Friday, 30 May 2008

Winding endless balls of yarn

Despite winding what seems like 100s of yarn balls, I am still only about halfway through filling up my yarn store shelves on the middle floor of my Willowcrest. I've also worked out a way of winding skeins of yarns, for some variety on the shelves. I've also had some fun pinning up some knitted garments (bought, won in raffles or gifts to me) on the walls.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

It's an inside job

The exterior of my Willowcrest is now pretty much finished - there will just be some signage to add with the names of the shops, at some point. I am now working on filling the inside.

The picket fence came from Joanne's Fabric Store in America, it was in the dried flowers section and is about 3/4 inch high - more of a 'keep off the lawn' fence. You can see that I painted my electrical wire green, to blend it into the lawn, and the bit of fence it goes under can be loosened in case I need to lift the house off of the base.

It feels very strange to finally be positioning items and furniture that I first conceived of more than six months ago. I think for a long time it seemed like this day would never come, when the house was still a bunch of unpainted bits of splintery plywood and endless tasks like the clapboarding still lay ahead of me.

I've started with the knitting shop because I have all the furniture pieces for it - I don't have everything for downstairs yet and have ordered a few more bookcases from Maple Street (a dollshouse website here in the UK). I had several white wood bookcases and yesterday I cut up many tongue depressors to create vertical dividers in the bookcases, to turn them into yarn display cases. Then I sprayed them white with auto primer. I took all the balls of yarn I have wound so far - and found they only filled half of one display case when I have five or six to fill. This is going to be a big job. I was able to buy some pre-wound wool balls at the London Kensington show, but I will have to do most myself. I did fill one cabinet so far and it looks very effective.

Sunday, 18 May 2008

Gardening time

I've been working on the landscaping around the house. I don't want to do too much, as American houses typically have a pretty empty 'yard', unlike English gardens. I will be adding a picket fence which is why there are little pegs glued into the base which will be the supports for the fence. After painting the base green, I flocked it with model railway fine flock for 'grass', then I added some 'bushes'.

On the side I wanted to use some rose blooms that I bought at a scrapbooking shop. I made stems from paper covered wire painted brown and green, and glued the roses on, then added some 'leaves' of green lichen. The roses all looked a bit same-y so I touched them up with a bit of paint. It doesn't bear close scrutiny but considering it didn't cost much, it looks ok.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Thank you, Mar!

I received a lovely surprise when I got a message through The Greenleaf Forum from Mar in the Netherlands. She has enjoyed reading this blog and has found it helpful for the renovation she is doing of an old Willowcrest house. She offered to send me an embroidery silks sample card to use in my quilting shop, as she was making up a few for some Dutch ladies. Of course I said yes, and yesterday it arrived. Not only was there the little card, but several more waiting to be cut out, and a HUGE bag of embroidery silks, and some linen fabric! Thank you so much, Mar, you are so nice and I can certainly use this in my quilt shop. I will use some of the silks as embroidery skeins, and likely wind some of the other into balls of 'wool' for the knitting shop. Here is a pic on the steps of my Willowcrest. As you can see, I now have the glass fitted to the shopfront.

It has been full steam ahead on the house whenever I can get some time. I am working full time now so it is harder to make time.

I tried out a stained glass window effect for the stair window, using Sharpie permanent markers to draw a pattern on plastic. I used a tip from Rik Pierce and painted clear nail polish on the external side - if you splodge it on, it makes the plastic look much more like glass. Don't paint nail polish on the coloured side, it will dissolve the marker pen color - ask me how I know this... This is a picture taken through the living room bay (ignore the cupboard, forgot to move it out of the pic) and you can see the window.

And I've started landscaping the base - starting with a coat of 'grass green' paint. Then I will flock it with foam flock to look like grass, then put in a few bushes.

Monday, 5 May 2008

Interior windows, and refinements

After four coats of paint, sanding in between each one, I declared the interior window frames 'done'. They still look rougher than commercially produced windows but it was time to move on. I think I mentioned before that the acetate windows that came with the kit were all scratched as when I opened the kit box I found them mixed in with all the shingles and clapboard sheets. I was able to purchase some heavy vinyl plastic from Maple Street (a dollshouse store here in the UK) and I re-cut replacement windows, using the originals as patterns. This worked well apart from it means I do not have any sashing strips in my windows (the originals had unconvincing white lines screen printed on them). I think this makes the windows look rather empty and not convincingly period, but my husband says it looks like the house has been updated with modern doubleglazing. I'm going to live with it for a while, I may decide to add wooden cross bars later.

I then glued the plastic to the inside of the frames with tacky glue, and weighted them with books while they dried. The finished windows were glued to the interior walls with quick grab solvent based glue. I was fairly, but not entirely, successful in keeping glue off of the window panes. As I said before, I found that the window frames and the window apertures were not identical in size, therefore I had to paint the back of the internal frames (because it shows from outside in some cases) and a rim of external colour on the interior walls (because this showed inside in some cases).

I haven't done the right side wall windows yet (bath and stair) because I may try to do a stained glass effect on them. I have now been starting the final refinements on the construction, tidying up various things, such as:

- covering up the angles of the dormer windows with right-angle moulding, to hide the tabs.

- I had stained the bedroom door frames, and it was bugging me that the unstained wall was showing through. So I stained some coffee stirrers, and covered up the wall for a more finished look.

- and before I put the glass into the front shop windows, I glued in some laser cut signs that I bought in Chicago - one for the quilting shop above where the sales counter will go, and one at an angle on the staircase to point customers upstairs to the knitting shop.