August 2, 2017

I’ve been having a lot of fun constructing the kitchen cabinet hardware. I struggled with how to make the handles for the cabinets and drawers. I knew I could use tiny aluminum rods to make the bar style handles, but I could not figure out how to attach them to the cabinets but not directly flat onto the cabinets. I wanted them to be on some kind of riser so that they stand above the cabinet or drawer surface. But it had to be something that I could glue to a rounded rod surface. What to do, what to do…?

First I tried Fimo. Nope, nope, nope. Then I just sat and cogitated for a while. Bingo (light bulb goes on above head, like in a cartoon), what about a tiny silver bead?

Then to work, rooting around through my bead stash (I sometimes make jewelry), and presto, a small tube of tiny silvery glass beads. Lay them out, a drop of super glue, set the aluminum rods onto the beads and wait for them to dry. It worked! Yaaaayyyy!

Here’s the prototype:

You can see two smaller cabinet handles at the upper right in the photo.

Tonight I did an assembly line of longer drawer handles and shorter cabinet handles:

The handles do stick to the cutting mat so they have to be gently detached with a craft knife or box cutter blade. If they fall off, as they sometimes do, I just re-glue them. In the background of this photo above, you can see the upper cabinets with handles already glued on.

I’ve also been working on the kitchen peninsula and the “granite” countertops. First, I designed a pattern for the part of the island that faces the front of the house, so there is not just a boring expanse of wood veneer. Then I cut the pattern into the veneer and applied the veneer:

You can see the black paint showing through for contrast.

I then made an apron front sink out of basswood, and gessoed it with multiple coats to smooth out some of the wood grain. This will be painted with “stainless steel” colored paint and will be a “stainless steel” apron-front sink. I had to cut out a place for the sink. Only some of the veneer is applied on the other side of the peninsula as in one portion there will be a dishwasher and in another, a microwave. But here’s what it looks like as a work in progress:

The “granite” countertops were fun to make. I “shopped” for the granite by going online and saving many photos of marble and granite. Then I printed them all out and wrapped them around the peninsula countertop basswood (countertop shows in the above photo with no “granite” applied) and then picked the one I liked best.

I’ve already finished the countertops for the small counter sections against the back wall in the kitchen. Here’s a photo of the countertops before installation:

And here’s a photo of one of the base cabinets with the handles and countertop installed:

And here’s a closer view of the upper cabinet that goes above the base cabinet in the photo above:

Another fun thing – a kind wood artist on Etsy custom made a spalted maple wood floating vanity for my dollhouse bathroom. Here’s the chunk of wood, not installed yet – it will have a countertop on it and vessel sinks:

I absolutely love spalted maple. The pattern created by the fungus as the wood decays is gorgeous. The wood is treated to stop the decay, and the wood artist sealed the piece. Can’t wait to install it!

The Etsy shop is called Snookworks, located in Canada, and here is a link to the wooden tea light holder that inspired me to request a custom piece (without the recessed holes for the tea lights):

This wood artist has a lot of other beautiful things in his Etsy shop too.

July 16, 2017:

I’m continuing work on the “nuts and bolts” of the mini house; trim, cabinetry, and will have to get the doors made.

Here is the trim in place in the greatroom:

And the kitchen peninsula is in the works – I have finished the cabinet box and spray painted it black, in preparation for the wood veneer to be applied. Here it is:

Sigh…I have now noticed that the pendant lights are off center. Not sure what I am going to do about this. I will think about it later.

The nice thing about a hobby is that though some things must of necessity be properly sequenced, because it is a hobby and not a job, I can jump around and work on whatever appeals to me.

So aside from staining and installing more base and crown molding, I am going to make the “stainless steel” apron front sink. It will be made from basswood. I’m not yet sure if I will simply paint it as I have done with the fridge, or if I will use my sheet aluminum to line it. I’m leaning towards trying the process of lining it with the sheet aluminum. If that doesn’t work I can always paint it out.

I printed out tons of pages of marble slabs for the countertop and am having a lot of fun trying them out. So many choices, but only one can be picked!

July 11, 2017

Lots of progress on the dollhouse, but it still doesn’t show much yet. I’ve stained and installed the crown molding and base molding in the 2 story foyer. Need to get more lumber or molding for the rest of the house now.

Here’s a photo of a bunch of molding stained and ready to install:

And now, a photo of the installed moldings:

Also, I started work on the cabinetry for the peninsula in the kitchen. Here is the cabinet box in progress:

It’s got a coat of black paint on it but the wood veneer will be applied over it. You’re looking at the kitchen side of the peninsula, and you can see the tiny toe-kick at the bottom. There will be a “stainless steel” apron sink, a microwave, dishwasher, cabinets and drawers on this side. Pity they won’t be visible from the front of the house : – (. But I’m installing them anyway. I’ll know they are there!

The reverse side of the peninsula (the one you can see from the front of the dollhouse) will have an abstract pattern carved into the veneer with the black paint showing through, just for kicks.

I’m pretty sure I will be using marble “slabs” for the counters. We’ll see…so many cool stone photos online, but can’t use them all!

I found a vendor on Etsy that will make me a chunk of spalted maple that will be my bathroom floating vanity. I’m going to dowel it into the wall, put a “limestone” slab countertop and the vessel sinks on top, and I think it will look just great! I’ll post a photo of it and a link to his Etsy shop once I have it.

I’m starting to get a little jazzed about finishing the house itself, so that I can start on making the furniture, which will include the couch, living room lamps, bed, nightstands and two dressers.

July 2, 2017:

I’ve actually gotten quite a bit of work done on the dollhouse over the past several weeks, but nothing all that thrilling to look at.

  • I’ve stained the foyer staircase treads and landings.
  • I’ve wallpapered both stories of the foyer with the same paper I used in the great room.
  • I’ve purchased more molding which has yet to be stained. This will be base molding and crown molding.
  • I repaired the lighting run into the foyer, which had stopped working.
  • I bought myself a fun little toy – it is a tiny clamp on work light for model workers—perfect for miniatures.

Here is a picture of the foyer, wallpapered and with the stair treads and landings stained. The stringers will be painted grey or maybe white:

On the left is my little mini clamp light. At the rear on the bottom floor is my REAC Barcelona bed (E-Bay). This will be a nice place to sit and admire the artwork, once it has been hung.

So I have a number of things I can work on:

  • Drawer and cabinet handles for the kitchen cabinets.
  • Kitchen peninsula.
  • Baseboards and crown molding.
  • Miscellaneous finishing projects (such as raw edges of floors and walls.
  • Doors and frames.

And then it will be on to finishing the exterior of the house, including the roof deck, and furnishing and then decorating the interior. That will be a lot of work. Like Pepper at, I am probably going to have to do egg carton stone on the exterior. Oh boy. That will be a workout. But real stone is too heavy. AND, I still have to make the removable front of the house. More cutting and measuring and finishing.

I plan to make the following furniture:

  • Occasional tables for the living rooms.
  • Lamps for the living room.
  • Bed.
  • Nightstands
  • Patio furniture.
  • Dresser
  • Bathroom floating vanity.
  • Some of the plants.
  • Some of the décor objects.

So still PLENTY of work left to do!

June 14, 2017

Well it’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I’ve been pretty busy on the dollhouse but I did have a long break working lots of overtime and helping my mom before and after eye surgery. Work is still a mess but I’m trying to power through it.

Meanwhile, lots of changes in the dollhouse.

Here’s a recent shot of the entire house:


So what’s changed? Well, there’s wallpaper in both the great room and the bedroom now. That was a bit of an adventure. You know how when you buy a dollhouse that has to be assembled, they tell you to wallpaper the house before you put it together? Yeah, there’s a reason. It’s very hard to put paper into a small room, especially a deep room. However, I did not have much choice since this house was built from scratch and I did not know for sure what paper I would use at the time I built it.

In the end, I worked it out. I used two methods to apply the wallpaper. One was to use YES paste, applied with a cheap paintbrush. The other, which I liked better, was a glue transfer paper product with peel off surfaces on both sides. You peel one side, stick it to your surface (in this case, scrapbooking paper) and then you peel off the other side of the paper, which leaves the sticky glue. Then you apply it to the wall, and burnish the paper against the wall. That worked quickly and easily.

And as you can probably imagine, cutting out the holes in the paper for the windows was a giant pain. I did all right, however. Not perfect, but good enough. And where there are imperfect areas at ceiling or floor, well baseboards and crown molding will eventually cover those.

I chose a couple of rather retro papers for the bedroom and great room. The great room and two of the bedroom walls have a white paper with a kind of striated gold irregular pattern. It reads as very mid-century modern. The statement wallpaper in the bedroom is also a bit mid century modern. By itself I’m not completely happy with it, but I think that once the dark blue drapes and the bed and nightstands are in place, it will look really great. If not, well, I can always replace it.

Here you can see the wallpaper in the great room:

And here you can see the “statement wall” wallpaper in the bedroom:

The flower pattern is in dark blue, green, red, yellow and a pale turquoise. There will be navy drapes and red accent colors elsewhere in the room, including a red “egg” chair. The bed will be under the window in the statement wall.

I also pulled the shower completely out and redid it. I used the same “granite” for the shower floor as I did for the sides. And the “drain” is a jeans snap! The acrylic “frameless glass” is installed and the only things left to be installed are the shower head and water control handles. Here is the shower:

In the great room I have made some pretty good headway with the kitchen. The upper cabinets are hung, and the under-cabinet lighting is stuck in place, but the wires aren’t hidden yet. And I’ve just placed some loose pieces of scrap basswood on top of the lowers to show where the countertops will be.

Sorry about the flash but I couldn’t get good light otherwise.

And here is a photo from further back, showing the general appearance:

The under cabinet lights are so bright they washed out that middle part of the photo and I wasn’t able to compensate for this. Also, as you can see, my temporary dining room pendant light and the island pendant lights are blocking some of the view of the kitchen build. These cabinets are not all fully installed yet so some shimming and straightening are still to come. But you get the general idea.

And something kind of amusing – I was toying with making the shower floor a pebble based floor, with pebbles in grout. I just didn’t like anything I tried and gave it up eventually. But I got a good laugh out of one of my test runs. I used sand colored grout and tan stones, which I applied on a plastic container lid to see what it would look like. I can’t decide if it looks more like a cow-flop or more like cat barf. You pick, LOL:

And I was sick last Sunday and got NO oil painting done :-(. So this coming weekend I hope to work on both  miniatures AND oil painting. I am nearly done with my landscape of England’s Lake Country. It’s going pretty well though I think I will make a few changes. I’ll post that when it’s done even though it isn’t miniature-themed.

And we have a long 4th of July weekend coming up. We are off at my office both Monday AND Tuesday – YAY! Plenty of play time.

April 23, 2017:

I’ve been working a heck of a lot of overtime, so I haven’t done much on the dollhouse over the past month. But, I DID finish the stove, and here it is:

I also worked on applying the wood veneer to the kitchen cabinets, which you can see below:

I have to finish the veneer on the cabinet above the fridge, and then I will install the undercabinet lighting strips and then install the wallpaper. After that, I can install the cabinets.

And then—it’s on to the kitchen island and then the countertops!

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.