Friday, October 21, 2011

Rabbit Trails to Mini Land

So a couple of weeks ago I was poking around on Etsy and saw this blog about a dollhouse decorating contest of sorts. It was just the bump I needed to pull the dollhouse kit I bought at the thrift store back out and give it another look. I love doll houses and miniatures, and always have. I have always wanted to build my own, though lacked confidence that I could. Well, here I had a good reason for devoting time and energy to what would other wise be a frivolous activity. So I did...a good two weeks worth of time just to put the thing together. It is the simplest of kits, but do not be fooled! Even in the simplest house there is a ton of molding, and each piece has to be hand cut (my bandsaw, by far my favorite power tool, died)  I started on the 3rd of Oct. I only remember that date cause it was our 24th wedding anniversary and I conned my husband into helping me, for a little while that is...He did cut and fit the triangle window moldings on the outside for me and then said I was on my own. If you look closely you will see those are the only dang moldings in the whole house that actually match up at the seams! I am not one for perfection...I go for the effect!

My visions of instant house were dashed early on. This was an excellent patience builder for me. I had to clamp and walk away. Wait for the glue to set, glue more and wait more...sigh. 

All those moldings had to be prepainted and cut to size. I am pretty proud that I saw this through and had it turn out pretty okay. I can't cut a straight line with a paper cutter much less a hand saw, but paint and lots of accessories will hide the worst of my finish carpentry! 

I lined the floors with a black pen to look like hard wood flooring. This picture is before I stained them golden oak. They came out pretty nice. The kit had a spiral staircase that was really cheesy looking. I am going with a ladder which I have yet to make...

This kit was for a gingerbread house. The model was painted pink with white trim, all the windows had the same white decorations on them as the the front door still does, and the roof was scalloped and oh so cutsey. This was definitely not my dream studio doll house. So I did some modification. First I left off all the fancy trim on the outside. I painted the whole exterior with glue and 'glittered' it with fine sand. (I wanted a stucco look and this was my husbands idea...a brilliant one I think, but do not tell him I said so!) It worked out real slick. I painted over that with white and grey and a few dabs of green for the moss that grows on everything here in the redwood forest. I replaced the cutsey windows with sheets of shrinky dink plastic. I like it. It looks like the windows are steamed up, or old, or both. I covered the cutesy scalloped shingles with eucalyptis and redwood bark. I admit if I were a more patient person I would have cut nice uniform shingles, but by the time I got to the roof I was really ready to get to the fun part...the inside, so I made my shingles a bit bigger than standard, going for the whimsical look. (or the 'okay, I have had about enough of this' look!)

So, below is the finished shell... I am going to mount it on a board and landscape a bit around it. I found a great branch that will make a cool tree and have a whole bag of tiny autumn leaves that I knew would come in handy some day. The inside is going to be my 'dream' workshop. Truthfully, I am pretty much working in my dream workshop, but a second level for rest and refreshing would be even better, and this little place has just that. I have a lot of miniatures to pick from. The last picture shows some things in place, but I have not even begun the layout and decorating part. I had to take a break and get some Christmas product made for an upcoming fair (PS I think my Etsy store address link in the last blog was wrong. It is and business is better than I anticipated!) 

I will post more as I go. I have to make some product before playing again, but I have no shortage of ideas for decorating mini land...till next time....annie

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