Wednesday, 29 March 2017

More San Franciscan Basement progress.

Option 3

Now that I've added a basement to the San Franciscan, I have to consider what kind of stairs I build to get down to ground level from the entrance. 

In my mind's eye the San Franciscan is a row house that sits on one of San Francisco's famous hill streets. With that in mind, the landscaping board will have to be built up on the left (non garage) side. There will be a front garden on that side of the board and the driveway to the garage and basement apartment on the other side. 

This left me with a dilemma. I need stairs that will access the front garden to the left and the driveway to the right. I have a few options:

1. come straight down towards the front with a landing at the garden level with gate access to it and the bottom flight of stairs continuing forward.
2. Come straight forward from the porch with a switchback landing that would access the garden and the bottom flight of stairs facing back towards the house.
3. Build a small landing off the porch and have a 1/3 rise of stairs heading left at a right angle to the house leading to the garden. The second flight of stairs would leave the garden level to the right also at a right angle to the house and landing at the driveway.
4. Same as three but with an additional landing about 3/4 of the way down leading to the bottom flight of stairs turning towards the front again.

I still need to try out options 2 & 4 but I'm leaning towards 3. I would like to do 4 but I'm to lazy to mock it up right now... and if that's the case, what would I be like building it... lol

Monday, 20 March 2017

Making a Rustic Candelabra

With a first coat of Chalk Paint in "Americana Rustic"

I was inspired by Amberatti's blog post on making a mini candelabra and decided to make my own version.  (Note to self: check out model boat parts. :D )

I hit the local Spotlight and looked for useful items. I found some cone-shaped fasteners in the sewing notions section. No idea what they are called but they have two pointed pieces of metal on them that spread apart behind a backing plate, kind of like those paper fasteners you see in offices. I was just after the cone shape for a base so I cut off the metal tails.

I also bought some earring hooks because I thought they'd be good to use for the arms and already halfway bent. :) Bonus, they had bead and wire detail on them that I decided to use in the design.

Next to the bead aisle. I bought two different sized fluted silver beads and some oblong wooden beads. I couldn't find any earring backs or cap beads but I have a bunch of other beads in my stash so I thought I would be able to come up with something.

First I fashioned the arms out of earring hooks. I figured this would be the hardest part so if it all went to hell, I could quit without spending too much time on it. :D

And it was.... after a few false starts, I figured out that if I bent the wire over my exacto knife handle for the large curve and a pencil for the small curve, I had relatively similar arms.

Earring hooks fashioned into arms

Next I took a small fluted bead (the larger ones I bought were way out of scale!) and super glued that to the aforementioned fastener of unknown name :D with its metal "tails" cut off.

Then I cut off a piece of a tiny turning that I liked about ??? in length and attached that to the fluted bead... after that dried I glued on an oblong wood bead. I think these are 6mm x 9mm.

Now my "stem" was complete.

Time to glue the arms in!

It's coming together

I think it is important to glue the arms in before you build the candle holders on them because:

  1. This allows you to make any last-minute adjustments to the arm length/height to make them as close as even to each other as possible.

  2. Once they were super glued into the base, they were more stable which gave me more ability to mess with the fiddly task of trying to stack and glue beads onto the end of a wire and have them turn out somewhat level.

Once the arms are completely dry, you can construct the candle holders.

I did this by threading the detail wire and bead that came with the earring hook back onto the arms. Wire first, then a dab of superglue on the end of the arm and thread on the bead.

Hold the bead at the very end of the arm so that the top of the bead is flush with the top of the arm. Hold in place until dry.

Now put a dab of glue directly underneath the bead and push the wire coil back up the arm to butt up with the bottom of the bead.

This smaller bead forms the beginning of the base and is important to give you more area to start layering on detail.

Next, I glued a 3mm flower jewellery spacer on top of the bead and when that was dry, the same type of fluted bead used at the bottom of the base. I think it's good to have some continuity in the design.

Make sure to try and get these elements level with each layer.

While waiting for this to dry I made the topper candle holder. Same process as the arm ones but now on a short straight piece of wire from the earring hooks. It needed to be long enough to accomodate the wire coil and small earring hook bead but not more than half a mm longer. Once the wire coil & bead a glued and dry follow the same process for the arm candle holders. I stuck the whole assembly in some foam to dry.


And here it is fully assembled. As you can see it is about 1.75 inches tall.

About 1.75 inches high, that should work

On a table before paint to show scale. As you can see it is fairly chunky. All the better for rustic decor. :D

On the breakfast table for sizing. It's not going to end up on this table though

Just moving my blog over to blogger as it seems to be what most people use.😊

Friday, 3 March 2017

Custom Modern Lighting

Excuse the dog hair in the corner.. can't be avoided in my house. I have little helpers. :)

So I got inspired by my friends over at the Greenleaf forum, to try my hand at making a modern light fixture. This was the result.

To be honest I'm so happy with this fixture that I might have to rethink the entire lighting plan for the San Franciscan.

In fact I'm stretching the truth to say I custom made it, because it's essentially constructed out of pre-made components, super glue & spray paint.

It's incredibly simple but incredibly effective.

So forum member SewMini asked about modern fixtures and pointed to this one as an example of what she was looking for.

Later that day I was in my local Choice store (Australian version of a dollar store, though hardly anything costs only a dollar. ;) ) and found these balls in the craft section

Wire balls from Choice

I thought the smaller balls would be great for pendants and the larger ones for a statement light in the middle of a room.

Smaller pendant size
I wanted to use the smaller size to start but I didn't have any G.O.R bulbs so I had to raid my lights stash for a fixture and that meant, I had to use the larger wire ball if I had any hope of fitting it within the structure.

I tried to replicate the fitting in the inspiration piece by attempting to shove a simple 3 arm chandelier into the wire ball... umm.. no.. that didn't fit... so I rummaged some more and came up with one of these ball pendants. I actually think if I make another light, I would try to find a half scale 3 arm chandelier and change out the chain for a 1:12 scale one to get the look above.

Got this picture from the web because I forgot to take a before pic.. 😳

I ditched the bottom spindle taped off the ceramic bulb and spray painted it silver using Rustoleum "Satin Nickel".

I also sprayed the wire ball, so that there would be continuity of colour. I actually prefer the silver of the original ball but getting that finish in paint would be near on impossible and they just don't seem to make many dollhouse fixtures in silver. If I used G.O.R bulbs or GOW bulbs I would have been able to keep the colour as long as I could find a tiny chain to match. Much easier!

I think this light could also look great in a antique copper colour or black for a more industrial feel.

Once everything was dry I tested the light to make sure it worked. then worked the wire apart in one section and pushed the ball pendant through. I then re-positioned the wires over the hole and strategically centred one wire at the top to attach the chain ring to. A dab of superglue does the job of holding the pendant chain to the ball. but you could use a bit of jewelry wire also or you could fashion the wire of the ball so that the top of the fixture holds it on.

You will need to fiddle with the chain ring a bit to make sure the pendant sits straight and centre in the ball. It helps to hang the fixture from something for this step as the weight of it hanging helps and you will get a true indication of how it will hang in your dollhouse.

For light bulb changing, just snap off the glue (this is the reason for just a dab) and pull the bulb out. Change the bulb re-assemble and glue or use other connecting options as above.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

The Dining Room is coming together.


So this is the latest dry-fit of the dining room. I think it's coming along nicely.

The coffee stirrer floors have been cut and attached to their template. They are bare wood right now but will likely be whitewashed or painted white and the substantially distressed.


The stairs fit... just! the hole and chiselled channel are for the wiring for the porch light. I need to run some crack filler around the staircase hole and sand and paint it I also need to trim out my stairs with bracket detail and a stringer board against the wall.


Testing out the fireplace in situ. The chimney breast still needs to be wallpapered.


The firebox needs grouting and some more paint washes. I might coat the mantel in a wash of white chalk paint also.. it's looking a little grubby.


I also need to make the marble hearth (just a paper place marker here :D ) I saw a tutorial on making marble effect out of polymer clay, so I think I'll give that a try. My back up plan is to print out a marble effect from the web. Cover a piece of mat board with it and then spray it with high gloss non yellowing varnish or coat it with modge podge.


I still have a lot of work to do. I need to decide if I am continuing the painted wood wall all the way around the room (with the exception of the chimney breast). I also need to decide if I'm doing pressed tin look on the ceiling (I won't be doing that if all the walls are wood, I don't think. Then with those decisions made, I need to cut all the baseboard and cornice, install the lights trim out the chimney breast, doors & windows... etc, etc, etc... long way to go, but it's nice to see a room look a little bit like a room.