Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Making Progress.....




But Not Where You'd Think.....

Well, Dear Readers, I have to confess, sometimes I have no idea where my projects will lead me next! I have so many of them in partly finished condition, all halted for one reason or another, and all waiting for my ideas to catch up with my abilities.... or my abilities to catch up with my ideas! Above you can see the Folly Living Room bathed in rare morning sunlight and clearly revealing the entirely irregular and unfinished window curtains. Or it would if Will were not standing in the way! Some of you might recall that The Folly was the first dollhouse project I started when I returned to making miniatures .... Ten years ago this month! I have sporadically added to and improved on it since then, but the Living Room has remained essentially the same for many years now... with incomplete curtains tacked up with thumb-tacks and the gold fringe pinned "temporarily" in place. In fact, the entire roll of gold braid has been draped across the floor and out of the room all this time as I had been unwilling to commit to cutting it at an incorrect length...! The problem lay in my not being sure what method to use to ensure that the curtains would "drape" realistically! The fabric I had chosen was a heavy ornate brocaded satin which I love because it is that beautiful royal blue and the flowers on it are lush and gilded and oriental and a brilliant carmine just like the walls in this room! Where would I ever find a better pattern to go with this overly ornate Regency style Living Room?


I had read on other blogs about using hairspray and pins, or soaking the fabric in a mixture of water and glue and shaping it before it dried..... but  I was worried that such treatment would ruin the gloss of the satin and besides... I wanted my curtains to be able to open and close on real curtain rods! While I was busy making the tiny curtains for the Secret Christmas House last summer, I finally decided to test the fabric in the water and glue mixture..... the results are pinned to the small window behind Will. I was right, it ruined the gloss of the satin and completely altered the color of the blue. That method clearly would not do! But there was a less frequently mentioned method I had read about that involved stitching wires into the hems to make them "pose-able", and as you know from my recent post about the curtains for the Hardwick Hall Attic window nook, I found that method to be quite successful! So why shouldn't I try it on the curtains for The Folly Living Room too? Well, one reason was that being able to reach inside The Folly Living Room would require moving the house..... not a simple thing in my overcrowded and messy workroom! But bit by bit I packed and cleaned and rearranged all the accumulated partly done projects and detritus for same, and moved The Folly to where I can reach inside the rooms!

Here it is at the working end of my Worktable....

Here I have begun to remove the pieces in the way.... 
 as well as those "test" curtains which had been there for a long time!
Another thing which I had made ages ago, Dear Readers,
was the "Pelmet" for the small window on the far wall...
Which you can see here in all it's ornate gilded glory!

This would cover the top of the curtain, 
hiding the rods and rings... and adding to the Regency flair of this room.
And part of my problem was not knowing how
 to make this design work on the much wider window on the side wall...
I had even made most of the pelmet for that window ages ago! 
Just not the crowning pieces... 
how to have the same shape but over a wider expanse...


Suddenly last weekend I figured out
 that the Pelmet just needed "finials" at either end....
Which you can see being painted above.

And another problem was how to attach the curtain rod holders....
 because the walls on this kit are very thin!
But once I had the room open
 and was measuring where they would go, 
I realized that the exterior window trims
 were deep enough to take the screw eye....

The first one is installed above....

And the second one, with the curtain rod in place... 
it is the same wire coat hanger that 
I used for the Hardwick Hall curtains.

And then we have to test the Pelmet... 
because it is a bit tricky to align ... 
it slides onto the curtain rod too.... 
and we have to make sure this idea will work!
It does!
It was also crucial to be able to measure
 the exact length of the curtains... 
which couldn't be done until the rod was actually in place!

Here I am testing the first panel... 
it has been hemmed with the wire on three sides
 as with the Hardwick Hall curtains.

And with the gold braid fringe added....
(Yes, the daylight is fading....)
but we must try it with the Pelmet.....

Which you can hardly see! 
But never mind, 
I am quickly sewing the second curtain panel....

Which you can see here.... with the lights on.....
Oh, Dear Readers, I am liking this very much!

Except I didn't like the "puffy" un-pleated middle of the curtains.... 
which was something I had worried about with this method.....
 and decided to try gently ironing the "pleats" into the drapes....


This is much better!

I think they look Wonderful in this room!
Oh, but let's try the Pelmet.....

And the furniture too...!
Now That is looking like I had hoped it would!

With the rest of the furnishings.....

With a glance to the ceiling above.....
(This was my very first painted ceiling!)
So, where do we go from here...?

Well, there is that other window..... 
which still does not even have it's trim added!
But I have made the Pelmet......

And I know exactly how I will make the curtains!
 It shouldn't take me very long!

So it seems we are making Progress, Dear Readers,
Just not where I expected I would!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Sunlight.....




Bolsters and Hinges.....

There was a brief moment of Sunlight on Saturday, Dear Readers, that illuminated all my work in such a way as to make it Clear to See.... even in the dark corners! Inviting us to come closer and spend some time in the window seat on a sunny morning! You might not notice, but I have sewn a matching pair of bolsters for the window seat.... tucked in behind the curtain.

Perhaps you can see it a little better from this angle? 
It is large and solid enough to lean against while reading.
And perhaps you will not mind seeing the Living room
 also bathed in morning sunshine....

Allowing a clear view of all those unfinished parts!
But we will not dwell on that... 
come have a look in the Kitchen too!

Nothing is finished or attached... 
but being tested for space and placement.
It always amazes me how much the sunlight reveals!
But we are getting ahead of ourselves.... 
the Attic is where I am working!

I only had enough time on Saturday
 to make the second of the pair of bolsters.
But by then it was too dark to get any pictures until Sunday morning,
 and even then it was no longer sunny but starting to snow...

Even with some artificial light added, it is difficult to see.

But you can see the bolsters tucked into the corners
 if I pull the curtains aside!
And you can also see one of the Tiny Dolls visiting....
 her name is Heather, and she hasn't yet caught up
 with her sisters Little Rose and Sweet Pea.... 
but more on that another time!
Because what I really want
 to show you, Dear Readers,
 is the Hinges!
You may have noticed that this Attic
 also has two smaller window alcoves on the side walls,
 and they also are Begging for window seats!
 
Here you can see one of the alcoves with the bench seat just begun.
These alcoves are much smaller than the one in the back of the room, 
and the windows are lower too. 
Which means the bench seat has to be lower as well.
I really wanted to make use of the area
 under the window seat for storage... 
and debated for the longest time
 whether to build a drawer under the seat,
 or hinge the seat to make a "storage chest" under the seat.
Well, if you know me, Dear Readers, 
you will know that the hinges won!
(I do love hinges!)


I needed to construct the framework that the lid hinges on,
 which needed to be fairly sturdy
 and also allow for the lid to swing up
 with out scraping against the side walls.
Above you can see I am attaching the hinges.... 
tiny nails and a dab of superglue.

Here I am testing it for fit in the alcove  prior to attaching it.
(I know, it is really dark again!)
These kits never go together squarely... 
so the fit was a little bit off....
But extra cracks in an old house are to be expected!
And the hinges work!!!
 
I know it is really dark.... 
I hope you can see that the seat is open!

And while I was building those hinged bench seats,
 I was also adding all the trim
 that covers all those horrid tabs
 and the cracks in all the corners.....

It is really challenging to get these tabbed sections to go together right...
 the gaps are really large in places!

If you are not papering the walls, 
all these corners need to be covered somehow!


Here you can see it with the spotlight on...
The trim on the facing wall will be added when the bookshelves are built.

See... it opens!

What a perfect place for storing extra blankets or cushions.... 
or hiding things you want to keep secret!

Because with the seat covered by a cushion.... 
you might never see there are hinges.....

But I will know they are there!
 
I have been Dreaming about these
 window benches for a Long Time Dear Readers!
And whether there is sunlight or not.... 
I will be playing with bolsters and Hinges!
(I can't tell you how much I Love Hinges!!!)


Monday, January 29, 2018

Windowseat Cushions




Working In the Dark.....

I am sure that most of you, Dear Readers, can relate to my current dilemma when it comes to dollhouse decor, that it is nearly impossible to see what you are doing in the deep dark back side of the room! Above you can see the attic of Hardwick Hall as it looks in the morning light (if dark gray mornings can be said to be light...!) and even though the dollhouse sits beside a window, not much light reaches the interior of the room. I know it is made more difficult by my choice of color... deep dark midnight blue is supposed to be deep and dark! And this is the atmosphere I am wanting... but it is darned difficult to see to measure and fit the pieces being worked on! I live in an older house, and don't have overhead lights in the room where I am building. Even when I shine a spotlight straight into the house... my own shadow gets in my way the minute I reach in to take a measurement.... *Sigh* So I am sure you will understand when the pieces I am making are not exactly precisely fitted!
But having realized that I must complete the seating area at the back of the room before I can make real progress on the parts that will be in the foreground, I was eager to begin with the seat cushion for the window seat bench, which was to be made of that lovely dark blue-green velvet!

Of course I forgot to take any pictures of the first steps.... 
here you can see it already stitched together and turned right side out.
 Because velvet is very "slippery" fabric, 
I am hand stitching the entire cushion.
And because I am planning to stitch
 the "welting" around the cushion edges, 
I was a little unsure of how much extra fabric
 to add for the seam allowances... 
so my starting measurements were rather "approximate"!

Here I have stitched the "welting" around all the edges... 
see how it shrinks the cushion a bit?

Here it is stuffed with several layers of cotton quilt batting...


Shouldn't we test it for fit on the bench...?
Can you see it in there... yes, it is night again...

Here I have added the tufting......
I wasn't sure whether that would make it wider,
 or tighten up the fabric making it narrower....?
Of course I didn't measure before and after so I will never know...!
But the truth is that the cushion was too wide
 for that narrow bench... 
no matter how much I scrunched it in there... 
it hung over the edge. 
So I decided to widen the bench seat just a little
 by adding an edge and facing trim.


I am sure you can see the seam above... 
but it will be covered by the cushion! No-one will ever know!

It helps... but it might not be quite enough....!
Perhaps we can see better by morning light...?
 
With some pillows borrowed for atmosphere....?
(I know... it's still too dark!)
But I really want to get started on the curtains for the alcove,
 Dear Readers, so I ignore the bench....

And start testing the fabric and trim ideas....
same velvet fabric and heavy gold braid fringe....
Sumptuous!

Can you imagine sitting in this window alcove on a dreary rainy day ....?
Just Daydreaming the day away....?

Here I am testing the beginning of the curtains....
 and in order to reach into this space 
I have disassembled the roof panels as well as the rafters
 so I can reach into the curtain rod... 
so I can slide the rings on and off.
In case you didn't know, Dear Readers,
 I like my curtains to "work" 
as in being able to slide open or closed!
I don't like the permanently glued in place option!
(With the exception of the 144th scale houses!)
So for these curtains I am trying a method I have read about but not tried.... 
of shaping the fabric by sewing wire into the hems of the curtain!
Above you can see the first panel being tested...(partly sewed)
 to see how the "pleats" will work with the wire in the hem....!
 I think it is working well!

Here you can see how I am stitching the paper covered florist wire
 into the hems of three sides of the curtain.... 
only leaving the wall side without wire
 as it will hang the most naturally by itself.
I am not double turning the hems because they would be too bulky,
 but am relying on the pinked edges to prevent fraying.

Once the hems have been sewn with the wire inside, 
I am testing the fringe.....
(I know it is too dark to see...!)

Here, I have turned on the spotlight....!

The fringe is attached.... 
you can see how the wire in the top edge
 can be bent to hold a pleat!

And testing the completed curtain.... yes, 
I deliberately made it long enough
 to drag and puddle on the floor!
I think that adds to the illusion of weight in the fabric.

And then repeat for the second curtain!

Ooohh... come closer!
I am liking this!
But all that deep dark hiding behind the curtains
 doesn't change the fact that the bench is still a bit too narrow!

I decide to widen it a tiny bit more.... 
and to decorate the front to look like carved paneling....
which will certainly distract the eye
 from spotting the too deep overhang...
(which still needs another layer of trim...)

But at least the cushion now fits the width of the bench!
(viewed from above... I know, it's dark again!)
 

And I have realized  it is a good thing the bench needed to be a bit wider...
 because when the built-in bookshelves are added at each side, 
the window seat will appear to be very deeply recessed!

What little of it you will be able to see...
 way back there behind the fireplace and the spiral stairs....

Perhaps that will just make it
 all the more mysterious and enticing, Dear Readers....
A Deep dark cushioned Windowseat....
A Place for working.. or Dreaming in the dark!