Thursday, March 12, 2009

Priorities? What Priorities?

We're leaving on a road trip tomorrow morning. You know everything that needs to be done beforehand. Plus add getting the tax stuff ready for the accountant, and . . . you get the drift.

So what did I do today besides six loads of laundry? I made the frame for the elves's hammocks. I'm going to take it and the hammock materials with to work on while we're driving maybe, or if there's some quiet time during the week.

The frame has been painted Honeycomb. It's the first layer for a faux wood finish. I've forgotten the name of the paint that goes on top. Mink or something soft like that, I think. It's the same paint used on the downstairs room divider. I like the look and didn't want to mess with stain.

There will be two hammocks on either side of the window, one above the other. I used square dowels for the uprights and braces and balsawood for the base and top.

Sorry for such a short post, but it's nearly 6 pm and the To-Do list didn't get much shorter this afternoon! We're taking the laptop with us. I'll try to post from the road if I make any progress on the hammocks.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Room Divider Faux Painted

Well, the white of the divider was annoyingly pristine, so I waved my magic wand (a long handled paintbrush) and changed it to wood. I like it much better.

This little elf seems to have put himself in charge of supervising construction on this project. He complained that the shelf I added to the oven wall was crooked. I told him the shelf is okay, it's the wall that's crooked. He bought it. heehee. :)

So, now to design and build the hammocks and rack and li'l missy's trundle bed (which will go in front of the divider. She may need a little screen for privacy, too.

Bunkbeds ... not the best solution?

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a grand idea in your head? This morning I woke up thinking that the white steel and brass bunkbeds are too big for the sleeping loft and too starkly modern for a rustic mushroom house. My brilliant solution? Hammocks!

I think this must be the right way to go, because when I logged onto the Greenleaf forum, my dear friend Holly had suggested a hammock for the girl elf. How's that for great minds thinking alike?

I'm also thinking about the room divider downstairs and how it would look more rustic if it were painted wood brown/tan.

Obviously, this is going to take some thinking. Sorry, I haven't figured out how to make pictures of thoughts yet!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bunkbeds for the Elves

This afternoon I was going to work on the landscaping, but the elves had other ideas. "Beds," they demanded. "We need beds."

So, here are the bunkbed frames for the guys. They're a bit bulky for the space, but they were adamant about not wanting skinny little mattresses.

The frames are styrene tubing, round-headed pins, beads, and some jewelry findings. The mattress boards are quarter-inch foam core board. They couldn't wait for the bedding but had to try out the frames. As long as they're up there, I may have them slide the beds around to see if there is a better place for them.

The girl elf, who like the others still remain nameless, will have a single bed. I have to figure out how to give her some privacy. She's not as pushy, so her bed isn't finished yet. I was hoping to give her a cozy bed near the oven wall, but that doesn't seem to be happening.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Room Divider Installed

I decided to install the room divider sideways with a chest in front of it. I guess I didn't have very good contact on some of the joints, as some of them popped apart today, but I repaired them with more Tenax7R. They seem to be holding more firmly.

I drilled the holes in the floor and popped the unit into place. I don't think I hit any of the wires underneath with the drill. I didn't check because I don't have time to deal with it today if I did! lol The red sparkly things are just stuck there for a little color. I don't know if they'll stay; probably not.

The chest is the bottom half of an unfinished cupboard from Michael's. It needs a little more aging, I think. The rest of the cupboard will go upstairs. I was a little concerned about scale with the tiny stove. Maybe I'm just getting used to it, or maybe having one-inch scale steps helps, but the use of both scales doesn't bother me, at least not so far. I'm not sure what size the elves' worktable will be. If it's one-inch scale, they may need stepstools to reach. But stepstools may be kind of cute. We'll see.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Room Divider

Nope. This is not a bedframe. The Orchid kit has a wall on the ground floor, but I want a more open, airy feel to the workroom. Without some kind of support, the upper floor sags. Here's my solution. I made this divider out of hollow styrene tubing of various diameters. In the support pole, I inserted bamboo skewers for a little extra stability. The skewers stick out at the bottom a little bit. I'm going to drill holes in the floor and stick the skewers through. With glue at each end of the pole, I think it will hold in place. I left it open, so the elves can hang things on it. I'm not sure how they'll use it, but I could hear them chattering as they watched me.

Now, the question is this: should the divider be parallel to the oven wall or go crosswise near the back? I guess I'd better figure out what else is going in here before I fix it in place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Electrical Challenge Met! (well, part way)

Here's a picture of the front of the house with the gables in place. I put them on when I needed a break from electrification.

That's a little step thing from a computer desk. When I'm working inside a house, it's nice to have it elevated a bit so I don't have to lean over.

This is what I needed to take a break from. Some of the light wires needed to be lengthened. I went to the hardware store for solder, but they didn't have the right kind, so I opted for the easy way out and bought a roll of vinyl electrician's tape for about 60 cents.

I cut the wires, nicked the covering about an inch from the end and pulled it off. As I pulled, I twisted the covering, which twisted the little wires together. It's much easier to work with that way than if all of the tiny wires are going every which way. I twisted the new wires to the old and then wrapped the joint in the electrician's tape. It works a bit like the shrink tubes sold by Cir-Kit City and other places.

Five of the ten lights went under the house. You can see the joined wires and where they went under the house. The electrician's tape stuck to the plastic floor very well.

All of the elves and Santa came by for the lighting ceremony. We all clapped when the lights came on! The stars are glued to styrene tubes. The tubes are glued to the wall. The light feeds up from under the house. The stars are meant to hold mirrors in place. They work very nicely here, too. The trees are part of a Christmas floral pick. I put one light on the oven wall. I haven't put a tree under it because it's so close to the stove.

These lights are not bright enough to read by, but they add some sparkle to the scene. Even a little light is better than none!

The battery pack is now hidden under the stairs. The lights for upstairs run through holes drilled along the wall at the top of the stairs. I didn't lengthen them, because I have no idea where they're going yet. I think progress will go much faster now that the lighting problem is solved.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lighting Challenges

I want lights in the White Orchid, but I don't want to have to tether it to a cord, so I got some of those battery-operated lights sold in floral departments. They're used to add sparkle to flower arrangements. There are 10 lights, hooked up octopus style to two AA batteries. After thinking about it for a very long time, I finally decided to put the battery pack outside, run five lights for the ground floor under the floor, and pop them up through the floor.

I wasn't sure how the lights would work on the upper floor. I don't even know what lights I want to have up there, in the living quarters. I figured I could run the wires up the backside of the oven wall and worry about the rest later. Today was the day to do it, after I made the pink contractor's foam base.

The top photo shows the battery pack outside. The second photo shows a cover I made to go over the battery pack. The house is in the woods, so the landscaping will be some nice rich earth, pebbles, lichen, shade-loving flowers, etc. After working on all of this for hours, I didn't like it. It was too awkward.

So, I changed my mind and put the battery pack inside!

The downstairs lights will run under the floor and the upstairs lights ... well, the wires will run up that slanted channel, but I'm not sure where they'll go from there. I may run them along the ceiling instead of running them all the way upstairs.

In order to be able to work the little lever on the battery pack to turn the lights on and off, I had to do some surgery on the oven wall. Now the bottom steps and the end of the unit are glued together and can slide out of the way for access to the lever. The entire oven wall will remain unattached, so it can pivot out when the batteries need to be changed, but it won't have to be moved to operate the lights.

I thought this was a good time to stop working. I'm going to have to lengthen the wires on several of the lights before I go any further with this.