Bits and Pieces, Odds and Ends

Have been taking it a little easier since we’ve completed and delivered the doll house. Working on some smaller items while I relax a little.

A couple of things that I wanted to do but never seemed to have the time to do, was to create a sign for the half bath that is down at the end of the hallway. There are two doors together, one for the laundry room and one for the bath. Inevitably, guests sent down the hall open the wrong door. I saw a sign like this on Pinterest, I think, and knew I wanted to do something similar.DSCN1523This was done with a plant hanger (Home Depot) and a precut and routed plaque (Joann’s) and then just searched online for a font that I liked. I did this all freehand, although I was looking at specific designs for reference. I then used plastic shower curtain rings that I split with a hack saw and just slipped through holes drilled in the face and then around hanger. Hand painted the two rings black. Then two screws and it was done.

I thought that having this particular door completed sort of made the other one seem kind of, I dunno, bare. So, I created another for the laundry room. I wasn’t paying much attention and I created the lettering just a little tilted, so I just mounted it on the door a little tilted as well. Unless you know that it isn’t level, I don’t think you’d notice.

Laundry Room SignI’ve always been one of those people who seem to never be able to sit still and just watch television no matter how interesting the show or movie. I have to have something to do with my hands. So I hand sew, or paint or decorate or create jewelry. My latest diversion is creating food and accessories for the 18″ dolls. Once they have a kitchen, they have to have something to put in it, right?

So, I’ve started with food cans:

DSCN1557These are made from 1 1/4″ diameter dowels and the labels were printed from images I found online. I sized them correctly once, created a template for future labels in Photoshop. I used a real can and figured scale, something about 1:3 and 1:4. Mark the interval, also 1 1/4″ and cut them on my band saw. I lined them up and spray painted the tops and bottoms silver like cans. Then simply cut the labels out and adhere (I used a glue stick) onto the “cans”. I cannot wait to get the pantry in my doll house’s kitchen filled. I am also working on cereal boxes, pasta and mashed potato boxes and if I can find the right sized jars, I will do peanut butter, jelly and salsa as well. It allows me to be able to sit and still create.

And speaking of creating, I purchased a set of ‘knives’ on eBay for my kitchen. And the Kid did a wonderful job creating a small knife block for it. Didn’t it turn out wonderfully?

DSCN1559I included the chap stick so you get a sense of scale. And yes, the knives do come out of the block.

If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that cross stitch and rug hooking. And this time I did it to the dolls’ scale. First is cross stitch:

DSCN1517Once I had it all finished, I added the fringe on the two shorter sides to give it a more authentic look. I used plastic canvas so that it will last longer, I think it may be a bit more durable. The other is a hooked rug that I made using brown and white alternative yarns. It is very soft and will look nice under the corner of a bed or sofa.

Rug1And with that, I will wrap up tonight’s blog. It looks to be a beautiful day tomorrow, or so I hope. I think the Kid and are hoping to plant strawberries in the garden out in back of the house. A nice wet area that gets lots of moisture and sun.

Thanks for stopping by and come back soon! Oh, and as always, keeping making beautiful things just for the sake of it!

julie

The Kid’s Room is Done, An Unveiling

After spending a few extra hours over the past couple of days to complete artwork, the Kid’s room is declared done. He is very happy with the results, and in the end, that is all that matters.

If you want to refresh your memory of the way the room had been for the first eight and a half years, you can see the “before” pictures here. I also have some photos that I shared with some of the transformation that you can see here.

The best way is to just jump in and show you photos of the room. When you enter the room, to your right is his bed. This is a custom built bed, designed to be a bit of a combination of a day bed and a platform bed. Meant to be comfortable enough to sit upon and play games or watch television. We wrapped the head and left side of the bed board with a leather-look vinyl. Using leather wrapped buttons, I attempted to tuft the boards, but it didn’t turn out exactly how I had pictured it. The frame, however, turned out better than I had hoped. The legs are actually fencing post tops, turned upside down following being painted black.

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The room’s overall theme is a combination of technology and industrial; blacks, grays and a accent color of red. New silver/gray microfiber sheets are topped with a very red comforter and sham. Sitting next to it, is a “leather” wrapped night stand. Sitting on top is his pipe lamp:

DSCN1535Continuing around the room, we have his leather easy chair, kind of a unique design that I found on Craigslist. Immensely comfortable!

DSCN1541It is on this wall, above the chair, is the first of the two pieces of art. Recently having stumbled across a very unique animated movie titled “Angels and Idiots”, both the Kid and I have fallen in love with the artwork. Together, we chose two large digital image from the movie and had them printed out in “industrial size” and then mounted with glue onto stretched canvases. It took a couple of tries to get it to the correct size and clarity of the print. I also used watercolors to add just a hint of the color that was part of the original print/movie. Just a very watered down ‘color wash’. I then painted the sides of the canvases gray on the three part print.

DSCN1540I neglected to mention that the room is painted in shades of gray; three walls in a lighter shade than the fourth wall (the wall on which the desk sits).

It is the desk that we come to next. It stretches the width of the wall, built around the large window. More details exist on an earlier post, which you can see here. He uses the desk often and provides much storage for extra computer pieces. He has set up all of his computers and servers on the right, taller desk top.

DSCN1529We found a unique chair for the desk:

DSCN1542Over each desktop, lighting has been installed to provide specific lighting. I managed to pick these up at a large retailer for 90% off as they were the floor models. Can’t beat that!

DSCN1532As we turn to the fourth wall, we have the piece that started it all; the buffet that was painted black. Perfect for storing his gaming systems and all the paraphernalia that goes with it. Has enough surface that he can have a television for his new gaming systems and a second one for his ever-expanding collection of older gaming systems.

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On this wall displays the other print that was made, this time on a single large framed canvas (note the color wash of his jacket and smoke):

DSCN1539This pretty much concludes the details of the room makeover. We did keep the rug that I hand hooked from his “camo” room, the colors mostly match and it is so very soft (made for 100% wool yarn). I will just throw a few more photos for your pleasure:

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Piping used throughout the room adds to the industrial look:

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The addition of a very modern/industrial ceiling fan and light fixture:

DSCN1526And so this concludes the work done to makeover the Kid’s room. He turns 18 in about six weeks and I hope that having a hip and comfortable space to call his own will keep him from spreading his wings and leaving the nest. :-) I suppose most parents are anxious to have their kids grow up and leave home, but not me. As far as I am concerned, he is my best friend and I hope to remain as invested in his life as I have been for the first 18 years.

Thanks for dropping by. Leave a comment if you’ve seen anything you like or have questions. And as always, keep making beautiful things, just for the sake of beauty.

julie

 

 

PS… I almost forgot to include a panorama photo that the Kid snapped with his iPhone. Pretty cool, huh?IMG_4846

 

 

 

 

 

Doll House is Ready For Delivery

Last few details have been completed and the doll house is ready for delivery.

DSCN1498You may notice that there is a small gap between the “attic” and the rest of the cabinet. That’s simply because they are two parts, created that way for transport. Once it arrives at my grand niece’s home, I will put them together and they will fit tight. Really tight. I’ll post another few shots once it has been assembled.

Before PicsThese are the before shots… sorry about the quality of the pictures. But it does give you an idea of what I started with. I did a coat of primer and realized that it wasn’t going to be the optimum solution, so I opted to cover the box with something that resembled siding. I came up with the idea of using bead board, the kind that comes in 4′ x 8′ panels. All I needed to do is turn it sideways… and viola!, instant siding.

Siding House2Here are some shots of the process… and yes, the Kid was dutifully helping (adding trim to the doors). Looks great!

There were a lot of steps to the process and not sure exactly which ones happened first, so I’ll just post a bunch of the photos…

DSCN1434I added a drawer at the bottom, to hold odds and ends. Modified a drawer rescued from another dresser to fit, added small stoppers to keep the drawer from hitting the back and possibly knocking it off.

DSCN1456 DSCN1457 The remaining space was divided in half and added shelves; one above the drawer and one in the middle.

You can see how badly the primer was doing on this particular surface. Anytime you would touch it, the primer would scrape right off.

On the inside, I did do several more coats of primer and then a couple of coats of paint. I hope that it withstands the play it will get.

Next step was building the “attic”. It was taking shape as a ‘house, but needed just a little more to really do the trick. That’s when I came up with the idea of having an attic. Also allows for a little more play area.

DSCN1455 DSCN1454 DSCN1459 DSCN1458  I added the two vertical pieces on either side to keep it stable as it sat on top of the house. With just a tiny bit of sanding, it will go on with some strength, so there isn’t any danger in it falling off or being pulled off. Also why I opted to not photograph it with the attic in place.

I used actual shingles on the attic, cutting them down to appropriate size and nailed them on. Small wood pieces were painted white to be the trim.

DSCN1468For ease in working on this monstrosity, I added wheels. Made is so much easier to move around. All the layers were starting to add real weight to this thing.

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DSCN1436I built the front door in layers. I decided that rather than put handles on the doors to open it, I would place a front door on it. Made it feel more like a dollhouse. And if things got messy, my niece could just close the doors until she had time to straighten things up.

DSCN1437I found this little door knocker at my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I used this knob I had and spray painted them both the same color silver.

I stumbled on all the colors, simply based on what was available. The outside was painted gray because I had nearly a full gallon of it. I like the way it turned out. The door, painted blue, because I had two full cans of blue spray paint. :-)

DSCN1505I created little windows for the house, spray painted white. I had thought about putting some sort of photo behind each one, but couldn’t come up with anything that I really like. My last ditch effort was to put a photo of mini-blinds, but didn’t like that idea either.

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So they just went on with nothing. I did create little windows boxes for the front two windows, also painted blue. Added some miniature flowers in purple.

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DSCN1498Okay, almost done. I added some vinyl tiles to one level and created a checkerboard pattern in red and white for the bottom level. I covered it with a large piece of plexi used to diffuse florescent lighting. I found a piece at Home Depot that had a crack at one end, but a piece large enough remained. The wonderful folks at Home Depot gave it to me free of charge. Gave the flooring an unique look.

Short of that, the doll house was complete. I added the stove, refrigerator and sink unit I blogged about earlier. Added a small storage unit and made a simple bed for the upper floor. And with that, the project was complete. I’ll let the photos do the talking:

 

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And some photos of the interior:

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Here are a few more close up photos of the inside:

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DSCN1503And with that, this long project draws to a close. I think that we will deliver this in the next day or so. And then I can work on mine! Although mine will be done in a much longer time frame. No hurry to get it done, ya know!

I hope you enjoyed this and thank you for stopping to take a look. Will post more photos after it is delivered.

And keep making beautiful stuff, just for the sake of it!

julie

Doll House Sink/Cabinet and the First Food Items

I may have neglected to mention in my last post, that the dollhouse that I am building for my grand niece is for her American Girl dolls. For those not aware of the great doll wars – these are 18″ tall dolls supposed to be about 12 – 13 years of age. There are many less expensive dolls of the same size, such as My Generation and Madame Alexander as well as generic type dolls. You have to be careful when sewing clothing as there can be some differences in their body sizes, such as waist, hips, and leg length.

I have come to the conclusion that this size, versus smaller dolls (1:6 scale) or the standard dollhouses (1:12 scale). Things are so much easier to build and sew for. You actually have a greater chance of finding things in a smaller size of everyday objects that will work, like espresso cups and small bowls (like the ones used to hold dipping sauce).

In my last post, I showed you the refrigerator and stove that I build and now is the last piece of the cabinet that I will be doing for my niece’s dollhouse. It is a sink in a cabinet combination. This is a moveable piece (as opposed to the other dollhouse I am building that will have actual cabinetry built in (and that includes upper cabinets).

Without further ado:DSCN1487The basic construction of this piece is a drawer that I rescued from a seriously broken desk. It was in really sad shape, the top and sides were in deplorable condition, so I rescued the drawers (and their hardware). Who knew what can come from a lowly drawer?

I simply cut doors and the top panel from 1/4″ plywood, the doors are attached with small hinges and the top panel is nailed. Using the sink to draw the template that had to be cut in both the drawer box and the counter top. By the way, that “sink” is actually a very small steam table pan called a “ninth size” (6 3/4″ x 4 1/4″) that I bought off eBay for less than $4… and works perfectly as a stainless steel sink.

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I added a couple of round feet, salvaged from legs of a small table that I also rescued from Craigslist. The counter top has rounded corners and is covered in a very cool faux tile that I found at Home Depot called ‘Smart Tiles’ (you can read more about it on their website here). They’re very think and self adhesive and I think scale-wise works perfectly. I shaped the faucet and base from polymer clay and then used two small wooded knobs painted silver for the handles.DSCN1486I had accidentally cut the doors just a little narrow, so I inserted a vertical board to fill in the void and also add some stability. I also installed a small shelf to help provide some storage below. A couple of white narrow knobs following three coats of white spray paint over a coat of primer.

DSCN1489So very easy and I think it will be very durable. Here is one final picture in its place in the dollhouse.

DSCN1490The feet might have made it just slightly taller than the stove, but I don’t think that is a big deal. Little ones don’t seem to mind that the things they play with aren’t perfect. I also have collected some plastic food and pans and although they are a bit larger than either 1:3 or 1:4 scale, I don’t think she’ll mind.

Speaking of food, I was playing around with the polymer clay and created some faux food.

First up was a couple of plates of fried eggs and strips of bacon. It took a while to get the colors right on the bacon and I am still thinking it could use some tweaking. These are the plates I got about 10 years ago at IKEA and have been packed away ever since. They are perfect!DSCN1484

Then I worked on a pie, I guess it would be apple pie based on the lattice crust on too. Using a small baking dish – yes, that’s a real ceramic pie dish – I just cut a bunch of shapes that would sort of look like fruit. Then placed them on top of the bottom crust and then wove the top lattice crust. Other than not using real food, the steps were very similar to that of making an actual pie! I used watercolor paints that I thinned way down and then poured into the pie to get coloring throughout and then painted the lattice crust.

DSCN1485Oh, I also sat and rolled peas from the polymer while the Kid and I watched a movie. I had sort of expected for them to fuse together when I fired them, but they didn’t. I spread them out on a painting cloth and using an awesome green, spray painted them. I had to keep rolling them around, trying to get all of the sides and I think I finally made most of them the same color, but since variations are natural in nature, I think that the ones that aren’t solid green make the whole bunch perfect!

DSCN1491Turned out pretty cool, if I have to say so myself. I think that going forward with work on my dollhouse, I will continue to create food, both for me and my grand niece. Its fun and relaxing as well as challenging to keep coming up with more food items. Think I will work on some boxes and maybe canned food, reducing the size of labels should be pretty fun.

Tomorrow I will posting the final shots of the dollhouse. And a week later, we’ll load it into the truck and head to Des Moines and deliver it. I am planning on including some pics of the by grand niece with the final product set up in her room. I think it will be a blast.

To be perfectly honest, though, I really am ready for this piece to be done. Lots of little details and issues and I am ready to move onto something else. My own dollhouse may take a back seat to my next project, but since it occupies a very visible place in my entry way, I will be reminded of it constantly. :-)

Thanks for dropping by and remember to keep making beautiful things!

julie

Doll House Appliances: Kitchenaide Red Refrigerator and Stove

Been a few days since I last wrote, but lots being done to finish the doll house in time for delivery on Memorial Day.

Thought I’d show you the work that has been done on some of the accessories for the doll houses. The neat thing is that lots of what I am doing is being done in pairs, so what I mess up or learn from building the first one goes into the second one.

For my niece’s dollhouse, one floor will be a kitchen. It will come with a stove, refrigerator and sink/cabinet. I think this set is turned out really cute. The red set is for my niece, the turquoise one is for mine.

Here’s a shot of the completed set in red:

DSCN1474 I don’t have pictures of all the steps, but let me try to walk you through the process. It is really pretty easy.

The pieces started out as simply boxes. The fridge has a shelf that separates the freezer from the ‘fridge part. And the range/oven/stove has a piece that stands up on top, but essentially they are both just boxes.

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This one was originally going to be “stainless steel”, hence the silver paint. But this gives you an idea of what the basic box construction looks like.

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Here are the stoves, again, basic box construction. They are lying on their sides, as I was gluing in the rods used for the drawer slides.

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The front piece of the stove box was cut short (and the short piece attached to resemble the broiler drawer (doesn’t actually open) and then a window cut into the top section. Attached with hinges.

DSCN1447I used these handles to replicate the oven door and drawer handles. Looks pretty good to me.

DSCN1442I stumbled onto using these fan covers for burners when I watched the Kid take apart one of his computers. Looks exactly like the burners on my real stove. I ordered them off eBay in two different sizes. They went on easily with a couple of screws.

DSCN1481I found some wire baskets in an upstairs closet that when I ran across them, the lightbulb went off… and the Kid used his new Dremel tool to cut them into size needed to fit into the ovens. The oven was painted with a black texture paint and I used the same dowels as the refrigerator to act as shelf guides.

I cut plexiglass into the correct sizes to fit into the door on the front and a little larger on the back (attached with screws). Used a small magnet for the door to help keep it closed.

Here are a few more finished pics:

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DSCN1478Then the refrigerator, again was done in much the same way. The door is connected with hinges. I found the perfect photo of the inside of a ‘fridge door and increased the size and printed it out and glued to the inner side of the door. The doors are cut from a plastic dish drainer and spray painted silver. I found the small plastic box at a local store and I love that the rubber mat at its bottom match the outside color.

 The outside decoration was made from polymer clay. I played around with several designs and decided that I liked this one best. The handle was just a lucky find, taken off an old dresser that I redecorated. They are perfect handles for my “mini-fridges”!

Here are a few shots of the refrigerator:

DSCN1475Here is another shot of the inside:

DSCN1476Work remains on the kitchen sink cabinet and will show that in another post. We are so close to completion of the doll house with a few minor details to complete and then it will be loaded up and delivered. If it weren’t for the fact that my niece is 300 miles away, I would have given it to her and then worked on the details in the meantime. But since I cannot just “pop over” and drop off things or touch up paint etc., it has to be all done before loading it up. Unless it is something that is being done to both dollhouses, I have pretty much stopped work on the resident doll house and will wait until this one has been safely delivered.

Well, thanks for dropping by and keep making cool stuff! And come back soon!

julie

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