Sunday, 3 April 2016

Life imitates art

I am currently creating a 1/12th scale dollshouse shed as part of a group project for my dollshouse club. They told us to use our imaginations and to channel 'Shed of the Year' which was a TV programme showcasing unusual sheds.  I decided to cut mine out in wood and create a clapboarded writer's retreat with a hexagonal tower.  So far it is going less than precisely (see table saw woes below) and I'm sort of making it up as I go along.  Hopefully it will turn out ok and I won't embarrass myself in front of the other kids  :)  It doesn't look like much yet.

Meanwhile, we took delivery today of our own fantasy shed for the garden.  It's actually a corner arbour with a fancy roof, and it is flatpacked so we will have to assemble it ourselves. It will be a focal point for the garden.  First we need to paint it, so I trotted out to Wilko and picked up some tester pots in Cuprinol Garden Shades in blues, then painted up a board and put it in the garden so we could look at it from the house. We've decided blues look too beach-hutty so will have to try again - perhaps cream and brown? We also need to create a level base for it in a corner of the garden which currently has a huge dip and a slope, not quite sure how we are going do to that but it may involve concrete.

More dollshousing this week as I put the second coat of paint on the dollshouse porch on Easter Monday and then assembled the roof on my day off.  It looks pretty cool and I can already imagine myself sitting on the verandah with a tall glass of something nice.  However as you can see, the original microporch on the house is sitting inconveniently above the roof line.  I am considering options for disguising that. The original design has what it calls a 'cricket roof' which is basically a shallow dormer over the entrance. I was wondering about scaling the dormer up so that it sits in front of the existing porch to hide it. Will have to do some mock ups.

I had to trim both the flatter roofs to length so for the first time ever I fired up my secondhand Proxxon table saw. As previously mentioned I have a table saw phobia dating back to childhood but I was pleasantly surprised at the quiet 'whirr' of the motor.  I made the two cuts without any problems and started to feel more confident.

So I thought I would use the table saw to cut out the pieces of my dollshouse shed as they were mostly long straight cuts. It all started to go downhill, first of all when I noticed what appeared to be smoke coming out of the machine after the first few cuts.  I still don't know what was happening, whether it's just that it hasn't been used for over a year or because I didn't have the hoover connected up for dust extraction. But it started tripping the circuit breakers which can't be good.  Then I found that if I tried to make a long straight cut using the ripping fence which came with the saw, I was actually ending up with a shallow curved cut. Needless to say this made a mess of my tower pieces, so in between having to dash upstairs to put the power back on, smoke misting the workshop, DS complaining because I was interrupting his video games, DH getting cut off in the middle of a call to his mother, and trying not to cut off my fingers, it was all very stressful. I gave up in the end and cut the final pieces out with the jig saw.  I have a lot of badly cut edges to hide now.  DH thinks it's because I bought secondhand but the man I bought the Proxxon  from said he had used it and been quite happy with it so I don't know what to believe now.  Maybe it's something I'm doing wrong.

I went to a couple of miniatures show this week.  On Easter Monday I went to the Newport Pagnell show which was very small - perhaps 15 traders? And some of them were people selling off excess stash rather than being in the business.  I did pick up a few bargains including a Janet Granger needlework stand kit with floss and canvas for only £2.  Than I had  a trip to Miniatura on Saturday at the NEC.  I used to go every year but have rarely been the last several years. It's a lot smaller than it used to be but still an enjoyable show.  I took a list of things I would like to add to my existing houses but didn't find much on it. There was very little 1:48 stuff available, mainly houses and some furniture but I was looking for accessories.   I did get a few 1:24 accessories for various houses.  For my Mulvaney room box I picked up a gorgeous handstitched firescreen and a turned Corion vase. And I got a few more needlework accessories with a view to making a window display for my quilt shop. I haven't taken pictures yet, will try to remember to do that for next week.


On the quilting front, I pieced my leftover snowman fabrics into a back for the Let it Snow quilt and I cut some narrow red sashing to add a final border - which I haven't done yet.  When I cleaned up my fabric pieces after this quilt, I was adding a lot to my already overflowing scrap bin.  Yes, somewhere under that mountain of fabric scraps is a bin.

I have to do something as it is taking over the sewing room floor.  I was looking at Bonnie Hunter's scrap using system where you cut up all your scraps into pieces you can use in scrap quilts so I might try that. I am not looking forward to pressing and cutting all of that stuff though.  She also had a good idea for using up stash by cutting it into 10.5" squares and piecing squares from one colour family into quilt backs.  Some of those bags on the floor are old stash that I keep for piecing into backs but they are in odd sized pieces so I might cut them up into squares for easier handling.

Other stuff

This week I have:

  • Finished turning the heel of my Basketcheck Sock and am almost ready to do the toe. I was knitting on this on the train to/from Miniatura and also to/ from Newport Pagnell.
  • Completed about another inch and a half on my Bobbin lace shelf edging and took my pillow to a lacemaking friend's house for a nice visit while chatting and lacemaking.
  • Finished painting the cellar windows and put another coat on the shed window.
  • Knit most of the pieces for a little baby item I'm working on.
  • Started appliquing the stems for my next block of my 25 block applique quilt after preparing the rest of the pieces for the block kit.
  • Enjoyed a visit from DS who came home from Uni for a week.
  • Experimented with a gluten free recipe for brownies which rose to three inches and turned into a chocolate cake which wasn't bad at all.

And suddenly it's April. The garden is starting to bud and bloom, with a little blossom peeking out on the pear tree and our little magnolia throwing out several gorgeous flower heads.  Some of the tulips are just about to open, some grape hyacinth that I don't remember planting has appeared, and the euphorbia we got in the 70% off sale a few months ago is flowering away in the front garden.  There are still daffodils but the crocuses seem to be finished now.  And the paeonies and rhubarb are poking up fat heads through the soil.  How is your garden looking?

1 comment:

Mairead Hardy said...

I remember my great aunt telling me that she'd weeded out all, absolutely all, of the grape hyacinths from her garden and then she thought she'd had enough left. I didn't get the joke, thinking that she had none left which was what she wanted, until I had my own garden and realised you can get rid of 'all' of them, and still get more popping up each year - just a reduced quantity!

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