Ann's Dollhouse Dreams

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Just a Little Progress

 I don't have much to write about this week, maybe later in the week. I pledged last week to work on the Manchester exterior to get it finished, which a a big job. I did make some progress toward that pledge today.

But the last few days I've been playing with different ideas and layouts for the interior. That's what happens when you take forever on a project--you tend to lose focus or in my case forget the original plan.

First, I worked on the walls for the 3rd floor walls. For some reason, they did't fit, so I used my electric table sander to sand them down just enough so that they would slide right in place. I haven't decided yet what the space will be. Another bedroom, perhaps. It does bother me that there isn't stair access to this floor. It wouldn't be too difficult to cut a stair opening in the floor, but I'm not sure that I really want to build another set of stairs.

I have also toyed with the idea of moving the bedroom on the second floor that I have dedicated to the bathroom. 

In the end, the bedroom will remain to the left of the stairs. 

I've been searching the web for wallpaper that I can print. I found some plaid prints and settled on this one. It's printed on computer paper for a test run. I've decided that there is just too much blue plaid and I'll paint the walls or find a subtle contrasting paper that doesn't dominate the space. The only problem with painting the window wall is that I need paper to hid the tape wiring.

I absolutely love this plaid and this wall. At this point, I'm just fiddling around with ideas. I bought the shelf brackets online which will allow me to fashion a rustic wood shelf above the counter. I'm playing around with creating the sign. Eventually the wood will be painted and aged and the sign will be printed on  clear water slide decal paper. While the floral tray was created when I was just playing around trying make little round trays, I'm going to keep it. I like the floral Washi tape as nice contrast. 

I'm still playing around that old entertainment center. It could be modified to hold the coffee bar, but then I don't have room for the refrigerator. See how easily distracted I am?

The base of the house has caused so much stress. The original MFD base had to be rebuilt. My husband used good hardwood this time around. I glued the base for the addition to it today, which simple as it was seemed to cause me a lot of anxiety.

I have more work to do inside, but now I must focus on completing the architecture elements of the exterior.

Finally the bases are glued and clamped! Progress. Next, I think I have to install the front porch. It has an extension that needs to installed then I believe I can glue the house and the addition in place. Once the glue has set, hubby will screw the two foundations together to make them solid. 

While I have painted the pieces with a light gray, I considered using the kit's brick stencil; instead, however I'm going to use the stone stencil that came with the Dura Craft farmhouse, hoping that I have enough product to cover the base--but first I have to locate the stencil and the powder. UGH. 

Last week I had 5 DAR members sitting at my tables making Valentine's Day cards for our veterans residing in the Cheyenne VA nursing home. We made 40 beautiful cards. Twenty will be sent to the veterans and 20 will be sent to Michigan to Cards for Soldiers that ships greeting cards to military deployed over seas. 

Today I laid out the parts that I would need to complete the exterior of the Manchester, including punching out decorative pieces from the plywood sheets and locating the pieces of the kit lumber for the porch assembly. I had to look up the instruction booklet, and I was ready to begin measuring to cut the porch supports and for the railings.

It would be so tempting to go online to shop for more decorative laser cut gingerbread, but I've committed to assembling the kit as it was designed.

And that's what I did this week. The new week begins, sadly with a memorial for my husbands dear friend tomorrow morning, eye doctor appointments for both of us, dinner with friends, and a consult with a diabetic dietician on Friday. So the week is full. 

Wishing you a fantastic and productive week.

Thanks for taking time to visit. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2022

I've been spending a lot of time in the bathroom these last few days. The Manchester bathroom. Yes I know, every post I say that I'm going do the wiring. Well that hasn't happened yet. On a whim, I decided to design the vanity for the bathroom, instead. It's not yet finished, but here it as, almost done. I'm trying to decide if I should order a second sink. This one came from ShapeWays, offered by Paper Doll Miniatures

I got the brilliant idea that maybe I could design a pair of those cool round sinks that are mounted on top of the vanity, so I dug out my Fimo polymer clay and tried. I ran out of patience and decided that I love the 3-D printed one, while wondering if I had such a printer I could maybe....No.

I am getting better at measuring and accurately cutting each piece and as long as the Cricut Maker cooperates I have good results. Occasionally  we eat at Village Inn that offers jelly for the toast in these great little totes. I'll trim off the edges and wrap them in twine to make little tote baskets.

I decided to dress up the drawer fronts with raised panels. Using Julie Warren's method to bevel the edges of the panels, I used 120 grit sandpaper to bevel the edges, counting the passes to get uniform beveled edges.

So, the vanity is mostly finished. I still have to glue on the raised panels, mount the sinks--I have to order a sink--, and paint the vanity.


I decided to rebuild for the 3rd time the entertainment center. This was my first attempt. I rejected it because of the airiness of the design.

Not only did I have problems getting the glue to adhere, but I had a lot of problems cutting accurate dimensions for the pieces. As this photo demonstrates. It just looked sloppy. I watched an artist build a dresser on Youtube who used wood filler to close up the cracks, so this piece can be salvaged.

So, I rebuilt and wrote about the white entertainment center, which I really liked, but the more I looked at it the more I didn't like the way I installed the "glass" shelves. The braces for them just overwhelm the the entire piece.

So I removed the fireplace and started over.

I had planned on going to town Thursday, but it snowed, so it was a great day to build a new entertainment center. It was cold Friday and the roads were probably bad, so I worked on the entertainment center another day. 

I redesigned it, adding raised panels to the cabinet doors,  making the cabinets taller for a bolder look and add some decorative trim to frame the fireplace, but boy did I have problems cutting the frame for the fireplace front. I just could not get the dimensions accurate and because I was using 1/16 basswood, the narrow frame kept breaking. And then the wood slipped on the worn purple cutting mat, causing the machine to mis cut.

I spent most of today trying to get that frame cut the right size.


I removed the fireplace from Entertainment Center 2 and installed in the this one. The blue light stopped working, and while I have a second one, I didn't add it.  I had to cut wires to removed the battery pack from the other cabinet, which left barely enough to rewire the lights for the new piece. I was running low on patience.

So what to do with the old one? It was almost time to fix dinner. Someone else in the house was hungry. Still I had to play around with the rejected piece, thinking that maybe it might be used in the bathroom. With a little sanding, the vanity fit in the entertainment center, which opened up a lot possibilities for a new bathroom plan.

The bedroom does not have room for any sort of furniture since I cut a door in the wall for the addition, limiting wall space to none in that bedroom, so I've been trying to figure out how to include a dresser, and then today I thought "Maybe a wardrobe" after watching Julie Warren's tutorial on how to build one.

So here are the various ways that I can repurpose the entertainment center. Which one do you like?

A larger bathroom with a huge built in cabinet. Lots of storage.

As a closet with sliding doors in the bathroom?

Or maybe on the bedroom side as a closet? I'm actually liking this.

I thought about adding another wall and created a walk in-closet.

The bathroom can be a very large, roomy space, or it can easily become too cramped if I add a large closet, so I don't think I'll be doing that.

Even if I put the the "closet" on the bedroom side, the bathroom still loses a lot of floor space.

But I seem to be leaning toward the free standing closet or a wardrobe with sliding doors on the bedroom side, making a rather cramped bathroom. 

So that's what I've been doing all week. It will take me forever to finish this house. In a few days, I'll have been working on for a year. I shouldn't feel too badly about that because I'm building most everything from scratch. 

And what have you been doing?

Thanks so much for visiting. Go 2022! We are off and running.


Monday, January 3, 2022

Lighting the Way Part 2

 I love My Miniature Emporium miniature accessories. I’ve purchased some items from her for the Manchester because they are her original design. I especially like her lights that she has in her shop, but they are non-working, and I want working lights. Yes, electrifying a dollhouse or even a room box can be most challenging, but I a enjoy seeing the project lit up, adding that next dimension to the miniature setting. My last post showed how I created pendant glass globe lights for the Manchester kitchen, adding one more item to my list of handmade accessories for the Manchester.

The last few days I've worked on a light for the bathroom. I’ve pondered that project for a long time. I always begin by searching for real life lighting fixtures to get some ideas on how to design lights then I look for tutorials and there are some very good artists and designers who create beautiful pieces, but I have certain limitations:

· I am neither an artist nor a designer, so I have to study how real things are made and try to figure out how replicate the item. If I can’t, I buy it.

·      I have limited skills. I’m not good at all at soldering which is required if you want to join metals. I’m going to learn how because I want to solder my electrical connections when I install my lights. Because I lack certain skills, I am limited to certain materials: wood mostly, and paper, card stock, and chipboard

·      I try to limit myself to what I have in my stash, too, to save money and to use up what I have on hand. I am also limited by the tools that I have mastered: beads and beading supplies; wood; my Maker; my little table saw;  and my Dremel.

I can work with clay, but a 3-D printer sure would be cool, but I’m not ready to go there yet, but creating the hardware for the bathroom light would have been easy. Right ????


For this project, I began by taking the plastic pump tube out of my hand soap bottle, thinking that plastic tube would be easy to work with. I like the look of a round pipe-like base, so the plastic tube would be great, and it was easy to work with, except that once I got it designed, I didn’t have a way to hang it and I knew that painting it would be problematic, mostly getting the paint to adhere to the smooth, nonporous plastic tube, so I abandoned that prototype.


I dug in my lumber stash again to come up with a design for the fixture. I decided that wood would be the best foundation for the light fixture. The base is 3 3/4 inch long, 1/4 inch wide, and 1/8 inch thick. The block will be used to attach the fixture to the wall with the wiring threaded through--that's the plan now.

I'll use 12 volt lights and jewelry bead caps to build the base. A small round one will go inside the larger bead cap to keep the bulb from sliding through the hole in the larger cap. You can substitute a small bead for both the small bead caps. If you have to go shopping for parts, you will find a variety of bead caps to choose from. 

The glass globes came from Just Miniature Scale online and Superior sells them, too, but they are out of order now, so try Etsy shops that I mentioned in my last post.


It's a simple design and easy to assemble--so far.

Now I am ready glue the pieces together.  I learned how to glue these tiny lamp parts together following a tutorial for a Bindles Ornaments kit. Using a tooth pick as holder to stack parts on is quite handy. Just don't glue your parts to the tooth pick.


I really like the combination of the antiqued silver and the gold, but I've already painted the other bathroom fixtures antique gold, so I'm going to the same with the light fixture.

No, the glue hasn't set yet, but I decided to gently paint the light fixtures anyway, using Testors model enamel. Acrylic craft paint might work, but I like the crispness and shine of this oil based paint. I'll paint the inside when I'm sure all the pieces are holding together.

All the pieces are painted and drying. I'll let them cure over night to make sure the paint is totally dry and the completely set then I'll assemble. The light fixture.

Gluing these tiny pieces together proved to be challenging. I began with the jewelry glue, but it wouldn't create a tight bond, so I re-glued using E6000, which I let set again over night. After letting the glue cure on theses pieces, I began to assemble the fixture.

I needed to protect the wires on the back and bring them to the center for the electrical mounting. I used double sided carpet tape to secure the wires in place instead of glue because from past experience certain glues will eat away at wiring. 

The I cut a thin strip of veneer. The first two holes on each end were the wrong placement; what I intended was a hole in the center to bring the wires together to fit through the piece that will attach to the wall. I had make a small hole for each light. 

Once I threaded them through, they ended up crossed, which turned up the best way to get them lay flat.

Ooops. The veneer strip is not centered, so I'll have to redo it.

Still, I like the results. 

I still have to glue the globes in place. I have fiddled around with the piece in the bathroom and I think it will work; I may have to make some adjustments, so I am waiting to glue the base in place. Right now it is off-center, because I didn't place my veneer correctly--good thing I used sticky tape. I'll work on that. One light won't hang straight--hoping that won't show. 

It would be great if  someone could improve on this design. It will be awhile before I install it, so I have time to redesign the base, if I have to. It needs some sanding on the edges--close-ups do show the minor details. 

And so, my friends, the New Year begins. My goal is to finish the Manchester--certainly much before year's end--like this spring, hopefully. There is still so much work to do. I hadn't realized how much work it would be to make everything; still, my goals for the house to make everything or purchase items from artists, use up as much of as my stash as possible, and to create a modern farmhouse with a fresh, clean look give me purpose and keep the project challenging and interesting.

Wishing you a Happy New Year full of promise, prosperity, good healthy, and great miniature projects.  

So here's to you, friends.



Thank you stopping by. 

Just a Little Progress

 I don't have much to write about this week, maybe later in the week. I pledged last week to work on the Manchester exterior to get it f...