Preparing for the overhaul...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Making Your Own Carpet

I used the same technique to create the area carpet as I did to create the individual rugs.  To do this, you need two things: a professional quality photo printer, and some flocked paper.  For my projects so far, I've used velvet paper in "coconut" from Sew Easy Industries.  This is a scrapbooking product, as far as I can figure out, but it's available from Amazon.  It's a bit pricey; a dozen sheets cost about 20 USD.  However, if you're creative about placing your designs on your sheet, you can get a fairly good use out of each one.

This is the pattern I used for the floor.  It's created from a picture of an actual rug, which was then cut in such a fashion that it'd make a repeating pattern when matching tiles were placed next to each other.  I had to play around with the size, a bit, to find something that worked.  Sometimes, knowing on an intellectual level that something is x number of inches/centimeters doesn't compensate for actually seeing the pattern in situ.  Hint: print out one or two test designs on cheap paper first.  In other words, don't be an idiot like me and go wasting the expensive paper.

Use this if you'd like.

I was able to fit three tiles per sheet; then, I began the somewhat laborious process of cutting each pattern area out from the larger sheet and then cutting it, specifically, to fit its space in the room.  I tacked each tile down with double-sided tape for easy removal; accidents happen, and being able to take out a single piece to replace it is a great deal easier than ripping out the entire carpet!  Moreover, the ultimate owner of the house may hate the design and wish to swap it out entirely.  Who knows.

I searched for years--unsuccessfully--to find printed area carpet for my dolls' houses.  I'm sure that it's for sale somewhere, just not anywhere that I've been able to find.  I recommend, when making your own, searching the fabulous world of the internet for pictures and familiarizing yourself with copyright laws.  The general commonwealth jurisdiction rule is usually some version of, the picture becomes "yours" when you use it to create a new and original artwork.  However, this being obviously not legal advice (although I am an attorney (barrister) by trade, originally), you'll want to consult the rule in your own jurisdiction.  Alternatively, you can draw your own design and scan it (which I've done as well).

I recommend, before embarking on all this laborious cutting and fitting, that you have several cups of whatever thinking juice (coffee, tea, Red Bull) you prefer.

For smaller rugs, the idea is essentially the same.  I've found that the shorter pile of the velvet paper is more in keeping with the overall scale of the house than what's sold as 1:12 scale "area rug", and have been quite pleased with my results.  However, two problems arise.  One, the paper does tend to curl up at the edges a bit.  I've solved this problem with tiny bits of double sided tape, or Museum Wax, at the corners.  Another issue can be the white cut-away of the paper being visible on the sides.  This, too, is easily solved by angling a marker in the appropriate color and running the bottom of the paper along the sides.  You'll want to hold the paper at about a 45' angle to the marker, so as not to get ink on the pile itself.

The carpet, being laid.

And here's the bathroom window, before installation.
 So that's it. 

Further reading on the copyright issue can be found here.  The case in question, which is fairly well known, arises out of Indiana (and can provide useful guidance for inhabitants of all commonwealth jurisdictions).  There's also another, similar case against eBay although that's less useful in terms of guidance for actual miniaturists as it has to do with holding a third party seller liable for not removing listings.  Generally (again, NOT legal advice), the danger arises when a miniaturist's activities in some way a) make the copyright/trademark holder look bad or b) siphon off a portion of potential profits.  This is a very funny case, which illustrates the point.  I remember, a few years ago, Hershey filed against Aztec Imports for unauthorized use of trademark (i.e. Aztec didn't pay for the appropriate license, if I remember correctly) but have been unable to find anything indicating this online.

And finally, please read one of the first cases I was assigned in law school.  But make sure that you don't have anything in your mouth, first!

Monday, March 24, 2014

A Bathroom!

After posting about my carpet dilemma, I realized that I had something else to post about--something that is (at least to me!) exciting!  At long last, I've finally finished with the bathroom.  I love the Chrysnbon bathroom kit, and if given the opportunity will put it in nearly any house I make.  Overall, I'm quite pleased with how the room turned out.  The design changed slightly, over time, becoming progressively more minimalist.  I'm also pleased with how the window came out.  I've been experimenting with a few new techniques, which I plan on using on my next project (the one after the mausoleum), which will have a great deal of stained glass.

And here, below, is an unrelated picture of me working on the staircase.  Excitingly, barring a few small (no pun intended) fixes and additions, I'm almost done with the inside!  Then it's back to the outside for landscaping...and the roof, of course...and then, sale!

Thoughts?  I haven't heard from too many people in awhile, I hope you're all well!

Carpet Redux

I wasn't really happy with how the plain beige carpet looked in the master bedroom.  It was fine, in of itself, but it didn't really seem to blend with the rest of the house.  So, inspired by a suggestion from Mr. CJ, I tried something else.  This was the result:

Overall, I'm very pleased.  This is one of those rare situations, I think, where two quite busy patterns work well together.  Finding a suitable carpet pattern, that would work with the accent wall was not easy!  I also didn't want a pattern that would overwhelm any furniture that came to live in the room.

More is coming on the formal parlor, etc.

Friday, March 21, 2014

The Formal Parlor--Finally

So, the formal parlor is about 85% complete at this point.  Still to go are the stairs (since installed but the spindles, etc need finishing) and the paintings for above the mantel.  Overall, I'm quite pleased with how it's come out!  The wainscoting in particular was a real pain and took forever--all of those identical panels were not fun.  The color scheme is based off of one I saw, and adored, in a nearby historic house.

Luckily, the blood, sweat and tears that went into this room aren't evident in the finished product!

With the rug I made.
 And that, as they say, is that.  I have a bit more work to do on the bathroom, as well as on the third floor (actually quite a bit more work on the third floor!), then I have to cope with the roof.  And then it's back to the outside, for landscaping.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Work Room, Bedroom--Almost There!

These two rooms are almost done.  What the work room needs is the banister, etc for the completed staircase.  What the bedroom needs is carpet.  Although wall to wall carpet conjures up images of 1950's America, it's actually been part of American decor since roughly the Civil War era.  And for much the same reason it's in use today: because hardwood floors were expensive.  For the most part, builders used whatever they had on hand--soft wood, splintery wood, etc etc etc.  Floors were, on the balance, so horrible that they had to be covered up to be useful.  Canvas floor cloths, carpets, wall to wall carpeting, all of these were solutions.  I also thought that, from the perspective of creating a nice sense of ambiance, carpet would give the bedroom a certain cozy air.  Or, at least, that's the hope.

In the work room--which could also be used as an upstairs sitting room, or additional bedroom, I suppose (although there's also a bedroom on the third floor), the rocking chair and stool are just there for scale.  The pot-bellied stove is intended to be part of the room but, like the other fixtures, is removable.  My idea was that, much like with the fireplace downstairs, the fireplace was bricked up and a more "modern" heating source installed.

The door to the bathroom.

I've done a fair bit of work on the other remaining rooms as well, but nothing picture-worthy.  I've been stalled on the formal parlor, due to some needed supplies taking their sweet, sweet time to arrive.  I've also been working on a few pieces of furniture, and on the stone for the mausoleum (which, in response to a question in the comments, will also be made from egg cartons--but slightly differently than before; a separate post on that topic is to come).

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Mausoleum Shell, Phase I

Now that I'm working on the interior of the Laurel, there's a lot of down time while I let things dry, etc.  In particular, the living room floor has taken FOREVER to dry.  So I figured that, rather than sitting there looking at it and feeling annoyed, I'd work on my side project.  I usually have one, for just this reason.  And also because working on one thing without a break can get boring.

I have quite a lot to say about why I find the architecture of mausoleums fascinating, but it's fairly boring to listen to unless you like to nerd out about architecture, so I'll just skip to the part where I explain that I decided to build one from scratch using some left over materials I had lying around.  I had a couple of new stone techniques to try out, and there are a couple of real life mausoleums that have inspired this project and that inspired me in general. 

The mausoleum is going to be fairly detailed when it's done; I'm working on the door right now, which will be aged bronze with a bas relief, and on a couple of sculptural elements (including for the main tomb on the inside).  

Here's what I have so far...