Sunday, January 30, 2011

Progress on Two Fronts

FH and I were preparing for more snow (possibly another 18" by Wednesday) so I didn't get as much done on the Porch as I had planned. However the interior is almost done. I still need to paint the interior door and window trim, install it, and paint/install some baseboard on the window wall. I'm only bothering with those details because their absence could be seen if someone looks in the windows.

As far as the exterior goes, I've put down a coat of grey paint and gathered materials to build a stone and slate porch. I still need to figure out what I want to do for porch railing. I also need to build a set of steps up to the porch and finish the step up to the door.

The other bit of progress is on Aunt Rose's cross stitch. I'm heading back to work on it some more now.
There should be more progress on both pieces while the snow flies during the week.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Painted Plus

With the help of my committee (FH, Brad, Castor) I picked the green.  One coat was put on last night and a second one this morning.  The door is stained with rosewood.  Its frame needs at least one more coat of white though.

I also cut some foam board to see about using it for the interior back and side walls.  I'm honestly not too sure about it, I'd much rather use wood.  But that comes with it's own issues too.  For the moment it's nice to use for placement of interior details.
I'm adding these two doors on the inside to give the illusion of the house being bigger.  The door on the back wall may get centered on the middle window.  Still playing with that one.

I have wall paper picked out but haven't decided about either the inside or outside floors.  Of course I can't do anything with it until I decide what to do about the back wall.

I saved the best for last.  Katie sent me a little something in the mail.  Two adorable signs which I have homes in mind for already.

The cupcake sign belongs in a bakery.  It's too perfect!  The other one will either go into Shabby Chic or the inside of the Porch scene until the Big Dollhouse is finished.  Thanks so much, Katie!  These really made me smile today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wednesday's Adventures

Last night FH brought me a present.  Meet Ralph.  Apparently there were no more Rottie dog ornaments left, but he rescued Ralph for me.
We also narrowed down some possible color choices for the siding.  I'm leaning towards the yellow but I still like the blue and green.  The rejected colors have X's through them.
After that hard work I gave up, went upstairs, and made some bread pudding.

It was extra rich with a little bit of cream drizzled on top.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Porch Progress and A New Helper

I braved the cold long enough to use a hand saw in the garage.  It would have taken me longer to unearth the table saw, set it up, use it for the few cuts I needed to make, clean up, and put it away again.  Sometimes low-tech is just easier.

Now I have a base for the porch to set on.  It's big enough to allow me some room on the "inside" of the house to put a few things and still have a nice amount of room for the outside.  The front of the base will be covered with lattice, which will cover up the nail issues nicely.  In case you're wondering, the nails were just a nice way to give the wood glue some more strength.  I was really missing Brad's shop with heat and a nail gun....

As you can see, I have acquired a new helper.  His name is Jake and he used to be a Christmas ornament that I discovered in the clearance section at Hallmark Monday night.  FH wasn't certain he was the correct size until I got him home and proved it with a ruler.  Rottie dogs are (on average) 22"-27" at the withers, which makes Jake just the right size.  I really want to go back and get the other ones I saw since the scale is so perfect.  There was a German Shepard Dog that was the correct size too.  Maddie is really hoping I can bring them home too.  She's quite found of animals but thinks we already have too many mini cats.

Back to the porch. 

The outer walls, windows, and door have been coated in gesso.  The crackle effect on the walls has been covered nicely.  Now I need to decide what color to paint everything.  I'm going to stain the door, but I haven't picked a color yet.  I'm leaning towards rosewood though.  Once that's done I can start experimenting with ways to make the back wall section with what I have on hand.  I will also need to cut a new roof section as the original just is not long enough.

Oh and for anyone who is interested, the original kit is by Real Good Toys and is #1329, the Four Seasons Porch.  I think I'm actually only using the walls and step.  No idea what I'll do with the original roof and base.  They're made of MDF and not really useful for much else.  That's all for today.  I need to go through the paint and stain colors and then get back to Aunt Rose's cross stitch this evening.  More to come!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Filling in for Mom

Castor here.  Mom's still a little sad from her friend's funeral today.

 So here are some neat pictures Dad took this morning of turkeys in the yard.  One even came right up to the house!  It was really neat.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Loss for the MIniature Community

IGMA Artisan Pearl Jordan of Wee Willie Winkie's Dolls has passed away.

Pearl is best known for her recreation of the "All In the Family" set and other character dolls based on celebrities including Sammy Davis, Jr.

Pearl was a longtime member of the Peoria Area Miniature Society where I had the absolute pleasure of meeting her.  She also made the best mac'n'cheese I had ever eaten.

Her website is still active for now, so I highly recommend taking a tour if you have never seen her awesome work.

Godspeed, Pearl.  Your laugh, creativity, and kindness will be missed.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time for Another Lazy Weekend

At least for the kitties... and FH.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Whispers from the Work Room

It started as a series of subtle whispers whenever I was in the basement.  Then it morphed into a desire to tackle my work table in the miniature area.

A while back a friend found this front porch kit at a resale shop and gave it to me.
I had contemplated building it into the hutch in the guest bathroom at the old house.  Now we don't have that hutch anymore and I think I'd rather make it actually look like a porch.

I glued the wall pieces together yesterday so I could see how much of the board I will need.  Maddie is posing with the only outdoor furniture I could find.  I wanted to make sure I'd have enough room for things like potted plants, seasonal decorations, and a porch railing. 

Doing it this way means I will also have space to put some furniture, even a Christmas tree, on the inside.

I will need to figure out how I want to create a back wall on the inside or even if I want one.  I could just leave it open. 

The roof does not reach all the way back, which would allow for light to reach the inside.  I'm going to put it on the built-in bookcase upstairs, in the section with the lightbox.  This means light won't be a problem.

I do need to do something about the original paint, which started chipping while the pieces were riding around in the box.

It's hard to tell from the picture but the color is green with crackled white over top.  I really would prefer something else but the kit pieces are made from MDF and not real wood, so I was afraid to sand it.  I think I'm going to try and just paint over everything (and fill cracks) and see what happens.

FH bought me a door and windows for Yule so I'm set there.  I will just need to build the base for the whole thing, figure out the supports, decide on the back wall, then create the porch rails, and some lattice to decorate the front of the base.

Honestly I'm not sure when I'll get the base constructed.  It's really cold outside and so digging out the table saw might not be fun.  I could use a hand saw but I really don't want that much sawdust in the house or the uneven cuts on the plywood.  However my desire to get going on this may force me to become really ingenious.  Maybe I'll enlist FH to hold a vacuum or something and borrow a friend's small skill saw.  We'll see!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

I Giggled and Remembered

While taking a spin through Blogland this evening I happened upon a post by the fabulous Phlegmfatale.  It gave me a giggle when I remembered a couple of stories about FH and Tempie.

Most people know rabbits are obligate nasal breathers, meaning they can only breathe through their noses.  This results in the disgustingly cute and constant nose wiggling everyone sees.  A few years ago FH started calling Tempie the "Tasty Bunny."  Upon my objection he said (to her), "wiggle your nose if you're tasty, Tempie.  [Nose wiggles ensue.]  See, she agrees with me!"  I really couldn't say anything at that point.

Since then it's become a running gag.  When Tempie gets subcutaneous fluids after dental procedures FH says it's "time for her flavor injection."  When she gets dried fruit as a treat it's "mmm.... flavorful stuffing."

Once he even carried her around in the wok.

I swear she regally observed her domain from the air.  I wish I'd gotten video, since she's the one who climbed into it.  Granted FH held it down for her, but she decided to give it a spin.
In case anyone gets the wrong idea about FH and Tempie, I can assure you that it's just he odd sense of humor and a great deal of mutual affection.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Roses for Rose

At the beginning of December my Auntie Rose's home burned.  Fortunately she was not home when the fire started and she had been paying her insurance for decades.  Currently she is staying with her sister while everything is being put back together.  Mom did a little recon work for us and told us all of Rose's pretty things were destroyed.

FH and I started planning various projects that are rose themed (she loves roses, especially red ones, and angels) so we can help make her remodelled house a home again.

I have a stitching project in the works and two more lined up after.  The current project is a Dimensions kit designed by Christie Repasy called "Rose Cuttings." 

This is what the finished piece will look like.

This is how far I've gotten since last Thursday.

I'm going to start in on leaves and stems tonight.  I'm a little tired of pink for the moment.  I'll finish the other pink roses and the yellow one once I get a decent amount of the greens and browns done.

So far I'm quite happy with this kit.  I've got one more kit for her and the other is from a book of patterns.  More on them as I get to them.

Oh and an aside, for some reason Blogger has it set to automatically prevent readers from commenting.  I've been trying to remember to allow them, and hopefully I'll figure out how to fix it permanently.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Bad News for Castor

I didn't mention this last week because FH's brother and soon-to-be sister-in-law were visiting, but Castor went back to the vet last Thursday.  It has been determined that he has some kind of lesion in his brain, specifically on the left side.  This is what is causing the seizures and all the strange behaviors that he's been exhibiting.  We don't know what kind of lesion it is but it's most likely either metastasized cancer or a blood clot.  I know there are other options, but based on his medical history these are the best guess.

We will not be putting him through the stress of driving 1.5 hours to the closest MRI facility nor the anesthesia required to give a cat an MRI.  Even the short drive to our vets' offices (less than 10 minutes) causes him a horrifying amount of stress and pushes him to the brink of having a seizure.  Also once we're at the vets' he is terrified and shaking, when he used to explore the room, look the windows, and flirt with all the people in the room.  Therefore we will not know exactly what is putting pressure on his brain until he's gone.
FH and I are monitoring his behavioral changes daily.  The odd neurological "ticks" he was having over the summer had come back again right before Christmas despite the anti-seizure medications.  So far Castor's balance is really the only thing affected.  He did a somersault off the coffee table on Saturday while trying to hurry down after a piece of cheese that landed on the floor.  I don't know who was more surprised, us or him.  Also he has issues sitting upright for too long, but once he's laying down he's comfortable. 

Castor is eating, drinking, and eliminating fine as well.  He's also being spoiled rotten and loved and petted for a good portion of everyday.  The vets assure us that he's in no pain and that he can continue to be happy and comfortable for weeks to months.  However we've no idea how fast the lesion is growing and that is really what dictates how much time he has left.

FH, the vets, and I have agreed on what we'll consider the last straw.  We've also agreed that because Pollux also has irritable bowel disease (which can turn into cancer like it did for his brother) we're going to learn as much as we can from Castor in the hopes that if this happens to Pollux we can be better prepared.  
I'm going to try and refrain from posting anything more on Castor's illness.  I want this blog to help be an escape from the stress.  However adorable pictures and funny stories about the animals will continue as always.  Also the amount of care and attention he needs is much different than what Confetti needed or the rabbits need when they're sick, so I should still have time to not only work on projects but to post about them as well.  At least for a while.  For now Castor just wants to sleep near us or in a lap and be included in what we're doing.  In fact he's in my lap as I type this.  ;-)