March 11, 2017

Well I’m gearing up for a visit from my daughter and grandson. Can’t wait until they are here!

Meanwhile, working on the dollhouse. I’ve finished the fridge. Here it is:

I’m not sure how much I like the handles. Might change them out. I’ll think about it for a few days.

I’m still working on the stove. Still spray painting pieces, then will be ready to put it together and put the knobs on. So no picture for that yet, except that you can see it in this photo of the back wall of the kitchen:

These look a bit funny right now, because the uppers are sitting on top of the lowers, the over-fridge cabinet is sitting on top of the fridge, and there are no cabinet “doors” installed yet, just the flat fronts of the cabinets. Worse yet, there are post it notes on two of the cabinets so that I don’t mix them up with the other cabinets. But hey, it’s progress!

I’ve dry fitted the frameless “glass” shower walls, and you can see them here:

I might have a picture of a nearly completed stove tomorrow, but I will be busy child-proofing the house and will try to work on my oil painting tomorrow as well.

March 9, 2017:

It’s been a long time since I’ve done a blog post, but I have been pretty busy. The kitchen cabinetry has been quite time consuming, and I’ve made a number of small mistakes that put me behind. I’ve also got a limited amount of time I can use to work on my dollhouse. We’ve had a very sick kitty and so what time I’ve had this week has been spent visiting him in the hospital. All in all, there have been periods of activity and periods of no dollhouse fun at all.

I also have a limited number of mini clamps so I can only glue and hold a certain number of pieces at a time. This limits how much I can do at one time.

I’ve bounced around a few times between the different pieces I am working on. I’ve been working on kitchen cabinetry, the shower floor, and the kitchen stove.

Here’s the pebble floor of the shower:

I had a little trouble with the floor. I didn’t want to use the white gravel, but after I had tried pressing stones into the grout and having it look horrible, I was just too tired to pick out all the white stones. Although I don’t love it, I can live with it. And I can always change it out if I decide to.

And here are the pieces of the stove, getting their first coat of “stainless steel” paint:

Below is the stove grate which will be painted black very soon:

And here are various cabinet boxes under construction, as well as the nearly finished refrigerator:

I had ordered a roll of aluminum which is thicker than heavy duty aluminum foil, but still pretty thin. I’m going to use it to clad the part of the island cabinet box which will be the dishwasher front. I also experimented with making the fridge handles, and I kinda like the look. The aluminum is too thin to use by itself so I have spray-painted some strips of 1/32 x 3/32 basswood to provide some “lift” of the handles from the fridge surface, and I think this is going to work just fine. Once the handles are on, the fridge is DONE!

I have also spent some time working on my painting. It’s not going as well as I’d like, but I am improving in my ability to paint trees. Working on grasses as well. I want to be able to produce a good landscape oil painting.

February 18, 2017:

I’ve been on vacation for a week, so no dollhouse projects. I’m sitting on a plane heading home, and writing this on my laptop. I’ve had a lot of fun showing the progress photos to family, however. Sometimes just talking about the progress can stimulate new ideas about how to do something.

I do notice that the things I see on the blogs or facebook pages that I follow stimulate ideas as well. Alice’s Miniatures and Mitchymoo Miniatures are especially good for this. Alice had a beautiful couch and throw pillows on her Facebook page recently that was quite inspiring. Also, I look at my manila folder with clippings from magazines as well as my Word documents where I store pics from the internet, and this stimulates not only new ideas but “hacks” of existing ideas or designs.

I’ve been thinking about the dining area. The dining table is a modern wood and “metal” base with a clear acrylic top, rectangular in shape. I am seriously considering getting the “s” shaped acrylic chairs for the dining table, in a bright red, which is the basic accent color for the great room. But then, what about a rug? Apparently one can print on fabric, so it might be possible to print a rug I find online. But it has been a problem finding one that I like and that is in the right colors. With the bright chairs, the rug could have a fairly bold pattern but the colors probably need to be neutral, such as black, white and a tan or beige tone. I will probably print the rug on paper to try it out.

The living room will also need a rug to anchor the seating. This rug would need to have neutral tones with pops of red.

I have not really decided on furniture for the foyer. It’s primary focus is it’s overall appearance with the height and the triple stairs, and the art gallery which will encompass all of the walls on both first and second floors. The lighting is already excellent for wall art. But I could have some pedestals with sculptures on them, and possibly a plant or two.

Might use the bench in this photo below:

However, its position in the room would be different. Since my mini house has a back wall, unlike this one, I could position it against the back wall, under the art work.

On the second floor in the foyer there is not enough room to place any furniture other than a console type table. I could do that, with smaller sculptures and vases on the console.

Sculptures have been a bit of an issue. I have not found many in 1:12 scale that I truly like, and I may have to copy some using fimo and paint. This will be time consuming, but considering that I am also an artist, perhaps it would be a good exercise for me. I do, however, have a number of small art vases that could be used for some of the objets d’art. Further, I have some miniature flower arrangements which would do very nicely on top of a console or even a pedestal.

Pedestals can be fairly easily made or also purchased.

I did purchase “wallpaper” which is really scrapbook paper, for the bedroom. However, I’m not sure if it will go well with the wall paper for the back “statement” wall, so it’s not a done deal. I may have to take another trip to Hobby Lobby or Joanne’s Fabrics for more paper or fabric to do that wall. What I really would like is a textured neutral colored fabric, perhaps in a beige or “natural” color. I did not find any scrapbook paper with a small enough texture to work for this, not to mention the available colors were not workable.

Another issue is going to be the doors. I will be constructing them myself, using acrylic sheeting (frosted) and basswood. I’ll have to put a thin veneer tape inside the opening and then there will be wood trim around the opening of the doorway. I only have to make three interior doors. The front door will be a much more complex double doorway and as it is part of the removable front, which is not even constructed yet, it will be quite some time before I get to that.

I do have quite a bit of work left to do on this house, and I’m still pretty sure it will take me about another 2 years to finish it.

February 10, 2017

I’ve had a better time than expected working on the mini house lately. I’ve made some progress with the kitchen cabinetry, finished painting the fridge (and glued the door on). But I am probably most pleased with the way the bathroom wallpaper turned out.

I had gone to Hobby Lobby trying to find scrapbook paper to use as wallpaper in the house. While they had a very good selection of papers, nothing was right for the shower walls and the rest of the fixtures. So I headed to their fabric section, and found a “pleather” upholstery fabric in a bronze-ish-green color. I was frankly more than a little intimidated by the idea of the process of application of this fabric.

I tried wallpaper mucilage from a dollhouse supply store, but that really didn’t work with this type of fabric. I then used the Yes paste, which worked great. I was going to try to apply the fabric to the wall and cut it at the floors, ceilings and openings with a razor knife and rotary cutter. This did not work out well. Surprisingly, however, when I cut the fabric into pieces I was able to get them to fit and the seams don’t show. So it turned out to go very smoothly after the initial trial and error.

Here is a picture of how it looks with the wallpaper up and the shower “granite” slabs glued in place.

Now I just have to finish the shower pan and install the acrylic “frameless glass” shower walls.

Then, on to the vanity, mirrors, lighting above the vanity, installing the tub, and of course, finishing the kitchen cabinetry and appliances.

January 25, 2017

Hey in a week it will be a year since I started my blog! I estimated at that time that it would take me about 2-3 years to finish my mini house, and I still think that’s about right. I sure am enjoying myself, and I’m learning a lot.

I’ve been working on the kitchen cabinets, as you can see from prior posts, but I ran out of wood and had to wait until I could go get some more. So in the interim, I started on the shower.

To make the “stone” shower walls, I printed out on glossy photo paper a photo of some granite I really liked and glued it to some Bristol board, folding it around the sides and gluing it down on the back, mitering the corners with a razor knife. I trimmed it so that it didn’t go too far onto the back of the Bristol board.

I needed two slabs, one for the rear wall of the shower, and the other for the left wall. The right wall will be rigid clear acrylic “glass” with honed edges and the front will have a partial wall of the acrylic “glass”. By the way, a shout-out to TAP Plastics, who will cut the acrylic to order for you for a small charge, and mail it to you (or you can pick it up if there is a TAP Plastics near you). Here is their website: http://www.tapplastics.com

I should have the acrylic shower walls/door in a couple of days.

Here is my planning/thought process as I worked out the shower details:

Now I have to think about the shower pan. What color should it be?

It should be about ¼ inch high at the sides, and the bottom will need to be 4” x 7” outside dimensions.

Each of the two shower wall panels will need to be 9 ¼” high as they will rest on the shower pan sides, and go all the way to the ceiling. The ceiling is 9.5” high.

Wait a minute – another thought – I could simply run the shower panels from the ceiling all the way to the floor, and then install ¼ inch “shower pan” sides for the two open sides of the shower. I could cover those sides with more of the stone panel photograph so all would match, then install the shower floor stones inside on the existing bathroom floor. Since it is not a real shower, I don’t actually need a shower pan, just the appearance of one. (This is what I actually did.)

Have to think about the thickness of the pebble floor. It will probably be about 1/8” thick, which will fill up half of the “shower pan” thickness plus a little more for the mortar bed (which will be quite thin since we aren’t dealing with actual water in this environment). This is probably okay. Otherwise I could consider making the “shower pan” sides 3/8th of an inch high which would be about 5 or 6 inches in regular (1:1) size. That’s too high for true reflection of scale so I’ll probably just deal with the “fill” depth caused by installation of the floor pebbles.

So here is a picture of the shower slab walls in place (they are not glued in yet, just standing there):

Before I glue everything in I will install the wallpaper.

This is the rest of my speculations on the bathroom:

I’ve made some decisions about the vanity. The stone vessel sinks are kind of a grayish veined stone. I’ve found a photo of a light colored limestone that I will use for the countertop. The floating vanity will be a medium or a darker wood to contrast with the light countertop, which in turn will contrast with the medium dark vessel sinks.

I will be building the vanity and countertop myself. Might purchase the faucets or might try my hand at making those too. We’ll see.

Here are some to use as inspiration:

 

I have a lovely freestanding tub from Marion Russek’s Shapeways shop (previously shown on this blog):

As you can see, Marion makes a tub filler, but I’m considering a wall mount filler because the tub will be next to a wall. Here are some I am using as inspiration to make my own wall tub filler:

As you can see, the last one is very similar to Marion’s. I think I will print out small photos of these, set the tub in place and hold the fillers up to see which one I like best.

I bought some chrome paint from the model section at Hobby Lobby and I am going to try it out to see how realistic it looks.

I am really excited about constructing the pebble floor of the shower. I already had some dark gravel I can use for this. It’s been picked through to remove detritus and lighter colored stones. Here they are in a bowl, waiting for installation:

I will use gray grout to provide some contrast, so you can see the stones. Black grout would not provide enough contrast and white grout would provide too much contrast.

Below are some floating vanity inspirations for me to consider in designing and building my floating vanity:

These are all different but all interesting in their different ways.

January 15, 2017

A friend of mine commented that there should be a current picture of the entire house. She’s right, but I hadn’t wanted to do this because my mini house looks like exactly what it is – a construction site! In other words, not very pretty.

But here goes – this is the house as it is now, with construction tools, supplies and debris in and on top of the house:

To the left is the two story foyer which will also eventually be an art gallery. Bottom right is the great room. The kitchen will be in the left rear, the dining area in front of the kitchen, and the living area to the left in front of the fireplace.

Upstairs the center room is the giant bathroom, and the remaining large room is the bedroom.

The stairs go up to the roof. On the roof will eventually be railings and a roof patio/BBQ/garden and either fireplace or fire pit. There will be lots of plantings.

In the bathroom, the large shower will be at the left rear, with the toilet beside it, under the narrow window. The floating vanity with vessel sinks will be on the right wall. The freestanding tub will be at the left wall between the front of the house and the door to the foyer.

In the bedroom, the bed will be under the rear window, flanked by nightstands with lamps. There will be a dresser on the wall to the left, and the great red egg chair shown in an earlier post will be at the front right corner. There will be more art on the wall in this room, and in the great room as well.

Progress:

Since I took the photo above (several days ago), I have sprayed the coat of paint/primer on the fridge, and tomorrow I will spray the first coat of the stainless steel look paint.

I have started to glue the cabinet boxes together, as well. I’m using my lovely new (Christmas presents!) mini-clamps and clamp-square to hold them in place while the glue dries. This process has been fraught with frustrations – thinking I cut something incorrectly, cutting new pieces and then realizing I had mistakenly tried to put the original, correctly cut pieces on the wrong edge of the cabinet box back. Sigh…do, undo and redo. At least I enjoy the process and am in no hurry.

I am also working on my first landscape painting. It is nearly done. I’d say it isn’t horrible, but I don’t love it, either. I think I want to paint a bunch of landscapes to get more practice.

I’ve found my favorite relaxing meditation – watching Bob Ross painting videos. You may laugh, and it IS funny, but he’s so sweet and so mellow that it is just terribly relaxing to watch him. When he paints  he lives in a lovely world where nothing is bad and you can paint whatever you want. Such a pleasing fantasy! For a few minutes its nice to live in that world.

I’ve actually learned quite a bit of useful painting tips and techniques from watching the Bob Ross videos. And now I am addicted to painting videos, and not just Bob Ross’ videos. I watched a couple of videos on how to paint waves and sea foam, and I can’t wait to try it!

I’m happy to finally be doing what I wanted to do as a child – art and dollhouses!

January 8, 2017

Well it’s been a long time since my last post. I knew that Christmas would make it pretty much impossible for me to do any work on the mini house or the blog, and sure enough, I was just too busy spoiling my family, LOL!

We had a wonderful Christmas except that was the day I got a really nasty flu. I was able to get through Christmas dinner but then I was seriously ill for the next week and not doing that great for the one after that. So instead of using all my lovely holidays off work for oil painting and working on my mini house, I could do nothing but sleep, watch TV or read.

So today was the first day I have been able to work on my mini house. I also got some good progress on my landscape painting as well, so it was a good day.

I’m still working on the refrigerator. Here’s a picture of the progress so far – structure is basically done but needs to be painted and the doors glued on:

The rubber bands are there to hold on the doors in the right place. Once I’ve painted the fridge I will glue on the doors – it won’t be an openable item, though I could do that if I wanted. There’s no need to do this for my purposes, however.

I also got some great Christmas presents for my mini house:

These are going to be vessel sinks in my mini house bathroom. This is the Etsy site for the vendor: https://www.etsy.com/shop/CrystalRiverGems?ref=l2-shopheader-name

This is a darling tiny feather duster:

From this Etsy shop – Mere Miniatures at https://www.etsy.com/listing/475232104/a-miniature-feather-duster-112-scale?ref=shop_home_active_21

And this MOST lovely fruit and cheese plate made by a lovely young lady in Bulgaria at Esty shop Kikimora Handmade:

Here is the link: https://www.etsy.com/listing/287691509/112-dollhouse-miniature-food-dollhouse?ref=shop_home_active_5

So I’m pretty happy with my haul!

Happy New Year!

November 27, 2016 # 2

I forgot to post a photo of the completed fireplace with the firebox installed. Here it is:

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I’m not super happy with the contrast between the brick in the firebox and the darker grout. I will probably paint the bricks a darker grey. The current grey is so pale that it looks white. I think it will look better darker.

November 27, 2016

I’m actively working on the kitchen right now. There’s nothing completed yet and it may be a while before there is anything really worth photographing. But for fun, I have photographs of the plans, the parts and, LOL, the mess! Here you go:

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Above is the drawing for the back wall portion of the kitchen. It is actual size, so I cut these out and made patterns out of them for cutting the bass wood. Yes, I decided to make the cabinet boxes out of wood, though I am using very thin stick-on veneer for the cabinet doors once the boxes are completed. The blank space between the drawers is the stove. Above it will be a range hood and vent.

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Above is a view (sorry, partially blocked by my temporary dining light fixture) of the cabinet back wall template in place. You can see that the wall to the left is out of square, and the ceiling is also a bit out of square. So just like in real houses, I will probably have to use shims. I do have some very thin wood and cardboard for this purpose.

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Above: interestingly enough, the top of a large tub of cat litter makes a very good “sawhorse” for cutting thin wood!

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Above: stacks of wood cabinet parts. I stacked them by section.

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Above you can see that I wrote the name of the piece along with an “s” for “side”, so I know which parts go together.

What you don’t see is that there will be toe kicks. I have not cut these out or even marked them, at this point.

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Above is how obsessively organized I can sometimes be. I’ve put each set of parts per cabinet into its own plastic bag so they don’t get mixed up or lost.

I’ve recently reviewed Kris’ tutorials on 1inchminisbykris.com, as to the modern stainless steel stove and refrigerator. I’m going to construct mine of wood and alter the method a little but these are SUPER helpful and I am really grateful to her for posting these tutorials! Kris is really talented, creative and detailed.

November 16, 2016

More work on the fireplace – the mantel is installed!

Here is a picture:

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So next I started work on the firebox lining. Here’s the back and sides:

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Shout out to Otterine (here’s her blog – http://www.otterine.com/blog/blog1.php), thanks SO much for the idea to use egg cartons to make bricks. Though we don’t have proper egg cartons (our Farmers Market egg company uses styrofoam : – / ) I did have some Bristol board in varying thicknesses. Since the interior brick of the firebox could be smoother than the egg carton texture, and since I have Gesso that I can use for some texture, I think it will be alright. In the picture above you can see that I’ve glued on the bricks and that’s all so far. Tomorrow night I will apply the Gesso and then I will use my paint and make it a light grey, like this photo:

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And I will grout it. I have some grout handy and can change the color with some paint as needed.

I am also toying with the idea of skipping the granite or marble (faux) for the kitchen countertop. I think a matte acrylic would be lovely. I’ve found that TAP’s website will allow one to order pieces cut to size. I’d still need to make an opening for the sink but I think I can acquire the cutting blades I’d need to do this, and I’ll order extra pieces to practice on.

TAP has a bunch of videos about working with acrylic and it is very tempting to spend yet more money on some supplies and start playing around with making some things for the mini house. But I think I’ll restrain myself – this isn’t an inexpensive hobby. In fact, I think my next project will be something like a fairy cottage made entirely of found objects, involving very little money.

But for those of you who like to geek out (as I do), here is a link to TAP’s website: http://www.tapplastics.com/product_info/plastics_information/acrylic

Enjoy watching their how-to videos – I did! Note: they can’t ship their acrylic glue to California, but there are products on Amazon that can be shipped here.