Tuesday, January 31, 2017

More Tiny Christmas House....

Inside and Out.....

No Matter how much work you put into it, Dear Readers, the progress on this Secret Christmas House kit is always Tiny! Even though the final room needing its interior walls decorated is the Largest and fanciest room in the House, it needed only the same treatments as the others. I started by making the gold picture frame to add to the printed wallpaper version. This time I made it from two layers of card, one cut slightly narrower than the other, and glued them together.

Here you can see it once it was painted with the gold paint....
which I applied in a textured manner to suggest the carving on the frame.
It is by far the largest and most elaborate frame in the house.

Here you can see I have glued the frame to the printed wallpaper.

And here the paper has been attached to the back wall of the Parlor.

Here you can see the ornate window in the Parlor 
before the wallpaper has been fitted.

The kit comes with interior window frames 
which are supposed to be glued to the wallpaper 
before it is attached to the wall...
but I found that was going to mean 
I could not adjust the placement of the frame 
over the opening of the window 
because the paper needs to fit the wall precisely.
So I fitted the paper to the wall first 
and then tested the window frame.....

And then I noticed that the interior frame 
was not exactly the right shape 
to match the exterior window frame!
The center cross bar was going to be too low 
and would interfere with the view in the window from outside!
So I removed the center portion of the frame....

Which you can see here.

And here it is glued in place.

And the door needed a frame around it like the ones in the other rooms.
At this point I had to postpone making the baseboard trims 
because there will need to be a fireplace mantelpiece 
to surround that beautiful glowing fire 
and until it is built I will not know where to end the baseboards.
The fireplace surround comes in a separate batch of kits....
Yes, there is an entire houseful of teeny tiny kits 
for all the furniture and decorations shown in these pictures!
But meanwhile, Dear Readers,
 I was also trying to make some tiny curtains....
From coffee filter paper painted with acrylic paint
 and "wrinkled" to shape as it was drying.
The idea is to let the acrylic paint 
act like the "glue" used in other methods.

They needed a brass curtain rod..... 
and maybe a draped top.....

Or at least some gold rope tie-backs....

But I am beginning to think I have to be
 more precise with the drapery folds.....

Because when I test them in the room... 
they just look messy!
Yes, I will need to refine the drapery a bit!

And that is not all I accomplished Dear Readers, 
I also made Tiny progress on the exterior of the house!
I really want to "finish" the exterior 
before starting on all those dozens of interior furniture kits.... 
if for no other reason than that I would hate to lose 
any of the final outer pieces before I got them attached!

The House is designed to sit attached to its own perfectly lovely table....
which I am painting a glossy silver gray.
But then I started thinking that maybe I shouldn't attach it to the table.... 
because what if somebody wanted to Play with it? 
What if there needed to be a garden...? 
or a beautiful Landscape....? 
Perhaps it should be able to sit on a larger table 
where the sides could sometimes be open ....?

So I painted a piece of cardboard to be a separate base.....

Making it look a little like the rocks on the foundation....

And then I glued it and the (painted) steps to the House!

I think this allows for much more versatility! 
And it can still sit perfectly on its own graceful table!
You can also see here that I have
 painted and attached the tiny window boxes.

The kit suggests that they be painted red, 
but I wanted to downplay the red on the exterior 
so I painted them green.... a much more traditional color!
There is a supply of green and red "bunka" included 
in this kit to make the greenery three dimensional. 
I have yet to try bunka.... 
so I am looking forward to learning how to work with it!
The exterior of the house still needs the "icicles" added 
along with the fake snow and "bunka" greenery....
and suddenly I am getting "Cold feet" 
about making this permanently a winter scene!
I am just going to have to accept it....
It is the Secret Christmas House Kit after all!

And even if I decide to add a Garden.... 
it could be a beautiful Snowy garden scene!
So you can see Dear Readers, 
That a lot of Teeny tiny steps were accomplished,
Inside and Out.... 
And there is only a little more to do 
to finish this Tiny Christmas House Kit!
(If we don't mention all those furniture kits, that is!)

Saturday, January 21, 2017


Through History.....

I do not usually bring Politics into this blog, Dear Readers, as I believe firmly that we all have a right to our own point of view. But sometimes there are occasions when it is important to speak out, and I believe this is one of them. Today is the Women's March on Washington. Thousands of women and men are traveling to Washington to march in protest of the declared policies of the newly inaugurated President of our country. I will not delve into the reasons for this march as I am sure you have read the News. But I will say that I can remember a time when Women had far fewer rights than we currently do.

My Grandmother, Helen Foster, (pictured above) was born in 1890 and was a Suffragette in her 20's. She marched in favor of Women being allowed to vote, which was not granted in this country until 1920. She was thirty years old! Would we have the vote if some had not "spoken up" and Marched and been thrown in prison and participated in hunger strikes? History has no answer for that, but I suspect not. It often takes Great Determination to make changes in the established system. Hence Marches and Protests. I could not go to the March in Washington, but I am enormously proud that I work for a School that sent two busloads of students and teachers to join in the March today!
And while it may seem insignificant to some,
 I hosted a March of my own....

In Solidarity with those Sisters and Brothers and Mothers and Daughters ......

Who traveled far to Stand up for the Rights of All.....

Almost everybody wanted to participate...

Young and Old alike....

It was quite a memorable Gathering!

 I hope the youngsters will never forget.

Thank you, Grandma Helen,
For leading the way....
Marching through History.

Monday, January 16, 2017


Windows, Doors and Pictures...

This Secret Christmas House kit has such wonderful windows, Dear Readers, I think they are the primary reason I bought this kit! To begin with, they have real tiny plexiglass panes! You can actually see through the windows and into the interior of the room.... if you can get your eyes close enough that is! And the frames themselves are composed of two layers of very thin laser cut wood so when they are glued together the frame has an ornate layered profile. This along with the lovely arched shapes.... such a European feature!.... makes the tiny house look so elegant and perfect..... even up close! But those window frames are a challenge to paint! The laser cutting leaves a residue of "burned" wood along all the cuts, and covering it requires several layers of paint! I only hope that I wasn't supposed to seal the wood with a varnish before painting it to prevent the burn from seeping through the paint over time. I started by applying a simple gesso primer to both sides of every window frame.

Of course, I forgot to take any pictures 
until I was well along in the painting. 
Above you can see the three frames on the upper left 
have only the gesso, 
while the others have been given a first coat of acrylic white paint.
You have to be very careful not to build up too much paint 
in the corners of each tiny pane, as the surface tension of the paint 
wants to accumulate in the corners!

Here you can see a little closer. 
The window frame on the bottom left shows the reverse
 or inside of the frame, which also needs to be painted 
because it shows when you look through the windows from the inside!

Here you can see the inside being painted on most of them.

And here is the view through the Library window from the inside. 
Yes, it definitely needed to be carefully painted too!
And while we are working on painting frames, 
I was also trying to add my own frames 
for the interior doors to these rooms!
If you recall, I had glued the library inside wallpaper in place 
before remembering that I wanted to make 
the door frames "three dimensional" 
rather than just the printed paper image.
So I started to paint tiny door frames too....

And forgot to take pictures until I was done.... 
but here you can see I have added a frame to the door in the Library!
It was so much trickier to add with the wallpaper already glued in!

And for the Parlor room above the Library, 
I wanted to add not only the door frame.... 
but I wanted the picture frames on the art to be "three dimensional" too!

Here you can see the completed frame 
glued onto the printed wallpaper 
prior to gluing it on the room walls!

And here it is glued in place, along with the interior window frame 
which is a piece that comes with the kit.

And then the Parlor door wall needed a frame around the door 
and a frame around the mirror!

Here you can see the paper is installed, along with the ones in the attic room.
And that room also had artwork which needed a frame!

I have to confess that it took me a while to realize
 it would be much easier to cut the frame in one piece 
rather than building it from four separate pieces as in RL!
The oval mirror frame for the Parlor taught me that!

So there is a reason the square frames appear lumpy and irregular!
(Sorry this shot is a little blurry... it is hard to get it in focus!)

But that is not all I managed to do this week, Dear Readers, 
I also made good progress on the larger rooms 
in the other wing of the house!
Starting with the other attic bedroom... 
a frame was needed for the artwork....

I know it seems silly, but I really wanted all the art to have "real" frames!
And the frames that had me most worried 
were the ornate ones for the Dining room walls.
There are two very elegant framed panels that look like Chinoiserie paintings... 
and the frames are delicate gold and not straight edged but gently curved.

I started by tracing the shapes and transferring them to the card stock.
Then I very carefully cut out the center portion first, 
testing it for fit on the artwork 
before cutting the outside edge of the frame.
I made two and painted them with several coats of the antique gold paint.
I paint on the plastic because they don't stick to it. 
The overflow of the paint can be cut away from 
the edge of the frame once it has dried. 

Here you can see I am testing one of the frames on the artwork.... 
the one on the left is just the printed frame.

Here you can see the wall paper with both the frames added. 
I am so pleased with the results of these frames! 
And so glad I practiced with all the other smaller ones first!
I think the frames make such a huge difference!

Of course it is difficult to get a good well-lit picture 
once they are glued into the rooms!
And there was still the door wall for this room...

With the door frame and the mirror frame....

And I also added the baseboards in this room and the Parlor.

And that is not all, Dear Readers! 
While I was working on all those window and door frames, 
I was also pondering the exterior front door.
It is such a beautiful and elegant front door!
But something about it was bothering me.

The door frame is gorgeous. 
But it is attached over the paper front of the house 
and the "windows" in the door look much too blank and lifeless to me.
Should I make the windows look more like windows?
Should I paint them in and make them part of the door as if it is solid?
Should I go all wild and crazy and add a sparkly glittery look?

Or use a slightly less sparkly paper that still has some glitter to it..... ?
Well this is the Secret Christmas House.... 
so I went with the slightly glittery paper...

Because when the light is right.... 
it almost looks like the house is lit up inside with Christmas lights!

I have been leaving the most challenging room for last,
hoping that by the time I get to it I will have figured out what I am doing!
The end walls with the kit supplied trim still need their wall papers. 
And the entire "Drawing Room" still needs it's artwork "framed" and the doors too.
And let us not mention that I am trying to figure out curtains....
Three dimensional ones rather than the flat paper ones that come with the kit!
So you can see Dear Readers, 
I have been making great progress on this Tiny house.
The windows, doors and pictures 
are Finally nearly all framed!