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!