Response to Sherrill’s suggestion

I’m making this a blog reply because I want to include a picture. As you can see, the back wall is quite large and will be cut from 1/8″ MDF.See the hinge? I bought 2 that I ordered from Vertex Hinges. It’s made of brass, and I believe it is 4″ long. I could mount it to the inside of the interior wall. It would be sturdy and I think it’s feasible as long as I can mount it securely. It might take some beefing up with strips of wood to give me a base to work from.

I like your idea of magnets, too. I’m torn – but I would need more like industrial magnets or strip magnets to handle the weight of the MDF, I suppose. It would certainly work on smaller, lightweight panels and be easier than hinges.

This will take some mulling over and experimenting. Guess my first step would be to cut the thing out and go from there. I’ll keep you updated. Thanks, Sherrill!

Structural change….

Meant to mention in my post yesterday that I’ve rethunk (that’s my word) my decision to make the roof come off over the main room. It would just make viewing the cabin awkward because of the kitchen being a back viewing. So, I will attempt to hinge the back wall to the short side instead of hinging the roof. It may take some creative thunking (must be consistent. I’m losing my mind here.) but I’ll get it done. Just sayin’.

Log Cabin updates….

I’ve been at work sporadically on the cabin, finding that design decisions and execution are harder with this build because I’m not that familiar with what it should look like. I’ve gone back and aged some areas, and I’ve made the tin roof for over the front porch. I just have to cut a piece of wood to mount it on, make posts, and stairs.I took the unshiny side of aluminum foil and formed it over a piece of corrugated cardboard. To keep it from looking new, I mashed it here and there and attempted to add some rust.

The inside walls are almost done. The white areas between the boards is not caulk – I had primed all the walls white, and it really looks like I filled the cracks, but I didn’t.The large wall in the kitchen was finished in logs, as this is an outside wall of the original cabin (in my imaginary world).I cleaned up the errant caulk, and I’m now ready to attach the roof over this section. Work has continued on the main room, with the walls almost done. Next will be a loft on the large wall. And I’m making bricks from wood to line the boarded over door on the right side. The pot belly stove will be in that corner, so I intend to line the floor and walls with fake brick.Lots of wood in log cabins! The ceilings should be wood lined, too. I feel like I’m in a colorless world. Where are all the pure colors I love? I’ve started piecing a queen quilt to sink myself in color and cotton. I need a change every once in a while.This soothes my soul.

That’s it! Really doesn’t look like I’ve done much, but it will all come together by April 1st. Needs to – it will be leaving for it’s permanent home.

Forgot to mention…..

Since I am going to enclose the back of the log cabin to get more wall space, I will need another way to get access to the room. I’ve decided I will hinge the roof so it will swing back over the shed addition. Knowing I would need some sturdy hinges not of the miniature variety, I found cabinet hinges used for jewelry boxes and homemade chests. I ordered two in brass, I think 4 inches long each. Very sturdy and will surely hold the weight of the wooden roof (which I will finish to look like metal). I’ve seen many antique houses made with a removable roof, but I wanted one that would just fold back.

AH HA! And you were wondering if I’d lost my mind enclosing the whole cabin and not realizing I would effectively shut myself out! Not a chance. I love the idea, because this structure just seemed too open to be effective as a cozy hideaway. Okay, now that’s resolved. Onward!

Starting to take shape

I’ve been totally immersed in this new project of the Baslow Ranch – we will come up with a new name, but for now let’s just call it the Ranch. I spent quite a bit of time drawing up plans so I get the space I want.I pretty much got it all planned, except I need more wall space in the big room, what with the barn doors in front, and a loft along the side. So, I’ve decided I will enclose the back of the large room with a wall except for a small door leading out the back to get to the outhouse. Gotta build that, too. I did alter the roof shape because I didn’t want the front to look like a barn or an old service station. I didn’t like that front elevation…..So I cut off the front above the double doors even with the the actual roof line…..and I will be eliminating the small door to the left because I need that wall space for the wood stove and cord wood. And, the glass transom windows are also gone. So, my initial “story” for this is that this hunter bought this rundown log cabin to make into a hunting retreat in Montana, and added the shed addition to make more room for a kitchen. So, all the outside walls of the original cabin will be made from logs, and the kitchen addition will be from reclaimed barn wood (and whatever could be found to nail together!)

Here is the Ranch so far…..For the logs, I’ve used 3/8″ half round wood moulding from Home Depot that comes in 8 foot lengths, and stained it with Minwax. Then comes the tedious task of cutting each individual log with the little saw attachment to my Drexel and trying to get each piece the right length…measure, measure, cut, oops doesn’t fit, measure, measure, cut, close enough….adds to the rustic charm, etc. You get the idea. I ordered 6 lengths of 96″ – – I know, 48 feet sounds like a lot, but we’ll see. I also have all widths of basswood from Dick Blick and before staining them, I beat them up with a hammer, and when I build with them, I gouge them, cut holes in them, chip away at them… make them look aged, and then dry paint them and rub it off, you know. Very labor intensive. And I ordered flat round stones from Washington State gleaned from the Pacific Ocean to use around the raised foundation of the porch. Have to age them yet, too.

I’m using a flexible caulk in a squeezable tube to mimic the grout between the logs. Works really well, and it’s easy to clean up my mistakes later with a sharp pointy tool.I’ve covered the front wall and floor of the kitchen so far while waiting for lower humidity here on the southern North Carolina coast, so I can cut more logs in the garage. I hate sweating. It has been challenging to make everything rustic, worn and aged, but I couldn’t resist this cute fishy rug from Green Gypsies on Etsy. She make the cutest rugs and mini signs to decorate your creations, and I can always be sure I’ll find something on her site that is perfect for whatever project I’m working on. It’s just too precious. Everything can’t be old and worn….and then here is big room. Haven’t done much except window trim, painted the floor, and blocked off the door. There will be logs on the interior walls as well except for the tall wall between the rooms.

That’s it for now. Getting bit by bit done. Not in any big hurry, except I already know what my next project will be. I’m a former quilter of 30 years, but never made myself a quilt, but I will when this build is done. I’m eager for a break from this and hope I won’t regret it….but that is months away. Be back soon!

Miniature #4

It’s been a whole 3 months since I finished my French Country Windmill and I can’t take it any longer. I have been wandering around the house, pulling out other discarded crafts to occupy my mind, and it’s just not enough. Nothing else offers me the daily creative challenge I need like building a miniature. I have tried needle felting to make my own creatures to populate my houses. Here is Arnold, my French mouse, coming home with a single rose for his soul mate. I just haven’t made her yet, but I will……He’s not exactly how I wanted him to turn out, but he will do for now. Practice makes cuter mice…..

So, my new project is The Baslow Ranch from Greenleaf. This will be another structure I can customize and keep casual. It will mimic a hunting & fishing getaway in the Great NW. My grown son, Greg, will be collaborating with me on this remotely from Ohio. Right now I’ve punched everything out and sanded. I’m still in my design stage of making diagrams of alternative layouts so I can make any adjustments at this stage before I start gluing walls together. I also make initial materials decisions at this time to make sure I get the look I’m going for.So, this should occupy me for awhile. I’ll be posting my progress as I go along. Until next time…..

Mostly Finished at Last…except for this and that….

I have finally decided it’s time to publish photos of my completed French Country Windmill Cottage. I still have some details to complete, but I will update those as they happen.The completed cottage……AFTERThe original kit – BEFORE.

I got my inspiration from the 2009 Greenleaf Dollhouse Spring Fling Contest winner, Jennifer Barrick. Her interpretation of her Loganberry Mill just spoke to me – but I decided to make it into a Cottage instead of a mill.The original dimensions of the actual kit (without roof projections) is 13″ wide, 16″tall, and 8″ deep. My structure is 15″ wide (21″ with patio), 16 1/2″ tall (thatched roof) and 16 1/2″ deep (17 1/2″ with landscaping). I doubled the depth of the kit to make it large enough for a cottage, plus I added 2″ to the width to give more room for a kitchen and dining room, as well as two inches to the height on the left side for the bedroom loft, and higher ceiling in the kitchen. Adding height visually gave the structure more “eye” room inside.So the whole exterior is covered in stucco and aged with color wash. The vines are Baby’s Breath Garland from Hobby Lobby. I redesigned the original blades on the windmill to reflect a more realistic French look. All the windows in the house are painted “Sage” with chalk paint by Plaid.Because of the 2″ width extension, the front door became recessed, creating a nice entryway. The large window looks in on the kitchen and gives the house that “French” look. The flowers on the outside sill were made from kits by My Miniature Garden on Etsy, who no longer has listings. Because I raised the roof over the kitchen, I then faced the dilemma of two competing roof lines. I was originally going to just fill in with a piece of wood, when inspiration struck. What the house needed was more light, so I made a window to fit between the roofs. After all, this is a converted windmill, and structural changes are part of the charm (and I can do anything I want, lol).I am so happy with the thatched roof. I used the coconut fiber wire basket liners for flowers (from Lowe’s Hardware), as Caroline at mentioned in one of her posts. I just cut it to shape, and glued it on. Total expense – $10!Above is the right side. Once again I had two different heights of walls – the extra space was for headroom in the loft bedroom, so I just extended the curved roofline all the way to the back of the house. I just cut the thatching to the correct height after I glued it on the foam core dome. This home needed an outdoor space, and I desperately wanted French Doors. I had some flagstone leftover from my previous project, and I had just enough for the front entry as well. Made the pergola out of Basswood strips from Dick Blick art supplies. I ordered the garden bench from I’m still working on topiaries for the patio. A departure from the window color for the french doors – I painted them to match the kitchen and dining room in “Bavarian” chalk paint. Still waiting on another set of door handles.The inside, with all the lights. I used all individual battery operated lights on this build because I wanted this style of lights (I don’t do electrical lighting). So here it is, total open concept – you can see the whole house from here! See how much height the extra 2 inches added to the kitchen and loft? And the window where the shed roofs meet will have baskets hanging from there (they’re coming from Russia). The loft is the actual height of the second floor which was originally in the front of the house. Let me show you around….The dining room and kitchen all have wooden ceilings painted white. The three rugs in the cottage are from Tiny Home Goods on Etsy. She makes the most beautiful rugs I’ve seen anywhere! This one is a rooster theme to go with the French theme, as well as the white washed furniture. Here’s a better look.My favorite room, the kitchen. I wanted the high ceiling so I could hang a pot rack, and have the lights higher as well as beams running from the dome. The big window is perfect in here, as well as the angled ceiling window to add more light. I built open shelving beyond the kitchen as a pantry to store sacks of food stuff and plates, etc., since I didn’t want upper cabinets. It’s all about the “look”. The lavender hanging in the pot rack is from my garden.

The ice box is on the right – it was originally two upper cabinets built from a kit, but since I wasn’t going to use them for that purpose, I glued them together to create an ice box. It was the only room left to put one, and it was a perfect fit.Detail of the work table and kitchen area. On to the living room!I brought the sofa out to photograph, as it’s really difficult to shoot the living room as the only access is a 3″ wide front door. I made this from the kit “French Country Sofa #010” by Kris at She provides kits now of her upholstered chairs and sofas at Hobby Builders Supply. This rug is also from Tiny Home Goods on Etsy. Lovin’ the grapes, and the yellow brings in the color from the kitchen.These two shots are from the front door. I used a narrow staircase and painted it “Bavarian” and the stair treads “Sage”. That is a secretary desk under the staircase, and there is a potted plant there, too, which is easier seen in another upcoming photo. The wallpaper here and on the short pantry wall is Tulips. The fireplace is stucco, with an arched opening. It is non-working. The arched mirror over the mantel was purchased as just an empty Palladian arch, and I added mirrored film to the back. The drapes on the two front windows are made from the same fabric as the pillow and the trim on the sofa. Lighting was an issue because of the domed ceiling, so I opted for two candle sconces going up the stair wall. It adds plenty of light.The secretary desk under the stairs spoke to me because I love cubbies and the fold out writing surface. That’s a newspaper where someone is working on the crossword puzzle. The chair is from a kit from melissasminiwereld on Etsy – from the Netherlands! I upholstered it with the drapery fabric to create cohesiveness. The tiny table in the loft is also from one of her laser cut kits. The Eiffel Tower pillow is from SarahsLilEssentials, also from Etsy. The view from the loft bedroom looking down into the living room. All the stones on the walls are made from cardboard egg cartons, torn and cut to shape.Here, then, is a better view of the front wall of the dome. I purchased some tools by Tom Thumb to decorate that wall. There is a scythe and a hay knife, as well as an antique pulley from eBay. I made the headboard from a laser cut accessory and those are Tim Holtz roses on the footboard. I sewed the comforter and sheets, and the lavender sprig is from my garden. The rug is “Sunflower” from Tiny Home Goods.

So, a few more shots of the Cottage lit up at night…And that’s it. The next few months will not be productive. I’m going to take a break from this for awhile because it’s not an inexpensive hobby. I’ve been spending way too much money on this, so I’m backing off so I can pay down my credit card bill! I have other activities I miss doing, so I’m going to fall back on them for the next few months. I don’t have thoughts on another build nagging me just now, although I’m sure it won’t be long until miniatures start invading my sleep. A la prochaine!

One More….

Because it’s taking longer than I expected, (I’ve been thinking and rethinking, and glueing and ripping out, more of this and more of that) – anyway, here’s another sneak peak to keep y’all from forgetting about me.Inside the unfinished French Country Windmill Cottage. To give it a sense of mystery, I didn’t light all the lights. Still needs details, details.

Sneak Peak

Just to keep you interested while I work on completing the French Country Windmill Cottage – it’s coming along nicely. Finishing inside details before I attach the roof. Here’s a glimpse of the outside…..Yes, I rebuilt the blades of the windmill for a French look, color washed the outside stucco and added some vegetation. Hope this piques your interest until the final reveal…..