Saturday, June 30, 2012

Roof Tiles

I figured I'd work on the roof tiles while I'm waiting for the lights to arrive (since it makes more sense to install them while building the shell of the house). I cut and sanded a few hundred of them from skinny strips of wood before I realized it would be faster and easier - not to mention MUCH neater-looking - to simply score the wood strips to look like roof tiles.

I finished the front of the roof and most of one of the sides before I ran out of wood - and I did it in half the time it took to cut the individual tiles. I wish I'd thought of it sooner.

The difference is pretty obvious. Oh well, maybe distressing will make the individual tiles less messy-looking.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Tiny Theater!

Well, I feel like a slacker.

English octogenarian Cyril Barbier has spent 30 years (!) building a beautiful scale model of a 1930s movie theater, including an LCD screen to play movies.

For some time I've considered building a 1/12 model of a particular theater lobby (it's one of those tiny, old theaters that are in perpetual danger of closing). Having seen pictures of Barbier's work, I know it'll be a challenge for someone like me, with limited practical skills, to do that.

But, I might still try. (After the dollhouse is built, that is.)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Bit by Bit

Yesterday I painted the fireplace mantels, taking a stab at faux marble. I had some metallic silver primer, so I used that as a base, then brushed on a thin coat of white paint, which gave me a nice shimmery light-gray base. I went with a bolder look with thick veins in three different shades of gray, followed it all up with some clear sealer, and really like how they turned out. Pictures will follow when I can finally buy the fireboxes I want; the fireplaces don't look quite right empty.

Today I made the biggest piece for the Greenleaf Spring Fling contest - I've been putting it off for a while and it took a few hours, but it was worth it. Sorry - no peeks!

I also got something special today - a tiny Paris street sign from Petite Brocante Minis! It got a little bent in the mail, but a couple of days under a stack of hardcover books will fix that. Although this is going to be a French-style house, I haven't decided where the house is meant to be geographically, so it'll either be on the front of the house or displayed as wall art inside; I probably won't decide until the house is complete. Susanne kindly honored my unusual instructions for addressing the package (long story), and even threw in a tiny Eiffel Tower figurine! I'm going to build in a wall niche somewhere to display it. Thank you, Susanne!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


I have a tendency to get ahead of myself on projects.

I don't even have the exterior walls assembled (still cutting out doors and windows) and I'm working on the staircases.

Instead of making stairs from scratch, I bought two narrow staircase kits. I replaced the kit's flat railings with round ones I cut from wooden skewers, and I'm happy with the way it looks. staircase has to be dog-legged (cut and angled with a landing) in order to fit.

Learn from me on this: do NOT try to dog-leg a kit staircase unless you have the patience of a saint. If you have space constraints, buy a curved or angled staircase and spare yourself the trouble.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Progress and Inspiration

I now have most of the shell cut out (I still need to cut a few more openings for doors, windows, stairs, and wiring, plus the rooftop). Dear me...plywood splinters like hell when it's cut with a power saw. I have a lot of sanding ahead of me, and I'm very grateful that a) the exterior will be stuccoed, b) the interiors will be built and added separately, and c) I'm going to have to make the windows myself anyway, so I can cut them to fit. In any case, this is supposed to be an older house, and older homes do tend to have more evidence of aging, repairs, etc. than newer ones.

What does frustrate me a little is the lighting situation. Before completely assembling the shell, I have to determine lighting placement. This isn't difficult to do, but I won't be able to install the lights until I have them...and I can't order them yet! I finally found the perfect lit fire - out of stock. The seller also had the perfect chandeliers - which went out of stock a few days later. They don't know when the next shipment is coming, and the "wish list" feature doesn't work. This isn't the store's fault; I've dealt with wholesalers before, and I know they are often unwilling to communicate re: when the next shipment is coming (or if it's coming at all). Oh well, I can make windows while I wait.

I hit up Offbeat Home today (which I frequently do), and an older post I'd completely forgotten about was featured - all about a funky closet makeover inspired by a discarded plastic dollhouse. The closet belongs to makeup maven Doe Deere, and I think it's adorable. It really shows the inspirational power of dollhouses. (Zooey Magazine's April/May issue has a feature on Ms. Deere's home, which also looks a bit like a dollhouse.)