Saturday, January 27, 2018

B is for Bay Window

The bay window is where the dollhouse lives.  It is my happy corner.  I can see the garden, and the dogs come and chat to me through the window.  Today it is overcast and drizzling.  Just the right weather to stay indoors and get some crafting done.
I am going to revisit the colour for the interior walls.  I think I've found it!
Wishing you a happy weekend.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Paint and Petulance

Things were going so well with the Del Prado house.  I made a beautiful kitchen floor, which I will show you in a future post.  Then I realized that it was time to decide on paint colours and a colour scheme for the house.  I want light and airy, but still loosely Victorian.  In this house, I want harmony, none of that fruit salad effect where room colours clash.

Research wasn't helpful:
 A housepainter in 1893 observed, “Some people want their houses pure white throughout, while others have them painted as dark as possible, and some peculiar combinations of color are often selected, but we never dare object or we might lose the job.”

From Wikipedia:
 The choice of paint color on the walls in Victorian homes was said to be based on the use of the room. Hallways that were in the entry hall and the stair halls were painted a somber gray so as not to compete with the surrounding rooms. ... There was a favored tripartite wall that included a dado or wainscoting at the bottom, a field in the middle and a frieze or cornice at the top.

So the walls could be light or dark, one colour or three, patterns or plain, textured or smooth.  No help at all.

Elga suggested that I imagine living in the house, and paint accordingly.  At this time of my life, with deteriorating eyesight and an aversion to dusting, I want everything gleaming white, with no dark corners, and no clutter whatsoever.  Not going to fly in a Victorian setting, I'm afraid.

I dithered for days without touching the house.  Finally I took out some paint and just started dabbing the rooms in a test colour to see how it looked.  Ivory in the kitchen, and grey in the hall.

It looked awful.

The ivory walls in the kitchen were cat pee yellow.

Grey made the hall appear narrow and bleak, prison corridors come to mind.

Very discouraging.  Next I researched wallpaper possibilities.  I was in the middle of printing a test page when the printer broke down.  Reason abandoned me, and I succumbed to a decline that would have left a Victorian lady swooning on her chaise lounge.  Except that I did it much more dramatically.  Pounding of the printer (which didn't help), followed by a full scale weeping tantrum that lasted a day.  The printer was the last straw in a whole bale of things that went wrong lately.  Now I'm in what Nancy calls 'a funk'.  I don't have any creative energy.  I'm stuck.

Fortunately it's happened to me so many times that I recognize where I'm at straight away.  It's not the dollhouse's fault, or the printer.  One comes to this place when you let go of your inner calm.  I've let myself be overwhelmed.

I've learnt some coping mechanisms along the way.  Of the many I've tried, these are the ones that give the best results.  I'm sharing them in case you need them too :-)

1.  Step away. 
Whether it's physically walking away, or notching down the emotions around a situation,   distancing yourself gives better perspective.

2.  Do something different.
Tidy a cupboard or clean the oven.  Keeping your hands busy will give your subconscious mind time to work things out.

3.  Rearrange your workspace.
Bring something cheerful into your studio.  Flowers, a colourful throw, a companion animal.  

4.  Give yourself a treat.
Being in a funk is sometimes a way of saying you're sorry for yourself.  So be kind to yourself.  Have a beauty treatment, buy a book, light a candle and soak in a bubble bath. 

5.  Eat, sleep and talk
Eat healthy, sleep enough, and maintain an exercise routine.  Visit a friend or spend time with your partner.  When I become irritable and weepy it's often because my healthy living regime has become scrambled by stressors, or I've been spending too much time in my own company.  It is a vicious circle.  The more unhappy I am, the more I eat junk, don't sleep and isolate myself from people, the more unhappy I become.

6. Pen and paper
I pour out pages and pages of all the petty things that destroy my calm.  Writing it down really gets it out of my system!  And while you're writing, make a to-do list.  A plan of action is a good way to get moving again.

7.  Take random pictures.
Looking through a camera is looking at the world with different eyes. 

8.  Fast or Feast on technology
Check how much time you spend on the Internet and social media.  Sometimes taking a break from my computer entirely for a few days helps.  Other times I need stimulation and browse on Pinterest for hours at a time.  Whatever works, make it a conscious decision to do that, don't just act from habit.

I save these for really stubborn periods of being stuck in a funk.

9.  Change of scenery
Take a trip.  Move your body and your mind into a completely different space.  Sometimes a holiday really is needed, not a luxury.

10.  Do something new
Build a kit.  Enrol in an online course. Take a dancing lesson, cookery lesson, learn to play a musical instrument.  Try something different from what you usually do.

And while I'm doling out advice:

Operating mechanical equipment while distracted can have unexpected consequences. 
Don't turn on your electric toothbrush in midair.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A is for Action Figure

A is for Action Figure.
I'm in a mood.  Nancy calls it a funk.  She suggested we start an ABChallenge to counteract the negativity.  So here's my A.  He's fit to fight.  We're a team.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Del Prado Dollhouse - Versailles Parquet for the hall

During the days of Twixmas, between over eating, and laying around reading books, I worked a little on the Del Prado house, and completed the hallway floor.
Following Elga's recommendation, I was a little bit more adventurous this time, and tried parquet instead of just wooden planks.   (Mini tutorial for plank floor HERE).

 This time, I did not glue the wood directly on to the floor.  Because the pattern was going to be on a diagonal, there would be lots of planks that needed to be cut at an angle.  'Angle' and 'mitre' are swear words around here, so I devised a work-around.  First, I covered the area to be tiled with cling wrap.  I folded it over the back of the board, and taped it tightly.
Then I cut a piece of tulle (net) fabric, and taped that over the cling wrap.   The purpose of the cling wrap is to prevent anything from sticking to the board, and the tulle fabric will become the base for my parquet flooring.  If you've ever bought small tiles from a ceramic shop, you will know where I got the idea ;-)
I drew guide lines on the tulle with a permanent marker, and tested the layout of my parquet pieces.  This is a traditional pattern of interlocking T's with a small square tile filling the gap.  It's called Versailles parquet.  If you look closely, you will see that it also resembles basket weave.
Thereafter, it was a simple matter of cutting and gluing tiny pieces of wood for several hours.  The guide lines didn't prevent me from going skew, but I just forged ahead and enjoyed myself. I made the floor a few centimeters bigger than it needed to be all around.
When I was finished, I peeled the tulle away from the cling wrap, and let the completed piece of floor lie upside down until the glue was completely dry.
It was a simple matter of measuring the floor for exact dimensions, and zipping it through the table saw to straighten the edges.  No pesky measuring and cutting of all those angles!  I'm very pleased with the result.
When I glued the floor to the base board, I glued straight planks around the edges to finish it off neatly.  I wasn't going to confess to the next step, but I might as well, because it might save you doing something stupid...
I didn't measure my wood super accurately when cutting, and was way too relaxed when gluing the pieces down.  As a result, some little gaps developed between the planks.  Not to mention the gaps left by the mitred corners in the straight plank edging.  I decided that the gaps bothered me enough that I wanted to do something about it.  I filled them in with wood filler, much like grouting a tile floor.  Once the filler was completely dry, I sanded it off by hand, till I thought my arms would drop off.  Here and there spots remained between planks that were not level, I just could not get in there with sandpaper.  When I decided to give up on sanding, and hope that no one would notice them too much, I wiped the floor with a damp cloth to get rid of the dust before varnishing.  With the first swipe of the damp cloth, those remaining spots of wood filler dissolved and wiped away.  Duh, try wiping with a damp cloth next time, before you sand for an hour!  The floor really benefited from all the sanding though, it came out beautifully level and smooth.
After that, all that remained to be done was staining and varnishing, same as with the plank floor in a previous post.

Next time, tiling the kitchen floor.