Friday, March 18, 2016

Pull Toy

I am wanting to fill the nursery with cute baby toys, so I have been scouring Etsy for cute stuff, which I find, but many beautiful items exquisitely made are equally priced. There are some things that I am willing to pay for, such as this adorable felted Peter Rabbit that came to all the way from England. I do feel that as long as I try to make items for the dollhouse that I can splurge once in awhile on special items. So while this little Peter Rabbit wasn't really that expensive, overseas shipping doubled his cost. 

I did find some wooden pull toy kits on Etsy and I was tempted, until I found the same kits at the miniature show a few weeks ago. The pieces were so tiny and required painting; I decided that I didn't want to go there.

I wanted to make a sheep pull toy. While wondering the aisles of Michale's (I was actually out of town at a week end scrap booking crop, making an emergency run to the local Michale's for more card stock), I found this package of mini animals. 

I couldn't wait to get home to make my pull toy. Eagerly, I began digging through my stash looking for parts. These wooden rounds of various sizes come in handy for a multitude of projects. I found them at Hobby Lobby. The wheels were my biggest challenge. As I looked at pull toys on the web, I found that most of the wheels were spoked wheels. I thought about using buttons, but settled on these little wooden disks.

I wish I could give you size detentions of each piece, but when you go to the stash, you look for what might work and hope to get lucky. 

I used my circle gauge to try to get the center of each disk marked.

Then used my hand drill to make the hole as centered as possible.

The wood is soft, so the nails take some force to slide them. Look closely at the next photo and you will see that one wheel broke.

Next, I drilled holes in the side of the little cart bed.

Once again I was able to push the nails into the holes. I pre-drilled a hole for the eyelet, but since it was threaded I made only a starter hole.

How about a pig pull toy?

A cow, maybe?

Chickens are cute, too.

But I like sheep best.

I used craft paint to finish it up. I first used dark brown brown then added a thinned coat of red and wiped it off with a rag. Later I roughed up the surface just a bit with an emory board to give it a warn look and added a length of crochet thread for the pull rope.

And there you have it. Now, you try.

Thanks so much for stopping by. See you soon.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Toy Chest

I have sworn to nurture this blog a little bit more, so I thank you for visiting and leaving comments. I now have two followers and two or three other regulars who kindly comment on each post, which encourages me to spend more time here. I have know them  for some time now through my other blog Welcome to the Garden Spot. I spent a lot more time at the Garden Spot, so if you want to know what goes on around here up above ground and beyond the basement where I tend to seclude myself when I am in one of my obsessive moods working on the dollhouse, visit the Garden Spot.

You will see that it is just the two of us, me and my husband, aka The Head Gardener, who tend 5 acres in Northern Colorado. You will meet Mo the feral cat, Boone Doggle, the adopted 2 year old dog, Pop, the pony (actually a POA), Sundance, the palomino quarter horse, and few hens and two roosters. Right now we are brooding six new chicks in the office. With Spring arriving, I will be leaving the basement to work in the garden, so I am putting as much time in on the Blue Farmhouse because I'd like to get it finished. I have two more houses to build, one in my garage and one for the granddaughters.

The watering can lamp has not yet been finished. I did receive the batter operated lights for it, but they chips not light bulbs. I am thinking that I will return two of them and reorder or maybe just wire the lamp using once of the little plug in lights that I have on hand.

In the mean time, I ordered this bare wood blanket chest from Miniature Market Place. com to make a toy chest for the nursery. It has turned out so cute.  I have struggled with getting the acrylic paint smooth without globs of paint and brush strokes that are hard to sand out. I did a bit of reading and found a simple solution to smoother paint finish: a wide brush, which helped so much.

Using Ceramcoat acrylic paint that I purchased at Hobby Lobby, I gave the chest 3 coats of paint. I wish I had done a bit of sanding first, but I sanded the last coat of paint to give the paint a smooth, more finished look.

I found plenty of printable Peter Rabbit images on Pinterest. (You can find them on my Peter Rabbit Pinterest board) Also purchased at Hobby Lobby, a package of Rub-onz.

For the water can lamp, I decoupaged the image on, which I am not really liking now that I discovered these transfers at Hobby Lobby. They are very easy to use and give a very nice effect.  

Let me take a moment to explain the process I used to transfer the images onto the toy chest: 
  • Find an image. Anywhere. Original art work, stamp, clip art from the web
  • The image will have to sized, which I do in Microsoft Word. I simply measure the size of the area where I want to use the image, for example a photo for a mini frame. I  double click on my image in  Word to get the editing box. The dimensions of the image will show up in the tool bar at the top of the Word screen. There I enter the size of the image that I want.  The images for the toy box for example are height: .98 x width .88. By entering the height, Word will automatically enter the width. Now, in all honesty, there is a lot of trial and error, especially in the beginning when you are just learning how to use Word to size images. You can also try dragging the selection box around the image diagonally from corner to corner until you reach the desired size. Word measures in inches; sometimes centimeters are easier to measure and are more accurate, so here is how you change inches to metric on a Mac:
    • Word> Preferences>General>Check last option on list
  • But there is another challenge. When you print the image on the Rub- on and then transfer it to your item, the image is reversed, i.e. backwards. So now the image has to be flipped. Word will flip text, but not images (unless I couldn't figure it out), so I opened my image in Photoshop. I had to google how to flip images in photoshop, which is a very easy process, but sizing is another story. I don't use Photoshop enough to even explain. So now you are on your own. I google for good tutorials when I want to use Photoshop. Perhaps you have an easier photo editor that you could share. At any rate, I managed to get the images printed on the --- and applied. I did have to google for better instructions on how to actually use the----. Here is the Youtube tutorial that I used: using grafix rub-onz transfer film

As I worked on this little toy chest, I remembered a similar chest that I created for my oldest daughter when she was a baby. It was one my dad made for her fashioned after the old wooden apple crates with a lid. I painted it then put old fashioned decals on it. We still use it as a toy box for the grand kids.

The little box turned out so cute. I may add some blue trim so that it is not so white.

Now I am pondering how to make a pull-toy. These are my two possibilities, both purchased from Hobby Lobby. (What would we do without that store?)

I want to add a shelf to the nursery. I purchased the one on the left at Norm's Dollhouse store in Denver for $7.50. Because it so nice, I don't have the heart to paint it white, so I made my own using craft (pop sickle) sticks. They work well, but tend to split easily.

I did do plenty of sanding to smooth out the craft sticks, especially the cut edges. Then I applied two coats of craft paint, sanding the last coat of paint lightly. I used a small emery board to sand this tiny shelf. For the knobs, I used colored----. Even though I measure the distance between each one, one is still off. I may move it or I may not. As it hangs on the wall, I don't think that this mistake will be noticed. Will it? 

I'll be back soon. This week end I am leaving the dollhouse work behind to attend a scrapbooking Crop with a dear friend. I have made Creative Memories scrapbooks for three of the grand children, two to go, so I'll be working 6 year old Nathan's book, hopefully to have it finished for his April 7th birthday. So I may not have much to report on for the dollhouse. 

 I love reading your comments, so thank you for visiting.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Nursery

Who doesn't love Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit? The story has been a childhood favorite for over a 100 years and this year her 150th anniversary. When my grandson was born, his mother decorated his nursery using Peter Rabbit as the baby's theme, so the Blue Farm house nursery is inspired by both my grandson and Peter Rabbit. I'll share a few things that I making for the nursery.

I wrote in an earlier post about my visit to the local junk man who talked me into buying several boxes of miniatures and assorted pieces of junk. This rocking chair was one of the little treasures. Without its arms, it was not a prime piece, so I felt that I could shabby chic it.  I began by sanding it down to rough up the varnished surface and expose some of the natural wood. I cleaned of the dust with rubbing alcohol, which dulled the finish. Maybe that helped the craft paint to adhere better.

Next I used craft acrylic paint to paint it blue. I softened the blue by adding some white to the blue paint. Then I sanded it down to blend the the brush strokes and expose some of the original finish.

Next I painted it with with white acrylic pain and sanded more.

I left it this way, but I am thinking that I would like another layer of white paint.

For the cushion, I downloaded images from Pinterest and printed them on cloth. This little pillow I filled with quinoa (since I can't seem to cook the stuff), which makes a nice pillow filler. However with this pillow, the material is thin and the grain shows through. I didn't intend for it to be chair cushion, but it works perfectly for the quinoa settles into the open seat and it is the perfect size and shape.

Next, I am making a lamp for the nursery from items I already had on hand:
  • miniature metal watering can
  • a lampshade: the image for the shade was found on Pinterest
  • a jewelry finding for the decorative top of the shade
  • a round disk to serve as the base of the lamp
  • support for the lampshade. This is a very small plastic tube from a pump hairspray bottle
  • a light kit ordered for

I was making up the design as I went along. I knew wanted the lampshade support  to go through the bottom of the watering can to stabilize it. The wire for the light will be threaded through the tube then through the hole in the bottom of the watering can and then through the hole in the wooden disk.

Like this

I have painted all of the pieces, including the plastic tube.

I have made the lamp shade, two of them, in fact, incase one got ruined (it did).

I was doing fine work until I clipped the length of the wire for the little light, laid it down to get another tool and promptly lost the light. I have no idea where it went. So now I am changing my thought. I have not wired the 3rd the floor, so I think I will make my own lights using LED lighting kits that are powered by little disk batteries. I have to order them before I can continue on this project.

Stay tuned for more to come.

Have a great week.