Friday, October 30, 2015

Working out which windows

My original plan for the HBS Creatin' Contest build was to have fairly plain windows across the front of the shed:
Outline of a shed split down the middle ,with two windows on each side of the front, weatherboarding,  and a deck on each side. The background is coloured grey to show placement of windows and doors at the side and rear.
which, of course, would mean building them from scratch: A (nother) challenge, even if I decide against the latest mad plan, which is to make them bi-fold.

On the AMEA Convention Trash to Treasure Table I found these windows:
Mock up of a  dlls' house miniautre shed kit, with multipane windows propped up along the front wall.
(which I'd pull the pediments off before installing, like I've done previously.) They'd definitely be easier to use, but I wonder how long it'd be before my sensibilities would force me to tear them out and install the original design?


Thursday, October 29, 2015

Wonky windows

The good news: I worked out how to change my saw blade and cut a couple of window holes in the middle of the back wall.
Dolls' house window inserted into a hole cut in a sheet of MDF.
The bad news: I'm still not crash hot as cutting straight with my scroll saw, so unless I feel the sudden need to channel Hudertwasser, there will be some packing and sanding in my future. And I decided the only sensible thing to do to avert further catastrophe is to cut the weatherboard using a knife and ruler.
Wall and floor pieces of a doll's house kit taped into place, with siding clamped on and sliding doors installed.
The good news: I did another trial fit. I'm feeling hopeful.
One piece of MDF, perpendicular to another, with a small amount of overhang.
The bad news: I miscalculated the length of the middle wall when I cut it. So it'll be headng back to the saw.
Front view of a dolls; house miniature shed kit, held together with clamps and tape.
The good news: I'm pretty certain I know what to do next.
Front view of a dolls; house miniature shed kit, held together with clamps and tape, with a piece across the front.
The bad news: that bit of MDF I picked up from Bunnings for the front looks like it's too high. There will be more wonky cuts in my near future...

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Muddling along Monday*

I'm at that stage where I have so many projects on the go that I feel I'm not making any progress on any of them.

But slowly and surely, I'm getting there...
Woman reading an instruction manual for a scroll saw.
The HBS Creatin' Contest build: I thought I was going to take the back wall to James at Victorian Dollhouses and get him to cut my window holes later this week. Then told myself not to be such a wuss, and dug out the instruction manual for my scroll saw so I can learn how to remove the blade, and cut the holes myself. (Besides, it's probably more than time I changed the blade: I hear that they are like sewing machine needles in that way.)
Lundby dolls' house carpet, in the process of being picked off.
The Lundby hack: Still working away at removing the bedroom carpet. Each morning, as I wait for the kettle to boil, I do some more work on it. There's probably some fabulous shortcut, but I haven't bothered looking for it. Yet.
Laptop computer, showing a magazine in the process of being laid out.
The November issue of The tiny Times: is running late. But until I broadcast it to the world, only two people knew or cared. I think it's our best issue yet. But then I'm a tad biased.
Close up of a notebook, with notes for a work in an art exhibition.
And a new project: I'm going to be part of another exhibitionmy first outside of Canberrawhich opens in a month. I spent some time this afternoon on the phone to the curator, discussing what they'd like from me, and now I need to schedule time into my diary to (re) create the pieces.

Plus, over at one of my other blogs: I went interstate to visit an op (thrift) shop.

(*Except, just as I went to hit the 'publish' button I had the dawning realisation that it might just be Tuesday. Welcome to my life, where days of the week become meaningless.)

27 November - 24 December 2015
An exhibition of works particularly for children but also suitable for adults in need of a little nostalgia in the lead up to Christmas.  From original book illustrations to colourful sculptures and hand-made wooden toys by local Goulburn Woodworkers, there's something  in the toybox to delight everybody.
Civic Centre, Bourke Street
Goulburn N.S.W.
Tel. 02 4823 4503

Open Monday - Friday 10 am – 5 pm,   Saturday 1 pm – 4 pm  (Closed Sunday and Public Holidays)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Tick tock, I want that clock...

qlocktwo w watch
(Image shamelessly lifted from Biegert & Funk)
I just spotted the QLOCKTWO W watch in my magazine reading and instantly wanted it to use as a clock in a miniature scene.

The only problem is that I can't work out how to fit $1,000 into my current budget...

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

What I learnt yesterday

If you're using your new electric drill, and it seems to be taking ages to drill your hole, you might just have accidentally set it to drill backwards... :-}
Electric drill on a piece of MDF board, with two rectangles drawn on it, one of which has a hole drilled in the corner of it.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Budget building (from the Bunnings bin)

I'm feeding a friend's cat at the moment, which gives me the excuse to go out every day. Yesterday I decided to pop into Bunnings while I was out, and get the back wall cut for my HBS Creatin Contest hack.

Being the frugal lass that I am, I headed to the scrap bins at the back of the timber area (via the paint mistint display) to see if I could save buying a complete piece of MDF just to get a smallish corner cut from it.

I was in luck: I pulled out not only a perfect piece to get cut down* for the back wall, but another piece that looks like a good solution for the front wall.
Cutting rea of a hardware store, with pieces of MDF and a test pot of paint in the foreground and an assistant cutting MDF in the background.
The total cost?
Several pieces of MDF (one with a large boot print on it) and a test pot of paint in front of a bin in a hardware store.
$1.01 for the test pot mistint (a lovely french blue colour).
Top of a test pot of paint, showing a dab of blue paint and the price ($1.01) written on it.
$1 for making two cuts in the MDF.
Four offcuts of MDF, in various sizes, leaning against a workbench in a house.
And nothing for the pieces of MDF, which would have been thrown out had I not wanted them.
Bunnings warehouse receipt, showing a total spend of $2.00.
(*Yes, I know I have a saw at home, but I wanted the cuts to be straight).


Monday, October 19, 2015

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Board, board, board*

As I started to work on cutting the weatherboarding for my HBS Creatin' Contest kit to size, I made a happy discovery:
Hand holding up a piece of dolls' house kit wall, with the edge to the camera showing how there is space to add siding  and have room against the door frame.
The kit is designed so the weatherboarding can go under the door frame: so I don't need to worry about cutting the edges completely perfectly: as they won't be seen. W00t!
Wall of a dolls' house kit, with weatherboarding cut to size and a sliding door dry fitted.
Just as well, really. my cutting's pretty crap.
Close up of the edge of a piece of wood, showing rough sawing.
And, suddenly, it's starting to look like a building.
Wall of a dolls' house kit, with weatherboarding clamped to it,  and a sliding door dry fitted. The wall is standing on a piece of board that looks like concrete, and a dolls' house miniature Adirondack chair is in front of it.
I celebrated by cutting the central wall, which will divide the cottage into two rooms.
Walls of a dolls' house kit, with weatherboarding clamped to them and a plain wall underneath them.
(*with apologies to Vyvyan)


Friday, October 16, 2015

Shopping the stash

In the spirit of still not having paid employment (and having spent several weeks' grocery budget at Convention and in The Blue Mountains), I'm trying to use what I have for my HBS Creatin' Contest build.

The first find was a stash of weatherboard siding I'd bought from James for the shed that was never built. I knew I had some hiding somewhere, but wasn't sure it was enough to cover the whole cottage. Fingers crossed that it is, otherwise I might change the plans and make the rear wall plain.
Woman looking happy and holding up four panels of miniature weatherboarding wood.
 While I was hunting for the weatherboard I rediscovered a roombox kit that I bought very cheaply many years ago, tried putting together and got most discouraged when it fell apart. After which I buried it in the bottom of a cupboard.

Luckily for me the pieces are the same depth as the HBS kit, and large enough to use to cut the extra central wall that I need for my build. There are also some perspex pieces included, that might end up working for the front windows...
Three pieces of MDF, the middle one having had the shape of the top pne traced onto it with pencil.
Rocking and rolling!


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Feeling dippy

Back in April, when I experimented with dipping vases in paint, m1k1 requested that I do some for her and even offered a stash of vases to work with. She dropped them off to me when she visited last month, and I finally made time to play with then (and the nail varnish I bought in The Blue Mountains).

(Because of course it's easier to just dip the vases in a pot of paint but I wanted to see how it worked if I combined the idea of using nail varnish to paint vases with the concept of dipping. Just to make life difficult. But I figured that if I'd already spent $2.30 a bottle on nail varnish it would be silly driving all the way across town to buy extra paint colours as well. And besides, since I'd been given 12 vases I had the ability to stuff a few of them up and still have enough to revert to the painting option...)
Slection of dolls' house miniature white vases, bottles of nail varnish and paint and plastic containers on a cutting mat.
I gathered the following together for my experiment:

Vases (of course)
Bottles of nail varnish
Small plastic containers to pour the nail varnish into for dipping (I hoped I could pour the extra back into the bottles at the end)
Blu Tack
Baking paper
Paper towel
Three paint brushes and six dolls' house miniature white vases arranged on a cutting mat.
plus paint brushes with bottoms big enough to fit fairly snuggly into the mouths of the vases.

And to add to the fun, I decided to see if using masking tape and spray paint would work as well, so I also gathered a roll of masking tape, a pair of scissors and a can of spray paint.
Container of dolls' house miniature white vases, a roll of masking tape, a pair of scissors and a can of spray paint arranged on a piece of baking paper.
First up, I tested the spray paint theory and wrapped the top of the vase with a length of the masking tape (rubbing the edge with my fingernail to make sure it was firmly attached along the bottom edge) and took it outside to spray.
White dolls' house miniature vase, half-taped with masking tape, about to be spray painted.
(This was the method I used for my dipped stool.)
White dolls' house miniature vase, half-taped with masking tape, being spray painted.
White dolls' house miniature vase, half-taped with masking tape and  spray painted.
Hmmm... not looking good so far. But I put it aside to dry and returned to the nail varnishing.
White dolls' house miniature vase, with the end of a paint brush blue tacked into it, on a piece of baking paper with a bottle of nail varnish, a small plastic container and a piece of paper towel.
First, I placed the end of a paint brush into the mouth of the vase, using blu tack to hold it firmly in place (and checking that everything was straight).
White dolls' house miniature vase, with the end of a paint brush blue tacked into it, on a piece of baking paper next to a small plastic container half-filled with gold nail varnish.
I filled the container with enough nail varnish to cover the height of the vase I wanted coloured (making a guess at how much extra height would be achieved when I placed the vase in the container.) 
White dolls' house miniature vase, with the end of a paint brush blue tacked into it, dipped into a small plastic container half-filled with gold nail varnish.
And dipped the vase in the varnish, twisting slightly as I removed it
White dolls' house miniature vase, with the end of a paint brush blue tacked into it, half-dipped with gold nail varnish, on a paper towel.
before blotting the base a couple of times on the paper towel
Two gold-dipped dolls- house white vases.
and leaving it to dry while I dipped a second vase.
Workbench with baking paper and a paper towel dotted with bits of nail varnish, with nail varnish bottles and dipped dolls' house vases in the background.
I poured (most of) the left-over polish back into the bottle, and repeated the process with the other two colours and the rest of the vases I had chosen.

And then I got carried away.
White dolls' house vase, with the end of a paintbrush blu tacked into it and painted with gold spots.
Experimenting with using a toothpick dipped in the varnish to add spots to vase (quite successfully)
White dolls' house vase painted with gold stripes, on a workbench with bottles of nail varnish and other, dipped, vases in the background.
and a small paintbrush to add stripes to another (not so successfully).
Selection of white dolls' house vases decorated with nail varnish.
I varnished the inside of the stripy vase, andwhile I was on a roll—made a puddle of varnish on the baking paper and dipped the lips of the vases into it, once again using a twisting motion to get even coverage.
Three white dolls' house vases decorated with gold nail varnish: one spotted, one striped and one dipped, each with gold rims.
And that spray-painting 'failure'? I added another coat, waited for it to dry and removed the masking tape:
White dolls' house vase, dipped with aqua paint.
(Just don't look too closely at the back of it, OK?)

So, in conclusion:
1. Dipping in nail varnish works, but is much more fiddly that using paint (as you can dip straight into the paint jar rather than messing around with decanting the nail varnish), and the nail varnish is gloopier, making it harder to get a straight line at the top.
2. Spray painting also works, but be careful not to put too much on each coat (my problem was that I was trying to take photos as well as paint, so my first coat was too thick). Placing the masking tape on straight, making sure the edges are well attached, and prising it off when the paint is dry can be fiddly.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Making the cut

I've been working on my HBS Creatin' Contest build. I finally pulled the sliding doors out of their packaging to mark the larger holes in the side walls.

There was a moment, when I spotted the cardboard that was under the rubber bands, that I thought that HBS had thoughtfully included a cardboard template for marking the size of the doors.
Pieces of a dollshouse building kit with a sliding door unit on top, covered with a piece of card.
But I was disappointed. And confused (what's it for, in that case?)
Pieces of a dollshouse building kit with a sliding door unit on top, covered with a piece of card, showing space at the top.
So I made my own template, took a deep breath and remembered Kitty And Kat Miniatures' advice that glue, wood filler and caulking pretty much can fix anything.

Voila! I used bits of the pieces I cut out to fill the side window while I was at it.
Side wall of a dolls house kit, with a hole cut for the sliding doors (which are in the hole) and a piece of wood inserted into a previously-cut window opening.
Two side walls of a dolls house kit, with holes cut for sliding doors and pieces of wood inserted into previously-cut window openings.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

AMEA 2015 Convention haul part 3: my purchases

First up, from Chells Mini Corner (sic), a selection of plastic kitchen containers and storage baskets, plus salads (in a bag and a bowl) and a wire basket (yes, I know I have a whole roll of gutter guard under my workbench to make one myself but sometimes it's easier to just buy one ready made...)
Selection of modern dolls' house miniature kitchen plasticware, and two salads: one in a bag, the other in a bowl.
Jan Jones had the stall next to me, loaded with all sorts of unusual goodies. I was strong, and only bought a few items for Margell:
Dolls' house miniature chopping board with a enamelware bowl and red and cream jar on it.
and a tiny glass paperweight with a black star inside it.
Dolls' house miniature glass star paperweight displayed on a finger.
From another stall, I bought this abacus from the $1 box.
Dolls' house miniature abacus.
And I went a bit crazy at the Jan's Miniatures stall when I spotted a range of 3D-printed items. Some of these are destined to be gifts...
Selection of 3d-printed modern dolls' house miniatures, including storage containers, waste baskets and spray cans.
Finally, I picked up this basket-making kit, hoping to use it with the waxed thread I bought in New Zealand earlier in the year:
Kit for a dolls' house miniature woven basket.
Speaking of kits, Chell gave me one of her 'Trash to Treasure' kits when I bought the kitchen stuff from her. I haven't had a chance to explore it properly yet...
Bag of 'trash to treasure' bits to make dolls' house miniatures.
And not really convention purchases, as I bought them while I was in The Blue Mountains afterwards:
Five full-sized bottles of nail varnish displayed on a metal storage box that looks like a miniature sideboard.
Cheapy nail varnish I discovered at the chemist while my friend was buying stuff to ease her sinusitis, and a metal tin bought in the antique shop next door. Ironically, it originally contained a 'Cutex de luxe set' but I'm going to use it as an interesting Art Deco miniature sideboard.