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MaryKate

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Posts posted by MaryKate

  1. Oooh, Leslie, I like that color scheme!

    Re: Window mullions: The 550 kit includes very narrow strip wood that you cut and fit to the windows as you assemble them. I used some of it to make the acetate "glass" into panes, but I left some windows "open" and some the others I made "stained glass" with Sharpies. This is a house for a little girl, and her sassy princesses wanted some ooh-la-la--and some ways to sneak in and out of the house! 

    In my Orchid build, I'm using drafting tape, which you can buy at art and craft stores. It comes in various colors and widths, and the 1/16" and 1/8" work well for window leading. I take a strip and lay ito on wax paper, and color it with metallic Sharpies (silver works well for a leaded effect). Let that dry for a bit and then it can be applied to the windows, sometimes with tiny drops of clear glue to help it stick. I really like the effect. If you want more thickness you could probably create a double layer of the tape. 

    I have to admit I was going gangbusters on the SF550 in May/June, but this month has been deadly for all my creative endeavors. In other advice, I agree with everyone who's said to decorate as you go and to paper the tower walls (at least) as you assemble them. My niece's hands will be able to reach into the corners, but mine definitely will not. And I'm going to leave the tower roof loose so she can reach in and play. 

    I don't know how old your kit is, or what kind of foundation the later kits have. The 550 has a sheet of thin, splintering strips you're supposed to punch out, sand, paint, and glue to the sides of the foundation to make a lattice. I took one look at that and went, "NOPE." Unlike the rest of the wood in the kit, that sheet was awful and there was no way I was going through all that effort for a 4 year old's dollhouse. After assembling the foundation piece, I glopped on sparkling compound to make it look "more organic," as the house's recipient's 8 year old brother called it. Then we put it on the porch table and got out every color of green paint, along with some brown, that I had (this was mid-stay-at-home orders so I wasn't going out to get more). The three of us used sponge paintbrushes and had a grand time dabbing the different colors of paint all around the base and into the nooks and crannies. By the time one of us finished a side, it was already drying and ready for the next randomish coat of paint. Once that was completely dry, I got out some tiny paper flowers, along with some flower, insect, and butterfly stickers that are a good match for the scale (not *to* scale, as I'm not super finicky about that with this project), and we glued them onto the sides all around the house. It looks fanciful and fun, and I saved some flowers to make vines going up the tower (where Rapunzel is going to live, along with Ariel and probably at least one Descendants character, as that's her latest obsession). You could probably do something similar with more in-scale and authentic details if you're interested. I need to get more pictures loaded...once I sew another batch of masks.

    The 8yo was worried we were getting green paint on the "floors" of the house, but as the house's footprint doesn't cover the whole base, I told him it was a good thing to make it look like the grass is growing all around the house. I will probably use something other than the flooring strips to make the first floor of the house, but whatever I do, any green that leaked through will be covered. It was a fun way to involve the kids in the project. 

  2. I'm glad I could help, William. I spent years tracking down a library book my father and I used to make my sister's dollhouse, which had come from the library and then sometime after we returned it, left the shelves forever. Finally found it a few years ago. Enjoy your books!

  3. 25 minutes ago, Qubanqtee said:

    on page 19 of the instructions if you have them is the layout of the Main Gable front and it is a strange shape but somehow magically comes out when you put the pieces together ....if you dont have page 19 I'm happy to send it over

     

    OMG. You lovely people. I *do* have page 19, and thanks to Susie's post I looked at it again and I realized that little arrow imprinted on the wood by the arrow wasn't about the window, as I had assumed, but about orientation. (Which...why did I think that? WHO KNOWS!!) I flipped it around and voila! I have the right piece. I think it was your mention of magic! 

    I know why it confused me--orienting it correctly for the build makes the wood grain run diagonally, and for some reason I assumed it would run up and down. 

    Thanks to both Susie and Holly for chiming in and helping me get it right (before I did something irreparable and drastic!). Off to paint the gable! ;)

    • Like 1
  4. Unfortunately, no. There is a 5 page parts list with diagrams, dimensions, and cross sections, which is wonderfully helpful, but nothing showing the full sheets of die-cut parts. The box had never been opened when I bought it two years ago, so I don't think it went missing, either. 

    And if I cut the gable piece down to size the little window will be in the wrong spot, so now I'm thinking I may have to glue it back in and cut. Maybe once the rest of the walls are up so I can make sure it fits.

     

  5. I have continued to work on this, bit by bit (got most of my house reorganized during quarantine and have all kinds of spaces for crafting ). But I'm running into a question. The wall of the large gable, the one with the hexagonal window, is far bigger and a different shape on one side than what's in the directions, where there's a line drawing with a couple measurements. I was about to go through with just doing it as it was and seeing if I needed to alter it once I started putting the walls up. (I mean, if you've built this kit, the 550 in particular, you might know that a complete dry fit at the outset is next to impossible, so I have to figure it out as I build.) But I'm at the point where I need to at least paint it

    I don't have a schematic layout of the wood sheets in the kit, so I can't tell if this is actually 2 parts that were next to each other but didn't get the die cut "lines" pressed into them, but that's my suspicion--even though I went through at one point and labeled the parts and didn't notice anything missing. Looking through some of the older threads here I came across one with a photo of someone working with the same part and it looked like the drawing in the instructions, rather than the part I punched out of the sheet. So I think I'll go ahead and cut it down...unless anyone here has run into the same problem and has insight that might help? 

    I'll give it a little time--I'm still working on building and finishing the interior of the tower and the bay, so I can keep busy for a day or so before I have to decide. But I don't have a whole lot more time than that. There is a 4yo who has been denied the end of her 4K year in school and all her friends, and I'm trying to make it up to her at least a little by pushing this project to the front of my queue. Last week she and her brother helped me paint the base green and glue flowers onto it. We've planned which character gets which room (though they will all visit each other and share, of course, because even the sassiest princesses are good at sharing). I'm trying to find as many little projects for her to help with as I can, but I don't think she will have much useful advice about this weirdo misshapen part! ;)

  6. Hi from Wisconsin. We are under a Safer at Home order until the end of May; I'm working from home (museum educator) and revising plans for the summer every other day because we are still trying to figure out when it will be safe to open in some limited capacity. I personally won't think it's safe until we have a widely distributed vaccine, or at least comprehensive testing. 

    I've used the extra time at home to work on a number of projects, including minis. I put together a Halloween stand from a kit, totally cleaned up and reorganized all my work and crafting spaces, did some cross stitch and made a junk journal for a craft exchange I'm participating in, and started sewing masks for the maintenance and garden crews at our museum, for when they're allowed to go back. My youngest niece and nephew, who live just two miles from me, have been coming over for informal homeschooling sessions twice a week, and my niece, who's 4, asked me yesterday if she can help make the dollhouse I started building for her last year. "NOT just paint. I want to MAKE it. It IS mmmmmyyyy dollhouse!" Of course it's a DuraCraft San Franciscan, probably the most complicated kit I've ever put together! But I'll find a way to let her help, because she's right. It's her house. ;)

    BTW, her brother is the baby in my little picture up there. He's 8 now, finishing up third grade, and the little girl in that picture, his cousin and one of my other nieces, is graduating from high school this year. Another niece is graduating college. We're trying to find ways to virtually celebrate them both.

    I also ordered some mini/crafting supplies for my Orchid project and for my LaserTech beach house. Got some absolutely adorable pillows for the beach house from Brae, and they're having a merry trip through the USPS system. Hopefully they'll show up soon, but if not, I can wait. I know everyone's routines are off right now, and USPS is under an incredible strain. Just grateful that they're still up and running at all at this point! I have a couple of repair projects on my work table for this weekend, and a lot of dreams of what I might be able to do now that I have my supplies and spaces organized. Went through a creative lull through most of March, with crafting and writing both, but now I think something's shifted and I'm starting to adjust to this "unprecedented and unbelievable time," as my boss keeps calling it. He's not wrong. I hope all of you are doing as well as you can, and that you're taking care of yourselves in all the ways you need to. 

     

     

     

  7. What a lovely thing to do for your wife! Ihad Velvet, Crissy's blonde...cousin? Sister? I loved that doll. I'm the oldest of 7 kids so I think it got handed down or given away, but I've occasionally checked on Ebay to see about replacing her. I haven't actually bought one yet. 

  8. Okay, I started an album for this build; had to work around the vagaries of the interface here and managed to upload the picture of my niece twice...can't seem to delete the extra one. I'll keep working on it. 

    Anyway, all that's in there now are some pictures of the books I'm making for the library and the papers and do-dads I got yesterday for interior decoration. I thought I'd snapped some pictures of the foundation and walls but I can't find them yet, so I'll do that when I'm able to start painting. That'll have to wait until I get my basement guest room, and laundry/craft space organized, which I've been working on all week. I'm so tempted to start painting right here on the coffee table, but I am *not* getting paint on my brand new couch. Hence, working on the books instead. 

    Soon, though. My niece is so ready to play with this house. 

  9. Hi John--yes, I do plan to start an album. Right now I have the wall panels and the foundation glued together, nothing too spectacular. 

    One thing I noticed when "building" the wall panels, which was a reminder from waaaaay back when I started the Heritage: it is really, really, surprisingly easy to turn one of those panels upside down as you're gluing them together. I nearly did it once about halfway through and I started triple checking.

    To make the panels straight as I glued, I lined them up against/within a T-square. And re-lined them up over and over again. I held them together with my hands for 30-60 seconds as I added each one, then, when a panel was finished, I used masking tape, hooking one end to the bottom of the panel and drawing the line of tape up over the top of the panel, keeping it tight to hold the pieces together. Then I sandwiched them between pieces of wax paper and put books on top to keep the tight taping from "curling" the panels. I let those dry anywhere from 1-3 hours, then stood them up against a wall as directed to let them finish drying for 24 hours. 

    Next is a lot of painting and sanding and painting. I'm going to paint the wall panels purple on the outside and white or cream on the inside (to prep for the 4yo's decorating plans), paint the base--I'm not sure what color but I'm thinking of putting some kind of stickers or decals around it instead of the lattice--flowers or fairy wands or butterflies or something my niece will like. I also need to paint the window pieces and the channels for the wall panels before I assemble. So there's my next few (dozen??) days off sorted. *g*

  10. 20 hours ago, jbnmini said:

    I do agree about leaving the stairs open for a play house for young ones! And doors on a good, sturdy pin hinge is a must!   :)  Even adults like doors that open and close!  

    Have fun!!

    That's good to know. I debated whether I was depriving her of a real-looking house by taking out the railings (because honestly, they are so much work and probably the first things to break), so I appreciate your confirmation. ;) Thanks!

    • Like 1
  11. Thanks, Holly--the carpenter's square is on my list for the hardware store when I go to get paint (I have one, somewhere, but at this point it's easier to buy a new one than to go through every possible box where it might be). 

    I'm mighty grateful for those extras, because I know I'll mess up more than once. And yes, sparkle to make the walls smoother surfaces for our decorating adventures. ;)

  12. I thought I'd start a new thread about this house as it hasn't had a lot of general discussion lately.

    Sometime last year, I saw a still-in-box San Franciscan, the 550 model, at a thrift store for $60. At first, I wasn't sure I wanted it--Victorian is not really my thing--but the price was so good, and the more I looked at it, and at the tower, the more I thought: "PRINCESS HOUSE." My niece, who's about to turn 4, likes her princesses (I mean, she likes them feisty and sassy, but she does like them), and she especially likes Rapunzel from Tangled, and, well, house with a tower. So I bought the kit and she and I talked about it: we're going to have a kitchen for Tiana, a library for Belle and Sophia, a bed with 20 mattresses for the Princess and the Pea, and of course a tower for Rapunzel, among other things. 

    I didn't start it right away because I'm still moving in to my new house and getting things organized, but this week is her birthday, and I've made some progress in setting up my crafting spaces, so tonight, despite being tired, I decided it was time. I'd just go through and organize and label the parts...and of course now the first foundation pieces are sitting under books, getting glued together. ;) 

    One thing that surprised me was how many extras there were of the smaller pieces. There was one set of pieces for windows that was supposed to have 33 or so, and instead had 52! That was probably the biggest example, but there were extras of a number of pieces. Has anyone else run into this? There's one part I don't think I have--the smaller tower support--and one of the gables looks like the wrong shape, but those things will either resolve themselves when I get to those steps, or I can make alterations or new pieces from wood or foamcore/matboard. 

    It always amazes me how much easier it is to understand directions once I've been through the parts on that detailed level. The first few times I read them, I thought it would be impossibly tricky to figure out the process (I have a Heritage started, so I do know a bit about how Duracraft houses are put together), but after sorting and labeling it all reads as crystal clear, and I thought I might as well get started. My niece is going to be thrilled! 

    My goals with this house: actually finish the darn thing (having a 3/4 year old waiting impatiently to play with it will help with that); keep it simple but pretty (so, no to the strip flooring, and there's no way I'm punching out those splintery strips they use to make the foundation lattice--I can do fake stone or something more fanciful); and make it as sturdy and playable as possible (so I'm going to try to make the roof of the tower removable, and customize the doors so they open and close on pin hinges if at all possible. If there's one thing my niece is adamant about, it's that dollhouse doors should open and close! Luckily she's not as picky about the windows, so I don't have to make them open (or even let her know that's an option). I do plan to make some "stained glass" panels for some of the windows, though. I'm still debating about whether or not I'll put banisters and railings on the stairs. That may just be asking for trouble, and having them open would make it easier for her to reach in and move her dolls up and down the stairs. 

    She's asked for a purple exterior, and I'm looking at two shades, light and dark, along with cream trim for the windows and posts. I'll let her pick out scrapbook paper or paint colors for the interior walls, and she's excited to make the furniture and to play with it. I found a kit on Amazon for making miniature books--a lot of fairy tales and children's books. They're somewhat oversized, but she won't care, especially since the books have text and pictures.

    I'll go through past posts and the galleries to see what I can learn, but if anyone who's built this one wants to chime in with tips and tricks, I'm happy to learn!

     

  13. 18 hours ago, KellyA said:

    Added weight brings up my other question. Can anyone recommend a good brick sheet? Something textured, embossed, with the appearance of real brick? I've in the past purchased a few printed sheets of brick from England just to see what they were like and, well, I'd use them on a child's dollhouse maybe but not something on which I'm going for realism. They look good but even when not up close they are very obviously just printed paper.

    I've etched brick into joint compound (a lot of work but looks great!). I've done brick and stone out of egg cartons (also looks great!). The joint compound will make this house far too heavy, and there is no way in heck I am cutting thousands of individual bricks out of egg cartons! I am seriously hoping there's some product out there that would work.

     

    I'm interested in the answers to this as well. I have a Walmer kit called "Ye Olde Firehouse" that I'm planning to finish as a retired fire station turned bar & loft, and it needs to be bricked--but it's 3 stories high and I'm worried about weight (especially since some if not all of the interior walls would be brick, too) and realism, not to mention time. I know I could do the egg carton thing, but it would take me forever and I really want to focus more on the interior of this one. 

    Thanks for the input on the printed sheets, Kelly. I've considered those, but it's good to know what you think about them.

    • Like 1
  14. If you want something as close to the Robotime kits as possible, I'd suggest Beacon 3-in-1. Amazon promotes it on the same pages as those kits. I bought mine at Michaels. It is exactly the same stuff as what's in the kits, and I've used it for the kits when they don't come with glue, or when they don't come with enough because I use it for every application!

    https://www.amazon.com/Beacon-314OZ-314OZBOT12-Glue-Multicolor/dp/B001683NAO/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_all_spx_wp_0_1/159-7978697-5532149?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B001683NAO&pd_rd_r=222f8cda-5d11-4299-92b2-194e8cb27225&pd_rd_w=ZloMa&pd_rd_wg=LqbIR&pf_rd_p=be1fc0a3-5323-42ce-8eda-5c75d301717d&pf_rd_r=Y15VH07DXVR610NQARN5&psc=1&refRID=Y15VH07DXVR610NQARN5

     

  15. Oh, no! 

    You know, the tiny museum where I work had a Kupjack exhibit...decades ago, at least. I came across one of the booklets when were were cleaning out spaces and snagged it, because no one else wanted it. One of the facilities staff who's worked at the museum since the 70s said Henry actually came to the exhibit, and she thinks the museum owns a Kupjack room box and that it's in our storage building across the street. I don't have keys to that building or anything, but I've been meaning to have a talk with our curator to see if it's for real, and if it is, if I can get a peek at it. I'll have to step up my efforts on that front. 

    • Like 1
  16. Calling all dollhouse detectives...

    I'm trying to track down at the very least a title and maybe a photo or two of a book I had when I was a girl. Some of its pages were heavy, and I think slightly textured, paper on which were printed pieces you could cut out and fold and paste to make dollhouse furniture. I remember the prints being red, white, and black, with lots of polka dots and stripes; it was all very 70s/colonial in style.

    The thing is, I think I saw it online recently, probably on a late-night deep dive on Ebay or something close to that, and I should have taken a screen shot or just bought it...I have tried searching a bunch of different word salad combos on Google, Alibris, and Ebay but I haven't seen it yet. Just wondering if anyone here remembers it and can help me figure out the title. It's more curiosity than anything else at this point.

  17. Okay, who wants to hear the kicker end to this story? 

    A) My sister loved it when she unwrapped it last night, so yay! She also laughed a bit uncontrollably and said she would explain later...

    B) This morning, when we unwrapped presents from Santa, guess what I got? The same kit! Also the same book I put into her shoe for St. Nicholas Day. We know each other almost too well. 

    (I will say this: though I'm delighted to have the kit because I, too, am a bit obsessive about books, the one I made from her came from a Chinese company and was great. Very easy to put together, good quality materials, and it included the silicon glue and batteries. This one is from Fat Brain Toys, and what I've noticed so far is that some of the pages printed with book covers and other items are wrinkled in the bottom of the box, there is no silicon glue, and when I went to put one of the small cabinets together with tacky glue (everyone else was building Legos; I had to make something!), I had a terrible time because the pieces, small as they are, are warped and I had to force hold them in place to get the glue to stick. I will probably take it apart, flatten the boards under some books, and try again.)

    • Like 1
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