I’m back!

Whew! It’s been awhile. Sorry about that. 🙂 But don’t worry, I am dedicating myself to updating once a week from here on out, on Sundays! We just got so busy moving and doing stuff that I haven’t had a chance, lately to even work on the dollhouse. But this week I did!

I decided to go ahead and scrap the idea of painting the walls. The paint isn’t rolling on as cleanly as I’d hoped, and it just doesn’t look right. Instead, I’m going to invest in some scrapbook paper that will look like paint instead of wallpaper. As a result, this week I went in and spray-painted the trim back to white, touched up spots that had been mice-chewed, and let that dry.

I also took the time to sand down the wood floors (they were really rough) and re-stain them. At least for the base floor; still have to build them for the middle floor and attic. Anyway, got them re-stained and sealed them with acrylic sealer so they look freshly polished. They are SO PRETTY. When I get the second layer on them this week, I’ll be sure to take pictures for you guys.

Also decided to pull the roof off the porch and make it a deck instead.

My goal for this week is to get the wood floors done and the painting as well, including painting the outside of the house (which I think is going to be green). Once it’s painted, I have plans to lay the wood for the deck and put bricks on the side of that “level”. It’s coming together in my mind now, which is really nice. I will also be taking measurements and then going to the craft store to pick up scrapbook paper.

Pictures to follow. 🙂

My Dog Hates Dollhouses

ImageThis is Daisy. Daisy is an asshole. And she hates dollhouses. Or at least she hates mine. In the past few weeks she has eaten or attempted to eat at least half of the things I made or am currently using for the dollhouse project. I’m talking…I made a tiny watermelon out of polymer clay, and I was so very proud of it! One day I found it’s mangled remains on the floor and I knew there was only one dog to blame. Also? She ate HALF A PACKAGE of chalk, and her poo was purple.

She’s lucky she’s cute. And I think she really likes me, so that helps her case. She just can’t help herself. She likes to eat stuff. Mostly stuff that isn’t food.

Anyway! So I’ve been pretty terrible about updating the blog. Mostly real life has been busy. I’ve also been using my spare time to get my office organized as Erich and I prepare (slowly) to move in the next few months. But I’m getting back to it, now, and I am happy with the progress I’ve made.

So far, I have nearly finished all the wainscotting for the walls, as well as almost all the trim. I’m not 100% convinced I really like the trim and may decide to redo it after I’ve finished applying all the coats of paint that I need to apply to make it look like real painted wood. My next step will be to paint the walls with the pretty blue I got.

Here are some pictures!

First, the unpainted wainscotting:

ImageImageImage

 

And the unpainted trim for up by the ceiling:

ImageImage

 

And now, here are some photos of a few pieces of both with their current level of paint. I’m not entirely satisfied, to be honest, they look a little…textured. I’m still trying to decide if that’s cool or not. Bear in mind I haven’t “cleaned” the wainscotting yet, so it’s still a little “grungy” in texture. I’m hoping a get a dremel rotary tool for my birthday so I can have an easier time with the fine sanding work (hint hint, hubby <3).

ImageImage

ImageImage

 

And now, for your viewing pleasure, here are some of the tiny things I’ve been working on. The first is a fish pond. I bought the pond from the dollhouse store, but I made the fish out of polymer clay. The bottom color is chalk. I still need to do the top layer of resin, which is on today’s list of things to do, so here’s a current picture and I’ll make sure to post a finished product later. 🙂 (I learned that ModPodge is not good for filling large spaces like this.)

Image

And here is tiny watermelon 2.0. I still need to go in with a tiny black sharpie to add “seeds”, and then make a little cutting board to glue it onto, but…I am quite pleased otherwise!

Image

 

I also made this tiny bowl of plums, and this french loaf. Well, it’s a first attempt at a french loaf; the brown chalk I had was a little too “red” and the clay was a little too “white”, so now that I have different clay I’ll be re-making this. Still, not bad for a first attempt! And yes, I know I said I wouldn’t be making any accessories until the construction work was done. I’m bad; deal with it.

Image

ImageImage

That’s all for now, folks! I’ll try to be better about updating now that I have a little more free time. 🙂

Primed!

The first two floors of the dollhouse are sanded, primed for painting and windowless! This is a victory, considering the weekend I had. I am still working on prying up the carpet from the attic, which I’m pretty sure is glued on with MAGIC, but it’s about half clear. Once that’s done, I’ll sand it down. As it stands, the dollhouse is currently roofless, and nearly completely gutted. The next step is to rip off the green carpet used as grass, and ready that area for the garden I intend to put in. I also think I’ll be removing the roof from over the patio and instead making it an open deck with wooden railing.

I picked up some thin bass wood today to begin creating the moulding and the trim. I haven’t decided on a design yet. I have decided though that the moulding and the upper trim (or other moulding) will be white, and the walls will be dark blue. I am trying to tie that theme into the furniture, as well.

I’m realizing this is going to be a very expensive project. I guess that’s why it’s going to take me so long. Among other things that are keeping me busy. Still, it’s a fun creative outlet.

The Most Awesome Place Ever (A.K.A. I’ve created a monster of myself)

I haven’t really made any further progress on the dollhouse since my last post, but I wanted to update anyway because I have discovered what is probably the coolest, happiest place in my area that I will ever, ever find.

So, I went yesterday morning to venture out to Hobby Lobby and look at staircases for the dollhouse. I was going to size-compare it to the one I yanked out so I could see what the same size would cost. (That wouldn’t have worked, as I forgot the old one at home, but I digress.) On my way there, I stopped into a place called U.S. Toys (I think) because I thought they might have a wider selection than Hobby Lobby does.

The nice sales associate (who I am deeply convinced has no idea just how much of an enabler he really is) told me they really don’t carry much of anything, “But have you heard of that dollhouse store over on Colorado Blvd?”.

What.

He told me it was called “Dollhouse something” or “Something dollhouse”. Intrigued, I wandered to my car and put “dollhouse” into a map search. That’s when I discovered a place 2.2 miles from my current location called Norm’s Dollhouse and Miniatures (Or Norm’s Dollhouse Inc).

I will never. Be. The same, you guys.

When I wandered in, I literally could have cried. This charming little store has basically -everything- someone like me might ever want or need to build or refinish a dollhouse. From wood to accessories to pieces and parts, flooring and wallpaper, tiny bricks, garden foliage and so much more…. I was astonished. I had NO IDEA that such a place existed, not only in my state but literally less than ten minutes from my house.

I am in so much effing trouble.

Here’s their website, if you’re curious.

http://norms-dollhouse-colorado.com/

I will definitely be going back, and have already begun making a rather extensive list of things I will need for the next step of my project. The lady there (I didn’t catch her name, sadly) was so very nice and friendly! She showed me things I wouldn’t have found, probably, and even threatened to blog-stalk me (hi, nice saleslady!). I can’t even tell you how enthused I am about this discovery.

Talk about inspiration!

Furniture

Last night I finished tearing the carpet out of the bottom and middle floors of the dollhouse, and I removed all the old window trim and baseboards and wallpaper. My next step is to rip up the attic carpet, which I am somewhat remiss to do since it is still perfectly intact, but it won’t match what I have planned. After I’ve done that, I’m going to sand off all the remnants of wood glue and carpet fuzz, knock out all the windows and finish filling the lines in the walls. Once that’s done, it will be time to prime the walls for painting and measure for the paneling that will go on the lower half of the walls. I am going to use those same measurements to do some moulding up top, I think. There’s a lot of work to be done to finish getting the place ready to be furnished.

Today I sat down and went through the box of old dollhouse furniture and accessories that I haven’t opened in years. I’ve noticed as I’ve been going through the beginnings of this project that I’m missing my Grandpa an awful lot. The wood glue beneath the carpet still shows the circular motions he made with his finger to smear it well enough that the carpet would stay down. I remember watching him with a child’s fascination as he put together every piece with painstaking effort. It says a lot for my Grandpa’s craftsmanship that the gutting and removal of pieces has been so difficult. But I expected the physical difficulty, not the emotional. In fact, when I was in Hobby Lobby the other week picking up pieces I started to cry for the sheer weight of the memories. 

And again, today as I sat unpacking furniture and remembering fondly, I realized that this project isn’t really just a hobby, it’s me trying to say goodbye to my Grandpa. For those of you who don’t know, I never had a solid relationship with either Grandmother, and Grandpa…he always just loved me for who I was. His only granddaughter, who he taught to fish (and gut and clean them, too). He taught me that giving my time to others is not only fun but necessary to remember how it feels to -be- helped. He also instilled a love of photography in me, as he was one of the most prestigious photographers in the Vietnam war. His work has been featured in several books on the subject. 

He died a couple years ago. I regret my teen years where I thought his excitement about photographs and coin jars was boring. I am exceedingly glad that I sent a letter for him with my parents when they went to see him in the nursing home shortly before his passing. I am so happy I got to tell him how much he meant to me, and that he knew that I am happy. I wish he could see this blog, though, and know what I’m doing, because I feel like he’d be happy to know that I care enough about what he made for me to restore it to it’s former…maybe even above it’s former…glory. 

Mush aside, when I went through the furniture today, I found several pieces that could not be salvaged. The entire child’s bedrooms, bunkbeds, dresser, most of the outdoor furniture, and sadly my entire little plastic family (they were played with a bit too roughly, I think). But, I did manage to rescue the bedframe from the parents room, both sets of couches (I don’t remember why I had two), the crib, part of the kitchen, a buffet, and some pictureframes, as well as all the little accessories. I believe I am going to take the couches and chairs apart if I can and re-upholster them because both patterns look like something my Grandmother would have enjoyed.

I would like to put them in something a bit more modern and lovely, that will go with my chosen color scheme, which will be dark blue and white, and the lovely mahogany brown you’ve seen so far.  Some of the stuff needs to be repaired, minor repairs, mostly, nothing a bit of wood glue can’t fix. Here are some photos. 🙂 

The kitchen sink and stove, which I am going to keep and use after I fix the stove door so it stops falling open thanks to gravity:

Image

 

Speaking of the kitchen, there were a few hilariously vintage things in my collection, including this baking shelf complete with what I think is a flour dispenser. Sadly, this piece is too broken to repair (you can tell by the crookedly hanging doors) and is getting tossed, but I thought I’d share it anyway:

Image

This chair was always my favorite piece. It will NOT be getting reupholstered because I am afraid of ruining it, so it will simply stand out as being the only piece of furniture without matching fabric. That’s okay…I’ll call it an heirloom. 😉

Image

This fireplace will also be getting saved. I thought about building one and I may yet do that for another room of the house, but this one is still in really good shape and it matches and it’s PRETTY!

Image

The living room furniture that will all be getting re-upholstered, the second picture is only one piece of a set:

Image

Image

Extra dining chairs and bathroom pieces that I will be selling:

Image

Image

All that’s left of the deck furniture:

Image

My collection of tiny accessories. 🙂 Including some awesomely old stuff, like the tiny little tv and the brick cell phone, haha! Good times. There’s also a firewood cradle with tiny logs that were cut by my Grandpa. Those aren’t going anywhere:

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

That’s it for now! Next step is to finish removing the carpet and sand down the floors before I fill all the gaps in the walls and so on and so forth. 🙂 Thanks for reading.

Dollhouse work and big mistakes

I feel like I’ve been possessed. It seems like all my crafting brain cells want to focus on this project. I’ve given myself time to work on it, though other stuff has priority right now (mostly sewing stuff), but over the last few days I’ve managed to finish the living room and dining room floors, and also acquired several materials and pieces/parts to keep going, including three dining chairs. Hobby Lobby only had three, I’ll have to track down another one later for a total of four:

The chairs also got me to thinking about what sort of dining table I’d have if this were my house. The answer was a modern rustic plank table. I decided then and there that all the wood furniture would be stained to match the floors. So I assembled a table out of balsa wood and a square dowel rod for the legs. I used a pen to “carve” the planks by grooving them into the soft surface with a ruler.

Then I stained it:

(At this point I’d forgotten that I promised myself I’d redo the interior before making furniture, but hey…inspiration strikes where it strikes.)

I also made four little round tables with nifty spindle-legs I found at the hobby store. Two tables for either side of the couch and two for bedside tables. Not sure yet if they’ll be bedside tables in the master bedroom or the kiddo’s bedroom, we shall see what happens down the road.

See how awesome they look with the floor? The floor may be my favorite part of this entire project, by the way.

And then I made a MASSIVE three day mistake! >< I spent three evenings in a row doing this:

This is the wood floor for the kitchen area, which I created COMPLETELY BACKWARDS! UGH! I did not think to check my pattern before I started…or at any point during the process, so I toddled on my way, got done, went downstairs to make sure it fit and realized that no, no it does not. So now I have to redo that entire piece, which is, unfortunately, the largest room in the entire dollhouse.

My husband’s response was “There’s a lesson to be learned here”. I think it shows great strength of character that I didn’t bonk him upside the head.

In any case…I’m about to get started remaking that entire floor. Hopefully I can salvage some of the skinny sticks I used by violently ripping them from the paper they’re glued to. In the meantime…here’s the pinterest page I made where I’m saving all the tutorials I want to use for this project, and the things that give me ideas:

I have collected foam board and balsa and all sorts of other nifty things and my mind is -exploding- with inspiration. I seriously love this project. It’s got me thinking about eventually making miniature things to sell on etsy. Or at the very least doing tutorials of how to make stuff. Can’t wait to show you guys the entry table I’ve been working on, if it turns out well. 🙂

The Dollhouse

When I was very young, ten or eleven I think, my Grandpa built me a dollhouse. It was one of my favorite toys growing up, and though I didn’t always take care of it, when it came time to clean my room of childhood things, it was one of the only toys I chose to store rather than donate.

It lived in my parents shed for years, and then last year they offered to bring it down to me since I finally have a little bit of space for it. Unfortunately, it has been trashed. Twelve or thirteen years living in a shed made it the ideal home for who knows how many generations of mice. Needless to say, mice are not good houseguests. They trashed it. Despite the fact that it’s “just” a dollhouse, I was devastated, and I promised myself and my Grandpa (who is now dead, but still with me in my heart) that I would refurbish it and fix it up for display.

Well, I’ve been busy, but I’ve decided I’m going to finally start doing it. It may take me a really long time, but I already started. I’ve already got all the destroyed carpet out of the bottom floor and half out of the middle floor. Also removed the staircase for cleaning and a repaint (or perhaps I’ll carpet it). Still have a LOT of work to do. Here are some photos of the dollhouse in it’s current state:

The entire inside:

The outside:

What’s left of the grass:

The attic, fortunately untouched by mice due to lack of staircase:

The child’s bedroom:

Bathroom:

Bedroom:

Kitchen:

Dining room:

Living room:

So as you can see, the place is in pretty bad condition. If it were a real house, it would probably be condemned. Either way, my first step was to tear out the carpet (which I am still doing), but in the meantime, I am also working on new floors.

I decided to put wood floors in the lower level, so with several packages of Skinny Sticks (purchased at Wal-Mart at about $2 apiece), I began laying out a floor for the dining room first. It’s now sanded and finished:

I’ve also begun laying the floor for the kitchen area:

Once I’ve glued the room floors into place I’ll have to do some creative connecting with wood filler, probably, but so far I’m liking my progress. We’ll see how this goes. I definitely want to get the floors and the walls, as well as the other interior things (like windows) fixed and polished before I start working on furniture and other accessories, which I will do one room at a time. 🙂