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September 29, 2006

Case Closed!

The Mystery of the Missing Deerstalker is now solved.

I found it in an envelope in a plastic container under my bed, with a whole bunch of old miniature magazines and catalogs. It's, um, squished flat, but totally recognizable. No charges will be made.
September 17, 2006

Project bouncing again. (It keeps my increasingly insane mind occupied.)

I bounced back to my big dollhouse. I admit to being disgusted with it and wishing I could just get rid of it. I can't. It's special. It's mine. It's practically one of a kind.

I almost wish it WERE one of a kind, but there's another one out there. Mom has been going through my great-grandparent's old photos and slides, and brought me one of Gran next to a dollhouse. "Here hon, do you want this photo of Gran with your dollhouse?" I looked at it. "That's not my dollhouse." Same shape, same spacing of doors and windows. But the door is different, the siding is a different shade, and the window mullions are spaced a different way. I have a vague memory of a second dollhouse being in their basement when I went to visit, and I remember poking about in it, comparing the differences between mine and that one. It's been a LONG time though. I want to know where the second one is!

Mine is 21 years old. It has endured 10 years of active playtime by two siblings, dusty basement storage, carting up and down stairs, and then me being creative in it and then changing my mind. Repeatedly. As I stared in it forlornly the other night, it suddenly hit my why I wasn't able to continue working on it.

The walls. 3/8ths inch plywood. It has splintered and cracked along the edge of the opening outer wall (fell off years ago and floated around until I found enough screws to reattach it). There are cracks and splinters from where I forcefully removed the moulding. The wallpaper was poorly applied. The grain in the wood was very heavy, and acrylic paint couldn't hide it. The wall colors I had chosen were dark and rather ugly. (what was I thinking?) The ceilings weren't as bad, but had a definite unfinished look.

I realized I would have to do two definite things.

1. Strip off the old wallpaper.
2. Find a way to fill in the cracks and grain and basically smooth out and/or prime the walls.

I whined to my miniatures list about my inability to remove the wallpaper. It was attached with watered down Elmer's glue, for heaven's sake! I should be able to sneeze and have it come off! Fortunately, lots of replies and suggestions shot back to me, so #1. is now finished. (WARM water, not cold, and a sponge brush, not a regular kitchen sponge. didn't feel like trying vinegar.)

Now I have to do #2. The suggestions weren't QUITE as helpful. Many people suggested matte board, but I feel it will be too thick. (I'm considering bristol board, but I don't know if it will hold paint without wrinkling up. Must test.) A few suggested spackling, which I had somewhere (can't find it at the moment) and may work. I know it'll be difficult to apply evenly, but it will hide a multitude of sins. (I just have to think of it as lathe and plaster.) I thought about using a primer like Kilz, but I really don't know how well it will hide the grain. I don't know if there's anything thicker that's still paint. I really don't want to use something smelly. Wallpaper would solve my grain problems, but I have specific plans, and don't want patterned paper in all the rooms.

The kitchen is complete, save for minor details. I have everything I need for the living room. I know how I want the nursery to look. I know what color I want the dining room to be. I know what details I want in the bathroom. (romanesque look, detailed tile floors, a large statue of a roman woman carrying a jug, etc. . .) I have a vague idea about details for the little girl's room. I decided to leave the paper up in the master bedroom, although it's a bit Victorian. I plan to add to it to deaccent the busy pattern. I also need to make a custom sized bed so it fits properly in the room. (I think it will end up wider than it is long, but so long as the illusion is correct, it doesn't matter.) No idea what to do in the halls or the back parlor. (well, lots of ideas for back parlor, I just need to pick one!)

It's a great mental exercise, I suppose. I want historically accurate, or as close as I can get to it. Turn of the century! Edwardian! Art Nouveau! Craftsman! (I know, I probably shouldn't combine them.) Lots of new things coming in, most important being electricity and indoor bathrooms. I pulled the idea for the nursery straight from a book, and the kitchen sort of did itself. I made the living room wallpaper from a pattern I found on a web site specializing in period prints. I copied the sofa from one I found on eBay. I feel like a scavenger at times, but it's fun. Next on my list is a phonograph player, also found on eBay. Simple design, the audio horn is hidden under the turntable. I'm still looking for a chandelier for the dining room. It has to be electric, but not TOO fancy. I found one design I liked but it was black. I think brass would work better.

Yeah, you see? I want to go on to making the fun little stuff, but the crappy walls are holding me back.

Stupid walls.

They're almost fixed.
September 8, 2006

I am SUCH a geek.

I've been doing a little miniaturing, nothing fancy, just adding the Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson dolls I made years ago to my web page.

Today I decided to move my archeologist's study from one shelf to another, where it could be better seen. Along the way I had the idea of building a custom shelf to display all the miniature books, 'antiques' and unusual items that I had collected. This of course, takes a little planning. What do I need to store? How much room will it need? A lot of the stuff I hadn't seen in a while. I dumped all the books out of the shelf and started sorting through them, and noticed I had books labeled 'Sherlock Holmes' along the spine. I assumed they were the Arthur Conan Doyle stories.

This is why I am a geek. They turned out not to be Doyle's stories. They were the monographs Sherlock Holmes had written IN the stories. 'On Dating Documents.' 'On Secret Writings'. 'On Tobacco Ash'. 'On Tattoos'. 'On The Shape of Ears'.

I laughed. And you know they're going right back up on the shelf.