Friday, September 22, 2017

Del Prado House - Making a sturdy shell

I have a deadline on 10 December.  Far away, you say?  It's only 78 days! If you only knew how much I need to achieve.  For meeting my daily targets, and to keep myself sane, I'm working on the Del Prado dollhouse in my spare moments.
It looks a bit like an oversized tool caddy, doesn't it?  Since I showed it to you a few weeks ago, I made a lot of progress on the house, then made it undone as I changed my plans.
The first thing to do, was to make the structure sturdy.  I also wanted to preserve and use as much of the original kit as possible.  After going around in circles for a while, I realized that I would have to replace the outer walls.  I messed them up badly during my first attempt many years ago, and trying to straighten things out was near impossible.
I cut a new rear wall, and two side walls, using plywood from an old packing case I found in the barn.  You will notice that the walls are slightly longer.  I'm installing a 'basement' with a storage drawer.  I've already built the drawer.  Paint cans are standing in it. 
I was torn between keeping the original wall and floor papers, or replacing them.  This house must be simple and inexpensive, using materials I already have on hand.  The pink bathroom haunted me, it had to go.  I decided to follow my heart, and start with a blank page.  I soaked the original papers by covering them with a damp cloth until they could be peeled back.  Then I sanded and painted all the interior walls and floors in plain cream.  Now they can become anything!
At this point, I did a 'dry fit' of the interior walls and floors.  To my horror, without proper support at the front, the side walls kept leaning in all directions.  So the whole thing came apart again. 
I installed a beam across the top of the house, and another across the front above the drawer. Finally I'm happy.  Now I can give the interior walls and floors a go, again. 

Monday is a public holiday here in South Africa. We have a lovely long weekend.  I will be working, but I will also take time out to play with the dollhouse.  Interior walls, here we go again!



Monday, September 4, 2017

Delight Yourself

https://asipofmytea.com/2017/09/04/little-dd-speaks-out/

I worked a little on the dollhouse this weekend.  After I did the important stuff I was supposed to do.  I also did a bunch of other stuff that needed doing, and routine work stuff and routine life stuff.  Our lives are filled with so much stuff activities, there never seems to be enough time.  To make it worse, there's always a guilty voice at the back of my mind that tells me to stop playing and get a real job.
Denise's blog post this morning fell on that little voice like Dorothy's house fell on the Wicked Witch in the Wizard of Oz.
If you doubt the validity of doing things that bring you joy, read what Denise has to say.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Picking up the pieces


If it wasn't sad, it would be funny.  Actually, my wonky attempt at a dollhouse is funny!  I started building this dollhouse more than twenty years ago.  At the time, I didn't have any skills, tools, or a proper space to work.
The dollhouse was delivered in instalments every week.  It came with beautiful pictures and lots of promises like 'In any corner of the house, without the need of a workshop or special equipment...' and '...without the need for plans: a simple click, a spot of glue and it's done.'
In reality, the plywood panels arrived warped because they had been shrink wrapped and sent in the post.  None of the pieces 'clicked'.  A spot of glue was never going to hold the house together.

After months of trying, I gave up in disgust.  With a big dent in my pocket and my ego, I dismantled the house and packed it away in boxes.  Those boxes have been moving from one home to the next with me for the last twenty years.

Lately, I've been thinking about giving it another go.  I now do have the perfect spot to put a dollhouse, a workshop with tools, and hopefully, a few more skills than I did back then.  Yesterday I dragged the boxes from the store room, unpacked it, and taped the house together to make sure that all the pieces are still there.

My thoughts while I worked:  
Problems that were insurmountable back then, are no problem now.  Assembling the house will be like building a puzzle for three-year-olds.  Wow, I've learnt some things!
My taste has changed.  What was I thinking with that pink mottled paint in the bathroom??? Yuck!
The house comes with all its furniture in kit form.  It's very basic and not the nicest stuff around.  Is it worth the bother?

The answer is a resounding YES.
  1. Because I can.
  2. Rummaging through the boxes, I still feel the same overwhelming enthusiasm for the house I had years ago.  
  3. It will be relaxing. There are hardly any decisions to make.  Every room comes with a plan and its furniture.  Like paint by numbers.
  4. It's not going to cost anything.  I have all the supplies I need to finish the house.
  5. It would make a stunning photography prop.
  6. I started the house before there was internet.  Now I can go online and search out other people's houses and gather inspiration.  Working on the dollhouse will give me a sense of community.
  7. It's a carrot.
On the 1st September I'm starting a three-month work project.  I'm not looking forward to that at all.  To reward myself for staying on schedule and meeting my targets, I will build the dollhouse in  my free time.  When you see a post about the house, you will know that I've been a good girl!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How to start a creative business


http://www.figandme.com/blog/the-5-steps-to-pursue-doll-making-as-a-business

This week, Fig&Me published a blog post about starting your own doll making business.  The same principles apply to any craft business.  The article is in complete agreement with what I always tell people, and it's written in Fabiola's typical gentle and encouraging style.

If you are thinking about starting a creative business, do yourself a favour, go read!

http://www.figandme.com/blog/the-5-steps-to-pursue-doll-making-as-a-business

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

The dog's breakfast

Sometimes the things I make look like a dog's breakfast.

 Um, it is a dog's breakfast.  Several of them.

Attila is not impressed.

I cater for cats too.

Making miniature Whiskas has been a challenge.  The scale is not quite right, but I'm at my limit of patience with very tiny things.

It's that time of year again.  We are preparing for the annual Miniature Festival.  This is the 25th annual show and I've been to every one.  Where has the last quarter century gone??? Note the new venue.