Welcome to my crazy little world! It's a place where dreamers are always welcome, and no idea is ever far fetched. I regularly post progress on my current projects, and have links below to finished and future dreams. My Miniature Madness is all about the love of miniatures in all scales from 1:12 to 1:144! This site is a place to share ideas, tips, tricks, techniques.
I am calling the New Orleans living room finished! My To-Do list is getting shorter and my project drawers are getting emptier! Only two more rooms and the landscape board to go! Hey, now that there will be empty drawers, does that mean I can start planning a new project?!? I know! I know! Back to Earth, Jodi! You still have the cottage to finish!!! :o)
I'll catch you up on the last two weeks... First, I got out the sewing machine to make the throw pillows for the sofa. I ended up with two passable navy ones and two passable gold ones. Don't look too close, just pay attention to the beautiful embroidered pillow by MiniArtHouse!
I also made a memory pillow for Russ from one of his Uncle Pat's shirts. Before he passed, he used to wear it in the garage to work on sand rails with Russ. It has a lot of sentimental value, and it made Russ cry happy tears when I gave it to him.
Big sewing is so much more forgiving, but I tried my mini luck again by making a reversible bed cover, too. I'll wait to show you more of that when I finish the bedroom. I am a bit more comfortable with the machine now, but lord!!! I still suck at mini pillows!
After that, I went back to something that I've had lots of practice at... Flower kits! I needed six arrangements for vases, so I made hydrangeas, gladiolas, asters, carnations and azaleas. Finding complementary colors in a predominantly teal decor was a challenge! But as always, Susan's kits were a real pleasure to work with!
Next I needed more plants. I had some kits from Mary Kinloch for a few years, and truthfully, I was intimidated by them. They stayed in a drawer, forgotten. It took a few days to work up the courage to give them a try. I ended up finding examples of the plants online and just dove in. I used alcohol inks on the leaves, and thickened up the wires on the Parlor Palm with tinted Mod Podge layers. They convey what I was after, so even if they are not completely accurate palms and ferns, I like them.
I modified a HOM table to narrow it up a bit, and added a back piece so the books had support. I added another lamp to the room which meant drilling holes and running the wire under the house. This house is just too heavy for me and caused a few panicked moments as I lifted and attempted to prop it up. From now on, if I can't lift them, I don't want to do them!
Here's the entry vase in place. I think I need to make a little basket for keys.
It was challenging to figure out what to put where, but I am satisfied with the arrangement. The lighting doesn't look so yellow in real life. I wonder if a better camera would help.
Here's the overall finished living room. My policy is that if I can't decide, do nothing! :O) That is why there is no runner behind the sofa. The lady of the house is just getting ready to enjoy a glass of white wine and a good book. I hope she doesn't mind sleeping on the sofa for a couple more weeks while I get her bedroom ready!
First photos with lights on...
And lights off...
I hope you enjoyed the tour, and find the colors, textures and patterns cohesive!
Next up, the hall of mirrors and the bedroom. Hope to be back soon! xo xo, Jodi
I'm sure when I tell you that getting to the decorating part of a project is not only exciting, it is also chaotic, messy and leads to all manor of rabbit holes! I had planned on completing the exterior of the New Orleans, but while I waited for the weekend to arrive and for Russ to come home with my perfectly cut piece of plywood, I still had momentum and wanted to keep going. I thought I might as well make up the sofa kit, a decision which opened Pandora's box. Before I could argue with myself, I had opened the "New Orleans furniture and decor" drawers and had bags and boxes everywhere! It was delightful, as many of the things I saved were purchased over three years ago when I bought the kit and began planning. It was like a shopping spree in my own stash! And after all this time and faded memory, I still love the colors and themes I'd dreamed of so long ago! What you see below could be called a mess, but I like to think of it as The Creative Process.
Since I started with the sofa, I had to get out the living room chairs and the coffee table for a test arrangement. I am so happy that the pillows I purchased two years apart from the sofa fabric (which reminds me of Hubble telescope photos) are a match made in the heavens! I still have to make the sofa pillows, probably navy blue and gold, and decide on one of four test rugs to print on fabric. I also have to put another two coats of the metallic paint on the unfinished coffee table. Then I can make and load in all the decor items for this room.
I was really excited to begin working on the kitchen. I had all kinds of neat stuff saved to go in it for so long and couldn't wait to see it come together. But because the dining room can only be accessed through the kitchen, I figured I'd better get that room's large furnishings decorated and put into place first. I still have to test some rugs for under the table, raise the chandelier a bit, then make a floral arrangement centerpiece for the table. I did make up three plants for the bay window sill.
With the dining room well on it's way, it was finally Kitchen Time! I wanted to have a center island, but the original piece I'd planned turned out to be too big. So instead, I dug through my kit drawer and found a wine table kit I'd picked up a long time ago from Menutmon on Etsy. Again, bummer he's not still in business as he had some really unique pieces. I was able to add square silver beads to the legs and make a larger butcher block top from 1/4" x 1/8" strip wood. That made the perfect height and length so that my fleur-de-lis stools could be utilized. I am so happy to have discovered using alcohol ink on fabric, as I was able to just dye the stool cushions indigo to match the island base and the main theme color of the kitchen decor. I also adjusted the shelf height to accommodate the stand mixer, leaving just enough space for the wine bottle rack.
I had a large chinoiserie tea set as well as a navy blue set and some cobalt glass pieces to mix and match for the kitchen. I also had a square dinner set from my Shapeways store and some unfinished bisque pieces to add to the lot. I painted them in the same blue acrylic paint as the island - a cheap basic Joann's brand I've had on hand since 2008!!!
I picked out some delft fabric online and then used it to print out towels, apron, rugs and a roman blind for the kitchen window. I know some of you have mentioned on your blogs that you do not like things to match, but I find myself most at home where there is symmetry, and prints and patterns in the same color just make me feel happy! I'm sorry though if it just isn't your cup of tea!!! :O) I made up some plants and herbs, some Louisiana cookbooks, a knife magnet, some utensil crocks and a chalk board sign. I will save some space for future food scene and wall art inspirations.
I always have trouble with my camera and lighting situation, so I've taken photos both with the lights on and off. My camera tends to read the lights as intensely yellow, but with the naked eye they just look like warm household light. I have made some editing adjustments using the computer's software to try to compensate for that a bit.
It is so fulfilling to finally see this kitchen as I had dreamed it so long ago. That feeling is intensified by the fact that I had let this poor kit languish, half done, on the shelf for so long. But gleefully, inspiration has returned and it feels like I am keeping a promise. I can almost feel the forgiveness and gratitude radiating from the New Orleans with each piece I add.
Are you waiting for inspiration to return? Do not fret, for I have learned that waiting can be The Creative Process, too! xo xo, Jodi
As I begin to put this post together, I am realizing that it may end up a little long. There were a lot of little things to do, none of them post worthy on their own, but now that they're done, they've really added up! I skipped around on the tasks, too, so I'll try to make sense of the potentially disjointed photos. Hopefully, you won't get too board or overwhelmed before the end!
This was the electrical tangle coming from under the house that needed to be camouflaged into something that looked like it belonged there. In addition, the second floor wires had to somehow join up with them. A shed and drainpipe seemed the best way to organize the mess and make a convenient electrical hub.
I used 1/8" basswood to construct a basic shed.
I had some really old and stiff hinges for the top of the shed. The outlet strip fits just inside. I mad an access hole in the floor to feed the first floor wires into.
The second floor wires are fed down from the roof and hidden in "copper downspout". You can see in the second photo below that I also added braces to the pipe and the roof crown molding is installed. The front doors are completely removable for wide access, and slide into a groove on the lid.
I began working on the finishing details for the front of the house, too. I needed to make a couple flower boxes for the dormers. I added some molding and trims to basic boxes to jazz them up a little, then decided to paint them copper to match the dormer roofs and balcony railing. I was torn for a bit about the flower colors. It was between yellow or red, but I am glad I went with the red and white combo. It just pops against the teal.
I tend to get carried away with landscaping (remember the Storybook Cottage?) so I have tried extremely hard to keep it minimal on this build. The footprint on this house is already imposing, so when I do add the landscape board, I'll be keeping it restricted to some shrubs and lots of mulch.
For the flat roof, I went with a roll of skateboard grip tape. Here's the Amazon Link so you can get a better look at what it is, but it's too pricey on Amazon. You can go into your local skate shop and pick up a 12" x 46" roll for under $4.00. It has an adhesive backing on it, which makes it easy to install. It also peels up easily if you later need to track down wiring issues. It's a nice thickness and also makes great asphalt road if you're making a neighborhood diorama. Just add lane stripes!
The window boxes are filled with red Dahlias and white Geraniums. I made red Begonias, white Azaleas, red and white Fuchsias and red/green Echeveria, too. That was me being conservative. Now you see why I am not allowed to garden any longer in real life. At least it's harder to kill the miniature varieties! I didn't end up using the yellow Pansies, but now I've got them ready for some future endeavor!
I kept staring at the front of the house, trying to figure out what was missing. I decided that the lower porch railing needed to be copper, too, otherwise it just felt as if it disappeared.
Before in teal instead of copper.
After painted copper.
Keeping the balcony simple, each side of the door got a topiary in a fleur-de-lis copper pot and a pot of red and white flowers.
I;m still debating about a flower box for the lower floor bay window. I may just do shrubs but will decide once I get the house on the landscape board.
The landscape board won't stick out farther than the front steps.
The Fuchsia basket took two Bonnie Lavish kits of twelve each plus an additional 12 bud stems that I made using painted glue bulbs and extra leaves. I had planned on two additional hanging baskets for the porch, but ran out of Fuchsia kits!
I think it looks just interesting enough, though I could fill it completely if I didn't reign myself in! This is my compromise and what I'll call Summer In New Orleans.
The landscape board and the back opening trim are all that is left before I can finally get inside to furnish and decorate. I haven't officially finished a dollhouse since the Sweet Christmas Cottage in November of 2017, but with a little luck and perseverance I may just finish the New Orleans and the Storybook Cottage this year!!!
Before I got the doors installed last week, I had a real mess on my hands! The New Orleans was looking like a dumping ground for all the things I had yet to figure out and install. I needed to get the ceiling/roof out for a dry fit to see how things were going to line up. Adding three inches to the interior and exterior mansard walls made getting a perfect fit a challenge!
What I ended up doing was adding 1/8" strips to the tops of all of the walls. Except the interior bedroom/bathroom and bathroom/closet walls, as they had somehow ended up being higher by that much. Once they were all evened out, I attached the crown molding to the walls, before I attached the roof. This seemed easier than reaching in. Because of the angled mansard walls, I "cheated" and used square blocks in the corners rather than having to miter and cut complicated angles. I added the ceiling paper to the ceiling before gluing and nailing it to the house permanently. Then the house went on it's head for the ceiling work. I still had gaps here and there, so I filled them in with wood glue before playing with the ceiling designs.
I had several options at my disposal, so I played around with some layouts. I ended up changing my mind several times.
For the bathroom, I wanted to keep it pretty simple by using just a ceiling rose and some corner brackets. I ended up building a frame around the brackets just to give it a little extra detail.
In the stairwell hall, I had a fancy Unique Miniatures ceiling piece, so I just added some JMG laser cut swan brackets to the corners. To get them all perfectly aligned, I used a couple pieces of 5/8" scrap wood glued into an "L" jig. This way, I could line the jig up against the molding and place the bracket into the jig to glue. Because the Unique Miniatures pieces do not lay perfectly flat, I had to use more wood glue to caulk the cracks.
My original plan for the bedroom ceiling was more dramatic. The oval Unique Miniatures piece I had turned out to be a little more egg shaped, and having more surrounding detail seemed to draw attention to the mis-shape. So I opted to create a shallow tray ceiling with 1/2" x 1/16" strip wood and keep to a simpler design. I really like the center resin frame - it is a perfect piece and the detail is lovely.
Once I had the ceilings painted with white chalk paint, it was time to add the lighting! Installing the delicate bi-pin bulbs on the Houseworks chandelier, testing the lights, cutting down the chain to the proper length and gluing the fixtures to the ceiling was nerve wracking!
But with a lot of patience and praying, all went well!
I'm thanking my lucky stars that this part went so smoothly, but I'm not in the clear just yet. I've got two led spot lights to add to each room which means back on her head she goes while I try to carefully drill the holes. Makes me sweat just thinking about it! But while I am sweating, I am also so grateful that this long neglected project has all it's structural pieces in place! I can see the end now, and because the challenges have been so big, the satisfaction is equally as grand! xo xo, Jodi
Several weeks ago I said I would share my idea for getting rid of those unrealistically intrusive thresholds that come on dollhouse doors, if the idea worked out. It was in the post where I'd remodeled some Houseworks Victorian Glazed Doors, adding wood panels where the glass used to be and making them taller for the larger doorways. I am so relieved to report that the idea worked and the hall/bedroom and bedroom/bathroom doors are in!
And they function just like I was hoping they would! Here's how I did them...
Make the hinge pin hole open to the front of the jamb so that the door can be slid into place through the front rather than having to be fed up through the bottom.
Cut a trim piece to cover over the hole after the door has been installed. I used 1/8" x 1/16" and cut it to cover the entire length of the jamb..
Measure where the bottom hinge pin will need to be in relation to the jamb (distance away and centered), then make a hole. I used a pilot hole punch, then pushed in the hinge pin with pliers until I reached the depth I wanted. Mark with a Sharpie where the floor meets the pin so you know how far you'll need to seat it into the door.
Remove the hinge pin head (I used wire cutters) and with a small dab of wood glue, insert it into the bottom of the door to the depth you have marked. Do the same for the top hinge pin and insert into the top of the door.
Angle the bottom pin into the hole in the floor, then work the door up and slide the top pin into the jamb opening you made.
Glue the trim piece over the top of the jamb.
Ta-da! Working doors with a realistic transition from one room to the next! Now they just need a little touch up paint, then I'll be ready to tackle the ceilings!
And the other loose end... The D.I.Y. Chocolate shop...
I took the scrap wood to the scroll saw and cut an approximate cash register shape that I'd drawn on the wood.
Made sure the scale was about right, then sanded and sanded...
Added a little paint and some buttons...
A sticker for the back and there is is! A homespun cash register in half scale!
I am just about as finished with it as I want it to be. I thought it would be fun to take it's photo inside the New Orleans bedroom for scale.
I might add a flower box, and I still have to finish up the wiring.
The dust cover is drying now.
Since I am finally wrapping up a few things, maybe I'll even get back to the Storybook Cottage! It's so close, and it's the perfect time of year to spray the furniture! My work area is clean, so it feels like anything is possible! xo xo, Jodi
The little DIY kit project I'd planned with my daughter worked out better than I'd even hoped for! She was really excited at the Cake Diary kit itself, but when she found out that she could replace the papers and flooring with stuff from my stash... Let's just describe her as giddy! I think she appreciates my hoard of craft supplies a little more now! :O)
She initially began looking at what scrapbook paper I had in teal and blue color tones, but once she saw the sunny orange with the blue tile pattern she was set. She loved the leftover piece of Houseworks oak flooring, especially once it was sanded and varnished and came out with the same warm tones as the papers. She also picked out and meticulously cut some brick paper that will wrap creatively from the inside of the shop to around the back side. We still have a way to go as every step involved customizing, but she couldn't have enjoyed herself more!
Here she is cutting her very first shelf pieces from balsa. We both didn't like the flimsy card meant for the shelving, so we made our own. My smarty pants girl was even very impressed with my math skills! See? Mom does still know something! She will be adding lace detailing to the shelf edges on our next play date. I'll share more progress as we make it! And btw... She said this was the perfect kind of mini project for her because she thrives with a little direction!
On my Chocolatier project I also made some great progress. I began assembling many of the accessories from the kit and quickly had ideas for even better details. For the shelf unit, I auditioned some glass candy jars from my stash and found a few that seemed to work in half scale. I filled them with metallic beads meant to look like foil wrapped chocolates.
I also used some Woodsies and wooden heart shapes to make candy boxes. The paper ones that came with the kit were just fine, though a little too large for where I needed to use them. I laminated three Woodsies pieces together, painted, edged them in gold leafing pen and then added stickers to the tops.
For the small glass case on the main counter, I made "chocolates" using flat backed pearls and stars. I colored them with Krylon Shortcuts paint marker in brown. I like the shiny finish, though I should have left them to dry a bit longer than I had the patience for. The kit provides boxes of chocolates, but they are just a photo inside a box. I like that you can take the kit a step farther if you want to.
I also made chocolate dipped cookies using paperclay and an inexpensive silicone cookie mold. I colored them to look fresh baked, then dipped half of them in white and milk chocolate. Man they made me hungry!
The interior is nearly finished with the exception of a tiny cash register. I am going to attempt with my scroll saw and lots of sanding to create one from a block of scrap wood. We'll see!
I have a few more of the exterior elements to make up and all of the lighting to do. Maybe another week or two and I can say I have completed my first DIY puzzle kit! I am really enjoying it though, and believe it or not. the Storybook Cottage has begun to call me again!
Getting the balcony railing installed for the New Orleans felt like a major accomplishment! I kept at it, installing the last interior wall then starting in on all the trim work. Here’s where you find out just how out of square your build is and how good you really are with your measurements. I'll have some pics for you next week. I have a fair amount of filling and touch up painting to do, and that just got real boring, real fast. I got out the roof piece to begin making decisions on the ceiling molding and suddenly felt lost for direction. Oh how I long for step by step instructions where I don’t have to make many decisions and can kind of just mindlessly enjoy something crafty!
Ask and ye shall receive!
For Mother’s Day this year, my grown up daughter flew to California to visit her paternal grandma. She asked me before booking the ticket if it would hurt my feelings if she was not with me on Mother's Day. How sweet is that? Of course I told her GO! Have fun! We don't need it to be Mother's Day to spend fun time together, and we do it quite regularly anyway! But she went even further to sweeten the deal and will be spending most of this weekend here. Last time she showed me how to make her eggs Benedict recipe with homemade biscuits, but this time we'll be working on new mini projects together!
I have always been curious about the all in one 3D puzzle kits that you see everywhere, and have always wanted to see if I would really enjoy working in half scale. So using the generous Mother's Day Amazon gift card from the same thoughtful daughter, I bought two of them. Mine is the Chocolatier store kit by Spilay. Natasha has less room in her apartment, and because she has very little mini experience I picked the smaller Cake Diary kit by Cutebeefor her.
In preparation for this weekend, I thought it was a great idea to crack my kit open to get familiar with the instructions. While there are very few words in English, the photos are pretty self explanatory. Once you get the key to how the instructions are laid out, it's pretty straight forward. The Spilay kit has the parts segregated into bags marked with a letter. Once you find the bag with that letter, you see a photo diagram of the parts you need for that piece of the kit. The instructions then provide step by step photos of how to assemble. The window film, signs and patterns are referenced in the same way as the parts for easy identification. Many of them have already been painted, and my kit included sandpaper, scissors, tweezers, ruler, razor knife, screwdriver and parts to make a dust cover.
I'll report on the other kit brand instructions after we've had a chance to work on it, though they look really similar.
I have only worked on the main large furniture pieces so far, a couple hours over the past couple evenings and am making steady progress. It is such a nice change to just be able to follow directions, and yet I have found some great opportunities to personalize and embellish the pieces as I go. I have added scrapbook paper, lace, different door knobs and even raised the tiny signs by adding wood back pieces outlined in gold leafing pen. We'll pretend that "always" is not misspelled on this one. :O) This person's English is still definitely better than my Chinese!
Aren't they adorable?!? I am truly enjoying this kit and expect to do more in the future. I hope Natasha finds it just as fun and that it turns into a regular activity for us to enjoy together.
As is generally the case, the universe synchronizes the timing on things. Imagine my surprise and delight this morning when I learned via email marketing that Hobby Builders Supply/miniatures.com is now offering these kits on their site!
The most delightful thing about this little halftime experiment is that I am discovering that I LOVE 1/24th scale! I can see myself doing many more projects in this scale, and because it's so much tinier, I'll have room for twice as many projects! Watch out Shannon! Soon I'll be coming for some of those amazing Red Cottage Miniatures structure and furniture kits I've coveted for so many years!!! Have a wonderful, fun and creative weekend everyone! xo xo, Jodi
Oh My! Stairs are HARD!!! And the ones for the New Orleans have been a real challenge for me from the start. I reasoned that before I installed the last wall panel upstairs, and prior to focusing on the bedroom, I had better get the hallway balcony railing and all trims for that skinny room completed. Big hands and frequent lapses in grace were among my worries. To do this part of the project, finishing the stairs was essential, but the stairs for this project have been a bit of an odyssey from the beginning...
During the first dry fit I decided the set that came with the kit were too narrow, steep and plain. So I began making my own. This was in May of 2017!
After I had finished the first set, I realized that the last stair ended way too close to the "fourth wall" and instead needed a return. And since I was rebuilding anyway, why not add built in shelves for more display opportunities?
The photo below was as far as I'd gotten in August of 2017. And there they sat during my looooong hiatus.
Another bright idea came when I thought that opening up the stairwell would allow the chandelier light from the landing to shine down the stairs. I couldn't resist the idea of having something so pretty, so the opening became much larger. Now there would be a balcony all the way around the opening.
See how narrow the original stairs and opening were to be per the original kit specs? No way Jose!
When you cut a gaping hole into the structure, it can cause some sag which is what I expected and did occur with the stairwell opening. I always thought I would probably have to have some sort of column to support the second floor, though my original solution proved to be too big for the room.
Slight floor sag at enlarged stairwell opening.
Original column plan took up too much space in the living room.
And crowded the walkway from the front door to the stairs.
To help support the opening, I have added a 1/4" x 1/4" trim strip all along the second floor. It matches the first floor trim strip that I added to give the extra 1/8" of length I needed for the kitchen cabinets. I drilled pilot holes then nailed it into the floor for extra support. I will likely still add a column, but will need to load the furniture into the room to decide on size and placement. So I have put a pin in that task for now.
The trim strip has helped the sag.
The banister was not attached, just sort of in dry fit on top of the spindles. I had inadvertently knocked it around a little and some of the spindles had come loose. Many repairs had to be made, the banister had to be permanently attached, and decisions made on how to address the return stairs. As in: spindle and newel post or no? I also had the tricky angle cuts to make to join the banister sections at the top where the landing stair is longer, and at the bottom where the return meets the main rail. Nothing lined up perfectly or angled well, so I had to fake it. Wink, wink. I have used layers of wood glue as spackle, done some "creative sanding", and hoped the final painting would disguise this fact enough to pass.
Wood glue as spackle.
The bottom newel post needed a bit of a lift.
In addition, I had to make decisions about what to use to make the balcony railing and then actually make it. I had considered several options such as creating a fancy wrought iron design out of plastic fencing pieces, but ultimately decided the house was asking me to keep things traditional. Too bad for me because spindles, baluster and bottom rail were the most fiddly option! Extremely tiny gluing surface, spacing nightmare, measuring minefield, ripe for knocking over after installation and just short of materials were some of the challenges. Below is the jerry~rigged~jig I made in an attempt to get the spindle spacing at least close to even. I made the rails in four sections and then joined them together. You can imagine my joy at having the entire thing explode to pieces while attempting to secure the baluster and bottom rail with rubber bands. It happened more than once. My neighbors now believe I speak in Tongues.
The only way forward was to exercise extreme patience and let each step thoroughly set and dry before moving on to the next step. Here is one of many dry fit checks I made at every step along the way...
I made use of the waiting time by making up a bunch of frames with artwork for the stairway wall and upstairs hall. I used my old faithful method of marking out the wall space on my cutting mat with tape and then playing with the arrangement. I don't always follow the arrangement I've laid out, so this wall is going to need more art in frames.
You can see in these photos that I took the opportunity to add some decor to the stairway shelves, and to install the entry table and lamp. By install, I mean attach a piece of wood to the back of the furniture and attach that to the wall semi-permanently. By that I mean that I attach with Quick Grip so that the piece stays in place but can be removed without damage at any point in the future. This is ideal when a "decorate as I go" method is employed. I find it easier to decorate tiny spaces this way and less damaging than reaching big hands into tiny recesses at the end. There is still more to add, but I need to make a bunch of plants and flowers and want to do them for the entire house all at once. Flower and plant making have a way of taking up your entire work table!
My next steps are to install baseboard and other moldings into the stairwell hall, make a fabric shade for the dormer window, make some artwork for the walls and contemplate adding another mirrored faux window to the stair wall. Everything I have on hand is either too big or too small, so I am waiting for a good idea to convince me to give it more effort. :O) At that point I can finally install the last wall in the house and begin again on the bedroom.
A lady from a blog I follow recently shared that she received some critical comments from a person via FaceBook. It struck a chord with to me to want to say a few words about it. The vast majority of us who love and have a passion for dollhouse miniatures, and who have blogs/Instagram/Facebook that we use to share our projects and connect to each other with, are not professionals in the litany of skills and trades involved in the hobby. We share because we receive and give support to like minded folks who "get" us. A lot of us share things that we are trying for the first time, more complicated things that we are trying to learn from, or things we are simply just having fun with. We don't share because we think we are perfect. Long lecture short... For those of you who support and encourage all of us through your wonderful comments...
You are truly angels of light whose positivity impacts us in ways that you'll never know the measure of. For those of you who feel moved to write something nice, DO! And for all others, Be Kind with your Words. Check to make sure your intentions are good and words sincere before you type them. Making someone feel bad about their work only feeds rather than starves monsters. The world needs more angels and fewer monsters and you get to chose which you want to be! :O)
And to everyone, whatever gender, if you put others first and show love to them...
Just to refresh you, this was the furniture from my last post. After many coats of paint... I achieved the unifying black color I was hoping for.
I decided to do the faux marble treatment on the sink's countertop, painting the base with white chalk paint in several layers, sanding smooth in-between, then drawing on the marbling with artists chalk. I sealed and gave it it's shiny marble effect with several layers of sprayed on Krylon Triple Thick. Since gold was the metal finish of choice, I used the Krylon Gold Leafing pen to change the Falcon faucets from silver to gold, along with other elements of the accessories to tie everything together. I didn't have Iris, the French national flower, so instead I made white lilacs in a vase with water for the vanity. The candles can be found in my Tutorials tab.
Funny story with the bottom drawer being a basket now... I had finished the painting, let the dresser sit to cure for DAYS, then finally got to put the handles back on and reassemble. I had marked the drawers so I'd know exactly which slot they belonged in. Drawer #2 just didn't want to slide in, no matter how I coaxed it. I was a little wary of sanding, in case I ruined the finish. It almost fit, so I thought just forcing it in would work. It Didn't! After several moments of shock, because neither could I pull it out or push it in, I made the decision I would have to pull it out. No way to not damage it getting it out. So, drawer #3 became drawer #2, #4 became #3, and poor #2 got sanded raw and flush, painted black, and a "basket" cover was glued on. All is well that ends well, and I think I even like it better!
The side cabinets got filled with shampoo/conditioner/lotion bottles, glass jars with "bath beads", rolled towels, tissue, pottery, and various other decorative items. I adhered them to the glass shelves with Quick Grip (Elizabeth!) before inserting them through the back of the cabinets and re-gluing the mirrored backs. I did not have the patience to light the cabinets, as Elizabeth so smartly suggested. I also added legs to the bottoms to elevate them and help them coordinate with the sink cabinet. All were painted gold.
"Bath Beads" are tiny metallic micro beads and pearls.
Since there is no windows on the walls of the bathroom, I thought making the mirror out of a chipboard window frame would give it a more open feeling.
For the tub wall, I thought a collage of black and white bathroom photos and art would be fun. I bought about six vintage graphics through FrenchPaperMoon on Etsy. LOVE her graphics and am happy to pay for them periodically. Since I made them black and white for this bathroom, you are likely to see the full color versions in future builds! :O) The other ones I found with a Google search.
I like to use my cutting mat to tape off the wall space I am working with so I can play with the arrangement. Once I am happy, I take a photo so that while I am removing them to hang on the wall I have a reference of what goes where. I used all pot metal frames and sprayed them with the same black satin as the cabinets.
Getting them hung straight is another story altogether! The peek through the bedroom door into the bathroom is lovely, though!
I modified an Avalon toilet that I purchased on closeout by shortening the tall pipe from the tank to the toilet bowl and making the flusher gold. It looks a little more modern, now.
I love how the tub came out with it's black and gold, and the separate taps and spray wand. If only the tub was just slightly larger to match the scale of the other fixtures.
There's a little more accessorizing to do, but I'll finish that for the final dressing of the house once it's done. I am also still playing with the idea of a French style roof window to let the light in. It will have to play nice with the ceiling trims and chandelier, so we'll see if I can work out a plan. For now, though, my attention will turn to finishing the bedroom and stairwell hall.
Thanks for stopping by and sharing this fun and fulfilling (and sometimes frustrating) project with me! xo xo, Jodi
The next chapter for this ol' New Orleans kit was preparing the interior divider walls for installation. I needed to come up with some wainscoting for the bedroom walls. I wanted something a little more detailed than the simple bead board I used in the stairway hall. What material do I have? How thick and wide should the trim be? Is this going to impact the next steps and if so what adjustments to the design or materials do I need to make? How will this meet the next wall and will the trims work nicely together? Luckily, I was able to find suitable materials, and even more luckily, I didn’t make a mistake and leave myself short like the stairwell boards, which hopefully, have been camouflaged enough that it won't be noticeable.
Once I had the basic design and confirmed I had enough materials, the rest was pretty straightforward and methodical. I made panels for each section of the bedroom walls from 1/16" basswood, then made a frame overlay using 1/16" x 1/4" wood strips. The bottoms got 1/16" x 1/2" so they'll make perfect sized bases for the baseboards, which will be installed last. To the centers I added fancy Greenleaf door popout panels (leftover from the flower shop projects) and more Unique Miniatures embellishments.
I constructed the basic boxes for the built ins on either side of the balcony door, then gave the right one "doors" using Houseworks wainscot panels and the left one faux drawers with more UM embellishment frames.
Here's the test fit with tops made on the built ins. I am still debating about shelves for the left side, and have since painted what will be inside the built in recess the teal wall color (in a later photo). I also installed the hardware, gold to match the chandelier to be installed later, and the door handles. I won't install the wainscot top cap or the doors until after the walls have been installed.
Once the bedroom walls had been finished as far as I could go I switched my attention to the bathroom walls. I cut the faux brick subway tile wall panels and wainscot trim, then set up the back wall and side wall on my cutting mat to test the fit. Once I was happy, I hand painted the tile panels with white chalk paint three times, sanding really smooth in between. Then, on three consecutive days, I layered on the triple thick spray glaze to get a nice tile shine. I won't install the panels to the walls until they've had several more days to cure.
I've been saving an idea for the cabinets and sink for a long time, and am excited to finally be getting to work on it. I have a Town Square dining room hutch set and I'll be using the two side pieces from that for the cupboards, one on each side. The Bespaq dresser will be turned into the vanity sink.
They all need to be painted and customized, so against all common sense, I took them apart. What we won't do for an idea!!! On the cupboards, I removed the mirrored backs, glass door inserts and the glass shelves, loosening the glue with my hair dryer. For such nice pieces, the glue job was truly sloppy. It took a long, patient while to carefully remove the glue from everything and sand smooth again.
For the vanity sink, I removed all the drawers and doors, then loosened the top with more heat and a gentle force. Because the piece's countertop is already at 3", I decided on an undermount sink. I cut and sanded the hole, checking all along the way for fit and center. I am going to attempt a faux marble top like I did on some of the vanities I experimented with last year. The sink, a bisque bowl, will be painted white and then get the triple thick glaze sprayed on in several layers. I'll add the drain as I did with last year's vanities, too.
For the bathtub, I am using yet another Chrysnbon bathroom kit, though I have a different toilet to use this time. I have not found a suitable alternative bathtub in style, authenticity or price since I began collecting for this project in 2016. I played with the idea of a shower, but every mock up made the bathroom close in on itself, and to place a tub/shower in the back meant losing the closet and the vanity impact - viewing it from the side just would't look as lovely. So I will place the Chrysnbon tub in for now, and keep replacement options open in the future. Kristine - please design and offer a fabulous tub in your Shapeways shop, will you? My little TinkerCad program is way too limited for something that curvy!
All of the bathroom pieces are getting sprayed with black satin. I have the first couple coats finished and drying, but this time of year have to take things slowly. It's been a cold and wet week!
The last big project for the second story is the flooring. I made the template for the areas getting Houseworks walnut wood flooring, same as what I used on the first floor, and then got that installed with the stinky Quick Grip. I like using that better than E6000 for the flooring because you only need to apply it to one side, which makes it easier to adjust if your first lay down attempt isn't perfectly aligned.
I'm adding tiles to the bathroom floor as I get a few minutes to work on it, but I can tell you my tile job is not going to be perfect. I guess since it's my first time with this stuff I'll give myself a break and hope the really noticeable mistakes will be under the fixtures!
Some experienced mini builders may have noticed or wondered why there will be wood floors under the walls. I'll have the answer, and hopefully, an ingenious alternative to those annoying and unrealistically out of scale thresholds on dollhouse doors in my next post. Hope you have a wonderfully fulfilling week! xo xo, Jodi