Sunday, 26 April 2009

The roof is coming on now, I should be finished in the next couple of days. I've started to tile the dormer rooves which is the trickiest part yet, and I'm still not sure that the way I've done it is right.

Anyway you can see the progress on the pictures.

What a messy workstation!

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Tiles, tiles, tiles... and some books

I'm still working on the roof - slow progress! It's best to wait until each tile has set as I don't want the tiles to stick only to each other and not the roof.

I've also cut the ends of some cocktail sticks and pasted them to the roofs of the dormer windows to give the first tiles a lift.

I've printed some nice little 1/12 book designs and have cut/glued them tonight. They need an overnight press to make them flat.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

Thanks to Mum for the bag of fabric remnants, felt and ribbons - fab for making curtains, bedding and clothing!

Therapeutic tiling

Today I started to tile the roof with the roof shingles. They are curved at one end and straight at other. I chose the straight side to be on display as I think it looks more realistic. A few rows to go yet before I paint them grey!

With two rows:

And with three rows:

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Another house!

I found my old doll house the other day, and have set myself the task of restoring it in 1950s style!

It was a bit of a step back in time, seeing all the little bits of carpet and fabric that I'd used in addition to some of the furniture that was bought for me. Most of the furniture is past rescuing, but there are some great little 1950s kitchen units and a cooker. I also have a fridge door, so will rummage about a bit to see if I can find any more. There is also a lovely couple.

Back to my 'Big House'...
I've now painted the house with a 50/50 mix of PVA and water, which gives it a good base for painting. Without it, any wallpaper or paint may not take.

Just above the edge of the roof, I've glued three barbeque kebab skewers, with the ends cut off and sanded down. This will give the first line of tiles a lift, rather than sitting flush with the roof.

I bought a tester tin of black masonry paint and mixed it with some white emulsion to give me a suitable grey for the roof. I've painted the whole of the roof even though I am fitting tiles. This way, if there are any gaps between tiles, the MDF won't be visible. The next step will be to fit the roof tiles.

Friday, 10 April 2009

It's arrived, and building has begun

I've now built most of the shell of the house. The guidelines were pretty simple and the trickiest part was inserting the room dividers into an already built, and glued, shell. Next time I'll try inserting these as I fit the different floors. So far I've had to use only glue (PVA), no screws or nails.

I've added the chimney stacks and pots, and also the dormer window frames. I'm not building the front of the house yet because there will be quite a bit of external paintwork that I'll complete before those parts are glued together. It would really make sense to paint and decorate the interior before construction as it will be a bit fiddly, but I think it will be nicer to work from a part-built shell rather than separate bits of wood. Perhaps I'll regret this decision later on!

The next step will be to size the MDF with a mixture of PVA and water, which I have already prepared for tomorrow.

A good afternoon's work :)

Flatpacked in its box.

The shell is built.

Chimney stacks and pots are added.

The roof starts to take shape.

A close-up of the dormer windows.

Sunday, 5 April 2009

Oranges and lemons (better make that onions)

Today I bought some polymer clay to start making some of the items I will need for the shop. I've decided that it will be a general dealer/grocer, so fruit and veg will feature strongly.

Polymer clay doesn't actually contain clay, it is a PVC with a liquid plasticiser. It needs to be baked in the oven - carefully (more on that in a minute).

As a trial run today, I started with oranges and lemons using orange and white polymer clay and a cocktail stick. They looked fairly good for a first try, but a little like an orange/peach hybrid.

My next try was better. Rather than trying to make the leaves look like perfect leaf shapes, I tried them looking a bit shrivelled and not very even: a bit more realistic. I also managed to make the top of the orange look more realistic by moving the cocktail stick around to create a better 'dip' at the top.

The lemons were a more difficult as I couldn't decide on a lemony shape, nothing seemed quite right. Anyway, these are my first efforts.

And of course they need a box to hold them for when they go into the shop. I made this from an envelope from the tax office (!), using the rough side as the outer. Once I start to expand my materials I'll likely varnish it to give it a more solid look and feel.

The instructions for the polymer clay state to bake at 130 degrees for 15 minutes per 6mm of depth. Well if you've a fan oven, like me, you need to drop that to between 100-110 degrees. My lemons were just turning brown when I took them out. Another point: baking tends to darken the polymer so I'll go for a shade brighter than I really need next time.

Et voila: onions!

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Nearly home!

Today we called in to Teeny Totz at Chester le Street to choose the house. The owner, Joyce, is very helpful and is a font of knowledge on doll houses.

I've chosen the Magpies model, with the shop frontage, as the lovely big windows will allow a fantastic view inside the house once it is fitted with lighting.

The house - in an upainted, flat pack kit form - should arrive by Wednesday next week, so preparations are underway at home for my new hobby space ie covering the dining room table and making space in the dresser draws for the materials I'll need.

I'm going to pop to a haberdashery shop tomorrow to try to pick up a bag of remnant material as I plan to make the curtains, bedding and cushions for the house. I'm scouring ebay for dolls too, as I want to make the outfits.

For the house and shop style, I'm going to decide upon a date in time when it belongs to, and ensure that all the items I buy or make are appropriate for the fashion or trends at that time. Bit of research required here!