Sunday, September 30, 2012

Bits & Pieces

So this week I had a dentist appointment on Friday afternoon and spent the aftermath dealing with half of my face being numb.  I ended up unable to sleep and stayed up until nearly four in the morning.  For those of you who don't work with me, this problem of not being able to sleep tends to happen more often than I like.

Needless to say I didn't really get a whole lot done.  I did stop and get a couple of instruction books on wiring systems for dollhouses which will be helpful in determining what sort of system I'd like, if I want one at all.

My pal Linda from work, you remember Linda the lady of whom I have serious tool knowledge envy, is doing me the huge favor of cutting the rest of the Plexiglas because I'm now terrified to cut it on my own.  If you have questions as to why, see last weeks post. 

The plan to salvage the Plexiglas I cut last week is to get some acrylic glue and build a frame for the glass so I can use it as the lid for the case.  That way I won't have to cut it anymore and it won't matter that the edges are a little (a lot) rough. 

Luckily the wood I want for a frame won't be super expensive and I don't anticipate the glue being much worse.  When Linda gives me back the cut plexi on Monday I can start seriously putting everything together next weekend.

Haven't done much else, went to see Looper today. It was awesome... Joseph Gorden Levitt is amazing... love that man.  Thankful we got the real refs back for football so we can flip out about mistakes made through stupidity rather than incompetence, and I'm still writing fan fiction.

Next week is month end at my workplace so life will be hectic. 

By the way Linda told me not to thank her for her help until she'd actually gotten the Plexiglas cut.  But I don't think there's any harm in thanking her for the intent, even if it doesn't get done this weekend.  She's dieting so I'm not allowed to make her a cake or cookies as a thank you.  Acknowledging her mad skills in public will have to serve as figurative cookies.  Thanks Linda a whole ton for keeping me from ruining a lot of money's worth of Plexiglas.  You're the best!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

One Step Forward Two Steps Back...So To Speak

So this was the weekend I was going to cut all my Plexiglas and get the case completed. 

As you may have guessed from the title this did not go according to plan.  I'm thinking I need a thinner/finer blade for the jigsaw in order to the cut Plexiglas because the blade I have did not work well.  See exhibit A below

Exhibit A
Obviously this is not a smooth clean cut as would be idea.

A little blurred but its obvious where the cracks are
So I'm obviously doing something wrong and since Plexiglas costs a pretty penny I'm not attempting anymore cuts until I've got a blade that will work.  I'm also going to look into some sort of acrylic glue so I can salvage the piece you see pictured here

If anyone has suggestions I'd love to hear them.  I'm so darn impatient to get going on the dollhouse and I can't until the case is done.  Frustrated is the understatement of the year.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Snug as a Rug

Hey so I'm totally excited that the rugs I ordered came. (And wow was that opening a flashback to the eighties or what?)

No, see a while back I ordered some rugs from a merchant on Ebay based in Turkey and this weekend they finally arrived.  Since nothing else went as I planned this weekend I was grateful that one thing worked out.  Otherwise you would have had some goofy post about my cats, video games or tv shows to read.  If the rugs hadn't arrived you might have just had to put up with some of my actual writing as opposed to my blogging. 

So last week I talked about the color schemes for some of the rooms and how I planned to use my fabrics.  This week I'll show you the rugs and hopefully you'll start to get a better idea of how I want the rooms to look.

So first up is what I have planned for the living room.  I think with the red velvet couches and gold and cream curtains that the rug will really pull everything together.

I really liked the cream and gold along with the maroon.

Next is the master bedroom.  If you recall I'm doing that in pale blue and ivory with darker wood furniture so I really thing the rug will go nicely with that.  The gold is predominant too so if I ever want to change the color scheme for the bedroom I could.  So that's kinda nice.  But I really like how the blue and cream looks.

The gold is pronounced but I really like the blue and cream.
Next is the rug I'll be using in the library.  It's got some nice dark blue and almost purple tones to it while there's some dark red as well so its fairly masculine and appropriate for the library which I'm figuring is going to be the man's domain.

See what I mean about the dark colors?
I don't have a picture of the rug for the dining room, it came along with a set of furniture and is still packed up.  Not sure if I'll use it or not.  I also have a  smaller blue rug that I got from Hobby Lobby and that'll go into the upstairs hallway.  This rug is really gorgeous too so I'm debating if I'd rather use this in the library.  Love to get a few opinions on that.

Nice dark red and medium blue
This last rug was sent along as a bonus for ordering the other rugs and its got such a nice shade of green I'm thinking of using it for the attic hall /sewing nook.  That's just outside the girl's bedroom and it'll tie in nicely with the green I want to use in there.  I've ordered another rug just for her rooom but it 's coming from Canada and hasn't arrived.

See? Love the green in this.

So that's pretty much it for today folks.  Sorry, not  a lot of progress but I'll leave you with one last picture so you can appreciate exactly why I'm working on the dollhouse case albeit slowly.

I'm really enjoying my dollhouse Mommy.
Okay, two pictures...because I got her to look at me in one and usually she ignores me.

Yes Mommy, this dollhouse will suffice for me

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Onward and...Backwards?

So I'm still working on the case for the dollhouse.  I've hit a minor snag, or a not so minor snag when it comes to cutting the Plexiglas.  I think I need a sharper or better (something with an -er on the end) in order to get this stuff cut without breaking my arm or the Plexiglas.  The cutting tool I have isn't doing it. 

On the plus side I do have the whole thing framed up and its fairly sturdy.  I originally thought I'd have to have angled corner braces for the crossbeams but I found some metal braces at the Home Depot and they worked a treat.  So here is the dollhouse case in all its unfinished glory.

Yes, I know, it's glorious. I'm very proud.
 Miho regards everything in the house as hers and so has decided to inspect the case to see if it passes muster for sitting.

This time she didn't want to look at the camera. "Mommy if they can't
see my face they don't know its me breaking the rules."  Right.
Since cutting the Plexiglass is waiting on either stronger arms or a better cutting tool, I went through my fabrics again in an attempt to determine exactly what I'm doing to do for curtains and such in the house.  My options are slightly limited by the color of the furnishings I already have, though those can be changed and I'm debating what I'd like to do.  The main parlor/living room will be in a nice dark red, with mahogany wood.  I don't have any fabric to match that but I thought gold might be nice for the drapes since I have a pretty satin in that color and I could make pillows and find a rug with gold and cream along with red to tie it all together.  Here's my fabric, obviously I won't be using the calico for drapes in the parlor.

The center is the gold satin, the left side is a plale yellow linen.  The darker ribbon
a deep brown gossgrain that would be a nice contrast if I went in that direction.
The dining room came with red seats to the chairs, and I could leave them like that if I wanted, it is a very Victorian color, dark, dramatic, goes with the gothic style of the house.  I'm debating that though, maybe using the gold on the seats and for the curtains again.  I'm not sure about that yet.  It really depends on the rug and what I like at the time.

The master bedroom I'm fairly decided on though.  I've got a fourposter bed with canopy and the bedding comes in an ivory satin.  I don't want to redo the canopy of the bed, so I'm planning on augmenting the bedding with a pale blue with white lace.  I've got a pale blue gauze which will work very well for the curtains again with white lace beneath them. The wood of the bedroom set is dark in the Victorian style so I want to offset that a bit with pale colors for the bedding.

It's hard to tell but the gauze is on the left and the cotton is on the right.  I like the colors a lot.
 The library is the other room that'll have quite a few windows, I'm putting it at the front of the house and so it'll have that nice three window bay area towards the front.  It's sort of a masculine domain so I'm not sure what I'll want for the curtains.  The wood of the desk and bookshelves are a nice reddish cherry stain, so I can't go with red for the drapes.  I was thinking of a brown or taupe.  I have a wide ribbon with a thin almost plaid going through it so I was debating using that.  I still have to find fabric in the right colors, nothing in my boxes really fits.  The only other thing I could think of was using some of this grey I have, with a black satin ribbon trim.  But to me it looks more like suiting material than drapperies.

See what I mean?  I'd almost rather make a couple of uniforms for a maid than drapes.
In contrast the girl's room above the master bedroom is fairly easy.  It comes with white and pink with bits of green on the bedding.  I thought I'd use a pale green satin I have and add off white fabric for more bedding.  My other option was to get rid of the bedding that comes with the furniture and go with a pretty blue again, something a bit darker maybe with touches of pink if I felt like buying new fabric.  Have to look at the remnant bins at JoAnn's and see but here's the green I thought about using.

It actually looks a lot darker than it is, the problem with a flash or no flash.

 The kitchen I'm still planning to have in blue and white, a nice homage to my Grandma who had a blue and white kitchen in her house and in the dollhouse we did together.

The upstairs hallway I'll do in shades of blue, I've got a nice little rug and that'll be a good space for it.  The attic hall outside the girls room I'm planning to use as a sewing nook.  So I'll keep it fairly light with a lace sheer for the window and pale curtains.  I've got a fairly gorgous purple satin but I can't think of anywhere I'd use it in the dollhouse just yet. 

See what I mean? Gorgeous but it doesn't really match much, unless I did the
dining room in purple and gold...sounds a little too New Orleans to me though.
One last option for the library, though I was thinking this fabric seemed more like a dress to me, calico curtains look more country than Victorian to me.

See what I mean?  The trim matches perfectly but I'm not sure about the print for a man's library.
Maybe if I used it as wallpaper and had black or dark blue for the drapes...

Well that's it for today, maybe next week I'll have more progress on the case and I'll be able to work on the dollhouse again.  Miho anxiously awaits to see what she can get into next.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Dolly Has New Clothes

Okay something went terribly wrong as I was just finishing my post and the whole thing disappeared on me.  Now I'm irritated and I'll try not to take it out on all of you.  Serves me right for not saving with every paragraph. Argh!

You might recall that I had a dollhouse when I was younger.  And I had a doll leftover from the dollhouse and kept in storage for years.  She was in pretty good shape, hair still on her head, face and hands not yellowed or anything.  Her clothes however were another story.  They were stained and frayed and really in bad shape.  She deserved better after waiting in a box so patiently.

I'd made her clothes when I was about fifteen I think?  I'd like to think my skills at sewing like my writing have improved since then.  Along with things like my attitude, perspective, my bank account all the boring adult stuff we tend to accumulate as we get older.  I know... so not as much fun as a dollhouse.

She's a nice little doll, not fancy but she has long brown hair, porcelain head and hands and feet.  Her body is cloth and stuffed and she can be posed but unless you've gotten her put into a tight chair she doesn't stay where you put her very well since she doesn't have wire inside her arms and legs like these newfangled porcelain dolls.  She's sized appropriately to the dollhouse though, for a girl about twelve or thirteen.

So I took her old clothes apart and used them as a pattern.  Maybe you remember that I went through all my fabric and remnants and sorted them out so I have a box of appropriately sized patterns and fabrics for a dollhouse.  No? I was sure I told you guys about that.  Huh, maybe not. 

I found some pretty purple/lilac and white fabric and lace leftover from my nieces Christmas gift a while back and made my doll a whole new outfit.  The ensemble includes bloomers, a petticoat, a dress, an apron and a sunbonnet.

By the way this process took at least three hours a night for a full week.  I did this the first month I was in my new department full time and my brain was fried so I couldn't write.  All I did was sit, sew and watch TV with the husband.  He kept an eye on the cats so they wouldn't run off with the doll or the pieces of fabric.

Here's a picture of her bloomers, I got everything on her and then didn't want to remove it all to take the pictures.  I'm lazy. So sue me.

This position is a little embarrassing for her, please don't say anything.
Next we have her petticoat, I fancied it up a little with a double layer of ruffles, one more fluffy than the other, she deserved it I think after waiting so long for new clothes.  Don't teens and preteens like ruffles? I know I did. Still do sometimes. 

You can't quite see the purple thread I used on the white for contrast.
Next we have her dress and bonnet.  You can't quite see it but I might redo the collar of the dress. It's supposed to stick straight up and it looks uncomfortable to me, plus with the bonnet on its hard to see.  I put a little piece of the lace for detail on her bodice though, just as a nod to all the pretties a teen girl might like.

The bonnet was a lot harder to make than it looks, lots of gathering and sizing to her head but I think it turned out fairly well.

You can't see it too well since the bonnet squishes the collar down.

Her apron was actually kinda fun to make, it had to be functional in order to protect her dress after all, but its pretty too, with lacy straps.  So I used purple thread on it again to give it a little flair on the hems.

You can just see the purple thread.
 And here is the entire ensemble, I don't think it turned out too badly.  And the dolly deserves some pretty clothes after an undisclosed amount of time in a box. 

She is a cute little doll.
She reminds me of Laura Ingalls from Little House... And now I've really dated myself if I hadn't before.

I think she must be pretty pleased with her new clothes.  I've got her room picked out too, and furniture for her.  She's going to be in the third floor room on the left side, above the master bedroom.  I haven't decided if she's going to have a baby brother or sister or if she'll just have a cradle to keep a fancy doll she hasn't quite outgrown.

So there we are.  Hope you all like, in spite of having to type this whole thing out again! From memory.  Definitely need to save more often.

Case In Progress

Sorry this is a day late, hopefully not a dollar short.  It's a holiday weekend as you all know and its been a little crazy here as I'm sure it is with everyone else.

I've been working hard on my case, and its actually been a little frustrating.  I've mentioned how all wood tends to warp yeah?  Two by two's are not the exception to this rule. They're also not really two by twos which is sorta weird. They're more like one and a third by one and a third.  I totally don't get that.

But weird word measurements aside, this is the first time I've built anything this complex.  I've got a plywood (?) base and four forty inch tall two by two's on each corner.  These are both glued and screwed in. (Side note, I just tried to spell glued as glewed. Kinda sad how my mind works.)  What I've learned is that its much easier to drill screws into wood if you pre-drill the holes for them. 

That might be a duh moment to all you carpenters out there but it was a bit of a surprise to me.  I was explaining my problems to Linda and she warned me of this on Friday. My envy of Linda's carpentry knowledge grows daily.  Having finally gotten all four corners onto the base I then attempted to attach the lengthwise cross beams. 

I did take Linda's advice and pre-drill holes.  An important tip, it is important that the holes be almost as wide and just as deep as the screws you intend to use.  There was a lot of cursing and sweating going on and I won't show you the very ugly bruise on my toe from a board falling on it.  Obviously this step also, could have gone better but it has at last been achieved.

I'm now figuring out that corner boards that tall need more stability at the base.  And that the width wise cross beams will need additional bracing as glue alone isn't going to do it.  Here is where I'm at with this project right now.  It is not pretty.

I told you it wasn't pretty.
This is where I'm at right now.  After this comes the width wise beams, and bracing for them and the corners.  Then I get to figure out how to cut Plexiglas.  I think there's going to be a lot of measuring going on.

The good news is that I'll have plenty of Plexiglas left over, so after I get the hang of cutting it I'll be able to cut smaller pieces so I can have glass in my dollhouse windows.  That'll be kinda cool huh?

So this is a short post but I've got another I'm working on that'll be a little more fun to look at.  One of my dolls got new clothes and I've finally gotten around to uploading the pictures.