Tuesday, 3 March 2020

Thinking out loud

Yet again no sharing of progress on the house as there hasn't been any other than the window frames..... but I am missing doing my blog so I will have to pester you with something and I wondered if I could persuade you to read a piece about how I am not doing anything.

Maybe not as daft as it sounds.  I talk back and forth with a couple of mini folk who are just setting out on the journey and I wondered if reading blogs is always helpful or comforting if you are feeling swamped by what's ahead.  Quite rightly we all tend to share our successes and in some people's cases absolutely amazing work and that's just as it should be.  I suspect though if you read too many of those posts, it is easy to think I can't do that and give up there and then.  I do hope not, those posts are there to inspire and help you forward, not to make a barrier.

So....... this post is to share just how much I am failing right now after six years of doing this.

Probably the biggest issue right now is that I invented a stupid idea (and yes, it was a stupid idea) of trying to improve the look of the plain windows and make them look as though they are Georgian sash windows.  This entails adding two (rather than the required one) pieces of laminate for the glass windows and then laboriously sticking eighteen fiddly pieces of wood on the acetate to make (additional) window frames.  This is after painting strips of wood and then accurately cutting out and shaping these eighteen pieces.  The wood has proven to be as hard to cut as concrete.  You also have to be extra  careful when messing with glazing as you don't want any glue to show.Take this and multiply it by the sixteen windows I have to do and I already have a task on hand.  Go no further than this to see this was a stupid idea but of course I did just the one window first to see if I liked the effect and thought - 'brilliant, I'll do that!' and then I couldn't go back.



inside before

inside after

This then leads to the windows inside the house floating in space and needing a sill to sit on so, further down the line, I will need to paint and cut and shape and stick in place window sills.  Next piece of bad judgement I spent money on buying a lot of door frame/window frame trims to put round the windows to help the reality kick in some more; requiring a ton more painting and cutting and gluing.  Luckily I have realised these will be covered completely by the curtains which I now have to make for the fourth wall to keep going with this idiotic idea, so I can ditch that performance and just weep over a mass of very nice trims I don't need.

With all that in the 'bad girl' pot you would think I could just crack on and get it done but, no, gentle reader I am suffering from winter blues and am too fed up to even try very much.  Sitting on the sofa and reading a book seems like a challenge.

In this state I decided to give myself a break and get out a furniture kit to make a matching Duncan Phyfe seat for the music room - I liked doing that I remember.  I got as far as undoing the box.

Oh, yippee, a curtain fabric sample has arrived to cheer me up - I was planning on a bit of an overspend on some silk taffeta because I have been on a very, very looooooong search for just the right fabric for the music room (silk, fine grey and white stripes) and I thought I had finally found it.  The sample is here and it is perfect.  Cheered by this, off I went to my computer  to order 0.3 metre only to discover at checkout they want £17.50 for postage -  whaaaaat????   When I have recovered sufficiently, in a couple of days, I will go back and maybe email them and see what we can do - I suspect they are used to shipping thirty metres at a time to folks doing real things with their silk.

For lack of better things to do I decided to try it in the pretty pleater I bought - 'it does what it says on the tin' - it pleats beautifully and I can see all sorts of uses for it, but not what I want which is softly falling silk drapes.  Back to the drawing board again.

definitely pleated

I then remembered getting a good result by just just pinning fabric when I did some previous stuff so I thought I would remind myself and see if I still liked them now I am further down the line and a lot more picky.

I have spent a good chunk of today going through previous builds trying to find pictures of fabric stuff I remember doing, especially curtains.  Like Pam Ayres 'Oh, I wish I'd looked after me teeth' I wish I had given more thought to how I might find things from my blogs easily.  I am now dreaming of having a big sort out and maybe starting a new blog just called 'How-to' where I could gather such things together and then preach on about how great I was at making a fireplace or roof or whatever.  If I do manage this, I suspect soft furnishings won't make it to the lectures.

pinned, draped and steam ironed

Good result.  I still love these cupboards in 'Chocolat'
The rest of these photos are from 'Wentworth'

my first roller blind - its OK but I have improved on that
not badly done, but way too fussy for my taste now

wrong choice of fabric this time - they resisted everything

better but still stiff as a plank - looks like I did use a pleater of some sort??

I found some nice bedding to cheer me up; too unnatural for me nowadays.

I dressed the bed upside down, makes me laugh every time I see this

remade the bedding the right way up and with a different choice of fabrics

Nothing in that search made me go whoopy-do or gives me confidence for the nine (or thirteen) sets of curtains I will be doing on this project.  That will be some learning curve.

So, here I sit with my work area littered with bits of window wood and accoutrements, an open furniture kit, bits of fabric, a pretty pleater and..... a birthday card .....something else I should be doing.

Newbies:  Take heart it is not all hunky-dory and perfection out there and many of us get our unproductive stretches BUT this is not a chore like cleaning the bathroom, this is a hobby and will give us much joy when we let it.


  1. Long deep sigh. Windows are a pane, rather pain. So you are on right path to do a few now and a few later. While that stretches out the project, it does help. For me, it's a roof, a very large roof. I did buy the stains that you recommended using on the HOM kits and I think I will use one on the roof, though I worry that it might curl the thin shingles, so I am procrastinating. And the roof has a major building flaw that worries me. So see you are not alone. Blogging --or simply writing--does help to get things off our chests and then we learn that others have issues too and we are in good company.

    1. Thank you Ann, Being English I get to do slates on my roof but its the same difference except of course I don't have to stain them. I don't envy you that task. Can you tip stain in a bowl and just chuck the shingles in and stir then lay out on kitchen paper or something? Then waxed paper and flatten with cutting boards and piles of books on top. Why am I telling you this - you do shingles I do slates. You obviously have got this. Ahhh on rereading it seems the shingles are already on the roof - now I understand the trepidation. Very thin coat and wipe off as yu go - you can always add another coat when the first is dry????? I do agree that seeing your mithers on paper helps a lot to stop them running round inside the head, so thank you for your patience.

  2. Don't be intimidated by the fact that artisans post mostly only their success stories on social media. We all know that a lot of experimenting and hard work makes that one perfect photo!
    Also don't be fooled by the number of posts from some people. When they don't have anything new to post, they often show us retrospectives (just like you did today). It's absolutely fine to do this, no one has seen or can remember every little thing you've made.
    Good luck with those windows! My two suggestions for getting it done:
    1. Break the process up into manageable bits i.e. cut all the wood, then paint all the pieces, then start assembling. If you don't look at the big picture all at once, it will become better.
    2. Can you make a template or jig and pre-assemble some of the pieces before sticking it to the acetate? I would for instance make a grid on a sheet of paper, cover it with a sheet cling wrap or wax paper, glue my pieces accurately into position, then peel it off the plastic and stick it to the acetate. Less risk of getting glue where you don't want it.

    1. Thank you Megan for being here. I am doing my best to eat the elephant one bite at a time but that is alien to my 'get it done' personality. I began with constructing the frames off site and that is how I got lured into this. I started with the dormer windows and was able to make the frames and stick them on in one go so, as you say, it wasn't too bad a job. After I had done those three I was on to the house windows proper. The bars are less than one eighth of an inch wide and need to be set precisely on top of each other and the house frames seem to have gone in with some differences and the stucco paint around the external frames is (quite rightly) bumpy and knocks things off some more so it is a case of matching one bit at a time. Thank you for being positive about a whiny moan I wanted to write and I genuinely did think it might reassure newbies that most of us get bored/worried/off put at times and, hopefully, when I am back in the race they will see that it passes and the joy returns. Marilyn

  3. Lovely to hear from you again. You have helped me in so many ways while building my house. Please give a second thought to soft furnishings, I need all the help I can get, as i'm sure lots of others who share this hobby do. XX ,

    1. Ah Judy, thank you. This comment section on the blog means a lot. Some of us need approbation (I know that sounds a bit pathetic but its not meant to be) basically we need a lift now and then to get on with a task. last month two and a half thousand people read this blog but only a handful of brave souls stop by to say hello (and more). I especially love to hear it is helping you with tasks. I am a great believer in not re-inventing the wheel - let someone who has found some of the problems show them you and you then have choices on how to go about things without having to waste time and money and materials finding something that doesn't work. That's what I am about. As for curtains and a few cushions they will certainly appear some time. Marilyn

  4. Just remember for every 'published' success there are about five fails to teach us what doesn't work. I suspect that if we all posted every fail we'd get extremely discouraged 'Nothing Works!' syndrome.

    I'm with you. Sitting and reading feels a little too difficult at the moment.

    1. Thanks Sheila, I am OK with the actual fail just getting a bit fed up with myself for not just cracking on with it. I am currently planning on giving my Sunday to it and see what that brings. Marilyn

  5. I screech to a stop when I read that you feel as though you are failing because you are definitely quite accomplished in creating beautiful and beautifully furnished dollhouses. And also I know the feeling with my own challenging attempts to do things realistically just beyond my knowledge or comfort zone. It is encouraging to hear that, for most of us, all of the complicated and intricate tasks required to make a great dollhouse are not easy and that we often struggle. But if we are honest with ourselves we know that if we only take the easy route we are not quite satisfied with our efforts. I found with the New Orleans kit that I had to put it on hold for a year and a half in order to muster the confidence to take on the really challenging corners I had painted myself into. So really what I am saying is we have all been here, newby or seasoned, thank you for your honesty, and you will tackle these excruciatingly fiddly windows exactly when you're really ready. And also it really is okay to have some other fun thing going on the side until you are ready.

    1. Oh my word Jodi trying to imagine you stumped or fed up with a project takes a lot of doing. I wonder if anyone just sails through smiling non stop. 😄. I am definitely going to just ignore it for a while and have fun setting up and photographing rooms for a couple of days. See you soon back here with good stuff hopefully. Marilyn

  6. Hi Marilyn. We have all been here. And for the record, I really enjoyed reading this post. Sometimes I just don’t need detailed posts on how something was made. I want the truth and to know I’m not alone. It can be really hard to find enthusiasm for the parts of a build that are tedious. Sometimes I find a task therapeutic or fun and other times I find it tedious. Don’t force it. You will reach a point when you want to get the jobs done and you will do them and move on. Same with your curtains. At some point, you will work it out. And does it have to be decided now? Give it time. You’ll get there. X

    1. Thanks Shannon, well said....,'does it have to be decided now'.... I am definitely going with that mantra and just simply shaking off the annoying stuff for a while and have a look through my stash and see what I can put where. I also want to look around for and then make some pictures for various rooms. Marilyn

  7. I’m right with you on the winter blues bit Marilyn...I’m in the thick of it just now, where everything seems a chore, even the minis....since my wall lights blunder I’ve not done a thing....
    I love your ‘improving the windows idea’ but totally understand your reluctance in getting it done - but you’ll get there.
    I really enjoy your blogs, minis, your attention to detail and accuracy, the whole way you work is amazing. Thankyou for sharing. X

    1. Ah Kath you give me renewed hope. Not nice my clinging to the fact you aren't being productive either but I find it soothing to know it isn't just me and worse still. it's not just me being lazy. I have fought the idea that I have 'dips' of depression for many years having been raised in a time when you were just told to 'get a grip of yourself' and 'get on with it' Thank heaven times are more understanding now of how that just isn't a possibility sometimes. The sight of a couple of days of blue skies helps a little. Marilyn Thank you also for the compliments - they help too.

  8. For some (now resolved) reason I was not able to comment when I first read your post last week. I am sorry to hear you are having a 'blue-mini-moment' but this is a fabulous post, thank you! It is so easy to forget that we all have these ups and downs and it is so very, very hard to share the less creative and productive moments and for that I truly applaud you.
    Sending sunshine and warm winds your way from OZ, hoping that spring will bring out renewed energy.
    Hugs, Anna

    1. Thank you Anna. I just needed to 'talk' minis and had no progress to share and felt generally down so thought maybe a mini sharer could share some despondency and then if others get it they may not feel as though its just them. Oh, I so wish I could feel that warm breeze. Spring is sprunging so not long now before the tug of war between mini fettling and garden sorting.


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