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November 20, 2014



The microwave isn't done yet.  Still need to smooth out the handle, attach the front, attach the control panel, and make a vent for underneath, and decide if I want a turntable inside, and what to make it out of, if I do.    

I had issues finding a good image for the button panel until I thought to look at microwave manuals rather than actual photos of microwaves.  There was a possibility that there would be a simple line drawing inside for reference, and I feel quite lucky in finding this particular one!  It printed out quite clearly on photo paper.

I came to a screeching halt on the rest of the kitchen.  I accidentally gouged the oven back while trying to sand it smoother (my own fault for using cheap balsa), and while digging through my lighting stash, realized with horror that I DID NOT HAVE LIGHTS for the kitchen.  I kind of do, but one got relegated to another room, and I just wasn't happy with them in the first place to buy more. 

Plus, with the modern kitchen look, I realized that it would be weird to have anything but pot lights/recessed lights in there.  Problem is, the ceiling isn't thick enough to install the cannister lights available in miniature, and because of the new cabinets, I really can't lower the ceiling enough to put them in.  
I had to think for a few days about how to do it, and finally, hopefully, found a solution at Evan Designs, which I should be able to hook up to the 12 volt wiring system currently in place.  If not, there's plenty of places to hide batteries in the kitchen.  They had a nice little set of four lights wired together to one resister.  I could make a narrow dropped ceiling and run the little lights freely around the kitchen.  I wish they came in a set of six, but then I realized I could use the extra two as under cabinet lighting.  I plan to cut holes in the ceiling and cover with vellum or something similar for the recessed lights.  I will post updates on this as they happen.  Which reminds me, I still need to hook up the hall lights to the system!

November 10, 2014


Surprisingly, I found what I needed for the cabinet doors at Michael's.



Check out these fancy head pins!  They were a little over 3mm wide at the tip.  And really hard to photograph.  


And also awkwardly shaped.  Some were round, some were oval.  Not sure what's going on here, but I think they look just like custom pulls.  I am still debating whether or not to try and make them darker or bronzier. I am thinking of leaving them as they are, mainly because I'm going to have to make the kitchen faucet out of FIMO and I'm pretty sure I have a steel colored metallic clay, but not bronze.  


The varnish is dry, the holes are drilled and I was too excited to glue the pulls in place, so I will do that tomorrow, along with further work on the microwave and maybe the fridge. But here, have a few preview pictures!


I was liking the look until I realized I had achieved 'golden oak.'  I hate golden oak.  Now I'm annoyed, but they look so realistic anyway I'll probably keep it.  Typical modern builders grade cabinets, right?  I am still divided about adding pulls to the faux drawer right below the sink.  I can always add them later.  


Now if you have been following along and thinking, 'wow, those top doors are pretty high,'  I thought of it too, and found a solution for that!  A mini step-ladder!  It actually folds up, too.  




November 9, 2014



They might not be as badly designed as ovens, but miniature microwaves available for sale were pretty sad.  I found one that might possibly have worked, and it was black and had a cord, which can be an exciting detail, but not for a hanging microwave.

This was pretty easy, since I didn't attempt to make it open.  Firstly an online image search for 'range microwave' until I found a design I liked and felt I could imitate.  I made a box of out illustration board, with an interior wall just inside the microwave door.  (I'm thinking about sticking in a 'glass' turning tray inside.)  The entire front s one piece with a window cut out and lines created with embossing tools.  I carved a handle out of balsa, although I could have gotten away with just the inline push button on the bottom right, but after carving the two handles for the oven I was feeling pretty confident about it.  I used posterboard to add some 3D detailing to the front.

I'm enjoying the detailing, but it gets complicated.  The top bit of the microwave gets venting, which I need to figure out how to do, and also buttons and the display on the right side, which obviously I haven't even attempted on the oven!  Plus I'm aware that there's more venting or SOMETHING on the bottom, for which I need a fine mesh.

But just looking at this unfinished picture pleases me.  I have a realistic looking microwave!  The original one was a plastic kit that was so old it came with a wood paneling sticker for around the sides.  I peeled it off finally, but it didn't help.

I have the feeling the kitchen's going to be my favorite room.
November 8, 2014




After painting the doors, I decided to try a little antiquing.  Wipe on, wipe off FAST, and hope you got all the crevices highlighted. Messy, very messy.



It turned out a bit darker than I would like, and I once again made the mistake of thinking, 'oh, it looks good, but this little spot right here could be better, I should . . ." NO.  I should not.  Let it be.  Don't overwork it.  Too late for some pieces, but that's the nice thing about antiquing.  You can forgive a lot.

Right now I'm waiting for the glaze to dry, and then I get to add a gloss sealant.  Then I glue the doors in place.  In the meantime I should start building that microwave and making a decision about the drawer pulls.  



November 7, 2014



Slowly getting my doors and cabinets painted.  I'll do several thin coats and some careful sanding, and probably a little decorative antiquing before applying a sealant.

While waiting for the paint to dry I tested door pulls.  I just want something simple, so went with things I had around the house.  A ball head pin, a sewing pin, and a map pin.  Ball pin (about 2mm) was too small, but the map pin (4mm) was too big.  I also feel like the sewing pin is a little too small, too, so I need to find something round and holeless about 3mm in size.  I think I'll need about 2 dozen.  That's a lot of hardware!  I'm kind of glad I don't need hinges, too!

(Don't worry, I have a piece of wax paper over my cutting mat!)
November 6, 2014


Short post, just to show you I'm still keeping things simple and still working.


I've made doors and drawers for the lower cabinets and replaced the fronts on the larger cabinet, as well as added wood to the recessed area underneath.  What are those, kick plates?   

Unfortunately I just noticed a tiny dent in the countertop.  That's what I get for choosing a wood based on its fine grain rather than its hardness.  I don't think I can undivot it, and I don't want to take it apart again, so maybe I can just distract from it.

Tomorrow I will paint!
November 5, 2014




Little steps, specific goals.  I'm going to try to stop thinking of it as 'finish the kitchen' and start thinking 'tomorrow, I will add molding to the doors.'  Which is actually what I did today. And then I STOPPED.  Tomorrow, I will make doors and drawers for the bottom cabinets.  I want to paint them a cream color, but I can't seem to find the right color. so possibly the day after, I will mix and play with paint until I get it right.  The doors in the photos are still not attached to the base, because I have to paint.  Hopefully I can get them straighter.  Eventually I need to decide on handles.  My townhouse kitchen cabinets didn't have any, so not having them is an option.  

I'm rather pleased with how the molding turned out.  I cut out 3/16" and 1/8" strips of poster board (the cheap kind with both sides paper, no shiny side) and glued them together, narrower strip centered on the wider (more or less.)  I had to fight to make them even and my 45 degree angles are pretty bad, even with the mitre chopper I was using, but paint should hide the worst of it.  



I realize I've mentioned my first dollhouse, but never really written about it on my blog.  Allow me to give you a tour, because I'm procrastinating from the Willowcrest already.  I apologize for the bad photos, because I had to dig through very old hard copies taken with a cheap film camera a very long time ago.


Firstly, this is my great-grandfather, Jacob Knupp.  I wrote a little about him here.  Carpenter, contractor, fantastic workshop, enjoyed making miniatures, some of which his daughter sold at craft fairs.  And he made dollhouses for me and my sister.  He also made full scale furniture.  I have a curio table of his sitting in my living room!

I don't think I have any pictures of my sister's dollhouse, but hers was bookshelf shaped, at least four stories tall, and white.  Big rooms. The front door had a lock, basically a hook on a swivel that swung around and connected on a brad.  It had come furnished with furniture made by Mom and various relatives.  When we played in it I got relegated to the upper floors, she got to sit on the floor to reach her designated stories.

Then, maybe when I was about six, Gran drove out to our new house one day in his big blue truck, with a less tall but much wider dollhouse.  I can remember seeing it in the back of the truck when he arrived.  It was . . . different.   He had gotten creative.

Front
Side
Back!

This is a front AND back opening double sided dollhouse, allowing access to the two-deep rooms inside.  It had a real floor plan.  I've only ever seen one other like it, possibly in a book or museum that called it a turn-about house.  

I loved it.  We could both sit and play in the house together, she usually got the front with the stairs, but I got the back with the kitchen and the kitchen pantry shelves.  No furniture, though, so I made do with whatever was the right shape, and slowly collected and scored over the years with presents.  When I was about 12 or 13, I made my first dollhouse family.  Previously it had been inhabited by bears.  It sits on its own custom made table legs and rotates all the way around on a lazy susan.

Front.  I had a carpet runner on the stairs at one point.
Back. A very old view, but not the oldest!  I originally had yellow floral
 contact paper covering the kitchen walls.
Emptied out and planning a renovation.  There is only one interior door,
opening from the front hall to the blue dining room.



Empty view of the back.  I think the tiny room in the upstairs middle was supposed
to be a bathroom, but it barely held the tub.  I was also fascinated with wall murals.

The attic floor is removable, allowing access and a good view of the floor plan upstairs.

Apparently the kitchen shelves went through a lot of changes!

Gran made the bed, my grandmother made the mattress and pillow.   I made the quilt!

Would you believe that floor is paper?

Originally this was all shelving, but I got creative one day
and made it look like a hutch.

The poor thing is showings its age and abuse after 30 years.  I wanted so badly to make it more to scale and electrify it, but since it was built by a man used to building full size houses, it's very difficult to tear out the thick molding without causing some damage.  I'm also finding it hard to figure out wiring, since the house turns around.  Perhaps in a few more years the battery operated lights will be good enough that I can add them without including wiring.

For right now I think my best bet for fixing it up is to repair as much of the damage as I can, give it a good coat of paint and/or wallpaper, and decorate it with nice furniture that's still good for playtime.  My Willowcrest is definitely for adults only!  There are some gouges in the walls and the front walls/doors need to be reattached.  I'm setting the time period at early 20th century,1909-1916.
November 4, 2014


I've been ignoring the Willowcrest all summer and most of the Fall, and kind of dreading all the work I still need to do.  It's time to get back to it.  So today, I finally sat down and started work on the kitchen cabinets.

I took a piece of posterboard, held it up against the wall, and drew cabinet outlines of what I thought would work best on the wall with the lower cabinets and appliances. Then I took the final shape and cut out two pieces, plus one inch wide strips for the sides.  I decided that these would be faux cabinets, so the doors won't open.  I don't really want people reaching in and pulling on things, and I have enough organizational dilemmas in my life without trying to figure out which cabinet would hold the weird shaped bowls the best in one inch scale!   Right now they're not even glued on, just up there with a little Dollhouse wax to see if I like it when in place.  I think it'll do, so tomorrow I will start making trim for the doors, plus drawer fronts for the bottom cabinets.  Little steps!

Speaking of the bottom cabinets, I am not happy with them.  I used matte board to do the fronts, and it just doesn't look right or take paint right.  I'm going to have to redo them.

I also plan to make a new refrigerator (unopenable) and a mounted microwave.  (The one currently holding up the upper cabinets is just not big enough for the space above the oven.)  I also need to figure out the faucet for the sink.  I bought a set, but they were ridiculously small.