Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Demise Of A Stairway

Okay, I admit it. I gave up.

When I started gluing the treads on my Beacon Hill stairway, I found a lot more little errors. Or miscalculations. Whatever. They would have taken more time to fix than I was willing to put in.

So, the staircase is out. All three levels.

Now I am back to building and I am much happier. Worked on some more floors today. Wiring will be next...another first for me. Let's hope this goes better!

Time wasted:????

Another Spooky Little House

I have added a fourth birdhouse to my collection of Spooky Little Houses. This one is the Lilac Cottage, and it looks more house-like than the others do. I hope I can find more similar to this one, or I suppose I will have to start building them myself.

Right now the Spooky Little Houses live on top of my kitchen cabinets, waiting for October when they can come down and take center stage. I can't bear to pack them away in a box. I enjoy looking at them every day. A little spook in every day keeps the boredom away.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

More Stairs

Still working on the stairway. And though I've tried really hard to keep things level and flush, I've messed up already. I think I can work it around it. I hope so.

Next I added section D,which is parallel to F. It has a long portion which runs down to the floor and attaches to A & E. Still going pretty well.

Then I glued in staircase back H, which is the longer of the two. Make sure that you slide H down far enough, so that it is flush at the top with the right angle on the bottom of the stairway. This is where I messed up and I didn't slide it down evenly, or far enough.

Staircase back G is next. If H is not in place correctly (like mine), it won't fit right. I have a little bit hanging off the back of the stairway and it left an empty crack on one side of the stairway. I filled that with wood putty. Hopefully I can just trim the overhanging part of G and have it look all right.

I am not enjoying the nit-pickiness of stairway construction, but it hasn't been too difficult. If you go slowly and let each section dry thoroughly before adding the next you'll be okay.

Time: 3 hours (includes painting)

Sunday, February 10, 2008


This is why I'm glad to be working on two houses at once. While the glue and paint are drying on my Beacon Hill stairway, I've been shingling my Orchid cottage, Briarwood.

Some people don't like shingling. I find it rather satisfying. It gives me a nice sense of accomplishment. You can tell right away you've done something good.

I started with the back, in case I messed up. That went like a breeze.

But the front!

That would be more satisfying, I think, if my first shingling project did not have a gable and two dormers. It took me a VERY LONG time to get the roof ruled out just right, so that the shingles would line up across all those dormers. Grrrr! Geometry is not one of my finer skills.

I see mistakes, but overall it looks pretty good. However, I've run out of shingles, and have to order more before I can finish!

I'm Building A Stairway To...

...the second floor of my Beacon Hill, Ravenswood.

I've been delaying this. I am not the most precise builder in the world, and a staircase really needs to be square to look good. Just the thought of trying to get all those little stair treads and risers even and looking good (without clamps, mind you) has me a bit squeamish. But...

so far so good.

I ran through a dry-fit of the parts first. For those who are not familiar with this, I took all the parts I would be using, went through the instructions, and taped them all together with painter's tape to see how they would fit. I'm glad I did, because the instructions didn't make much sense to me, but by looking at the pictures I was able to figure it out. Then I pulled the tape off and started piece at a time.

Since I am working without clamps (need to go buy some, I guess!) I didn't follow the order on the instructions. Here is what I've done so far.

First I joined staircase sides B & C to staircase side A. B & C are identical and they fit really tight, so this part was easy.

Next I glued on staircase side E. This goes across the back of B & C, so it had some support while the glue set. This went on pretty well too.

I added staircase side F next. This piece begins the upper half of the stairway to the second floor. It was harder to get this section to glue properly, but I think if you clamped it everything would be okay. I had to hold mine until the glue set up.

I hope the rest of the staircase goes together this easily! (Fingers crossed!)

Time: 2 hours (not counting glue drying time)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008


the wood floor for the bedroom. Since there was a little more space between the boards than I liked, I rubbed the whole floor down with wood filler. I used a scrap wood stick to work the filler down into the cracks by stroking it across the floor like a long putty knife.

I then rubbed the floor with a dry rag to remove the wood filler from the top of the floor. I used a damp rag on the dark stained boards since the wood filler made them look lighter.

After that I sandwiched the floor between 2 sheets of wax paper, piled on the heavy books, and let it dry. Next day I began with the coats of glossy Mod Podge-5 this time.

Really came out nice. The wood filler matches the color of the unstained sticks so well you can't even see it unless you take a good look. The glossy Mod Podge made the unstained sticks look better too. All in all, a satisfying job.

Time: 2 hours, plus 2 days drying time in between

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Floors Galore

Finished the breakfast room floor with 7 or 8 coats of Mod Podge. I used glossy finish on this one so it would look more like freshly waxed ceramic tile.

Also finished laying the wood floor for the bedroom above. I like the way it turned out. Now I have to give it a couple of coats of sealer.

It was time consuming to cut and glue all those skinny sticks to the template, but not difficult. I didn't have any light-colored stain, but it would probably look better with a golden oak stain or something similar on the pale sticks. It took almost a package of skinny sticks, so for $2.99 I've got a nice-looking custom floor.

Building & decorating dollhouses is a labor of love for me. I've really learned to enjoy the process and not just race forward toward the completion of the project. My *Dollhouse Zen* thought for the day.

Time: 2 hours on the wooden floor (after the sticks had been stained & dried.)