Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Turning to the interior - 1920’s House

It is finally time!   I am so excited to turn my attention to the interior of the 1920’s dollhouse!   

I finished exterior of the 1920’s house and wasted no time in turning the house around so that I could see the interior rooms.   I operate on the belief that the house will speak to me if I look at it long enough and the ideas for each room will become clear.  Yeah, I know...I sound nuts!   Hahaha. But irregardless if my mental state, I wanted that house turned around so that I could stare into the empty rooms for a while to decide what to do with each room.  

Immediately I went to work on some light demolition work.   I had some pictures to take off the walls. There were a few shelves to remove. And the curtains needed to come down!   I pulled all the loose wall paper off the walls and scrapped up the foam tape.

Right now the current thoughts for each room: 

Bottom floor:   (From left to right ). Living room, kitchen, formal dining room

Second Floor : (From Left to right) girls room, bathroom (or maybe little boys room) parents bedroom, library. 

attic:  who knows.....some of the attic will be dependent upon what goes on in the two rooms in the addition to the right. Some of my cast off ideas may make it to the attic.  

The girls room will be frilly and pink.  I will need to put in a doorframe and make that area behind the second room (the possible bathroom) into a hallway.  I actually like the green wall paper and it is in good shape back in that halllway. So that will remain...with the simple addition of some pictures/art on the wall.    I was originally set that I would be putting in a bathroom in the small room.   But then when I turned it around I thought...why not a small bedroom?  Sure the house wouldn’t have a bathroom but come on now...I can pretend it is off that hall...right?

The addition off to the right has been a conundrum to me.  I like the thought of the formal dining room.   I love the idea of a formal library!  But I have contemplated turning that addition into a home business and using the rooms for other types of rooms that would be found in a house.  Here are some of my ideas.
    -   I’ve thought about a doctors office.  Downstairs being the actual office where the doctor sees patients and the upstairs being the doctors private room and storeroom for supplies. 
    - I have thought about an apothecary...lots of bottles and potions.
    - I have thought about using one room as a music room.
    - most recently I came up with the idea for a 1920’s photography Studio.  How fun would that be??

I settle on an idea and I’m good with it...I was totally settled on the idea of a music room...and even bought some small instruments.  But then the idea of the library overcame that thought....so I started to make books.. But then the photography studio idea took hold and I started to research vintage cameras.  

Right now I am leaning toward library and dining room and in the attic...creating a photography studio.  (But I’d I do the photography studio in the addition I will put a library into the attic.  See how my mind works?? Hahaha)

Time will tell.  Right now, I am working on books...because if there isn’t a library in the addition it will be in the attic...and if the library doesn’t make it to the attic, there will be a room box with an ornate library.

The yard and porch of the 1920’s House

I am totally kicking it into high gear on the house that is destined to be set in the 1920’s.   I have started work and I’m hot on the trail.  Ok, maybe that makes me sound more ambitious than I am.  High gear implies that I’m working fast and furious.  That is not the case.  I am slow and not even steady.  I work when I can find a spare moment.....a spare moment that allows me the opportunity to actually pull the supplies needed for whatever project out of the closet and into the living room where I work on a TV tray/table.  Not exactly the best workroom, but it’s what I have!

As soon as I got this house I knew it was going to be done in a 1920’s theme.  I also immediately knew that I needed the outside to be completed before I focused on the inside.  I can honestly say that I am done with the outside.  Or at least done enough with the outside.  (I still have a few random ideas for the outside).  

When I brought the house home I immediately spent some time painting and doing some basic repairs. But then the dollhouse sat for a while.  But then I knew it was time to get to work.

The first order of business for the dollhouse was to get it securely attached to a base.  I used a simple piece of plywood.   That left me a space for a yard.   I bought some squares of grass and attached that.   I used my standard egg carton stone work for the foundation and for a flagstone walkway.  I had pictures on my old phone...but that phone was lost during a wild morel mushroom hunting Expedition in the woods (ok it wasn’t all that wild...it just fell out of my pocket and since we were way off trail it was impossible to find since we had been traipsing off trail for more than 3 hours before I realized it was missing!)

I had purchased a small bike.  I was hoping it would look more like a high wheel bicycle...but it is more like a tricycle in size.  I am still pondering how to make a high wheel bike!     I also had a croquette set and a small dog house that I thought would look fun in the yard.

I knew that the porch need some items.  I had found some chairs at a Dollar General.  They were solid white, but I figured I could add some green trim to the chair and put it on the front porch.   I also knew that I wanted to have a milkman’s box.  That was an easy build!!!!

A house with all these ledges just screams for a birds nest.  So I made a birds nest...or two!

As I said, the outside is not totally done.  BUT, it is done enough that I felt comfortable actually turning the dollhouse around so that I can finally turn my attention to the inside!

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Insomnia Dreams

 It is some unholy hour of the night. Man and beast should be asleep! Yet I find myself wide awake....a frequent occurrence of late. I honestly try to go back to sleep and sometimes it works...but sometimes it doesn’t. And tonight is a ‘doesn’t work’ night. As I laid in bed trying to go to sleep....for HOURS, I found myself thinking of plans for my dollhouses! Ohhh those plans! Let me share them!

I started with plans and ideas for my dollhouse that I am renovating and completing in a 1920’s theme.. I am currently finishing up the front of the dollhouse and know that I will want to actually see the rooms again before I make my final plans for how each room will be renovated and decorated and even what each room will be used for. Without that access, my dreaming turned to other things. But no worries...it was still about miniatures!

I thought about my fun little experiences working on building a dollhouse for my dollhouse. And the follow up recreation of the house I lived in while living in Florida also on 1/144 scale. I thought about my lingering desire to recreate all of the houses that I have lived in over the years. A tiny village so to speak. . That only took a few minutes of my many hours of laying in bed wide awake...so off I went to my next Project in my insomnia planning session!

About a year or so ago, I was contemplating finishing the Greenleaf MckinleyDollhouse and starting my next project and I knew what that project was going to be! It all started when I bought a vintage style table for my 1950’s items for that McKinley Dollhouse. The table was too big for the kitchen but I love the 50’s...so what better to do...I will build a Diner! I started to lay out plans in my mind and on paper. I was going to build myself a diner as my next dollhouse project! Of course I ended up getting the ‘1920’s’ house....so the diner got pushed aside. But in my insomnia trying to sleep moments...I thought about those diner plans! Should I do that next?

Thinking about the diner plans brought me to another planned project. A few weeks ago, Jason and I had been talking about the Chesapeake and Ohio canal. And I off handed my remarked that I had always wanted to build a canal boat dollhouse. Why yes! That will be my next project I declared! Over the last few weeks I have collected. pictures, researched dimensions and generated different ideas. I contemplated a slight problem. A canal boat was 90 feet long. That is a 7.5 foot long project in 1/12 scale. No other option really. I will have to step out of my comfort zone of modeling in 1/12 scale and model the canal boat in 1/24 scale. Something new and unique for me! I have just been waiting until I get at least one more dollhouse to a state of completion. And I’m close...so close to saying that the 1950’s era Greenleaf Mckknley is done! The Stone house quilt shop isn’t too far behind! The 1920’s house though is ages away from being finished!

But here is where insomnia is dangerous. Up until that point I had been just reviewing my preexisting plans... it it soon took a whole new twist! Because in my thoughts about the 1920’s house and wanting to do a library...I realized that I want to do a double decker library...with ladders on little rails that slide to allow access to the upper shelves of books. That isn’t going to work in my 1920’s house though! (Although I contemplated removing a floor to make it work!). So maybe...just maybe ...wait! I will do a room box library!

Somehow the room box library turned into a complete antebellum 1800’s mansion. Double floored open library....conservatory/greenhouse, the music room I have always wanted, and a ballroom...yes a ball room! Oh the plans were going crazy! How to fit this all into one house! I laid in bed for hours as these thoughts and ideas floated into my head and I tried to work out the logistics.

*I need a floor plan! I want the house to be ‘real’. So I picked up my phone and researched vintage mansion floor plans and eventually the floor plan and how to implement it so I can see all the rooms came together (it will be viewed from the sides and the front.
*Pocket doors! It will need pocket doors! How can I build pocket doors!
*I want to build it in stages. One room box at a time...is it possible...what are the logistics. Can I manage to build it one room at a time?
*holy cow this plan is going to be huge! I have to build it so that it can be taken apart to be moved! That adds a whole new level. Well I wanted to build it in sections anyway..I just have to figure out how to only temporarily attach them together. Should I drop the scale...1/24 scale. Hmmmm. I would rather stick with 1/12, but I may have to.

I’m telling you, my mind went crazy! I am so excited about this idea Of a project that is way off down the road. Seriously. I have NO SPACE for anything like this. But, that isn’t going to keep me from dreaming...and it won’t keep me from planning. I brought out my notebook....time to lay out these floor plans that are floating in my head!!!

Monday, April 12, 2021


I decided that to make my Greenleaf McKinley dollhouse a real home versus simply a house, that I needed to add a good old fashioned radiator....or two...or 8.  You know the kind.   The good old fashioned hot water radiant heaters that were so warm and toasty on a cold day!   The place to deal your towel whilst in the bath....and to have a deliciously warm towel.  Ohhh the memories of the smell of drying gloves as they dried atop those warm hunks of metal. 

My dollhouse needs radiators!  So I set to work!!!

I decided to use popsicle sticks (craft sticks).  I started to simple cut and eyeball the measurements I make a prototype.   Once I had the basic idea I had the base pieces I would need to make a radiator.  The number of pieces would be determined by how long I wanted the radiator to be.  

The most annoying piece to work on was the two end pieces for each radiator as I pretty much carved two legs.  Not really difficult...just time consuming. 
The end pieces I literally eyeballed the height and then checked how it looked in the actual dollhouse!  
Once I had my end pieces cut I knew exactly how long to cut the middle portion of the radiators.  They needed to be just a tad shorter....I took the length of the end piece and subtracted the measurements for the legs and I had the perfect size.   I then took some of those pieces and cut them down the middle to create narrow pieces.   I also took the time to round over the tops of the narrow pieces by cutting them a bit and sanding them a lot.   How many did I cut?   Well that depends on how long you want your radiator to be.  

I decided to mass produce my radiators so I just sat down with my exacto knives and small miter saw and started cutting.  Finally I had enough pieces cut and I was ready to start the assembly process.

As you can see above I used the three basic pieces that I described earlier.  The two end pieces for each radiator (the ones with legs) the wide internal pieces and the small narrow  pieces. 

I started by taking my small narrow pieces and gluing two together.  I needed theses pieces to be a bit thicker. 

I walked away from my radiators to allow these pieces to fully dry.  But it wasn’t long before I came back ready to assemble my radiators.

I picked up one of the end pieces of a radiator (the piece with the two legs/feet) and I glued one of my narrow pieces to it (the pieces that I glued together to make a thicker piece). 

I then grabbed a wide piece (one with no legs) and glued that to the narrow piece that I had just added. 

And now you repeat the process by gluing another narrow piece on top of that wide piece.   Be sure to keep everything even at the top.

Repeat the process until you have a radiator the size that you want for your house, alternating wide with narrow pieces.  The very last piece you add will be a wide piece and you will use a wide piece that has legs.

Now it’s time to step away and let everything dry!   Once dry you can paint them to your specifications and you are done...mostly!

I chose to add some water line pipes from the radiators to the floor for an extra touch of realism. I just grabbed some thin gauge wire (from the jewelry making department) and cut it to size...added a little bend and superglued it on!!!!

This was a super easy project to complete!  It was made using items that I had around the house.  It was a fun process!   I am loving the touch of realism it added to my Greenleaf McKinley house!!!

Monday, April 5, 2021

A house versus a home

I have been slowly working on some little things to turn my Greenleaf McKinley into a home.   I have the house.  I need to make it a home!   

I put a call out and got some suggestions and ideas and for that I am so thankful.  It kick started  my thought processes and I was able to get some projects started immediately!

First up, I made some rugs.  I made them in a ‘braided rug‘ style.  I had made some braided rugs for the Log Cabin  a few years ago and I was happy with how they turned out.  So I grabbed some supplies and got to work using the same techniques.  

I made a big rug for the nursery and two small rugs to go beside the bed in the master bathroom.  I also made a rug for the kitchen. 

I didn’t stop at rugs.  No way!  I printed up some book covers and made a few ‘Little Golden Book’ and some Beatrix Potter books for the nursery.  

Now to figure out a book shelf for the nursery.....hmmmmm.

I was sorting through my supplies and stash this past week and I stumbled upon a little round wooden table.  It was unfinished wood but I wasn’t worried about that!  I was more concerned with the size.  Would it fit in the kitchen bay window?  Would it be too big?  I had purchased a perfect table a year or so ago and it was too big for the space....I guess it wasn’t perfect afterall!  (But it did make me dream of another project that WILL be perfect for that table!).   Could the perfect sized table have been in my stash all  along???  I put it into place and it seemed to work.  Could a girl get so lucky?   I didn’t want a wood table though.  But that’s not a problem!  I pulled out my paint!

First up the whole paint got a few coats of white paint!

Next up was some red paint for trim!   I just love red!!!!

The table looks adorable in the kitchen!   But now I need items for on top of the table.  So one problem solved but a new problem created!    Does this ever end?   (I hope not, I’m having too much fun!)

Monday, March 29, 2021

Help Needed

 A week or so ago I posted a wee short video showing my Greenleaf Mckinley  on my Youtube Channel.  The house is 'mostly' done.  It is fully furnished but while I am thrilled with it, I know that it is missing something!!!!!  I have learned something about myself.....somehow my eye for making the houses look lived in and 'real' has disappeared.   And I'm struggling with that!!!!  I asked for help on that youtube channel.....and I'm going to ask for help here too!!!  I am showing the rooms and adding in the ideas that I was given and that I already have or have come up with.....but HELP!!!!

So here goes......

The kitchen

The kitchen definitely needs something also!  It was suggested a tea towel, a rug and a table.  I had resisted the idea of a table simple because of space.  But I am planning on adding one (I have a wooden one I can paint).    Throw your ideas at me!!!!
The Living Room 

The suggestions:  A teacup, books or vases in the cabinet, logs in the fireplace, a rug.   I have added a pack of cigarettes beside the ashtray (hey, I don't smoke but it IS a 1950's era house!)  What else????

The Nursery

The nursery...probably my favorite room!  It was suggested mess it up with some toys on the floor, someone suggested a rocking horse.  (which I happened to have one).  I am in the process of adding books and a rug....the rocking horse and a rocking chair.   But I don't want a 'sterile' nursery....I want a lived in nursery....help!  
The Bathroom

I actually think that I have this room pretty well done.  I need something on the wall behind the toilet.  Someone suggested a fish or something...but I'm open to ideas!
The Master bedroom

I have added some small rugs beside the bed.....and someone suggested a full length mirror (which will replace the rocking chair that I moved to the nursery) and a trunk at the end of the bed.   

So that seems to be my weakness......turning the dollhouse from a sterile neat home to a lived in house.  I am looking for inspiration to help get my creative juices flowing.

I know that once the ideas start flying at me that my brain will kick in with all sorts of things.  I have also come up with an umbrella /cane stand by the front door, radiators, pillows for the couch and window seats, light switches, and lights around the house.     SO if you have any other suggestions.....

If you want to see the short video......

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

I went and did it! Dollhouse number 5

I went and did it!     I saw a dollhouse on Facebook marketplace and I just had to buy it!  Honestly I didn’t really want another house.  I had other plans....but a new house I got!!

Finishing up other miniature projects

I have worked on the StoneHouse quilt shop in the past year and it is honestly starting to show signs of being close (closer) to being done!  I have also been working on some of those last items in the 1950’s house   That house really just needs all those little items that make it a home and not just a decorated house.   I have been slowly working on getting those items added to the house.  It’s been fun!

I was making my plans to finish up one of those projects and then I was going to dive into my next project.  I had my next project perfectly planned in my head. I was going to create a 1950’s diner!   I was so excited!

Change in plans for my miniature dollhouses 

I was honestly not looking for a new building!  I had decided to build my own room box for my diner.  But, things don’t always go as planned!   I was scrolling through Facebook and noticed a post by someone talking about a house on Facebook marketplace.  They even mentioned that it was in Frederick, MD....my town!   Uhhhhh. I had to go look at the post!   I don’t know what overcame me...next thing I knew I was contacting the seller!  She originally turned down my low ball offer...but eventually made a counter offer that I accepted.  I was excited but had no plans to work on this dollhouse anytime soon.  I had my diner to build!!!  This new dollhouse was going to go into our storage closet...I figured it was about the same size as my other houses and I could spare that room in the storage closet!

We went to pick up the dollhouse. Uhhhhh. It was huge!   My heart sank even as excitement poured through me!   I was excited to get such a neat project to remodel!   I'm thinking 1920's time frame!!! But seriously...this thing was huge!  There was no way it was going to fit in our already overcrowded storage closet! 

A solution to the miniature madness

We carried in the dollhouse and put it on the dining room table. With the drop leaves down and no extra leaves in the table, this dollhouse hangs over the edge! It dwarfs the other houses! 

  I knew that I had to get to work right away on the new house!  I had to at the bare minimum shore up the outside and bring it to life. This dollhouse needed some love and I just couldn’t wait!

The dollhouse needed some work on the shingles and the porch was a hot mess.   I also decided that gray was not my thing.  I wanted an old fashioned looking farmhouse...so white with green trim was the way I decided to go!!  I luckily had some shingles that matched and I was more than happy to fix the shingles and the railing around the porch.

The biggest work that needed to be done though was finding homes for all of my dollhouses.  We live in a small apartment and 5 dollhouses are a serious threat to taking over!  

The easiest solution was to hang the McKinley dollhouse.  The Greenleaf Mckinley is actually created to hang on the wall and thus save space.  I have NOT hung it in the 4.5 years since I have owned it.  It was time!   That cleared up so much space!   The next thing was the little blue house...as I affectionately call it, the Mini Mansion.  I went out and bought a shelf and hung that one also!  Two dollhouses out of the way!   I have some plans to hang the Stonehouse Quilt shop also.  But that will come eventually!   
In the meantime, I have created enough room to be able to not be quite so overwhelmed with dollhouses!

Let the work commence!!!!!