Well This Is Sucky News…

This never fails to crack me up.

No, this does not pertain to the Sedona roombox. In fact, it’s safely secured in one of the closets on the second floor — along with the rest of my stuff that were on top of my dining-room-table-turned-workshop.

BK and I will hosting some friends next week, and we started scouring the house from the ground up. No, I’m not saying we’re complete slobs (I clean the house twice a week – thanks Mom for the OCD tendencies). But if company is involved….let’s just say BK thinks I go absolutely cray-cray in having a clean home. Hey, someone has to keep the place clean right?

Anyways…sorry for the rambling.

Since I was waiting around for the door to arrive, I figured maybe I should work on the Primrose. Yeah, remember that little house? The last time I worked on it was April 2012, after installing the floor and wallpaper. After that was done, I ended up wrapping and packing it away, since that’s about the time BK & I began house-hunting.

So I thought “well, the Primrose is in storage. Can’t work on the Sedona till the stuff arrives…maybe I’ll do two homes in tandem.”

That sounded like a great idea….till I started looking for the box where I packed the Primrose.

I checked the closets upstairs….closets downstairs. Then I went outside to our patio’s storage shed and looked in there (and freaked out when I came across a HUGE wolf spider). Then checked the closets once more. I couldn’t find the box where I kept the half-built house.

At this point, I’m freaking out. Then it occurred to me to ask my husband if he had seen the container. This is literally the transcript of our conversation.

Me: Hun, remember that house I built before we moved? I put it in a box and could have sworn we moved it in.

BK: Was it the box with the Delmonte pineapple logo?

Me: Yes!

BK: The one you used painter’s tape to seal it?

Me: Yes! Yes! Where did we put it???

BK: <long pause> We threw it out…cause you fell on it and squashed it flat remember?

Confused

According to BK, that’s what I looked like.
Minus the awesome kung-fu moves of course.

Based on the poleaxed expression that was plastered on my face, BK explained that during the actual move day, I was frantically rushing between the first and second floors of our house, moving boxes around to the right rooms. And in my rush, (according to BK), I tripped on some empty boxes and rather than going face down, I twisted my body enough to land on my bottom. And crushed a box in the process. More specifically, the Delmonte pineapple box wrapped in blue painters tape. That had the Primrose inside.

Funny thing is, I started to remember falling on a box. But it didn’t register at the time that it was THAT box. Guess the day’s activities really kept me busy.

Suffice to say, am pretty bummed at this sad news. Guess that explains why I couldn’t find the house to begin with. Guess for now, have to decide if I want to get another Primrose kit and redo everything…or just start something else.

Man, what a bummer.

 

 

Primrose Part 2: The Interior

Primrose - Interior Overview

Finished interior? Check! Well...sorta.

With the shell now assembled — at least the first floor was glued —  it was now time for the fun part – decorating the walls/ceilings.

I knew the house was going to be furnished to be something more on the modern/contemporary side but frankly, wasn’t sure what furnishings I was going to use. I did a recent purge of my minis (I gave away a couple of items some fellow GL forum members – thanks for helping me clear space off my bins of crap!), so will need to dig around and start picking them soon. But until that’s done, the wall and floor colors need to be flexible and neutral.

For the floors, I just resorted to using my favorite walnut wood planks. Never realized how many of these I bought before I got engaged. Guess in a way it’s good because it means it’ll be awhile before I officially run out of these planks (since the vendor on EBay doesn’t currently have them in stock).  While I love how they look when installed, sanded, and varnished, finding the right adhesive is a bit of a challenge. I tried using regular carpenters/wood glue, but the planks just curled up because they’re so thin. I used QuickGrip in another project, which worked great — problem was that the stuff can get so darn expensive*.   So that option was out.

(Update: Found out later that Stuff4Crafts.com and Hancock Fabrics actually sells QuickGrip pretty cheap. Ended up ordering a dozen of them to keep on hand. Yay!)

Primrose - View of the Floor

Not bad!

Then I read on the Greenleaf Forum that some folks used contact cementwhen installing flooring. Was initially hesitant because the stuff not only smells but it’s pretty flammable (yeah, last thing BK and I need is to make our apartment burst into flames). But then again, the small bottles are relatively inexpensive at my local Lowes. Why the hell not, I guess.

The verdict? It’s actually not bad.In fact, I actually think I found my adhesive of choice for the plank flooring.  Granted, it does smell awful (definitely have your windows open when using this stuff. And wear a mask if you can handle it), and it’s a bit messy at first try. But so long as you work quickly in spreading the cement both on the floor AND the plank you’re installing, the stuff bonds them instantly.  Though just to be sure, once I finished a whole floor, I covered it up with wax paper and stacked some heavy books on top. After 24 hours, I’ll peel off the wax paper and sand the flooring down before putting a couple coats of beeswax varnish.

Primrose - Wall Decor Choices

Colors/patterns chosen for the Primrose. Paint colors are courtesy of Behr Paint. French Toile Blue is the property of the Dollhouse Emporium/DHEMinis.

Once the floor was done, I started taking measurements of the walls and ceiling for my wallpaper. To make this easy on me, I did not glue on the roof until the second floor was wallpapered.  Especially since that area has a dormer that I’ll need to cover.

I really wanted the walls on the first floor to be a solid color. But because of the size of the Primrose, figured there’s no point buying paint to cover walls that small. And since there are very few solid colored wallpapers on the mini market (*cough* freakin’ BIG-ASS HINT *cough*), decided to just make my own using cardstock.

After checking out the Behr website and picking out the colors I wanted, I did a screen capture of my selections and basically used Photoshop to print them out on plain white cardstock.  The purple color (“Gypsy Magic” – who comes up with these paint names anyway??) turned out great. But the coffee/cream color always looks grey whenever I took photos. Imagine that.

For the second floor, I wanted to use a blue floral wallpaper I bought from DHEMinis awhile back. But when I realized I didn’t have enough….I just turned on my scanner and scanned the pattern before printing it out on cardstock. Granted, it’s not quite the same as the original (it looks a little blurry if you ask me). But until the wallpaper is in stock…it’ll have to do. So note to Dollhouse Emporium/DHEMinis — please restock this pattern and its variants soon. You got a crazy Asian chick in Washington DC that’s resorting to rationing this particular wallpaper for her projects. And oh yeah, she’ll love you forever if you make this available again.

After printing out the wallpapers and cutting them down to size, it was time to glue them to the walls.  And man, did I realize how much I hated this step.  I wasn’t able to take pictures of this process — but in a way that was good because I screwed up the first floor big time. I used a PVA bookbinding paste as an adhesive, but both the cardstock and the walls (despite being primed and prepped) soaked it up. So I peel it off, wiped down the walls free of adhesive, and do it all over again once the walls were dry. Oh yeah, and that meant reprinting my wallpapers all over again in my printer.

Primrose - Dormer Decor

Putting wallpaper on the dormer wasn't too bad -- just time consuming. 😦

For the second round — it was a success. I used a different adhesive (YES! Glue), and the wallpaper installed like a dream.  I had to use an old/defunct credit card to help smooth and crease the wallpaper in place.  Once the first floor was done (I had to let the paper dry before cutting out the excess paper in the door/window openings), I started working on the second floor.

Because of the gable shape on the sides, the easiest way to work around this was to simply glue a panel of the wallpaper, and just cut out the excess when it was dry.

Same thing with the dormer – I had to cut out a rough shape to fit the interior of the dormer and glue it in place. Then once the glue was completely dry, use a sharp blade to carefully trim away the excess. Once the paper was cut, I was able to finally glue it to the roof, and the roof in turn be glued on the wallpapered first floor.

While the glue was drying, I started prepping and painting the wood trim for the Primrose. To keep the costs down, I had to make do with whatever I had on hand.  Good thing the kit was relatively small, because I was able to stretch my existing stock to accommodate it. Plus, I need the wood trim to cover any gaps in the wallpaper. Luckily they were few, but at least this helps reduce the amount of eye sore I was seeing. 🙂

At the moment, only the second floor has the molding installed. I couldn’t install the ones for the first floor until I get the kitchen cabinets installed and finalized.

So again, so far so good! Hopefully it’s smooth sailing from hereon.

See Gallery

My First Kit Bash – Think it’s a Success So Far….

Easter weekend came and went. Granted, the Easter bunny didn’t come by and left me gifts of confectionery awesomeness. But at least BK and I got to spend Sunday with my family for some serious Pinoy-style celebrations: a kickass brunch of tasty proportions (cuz my parents roll like that), coupled with a health dose of chismis and kuwento (the Tagalog term for “gossip” and “stories” respectively).  Even though my family’s literally 45 minutes away, it is nice to hear BK say how much he enjoys seeing my family.  Then again, my mother did serve ham, and there’s no way my husband was going to turn down that porky goodness.

Along with stuffing our faces silly, I am pretty proud to report that I actually got back to building dollhouses again.  Okay, so I spent the last three weeks sanding and prepping the pieces. But when it came to actual construction (officially around April 1st), I was rather amazed at how quickly things came together.

So a bit of background is in order.  Remember how I got the Glencroft in December? Well, as excited as I was receiving it, there was also anxiety. Up until then, most of the dollhouses I’ve handled were either made of 3/8″ (or 10mm) thick wood or MDF.  The Glencroft is manufactured by Greenleaf/Corona Concepts dollhouses — and this company makes dollhouses using 1/8″ thick plywood instead.  Basically, this meant that the kit I attained was made of thinner stuff. And my friends will tell you, I’m not exactly a pro when it comes to handling delicate stuff.   😦

So rather than peeing in my pants and agonizing at the possibility of my destroying the Glencroft during construction, BK suggested that I do a test run on another Greenleaf kit. Something smaller, and something that won’t break the bank in case I screw it up.

The Primrose. Photo courtesy of Greenleaf Dollhouses.

Enter the Primrose.

Not only is it very affordable ($15/kit – bought two just for the heck of it), but the shape is pretty basic — a simple two story cottage with a roomy first floor and a workable second floor.  I thought it was cute and all, but then when I checked out Greenleaf’s forum gallery – I was utterly amazed at the creative ways the members modified their Primrose kits.  My favorite rendition was done by fellow Greenleaf forum member Minis on the Edge – just seeing the adjustments she made to make her kit look like a rustic two story cottage made me want to try my hand at it.

But as you all know, just because you see something you want to try — actually doing it is an altogether matter.  So before I could try my hand at it, decided to draft my gameplan.

Primrose - Construction001Since I bought two Primrose kits, I knew the challenge was to basically make the kit taller than the original design. The only way to do that was to basically add height to the front and side panels. The first floor was already designed to have 8″ ceiling height, but the second floor was roughly about….maybe 6-7 inches tall if you measure the gables.  But that’s not pretty realistic — in a real house, you want the pitched roof and gable to be way above your head. In this case, I had to figure out how to make the second floor be the same height as the first.

The good news was that the solution was simple — it basically consisted of taking the side panels on both kits, cutting them up and splicing them together to create taller panels.  I didn’t take photos of the actual process (since I was spending evenings cutting each panel apart with a craft knife), but hopefully this Illustrator diagram will help.

In short, I took the side panels from Kit A and cut off the gable parts (which left me with a rectangle each), while from Kit B, I cut off the top 35% of the panel.  But because the wood panels were 1/8″ thin, gluing the panels together didn’t guarantee that they pieces would be flush. So to make sure everything was square/level/flush, I glued the pieces on a 3mm thick sheet of cellfoam. After covering it with wax paper and stacking a ton of BK’s boring  dense hardcover books (thanks hun!) to flatten the merge panels, I cut out the new shape.  And voila, two new taller side panels.

Primrose - Construction009

The restructured Primrose with its new dormer, windows, and test door.

Once the sides were created, the rest of the construction was straightforward. Because the Primrose was a tab-and-slot assembly, it was a matter of making sure the pieces were sanded enough to fit at the necessary slots/tabs.

I also ended up cutting the original door and window openings to bigger sizes in order to use plastic windows I bought online. Unfortunately, these new components required a thicker insert — which was easily solved (yay!) by gluing a layer of cellfoam wherever it was needed. Probably a good thing in the long run — it basically made the overall structure more stable (and less likely to keel over).

Once I got the doors and windows done, decided to just go for broke and even cut an opening on the roof for a dormer.  At this point, the second floor was tall enough to be a room. So why not throw a dormer window for gusto you know?

By 9 pm April 1st, I was officially done with constructing the main shell of the house.  Again, I did spend the weeks prior to Easter weekend sanding each piece from both kits. But after doing the run, can definitely understand why my fellow Greenleaf forum compatriots enjoy building these kits. They are indeed flexible when it comes to customizing, and with the wood being thin, it was easy to widen or create new openings for doors and windows.

Overall, I’m liking it. But again, have to see how this turns out before I even begin to attempt the Glencroft.

See Primrose Gallery – Part I

Apologies (Yet Again) and Some Updates

…am really sorry folks for yet another late post. I did promise to be better at writing my chronicles. But the last couple of weeks have been pretty taxing here in the real world. For starters, two weeks after I completed the Prototype Kit, my work world was turned upside down when a close coworker in my department suddenly passed away. It was devastating for all of us who worked with her — we all basically interacted with her that day.  But I think it was even worse for my bosses, who were with her when she had the heart attack, and watched her be taken away to the hospital. Only to find out the next morning that she sadly didn’t pull through.

I was working remotely on the day the news broke out.  Another coworker called my cell and tearfully told me the news.  Oddly, I don’t remember much of that day — think most of the time I just did what I could at home.  But it wasn’t until I returned to the office the following day, and seeing her cube did it finally hit me.  And it pretty much was a struggle after that until the day of the funeral.

Not gonna lie – it’s still difficult coming to work. I always have to walk past her cube to get to mine, and while her station has been recently cleared and prepped for a temp, think many of us are still expecting her to come in from perhaps her recent trip to Jamaica or North Carolina.  And probably raising a fuss as to why her stuff got moved around. Heck, there are times I sit at my desk and expect to smell the cinnamon tea she always brews for her breakfast and afternoon snack. So yes, it will pass…but right now, guess it’s one step at a time.

I know most folks will say that it will take time. But it’s funny how odd that sounds when you’re in a position of needing to grieve while needing to move on. Especially at work. And while the organization as a whole have been kind in holding back projects while my department gets back on its feet, it’s obvious that we need to keep going.

So again, thank you everyone who have been patient and provided support in the last couple of weeks. Most of you tend to roll your eyes and say it’s nothing. But seriously, thank you for everything.

In terms of minis, I did managed (and often forced) to do some work .  After the prototype, I wanted to try my hand at kitbashing the Primrose dollhouse kit. But with what happened at work, I knew I wouldn’t be in the right state of mind to tackle such a task. So to help me pass the time, I shuttled between just prepping the pieces for the kitbash, decorating some of my existing houses/displays, and purchasing some new items (sssh, don’t tell BK).  I’ll get the posts about them soon.

Again, thanks again, and (hopefully)….I am back.