Saturday, 25 June 2011

Teeny tiny treasures

This week I put together the tiny little 'Miss Lydia Pickett' furniture which is roughly 144th scale.

They went together quite easily.  My main fear was that I was going to drop one of the tiny pieces and never see it again.  I worked in a good light over the upturned lid of a shoe box, so that all the pieces stayed inside the lid and didn't get lost.

Although the end result is quite realistic, there are actually remarkably few pieces.

Bed - there are three pieces:  a thick 'mattress' of wood, and two filigree ends.  You glue an end to either side of the mattress and there's your bed.  The kit provides thin batting for the 'poof' of the mattress, and printed fabric for the bedcover and pillows.

Wardrobe - two pieces:  one thick cut body piece, which has been cleverly detailed with partial laser cuts to give the illusion of a door and pull out storage boxes, and a thin top piece.  A tiny piece of artwork is provided for gluing on the 'door'.

Clock - this is a single piece cut from thick wood, with laser detailing on the front including a carved out circle for the clock face.  There is no artwork, the effect of a clock face and front detailing is done with paint.

Day Bed - this was the trickiest to put together but not hard.  There were five pieces:  a back, seat, front, and two side pieces.  Printed fabric is provided for the seat cushion.

Chicken Coop cupboard - three pieces.  The body is thick cut wood, with partial laser cuts hollowing out the centre to give the illusion of 'shelves'.  There is a filigree front, and a top piece.

Painting has to be done carefully with watered down paint, to avoid filling in the detail lines.  Suggestions for colour are included in the instructions.

I'm really pleased with how these turned out, and I couldn't resist snapping some photos of the tiny furniture with its 1/24th counterparts.  Can you spot the tiny piece in each photo?

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Mini library

This week I finished the Petite Properties book cupboard for the mezzanine level.

After painting it with Games Workshop Bleached Bone, I added the 'glass' panes by gluing the plastic supplied in the kit to the inside of the doors.  I used Glue and Glaze from Deluxe Materials which is advertised as drying clear and therefore suitable for gluing windows.  I find it does grab the plastic quickly and holds well, but it still shows if you get it on the panes.  The advantage over tacky glue is that it dries crystal clear, so it's ok if just a little shows along the edge of the pane.  But if you get it onto the main part of the pane, it still shows badly.  And in fact I managed to screw up my first attempt at the windows and had to cut new ones from some packaging and try again.  The handles are little gold beads that came with the kit.

I made 'books' for the inside in the same way that I made the shelf of books for the little girl's room, by gluing cutouts onto pieces of wood.  This time I painted the wood white because I felt the black I used for the little girl's room wasn't very realistic.  I drew the lines of the book covers in with pencil for the bottom shelf where the tops of the 'books' show a little.  This cupboard is going in a back corner so it doesn't need to be too perfect.

And here is the cupboard on the mezzanine.  For some reason the photograph has come out very grainy, perhaps not enough light in there.

I'm starting to feel that this house is almost 'done'.  There is loads more that I could do, but the major construction is now all complete.  I was trying to think what is still left to do:

  • Arrange the furniture for the little girl's room and add further accessories such as curtains
  • Find furniture for the little boy's room
  • More accessories for the kitchen - look for these at fairs
  • Make cushions for the window seat, garden chairs, and porch chairs
  • More accessories throughout all rooms of the house, including possibly fake non-electric light fixtures and putting up the Miss Lydia Pickett framed pictures that came with some of the kits, towels in the bathroom etc..
  • Glue on the missing skirting bits in the kitchen
It may be time to move the house downstairs to my collection and out of my bedroom.  Then I would be able to dismantle my construction station and actually get into my quilt cupboard for the first time in months.

But where would that leave all of you?  I would feel like I was letting you all down if I don't post something each week for you to look at.  On the other hand, you will all get bored pretty quickly if all that I am doing is adding the occasional accessory. 

It's almost a question of philosophy:  When is a dollshouse project actually finished?

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mirror image

This week, I finished off the second Day Bed so now it's like seeing double in the living room.  I've placed it across from the first Day Bed, like a mirror image.

I painted the Day Bed with a few coats of Games Workshop Bleached Bone acrylic paint, which is the same colour used on the first Day Bed, then applied the artwork.  As before, I cut thin strips of the extra artwork and applied these along the side trims, in addition to the provided front trim strip which decorates the front.  There is also artwork for the tops of the arms, the front legs, and the decorative back.

The seat is a piece of stiff card provided in the kit, which is made up by gluing on layers of polyester batting/wadding, and covering with the provided printed fabric cover.

Making the cushions

The four back cushions come as pre-printed panels on fabric, and stuffing is provided in the kit.

Since my kit didn't have the right instruction sheet, it didn't have the instructions for these cushions, but luckily I remembered that I used my own method to make them up last time.

First of all, I folded over the fabric, printed sides together, and carefully lined up the printed squares by holding the fabric up to the light.  I pinned in place, and made pencil marks to show the edges of the printed areas.

Using this method, you will only get one pillow with a dog on it, but I was fine with that.

Then I set my sewing machine for a very short stitch length, and stitched around three sides of each square, just inside the pencil line.  Noticed that on the fourth side, I also stitched around the corner by a small amount, about 1/8".  This makes it easier to sew up the cushion afterwards with a neater result.

Then I carefully cut apart the cushions, leaving about a 3/16" seam allowance, and trimmed the corners at 45 degrees.  Using a blunt object, carefully turn through a cushion, and use a pin to pull out the corners as much as you can without shredding the fabric.

Notice that by sewing the fourth side a little, you have two corners already in place, and will only need to fold in the flaps to hand-sew the fourth side after stuffing.  I sewed it up with one strand of cotton and tiny stitches.

And here are the two Day Beds - the one I've just made is on the right.

Tiny Miss Lydia Pickett furniture

I was thrilled to discover on Judith's website (In Some Small Way) that the new line of Robin Betterley Secret Books included a tiny little Miss Lydia Pickett set of furniture.  These are roughly but not exactly 144th scale.  I couldn't resist ordering a set which I will make up as dollshouse furniture for my little girl's room.  There is a tiny bed and wardrobe, just like the Miss LP furniture, and a clock, day bed and chicken coop cabinet.

I will have to have a think about what kind of room box setting I can put these into, that won't look too big in the little girl's room.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

I need to win the lottery...

I need to win the lottery so that I can give up work and have time for all my hobbies.  This week I've spent a lot of time learning to use my new quilt frame, so I haven't done very much dollshousing, but I did put together a couple of kits.

First though, a couple of pictures I forgot to include last week.  I had previously made the Miss Lydia Pickett wallhanging shelf, and the hall table, before starting to build the house, and finally they have a home.  The shelf likely looks a bit odd straddling two different wallpapers but it doesn't fit in anywhere else in the house.  I didn't want to put it in the living room as I like the wallpaper in there so much that it seems a shame to cover any of it up.

I like this view looking in through the bay window.

Miss Lydia Pickett Day Bed kit

I had already made one of these over a year ago, before I started the house build, but I bought another one at Miniatura to be a second seat for the living room.  This is the kit:  laser cut wood with lasered labels next to the parts, instructions, b&w photos of assembly, and a packet of printed fabric and stuffing for making the cushions.

However, the instruction sheet in my 1/2" scale kit was actually the instruction sheet for the 1/4" kit, which doesn't have the same parts.  I don't know if I am just incredibly unlucky, or if there are some quality control issues with these kits.  I know before when I was building the kits (prior to the housebuild), I got a kit with no photo sheet and had to go back to Judith to ask her to post me a replacement.  Then I got the kit of two Flutterby chairs that only had wooden parts for one chair, and now a wrong instruction sheet.  By looking at the pictures, and the Day Bed I had built previously, I was still able to put the kit together, but it was a bit fiddly as it wasn't clear what order to apply the leg pieces with the notches in them.  I started out by gluing in the seat as per the 1/4" instructions, but I think maybe I should have glued on the back leg trims first.  I had to slide them in afterwards, and ended up blocking one set of notches for the side pieces by accident.  Also, the 1/4" instructions don't mention the back trim pieces at all, so I had to puzzle out where two of those went.  Anyway, I got there in the end.

Petite Properties 1/24th Glazed Tall Cupboard

This is another one of the very reasonably priced kits from Petite Properties, laser cut from cardboard.  I'm going to put it up on the mezzanine beside the grand piano.

They go together incredibly easily.  The pieces are very accurately cut, and the card grabs the tacky glue for an almost instant join.  It was just a case of gluing in the five shelves, folding up the sides and gluing them to the sides of the shelves, and then gluing on the top and bottom.