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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Chapter 26 - Floor and Back Wall of Left-hand Room of First Floor, Changing Room Shelves

February 27 - 28th 2012
Everything in bits and pieces....
The changing room shelves pretty straight forward altho the internal shelving pieces were not perfectly slotted.  They’re still more than passable once completed.  In the meantime, I screwed around with the drummel tool and found it had a tiny drill bit.  So I used that to drill the holes to attach the spa changing room and it worked much better.  Only stripped one screw.  And it fits enough to look fine to me.

Even if I was tempted to install the spa roof, I held off.  I figured I’d just create confusion for myself if I went out of order.  Sometimes there is a reason for installing things in the order they say and since I have no experience in building a dollhouse, better to stick to the instructions.

I decided to use a green like the original house plan.  These pieces again are slightly warped but will try and work with them the way they are.  The fun thing was I decided to stencil some leaf design on the wall (like a Japanese Maple Leaf) and I had the leaf design from my niece Laura’s wedding favor.  I had two of them so I have saved one for a souvenir and the other I cut to make the stencil - immortalizing her wedding in the dollhouse.  Pretty cool...
Stencil from the favor box.

Chapter 25 - The Tatami for the First Floor Room, Sink for the Kitchen

February 25 - 26th 2012

I started straight off with the kitchen sink.  Figured it’d be easier.  Well, it was till I got to the insertion of the faucet.  The hole was soo much smaller I had to really ream it out.  The paint wasn’t quite dried but I wasn’t too concerned because keeping in theme with a beat up used kitchen, the porcelain sink would be beat up too.  I added a little brown staining around the drain and the back stop.  Looks pretty filthy.

I tried out Fimo today too.  That was an adventure.  I really have no idea how to use this stuff and have seen instructions on the internet and that’s about it.  I did mange to get my gas oven low enough to cook some “tomatoes” and a small plant vase.  I had looked into plants in small scale and they were so expensive I figured I’d have to make my own.  So I bought some plastic plants for fish aquariums - much cheaper.  After making my Fimo plant vase, I stuck a few pieces in the pot.  I think it looks pretty cute sitting in the kitchen window.
First attempt with Fimo...not bad really.
I think the plant looks pretty cute

Working on the tatami, which I guess is the floor of the next room that we are working on, I opened the bag and it was full of dried mold.  The tatami was pretty covered with it.  So I had to use these sheets and not the leftover from the other tatami construction because I was afraid there would be some color differences.  Even if the construction was pretty basic, these damn things are time consuming and believe it or not, back-breaking.  And with all that was not a pleasure. 

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Chapter 24 - Sliding Doors to the Changing Room, The Ceiling, the Scale

February 23 - 24th 2012

The Scale was the easiest so I put that together first.  Just a little paint and gloss and it looks really quite nice.

The rest of the changing room was pretty straight forward except for the fact that the pieces were warped etc etc etc.  What I ended up doing was sanding down the top as I figured I’d have to and cutting the trim to fit.  The most amazing thing was that the ceiling piece fit in amazingly well considering how far off the outside wall is. 

At this point, I screwed in the hinges.  I figured it’d be better now than when the sliding doors went in.  Thank goodness I did it because the screws are so small and I cannot find a screwdriver that fits them accordingly.  The kit came with a little hand drill so I’ve actually started drilling in far enough so the screw should go in a little easier.  Easier said than done.  I may have to resort to an electric drill to be sure that the screws don’t get stripped during installation.  The kit came with a little screwdriver setup but I cannot figure out how it works.  Unable to locate the instructions on how to use it too (unlike the little drill and other tools that they explain how they work).  I ended up leaving the attachment to the house for last...

The sliding doors were the usual fair.  Time for glueing and painting and waiting for stuff to dry again...ho hum.  The inside grates of course were too long and hand sanding or power sanding was out of the question.  So, I used the wire cutters and trimmed off the bottoms.  Worked perfectly!  The grates in any case were still too large for the windows and the plastic for the windows was slightly small.  But it all turned out in the end.
The top left side looks pretty good compared to the foto from the previous post.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Chapter 23 - The Spa Changing Room, External Wainscotting, The Geta

February 22 - 23rd 2012

Painting and waiting.  But matching up all the pieces to the Spa room was pretty impossibile.  The pieces were so warped that now they are proving hard to match up.  Major glueing involved and clamping them down.  I think I’m going to have to sand most of the top of this extension down to fit the room section and be sure the next floor is level.  What a pain.

Then I attacked the Geta shoes.  These little shoes made for walking on surfaces with water (or snow).  WTF.  Nothing like the explanation would be remotely possible. 

After screwing around with these stupid things, I figured the best way to go would be thru simple glue glue glue.  They look great but need drying time.  Figured out a trick by clamping them and glueing the small cords onto the geta that worked well enough.  What a total BS that was.  But I must say, I think it’ll look great in the spa.

Yeah, right.
The Geta and the Spa Extension
This was the first chapter that I felt totally without desire and totally frustrated! Thank goodness the ground floor is nearly done!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter 22 - The Flooring and Left Wall of the Spa, Kitchen Window

February 21st 2012
Left is the Spa extension - right is the finished window to the kitchen

The last few chapters have gone very quickly because they are similar but also because most of the time is spent painting walls and just glueing things up and letting them dry.  This one was not different. 

Lots of clamping tho as these walls were very warped.  Did the best I could.  Once I get the roof on the spa extension, things should straighten out a bit more. 

Showing here two little baskets that my work colleague and another lover of all things miniature picked up for me in a shop in Milan.  They are a bit big but they should be fine for the kitchen and are so cute ! Will probably paint them with a little gloss just to protect them.

Chapter 21 - Spa Extension and Ceiling to Kitchen Extension

February 20th 2012

Again, painting and drying and painting and drying...

The roof section of the kitchen went in just fine.  Some detailed cutting work but it looks fine and fits fine.

The sections to the spa extension were warped which required overnite dampening and then glueing in two sessions.  But it didn’t help as much as I had hoped.  Will have to do some searching to find a better method for unwarping.  I will probably have to correct the fit later with some clamps and extra glueing.  But I won’t be able to gauge the damage until I finish the next chapter.

Chapter 20 - Right Hand Wall of the Kitchen Extension, Kitchen Credenza

February 19 2012

This section marks the 20th Installment! Only 100 more to go ! Wow. Can’t believe that I started only a month ago (January 17th).  It is quite quick so far in terms of construction.  Hope it keeps up this way.

I put the final wall piece on the kitchen extension after painting etc and it fit just fine.  The area between the kitchen flooring looks great!
The floor between the kitchen extension and the kitchen.
I'm going to leave it open to fit some plates and platters.

I put together half the credenza and while it was drying, I decided to attack the attachment of the kitchen extension to the house.  True, it was something for the next chapter but I just felt like doing it.

Turned out to be pretty difficult only because getting the wood screws in was harder than it looked.  There was no where to get a good grip on the whole house to have some leverage so I had to Ask Lu for some help.  He held the house while I got the screws started.  I stripped a few simply because they are so small and it’s pretty hard to get in a good position but they luckily supplied some extra screws (at least I hope they are extras! and not to be used in future hinge installment!)

Anyway, a little gloss and paint and the credenza looks used and abused as it should.  Still deciding where this one should go.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Chapter 19 - The Front Part of the Kitchen and Little Stools for the Spa

February 18 - 19th 2012

I started by painting the kitchen floor, then as I went to start to put together the rest of the walls, I realised that the chapter 19 and 21 had been mislabeled (by me).  Good thing is that Chapter 21 is the same front area but for the spa so the floor is the same.  So, at this point, I have two chapters going at the same time.  Whatever.

After painting the inner and outer walls and staining the wooden embellishments, I put together the little stools.  There are ten of them.  They are tiny tiny and need some sanding too.  Only way to put these together is with the tweezer tool.  I’m amazed I was able to do it considering how much my hands tremble still.  I realise too how much of my manual dexterity I have lost.  I think that is why I continue to try to do tiny work things.  I think it helps to stimulate the nerves and keep me functioning still at a certain level.

The walls and wooden pieces fit in no problem at all for this section.  I quickly painted the stone floor to match up with the other section of the kitchen.  I’ve decided to put the stove here (and perhaps the sink too) so will dirty up with some black and brown etc. once this section is completed and installed.

Chapter 18 - The Roof and the Second Sliding Window to the Vestibule

Like having two left feet....
Sawing off a bit did the trick (I hope)
February 17 - 18th 2012   

I pulled out all the pieces to make the second half of the Fuji window.  These two pieces had to slide into the back portion of the previously mounted piece.  They were a little tight but they came out fine and look nice too.

The roof of the vestibule was pretty easy till I got to the bit that covers the stairwell opening.  It seems they gave me two part 4’s so, I had to saw the part to fit into the stairwell.  I have a small bit which is leftover just in case once the stairs are fitted in, the space is too obvious for my liking. 

The finished ceiling slid in without difficulty which was pretty shocking considering how far off the below wall pieces are actually fitted.  Hopefully, as I build upwards, it’ll even out.
I may end up with a three story earthquake hit boarding house!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Chapter 17 - The Spa Pool and Completion of Left Wall

February 16 - 17th 2012

Decoupage for the mural was runny but fine.  The look of the mural came out nicely - slightly transparent and looking sufficiently wilted in a humid environment.

Managed to brace the left wall and leave overnite for drying along with the Hokusai mural.  The next morning the whole thing seemed pretty solid.  I added the last bits to decorate the outside and reclamped it down for the afternoon.

The green pool looks really nice actually...
I was able to install the underwater rocks (after adding greys and brown hues to the rocks the nite before) and painted the pool a green color - reminded me of green pools of garden water.  The instructions said the plastic water sheet should be tinged white but I like the transparent look to the pool.  You can see the rock underneath and the green color.  Fitting the rock floor was a bit tricky as it was not perfectly aligned.  But after some trimming and working it thru, it fit fine.  I transferred a piece that decorated the lower right wall (under the faucet stone wall) to the front to hide the fact that the stone floor was cut a bit too close.  Since you can barely see under the faucet wall, it makes no difference.

Adding the trim around the pool was pretty easy and the rest of the pieces including the bamboo water faucet and false water flow look great once they are installed.

I am very pleased at the outcome, especially with my Hokusai mural ! Just fab!

Chapter 16 - The Spa Window with Grate, The Spa Curtain and Left Wall of the Spa

February 13 - 16th 2012

Mega warping ! Aaarggh!
The left wall piece 6 was completely warped out.  I had to wet one side and weigh it down overnite in an attempt to flatten it out.  It didn’t work.  I trip to the local hobby store and a new forked vice was applied.  By the next day, it was somewhat better allowing me to paint and then put on the decorative wooden slats.  It was still pretty warped so I had to adjust some of the fitted areas to the back to slot into the back wall of the spa.

Working on the window slats (parts 1 & 2) is a bit long since using scissors to cut the pieces to size sometimes works, sometimes doesn’t and since I didn’t have extra bits of piece type 1, I couldn’t risk splitting the wood.  So I used the exactor knife and just made multiple cuts till the pieces split away.  Time consuming.  But in the end, it came out fab.  The sliding slats make such a nice effect.  Now I really want to light up the back of the house so you can have “sunlight” coming thru the slats when they’re open.  The windows didn’t exactly fit securely but I am hoping in a future chapter there will be some kind of covering supports over the top of the sills to keep the windows from popping out when opening and closing the slats.  If there isn’t then I’ll invent something.

In the meantime, I downloaded a pic of one of Hokusai’s “36 Views of Mt Fuji” opting for my favorite “The Big Wave”.  I’m going to eventually decoupage this onto the left spa wall in the next chapter but I figured I’d print it off now to be sure the ink is dry for this job.

It took me an extra day between drying and retrying to unwarp the left spa wall plus one night I couldn’t work on the house as I was out for dinner.  I missed not being able to work on it.  It’s very satisfying and calming.
Improved somewhat warping...

Chapter 15 - Back Wall of The Spa, Buckets

February 11 - 13th 2012

Each little tiny bucket needed two rounds of tiny wire to go around it.  That was annoying and time consuming.  But I did manage it after grabbing my jewelry pliers etc. so twisting the wire was easier.  They did include a little cutter but not pliers.  Anyway, rather quick work of anything when you have the right tools.
Back Wall and teeny tiny buckets

The back wall was great till we had to apply the top sill over the windows.  Again, the pieces were a bit off so some sanding etc got them as close as possible.  I had to leave stuff overnite to dry simply because the next day would see the mounting of the back spa wall with the other walls from the vestibule.  Given the difficulty there, I was in no rush to get to that.

The next morning, I managed to clamp in the back wall and left that all day to dry.  That evening, glueing in the final pieces was a breeze - altho again, they don’t all match up due to small changes in the wall spaces from previous glueing.  In any case, the panelling is what takes the longest but the effect is quite nice.  I have some ideas now for the final left hand wall of the spa....

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chapter 14 - The Tatami for the Vestibule, Internal Wall of the Spa, Small Chairs

February 10 - 11th 2012

Well the tatatmi mats were interesting to put together.  Lots of bi-adhesive tape did the trick but still, next ones I’ll do a little better.  The kit came with actual tatami mat which needed to be cut to size.  They gave you a little guide piece to facilitate the spacing and applying the black borders (which are fabric). 

The little wall to the spa was pretty easy - the final fitting will tell me if it’s done ok or not.  Just fitting in little bamboo pieces on one side in a random manner then more paneling on the other side. 

Made two little legless chairs and their pillows.  The pillows were put together with just bi-adhesive tape and a few threads to give it a little character.  I think they are cute.
You can see the spa bamboo wall on the left.