Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Making Shelves

Today I worked on the portable shelves for fabric bolts. The photo at upper left is the inspiration piece. I took the photo at The Quilter's Harvest shop in Higginsville, Missouri. The proportion changed a bit in translating to 1:12, but with the mini bolts in place, it works! The point was to make some small modular units. Display space around the perimeter is limited, since I want to hang several quilts. I made three units. The magnetic jig was right handy!
Over the course of the afternoon I managed to get a couple of coats of paint on them as well as paint the counter and another bolt shelf. I started to paint the inside on the first one, then realized that it won't be seen once the bolts are in place. I gave the counter a couple coats of satin white enamel, too. It needs another coat, but I like it much better than the yukky stain.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Thread Display

I received an early birthday present in the mail today -- a magnetic jig from MicroMark. I put it to work immediately to build the thread display case. The parts were cut and waiting for assembly. I used 1/16" birch and golden oak stain. The parts are so small that I used a touch-up stain pen. Worked like a charm. It needs a little label at the bottom and maybe some micro jibberish under each spool, like the ID number of the color or something. Or maybe not. As long as I had the stain pens out, I thought to use the dark walnut on the unfinished counter. Yukk. There are light spots where the glue oozed. And it's way too dark and splotchy. I think it will be painted when I figure out what color it should be. (It's sitting on a scrap of the linoleum that will go under it.)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

More Fiddly Bits

This week I worked on more items for the shop ... sewing machines and embroidery floss. I found photos of sewing machines on Google images and carved four from contractor's foam board. It's a type of styrofoam with a fairly dense quality. I used an X-acto knife to carve them and an emery board (split lengthwise) to sand them relatively smooth. They got a couple coats of gesso with very gentle sanding between the coats. Bits of dowels held with superglue formed knobs and wheels.They were painted with a satin finish white paint and detailed with craft paint and markers. The photo shows some irregularities in the surface that are not that apparent when seen with the naked eye. I didn't try to put needles and presser feet on them. When set up in the workroom, they'll have bits of sewing in progress that will hide the fact that they're not anatomically correct.

With the machines finished, I turned to embroidery floss. I saw some on one of the miniature shop websites. It didn't appear to be in scale, especially the black paper wrap label. I tried to make some with 1/32" detailing tape but it was just too small to wrap back on itself. Or more precisely, the tape was too small for my big fingers! I switched to tying off the skeins with two threads from real life floss. A square knot held it. This is the jig I rigged up. (That's a scrap of contractors foam.) The pins are 3/8" apart and being wrapped with a single strand of floss in a figure eight -- about 9 inches works well. I cut a tiny slit in the edge of the foam to hold the two tails while I tied the black floss. It's tedious but far more workable than the tape challenge. One piece of floss makes six skeins.
This is the result of a couple of hours of work. They must be glued onto some kind of display rack or in a box, as they are so tiny that the least breath of air sends them airborne. For scale, the yellow lines are one inch apart.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Snowy Saturday

Yesterday seemed like a good day to hide from the snow and cold, so I set up a tray in front of the fireplace and wrapped embroidery floss around pony beads to make balls of crochet cotton while keeping one eye on a couple of old movies on TV. Perfect. It takes about 13" of floss, all six strands used together. Put some glue on one end to use as a "needle" and glue the other end inside the bead. Then wrap around evenly. I found a toothpick was useful to open the center hole if it got too small and to push the "needle" through if it hung up. Here are the fruits of about 8 hours of labor: 24 balls of crochet cotton. They are so darn cute! I'm really indebted to Barbara for sharing this project with me. Hmm ... photos tell all. I just see that I didn't leave a single strand of floss sticking up from the center, the starter thread in the ball. I'll clip some strands and glue them in to complete the look.
The mailman brought the doll order from HBS. All of them are going to need new clothes, and Grandma and Mother need new hairdos, too. I thought Grandma might be the proprietor, but she has such a vacant stare that I don't think she's up to it. I'm counting on Hyacinth, made by another Greenleaf Forum member, to pick up the slack. I think Mother may be her assistant. I have two other dolls, a dark-haired Mother who is currently dressed in walking shorts and boots and a male doll similar to the father in The Family pack, who can also join the crowd. That puts eight people in the shop, either shopping or looking at the quilt show. I do believe that's enough!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Painting and winding

Today I had fun jumping from one thing to another. This photo of the stained ceiling paper is a good example of what happens when wallpaper is applied to raw plywood. The chemicals in the wood bleed through. The white on white paper turned to brown on beige. The bathroom ceiling fared even worse. All of the ceiling paper seemed to be very well adhered, so I took a chance and put a coat of gesso over it rather than pulling it off. It appears the gamble paid off, as the ceilings are now sealed with a coat of gesso and the paper held fast. :)

I'd thought to leave the paper in the bathroom as is, but when I pulled a corner out to peek, I discovered bare wood underneath. I may as well take the time to strip it and seal these walls, too.
One of my orders from (Hobby Builders Supply) arrived today. In it were a couple of interior doors to go on the bathroom. Of course the opening is about a quarter inch too small, but it shouldn't be too difficult to enlarge them.

I spent a couple of days scraping wallpaper but just couldn't get myself to begin taking the paper down in the kitchen. When I realized how well the gesso covered the ceiling paper, I decided to experiment by painting over the kitchen paper. You can see a bit of the pattern peeking out. It will get another coat of gesso and then paint. I can reach in there with a paintbrush a lot more easily than I can repaper that area. I think Dad must have papered it before he put the walls together. Part of the fun today was auditioning furniture. This is a Michael's hutch that may or may not make the cut.
The goody box also brought in the sales counter. Haven't decided yet whether it will go this way or turned around. I think the shelves are supposed to go where the clerk stands, but this unit will double as a cutting table and display, so there may be yarns and other goodies on the shelves where the customers can reach them. Can you say fat quarters? The piece of linoleum is being auditioned for the ground floor. I was going to paint it a commercial battleship gray, but the base is made of two boards put together and held with corrugated staples that would show through the paint. The linoleum is left over from our real kitchen. I can cut a piece to fit the room precisely, so it would not have to be glued down and could be removed if someone wants to redo the house as a residence.
I rummaged around in a box of miscellaneous furniture and found a pyramid shelf unit that could go in this awkward corner by the stairs. The jury is still out. I also found a wonderful baker's rack that would make a great display unit for yarns and threads, and more fat quarters.
The goody box also brought a rug for the proprietor's studio apartment. It has a sort of quilt-like design. Notice the flooring beneath the rug. I was going to sand the upstairs floor and stain it, but on closer inspection, it has a lot of stains. Lloyd convinced me that the entire upstairs needs to have wooden flooring and baseboards added. Of course he thinks it's a good idea. He doesn't have to do it! But I have to agree with him ... it will be much nicer with plank flooring. It will be stained.
Paintning on the gesso and moving furniture and building supplies was fun, but I wanted something repetitious and relatively mindless to do, so I tackled some accessory kits sent to me by a lovely lady on the Greenleaf Dollhouse Forum. Her mini group did a quilt shop a while ago and she has some great ideas. She sent materials for balls of crochet cotton, skeins of yarn, and spools of thread. She even sent some silk thread for the spools. I pulled threads from some of my fat quarters for additional colors. There are two sizes of spools on one delicate wood turning. Now that the thread is wound on, I'll cut them apart very carefully by rolling them under a supersharp X-acto knife blade. Her samples are at the top of the photo. At the bottom are various books made from printies.Here is a close-up of the items. They're going to add a lot to the shop and I'm most grateful for Barbara's generosity!