Friday, September 21, 2012

My Dollhouse

I had a good friend 7th-9th grade when I lived in Hamilton Ontario. Her name was Stephanie W.  She is probably my earliest crafting friend.  It started with joining the model train club in 8th grade.  OK, she & I joined and were the only 2 girls in the club.  We weren’t stupid.  All the cute guys were in the club.  I had so much fun climbing over the structure, learning how to solder, and making things in miniature, flirting with the cute guys and going on field trips to visit really big model train tracks. One day while we were at Stephanie’s house she showed me her notepaper collection.  Maybe that where I got hooked on paper too.  I know it wasn’t long before I had my own collection.  But the real draw was her dollhouse that she and her dad had built.  I don’t remember what it looks like, but I remember after seeing it I knew that I wanted my own.

It wasn’t long after that we moved to Ft Lauderdale.  There was a store near my house that had dollhouse kits.  I always had to check them out. Finally in the summer before my junior year of high school Country House Model #1002 was mine.  It took 2 ½ years to finally put it all together.  At one point, I had to painstakingly wet it down, dissolve the glue, and rebuild the walls because everything had warped in the summer humidity.  After the build came the electricity.  I was so proud of myself, 18 years old and wiring a dollhouse for electricity, and it worked!  That is until that same humidity shorted everything out a few years later.  I built a few walls to add a bathroom, after all what home doesn’t have a bathroom.  I wallpapered with fabric, reupholstered a chair, stitched a rug and made Christmas decorations.

My kitty loved to sleep in the house, and the second floor is forever warped because of that. The house moved when I moved.  It almost didn’t make the last move.  But after my Father-in-law gave me a stern talking to about how this house was such a part of me, and therefore it was important to him, I found it a place in our new home.  After all, it’s not often my Father-in-law comments on decorating or stuff, so when he has an opinion, I usually act on it.  The house has collected dust over the years, I’ve added some lighted Christmas & Halloween decorations (battery powered, as I never put the electricity back in).  It was never a play toy. 

A few years ago my daughter & I decided it was time to redecorate.  Out came all the wallpaper and flooring.  And was replaced with fresh wallpaper& parquet flooring in some rooms.   I added a pretty lattice to the bottom.  We decided the bathroom would be moved to the other side of the house (as in the rooms that are on the other side of the hall, so it’s invisible now.  Harry Potter movie posters were hung in the boy’s room, and Monet water lilies in the girl’s room. 

It’s been gathering dust again.  Which brings me to the craft closet.  Up on the shelf in the closet is a green plastic bin.  Today’s craft project was to check out the green bin.  I tossed the old electric stuff. The quilling paper and instructions to make flowers, they are going in the give-away bag.  The hooked rug kit, not started, and the ¾ finished cross stitch rug, I will keep for awhile and maybe one day finish them. The photo album was falling apart so I took out the photos and kit instructions and scanned them.  That left three items.  My official project for the weekend has been determined.

I had two kits for furniture Chippendale style, a desk and a chest of drawers, and a kit for a staircase.  I pulled out the furniture kits.  Amazingly I had all the pieces.  After reading the instructions I discovered I was missing 8 itty bitty screws.  I was also supposed to use tinted glue and stain the furniture when I was done.  Quick decision was made, I didn’t want the fold down writing surface, and mahogany stain was boring anyway.  Problems solved. I have everything I need to complete the furniture.

I’ve spent a few hours gluing and assembling and painting.  And to top it off.  Glittering.  I had some glitter left over from a prior project that was shades of green, copper & brown.  Much more sparkly than boring stain. 

It’s always bothered me that the dollhouse didn’t have any way to get to the third floor.  It’s something little kids pick up on instantly.  I had bought a staircase kit when I started with the earlier renovations.  I’m pretty sure it will fit.  Gluing the spindles is crazy hard – the instructions say to be sure they are 1/8 inch from the edge, centered on the step, and dry straight.  Really?  Do they know how skinny these spindles are?  And I don’t want big globs of glue on the bottom.  Every time they fall over, there’s another glob at the base.  I’ve scraped away so much, it’s a wonder there is any glue holding it up.   I managed to got it done and painted. Now staircase fits in the dollhouse and the doll family can make it up to the third floor. 

All that’s left for this weekend to is to dust and straighten out the rooms.  

Saturday, September 8, 2012

 Inspiration came when I saw a pin of a mosaic made with Mardi Gras Beads (you can see it on my Pinterest boards) It was a simple design.  I can do that.  I have all the supplies, so it follows my rules.  I started with a blank canvas, and decided on a design.  The beads were natural for our NOLA patio, and a castle for my love of Disney.  I drew the design and then colored it in with permanent markers that way the space between the beads isn’t all white when the glue drys.  I picked my colors, and started cutting the beads off of the necklace.  The pain with Mardi Gras beads is that they aren’t strung, the string is fused into the beads.  Each one had to be cut off.  I tried a small area to see if I liked it.  Lots of my favorite tacky glue applied very thickly, and lots of beads later I have an awesome piece of art work.  It took about 8 hours to cut the beads and glue them on.  I figure it will take a few days for the glue to fully dry, and then I will spray it with a sealant, especially because I think I will hang it on my patio. I can't believe I still have a box full of beads.