Thursday, October 17, 2013

Tasty Tasty Foot

Mmmm......there is nothing like the taste of foot, you know? As in, I've put my foot in my mouth. Again.

So last post, I was all "hah! I can finish this Fling in no time flat! I'm the best procrastinator in the world!" And I was so on track to finish it.

And then I got a part-time job. I wasn't necessarily looking for the job, but the job found me and to be honest, it was such a great opportunity for future growth and skill building, that I just had to take it. And I absolutely love it.

But it also means I have 10 less hours a week and my free nights (when the husband was in class) are now filled up with working.

So here we are - me with too much to do on the Fling before the October 31st deadline. And I could try and rush and enter something half done, but I really don't want to hurry and throw something together just to enter it into the contest. So I guess I'm out for now. Which is sad.

That being said, I'm still going to try and give myself the deadline of end of December, because I'm dying to enter Undersized Urbanite. And the upside for you is now I can make it a public build. So I'll hopefully be back within a few days with some pictures of where we are and where we're going.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Procrastination - It's Fun!

So here we are - September 30th. Meaning I literally have 32 days to finish the Fling. Now you probably assume that I've been working diligently on it behind the scenes and that it's nearing completion, right?

Hah! Unfortunately, I am a procrastinator by nature. I've always been that way. I just finished my Masters degree last year and I could not bring myself to write my major papers earlier than a few days before they were due. There's something about procrastination that helps me to feel more focused and work more efficiently. (probably because I'm staring down the barrel of a deadline, but that's neither here nor there.) And I've tried to change, but if I can make it through my Masters program and graduate with honors, then my system must work, right?

So it's crunch time on the Fling. But I'm ready. Oh, I know how many things I need to build. And maybe I won't get them all done by the deadline. But I'd like to think I will.

Yesterday, my dear loving husband decided to clean the house and suggested I go work on the Fling to stay out of his way. Seriously. And because I'm a giver, I did exactly as he requested. (as an aside, he loves cleaning and does most of it around the house. And if we're being honest, he cleans much more thoroughly than I do. And yes, I realize I am a VERY lucky girl).

And it was such productive time. After weeks of peeking into the workroom and doing a few minutes of work on odds and ends and then giving up, I was in The Zone yesterday and saw a clear plan to finish this thing.

I built and/or dry fit all of the doors and windows and they are lovely. Here's a sneak peek of a window that I just absolutely fell in love with at my local dollhouse store before I ever knew what I was doing with my Fling.

And once that was done, I was able to draw a template for the floor and started laying the boards down. It took some time to get it all done (and quite frankly, I'm a little sick of Skinny Sticks) but I love it. Here it is, in all of its glory, ready for sanding and painting.

Tonight my husband is off doing yardwork for both of our parents, so I have another night to crank out some more work and I can't wait. I'm thinking the exterior will get finished tonight.

So cross your fingers with me that I'll get this all done, because I'd love to finish it by the deadline.
Oh, and have you seen Keli's sneak peak or Brae's reveal? Holy Amazing Work! These are two of my inspiration sources and their level of detail is incredible.

See you later!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

My next build - thanks Craigslist!

Thankfully I was able to spend a lot of time on the Fling this past weekend, and got it all wired for lighting (and it actually works) and primed/painted. I also finalized and trialed the floor and exterior work, so I'm moving right along.

Right now, I just need to build the windows and door frame so that I can dry fit those and then begin doing the exterior paint and finish.

And thanks to Craigslist, I already have my next build in mind. I can't believe the deal I got on this. $30 and it's the brand new never opened Glencroft, a Cir-Kit lighting kit, a wooden kitchen set, and a light. That's a steal. And although I would have never pictured myself doing a Tudor, I've been researching and pinning and have found some GORGEOUS contemporary Tudor homes and I can't wait to start this one.

Just as soon as the Fling is done.

I'll be back with pictures hopefully after the weekend.

Friday, August 23, 2013


Well, my dear dog Gracie had emergency surgery yesterday on her glands, which led to 2 unexpected days off from work to be with her as she adjusted to her pain medications and her 2 cones (since she figured out how to get around just 1). And although skipping work and spending time with my girl were bonus enough, so was the time I got to spend in the workroom while she was doped up on pain pills.

And yes, I realize this might be long overdue, but I finally have it all glued and assembled, with the exception of the roof.

And once I got it all together and sat and stared at it for several minutes, I realized that my floor plan needed some changin'. Oddly enough, my first idea that I really really wanted looks like it just might be the perfect idea for the space. And once I had that, the ideas just started flowing. And like a flash, I thought of the perfect resident for the space, which made it even easier to come up with decor and the next steps. Oh man, I'm in love. I can't wait to continue making progress.

Oh, who's the resident? Well, she doesn't have a name yet, but she has spent the last 15 years in New York City, working as a chef in high end restaurants. Due to a life changing illness she had, in combination with a nest egg she's been building for years, she decides to leave the city life behind her and move to a small beachside town to open the restaurant of her dreams.

I'll leave it there for now, but suffice it to say, just knowing who she is now has completely focused my design ideas, which makes it so easy to just start working - something I've needed to do for weeks. (BTW, is it weird that I have such a detailed back history for this resident?)

Okay, that's all for okay folks! I have some plans to work on it this weekend, so I'll post some updates again soon!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oh hey there!

Wow. It's been a long time, hasn't it?

I'd love to tell you that I've been crazy busy behind the scenes working on the Fling, but to be honest, summer sort of got in the way. My husband and I have been trying to take advantage of every second of the warm weather and have been camping and kayaking and bike riding to our heart's content. Sadly, last weekend was our last planned getaway for the summer, so it's back to reality.

Which means it's also back to mini land. The Fling deadline is October 31st, which means that I have a TON of work to do over the next 10 weeks. Like almost a crazy amount of work to do. But I'm ready for it. My husband is starting his Masters program and has classes 2 nights a week this fall, so I'm seeing a lot of mini making time in my future.

I figured out what I want to do with the exterior and spent an hour or so this morning working on my spreadsheet of tasks (oh yeah, I'm that sort of nerd) and I can't wait to get back into the workshop to start.

So I'll be back soon, hopefully with some pictures of progress. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Using Microsoft Word for Templates

So things are clipping right along in the old workshop. The mini table saw arrived this weekend and man, is that fun! Not only is it the cutest little thing I've ever seen, but it also made cutting the final pieces for the structure much much faster and easier. There was a tiny bit of a learning curve as I learned the best way to hold the wood and the speed to cut it at, but other than that, it worked like a little charm. Look at how cute she is?

I bought the Harbor Freight one, since it was in my price range at the moment. (oh, and because I'd like to add a scroll saw to my collection sooner rather than later). I was able to build the final wall pieces, as well as the platform for the raised portion of the house.

Now that I have the pieces finally taped together, I can start thinking about layout of furniture and appliances inside the house. I have a pretty good idea of the furniture and kitchen things I want to build, but wanted to double check the sizes I had figured out on paper. I started making my own templates using a ruler and cardstock, until I realized I was sitting in front of my laptop, that could probably do the job much easier. Turns out - I was right!

So let's say you are making a small table that is 3" L x 2" W x 3" H. Simply open a blank word document and set the page to Landscape orientation (a fancy way of saying on its side instead of up and down) and Legal size (8"x14"). That will give you enough space to work.

Insert a square into the document. You can then modify it using the handy little size tool.

Then you do a layout exactly like this. You can make any template you want, using this format. You just simply change the size of the box to the dimension of your item.

Cut out each shape on the lines, making sure to leave room for the flaps at the end. (as marked on the diagram as "flap for assembly") Score each line so that it folds easily. I usually lay a ruler right on the line and then fold the paper up around it.

(grrrr - can't get the picture to turn the right way)
Tape the folds and VIOLA! You have yourself a perfectly sized box that matches the dimensions of your intended furniture piece. Once you get the hang of it, you can easily make modifications and print out new pieces until you have the right size.

There you go! I'm hoping to get wiring done for lights this weekend, as well as begin to work on the outside (stucco, siding, etc). And I think I've fully decided to show what I'm doing on the Fling, so I'll be back with pictures very very soon.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Some more finds

So things are clipping right along with the Fling. I've ordered several things which should be arriving in the mail any day now. (Honey, just ignore all of the boxes that are being delivered this week! Mmmkay? Thanks!) I had to order some pieces for the door I'm going to construct, as well as some other odds and ends. However, my most exciting purchase is of a mini table saw. I can't wait to learn how to use it and finish cutting the final pieces of the structure of the house.

I also cleaned up the workroom last night and finally organized all of my supplies. The room looked so good that I just had to stay in there a while, so I painted the wainscoting. I'm still in love with it and my dry fit worked out perfectly!

I've been toying with the idea of lighting and finally decided to go for it. Of course, I'm more inclined to make my own light fixtures, so I've been researching (aka. Pinning) all sorts of neat ideas. I needed to pick up some bulbs, but didn't have time to run to the larger dollhouse store, so I decided to hit up my local store.

This shop is very close to me, but is somewhat......shall we say dusty? The owner is very nice and never seems to remember me when I come in, but she's very helpful. There isn't much of anything modern, but she does have some different styles of things and all sorts of little odds and ends that she's collected over the past 30 years. Although it isn't my first choice, what I do really like about the store is (and she'll gladly tell you this) that most of the pricing is the same as it was 30 years ago. The newer stuff seems to have updated pricing, but everything else is priced as it was when it walked in the door however many years ago. Even the newer items are still a few bucks below what I could find on the Internet.

Wanna see what today's purchases were?

Most of it is just boring lighting components that I'm hoping to make into lighting for the house. Oh, and check out the bricks I got today. I was initially going to make my own, but found this nice container of real clay bricks for $10. You can't beat that price!

But check out this gem! It's a heavy metal light (with bulb and all) and will be perfect for one of the outside fixtures. See that little price tag up there? Only $4.50.

Well, that's it for today! I'll have to do a post to introduce you to my new cutting baby.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Wainscoting, pt 1

Pinterest has been my best friend lately, especially in the planning of what I'm going to do with my Fling. It has almost replaced Google for me, at least craft and project wise.

I wanted to do something with wainscoting in the living room/dining room area, so I started searching for some neat, yet modern ideas that I could use. I was smitten when I saw this one. (photo courtesy of Wainscot Solutions)

I immediately got out some graph paper and started to play with measurements so that I could get 2 full pattern repeats on the wall, yet still be sized to use the Skinny Sticks that I was anticipating using. After a couple of tries, I finally came up with the perfectly sized pattern.

 I cut my initial pattern pieces from Skinny Sticks and then cut them using the Easy Cutter. Incidentally, it was my first time using the Easy Cutter, and I don't want to speak for It, but I think we're going to have a nice little relationship.

I laid a piece of wax paper over my graphed pattern and stapled it, making sure it didn't slide.
I started to lay out all of the pieces, using wood glue to put them together. It went relatively quickly, although making sure they were all level and square took some fiddlin'. I then laid a piece of wax paper over it and set a few books on top to make sure it was completely flat.
Here it is in all of it's glory. Some of the glue is still a teeny bit wet as you can see at some of the junctions, but other than that, I'm rather satisfied with it.
So there you go! This will be white on white, just like the picture, and then paired with the most gorgeous wallpaper (aka. scrapbooking paper).
Now I'm off to make the second part. Happy Monday!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Finally. It all makes sense.

Quick - what's worse than a blog that has no exciting pictures??
Answer - a blog with no updates.

Man, it's been quiet around here - right? I blame it partially on the wonderful weather outside - we've been so busy in our garden and with graduations and family get-togethers that it's barely left me anytime to be in the workshop (aka. the office that I have quietly and slowly converted into my work room). But that's only part of the reason.

Remember the last post? You know, the one where I was all "Oh, I think I finally have the idea?" Hah! This little structure has quite the strong will. I tried and tried and tried to force my idea onto it. And I was close a few times. But eventually, I just gave up. My idea just wasn't going to work on it. So I stepped back and just closed the door and didn't even think about it for a few days.

And then it hit me. I was trying too hard to make my very specific idea work with this kit. And it just wasn't going to. Now, I'm still hooked on my original idea, but I can save it for a later build. So I went back to the structure and just thought about it.

And came up with a pretty great idea. An idea that will give me a chance to practice making cabinets and living room furniture from scratch. And there's even space in my new design for a patio, which I absolutely can't wait to furnish.

And it feels so much better! I mocked it up with my cereal box templates and I'm in love with it.

I've been stocking up on these kits (hello Ebay) and can't wait to put them together and modify them a bit and hopefully they'll find a spot in their new home.

So now I'm off to draw up the final layout of furniture and lighting and then I think we can finally start getting to work. And then, I promise, I'll give you pictures.

*as a sidenote, I completely forgot until I started drawing out ideas and layouts for the house that as a very young child, house layouts were always one of my favorite things to draw. I didn't really do much exterior stuff, but I loved to draw floor plans with windows and doors and furniture. Guess some things never leave you.

Happy Wednesday, y'all!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

At a standstill....

So let's talk Fling for a second, shall we? As I mentioned, the Spring Fling is my very first dollhouse. I wanted something that was fairly cheap (you know, in case I decided it wasn't for me) as well as something that was fairly small, so that I wouldn't get discouraged with a several year-long project.
So after reading through the forums at Greenleaf, I was hooked on the idea. I promptly ordered it and then began to look for inspiration.

Pinterest is, by far, one of my most favorite sites ever. I could spend hours on there, looking at all sorts of things. It's seriously become my new Google. If an idea pops into my head, I think "let me check Pinterest first."And usually, something is there.

Well, after spending some time surfing the old Internets, I came up with a wonderful design. It seemed like everything I wanted and I couldn't wait to do it. My Fling arrived at my house and I immediately tore into it, ready to make it all happen. And I tried. I tried hard. But my idea just didn't work. So I scrapped it and came up with another idea. And tried that. And it didn't work.

Finally, I realized that my process was all wrong. I was drawing up ideas and plans and then going to the structure and seeing how it worked. I mean, it looked great on paper, but as soon as I started trying to configure the pieces around, it just didn't work.

So I finally decided to reverse the process. Let the structure be the inspiration. And that seemed to go smoother. So I think we've finally settled on an idea. I've mocked it up with cardboard boxes (and now there may or may not be any cereal boxes left in the pantry - sorry Honey!) and I think we've got it.

So hopefully later this week, I can show you a bit of what I'm thinking. It's challenging, but so exciting!

Friday, May 24, 2013

A new craft

So on one of my favorite forums, as well as one of my absolute favorite miniature blogs, there's been talk of using punch needle to make miniature rugs. I've never done punch needle before, but it sounded like a really neat idea and I was instantly intrigued.

I went to a local needlework store for supplies (although I later found needle punch supplies at my local craft store for much cheaper) and dug out some of floss from my old cross stitch stash and drew up a pattern for a practice rug. My taste runs a little more modern, and most of the available patterns seem to be other styles, so I made a simple pattern using Word and then traced it onto the cloth. (pay no attention to those messy thread ends)

Then I watched a few YouTube videos and I was off. I was very surprised at how quick it goes! It takes a bit of time to get used to using the needle, but it is a relatively easy craft and goes really quickly. I did this portion in about 2 hours.

I can't wait to see the entire thing.

I'm hoping to get some work done on the Fling over this extended holiday weekend, so hopefully on Tuesday I'll have some pictures to show you.

Happy Friday, y'all!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Fling has landed!

So I did it. I ordered the Spring Fling. And seriously, in less than 72 hours, it was in my hands. I admit - as soon as I saw the box, I got nervous. Like "what if all of the ideas that I want won't work out?" and "so I'm really going to do this?"

I drew out my plans and then spent a good portion of Saturday, running around and getting supplies and other things to begin the bashing. I also discovered another "almost local" Dollhouse store about 45 minutes away, so I made the trek out there for some ideas. Man, it was so much better than my local store. The owner was very friendly and we talked at length about my plans. She also ran me through lighting and showed me some different options, which was invaluable.

And then I got to work on the house. I did a dry fit, and then jumped right in and started making cuts. And you know what? I think I can do this! It's been tricky trying to figure out some of what I wanted to bash (probably because I've never built a dollhouse before or constructed a mini house before) but I think I might just pull this off.

I'm wondering how much of my design and bash I want to show on the blog. I mean, it's going to be real boring if you just listen to me talk about the design, right? So I'm thinking I might just lay it all out here on the blog and show you step by step what I'm doing. I'll have some pictures on my next post, me thinks.

Happy Tuesday, y'all!

Oh, and if you're bored, you can always check out my big blog, 28 Cooks! It's much more exciting.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

It all started with a book....

It all started with a book. And not even a great one at that. I somehow borrowed an e-book from our local library, which detailed the lives of a few sisters who had grown up going to a family beachhouse in New England. One of the characters, who's real life is in shambles, dedicates all of her free time to building and furnishing dollhouses. There wasn't even that much of the book dedicated to detailing it, but there were several passages that described her creating furnishings from scratch to put into this master dollhouse she was building.

And that was it. Seriously. From that single book, I somehow found myself obsessed with dollhouses. So I did what anyone who's grown up in the tech age would do - I Googled it. And Pinterested it. (which has actually become my new Google.) And you know what I found? Some of the most amazing creations I have ever seen.

I mean, we're talking modern houses. Gorgeous loft apartments, all in miniature. Artist studios, created from almost scratch. The more I looked, the more the obsession grew. I mean, some of these photos looked like pictures from any normal home decorating magazine.

And I needed one. Oh, I needed a mini house bad. Why? I don't know. But I did. I wanted to build my own mini modern house. Glass walls and modern kitchens and chandeliers. Wood siding and open floor plans and carefully chosen pieces. Oh, and I didn't just want to buy a kit and then buy every single furnishing and light fixture - I wanted to create them myself. I wanted to build tiny sofas and modern dining room tables. Who cares that I've never done it before? How hard could it be?? (Don't answer that!)

I decided to try my hand at building one single furnishing to see how I liked it. I chose a pattern for a upholstered chair, promptly purchased or dug supplies out from my craft room, and got to work. It took me about 2 hours from start to finish, but I was hooked. I was so proud of that little chair (with all of it's glue smears and uneven corners) and knew I needed more mini.

So I jumped. I found the Greenleaf Spring Fling 2013 contest, which starts with the most simple (and affordable) little house. I figured it's small enough that it won't overwhelm me, yet basic enough that it could possibly stand up to some bashing.

So there we are. So this blog will detail what I'm doing. Now of course, I "think" I'm going to enter it into the contest, so I can only give little sneak peaks. But I'm sure I'll find other projects to work on alongside of this kit so I'll have plenty of content.

So follow along with me. We'll see where this Teeny Maison ends up.