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?


  1. Hooray for the job! I’ve been thinking of you so much. I hope the change of scenery comes with many benefits that will make you feel happier and cancel out the pay cut.
    I love how the container house is shaping up!

  2. Hooray for the new job! I’ve been thinking of you a lot. Hopefully the change of scenery will make you much happier and cancel out the negativity of a pay cut.
    I love how the container house is shaping up!

  3. Hi Sheila! So great to hear you are employed again. And it may be less pay, but the other benefits (financial and mental) should more than make up for it. I know how hard it can be to shake off stressful jobs. My previous employment still makes me angry, but now I know that they compromised all my values and I feel a little relieved that it wasn’t just me hating if. But onto better stuff, the build is going great. Yes, two months isn’t long is it?? But you’ll be fine. You’ll get this done. Take care and good luck with the next jab!

  4. Wonderful news about your new job! Less money but more happiness I hope and that is worth so much, right?
    Sliding walls, sliding windows, absolutely amazing container locking 'thingies' Wow what a tremendous pile of fabulous solutions. Your builds are always so clever but this really takes cake - love it!
    Anna X

  5. Congratulations on the new job, Sheila! I know how relieved you must be, and I'm so glad you have a couple weeks of nearly worry free mini time to fill your soul!
    I love the ingenious method you've come up with for the door mechanisms! They are going to look fabulous! And I love the stairs - they are so cool! I can't wait to see the progress in your next post!

  6. Congratulations on the new job. I'm very happy to see you working again.
    The doors and the sliding walls are fantastic. It's a wonderful project and I love to see more.
    Hugs, Drora