Monday, August 15, 2016

Three Easy Projects: If I Can, You Can--And Sometimes I Can't

I spent a lot of time on Pinterest looking for inspiration and how tos. Sometime I even make things up as I go along. I am not particularly artsy or crafty or talented or imaginative. Not like so many who are real artists. I do want things to look right. Perfect. If I want perfect, I buy it, but miniatures are expensive and they do add up. As I near completing the construction work on the Farmhouse that used to be blue, I am thinking of how to accent the outside. There are miniaturists who inspire me:


  • Dollhouses By Robin Carey: If you have not visited this blog, you must. Her houses are spectacular and the gardens that she plants outside are exquisite. I visit this bog often so that I can see how she does certain things. There is no way that I can spend the kind of money that it takes build a garden using professionally designed flowers and gardens that are so perfect. Nor can I actually make all of the flowers that other artists make.
  • 1 Inch Minis by Kris is the best blog to visit if you want to learn how to make your own--of almost everything. I don't always follow her tutorials exactly; instead, I modify according to my ability and the tools that I have.
  • Cinderella Moments is a must visit for a lot of reasons. Her little hand built cottages all from scratch are everything: adorable, whimsical, magical, fabulous--you get the point. She explains how she made an item, offers instructions and tutorials, and is so encouraging if you ask her advise, opinion, or how did she made something. 

These are all current, active blogs that are fun to visit. And be sure to check out the others that I follow listed on the side bar, for they are superior miniaturists, too.

I wanted a screen door for the farmhouse, I bought one. You can find these laser cut screen doors on several website catalogs such as Superior Dollhouse Miniatures and Miniatures.com. There are several styles that you can choose from. Most of the old Victorian farmhouses had screen doors; ours did. So I ordered one and I was so excited when I opened the package:



It is so cute. I absolutely love it, but as you can see, it does not fit the front door:


So I decided to make my own. I am still working on it, but here's the beginning.

 

It is a very simple project. I used the narrow craft sticks cut to measure simply by laying each board inside the door jamb to cut it to the right length. I played around with decoration for the door by using my Cricut to cut the corbels and the center design out of card stock, but the corbels didn't cut well. Too small. I did get the center piece to cut nicely, so I stiffened it by using Modge Podge on it to give it body and shine.



I then searched my favorite sites for 3/4 inch corbels and found these at miniatures.com for 1.99 a package. Perfect. The screen door will be stunning. I have painted it the same color as the house, which adds a nice accent.


Next I wanted potted plants for the front porch. I have seen these little packets of flowers at Hobby Lobby and saw another blogger use them, so I thought I'd try making my own arrangement. I wanted blue hydrangeas for the porch and they are are very expensive in the catalogs. So here is my version. Supplies: Spare Parts flowers, small gage florist wire (I had it on hand, so I can't tell you the gage), and Tacky Glue



Using my jewelry making pliers, I twisted an loop then bent it to create a platform for the little flower, added a dollop of glue, then the flower. How simple is that?




 I found this strawberry wreath at the thrift store one day. I bought it, knowing that I could use it. While the strawberries are too large for the dollhouse, the leaves are about the right size. 

  



I already had the little clay pot, which I filled with spagmum moss that I had on hand. I tamped in tight and didn't glue in. I added glue to each wire and poked it the moss. I bent the leaves slightly to give them some shape and definition and glued them in, too.  Pretty cute.


And I wanted a rose trellis. The first house that I bought that got me started building has a trellis, so I used it as my inspiration. I purchased 1/8th by 1/8th wood from Hobby Lobby and a package of Spare Parts Roses that are perfect, then I began cutting. I used 1 1/2 lengths of wood.

Using my strawberry wreath, I cut vine to hot glue to the trellis then hot glued the roses on. It looks a bit sparse, and leggy, but isn't that how roses grow sometimes? Mine, at least.




The rose trellis adds a nice spot of color to an otherwise plain house. I have bee looking for a new name for the Blue Farmhouse that isn't blue any more. The Rose Farmhouse, perhaps. 

Please feel free to comment and suggest. If you think that my trellis need more roses or leaves or a good pruning, let me know. 

I am finishing this post the next day. The screen door project didn't go well last night, so I am making a new. Stay tuned for the next episode.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I love it when you do. 



Monday, August 8, 2016

No More Blue Farmhouse


We finished our basement because I didn't want it to become a repository for the "I don't know what to do with it" stuff. It was far too easy to just send it to the large vacant space below. A previous owner had had finished a bedroom and a bathroom, so we finished as second bedroom and then one large space as a family room/TV room and a craft/office area for me. At each end we have large 110 gallon aquariums, one marine tank and one fresh water tank that my husband (known as the Head Gardner or HG over at the my other blog, the Garden Spot) tends. The room is sparsely furnished with a sectional sofa and a TV.

Oh I forgot to mention the village of dollhouses, along with the tables full of miniature furniture and accessories for the blue farmhouse. I was moving tables about last night when the HG asked me what I was doing doing. I told him that I was adding another table to the village for when I finish the blue farmhouse, which will be very soon.  I am anxious to bring this project to a close, except I know that there will always be some tinkering and things to add. Is anyone's home ever finished? Don't we always decorate only to redecorate and remodel again? I am so very close to finishing the house, and I thought that I would catch you up.



This is the house as I brought it home from the antique/junks store. I began the restoration by cleaning up the interior.


Most of the rooms were lined with poster board-like paper that I stripped way to get to the bare wood.


The kitchen had been worked on--more than once. I don't think that the original builder completed the house or the second person had stripped out the original wallpaper.




The kitchen had more than one layer of wallpaper.


I didn't find the black at all appealing.


So much work and elbow grease.
 

The kitchen is primed and ready for wallpaper now.


It was looking better, but more work to get the walls clean, old glue removed, and surfaces smoothed down.




The house was fully wired, but not all lines worked




I was so new at working with this copper tape wiring, that I really didn't know what I was doing. I should have left much of the wiring intact, but I messed and messed and messed with it. Not all of the  lines that I added work, now.


Take this light in the second floor hallway, for example. In this photo it works. Then one day I plug in the lights and this light and others on the same line don't work. I used one of the pound-in plug-ins that failed twice.




There were broken windows, too. the house came with a shoebox full of left over pieces and odds and ends of wood pieces, thankfully. I was able to repair these windows with all but a couple of the original pieces.




These little opera windows on either side of the house and on the second floor front are a problem. The walls on both sided are double walls with dead space in between. So each frame requires a pane of glass. The window kits come with 3 pieces, two wooden frames and a window pane, but each frame required glass, so I am trying to figure that one out. 

This is the Peter Rabbit themed nursery. I tried to install a beaded an lighted chandelier, but again that  pound-in plug-in failed. Big mess. And the pretty chandelier that I made for bathroom was on that circuit. After paper and re papering the wall, I took out that electrical line. I will turn the nursery chandelier into a battery operated one.


I love the living room and kitchen. The hardwood floors purchased at Hobby Lobby turned out so nicely. I stained them, used polyurethane, and Johnson paste wax to get a nice shine.




I've had fun playing with furniture and accessories along the way. If you want to check the progress over the last year, go to 2015 links.




I spent a lot of time with the bathroom. You can see that it has only one wall sconce. 


The stairs were probably the hardest and worst of the entire project because nothing fit. 
The back of the house is now pretty well finished. I had to add trim to the raw edges to hide them, a rough plywood along with ragged edges on the wallpaper. Not perfect, but the edges are much cleaner.


TADA: No longer the blue farmhouse. I don't know what I will call the house now. Perhaps once I move back in (I've had furniture in and out, in and out, and again), I'll come up with a proper name.


There is just a little more exterior work to do. The front porch railing has been repaired and painted and I am now working on a screen door to cover the front door. There will be a final showing in a few weeks. Stay tuned.

I am so glad that you visited. This blog gets little traffic, nor to do I tend it as I do my gardening blog
--that's where all the action is. I have found that many dollhouse bloggers aren't quite as chatty as are the home and garden writers and that's okay since we probably spend more time working on our miniature projects than we do writing about them. We blog when we have great progress to share. 

See you soon when the farmhouse joins the village. We will have a celebration. I hope you join me then, too.  In the meantime, check out Normandy Life where Maggie hosts Mosaic Monday, a meme for bloggers to share their mosaics. Maggie lives in Normandy, so I enjoy reading all about her life there. Join us for the fun and to make new friends.








Thursday, July 21, 2016

Finishing

Summer always seems to just slip away, doesn't it. Here we spend a lot of time in the garden doing battle with the weeds, a losing one. It has been so hot that I have retreated to the basement to work on the Blue Farmhouse, trying very hard to get it finished. The carpet needs to be cleaned, but first I have to clear away the dollhouse clutter and in order to do that I have to get this house finished. So here is the progress so far along with the disasters.



If I remember, I posted about planking the ceiling on the 3rd level with craft sticks. I sorta liked the look, and then I didn't like it at all. The sticks didn't lay flat and weren't cut evenly, though the seams would be covered with beams. Still I was not happy with the look.



Even with the wall paper installed, I wasn't happy.

                     

I was having a hard time envisioning the final look. Take note of the tape wiring, for it will be the second disaster.


I decided to cover the mess with paper. I used a heavy craft paper that I purchase at Hobby Lobby. The ceilings looks so much cleaner and prettier. I am really happy with them now. Now all finished, this den looks clean, warm, and a nice place to chill.



Here is the tease for what the room will eventually look like. At first it was was going to be a music room in the attic, but it has evolved into a horsey themed room. I had a very hard time selecting wallpaper, settling on this hunter/jumper theme. I am going to love it. So will you. Remember my visit with Mike the Junk man and how sent me home with 6 boxes of the good, bad, ugly in dollhouse furniture and accessories?  This fire place was in the mess. I love it. It is rustic and old. Handmade out of plaster, dated on the back with the artist's initials. I needed to drill a hole for the light cord to go through the back, but I was too afraid that I'd crack the plaster, so I will paint the cord brown to conceal it more. 




The stairs have been particularly difficult to install on both floors. First I purchased the stair kit at Hobby Lobby, stained all of the pieces, assembled the staircase, and then began to fit them into place. I posted months ago how the hubby using his Real Special Saw enlarged the stair opening. The ceilings in this house are higher than kits houses, so these stairs don't quite fit, especially the hand rail; thus an extra newel post.


While not perfect, some of the imperfections don't actually show all that much,  such as the gap here at the top of the stairs, visible here because of the camera angle. All in all, after all of the struggle, this second stair went in much nice and easier the the lower level.


One of my favorite pieces that I have made is this little chandelier for the bathroom. Lighted, it looks so elegant, giving the bathroom a touch of class. The chandelier on the floor was remade with a light for the nursery--another tale. The wiring for the bathroom runs from the back wall down to the floor and across to the center of floor where the light from the floor is attached, as shown in the previous photo. Here the light works. 

I had the wall papered, added my plug in for the chandelier in the nursery and the lights worked. 


Do you notice the difference in wallpaper? Once The paper set, the light quite working. I didn't know if the was the plug-in or the connection. Long story short, the photos tell the story. I tore off the striped piece, re did the tape wiring and replaced the wallpaper with the plaid because I had only one sheet of the striped. The light worked. And then it didn't.

                           


I cut a patch for the hole that I had cut out for the plug-in. Removed all of the tape wiring on the floor, and




glued down the floor, giving up the the pretty, little blue chandelier.



A another peak at the personal touches that I am adding to the house. In the bedroom, I have placed a wedding photo of my grandparents, Harry and Abby Duston. They looked so happy and so much in love standing on a bridge. They were married in a double ceremony along with Harry's brother Renny and his bride Goldie. Even as a child, I thought how romantic. There are other photos of both couples and one of Harry feeding Abby wedding cake on the bridge. I think they were married in 1922 somewhere in Kansas.

On the far back wall on the second floor in the alcove below the window, I have placed a photo of my mother. She was probably 12, wearing her hair in long ringlet curls that had been rolled in rags. I found the picture frames at Hobby Lobby. After measuring their back side, I scanned photos into Microsoft word where I sized them to fit the frames. Some trimming was required. For best results, print the photos on photo paper. I used the free 4x6 glossy photo paper that comes free with my HP ink.




The last few evenings I have been cutting and installing the trim to cover the rough cut edges of the old plywood used to build the house. While not perfect, the edge trim has cleaned up the edges very nicely. I will need to some touch-up with stain. There are still some problems that need solving, but I working on them. Now I am painting the outside, beginning with white trim on the front porch. 

Despite the challenge of renovating this old house, I am loving it--imperfections and all. I certainly have leaned a lot about construction. I'll be back with the house all painted and finished. 

Thanks so very much for stopping by. It is always such a pleasure to share my house with you.