Friday, July 13, 2018

Storybook Cottage: Fable of Gables and Glass

In my last post I told you about the seemingly endless window leading process that I was mired in. I am happy to say that I did finish them, though they are not my finest work, were not easy, and I had several things "go wrong". The first challenge, and one I discovered that I am not very good at, was cutting the strips from the Lead Golf Tape. At first I tried using a straight edge and Xacto knife. I found the dragging metal feeling was like nails on a chalkboard and had to switch to scissors. The thinnest I could get the strips was about 1/16". That was cutting the lead strip in half, then cutting each half in half, and then all four of those halves in half. My cuts, in spite of monumental effort, were not always straight.

I used my saved window frame pattern in the Cricut Design Space and cut another set of frames. I sandwiched the leaded panes between the two frames before I installed them on the house. This made the exterior thickness 1/8" to match the window trim that came with the Storybook kit.

Before adding the "glaze" to the leaded windows, I tested what I had on hand. The first product (T) was Triple Thick, as recommended in the Glorious Twelfth leaded window tutorial. I left it on the window plastic for days, hoping it would clear as it dried, but it never did. The second (M) was Mod Podge. It too remained cloudy, but because of the way the texture stays raised, would make a nice effect if you were gong for the frosted bumpy surface look. The last product I had on hand (N) was regular top coat clear nail enamel as recommended in Casey's Mini's numerous leaded window tutorials. I must have a bad product, because not only did mine remain cloudy, it actually kind of melted the plastic. Faced with zero great results with the products I had on hand, I opted to use the Triple Thick. My panes, after several days, remain cloudy. I may or may not attempt to mitigate in the future.

Here they are, all 18, installed...

Had I known ahead of time, I would have made the four windows (bathroom side, bedroom and two small stairwell) only partially leaded so that you could still see into them under the leaded parts like the other twelve. You can still kind of see the display shelf and clock through the stairwell windows with the lights on. I may remove them and redo if I can find a better product to use in the future.

When I made the interior window frames and tiles for the kitchen's bay window, I knew I would eventually have to make the window sill/shelf. I used one of the kit's exterior trim pieces as a pattern, added pieces to meet up with the exterior window trim, facing, and then applied thick white cardstock for a smooth top surface. I then painted with the vintage white trim paint and installed. I filled gaps, and now just need to do some touch up painting. This will be a nice spot to grow herbs in the window.

Next I began to put some ideas into action on the exterior. I wanted to continue the potted tea plant theme from the interior to the exterior. I cut triangles from cardstock that fit into the tops of all three of the gables, then added the leaf and pot embellishments. I had to cut them down to fit the small area I had.

I also added small crown molding where the roof met the gables, large crown molding with corbels underneath, and board and batten trim.

There's a lot more trimming to do, including all of the fascia boards at the roof line, crown, tea plant embellishments and corbels for the exterior bay window, and framing around the dormer shingles. And then there's the roofing. Some will be copper, some speed shingles. So I'll keep plotting and playing as time allows.

And Camellia the kitty has reminded me that she would really like a comfy place to lie in the sunshine. Better get started on some cushions!

Hope all your experiments are coming out better than mine!

xo xo,

Thursday, July 5, 2018

More Storybook Saga

This week's progress on the Storybook Cottage has been very slow and unsatisfying. I came to the realization that to begin on the exterior trim work, I'd need first to get the windows installed. That's been a major undertaking, so I'll just give you a sneak peek at how that's going. I like a lot of windows in a dollhouse, but when I realized I had 18 of them, and 16 needed leading, I had to gird myself for a long haul. The screen printed plastic that came with the kit is cute, but I wanted something more realistic. So 16 windows x 2 sides means 32 panes. Or should I say Pains? I won't even count the number of lead strips I need to cut and attach.

So for something fun instead, I thought I'd share a few of the wonderful and special things I've been collecting for the project. And boy do they inspire and make me excited to get to the decorating part!

Alex Meiklejohn

Ann Gilling

Ina Williams

Janet Uyetake

Janice Crawley

Julie Parrott

Julie Warren

Kim's Mini Bakery

Mini Gio

The China Closet

Valerie Casson

Veronique Cornish

Victoria Fasken

So as I slog through all the boring windows, then through the endless roofing, I'll keep looking these incredibly beautiful things, made by astoundingly talented artisans. They inspire me and keep me going!

Hope you've all got something special to keep you going too!

xo xo,

Friday, June 29, 2018

Storybook Cottage Exterior Plot

Whenever I miss a week's posting, it's because I think there's just not much to share. Then, I go to do a post, look at all the photos and think "Ah jeeze! This is going to be too long"! Oh well, I'll just try to briefly catch you up...

In my last post, I was working on getting the interior trim wrapped up. I got the rest of the wall and dormer pieces attached upstairs, and worked to improve the look of the trims. Much better!

Before I could enclose the stairwell with it's exterior wall and roof, I needed to figure out the lighting in there. I am using all battery lights on this project, because I had so many collected from sales and closeouts. Didn't make sense to leave them in the drawer and order all new wired lights. So for the stairwell, I had a string of Darice Moon lights. They are attached to a battery pack that I could run to the exterior for access. The battery enclosure looks like a utility box, so I'll just finish it to look like the one I did on the Garden Shed, only a little less rusty. I don't need much light in there, just a little ambiance, and I was able to hide the bulbs behind the decor. They were very bright white, so I toned them down with a little yellow Gallery Glass.

The exterior is going to have many textures and colors, so I applied stucco to the areas where I wanted it. Then, I applied stones along the foundation and to the stairwell and window seat walls. I used packaging from the Yankee Candles I bought last Christmas instead of egg carton, as I liked the very prominent texture.

I mixed a little acrylic paint into spackle for the grout, but found it was hard to remove without risking damaging the surface of the stones, even after two coats of sealer. So instead, I scraped artists chalk into the spackle. I loved the color, and it was lots easier to remove the excess. Imagine my horror when after drying, the grout turned from light brown to pink! Yes, pink! So, I ended up having to hand paint every grout line. Me + fiber stones = 2 out of  5. Next time, I'm using Paperclay. But in the end they are fine, so all is well...

I got a little undercoating done on the gables to help me decide what I'll do there..

I wanted a little shake shingle texture on all three dormers, so I used the shingle sheets that came in the Storybook Cottage kit to make up my own. The roofing will be done in half scale speed shingles instead.

Applying them has taken a tremendous amount of time, but since I am only going part way up with it on the dormers, I am almost finished. There will be cap trim on top to sort of box them in. Hard to explain, but hopefully, I'll have photos to share in my next post.

This is the part where the project really seems to slow down. There are so many decisions to make for the exterior, and it seems that adding many detailed textures is slow going. But with time, luck and perseverance, I'll be back in a  week or two with a little more progress!

Have a safe and happy first week of July!

xo xo,