Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January Dreaming.....

Looking Back.... Looking Forward....

I have to admit, Dear Readers, that January brings with it the inevitable urge to assess the progress, or lack of progress, made during the past year on any of many "in work" projects. And when I review last year's accomplishments in my mini worlds, the list is small! That might be in part due to the fact that I worked on the Secret Christmas House kits for much of the year..... and the results are Tiny! In a "regular" size dollhouse I would feel I had accomplished a great deal if I had built, decorated furnished and accessorized an entire house! But in this case... it is all so small it hardly seems to count! Not to mention that it is Not quite Done! In the above picture (taken back in November) you can see the "shell" of the house with the morning sunlight streaming in the windows (a rare thing at this time of year!) and illuminating the interior of the rooms before the furniture was added.

I love that you can see right into the tiny rooms 
as if they were much larger than they are!
But the chief thing I want to point out is that there is still No Snow
 adorning the exterior of the house!
Lots of lovely icicles but no snow!

Yes, I have been avoiding this step.... 
intimidated by the types of artificial snow and how to apply them......!
 I need to do some test samples to get familiar with the materials!
And because it is snowing right now in my RL world, 
and might snow all night and most of tomorrow... 
I might have a Snow Day to stay home and play with ... snow!

My lack of significant progress on any of my larger projects can really only be ascribed to my lack of focus.... (we won't mention the broken arm). I made a little progress on painting  the Castle Hall ceiling.... but didn't come near finishing it. I made a little progress on the Cloud Palace Roof... but didn't make any progress on the exterior walls... which need tons of egg-carton rocks. I made a little progress on the Gypsy Wagon interiors and windows, but didn't even get as far as attaching the walls to the base! 

I made a little progress in the Attic of the Lovely Old Dollhouse.... 
but didn't even get the new knee-walls painted! 
There was No progress at all in the chapel...

Even though Father Alban has been on the brink
 of an inspirational breakthrough... for ages!

No progress at all on the Tree House.... 
waiting patiently for the next floor to be worked on...

(I know, you can barely see it behind the lamp.... I can't find the better pics!)

But it is the Willowcrest, Also known as Hardwick Hall, 
that has been calling to me recently!

In particular, all the places on the exterior walls where the tabs show through...
making me decide that I must add clapboards to the exterior to cover them up!

Like right there above the bottom trim..... it's driving me nuts!

And all the corners on the dormers in the attic.... 
absolutely need covering up!
But then I have to admit, Dear Readers, 
that before I can add the clapboards.... 
I must complete the wiring of all the lights....
Yes, I tried so hard to run all their wires down 
through the center wall behind the fireplaces....

Except for the bathroom.......

Which has no wiring at all so far..... 
and the middle wall is the one beside the tub.... 
not really where the lights would be placed!
Not to mention the other side of the kitchen.... 
which right now only has the overhead light....

Shouldn't there also be a light over the sink? 
Which means running the wires down the outside of the wall....
And even in the attic..... there should be a couple more lights....

On the outside walls...
Which means running the wires down the outside walls...!
I guess it's Time to go back to the Drawing Board 
with the layout of the wiring!
Not to mention the interior trim needed to cover 
all those not very appealing corners on the dormers!

And the design for the cupola which brings light into the top floor.... 
and the chimney re-design since the kit placement was so not acceptable!
And speaking of little bits of trim needed in odd places....

The bay window in the living room has gaps between the panels.... 
where daylight shows through!
I filled the cracks with 1/8 inch square strips...

The clapboards will run between the strips....
I just need to decide how I am making the clapboards!
I bought some of the pre-formed basswood panels, 
but don't like the way they would need to join at the ends
 and overlap their sections.....

At least the strips have covered the gaps in the panels!
(But I still need to add the exterior window muntins too!)
So which comes first... 
completing the interiors with all the wiring
 so I can cover the exterior walls... 
or just getting the wires in place.... 
for all the remaining lights...
and decorate later....
And surely, the oven should have a light too?
I guess I have a whole lot of re-thinking to do with this house!
But that's what January Dreams are for Dear Readers,
Looking back so we can look ahead!
(And I did finish the Christmas Card! 
But I don't want to show it here until
 it has arrived at my family's homes.
 I will show it next week!)


  1. Bonjour Betsy, belle rétrospective de votre travail. Je vous félicite pour la qualité de votre travail même si vous avez le sentiment de ne pas avancer, peut-être avez-vous trop de projets en cours pour avoir l'impression de ne pas avancer?

    1. Dear Jean-Claude, it is exactly that problem! LOL The real problem is that I can't stop myself from starting a new project before finishing an old one.... But I love them all! And I love working on them more than I like finishing them... so I am happy enough with the little progress... as long as there is some progress! With the New Year I am eager to get things done that have been waiting for a while! Thank you for your comments, it is always a pleasure to see Your progress too! :)

  2. Hello Betsy,
    Nonsense! You have accomplished an incredible amount of work. I think we all tend to underestimate how long and how labor intensive miniature projects will be. From what I have read and been told, the smaller the scale, the finer the detail, the more the work. The Christmas house project is an amazing one...you should get a really big magnifying glass to look at it. You have added details no one else would think of, or attempt, in so small a scale. As for the amazing Treehouse and Willowcrest projects, their time will come. They are already fantastic miniatures.
    Hang in there and do not think about the work that did not get done, but celebrate what did.
    Big hug

    1. Dear Giac, you always have the most supportive things to say and it is appreciated!!! We do need to have other's view-points sometimes to put our own into proper perspective! I think it is just that I do have rather a Lot of not-finished projects... that call to me all the time.... just adding to the Daydreams! I know that "someday" I will get them done, and meanwhile I will enjoy whichever one I am focused on! I guess my process requires long periods of being on the "back- burner" to allow me to really decide what is needed on some of them. For now, I am going to work on my "larger" projects and see where it takes me! Thank you for your constant encouragement and kind words.... I always look forward to your comments! :):)

  3. Dans tous les cas ,pour ma part je suis admirative de votre travail,c est superbe!!!

    1. Thank you so much Isabelle! I really appreciate your comment! Sometimes it takes other people's viewpoints to remind us that we don't "see" clearly! LOL! I enjoy making things, and that is what it is all about! :)

  4. Giac has expressed my sentiments Exactly!
    Betsy, you have and entire neighborhood of projects: more than ANYONE I know of in blogland, and each has its own Challenges and their Unique and Creative stories to tell.
    Personally, I am Blown Away by the vast variety of things you have done; parks, conservatories, houses, cottages, caravans, castles both on land and in the air, magic house, tree houses, mirco chateaux's and I'm sure I've probably forgotten some.
    Just thinking in different scales requires a lot of work, so KUDOS again to you Betsy on both your mental and physical dexterity.
    Having said all of that; I am SO glad that you are back to thinking about your Hardwick Hall again, and also Happy about the completion of your annual Christmas Card! ♥
    My only advise for what it's worth, is that you get the wires into position before you add the clapboard seeing as how you might have to run some of them on the outside.
    I know that 2018 will be an exciting year for you and for us who LOVE to follow you, so from this point on my Dear Betsy-
    Only Looking Forward. :D

    1. Ha Ha!!! Dear Elizabeth, you are SO Right! It is that Entire Neighborhood part that is the problem! LOL! Half built.... seedy...run-down... below code... (what, no kitchen sink??? no Bath????....) dwellings that I try to foist off on all my patient little people...! But we will just pretend... until I can get to it....! (I am the worst landlord imaginable!) But yes, thank you for reminding me that I can't see the Forest for the trees! LOL! I do love to build and make things... and I am back at it with the bigger buildings which makes me feel like I am "getting somewhere"! I adore the teeny tiny scale.... but it is so much harder to "play" with... you really have to glue things down.... :( And we know how much trouble I have with that! LOL!!! I really appreciate your supportive and wonderful comments! Never fear... there will be lots of adventures over here.... I just can't help myself! LOL! :):)

  5. a very beautiful work done, that pretty achievements

    1. Thank you, Claude! I appreciate your comments! I am glad you enjoy my projects... even not finished!

  6. I love how the little houses look even without the snow. We don't get a lot of snow in TX so I'm used to seeing decorations without out. You've accomplished a lot more than you think!

    1. Hi Sheila! Being a "Northerner", I am so used to snow on the Christmas decorations, I always think they look "naked" without it! LOL! I am glad to know it looks good to you! But I will have to master my fear of the "artificial" snow! This kit begs for "snow" on the rooftop! Thank you for your comments! I know I am always my own worst critic.... it is wonderful to have friends in blogland who will "set me straight"! :):)

  7. You are speaking to an audience who knows what it takes to accomplish all of the magical worlds that you do. Your list of accomplishments is incredible, especially knowing you have a full time job AND had a broken wrist to heal from!
    Have you considered a combination of exposed brick and stucco for the exterior? It might be worth a think, as it would both cover the remaining exterior light wire runs and cover tab/slots and gaps. Paperclay would also be a fun medium to work with!
    Looking forward to seeing the Christmas card, and all the work you accomplish in 2018! I know it will be amazing by anyone's yardstick!

    1. Hi Jodi! Thank you for your supportive comments! I know I am a very poor "estimator" of how long something will take! It has always been like that.... I am always part way into a project before the really "brilliant" detail ideas show up... and then I have to follow where they lead me! LOL! But I have to confess, I LOVE that part of mini-making! LOL!
      As for your suggestions about stucco and half-timbering.... I thought long and hard about that possibility back at the beginning of the project because it would impact the kind of "trim" used on the exterior! I opted to go with the detailed "Victorian" painted exterior that the kit assumes you will use. The window trims and the balconies and the gingerbread on the eaves but especially the corner trims are really only used like this with a clapboard or shingle siding. So I am afraid I will just have to knuckle down and figure out the clapboards! But first... the wiring in the bath and the kitchen....! Oh, and the attic fireplace too.... how could I forget that wiring....? LOL! I am off and running.... so much to do! Thank you for your comments, I truly appreciate every one! :):)

  8. Hi Betsy!! You say that your results are TINY...?????? But no, I totally not agree with you, I absolutely fully agree with Giac!! You've done alot of work dring the past year, we all know how intensive the miniature work you do can be. Especially that teeny tiny Secret Christmas House was (and still is!) alot of work!
    So with a full time job and I remember you broke your wrist! I think you've accomplished this past year so much work at your dollhouses.
    I would so love to see your family Christmas card, I can't wait any longer but okay, I'll wait until your next post ;O.
    Personally, I took some rest and was away from blogging and from making miniatures, it did me so well. But due to some good reason I'm very late for coming back into the blog world ;)!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Dear Ilona, thank you for your supportive comments! But I must correct you.... my accomplishments Are TINY.... just lots and lots and lots of very very Tiny accomplishments! LOL! I am amazed myself at how tiny they are!!! But yes, I am eager to work on some of my "bigger" projects again... and I will show the Christmas Card this week! Thank you so much for your blog-friendship! It really means a lot to me! I think Your accomplishments are Amazing!!! :):)

  9. I find sitting and staring at something for a good few days (on and off, of course, I do other things in between!) really helps me come up with solutions for such things as wiring. You will find the right solution! It is good you are working on the kit that is currently inspiring you as I think you will work better, achieve more and be happier with the results. No point forcing these things. X

    1. Hi Shannon! Thank you for your supportive comments! I am really not good at sitting and staring... I tend to wake up in the middle of the night with the ideas that "must" be done! LOL! I am enjoying working on my bigger projects again... and making progress! And I agree about working on the one that is most inspiring at any given moment.... it is why I jump around from project to project so much! LOL! I am having fun at any rate! :):)

  10. Hi, Betsy - You may think your accomplishments are few and scattered, but as a real "plodder" myself, always working on only one project at a time, I find that this post makes my head whirl. It seems to me that you've accomplished an amazing number of things, not least (except in size) of which is the WONDERFUL Secret Christmas House. It's hardly anything in size, but it's such an amazing work of art in all other respects. Both Giac and Elizabeth have expressed my thoughts exactly. You have transformed that tiny house with your ingenuity and eye for detail - along with some incredible dexterity in working in such a small scale. I enjoyed seeing the exterior photos of the Secret Christmas House - I'd forgotten how pretty this house is from the outside, even without snow! It'll be interesting, as always, to watch your progress on all your projects in 2018. (But I'll be watching patiently - there's no need to hurry. Work on the challenging projects on your own timetable, so that you can enjoy every minute of the fun!)

    1. Dear Marjorie, thank you so much for your supportive comments! It is always a pleasure to hear from you! I am not able to stick to just one thing until it is done.... my brain just goes off on tangents... the more I try to "force" myself to stay on track... the more likely it is there will be another new fantastic project started before I even realize it!!! LOL! (This has happened to me all my life!) So I accept my weakness and allow the new projects to take over and run as far as I can before running out of steam.... then they need to rest and "gestate" for a while before I know what it is that is missing! So it goes! I am so glad you enjoy the Tiny Christmas House! I adore this tiny scale... there is just something completely captivating about it... but it does require that I glue things down... which means you can't really "play" with them once you have decided what goes where! So I am enjoying a return to the bigger scale for a while... it really seems Enormous after working on the tiny things! LOL! Yes, I am back at it.... tons of ideas and things to do! So stay tuned! LOl! :):)

  11. Sometimes we have to look back to look forward, I agree, this is the perfect time of the year for such exercise. It seems that you have lots to do, which means that there´s lot of fun ahead of you, yeeaaah. I look forward to following your progress, I´ll stay in tune :)

    1. Hi Alexandra! Thank you for your lovely comment! I do find it necessary to step back and take a look and assess where I am with the projects. Sometimes I get so caught up in one that I lose track of the bigger picture! And yes, I am eagerly looking forward to all the projects and ideas that are bubbling up! I have plenty to do and there will be many adventures! I am glad you are following this blog! :):)

  12. You did a good job and in this new year you'll still do a good job. And I'm curious to see your creations.

    1. Thank you Fabiola!!! I really appreciate your comments! I am looking forward to all the fun I will have this year... because that is what it is really about! I LOVE making minis!!! :):)

  13. Ánimo que tienes un año para avanzar en tu proyecto, aunque te parezca que has hecho poco es un buen comienzo.Besos:-)

    1. Thank you, Contrastes-Rosa! I really appreciate your comment! I have so many projects... and I am eagerly starting the New Year with making good progress on the bigger projects... you will see! So stay tuned! :):)

  14. You may be lamenting about what you have not achieved but all I could see were some wonderful dolls house projects and wonderful things made by you. Thank you for a lovely review of your projects. I look forward to following your progress through 2018.

    1. Hi Sharee! It's great to see you here! I have been making such teeny-tiny things lately that it feels like nothing gets done! I am starting this year with a return to some of the bigger projects... with plenty of ideas! I hope you will continue to find time for minis! Thank you for commenting!

  15. It's always great for me to learn new meanings of English words I did not know so far... today I added to my repertoire that "tiny progress" can also mean quite the opposite... something in the range of "enormous achievements"... Really, you have no reason at all to lament about last year's achievements - you've managed to achieve so much. Let's keep in mind that every single step you're doing is detailed, every painting, every building step... always having the good ol' Betsy motto in mind "but I will know it's there". You've added so many miracle work to your projects in 2017 and managed to brighten my days with every single post showing your wonderful work. Well, I think I will ask Giac for a form to join the "Nonsense" choir... *grin* And now I'm looking forward to see what 2018 will bring in Betsy world... looks like there will be lots of news about Hardwick Hall. Well, whatever it is... it will be great! ;O)

    Birgit (who is really looking forward to see the Christmas card... I love looking at these masterpieces rediscovering your work of the bygone year)

    1. Dear Birgit, I love to give you new meanings to words.... but I hate to mislead you! LOL! I am definitely trying to "revise" my idea about last year's "Tiny- progress" and think of it as something "bigger" than it is! LOL! (This would be easier if the House was Bigger!) But for now, I am conceding that I made enormous progress in a Teeny way!!! As for this year, I am really enjoying working on the bigger houses for now.... we'll see what happens! As usual... I am overflowing with Ideas, dreams.... wishes.... (Blue can help here!) and plans!!! Never fear, there will be lots and lots of fun things to see over here... just no guarantees What projects will get swept up in my "progress"!!! LOL!
      And never fear, the Christmas Card will be featured soon!:):):)

  16. Here I am at last! And just in time: re wiring in Hardwick Hall, keep in mind that houses of that vintage had only rudimentary wiring. Electricity was pretty new. Think about our 38 Seaward Rd house, built in 1902: in the entire house there were only 10 outlets, and one of those was in the brand-new kitchen stove! So having only ceiling fixtures would be quite normal. You sure aren't going to run out of projects in the coming year, are you!
    Lots of love, stay warm,

    1. Dear Mom, you know me... I will Never run out of projects!!! LOL! And yes, as to the primitive wiring... I have been keeping that it mind with this house and trying to keep the lighting as realistic as possible... but I do need to have lights in the bath... and probably they "updated" those lights at some point along the way! At least my options are one ceiling light or two wall sconces..... both options need to run down the outside wall! (Which might be why I haven't already put those lights in.... I was stumped by the wiring routes!) Onward i go! We will have progress... and lots of it soon!!! :):)

  17. I agree with Giac, your work is amazing. Congratulate yourself on what you have achieved. I wouldn't attempt anything on such a small scale. Well done.

    1. Hi Polly! Thank you for your lovely comment! I do tend to get my nose too close to the grindstone... and then I don't see the progress at all! LOL! The tiny scales are so absorbing to work on.... but it ends up very very small! I adore that scale, but I am really looking forward to making bigger things for a while... so you will see lots more progress soon! Thank you so much for commenting!

  18. I think you have made a lot of progress during the last year with all your wonderful little projects. Added to that is the time you take to photograph and share them all. Any progress is good progress, in my view. Keep going!