Sunday, October 10, 2021

Finally! Some Progress

I'm going to start out by telling you that this will be a long post... Lots to catch up on.

First the good news.  I've been hired by a new company. It's less money than I was making but it's also going to be a lot less stress.  And it's not so little that we'll have trouble paying the mortgage or car payments or what have you.  My original start date was going to be the 18th but it's been pushed to the 25th. They're being really sweet though and giving me a sign on bonus to make up for the week I won't be working.

It's not a perfect situation but it's better than I was twenty days (or thereabouts) ago.  The TWC denied my request for unemployment. Thankfully I learned that after I'd already been hired or I might have had a nervous breakdown.

Still have trouble sleeping once I go to bed just because everything I went through at the old job runs through my head and I get really, really, agitated. It's getting better but I was definitely having Bailey's give me some help to sleep. 

But with that settled I felt like I could actually work on the dollhouse without feeling like I should be doing other things. Like job hunting.

So where should I start... 

I decided that I didn't want container doors on the lower level of the house. They really wouldn't be easily seen and the ones I made will be displayed much better by using them on the upper level.  So I started to make some of the silver fittings that will hold the locking mechanisms in place.

This is a slightly simpler version but you get the idea of what I was going for.  The outer fittings took me a little while to figure out. I started with some of the rubber earring backs.

I had to slice off a wedge of the widest part or they won't lie flat to the frame of the doors.

I've been collecting hole punchers for a while, because they're so useful for making paper flowers and they come in handy for other things.  

I used thin cardboard, cereal box thickness, maybe a little thinner and made eight partial circles.

With the smaller diameter hole punch I notched out the center. These are some of my fails but you get the idea.

The next step involved very carefully slicing into the upper portion of earring back so the cardboard partial circles would line up with the widest part of the earring back.

Having done it once, I then repeated it seven more times.  And started the process of priming the rubber and cardboard with gesso in order to eventually turn them silver.

The next step was the rectangle fittings that hold the long pole looking things to the door without keeping them immobile. Mine won't need to move but the holders do have to go around the tubes and lie flat to the surface of the doors. 

This involved cutting eight large and small rectangles of cardboard, softening them up by bending them around a spare piece of aluminum tube, and then using Elmer's Glue to harden the cardboard while binder clipping them into place.

More than a little messy but it worked.

The plastic kept the cardboard from sticking to the tongue depressors. And mostly nothing adherred to the aluminum. 

While the glue was drying I cut out eight pieces of chipboard to go beneath the aluminum tubes. They need to be lifted slightly off the surface of the door in order to meet up the circular (sort of) fittings on the frames properly. 

Then I glued the thinner molded cardboard to the chipboard.

I was concerned that paint would just seep into the cardboard so I primed the pieces with gesso before I painted them.

Apparently, now and then, I have to show off my fingertip when I take a picture with the phone.

I also made the door latch and glued it to the doors. Making sure it didn't glue to both of them was a little tricky but it worked.

But once I got everything painted silver and dried I put them all in little plastic bags to protect them and started making walls.

As you are all aware the dollhouses require four walls and a roof to keep the Building Inspector out of the build. We'll ignore the cat hair I find on the edges of some walls indicating that she has been inspecting in my absence and decided that all these walls belong to her.

But I had to figure out what to do about the upstairs back wall. The lower level I have the bi-fold doors for access but since I have no intention of a balcony in addition to the roof patio I needed something else for access.  

When I ordered wood and channels from HBS Miniatures I got both of the available sizes because I wasn't sure which I'd need and I always have a use for them. 

And as you can see, one fits very nicely inside the other. So I'm going to do a wall that I can just slide out.  That figured out I drew out how I wanted it to look, keeping in mind where the bathroom and closet were supposed to be.

I've gotten good at putting the walls together. This one just needed a slight adjustment in height to take the extra two channels into account. 

I had two other things to figure out. A lower level wall for where the container doors would have been, and how to address safety issues with the container doors on the upper level. No point in have a big pane of glass because then how do the doors open?  Have to have windows that moved or again, no way to get at the door handle to open them.

The solution I came up with is a pony wall with sliding windows on top of it. 

I'll get some fine chain and attach the doors to the frame at the top once I've got everything primed and painted. 

The wall for the lower floor I figured I'd do a half wall and half floor to ceiling window, similar to the upper level back wall windows.

I haven't made the bi-fold doors for the upper level yet but I did get the window that goes over the bed done.  I'm debating having one in the bathroom wall, something small with pebbled glass just to give it some light. Have to see about that later.

The next thing I did was the stairs. I messed around with a dowel and tongue depressor halves and finally decided that I'd gotten everything as level and correct as I could. So I glued.  This was one of the more nerve-wracking things I've done with this house.

It's not easy to see, the binder clips are pretty much holding the treads at the correct angles.  But I let the glue mostly dry and took the binder clips off. With the glue not completely set yet I was able to wiggle and adjust and fix a few things that had gone awry.  

I think the angle of the picture makes the top steps look a little odd but you get the idea.

So far so good though right? And if I absolutely hate them I can use the big spiral stairs and rearrange the living room and home office.

That brings us up to today. And today I began a process near and dear to my heart. The shower tile.  I got my cardboard templates cut out. I'm using the showerpan from Jodi's Shapeways shop.  I'll probably try to paint it a bright white so it matches the white tiles better. 

I want a shampoo niche in the wide wall, so I needed to cut into the template and then the wall that would go behind the template. Thankfully I'm using matte board for portions of the walls and it's easy to cut pieces out. 

That's actually a really good thing since I just noticed I cut the niche out of the wrong freakin' wall.  This is a face palm moment. But with matte board for the interiors of the upper walls it's still easy to fix. 

The shampoo niche should end up being about maybe a quarter inch deep once the tile is added. I'll finish off the edges with some wood strips sanded smooth and painted silver. 

I'm a little worried the shower will look too dark but I don't want to go and buy different beads or more white beads to brighten it up.  I'm using some of the little half size beads in place of a full size to add a bit of detail here and there.  So far I've got two rows done.

I'm pretty sure that with the little half beads I'll have enough for the entire shower. 

And last but not least...

We have a dry fit of all the walls, ceiling and floors.  I think it'll look pretty good once I get the board under it and support for the overhang/carport area.

I think I like it.  How about you?

Oh, in other news, the back bathroom is still in the same state.  Apparently getting a plumber is harder than getting a goose with golden eggs.

But I'm excited about the new job. The benefits are great and start immediately except the 401K which starts in ninety days. But they do match some of the 401K contribution so that's a step up from the old place.

Sooooo relieved. I don't do well with being out of work. 

Tuesday we go for the booster shot for the Covid vaccine so I'm hoping the side effects aren't as bad as the second round of the initial vaccine. So I'm trying to treat the next two weeks as the vacation that I didn't really get much of during the year.

Wonder if I should start making a list of things to accomplish for the dollhouse considering it's October and I've got...two months left?

Sunday, September 19, 2021


 Okay. So this isn't related to minis but it is an explanation as to why I'm not as active mini-ing lately.

Lost my job this last week.

Actually that's misleading. I know exactly where my job is. It just isn't mine anymore.

The very 'Christian' company I worked for decided I wasn't in compliance with the company policies. They don't have an H/R department so the only person I could speak with regarding compliance was the person who told me I was a problem. So information or guidance about correcting the issue. 

I suppose it doesn't help that I'd been with the company six years, was salary, had gotten a raise in the last four months and was training an assistant for my position.  Or that the Controller just hired four new people.

So I'm stepping up my certification courses and applying for jobs. And unemployment.

Feeling (more than) a little stressed and concerned about picking up glue or a craft knife or something because when I'm on edge like this I'm just as likely to have an accident as I am to doing anything productive.

No progress on the back bathroom either. Which could be a good or a bad thing.  If I had any home reno or plumbing knowledge I swear I'd start demoing the thing myself just for stress relief.

I hope everyone else's week has gone better than mine.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

Floor. Finally!

 I'm sure by now you're all aware of my ongoing debate about the floor and staining it.  I finally decided that I had to go for it at some point. Not sure what I would've done if I hadn't liked how it came out. As it is I wore out my arm sanding the 'floorboards' down between the different stains I used.

I started out with tongue depressor woodsies. I found a bunch for real cheap on Amazon and cut the curved ends off.

Since this is a modern house I didn't feel the need to drill holes for pegs/nails in either end.  That made the whole process go a lot faster. Though I did need to use my dictionary and thesaurus to hold the boards flat while the glue dried.

Then I added some detail with a Minwax Ebony stain pen.

I sanded that layer down which had the fortuitous effect of leveling off any slight bumps in the floor.  Then I added Rust-o-leum's Weathered Grey stain.

Sanding that down took a bit longer but I finally got it looking the way I wanted. And I added Minwax's Classic Oak over it. The Classic Oak goes on looking very reddish but it wipes down looking more blonde which I liked.

It isn't easy to see when I take a picture of just the floor. But the color shows up nicely when I put the cabinets on the floor.

Since I wanted to match the window trim and open shelving to the floors that was my next step. It went a bit more quickly since there wasn't as much of an area to cover.

And then I did another dry fit. 

With the flooring I need to adjust the tile backsplash just slightly because the floor raises the counters just slightly and I want the tile to meet the top of the counter, not start behind it.

But apart from that little issue I like how the shelves, cabinets and flooring look together.

The other big event of the weekend was my minis I bought from NattyCollection on Etsy.  I got the apples for the WQRC from this shop and I bought some more of those so I could make another apple tree if I wanted.

I really love my tree and I want to make more of them. Maybe in the little lanterns for my shop. Or just for me.

But there were so many yummy looking things that I couldn't resist.

Suddenly I'm craving macaroons.

But that's pretty much it for the weekend folks. No progress on the bathroom unfortunately. 

Hope all of you are having a good weekend!

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Little Things

 I haven't been terribly productive these past four weeks. There's been a lot of thinking about 1:12 size stuff and messing around with 1:1 size furniture.

My husband needed a new recliner/chair & ottoman and we finally got one ordered. So I had to put that together. We ended up going with an ottoman and chair set so that he'd be able to put his feet up and be level which is better for his circulation.  Sadly, while it will work for him it doesn't match the rest of the 'décor' which is decidedly not mid century modern.

The chair has a back that will lie flat and the ottoman attaches to the front of the chair so it can convert to a single sleeper. 

You can see that the cats have decided the back of the chair makes the perfect spot to sit. The arms aren't wide enough for them to stretch out on.

Not sure why they decided to only put one leg on the front of the ottoman where it attaches to the chair though. It got caught in the carpet when he moved the ottoman back and forth.

So the ottoman didn't even last a week and a half. I tried to fix it with some screws and glue, and nope. Four hours later, busted again.

Good news is that the old ottoman is the right level for the chair so he can still keep his feet up. Bad news is that the legs on the chair and ottoman are 9 1/4 inches which is just about impossible to find. So if I want to add legs to the new ottoman I'll have to replace them on both the ottoman and the chair. 

Thankfully the chair is doing fine and the old ottoman will work for a while so it's not an actual furniture emergency.

We'd also needed new lamps for a while and I finally ordered what I thought was a set. Beautiful cobalt ombre glass. Sadly, it wasn't a set and it was also broken. Broken wasn't the stores fault, FedEx had kept it on their truck bouncing around for three days straight.  

But it being marked as a set on the site and it only being one lamp...that was their fault.  So... got a refund, and a 10% off coupon and had to order different ones.  They actually arrived quickly, via UPS.

My husband has also been home for two weeks straight and won't be working away from home until this coming Friday.  We also have someone at my workplace out with Covid. She's been out eight workdays so far and I doubt she'll be back tomorrow.  I haven't had a whole lot of energy or interest in much of anything except sleep!

I have been trying to do a few things with the Container House though. I got a coffee maker, a little cart and a pot for the stove or shelf.

I started to play around with some stairs to see if maybe I could make some that use a smaller footprint. 

I might try the same style stairs but with a round dowel, see if that works better. I think it will. Though I still haven't given up on the idea of  making the little home office on the first floor and the living room on the second floor and using the stairs from Shapeways.

I had a bunch of covers I collected and sized for 1:12 scale so I could make books for the house and I cut a bunch of them out and made some books.

Obviously, still working on them. But a few at a time.

I've been testing stain on my tongue depressors. I tried Ebony under Cherry, then pencil under Cherry and finally a combination of Ebony and pencil under Cherry. 

Of the three the ebony and pencil under cherry seem to look the best.  I ordered some other stain and I'll try it out maybe.  I also tried the weathered grey sanded down and cherry over it but it just looks odd. Almost muddy.

So I'll keep trying.  We'll see how it goes.

There is good news on the bathroom renovation front. We had a contractor come out two weeks ago, and he's got to bring his plumber back out with him, to see how feasible our 'plan' for the bathroom is.  But since everyone is still pretty much trying to repair the damage done in February it's hard for them to get the time to spare.

Our contractor is a pretty good guy and he's hoping to get his plumber out here this week. Fingers crossed.  He does seem to think what we want is doable so that's a good thing. 

I guess we'll see how it goes.

I hope everyone else has been having a smoother month of August than we have here!