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9 posts from July 2015

bathroom is in!

I'm extremely glad now that I spent those couple of days earlier in the week puttering with the jars, it sharpened my tweezer and superglue skills.  With the exception of the tub, everything in this bathroom is wall mounted, and plastic, so it all had to be superglued in place.


The things I've learned about supergluing miniatures:

Don't try to apply glue from the tube directly to the miniature.  I use a scrap piece of plastic packaging as a palette, put a dab of glue on my palette, then use a toothpick or pin to spread it in a thin layer on the miniature, only in the places it needs to make contact.

A little superglue goes a long way.  If glue is oozing out around the edges or not setting in the time it should you're using too much.  It will be messy and the bond won't be as strong.

When I glued the towel holders and switches on the walls I used painters tape to hold strips of skinny stick to the wall, utilizing a square to position them straight and level.  I measured and marked with pencil, on the skinny strip, where I wanted to place the switches, then used the top edge of the skinny stick as a guide to glue the switches on the wall in position and level. 

Test place your piece a few times before you put glue on it.  Make sure you can position it and hold it in place in a single smooth motion without fumbling.  Some things I glued on with just my hands, some with tweezers, depending on how small the piece was, whether I needed to apply pressure all over or at both ends,  etc.  Once you have glue on the piece it's best to not let go until the glue is set.

Don't get impatient.  Hold the piece firmly and steadily in place while the glue sets.  Apply enough consistent and even pressure to push all the contact points together and hold them firmly but not so much pressure as to bend or break the piece.  Don't wiggle.  Don't let up the pressure too early.  Sing a song, or count in your head.  Don't answer the phone if it rings.

Relax.  If your arm are sore or your hands tired and shaky you need to take a long break.  Be zen with the superglue.

Don't try to superglue material you're not supposed to.  If you're not sure if superglue is the right adhesive to use with glass, for instance (it's not), google it first.

Just because the glue has set and is holding your piece in place doesn't mean it's cured all the way.  Leave it alone to dry overnight before you start hanging towels on the rods, etc.  Don't monkey with it!

Try different brands.  I call all cyanoacrylate adhesive superglue, just like I call all facial tissue Kleenex, but I don't like the Superglue brand and don't use it.  I favor the Gorilla Glue brand, it's not runny and doesn't set up on my palette instantly, plus there aren't noxious fumes.  I've heard good things about the Loctite brand, but haven't tried it.  Stay away from generic or dollar store get what you pay for.  I buy mine at the hardware store, not at the craft store.

That's my two cents....if you have anything to add I always welcome helpful hints.

bed, bath and chair

I made a simple platform bed yesterday from a square of scrap chipboard framed with walnut (or koa?) strips, with aluminum tube legs.  The ceiling height is low at the back of the bedroom, due to the curved roof, so I needed the bed to sit lower than normal, yet still be off the floor.  I wanted something simple and sleek that wouldn't be too much of a focal point and would blend with the rest of the decor.  At 5 1/2 inches long it's not scaled correctly, but I needed to leave a reasonable amount of room to walk around the end without toppling over the edge into the dining room below.  I could sleep on it just fine, but I'm only 5'2" husband's shins and feet would be dangling off the end.  I'm going to have my mom sew thin pillows and prop them against the headboard so they don't take up too much room, thus making the bed look even shorter.   I'm not sure I'm sold on the blanket, so that may change.


The ugly vanity was retrieved from the trash can and painted black.  I decided what was really bothering me was the wood tone finish.  I stained it the same color as the shelf in the bathroom, but because I made it from a different kind of wood it didn't match.  Besides which, who has a wooden bathroom counter?  As any women's closet can attest, black hides a multitude of sins.  I like black.  It needs a bit more finish work and a gloss sealant before I install it.

I also gave the red chair a coat of purple spray paint to tie it in with my color scheme.

Husband made tacos...I got all that done...not bad for an evening's work.

more puttering

When the itch got so bad Monday I couldn't stand my own company I went to the bead store to get out of the house for a bit.


I was practically useless at the office yesterday morning, so I spent the afternoon at home, making minis from the beads.  Then I remembered the last time I had the watch parts bits out I thought they'd make great lids, so I got additional beads out of my stash to putter even more.


Then I freaked out about how I spent an entire afternoon making a few jars, thinking of all the items still on my to-do list to finish the build, and wondering how I'm going to get everything done by the deadline.  I need to buckle down, put in some work EVERY DAY, and get the big step scary things accomplished.  I can show the house without jars, I can't show it with only half the walls done, roofless, the deck unfinished, the wiring incomplete, without cabinetry or furniture.....arghhhh....

puttering with accessories

I made towels and bathroom stuff last weekend, since the faucets hadn't arrived.  I made a vanity base as well, but didn't like it so chucked it in the trash.


Saturday morning Husband and I drove a half hour to the little town of Alden, where he grew up, for the annual men's club rummage sale.  There wasn't much there to rummage through this year, I only brought home a metal typewriter table.  I like to use those for houses in process, so I can wheel them around and about.

When we got home I went to a big outdoor art fair at the local college. 


I bought a new handbag made by KT Leather Designs, a card from Randi Ford, a photograph from Chris Ackerman, a handmade bead on a chain from Jasmine Keane, and a fish from potter Carol Meier of Bear Lake Pottery.

Isn't my fish so cute?


He looks right at home in my studio.


Sunday it was too hot to work, so I only puttered a bit with the towels and whatnot.  Plus I was irritable, itchy and all out-of-sorts.

I woke up in the wee hours of the morning Monday covered in hives all over my body.  I discovered what's even more painful and irritating than an ear infection is an allergic reaction to the antibiotic.  I'm on even more pills now, and more exhausted and yucky.  The hives are gone now, but the other symptoms aren't yet.  Sigh.  I stayed home from work yesterday, but I'm headed to the office this morning for at least a couple of hours; I know I don't have the strength to last through the day, but there are a few things my assistant needs help taking care of.

my version of a Smeg refrigerator


But now I have to keep my glasses in the house....


I've been puttering about here and there while I've been sick and cranky.  My ears don't hurt as bad, they mostly feel pressurized, which is irritating.  I'm half way through the course of antibiotics I was prescribed.

I painted the edges of the walls and floors that are visible when the back wall is open, then I put flooring on the second story loft.  I stumbled across a roll of repositionable wall decal border (on clearance!) in the perfect color and pattern to use for a headboard.  I needed something that would both hide the seam in the middle of the back wall and not stick out into the narrow room.  I assumed I'd use paper, but I like this better.  It's like giant washi tape.


The toilet and sink are still being painted.  I'm on the zillionth coat of white enamel paint, sanding between coats.  Hopefully I'll get them finished and the bathroom assembled this weekend.  I bought the pieces from Shapeways in polished white plastic hoping I could use them as is, or with just a coat of gloss sealer, but the plastic was too grainy.  It's a lot more work than I expected to get the look of porcelain, I'm not sure I'll do this again.  It's very difficult to find modern bathroom fixtures for dollhouses, much less reasonably priced ones, so until the market catches up with me I may have no better options. 

I'm also slowly working away at siding the back.  I made the vertical trim the same width as the hinge flange so I don't have to notch skinny sticks on this wall.  It would have looked odd to do that on the sides of the house, but it's okay on the back.


supplies arrived, decisions to make

My shapeways order arrived Thursday, so I can progress with the interior.  However, an ear infection arrived Thursday as well.  I'm pretty sure the two things aren't related. 

I haven't had an ear infection since I was a kid, so didn't realize what it was until the pain kept me from sleeping Friday night.  Saturday morning I went to Urgent Care for treatment; now I'm on antibiotics, so it should clear up soon.  I haven't done much in my studio so far this weekend because it's difficult to fight the urge to stick whatever tool I have in my hand inside my ear to attempt to relieve the pressure.  My word, this hurts!

I ordered two sinks for the I really, really liked but suspected too large, and a smaller bowl sink.


The larger sink will fit, but won't leave counter space.   I could wall mount it without a counter, but I have an image in my head of a floating vanity kind of like this, with towels rolled up on the shelf underneath.   Plus it does kind of overpower the room since the tub is smaller than normal....and it seems funny to have a sink larger than the toilet it sits next to.   

The smaller sink will fit better, leaving counter space, and I like it, but I'm not sure how it will look with the wall mounted faucets that haven't arrived yet....though I do have a tall, counter mounted faucet that will function just fine, but I'd want to paint the tub faucets to match.  I could use the big one as the kitchen sink instead, even though it's too shallow to be a kitchen sink....or not. 

Maybe I'll wait a few more days until the faucets get here before I make up my mind.  What do you think?

I ordered three dining chairs to see which worked in the room best.  The black chairs are my favorite, but I wasn't sure how they'd fit under/around a table since the arms and back are the same height.  The others I ordered because they had taller backs with lower or no arms.


The table in the picture isn't the one I'll use, it's too tall to be in scale, I was using it to test the diameter circle that will work best for the table I'll make.  I need the tabletop to be as small as possible without looking too tiny.

I'm going to order more black chairs because I think they're fantastic.  I'll build a table with a glass top that sits just over the chair arms.

bathroom started

My shapeways order shipped yesterday, so I should have the toilet and sink in a few days.  The faucets are delayed a bit, they had to be redesigned, but I'm going to start on the bathroom anyway.

There was a wee gap between the top of the wall and the ceiling...


....but 1/16" quarter round fixed that.


I built my own slant back whirlpool soaking tub to fit the narrower than normal space.  I covered it in the same paper I used on the floors.  I probably should have put the water jets a bit higher in the tub, but the bathroom is going to be so hard to see in the finished house that I'm not too worried about it.  Maybe I'll add some more, smaller, jets, up a little higher, so they're more visible.

I glued plastic mirror sheet to the walls and installed a shelf under the window, running the length of  the room.  The shelf matches the one under the window in the outdoor shower, the idea being that bottles of shampoo and whatnot can be passed through from inside to out.


I used caps from ink pens, painted white, to make the water jets, and slightly different caps from other ink pens, painted chrome, to make the drains in the tub and shower.  Thank you, Brae :D

You can also see that I used earbuds for showerheads.  Thank you, Lyssa :D

I can't take a good picture of the shower now that the privacy wall is in place.  It's a two person shower.  There is a second earbud showerhead on the opposite wall, and a rainfall showerhead in the middle, made from jewelry findings, rubber O rings, and a desiccant thingmabob.

siding - day five

The other side wall is done.  I was in the zone and wanted to start on the back, but I needed to use the table saw and my daughter was sleeping.  She got her first nursing job, which is a night shift, so I can only be super noisy in the morning, before she goes to bed.  I raised her to sleep through ordinary household noise, but a table saw loudly buzzing in the next room would be disruptive.


I trimmed the windows with 1/16" quarter round, to neaten the edges.  I'll trim the sides and top after the roof is on.


I trimmed the windows the same way on the interior, painting the quarter round to match the walls.  The holes I cut for the windows weren't exactly square, and trimming was easier than trying to spackle and paint without getting anything on the wood windows.  When I glued the windows in place I accounted for the 1/16", so the quarter round sits flush with the window frame.


waiting for mail

I'd like to work on the inside of the house, because I'm sick of siding, but I can't start on the kitchen cabinetry until I know how far out into the room I can go, which depends on how much space I need for the table and chairs, and I can't build the table until I have the chairs, and the chairs on order haven't arrived yet.  Sigh.  The toilet, faucets and bathroom sink are still on order as well, so I can't start on the bathroom either.  I guess I finish the siding this weekend.

Now....on with the good stuff.....

I won a giveaway at Miniature Treasures.  A tea caddy Tony crafted from reclaimed ivory and tortoise shell.   It's gorgeous.


I stopped at an antique shop on a whim last week, where I picked up a small stone bowl to use as a vessel sink, and a grumpy looking porcelain dog.


It's supposed to get hot this afternoon, so I need to whiz through the rest of this siding this morning, while it's cool, so I can go to the beach later.  It's going to be hard to stay inside, it's a beautiful day already.  I enjoyed my morning coffee outside with the cats....