Thursday, January 29, 2009

Mini Furniture Galore

Today was supposed to be a school day, but with having the HUGE snow and icestorm of the last couple days, my daughter hasn't been able to go over to her friend's house like I promised.. and my husband couldn't even get to work. Today, the roads were clear enough (although we still have a foot of snow on the ground) for him to go back to work, and when my daughters friend asked her to go play... all I could think was that I could get a break from her.. and work on my miniatures. How evil is that... ? .. haha. The advantage of homeschool - you can do school whenever, as long as it gets done.

Well, I started dry-fitting more furniture, and sorted and photo'ed what I already had dry-fitted. Have a good portion of it fitted out, and did some "kit bashing" to a couple of the pieces to make them better scale. Remember, all this furniture is simply dry-fitted, no glue, no finishing touches. I wanted to have a good idea of what I have so that when I have each room in the house decorated, I can match the furniture to it then. Also took a picture of the adorable little pink rug I got and mentioned two posts ago .. and added it into that post, so don't forget to go check that out.
First, the master bedroom. Bed, wardrobe, vanity and chair, and the cradle. I think instead of doing a nursery, I'm just going to make one of the large attic areas into the parent's bedroom with the crib in it. Walls will likely be done in shades of light purple, with the pink plush carpeting.

The little girl's room I did some altering to. I had a chair with a heart on it that was slightly above scale, and a rocker that was the right scale... and I cut down the seat and the back of the chair, and swapped the sides out for the rockers. Turned out really cute, I think. The shelf/wardrobe was actually a too-large scale dish storage for a dining room, but I think it'll work out nicely for a storage unit for the girl's room. Also have the bed, desk, and desk chair.. and that weird oval with the heart will be a wall mirror with some foil on it. Will be done in shades of pink, with pink carpeting.

The boy's room has a lot of the same things, but I didn't want it to be the same exactly. The second bed and desk set was taken from the other set of furniture I got for "my" house that I'll build later, because I don't plan to have kid's rooms in that house. Again, desk, chair, bed, wardrobe, and funny oval wall mirror. I gave the rocking horse to the little boy, since the girl has the rocking chair. I will probably use the green carpeting I have for "my" house, since a bedroom ought to have nice fuzzy carpeting, not hardwood.. and pink for the boy... *gasp* .. poor kid. Will probably do the room in light green or blue paint.

The living room is where things get interesting. On the right, I have the living room furniture that came with the half scale kit - couch, two easy chairs, the end table, and a coffee table. They seem very small in scale, but I have a feeling with the small scale of the house, that will seem to be an advantage when fitting things in. In previous posts, I mentioned I'd gotten a fireplace kit. Well, it came with a floor lamp and a grandfather clock. They all are in a slightly large scale, however, I'm fairly sure I can get away with the scale of the fireplace. Obviously, the fireplace hasn't been fully put together.. after doing some dry-fitting, I decided it's going to be FAR easier to glue and finish it as I build it, so I stopped with dry fitting after I figured out how it goes together and that it would fit together. The lamp... looked odd, and I put it aside to decide what to do with later. Now.. the grandfather clock... was too tall to even sort of look realistic... not to mention, it wouldn't have fit in under the cieling. After putting it together and deliberating for a while, I thought about just cutting part of the middle out and glueing it back together... but I couldn't figure out how well I'd be able to hide the buchering. Then, I thought of the mantel clock my hubby and I just ordered... and it occurred to me I could just cut off the whole bottom of the clock and make it a mantel clock... so off I went with pencil, saw, and ruler... and... somehow, it actually turned out okay. I cut a little rectangle piece that I will glue for a bottom inside the clock, and support, but you can't see it in the picture. It's also a little hard to see, but the stamping on the front of the clock actually has the hands and clock ticks and everything, so I couldn't bear NOT to use the clock. I think I may do the clock in wood stain, at least the face of it, if not the rest too. The room itself will be done with hardwood floor and shades of pink on the wall... although I *may* use the pink carpeting on the floor, with some of the latex flagstone sheet I have under the fireplace as a hearth.

I also have some furniture I plan to use in the entry room/ foyer of the house, which I'll do in hardwood with a dark pink. The weird pole-looking thing was actually the pendulum from the above kit-bashed grandfather clock.. and sitting there looking at it.. it occured to me I could take the bizarre "feet" from what's supposed to be the standing mirror, put them on the sides, and add hooks to the top.. and make a passable coat rack. I'd rather have the "hall mirror" stuck to the wall anyway, it saves room. The crude triangle piece of wood will be the hooks for the coat rack, but I haven't finished carving them yet. I also have the little hall table and the piano and bench planned for the foyer - because I don't think I want to have a whole room set up for the music room... and having a beautifully stained piano would be a nice show-piece for an entry way.. least, I think so.. Again, floor will be hardwood, with probably a darker pink on the walls.

The bathroom fixtures are going to need glue - and I have an idea that I'd like to put some sort of wall mirror behind the sink, but I haven't exactly decided on that. Will be done with hardwood floors and shades of blue on walls.

The office is fairly simple, and whether I actually make a whole room dedicated to the office, or add the bookshelf to another room and put the dad's desk in the master bedroom, I don't know. Depends on how things are fitting into the tiny house. I may omit the room entirely. I figure tiny gold beads will work on the front of the desk for "drawer handles" .. or, at least the look of them. I haven't decided on color scheme.. but being that it's an office, it'll probably be done with hardwood floors.

I have a little bit of the porch/outdoor furniture done. I don't plan to use the half scale garden kit I bought on this house, rather I'll save it for "my" house, that I think I'll actually use more as a showpiece than play, and I'll do some landscaping and garden work. What do most kids want with a gazebo and garden furniture anyways?... Not much. Instead, I have a slide / playground for the kids, and a swinging pirate ship toy to go outside.. so these chairs will be for the "poor" parents or babysitters that have to roast in the sun to watch the kids play.. hehe.

The dining room is where my biggest dilemma is. I wasn't particularly fond of the chair design that came with the dining room table in the half scale furniture set I got (on the right), so I ordered a dining room set - which unfortunately seems to be made in one inch scale (pictured on the left). I'm not altogether sure what to do with it.. cutting the table's legs off will easily scale it down, however the chairs will not be so easy. The original dining table (right) is SO tiny I can't imagine any family of four eating at it - however, I do have to take into consideration that the rooms are small in the house. I'd rather use the larger table if at all possible (dining room will be one of the larger ground floor rooms), but I think I may have to wait on that decision until the house is built. I'd love to figure out a way to down-scale the chairs without the arms... but I'm not sure sanding the chair backs a bit shorter and cutting the legs a bit down will do it. I think I may try it anyway, because I have no use for the big chairs (I don't have any intention of ever building miniatures larger than 1/2 scale) .. and the kit was cheap (6 bucks).. so I figure if I destroy the chairs, no such loss. It was worth it for the little storage unit I stole from this kit (and the duplicate one I got for "my" house) for the two kid's rooms. The little lampshade was part of the lamp/grandfather clock/fireplace kit I got, and I had the option of just cutting down the floor lamp stand to make it shorter for the living room, but it just looked weird. So... I pulled off the lamp shade, and it occurs to me I could probably easily hang it above the dining room table as a chandelier (or just stick it to the cieling).. and the oval base for the lamps... work out well as oval wall mirrors for the kid's rooms. As much as I like the smaller table's design, the top of it does look as though it could be a wall mirror for the bathroom- could even use beads to make candle sconces on the sides where the holes are.. but obviously, I'll wait on that until I can decide whether I'll be able to use the larger table. This room will be hardwood with the little pink oval rug under the table for an accent.

I only have the one piece of "kitchen" furniture from the half scale kit, so I ordered a kitchen kit ... which again turned out to be a bit large in scale. I built the over-the-counter cupboard, which is really kinda cute, and at worst case scenario, could easily be used as a pantry instead. My fingers were very sore from punching out wood panels by this point and putting things together, so I didn't finish putting the kitchen kit together. Additionally, I think to get it scaled better, I'm going to need to do a little kit bashing, but I *think* it'll be possible to get it downscaled. I'm not entirely sure what to do for decorating scheme.. I'd love to do some sort of white/pink tile look.. but I'm not quite sure how. Barring that, I'll go with hardwood flooring and pink scheme to match the rest of the ground floor.

By this point of the day, my hubby had been home from work for a while, and my hands were killing me, so I cleaned up and put things away for a couple days.. but I feel confident that I got a bunch done while I had the chance!

Oh, final note.. I also found a little barn kit, and a convertible car.. both of which are about the right scale. The barn will need to be kit bashed a bit to have working doors (I think), but with my daughter's love of animals, she'll be thoroughly happy to have a little barn to match her house. I have a bunch of tiny woodcraft kits of animals to go with the barn, and it also came with a little bicycle and scooter- which, I have no idea if they'll work or not, but if they do, hooray, more outdoor toys for the kids!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Updating .. arrivals and doll hunting

Well, the woodcraft order that included the fireplace finally arrived. Some of the pieces seem to be a bit large, but most can be fairly easily altered to a smaller scale (like the floor lamp, just needs the stand cut down a little).. and the grandfather clock and fireplace don't look like they'll be too out of place.. have to do some dry-fitting to see.

Have been trying to hunt down "playable" dolls for the house. The family of 1/2 inch scale dolls, or, really, all the dolls I've found are non-posable. I tried some of the mini dolls my daughter has laying around... somehow I've managed to keep her from suspecting - I think - by "borrowing" a doll or two overnight and returning them to her in the morning. The only ones I found that are a really close fit are the "playmobil" dolls - although their buns (the adults) are abit big for some of the chairs. Keeping them in mind and continuing to hunt...

Just posted the pictures from the first major bit of painting and stuff this past weekend. I added them to the post, probably all out of order, but the thought is there. Also added a picture of the "stock" photo of the finished house to the introduction page.

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Rest of the first week..

Well, beyond getting about one half of a piece sanded each night, I didn't have a lot of time to work on it this past week. The parts I ordered from miniatures got here, and I got a little bit more building research done, but that's about it. Slightly upset because a couple of the woodcraft models I ordered, that included a little fireplace, and the kid's playground equipment, haven't arrived. I was really hoping to finish the fireplace in the room it's going to end up in so it looks more like a "real one".. but so far no word from the company. grrrr.

Today, however, I got a good bit more done. My daughter was at grandma's for the day so I was able to pull the whole thing out and happily spread all my crafting tools all over the floor. I finished the sanding and prep on the first four of the first five pieces (and half of that one is done now too)... and started on some painting. Stained the two ground floor rooms on one on the second floor with a double coat, and the color is great. Am going to need to get a clear varnish to give it a shine, but that's easy enough. Got an itty bitty handmade 1/2 scale pink rug in that fits perfectly in what is to be the dining room, so I'm happy. I also discovered a paint mixer that texturizes any color of paint, and painted the "ceiling" of the first floor with a textured white. It looks lovely. Used white acrylic to prime the floor I'm going to be carpeting, as well as the side walls, Then added a second coat of white on the windows part (because the windows inside is going to stay white). Stained some skinny sticks for the baseboards in the same stain as the floors that will stay hardwood, and measured skinny sticks to trim the inside of the windows on the two first walls. After some deliberation, I decided I liked the look of the skinny sticks stained (plus the ease of staining vs. picking out contrast trim colors in each room appealed..) and so I cut, sanded and stained all of the trim for the inside of the windows on those two walls. Of course, one of the two walls with windows in the beginning of the structure is the one I haven't finished sanding, so I didn't actually assemble anything. I am going to assemble in inside trim on the windows before gluing those first two outside wall, the inside support wall, and the ground floor together. Really pleased with how it's coming together, took some pictures as I went, but camera battery died, so I will have to wait to post them. I also had to clean up in a hurry because daughter came home early... thank god I wasn't in the middle of painting!! My husband ran interferance at the front door, keeping her out until I got the room clear of anything possibly incriminating... so far so good on keeping the secret.

Obviously, this is just the first "half" of the Gothic house.. the other kit is still unopened. At this time, my plan is to get these five pieces glued and together, then do all the initial work on the "mirror" house up to the point I'm at in this one, so I can coordinate and paint the interior rooms at the same time. The mirror house will be constructed without stairs (glueing and filling the spots for the stairwells - because who needs that many stairs?!), so that will either complicate or make it easier, I'm not sure which. Also have put some thought into attempting to fill and glue the door on the mirror house, so as to allow the door to only have the front door, and the kitchen to have more wall space, but looking at the kit I'm not sure how feasible it will be. Definitely will keep posted on that. My other recent thought is possibly making the two kid's beds into a bunk bed.. but will have to check on house fit and construction ideas on that one.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Plans and Sanding

Well then.... after a mostly sleepless night filled with ideas and plans for little bitty dollhouse parts... I ended up sleeping in this morning. Went through and dry-fitted the rest of the furniture kit because.. well, putting all those cute little pieces together felt like I was accomplishing something. That, and the scattered boards with half the pieces left in and dry fitted furniture took up all my doll house building board!! So, after putting the little wooden pieces together, cleaning up the random pieces and splinters all over my carpet (they didn't seem to like to stay on the board), and organizing the mini building supplies I had into their discreet hiding spots in my crafting drawers under my desk... I didn't really have the energy to get working on the sanding and prep for the dollhouse. Browsed a local craft store's mini section with my husband, and didn't really see anything of use.. but did get some more colors of acrylic paint, so I'll have some other pastel colors to choose from to decorate the interior. Also found come clear plastic sheets to use as windows for the dollhouse.

The cat has spent most of the day either laying next to my crafting board and randomly knocking over a carefully placed chair or table... or walking over it and knocking as many down as she can. Aparently miniature building gets in the way of her playtime. She seems to be rather annoyed that I took away her new chair playtoys and put them neatly in a box to hide in the closet, and the sheets of dollhouse plywood aren't as much fun. My husband aparently is jealous of my new hobby, and decided he had to get himself a Star Wars model, and a plastic car model to build.. and has been busily gluing things together and mostly ignoring me. (with any luck he won't read this blog anytime soon.. haha!)

Well, tomorrow is another day, and my daughter probably won't be home until late, so I should be able to do some actual dollhouse work tomorrow. Actually having an idea of what furniture I have will help on deciding color schemes for the painting as I build as well, so that's good. I will probably alternate between working on the house and the furniture, because I think I'll paint and finish the furniture to match each room's decor, so the rooms will need to be done first.

Gothic House Introduction

Getting started on my double Gothic House woodcraft doll house kit build. My intention is to build one "normally", and the other in a backwards, mirror, or "inverted" build, so that the two will appear as two halves to a whole. The "backwards" half will omit the staircases, so that only one side of the house has them, and it allows more floor space on the other half.

Busy day. My daughter decided to spend most the weekend at grandma's .. so I had the advantage of spreading out all my wood pieces and directions all over a cardboard box on the living room floor and brainstorming and planning. Getting really excited about this. I dry-fitted a sheet of the 1/2 scale furniture kit I had to get an idea of size and finishing ideas - things like making fabric "pads" on the chairs, and using shiny foil for the mirrors. I have a woodcraft playground set coming as well as a couple of misc pieces of woodcraft furniture - a grandfather clock, fireplace, overhead cupboard. I was sort of hoping the scale would be right for my daughter's miniature "polly pocket" dolls, but it appears the scale is about an inch too small, so I may end up having to splurge on half scale dolls - but I'll wait on that and accessorizing until after it's built and finished. I thought about putting it on a board and getting landscaping stuff - but the storage size of it goes up quite a bit with that, as well as cost... and since it'll be used for play, there's no need to have everything fastened down onto a board... especially when she'll likely have more fun spreading it all over her bedroom floor...

Looking over everything, I have to say I'm utterly glad I started on this NOW... I have the advantage of putting the whole cardboard building surface in my walk in closet (hopefully my husband will forgive me on this one... haha!) and simply working on a little bit at a time with a goal of getting it done by next christmas, or the earliest, her tenth birthday in august. Doing a little dry-fitting and experimenting, I'm very sure I can do the "second" house in the "backwards" or "inverted" build with little to no problem - building the two identical houses at the same time will definitely help there. (I'm building the gothic house for my daughter, and putting all my energy into that, saving the fantasy villa for later, perhaps she'll even want to help on that one.. plus it appears to be a much more difficult puzzle build.) Also pretty sure I won't have any problem hinging the two together and perhaps using some sort of clasp so it can be fastened when closed. I also went craft store shopping, got some tools, and paint, and scribbled a little on the picture on the instructions getting an idea of color scheme. Ordered some miniature carpet, roof "paper" - shingles seem like WAY too much work!- and some 1/2 scale stone walkway I thought would be really nice for the porches. She's a sucker for pink, so I picked a very light pink for the main color, and a bright fuschia for the trim. Will do some of the trim in white, and the bottom of it in black to make it darker and less noticeable. Since it doesn't have interior trim on windows, I think I'll use the skinny sticks to make interior trim and possibly a window sill effect... and while I was measuring and experimenting there.. it occurred to me it would be very easy to take those clear plastic transparency sheets and glue them under the inside trim to make "windows". I'm going to do the ceilings with white paint, perhaps using the texture idea on the drying paint, perhaps not. I'm not going to fuss with wallpaper, the interior walls are too small, but I can do different color paints, and maybe stripes, as long as I paint before assembling. I figure I'll carpet most of the interior, and wood stain a couple rooms - for bathroom / kitchen - because who wants carpeting in there..?! I may even use the skinny sticks as baseboards .. the thought occurred to me they'd make a nice "chair rail" as well..

Ack.. I'm babbling. Spent a lot of time today researching and getting an idea of plans and such, did a little sanding and dryfitting/testing and prep work. I think I drove my husband nuts bouncing ideas off him (while he just nodded and played along .. haha)... finally decided I'd mail you and bounce them off you instead, you have more experience at building and crafting! This weekend, I think I'm going to do a good bit of sanding, organizing parts, and prep work while I wait for the carpeting, and stone work, and a couple extra tools to get here from the miniature company... and then next week I can start on painting and building the frames. Will definitely be using my hubby's digital camera (or recruiting his photo expertise) to document the whole thing - it should be a really neat first build as long as I can be patient and take my time with it .. which I have allowed myself plenty of time to do! Definitely an ambitious first project - but with years of crafting, sewing, puzzling, painting.. and even helping my mom build some miniatures when I was little, I should be okay. (fingers crossed!) The cat seems unimpressed with the current use of the living room floor - I had to move her toys to put the stuff down.. but she'll learn to deal with it.