January 29, 2012

The Race is On

Saturday was crazy around here with Malcolm's schedule. He had baseball try-outs, the Cub Scouts Pinewood Derby, basketball, and then a sleepover birthday party for a friend. Whew! Malcolm and I actually put the finishing touches on his pinewood car only minutes before the race. I thought his initial design was sort of benign. There was nothing special about it, except, of course, the time he and I spent trying to pull it together...together.

Minutes before the race, there was no time to rethink it all. Of course, just as we were about to back out of driveway, Malcolm remembered that I'd just received a miniature iPad from Lulu by Zuri from Thailand. "Let's use that, Mom " Malcolm exclaimed! Now, that would be special, I thought. Bet no other cub scout would have a one-inch scale iPad! No, not one.

I jumped out of the car, ran downstairs to the hobby room, and carefully tiptoeing between things I'd laid out on the floor (is that safe?) for the Auction House. I found the iPad, grabbed some glue, and then headed off to the derby.

Sadly, Malcolm came in last. It was, after all, our first race. While talking to the dads there, I learned a couple of secrets that we can use next year. Caution: it will involve graphite and steel wool. Although disappointed about his last-place standing, Malcolm still enjoyed time with his buddies.

The later half of Malcolm's schedule was handled by my sweet husband. "I want you to finish your project," Billy said. "I'll take Malcolm to basketball and then to the sleepover." And he didn't even ask about dinner. I love that man!

Later that night and into the morning, I worked on the Auction House. I papered a foam core wall with 1/2-scale faux brick vinyl. This is one of the finds I captured for only 50 cents at Ernie's Attic. I did more wallpapering (is that a real verb?) and I experimented with the color of the exterior brick. I'm also attempting to create judges paneling.

The later half of Malcolm's schedule was handled by my sweet husband. "I want you to finish your project," Billy said. "I'll take Malcolm to basketball and then to the sleepover." And he didn't even ask about dinner. I love that man!

Later that night and into the morning, I worked on the Auction House. I papered a foam core wall with 1/2-scale faux brick vinyl. This is one of the finds I captured for only 50 cents at Ernie's Attic. I did more wallpapering (is that a real verb?) and I experimented with the color of the exterior brick. I'm also attempting to create judges paneling.

I'm feeling under the gun now with only five days left before I have to wrap this all up. A good portion of Saturday was eaten up by little-boy activities. But it was time spent with Malcolm, and therefore time well spent.



Malcolm's cool pinewood derby car | Cool, but not fast .



My card stock mockup for judges paneling | 
I'm hoping to recreate this with popsicle sticks.



The cardboard tv set is just a placeholder 
until I "hang" the "real" flat screen tv.

I love this brown "brick" wall I created with a sheet of 50-cent vinyl.



I will try to embellish the office furniture purchased at Hobby Lobby.

I think I can find some printies online to give the keyboard and

printer a more realistic appearance.




January 27, 2012

Let There Be Light

Today was crazy! I was attempting to advance on the Auction House and focus on completing the light fixture installation. I was getting so frustrated with two aspects of hard wiring--a) elongating my wire so it would extend from the second story to the base of the house and b) reinserting the prongs of the male plug so it can be plugged into the circuit strip.

After numerous attempts to fuse the wires with those teeny, tiny clear shrink tubes, I gave up. Nor could I reattach the brass prongs. I was so frustrated. Then I thought to email Mini-friend Brae from Otterine.com. She talked me off the ledge. Thanks, Brae!

I used needle nose pliers that she recommended, plus another tool I bought at a show years ago. I'd honestly forgotten what I'd bought it for. But more than that, she encouraged me to exercise a little patience...

And it worked! Wow! I kept "plugging" at it, and finally, I was able to get those wires into the male plug and re-fit the prongs!

Hobbies can be a metaphor for life, I suppose. Keep trying, keep plugging along. Things do work out.




My first light fixture works in the Auction House!



The circuit strip.



These odd thing, perhaps a dental tool, helped me stuff the copper wires back into the male
plugs before reinserting the prongs!

January 26, 2012

Moving Right Along

Sadly, I lost almost two days of working on the Auction House. My son was home sick from school for a day and half and we had to work on his third-grade Rain Forest project. So rather than working on the addition to the house that arrived super fast (thank you, Sasha, at Miniatures.com), I was gluing leaves and ants to Malcolm's poster.

But now I'm back in the swing of things. I put the addition together, which will be the family's kitchen. I also hung one ceiling fan in the master bedroom.




This is part of the kitchen set I purchased for a deep discount. I have another one like 
it that has an oak finish. I bought that one 15 years ago at twice the price I paid for this new one.



I'll try to "catch up" today, but I only have a half day to work on everything. My real-life sized interior designer is coming to my house today to show me drawings for the master bathroom remodel. More about that later.

January 23, 2012

Floored by These Bargains




I'm about to cut, stain, and then install the hardwood flooring in my auction house. Even though the Vermont Junior Farmhouse has hardwood flooring, it doesn't resemble the staggered plank layout of a real hardwood floor. I was concerned that I'd go over budget by buying hardwood flooring for the project, but I got really lucky. Last Thursday and Friday, I visited Ernie's Attic at Hobby Builder's Supply. They are the company behind Miniatures.com. I am SO lucky to live only about 30 minutes away from the company. Turns out, twice a month, they open their doors for miniaturists to come and by scratch-and-dent stuff. It was my first time ever visiting the warehouse. I found most of the things I need for the auction house at a deep discount with only minor, minor issues. I purchased the flooring for...no kidding...50 cents per sheet! I know, I know...shut up! If you're ever in the Atlanta, GA area, check out Ernie's Attic. Too awesome for more words!





I will stain these floors a deep, dark color. I like Minwax's Express Color water-based stain.
 It doesn't stick like most other stains I've used. 




January 22, 2012

Fast Track Front Porch

I continued working on the school auction house early this morning. I only took breaks to eat cereal, feed the dog, and help my son make his own mini-pizza. Hubby came down to my hobby room around  6 p.m. just before having to leave for Miami on business. I love that he doesn't mind kissing me with paint all over my face! There's still a lot to do, including shopping for more supplies. I realized I bought  two windows that are the wrong size! Arrgh! I'm hoping tomorrow that I will be able to finish up the exterior of the main house then begin on the inside. Wish me luck!



The front porch will need touch-ups tomorrow. I needed to get this photos to the Auction Committee for publication tomorrow | Deadline pressure has always been energizing to me.



January 21, 2012

Blogging with One Hand, Building with the Other

Just like on HGTV, but on a 1/12 scale, I am rushing to finish this house. I signed up to donate a Vermont Farmhouse Junior, by Real Good Toys, as part of my kids' school auction. The auction is the biggest fund-raising event of the year. This dollhouse should be completed and delivered by February 4, which is two weeks from today.

Because I've always been a bit of a procrastinator, I find myself under the gun again. I was going to kick myself for not starting any sooner, but hey, I think instead I'll pretend like I'm one of those designs teams on tv rushing to do a whole-room makeover in a day or two...kind of, sort of. I actually began in earnest putting the kit together three days ago, but I didn't get very far. That's because I was shopping all over town for items to include in the dollhouse.

On top of all of that, I want to blog about this. Why? Because I think the techniques I'm applying to this hyper dollhouse-finishing objective might be useful to someone else, whatever the timeframe is for completing their handiwork. I also want to explore here the cross-over between my dollhouse hobby and my scrapbooking thing.

Okay, break's over. Here we go...


I've been told that even MDF needs to be primed to make wallpapering easier.

I will be hardwiring this house | I'm trying to determine where the outside lights should go | The door is a sloppy practice piece leftover from another project.


Can a girl ever have too much Aleene's Tacky Glue? | Not when Michael's, Joann's, and Hobby Lobby have coupons...which is almost always!



I will be using my heat gun to save on paint-drying time. I use this heat gun when I wet emboss elements
on a scrapbook page or handcrafted card.