. While I am enjoying the construction of the house, I enjoy spending time with my grandson much more.

I did get the foundation sealed, the first floor staircase sealed and I started painting it white.

I'm hoping to be more productive tomorrow....a trip to Michaels for new white paint, a trip to Staples for some colour copies, and if all goes well I'm going to try staining the first floor to see how that is going to work out.

I will be posting pictures of the progress as often as possible.

I also called Greenleaf....twice....left messages about my wood sealing question but never got a call back. Oh well, too late now, I've used something other than the 50/50 Shellac/wood alcohol that they suggested. Hopefully I won't live to regret my decision.  Its been 7 hours and the foundation is still lying flat and not warping.

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3rd, 2011: Day 3/362 days to go!

Well my plans to leave the house today changed when I decided that I'd rather spend it inside...warm. I spent 6 1/2 hours today cutting out the staircase for the first floor....sanding.....more sanding....and yet more sanding, and then glueing in stages. I have to admit that the stairs were a lot of work but I think they will turn out nice once completed. I'm doing them white with walnut risers and hand railings. I still have to seal the wood before I can paint them white....maybe tomorrow. Once all the white is painted, I'll tackle staining the treads.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

January 2, 2011 - Day 2/363 to go!

Today was a dollhouse construction supply shopping day. A trip to Home Depot for painters tape, brushes, and to check out the Behr paint sample I picked online that was to become the colour for the siding on the house. I found out today that the paint colours online are not even close to the colour of the sample in the store. My "French Yellow" online was more a pale lemon yellow which is definately not even close to what I wanted. I was lucky enough to find just the right colour...."Bagel", and purchased one of the little Behr testers. I have to say whoever came up with the tester idea was a genious. No more trying to stick lots of paper paint samples together to get a decent sized sample to stick on the wall and then still have to guess...and hope....that it will be right once you invest in a gallon. I was surprised to find out that Home Depot only seems to sell wood stain in quart contains and not the small that meant a trip to Home Hardware. I got my wood stain, some latex gloves since brown stain on fingers isn't very attractive, and some more....sandpaper!!!

My only construction today was to reinforce with glue the joints on the foundation. I want this house to be able to withstand a hurricane or at least a few car trips. I did cut out all the parts for the first floor staircase.....35 pieces needed to get from the first floor to the second floor. As I was cutting them out I kept saying to myself ... "Sandpaper is my new best friend"! Yup, I'm still in the brain washing stage of my sandpaper adventure.

Tomorrow will be wood sealing day for the foundation bottom and I'm going to try staining the first floor side with walnut stain. If it goes well then I won't be quite as pressed for time to make some inlaid wood floors. If it doesn't go well or at least look half decent, then I'll have to start thinking about the flooring in more detail. I've also decided if it looks good, then I'll do the second floor and third floor before I assembly the house.

I might also get to Staples tomorrow to get my hall wallpaper copied. Yes, I make my own wallpaper and I will need to paper the stair wall before I can install the staircase.....but, I'm getting ahead of myself a little (actually a lot).

I'll let you know how my "sealer" works since I'm not using the 50/50 Shellac/wood alcohol method that Greenleaf suggests.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

January 1, 2011 - Day 1 with 364 more to go!

The Beacon Hill box has been taunting me since it arrived. I pass it numerous times a day and while I have been eager to start, I promised myself that I would, at least this time, practice some self-control.

So, I have waited.....and waited....until January 1st, 2011 to dig into the mass of wood sheets (27 to be precise) and pages and pages of instructions and schematic drawings.

I read through the "Warmup Sheet" in my usual yada-yada way...mostly skimming the words and nodding my head as if I really know what the whole grand plan for this house would already be when the reality is that I change my mind at the drop of an...inspiration. Not fickle but perhaps easily swayed by yet another glimpse of yet another possibility. I read the Assembly Instructions much more closely and after a few "DUH" moments and re-reads, I  boldly start searching through the wood sheets for the three pieces for Part A of the assembly....the foundation. Of course, all three pieces wouldn't be on the same sheet....that would make things far to easy. Two of the pieces are on one sheet, which is the third sheet down in the box, and the last piece I need for this step is the second last sheet in the box (it figures).

After removing the pieces and sanding them I can now say my opinion....that the quality of the wood used*p! It is what it is, and I will have to work with it....and around it. I will also have to accept that during the construction/assembly of this dollhouse that sandpaper is going to become my new best friend. I will keep repeating "Sandpaper is my new best friend"....until I have myself brainwashed into believing it. I also remembered to make a cardstock template of the floor plan to use later on when doing the flooring. OMG, I almost sound organized LOL

I did get the first step (The Foundation) completed.....and glued.

Tomorrow I will head over to the hardware store on a quest to find the right wood sealer....for me. It seems that the 50/50 Shellac/Wood Alcohol combination suggested isn't that easy to find. Shellac is readily available but the wood alcohol....not so easy to find. However, that said, after reading about wood alcohol on the internet, I'm not sure that I want to use something that is a few molecules short of toxic waste on any project. I'll trust my local paint expert to advise me on something safer and less likely to be killing my remaining brain cells since I suspect that they may come in handy.