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10 posts from May 2015

yay, hinges!

The hinges work!  Yay!  I used epoxy to adhere them, they're not going anywhere.


I bought weeny screws Uh-huh-huh-huh-huh-you-said- but I'm not going to put them in, I doubt they're needed and one misjudgement pre-drilling the holes will mar the interior walls.

Now I'm playing with some foam core board, using it to finalize my plans for the front of the house.  I won't say more than that, I don't want to spoil the surprise.  If all goes well it's going to look awesome.



Sorry for the flood of posts in your blog readers, but I've gone back through several posts to tag them with #‎HBSCreatinContest2015‬. 

There are 16 of us involved in a blogger outreach campaign for this year's kit.  If you type #HBSCreatinContest2015 into a search engine you will find everything that carries that tag, so you can follow along with all of us.

HBS has also set up pinterest boards for us.  Searching for #HBSCreatinContest2015‬ doesn't work within pinterest, but if you find the pinner miniatures .com you can see their boards (scroll to the bottom) and follow them.

My favorite of the projects so far is Nancy's.  She's also further along than the rest of us, so it's easier to tell where she's headed.

Here's a gratuitous cat picture, so you'll forget you're irritated with me for all the republishing....


the walls go up - day four

The walls are up!  Mostly.


Technically this didn't happen on day four, it happened ten minutes ago, but I won't tell if you don't.

Yesterday morning, while I was having my second cup of coffee, when my brain is sharpest, I thought through the build again and wrote another list.  I realized that while it would be easier to put the siding on before the walls went up that it wouldn't be possible, because of the way the second story floor slides in, and how the edges need to be trimmed out.

After I finished my coffee I went to work on my list.  I got the shower drain installed, which had to be done before the second story floor went in, while I could still stand the hand drill in place.  The floor was glued to the foundation and weighted down to dry.  I got the windows glued in and trimmed, the ceiling lights trimmed, and a bunch of other odd and end tasks completed.

I finished the window trim about 8:30 last night, and very much wanted to glue the walls together then, but I drank a beer with dinner and was yawning.  Gluing it together this morning, while drinking my second cup of coffee, was the more sensible time.

Tonight I'll start fitting the hinges so that I can get the back walls installed.

I finally feel like I'm making some real progress, and have found my motivation again.  Yay!

the walls go up - day three

My husband finished soldering the wiring for me.  I glued together the ceiling/wire/floor sandwich, then waited for it to dry.

Waited, and waited, and waited....

Then I put the house back into dry fit.


After an assessment of what needs to be done next I came to the conclusion that I'm not going to have the walls up by the end of the day today.

I concluded it would be easier to put the siding on the exterior when I can still lay the walls flat on my worktable.  Then I laid out various widths of strip wood to pick which I liked best to side with and decided on skinny sticks, which is the only of my choices I don't have enough of so will have to buy more.  Of course.

Then I decided to buy different stain for the siding than the one I already selected and purchased.  A test on a piece of scrap wood showed me it's too, I don't, I guess.   I was going to use it anyway, because it's already here, and paid for, but why put a tremendous amount of effort into something really special but purposefully stain it a color I'm not happy with?   So it will cost an extra five or ten bucks to get a color I like...that's nothing compared to what I've spent on wood so far.  Sometimes I get hung up on the weirdest things.

I'm also going to buy different hinges.  I special ordered dollhouse hinges, but I didn't know as much about working with MDF then as I do now.  I need something larger, with more surface area, or it's not going to hold up over time.  I'll save the dollhouse hinges for another project involving hardwood.

Now I'm back to waiting, because the hardware store doesn't open until 10:00 today.

Waiting, and waiting, and waiting....



the walls go up - day two

I'm afraid I don't have much to show you.  I broke a connection in my wiring, so the leads now have to be soldered in a different place in the series than I had planned for.  I spent quite some time yesterday morning carving new grooves for the wires to hide in.  This morning I will have Husband finish soldering for me so that I can glue together my ceiling/floor sandwich.


Once that task was complete, and my studio cleaned of MDF dust, I put the final coat of paint on the rest of the interior walls.  I was a bit anxious about it, since I had messed up so badly the last time I painted walls, but the paint cooperated splendidly.


I also crafted the hardware for the pocket door with a bit of leftover aluminum from the range.  It would have been much easier to do before I glued the door in place, but I forgot.  I make lots of lists of tasks to accomplish, and the order in which they should be completed, but then never go back to consult them.

I'm not happy with the result, the hole is off center and the fold isn't crisp, but it's a small detail that will only be seen at an angle, so I haven't decided yet if I'm going to re-do it or not.  I imagine I will, it's going to bother me.





the walls go up - day one

I got the floor done, and the interior walls glued in place.

I'm using a gorgeous paper for the floor, handmade in the Philippines from salago fibers.  Is it supposed to be carpet, stone, vinyl?  Who knows!  I'll leave that determination to each is in the eye of the beholder.

I had to do a bit of paper surgery before I glued it down.  I lightly traced where the walls sit, then, using an exacto knife and a pair of tweezers, cut and pulled out sections of string like fibers so the walls would sit flush and have maximum surface area for glue adhesion.  I also excised any random bits of bark that stuck up too much.


I'm sure I'll have to remove more sections of string when I put the kitchen cabinetry in, and that they will make furniture placement fussy, but I'll deal with that later.  The paper reminds me of the lines in sand made on the beach by waves, which seems appropriate for a beach house.

I sealed the floor with matte medium, which necessitated a trip to the art supply store, which always takes more time and costs more money than I anticipate.  I enjoyed myself thoroughly.

While the floor was drying I thought I'd better take pictures of the faux pocket door I made, while I still could.

I needed a bathroom door (obviously...ewwww), but didn't have room for a swinging door, so the decision to make a pocket door was easy.  I pondered construction methods, had a wood sandwich all worked out in my head, then picked up a thick piece of MDF from my wood pile and had an epiphany....I didn't need the pocket door to work.  The bathroom is only going to be seen through a window and a open doorway.  I had no plans to close the door and hide the bathroom, therefore I didn't need a door that closed....the actual requirement is the illusion that if the viewer goes into the bathroom they can close the door behind them.

Using my table saw, I cut a groove into the side of the MDF on each side of the doorway, painted the groove black, then glued in a strip of basswoood on one side of the doorway, centered in the groove, to be the edge of the open door.  I glued a wooden strip for a handle on one side of the door, and cut a groove to be a handle on the other side.  I need to figure out latch hardware for the edge yet.


To be realistic I should have made the door thicker, but I needed to leave the gap big enough to cast an adequate shadow to make the pocket door visible.   Here's how it looks in place....



busy work

I've been busy with real life stuff the last couple of weeks.  Nothing bad, rather lots of little time consuming, happy, stuff.  Since I didn't have time to get involved in assembling walls, I worked a little bit at a time every day on a couple of kits.

The House of Miniatures mirror kit has been in my stash for a long time, it was part of an ebay kit lot I bought years ago.  I thought it would neat done in a modern color.


The first steps are to glue the mirror to a cardboard backing, then a paper backing, then miter cut and glue on the wooden frame.  The frame wasn't deep enough to fit the mirror, much less the mirror and the cardboard backing (I glued them together before I dry fit).  I was going to buy some plastic mirror sheet to replace the kit mirror, but changed my mind and build a sub-frame of square balsa strips to glue the kit frame on top of.  Since the mirror is going to be hanging above a bathroom sink I thought it might pass for a medicine cabinet if it had depth.

I also put together an Elf Miniatures range kit.  The sheet aluminum was difficult to work with, but it definitely looks more like a stainless steel range than the metallic paint finishes I've been using.


Real metal makes quite a difference, no? 

It is not really shorter than the one I made from scratch, it just doesn't have its legs on yet....I'm waiting until I get the cabinetry built so that I can adjust the range height if needed.

The only change I made to the kit was to the knobs.  The kit knobs are washers with caps glued over the holes...I thought they looked flat, so glued the caps over red glass beads instead of the washers.  I like how the knobs turned out, they stick out further and are substantial enough to fit in with the hefty burners and door handles.

the week of negative progress

Last Saturday the final coat of paint on an interior wall went on thick and gloppy and yucky.  Every day this week I've made an attempt to fix it. I would get the wall sanded and spackled to what appeared to be smooth, then put a coat of paint on to discover it was still not good enough.  I've mussed with it so much that I'm beginning to damage the edges, so I have to stop.  There is a bad spot on the wall I'm going to have to hang a picture over, and the damaged edge shouldn't be noticeable because the side of something else you'll see later will follow that same line.  There is damage above the doorway I am not going to discuss.

The thought of searching for the perfect piece of appropriate artwork turned into another stress headache, so instead I prepared a packet each for two of my teenage nieces with some art supplies, a collage of what I'm planning for decor, and swatches of the colors I'm using.  I'm going to see them both this afternoon at my nephew's birthday party. 

The older of the two nieces , Jeni, graduates high school soon and plans to attend art school.  The younger, Alivia, was politely and discreetly disappointed with the gift I got her last December, while obviously envious of the art supplies I got Jeni, so this is a good opportunity for me to make things right without embarrassing her by addressing ThanksChristGivingMas.


The weather finally warmed up enough to spray paint, so I was able to work on the foundation this week as well.

MDF has a finished side and a rough side, so I sprayed two coats of primer on the foundation before I sprayed the paint.  The rough sides, even though primed, didn't take the paint as well as the finished sides.


To solve the problem I sanded the rough edges to rough up the paint, spackled, then sanded them smooth.  I only did this to the beams on the outside rows, as the inside rows won't be visible enough to worry about.  After respraying them they looked much better.

I was going to cut a piece of MDF two feet square for a base, but when I measured the piece I had leaning up behind my door and found it was 23 7/8" by 25 3/8" I decided to use it as is.  I applied superglue to the bottom of the foundation posts, clamped it down, then went to make myself a cup of coffee.  When I walked back into my studio, hot coffee in hand, I immediately noticed I had glued it on flipped around the wrong direction.  (I added an additional support beam since the last time you saw the foundation, so that I can sit the floor off center, which means the foundation beams are no longer symmetrical.)

I managed to pull the foundation back off the base, but split one of the beams, popped off several posts, and pulled up some of the MDF base along with it.  Had I used wood glue I would have able to get it back off cleanly, but I didn't, of course, because I bought a new brand of superglue and wanted to try it out. 


I used wood glue to repair the broken beam, leaving it clamped all day while I was at the office.  After work I stopped for "supplies", then glued the posts back on, scraped and sanded the yuck off the bottom of them, then cleaned up the mess.


Now my foundation is glued on the base correctly.  I'm not worried about the mess on the base from the first attempt, because it will be covered by sand.   

I'm trying to decide now if I want to walk down to the beach this morning for free sand, or if I want to go to the hardware store to buy clean sand.  It is beautiful outside this morning.




my most popular post

This year's contest kit took a bad turn this weekend.  The first coat of paint on the walls went on smooth, then I spackled the seams, sanded, put on the second coat, which went on beautifully, then I spackled a bit more, sanded....then the final coat went on thick and gloppy and yucky.  Sigh. 

That happened yesterday morning.   I walked out of my studio, shut the door, and spent the rest of the day doing other things.

Since I have no progress to report, I'm going to rerun my most popular post.   If you haven't seen this house before and want to see more, click on the category link over to the right.

Close ups of the sunroom - Michigan Lake Cottage - Spring Fling 2012

The couch and purple chair are vintage Lundby piece I refinished, the pillows I sewed myself.  The fabric I upholstered the sofa with I picked up at the Bishop show in April, the rest are from a quilter's charm pack I got at JoAnne's.  I also picked up the modern style green chair at the Bishop was teal, and taller, but I repainted it and then shortened the base to make the seat of the 1:12 chair the same level as the 1:16 furniture.  I made the lamp from a wooden finial (though I had my husband drill the hole through it to run the wire through, because I was a big chicken)...the paper lampshade is held up by a wire harp..a big thank you to Kris at 1 inch minis for the harp tutorial.

The rug is a 1:12 afghan from otterine.  The coffee table is a piece of round glass from a small picture frame atop a rusty nut I stole out of my husband's garage.  The other two end tables and the plant stands I made from tiny turnings and scraps of wood....I don't have a good picture of those, but they're not terribly exciting.



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I made the magazines on the tables, which are all local publications, in keeping with my Grand Traverse Bay theme.  The ceramic cat I got at the Bishop Show, but I don't remember where I got the yellow glass vase.

Most of the plants in the sunroom were made from kits.  The palm and snake plant are from Bonnie Lavish kits.  The Boston fern, 1/2 scale African violet, wandering jew, Christmas cactus and schefflera were made from kits by sdk miniatures.  The polymer clay cyclamen next to the lamp is from Twilla's Tiny Treasures.  I made from scratch the philodendron on the other end table, the swiss cheese plant, and the no-named plant sitting between the wandering jew and the Christmas cactus.


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