Thursday, February 2, 2017

Welcome to the Neighborhood

Well, hello there. I have been gone far too long, taking a Christmas break for the dollhouse has gone on way longer than I have planned. I still have not returned to working on the Bellingham Farmhouse. Instead I have been sewing doll clothes of the 18 inch dolls that I have been collecting. I will get the sewing bug out of my system and get back to work on it. I have a lot of very tedious painting of windows, doors, and lots of trim for both inside and outside.

I have also been on a countdown to my last trip to Norm's Dollhouse store in Denver. We were there after Thanksgiving and then an email came out announcing that they will be closing in March. I am so sad. The store has been in business for 39 years. According to a newspaper article, most of the store's clientele have given up their mini hobby because they are either gone, in assisted living, or in nursing homes. How sad is that? I'd say that 39 years is a a very good run. I should have gone sooner because an email this week said that their shelves are emptying out and now items are 40% off. I'll let you know what I come home with.

My daughters and I are great thrifters. I have slowed down a lot because I am trying to unload my house rather than fill it up. I have allowed myself my dollhouse indulgence, however. So when Jen texted me that there was a dollhouse at the Goodwill  in Ft. Collins (20 minute drive) with 5 bags of furniture for $89, I made up my mind to pass.

Then I slept on it.

Then I woke up and announced to my husband that I wanted to drive over to the Goodwill to see if it was still there. And it was. And yes I bought it with the furniture sight unseen because it was all bagged up and stuffed in the house which was taped up so that the bags could not be brought out to examine.

After doing some research, I identified the house as the the Brookwood by Green Leaf. Originally manufactured in early 1990s, it was discontinued, and reintroduced. Click here: Green Leaf to read more about the kit. Search Pinterest to see a variety of photos.

It is a very interesting house that would be a lot of fun to assemble and design because it has such interesting lines. Because it is a mid-century modern, it has all sorts of possibilities such as a beach house where mermaids (or merpeople) live, a mountain cabin, or a suburban contemporary re-model, or a mid-century accurately decorated.

Would you like to take a tour? I know you can't wait to see it. Get a cup of tea or coffee and some cookies and enjoy the Brookwood.

As it sat on the dining room table, I dusted and cleaned it up. I shined up the hard wood floors with a bit Pledge sprayed on a napkin to avoid over pray getting on the wall paper.

The windows are my favorite feature, such as this two story cathedral style window. Once I got it home, I realized that it needed porch rails, but when I saw the pictures on Pinterest, the patio does not have a railing.

Off the living room is the solarium. I always wanted a solarium or garden room. I'd fill it with African violets and orchids. I think I might replace the acetate widow because it has a nasty scratch on it and is not glued in. Love those skylights. I had a skylight in my bathroom in our old house that we had installed when we had the roof replaced that provided lots of natural light during the day and stars at night.

More skylights on the other side of the house. A balcony that even has a door entry. It'll be nice place to enjoy morning coffee.

Some of the furniture comes with the house, the sofa and chair, for example that have to be assembled, along with kitchen cabinets that are missing and I think the stove and sink come with he kit.

This is an odd arrangement because the green room where a kitchen should be located isn't large enough to be a kitchen, so the kitchen is in the next area, but there isn't enough room to place the refrigerator.

I haven't go a clue if this art work is a reproduction of an original, but it certainly is unusual. I had to put the iPhone inside the room to take a photo to see what the picture actually looked like.

A very interesting stair way

A very comfortable living room

The house comes with a hot tub that photos show in the solarium, but I will place it on the patio outside. I may buy some plants at Norm's for the patio, Plants are very expensive.

The bathroom on the second level is very interesting. I love the black fixtures and the triangle shaped bathtub. 

For a mid century bedroom this fancy furniture is very unusual, but I can see it in such a house. Love the bed. Very unusual. 

The third level has this modern bed that was part of the kit. Not my colors, but it is very interesting.

The Brookwood really is a very cute house. I don't plan on doing anything to it. I like it the way it is. I can't imagine anyone donating such a cute house. Yes, there are things that I might do to it, but I am going to honor the original builder and not make any changes. I may add some plants. I mean the solarium must have plants. 

I hope you enjoyed your tour. What would you do with the Brookwood? The kit, still available, has so many possibilities and would be a very fun build. 

Thanks so much for visiting. I'll be back with an update. Perhaps I ought to show you my 18 inch dolls, all three rescued from ARC, or charity thrift store. 

Friday, November 25, 2016

Turn on the Lights

One holiday down, a few more to go. I am hoping that I can survive December. We have a party of some sort every weekend, including New Years and a month of birthdays that blend into January. The second weekend of December is the most brutal when we will take a road trip for friends' annual Christmas party on Saturday night then back on Sunday to see our granddaughter dance in the Nutcracker. She is 8 and this is her second year to perform in my favorite Christmas tradition. She will be an angel and probably dance for 30 seconds. It will be worth it.

So with all of the festivities, I have put away the dollhouse building materials. The workshop is now a sewing room and a print shop. I will also make my Christmas cards. I don't actually know what I will sew yet, something.

Before I put all of the dollhouse tools and supplies away, I wanted to get the lighting done. If there is one thing I dislike the most it is lighting. I use the peel and stick copper tape that works very well. I have watched this YouTube video several times and Linda makes it look so easy: She will take you through all of the steps. I have watched others, but hers is cleanest and neatest of all of them. However, installing the lights is not as easy as she makes it look.

I began by drawing in pencil a line an inch below the ceiling so the I run one tape run along the top of the door, but then I had cut the upstairs door opening taller. The trim for the door will then cover up the tape an even if tape is under wallpaper I want access to it, so I ran tape across the floors, making it more assessable. Later when I install the floors I will use double sticky carpet tape to adhere them so that they will be removable.

This photo shows that some of  the tape runs the have been painted over. Tape will show through some wall coverings, so I painted over it to hide it more.

A Cir-Kit light ordered directly from the company on line.

This is the first light that I installed for the kitchen. The kitchen will also get a chandelier; more on that one later, for it was a nightmare.

I opted to paint the ceiling in this house instead of paper it. I had a very hard time getting the lights to adhere to the ceiling covers in the Farm House, and same here. I use a lock-tight type glue, but still it took a long time for it to grab and hold.

This light can be purchased at Hobby Lobby

This is a very pretty light.

This is the chandelier that I made for the bathroom on the blue Farm House, but ran into lighting problems there, so I had to take it out. It has a new home. I love the shadow patterns that the lights cast on the painted ceiling, a good argument for a nice shinny painted ceiling.

Another Cir-kit light ordered from the website. These two chandlers were expensive, but aren't they lovely?


The living room light centered over in front of the fireplace.

I have found that it works best to wire ceiling lights on the above floor. I use the dremel to drill a hole in the floor, glue the light in place, and wire it in using the eyelets. The Youtube video has excellent instructions. 
I have not yet install the interior walls, nor have I added the attic and the roof. I don't know if I am going to add wall sconces either. I have another big decision to make on wallpaper. The selection of wallpapers is very limited and I am leaning toward scrapbook paper, but I am taking my time. 

Here it is all lit. I have two more lights to install, the kitchen chandelier in front of the window and a ceiling light for the second floor hallway. I am not sure just what I will use, a chandelier one that I might make or button type light like the one in the kitchen or a hanging light  that I have in my stash that I removed from the farm house. A decision that I will make after the first of the year. 

Thanks so much for visiting. I love your visits and I appreciate your comments. Enjoy this holiday season. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Basket Weaving Part II

I have had more fun weaving little baskets this week. Let me show you what I have been doing and what I have learned.

To begin, I purchased new cording that I found in the jewelry making aisle at Hobby Lobby. It is heavier with more body than the crochet thread that I used for last week basket. Each spool will lend two baskets with a little left over depending on how big your basket will be. I especially like the variegated cord. One web tutorial that I visited recommended waxed twine, but said it was difficult to find. I did fine with the cording that I used.

This is basket 3. The second attempt didn't turn out so well. I cut a piece of bass wood 1.1/2 inch long and 1 wide then measured where I would place the tooth picks at about 1/8 inch apart. I found that with the first two baskets, I didn't have enough toothpicks so the weave wasn't as nice and the corners were not square.

With this basket, I also used two strands of cording. You can see that I crossed them around each tooth pick to get a more even weave. Essentially, I zig-zagged around the tooth picks. I anchor the basket to a small block of florist Styrofoam so that I easily turn it as I weave around the tooth picks.


You want a tight weave, but not so tight that you move the tooth picks. They should remain tall and straight.

I use T-pins to hold ends of cording in place

This photo demonstrates why more tooth picks more closely spaced are needed to create better corners. This is attempt #2 with the tooth picks further apart. Take not of the corners.

Here I ran out of cording and had to cut more. I will work the ends through the weave to the inside of the basket where I will trim them off.

I finish the basket with a coating of diluted Modge Podge so that it does not go on so heavy.


With the Modge Podge dried--several hours or over night--I am ready to pry the tooth picks out of the Styrofoams. I had to use the thin bladed tool that I use on my Circut to pry the tooth picks out. The tooth picks on the bottom of the basket will need to be sanded down even with the wooden bottom.

Next I clip the tooth picks as closely to the weaving as possible using my jewelry making wire cutters that cut with out smashing the the wood.

You can see how I have poked the tail ends to the inside of the basket. This one has a better shape than the last one I did (not shown).

I braid cord to place on top of the basket to make the rim.

and adhere it with Elmer's glue. I will need to let it dry. The basket needs work: sanding and shaping the bottom. I have discovered a better way to work the bottom. See the next basket.

I decided to do a round basket this time, using a wooden round that I purchased by the bag at Hobby Lobby in the wood crafts section. You will find a bag of various sizes of rounds that are made of a decent quality of wood, thicker and stronger than the bass wood that I used on the other baskets.

Again using two strands, I wove round and round and round until I had a basket with nice, high sides. I will work the ends in this time before I apply the Modge Podge. I will also make a handle. I'll show how I do that next week.

Here are the miniaturists that I consulted on basket weaving:

1 Inch Minis by Kris: this blog has the most amazing instructions to made a wide range of dollhouse miniatures. I will follow her instructions to make the handle for the round basket.

Cinderella Moments: If you haven't visited Caroline yet, you are missing out. You will have read her entire post to find the her basket directions, but you won't mind.

Studio Dollhouse Miniatures: I love this little tutorial on how to make mini towels. I have made some for the first basket that I made. More pics next week.

From Baskets to Lamps

I have written about making mini lamps before, but I have improved my method. Still using the small spindles used in early American type shelves and railings, I have improved the way I drill them. I purchased them at Hobby Lobby, located in the wood working section.

Last summer my husband purchased this work bench for me at Harbor Freight. What dear he is. It sells for under $200 and is easy to assemble. 

My favorite feature is the wooden vice that it has on the end so that I can clamp the spindle in it tightly and saw the ends off with my craft saw. The vice makes drilling so much easier. In the past I held the spindle in my left hand to drill it, praying that I wouldn't miss the spindle and drill my finger. 

After cutting off the ends, I lightly sand the ends to get a smooth surface, especially on the bottom so that the lamp stands straight. 

Once I have drilled the holes, I cut a channel for the electrical cord to fit in, using the dremel.

I will use a rechargeable dremel tool to drill the holes. This versatile tool will come in handy for a lot your miniature projects. It comes with attachments and a nice selection of drill bits.

I purchased large crimping tubes in the jewelry section to help secure the lamp shade. I am not sure exactly how I will attach the lampshade yet. I used the smaller bit to drill the hole clear through then I used the 1/8th bit to drill a large opening to fit the crimp tube in. I will glue the tubes in to secure them.

As you can see, this lamp has a hole in the side. I will fill it with wood putty and paint over it. It is difficult to get the holes drilled straight and entered. Takes a good eye and steady hand because the drill bit tends to jump around when it first contacts the spindle. Nor are the holes perfectly centered, another very difficult thing to accomplish. I tend to get in a hurry, but I think I should use a little hand drill to begin the hole so that the drill bit has a small hole to fit in then switch to the dremel.

I save these ends just in case I might find a use for them.

I needed some help from hubby because I wanted to upgrade the doors for the Bellingham. The kit doors are rather not very attractive as are the windows, so I have purchased House Works, Ltd. windows and doors. While the windows fit perfectly, the doors didn't, so I enlisted hubby to cut door holes larger.

He used the dremel tool to start the cut. This door needs to be made taller.

He finishes the cut with his handy dandy saw.

Now the doors fit perfectly. The top doorway needed to be taller while the bottom doorway had to be widened.  Thank you, dear.

There you have it another week's worth of work on the Bellingham. 

Thanks for visiting. Please come again. Love your comments, too.