Saturday, 1 April 2017

Tips, Tricks and cheats

Some of the following may be repeats from earlier posts, but not everyone faithfully follows every syllable I utter so I just keep recording what I am doing  as I do it and, now and then, I repeat myself.  Hopefully there is something new here, or a timely reminder for my constant companions.

If, like me, you hate fringes on rugs and want to get rid of them I have figured out a nice quick solution.  Until this rug I have used PVA glue or Fray Stop or Mod Podge and spent many a jolly moment waiting for it to tack up sufficiently to hold down the edge when I folded it over or cut it off.  Here's a faster way.....
chop off the fringe pretty near the white selvedge

run a strip of narrow double sided sticky tape across the edge on the reverse of course

carefully fold over and stick down the edge and add a bit of black felt tip pen along the edge to make sure the white band doesn't show when you flip the rug

et voila, a fringe-less rug.

I don't recommend this on real-life valuable Persian rugs if you have any!!

I then turned my attention to the neat little mirror I bought from Elite Petite.  

I like how thin the frame is

I used my favourite gold leaf pen to 'paint' it as I didn't want the grooves to gum up with paint.

just checking the height of the mirror

I have a superb 'how-to' which I have had for many years about how to hang pictures and mirrors - no idea where I got it from - it has no references on it regarding its origin.  I will scan it and blog it for you if I can find it.  The basic premise is, that art work should be hung with its centre at 60" (five feet/1.5m) to enable the viewer to look into the picture and not have to look up or down too much.  This also applies to mirrors.  Clearly there will be all kinds of exceptions to this, such as its placement in the room in relation to various piece of furniture.  As you can see my mirror is a little high (she is 5' 6", if scaled up) but it would look odd touching the mantle piece.

My next job for the day was to get on with lighting, papering and flooring the corridor behind the library.  I intend to have a door open to a corridor to add to the illusion of seeing the rest of the house behind this front slice.

Look carefully and you can pencil marks showing where the two walls will go and the four inch corridor space that will reside behind the library wall.   The tape is covering the wires from the light in the room below.

Let's light the corridor space.

Full size template of the area

I always use templates rather than measuring - saves a huge amount of time and mistakes.  The areas are never perfectly rectangular with nice, tidy ninety degree corners - a template doesn't care. So make a template the exact shape of the floor area you are working with.  This time I made it out of fairly stiff card which was nice to work with as it always kept its shape perfectly (of course).

I imagined the floor template to also be the ceiling above that corridor and I figured out where I wanted the light to go; I measured, marked and drilled a hole through the cardboard.  The sponge went underneath to drill into.
Template moved to the floor above, the wooden floor shows the corridor below
The template then moved to the floor above and was pushed snugly into the corner and against the back wall;  I marked through the hole with a pencil, removed the template and drilled a hole through the floor.  You then need to cut a groove for the wires to exit the back of the house and a corresponding hole through the back of the house.

simple bulb

I first fitted a light I don't want to use any where but it had a thick lampshade which soaked up a lot of the light.  I always have two or three spare wired bulbs in my leccy box so I wheeled one of those out instead as this light will never be seen.

couple of findings

I wanted something to stop the bulb just being pulled through the hole so I had a rummage through my findings box.  Either of these would work fine.  The hole is small enough to let the wires through but the rest then acts as a stopper against the drilled hole preventing the bulb going through.  You can use anything when its not being seen, even something like a shirt button would do

I went with the eyelet

Actually looks like a ceiling fitting, how cute.

Thread the wires through the hole at the back of the house; add enough tension to make the wires lie flat in the groove and tape down with masking tape.

Now I was off to sort the corridor wall and the floor.

The four inch space is the equivalent of a full corridor width and my original intention was to just paper the visible wall, add skirting, cornice and some flooring.  I tried various wall papers but the space was just 'boring' and I realised that if we followed the staircase as suggested by the trompe-l'oeil on the ground floor then it would also be visible in this space.  This small isolated corridor would make no sense as it is doesn't access the rest of the house in any way. 

A massive web search for an appropriate photo then ate up a lot of the day - this is how my play days often bowl along.  Meanwhile I could use the time usefully.  I cut the real wood sheeting that I use for the floors and applied a thin coat of silk (water based) varnish.  It was left to dry whilst I trawled the web and then it was rubbed down with painter's sponge and a second coat of varnish was applied.

unvarnished wood, varnished wood, painter's sponge

When it was dry I used double-sided tape to stick it in place.  This method makes the floor easy to remove should I need to.

occasional strips of double sided tape.

I used the photo I had clipped from somewhere and copied it to a word document which makes resizing it very easy as it is a simple drag from one corner until (in this case) it filled the A4 sheet.  The handy tip here is to use a good quality paper, or photo paper (matt not glossy of course) or even card.  I forgot this and printed the first one on the usual fairly cheap paper we generally use.  I spread wallpaper glue on the back and pasted it up.  The inks leached and bled and did all sorts of nasty things.  So - use a decent paper and/or use a spray mount glue if you have it - or, if like me you don't - use Pritt glue for the back so the paper doesn't get wet.

Trompe l'oeil - So far so good

My last task of the day was to take an internal door apart ready for painting.  It needs to go on the back of the wall before I put the wall in place.  Even this is a handy tip.  I have done several walls and then remembered the doors and you can bet they need to go in behind the wall so that the door opens the way you want it to.  It is a fun game fiddling a door and frame through a gap, smothered in glue, setting it upright and pulling it into place and trying to press all its edges down from the inside out.
Not this time, I have remembered to fix it in before the wall goes up.

First thing is to dismantle it.  Not especially easy to do without damaging it.  having said that I have always managed it.

Use a craft knife to cut and prise and push one of the bottom joints apart

The other side will now snap off easily

Gently pull the door out from the top

I am sure most people will just crack on and paint the doors without all this fuss but I hate the way you can't get into the door jamb properly with it fixed in place and I would much rather attack it this way.

Bit of a footnote - no pun intended - this is a handy little step stool for reaching the top of your house:

Roughly a foot square when closed, snaps open and cost about seven pounds in a sale, I think from Lakeland but I have seen them cheaper elsewhere.

So.... I hope there is something useful in all of this somewhere for you and you liked following a day in the life of........



  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Big thank for your thank you. It means a lot. I love writing so its no hardship and I like to keep a record for myself to look back on, especially as any finished house has to give way to the next so all I have then is its blog and the photos. Big bonus is if it helps any one in any way. Marilyn

  2. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into these post. I glean so much from them. I look forward to how the corridor turns out.

    1. Apologies my reply to you seems to have flown to the space above!!! M

    2. No worries! I accidentally replied using my business account rather than my personal. I'm a Americana artist who has caught the Mini bug and soaking up everything 1:12 at the moment. Your blog is simply brilliant. Thank you again!

  3. Great tips, Marilyn! I'm looking forward to seeing the stair wall through the door!

  4. Hi Marilyn! I have to agree with your thoughts on rug fringe, I'm not a big fan of it either however I LOVE your solution of trimming it back and folding it over and finishing the edge with felt pen- Cheap and Easy!
    Also have to commend you on finding the ideal photo to use as your hallway backdrop. The perspective is SPOT ON and so is its style and its color!


    1. The picture took a lot of trawling, there were so many things to get right but it does work in my head. I have done a similar thing in the entrance hall downstairs so with these two doors open you should get a sense of the rest of the house behind and an inner staircase. That's the plan any way. M

  5. Hello Marilyn,
    What a great post. You really do give very good tips and information. I just might try your rug tip! I also think templates are the best and safest way to go!
    Big hug

    1. Just think templates save so much fiddly measuring in small spaces, much easier. We are all very naughty chopping off those fringes any decent Persian rug of its time would have one but I have always hated them in real life. They go so scruffy!!! M