Tag Archive | Ellowyne Wilde

Finally…A Front Porch!

Before I hand things over to Ellowyne, I just want to thank the Lord for helping me complete this project that’s been two years in the making. I’ve prayed over this porch every step of the way—from prayers that I wouldn’t fudge on the detailed painting to prayers that I would make the correct cuts to prayers that I could drill straight holes, etc.—and I just have to point out the obvious: God answered every prayer.

He gave me steady hands when I used the drill—especially during the more stressful moments when I had to attach the brace for the swing, when I attached the railings to the posts, and when I fastened the roof to the back wall. He gave me strength and judgment several times when I had to wrestle with the roof and a free-standing wall (not yet attached to the base and propped up only by a child’s chair) to insure they would mount properly with the porch posts before I could begin securing things together. And considering I had never attempted such a project before, it was only through God downloading His creativity into me via insights, epiphanies, and good advice from my hubby and my dad that allowed all the different pieces of this porch to actually fit together in the end! So, THANK YOU, LORD, for being present in the details.

(And thanks to Mike Harrison for letting me use his drill press, without which I couldn’t have created my railings!)

Ellowyne? Do you have anything to add?

Well, of course I do! Let’s not forget all the help we dolls gave you at the end, there! I’ve got pictures documenting it all. See for yourself:

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Here we are at the beginning, having a little pow-wow before getting down to the nitty-gritty.

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Here we are, anchoring the back wall to the porch floor and reattaching the lanterns.

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Prudence and Spring fit the porch posts and railings into the floor.

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Here we are enjoying a job well done and celebrating the fact we now have more square footage in which to stretch—and play and chat and vent and…you get the picture.

Some interesting tidbits you might like to know about this porch’s development:

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The swing cushions inhabit what otherwise would hold birdseed.

Laurie’s oldest daughter initially came up with the idea for a porch when Laurie was pondering future diorama possibilities (this was before my shelves in the dining room were even in the lineup). Laurie then told her mother in MA about the idea, her mother later shared the idea with Laurie’s aunt in TN during a visit, and you know what Aunt Fran said? “Every porch needs a swing.” So she bought a cedar swing originally intended to hold birdseed, fashioned cushions for the swing, and sent it on to Laurie in MT. More than a year later, that swing finally has a home. 🙂

Laurie knew she eventually wanted lanterns to flank the front door, but they had to be the correct scale, so naturally the prevalent three-inch lanterns she could find just about anywhere wouldn’t do. At last she scored after this past Christmas season when she found on clearance a set of twelve plastic lanterns fitted with a string of Christmas lights. The easy part was in popping off the lanterns from the mini light bulbs. The hard part was figuring out how she wanted to attach the lanterns to the back wall and how she could make them light up—because we dolls need functioning lanterns, after all! In the end, she used cup hooks screwed into the wall, black chain links, some black wire, and mini, battery-operated party lights that she can change out when the batteries die (or change the batteries—whichever one is a cheaper fix!).

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Lantern with mini party light

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Working lanterns!

The railings are made from trim bought at the hardware store and lots of spindles ordered online from a craft supply store. Using Mike’s drill press, Laurie drilled holes into the flat side of the trim and, after painting all required pieces, she glued the spindles into the holes. The railings were later attached to the posts (originally stair balusters) via small nails used as pegs for precision fit and strength. Strength, you ask? Well, you see how Mistletoe and Tori treat the railings!

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Two things Laurie had to keep in mind when creating this porch:

  1. It had to involve affordable materials so her hubby’s eyes wouldn’t bulge when he read the credit card statements.
  2. Even once she put it together, the porch had to be able to come apart—just in case. So the big pieces like the roof, back wall, and floor are only attached to each other by screws, and the railing system fits into holes in the floor and holes in the roof braces. No glue.
To show you the scale, here's Laurie standing beside the porch.

To show you the scale, here’s Laurie standing beside the porch, which measures 2 ft tall, 4 ft wide, and 16 inches deep.

All in all, we dolls are as pleased as inanimate objects can be over the completion of our front porch! As you can see, we didn’t waste time decorating for autumn…

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…since in a few days we’ll be bringing out the Christmas decorations (yeah, we do that early in this household!). I’m thinking strings of Christmas lights around the railings…a wreath on the door…and maybe we can wedge a Christmas tree over there in the corner! What do you say, Laurie? Think you can find us a twenty-two-inch Christmas tree?

Oh, and I wanted to discuss with you some plans for a possible back porch, now that you know how to go about making these structures. A balcony might be nice down the road, too—

Laurie?

Laurie?

Um, girls…I need some smelling salts over here!

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A Teaser

IMG_1790Hello, everyone! Ellowyne Wilde here. I’m back (finally!) with a quick update on how Laurie is coming along on my front porch. She’s allowed me to reveal a few snippets, assuring me she will have the whole thing completed by the end of September. Okay, so she didn’t promise. I believe the word she used was “hope.” But I have to hand it to her; she’s done more work on the porch in the last couple of weeks than she has in the last six months!

Here is the latest piece completed: the porch roof.

All 816 square inches of it!

Finished roof...

Finished roof…

 

 

 

 

After calculating how many shingles she would need to make and how much wood that would entail, Laurie went about using her hubby’s table saw to cut up a 4’ x 2’ MDF board. She had finished just over half the number of shingles when she began to corral them all into a plastic bag. Well, the bag became heavier…and heavier…and heavier…

Note to self: MDF is too heavy to use for shingles when a doll’s front porch is being constructed by a non-professional.

Sigh.

So, Laurie moved on to balsa wood and ordered several sheets of it from an online company. They arrived a few days after she left for vacation this summer. We dolls would have had a work party while she was gone and helped her cut some shingles…except we worried about knicking our plastic and vinyl bodies with the X-acto knife. Thankfully it didn’t take her but a few days to cut the 322 shingles all by herself (8 sheets of 36” x 6” balsa wood sheets, in case you wanted to know!).

During the gluing stage...

During the gluing stage…

Then came the gluing. You guessed it—she used Power Grip glue. And then came the staining, for which she used a cherry finish, along with a 1” foam brush for the shingles and a narrow craft bristle brush for all the tiny spaces in between.

And now that it’s done…we wait.

Because there are several things Laurie needs to finish before she can put all the pieces together. Like attaching the door to the doorjamb on the back wall, for instance.

I watched her working on it yesterday. She didn’t look too happy. Apparently once she screwed the hinges into the door…the door doesn’t fit into the opening anymore! So now she has to take a chisel to the doorjamb.

She had better take care of my wall!

She had better take care of my wall!

Given that the back wall is already finished, she had better not deface my wall with a chisel gone awry!

Ahem.

You know, I’m beginning to wonder if I shouldn’t have hired a real carpenter in the first place—two years ago when this project first took root in that woman’s brain. At the very latest, we dolls probably could have had a completed porch by this time last year!

Of course, then Laurie wouldn’t have had all the fun in making it herself. (She doesn’t like me to remind her of the frustration involved!)

Weighing the options...

Weighing the options…

 

 

 

 

Hmm…weighing the options. Profressional…non-professional. Happy Laurie…disappointed Laurie…

Ooo, wait! Laurie has some carpenter friends, doesn’t she? Surely they’d be willing to lend a hand to a gal in need!

 

 

Yoo-hoo! Mr. Schwaubauer! I could really use your help on something…!

Too busy?

Okay. Um, Mr. Harrison, you interested?

Not into doll-scaled details?

Sigh.

Maybe I should seek out Ty Pennington. Think he’s doing anything important these days?

Anybody know of a reputable carpenter?

Anybody know of a reputable carpenter?

Time to…Play?

Hello, my cyber-space friends. It’s me: Ellowyne Wilde of the Germaine clan, back with some news that’s thrilling enough to keep me happy for more than a few minutes! Yours Truly is now officially in charge of all future Doll Drama posts. Eeee!

I'm excited--can't you tell?

I’m excited–can’t you tell?

Today, I’d like to highlight one of Laurie’s latest projects: an American Girl backdrop. (If I didn’t have three floors of my own and a porch on the way, I might be a little jealous.) From what I understand, these AG dolls—and other dolls of similar size—are quite popular among young girls right now, and I, for one, am very thankful for that…otherwise I might not have half the furniture I currently enjoy in my own not-so-humble abode!

Anyway, it seems Laurie had so much fun making my backdrops that she got it in her head to make some more, except this time on a slightly larger scale for the AG dolls. Heaven only knows what she’s going to do with them all, but that’s her problem, not mine. Just as long as she leaves my corner of the dining room out of it…IMG_1051

So here are the “bones” of her first backdrop: a 2’ x 4’ MDF board (1/8” thick) bought at Home Depot. This picture shows it cut in half then duck-taped together again with an inch-wide “spine,” as well as a cutout for the door. The cutout will later become the actual door.

The next step requires some fun fabric that would look great as wallpaper and spray adhesive glue. Laurie used Elmer’s CraftBond. Cut the fabric so it overlaps the MDF board by an inch or two, protect the area in which you are going to use the adhesive spray, then glue the fabric to the board one section at a time. She did this step too fast the first time and the fabric didn’t stick, so make sure to spray slowly up and down and work the fabric along a few inches at a time, smoothing it out as you go. Because her board was 48” and her fabric only 44”, she used the door frame as a natural break in the two pieces of fabric and lined up the pattern accordingly.IMG_1248 After that, it’s ModPodge time. Two coats of ModPodge, sanding after each coat. This gives the fabric durability and makes it feel less like cotton fibers. 😉 Once that’s dry, carefully flip the backdrop over and ModPodge the ends of the fabric to the back of the board.

 

 

Next stop: the doorframe. Laurie used 1-inch wide trim from Lowe’s as the frame and chiseled out the areas in which the hinges could nestle so the trim would lay flush against the “wall.”IMG_1246 Next she stained the wood and then glued the hinges into place.

Time to make the donuts…er, the door! Using the cutout as her base, she first measured and cut strips of Balsa wood for the detailed work then stained everything the same color as the frame (I know it doesn’t look the same, but it is; case of different types of wood). Afterward, she glued the Balsa wood to the door base, taking care to hide the hinges beneath the right-hand strip of wood.

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The door pre-assembly…

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The door after assembly…

What kind of glue did she use for the wood, you ask? Her go-to glue, of course: Loctite Power Grab, which holds fast and dries clear.

Lastly, she glued on the doorknob—found in the scrapbooking department at her local craft store!! Perfect size, isn’t it? If scrapbooking places are hard to come by in your area, Home Depot has a great selection of small cabinet hardware you could use for a doorknob. (It worked for my front porch, but shhh—I’m not supposed to tell you that yet!)

Isn't this fantastic?!

Isn’t this fantastic?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, look...it's Caroline!

Oh, look…it’s Caroline!

Make yourself right at home, dear...but I get my desk back after this post!

Make yourself right at home, dear…but I get my desk back after this post!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that the hard work is done, let the glue set for 24 hours…and you’re ready to play! I, uh, mean, your kids are ready to play. Naturally, I don’t mean you. (Not to worry—your secret is safe with me…)

Hey, Laurie, guess what…

You're not the only grown-up who plays with dolls!

You’re not the only grown-up who plays with dolls!

Let Your Light Shine

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Here’s a simple tutorial for making an inexpensive, non-working lamp for your fashion doll.

You will need:IMG_1217

– two 3” wooden craft candle sticks

– a votive holder

– some fabric (pre-cut quarters work great)

– stain or paint of your choice

– heavy-duty glue (my favorite go-to glue is Loctite Power Grab that holds fast and dries clear).

First, you will need to cut off the top 1/4-1/3 of one candlestick. If you are anything like me and don’t yet have confidence in your ability to get that close to a power saw without lopping off a fingertip, enlist the help of your hubby or significant other. You might want to use a power sander to smooth the surface after it’s been cut. Then, flip the cut candle stick upside down and glue it on top of an uncut candle stick. Once it’s dry, you may stain or paint it to your heart’s desire.

IMG_1245While you wait for the stain/paint to dry, cut your fabric so it will completely cover the votive holder with at least a ½” to spare. IMG_1249That extra half-inch is what you will glue to the inside of the votive holder. There’s the tricky part. Put a line of glue along the upper inside lip of the votive holder and press down a finger-width section of fabric. Make a nice pleat along the length of the votive holder and press down the next finger-width section. Repeat all the way around until you come back to the beginning; the last pleat will look slightly different than the others—that’s the side you turn toward the wall. 😉

Closeup of the pleats

Closeup of the pleats

You will also want to use a finger to tuck some glue between the folds of the fabric on the inside lip to keep everything tight and tacked down. This is why I like the Loctite glue; if you use something like Elmer’s glue, it will not hold the fabric in place before the glue can dry.

Inside the votive holder

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When everything is dry, flip your new lamp shade over its base, glue in place if you like, and voilà: you’ve made your very own OOAK (one-of-a-kind) lamp for your fashion doll. This same procedure can be applied to make an American Girl doll simply by using larger candle sticks for the base and a small, inexpensive garden pot for the lamp shade.

 

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Happy crafting!

Ladders and Railings and–oh, MY!

Hello! Ellowyne Wilde here. Laurie has graciously allowed me to write another post—

~She twisted my arm.~

I am a doll. The only arms I’m twisting are my own ball-jointed ones!

~(She twisted my arm.)~

Anyway…my bedroom is now one step closer to completion, for Laurie finished making the ladder and railings for the loft area!IMG_1200 I wish I could claim to have built them myself, but I don’t go anywhere near power saws. Do you realize what sawdust would do to my hair? To say nothing about my clothes and joints and—

~Moving on.~

—(And my shoes!) So, the railings. After spending an enormous amount of time making the railings for our front porch (she won’t let me post a picture yet—hmph!), Laurie decided to take the easy route for our loft and bought a railing that in other homes would sit atop a kitchen cabinet. Not the case in this home. After cutting it to fit the perimeter of the loft, she stained it to match the loft floorboards and wall timber.IMG_1136 I’m told she will eventually anchor the railings to the floor, but for now, they’re just sitting there. Careful, Mistletoe!IMG_1201

To construct the ladder, she bought another 3 ft railing (yes, she decided to pay for the convenience of having pre-drilled holes rather than making the drive to use a friend’s drill press—again) and pulled the pieces apart after cutting it to the correct length. The little posts she set aside for some future project—who knows what at this point in time—and painted the “holey” lengths with Valspar Ultra Paint + Primer.IMG_1198 From a 5/16” x 36” dowel, she then cut nine ladder rungs and painted them with Valspar Royal Gray (looks dark blue to me). Once everything had dried, she fit the pieces together and voilà: We have ourselves a ladder!IMG_1199

Again, Laurie has promised to glue the rungs to prevent the ladder from falling apart, but everything is—for the moment—tightly wedged together. (And I was too anxious to get this post off to wait around for the glue to dry!) So…um…use with extreme caution, Tori!

 

 

Tori and Mistletoe making mischief in the loft.

Tori and Mistletoe making mischief in the loft.

Sigh. Why did we want a ladder, again?

Sigh. Why did we want a ladder, again?