Saturday, August 29, 2015

More in Bathroom

When I first bought the Blue Farmhouse, I was somewhat agitated with myself for spending the $100. because I had a big farmhouse kit still in the box that the girls bought me. I really did not need another dollhouse.  But I am obsessed. Possessed. Once I had it home and inspected it more closely, I know that I had my work cut out for me, for it indeed did need a lot of work. Originally I had thought that I would just fix it up enough inside to sell it, but here I am putting in all my effort and lord knows how much money I have spent, but oh my what fun I am having.

As noted in previous posts, I have struggled with the bathroom simply because I got in a hurry and purchased wallpaper that was a second choice. Finding a paint to match presented a major problem.

Before I began to add color to the wall, I gave this back wall another coat of white primer. The wood surface is rough plywood that should have been sanded smooth before the house was assembled. At this stage there in no way to sand it smooth, so I gave it another coat of primer.

Now I am ready to add the first coat of Delta Creamcoat acrylic paint. The color is perfect, Cornflower.

I gave it two coats. Here it is not quite dry. I am loving it.

Now I am in the process of wallpapering. The ceiling was papered last night and today I will paper the walls. 

In the meantime, I wanted a chandelier above the bathtub in front of the window. This is my inspiration piece, one of my mother's gaudy 1970s clip-on chandelier earring. Just try to find such an earring these days or even the jewelry findings to make the earring. I didn't want to tear apart mom's earring for sentimental reasons even though it would have made a great light. Instead I created my own version.

I picked through my stash of beads, and through trail and error I finally came up with a chandelier for the bathroom.

I made it up as I went along. If you want to try your own hand at making a light, see what you have in your beading stash. Be sure to share your results with everyone.

In the photo:
  • Mini Lamp from Radio Shack. My Radio shack has a very limited selection of lamps/lights. You can also purchase lights from Superior and other sites. There you will have a better choice of the type of lamp you want to use. You can even choose battery LED lights
  • The clip looking tool is used to strip the plastic casing from the wire; a handy tool to use instead of your thumbnail.
  • Wire. You will have to splice your mini lamp wire (comes with short but adequate hookup leads) to the wire that will be attached to your dollhouse wiring system or battery operated unit. When I hard-wire in the wall sconces, I cut off the plug end, saving it for such a project. This chandelier will be hard-wired in, so I will remove the plug-in. If you don't have any spare plug-ins, Hobby Lobby carries both wire and plug-ins.
  • Shrink tube: Purchased from Superior. These very tiny tubes slip over your spliced wires to insulate the bear spice that you have when you join the plug-in wire to the lamp lead. I have tried electrical tape and while it does work, it just is not pretty or sound. I place the shrink tubes on each wire before hand, twist the wires of each end together then gently, ever so gently, push the shrink tube in place to cover the exposed wires. You do not want to allow the bare wires to touch when you plug in the light to test your splices because that is a sure fire way to short out your mini lamp. Once the shrink tubes are in place, I shrunk them by holding a lit stick match just close enough to shrink the tube in place. I will be ordering larger shrink tubes that will fit over the entire spice to make the splice look neater and stronger. At this point, I can plug in my light to see if it works. (It does).
Here are the pieces that I used to assemble the chandelier. I am sorry that I do not know what size the pieces are because I had them in my stash. I didn't have to buy anything:

  • The pink finding forms the cap for the chandelier. I found a package  of 4 on the discontinued sale wall at Hobby Lobby. So I painted it with Testors enamel paint. Some of which rubbed off as I added the beaded work, so I need to do some touch up. Next time I think I will use gold spray paint for a better finish and maybe a clear acrylic top coat to keep the paint from chipping.
  • You can see the pieces that I used to bead the head pins. Go through your stash and see what you come up with. I finished each head pin with a very tiny crimp bead that barely shows, using the crimp tool. If you do not do any beading supplies or tools then you will have to buy the crimp tool and a needle nosed beading pliers at Hobby Lobby or Michaels.
The bathroom fixtures are nearing completion.

I have the bathroom fixtures nearly all painted. I have the toilet left to finish. You can see what the pieces looked like just before I began painting.

I painted each piece with the Cornflower paint that went on the back wall then I sanded it down to smooth out the surface and to expose some of the wood, but not very much. Next I applied 3 coats of white acrylic paint, thinning it down with water, smoothing it on carefully with a small artist's brush, and sanding in between each coat.

I wanted to make sure that the Cornflower color dominated the white, so the white paint was thinned by dipping my brush into water before loading it with paint. I like the results very much. 

This afternoon I will finish the wallpapering. I had to wallpaper the ceiling first and add a wall sconce. Now I am ready to do the walls. I won't wire in the chandelier until I order the shrink tube to give the splice a more finished look. 

Suppliers used for today's post:
Radio Shack
Hobby Lobby

 Thanks so much for taking time to visit. See you soon.

Monday, August 17, 2015


Do you have a strategy for working on your dollhouse? Or do you find that you have so many projects to do that you just don't know how or where to focus? Perhaps you have to take a break from time to time to gather your wits and decide what you should do next. I have been stumped over the bathroom. On a whim, spur of the moment, I purchased wallpaper for it at Hobby Lobby mostly because I couldn't order the one that I liked online. So as I have struggled with the wall treatment for the bathroom, I have been working on little things. Literally, little things. Get a cup of tea and a biscuit, for I have a lot share with you.

I have 3 complete sets of bathroom fixtures: one porcelain, the Stromberger vintage wood set, and this set that I acquired when I made the big purchase of hundreds of pieces that I shared in the last post. This is a rather ugly set. The finish is thick, rough, ugly, a bit sticky. I searched the net looking for this set and indeed it was a kit that someone assembled. Superior Dollhouse Miniatures now carries thisVictorian bathroom set nicely assembled and finished, if you like this style.

Over the years, I have tackled stripping and refinishing some pieces, swearing each time that I wouldn't bother again. So this summer I found myself in the garage stripping these  little pieces using an orange goop that is odor free, non toxic, and works well.

Layer by layer, I stripped, scraped, sanded, and stripped some more until I thought I reached a workable surface.

The dissolved old finish resembled gooey chocolate sauce. I did end up removing some of the hardware, but on these little doors the nails are long and bent on the back. Because I didn't want to risk ruining the hinges,  I left them on. I did remove the handles on the little chest. The commode had been assembled incorrectly; as I looked at photos the tank is attached high above the stool on the wall with the chain that I will add along with a water pipe.

After much searching, I finally found the periwinkle craft paint that will match the wallpaper, so I will paint the fixtures periwinkle then try shabby chic-ing them with coats of white paint. I just don't like the wood stained look.

These are the faucets that I will use--I think. I am wondering if they are too small?

Love this shelf. It was created in an evening as I just poked minis stash looking to see what I could come up with. I purchased this shelf at JoAnn's in the miniature section. Their minis are more for those little shadow boxes, so their pieces are not true 1:12 scale. I used this shelf to practice my painting techniques. Underneath my created periwinkle are other layers of various colors.

Before I found my craft paint, I was trying to mix light blue, lavender, and white paint to make periwinkle. I came pretty close, so I painted this little shelf to see if my mix would work. It did match the wallpaper, but since I am going to paint that back wall in the photo below now covered with scrapbook paper that is the perfect color, I worried how I would mix enough to cover the wall.

 I considered having a paint store mix paint, but I'd have to buy a quart. Too much paint and too costly. I considered mixing chalk paint, but again it was way too much money for the small amount that I needed and I would again have to mix paints, requiring buying 3 different colors. Luckily, Hobby Lobby had just restocked it craft paints and had just the color I wanted.

So, where did I get all of the cool minis? Top shelf: Apochary jars: Hobby Lobby, scrapbook section and jewelry findings section. I filled them with glass beads. I made the perfume bottles from my stash of beads, finding inspirations on Pinterest. The tray is a necklace bezel.  

The hat box and the tooth paste box are printables I found on Pinterest. The purse was bonus in a drawer of a piece that I purchased from an antique store. There were several little purses in the drawer. The rest of the items came from Superior. 

The theme for the bathroom will be swans. I love swans. Notice the Avon bottle. Who didn't have one of those in the olden days? (like the 1980s) Every bathroom had one filled with Skin So Soft bath oil that is so strong that many used it as mosquito repellent. 

I ordered two sets of towels; each came with 1 towel, a pair of bath slippers, and two perfume bottles. (Superior)

From my stash, I found the Hobby Lobby chair that I wonder if it is 1:12 scale. I made the pillow and ordered the orchid from Superior. Hubby is into orchids, so I added this to the bathroom in his honor. He got a kick out the tiny plant. The swan is bigger than I wanted; it is not a figurine size--probably scaled for the real life swan, but I am going to use it anyway because it is so neat.

Next, I purchased this sofa and matching chair unfinished from Houseworks Ltd. com. I have seen them so beautifully finished on Pinterest. I was not brave enough to try to paint them, so I opted to stain them with fair results because the wood really didn't accept the stain very well, but I think that the pieces have a bit of a shabby charm anyway. So now I am ready to upholster the pieces.

I am not artsy or good a drawing and making stuff. My mom could (and now my one daughter) look at something and say "I want it to look like this," and magically she created whatever she wanted. I have to work at it--a lot. First I had to make a pattern for the fabric upholstery. I struggled with this step for weeks before i settled on a method.

I started by trying to use computer paper to trace the shape to be upholstered. Too heavy. I finally settled on inner facing. I have a lot of it that I inherited from my MIL. She crafted and bought it by the bolt. It is flexible, transparent, and very easy to work with. I was able to put it in place and using a fabric marker, traced the shapes that I wanted. The marker that I use is disappearing ink that disappears on its own. There is a more permanent fabric maker that you can use, but you have to wet the fabric to dissolve the ink.

 I applied Elmer's glue just along the outside edge.

The fabric that I used required some sort of stuffing or body, so I glued quilt batting again from my MIL's stash to the back the sofa.

Some  tutorials online show using card stock as the foundation and gluing the cloth to it, but it just didn't work for me, so I trimmed my upholstery piece--heavy muslin-- to fit and glued it to the batting.

I needed to cover my rough edges, so I used crochet thread, a heavy cotton from my crochet stash. I wish I could tell you what weight it is, but I can't. You can see that I missed a spot. It is probably better to cut the piece a wee bit larger then trim it down with wee scissors. 

I didn't get this top oval cut as accurately as I needed, but I followed the same procedure using the quilt batting as the foundation. I think next time I could even add two layers, especially if I to do any tufting or to make the upholstery more cushy.

The cushion on the chair was really hard to make because I couldn't accurately trace the seat. I will practice more for the next set and I definitely will paint the next set.

The set looks great in the house. I use the same stain for both the floor and the furniture. It is one I had mixed to match the original hard wood.

I am pretty happy with the set. Not perfect, but I am learning a lot just by doing. I hope you are brave enough to just do it, too.

I wanted some decorative plates for the kitchen. I have found beautiful ones on Etsy, but oh my are they pricey. I didn't mind so much paying a bit for pretty plates, but when the shipping from Spain doubled the cost, I had to come up with a better solution. So I purchased these white metal plates at Hobby Lobby--5/$1.00 and went to my computer files for my printables and was able to match the lamp and canisters in the kitchen.

There may be a Lady of the House--for now anyway. I was putting toys away after the kids were here and found this little Barbie ( a MacDonald's Happy Meal prize?) and wondered how she would look. She's okay, don't you think. For the moment anyway. About the right size. I find that the dollhouse dolls just don't have the right look.

My fun project this week has been pillow making. 

But you know what? I think I will leave you here now. It is nearly 10:30 PM, so I think rather than hurrying through pillow making as I did upholstery, I will slow down and save the pillows for the next post.

You can watch me finish this one.

 I'll finish by sharing the coffee table with you. I ordered from, too. I need to stain it to match the sofa and chair. Love the African violet that I ordered from Superior. I made several magazines--printables I found on Pinterest. The tea cup belongs to a set that I purchased last year at Hobby Lobby, I but I don't think they carry it anymore. It was a very nice tea set with a teapot. I have some of it in the green farmhouse. The little throw rug I printed on muslin, a Pinterest printable.

I'll share with you next time on how print on fabric.

Thanks so much for stopping by. I treasure your comments. All 5 of you. I know that not all of you are working on dollhouses and that you come to from the Garden Spot; still I am so very thankful that you take the time to visit me here. I wish you a wonderful week.