(Instant) Neville Crush

Yeah I know – not sure if I understand the title myself. But I’ve started using the IHeartRadio app on my phone to play music while I work on my minis. I usually try to vary my music selections depending on my mood, and for this weekend, I wanted to hear all things Daft Punk.

And oddly enough, I found myself bopping along to this particular track the most. Warning: the video is kinda bizzare, but heart aching in an odd sort of way.

Now that the roombox is complete (yay!) – and the Gatorboard arrived today (double yay! No wait – crap! Need to finalize my schematics!), I figured I’m gonna try to finish the Neville House. Am afraid you all will have to bear with me — I was honestly making the game plans up on the spot. Mostly because my dining room/workroom is absolutely a mess, and I was blindly digging around for stuff.

Despite Rowen’s protests (and to Cilla’s elation), I wanted the Neville to be occupied by someone else. I don’t know who yet….am sure the answer will come to me. Usually in the middle of the night. (sigh)

Since the building’s overall shape looks like a ski chalet, I was going to continue that theme. But apply a few details/modificiations to make the place my own. Mostly to add some textures and colors to make the place pop some more.

For starters — the roof. I love the slant, but I wanted add some kind of enhancement. Then the idea of simulating a snap-rib roof came to mind.

Example of a snap-rib metal roof on a cabin. Photo from Watertight Systems Ltd.

Example of a snap-rib metal roof on a cabin. Photo from Watertight Systems Ltd.

To help me mimic the look, I sawed to size a couple of 1/8″ x 1/8″ wood strips. Then, using my quilter’s ruler and a pencil, started figuring out how far apart I wanted the strips to be from each other.

Making the measurements.

Making the measurements.

Because the roof’s width didn’t allow for an even spacing of the strips, I decided that the outer and mid beams be about 2 inches apart. Then on the center of the roof, I found a 3/8″ wide strip of wood (that also had the same thickness as the other beams) and applied that in the center. I had to constantly remeasure, but I managed to make sure that for this center beam, it was exactly 2 3/8″ away from the mid-beams. Maybe the technical part of me was being a jerk a pain in my ass inflexible, but I was intent of making the roof as symmetrical as possible.

The final layout for the roof.

The final layout for the roof.

Once I was happy with the layout, I took one end of each of the beams and sawed it at a 45-degree angle. I know this is unnecessary, but I wanted the beams to continue the angle provided by the roof. It’s a miniscule detail I know, but am happy with how it looks.

Close up of the wood strips on the roof.

Close up of the wood strips on the roof.

I haven’t decided on the color yet….I know the beams and the roof will be painted. But the spaces between the beams seems to need some kind of texture. I’ll figure that out later – I have to do a run to either AC Moore or Michaels this week, so maybe something will come up and inspire me.

For the interior walls…oh boy, talk about a challenge. Give the only ways to get inside the room is either via the front patio doors/windows (?) or the openings on the side….and the roof doesn’t pull up….or the back….the options are kinda limited.

So I decided to do a compromise. The side walls I’ll just simply sand to remove any rough edges. While the back wall, I’ll attempt to wallpaper using my leftover sheets from my first 1:6 roombox

Wallpaper for the Neville's rear/accent wall. This is going to be a challenge!

Wallpaper for the Neville’s rear/accent wall. This is going to be a challenge!
Orla Kiely Multistem paper is actually wrapping paper from Paper Source.

…while the ceiling…I’m going to attempt doing something like this.

Exposed wood beams with white painted ceilings.
From the RBD blog

A challenge you ask? Why yes….yes it will. For my wrists especially. <facepalm>

For the exterior walls – I did a late night run to the storage unit a few days ago, and actually did some digging through my bins. I found several sheets of beadboard which got me thinking…maybe the Neville should have some beams incorporated. Especially on the exterior.

Exteior plan - install beams.

Exteior plan – install beams.

I’ll have do some light sanding on the exterior walls , but in the sides where there are recessed panels…I’ll need to cut the beadboard panels to fit to size. I’m still planning to keep the side openings alone — trust me, now I completely understand how the others who own the Neville house found it challenging to position things inside the room. >_<

So far, so good. I got a gameplan for the roof and exeterior walls.  Then BK brought up an interesting question – was I planning to do anything about the front? More specifically, the front railings.

Photo of the The CBS Neville. Please pardon the mess....

The CB2 Neville. Please pardon the mess….

As you can see in the photo above, the Neville has a basic rail for its front deck. It’s cute and all, but when I took this photo, I realized that the railings were actually tilting backwards. I’ve currently put some clamps to see if that might help straighten it and all. But then again…I don’t exactly hate the rails, but don’t exactly love them either.

I had thought of maybe removing the wooden rails and doing something like one of these examples. But is that considered sacrilege? What do you guys think?

Glass Deck Railing Panels. Photo from Houzz.com.

Glass Railing. From STAR System International website.

In the meantime, I’m going to see how far I’ll get today. Before BK and I attempt to brave a trip to our local IKEA store….

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Moving Day for Copeland

Oh lordie…so glad it’s the weekend! Work had been crazy with the constant deadlines. It got to the point that I’d be working nonstop at the office, then come home to only spend dinner and maybe an hour or two with BK. Then locking myself in my workstation to finish up stuff. Think it’s one of the those cons being both a project manager and somewhat of a web developer — the minute you find your groove in a project, you kinda don’t want to let that up.

At least by Friday, most of the projects have been deployed thanks to my teammates manning the fort during my self-lockdowns. Hopefully they won’t mind me bringing them some homemade cookies as a thank you — and for something to nibble during our weekly team meetings.

Anyhoo…now that it’s the weekend….this crazy gal wants to play!

Since the roombox was technically completed as of the last post….I was finally able to move Copeland the Wonder Piano in his new home. It turned out, I even got some help setting up the new digs.

Hey awesome! Setup help!

Hey awesome! Setup help!

Looks like my dolls Monica and her new beau – our little Michael McDonald lookalike (eh, wha??) decided to have dibs on the place.  Guess that works out to my advantage, given Monica really knows how my brain works when it comes to decorating my minis.

Monica bossing poor Michael around.

Monica bossing poor Michael around.

To be honest, I’m a little surprised at this pair up. Monica is my resident divorcee from my cast of dolls (and a mom of three grown kids….and a grandma. All at the age of 47). And Michael (aka “Lil Mac” as I like to call my Michael McDonald lookalike)….well I seriously thought he was gonna be a confirmed bachelor.

Then again…when I moved my bin where my doll cast are currently stationed…I noticed that these two were always together. I even shook the bin and still, they’re within arm’s reach of each other. Guess it’s their way of letting know that I’m to allow this hookup to happen.  Plus, at least Monica got him to update his clothing to something more fitting! <insert laugh here>

The happy couple taking a break.

The happy couple taking a break.

After they took a break (and my yelling “get a room! gross!” each time I caught some PDA action between them), we resumed moving everything into place. Correction – they bossed ME to put things in place.

"Keep backing it in! You're good!"

“Keep backing it in! You’re good!”

"Easy...easy...okay shift it slightly to the right....no YOUR RIGHT!"

“Easy…easy…okay shift it slightly to the right….no YOUR RIGHT!”

Lordie, I thought Monica was bossy. Michael’s worst! Then again…he did put major dibs on Copeland. Especially since he needs to write up some new songs.  I won’t gripe about it though – he looks really happy to finally have a piano he can play.

Admiring his new musical companion Copeland.

Admiring his new musical companion Copeland.

Okay, so while the two went out to lunch….let’s take a look at the new room shall we?

Tadah! The finished room!

Tadah! The finished room!

The main focus of the room is really Copeland. I wiped him down and used a diluted mix of murphy’s soap and water to really make him as polished as possible. Granted, that was overkill, but I wanted him to forget the sorry state he was in when I got him from Monsieur Z and Mme KP. Talk about a transformation!

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Angle shot of Copeland. Piano was a gift from awesome friends. Stool is actually a beat up sewing bench. Cushion covered by fabric from WeeWovens.

On the right side of the room, I used an arm chair I found at a garage sale for $5 (score!). BK suggested putting the guitar in this setting in case Monica or Michael wanted something to else to play.  Behind the chair is a Chapman Bookcase from miniatures.com.

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The Chapman bookcase was a splurge purchase, but I couldn’t resist. It looks exactly like the one in my home office. Took it as a sign — and that’s the story I’m gonna stick to. 😀

Close up of the Chapman Bookcase

Close up of the Chapman Bookcase

In terms of the contents, this is what I can recall. A few were things I had already, but others were things I found online that I couldn’t pass up.

The canister and bowls were an accidental find, and was surprised that the eBay seller actually hand makes these wooden pieces. Suffice to say, I’ve been ordering whatever he’s been creating from his store since. So if you want some unique wood pieces, definitely worth checking him out. And so long as your purchases are under $50…shipping’s a flat rate of about $2.20. Plus he does do sales (bonus!).

Close up of the Chapman Bookcase

Close up of the Chapman Bookcase

For the walls, because I was trying to replicate a Martha’s Vineyard/New England feel, BK suggested that I should look into well known regional artists. I think he intentionally put this suggestion into my head, because I immediately thought of artist Ralph Cahoon.

In terms of who this gentleman this, Mr. Ralph Cahoon was an artist and furniture decorator that resided in the New England region. Because he grew up near the Atlantic Ocean (and apparently he grew up sailing and fishing in the coast), his artwork reflected the local culture. His marriage to Martha Farham, who came from a well-known family of furniture decorator, introduced him to furniture making.

What I adore about Mr. Cahoon’s works are the whimsical themes he goes for. Given he practically lived by the sea, he incorporated details like sailors, mermaids, ships, whales, and even air balloons.  And often, he uses scenes from Cape Cod for his settings, so BK and I tend to recognize the places. I know it sounds silly, but do a Google image search. I personally find them very whimsical and endearing.

I managed to find some images to use (been bugging BK to take me to the Cahoon Museum — it’s apparently near where my in-laws live. I want to stock on books showcasing Mr. Cahoon’s work). After scanning and sprucing them up with Photoshop, I resized the images and printed them on some canvas textured cardstock. I wanted to simulate the impression of looking like actual paintings.

On the side where the piano was positioned, I applied this painting. Think it’s the hats that totally amused me to no end. Plus, I can only imagine the kind of topics these ladies would be discussing during afternoon tea.

Yeah, I think I’m putting some Ralph Cahoon books in my holiday wish list. I can’t afford one of his paintings, but chance to pore over the works at any time will suffice.

Uh-oh, looks like the couple are back. And based on Michael’s expression, looks like he’s ready to belt out some tunes on Copeland. Guess this is our queue to beat feet and have them enjoy their new room!

A quiet afternoon of music.

A quiet afternoon of music.

Sunday Lazing (Sorta)

Given the fudge up I committed last night over the roombox…have to say I was relieved I stuck to my gameplan of just working on applying mortar to the bricks before going to bed. Granted, I only slept my usual 6 hrs…but at least I woke up (somewhat) clear minded. And a little more calm in case something else came up during the roombox’s construction.

For starters, I did an inspection of the bricks. Everything appeared to be completely dry (I placed the roombox near one of our vents so it’d be exposed to the heat) so I sprayed a layer of Lysol over the masonry. Once that was dry, a thick layer of Modge Podge was applied.

Close up of the finished brickwork. Not too bad I guess.

Close up of the finished brickwork. Not too bad I guess.

While the bricks were drying, I set the roombox to rest on its back so I can work on sanding the upper part of the side walls. A couple layers of white craft acrylic paint followed (Americana’s Whitewash) until the walls looked opaque enough.

SundayRoombox-3

To add some interest to the exterior walls (and to provide some kind of break between the brick and the painted sections), I dug around my (now anemic) supplies and found some 3/8″ wide stripwood. Some quick measurements and cuts later, I had some lumber ready to be stained in dark walnut. I used some new Minwax wood stain pens as a finishing medium. Is it just me, or did the formula in the stain markers changed or something? The colors didn’t seem to flow evenly when I was using them. Am sure hoping maybe I’m just using a fluke pen….

Exterior wood trim.

Waiting for the exterior wood trim to dry.

While the trim was set aside to dry, I started to work on the interior trim. Luckily, I didn’t have to do much cutting — just the baseboard, and a single cornice to grace the rear wall.

Sorry for the weird angle -- was trying to utilize as much natural as possible to take clear shots.

Sorry for the weird angle — was trying to utilize as much natural as possible to take clear shots.

By the time I glued the last baseboard in place, BK and I decided to head outside to dig our cars out from the snow. Luckily it didn’t take too long — the sun was out, and the temperature rose to a comfortable 42 degrees. Just enough to soften the snow/ice mix — but heavy enough to still be a concerted effort. At least we’ll be able to get our cars out for Monday’s commute <sigh>.

Once we got back inside the house, the walnut stained trim was dry and ready for installation. Which was peppered with some mild cursing because the tacky glue I was using wasn’t holding the pieces in place. Last time I’ll consider getting the cheap kind. 😦

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The trim on the right started to slide a bit when I was taking the shot. Ugh, last time I’m buying generic tacky glue.

Once the wood trims were FINALLY set in place (thanks to painter’s tape, more cursing, and a cup of hot tea prepared by BK. Thanks babe!), began to prep the picture window. I picked this up awhile back on eBay for some projects that I can’t remember anymore (facepalm). It looks pretty huge, but I wanted to give the roombox the illusion of overlooking an actual scene.

SundayRoombox-7

As for that scene….I went through my files of pictures I took of Grandma Ellie’s house over the summer over at Martha’s Vineyard. Technically, this wouldn’t take long…but BK saw me looking through the pictures on my laptop. So we ended curling up on the couch together most of the afternoon, pouring through the pictures I took. And basically reminiscing our almost week long stay with his grandmother over the summer.

When BK asked me why I was looking at the photos, I told him I wanted to incorporate one of them for the roombox. We ended up settling on this photo of Grandma’s garden as it was perfectly showed why we loved coming here. It was the perfect place to get away from the stress…and just find your center once more. Methinks this was as close as paradise as possible.

Actual photo of my grandmother in law's house and garden at Martha's Vineyard.

Actual photo of my grandmother in law’s house and garden at Martha’s Vineyard.

I remember taking this shot with my smartphone the minute we pulled up on the driveway. I couldn’t get out of the car fast enough so I opened the passenger window and stuck my phone outside to take this shot. Usually, BK and I visited the Vineyeard during the winter months (it’s off season, so it’s a little cheaper to transport the car over by ferry. Plus no tourists to contend on the roads). So the chance to actually come to Grandma’s during the summer months was an absolute rarity to us.

Once the photo was selected, I edited it on Photoshop by increasing the dpi to 300, and resizing the photo to a height that fits the window’s opening.  Once I printed it on photo paper, I glued the photograph onto some cellfoam to provide a stiff base before it was trimmed down to size.

And in true fashion, I got so focused in prepping the window that I forgot to photograph the process. But I did manage to take this shot to show the final product. I tilted the roombox again on its back to make sure the window stayed in place until the glue is completely dried.

Installed the window with its "scene".

Installed the window with its “scene”.

A slightly fuzzy closeup of the window

A slightly fuzzy closeup of the window. Think curtains are in order….

Once the glue dries….I’m officially done constructing the roombox. Huh, and I almost did the work over a weekend (give or take a couple of hours). I guess that’s not bad overall right?

Ugh, I’d move in the stuff and take the final photos, but my dining room light doesn’t make for good pictures. So we’ll have to wait until I can take some photos during the daytime. In the meantime…I’ll provide the following as a teaser. Mostly to say thank you for reading my ramblings. 🙂

SundayRoombox-10

Sample of what’s to come. Ack, the darn lights in the dining room is making my wallpaper look yellowish and weird!

Don’t worry folks, I’m just as impatient as you are. I really want to move the furnishings in – and the new occupants. Stay tuned!

 

Making Strides – Then an ARGH! Moment

Saturday was…a productive day of sorts. Mostly because I was either trying to finish things before the snow…or during. Will back up a bit to explain.

The local news reported that for today, the Washington DC metro area was going to be hit with snow. The original report said snow would appear in the afternoon, then switch to a freezing rain/wintry mix of sorts. Given how batshit crazy the drivers around here tend to behave at the presence of ANY precipitation on the roads, I knew whatever errands needed to be done….it had to be completed before the snow struck.

So early Saturday morning, BK and I loaded my car with the last of my miniature stash and made our way south to where the storage facility was located. We had started to rent a storage unit this past January to help with the storage issue at the house. Though given the picture below, most of the storage unit is being occupied with my apparently large miniature collection.

Holy moly - talk about alot!

Holy moly – talk about alot!

I ended up moving almost all of my bins o’ crap  (that were originally stored in the master half bath) and my dollhouse kits (all of which I managed to store under the bed — on my side of course) into storage. BK managed to find a cheap IKEA table on Craigslist and placed it in the storage room so I can have a designated area to place the ones assembled. Yes, the vintage Lundy stockholm, the Sedona, and my old Winston Cottage are now in storage. Even the CC I had to make the difficult choice of moving. At least until I can finish the other stuff. Like cutting up more bricks (insert groans of agony here).

The good news though is that as of this morning – I had officially moved what I needed to move into storage. The only mini things left in the house…are seriously the ones I have to finish. The ARC III was an exception — that’s considered part of the dining room decor, so that’ll never leave the house. Which is good — given I’m so ridiculously proud of it. 😀

After the storage run was completed, we took a detour at our local IKEA before we really hustled back home. At this point, the snow started to fall…and honestly, the drive home was a little bit hairy, given that even the major highways weren’t fully treated at this point. Luckily, by the time we got home and settled in, the snow was falling fast and hard.

Once we were fully settled in (and BK made us some hot cocoa to enjoy), I padded over to the dining room and hunkered down. To at least start on what will soon be Copeland the Wonder Piano’s new residence.

No, this isn't a breadbox...

No, this isn’t a breadbox…

While this appears at first glance like a breadbox, it’s actually a corner roombox I purchased from eBay awhile back. I had forgotten about it until I started pulling my supplies out to be stored in plastic bins. It was a good size…and it gave me an idea on how I wanted to display Copeland.

For starters, I applied a thin layer of paint on the interior walls/floor. Then sanded it down once everything dried to create a smooth finish.

SnowDayMadness-06

After the walls were sanded and wiped down with tack cloth (crud, I’ll need to get more once the snow clears), I started to install flooring. As usual, I pulled out my wood edge veneer bands. Though instead of picking one veneer and installing them as planks…thought I’d try something different. I put the walnut bands (from the ARC II) as a border, then installed the sapele bands (the ones I used in the ARC III). The wood was then sanded and wiped clean before a thick smear of beeswax polish was applied.

The floors installed and sanded and wiped clean.

The floors installed and sanded and wiped clean.

The floor after it got waxed.

The floor after it got waxed. Sorry for the fuzzy pics.

With the flooring done, I started on the walls. Because the roombox was relatively small  (and because majority of my wallpapers are in storage), I ended up using scrapbook paper. Not sure why, but I wanted the display to have a bit of a nautical/vintage vibe to it.

Sea Creatures Paper – Ahoy There – Carta Bella
Image from A Cherry on Top site.

Wallpaper isn’t my strong suit (along with most things), but I try to follow some basic rules. For starters, when measuring the size needed to paper the rear wall, I always add an extra 1/2 inch to the overall length. Once the paper is cut, I measure a 1/4 inch border on the left & right side paper and fold it. Basically make the flaps to extend past where the rear and side walls meet. That way, the seam between the walls doesn’t look too obvious.

Cutting the paper to fit the rear wall.

Cutting the paper to fit the rear wall.

Once the rear wall is installed, the side papers were applied. Because the walls were curved, I just measured and cut two 8.5 x 8.5 inch squares and pasted them directly to the wall. Then I cut along the curve of the walls using a sharp X-Acto knife.

SnowDayMadness-11

The side walls cut to size. Not bad!

Unfortunately, I realized I made a mistake once the walls were installed. It occured to me that I should have done the exterior first. Cad-nabbit!!!! <starts to curse profusely and wave her arms in the air> Ugh, and I was in a groove and stuff! <curses some more>

Then came mistake #2: I guess in my panic about not doing the exterior first….I started to install egg carton bricks. Oh sweet lordie, what the heck is wrong is me??? What other fudge up am I gonna do next???

What the hell???

What the hell???

I decided before further hell breaks loose, I’d only do about 9 rows of bricks on each side, then maybe paint the rest of the sides and install some wood trim. Ugh, am so darn mad at myself! For now though, I need to paint the bricks, seal, let it dry, then spray the surfaces with Lyson before the mortar can be installed later tonight. <sigh>

Ugh. Note to self: do only the mortar tonight. And then bed. Starting to turn into a Cranky McCrankster. 😦

 

 

Snow Goodies

Today was somewhat of a slow day. Flurries began to fall yesterday afternoon and continued through the night. By then, BK and I learned that the federal government decided to close. Which was great for BK – he got a snow day essentially. For me though, because my job allows me to telecommute – I had to either work, or take unscheduled leave. I ended up using a vacation day…our power was a little iffy, and the last thing I want to happen would be for our electricity to suddenly go out while in the middle of programming. Not a good scenario at all.

On the other hand…because I essentially took a day off…I got to enjoy a couple of hours during the day with BK. Mostly snuggling at the couch, sipping some hot tea while we watched the snow outside. Which was immediately followed by my happy shrieks of opening more packages delivered by our mailman. 🙂

In terms of loot….we’ll start with a half scale kitchen sink and matching cabinet from Diane Paone Miniatures. I got these to install into the Retreat. Need to figure out what kind of finish to use on these beauties…

1/24 scale kitchen sink and shelf

1/24 scale kitchen sink and shelf

The next package was a frivolous eBay purchase on my end. But I guess my own curiousity got the better of me. Plus, it looks pretty cool right?

Decorator Series Living Room Set by Minder Industries.

Decorator Series Living Room Set by Miner Industries.

I don’t know much about this company, but I’ve seen the Miner Industires name quite alot in my search for vintage modern miniatures. Though most of the ones I’ve come across were in 1:24 scale (Call Small has an entry on a really awesome living room set – talk about a lucky puppy!). The only information the seller was able to provide was that it was made in the 60s, and was made wholly of plastic. Despite the old packaging, everything appeared to be in good condition. Figured why the heck not.

After carefully removing the cardboard and plastic lid….I was greeted with this.

The plastic lid removed.

Hey, how you doing gorgeous?

The seller is right — all the pieces are made of hard plastic. But the overall condition of the pieces are fantastic – I was expecting some rough/scuffed edges, but those were barely minimal from what I could see. The cardboard floor and wall were in decent shape…I wish the artwork on the rear “wall” was removable or something. Though I guess I could just splice those pieces out if I want to use them on a setting.

Close up of the set. Check out the zebra like rug print!

Close up of the set. Check out the zebra like rug print!

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The only thing that seemed funky about the set was how the pieces were attached to the carboard floor. If you look closely at the photo above, the black/silver chair has what appears to be black plugs on the left front and right rear leg. Am not sure what you call those pieces, but they seem to act like anchors to keep the pieces attached. It wasn’t until when I tried to seperate the white chair from the flooring that I got a closer look of the plugs.

Close up of the plugs.

Close up of the plugs.

Can’t tell if these plus were more for packaging means or what not. If anyone has an idea, let know. I’m pretty curious to learn the logic behind these plugs.

The plugs after removing the pieces.

The plugs after removing the pieces.

Luckily, even if you remove the pieces from the plugs….they still stand level. I was afraid I’d have to apply the plugs or something. That would kinda suck if you ask me.

I’ll have to test these on some of my 1:12 scale dolls to figure out the scale. It looks a little too big to be 1/16 or 1/18 scale don’t you think? I’m hoping these guys are 1:12 scale…it’ll be nice break to work on. Especially since I’m officially breaking out in cold sweats at the thought of scratch-building a 1/24 scale house….

SnowLoot-8And…I saved the best for last. It’s finally here!!

Behold! The CB2 Neville House!

Behold! The CB2 Neville House!

I gotta admit, I was pretty speechless when I pulled this out of its shipping box. When this house was first released back in 2011 (or was it 2012?), I thought I wouldn’t have a chance getting one. I guess good things come to those who wait. 😀

SnowLoot-12

It’s definitely does seem smaller in terms of the dimensions, but I can see this looking bulky if so much as the overall height was increased.  And boy, folks weren’t kidding about the “sandpaper flooring”. It feels like 180 grit paper or something. Definitely not something I’d want to trip and skin my knees on. Yikes! Definitely putting some kind of covering on this! Last thing I’ll want is to have my wooden minis getting their legs scuffed against this “flooring”. 😦

Weird scratchy carpeting.

Weird scratchy carpeting.

I let Rowen and Cilla come over from the ARC III to check out the place while I went upstairs to finish up some work. Figured these two can take a look and see what they think. What I didn’t expect was a scene straight out of Property Brothers. Or House Hunters. Or whatever show HGTV tends to air nowadays.

Scoping out the place.

Scoping out the place.

Rowen: Whatcha think babe? Doesn’t it look great?

Cilla: I dunno Rowen…we just got our place. I don’t think it’s a good idea to get another place so soon you know?

Rowen: But this is one of a kind! You know that crazy dollhouse gal isn’t going to pass this up! At least let’s take a look around ok?

Cilla: <sigh> Alright, alright. We can take a look.

Assessing the deck.

Assessing the deck.

 

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Rowen: Is this deck cool or what? Think of all the plants we can put out here!

Cilla: But there isn’t enough room to put a chair outside!

Rowen: That’s okay babe! I mean, look at the windows in front of the deck. We can enjoy the view from inside!

Cilla: But..there’s only one room here Rowen….

Rowen: Aw, it’ll be fine babe! Once the big crazy lady finishes the work on this place…this will be THE PLACE to be. Immediately after our house of course. Come on, let’s go inside ok?

Trying one of the side entrances.

Trying one of the side entrances.

Cilla: It’s pretty dark in here Rowen…

Rowen: Aw, it’s okay Cilla! Lemme see if I can find the switch….and there! Found it!

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Cilla: …huh, I guess it doesn’t look bad in here.

Rowen: Well, it looks clean and tidy for starters. The carpet looks nice…but feels weird though.

Cilla: Yeah it does feel weird. The crazy lady was so-so over it. I think I heard her say she’s going to put down a different covering. Or something like that.

Rowern: Sounds like a plan. Not sure I’m a fan of this grey color for the flooring anyways. And I sure hope crazy lady is planning to put paint or wallpaper here! Some color would be great don’t you think?

SnowLoot-20

Cilla: It does feel cozy here…but I wonder what the crazy lady is going to put here. She just got this today you know.

Rowen: That’s true. But hopefully, she’s got some good ideas. I mean, she did build our house. And it’s beyond awesome.

Cilla: <nods head> That’s true. I guess I might like it…depending on how she finishes it.

Rowen: <excitedly> So you’re saying you’re open to us having this place?

Cilla: I’m saying I’m open to us having it — if the crazy lady ends up giving it to us.

Rowen: You’re the best babe! The best!

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Of course, when I came downstairs, I caught the two of them at the deck doing this. Seriously dudes – get a room! Or go back to your house! (mutters darkly as she goes upstairs to wash her eyes)

Holy Crap, Where’s the Off Switch??

Okay…I’m seriously glad I’m recovering from the flu. Because I’m realizing a couple of things in my inboxes.

For starters…apparently I DID CAVE IN and bought this. And it’s en route to me from the Netherlands. <facepalm #1>
Good lord, what was I thinking???

Actually no…I KNEW what I was thinking. I couldn’t pass this up. Especially with all the ideas I have in mind for this beauty.

Half scale dollhouse made of cardboard.
From Melissasminiwereld shop on Etsy.

And second….I paid a pretty hefty amount to win the following on eBay. <facepalm #2….and 3….and 4….>

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set. Used with permission by eBay seller.

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.
Used with permission by eBay seller.

The above set is created by a French toy company called Djeco. Apparently these pieces are part of their “Petit Home” series. These are set in 1:18 scale – similar to Lundby sizes (and can fit in the ARC III) – and are made of plastic and wood. I got more intrigued by the designs of the pieces – especially the dining and living room sets. Definitely has a bit of that modern vintage vibe in the shapes. Plus, the yellows and blues and reds just screamed fun to me. 🙂

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.  Used with permission by eBay seller.

Djeco dollhouse miniature furniture set.
Used with permission by eBay seller.

I was curious why this hasn’t been heard of here in the US — apparently it’s because we can’t get it anywhere in the US (at least from what I could find online). If you wanted to buy these — you’d have to order them either from the EU (like in France or Spain) or Australia. Talk about getting sucker punched, given how $$$ shipping can be from these locations. At the moment, I found one online site that has the series in stock.

Granted, I put a hefty amount to win the bid on eBay. But in the grand scheme of things…the price I paid ended up being comparable had I decided to suck it up and buy the pieces from the EU.

I’m so looking forward to when these pieces arrived. I haven’t figured out how to display them. Djeco does offer the following two to house the pieces – a traditional home style dollhouse. Or a modern style home for those enfants with modern tastes. They even have different selections of what doll families you want to occupy your dollhouse!

Djeco Cubic House.
Photo from the Bilboquet website.

We all know I’m leaning towards the Cubist style, but I have to admit, the home style version is just as adorable….and a bit of a spacesaver, at 40 cm x 40cm x 36.5 cm (about 16″x16″x about 14″)

Djeco Color House.
Photo from the Bilboquet website.

Or…now that I have the jigsaw and a source for Gatorboard….do I risk attempting a scratchbuild? I found someone who posted instructions (and schematics) on how to build a vintage A-Frame dollhouse that’s collapsible. And it’s in 1:16 scale. But then again….I should see how I turn out scratch building the retreat. I think I’m set with the interior layout. The exterior part I seem to be fluctuate a bit from my original concept. Not a good sign methinks.

Either way….I’m going to be super busy. A super busy idiot that is. <facepalm moment>

Until then…and until the Gatorboard arrives….I need to move to another quick project. Maybe something involving Copeland the Wonder Piano perhaps?

Copeland + Corner Roombox = Next Project on Queue

Copeland + Corner Roombox = Next Project on Queue

Well, given that as of tonight (2/16/15), most of Washington DC will be getting between 5 to 12 inches of snow….am going to guess alot of the offices will be closed. I sure hope so — it’ll be nice to work on this while watching the snow pile up outside. And if the federal offices are closed…that means I’ll get more snuggle time with BK! Win!

With my implements of war...

With my implements of war…

Sunday Readings

Woohoo! Finally…not feeling too sick compared to the last couple of days. I mostly spent Friday resting after getting hit with another fever. By Saturday morning…I was feeling a little bit tired at first, but started to feel like I had a little more stamina. And for once, an appetite to actually eat something beyond water, crackers, and ginger ale. So that was good at least. Because I wanted to work on some miniatures.

But in my case…it was a different kind. As in a different scale altogether. That’s right folks….along with working on 1/12, 1/16 (or 1/18), and half scale…..I’ve made the plunge and added 1:6 scale in my madness.

For those who aren’t familiar with this scale…it’s essentially the scale used for 11-12″ fashion dolls. This scale had intrigued me since college, but at that time, I couldn’t exactly afford anything. Let alone the fashion dolls outside the ones available for little girls. I figured, when I get to a point in life where I can invest more into my hobby…then I’d explore the 1:6 scale realm in more detail.

Which brings us to…I dunno, November 2014. I decided from there, I’d make 2015 the year I really took the plunge and dive into this scale.  And the fact I have to wait for the materials for The Retreat to arrive…figured maybe this weekend, I’m going to complete my first 1:6 diorama.

I will admit here folks, I did kinda cheat by getting things over the holidays. And that’s partly why, if you recall in a previous entry, why I had a HUGE pile of packages awaiting BK and I when we came back. I can now admit to you all that of that pile….maybe 40% of the loot consisted of things I had acquired relating to this new scale.

For starters….instead of doing dollhouses, I opted for roomboxes for flexibility (and for not taking up too much space). I ultimately purchased three over the holidays, and of the three, decided to work on this one.

What...what is this????

What…what is this????

I purchased this roombox from Mlle Yogi of RoomLotus over at Etsy. She specializes in creating roomboxes meant for 1:6 scale, but she does accept custom work if you want a roombox of different scales and styles. I ended up picking this roombox because I loved how it has a corner window…much like what you’d see in condos or urban lofts. For some weird reason, I got an image of the afternoon sunlight streaming through that huge window, while curled up with a good book. Suffice to say, I took that image and ran with it.

I began this project around lunchtime this past Saturday….my goal was to see how quickly could I complete this diorama. I figured, hey, it’s a bigger scale — I should finish this quicker right? Figured so long as I maximize use of all my available resources, this should be a relatively fast build.

For starters, I started with the hardest task. Namely removing the already installed baseboard trim and window casings. When I bought the roombox, it already had the trim installed. I was fine with the trim (sorry Mlle Yogi), but because I was planning to install flooring and wallpaper…I knew it will be easier to install those with the trim out of the way.

So with my utility knife, a screwdriver, and sandpaper…I pried off the trim. Once the walls were sanded smooth, I used remnants of the sapele wood veneer edge banding (that made up the floors of the ARC III) and applied them to the roombox as its new hardwood floors. Then of course, I sanded the flooring and buffed it with my beeswax wood polish.

New flooring installed.

New flooring installed.

While the wood polish was being absorbed, I covered the floor using some wax paper and painters tape before flipping the roombox on its sides to paint the side walls. I ended up using a whole container of my FolkArt Clay Bisque acrylic paint because I ended up doing two coats on each side wall, and sanding it twice to get the smooth finish I wanted.

For the rear wall, I used the Multi-Stem Flower wrapping paper from Paper Source. The design is based on a popular pattern from Orla Kiely (you can get this as wallpaper in real life — if you can afford the cost that is). I love that the paper has the pattern in a larger scale on one side, but if you flip it over, the other side has a smaller scale version of the same pattern. I opted for the latter to decorate the wall — now I wish I had gotten more of this paper. It’s pretty thick (given it’s gift wrap), and when I applied my Yes! Adhesive paste on it….it absorbed the paper like a champ. And it hung like a dream when I applied it to the wall.

Installing the Multi-Stem Flower paper. Pretty!

Installing the Multi-Stem Flower paper. Pretty!

Wallpaper installed.

Wallpaper installed.

At this point, it was about 3:30 pm in the afternoon. BK and I were due to leave to have dinner with my parents that evening, and I only had about an hour left to work on the roombox before I had get ready. I ended up cutting and prepping the new trim for that remaining hour before I had to reluctantly leave everything to get ready. While we had a blast having dinner with my family, we managed to get home early. Mostly for BK to return to finish up work he brought from the office, and for me to at least install the trim.

In terms of the trim, I actually got mine from Manchester Dollhouse and Woodworks. The eBay shop has a section specifically for Barbie-sized (1:8 or Playscale) projects. Am not going to lie…the prices for the trim is a little bit more steep compared to 1:12 scale. When I was purchasing the stuff back in December, I took a gamble and really stockpiled the parts from 1/24 all the way to 1/8 scale. Mostly to make the shipping cost worthwhile. Plus, the last thing I want is to find myself short on a particular piece of trim. 😦

Unfortunately, I didn’t take any pictures of the actual work done on the trim. But I’ll at least share the following things I’ve learned.

  1. Get a deeper mitre box. The baseboard I used for the roombox was a couple of millimeters taller than my mitre box. I had to jerry-rig a pseudo mitre tool using scrap mdf pieces to make sure I was making accurate 45 degree cuts. Not fun at all.
  2. Use a 1 1/2″ tall saw when cutting 1:6 to 1:8 scale trim. When I was sawing, and I was about 75% through the height of the trim….my saw couldn’t go further. Again, had to jerry-rig a bit to complete the cut — all while cursing up a storm.
  3. When installing window casing….don’t use water based adhesives like Tacky glue. Especially if said trim is kinda on the thin side. The minute I tried to install the new casing around the window….the trim kinda buckled a bit from the moisture. I had to either lie the roombox on its back or sides, and weigh the casing trim down with whatever heavy books I could fit to make sure the trim dried in position — and level. Again, not fun. But at least I wasn’t cursing. At least not too much.

At this point, it was already close to 11:00 pm, and I was already exhausted. So I took my antibiotics and got ready to bed. Figured once I get up on Sunday, the trim will have dried nicely — and I can resume working on the roombox and finish it up. You can imagine how relieved I was when I checked the roombox — the glue dried up nicely, and the trim was level around the windows. Capital!

At the advice of my sister, she suggested that I try taking pics of my work in the living room since I can get as much natural light as possible. That was actually a good idea — not only did my pics appear a bit better, but I could safely take pics in probably the most tidy room in the house! 😀

Sunday morning: the trims are all installed and secured.

Sunday morning: the trims are all installed and secured.

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Another view. The prints in the back were purchased from a local artisan BK and I admired for years. The print behind the roombox represents the town hall in Old Town Alexandria, VA — where BK and I lived before we got married….

 

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…while the print on the right is a painting of George Washington’s Mount Vernon estate. BK and I got married just outside the estate. 🙂

Now that the trims are all secured….it was time to setup the pieces and decor.

The finished roombox.

The finished roombox.

The furniture I used is actually a doll furniture playset from IKEA called Huset. If it looks familiar to some of you…it’s the same pieces I used to furnish the CC. I actually bought 4 sets of this during an IKEA run last year. For $13/set…I couldn’t pass it up. I used one whole set to furnish the room, but hijacked the green table from another set.

Close up of the completed room.

Close up of the completed room.

What do you think? Does it look cozy? I really had to scrunged around my remaining bins (most are now in storage) to see what I could use to decorate the room. Again, I wanted to create a cozy setting where one could curl up on the couch to read a book. Or maybe have company over for coffee and some homemade pastries.

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Another view of the IKEA Huset doll furniture set.

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SundayReading-12

Above contents: pink couch, yellow chair, rug, green tables, and bookcase are part of IKEA Huset doll furniture set. Pillows from MiniaturesfromAvalon. Tall lime green plant and wooden bowl from ItsPerfectlyPetite. Coffee pot, mugs, and pastries were random eBay purchases.

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I didn’t realize I was taking a pic of my 1:6 living room….that had views to my actual living room. Trippy!

For the walls, because the accent wallpaper provided such a strong background…I wanted the wall art to be just as strong. Given that BK and I are still grieving the loss of his beloved Grandma Ellie….I found myself doing a search on vintage travel posters of Martha’s Vineyard. I ended up settling on these two designs. I resized them in Adobe Fireworks, and increased the dpi to 300 to make sure the design and colors remain crisp. I then printed them on some matte photo paper, trimmed to size, and then attached to matboard. The frames are actually wood ACEO frames I purchased from D’s Miniatures and Collectibles shop on eBay, which I stained a dark walnut and waxes.

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Martha’s Vineyard travel posters.

For the left sidewall, I resized and printed some movie posters. King Kong (the 1933 version) is one of BK’s favorite movies so I wanted to put it here as a nod to him. The other print is actually a nod to the movie Pacific Rim, which is one of my favorite films.

Guess this is another sign of BK’s and my compatibility. When it comes to terrorizing cities, he’s for giant apes; I’m all for giant robots.

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For the right side wall, I found this travel poster for Nantucket, which is someplace BK and I haven’t visited yet.

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For the bookcase…because I had the Vineyard prints, I guess I ended up gravitating towards something nautical.

 

Close up of the bookcase.

Close up of the bookcase.

SundayReading-19Bookcase contents: Plant is from Minimagine. Leather books were an eBay purchase. Green vase purchased from Manor House Miniatures. Aged deep diver’s helmet and red lantern from Diane Paone Miniatures. Paper box on lower shelf, file folders , and books on upper left cubicle from Paper Doll Productions. Captain figurine from private collection. Yellow chair and heart shaped pillow from IKEA Huset doll furniture set. Red/blue pillowcase from Paper Doll Productions.

Now that the decoration is complete….I can move in two (of my slowly growing) collection of 1:6 scale dolls. For this roombox, I figured I wanted to have best friends Anya and Lia to be the official occupants.

Close up of Anya (left) and Lia (right).

Close up of Anya (left) and Lia (right).Anya is a customized Volks head attached to a 25cm Obitsu body. Her dress, stockings, and red shoes were eBay purchases from random vendors. Lia is actually a “Who’s That Girl MAMI” head attached to a 27 cm Obitsu body. Dress was purchased from SquishTish. Shoes were also an eBay purchase.

I’m still relatively new to the dolls….I don’t have a clear criteria per se in terms of what I’m looking for. I definitely wanted ball jointed dolls (BJDs) for maximum movement and articulation. And I definitely wasn’t too interested in Barbies…or the very popular Fashion Integrity dolls. Don’t get wrong…am sure others find them appealing. But I guess since I had grown up watching Japanese animation/anime….I leaned towards the somewhat cartoony. And I wanted my (female dolls) to dress in clothes I’d love to wear everyday if I could. Hopefully I’ll get a better bearing as I delve deeper into this.

For now…I’m just going to let the girls enjoy their Sunday afternoon. While I sit on my couch nearby and enjoy my book and tea.

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Lia savoring her mug of tea while she listens to Anya's stories

Lia savoring her mug of tea while she listens to Anya’s stories

Going back and forth if I'm liking Anya's glasses....

Going back and forth if I’m liking Anya’s glasses….