Wednesday, February 27, 2019

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!?

I have a bad memory. It's a problem. Especially when I forget really important things, like why I put the New Orleans dollhouse on the shelf. When I finished the kitchen, I decided to keep the momentum going and continue solving some of the issues that had me stalled. There were a lot of them, and this week, they have all reacquainted themselves and re-reminded me that I might just be in over my head!!!

First, the electrical. My original plan was to run all of the ceiling fixtures via roundwire, in channels through the floors above, to a hub behind the fireplace. That was a great plan until I added some very fancy detailed ceiling molding and made it impossible, once I attached the ceiling,  for the chimney breast, with it's fancy crown molding, to slide past it any longer. The thought of coming up with a new plan, one that would surely force me to take off multiple plugs, add extension wires, add the plugs back and hope everything still worked, was daunting and easier left for "someday".

Old wire hub behind chimney breast.

Second floor with channels and wiring for first floor ceiling lights.

Obstructing molding.
Dreading it wasn't going to get me anywhere, so I came up with a plan and Just Did It. Honestly, the thought of doing it was much worse than the actual work. Now all of the first floor wires will be run down through an enlarged access hole in the floor behind the chimney breast, through new access channels in the floor joists and out the foundation wall to a new hub next to the kitchen window. I will have to build a small "garden shed" with hinged doors to hide the new hub or plug sockets, but that might be fun. Additionally, confirming that all the lights, even after sitting for so long, neglected, still worked!

Hub removed and larger floor access hole for exiting wires to run under the house.

New wire channels from the floor behind the chimney breast to new hub location.
New hub location and future home of a disguising garden shed.

The second floor lights will all lead to the bedroom closet, exit through an access hole in the wall and connect to the new hub. I can camouflage the wires in a downspout or some such when the time comes.

The next challenge came when I got the second floor wall and ceiling pieces out for a dry fit to refamiliarize myself with what I needed to do next. That's when I realized that unlike the first floor's wonderful 10" ceiling height, the second floor was only 8" high. That was not going to work for what I have in mind.


Stairwell and hall.

Bedroom

Bathroom in front, closet behind.
I really needed taller ceilings to make this house as grand as it could be. A serious challenge when you consider that the second floor is actually an attic with angled walls due to the mansard roof. Also, the walls in this Real Good Toys kit are either 1/4" or 3/8" plywood. I was going to need my Big Girl tools for this job!


Luckily, I had a bunch of 1/4" plywood. I ripped 3" strips until I had enough for the 96" of total wall length needed. Then I just cut the strips to length for each wall. The really challenging part was that the top and bottom edges of the original kit walls were angled for the mansard roof. I would not know how to use a compound miter saw if I had one, and I don't, so coming up with a way to laminate the new height extensions while keeping the angle true was a brain teaser. What ended up working was to add masking tape along the seam to hold both pieces together on one side, add the wood glue to the edges, press together, then add masking tape on the other side. Once I had all of the pieces taped and glued, I did another dry fit, taping all the walls together and keeping the correct angle while they dried. After they dried I went back and filled in any gaps, using the wood glue like caulking to fill them up. It worked!!!





After the walls with their new extensions were dry, I installed pins (nails with the heads cut off) through the second floor and into the first floor walls, then drilled corresponding holes into the second floor walls before gluing to add stability.


The center wall piece, which connects the two upper side sections, has a hole slated for a dormer window. With the taller ceiling it seemed like a perfect place to add a french door, so I enlarged the opening. The kit has a tiny indented balcony spot on the front of the house, so having a door there seemed like a great opportunity. I may make the balcony just a little larger.

New facade with added wall height, center french door and balcony location.

I'll have to make the french door to fit.

The new floor height, french door and angle meant that this piece also needed many refinements. Cutting away, adding in, figuring out how to make the door work with the angled dormer - a real head scratchier. The way the kit was originally laid out, this center wall piece stuck out past the walls on either side on the interior. The dividing walls on either side would butt up to the wall, creating a hollow on either side of about 1". I am eliminating one of the dividing walls and arranging the placement to maximize the bedroom space. Because of this, the center wall needed a lot of modification. I also moved each of the side wall sections out about a half an inch effectively adding another 1" of floor space.


Divider wall locations.
I also needed to have a mock up with the furniture to see where exactly the dividing walls would go, and how deep to make the bathroom. You see, behind the bathroom there will be a closet. It will only be visible through it's door, a mirror on the door and through a dormer window. I needed to know how deep the bathroom needed to be so I would know how deep the closet was and where to cut the closet door in the dividing wall. Then I needed to cut a new wall that would separate the bathroom from the closet. Another tricky job because of the angled roof. My bathroom wall still needs some sanding for a better fit!



One of the things I needed to do in order to figure out the amount of bathroom space was to get out the tile I have for the floor. It's been well over two years since I bought it, so I had completely forgotten what my plans were. It's the Marlike polished marble look tiles by Dollhouse Flooring. I bought three styles to create a central pattern, a border and then an edge, if necessary. In order to figure out how much I had and how I was going to lay it I did a mock up.



I settled on 8" x 10" for the bathroom, then cut the 1/32" subfloor to size, then began to lay the pattern. It's going to take me a while to get it done, but I think it will be fun!



So as you can see, I am definitely in over my head. Doing things way beyond my understanding, above my pay grade and beyond my skill level. But where there is a will, there is a way, and I am definitely willing to try!

Hope you are all getting to push for your mini dreams, too! 💗

xo xo,
Jodi

48 comments:

  1. Jodi! You are on the right track! And what a beautiful accomplishment this house will be: a showcase to your new found skills! --Erik in Ohio

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    1. Thanks Erik! It's tough to be a dreamer when your skills are self taught and in their infancy! But I really hope the house comes out nice in spite of my limitations because of my determination!

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  2. I can see that all of the major innovations and alterations which you have incorporated when using the Circit cutter have given you the confidence to explore new possibilities with this all wood structure of the New Orleans House! I LOVE the raised wall and the various ways you have problem solved. It is TOTALLY IMPRESSIVE Jodi- Way to Go, Girl!!! :D

    elizabeth

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    1. Thank you Elizabeth! What I am learning is that determination can overcome a lot of fear and that having the right tools for the job is essential! This house has a looooong way to go and many challenges ahead, but making progress gives me so much hope that it will one day be an accomplishment!

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  3. Whatever you got yourself into, Jodi, it seems to me you got yourself out of it as well - with flying colours, I might add.
    My (first) teeny, weeny house is minute and I am petrified about the wiring. Seeing the 'birds nest' that you confidently sorted makes me think there might be hope for me to actually tackle this task.
    Anna

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    1. Thank you Anna! I feel as though I have some angels who love miniatures looking out for me! I got very lucky when they whispered to me about how to make those angles work! You will do fine with the wiring as long as you have a sound plan and test the lights after every step. Round wire is the best and most successful way for me, and the best choice for your first time. I'll say prayers that it comes out perfectly for you!

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  4. I can't tell you the amount of 'oh my God I can't do this' moments I've had with miniatures. And you're right, sometimes the thought of it is far worse than actually getting it done. This is all within your pay grade sweets. I can't think of anything you would have difficulty with after watching you gain experience over the years. Gimme a high five and join me in singing 'I'm every woman' 😘

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    1. Thanks Pepper! Knowing that one of my heroes feels intimidated at times too is so encouraging! I think that part of this addiction is how sweet the victories feel when you are in way over your head and somehow manage to complete the mission! Here's the high five, and I really appreciate the confidence you have in me!

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  5. Hello Jodi,
    I must be honest, I am completely confused by your post. You keep talking about being way in over your head, yet having re-read this post you are clearly in complete control of the situation. The wiring behind the chimney breast and the shed is the perfect solution. Round wire always looks scary when it is bunched up, but you are handling it perfectly! The height of the second floor was clearly not a problem...you managed to transform the house and make it not only unique and more functional, but it will be beautiful. I really love the space you have allotted for the bedroom, and the closet and bathroom will be terrific. Please change the title of this post from "What Have I Gotten Myself Into?!?" to "I am Jodi, Goddess of miniatures". Keep up your amazing work. I really love this house!
    Big hug,
    Giac

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    1. Oh Giac!Thank You! But you should have seen me toil and whine! Trying to decide how to solve the fireplace/wiring issue had me stunned and frozen for so long! Hindsight always makes everything look so clear! I was so fortunate to have been able to find a way to solve the height issues with all those angles, and I just wish my geometry teacher, Mrs. Martin, could be here to see it! I'd tell her that I have no idea what degree that angle is, and I'd have flunked the math test, but us miniaturists are a determined bunch and in spite of ignorance will find a way!!! :O)

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  6. Oh my. I am in over my head just watching you. Electrical is certainly a pain. I have lights in my farmhouse that don't work and I don't know what to do, short of tearing things apart--again. And a table saw on your table! Impressive. I give the piece to my husband and send him to the barn. When I built Lily's house the mansard roof created some problems, but in the end I loved it. And, you have a brain that understands angles and dimensions--or a mathematical mind. Love watching you work.

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    1. Thank you, Ann! I feel your pain! When I electrified the RGT barn I used tapewire. I would test and make sure things worked perfectly at every step, only to have them stop working steps later. I had to tear and repair wires and wallpaper so many times I lost hope. I determined never to use tapewire with an MDF structure EVER again!!! The round wire is so much more reliable, and the most difficult issue is how to run and hide the wires.
      Russ is still working out of town so I have to be self sufficient when it comes to building, cutting etc... I have yet to find the perfect saw. The Rockwell is great for big jobs and the Micromark table saw for small. But medium jobs, like wood that is over 1/2" thick and rips that are wider than 3" are in a gray territory. If I win the lottery, I am inventing one DO IT ALL saw for miniaturists with many YouTube tutorials! Then we can all do anything we dream of all by ourselves!

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  7. Jodi you are my "Wonder Woman". Now I know there isn't a challenge you can't handle after seeing the raised walls and bundle of wires. This is going to be another masterpiece and fun to follow.
    Hugs, Drora

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    1. Awww Drora! Thank you so much! I can promise you that I will at least try, try to learn and share everything I do! It is so empowering to be able to do what you visualize and not be stopped by lack of knowledge or skill.I think the designers of these kits are rarely the decorators of them, so often changes need to be made for function. There is still so much ahead to be worked out, but I hope to find a way!

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  8. Oh, it looks like you're having so much fun. I love your creative solutions!

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    1. Thank Megan! Having fun and making a giant mess! My husband usually steps in afterwords and asks why I did it the hard way, then shows me the "right" way, lol! But as long as I can move forward I am happy!

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  9. Jodi,no tienes que estar confusa,el cableado va perfecto,el cobertizo para tal fin genial y los techos del ático tienen un aspecto fabuloso,ése es el buen camino!!
    Besos.

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    1. Muchas gracias por las palabras alentadoras, Pilar! ¡Espero y oro para que todo funcione al final!

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  10. I love your roof! I'm going to pay close attention to how you did it and how you're dealing with the dormers/windows because that's my goal for the top of the new bookstore.

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    1. Thanks Sheila! I forgot how big even small dollhouses can be, especially the non Greenleaf ones! I love the RGT windows because they are nicely detailed and the wood is very nice to work with. The kit comes with the barrel dormer tops ready made, so they are precise and fit the windows perfectly. They are just the same windows that come with the rest of the kit, but for the dormers they each have two long triangle pieces to make them dormer-ed. I'll try to remember to get you a photo in my next post so your mind can begin percolating!

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  11. Oh, my goodness! So many wonderful things in this. As other people have said, you may have jumped in over your head, but you clearly bobbed to the surface and started swimming like an Olympic athlete. Your skill levels are growing to fit every challenge. I am so glad that, with time and space, you were able to come back to this project with a fresh eye and a fresh will, and fix some of the issues so that it can go forward. The second floor is a particularly good fix. I also really like the bathroom floor. I have looked at that site many times (they do half scale!), and I just love their floor options. I will be watching to see how it goes, but it looks like, although a bit fiddly, it goes together pretty well (at least when you do it). Brava! Looking forward to more.

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    1. Thanks Deb! I know I got really lucky that the tape and bend method worked for those wall angles! If they hadn't, I'd be waiting for Russ to come home so I could play the damsel in distress! I am so happy that he is eager to help me, but somehow, that feels like less of a victory!
      So far I really like the tiles. One baffling thing is that they come with no instructions, and I can't find any tutorials online. I had emailed Gram at one point, and he mentioned just using regular PVA glue so that is what I am doing. No problems so far, score and snap seems to work well for cutting. My border pattern won't meet perfectly in the corners, so that is left to work out, but I will share what I came up with.

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  12. Excellent work Jodi - as you say, where there is a will, there is a way. I have extended walls in this smae manner too. Wiring can be such a nightmare, and all that mess of wires sticking out the wall! But everything works and you have that all under control. Onwards and upwards!

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    1. Thank you Shannon! Stubbornness is actually a virtue in dollhousing! It's amazing what a mess those wires can become! Hopefully I can make them into and organized, cohesive and functional system in the end!

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  13. Creo que has resuelto a la perfección todos los obstáculos. Muy buena idea la manera de eleva el techo. Y ya veo que los cables están perfectamente controlados- Me ha encantado tu herramienta de corte y ese suelo que vas a colocar.

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    1. ¡Gracias Isabel! ¡Simplemente no puedo dejarlo solo y terminar creando tanto trabajo extra para mí! Sin embargo, se siente bien al poder aprender qué herramientas necesito y cómo usarlas para hacer los cambios que necesito hacer. Planeo tener 34 luces cuando todo haya terminado, por lo que la organización del cable es crítica. ¡¡¡Deséame suerte!!!

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  14. When i saw your wires hanging form the ceiling, I had visions of NOLA post Katrina...then I remembered "Never fear, Jodi's here" she has super dollhouse whispering powers and great labeling skills....Plus you have a squad of cheerleaders to boost your moral when things get frustrating...Keep your chin up and wear your super suit with pride.

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    1. Ha ha! I know what you mean! I am slightly embarrassed showing the photos but then, I am sure everyone has the same tangled mess at times!!! I sure wish I had super powers and could move objects and create things just by thinking them, but having all of the support and encouragement makes the work, fear and frustration totally worth going through! :O)

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  15. Oooh La La! You Go Jodi!!! I think you are doing an awesome job!!! The "raised ceiling" you achieved (by adding the kneewalls at the bottom) makes the whole house look Grand!!! It is always surprising how much of a difference those inches make! I am loving your new designs and applaud your courage! The way we learn is by trying... especially when we think we don't know how! Your re-designed wiring plan makes much more sense... it is better to have access to the wires from the outside so there is no need to move all the decor to get at them! Your bathroom floor is going to be so elegant.... I can't wait to see more! :):)

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  16. Thank you Betsy! You definitely know what it is like to be compelled to make daring changes in order for the fullness of your vision to be possible! I am bolstered by the bravery and spirit of those who have gone before me and have so graciously shared their trials and triumphs! You are no exception!
    I am often humbled when my first "brilliant" plans don't work out and I have to rethink my strategy. It seems so obvious in hindsight, but I am too stubborn to learn the first time! I think the wiring would have been too fat to fit behind the chimney breast anyway, so Plan B it is! Now I find myself in the old chicken or egg conundrum, so I am sure to need plenty of second chances going forward!

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  17. Hello, Jodi - The complex modifications that you've made to the New Orleans just boggle my mind - but so does your awesome ability and amazing competence - so I know that you'll achieve all your dreams and plans for this house. I admire your solution to the wiring problem, and I especially like your plan for a garden shed to hide the new hub. Your clever and unique idea for mitering all those edges had me cheering you on, because I think mitering anything is almost impossibly hard. That math thing really puts a damper on some otherwise fun stuff! Bravo and kudos to you! I'm sure that you're going to have fun with the bathroom floor; I can't wait to see your design. Thanks for this encouraging post; watching you work your way through some very scary problems makes my miniature troubles shrink into practically nothing. My new mantra will be: "If Jodi can do that, then I can do this.!"
    Marjorie

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    1. Hi Marjorie! Thank you so much for your encouraging words - just knowing I might be a source of encouragement back makes my day!
      My mini life would be so much easier and more instantly gratifying if I could just leave well enough alone!!! I am always remodeling houses in my mind, both in miniature and in real life - I just can't stop myself. I know just enough to back myself into corners or bite off more than is polite to chew. Luckily, I am in such good company with others who enjoy a real challenge and are slaves to their ideas, that my bravery fires are rewardingly fanned!
      There are so many out there saying "If Marjorie can, I'll try too", bolstered and emboldened by your creativity and vision, and I am among them!
      I am so excited to do the bathroom floor - I love that old tile look and hope my ideas for the bathroom come out nice!

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  18. It gives me a headache just to look at all those wires!! You are a brave girl LOL. Looking at how you come with brilliant solutions to any problem that you might encounter amazes me. I love how you solved the ceiling height issue as well as your ideas for this house. You have accomplised a lot and I can´t wait to see how things keep developing. Great job.

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    1. Hi Alex! Oh the wiring can look overwhelming, can't it! The excitement about how the lights will look at the end is just the encouragement I need to get myself into a complicated mess, so I really hope it works out the way I want it to. The things I have in front of me are the kind that you just aren't sure what to do first or how to go about much of it. It will be a lot of trial and a lot of error, but hopefully, nothing that can't be ripped out and redone!

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  19. You never cease to amaze me, fab effort and result

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    1. Thanks Sylvie! I just hope I have not created another monster that will jump out and scare me when I least expect it! I keep telling myself that all things can be worked out as I come to them. I hope that turns out to be true!!!

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  20. I like your solutions. This house will be amazing.

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    1. Thank you Faby! There is such a long way to go and many challenges ahead, so hopefully, I won't stall out as long when the next major issues reveal themselves!

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  21. Beautiful house, very smart to make all the wires in a double wall, the colors I find very beautiful and I see two beautiful wall oil lamps, love it!

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    1. Thank you Gonda! I was so excited when I started this project and had so many ideas. What I lacked was the confidence to meet the many issues that were ahead of me. In the in between time, I am learning not to be so self critical. That frees me up to just try some of the solutions to move forward. So off we go, and I hope it continues to be a pleasant journey!

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  22. Sometimes being late can have some advantages… I share Alex's headache after looking at your modern art installation called "Wire Salad" and I also share Giac's confusion about your post's title… luckily he has already brought this right to the point in such an eloquent manner that I can save my words and just say please read his comment again. *LOL* You're a true miracle worker… and soooooo well organized and structured - even your wires have name tags on. You never stop to amaze me... and it's impressive how you've rearranged this house to make your furniture fit in. You're a fantastic team, your big girls' tools and you! Enjoy having fun together! ;O)

    Hugs
    Birgit

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    1. Ha ha! I think you are right, Birgit and thank you! You are always right on time! :O)
      I really must re-emphasize that getting those walls to work like they did was pure luck and I could have easily botched the job completely. I tend to do some daring things because I know the rescue party, Russ, will be home soon to bail me out should I get into real trouble! There is still so much to intimidate and and confuse me ahead, but I am going to try my best to be brave and Just Do It! The tools are also such a life saver, and should really be getting the credit they deserve! I could not color outside the lines without them. :O)

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  23. Sometimes a little break away really does help when tackling those overwhelming tasks! I’m so happy you got it sorted. And I can very much relate to the ceiling dilemma, 8” is too short!! I’d rather have a taller house. I’m so happy you took the risk of scratch building that second floor!! I think your method was so clever and I love the idea of using the pin nails. The angled dormer is stumping me too right now on my own house so I wish you luck as you do yours. I love the new layout, especially that hidden closet. Little features like that are magical. You got this!!

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    1. Thanks Kristine! This house continues to challenge me, but so far just taking a short break away from it allows me to come back even more determined!

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  24. I think problem solving is the best part of this game but I can see when you hit a couple of major challenges like these it can be overwhelming so, congratulations on climbing that hill and getting a better view from the top. All beautifully sorted. Well done you.

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    1. I agree, Marilyn! Those who enjoy dollhousing enjoy solving problems in creative ways! My work here will not be perfect, but you gotta lay a few eggs before you make the perfect omelet, lol!

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  25. I have a bad memory, it's a problem too! lol Usually mine manifests in me putting something mini down in a spot and then never being able to find it again.. well at least until I remake or rebuy.. then I find it immediately! ha! A much better plan on the wiring Jodi.. much more accessible and wow... I'm admiring your impressively labelled wires! I just have a jumble in a similar position on my house.. when I need to test a light.. I randomly select a plug, turning lights on and off until I find the one I want through a process of elimination. *facepalm* I must label my cords like this immediately.. what does it say about my organisational skills that the thought never even occurred to me to do this.. haha.
    I have to say the wall height issue has been solved ingeniously. Again, never would have occured to me to do it this way but it was absolutely the right choice.. Added bonus that it gives the house a decidedly french shape from the outside... (filing this solution away for possible future use). It would be super cute if you extended your balcony by adding a semi circle.. Like a large Juliet balcony. I imagine it with lovely wrought iron and some sort of flowering vine. I love the idea of the walk in closet.. how decadent in a dollhouse! I'm imagining all the wonderful accessories you could fill it up with and swooning at the thought. Thoroughly impressed with your woodworking skills. If I was cutting those pieces I imagine they would be decidedly wonky. What kind of saw is that.. It looks interesting and I'm in dire need of a new one since I burnt my old one out. It was too small to do most of my jobs anyway. Don't sell yourself short my friend. You are awesome at this! We all just come around to watch and learn from a pro! ((hugs))

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  26. Hi Sam and Thank You for the encouragement! Buying doubles or just general frustration at not being able to find what I have or know what I need to order is a big reason why I try to stay organized. It doesn't always work, but I have come a long way!
    I just happened to have a balcony in my stash from my trip to Auntie Em's in 2017, so if I can ever get to a good sharing point with this exterior I hope you like the look!
    The Rockwell is considered a mini table saw, around $100 and is great for cutting any plywood over 1/4" thick. It has the built in fence so the straight cuts are nearly perfect. I just wish there was an option between it and the MicroLux mini table saw! One of these days I'll do a post about my tools, their benefits and drawbacks. It took me so long before I knew what I needed and then found some solutions that I bet it would be helpful info.

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