Sunday, August 18, 2019

What a Mess

I titled my garden blog last week "The Party's Over," and I am so glad that our social obligations are done with. We hosted a 50th class reunion in our barn Aug. 2nd and wedding last week, so yes the party is over. I took a long break from my dollhouses while we prepared for the two super events. We really don't entertain that much, but this was a big summer full of events.

I knew that when I went back to the little houses I would work on the Dura-craft San Franciscan with hopes of getting it finished to hand off to my daughter. I've written a little about it before, but let me tell you now my real feelings.

It is a mess. An awful mess. To review: my dear friend meant well when he paid $5. for the house in a tub. It had been started, but the lady said that she got overwhelmed by the project, and now I can see why. I have have really bungled it up.

First, the instructions are hard to follow. There are too many pieces with too many numbers and letters. It's just easier to look at a drawing without out all of the labeling. Right?

Next it is the very thin plywood that splinters and has to be punched out of flat sheets. There are over twenty boards that contain parts to punch out, resulting in a lot of splinters. Too many parts.


Nothing fits partly because I just didn't position pieces correctly and the glued them in the wrong place.

I have been focusing on how to add the turret, but after reviewing the instructions (always read the instructions.) To be quite honest, I did read them, but I have not worked on this house for months so now I am having to re familiarize myself with the parts.

Part of a good building strategy is to dry fit parts, right?

Rather difficult with these old kits.

I am trying to figure out the roof. I think that I have to install the 3rd floor first which does not fit because the house is uneven, so I have to figure out how to square it and make the floor fit before I can add the roof.

I don't think is what is meant by 'kit bashing' is it?

I have this large gap between floor and outside wall. UGH!

And the kit is short the siding. I've been able to purchase some but I need more to finish the turret.

The gaps just cause so many problems.

This is a side wall that wasn't glued in place. No. I cannot unglue it. Tried that.

I wondering if I should glue the floor to the cardboard? 

So there you have it. A real mess. I hope to have this house actually finished so that I can give it to my daughter who wants to make it into a haunted house, so she doesn't mind the mistakes.

A note now to the wise: There are 3 Dura craft models for this San Franciscan house. This one is # 555. Avoid this kit. AVOID THIS KIT.  I have a second one to build that is made out of the MFD wood that will go together so much easier. If you must build this house, look for the updated models. 

I'll be back, hopefully having made some progress. 

Thanks for joining me.

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Dressing a Bed

I don't know about where you live, but here on the plains of Northern Colorado, the heat is on, with 100 degrees predicted for today. We've turned off the air conditioner because it is has a problem, so I have retreated to the cool basement where the craft area is. I determined yesterday to finish a project, but first, the other night, I started and finished a very little project.

Early in the spring I purchased this little barn kit for the Toy Store from Dave Nelson at Colorado Doll and Bear Museum mini show. Some of you are meeting Dave and his wife Wendy as they travel across the country, participating in the miniatures shows.

The directions are easy to read. (I don't know the manufacture)

I covered my work table with butcher paper, wax side up then I laid down  a wide strip of double sided tape to which I lay my tiny pieces to paint them. I had watched a video on HBS on assembling a 1:48 scale house that gave the suggestion to
attach tiny pieces to the cellophane tap to hold them in place while being painted. The instructor used wax paper, but my butcher paper worked just as well.

The pieces dried quickly; to prevent over painting drying, I removed the pieces and cleaned  the excess paint before it dried in place. The pieces dried quickly, so I was able to repeat the process on the other side.

Instead of the cliche red barn, I wanted to do an old weathered barn. I am not an artist, so I don't know technique, I just went with my imagination. For the roof, I mixed a platinum acrylic craft paintthat has sparkles with the white, which I thought would be okay since some roof shingles have sparkle to them. Besides it was late at night and I didn't want to prolong the project.

I did the same with the platform, trying to make it look like a barnyard.

Once I had the barn painted with white paint that I added splashes of black to to get a non shiny paint, I added a layer of white then added streaks of back, more watered down white and after letting it dry, I sanded it to give it a weathered look.

The old red barn is now more legendary than reality. As we traveled the Midwest from Colorado to Michigan, we saw some of the most beautiful farms, most with the giant white barns and large white farm houses. 

I am pleased with my results.

It was meant for the Toy Store, but I have so many toys for the store, I think I'll leave it in the little boy's room in the Bellingham Farmhouse.

Making the Bed

If you search the blog for "Bed", you will find a number of posts on bed making, even making sheets. so here is my newest bed making project and I think my beds are improving. I tend to think very literally and tend to go about making little things as they would be in real life, like fitted sheets, but reality does not always work in small scale, so I have been learning and progressing as I make my own things.

I determined yesterday that I would dress the five beds that I have that need bedding, and here are my results. for the first three. (I have misplaced my fat quarters for the one bed. GRRR!)

First, I revisited Julie Warren's YouTube on how to make a 1:12 double bed (she also demonstrates how to make a single bed, too). She shows the process in two videos, the first one building the bed and the second one where she makes the bedding.  I sort of went rogue, taking short cuts.

Because she is British, I decided to measure my bed just in case the beds standards are different in England. Before I watched her video here's how decide how what size to make the bedding

  • Standard Mattress size for a double bed: 54x75 inches = 4.5 feet or 4.5 inches Wide; 6. 25 feet or 6. 25 inches (61/4) long.  
  • To double check, measure your purchased bed, as I did this one. 
  • Decide the width of the bedspread by how close to the floor you want it. 

I cut two 7x61/2 pieces, adding and 1/4 inch for seam allowance and hand stitched the the two pieces together, right sides together. You can hand stitch your project, machine stitch, or even us fabric glue.

Once stitched, trim away the excess to reduce bulk once you turn the pieces right side out. A note on stitching: my first stitch begins about 2 inches from the the center of the top and continues around the bedspread to finish at the top, about two inches from the edge, leaving an opening to turn the bed spread right side out or to stuff it, which you can also add to make a puffy comforter.

I fold the top edge in about 1/4 inch. Ideally iron this top edge right side to the wrong side so that when it is time close the opening, you will have the edge pre turned. Again, hand stitch, machine stitch, or glue. I glued my edge. If it looks too rough, make this the bottom of your spread.

Next are matching pillow cases. You will note that I cut on the fold so that I cut one piece instead of two. My pillow pieces measure 2x3 inches.  

Stuff you pillow. I use quinoa, but on Facebook many are objecting to food based filling. I like the consistence of the tiny seeds. I can't cook the stuff to make it taste good, so it becomes a perfect filler. Objection inclued attracting mice, bugs, moisture or mildew in high humidity areas. Other suggestions include seed beads--could be expensive, or I think the filler that I am going to switch to at the suggestion of Carolyn at Cinderella Moments is candle sand.
Anyway: 3 teaspoons for each pillow.

Use a funnel to avoid a mess.

Glue or stitch closure.

I will add that Julie Warren's You Tube video has a better way for cutting the back of the pillow with the opening on the backside instead of the end, and I like her way.

Here is the finished bed. I had a top sheet already made that I used.

Julie glues her bedding in place, but I might want to change things up one day, so I used double sided Scotch tape to hold the bedding in place, wrapping both top sheet and bed spread tightly around the manufactured mattress.

I think that it is very cute in the bedroom.

Staying with the Roy Roger's theme. The rug came Green Gypsies on Etsy.

This is Lily's bed. She chose the fabric from my fat quarters collection--Fat quarters essentials for quilters, measure 1/4 yard and are perfect for small projects.

This spread has the sheet attached. I cut one piece of floral fabric and one of scrap--literally a skimpy pieces and sewed them this time with the sewing machine. I gave in and drug out the machine because I had cleaner seams and it was faster.

See What's in My Stash Post to see how I made this bed from wood scraps. Search for 'bed' and see other beds that I have made, some better than others. Some not so much. Or 'sheet' to see how I make bed sheets.

My favorite project is my hand crafted day bed. I used Carolyn's Cinderella Moments for the pattern then customized it. The post, "Lights Out" shows how I made this bed. I thought I wanted to go for the messy bed look, but I just couldn't quite pull it off, so I made a nicely made bed.

I do have a small sheet underneath, but I don't think I really needed it once I decided to with a lace heading. I have this great cousin who collects textiles. She is a quilter, and you know quilters--they cannot resist a good piece of fabric. When we visited her and her husband in April, she shared her vintage lace collection with me, so yellowed with age, this edging is perfect. I frayed the edge of the floral print, noticing now that I need to straighten it out. 

If you share your home with a cat then you understand how this cat who was napping on the front porch of the Bellingham Farmhouse to make this antique, hand crocheted afghan his little nest.

I think I have told you the story of where the afghan came from, my blogger friend from England who said that it is part of set of six coasters that her mother had crocheted. I love them and put them on my dollhouse beds for that extra touch of homeyness. 

Speaking of cats, there's Mo napping. That's about all he does.

Inside the attic bedroom, the cat will have nice place to nap and the teen girl will have a comfortable place hang.

To finish the room: crown molding, base board, and floor covering. 

Thanks so much for visiting. I give credit to Julie Warren who produces some great videos that are so easy to watch and follow and to Carolyn at Cinderella Moments for so generously sharing her secrets for building such amazing cottages.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

The Unexpected

Last week I filled my dollhouse blog with plants and granddaughters with their horses--hardly miniature related. I also teased that I would have a surprise. Well, I got a surprise! 

I wanted a small project for the summer to work on, something that would be challenging yet worthwhile. We have so much going on this summer that I decided to take a break from working on the dollhouses; in fact, I suppose I burned myself out, working obsessively on the Toy Store. At the same time, with the nice weather, feeling the need to be outside working in the yard. Evenings are best because it has cooled down, so to be downstairs in the basement when the sunshines seems unnatural. Now, though, the mosquitos are out, so the basement offers a nice refuge.

I have been searching for a new house to build, despite having a considerable amount of work to do the modern farmhouse and in my search I have seen these 1:144 scale houses--a dollhouse for a dollhouse. At first I was going to buy the kit from HBS, which also has a great video tutorial on how to assemble their little houses, but then I found MiniLand, a Canadian company that has a lovely collection of minis and found their Georgian House and ordered it, thinking that it was a kit.

It arrived yesterday and to my surprise it was already assembled. Was I disappointed? Mildly so, but the disappointment was quelled as I quickly fell in love the tiny house.

Hand assembled with quality workmanship, the little Georgian is a great addition to my collection, even if I didn't build it myself.

Since it is hand built, there are tiny perfections that make it perfect.

I am still wondering if I should buy the tiny furniture kits? They are very expensive and so very little.

Even the little table is adorable with such delicate woodworking in the trim.

So at the end of the day, I retreated to the basement where it is cool and quiet and began to play with my little Georgian.

Positioned on the table backwards, it's still cute.

Unfinished, unfurnished, it is wonderful. I am deciding where to put it. I won't paint it because I do not have a steady enough hand or skill to paint it; it will remain an unfinished project.

So where to put it? 

First I tried the master bedroom where the mom can hide after a rough day. It fits right next to the fireplace, but seems out of scale, and I have a desk designated for that spot already.

I am thinking in the attic bedroom where the teen girl hangs out, a remanent of her childhood, a mother's unfinished project. Follow the miniature groups on Face Book and you will hear that story--the daughter who is rescuing her childhood dollhouse that someone either built for her or started and never finished. I know that story well, for I am one of those mothers. 

It is still large, but doesn't seem so out of scale there. 


Packages shipped from overseas often go through the mail system rather than one of the private big carriers, such as UPS. We have both a post office box and a mail box here at the house, so while I have been checking the mail box every day for my orders, my husband brought them to me from the post office yesterday. 

Double giddiness. 

I ordered a beautiful 1:12 tea set from Julie Warren from Bits and Pieces by Julie on Esty. If you have not discovered Julie, she is most amazing, having turned her love of miniatures into a business. She posted her new line of mini accessories on Face Book and I had to have this little tea set. Without sounding like an endorsement of her work, I was quite charmed by her You Tube video tutorials not just because she is so good, but because she a sweet, calming steady voice that offers very good lessons on how to build dollhouse furniture and accessories. (Not to mention her books.)

So if you were to buy a tea set for your real life home, how would you choose it?  By the shape of the tea pot or the cup?


My friend and I are geeks over English tea. Sharron and I have hosted a couple of English Teas for our friends complete with clotted cream and lemon curd. It's fun to fix a pretty table with pretty garden flowers to share with our friends...

...complete with a sweet treat and a lacy table cloth.

Or skip the table cloth

The little table is a perfect place to serve afternoon tea.

 I am getting ideas on how to recreate this little table: I need a House of Miniatures kit and and a pair of sharp scrapbooking scissors. 

I thought perhaps that my addiction was waining, but it doesn't take much to light the fires, and I'm stoked.

Tea, anyone?

Thanks for stopping by. 

My horticulturalist daughter ends her emails with the tag line, "Plant Something."

I'm going end by saying, "Build something."

Have a great week.

What a Mess

I titled my garden blog last week "The Party's Over," and I am so glad that our social obligations are done with. We hosted a...