Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Discovery and Some Ponderings

Nope, no photos today, but soon. I'm working in the Dining Room, getting some things done before I have to attach the back wall and won't be able to reach inside, just as I had to do with the Parlor. I'm building the fireplace that will go on the inner wall and I'm actually using the one provided with the Garfield kit, though I'm adapting it to fit my whims. One of those whims was to find a marble printie to match the colors already in the trim on the floor. I found a beautiful Tennessee rose marble and, since I was born in Tennessee on this very day 59 years ago, I thought it would be appropriate. ( Yeah, yeah, it's my birthday, but that's not what this is about. ) I printed out the photo and was not happy with it. Since I just installed the photo printer to my computer, I sent the photo to that and got a picture that looks just like marble should, with the glossy look that is very lifelike. I feel like I just opened a new world for myself. Who knew??!! Anyway, that will be seen very soon here and, believe me, I'm pretty excited about it. Try it!! You'll like it.

The ponderings come from a friend of mine, who found a little chair at the Dollar Store and brought it to me to use. I hated to hurt her feelings, but it was only 2" real life, just 2 ' and not the right scale for my house, since there will be no child things in it. She did understand, but commented on how "picky" I can get about this Garfield. She's right, I AM picky, but I want it to be as close to perfect as it can be. I spend extra time on things like sanding, to assure no splinters; I don't install anything until I've looked at it long and hard; I'm a stickler for proportion; I worry over seams and cracks.

I've watched too many people hurry through building something, even saying it "only took a short time" to finish it. Usually, it shows, because their speed made it look a bit sloppy. Roughness in wood does show, no matter what's used to cover it, paint or stain. Using something not in scale makes the article look unreal and out of place. This marble I found has a vein that I'll have to avoid, as it's too large for 1:12 scale. Crown moulding and I have fights every time at the mitre point and I've wasted plenty a crown by it not looking neat.

Sorry, I don't mean to go off the wall there, but I'm pouring my heart into the Garfield and I am taking my time so that she will look the fine lady she's intended to be....Victorian Grace.

One more's raining here, a gentle and soaking rain that is restoring life to many things outdoors. It's literally saving a few lives in my own garden. But, it makes me think of those in the Gulf area and I pray that disaster is escaped with this Hurricane Gustav that threatens the area. I have family in Florida and Alabama and am so thankful they are safe from the horrors, though they will get some rain and wind. The misery of Katrina should never have to be repeated. ( As a side and happier note to that, my grandson, Mark, earned his Boy Scout Eagle Badge at the age of just 14 by helping families rebuild their households from that awful event. ) I hope all will be safe.

Enough........thank you for humoring me today and allowing me to think at you.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Dining Room Floor...Finally

After false starts, bad moves, poor results, tears, and a bit of swearing, I received some wonderful advice from Larry Marshall of "Woodnbits", whom I "met" through the Miniature Collectors Club, I have a beautiful floor for my Dining Room. It is not glued to the base as yet...much work to do before I make that important step, but I had to show it off and send kudos to Larry.
The floor is a mahogany veneer that I cut to shape, sanded clean, and stained with 3 coats of my favorite stain, Cabernet by Varathane. ( This stain will be prominent all through this house ) The border design and "medallion"are from my scrapbook supply...peel and stick trim. I love it's fact, I used it as crown moulding in my Alison, Jr. house. I had the problem, on the first attempt, of the Bullseye varnish drying with streaks and clots, bubbles and ridges. Pure T ugly and, after complaining about it through MCC, Larry suggested that I dilute the shellac with denatured alcohol in a 50-50 proportion. I mixed up the concoction and practiced on a scrap piece of wood and was delighted !! I was so cautious when I applied it to my already pretty floor, knowing, if it turned out wrong, I'd have a bad behavior. I knew immediately that I had a good thing happening. I quit at 2 coats. I was afraid to press my luck. I think it's perfect!
As you can see, this is another cranky spot in the Garfield Manor and I'll need to decorate the already attached wall around that awkward corner before I erect the outer walls. The small 3" edge leading to the side porch has a door I don't really care for, so I bought the Houseworks door with the 4 pane transom from my local Hobby Lobby and am altering that wall and the trim to the door to make it fit. It's going to take a few days to finagle it all, but I have all the supplies I'll need to get it adapted correctly and decorate the area.
I've also been working on the ceiling to the Dining Room and the floor to the 2nd story room above it.( not shown ) The floor is the store bought plank flooring, stained and beautifully shellaced with the same great results. The ceiling was another pistol. I wanted it to have the rough texture of plaster ( tiny orange peel look ) and bought some stuff at the hardware store that was a total bust. After cleaning off the wood and returning the product, I purchased Rust-oleum's multicolored textured paint...mixed tans...and sprayed on 3 coats. Awesome !!! and, again, I'm happy. Lots of work to do before it's ready for Show and Tell. I (underestimate ) a week before the room is finished.
As I've said several times before, the Garfield Manor has me fascinated and I hold myself captive in my spare room every chance I get, often ignoring chores and garden. The house seems to speak to me and tell me what it hopes I'll do with it. I have file folders full of ideas and hopes to turn this into the fine Victorian home it is meant to be. Many of you have sent me compliments and great words of encouragement and that just spurs me on to do this house justice. I do thank you for all your kind thoughts and, as always, am open to suggestions.
Until later............................

Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Garfield Manor's Dining Room photo today, but there's not much to see at this point. It's still in my mini-brain. After some thought on how to approach the Dining Room and putting a plan of action down on paper, subject to change, I'm sure, I've begun work on the Dining Room. In the plans, Greenleaf labeled this the Kitchen, but I prefer to ignore a Kitchen in this house, placing it in an unseen area, and am making this a Dining Room. It has an odd shape, just as the Parlor did, and will need to be decorated as it is built. There's an angle and small area in a corner that will be tough to get to if I put up all the walls first. I dislike the door provided and have purchased another with a window and transom above it that does not fit in the space provided.....I WAS aware of that at the time of purchase. I'll be playing with that wall to make it work.

But first, I'm tackling the floor. Initially, I sanded and stained the base flooring provided to see what it would look like and I hated it, which I kind of suspected I would, so went out and bought a sheet of 1/8" maghogny veneer. After looking at the grain, I felt it was too large to look real in the house, so I flipped it over to a smaller grain look. I made a pattern of the odd shaped floor, traced it on to the veneer, and cut her out. I've sanded it down to a fine smooth feel, dry fitted to the base and walls and am ready to stain it today. The dry fit caused some trimming to be done, especially at the tower area, needing the slots of the wall it slips into to be enlarged somewhat. It'll work and I am excited all over again!!!!

Tomorrow, probably, after I get the floor stained and glued down, I'll start back with the photos, making sure you can see the odd angles I have to play with in this room. I have so many ideas for this Dining Room and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Come Into My Parlor

I have finally finished my Parlor in the Garfield Manor ( almost ;) ) The design will stay as it is...left to do are tiny ( ha ) things, such as adding the carpet runner and post caps on the stairs, lighting, ceiling medallions. Those will be done much later, as I decorate.
The first photo shows the added fireplace in what the company called the dining room, but it is an extention of my Parlor. The door to the right of the fireplace is not glued in yet. It leads into what will be my dining room ( what the company called the kitchen ).
The second view is a broad shot, showing the stairs and partition, which are not glued in just yet, in case I need to get behind them still. Barely seen is beading across the top of the window seat/bay.
The third photo is just inside the front door, where you can see the window seat/entry bay and the understair closet. I plan on upholstering a cushion for the seat. There are a couple of little ribbon roses that will be pillows resting there.
Number four is the tower area which had called for window seats, but I chose to keep that as room area and placed window seats in the entry bay instead. The posts and fretwork were not part of the original plans.
And, the last photo is of the added fireplace, where a window had originally been. Remember, the company had a too small fireplace at the base of the stairs with no flue for the smoke to rise. I think it looks more practical.
I have never approached the building of a house like this...completing a room before the house itself. The entry area had to be completed first or I could not have accessed that area with the stairs in the way. I got carried away and did the entire room. I can see that same principle will be needed in a few other areas. I've, also, been more demanding of myself in this room, wanting the "out of ordinary" home. The Victorians loved an ornate decor and I want that to show here.
I'm ready to move on to the next step in building this beautiful Garfield, but I do not know what that step will be yet. I'm going to clean up my mess, re-organize my tool box, check my supplies, read the directions, and think, think, think. I am scrapbooking this house and want to update it to show the Parlor progress.
I am so delighted in the building of The Garfield Manor, thanking my luck finding this steal at the Goodwill store for $40. Currently, it's cost is about $175, including trim pieces and moulding, addition flooring and ceiling....half the cost of the house kit if bought brand new.
As always, I welcome your comments and suggestions, some of which are already incorporated in the design of the Parlor. To those of you who have already built the Garfield, or are in the process now, please let me see your photos or hear your own stories. Every little bit helps. I thank you for all your support so far. The fun will continue............

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Front Wall Interior

After being away from my worktable and blog for two weeks, it's good to put the mind to creative use. ( For those who don't already know, my husband was walking in a parking lot and struck by a 95 yr old woman...fractured collarbone, multiple bruises and scrapes, but there will be no lasting effects..Thank goodness. Needless to say, I was busy for a while ).
This is the front interior wall to my little house. The tower section calls for window seats, but I've chosen not to install those there. I made the fretwork divider from spare pieces of wood and posts in the wood box. I'd like to try and duplicate the look in the bay window that'll be to the right of this photo, which is what I'm working on now. I am still ( forever ) working on trim pieces, but I'm so delighted with this wall that I just wanted to share it with you today.
I am working slower than I usually do, wanting everything to be perfect. I hope you like it.
Kitty has joined my staff as model. I hope you like her, too.