Monday, 31 August 2015

A wet bank holiday!

No house,   it went off to the community shop. They said they may raffle it :-)    And I have nothing to work on :-(.    Mind you there was some tidying to do in the kitchen, and sorting out the bits left over from the house.   All the tools were cleaned, as were the brushes.  Material neatly folded,  wood sorted...   But what to do?  

My thoughts turned to the memory box I'd made during my time in art therapy.  I hadn't been entirely happy with the box,   plus it needed a cover.  So out came the box,   what to do with it.  Didn't want to start it all over again, the outside was okay, just the inside.

Just to remind you, this is it.  See what I mean, not quite right.  So I took down the naff shelf,  and the horrible paper I'd used.  Carefull took off the pictures, and the little girl.   Then I put a full shelf across the top, using the left over wood.  I've chosen some paper,  and will use the chequered duck tape for the floor.   I'm also going to use the little pot plants I made, and will make a lid out of the acetate to protect it. 

I had to stop after putting in the shelf, the old tum started to rumble.  And Harvey was also letting me know that he wanted his dinner.   He got tuna,  I had mince, new tatties and carrots, the veggies were from my neighbour's allotment.  They were delicious,  as was the tomato I used on my ham sandwich at lunch time.    And the mince was Quorn!  Nice to go meat free a few times a week.    My friend laughed at me when I said I'd bought frozen onions, well why not?    Buying fresh onions doesn't make sense when you are cooking for one.    I just thought I'd give the frozen ones a try, and they are just as good as the fresh ones.  The plus side is that they don't go off.  There are times when I can't be bothered cooking, so any fresh stuff I'd bought would end up being chucked out.  So now it is frozen veg,  unless my neighbour gives me some freebies.   He knows I'm only cooking for one, so he just gives me enough. 

This is my mum,  I love the surprised look on her face.   I printed this out as a 'thumbnail' and fitted it into a tiny frame.  It is in the memory box,  and will of course remain there.  

It's been the usual Bank Holiday,  it even rained!    I managed to have a lie in,  that was nice, I'd been trying to have one all weekend.  Sadly, Harvey had other ideas, wanting to go out and so making a racket.   Today he was also happy to keep on snoozing.  Then he had his usual constitutional,  he stays out for about half an hour, comes back, tells me all about it, then heads off again.  This goes on for around an hour and a half,  then he comes in,  has the rest of his breakfast, one of his treats and then he proceeds to hassle me.   His speciality is deciding to turn the bedmaking into a game, so as fast as I pull the sheet up he pulls it back down, or he'll start diving under it.  

Well I guess my new little house will be put in the post tomorrow,  so it may get to me on Wednesday, yes I know, wishful thinking!   But I've got the memory box to finish, and also a little cupboard which has been staring at me for ages.   I've had the urge to do some cleaning, the nets got washed,  as did the inside of the windows.   A neighbour obligingly did the vacuuming for me,  just can't shift the thing these days.   She took away some of the food Harvey doesn't like!  So it was a fair swap, and we had a nice natter. 

That's me for today, hope you like the 'new look',  I felt the blog needed a change, and I included a picture of my zen garden.   I try to use it regularly,  it is very calming when the candle is lit, and the incense is burning.  

Enjoy the week, hope it goes well for you.  Thanks for stopping by to listen to my ramblings.  Hopefully I can soon report on Teapot Cottage!

Saturday, 29 August 2015

Out with the old, in with the new

A blue front door, complete  with tiny hinges.  Yes the big house is finished.  I've done all I can with it,    I may have a bash at the curtains as I've got plenty of material.  I've learned a great deal over the last few weeks.   And importantly that a quality finish to the kit is vital. 

This was an experiment to see if I had the necessary skills and patience to take on such a project.   The latter was foremost,  depression means a loss of interest and patience.  But this has kept me occupied.

Here it is, a far cry from whence it started, a drab looking shell, with nasty sticky out lugs.  I've improved the window ledges,  and put on some fancy brickwork.  I do need to finish off the flashing round the roof.  I gave the roof tiles a coat of Paynes Grey,  also did the same with the verandah.  The doors were finished off with powder blue poster paint, then they had a few coats of glossy mod podge.  I need to take the right hand door off, I got the alignment of the hinges slightly wrong.  The left side of the door went on perfectly.  All the white bits got another coat of paint. I also used some filler on the verandah to try to improve the rough wood.  A dremel tool would have helped enormously with the fiddly sanding.

So the old house is just about done, and I'll soon be starting work on Teapot Cottage.  I'm gathering all my materials and tools.  This will be a challenge.   Not sure whether to order the wonky roof tiles that Petite Properties have in stock. 

Talking of the Dremel hobby tool,  I went to our Tesco Extra to see if, by some rare chance, they may have had the Dremel in stock.  It is available online, but sadly not instore!  Which is darned annoying as I had been saving the vouchers.  I can get it at Argos by using my Argos card.  It is what CnC call a 'considered' purchase,  but I can see it being mighty useful in my new hobby. 

The miniature houses fulfil me on many levels,  first it means I am constructing something, which I've always enjoyed doing.  Then there is the creative side, using my papercrafting and multi media skills.   And then there is the joy of being absorbed in something.   My depression appeared to have robbed me of my ability to daydream.  I was a champion daydreamer.   It got me in trouble at school, mum would tell me that she'd find me just staring into space or out of the window, totally in my own world.  Building the house has helped me rediscover my daydreaming skills.  I only realised the other day that it had come back.   Nor do I worry or find myself fretting over the house,  I always fear I'll be judged. But that hasn't happened with the house,  I've just found myself enjoying the creative process.  I've been able to think through projects, like the beds, and the bookcase.  Same with the plant pots,  I wondered what to fill them with,  then I realised I had filler, that would do,  if I put the filler in carefully, wiped away any excess it would be fine.  I knew I had some tiny flowers buried in the stash.   

I will start blogging on Teapot cottage as soon as it arrives, and show my progress.  It will be much more involved, because I want it to be.  If my daydreaming allows, then it will have a family,  and they'll have a story. 

I could never have imagined when I was given that first papercraft kit where it would take me.  I've had many ups and downs during my crafting.  I'm glad that I broke away and indulged in mixed media,  which I love.  Then I moved on to art,  and rediscovered my artistic side once again.  There have been a lot of people involved in this journey, and I owe some a huge thank you. 

Well that's all for now, enjoy the rest of the bank holiday, and wasn't it fantastic to see Mo Farah win his second gold? 

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Going down in size...

Well I have the bug, for dolls houses!  In fact I felt so strongly that I bought another, this one

It is call Teacup cottage, who could resist it with a name like that?   It is 1:48,  so is tiny,  but I don't mind, in fact I think I prefer smaller.  My joy is in the construction,  and this little sweetheart cost me £29.99,    it is perfectly formed, as you will soon see.  I did think of going down to 1:24,  but then I saw this little collection of houses at   and realised that I could actually have a little village. 

This is the house, and it does have rooms.  It also has a staircase and a porch area.  Everything a large dolls house has.   Don't worry, I can get furniture, and dolls.  This photo shows what can be done to the exterior of the house.  I think my steam punk days will come in handy for that.  I learned a lot about distressing stuff, getting paint to split, wood grain stuff.   I also have a heat gun!  And all the necessary tools. 

This is how Petite Properties did the exterior.  What I do with it is of course my choice.  Though I do like the rough exterior.  In the collection there are more cottages, one is called Parsnip Cottage,  then there is a shop, and a post office...  you can see where I am going with this - can't you?  

They do have rustic roof tiles for sale, but I've already had a go at roofing, and succeeded.  A bit of work with card and paint, or even some very thin balsa wood...  I shall be in seventh heaven.   The grass, I have flower soft stuff..  so that is sorted. 

And the side view, with chimneys.  I remember my Aunty Lylah living in a very old cottage.   We used to visit her,  I remember sharing an enormous double bed with my sister. 

What about the other house?  Well it is finished externally.   I'm having a bash at making some furniture, so far it has a bookcase, beds,  and soon will have a sofa and chairs.  Oh there is also a table on the go, it will have a bench.  All this is good experience for me.  Yesterday I found new blades for the junior hacksaw, plus my clamps, and a mini spirit level.  I may donate it to the local charity shop, tell them that if they think its worth it then they can raffle it or something.  I'm sure it would keep a little girl very happy. 

These smaller houses are definitely not for children, but hobbyists.   Or daft folk like me.  I'm sure I am a frustrated builder at heart.   But when I was growing up a girl wanting to be a carpenter or builder wasn't an option.   I am glad that things have changed.   I can't believe that at school we had a sewing class, totally wasted on me, I hated every damn moment of it.  Had we had the option of a woodwork class, that is were you would have found me.  

I'm having a very up and down week,  so is Harvey.  He attempted to be fussy again, it didn't work,  so he gave up and tucked into the food he'd tried to refuse.   He's wanted a lot of fuss lately,  and now often sits on my knee,  though usually at the most inconveniet times.  He's not a big eater,   he is more of a grazer,  I've learned not to make any fuss over the food, just put it in his bowl and then on the floor.  He has a sniff, wanders off, then comes back and tucks in.  The girlfriend is still on the scene, despite two soakings from me,  she is so damn cheeky.   Trust me she is a well fed cat, and has a very nice home,  she is just trying it on.   

I did tune in to the new craft channel,  very early days, I'm sure things will improve.  Maybe when they start showing other crafts,  working with glass, art,  even dolls houses, I may pay more attention.  I'm tired of CnC,  I won't be renewing my membership this year,  they have put up all their postage,  I looked for some pencils and realised that the postage was more than the cost of the pencils!   Also they stopped the art show, and the pottery section.  It is just papercrafting,  and all the usual suspects being featured ad nauseum.   But the new channel is attracting the craft names, all you can hope is that they are allowed to do some crafting,  and not just bloody stop because the thing has sold out. 

Getting close to my bed time....   I had very good intentions of getting out of the flat today,  never made it beyond the front garden!    Well the body takes a while to get going these days,  plus today I needed to wash my hair and to attempt to make myself look human.  Well that did take a while,  and then I started watching the World Athletic Championships...   suddenly it was lunch time and too late to go out.  Maybe tomorrow? 

Bank holiday looming for us all,  can we hope for some sunshine?  Let's hope so!  

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Coming along nicely.

The blue bed in place,  still awaiting the finishing bits of decoration.   There is also space underneath the bed for a storage drawer.  Yes, the girl is getting adventurous! 

I've been checking out a lot of blogs, and finding plans for dolls house furniture,  most of it is pretty straight forward,  okay it can get fancy, but that is for much later down the track.  I've been looking at jig saws, didn't know that they were so cheap.  But it would make life easier making the furniture,   I'll be able to cut quicker and also do round stuff.  There is also my hands to consider, they're not up to much these days.  Keep waking up with numb hands. 

I made another table, more waste wood from the house.  The legs and edge of the table were painted with deco art, the top is black glossy card.  Oh, and the other plant pot. Talking of plants,  I found all my flower soft stash,  so I can make more flowers!   I should probably do an inventory of what I've got,  I keep stumbling across stuff that I'd forgotten all about.  Then again, a good tidy up would also help.  I sort of stashed the stash any old place after mum died.  Wasn't in the mood to look at it or use it. 

And the next project!   This will either be a book case or a chest of drawers.   I'm making good use of all the waste material from the house.  I was just going to make a book case, then when I got this far I realised that I could make some drawers.   Or it could even be a dressing table,  if I can figure out how to make a stand for the mirror.   I will need stuff called basswood,  which is harder than balsa.    I took a look at the chest of drawers that I bought,  it wasn't complicated, not even the drawers.    Best fish out the clamps from the toolbox.

I'm learning a lot working on the house, not just in how to make stuff. But in exercising more patience, and also not giving up so quickly.    There is another reason for my patience, it is my poor health, it has forced me to slow down.  I can't rush anywhere,  not like I used to,  so I've had to learn how to move at a slower pace.  I still get to wherever it is I'm going, maybe a little later, but that doesn't matter.  I've had to apply that to other areas of my life,   sort out what is actually important.  It is still, like the house, a work in progress,  my life that is.   I may figure it all out one day,  or maybe not... 

Well tomorrow I must get a bit more basswood,  and try to turn that carcass into something.  

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Making beds and hanging pictures..

Well can you spot the difference?  Yep, we have some furniture on the landing and in the first bedroom.  I found some small frames, it was the perfect size for the house,  I used a sticker of a train. 

It has been a fruitful few days.  I have managed to locate material amongst my stash,  the frames,  some brocade stuff, plus flowers for the plant pots.  Need to keep rummaging as I have a small iron lurking somewhere.  Oh and more lace. 

Here is the landing.   You can see the small plant pot,  I cut down some flowers, used filler and set the flowers into it.  Once it was dry I used some dark brown poster paint to make the filler resemble soil.  

Now spot the mistake... the table. Or what passes for the skirt of the tablecloth.  Yes well sewing was never my thing!   I know what I've done wrong, not enough material, so will have to try again. At least I got the running stitch right. 

And the blue bed, not yet in situ, still needs more work.  it needs another bit under the mattress, plus some decoration.  Oh those holes willl be filled in, and a few beads will be stuck on them.  But it is starting to look rather smart.  I'm now working on a breakfast bar.  Now need to use my noggin to think up ideas for how to make a sink unit, well what to use for the sink. 

I had two lovely bits of news today, first my friend got the results of her biopsy,  the mole was non malignant, so that is a relief.  Then my niece/god-daughter tells me she is pregnant!   She and her husband have never spoken about having children,  we all assumed that maybe they wouldn't, then they go and surprise us all.  I'm thrilled for my sister who has had a really rough time of things,  so news that she will be a grandmother will be the boost she needs.   In fact it is the good news that my family needs. 

Thanks for stopping by, enjoy your week.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Bedknobs and broomsticks, oh and a table!

Look no house...  !  I switched to the furniture,  well they say a break is as good as a rest.   I sifted through all the left over bits, and came across what had been the window inserts - perfect for bedsteads!  

I worked out the measurements, then cut all the necessary pieces, next came the boring, but essential bit: sticking it all together.   The bed was then put to one side while I moved on to the mattress. 

A pricking mat became a mattress, with pillow.  As itwas going to have another layer of material, I made sure that the mattress was slightly smaller than the bed frame.  

Then the bed and mattress were left to dry over night.  So what else could I make?  Another rummage and I found a wooden circle, okay that could become a table, but it needed a stand?  More rummaging through the stash,  and I found a cotton reel.

It was a wooden cotton reel, unlike the horrible plastic things we have today.  I remembered that I was going to use it in the memory box.  So one circle, and one cotton reel, put them together and you get a small table! 

I found another circle, so could make two tables, though  I will have to come up with a different base. 

Time was a moving on, and my tummy was complaining about being empty. 

Today it was time to finish off the first bed.  I found some wadding, so put that over the mattress,  and then carefully applied the fabric glue. 

The rummaging through the stash had also unearthed some lace, which I felt would finish off the bed.  But what about the bed?  It was looking a bit boring (it will be painted), and stumbled across some tiny owls - who could resist?  Well I couldn't, so I have an 'owl' bed.

I also covered the table.   It will have some material round the sides, but that will need to have a few pleats.  Pleats mean an iron...  so I'll do that tomorrow.   I have some ric rac ribbon, which will make a nice edging. 

I also found a blog which shows how to make a pleat board - for curtains.  And I have more lace, a wider one, it will do nicely as a lace curtain.  I know a good shop where I can pick up odd bits of material, netting and lace at a fraction of the price Hobbycraft charge.

Then I began work on bed number two, and had an idea to make the bedstead look a bit different using wooden beads.   I secured the beads with pins, the side posts were all glued on, as were the supports for the mattress.  That needs to be left overnight to let the glue set properly. 

I've still not source any really thin foam,  Hobbycraft do sell it online, but not in store - which is annoying.   So will have to go the online route.  Did look at some foam suppliers but you have to buy a minimum amount.

The house is just about finished, but I have a decision to make, do I keep it?   It is rather large, and there isn't anywhere in the flat that I could store it.   It hasn't cost me much,   the materials I've bought can also be used for crafting, or another house.  Yes, another house, only 1:24. half the size of the present house.   I've had a good look around and I found a lovely site that sells small houses, and for reasonable prices,  they've got a good reputation as well.  I've learned a lot putting this house together, but have really been frustrated by the poor quality of the wood.  Of course it wasn't quite intended to be the sort of dolls house I've made it, even so I think a child would have destroyed it pretty quickly.   Well it cost me £20, so no real loss.  I have bought some furniture but I can put that on ebay.  This is the reason why I'm now having a bash at making furniture,  if I buy the 1:24 house it will need much smaller furniture.  Oh did I mention that the smaller houses, and all the furniture is far cheaper?   The prices on some of the 1:12 houses are out of my price range,  some sellers are also a bit cheeky,  a few have been showing a town house complete with basement, but it is only when you read the details that you realise you only get the house, NOT the basement, which costs as much as the house. 

We've just had a thunderstorm,  Harvey is not pleased as it is lashing down.  However he is a much happier cat after discovering that the plastic food bowls were upsetting his nose.  I've now bought him some new china bowls,  he has since tucked into a flavour of food he'd previously refused to look at,  and he's eaten all his meals.  So I am convinced that he was picking up an odour from the plastic bowls.     We had fur flying last night when his girlfriend tried to come in,  Harvey sent her packing.  Well she had bopped him on the nose the previous evening. 

Looks like the thunderstorm has passed over,  now on its way to Southport.   So all for now,  try to stay dry this weekend, aren't we having a delightful English summer - NOT.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Making progress!

Another productive day!  Can you spot the changes?   They are subtle...   More in mo.   The morning started early,  with a hungry cat staring at me.  He'd flatly refused to eat anything,  now I'm not sure why but, I wondered if it was the plastic food bowls.  So I used a small plate and put some food on that, one he really doesn't like,  it was wolfed down, saucer pretty much left clean.  Stuck with the plates, and so far he's eaten every meal with no fuss, so was he smelling something from the plastic?  Who knows, all I know is that he is happy and full.

This is the 'change' or new addition, some brick work.  Yes it looks a tad untidy, the reason why is because it isn't stuck down.  I put down two strips of masking tape, then some DST, stuck on the 'bricks', leftovers from the windows,  then cut some, and then gave them a coat of paint.  It is easier to paint them this way than try to do it individually.  Once they've had two more coats they'll be left to dry, then they will be stuck on properly.  

See, I'm not as daft as I look!  I do have the odd brain wave, this one came to me last night.   I didn't want to start measuring each brick, seemed more sensible to temporarily stick them into place,  the masking tape provided me with the means to line them up, then it was on with the paint, trying to get into all the nooks and crannies.   This does mean that there will be no room for the shutters. 

The sofa is coming along... okay it does look a bit worse for wear here, but that is because it isn't glued together.   I found some foam, but while it works for the seating, it isn't quite right for the arms.  This is also my first attempt at anything like this.   I found some foam tape, but it is too gungy.   I also need some fabric glue.  Just need to source some thin foam,  or wadding.  I would like to make as much of the furniture as I can,  I'm sure with a bit of trial and error I may be able to fit out the kitchen. 

This is the material for the sofa,  a paisely pattern. I bought a fat square of material,  spent a whole fiver, for five large pieces of material!   I worked out that I'd have spent just as much in the cheap material shop, and would have had to have bought much more than I needed. 

It is time consuming,  but that has more to do with the poor quality of the wood.  I've been painting, then sanding, using some modelling paste to try to get a smooth finish, or as smooth as I can.  

I'm happy that Harvey is at last happy about his food.   No idea why I thought that the plastic food bowls might be the cause,   they are washed regularly, in fact I have four which rotated, so he always had a clean bowl.   But his little nose is more sensitive than mine,  so maybe he was picking up an unpleasant smell,   I now seem to have a content cat.   Peace at last, can it last...   who knows, Harvey does appear to be a law unto himself.

Very humid here,  horribly sticky.  Rain set in around lunchtime,  and it got windy,  our typical summer!  Might have known, I got new sandals, hardly worn them!   Mind you the memory foam skechers are getting plenty of use,  I could wear them all the time.  Well must go sort out the recycling, bin day tomorrow, neighbour has put bins out for me, now just need to put the papers out.  Think it is also time for a cuppa.

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Finishing school... !

It has been an eventful few days in the 'house',  there was a 'disaster'!  Yep,  the paint was patchy and I couldn't work out why.  The wood that has been used for the house isn't the best quality it has to be said.   I wracked my brain for solutions, and finally came up with one - gesso!  So I gave the entire exterior of the house a good sanding, then applied a couple of coats of gesso,  then went over the area where the lugs had been showing through with some filler.  Finally I had a smooth and white surface...   I left the thing overnight to dry thoroughly, then gave it two coats of emulsion, and at last I had a nice finish.   I also popped to my local DIY store, I was looking for wood stain, for the furniture, and some sandpaper, and stumbled across this can of pain, never seen it before, but decided to take a chance.   Oh boy has this little can of paint made a difference to the window frames, verandah etc,  at last I've got a half decent finish on them.  

I've also been doing some DIY,  as in making a front step.   I picked up a pack of balsa wood from Hobbycraft,  and from it I made this little step.    Just the right size for outside the front door.   I used the Multi surface paint on all the window frames,  oh boy do they now look better. A couple of coats was all it took to make them look smart.  Had the frames not been stuck on I'd have taken my time painting them,  but I had to make do with what I had, and that was badly stuck on and painted frames.  They'd not even thought of using acetate for the windows!

The edging is also lousy,  so I needed to tidy it up round the gables.  More balsa,  you can see here what a difference it makes, from tatty to tidy.   Just needs a coat of paint now.  The window frame has also had a couple of coats of the new paint,  now it looks really dandy.   It is all fiddly stuff at present,  tidying up all the edges, frames etc.   I had the same dilemma with the window ledges...  both were naff, plus they had holes for the very big hinges.  So had to use a combo of balsa and filler to try to make them look better.

Now they are starting to look the business.  I used the original window ledge as a template to make another layer out of balsa.   I needed to use a bit of whittling to get the two layers to match, and lots of careful sanding.  But you can see that the work was worth it,  now they just need painting,  a few coats mind you.   The balas soaks up the paint,  two coats gives me a 'surface', after that I can focus on getting a good finish. 

The verandah has also had a lot of work.  The top was awful,  again down to the poor quality of the wood.  I painted them, then cut two tops,  glued them into place and left them over night.  Today I added some thin strips round the front to neaten the edges,  and a little bit of filler.  Now it just needs another coat of paint.  It all fits neatly,  plus I've made some window ledges for the two bottom windows,  though they may get flipped over to become window boxes! 

And I'm getting adventurous!  I am attempting to make a sofa.  I've cut out the seat and back, plus one side, I've got some foam and material.  This was as far as I got today, after a very long day I should add.   I've got an armchair, so used that for some of the measurements, then played with a paper template until I was happy.   I've been checking out Youtube for ideas, and other blogs.  I've seen how I can make curtains and save a fortune,  and then there is the food...  have I got that much patience?    Not sure, but I'll have a go. 

Oh there was a slight mishap in the DIY shop...  it happened while I was looking for the wood stain.  I had decided on light oak, but couldn't find any.  So as I was trying to check what was at the back of the shelf a can of wood stain toppled off the shelf and burst open,  oops!   There was a chap next to me who did not bat an eyelid, in fact he stood there like a lemon, there's me on me crutch!   Anyway I found a member of staff and told them what had happened, she was worried as to how to clear it up until I said the stain was water-based.   Which was lucky, for me that is,  as it has splashed onto my trousers.  I managed to remove the stain with some oxi powder,  phew,  didn't fancy having to buy a new pair of trousers.  

So tomorrow there is more painting, that is after I figure out what cat food Harvey will eat.  He's been impossible,  he starved himself yesterday,  so much so that he was looking very sorry for himself today.   I've never met a cat like him,  my old cat, Miss Mufti, could be fussy,   but compared to Harvey, she was a breeze.   I found a can of tuna in the cupboard and gave him that, which he devoured in a few minutes, so it is purely down to his stubbornness.  Well I am not giving in,  he has to learn to eat what is on offer, which is Felix, not cheap stuff.  If not his tummy is going to be rumbling.  His girlfriend couldn't care less what is in his dish, she is happy to scoff the lot.   I am blaming his previous owners,  they clearly never got him into an eating routine.   I've managed that bit, but now need to get him to realise that he can't be too picky.  Oh he does get fresh chicken as a treat, and fish...  so he is not deprived. 

My bed is calling...  thanks for stopping by,  take care.

Friday, 14 August 2015

Up on the roof...

I've gone roof mad.   After a lovely lie in this morning I woke up as stiff as a board, a small price to pay for a lie in - I think?   In the morning I sat down and made more roof tiles, while Harvey nipped in and out to tell me about what was happening in the road, sadly I don't understand cat talk so it was a one way conversation.  

Once the roof tiles were all measured, cut and ready to go it was time for lunch.  While Harvey decided it was time for a snooze.

Right after lunch I set about tiling the two gables.  They were as fiddly as I thought they would be,  the worst part was the trimming.  But I got there.   Next I had to adjust the fitment for the lugs, they were clogged up.   Once the gables were ready I tried them out,  and voila!   Don't they look good?   They're not stuck down yet, and won't be until all the exterior work is finished,  plus the main part of the roof needs to be secured first.

I put two eaves on the rear section of the roof,  they now need painting, and cutting, plus the final finish.

And here is the house, with its roof and gables.  What a difference the tiles make.  The focus now is on the exterior.   The verandah is next.  As I said yesterday the current design leaves a very untidy finish. So I put my thinking cap on,  the verandah has a flat roof, which looks a bit nasty.  After some thought I think I have the solution,  I can build a small frame for the top of the verandah roof, then use some light balsa to give a base, then use some more tiles to give a much neater finish.

I also checked out a few other dolls house blogs.  I came away with a whole load of ideas, plus plans to make sofas and chairs.   There was even a plan for a table, which would test my DIY skills. 

Today the focus has been on the verandah.   The first job was to make it fit,  those pesky lugs again!   It took a while but finally all the pieces fitted together nicely,  and were ready to be glued.   I did wonder about putting a small roof on top of the verandah, but that would have entailed altering the front door roof.   I think a thin layer of wood will suffice,  which is what I've done for the small window ledges, the finish isn't the best.  So armed with pencil I drew round the ledge, then carefully cut out a strip of wood.  To my amazement it worked.  I also checked out a few more dolls house sites, trying to source materials for the DIY stuff. 

And my order arrived!   What service from   almost next day.  I was delighted to get my parcel, a very large box!  My first thought was: surely I didn't order that much?  Well no I hadn't, it was all the packing,  inside was a lovely welsh dresser,  chest of drawers and a bed, oh plus a triple wardrobe.  Sadly the latter doesn't fit in any of the bedrooms, my fault for not checking the measurements, but I can either keep it or sell it on ebay.  A pity as it is a really nice piece of furniture.  The other pieces all need some woodstaining and varnishing,  all the drawers work, as do the cupboards.  More importantly they do fit in the rooms,  yes I did get the right size 1:12th,  it says so on the box the house came in.  The wardrobe is just too tall for the rooms.  Some you win, some you lose... 

So shopping list for tomorrow is wood stain,  oh and some wood!  Going to have a go at making a sofa... wish me luck. 

Stay safe,  and enjoy the weekend, they've promised us all sunshine.

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Let there be light!

Let there be light!  How's about that for service, ordered on Monday, and here today.  I just put one light up,  couldn't wait to see what it looked like.  I think it looks really nice, and is fine for the bedroom.  I'll get something a bit fancier for the living and dining rooms.   They did have some nice Tiffany lamps and ceiling lights, always wanted one, and now I can.   The hinges also arrived,  and they do fit the front door, phew, did wonder...  It was hard trying to imagine them on the door, size wise.  Now the door needs a letter box and door handles, oh and a lock.

Slightly closer pic of the light.   May put it in the bathroom,  as I've got two ball lights, a tulip shade light.   It is held on with blue tack at the moment.   You may also see that the carpet needs a vacuum!  The debris came from me doing some work on the lugs for the roof, they just needed a small adjustment. 

Today was roof day.  After yesterday's disaster I was determined to do better.   And in spite of a grotty start to the day,  and Harvey doing his utmost to distract me...   I managed it.

I completed the tiling on the rear section of the roof,  it now needs two eaves,  and some finishing off.  I then turned my attention to the porch.   I did all the filling round the door, and a lot of sanding!   I've gone round the white bits again, with a very fine brush, which took ages and a steady hand.   The porch roof was a bit tricky, needed to get the tiles lined up properly on each side.  During lunch I had to make a few more.  I was at least feeling a bit more human by this point.  I'm still getting over the cystitis, which seems to have drained all my energy.

You can see how much progress has been made. Both sections of the roof have been tiled now,  the twiddly bits still need one final coat of paint.  And the two gables need to be tiled,  I need to draw some lines on both sides of each gable so that the tiles will be straight. 

There is also the verandah,  it has a nasty finish to its roof, so want to try to figure out how to give it a better look.    And would you believe I've just ordered some furniture!   How did that happen?

Well I got an email offering 25% off, who could resist?    I also picked up an entire bedroom for £8, reduced from £33!   Now I call that a bargain,  and a bed, plus a welsh dresser.   So I'm on my way, even if the house isn't finished.   

I think a quiet week is in order,  just need to rest up,  though it is hard to break old habits.  I'm not one for just sitting around,  but right now that is what I need to do.  Weather forecast for next couple of days is rubbish,  so may as well hunker down and let the old body recharge. 

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Yet another update on the house

A small disaster today...   but it did go well yesterday.   Over the last couple of days quite a lot has been added.   Since I opted to chop off all the sticky out lugs,  it has also meant altering the front door and shutters.  Or rather how they will be attached, the hinges that came with the house were a tad clumsy looking,  and didn't seem to work very well. So I've filled in all the holes,  for the front door it also involved making a door frame. This being down stairs meant it was very fiddly!   I had to ensure I had enough patience to finish the job. 

And, well, I think I did a pretty neat job.  It has also finished off round the acetate very nicely.  But oh boy was it fiddly.  I cut all the pieces to the right length, then secured them in place with masking tape,  next I marked off the angle,  and made sure each piece had a number so I knew in which order they were to be glued, and which way round!  It is incredibly easy to get confused, well it is in my case.   It was a two mugs of tea job,  plus ginger nut...   Then phew, it all fitted, to complete the job two thinner strips of wood were stuck top and bottom. 

I took a pic of the bedroom at dolls eye level.  All the window frames are now complete, as are the beams, to hold the lights,  the upstairs door has been framed both sides, and all but one of the skirting boards has been stuck in place.   I've almost finished the picture rails,  each takes a couple of coats of paint, plus sanding inbetween each coat.  Besides, did I say I was in a rush?  I'm not, this will take as long as it takes, and there is still a great deal to do before I can really start thinking about furnishings. 

Now for that disaster... well I decided to tile the rear section of the roof,  which has two holes in it.  So off I went,  then as I neared the end I realised I'd gone wonky somewhere.   Did I scream, or shout, tear at my hair, nope, just sat down and had a mug of tea.  Then I looked at the problem, only one solution, start again.  I knew what I'd done,  I'd got one line of tiles slightly out.  Hey ho.  I needed to stop and make more tiles anyway, and for that I needed the papercutter, which in turn needed a new blade...   I worried that maybe a journey to The Range might be necessary (as Hobbycraft didn't have any), but I had a quick rummage and found a spare blade!  Eureka!!!!!!!!!!!    So I made all the tiles, and they just need to be stuck down tomorrow. 

There is also stuff on the way, some lights, and some hinges.   Then I discovered more hardware for dolls houses, like letter boxes, and locks,  door knobs.  Of course I'm going to order some.  Also wondering if I can make some pelmets?    Both orders have been dispatched, have a feeling the hinges will arrive first

Not been very well,  managed to contract cystitis,  which made me feel really grotty.   I think I am now on the mend, the aching has stopped at least,  though my back is still very sore.  Didn't get a great nights sleep, woke up wth pins and needles in both arms and hands at 3 a.m.,  needed more pain relief, and made myself some tea and toast.  Managed to drift off again till 6 a.m.,  another painkiller, more tea, back to sleep till 8.30,  then it was time to get up.  Can't stay in bed as I get too stiff,  and the longer I stay in bed the longer it takes me to get going.   Harvey shot out for his constitutional,  he'd devoured all his food,  then devoured the next lot.    His girlfriend tried to sneak in,  but I was waiting with a spray bottle,  sorry but she is just too cheeky - she has one aim, to eat his food and trust me, she doesn't need any extra food! 

Well next update should see the house boasting some lights, and a roof.   Till then take care.

Friday, 7 August 2015

From the mess rises order... or so I like to think

This is what the house looks like before I begin work on it.  The only place I can work on it is in the kitchen, so after each session things are tidied up (honest), or dumped on the table... ! 

I was going to venture out today but my back went into spasm, so I was confined to the flat.  I've tried all my stretches but nothing is working, painkillers have only taken the edge off the pain.  So it was a slow morning, very slow,  I managed to get some clothes on around 11.30 a.m.  Did not enjoy my sandwich... 

 Yesterday I'd prepped the skirting boards, a few coats of paint, sanding between each coat.  Then they were left overnight.   So they had one more coat,  while that dried I had a mug of tea. 

Some careful measuring,  and I do mean 'careful', trying NOT to make too many mistakes.  Out came No Nails and on went the skirting board.  It has made all the difference,  and has finished off the bottom half of the wall. 

I pinched the armchair from my memory box, made at art therapy last year,  just to give an idea of what things will look like when it is finished. The chair is to scale,  I plan to have a chair, or maybe a small sofa, plust table and bookcase on the landing. 

It is really all starting to take shape.  I am still looking at lighting,  think I will go for contemporary, I'm not a chandelier type of person.   I'll put a standard lamp on the landing, make it look cosy.

Next door in the bathroom the floor was being stuck into place, with the help of one of my old uni books.  A very heavy tome on 19thC English literature.  I completed all the window frames, and you may just spot that I've put a door frame round the 'hole',  was thinking, well still am, about maybe putting a door in there. 

Yesterday I got some more wood from Hobbycraft, balsa, far easier to cut.  Then I made a boo boo when cutting some beams.  Instead of making sure that the partition was at the right width I went ahead and measured the batons... yep, you've guessed, once the roof was in place the batons no longer fitted!  Rats, at least the piece of balsa was only 99p.  And I can use it for something else.   Why, are you thinking, is she cutting beams?  Well how else do I hang the lights?   The roof is too high,   so one needs to improvise.   I also kind of made a mistake with the rear roof,  I papered it,  then realised it had a right and wrong side...  at least it was only white paper.  I trimmed all the lugs, and have made sure that they all slot into place.  Need to turn my attention to the front of the house, the verandah, and the front door area.  All the bits have had a couple of coats of emulsion,  now they need a top coat,  and a lot of sanding. The front door area needs some filler,  then the doors need 'glass', and to be painted. 

Tomorrow,  if my back is better, I am going to the dolls house shop.  The plan is to look at lighting, but what is the betting that I come back with something else? 

Oh, I now have Windows 10.  When I got the notification I have to say that I thought it was something dodgy, but I checked it out on the BBC website and found it was legit.  So I signed up for it, and yesterday it was delivered to my PC.  I'd already run the checks to see if my PC would run it, I had been running Windows 7,  with the service pack, so I was okay, and the comptuer had plenty of memory etc.  The whole thing only took an hour, I was impressed,  still getting used to it.   I know Windows is much maligned, but let's face it, they have had some successes.  Plus if Gates hadn't put it onto the market we'd still be feeding floppy disks into the PC.   My first PC was the Amstrad,  remember that, it came complete in a box, with a very noisy dot matrix printer and ran locoscript.  I loved it.  Very easy to use, and it had quite a powerful DTP program.  That first PC cost me the same as this one, which of course is far more powerful, and does stuff in a few seconds.   Then there is my Kindle,  which was my treat to me after mum's death.  I can't believe that such a small thing has so much power,  or has HD!   Funny old world.

The weather is supposed to resemble summer over the weekend, that is summer up here in the North West - the bit that London always forgets, as does the Met office.   So hope the sun is shining where you are tomorrow,  lets enjoy it while it lasts.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Now I have half a roof!

The villain of the piece, looking like butter wouldn't melt.  Me and Him had an argument last night, he'd turned his nose up at fresh chicken and then refused the cat food... so guess who went to bed very hungry?  Yep, Harvey!   He sneaked onto my bed in the night, gave a little miaow,  then settled down for a snooze. Needless to say in the morning the chicken was gone, and some of the cat food.    He seems to have a couple of days of being awkward over his food, then all goes back to normal.   He was very apologetic today,  and scoffed his food.

Today I chose to do the front half of the roof, which is the trickiest as it has the two gables.  I'd already watched a YouTube video on how to make the tiles, and had made a few but I felt that they were too small for the house. So I made them slightly bigger, 3x3cm, which was perfect. Then came the laborious bit, making them!  You need to measure them, mark all the tiles, then cut them,  mark out a meeting point for the tiles, then cut up to the halfway point...  it took about an hour, and a few cups of tea.  Finally all the tiles were made, and I needed lunch!

Next came the tricky bit, sticking them all down.  Would it work, would the glue last... ?    Phew the glue made it,  and some how so did I.  It took a few sit downs,  but I got there.   Still have to trim them, and cut out the apertures, but it looks okay.  May need a bit of weathering,  and have to do the eaves,  yes eaves.  The idea came to me last night, it will tidy up the sides.  Yes, more work, but who cares, want it to look good.  I've got enough tiles for the other half of the roof, and the two gables.  I was very pleased with myself, it all took a great deal of patience, which isn't my strong point.

I've learnt a great deal these last few weeks about making a dolls house.  First and foremost I've made good use of all my crafting skills,  each one has come in very handy.  As have all the tools, the cutters, paper trimmer (it makes life so much easier!).  Then there are the DIY skills I've built up over the years, like wallpapering,  putting up shelves and dado rails, laying carpet.   I've not rushed, and if I've got something wrong then I've sat down, had a cuppa, then started over.  Yes there are a few mistakes, but minor ones,  and easily rectified.   And there is still so much to do. 

Not only is there furniture to buy but also all the other bits, china,  cutlery,  pots and pans, bedding...  it really is like furnishing a real house.  I'm now looking at lights, as they are the next vital components,  I've chosen to go down the battery route for this house, but there is still so much choice. 

Well that's it for today,  not a bad day, not the wash out as predicted by the Met office, in fact the opposite. It is raining now, but who cares?   Well Harvey does, he's not a fan of getting wet.  He's currently having a row with his girlfriend, she went too far and stole his chicken - that'll teach him to eat it. 

Will summer ever arrive?   We can but dream...

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Looking good!

Things are moving along in the house.  I did get stuck,  more on that in a moment.  The upstairs is just about done, still some frames to do.  But I did do the door frame, well one side of it.  Looks okay doesn't it?   Mitreing such a small joint was fiddly, don't think I did too bad a job.  Still have to do the other side, and there needs to be a small step down into the bathroom, which I've made, it just requires another coat of paint and then gluing into place.   What was the sticking point, I ran out of wallpaper, or some that I liked.  So it was up to the craft shop at the garden centre, with fingers crossed...

The living room/study part was fine, I found some nice papers for both bits.  Sadly the pattern isn't showing up too well on the photo.   I'm going to put up a picture rail throughout the downstairs.   There is no room divider for the living room, so I'll use a bookcase to mark out the study/craft room area.    I'm wondering whether to keep the stairs as they are,  just give them a coat of varnish.   If I could I'd turn the stairs round, or buy a new set, but the hole dictates where the stairs must go. 

The kitchen and dining room.  This became the stumbling block.  I had a bit of trouble at the craft shop finding suitable papers.  I did like some of the capsule collection by Do Crafts, but the pack didn't contain any repeating papers. Luckily one of the assistants came to the rescue, she and I began flicking through the 12x12 papers, she also realised that I needed a small pattern.  Eventually I settled for this blue stripe, I felt it looked clean.  I toyed with putting a different paper in the kitchen, but then decided to do the same for both rooms. 

Here it is, the (almost) completely decorated house.  I used the chequered duck tape for the kitchen floor, but laid it down at an angle.  The carpet is beige, I hoped I would be able to use an L shape, but the house was just a few centimetres bigger than the carpet tile, but, trust me, you can't see the join!   I also got more acetate, this time it was a pack of 12x12, which was the same price as I'd paid for the A4 size in Hobbycraft!  So next up is the picture rail, finish off the window frames,  glue the kitchen and bathroom floors into place,  put up curtain rails, secure some batons upstairs for the lighting, tile the roof...  Then of course the outside needs to be finished, the verandah has to be put in place, along with the front door, and the shutters.  I'll need hinges for both doors and shutters.    Still in two minds as to what colour to paint the outside,  having rooted through the paint I found a lovely blue,  or there is also the pale green, or pink! 

Then comes the fun part, the furnishings!   I've been looking, but there is so much choice!   Some of the stuff is really, really expensive, not sure I'm prepared to pay £60 for one piece of dolls house furniture.  I did spot some job lots on ebay,  well since it is 'my' house, I'm not one for overly modern furniture,  I like classic styles.   It was fortnate that mum and I had similar tastes when it came to furniture,   I remember when she was looking for a cabinet for the living room we both spotted the same cupboard, it was the same with the suite.  The suite is now on its last legs, and now that Harvey has stopped clawing at it I can think of getting a new one.   If I could afford it I'd get the old one reupholstered, but it would be too costly. 

I am also learning all about patience.   I can tend to rush things,  but I was determined to break that habit with the house.  I've taken my time, and have realised when to stop,  though my back lets me know.   The back has been really problematic these last few weeks,  I tweaked it getting into the car, yep that is all it takes, and for days it was agony.  I tried my stretches but nothing was working, just had to let it settle down.   I feel like a right old crock at times.   I got my HRT sorted,  but only after much faffing about.   I went back to the chemist to pick it up,  but as I got there so did their order, so I had to wait until they found it.  I wouldn't have been so grumpy had all the staff been working, but it seemed a couple were staying out of sight and ignoring the ever growing queue.    I was trying to get all I needed for the next few days as I decided to have a bit of a quiet time.   When I got home I found a surveyor waiting,  our housing association is having all its properties surveyed...   not what I wanted when I was gasping for a sit down and a cuppa.  The young man was very pleasant,  and he didn't take too long.   Harvey of course did a disappearing act, and the flat was looking a mess!    Well with a bad back it is hard to do housework. 

There'll be more house updates over the next few days.  I may tackle the roof tomorrow, I found some grey card.  Yes I had started the tiling, but having followed the instructions on Youtube I realised that my roof needs bigger tiles, the card I found will be perfect, and there is a lot of it! 

Right, all from me....