Sunday, October 29, 2017

A Sunday morning visitor

I opened the door this morning to find Clyde standing there with a very grassy, muddy ball in her mouth.  My dogs don't have a ball.  They destroy balls on sight.  Living in an area where dog poisonings by criminals are a daily occurrence, I immediately panic when I see a dog chewing on something I can't identify.
My shout of alarm elicited the right response.  She put it down gently and retreated a few steps.  Which is when I realized what it was.  A HEDGEHOG!!!
I know that Atelerix frontalis is supposed to live in this part of the country, but in fifteen years here, I've never seen one.  I suppose most people haven't, and don't really think about it, but it has long been my dream to come across one.
I scooped it up in my bare hands and carried it inside.  Maybe not the wisest move, it was a hefty ball of spines.  I put it down on a towel, and rolled it over to see whether it was alive, or injured.  It was breathing, and there were no puncture marks or blood.  So far so good.
I placed it under a towel in a plastic crate, with a dish of water, and left it to calm down.
After a while it unrolled itself and started sniffing around.  Then it emerged from under the towel, tried to climb the sides of the crate, lapped some water, and curled up again in a corner.  It seemed to be fine.
I invited the dogs to have a nap in the studio, locked them in, and set off with the crate to the composting corner.  It's far from the house, with lots of hiding places.  I know that hedgehogs eat bugs and snails.  To my mind, the composting area should be heaven for hedgehogs.
I put the towel down in the grass and waited.  After a minute, it uncurled itself and ran off.  The area that it disappeared into is wild, with lots of hiding places.  The orange plastic mesh over the opening in the wall was originally put up to keep the dogs in, but I havent' checked it in a long time.  Now it's back in place.
I brought the crate back to the house and put it down outside for cleaning.  When I let the dogs out, they inspected the crate from all sides. They're lying on the lawn guarding it now.  I've decided to leave it there as a decoy.  Great Danes are not known for intelligence.
Henning called the hedgehog a Hitchcock, ha ha. In German a hedgehog is an Igel.
Speculation: African hedgehogs are supposed to weigh around 350g.  This one weighed more than 1kg.  A pregnant female maybe?  It was very fat.  They have babies between October and March, and can have as many as a dozen at a time.
Downer facts:  It was bigger than I thought hedgehogs were, and the spines were sharp!  It pooed all over the crate, and it was stinky.  It had fleas.  Definitely not suitable as a pet.
Nevertheless, I was enchanted with it.  Meeting a real live hedgehog was a dream come true.  I'm regarding the encounter as an early birthday gift.

This sweet hedgie kit popped up in my FB newsfeed this morning.  Available at  Hedgehogs Everywhere today!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Del Prado House, bay windows

As a child, there were things that I dreamt of owning when I grew up. 
A bay window, a rocking chair, a conservatory, a very large dog, a mosquito net, wooden floors, a house with a gable, a chandelier. 
Although I have learned that material things have nothing to do with happiness, I do gain lots of joy from the wish list items I added to my real life.  Especially the bay window.  You will see photos of it in a post soon.   
The things that I don't have, I can give to the people living in my dollhouse!
The plywood box is the foundation for a conservatory add-on to the Del Prado house.  I'm keeping it for much later, many other things to do first.
From the box of salvaged pieces, I selected three bay windows to add to the sides of my house.   These windows were meant to be the type with a deep window ledge, suitable for displaying pot plants, I think.  I wanted them to reach all the way to the floor, to regain some of the floor space I lost when making the hallway wider, and because I think it makes a room more interesting when the floor is not a square.
I carefully cut out the window ledges, and used scrap plywood to build a box around each window that would reach to the floor of the dollhouse.  Note left over wallpaper from kitchen and hallway rear walls that I discarded.  Still not wasting anything, and not buying anything.  The smaller bay window will have a window seat, with a bookshelf underneath.
This is what they look like from the outside.
Next, I cut thin strips from a piece of pine veneer, and painted them white to make cottage pane windows.  The plastic window frames supplied in the kit of the Del Prado dollhouse has cottage panes, I want everything to fit together.
Two windows installed.  I really like them.
Of course, any of you who have an eye for architecture will see that I made some mistakes that would cause a real life house to fall over.  I really lack the ability to envision things in 3D.  If I had to build a house for myself to live in, without help, it would be a grass shelter!  Fortunately, in miniature anything is possible and I will tweak the top window a little.

Monday, October 23, 2017

The Del Prado house, extra dormer windows

In my previous post about the Del Prado house, I mentioned that I was not happy with the boxy layout of the floor plan.  I spent a few days poking the inner walls, rummaging in boxes, and muttering indecisively before attacking the house with a jigsaw and cutting new windows and doors all over.
The first small change I made, was to move the right hand interior walls slightly, to make the passage wider.  Then I decided to turn the walls around so that the doorways in these two rooms are at the back of the house, not the front.  You will see later why this is important.  My master plan ha ha, which keeps changing all the time.
Ken Blake once sold me a box full of parts that were salvaged from a dollhouse someone never finished.  It's been languishing in the store room, I'd nearly forgotten about it.  Some of the pieces were brand new, others were broken and missing parts.  Note, three bay windows, I'm rich!  I selected these salvaged parts to add to the Del Prado house.
After some careful measuring, I took the plunge, and cut lots of windows and doors in the outer walls of the house.  I forgot to take a picture of the back roof, which originally had no windows.  I added two.
I cut the bottom off the two broken sash windows, and took the windows apart for repairs and painting.
This is what they became.  The beautiful net curtain is plastic tape on a roll.  I bought it at a scrap booking shop ages ago, for 'some day'.  Using all these bits and pieces from my stash makes me so happy!
Next, I built a box around each window, so that they could become dormers in the two attic rooms of the house.  Lots of cursing and swearing before I got the angles right, I'm no mathematician.  Note, the boxes were built from the discarded plywood of the original kitchen outer wall, I'm not wasting anything.  I did not bother to remove the wallpaper, since the roof will be tiled and painted.
Dormer windows installed.  I'm much happier with the house already!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

It's a miniature button day

This is what I'm doing today.  Miniature buttons made of polymer clay, sewn on to vintage button cards.
If you are a maker, HERE's a link to a tutorial a posted a while ago:
Looking for miniature button cards to print, and miniature sewing inspiration?  I saved several to this PINTEREST BOARD.