Friday, November 30, 2012

Roombox grand reveal!

Here's the moment I've been impatiently waiting for, she's done.
Well, mostly. I'll try and keep this short and sweet. The lighting for these pictures is the worst. It starts getting dark here around 4pm.
Shouldn't matter, since you'll be seeing plenty of the roombox in the coming months days. So, without further ado:


 The inside tall wall has 3 sconce outlets and 2 corded plug outlets.

Ditto for the short wall. Except the sconces are lower for sofa/bedside/office applications.

 The ceiling has 9 outlets.

 The utility wall. Electrical input connection, and removeable curtain rod.

The patio/porch has 3 sconce outlets, 3 ceiling/roof outlets, and 2 corded plug outlets.


 The back view.

Interesting features:
Leveling base.

Quick-cut templates. I made craft-paper templates of the walls and floors, so all I need to do is trace and trim desired wallcovering/flooring to match.

So far, I can't think of anything I would do differently. I got the outcome I desired, learned a few techniques along the way, and got semi-comfortable with some new materials. That's always my goal with a new project.
Venture out of your comfort zone, and you'll make way cooler stuff. Period.

I now have a completely custom, one of a kind, highly electrified, self-leveling, versatile, style-neutral, scratch-built structure. Happy girl.

Somehow, I miraculously found time to do some exterior work. I had a bottle of Greenleaf brand dollhouse stucco lying around for the past 15-20 years, so I figured I should go ahead and try it. I mixed it with some latex paint from the house (instructions said to use paint or water). It's a Martha Stewart color from Lowe's called 'soapstone'. It's my favorite pale gray/beige go-with-everything color. Once I painted a thick coat on and let it set a bit, I used a copper scrubber pad to texture it. I blotted until I had a consistent texture. I did two coats on each wall, which helped hide my electrical wires. (As seen in above photos)

I also finally decided on shingles. There were so many lovely options, some very detailed victorian styles.
I went with the square ones. I know. Boring. But I have my reasons.
The roof was never meant to be a focal point. It would just look stupid if I left it unfinished. I didn't want to have some crazy distracting pattern up there, though.

The other thing is, I knew I wanted to do real cedar shingles, but that I wanted them gray. Once I got the shingles on, I had a hard time wanting to paint them. I have an unusual obsession with the beauty of natural wood color/grain.

There was this one house from "I'm a Giant" that inspired me to paint them, and I knew I'd be happier if they looked like this:
Go Haus Go
I love how old hers look. I'm jealous of that texture. The rest of the 'house' is really beautiful, too. You should go check it out, then come back and finish the rest of this.

I'm pretty happy with the overall appearance/color pallette of the roombox. Especially since I was able to use paint colors I had on hand from our 1:1 house. The exterior walls are from our basement, the roof is from our front door, and the white gloss interior walls are from the Winnebago. The stucco powder mix, I had on hand. I bought the large bag of 1,000 cedar shingles for $23. I have enough left for the rest of my life. I decided to paint the roof and finish the trim before assembling all the pieces. Just to save me from cleaning sawdust out of the C-channel trim.
The only thing I'm unsure of is how blue my roof looks. It really accentuates how much blue pigment is in our gray paint. It's an oil based paint mixed with citrus solvent to make more of a stain than opaque coverage. It looks sort of slate-ish, so I don't hate it. I'll have to see how it looks in all types of light before I kneejerk-reaction-paint-it-black.

I also knew I wanted walnut fascia trim around the roof, so I finished it to match the interior walnut, then trimmed it in:

The stuff I needed to do to be able to use the roombox is done, and there are only a couple of items left on the list. These jobs can be completed while the structure is fully assembled:

-Organize utility wall
The taller exterior wall won't make it into official TinyFixation shop pictures if I can help it, so I'll be affixing a system to keep the transformer and lead-in wires tamed and contained when the structure is not in use.

-Decide if I want interior trim
Here's the thing. I love me some trim. In the dollhouse, I think that was one of the details that really helped make it look realistic. It almost kills me not to in the roombox, however the name of the game here is versatility. If I have trim in some places, it could prevent certain space plans. I think I'll be making a baseboard for each of the wooden walls (one pair in walnut, and one in white), but not glue them in. I'll paper the walls first, then use museum putty to attach the desired baseboard over the paper. These can be made on a scene-by-scene basis. There. Settled then. So glad we had this talk.

Now I gotta scramble to finish my Cubebot Challenge entry, due tomorrow... eek!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Life just got a whole lot easier.

It's my birthday. I just opened presents. And I'm totally freaking out. 
Any other miniature maker would likely flip their lid.

After going overboard on presents like I told him not to, in true husbandly fashion, he ignored me.
Last week he came home with an early present, told me he didn't want to wrap it.
 I have no idea why.

And then tonight I come home to these:

A new ski jacket, down vest, fleece pullover, and real muck boots. Ridiculous.

But the last present...
Ooooh, the last one's a doozie.

Sent me over the edge.


He's my hero. I've been talking/wishing/dreaming/drooling about this thing for a year.
I might still have a stroke.
I'm old now, after all.

Also going on:

Slowly but surely, the fireplace is coming along. So damned tedious. It might not be done for the cubebot challenge like I had hoped.
Which, note to self... is due by Saturday.

 And then there's these shady characters. 
I bought some plastic animals at Hobby Lobby, then promptly decapitated them. Wouldn't want to get too attached...

People try to sell a dollhouse deerhead for ridiculous prices. How's about I make one for $5? Two for under $10?! 
Don't threaten me with a good time. 
I went traditional New England with the deer and the moose. It only seemed right. I haven't decided if I'll white lacquer one of them, or leave them both au naturel.

 I'll mount these classy gentlemen on hardwood plaques with some leather trim.

Mighty nice.

I'm the luckiest girl ever. 
The cake is calling. Priorities.

Talk real soon. Maybe even show some finished products. Whoa.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Undersized Urbanite: A Giant new challenge

New year, new challenge! And this one's a doozie.

For the sake of pouring salt in old wounds let's reminisce about last year's big challenge...
I couldn't make this logo any smaller. Balls.
For those of you who are new around here, some background, in a nutshell:
'I'm a Giant' was initiated by Emily Henderson, but since she likes to start things she can't finish, it was properly and thoughtfully concluded by Mini Dork at modernminihouses, months after Emily ignored the second 'deadline'. And it was supposed to be an annual shindig. Ha!
I still need a Valium anytime someone says "dollhouse" and "challenge" in the same day.

It wasn't all negative. Just anything involving Emily.

Don't worry, Debbie-downer was just leaving.

The good experiences and outcomes far outweighed the bad, even though I do more than my fair share of bitching.

Here are some of the things I loved (and reasons for you to participate in Undersized Urbanite!):

-If it weren't for the creation of the aforementioned challenge, I wouldn't have this blog. At all.
-I wouldn't have met any of the amazing bloggers that I have, and forged new friendships with like-minded hobbyists.
-I wouldn't have almost 100 cool people regularly reading my words and seeing my work.
-I wouldn't have a fascinating and obsessive new hobby.
-I wouldn't have half the materials and tools at my disposal.
-I wouldn't have ventured out of my comfort zone and learned that I have skills and abilities I never was aware of. I can work with electricity?! I can work with metals?! I can make scale furniture?! Awesome.
-I would probably have a dated old dollhouse collecting dust in my attic, but instead, I have this amazing, one of a kind, totally custom piece that I can be proud to pass on to my potential future offspring as an heirloom. It's definitely a conversation piece, made with much love, as I designed and handcrafted about 85% of its contents.

The idea, then, was to create a dream space in miniature. It didn't have to be a traditional dollhouse. I had been gifted a dollhouse about a month before I found about the I'm a Giant Challenge. I thought it was a sign from God, rather than a strange coincidence. So I recklessly jumped right in. Little did I know what an undertaking overhauling a six room dollhouse would be!

I gutted the house, electrified it (which I learned and mastered on-the-fly), and refinished/furnished 5 of the 6 total rooms. I spent countless hours planning, designing and making. I love how it came out (so far), and there's still work to do.

Here's a highlight reel of some of my work from that challenge:














I get really happy when I look at it.

Much like childbirth (as if I would know), your brain makes you forget very painful experiences so that you might be crazy enough to try it again. If Emily Loserson was hosting another dollhouse challenge, I'd never go for it.
This one is different. It's essentially the same concept. But this year it's at a superior location and there's competent new management! That's reason for celebration, and participation!

Christina has been so thoughtful in revamping this challenge idea, and has already changed all the things that made Emily's so-called 'challenge' such a drag. With "Undersized Urbanite":

-She's set actual realistic deadlines.
-She's planned for adequate time so that participants might have a fighting chance to finish their project.
-There are prizes instead of empty promises of gallery exhibits.
-There is voting to determine the winner(s).
-There will be regular updates at Little Victorian.
-It will actually be repeated annually.

Although it's called a "dollhouse challenge", it still doesn't have to be a dollhouse. Make whatever you want, however you want, just make it tiny.

I've got two ideas that I'm kicking around, both are a play on the challenge's title. Which way I go is anyone's guess. But since this is going to start coming around as often as my birthday, I could always pocket one of the ideas for next year. Because I'm sure there will be some follow through this time.

If I can do it, you can do it. Come on, join us! We know how to party. And you've got 6 months this time.

Ready... set... GO!