Tuesday, April 13, 2021

A Stirring Tale...

 


Of Rescue...

You May or may Not recall, Dear Readers, that this Dollmaker's Studio project is a hodge-podge of leftover and lonely pieces mixed with Special kits (Sandra's kit that inspired the project) and Artisanal creations (the beautiful ook arched glass door on the ground level) to name a couple. It is also a venue for ordinary salvage, in this case a batch of coffee-stirrer sticks from work which were about to be tossed out because they fell on our floor (where barn boots regularly tread). I looked at them and thought "I can probably use those"! So they came home with me. I thought they would make a great rustic floor in some project or another. But there are not too many of them... and I belatedly realized that not all coffee-stirrer sticks are the same dimensions or type of wood. I had no idea what "make" these were, so what I got is what there is to use. It needed a small-ish floor area to work... and one where a different type of flooring one room to the next would not matter. So I started to test these pieces in the upstairs room. And because this is a small-ish project, but one filled with fancy details, I wanted the floor to be special too. I had long wanted to try a "herring-bone" floor, and this would be the perfect place to give it a try.

Here is the interior (sorry for the dark view...!)
with Sandra's alcove placed at the back and the window seat at the right.
(Neither are firmly attached yet.)
The space is about 9 inches by 13 inches give or take a little.


And with the morning sun hitting the spot!


So I started to cut some stirrer-sticks to see if this might work.
At one inch sections, I get seven per stick.
But I have to cut them by hand... and the stirrers
 are not identical or perfect in their dimensions.
(But I think that will add to the charm of the end product!)


Here I have laid out a very tentative section
 to see how the spacing and size will work.
I think they will look lovely!
But I have a LOT of cutting to do!
I estimate about 85 sticks will be needed.... 
each making seven pieces...
And there will be the inevitable spoiled and wrong length ones.


I think this is about twenty sticks.


I think this is about forty sticks.....
I made a system of cutting five sticks at a sitting....
Measure, cut, sand.... each one making seven pieces.
And since I spent so much time in my
 RL Garden these past weekends,
 I did not get much else done!
But it is a start!


I love it, Dear Readers, 
that the sticks that fell on the Floor by accident...
Can become the floor by Design!
A Stirring rescue all around!


Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Snowdrops....

 


 And Slippers....

The Snowdrops are finished blooming in my RL Garden, Dear Readers, but they are in full bloom where I work in the Hills of Vermont. And some of you might recall that when I made the mini snowdrops for The Folly garden, under the lilac bush, I was concerned that they turned out a tiny bit too big for perfect 1:12 scale. You can see them in the gloomy morning light in the picture above. And I have a note beside my computer that has been there for a long time that says "Measure snowdrops" on it. This would be so I could prove for once and all what scale my mini snowdrops turned out to be! I thought I had made a measured drawing somewhere... but could only find the one I did for the little Squill blossoms. But the snowdrops have to be in bloom to measure them! 

Last week they were blooming in my garden,
 but I neglected to measure them!


This morning I remembered at the last minute on my way to work....
But the blossoms were all spent...


These stems were the best of the remaining blossoms.
They are not five inches tall... 
you will have to believe me because I did not go get a ruler!

Meanwhile, the blossoms at work are Huge by comparison!


Of course, it is difficult to get a sense of scale from a photo...


You can see by my hand that they are much larger
 than the little ones in my Home garden!
But I needed proof... so I plucked a stem....


And brought it up to my desk where I could measure it....
Nine and 1/2 inches long!
 

And the blossom alone is 1 and 1/2 inches long!
These are Huge snowdrops!


Here it is in a bud vase....
no shrinking violet this blossom!


I think I can safely say that my mini snowdrops
 are  in perfect 1:12 scale!

And what about the slippers I mentioned?
Well, you might recall that I was trying to use all the stitching space
 in the corners of the Christmas Tree Skirt project.


And when I had filled all the corners with "cushions"
 there was still a bit of space along the sides
 that I thought might just work for mini slippers.
I didn't have a pattern, so I made one up...
 

I stitched four pairs of slippers around the edges...
 each pair a little different from the others.


And then because I didn't know what I was doing,
 I made up one whole slipper without taking any pictures of the process!
I think it turned out okay!


I took pictures of the second one...
 but they are pretty boring.
I lined each slipper with a silk charmeuse cloth 
which is very fine and flexible.
I stitched the whole thing, not using glue
 except for binding the edge of the petitpoint before I cut the cloth.
 
The soles are made from synthetic suede cloth.... 
small samples that I was given with a variety of colors.
 

I think they turned out really well
 considering that I didn't know what I was doing!
And that's all I have to show, Dear Readers,
 my weekend having been spent in the RL Garden,
Huge snowdrops and Tiny slippers!
 


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

More Details....

 


It Wasn't Quite Done...

You Might remember, Dear Readers, that the Secret Christmas House has icicles along the roof eaves. It is supposed to also have snow on the roof, but I have not finished that step yet! I gave it a great deal of thought and decided that I needed to try to make icicles for the roof of the Teeny Tiny Christmas House too. It just looked too unfinished to be placed inside a Bell Jar without any snow or ice! The method I chose to try is my favorite "glue trick"! This is where I rely on the solid bulk of the dried glue to be my "item" whatever that is at any given moment. In this case, it is tiny icicles. I ran a long thin line of Aleen's Quick Dry glue onto a plastic baggie and before it dried, I used the point of a sewing pin to drag the edges down into points, like icicles, and then I left it to dry thoroughly. You can sort of see the shape in the above picture... it is really difficult to photograph a clear item on a clear surface! The shadows are what give it away.

When the glue was completely dry I painted over it... 
while still stuck to the plastic baggie,
using ordinary white acrylic paint.
Before the paint was completely dry,
 I lifted the strip of icicles off the plastic baggie.
This was so the paint would not all stick to the icicles (the dried glue)
 except where the glue had been.
(If you wait for the paint to dry, it would all lift with the icicles
 and then they would not look much like icicles!)

Here you can see the painted strip of icicles and the Teeny House.
But before I attached the icicles,
 there were a couple of other details missing.
Like the Chimneys...
And the Tiniest Dollhouse Imaginable to go inside under the Tree...
 
Can you see the house here....?
It is at the top of that scrap of cardboard...
Painted white with a gray roof...
You can just make out a couple of windows and maybe a door...
 

See it here on my thumb....?
It was extremely difficult to get it glued in place...!


It is a little tippy... but it is close enough!


Here the chimneys have been added....
(Don't tell me they are not the same size... )
And the front row of icicles on the eaves...
(I know they are a trifle big...)


Here I have added a little "snow" to the roof.
Clearly, it is a heavy wet snow!
(This was also surprisingly difficult to apply... 
it didn't want to stick at first... 
I applied it with that huge sewing pin...!)


Here it is standing on the table
 while the snow on the "ground" is drying on the Bell Jar base.

Meanwhile, I wanted to see how the lights
 in the Dollmaker's Studio looked with the curtains in place.


(It was a very gloomy rainy day...)
And I wanted to see how the furniture might look
 now that the lights were in and the room was developing some character.


And maybe we could bring the Teeny Secret House in to see how it looks...
 

And then because I hadn't thought of it before...
I needed to try the Big Secret Christmas House in this room...
 

 I was planning to have this house in the upper attic floor... 
and a more "open" display cabinet in this room....
But I might have to change my plan!


I think it looks like this room was made for it!


There is room for the sides to be open without taking up the entire back wall 
(where a couple of other things must go...)


And there is plenty of room for the table...


And room for Lady Cassandra.....


And her needlework....


Well, Dear Readers, I don't know about you, 
But I love it when a room "Comes together"
 in ways you hadn't imagined....
While just adding More details to
 Things that weren't quite done!

Monday, March 22, 2021

Waiting For The Glue To Dry....

 


A Little Distraction....

All that framework fixing, Dear Readers, was in preparation for attaching the light fixtures for the lower room of the Dollmaker's Studio. It was finally time to commit to attaching the lamps and running the wires through the walls to the exterior. I drilled the holes where the wires needed to go through. You can see the hole in the mantelpiece in the above picture. The lights on the other end of the room are positioned on either side of that big arched doorway... and where the wires go through the wall, I had already started to glue the "stones" a long time ago. I had stopped because I realized I was getting ahead of myself and needed to run the wires first! But a couple of the "stones" were already in the way.

There was nothing to do but make "adjustments" to the stones...


This consisted of peeling back one stone 
so I could carve the channel underneath it...
and making small cuts which will need patching in the other stone.


Actually gluing the lamps in place requires patience!
I needed gravity to assist while the glue was drying for each lamp, 
which meant turning the building on its side...
a different side for each lamp!
Above you can see the first one gluing.



And after a couple have dried....
 testing the electrical connection...
so far so good!


And testing the look with the ceiling panel in place... 
not glued yet!


And testing the lights on the end wall...
still working!
But there was a LOT of waiting for glue to dry!
And while I was digging out my extra wire
 for extending the wires so they could reach the switch connectors...
I came across a little Bell Jar that I was hoping to use someday.
I couldn't decide what sort of object to put inside...
But then I got an idea.....
Could I make a mini mini version....?


I thought I would give it a try while the glue was drying...
Just see if I could make a Tiny table....
There was a Perfect piece of wood waiting in my scrap pile...
(an off-cut from a castle ceiling trim "stone" from last summer's work....)


Can you tell what I am thinking...?


Have you seen this table before?


Is this a big enough clue?

But of course, I am really trying to get
 those wires buried in the walls 
of the Dollmaker's Studio Project!


This is boring work... 
you won't want to see endless pictures
 of glue and wires in a carved channel...


I will try not to bore you!
But the truth is, I got very VERY distracted 
by this Teeny Teeny building project!
Could I even make it happen....?


Well, Dear Readers, I had to give it a try!
I started with a tiny sketch of the wall shapes I would need...


And I needed to see if I could paint that small with any degree of success...
(Can you tell now I am duplicating the Secret Christmas House...?)


All of this is using plain card stock 
cut with my exacto knife and a ruler.
Above is the inner core of the framework.


I cut the pieces out as I needed them...
(I wouldn't want to lose a section!)


Here is the framework on the table....
Oooh... this might actually work!


And just to remind you what I am copying.....


See?!!
But this is just the beginning....
It is the interior that takes the time....
When I am not working on the Dollmaker's Studio that is....


Here the ceiling has been glued to the wood panel.
I debated making different "tiles" 
but decided it was pressed tin panels instead!
And the board is quite warped....


It took a lot of "convincing" to flatten out.
But I had plenty to do while the glue was drying!


I needed to paint the interior floors with the carpets...


So I could start to assemble the interior pull-out sections.


Which had to be tested for fit every step of the way!


This is the other interior pull-out section before gluing...


And here it is being tested for fit.


Of course, I had to paint the ceilings on the undersides of the floors...
(I did this in the Secret Christmas House too!)
If you look very carefully you can see a sky with clouds....


See how cute this is?


Here you can get a good sense of the structure...
Two house sections pull out from the sides of the main framework.


Testing the front roof panel....
(not yet glued...)


And I wanted to see if I could make a Christmas Tree for the parlor...
(using the glue trick and florist wire)


Here it is in the parlor... I know it is really tall
I always make the tree as tall as possible!


Here the outside wall is attached...
 and testing to see if it "works"
It does!!!


They both fit and slide in beautifully!


And the side roofs are attached....


Here it is with the sides closed.


And on the table...


And for comparison....
(please ignore the crudity of the tiny one...)
It only needs a few more details!


And inside the jar...
I think it worked, Dear Readers!
I only got a Little distracted 
While I was waiting for the Glue to Dry!