Bear House is coming along nicely

I don’t even know where to begin because I’ve just been working away and not blogging, but I have been taking pictures. I put up curtains on the front door and the front living room window. Also, I finally received the German porcelain tiles I ordered for the sink backsplash. Oh, the kitchen sink finally arrived as well.As you can see, I also made a corner fireplace and tiled the front and the hearth, too. I thought it would do a lot for the overall look to carry some common features into the living room. The sink turned out well – after careful measuring and gluing the tiles on, I decided the underside needed a more finished look, so I did the narrow wainscoting underneath, as well as gluing on a strip of wood to help support the sink. That worked out very well. Now I’m ready for the Wall!I repainted the icebox because it was hideous. I picked up a small craft paint bottle of gloss enamel to paint the stove and redo the icebox. Turned out much nicer looking than flat paint. The soft yellow cupboard is glued in place. I did order a few accessories for the kitchen, the egg basket you see on the sink, a bowl with two broken eggs and a whisk, two towels, and some extra eggs for when I build the chicken coop in the garden outside the kitchen.Oh, also got that cute little “rag” rug on the floor, and was finally able to fasten the screen door on. Squeaky and Sky are very excited that Mom Laura will now be able to cook! I have also painted the wall surrounding the screen door yellow, as that was the only plain white wall left in the kitchen and it needed some help. I’ve been working on the 3 (working!) chandeliers for the main floor, and managed to put one up, as well as hanging 2 shelves I made over the stove for pots and pans.Lookin’ darn cute! I love it. One more chandelier over the table, and the kitchen is done. I have some plates and cups that need to be stored in the yellow cupboard over the sink, but that’s it – until I fuss and think of something else….

Onto the living room. I made this desk for under the stairs (needs a drawer pull) and the book case. The window seat needs somewhere to store the books that will be read there.So, below is the overall look of the living room so far. I still have to put logs and moss in the fireplace and insert the battery operated lighting that will simulate a fire! Next is construction of 2 cozy armchairs to pull up to the fireplace on those chilly North Carolina winter nights. Going to rig up something to partially cover the windows in the bay as well. Here is the overall view of the downstairs so far. Once all the chandeliers are hung in place, it’s onto the second floor!An overview of the bottom floor …

Check back in a couple weeks for more updates! Oh! Here’s a shot of Mama Bear Laura all ready to duck out the back door and head to the market and the butcher!

Not a lot….more waiting

So, I’ve just wiped out what I did type already by hitting the back arrow. Who knew? Just everyone but me. Let’s see how far I didn’t get recently…I’ve painted the plaster to seal it, painted a tin ceiling looking paper a color called “cloud” by Martha Stewart and used it on the peaked ceiling of the sun room, too. Trimmed out the ceiling and floor in the living room, and started painting the appliances. I painted the table and chairs – they’re done. I painted roses on the table, painted the legs green, and painted roses on the backs of the four chairs. That item on the left is the ice box.I started painting it white, then a pearl white/grey, now it’s yellow and green. The cupboard on the left is purchased, but I love the creamy yellow (it’s upside down, by the way). So, I used daffodil from the Martha Stewart collection to paint the ice box to kinda match. I’m not the greatest mini painter, but it will be tucked back in the corner in the kitchen and no one will notice.So, base painted the wood stove white – Dave says I should find a gloss white for it so it looks like porcelain. Maybe. It has an oven rack, a silver railing for across the front, and gold ball handles for the small oven doors. Why silver and gold?This is where the cabinet will go over the sink on the dividing wall.You can see that this will be a crowded kitchen – no wonder I had to build on the sunroom to accommodate the table. You need a big house to make a nice kitchen. My decorating period for this is around the 1920’s to 30’s, I guess. Ice boxes, wood stoves, and an old fashioned sink. But, I’m not gonna do modern and I don’t want Victorian, so this is the period I’m left with. And I like that. There’s a great old fashioned electric refrigerator out there, but it’s $60!!! I don’t love it that much yet. I’ll stick with the ice box. My dad remembered an ice box on the farm, and he was born in the 1920’s, so it’s not unreasonable.

I should be making the 5 or 6 chandeliers I’ll need to light up the house while I’m waiting for the sink, fabric to make the chairs, and hinges for the screen door. I don’t want to move to the second floor before I get the dividing wall for the kitchen solidly in place. I have miniature ceramic tiles I ordered from Germany to be the backsplash behind the sink.Aren’t they cute? Tulips and hearts in green, yellow and navy. I have 30 printed tiles and 100 cream tiles. I won’t be using them all on this house. Can you imagine making such tiny ceramic tiles? Imagine me gluing them in straight lines, and then grouting them! But, they will “make” the kitchen with the yellow cupboard and white antique sink!I love the texture of the plaster on these two walls. The bay window will become a window seat for reading once I get my fabric and make a cushion and pillows. Curtains will be lace? Roman shades? Something.

Okay, I’m done talking about nothing. Tomorrow will hopefully be a more productive day.

Moving Right Along

So, I cut a pattern on paper of the floor in the kitchen and sunroom, painted it brown, then glued the individual vinyl tiles on the paper. The brown can be seen between the tiles, eliminating the need for some kind of fake grout. With that done, I just ran the glue bottle all over the wood and pressed the tile paper on top. Perfect!See the ceiling? I had glued that in permanently. The beams 4 white beams I glued on the ceiling did the trick to keep it from warping before installation. The pretty screen door is not mounted in place yet, still waiting on the hinges. Squeaky and Sky couldn’t wait any longer to see their new house. They even carried over the bench from the porch of Rosebud Cottage so they had somewhere to sit and watch the progress. They can’t wait for their Mum, (Laura), to start baking in the new kitchen….That’s Laura on the left, Grandma Katherine on the right. I don’t have a house big enough for Katherine, she’s 6 1/4 inches tall. The ceilings in the cottages are only 8″ high – she’ll be dropping by often to visit – we’ll keep a larger chair for her to sit comfortably. Sky and Squeaky are a little intimidated by her size, but pretty soon, they won’t even notice.

I did rebuild the bay window, dry fitting to make sure it would cover the window opening. I then glued it to the house, and attached the roof. I decided to give it the look of aging copper, and I carried that look over to the four-sided roof I built on the sunroom.This is a shot looking up into the copper roof of the sunroom. It was pretty tricky to build – first I glued skinny supports all around the tops of the walls, cut out the pieces I fitted first with cardboard, then glued them in place one by one. I supported the individual pieces with skinny beams glued at the intersections. Let it dry overnite, and it’s solid as a rock. Aileen’s Original Tacky Glue is the one to use in this instance, because it sets up real fast, unlike wood glue. I might run beams crossing each other at regular ceiling level to be able to hang things from – plants, sparkly lights….hmm.

Today I was also working on gluing popsicle sticks to the living room floor. Pretty soon, the dividing wall/staircase between the kitchen and living room will be glued into place. Still working on it fitting smoothly into the alloted space. Some adjustments will still be necessary – it seems the more I finish off the bottom floor, the more difficult it is to slide the wall into place.

Two last pictures – the “kids” were getting bored – Sky was running in and out the front door, and Squeaky was doing handstands in the corner of the room! Earlier, they let the chickens into the house, along with their new pet, Dilly the Dachshund. The chickens will be living outside in the chicken yard with their own coop eventually. Lots of work left to do!

Progress on the Kitchen

So I glued about 1/2 the wood strips to the balsa wood, and as it was drying I noticed it was starting to curl up – so I covered it with plastic wrap (I’ve had trouble with paper sticking to the glue that seeps out when wood is drying, only to have solidly glued on paper on my finished product), That seemed to work, so I proceeded to glue the remaining half. Weighed that down overnite to dry so it would be flat for the next day so I could glue it to the kitchen ceiling. In the morning, I realized I had to drill the holes for the chandeliers before I mounted the ceiling. I knew I needed one light in the heart of the kitchen, then decided I would also put a chandelier over the dining table, which will run half in the kitchen and half in the sunroom – so I drilled a hole for that one, too. I can run 3 lights on one switch, or opt to get a 6 light switch. But then I thought that it would be nice to be able to turn on some light in the house without everything coming on at the same time, so I’ll run two – 3 light switches. Six chandeliers should be just about right. You can also purchase individual battery operated sconces, lanterns, ceiling, and table lights.

Okay, so, before I install the ceiling (which is still warped by the way, just to make things difficult), I needed to finish the walls of the kitchen first. So, I put fake bead board wainscoting (corrugated cardboard) on the bottoms of the 2 walls, trimmed it out, and painted the top of the window wall Scallion green from Martha Stewart’s line of craft paint. Painted the wainscoting white (wiil finish that on the stove wall). The top of the stove wall (it’s only 4 inches because I cutout the rest of the wall to create the sunroom) is the checked wallpaper, which also goes on the 15 pane window wall in the sunroom. That leaves the screen door wall, which I will paint white.When the walls are done, I can install the kitchen ceiling and the floor. Instead of popsicle sticks (for the floor), which will be throughout the rest of the house except for the bathroom, I bought a vinyl stick on 12×12 square in a brown that mimics the look of stone. My heart kept wanting to make it a wooden floor too, but my head wants to try something different. I think I’ll like it in the end. This floor can be built on a base of thin cardboard or balsa, too, so that if I ever want to change it out, it will be easier to remove – and, it will be easier to glue down. If I place them the tiniest space apart, it might mimic the look of real stone more than if I just threw the scored slab down. Decisions, decisions. This build is full of decisions.

I also glued the 3 pieces of the bay window together for the far wall in the salon, but realized when I went to install it that it wouldn’t fit – the angles of the side windows do not allow for attachment to the house, so today I will pry them off the main window and perform a redo.That’s it so far – off to church in a little while, then back to work this afternoon.

Stairs are done, starting on Kitchen!

Got up this morning and finished trimming out the stairs, repainted part of them, and the parts that weren’t painted at all. Decided to glue burlap to the walls for a casual look – I don’t want everything wallpaper and paint.Looks nice and finished, now for the burlap. I bought it at Hobby Lobby, I think in the scrapbook papers section, so it’s very nice quality and straight. Went on very easily.Very happy with that – I left the one partial wall under the stairs just white. Next, I finally settled on a scrapbook paper for the big kitchen wall – so the room will be green! Used “Yes” paste as it’s recommended to use as wallpaper glue – doesn’t create bubbles or wrinkles – it’s a dream to use. Just paint it evenly on the wall.From this… this! Best time to do all this work is before I secure the wall into place. I see I haven’t trimmed out the door yet! I drew lines on the ceiling and floor of the kitchen where the wall will be, so I can work easier. I have to do the ceiling! I had filled in the hole in the ceiling where the kit says the stairway was supposed to go up to the 2nd floor, but it was still uneven and wouldn’t look good painted. So, I cut two pieces of balsa wood to fit the ceiling, which I will fill with slats of wood running side to side which I will then whitewash, then glue 4 beams to that running front to back and maybe leave natural. Don’t know yet. My project for tomorrow, although I started it tonite….And that’s it for today. When I’m done with the ceiling, I’ll paint the walls, maybe try to make subway or square white pearl tiles for the wall behind the stove……hmmm

Why Do I Start These Things?

I got this great idea to make a sectioned staircase because I really liked it – but, it took me 2 full days to execute it, AND, it takes up more room than if I had just put it going up along the wall. I probably made it harder than it really is because I had to figure out the dimensions and construction all by myself. The first dollhouse was easy because I had a step by step guide on what to do next. I have the staircase almost done except for some trimming, then I have to decide what I’m going to do to the wall it’s attached to, and the opposite side which is a kitchen wall.The first picture, from Pinterest, is the look I’m trying to achieve, except mine will be turned 90 degrees (and not as fancy, as this is Shabby Chic). I first determined where on the stair stringer I wanted to make the cut. I just wanted a short turn to the 2nd floor, so I cut it at 6 and 3. Here it is glued together with the stair treads. As construction progressed, I found I had to eliminate the top stair tread on the long section, and put that as the top step in the short section. After a lot of blue tape attempting to get a perspective on how it would fit, I finally had to bite the bullet and start gluing it to the dividing wall. The back wall, which is nonexistent in a doll house so you can work inside, ended up just being a half-high wall to support the first section of stairs. Then I had to cut a landing to make the turn and start the final section. I glued a support stick to the dividing wall to support the landing, then glued the final section. Spent a lot of time waiting for the Gorilla Wood Glue to dry in between steps. One word about the Gorilla glue – this stuff dries crazy hard – I had to pry one piece of moulding off, and it was a tough job. That staircase isn’t going anywhere! Here are pictures of the final product. My main issue was that I didn’t check the the treads weren’t skewed before it dried, and they were. So it’s a little cocksided, but not horrible. I also cut a door to the kitchen rather than just have the entrance to the immediate left of the front door. I wanted to create more kitchen wall space.I trimmed out the sides of the stairs with “skinny sticks” because they just looked too “raw” for me (see 1st picture of the stairs rubber banded and drying. See how the sides are just ugly? I didn’t want the stair to look like a cut up ladder). I wanted to make it look like shiplap, but it looks a little more modern on the angle. I’ll see what I can do with paint, etc., to shabby chic it up more. I also backed the stair treads with pieces of wood so you can’t see thru the stairs. I kind of liked that look, but I have to figure out what to do with the space under the stairs now. I’ll trim out the walls, and I found a pic on (where else) Pinterest last nite (two, actually) that provides some ideas. First, this same pic of the stairs, but see the built in bookcase under the stairs?And secondly, which I think I favor – They (?) created a little private nook with a desk and chair, or I could make it a reading nook with a padded chair and a floor lamp.

So, today, I will do some more painting on the stairs, maybe attempt to make a hand rail, work on the walls, etc.

It Always Takes Longer Than You Think

That’s my new motto. I”ll just keep repeating it over and over – because, here I am 4 days later, and I’ve only made a little more progress over my anticipated. Did get all the windows in the walls, finally. Lots of painting and waiting for glue to dry. Dave had to help me get the walls and floors together yesterday – I needed at least one more hand while I was hot gluing and trying to line everything up since the glue dries almost instantaneously. Ohhh…that was a big work. There were some redo’s and a lot of sweating – and I was even in the air conditioning. Just lots of stress. Here are some pics for my efforts…You can see how I’ve redesigned the front windows to match the purchased front door, enlarging them 100% and repeating the transom windows from over the door. Makes a nice cohesive front. Above is the right side of the house – the hole will be a bay window. The inside pic shows how the gabled roof will look when on – right now it’s just taped in place so I can figure out where to put the room divider on each level so it doesn’t mess with the gable windows.This is a little 5 inch bump out I did on the left side to give more room to the kitchen so I can place a dining table. That’s a green screen door I made from the left over front door from the kit – just cut out the panels and sandwiched screening between identical doors. The 15 pane window is purchased – I thought it matched the panes on the upstairs windows .Here is a look from the back at the little bump out. I had hoped to put an angled roof on, but there is only room for a flat roof because of the window directly above. I will be gluing this porch post in place to help support the 2nd floor since that part of the wall is now the window wall.Above we are looking at the house with more of a realistic perspective as to it’s size. And the last pic above is my work room where the magic happens. It’s actually a 6 foot folding table set up in the sun room. I like working out here in the summer so I can keep an eye on all my neighbors. Har Har.This little beauty is Katherine, a new bear from Shaz Bears created by Sharon Hale, direct from Australia. I ordered her because her name is the same as my Godmother Angel, and I wanted to build her a house. Aren’t her clothes gorgeous? She has the exact Shabby Chic look I wanted, and she’s in pink – Aunt Kay’s favorite color. However, the description of her size was incorrect and I ended up with a bear that is 6 1/4″ instead of 4.7″. She is too big for the 1:12 scale bear houses I build. I contacted Ms. Hale, her creator, and she generously sent me another bear which I just received today. Her name on her tag is Laduree, which is a French Pastry shop specializing in macaroons.But Ms. Hale said I can call her Laura. I love the celedon color of the inside of the shop. Anyway, Laura looks very much like Katherine – so much so that Katherine could be Laura’s mother! Laura is 5″ tall, which is still larger than my other bears which come in at 3″ and 3.5″. I’ll have to make bigger furniture for Laura when I build her house.

Anyway, today I spent all day working on the staircase for the new house. The instructions call for placing the staircase on the far right of the house (looking inside from the back) against the wall – there’s even a hole cut in the ceiling for access to the top floor. However, that area of the house is where the kitchen is going – and I don’t want a staircase taking up the space. I also didn’t want it smack in your face when you open the front door, which was another possible location. I ran across this layout of a stairway on Pinterest which I love for the design, and the small space it occupies.or this:Mine will be similar, and I like the idea of the built in bookcase under the stairs. Or a little closet….

Day Two

Well, I didn’t get to saw last night as it was just too hot and muggy, and by the time it was decent, I was out of daylight. Slept in this morning, so didn’t get going until late morning. Set up my makeshift worktable in the garage, and started cutting up the front and side of the bear house to make my adjustments. I’m very happy with what I did. Enlarged the front door opening to accommodate the overhead transom and doubled the size of both front windows. Also recut the front gable for an arched window instead of an octagon. On the left side, I cut off about 1/2 the downstairs wall to bump it out 5 inches and cut a large opening for a large panel window. Made a new side wall for the sunroom and cut a doorway in it for a screen door to the garden. I’ll be using the front door that came with the kit and cut out all the panels on the set of doors to sandwich screening in between. Made sure to make the door hole large enough so I can hinge the door without a problem. I hope. I may cheat and use big hinges on one side instead of trying to sandwich them between the door and the casing. Also cut a floor for the sunroom. Dry fitted the doors and window and adjusted the openings as needed.

I also painted all the window casings, frames, sills, etc. with two coats of white acrylic after sanding all the edges. Tomorrow I can layer the acrylic film between the window frames to make the windows ready for installation. Also may white latex paint the outside window framing so it will match the exterior of the home later. Need to prep the manufactured front door and large window with double coats of white as well as the staircase rails. After I install the windows and doors, I can start assembling the walls and first floor rooms. That’s all for today. Good nite.

A New, Bigger Bear House

Here it is August 1st, and yesterday I started on my next Bear House, this one also a kit offered by Greenleaf Dollhouses called The Orchid. I Love, Love, LOVE my Rosebud Cottage, but I want to have more of a kitchen, a bathroom, you know, just more room! I have more creative juices that need an outlet. So many ideas in my head, and besides, I LOVE building and decorating to my heart’s content. This cottage is for my second set of bears, Sky and Squeaky, from Shaz Bears in Australia (I could only afford the belly of the plane to get them here, don’t judge me!) created by artist Sharon Hale. Rosebud and Charleen wanted some friends so they could have tea, and mess around (they are rather young bears, but maturing quickly). They will need a larger home in which to gather and play games and practice their cooking and homemaker skills. The Orchid offers room on two floors for 4 rooms, and a bump out on one side for a sunshine filled area for their large kitchen table. A great gathering place.I’m not crazy about the Victorian outside with all the trim, etc. But the “bones” are good. I drew new plans to enlarge the front windows, install a manufactured front door with a transom, changed the front gable window to an arched one like in Rosebud Cottage, and a 5 inch bump out on the side for the kitchen/dining area with a large window and a screen door out to a tiny fenced in garden with a fountain. I’ve done my calculations and hope to fire up the jigsaw tonite and start sawing away! Next time, painting window trim and doors…..the excitement builds!

Done and on to Another

I can’t believe this is August 1st – almost 3 months since I’ve written. One of the reasons for that is because no one was coming to this site to watch my bear house build, so I started posting to my regular blog instead. So basically, this has turned out to be just for me. Whatever – guess people just don’t want to be bothered and just don’t care what other people (family, even) are doing. Fine. I don’t care anymore either.

So I’ll post pics so I at least have a record of how the build went (terrific!) and how it looks (fantastic). Can’t believe I pulled it off. Finished around July 1st because of company, etc.

The finished upstairs chandelier ready to hang. Will collect all the wires and run them onto the roof and into the chimney where the battery and switch is hidden.Had to glue shiplap onto the gabled portion of the roof before I could run the wires. Next pic is testing the system to make sure I don’t cover wires with plaster that don’t work….We have lift off!! Oh! Surprising how one LED bulb can give off so much light!! I really love the chandelier now. Time to finish the inside of the other side of the roof with wallpaper and wooden beams… Looks nice with the wainscoting. Now to start on the front porch, and hang the front door and the screen door. These doors were no easy feat. They seemed to be sized right, but I had to do a heck of alot of shaving and cutting to them to get them to fit and to open! The hinges took up alot of room despite my trying to inset them. What a pain. Have to think of a solution the next time I make and hang doors!Now starts the lengthy process of finishing the outside wall of the cottage. I hung heavy corrugated cardboard on the front and the right side (facing us) with concrete as a base to strengthen the structure. I did the same procedure around the back opening, as well as stucco finish concrete on the left side with all the windows. What a lot of fussing around, but worth the effort. Then I think I painted 4 layers of white house paint on all sides. I was surprised it took so much paint, but I finally achieved a good solid finish. Then, it was time to finish the porch with columns, brackets, and the custom made roof. I didn’t want just a flat roof, so I designed and made a slanted one and covered it with metal (fake – painted cardboard).Finally, it’s time for the roof. Just sucked it up (fear, that is) and plugged in the glue gun and went for it. Turned out better than I thought, but I spent hours beforehand trying everything I could think of for it to sit as flat and seated correctly as possible. Next was the meticulous task of handpainting every individual roof slate (balsa wood). I mixed several paint colors together gradually to get variegated tiles. Then drew lines on the roof and hot glued each tile by hand. Oh, also made a concrete chimney and used a torn up cardboard egg carton the make the stones. I’m very happy with the way it turned out. All the light wires are run under the roofing into the chimney where the battery and on/off switch are located.

Now all that’s left is to hot glue the vines and flowers, and make the flower boxes…Rosebud Cottage is complete!! After I’m done making quilled monograms, turtles, and baskets for my Market last days, I’ll start a new cottage – the two bears on the front porch are my new arrivals, Sky and Squeaky, from Australia by Shaz Bears, crafted by Sharon Hale. They are homeless, but not for long!