Thursday, September 15, 2011

My dolls house - part 3

After I had finished the kitchen I started on the hallway.  Both on the ground floor and first floor there are supposed to be stairs, but when I'd put in the stairs to the first floor I regretted it straight away.  What use is an empty hallway behind the stairs if you can't see anything and next to them there wasn't much room.  I made the decision to change the layout of the house, well, sort of...  I made a door in the wall at the far end, suggesting that the house was bigger and the stairs would be at the back of the house.  Possible.  Ain't that right?

When I made the stairs, way before I started on the hallway, I did so under supervision of my little cat.  She's no longer alive and I miss her dearly.  She was such good company while I was working and never got in the way.  Mostly she was content just basking in the sun and watching the chickens outside. (BTW I have moved twice since and don't have the chickens anymore either.  The more is the pity...)

little Misty

So, I made the door with a kind of leadlight window, cut a hole in the wall, made a door frame and placed the door.  I reckon it looks good.  The walls I have covered with stained paddlepopsticks and the wall above that I have painted off-white with a bit of sand added to the paint.  This gives it a nice texture.  I'd done the same with the wall over the fire place in the kitchen and liked the effect very much.

At the time I didn't really know what to do with the floor, until I happened upon some black contact that looked a bit like marble.  I bought some white contact as well and cut out the tiles for the hallway.  It gives it an old fashioned look that I like.  The lamp, as well as the umbrella stand and a waste paper basket I have painted green (the lamp with glass paint, the others with acrylics) and stuck some gold stickers on for decoration.  Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the bin and umbrella stand, but if you take a look at the lamp you get the drift.


By the time I took this photo I had already made the doors on both sides as well.  In actual fact however, they were done after downstairs was finished.  I didn't want to leave the doors plain, so bought some strips of 0.5 mm thick (or should I say 'thin' ;-)) and glued these on.  In the future, with other dollshouses or roomboxes, I might be more adventurous and use the router to do some shaping.  For now I am happy enough with the strips.

Next was the living room and this one took me a long, long time, because I wanted a parquet floor.  I had a whole box with veneer, given to me by a friend some years before.  She'd also given me a cutter, so I sat there, day after day, cutting little strips of veneer.  I glued them all on cardboard (easier to just slide into a room) and gave them a coat with bees wax.  It looked super and still does.  It was a lot of work, but well worth it:

showing the difference between waxed and not waxed

Besides the wallpaper in the kitchen, which I liked, I never used any of the flooring or wallpapers that came with the house.  In the room I have used very dark paper, so very much liked in the stuffy and dark Victorian period.

The furniture for the living room I had already done, so I do have a cabinet with shelves, a lounge, a dining table and four chairs.  None of them done with any creativity on my part.  Since they were almost the first parts of furniture I made, I just followed the instructions.

This is roughly what I had, save for the guitar and other small stuff, which I made much later

Later I made the mantelpiece and a fire in the hearth.  The mantelpiece is partially faux marble.  It took a lot of time getting it right.  The fire is lit by way of a flickering light.  I bought the kit and soldered it with the help of my son. (Soldering is not my strongest side!)  Luckily I had some wallpaper left to cover the top half of the mantelpiece.  The old wallpaper had slightly faded, but I bet that by now I won't see the difference anymore. 

You can tell that by then I was becoming a bit more adventurous.  The basket for the fire I designed and made myself.  The front is part of a metal balcony railing, the end bits are toothpicks and the back just blackened cardboard with a finding bought at the egg decorators.  The 'coal' is painted cat litter!

And this is it for today.  The following update will probably be a small one and after that I will try and take pictures as I go, because between then and now I have hardly done a thing...

Rest me to welcome three more followers:

Adrie from the Netherlands at Adrie's Poppenhuizen, mindymax and rmartedal.  The last two don't seem to have a blog or website, so please, if you read this and you do have one let me know and I post it here.  Anyway, a warm welcome on my blog and I hope you'll enjoy the reading.

In the meantime I have also worked on my log this afternoon.  There were a number of items I had left out in the past, and probably a greater number from earlier this year, but that'll be done next week or so.  At least I am heading in the right direction. ;-)

See you all next time.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My dolls house - part 2

I received so many lovely comments last time.  Thank you all.  It seems you are waiting for another instalment.  Well, here we go....

I finished the kitchen in June 2002.  As by then I had been making miniatures for approx. 4 years I had gathered a lot of stuff: items, either bought, received as gifts or swaps, or made by me.  I still couldn't wait to see results, so I arranged everything in my new kitchen and took a few photographs.  Actually, I did the same at a few stages.  The first piccies were taken when I hadn't put in the false wall yet, nor had I finished the cabinet completely. Also the table and chairs were still painted white.  However take a look.  I plonked everything in that kitchen that I had.  Couldn't care less what it looked like. ;-)

A cabinet by Reuter, given to me by a SIL for my birthday.

Swaps, gifts, purchases, they all took pride of place. 
Even a pizza made by a creative 11 year old girl.

The unfinished kitchen cabinet, which still needed door knobs and a curtain.

The bread, fruit and apple pie at the back were amongst the first items I ever made from polymer clay.  There's even the smallest of items: a little matchbox (but I didn't make that one myself).

After I had put in the false wall I started on a few more cabinets for the kitchen.  By then I had become more creative and started to repaint everything.  I also used different colours, because I reckoned that in a real kitchen we don't always have matching colours.  More often then not we gather stuff over the years and I wanted this to become a 'lived in' house. 

An open cabinet to store whatever needs a place in the kitchen

I called this a meat safe in the beginning, but it isn't really a meat safe, although the part at the top could be used as one, because of the sort of netting in the doors.
 At the time I was particularly proud of this cabinet, because I had changed it.  The original cabinets couldn't be opened, but I made an opening drawer in this one, and the top doors even have old fashioned wooden handles now that can really turn to lock the doors. It's a shame though, that I don't have the money to cover the slots with fineer.  I hate the look of the tab-and-slot furniture.

The curtain and door knobs fixed.

The little shelving thingy above the cabinet is a replica of the same I saw in the Del Prado magazine that came with the house.  I made it out of polymer clay and wood.  I still love it.  It must have been beginners luck, because I have tried to make it twice more and never succeeded as well as the first time.

Look at these cheeky little kittens (and do you see the opening drawer?)

Cushions for the chairs, which by then I had distressed to make them look worn and old.

Little mice and a mouse trap.  The latter made by the 11 yr old girl's brother.  He was younger, but I can't remember his age for sure.  Possibly 7.  They were both so very creative.  They made these things all by themselves.

And last but not least (for today that is), an overview of the kitchen before I took it all down again to start building the rest of the house:

The table has been redecorated with some folk art flowers on the sides.

I can't deny my background: there are a few Dutch items to be found in the picture for those who are 'in the know'.

You may wonder about my 'very good memory', because I seem to remember the origin of every item.  Well, most of the time I do genuinly remember, because if they have been swaps or gifts I have a fond memory of the person and I can instantly recall.  However, I am very grateful to have heard of people keeping a log about their dolls houses, because that is what I have done from day one.  Everything is accounted for.  Well, eh (red faced now!) I think I have a bit of catching up to do over the last few years.  I've become a bit slack.  So, if you don't see a new posting the next few days you know what I am busy doing...........

Bye for now

Sunday, September 11, 2011

My dolls house

Finally I seem to have found some time to tell you about my dolls house.  I have had it for over ten years now, and shame on me, I haven't done much with it yet.  However, I am very grateful to have bought it, because it was just the step that I needed to start this wonderful hobby.  I will try and tell you all about it in the next few postings.

It all started with this little armchair on the left in the picture:

It was advertised on TV as the first issue of a dolls house to be build step-by-step by buying monthly issues.  As this happened in 1998 a lot of people will remember the house and if you do you may recall that it was a Del Prado house.  It's what I still call it: My Del Prado House, for want of a better name.  I don't even know what the meaning of it is, since I don't speak Spanish...

My husband called me and showed the commercial on TV.  He said: "You've always talked about building a dolls house.  This is your chance.  So, I bought the first issue.  Put the chair together.  Liked it so much I bought a second one, and........ never looked back!

I think that happened in June or July of that year.  I started to build the house, but sometimes I didn't really know what I was doing, although I tried to follow the instructions to the letter.  In September of the same year, on a Saturday afternoon, we were on our way to a birthday party when I noticed a banner informing us of a Dolls House And Miniatures Fair.  By golly, a fair?  About dolls houses?  That I had to see.  So we stopped off at the place, went inside the building and there I was just bowled over!  The place was full of displayed dolls houses, roomboxes and even a huge castle!  We went upstairs and there were traders!  One could actually buy stuff!  Needless to say that I became a member of the association then and there and since we still had a birthday party to go to we planned to go back the next day, which we did.

So, that's how it all started.  It was also the reason why my dolls house didn't get finished as quickly as I had anticipated.  For one, I had to wait for every issue to arrive, but by the time I had received enough to started building in all earnest I had lost interest in the building itself.  I preferred dabbling in making small items and furniture for the house.  I did workshops at the club, we worked on projects, I started on a roombox, etc. etc.

Eventually, four years after I'd bought the first issues, I decided that it was about time to start on the house again.  One of the reasons it took so long was that we not only moved house in the meantime, but we moved into a very old house which had to be renovated.  At first we hardly had any furniture and we lived out of cardboard boxes, but later I found a little room on the built-in veranda of our house where I could work.  Then I started building, but as the whole thing was quite flimsy and some of the walls were warped, I decided that a sturdy base was called for.  With the help of my husband we built the base and then I started on the downstairs part of the house:

the walls fitted loosely together

structuring the base

me, being impatient, I start to put the kitchen together first

everything painted white originally, but that all changed again later

I was too impatient and started putting the kitchen together, as I had already done the sink, table, chairs and stove.  The kitchen floor was done with beautiful paper from a very expensive looking report from some company or other.  The right colours and thick paper called for a tiled floor.  All I did was paint the floor a dark grey to simulate concrete, and glued the card squares on top.  Even after all these years it still looks great.

The step-by-step guide said to paint the furniture white, and so I did, but changed my mind later down the track and repainted and even re-shaped a lot.  We'll come across it as we go...

the base doubled as a glue tray, nice and square

The kitchen finished it was time to build the hallway and living room, but first I needed the base as a glue tray. ;-)  By then I had decided that I didn't like the kitchen cabinet with the sink as it was.  I built an extension and since I had learned to work with polymer clay I wanted to make a granite bench on top of the cabinet and extension:

new kitchen cabinet

It then looked like this and I was much happier with it.  It still needed a curtain, but I was proud that I had at least changed its initial appearance.

There was more that I didn't like e.g. the place for the stove.  Anyway, I had little room left for the stove and mantelpiece in the centre of the kitchen now I had extended the cabinet, so I looked for another solution.  Which I found.  A false wall in the corner, and luckily I had some left over wallpaper:

a false wall and the stove in the corner

It looked good, or so I thought, so next I was to build the mantelpiece.  This I also changed from its original appearance.  I was on a roll now I'd discovered my own input!

the mantelpiece half finished

I felt that there was something missing.  Wallpaper behind the stove just doesn't look right, so on to building a brick wall (which I made of paper, paint and sand), and a granite floor for the stove (polymer clay):

the wall and floor done

the completed corner

That, to me, made all the difference and I was happy as Larry with the result of my hard work. 

I've grown tired of it now.  :-)  So, I give it a rest and it's off to bed with me.  Hope you like the story so far.  See you next time.

Friday, September 9, 2011

While waiting...

While waiting for the hinges to arrive (did you notice I didn't mention the word 'patiently'?) I decided I could finish another project that has been sitting on my desk for too long.

Remember I did a workshop with Ann High back in March at the Arnhem show?  Well if you don't, look back at this page: It's been a long time.  I showed you this picture amongst other photographs:

That was the beginning of my wood carving experience.  Now I have finally plucked up the courage to finish it, and after a lot more carving, detailing, glueing, staining and waxing, this is the result:

14th century chest

I am quite proud of the result and rightfully so I hope. ;-)  Now if anybody could point out to me where I can buy steamed pear I would be thrilled, because then I could do some more of this wonderful work.  I have really fallen for the carving.  Love it!!

And before I go I would also extend another warm welcome to Lady Jane, who's my latest follower.  Thanks to Rosamargarita I now know she has a blog: For the Love of Miniatures.  Go and check it out.

That's all for today folks.  See you next time.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Getting technical

I was going to make some more articles besides the bread and needed small pieces of wood and dowel.  As I still want to hang on to all my fingers, and the normal size push sticks won't do for this kind of work, I decided I wanted to make a sliding table for my table saw first.  Full size push sticks are too big for the small pieces I need and making them any smaller is no good, because they become as flimsy as match sticks.  In my files on my computer I had a copy of an article in an earlier dolls house magazine which described how to go about it.  It was distributed in our online miniature group a long time ago and I knew it would come in handy one day...  The instructions were very clear, hence easy to follow.

The following pictures show you what I am talking about:

I have marked the place where the saw blade appears through the front very clearly so that I won't put any fingers across that area

I also needed to mark the 'front' since the sliding parts fit only one way on the table saw

Here I am cutting a piece of dowel.  It's so much easier if you slide the table across instead of the pieces of wood you want to cut.

So, that out of the way I could get on with my job.  Again I needed the help from our online group, because I was in need of printies.  They had to be authentic and in Dutch as well.  We're a great group of friends, longstanding I might add, and help is always near.  I received the prints in no time and thus I could make "beschuiten" and "ontbijtkoek": two kinds of bakery items that almost every Dutch person has grown up with. 

The easiest way was to have the right size of wood and dowel to cover with the paper wrappers and this is what I produced:

"Ontbijtkoek" and "Beschuit"

The roll of rusks is of a smaller size then they are nowadays, because the delivery cart is from way back as well.  You don't see them on the streets any more, nor have we seen them for nearly fifty years if I remember well.  So, now my cart is full and all I am waiting for is the hinges to finish it all off.

The hinges is all I am waiting for now

In the comments on my last posting Rosamargarita reminded me of a trick that I had quite forgotten: to use clear wood glue and saw dust to fill and repair the little hole in the lid.  I have already thanked her and have tried to make the repairs.  I don't know for sure if it worked until I have re-varnished the lid, but will let you know how I went.

Then it's time to welcome a new follower yet again. :-)  This time it's someone I know very well: Wilma from the Netherlands and although she doesn't have a blog I do know she has a website: Wilmatuurtjes.  It's in Dutch only, but I am sure you won't need words when you see the pictures.  And of course a warm welcome to you too ,Wilma.

That's all for now.  I guess my next update will be when the hinges arrive.  I might have said that in my last posting, but that's all I am waiting for right now.  See you then.

Friday, September 2, 2011

M(B)aking bread

Did I make bread, or was it baking bread? :-)  I guess a bit of both.  It depends on how you look at it....

I did make some bread, although it had stopped raining ages ago.  Remember it was raining last time I placed an update and I was looking forward to get some work done?

I got done much, much more, but not all mini.  Life goes on, real life that is, and there's always things that get in the way.  However, I made some bread and bread rolls of different varieties:

Bread and bread rolls
Usually I work with Fimo or some other polymer clay to do this kind of work, but I didn't have the right colours.  So, instead I opened a packet of Crayola which I had had for ages, but never yet used.  It's an airdrying clay, but very light and it feels like foam.  It is quite easy to work with and for the bread it had a real nice texture.  It's white, so I had to get my paint out.  I'm quite happy with the result.

I then put on two grips and a sort of locking system on the lid:

Lock and grips
Oh oh, the picture shows my mistake big way!  I just started drilling a little hole for the nail when I realised I had my measurements wrong.  I can hardly see it normally, but the picture is too clear....  Will have to think about a solution, because this project is going into a competition and I don't want to spoil it with just one hole in the wrong place. :-(

Filled up with bread and bread rolls and even a cloth to cover the bread in the baskets
Nearly done now.  I am only waiting for some hinges that have to come all the way from the UK.  I needed three different sorts and I missed two of those.  So, it's putting the lid on with hinges and then I can also put hinges on the lid for the smaller box.  When that's done I can glue it against the big one and I'm done.  So, see you in about a week perhaps?

Then back to my followers.  Again I can welcome two people, one of whom has a fairly new blog, but one with lots and lots of pictures of her work, and of the other one I can detect a blog, but you're both very welcome as a follower:

Doortje from the Netherlands at rdoortjesminis and Carolina Leonardo

See you all next time. Bye for now.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still working....

Not much new to show though, since I have been to the Dollshouse Club yesterday.  I can't do more spray painting, because it's raining, so I'll show you the pictures of the completed boxes and handle bar.  All I need to do now is wait for the correct hinges (I am short of one pair) and then I can finish off the wooden parts.  I am also thinking of buying new hinges for the smaller box.  I do have a pair that'll fit, but they are not the nice triangular hinges that are used for the original.  Well, in the end you'll find out what I have decided upon. :-)

Ready to be assembled

The 'stay' is not correctly placed, but tha's because I have not fixed any hinges yet
I guess the next step is making lots of bread and rusks before I can go back to my florist....

Since I welcomed a large number of new followers the other day (22 to be precise) I discovered two more.  So, a warm welcome to

Paky from Spain at Paquicheli's blog and Gleise, who doesn't appear to have one.  If you do, please let me know and I will tell the world. :-)

See you next time with a new update when the rain has stopped.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Nearly finished

Although we both have been working hard today, I haven't much to show for it.  It was repetitive work mostly for me: sanding, staining, sanding, painting, more sanding, more painting........pfff.....  However, I am happy with the results so far.

Hubbie has been working on the bike part of course.  More soldering for him, but his part is as good as finished.  I have spray-painted the parts and with a bit of luck we can start assembling tomorrow.

The first coat done, although you can't see much yet

Sanding in between coats of stain

One of the holders for the steering bar

The bike parts after a coat of spray paint
 I also would like to thank my followers for the nice comments.  Hobbying I do for myself, the blog is there to share with you about my hobby, so it's nice to see that people are interested.  I have noticed too that I have so many more followers than before I went on my three-month holiday.  I have to welcome you all together and do so today, because I lack the time to list so many in one go.  Of course I am interested in all your blogs too, but will go and have a look when I have a few spare moments.  I also have to wait till next month, because I have already reached my limit with my provider and all this is going to cost me...! :-(

So, a warm welcome to all my new followers and be assured I am interested in your blogs as well.  I will get to it, I promise. :-)

For now, that's it.  Tomorrow it's our monthly meeting day at the Brisbane Miniatures club and I have to prepare the workshop tonight.  I don't think I'll be able to work on the project, but you'll see me again soon enough (I hope)....

Bye for now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

More work on the latest project

Just a quick update on the bread delivery cart.  Yes, we've been working hard today (after we'd both done the boring household chores!)  Frank kept cutting and soldering and burning his fingers (and saying a few words I pretended not to hear), and I kept cutting, and sawing and sanding and nearly (very nearly) also said a word I shouldn't have.... ;-)

And here are the results:

sanding the little box

on the table saw cutting through the sides (partially) to produce a lidded box

cutting the lid off the box

the lid and box separated

if you're a perfectionist like me you see a little mistake

just a different view

the big and small boxes together

the side insets to keep the lid in place

the inserts glued in and the metal stay fixed in place

the bike being soldered together to hold the box

the front wheels attached temporarily

just wanted to see what it's going to look like....
And that's it for today.  I am going to sit in front of the box.  You know which one...........

Bye for now