Sunday, February 22, 2015

Just a few more details

 No one gave an opinion regarding the bench but I decided it needed to be weathered and aged. I like it much better now.
 I added more family photo collages to the upper hall wall. The HBS catalog was a great source for pictures.
I gave the bedroom art piece a frame of sorts. I used a Sharpie marker on the outer edges. It makes the painting stand out a bit more, which I like.

I only added a few things but they give the house a more relaxed and cozy feeling. I need some sort of curtain over the low window in the bedroom. I just frosted the bathroom windows but  I think I need more than that in the bedroom. I'm still debating...opinions?

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Final(?!) Details

 I made the small black bench and the light fixture this evening. The bench was made with scraps from my wood bin and painted. It fills the area under the window beautifully. The light fixture was made from a suction cup and the hook that came with it plus a small square of cardboard. Some tacky glue, super glue and a bit of paint and it no longer looks like a suction cup. I probably need to make one for the upper porch, too.
 I need opinions on the bench. Should I leave it as is or give it a worn finish?
My final project for the evening was the nightstand lamp in the master bedroom. I used part of a wooden chess bishop, two black metal jewelry findings and a bit of paper for the shade inserts.

I love that I can look at this house and see the areas where I've really grown as a miniaturist. Each project looks that much more real, takes that much more research, shows that much more growth. I've been "playing with dollhouses" on and off for almost 30 years. I guess it's about time I made progress, lol.

Wishing you the best of weekends, my blogland friends!

The roof is finished!

I have minor details to add - a lower porch bench, a lamp in the master bedroom, more family photos, etc. - but the house is essentially complete. Even though the roof seemed like it took forever, it was definitely worth doing. It didn't cost me anything but time to do and gives the house just the look I'd hoped for.

Here's a reminder of what the house would look like if I'd followed the directions. I'm so glad that I didn't. ;-) Now that I see the chimney, though, I'm reminded that I really need to put one on, and on the other half of the roof. More on that later, I guess.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Progress, change, and a long week

 I've been making slow progress on the tile work. I finished the back a couple of days ago. Tonight I started on the last roof section. I've been alternating from side to side this time because it hasn't gone as smoothly as the other sides. Daughter #1 thinks maybe I just have selective memory and choose not to remember how frustrated I got on the other parts. Hmm. There may be some value in that theory, LOL.
 The change is in the porch post. I wasn't really happy with the square support I'd used but I do like this shortened and dressed up version.
And, finally, the long week: I had strep throat this week and even with antibiotics my voice disappeared. Trying to keep 1st graders interested in social studies when your voice is alternating between Mickey Mouse and Darth Vader's is a bit challenging. Just tonight, I'm able to speak without cracking. It's still not my normal voice but it's a huge improvement. Plus I feel better today. I'm really hoping to finish the French Country house this weekend. I've been researching ideas for the Westville. It's such a pretty house that I'm leaning toward something other than a home for Santa's elves (my original thought.) I haven't made any decisions yet but I'm leaning toward a period home - maybe in the 30s. Thoughts, anyone?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

All in a day's work

The corrugated cardboard is in place for the whole roof and I have two adjoining sections of the roof tiled. That's all I got done in between church, making dinner, doing laundry, gathering eggs, making "granola" bars (nuts and seeds rather than granola), and a custard. That's still several hours of work - just the large area alone has 235+ tiles. The smaller area went pretty quickly. There's one more large chunk but it's much smaller than the front. Hopefully, I can finish the roof this week. Then I have a few more interior details and it will be finished. Well, as finished as a dollhouse ever is. ;-)

Have a wonderful, blessing filled week, my friends.

Friday, February 13, 2015

The iron and I both got a little older

 First, the iron - I added patina to the wrought iron on the French country railings and trim. I found a great close up photo on the internet, dug out bottles of sterling silver and burnt sienna paints, and a couple of stiff bristled paint brushes and slowly added minute amounts of paint dry brushed on. In this situation a little paint goes a long way. Fortunately, it was easy to stipple on some black to blend any areas that I got paint happy with. :-)
 I didn't have to add much paint to give the railings a much more realistic look that adds so much to the look of the whole house.
 I also added beams at each end of the bedroom ceiling. There was a significant gap at the back right roof joint. I'm pretty confident that Joe and Joy don't want holes in the ceiling. The new beams cured the gap problem and made the ceiling look more polished at the same time. Win, win.
I spent a couple more hours on the roof tonight, too. The finished roof is going to be perfect...but it won't be finished any time soon. Roofing is one of my least favorite parts of a build anyway and there are a few more steps involved with this roof. It's going to be worth it, though, based on the progress photos.

Oh, and I got a little older on Monday. I had a wonderful day with my family. Daughter #1 made dinner, Son made a surprise trip home, Daughter #2 and family sent a fun card and called - complete with a Happy Birthday serenade from my granddaughters. DH was home for the day after a few days in the hospital for a bronchial infection that just didn't want to clear up. He's on the mend and back at work. Two of my classes at the elementary school where I work sang to me, too. Year 52 is off to a great start.

Hubby and I get a weekend alone which doesn't happen all that often even with all the kids living on their own. We'll enjoy a dinner date tomorrow to celebrate Valentine's Day - our 37th one together. We started dating when I was fourteen and he was sixteen. I was blessed then and I still am.

Wishing all of you a Happy Valentine's Day and a wonderful weekend!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Putting my ducks in a row

Well, my windows anyway. I knew the bay window was crooked but with each addition to the front of the house the extreme degree of crooked became unbearable. I was afraid to try to remove it and reposition it for fear of breaking pieces. But last evening as I was talking to daughter  #2 on the phone and looking at the front of the house I decided to try. Since I hated the way it was and that was the only thing I didn't like about this project, something had to change. A bit of prying with a screwdriver was, surprisingly, all that it took to remove the still mostly assembled window. Woo hoo!

So the front of the house went from this:
 To this:
This project is very near completion. I need to spend several hours on the roof to get it finished and I want to add a few more personal touches inside.  This project represents some of my very best miniature work. Details have always been my favorite part of this hobby but I feel that I've nailed the overall look and feel of French country (De's interpretation.) My favorite project is often the one I'm currently working on but this one may stay at the top. :-)
 I added a few bits and bobs today. I traded out the polymer clay bowl for one made from a measuring spoon. The scale is much better. The trade out was not as simple as it sounds but I'm happy with the end result.
 I did a bit of work on the window seat after redoing the window last night. I also made a sippy cup for little Jamie.

Here's a closer view of the reworked window. I used narrow strips of aluminum foil over the seams in the bay window roof. I like the more finished look.

Have a wonderful, blessing filled day, my friends!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

New and improved

The clock was too plain for the style of the house so I dressed it up a bit. It looks more like a mantel clock should look - at least in a French country style house.

It's the little things

 This roof is moving along slowly but it's going to be worth least, that's what I keep telling myself, LOL.
 A new shelf in the bathroom holds various toiletries - shampoo, conditioner, baby bath, perfume, aftershave, nail polish. There's room for more but these are enough for now.
 The kitchen got dishsoap and a scrubbie.
 I made a clock and a fireplace screen. I love the screen!
The bedroom got a pretty urn full of flowers.

There's still more to do besides finishing the roof. I want to make a lamp for the master bedroom nightstand, and an alarm clock, too. The upper hall is just boring. I need to add something, just not sure what. If I find labels I like I may add them to the products I made today. As much as I like this house, I think it's still missing some personality -  it needs more to make it personal. Any ideas?

Slowly wins the race

Well I hope so, anyway. I'm still plugging away at the roof. There's not a big enough change to post a new photo so you'll just have to trust me, lol.

I decided to add a fireplace tonight. It's in the living room. The chimney comes out above the kitchen side. I haven't decided if I care enough to change that. ;-)
The fireplace was made completely from scratch. The tiles came with another garage sale dollhouse. Since  the season for this house is summer, I don't really want to put a fire in. I  may make an "iron" screen with leftovers from the house trim.

My husband is in the hospital with a lung infection of some sort so mini play is as I have time in the evening once I leave the hospital. Bear with me!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Terra Cotta Barrel Tiles Tutorial - the Trash to Treasure Way

I used two shades of orange, light buttermilk, burnt umber, and honey brown paints. I just mixed the colors on the brush and randomly painted the toilet paper tubes and the valleys of the corrugated cardboard. The valleys act as the upside down tiles on a real barrel tile roof. The tubes are cut into roughly half inch by one inch tiles. Each tile is glued over two of the cardboard ridges. In the third photo, I am using chopsticks to hold the edges of the tiles down until the glue sets. This is an experiment that's going to work! That always makes me smile. :-)

Edited: Here's today's work. I've decided that painting the corrugated cardboard is not necessary. You really can't see the valleys but they help so much with spacing and shaping the tiles. Just painting the tubes, cutting into tiles and gluing them on takes a lot of time. I spent several hours working today. I filled in the corrugated board on the angled left side and finished the three bottom rows, then added two more full ones. I also added a couple more colors of paint in the brown family. I like the variation - really makes it look like aged tile. This is going to take some time but I am very happy with the way it looks.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Making it look lived in

I've added other details like food and water for the dog and a bowl of toddler friendly food on the table but my favorite little touches are these -a stack of mail and keys in a shell bowl. We all have that spot in our homes where everything is deposited as we come in. So do the mini people, lol. I scanned a set of real keys and reduced the size to make these. They are just paper but since the console is  behind the stairs I just needed the illusion. These paper keys are more realistic than most dollhouse keys anyway.

We are plowed out and a path has been made to the chicken coop. We got roughly 14 inches of snow.
Today the sun is shining and the sky is blue so the snow just sparkles.

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

It's the little things

 Although my daughter thinks I'm a bit weird for even thinking of this, I think the added detail of family photos using the actual dolls really adds a lot to the coziness of the home.
 My husband put tiny little canvas boards in my stocking. I glued on miniaturized prints that I found online. They turned out really well.

Down to the details...and the roof

 This is how the house looked after a couple of hours of play last night. After church today I got back to it.
 The master bedroom has louvered doors into the room. The doors were cut from pieces in a mixed bag of trims from Hobby Lobby. The doors are fixed in place but at least give an illusion of privacy.
 I made window boxes for the two end windows. The boxes are made of cardstock with the Houseworks "iron" for trim and mounting brackets. I used a mix of mosses and silk and plastic flowers and plants to give the boxes the full to overflowing look I wanted.
 Several months ago, my husband and son were going through all the computer stuff we'd collected over the years. They found several mice (mouses?) that no longer worked. Son pulled the track balls out of them to see if I could use them. I didn't know what I'd do with them at the time...
 ...but they made great topiaries for the balcony. The console is the bottom half of a Michael's hutch and the chair is an altered rocking chair. The Persian cat was a thrift store find.
 The small balcony has pots overflowing with greenery and the lower porch has a yellow rose topiary in a stone urn (Dollar Tree plastic trophy cup painted with the paint I used for the house) and the large rooster moved outside. He's just too large for the interior of the house but he works well for porch decor.
In his place on the console are a leaning mirror (I took care of the blobs of wax after the photo was taken) and a jar of wild flowers - tiny dried flowers from the last bouquet hubby surprised me with.
I need more artwork and other items to personalize it for the family who lives in the house. Photos and other little details will make it look like a home. I don't think I've ever taken this long with a project but the delays are paying off. When I'm not able to work on the house, I spend time researching the French country look I'm aiming for. I'm very pleased with the results so far.

In other news, we visited the newlyweds yesterday. They live three hours away so we hadn't been to see them since the wedding. We had a wonderful visit with everyone - including our granddaughters. (I'll take grandchildren however we get them. Becoming an instant grandma to 4 and 6 year old, adorable little girls has its advantages. Namely, lots of snuggles and giggles. :-) ) We headed back home a bit earlier than originally planned as a huge snow storm was moving our way. It held off until late last night and today. Last I looked we were fast approaching 8 inches of snow and it's still falling. We could get up to 15 inches by tomorrow morning. It's absolutely gorgeous, we have plenty of food, and I love being snowed in. I know my kids are all safe and have enough supplies so I'm going to enjoy the next couple of days. We may only be "stuck" for a day but that will be enough to recharge and enjoy time with my husband and daughter #1 who's been visiting for awhile.

Stay safe and warm, wherever you are, and I wish you a wonderful, blessing-filled week!