Sunday, 27 March 2011

Kitchen kapers

This week I am still bashing the kitchen kit.  I'm almost ready to start painting now.

I cut the dishwasher down fairly easily, using a razor saw.  The only problem is that the door hinges protrude below the cut line, so I will have to snip off the tips of those.  Then the door will still open but it will fall off - but I could stick it open if I wanted to do a scene with the door partly ajar.

I assembled the upper cupboard as per the kit instructions.  You can see the wine storage shelves at the right. 

I assembled the right hand cupboard from the kit, which would normally house the sink, as per the kit instructions.  I had a little trouble with the corner shelves.  The instructions say to glue the shelves even with the right edge, so they protrude on the left edge (front edge) of the side wall. But when you glue on the back of the unit, it has grooves cut into it, to receive the back of the shelves.  If the shelves are even with the right edge, then the grooves will just be empty air and won't be supporting the back of the shelves.  I compromised and nudged the shelves so they were sticking out the back a little, to fit into the grooves on the back.
The Miss Lydia Pickett (LP) kitchen island has drawer and basket detail on the front side facing the viewer, which puts it on the wrong side for the imaginary cook using the kitchen. I'm tempted to do the same, so as not to just be presenting a blank wall to the viewer.  I might try to use the fridge trim (which I don't need) to create faux cupboard detail on the sink side of the island.

The pantry cupboard is made from 1/3rd of the original oven/pantry/fridge unit, similar to the way I made the standalone oven unit.  I cut new side pieces from the remaining third of the front and back of the original unit, as I am not going to make the refrigerator from the kit.  Oh, and when it says 'dry fit the shelves and then glue', it turns out the shelves have a right way up.  I was concentrating on centering them to fit into the cut-out in the front piece, and forgot to check that the trim piece matched the shelves.  It didn't because I'd glued them the wrong way up.  Luckily I was able to pry them apart later and do it again - I love tacky glue.
So now all the basic pieces are assembled, and I can start painting.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Kitchen kit bashing, and shopping

This week I was finally brave enough to open the bag containing the kitchen kit that I bought from Judith of 'In Some Small Way'. Judith designed this kit together with Susan Karatjas (who does the laser cutting) as a 1/24th replacement for the Miss Lydia Pickett kitchen  which was never made in 1/24th scale.

As you can see, the kit includes four units:  an Upper Cupboard unit, left and right Lower Cupboards including a sink and hob, and a pantry unit including  an oven, microwave and refrigerator.  All appliances and drawers are false fronts.  The kit includes the green wallpaper decorating the front of the cupboards, all the knobs, the sink and taps, and the grocery goods on the shelves.  There's even a window and scene to go behind it, in case your room box needs a view.

The Miss Lydia Pickett kitchen is quite different, as you may be able to make out from this photograph of a printout from a web photo.  The upper cupboards have an extractor hood above the stove, and a built in fridge connects the upper cupboards with the lower cupboards.  An island contains the sink and a breakfast bar, with drawer detail and storage baskets on the side facing the viewer.  A hutch fits into the right corner of the room.

I am going to try to kit-bash Judith's kitchen so that it looks more like the LP kitchen.  However, my kit-bashed Fairfield kitchen has different proportions than the LP kitchen.  So you can see why I have been procrastinating.

The plan

Having read through the instructions for Judith's kit which include helpful illustrations showing all the kit pieces, I've decided on the following modifications:
  • I'm going to wrap my kitchen around into the righthand alcove, by dividing off the oven/microwave unit of the pantry cupboard, and installing it around the corner.
  • I will position the refrigerator opposite the oven/microwave unit, in the corner of the room, and I will probably use a plastic refrigerator that I already own (it used to be a fridge magnet) rather than the faux fridge that comes with the kit.
  • The remaining third of this unit, the pantry, will become a hutch in the righthand corner of the room.
  • I will use the upper cupboard from the kit, and run it across so that it overlaps the oven/microwave unit.
  • I will use the righthand lower cupboard from the kit (which would normally hold the sink) as my kitchen island, since it is shorter.  I'm not going to put the sink on the island, as I think that if I lived in that house, I really wouldn't like having to wash dishes out on view like that.    So I will put the hob/stove on the island instead.
  • I will use the lefthand lower cupboard (which would normally have the hob/stove) against the wall, underneath the upper cupboard.
All of the kit units are constructed in basically the same way.  A simple box is constructed and painted.  The green paper is applied over the front side, then a laser-cut trellis-like grid is painted and glued down which gives cleverly gives the impression of faux drawers.  Open shelves are assembled and slotted into the simple box inside openings left for that purpose.  The hob/oven/microwave are pieces of wood painted black, with artwork applied on top to make them look like appliances.  This simplicity and lack of working drawers makes it easier to kit-bash the units (I am hoping).

Beginning to bash - Oven/microwave unit

1)  I cut the front trellis of the oven/pantry/refrigerator unit into thirds, carefully, with a sharp scalpel. The oven/microwave is the left piece, the pantry is the middle piece and the fridge (which I likely won't use) is on the right.

2)  Then I used the oven unit from step (1) to trace off the appropriate widths of the front and back panels from the original triple unit.  I cut these with a scalpel.

3)  I used the original side pieces from the original triple unit, and cut shorter pieces from the top and bottom unit to use for my new cabinet.

Then it was a simple matter of gluing together this rectangular box.

4)  The new slimmed down unit in its place, in the alcove.

Kit Review:  Petite Properties 1:24th Wall Cupboard

This is another one of the cheap cardboard kits that I used in the little girl's bedroom.  This one is for a front opening wall cupboard with one shelf, which comes with thin acrylic 'glass' and some knobs for handles.  It is superb value at £2.99 from Petite Properties here in the UK (

As before, the good quality card (like mat board) is cleanly cut by laser, with additional etched detail on the doors, and the pieces fit together cleanly.  Having learned my lesson on the previous kits, I was very careful to bend each corner over a metal ruler, to get a clean bend with no delaminating of the card layers.

There are only four pieces:  the main cupboard all in one piece including the doors, a top and bottom, and a shelf.  It assembles very quickly into an attractive cupboard.

What I am thinking is that this will be a cupboard above my refrigerator, to make the refrigerator look more built-in.  It's a similar width to the fridge, but not as deep, so I will likely need to add false sides.

Bashing the left lower cupboard

I am going to turn this into my sink unit, against the wall, and I am going to include a dishwasher (another fridge magnet) as I can't imagine life without one.

1)  The front trellis includes a 'blank' area where the righthand lower cupboard would have butted up to make the 'L'-shaped counter from the original kit.  I trimmed this off.

Then I used the 'trellis' part to measure and cut the front piece, as well as the bottom piece.  I am not adding the top piece yet because my sink will need to drop down into the cupboard space.  I left the back full width, so that I will have support for the counter top and new side.

2)  I used the original sides from the lower cupboard and the original interior brace.  However, I have positioned the brace further to the left, in order to allow for my sink to be positioned directly underneath the 'extractor hood' on the upper cupboard.

You can see how the upper and lower units are going to overlap the oven unit, making it all look built in (hopefully).

3)  The dishwasher is going to go in the space that I left for it in this unit.  However, it's too tall so I am going to have to cut some of the base off.  This is a fridge magnet that has an opening door with interior racks that slide out.  I cleaned up on 1/24th scale appliance-shaped fridge magnets at a Fridge Magnet shop in San Francisco in the tourist area.


Today my DH drove me up to Birmingham to visit the UK's biggest and best dollshouse show, Miniatura, as a belated Christmas present.  However, I had committed to only keeping him waiting for two hours, so I really had to whiz around.  I was basically glancing at stalls to see if they had anything on my list, and moving on if they didn't.

As you may have gathered, my favourite source for smaller scales here in the UK is 'In Some Small Way', and I was able to pick up a second LP sofa for my scantily-furnished living room, a saucepan, a teapot with matching cups and saucers, and two mugs from the lovely Judith.  On another stall, I picked up some charming vintage childrens packing items (boxed games etc.).  I found a faux 1/24th cardigan which will look nice in the Fairfield bedroom, and from Tee Pee crafts I picked up a bunch of findings which will hopefully be accessories for the little girl's room, plus a mirror frame for the hallway.  It was a whirlwind tour.  1/24th scale is still not widely available here in the UK.  There's a lot more than there used to be, but very few dedicated suppliers.  Typically a stall that sells, say, china or glass or plants will have one small area with a few items in 1/24th scale. 

So, I'm feeling good that I am finally tackling the kitchen kit bash and that I now have a plan.  Let's just hope it works...

Sunday, 13 March 2011

A nice place to sit

This week I have been making places to sit.  First of all, thank you to those who have voted on the best arrangement for the little girl's room (see previous post) - your comments have given me some great ideas.  If you haven't voted, please have a look and let me know what you think.

I put together the second Flutterbye Chair this week, so the set is complete.

Then I was working on the windowseat in the kitchen.  I cut two pieces of craft foam to fit inside the bay, and glued them together for a double thickness.

When I papered the kitchen, I had just glued flaps inside the window aperture, so it wasn't very tidy.  I painted some lengths of kebab stick to match the window, and after I took this picture, I glued them down the sides of the window to tidy up the edges.  I glued a leftover length of plastic skirting along the top edge of the opening to trim that. Although now that I've seen the high res photos (which show much more detail than my own eyes can pick up on) I can see that I need to touch up the paint on that a bit.

Then I made the cushion the same way as I made the outdoor cushions, by wrapping fabric around and gluing on the reverse.  On this cushion, I added faux piping around the front edge by twisting a single strand of embroidery floss into a doubled cord and gluing it on.

This fabric is probably a bit too large scale, but I really liked the colour in this room.

This will be a good place to put little throw pillows to make it really cosy. I might add a window treatment which would hide the untidy top edge - will have to think about that once the dining set is finished.

I am running out of things to procrastinate with instead of tackling the kitchen - am going to have to open those scary bags of a kazillion kitchen kit pieces soon.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Decisions, decisions - girl's bedroom vote please

This week I put together the Flutterby Child's Bed, but I need to decide where to put the furniture in the girl's room.  I took pics of several different arrangements - let me know which is your favourite!

Kit review: Flutterbye Butterfly Collection child's Bed P040 1/24th scale

This little bed is a bit like a sleigh bed, only with a high headboard. This is a fairly simple kit to put together.  The pieces are cleanly cut by laser and with minimal charring:  two sides, headboard, footboard, bed base and tops for the headboard and footboard.  The supplied artwork is charming as always.

  • Trace around the bed base onto cardboard before assembling the bed - the cardboard will form the base of your mattress.  The instructions say to do this at the end, but it would save time to draw the pattern now rather than trying to make a mattress base to fit later on.
  • The footboard fits between the sides but I found that my bed base was a smidgen too long, causing my footboard to stand slightly proud of the sides.  The artwork has concealed this, but a dry run would have been good to pick up this issue earlier and I could have sanded the bed base slightly shorter.
  • I decided to add a narrow shelf into my high headboard, because it looked like a bookcase to me.  I had a bed when I was little that had a handy shelf to hold books and an alarm clock.  I cut some of the spare wood from the kit surround to the same length as the headboard width, and decorated it with the spare artwork provided in the kit.  To begin with, I placed the shelf lower down but then I realised it was too close to the pillows, and moved it higher.
Following the instructions for the mattress, I used two layers of cotton quilt batting and covered it with scrap fabric.

I made some little pillows, the blue ones are about 1/2" square.  The pink one is smaller, and I need to glue some trim around the seam to hide the stitches.

Room arrangement

As the child's bed is child-size, I still have loads of space in this room even with all the furniture now complete.  I'm not sure how to arrange it.  I'm thinking of making a draped canopy over the bed of some kind.

I think this is my favourite arrangement.  It puts the full-size chest of drawers at the back, to minimise its size difference, and brings the cute wardrobe to the front.  Let's call this 'Arrangement A'

Arrangement B

Arrangement C



 - kind of like the dresser and the bed at the back like that.

G (same as A, except bench and bookcase swapped)

Looking forward to your views!