Sunday, August 26, 2012

Further Construction... Sorry For the Delay

This post is a week late, for which I apologize.  Sunday there was a snafu with cell phone batteries, which meant I couldn't take many pictures or load what I had onto my computer.  And Sunday night I got a lovely migraine which meant I wasn't writing anything...

Actually I wasn't writing, talking or eating, I was sleeeeeeping... all the way until Monday afternoon nearly.  Yeah, migraines are fun. Not.

I'm actually lucky in that I don't get them nearly as often as I used to.  But I do get them just often enough that I know when I'm getting one.  Does that make sense? Probably not.

So I did work on the dollhouse a lot this past weekend, in fact its looking pretty good.  I didn't realize just how much progress I'd made until I took a look at the last post.  Now I really do need to construct a case for it though because it needs painting and finishing.  Trying to do anything with paint when you have cats around is an exercise in how to make a huge mess quickly so I'm figuring out a Plexiglas case for it.

In the meantime, here's what I've accomplished:

First I put the floors in place and wood glued them.  And unless I wanted to stand there and hold them in place for  half an hour I had to find something to help them stand upright.  So I improvised.  I'd like to thank my grandmother for leaving me all the books in her house as the Thesaurus really came in handy.

You can see my hi-tech method for holding the floors in place while the glue dried.
Then I attached the other wall.  Interestingly enough this would be the total width of the dollhouse without the addition.  Cute, but I guess I'm ambitious enough that I wanted something bigger.  And then I realized that wooden boards always warp slightly in storage, something to do with heat or damp.
I was very proud of myself when I got to this point.  It was standing on its own!
So the next step is when the slightly warped boards became an issue...You have to square off the front of the tower. What I call the tower is the center part of the house, the tallest section and it has its own narrow front board with a door and windows.  If that isn't squared off right you'll have crooked siding and angled openings. Not ideal.  So I tried to un-warp the boards.  It worked but they had to stay that way for a while and that left someone curious.  Maybe she likes the smell of wood? 

Miho approves of the dollhouse thus far. 

So with a bit of effort I managed to get everything squared, that was interesting especially working with wood glue while getting everything in place.  Don't get me wrong, wood glue is a major part of this project but as I wrestled everything in place I was glad I was wearing grubby clothes because it got all over my tee shirt.

The tower front is on.  And it isn't even crooked. Yay me.

The next part required... You guessed it folks, more wood glue!  And my next favorite construction staple, duct tape.  Seriously folks, duct tape is my friend.  And I'll tell you this started going really fast once I had the proper tools.  The bay extension comes in separate pieces, I guess to save on packaging and labor or whatever, so you glue these half hexagon shapes to the main floors.

See? Duct Tape is my friend.  My bestest'll see why.
This next part is tricky because part of the walls for this section are supposed to be hinged.  So one is glued to the tower wall, while the other two are glued together but not to the body of the house.  They have to seal tightly because the glue is the only thing holding the walls together, the angle doesn't allow for nails as reinforcement.

See duct tape!  It worked pretty well.
Before you put on the roof you have to glue on an attic wall that divides the stairwell hallway from the attic room.  You're supposed to glue another divider in, a piece that blocks the stair opening from the back of the house with only a doorway but I don't really want a tiny little room I can't even get to from the back of the house.  So I used the little divider as support but didn't glue it in permanently.

See the little wall on the edge of the house? That should go halfway down, but why?  All it does is get in the way.

Now we get to the interesting part, putting the roof on.  I really had a hard time with this part, the pieces are angled on almost every side, and you have to draw the shingle lines on before you glue on the roof.  I'm not ashamed to say there was cursing during this part. 

You have to keep the pieces straight or the roof line will be warped.  This was not my favorite part.
You can also see above the room dividers help hold all the floors and everything in place while the glue sets.  I really needed everything stable so I left them in until I was certain the blue holding the front walls in was set. 

Then the top of the roof was warped of course so I did the best I could with glue and weight to hold it down. A shout out to Grandma's Thesaurus which was invaluable for holding the rooftop to the sloping walls.  Once I had everything situated I nailed it down to be sure the gaps were closed.

Yeah, this was not a fun part either.  The rooftop should be even on all sides...I'm a little off.
The tower roof and rooftop were next.  Since I'd dealt with angled boards you would think I'd be fine right? Yeah you don't know me that well obviously.  I tried to glue the wrong sides in, then ended up wiping the glue off, redrawing the shingle lines and re-gluing.  What threw me was the way the rooftop sat on the angled walls.  It just looked odd to me.

The Thesaurus makes another appearance.  And the house actually looks like a house now!
Almost done.  The house has a foundation which you have to put on, and the wood was (again) slightly warped.  But I managed to get it all on.  The addition was interesting, the instructions aren't quite as detailed as the main house so I did a lot of second guessing until I got everything figured out.  This was where the battery snafu took place so I don't have a lot of pictures.

I did finally get a picture of the house as it is now.  Everything has to be painted and stained before it goes on so now I really need to build a case for it.  Cats and paint don't mix.

There's the thesaurus again! And my handy dandy duct tape.
It doesn't look bad does it?  I need to fill in the little gaps in the foundation but that's easy enough to do. And here's Miho, appreciating the house I've obviously built for her.

Mommy, you need to get this stuff out of my house.
Sunday I went to Home Depot and bought Plexiglas and wood and assorted things to build a case.  I also got paint with primer to paint the house once its built.  It took three hours to get everything but I'm ready to start on it next.

So an extra long entry to make up for the lack of one last week.  Hope you all liked.  See you next week.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Construction Begins...Seriously I Really Did Start This Time

First things first.  I am supporting the economy by buying things.  I think this is a reasonable excuse considering I can't build the dollhouse without buying things.  And really, tools are a good investment, I'll use them for other things. Really I will.  The cats love their window seats and I'd like to make them more.

So I went to Home Depot on Friday during my lunch where a very nice man named Sam helped me find the tools I needed.  Sam was awesome.  But the credit for knowing what tools to buy goes to my pal Linda at work.  Linda is a home improvement genius and should have her own blog.  Seriously, there's nothing this woman doesn't know how to do.  Thinking I might enclose the back patio? Linda can tell me how to do it.  Tiling my bathroom? Linda has done that.  Renovating my kitchen? Linda has also done that.  Putting in a new floor? You get the idea.  Linda builds cabinetry as well and knows all about tools.  I have serious tool knowledge envy of Linda.

So. Linda told me that in order to cut the holes for my wall I would need not a reciprocating saw, but a jig saw, and to make sure I bought wood blades not metal.  Check. One Black and Decker jig saw with blades.  Apparently a reciprocating saw would have ripped the heck out of my wood.  Not ideal.

The saw itself was only about 30 bucks, the blades were about 10.

When I asked if I would need to start from an edge in order to cut the doors she said no, just get a drill and make a hole big enough for the saw blade to go through.  Drill bits to attach to my power screwdriver. Check.  (Okay I had a picture of my shiny new drill bits and their case but its disappeared into the bowels of my computer and only gremlins know where it is now.)

One more thing which I actually thought of on my own. Clamps, or vises or whatever you want to call those metal things that tighten and hold one thing to another.  The construction version of binder clips.  Those. I got two because I really didn't want to cut or drill into my dining room table or my kitchen counter. 

Sandpaper I had already.  But I needed wood glue.  And also wood putty because I don't know if anyone could see in the pictures of the dollhouse walls, but the outer walls are pre-sided.  They're lovely and will be easy to paint and finish, but they are not ideal for an inner wall, which is what one of them would be when I add the addition that came with the dollhouse.  Thus, wood putty.

Guess what I did this Saturday?  Yep.  I got to use my new tools.

First I had to figure out where the door openings needed to go.  Which meant determining where the stairs would be and how much space they would have in front and beneath them.  I put the floor pieces against the wall and used  pencil to draw lines for the stair openings.  Then I put the stairs against the wall and drew a diagonal line and figured out original desired location for the doors wouldn't work.

You can see where I drew out my doors... the staircase lines...not so much.

I originally wanted to put the living room opening next to the front door.  But the stairs don't allow for a double door opening under them.  So it was placed at the foot of the stairs at the back of the house.  Same goes for the two single door openings up on the second and third floor.  Which, by the way, I forgot I needed three doors, not two.  So halfway through my drilling holes I drew out my third door.

My shiny new clamp thingies and my board clamped down on my kitchen counter.

No, I'm really not brilliant at all this yet.  I'm a work in progress, just like the house.  But I got it drawn out and drilled holes for it.  I actually figured out I was better off drilling holes at each of the four corners of the doors because it allowed me to cut in one direction at a time.  I didn't have to worry about corners and such, I just cut to my drill point and the got the little corner bits later.  By the way, it helps to put a towel down under your feet and the board to catch all the sawdust because wow... this is messy.  Can you see the little piles of sawdust on the picture below? Multiply that by like ten.

Here are a few of my holes and you can see the shiny drill bit I used on top of the board.

So a few issues later, including sawdust and the determination that I'd definitely cut the doors in the wrong order.  It matters because when you have very little left to cut and not a lot of board between your cut and the edge of the board, the saw will make the board go up and down and no amount of duck (duct?) tape in the world will cure that.  So I cut my little piece off entirely and fixed it when I did the next step.

My doors are all cut out...and now we're ready to fill in the grooves.

Remember how I bought wood putty?  Wood putty works a little like Spackle or plaster, you use a palette knife or something similar like a putty knife and drag a lump of it over the area you want to fill.  Actually what I was doing reminded me of nothing so much as grouting tile.  Minus the wiping the excess off afterward.  So I used wood putty to fix my little cut I had to make and to fill in all the siding grooves. 

Not easy to see but the wood putty has filled in all the siding grooves.
And now I'm waiting for it to dry.

Once it dries I'll sand it down some...and maybe I'll get some holes punched through so I can start building the dollhouse.

And now I'm getting ambitious...but I was thinking the uppermost room on the addition won't have any windows...and that seems sort of wrong.  I think they sell windows for that angle roof at one of my miniature sites...I may have to look into this.

What do you folks think?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Accomplishments for the Weekend

So this weekend I was seriously considering a re-attempt of putting the dollhouse together, but I still haven't bought the tools I need.  I'm also a little concerned about cutting the doors into the outer wall.

The walls also have the siding carved into what should be the outside so with the addition, besides needing to cut out doors, I'll need to do something so the wall doesn't look like its shingled.  I've got putty that works to fill holes in drywall but I think I'll need wood putty for the dollhouse, which is a whole other animal.

So what did I do this weekend?  Well, I sorted through a lot of the fabric I have for patterns small enough for a dollhouse.  I also found plain satins and cottons in a fine enough weave that they'll pass as dollhouse scale fabrics.  Since I plan on making bedding to augment the ruffles and bedding that arrived along with the bedroom furniture that's fairly important.

I also decided to try my hand at making hats for one of the dolls I bought.  I think they came out pretty well for a first try.  Took me most of the afternoon but here's the first one.

Its mostly out of pink ribbon with white feathers and white ribbon trim and roses.

Here you can see the pink roses a bit better. 

I also made this one, which is much simpler, a straw hat with blue ribbon and a blue rose.

This I sewed on, while the pink hat I used a glue gun.

I think the flash on the camera tends to reflect badly on the ribbon.

So that was my accomplishment for the weekend. 

And thankfully the husband noticed Miho trying to steal the little pink hat, as in picked it up in her mouth and was intent on carrying it away.  Here's my little thief, sans hat. 

Nobody can glare quite like a cat...its an innate gift.

The problem being that the pink hat is a little big for the doll.  I'll have to measure more carefully next time.  But other than that...

Well it's been awhile since I've made doll clothes.  Or doll bedding.  I'll work on that some maybe during the week, might have something new to show by the weekend. We'll see.