Wednesday, November 18, 2020

 We certainly live in uncertain times. Saturday, we had a small family get-together--just the two daughters and their 5 children. It had been a while since we had been together. One daughter lives an hour and half away on a light traffic day, though there isn't such a thing anymore. She brought to the two boys and left the youngest, Nathan, 11. So this week I am the distance learning monitor. I certainly have mixed emotions about this role, though we love having the little guy here and he is much happier than being at home alone all day. I do hope some learning is taking place. As a retired teacher, I certainly do have my own thoughts about the plight of educators and their students today. Still, I know that many are doing the best they can, given these unusual circumstances. 

It seems, too, that we be going back into hiding--or social distancing. Colorado counties' virus cases are surging and once again we are waiting out a quarantine. While Nathan has been distance learning since last spring, the granddaughters have gone back to their school part time. So, two weeks ago we were waiting on a COVID test for 8-year-old which came back negative and this week the 12-year-old sister is in quarantine since the girl she sits next to in school tested positive over the weekend. And we were all together over the weekend. 

I'm not too concerned that we will all get sick, but we can't be too careful.

Good thing for hobbies! Before I begin here is the link to Bindles Ornaments--a site that I love for making lamps and chandeliers. <> Keep in mind that it is located in The Netherlands, so it takes a while to reach the USA. Which brings me the Fairfield, which I moved in from the garage. I hate moving. It took a bit of time reorganize, find everything, and get reestablished in the rhythm of working. I began with the dining room flooring, trying something new.

These are my options for the Fairfield floors: One builder suggested paper floors, so I ordered this paper floor from Itsy Bitys Minis. I like it, but it just does not have definition or depth that a floor should have. I had created a craft stick kitchen floor but felt that the coffee stir sticks were too thick for the half scale and the stain that I used really didn't penetrate the wood or add enough interesting color. I may have gone back to the craft stacks then by chance I found a package of Cricut wood veneer at Michael's, so here is the project. 

Using Cricut Design Space I create 1/4 x7 inch boards. After measuring the floor to get the correct length, I created on board then used the Duplicate to create the rest of them. I knew that my floor was six inches wide, so I created enough that would fill a six-inch-wide space--though it doesn't look like that here and my measurement is set to centimeters. 

Your layout in Design Space doesn't have to be perfect because the program will lineup the cuts to fit for the efficient use of space; however, you can move the pieces around, especially when cutting on wood and you want pieces to cut with the wood grain such as floor boards. 

I use this very thin walnut veneer, (two sheets to package), the deep cut blade (not the knife blade), taped it to a hard grip purple mat, and let the machine do the work.

While the wood does tend to splinter a bit, I did get nice, clean cuts that are so much more accurate and faster than trying to hand cut it all by hand. I'm left with an interesting scrap, wondering how I could put it to good use.

I've never used clear varnish on my flooring, but have always been frustrated because my floors don't have a pretty shine. Somewhere either in the blogs that I follow or the Facebook groups that I belong to I read to use clear varnish. Wow. The varnish took my wood from a pretty dull looking surface to putting a nice sheen on the wood, after I sanded it, of course, to get rid of the splintering.

I'm getting ahead of myself here, but one of my main considerations that once I adhered the flooring to the template, I needed to make sure that it slide into place. I could have been in a lot of trouble if I had glued down my floor on the replace and it would slide in. 

I made a removable floor because of the electrical line that runs along the front of the room. I just didn't want to glue floor boards on top of the electrical tape. I am also using printer bricks. I love the brick paper that I ordered from HBS ( because it is textured, heavy, easy to use, and looks realistic. 

I also use double sticky tape instead of glue because I just was not sure of how the floor would look. Seems to be working.

I'm liking it.

The edges will trim nicely with a pair of sharp scissors.


And there you have it. I have to use the clear varnish on the floor, glue the grown molding in place, add the door jamb, and the windows, and the chandelier. Right now I'm working on the living room floor, so I'll be back when I have that floor installed. 

Today I will be working on the living room floor. I've built the fireplace, now I need to figure out the embellishments for the little fireplace. Results in few days.


Thanks for joining me today. I hope you are well. 

PS: Floor finished. Now for the clear varnish. 

Monday, November 9, 2020

Hello Again

Well, hello. I missed everyone. I can't believe that it's been so long since I posted last. I sort of got derailed on wallpapering the Fairfield. I ordered paper from my favorite company and received the wrong paper--happened twice. The first time I thought it was my fault, so I let it go, but when it happened again, I did more checking and some of the papers were number incorrectly, so I emailed the company. They are very nice and good at making things right, so I had to wait for new paper to arrive and by then I was on to another project.

This is the wallpaper that I ordered for the little kitchen, surely a popular 1920s motif, cherries. My husband's grandmother had cheery wallpaper in her farmhouse kitchen, it was old. 1940s, I would imagine. I do think that it will go nicely with the green checked floor. However, I am learning  that the interest and the  beauty of these delicate, small prints get lost because the prints  are nearly microscopic. My advice: choose bolder prints that have more depth and detail, even larger images like the William Morris print that I chose for the dinning room. 

By the way, the company shipped the correct papers without charge.

The second paper has a linen-like look will be paired with a blue print for the living room.

I have another challenge for the Fairfield. I decided to wash the windows; not recommended. They, as you know, are acetate, which has not only yellowed with age, but is also dusty and dirty, so I decided to wash an oval window--with poor results. The white window "panes" washed away. 

As luck would would have it, I found a package of acetate 12x12 sheets by Cricut at Michael's and I purchased two paint pens to try to recreate the window glass.

I am quite impressed with the acetate, but as I searched the Cricut website, it does not seem available now, but it is available on Amazon. There are other alternatives such as transparency sheets that teachers use to make over head project transparencies--really? They still do that? Anyway. Priced them at Office Max, and just as I thought I had to buy a box of 40 or so for a hefty price--don't remember how much, but it was cost prohibitive. My package has 6 12x12 for about $13. 

I have two different paint pens, one seems to have thicker line. I need to work on drawing very straight lines and figure out how to prevent paint pooling at the end of a stroke. Any suggestions? With some more practice, I will be able to replace my spoiled window "glass" and the will the rest of the window look yellow--because they are--but will I need to redo them all? 

Aside from making windows, I realized that I can cut stencils for card making by cutting images out on the Cricut. Actually you can make stencils out of paper.

I was very pleased with the results using pastels to create this pretty card.

I'm still teaching myself Cricut Maker tricks. Here are two more cards that I designed by merging or attaching the swan to a square, a very simple technique.

 So I left work on the Fairfield to make cards for veterans. Our DAR chapter makes greeting cards for the residents at the Cheyenne VA rest home. We work in my basement as a group and I made a lot of cards on my own. Last week I shipped 23 Veteran's Day greetings to the Cheyenne VA and 60 Christmas cards to a group in Michigan that sends greeting cards to overseas troops. Personally, I made 97 Christmas Cards.

Here's a sampling of my work. I had both of my Cricuts smokin'. 

Now I'm working on Christmas ornaments for family. Can't wait to show them--after Christmas, of course.  And I spent the day cleaning in my craft area, trying to reorganize so that I can more efficiently store supplies.

Finally, I had fun sorting through the goodies that I ordered from Bindels in The Netherlands so that I can make chandeliers and sconces for the Fairfield.

And there you have it. It's been a rough Fall. Personally our household is well, but we empathicly suffered with the those who were displaced and lost property in two wild fires that claimed so much of Colorado's beautiful mountains. Four fires burned. The Cameron Peak fire began the end of August and burned nearly 205,000 acres. We lived under a shroud of smoke and ash for weeks. Then a second fire near the Colorado/Wyoming border nearly merged with the Colorado fire the end September and if that wasn't bad enough, a third fire flared up burned so fast that nearly merged on the southern border of the first fire. Estes Park, our favorite mountain village was threatened and evacuated. One day by 2:30 in the afternoon it was nearly dark--orange dark from the smoke of those two fires. It was darker than a total eclipse of the sun. Finally a 4th fire erupted in Boulder, threaten so many homes, including a good friend's. Though evacuated, they were very lucky not to lose their house last 23 neighbors did. It was pretty grim.

Finally it snowed enough to not totally put the fires out, but the fire fighters were able to contain them and I think now they are out.

And this darn virus. This second time around, cases seem to be hitting closer to home. Our youngest granddaughter came home from school with the sniffles and we were with her on that Friday night. She was tested Monday, taking until Friday to get the results. Negative, thankfully. 

My task tomorrow will be to move the Fairfield from the garage where I've been working on it to the basement workshop so that I do the wallpaper. That will be a chore, but it's too cold now to work in the garage. 

Oh one last thing, so, so excited. I follow a miniaturist, Panda Miniatures, on Instagram and she announced that she and her fiancĂ©  will be participating in an HGTV show, The Biggest Little Christmas Showdown, premiering Nov. 27 9PM EST. I'll be watching!

I do hope that you are all well and working hard in your own workshops. It's good to be back.

Have a great week. And Thanks for dropping by.

Friday, September 25, 2020

You Win Some and you Lose Some

I had hoped to write a great tutorial for building a chicken pen attached to a cute little chicken coop, but the project didn't go well. I had a good plan and I thought a viable design, but I just couldn't pull it off, so I decided not to waste time writing about what went wrong. Actually, it really wasn't the fence design, it was chicken coop itself. I used plans from Julie Warren's potting shed book. This easy-to-build project should be a no-brainer, but this project sent me over edge and helped me make the decision to buy the Cricut Maker, mostly because the project requires hand cutting everything. But the real failure of the project I would learn while trying to attache the fence is that the bottom of coop is not square, making all the difference trying to build my coop pen the way I wanted. I'll figure out something sometime.

Meanwhile out in the garage where I have been working on the Fairfield all summer, the dinning room has been successfully wallpapered. The room certainly isn't finished, but I love the William Morris wallpaper. Having never heard of artist William Morris before I found this wallpaper on Itsy Bitsy, I am now seeing this particular print all over my computer screen--as that happens. Wayfair has hand towels and a blogger whom I follow has a sofa upholstered with this print in her dollhouse. 

My daughter called the other day to ask how much to offer for a box of dollhouse furniture on a garage sale. Before her texted photos arrived, she had already paid the woman $15 for the whole box. The lady had not idea what she had. Take a look at a box of vintage Shackman furniture. 

I have been trying to make a buffet like the one this photo and here it is.

Some pieces like the mirrored shelf need repair and they all need a good cleaning.

The organ is a great find, even though the key board is damaged. It is a music box, too.

I've looked all over for a ceillo. 

Look at the label for the candlesticks--patent pending 

But here is the real find: a four piece bathroom set: the toilet, sink, tub, and bidet. I've never seen this in any of my eBay or Etsy searches. Have you? Our last house did have a urinal in it, a rather novel piece in the bathroom just off the garage--a man thing.


We could resell on eBay, but Jen has a house to build and still has the old Painted Lady that I tried to assemble. We are going to build the San Franciscan that will be her abandoned haunted house and this furniture will be perfect for it. I'm talking her out of the buffet, though.

Another project with a good outcome is the flooring for the Fairfield. This is my final design printed on mat photo paper. I did a lot research to help create a 1920s era kitchen. The online stores and catalogs don't carry much selection of flooring for the half scale, especially not the green tiles so popular in the '20s.

These squares are .4x.4 and I created this one in Circuit Design Space, but that's not where I began.

My first attempt I created in Microsoft Word which a was so tedious because each tile had be put in place and then all of the diamond accents.  The 4 square tiles are made of 4 .5x.5 squares and while I love this floor it is too overwhelming for this tiny Victorian.

While I was creating this floor--I spent an entire day on it, only to reject--I started a tutorial. Briefly, you can see how I created the pieces for the floor, using the tools in Word to size the tiles and it's shape tool to get the square, but as I said it was work intensive.

During the process, you make the background for the flooring, then create individual tiles and drag them into place one by one using the copy tool. 

But Design Space is so much easier because you create your tile, select the color, size it, duplicate the tile, change the duplicate to the second color and begin building the first row by duplicating each tile and dragging them into place until you have enough for the size of the first row flooring. For the Fairfield I needed a square 8x8 inches. I created 2 rows to get the off-set pattern then I selected two rows and used the weld tool, duplicated the two rows and continue to add welded rows until I had my 8x8 flooring. I finished selecting the entire pattern and welded all the rows together then sent it to the printer. I saved it to Public.

I purchased this wallpaper, but I'm not sure I am going to use it. If I do I have to order another sheet because one won't be enough. First, I am going to paint the kitchen white and try to figure out a tile backsplash of some sort.

My husband has gone fishing, so I am on chore duty here and tomorrow I'm going to go watch the girls compete in their last horse show of the summer. 

Wishing you a splendid weekend.

Thanks for stopping by.


  We certainly live in uncertain times. Saturday, we had a small family get-together--just the two daughters and their 5 children. It had be...