Saturday, 31 December 2011

A mock up - it's getting there!

Going to have to stop now for a day or two to reclaim the house for my New Year guests. I'v stained the floorboards and cut and stained the beams so some progress this morning.

I'm a bit stuck now as I need to make a decision about fireplaces before I can finish the downstairs rooms. I can't find what I'm looking for so I think I'll have to make something.  That is now the top priority. Trip to the Richard Stacey site now needed for flagstones and bricks - this could be expensive!

Before clearing away though I couldn't resist a quick putting together using some masking tape to see how the overall look is coming along.

To finish on a happy note the door funriture and hinges I ordered from Tony Hooper Minatures arrived incredibly quickly especially as it is over the holidays; only ordered Thursday!

Friday, 30 December 2011

A lot of hanging around

Trying to make as much progress as possible before New Year when a house full of guests means that I have to clear up and put away for a few days.  Also return to work looms which will significantly slow things down. Ah well have to work to be able to afford to do this!

Been a day of lots of bits and pieces which meant a lot of paint, wait a bit, paint again, wait a bit. Well you get the idea.

I didn't want the shiny brass hinges so they got a coat of white enamel. I did mention that the OH is Virgo? Love his Heath Robinson drying system. Yes that IS my cooling rack....

The front doors have now been decorated on both sides but the final tidying up of the rough edges still needs to be done before fixing the sash windows.

The windows themselves have been stained and are needing to be left to dry. These unfortunately were pre glazed and I hate masking real windows for painting, never mind these. Kept missing bits as well. I had no idea that working sash windows had quite so many edges!

The original windows had too much fancy trim glued to them but that was easily fixed. Unfortunately the windows are now a little too small for the holes so some fetttling is going to be needed. Shouldn't be too hard though.

Finally the dormers are painted, constructed and stuck in roof. Still not sure how I'm going to thatch it so any ideas on that are very welcome.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Had a bit of a shopping trip.....

Didn't of course get anything I actually went out for. I'm going to have to order most of the bits and pieces I need to finish the house from the internet  but I did discover the local Dolls House shop in Blagdon...

This is going to prove expensive.  Although I am nowhere near ready to be thinking about furnishing it was nice to be able to see such a wide selection of room sets and I picked up a few bits and pieces from the bargain bucket. When the owner saw me studying the unfinished furniture he went out for a moment and came back in with a carrier bag.

It proved to be furniture made by a local craftsman and was of course exactly what I've been looking for, especially the dresser. Other than the staining it is unfinished and has a rough rustic look. Perfect! I was going to work on the finish a bit but having got it home I don't think I will need to do much. I've put a few of bargain bits and pieces on it already. I'm pleased with the empty bottles; all I've seen to date are already filled.
 The full haul. The coffer is going to need some work as it is a horrid colour but  the settles just need  staining and polishing.

Good progress too on the house itself. The exterior is now rendered but I can't move it to take a picture until it sets which judging by progress so far could be some time yet.

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Braided Rug

Whilst the render was drying I thought I'd have a practise go at a braided rug, following the instructions  here

Just a couple of comments. This took me far longer than 10 minutes to do, more like a couple of hours. I also cut the thread much longer than the suggested 18 inches, I used 7 British standard arm lengths - a term widely  recognised amongst lace makers! This made a rug about 3 1/2 inches across which was a little smaller than I'd hoped for. I also didn't need the was paper or the weight. It lay perfectly flat without that.

For various reasons I also wanted to use 4 colours so I made a 4 thread braid rather than the suggested 3 braid. Long lengths of stranded cotton are horrible to cope with; from long experience I know that if they can twist and tangle they will.  Time to press some of my lace bobbins into use.  I made a couple of inches on the pillow then tied a loop of the braid around a chair leg to act as a giant pin as the pillow was obviously much too small to make the braid on and constantly moving it up every couple of inches just ruins the tension and make the braid uneven. It meant that I had to keep moving backwards myself but it worked!

Once the braid was made I cut a circle of pale pink felt and started gluing the braid into place. This was much easier said than done and despite the aid of a darning needle as a laying tool, was a long, sticky and frustrating process. Covering the whole piece of felt with glue was a mistake. It was much easier to just apply glue to a small section at a time and to turn the felt rather than try and turn the braid. 

The finished rug. It is a little smaller than I wanted and isn't entirely round but I've learnt a thing or two so I'll have another go.

Don't think I can do it in 10 minutes though!

The decorators are in

Some progress today - yes I have been allowed near it!

The first job was obviously to work out how to put the extra wall in. Fortunately there is quite a lot of MDF in the garage so I let the other half play out there and cut me a piece.

Whilst he was at it he's also cut me a nice big baseboard which will replace a very tatty old table top so I have somewhere to keep the cottage once it is presentable.

It was clearly going to be easier to do the wall finish before putting the stairs and the wall in so the internal rendering has begun. It's a mix of polyfilla and  an "almost but not quite" white paint. It looks a bit patchy at the moment as it is still drying but I've got the rough plastered look I was going for. I should finish the internal and external render tomorrow if the weather is as foul as it was today.

I'm still not sure how I'm going to do the thatching but I can put that off for a while yet. The more significant problem of what period the furnishings will be has yet to be addressed.

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

The building begins

I've finally been allowed to open it!

I was expecting lots of "bits" but was a little nonplussed by the sheer number. It more or less took over the dining room table. The front windows are already glazed and real working sash windows!

The door I made is about the width needed but is an inch or so too short so I'm going to have to make a few more. I definitely don't want to use the ones that came with the kit; they are much too modern looking.  I'm not going to be using the fancy turned banisters either.

At this point I made a fatal mistake  
Already been shopping and just unpacked the dolls house kit. Then I made a fundamental mistake! I asked the other half  to come and hold on to a corner whilst I started the "dry build". I really should have known better...

All of a sudden I found myself relegated to builders mate. The holes for the light fittings were drilled, the channels made in the floor for the wiring and the kit checked for "squareness" ( it failed that - he is a Virgo through and through) and apart from being told to hold this or that I was totally redundant!

A lot of sanding and fiddling went on to make it  "square" before it was pinned and glued. Actually the quality of the kit is very good and it went together very well. I bowed to the inevitable, made a cup of tea and left him to it!

 I have been allowed to paint the stairs!

The base kit is now ready for some personalisation. I don't want the fancy staircase with the awkward space behind it -so a bit of kit bashing is now in order. I'm not sure I'm going to be allowed to do it though....

Saturday, 10 December 2011


The base cottage is a bit modern so it is going to need some kit bashing. As I'm dying to get started and the house hasn't even arrived yet, I thought it would be a good idea to try out a few ideas first.

I know I want to replace the doors with something more rustic looking but my woodworking skills are rudimentary - OK to be truthful non existent!

I couldn't resist the urge to pop into the local dolls house suppliers ( Phil's Dolls Houses in Taunton if you are interested) and pick up a few bits and pieces. I've ordered some light fittings ( shiny brass or Tiffany style isn't going to work with my vision) and some antique brick paper which will be ready to collect the week before Christmas. Yes I could have saved a few ££ buying over the internet but nothing beats actually looking at the real thing and if we don't buy from our local shops we soon won't have them.

Anyway homily over - Phil ( I assume it was him!) gave me a quick lesson in beam making which I have taken to heart and decided to extrapolate into door making.

I have plenty of craft "stash" already and the basic tools so all I had to buy was some balsa wood and the wood dye in the colour I wanted.

The cutting board and quilting measures came in useful here. The base is a rectangle about 6" by 3". If I'm lucky it will fit, if not then this is a good practice run.

The plank markings were made by my embosser tool and the edges nibbled out with a craft knife. These make good dots to join up on the reverse side so the planks match.

So far so good. I wanted a dark wood so I've used a "Jacobean" wood dye.

Once painted on I sponged a lot of it off to get an uneven finish.

The dents have taken the dye more strongly which is the effect I wanted.  I still need to make some nail holes ( forgot!) but I'll use an oil pastel crayon to blacken them.

Having got the bit well and truly between my teeth I decided to try out an idea for the external walls. I want the cottage to look old and shabby with flaking render and exposed brickwork in places.

I downloaded and printed some brickwork wallpaper to play with and got out some scrap MDF and the polyfilla. Next step was to tear the wall paper into pieces and glue randomly to the MDF with PVA glue. Whilst it was drying I mixed the polyfilla.

Then it was a case of applying the polyfilla with a spatula.

Whilst I'm pleased with the brick peeping out  I'm still not sure whether I want a smooth render or something more rough but I'll be using this sample piece to try some weathering effects once it's dry.

It's still soft at the moment but I'll be sanding down the "window" around the lower brick work.

I've already been looking out for some furniture and accessories for Tลท Awen although it's going to be a while before I need to.

Couldn't resist this though ( and I can see now how to make my own books!)

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Lichen dyeing revisited

A chance conversation with a friend over the weekend sent me scurrying for the wool I'd dyed a couple of weeks ago.

This friend is a professional dyer and always uses artificial dyes as she told me that many natural dyes ( and lichen!) were photo unstable. I hadn't actually got around to putting my fleece away so I was a bit worried about what it would look like.

And yes it has changed colour quite a lot. It is now a soft warm tan colour rather than bright yellow.

This is the colour that my references told me that the lichen I used should produce! I hope it will now stay this colour. I might put it away properly but leave a little out to see what happens next.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Dolls House Project

I've always hankered after a dolls house - no idea why!  So why not?

The dolls house project posts will follow my (mis)adventures in creating a minature world.  This has been a project I've been thinking about for a while but I've been waiting for the muse to strike and for a suitable property to catch my eye.

This is the starting point - Blossom Cottage from the eBay seller smallerhomes

Part of the difficulty has been finding a small cottage type house- Georgian or Tudor houses with lots of rooms seem to be in vogue but for my little witchy cottage I want only a few rooms and a plain cottage exterior.

This looks very modern at the moment  but I plan to render the walls and thatch the roof. Might add a few beams inside as well.

First of course I have to wait for it to be delivered.  I have some homework to do in the meantime on just how you render and thatch a dolls house!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...