Sunday, May 21, 2017

Flagstone Wainscoting & Chimney

Last week I didn't get much done besides spending money.  Unfortunately the money wasn't for mini house stuff.  It was for big house stuff.  Gotta love buying new mattresses.  For the next year we'll be paying the amount of a car note but at least its interest free.

New mattresses mean a lot of clean up and clearing things so the guys had room to take the old ones out and put the new ones in.  So I was fairly exhausted.  But I did get to make a trip to drop things off at Goodwill.  We've got a center in town that takes donations seven days a week.  So Saturday, cleaning, clearing and delivery.  Sunday get rid of all the stuff I cleared out.

This week is a different story.  I'd been trying to figure out how big a bump out I'd need for the exterior chimney.  I also had to remove some of the stone I put on because I forgot I was putting a chimney in.  What can I say, two steps forward, one step back.

But I got the stone removed and then did another dry fit to measure just how deep the eaves of the roof would be.  I want the chimney to go under the eaves, not over, if that makes sense.

See the vertical lines?  Yeah, I forgot those are supposed to represent the chimney when I put the stone on. Oh well.
So my chimney is about three quarters of an inch deep.  It doesn't look like much now but I did match the angle of the roofline for the top and the little bumps to fit under the foundation.

Glue is still drying so I'm not sure if I'll get to add stone to it today or not.




It's balsa and bass wood with some interior bracing to keep it steady under the weight of the plaster stone. 

I'm actually getting excited about this build again.  Mostly thanks to the stone being pretty much done.  It takes me forever to get it laid out and glued.  It's like a puzzle without a picture to match it.

The bare spot under the front door is for the porch.
I'm thinking I might order another bag of the stone just in case. I need to go around the porch supports and also I need it for my pillars for the porch as well.

But my renewed enthusiasm is also because when I did my dry fit I put the fireplace and window seat build ins inside the build and make sure they fit.

Yay they fit!  The rallying cry of miniaturists everywhere.



I'm so excited that they fit. And they look pretty good I think. 

So the question is how to finish the interior chimney, I was debating using the flagstones again but I think I'd rather make it look like a drywall bump out.  I think any other stonework would look too busy and detract from the tiles.

I'm going to do a dry fit of my windows and tape the trim in place.  I need to make a lip for the wainscoting and it might necessitate changing the exterior window trim somewhat.  While I'm at it I might mess around with the windows and see how they look with mullions.  But first, see if my chimney glue has dried.

Well I'm off to check my glue and hopefully hinge a couple of walls together.  We'll see how that goes.

How is everyone else doing? 



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Mortar and Brick and Stone

As the post title suggests I've been working with a few of the messier things this weekend.  I'd added some poly finish to my fireplace bricks and also to the woodwork during the week and it was about time to bite the bullet and add the grout.

Even without paint added to it the grout came out very light against the brick.



I honestly could barely tell the difference between the mortar I used for the brick and the grout for the tiles.  But I was planning on aging the brick so I left it as it was and continued on.

A sponge brush, black paint and grey chalk paint diluted with water helped to age the brick and the back of the chimney.  And I put my insert for glowing coals in to verify I'd actually gotten the depth right.  Yay it fits!




A bit better I think.

Had to let all that dry and so I decided I would get started on my exterior stone wainscoting.  Not too bad looking.  It'll darken up some once I get the finish on it.



I like how it looks but wow, my brain was bending in twisty shapes trying to make it all fit without looking bad.

I did a little more gardening on Saturday morning, but that wasn't too labor intensive.  And some house cleaning, again, thankfully not too labor intensive.

But this was the extent of my mini-ing for the weekend. 

How'd all of you do?

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Fireplace Brick Part II

Started painting my brick today.  I grabbed all the colors I'd tested, plus a couple others and began to paint random bricks different colors.

I decided to just go with the paint out of the bottles and not use any of the mixes I tried yesterday just for simplicity's sake.


See? Bricks.


I added in Folk Art's Pure Black as well as Anita's Earth Brown.  Just a little more variation since they were all going to get covered in Americana's Heritage Brick.

Waiting for everything to dry is not my favorite part but it gave me some time to clean the paint brushes at least.

Then I added the Heritage Red on top.



I notice the back of the chimney seems to have more variation than the hearth and I wonder if its just because of the camera angle.  I like how it looks though.

Some finish, grout and then some aging for the back of the heath and chimney and I think I'm good. 

I figure I'll use a matte finish on the chimney back bricks and a semi-gloss on the hearth.

For grout color I'm thinking of mixing some white paint in to grout the tiles with and using a slight grey for the brick just to give it a different feel.

All of which requires dry times so it might take a while.

But hey progress!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Fireplace Brick Colors


Okay, so while I'm waiting on another layer of stain to dry I began to put different colors of paint on my egg carton sample.


My four basic colors are Americana's Napa Red and Heritage Brick as well as Anita's Chocolate Brown and Bark Brown.


I mixed some of the red with some of the brown.

And then I started to put the color up against the wood and tile.

So...in no particular order...

The mix of Heritage and Bark near the wood.


The mix of Heritage and Chocolate next to the wood.


Here's the Heritage Red next to the wood.


The Napa Red next to the wood.


 Here's the plain Chocolate Brown next to the wood and you can sort of see the Bark brown next to the wood as well.


Honestly the Chocolate brown seems a bit too light to me.  The Bark brown is too dark and I'm not sure why I even tried. it.

Of course the mix of Napa and Chocolate I can't even get next to the wood, which honestly is fine, it just looks muddy to me and I don't like it much.

The Heritage Brick seems pretty good.  And the Napa nearly matches one of the tiles.  See the red tile in the upper right hand corner?


I'm kinda thinking the Heritage Brick is a good idea.  I just don't want it to blend into the wood too much.  I'm going to let it sit so I can think about it for a while.  And if I'm really ambitious I'll go to Hobby Lobby and look for more paint. 

Questions? Comments? Great thoughts?




Saturday, April 22, 2017

The Outdoors Doesn't Like Me

We've been in this house almost...fifteen years. I think?  Yeah, I'm not good at this stuff.  But my office is being moved from the town we live in to a town about twenty miles away.  The main highway is under construction and the drive would go from about ten minutes to about forty.  That's depressing but the job is a good one and a lot less stressful than my previous job.  I've already told my boss she's stuck with me.

However, my husbands job is already about twenty minutes from the house on the south side of town, mine is halfway to his, about ten minutes.  We're hoping in the next couple years we can move to a house closer to his work and ultimately a bit closer to mine. 

To that end, there are some improvements that need to be made in order to give the house more long term curb appeal.  The front yard is... bleh.

So!  This weekend I decided the yard needed to be improved. The lot is sort of a pie wedge shape with a small backyard.  My front yard is fairly large and screwed up.  Flowerbeds either mud or overgrown with grass.  I wish this was a mini yard.  It might take me longer but it would be easier on my back.

Let's get one thing straight.  I don't like annuals.  I don't like to pay a bunch of money for something that'll just die in one season.  So I go for perennials every time.

Just one problem, and this is an irony considering I live in Texas, I've got a yard full of oak trees and it's full of shade.  There are not a lot of shade loving perennials.

So I went to a very nice place called Calloways and bought perennials during my lunch on Friday.  We had a lot of rain Friday night so I didn't feel bad about letting them sit on my porch until this morning.

By the way, I've mentioned that North Texas hates me?  There's nothing quite like being exhausted, aching because digging and raking are not my thing, and having your eyes foggy and watering.  Not to mention an alternately stuffy and drippy nose.  How does that even happen? Aren't those two things contradictory?

But I did get all four flowerbeds finished. At least as much as I could.  I'd like to add a few more plants but that can wait for a while. 

I've also mentioned to screw up my back, but I don't have to do anything in the yard for a while.  And as I'm writing this being inside seems to help my eyes and nose to normalize.  So I'm at my regular level of North Texas hating me.  I'll take it.  It felt like my yard was declaring war.

 The grass on the edge of this bed is actually a decorative grass that gets little purple flowers when it blooms.  It tends to take over and I'm not thrilled with it but I didn't have the energy to get ride of all of it.

This spot got hastas, foxglove and yarrow, with some space for the day lilies to grow in.
The area below is below one of the front windows and was basically a mud pit.  The big bag of dirt built up the bed some and hopefully it'll drain better. 

The stones don't look gorgeous but I'm told ajunca takes over so hopefully the stone will be hidden.  And the stupid weed tree cut down and killed.  And I added some impatiens since they were cheap.
 
A hasta, some hydrangeas and some petunias.
 I broke my rule about annuals because Home Depot had a sale, four medium pots for ten dollars. So I got eight pots for twenty bucks and each pot had about three plants in it.  So they filled in a few places nicely and added some contrast.

This is near the corner of the driveway and is one of the only spots in the yard that gets full sun, so Shasta Daisies, lavender and...
 Yeah I just blanked out on what the flowers in the middle with the purple stalks are called. 

This was about four and a half hours worth of work, not including hauling and shopping.  I've got some sort of grass that puts down roots and sends out shooters that also take root.  I think its Bermuda grass but I can't be sure.

All I know is that its irritating and clearing that tiny space seemed to take forever.  I really need to get some more soil and add it to the flowerbeds before I bring in any more plants.

That will be far in the future.  The only saving grace of today was that it was only in the mid sixties today and I didn't get heatstroke.

Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to get back to minis.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Staining the Built Ins

Happy Easter everyone! 

Hope everybody is having a good weekend.  I had Friday off but I was lazy and went and got my nails done instead.

Yesterday and today I worked on my built ins some more.  I did my bricks for the hearth and the back of the fireplace.  I did inch long bricks and about a third of an inch wide because I wanted them to look a little more substantial than regular bricks.

I didn't want to paint the bricks until I had the wood stained so I got that done today.  I used the Rustolium American Walnut stain and so far I like how it looks.  Once everything is dry I'll add some poly and then work on the bricks.

I'm not sure about the color for the bricks, but I'm thinking a brownish red?

But here's what I've got so far.



I did the window seat built in as well. 


My only issue with the stain is that the bronze handles and knobs I bought might blend right in.

The other project I worked on is a cabinet for my farmhouse sink.  I love this style sink and I can't have one in my real house.  But I have to make a custom cabinet in order to use it.  It's a little rough right now but it'll work once I get it polished up.



And that is the extent of my accomplishments for the weekend.

I also got to see Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them and Patriots Day.  My husband also brought home Rogue One but we haven't watched it yet.  From what I've heard of the movie I'm not sure I want to. 

Hope everyone else is having a great weekend.  Talk to you soon!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Not Much Progress...

...Because Boots 'n' Shoots.

For all those who are not from the DFW area, Boots 'n' Shoots up here is a charity event to benefit our military veterans.  The restaurants I work for are really involved in it and provides the meals for the skeet shooting day as well as other things like volunteers from our restaurants and accounting office.

This year I got to go and help on Thursday.  The shooting portion I volunteered for took place at the Dallas Gun Club.  It was a really fun, if exhausting, day.  I got to meet some wonderful people, learned a lot about how to call skeet shooting scores and remembered that I'm over forty and not used to spending nine plus hours on my feet.  I was at a station with two of the waitresses from our Arlington Babes and they were fresh as daisies at the end of the day while I was ready to fall over.  Oh to be twenty again.  Or at least have my twenty year old body again.  I worked in food service back then and standing for twelve hours was just what I did.  Of course I also weighed about a hundred pounds less.

I only got a little bit sun-burned and when I got home I didn't do anything for the rest of the day.  I barely got up on time for work on Friday.  I feel like I'm still recuperating today.  So I'm going to dye my hair, relax and plan for my three day weekend coming up.

Hope everyone else has had a great and productive weekend!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Window Openings

So just to give you folks a laugh I took some pictures of my new window openings. 

I started out by drilling holes at each corner of my opening and then used a very narrow handsaw to cut through the MDF.

You know how people say they can't cut a straight line?  I'm one of those people.  With a scissors I can usually follow a drawn line at least.  With a handsaw?  No.  Not a chance.





The good news is that when I put the windows in they line up nice and square and the goofy holes are hidden by the trim.  And I don't need to cut any more holes.  Yay! 

The fireplace will be centered between the two smaller windows and the built ins will be just below them.  The larger window is just inside the bathroom.  I'd gotten a bunch of that size in a lot on Ebay.  I've got some of the plastic 'water' that I'll put in the windows so no one can see in.

For the exterior I've got my stone for the wainscoting.  My plan is to take the Grey/Brown Cut Stone Veneers and mix them with the Brown and the Grey.  So I have a mix of all three colors.

Brown

Brown/Grey

Grey
Then I'll have clapboard for the upper portions of the house.  I have no idea what color to paint it though.  Most of the Craftsman Houses I've seen that have stone wainscoting tend to be a khaki green.  I'm not too sure about that.  I'd like to find something in a dusty turquoise, pale with brown undertones maybe?  To reflect some of the tile on the inside.  And cream colored trim. 

The chimney is my other concern.  Not sure if I want to use the same patterns of stone for it.  Colors yeah, but maybe in fieldstone shapes?  Something to think about.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Score! My Loot Has Arrived!

I'd like to start by saying that Brae is bad for my wallet.

You see, she makes these great miniatures and does these awesome shows that are ONLINE and thus accessible to someone like me who does not go places.  So when she posted about The March Miniature Show I had to go and look.

Yeah... so I did more than look.  But I got some awesome stuff.  Things that I wouldn't have the first clue about making.

From Taffy and Me Creations I got some really cute modern shelf kits.  And a couple of wall art frame/kits.  I think one of these might end up in the Craftsman Tiny House and a couple may go into the Downtown Loft.


Sorry about the glare. I could not seem to get this to behave.



Wendy's Miniatures was another place with some gorgeous things and I got a couple of cloisonné boxes and two little statues for shelves in some lucky house yet to be determined.








And from Bee Tree Miniatures I got the sweetest little terrariums and a beautiful orchid, plus an adorable bonus daffodil.  Thank you Pim!









I also went on Etsy for some gorgeous turned jars and bowls from The Helmers.  I was having  major trouble showing all the details so I cheated and copied the photos from their site. 










I'm set the fireplace aside for now since I'm waiting on some corbels to support the mantel.  Planning on making more cabinets and I ordered a few more just in case. 

I'm at the point where I need to figure out how I'm going to hinge the back wall anyway.  But I also need to cut in some holes for extra windows on either side of the fireplace and one for the bathroom.  Plus the door I'm using is slightly smaller than the kit door so I need to fill in the gaps as well.

The tricky part was placement.  I had everything all draw out for the windows and realized that the upper openings of the standard kit windows were all on the same horizon.  I want the same for my added windows.  Erasing pencil and redrawing took a bit but I'm nearly good to go.

I figure I'll trace where the walls meet the floor to get a good idea of my floor space and make the window placements with tape or colors.  Then I can take the whole thing apart.

I do all that and I can start working on the outside of the house.

So far my biggest problem is figuring out where I want the stair case.  Maybe on the opposite side of the bathroom's back wall.  My other option is a ladder.  I'm still thinking on that.

Hope everyone else is having fun this weekend!