February 27, 2012

Even on the Worst Days

Today was my day to help our cub scout leader chaperone our scouts on a trip to the Marietta Museum of History. I was in charge of snacks and driving 5 of the 12 boys (all age 9). I thought it'd be a challenging afternoon with all those boys and noise. I was bracing myself.

And then there was a happy surprise for me...

While the docent of the museum gave the boys a tour of the military collections, I wandered down the wrong hallway. I stumbled upon a huge 1/12-scale victorian dollhouse that was donated by the Weitzel family. Seems the Weitzels were an elderly couple who began collecting miniatures upon their retirement. When they passed away, family members discovered that the dollhouse had been willed to the museum.

It was difficult for me to photograph the entire house because it's encased in glass. Here is just one of the rooms on the second floor. The docent said the museum curators had to disassemble parts of the house in order to get it out of the donor's hobby room and then lift it out of a second story window. This thing is huge! There are maybe five front-opening porches such as this one attached to this house.

A peak at the top of the staircase onto the second floor and a look inside one of the rooms.

Here's another view of this three-story victorian dollhouse.
The museum docent says that there's is another part
of the house that isn't displayed yet. They haven't figured out
how to attach it to the rest of the house.
This house has front-opening porches. 
I'll visit the museum again soon for more pictures.

The most wonderful thing of all is that when I told the museum docent that I am a miniatures collector, she was delighted. She was even more thrilled when I told her I'd volunteer to clean up the house and make the necessary repairs. The house is in moderate disrepair, and some of the miniature items have fallen in-between the glass display case.

It'll be fun to help bring this house back to its formal glory.

The other happy surprise today involved a trip to the Goodwill Store. I found things for my real-life size house).

This chair and ottoman cost a total of $20! I know where I can purchase
really nice discounted fabric to give it a fresh look.

These floor tiles were only $10 per box. I purchased two
from Goodwill. I will be making an area rug
to cover my son's hardwood bedroom floor.

February 22, 2012

Out of the Basement...Into the Hobby Room

My next dollhouse project will be just for me. But even as I type this, I'm thinking I might want to do a New Orleans shotgun house for my sister who lives in New Orleans...

For the past few years, I've completed dollhouses for my niece, my husband's friends' daughters, and the Walker School Auction. And a few room boxes, too. But, this go 'round, it'll be all about yours truly. I'll call this house The Valencia in homage to my favorite once-upon-a-time hometown in Southern California. And even though the name Valencia makes you think the house should look Spanish, I want to keep the name because it reminds me of the place I still wish I could call home. My husband and the kids will be away next weekend, so I'll have a big chunk of time to work on this house.

History of the Valencia
I've owned this house for 16 years. I purchased it from a dollhouse store in Los Angeles. It was already assembled, except for the two side buildings (the garage and what will be the kitchen). The kitchen was the remnant of the first dollhouse I bought for myself some 20 years ago. It was a cape cod style that I drove from D.C. to Pennsylvania to purchase. Don't know what possessed me to destroy such a cute house. I never completed it, either, but I wanted parts of it for The Valencia.

You can learn more about my real-life house drama here: Life-Size House Re-do, or by jumping in the truck with my contractor and me as we canvas the area looking for good deals! Todd, you rock!

February 16, 2012

Before We Begin Again

Someone asked me yesterday if I'd be working on another dollhouse project soon. The answer is yes; however, I have a real-life sized house to work on in the next few weeks. I'll just work on the next dollhouse on the weekends to de-stress from what will likely be real-house remodeling drama.

My life in the last 15 years has been nothing but house madness. I'll post a link soon to that whole story. It's enough to say here that in the full-scale house I live in now, we'll be putting in four new bathrooms, a new kitchen, and a lot of other stuff I can't get my head around right now. Oh, yeah, replacement of the furniture that Max (the thing my kids claim is a dog) ate whole.

Today was a wonderful day, though. I went on a field trip to the flooring store with my contractor and tile installer. The designer there, Kathy, was wonderful in helping me not become overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed enough with just choosing wallpaper for the Auction House.

Anyway, this is some of what we came up with. And on top of that, Kathy gave me a sample of something I can use in my next miniature project. It's a sample of some new type of grout, that's got a shimmer to it, that we're going to use in the kids' bathroom. I'm thinking this could be some kind of funky ceiling light in miniature or a table base. Any ideas?

Malcolm takes time out from his homework to hold this sample for Mommy. 

Max the dog, who eats sofas and love seats whole! Great source of fiber.

February 15, 2012

Got 'er Done! The Auction House is Finished!

Here are photos of the final Auction House.
Many of the items are scrapbooking supplies (thanks, Rochelle)
that I purchased at Archiver's, where I used to work.
Tomorrow, I'll list the scrapbooking supplies I used on this house,
such as the picture hanging above the leather sofa.

Whew! I will never, ever try building a dollhouse with an extension, a garage, and electrification for an auction with less than three weeks to complete it again! I had just over two weeks to complete this entire project. What was I thinking? What was my motivation? Yes, I wanted to help raise money for the teachers' wish lists at school, but part of me thinks I wanted a challenge. Part of me thinks I wanted some positive feedback from admirers at the school. Part of me wanted to feel special, beyond my ordinary life of dropping the kids to school, feeding the dog, cleaning the house, etc., picking up the kids from school. And never, ever finishing anything that I start!

Anyway, after late nights and early mornings, take-out food, and begging my teenager to help her younger brother with his homework, I finally finished!

The house was a hit at the auction, although it didn't go for as much as I thought it should have. Oh, well, at least I get to write off all of my costs on my taxes!

I made the window treatment in the hallway from part of a fat quarter.
The pillows on the bed of the master bedroom are part
of the Houseworks Metro Bed.
 And that cute denim jacket in the girl's bedroom
is a Jolee's scrapbooking embellishment. 

My sweet hubby, who paid for all of this, said not to beat myself up for going to all this effort. He told me to consider the newly acquired skills I garnered while working on this house. Those skills included finally learning to hardwire (thanks, Brea at Otterine), and finally learning (after 20 years) to miter crown moulding. I broke out a book that I bought in the late 80s to help me with this. I will do a tutorial on it for folks like me who had the information right in front of me but who failed to read the directions!

Dear sweet hubby also said this: "And ask yourself," he said, "did you have fun?" Well, yes, honey. I did. I really did!

Please comment and let me know your thoughts. Have you used scrapbooking supplies in creating your minis? If so, do tell. Which ones and in what way. Thanks!

February 14, 2012

Be My Little Valentine

The "Love" box was made from card stock and scrapbook stickers.

I won the flower arrangement more than 20 years ago at my first doll house show. 

 Since I was able to buy some extra time to finish off the Auction House, I decided to make some things for Valentine's Day. The woman who purchased the house at the school's auction wanted to give her daughter this house as a Valentine's Day gift. Unfortunately, she failed to give me her address so I couldn't deliver the house today...which is, uh, Valentine's Day. Anyway, I decided to make some Valentine's Day-themed items for the house. I'll be glad to finally deliver this house tomorrow. Then I can finish off my hubby's mini comic book store and begin work on my own doll house.

I created the candy box from scrapbook stickers. I also created a banner that the man of this little house created (out of scrapbook stickers) and hung up in the living room for his unsuspecting sweetheart.

I got these stickers from Hobby Lobby yesterday.

 I added scrapbook twine to make a Valentine's Day banner. 

The man of this mini house (let's call him Jack) made a banner of hearts
from scrapbook stickers for his wife. Yes, the hearts are
upside down, but at least he tried.

February 6, 2012

Fast Forward to the Finish

The school auction took place on Saturday, and yes, I finished the house in time! The winner of the auction agreed to let me hand deliver the finished house to her next week. That'll give me time to touch up a few things that I felt needed more time (that I hadn't had).

Anyway, here's a recap of the last few days of work I put into the Auction House. By the way, the house went for $475. The proceeds will help purchase items on the school's teacher wish lists.

This is uncanny, but while working on the dollhouse garage, I was also having my real-life garage repaired at the same time! My Auction dollhouse garage door was giving me a fit. I'd purchased the partially assembled garage kit from Ernie's Attic. While the dollhouse garage kit cost $10, the real-life garage repair cost $200! Gag!

The door was in good shape, but needed a little tweaking to make it roll within the tracks properly. I was also having difficulty securing the hinges of each set of garage doors. After an hour, I gave up and just used my own dollhouse garage for the Auction House, which I assembled 10 years ago. I'll work on the other door later when I finish my own dollhouse. I had my full-size garage guy, Barry, hold up a photo of the little garage.Thanks, Barry!

My life-size garage repairman holding my dollhouse garage kit.

I was running out of time and roofing tiles by Thursday, two days before the big day. I had only one package of asphalt tiles on hand. I called Hobby Lobby, Hobby Town, and double-checked my stash. There were no black asphalt tiles to be had. I called my local miniatures store--Miniature Designs--which is a 45-minute drive from my house. They had tiles, but only in brown. I'd read online that Joanne of Joanne's Minis had spray painted some tiles, and they turned out fine. She handmade hers using sand paper. But the technique for painting would be the same on my tile strips. I was happy to see that it worked! Thanks, Joanne!

Tiles go from brown to black with a little spray paint.

Using my sewing and knitting gauge to install the roof tile.
No time to draw lines on the MDF to mark the placement of the tile strips.

February 1, 2012

Measure Twice, Cut Once...Yeah, Right

With just three days left to complete the Auction House, I don't have time for re-doing anything. To help speed things up, I pulled this tool out of my sewing/ knitting supplies. It's a gauge that I've used to secure an even hemline for the occasional home crafted garment. I used it here to make the judges paneling for the Auction House dining room. I think it's turning out all right.

And I also was forced to paint the paper I want to use for the ceiling. I could only find this paper in brown at Hobby Lobby, but I needed it in white. So I layered on the paint, letting it dry each time. This took all day long.

I'm running out of time and feeling the pressure. My husband told me to relax and that "it's only an auction, remember. And plus, you're giving this house away." Thank goodness he didn't say, "it's just a dollhouse." I would have ended up in tears.