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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Let's Get it Started!

Today's inspirational music:

With the boring inventory behind me and the missing parts on the way - according to a prompt email response from Jennifer at Real Good Toys - I could finally start building!

The very first step, per the directions, was as follows:
"Square the corners of the window, door, and stair holes with a utility knife - each cutout has a rounded corner left over from the tool that made it - so the window, door, or stairs will fit."
The question that immediately sprang to my mind was, "Why the hell didn't THEY square the corners of the damn holes?" I mentioned this to my husband Bob. He immediately volunteered to tackle this job for me, probably envisioning a frantic ride to the emergency room with one or more of my severed fingers in a zip-loc bag full of ice on the seat between us. The milled plywood pieces are really hard and dense, and even Bob found the cuts difficult to make, but now the windows can be recessed into the holes as they should be, like this:

Squaring the opening allows the window to fit properly

At least I was able to spare Bob from having to square the stair holes. I don't want stairs in my Miniature House.  Some models have a hallway to contain the staircases, which looks right.  Here is an example:

Real Good Toys "Foxhall Manor"  with stairs contained
in a hallway, as God intended. From

But in my model, like many others, the stairs rise unnaturally from within the rooms.  Did you ever walk across your bedroom and descend through a hole in the floor right into your dining room?  Me either.

Real Good Toys "Strawberry Patch" with oddly
situated stairs and landings. From 
So I hate the stairs, plus they take up valuable real estate that could otherwise be filled with furniture and cool miniature things, and they must be eliminated.  I was amused by Bob's strongly negative reaction to the idea. "How could you not have stairs? A house has to have stairs." I guess he was concerned about how the nonexistent dolls would navigate between the floors. But he promised to get plywood and cut two replacement boards for me. We both agreed this is the best way to solve the problem of gaping holes that would otherwise be left in the second and third floors.

Here are the boards that needed to be
replaced, showing the stairholes.
Bob rejected - with much ridicule - my suggestion of filling in the holes with spackle. Okay, maybe it was a dopey idea but in my defense, I thought I could cover them over with flooring and ceiling materials. I didn't plan to leave big white wads of dried spackle in the middle of the house.

In the meantime, I had LOTS of priming to do, so I got to it.  At the suggestion of the nice ladies at Circus Dollhouse, I went to the dollar store and bought a whole bunch of these kits, which include roller, brush, and tray and are an amazing deal.

Dollar store painting kit

The foam roller is perfect for painting the larger pieces of a Miniature House. Since latex paint is water-based, the rollers can be easily rinsed cleaned and used over and over again, or until they fall apart - what do you want for a dollar?  The paintbrush turned out to be worthless for painting, but I found an excellent use for it - whisking off any dust from the parts prior to painting. 

Armed with my cheap gear and a gallon of primer, I primed the fronts of all the clapoard pieces, the underframe, the attic gable, and back top and bottom walls.

I am grateful now that Bob has stoically withstood my years of nagging him to finish the basement. Otherwise I don't know how I would possibly be able to build this Miniature House. Our basement is big, and the project has already expanded to fill almost all available space. And since it's already a  mess, I can fling my tools around and gleefully splatter primer everywhere without worrying.

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