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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

New curtains and more fabric bolts!


I started out by painting the first coat of white on the new fabric display for the Quilt Shop.
These little Michael's hutches are made out of pine so soak up paint like a sponge. Looks like I'll be needing 1 or maybe even 2 more coats for a nice finish. After that I decided to make more fabric bolts.  You know the drill, First, I cut all the pieces of wood for another batch.
You notice that I stuck a piece of painter's tape to my miter box so I wouldn't have to measure each one. Once I had a pile of those,
I moved on to picking out more fabric and preparing it.
A little paint,
and snap!
 All done!
Just like those recipe videos we all see on Facebook. I now have 50 of these done
and will probably need 50 more...well, maybe a few more than that, but we will see how well-stocked the Quilt Shop looks by then. I've also been thinking about curtains in my shop. The idea of pink gingham sprang to mind so I mulled that over for a few days. I went to the thrift shop to drop some things off and decided to poke around while I was there. You'll never guess what I found...2 pink gingham valances! For only $1.97 each...my kind of price. So I brought them home and washed and dried them. Since they are made of 100% cotton, it took a while to iron them. My heart goes out to my mom for all the time she spent ironing my dad's shirts back in the 50's before permanent press. I remember her using a sprinkling bottle on the shirts first as she didn't have a steam iron either. What a large part of a day went to ironing clothes back then! So after pressing the heck out of them, here is how they look:
I know, it's pink, but I am unashamedly a girl and this is my shop so I will pink it up all I want! LOL! Have a great day! (I think it needs some butterflies...😃 )

Friday, October 6, 2017

A new fabric display for the Quilt Shop

Back in the spring, I showed you how to turn this:
and this:
into these:
Bill cut the top cabinet sections off on the bandsaw which was incredibly helpful as pine is harder than it looks when you have a fine tooth saw and achy hands. I was left with 2 bases that I thought might be used down the road for sideboards.
The other day, I was looking through Pinterest (dangerous place! LOL!) when I saw a back to back fabric display that I thought I could duplicate for Marlene's Quilt Shop. I played around with the 2 leftover bases and liked what I saw.
I pried off all of the feet first and then realized that the ladies in the quilt shop would very likely trip over those corners near the floor.
Then if I put feet on the whole thing, they would be barking their ankles....who says I overthink things? ;) So I placed each piece in my miter saw and sawed away. 
Very good workout for the triceps...on 1 arm anyway. After some sanding, I applied some wood glue to the back of each piece,
spread it around and clamped it together.
I used a damp rag to clean up the excess glue and let this whole thing sit for awhile while I went and ate some lunch. I took it out of the clamps and decided it needed feet so dug through my bead stash and found some old pony beads that look just right.
This is going to be white, so I was lucky to find white pony beads in the container. So here it is with the knobs I glued in waiting for its first coat of paint.
And of course, I had to try it out in place...
Now I get to make about 30 more fabric bolts, and the Quilt Shop will have more storage too.  Looks like I'll be back over to Marlene's house with my scissors...Have a great day!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mr. Skellie learns about bricklaying....

When Bill came home last night, he said today was "Bring your skellie to work day". Mr. Skellie was all excited and was wondering what to wear. "Just be yourself' I said. And oh, by the way, can I come too?" Mr. Skellie said that since he was riding shotgun in Bill's truck there wouldn't be room in the cab for me. I was sensing a "wide load" joke coming but he just grinned at me. So the following morning, I followed along in my truck with all my photo equipment and spare parts for Mr. Skellie. Oh, and his sunglasses. The job site we were going to visit was a high brick wall that had recently lost a battle with a backhoe. There was at least 15 feet of the wall that had been knocked flat. Bill introduced Mr. Skellie and me to Joe Freeman from Freeman Masonry.

He was hired to make all the repairs along with fellow brick masons, Elvis and Danny. They stopped work just long enough for me to get this shot of them.
Joe first told us that they were able to save many of the bricks from the wall for reuse and that they would be mixed with new ones where needed.
He put Mr. Skellie to work right away. "Hey Mr. Skellie, hand me that brick hammer will you?"
He wasn't sure which one that was but guessed right and handed over the brick hammer to Joe. Next we learned about the differences between mortar, concrete, and Portland cement. The mortar he was using had lime in it to make it more workable, or fluffy. Concrete is a mixture of sand, cement, water, and gravel and is too loose to work with when you are trying to put bricks together. Think "driveway". While Bill and I were listening to Joe describe the different bonding qualities, Mr. Skellie decided he was going to bond with the mortar himself!
"I like how it squishes between my toes", he said. After a quick rinse-off, we went over to the mixer to have a look inside....hmmm, gooky, eeww.
Mr. Skellie found the big bags of sand and was standing in one pretending to be at the beach when I found him.
I brushed him off and we went back to look at the brick carrier.
Bill demonstrated how this works...you can carry more bricks at a time and it's easier on the hands.
Then we noticed that the old bricks had 10 holes in them
and the new ones had just 3 larger holes.
Bill explained that the new ones with the three holes actually hold together better because more mortar can squish through the holes...who knew? Mr. Skellie wanted to know how the wall was kept straight. "String" Joe said. Mr. Skellie looked doubtful. But Joe went on to explain that he prefers braided string versus twisted string because the braided has more stretch.
However, if you are doing a long length like this, the string will tend to sag in the middle. He uses things called "twigs" to keep the string straight. Now Mr. Skellie was really scratching his head. "String and twigs, are we building a wall or a fairy house?" Mr. Skellie asked.  Joe laughed and explained that this what what a twig was
and that it was made of spring steel and clipped over the line...like so.
As he was laying down another row, he talked about the small brick ties that he uses to strengthen the wall.
He also adds re bar in between the 2 rows of brick for even more strength.
He has to keep this small space even as he goes along because the top of the wall has a one brick cap that is 7 5/8" wide
so the 2 brick width of the wall and the small space cannot exceed this. Also, the wall is built to fit into a "keyway" in the brick posts.
Joe, Danny and Elvis went back to work and Mr. Skellie asked if I would give him a ride in the wheelbarrow.
"Just quick" I said. After running him around in circles for a bit, I sat down to take a breather. Bill took over while I took pictures of all the tools and equipment that's needed for a job this size. 


The last question of the day was about the little groove in the mortar joint.
Joe needed a grapevine jointer to recreate this design in the new mortar to match the old. He then said that when the work was all done, he would be using Lime Cleaner to clean the mortar off of the brick faces and to also make the mortar lines all the same color so it wouldn't look splotchy.
There's always more to something than you think isn't there. I would like to thank the guys at Freeman Masonry for letting a grandma and a little plastic skeleton interrupt their day for just a short bit. Have a great day!
(and the back...)

Monday, October 2, 2017

Inquiring minds want to know....

A new dollhouse builder named Debbie had some good questions for me so I thought I would share the answers here in case there is someone else wondering about the same things. But first of all, I would like to thank her for her kind comments and I am glad she is enjoying the blog! Welcome! One of the questions was whether she would like a dark room with no view. My new shop has a double window, but they look out onto the porch so actually have less light coming in. I use a combination of a small fluorescent fixture over my bench which was secondhand and gifted, and a brushed nickel task light I found in a thrift shop with a Reveal bulb in it.
This combination of lighting seems to work the best for me so colors are more realistic. I only have a view of the front yard and the neighbors house, but I am usually too absorbed in what I am doing  to notice. And that dust factor....keep in mind that for the most part, you are sanding tiny pieces that create tiny amounts of dust. It does float around in the air though, so if you would rather not breathe it, you can wear a dust mask....like my custom one here...:D
If I have to sand big things, I wait for a nice day and take it outside. My husband says the next thing I need is a very small shop vac so he can set it up to suck up the dust from each power tool. But this is something you can do down the road, it's not a necessary item. These are the tools I started with and what I built most of my first dollhouse with back in the 80's.
Also add masking tape...very handy for dry fitting and for holding your house together while the glue dries.  I chose the Greenleaf Glencroft because I liked the look of it...no one told me it had a bazillion pieces to it...each of which would have to be sanded. I always thought it was the funniest thing in the world that Greenleaf would give you one piece of sandpaper packed in with the dollhouse kit! The laser house Debbie is looking at sounds fantastic...not nearly the amount of sanding required as the regular punch out kits...a lot less slivers too. As I continued to make more things, I exchanged my clothespin clamps for real ones and the folded bits of sandpaper for my favorite little sander...lots easier on the hands. The cork-backed ruler I have had for at least 30 years, so you can see that these things stand the test of time.
It doesn't slip when I am trying to cut something with my Exacto knife and is a whole lot safer for the old fingers. As you continue to work on more projects, you might find this tiny chop saw will come in mighty handy for cutting lengths of molding and narrow strip wood.
It was only about $35 at Harbor Freight, and I of course used my 20% off coupon. The newest power tool from them is a small table saw.
I was trying to use it the other day to cut the wood strips for the fabric bolts but had a problem getting a nice straight cut. I think some modifications are in order for this one...don't go jumping on it just yet. And, what about books. These are all my dollhouse books right now.
Some were gifts, some were old copies libraries were getting rid of and others were purchased over time. But my hands down favorite is one by Caroline Hamilton.
It was printed awhile back, but if you can get a copy, I think you will enjoy it. Her writing is down-to-earth and she has great ideas and inspiration. My favorite reference books are these...especially if you are doing a Victorian style dollhouse.


These were used books I bought online and they are especially great for exterior painting ideas. A good suggestion about books is to see if you can borrow them from your local library or inter-library lending program before you buy. You might find one that you enjoy more than the ones I've recommended....and that's fine too. Each person in this hobby has their own favorite tools and methods and you will find you will too. Oh, I just remembered, you will need glue too! LOL! Don't use hot glue, the new stuff doesn't last and you can burn yourself on it too. Good old yellow wood glue works great for wooden things and tacky glue for most of the rest of it. Hope this answered your questions....you can ask anytime. Have a great day!