Wednesday, March 3, 2021

The Miracle....



 Of Modern Mail....

Some of you Will understand, Dear Readers, the steady dwindling of hope that a certain package sent from over seas a Long Time Ago would ever reach these shores, let alone my personal porch. Yes, I was losing Faith. In fact, I will confess, that on Wednesday the 24th of February at 10:30 AM I looked out on my porch where no package was to be seen and finally admitted that it was getting a little Too late to still be hoping, and maybe the box was really truly lost. (If this is giving up... I gave up...). And so you will understand my Utter Amazement when I looked out at 2PM the same day.... to collect the mail that had been left in my box.... and there was that package leaning up against the wall beside the door....!!! What???? Really??? REALLY???? (Can you tell how amazed I was?) It only took 103 days to cross the ocean and reach my door.... which given the hardships of this past year is probably not remarkable at all. And yet again, I am amazed to think that we take the mail system for granted and think nothing of the Daily Miracle that it is. The very idea that you can put a bunch of carefully wrapped Treasures into a paper box with a few words scribbled (or typed) on it and hand it over to a complete stranger and a few days or weeks later (or months in hard times) it is hand delivered to another very specific door half way around the world... This is truly a miracle of faith and cooperation on a huge scale! Well!... and we take it for granted that it works.... which it usually does!

I was so shocked... it took me a little while before I was ready to open it!
And in case you don't know the sender of these Treasures...
Birgit is the most amazingly creative mini-maker 
and sends awesome Christmas packages!
(Yes, this was intended to be a Christmas Package!)

These little guys are so Wonderful....
But I don't blame them for looking a bit confused...!

It takes a while to open all the little parcels...
There are so many treasures!
Thank you Birgit!!!!!

And in another topic altogether, Dear Readers,
 I spent part of my weekend repairing the doors to the Dollmaker's Studio.
You may or may not have noticed that when I painted the frames,
 I had removed the opening doors. 
The hinges were hand made and quite small
 and a couple of them were not aligned properly in the frame.

When I went to put the doors back in,
 I added some tiny shims to the hinges on the left side.
The notches had been cut a tiny bit too deep
 and it stressed the hinges when they were closed.

Here both doors have been reattached.
They fit perfectly and hinge smoothly.

This is the interior side.... 
you can see the hand-made hardware.

Sorry for the dark picture...
Here I have fitted it back into the opening... 
still not glued in because the outside
 of the structure will need to be painted.

And because I am trying to get to the outside of the structure...
 there are a few details that need to be done on the inside first.

Like adding the curtain rods for the curtains....

Here I am adding lace to the bottom hem.
Testing the fit....

Both of them are done.
And then knowing that these doors will be drafty
They will need "portieres".....

Here I am testing the cloth.... 
still a long way from done...
But I do love velvet curtains!

And I needed to attach the overhead ceiling beams....
You know how it goes, they are never exactly the right length....
(Hand cutting is not reliable...!)
So you get three in place
 and the fourth one is a hair too long
 and causes the rest to fall!
I ended up gluing and shimming one at a time...
and waiting a good while in between each one!

And then I needed to test the ceiling paper I want to use....

It's a sparkly glittery textured scrapbook paper...
I want to pretend it is pressed tin ceiling tiles....
But I do love the shiny look... 
and any reflected light we can get
 in here will be a good thing!

And because I have my lace scraps out
 and am adding window hardware....

I find a scrap of beautiful old lace
 that is crying out to be used in this room...

I added a bottom hem of lace too.

Here it is in place.
I will make matching ones for
 the two little windows on the opening wall doors.

And trying to see how it will work
 with the sconce light I want to put on this wall...
Bit by bit I am starting to see this room come together...
Although it is such a small room... 
I am sure I will not be able to fit everything I want to in.

And that's all I accomplished last weekend, Dear Readers,
But it leaves me feeling optimistic!
With this progress
 and the Delivery of the Mail...
My faith is restored!

Monday, February 22, 2021

The Bay Window.....



 Structural Support....

You Might or might Not recall, Dear Readers, that the upstairs of the Dollmaker's Studio will have a lovely Large bay window with a window seat, overhanging the front of the building. I am using up random parts that I have in my stash, and this large "Houseworks" window fit almost perfectly into the space where the Sugarplum Cottage kit plans for a bay window. I toyed with the idea of using the Sugarplum bay window base and walls, but they really didn't match the grandeur of this window frame. I was going to have to build from scratch the "bump out" structure for this window to fit into. And it was going to require some fancy support where it attached to the main structure too. This took a LOT of pondering the engineering requirements!

To begin with, the Houseworks window frame is made for thicker walls that the Sugarplum kit's walls. And beyond that, I wanted a deeper window seat than the kit's frame would allow. I found a scrap of 3/8 inch plywood that had just the right dimensions and started there. 

The really tricky part was going to be joining this structure to the main building because it needed to attach right where the kit was "extended" by my addition of the base floor.

 And I needed to make the junction really sturdy!

Screws and glue would be needed!

This is the interior view showing the overlap where the exterior
"beam" will hold the kit wall in place.

These "beams" are going to be the Tudor Style
half-timber structure of the upper section of the house.

Here you can see I am adding the support "beams"
which extend off the front of the structure, but are 
attached with the screws through all the layers of wood.

These support the floor of the bay window seat extension.

The window seat aligns with the opening for the window frame.

And with all the parts carefully taped in place.....
you can get a sense of how it will look!
(Along with some glimpses of my messy workroom!)

Here you can see it from a different angle.

And the interior view of the window seat.
I think this is going to become one of my
 favorite window seats ever!

It's just the barest beginning, Dear Readers,
but the Bay Window structure
 will be Securely attached!

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

More Windows.... And Wallpaper....

 It Always Takes Longer....

I Painted the window frames before gluing them in the openings, Dear Readers, because the interior side of the wall is already "finished" and I didn't want to mess it up. Fitting the glass panes in place was a little tricky and required that I turn the structure on its side to work on the back window. I needed gravity on my side! You can sort of see the pane in the window opening below.

The walls on this structure are thinner plywood than those of the castle,
 so for the inner layer of the window frame, 
I was planning to use two layers of cardboard.

Of course, carefully cutting and fitting each layer
 of card took more time than I thought!
The inner layer I painted black... 
where it would show would mimic the "leading"
 on the outer side of the glass.

I know it is difficult to see... 
It has been really gloomy around here for a while!
The card frame needed to be wide enough to cover the
 irregular shape of the glass pane to hold it in place.
And then I made the second inside layer...

This thinner frame is painted to resemble
 the stone surround of the window.
I know it is not perfect... 
And is difficult to see properly!

I took the outer door off the hinges to work on it
 so you can see the layers better.
I tell myself that the imperfections will be
 hardly noticed once the entire room is finished!

And then, because I had a three day weekend, Dear Readers,
 I decided to get Brave and tackle the wallpaper right away!

I don't know if I have shown you this paper before, 
but it is old Christmas wrapping paper that
 my Mom used many many years ago,
 and I saved it because it was so beautiful.
I only had a couple of scraps of it,
 and this small room seemed the perfect place to use it!

First I made the patterns for each wall... 
the areas were somewhat irregular
 so I didn't want to take any chances and ruin the paper!

I spent hours cutting and fitting each piece!
Of course, this is really too dark....

I'm not a fan of flash... but in this case
 it is necessary to get the effect of the lovely gold accents!

And with the open wall visible too.
I think it looks just like I hoped it would!

And then this morning I couldn't resist
 pulling out the electrical extension cords...

Don't you want to peek into those windows...?

Oooh... the window actually looks okay from here...!

But you want to see inside....

With just a hint of what it will look like with lights in place.....

And the fireplace wall.....
There is still so much to do... 
but I feel as though I am Finally
 getting a sense of this place!
And even though it always takes longer, Dear Readers,
The windows and walls are worth it!

Wednesday, February 10, 2021



 You Know How It Goes....

Do You even Remember The Doll Maker's Studio, Dear Readers? That Quick little project I was going to embark on to stave off insanity while building the Never ending lilac bushes? And which project went so quickly from little and quick to Complicated and Elaborate that even I was astonished at the transformation? Well, you can see in the above picture that not much has been accomplished on it in the past year or more! My excuse is that I couldn't decide what method to use for the little windows in the lowest section of the build... the part that is the old "stone" part of the structure. You can see here the unevenly cut shape of the window openings.... (cut in a hurry by me when adding this opening outer wall to the "room box " that was the initial expansion of the kit..... it's a long story..... see earlier posts!) And to tell the truth, it was my spending part of last summer working on the larger but similar windows of the Castle Dollhouse that led me to the decision about these windows! So there is some reason to the madness after all! It seems obvious now to use the same method of making a glass "sandwich" out of thin wooden frames that fit the window opening. This makes it so the glass cutting does not have to be very fancy. The frames cover the imperfections and wood is easier to shape than glass!

I begin by making a paper pattern that fits the opening as nearly as possible.
Then I trace it onto the thin plywood and cut the frame out.

Of course, the frame never fits right at first
 and requires a lot of careful sanding to get close enough.
The bottom section will be added when the glass is put in.

I had some scraps of glass that only needed
 a little trimming at the top, cutting the corners off 
to make them fit the arched openings.
I also needed to draw the exact shape of the openings in the frames
 so the lead lines would fit in the opening.

Here you can see I have added the carefully measured lead lines pattern.

Here I have started to add the "lead lines" paint
 to the glass which is carefully taped over the pattern.

And for the third, smaller window too.
I think my "leading" got better as I went along!
But it still needs a lot of trimming up
 once it has "cured" for a day or two.
(You might remember that I discovered I could do this
 while working on the castle windows!)

And that is as far as I got, Dear Readers,
 making the Windows for the Dollmaker's Studio.
But I am sure the rest will come together quickly.
You know how it goes with Kit Bashing and windows!