Sunday, December 30, 2012

2013: A Look Back, A Look Forward


I'm this much more tech
saavy than my 70-year
old mother
This blog started in 2011, with a grand total of one post.  My resolution last year this time, somewhat facetiously, was to double that post count.  Well, as this is my 123rd post, so I didn't just make my goal, I crushed it, people.  Goal, crushed!  Whoooooooot!  That feels good.  From this humble beginning, today, I have ten, ten!, followers, and I don't even think that one is my mom, because she still can't figure out how to comment on a post.  And I cannot help her, because I'm only thiiiiiissss much more tech saavy than she is.  Granted, one of my followers is my extremely cool blogging cousin, but the other nine just follow me for a reason other than familial loyalty!  Isn't that amazing?  I cannot believe that!  Thank you!

Ten, baby!  Boooyah!

Another goal that was trounced in 2012 was my business sales, which was not even envisioned one year ago.  So, from not even being imagined, I can now tell you that I have sales in the tens of dollars for 2012.  Guys, cancer cannot stop this freight train that is The Hard Way!  2013 is going to be the best year ever!  We have momentum.  I would love to be able to have this business take time away from my career, so that it becomes necessary to decide whether or not I should quit my job.  My God, I want to quit my job!  So that is the first goal for 2013.  Here are all of them, in no particular order:

Reverse the downward spiral that is my
Cow Harbor "performance".  Become a
close, personal friend of the Dalai Lama

  1. Have business sales increase by 1000% (that would be $4000 for those math-phobes)
  2. Be able to tell career to take a hike, or allow me freedom to instill love of learning on my terms, or at least set up groundwork for exit plan
  3. Travel more, and further (ie Europe)
  4. Do more random acts of kindness and become more appreciative of the things I do have.  (I'm aiming for 26 acts of kindness, one for each Newtown victim, which works out to just over two per month)
  5. Enjoy the wonderfulness that is my daughter
  6. Increase focus and audience of blog.  Redesign to look more professional
  7. Attend at least one miniature event
  8. Make this the year we attend the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular
  9. Heal, and then get back into amazing shape (okay, the word "back" doesn't belong in that sentence, but it makes me feel better to have there, so it stays)
  10. Set a new personal best at this year's Cow Harbor 10K
  11. Not have any more health problems!!!  Enough!
  12. Take more care and interest in my appearance (it would help if I was working with more than just eleven year olds).  I can't even get into this one on break, so I can't imagine how I think I'll be able to do it on the hectic school days, but it's a goal.
  13. Return every library book and DVD on time (not going to happen, but one can wish)
  14. Try, try, try to improve things with husband, or just figure out how to get out of this horrible situation (sorry, needs to be said)
  15. Have an extended family destination vacation.
  16. Make the beds every day
  17. Figure out a way to appreciate what I have, while still striving for things to be better (and send an instructive letter to the Dalai Lama explaining how this is to be achieved.  Win Nobel Peace Prize.)
Alright, it has veered off into fictional territory.  It's truly amazing how lofty AND banal my list is simultaneously.  Here's hoping everyone has a wonderful, dream come true 2013.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Undersized Urbanite To-Do List

    Master Bedroom
    Living Room
Now that Christmas is over, I can work on the dollhouse in the open.  Here is the status of the home as of year end, 2012, along with the to-do list of little improvement projects.  I will cross them out as they are completed.  The easiest should be to locate the shower holder, although it is small, and our house, even though tiny compared to most others, is like a haystack to my shower holder needle.  I hate to have to make another.  Ah, well.

Dining Room
As proof that children will believe in Santa Claus until they are good and ready to stop, despite a world of unbelievers, when L's friend's mother was admiring it, she said how I had done this and done that.  Well, L put her in her place immediately, telling her "No, Santa Claus brought it!".  I remember being that indignant with other children circulating malicious rumors about Santa not really existing.  We will believe until the day that our parents level with us and tell us, that, no, there really is no Santa Claus.  Or, that, yes, there is a Santa, and he lives inside of each one of us, which is the explanation I prefer.  Some people think that telling children a lie is heartless, but I'm of the opinion that children deserve a little magic.  Besides, they will need faith and belief throughout life, so what's the harm?  L believes in fairies, and, incredibly, at the end of Madagascar 3, she turned to me and asked "Was that real?".  Bless her heart, the world is still magical and it still holds a place for a man who gives toys to everyone and zoo animals that steer a van through the streets of Paris and, well, whatever else happens in Madagascar 3.  Why would I not want her to think such lovely thoughts?

Bathroom & Bedroom - please notice TRIPLE
baby bunkbed, people.  L asked, what is the word
after triple?  Quadruple, why?  Now she wants
a quadruple baby bunkbed.

Kitchen - of all the rooms, the least finished


Ahem!  Right!  The to-do list:
  1. Bolster Pillow - I just think they look cool
  2. Finish Pink Moroccan Pattern Rug
  3. Finish Egg Chair
  4. Make 2 Window Molds for Keystone House
  5. Put in "Glass" in Windows
  6. Make a Laminate Floor for Keystone Floors - half completed (lower floors) 1/9/13
  7. Finish Herringbone Floor (Sand and Polyurethane) completed 1/2/13
  8. Locate Shower Holder and Install in Bathroom - gave up on relocating and fashioned a new one 1/9/13
  9. Wallpaper Each Room - half completed (lower floors) 1/9/13
  10. Make Square Arm Armchair
  11. Make Dining Room Chandelier (my idea is Faboo)
  12. Accessorize, accessorize, accessorize

Friday, December 28, 2012

New Bedroom Linens

See, posting pictures makes
you realize how things really
look.  I'm not happy with the
"inner" curtains.
Another thing I'm noticing is
a distinct lack of color.  I'd
like to make a flame-stitch
pillow cover to rectify.
Here she is, the new bedroom look, featuring fresh sheets and duvet.  It is one of two duvets I bought, and one of two sheet sets I bought.  Both duvets are for the master bedroom, and one of the sheet sets is for my daughter's bedroom.  The other duvet is still in the mail, but will be featured soon.  The art on the walls is the latest in a rotating installation by my daughter - I rue the day I taught her to make a tape circle.

A nice duvet with a printed lace motif.
I went through the linen closet and got rid of bedding that were cast-offs from my in-laws.  They were married 55 years ago, and since they were raised in impoverished Nazi Germany, they never throw anything away, so you can imagine what they looked like for them to decide they had to go.  But, nothing is shabby enough for my husband!  Quite a bit came back with him from his trip to the donation center.  Oh my GAWD!

This is the duvet that it replaced.  It is currently soaking in a turquoise dye bath.  The curtains in the before picture make judging this photo unfair; I think they were made of fiberglass!  Nothing in these pictures was left untouched by me.  I silver leafed the side table and changed the hardware.  I repaired, painted, and replaced the hardware on the other side table.  I made the lamps and made the mirror.   I will need to do a whole post on the bedroom.  But, for now, I want you to weigh in on the bedding.  Whatcha think?

Idea to Improve my Daily Appearance

While researching overdying, for my master bed linen redo, I saw a lot of bloggers who overdye thrifted outfits.  That's great in and of itself, but what got my attention was that some of them blog about what they wear, every day of the year.  I've seen some good blog themes, like doing one good deed a day (which I've started in our household, but so far our only good deed is giving the backyard squirrels pistachio nuts.  Okay, and I invited my childhood friend with stage 4 cancer free use of our home while she is a patient at Sloan Kettering), trying one new thing a week, and other things that look like they could be fun.  But taking a picture of oneself everyday?  That would be work (the getting camera-ready, not the taking of the picture)!  Perhaps I could do that only on work days, since days like today, I'm not dressing to shave sweaters, paint a ceramic elephant and dye linens. 

Before, zombie pink
Mid-redo, fresh white

And finished product
So, speaking of the elephant, here she is before, middle of redo, and after.  She was cute and pink before, but the pink had faded unevenly, and the shade may best be described as "Zombie Pink".  It was time for a freshening up, since I assume she is from the 1950's and as such, has been sporting the same shade for over sixty years.  So, out comes the ceramic paint, which is fairly close to foolproof.  The two colors I had on hand were white and shocking pink (which I used on my owl on the shelf, here), so I went with the white for her.  I feel she has at least 60 years left in her now.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Would You Rather...

How Conditions Requiring Hospitalizations Stack Up

There are clear distinctions between conditions that require hospitalization.  Consumer reports surveyed one woman who experienced three different ailments that led to hospital admission.
Our models: Our childbirth model was a 2007 natural, premature delivery.  Like the other conditions, this was unplanned.  The stroke was a 2009 carotid artery dissection, which was even more unexpected than the other two conditions.  And the cancer was a 2012 cervical stage 1B, with a preventative radical, laparoscopic hysterectomy.

The acquisition of the conditions all start with sex.  In the case of childbirth, the responders remember exactly the onset of the condition; it was at the Jersey Shore, on a warm summer’s day, and we had just steamed up any case, it scored high.  With the stroke, acquiring the precondition was as easy as being born, since it is a genetic condition.  The exact moment cancer was obtained cannot be determined, and any positive feelings that may have resulted in gaining the condition was negated by many angry exchanges between responders and spouses, so it receives a lower score.
The stroke, being a complete surprise, required zero advanced preparations, scoring highest on this criterion.  The cancer was diagnosed three months prior to the surgery, and required a litany of doctors appointments and a charming bowel prep, practiced twice.  The childbirth was diagnosed less than six months before the hospitalization, and involved normal baby and birth preparations, as well as honeymoon and marriage planning.  Marriage planning was complicated by girth of bride and stress of parading down aisle visibly pregnant, so it received the lowest score.

The stroke registered the most negative after-effects of the three conditions.  The joy that the responder’s child brought outweigh the stress and worry of offspring.  Cancer will hopefully just be a small blip on the radar, requiring diligence and attention for the rest of the responder’s life, but not affecting her with any long-term negative effects.  Stroke affects the brain, and since the cause cannot be pinpointed, will stress out our responder for the rest of her life.
The length of hospitalization was longest for the stroke, and unbelievably shortest for cancer, however, the hospital stay was rated as the best for childbirth because the recovery of both mother and baby was quick and comparatively painless than that of cancer.

The mental anguish related to the conditions associated with childbirth were thought to be severe at the time, but the anxiety and stress were more severe for stroke and cancer.  The duration of the pain was less for childbirth was much less than for cancer or stroke, but the intensity was much, much greater.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Update on My Cancer

They are developing a cute tumor and bottle
of Calcium Citrate for the Abominable Prep
musical number scene.
It's the holiday season, so sit by the fire, grab some cocoa, and let's talk about cancer.  It's a great story.  Rankin Bass may decide to animate this classic holiday tale soon, so you can say you heard it here first.

Not radical, dude.
I had my "radical" hysterectomy on Tuesday afternoon into Tuesday evening.  I tell people that natural childbirth is the most extreme of any extreme sport, but radical hysterectomies are not radical in the 80's tubular or gnarly sense.  They just suck.  Better to just keep getting those pap smears, ladies, and if something turns up, hope you can get a LEEP.  I am thankful that this will likely be irradicated for my daughter through vaccinations.   It's truly amazing how the anesthesiologist can just knock you out, and it's unlike sleep.  I guess the closest analogy would be a blackout, where you just lose time.  The time continuum jumps for one person.  It's very strange.  Anyhow, I felt good when I came to around 10 p.m.  My husband was there.  I had no sleep Tuesday night, and Wednesday was a frenzy of activity.  I was very down, since my husband did not make any contact until 11 a.m., but a priest visited me and I met a therapy dog in the hallway.  Man, can animals improve my mood.  The poor thing, a seven-year old black lab, was dressed in a Santa Claus suit, and he had no real joy in his eyes, but selfish me didn't care.  Petting an animal has always been on my top ten list of activities.

Toomey Tumor will be the featured
character in "It's a Cervical Cancer
Christmas, Toomey!"
I am home now.  I can finally catch up on whether DeQuan is the father of adorable eight month old Traynesia (awwww!).  My daughter was with us the first night, which always brightens my mood.  She stayed at her Oma and Opa's house last night, since my husband went back to work today.  I feel good.  The abdominal pain has subsided considerably, and I'm moving more and more like a human.  I slept for almost twelve hours last night.  I am hoping to find out about the lymph nodes on the day after Christmas.  Hopefully, this huge medical drama is behind me.  But, like my other medical incidents, they're never really OVER over, you know?  You're always wary, and ever mindful of the next possible calamity.  I keep thinking, well, I'm getting my health problems out of the way early, that's good.  But is this just the new normal?  I hope this is it now.  May my next hospital visit be to the morgue, in at least three decades.  I feel the need to mention the timeline.  All in all, I could do without the drama. 

Thank you everyone for your thoughts and prayers; it does help.  And, I'd also like to mention Tig Notaro and Marjorie Gross, for making cancer, if not funny, at least ridiculous and eye-rollingly annoying, at just the right time.  Don't buy in bulk.  "I used to use the word “someday,” but now I figure someday is for people with better gene pools."  I will never forget the humor they brought me.  I will let you know the diagnosis on Wednesday.  Happy Holidays!*

EDITOR'S NOTE: I will not find out the results from pathology regarding cancer in the lymph nodes until Friday, January 4th.  Bummer!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Loss of Civility and Decency in Society

A great deal of my teaching posts bemoans the loss of decency in our society.  The child that tells his teacher, at fourteen year's old, that he has to take a "dump", and doesn't see a problem with it, is a symptom of a culture that has not just lost its way, but has veered into pathological territory.

The shooter in Newtown, Connecticut, was autistic.  Children on the spectrum lack empathy and do not pick up on social cues.  I do not know if the shooter played violent video games*, but his mother certainly embraced the world of firearms.  I do not wish to judge her and her tragic end, but when you sit children in front of games like Mortal Combat, Assassin's Creed or Call of Duty, where the object is to blow away as many human beings as possible, we should not be surprised when children, especially those with social problems, decide to play out the virtual reality with actual people and actual guns. 

Another nonsensical thing we do in this country is defend guns because our Founding Fathers felt it important to make the right to bear arms the second amendment to the constitution.  I would just like to take you back to 1791, the year that the Bill of Rights was written, around two hundred years before glocks and semi-automatic weapons were invented.  Back in 1791, the premium firearm was a musket, which could fire at most four shots per minute.  At that rate, a deranged person could kill only one person every 15 seconds, and would have to focus in order to reload, allowing his would-be victims time to disarm him.  A machine that sprays hundreds of bullets a minute is not what the Congressional Congress had in mind.

As John R. Kennedy quotes in his article "'Right to bear arms' marks anniversary with renewed debate", "as Robert Parry, author of America’s Stolen Narrative, pointed out Saturday on, the First Congress likely viewed the right to bear arms “in the context of ‘a well-regulated militia’ to defend communities from massacres, not as a means to enable such massacres.”

Many people think that this atrocity will bring about change in the gun control struggle, but I doubt it.  Already Congress is announcing that it cannot address the issue currently, hoping, I suppose, that America will forget and become obsessed again with Honey BooBoo or the size of Jessica Simpson's belly or the risqué, semi-transparent get-up of the next attention-deprived reality star du jour.  And they will likely be correct.

than the right to have a gun!

They will never, never,
never be less important

I for one do not need to see obituaries that describe murder victims' love of plushies, dressing in sparkles, and singing songs about loving people and rainbows.  Babies should not be shot.  Ever.  It is time to bring back some decency. 

*EDITOR'S NOTE - it is now known that he did play violent video games, to excess.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Minis for Minis

The exterior
and interior
So, for our Christmas gift miniature dollhouse, we of course needed a dollhouse for the dollhouse.  Little eyes are reading this post, so I need to make it short.  It still needs a staircase, and a bathroom sink, but I think it's looking pretty cool.  Here are the pictures of the minis' mini.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

What Making Minis Has Taught Me

It has been almost a year since I started this blog in earnest.  I made my first dollhouse, and then proceeded to take it apart one accident at a time.  I sold my first miniature.  I registered my business and even have an EIN number.  I have joined a contest and have already made so many friends who share this passion.  My goal for next year is to taper off the teaching posts, since those are usually bitter and jaded, and focus on my miniatures.  I think this is already happening naturally.  Eventually, I like to ditch the teaching career, since I no longer enjoy it.  I am thrilled to have started this adventure, and I cannot wait to see where it takes me next.

So, in the vein of yearly retrospectives, let me look back at some wisdom gained in year one of The Hard Way. 

  • If at first you don't succeed, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again.

I still haven't figured out my
tulip table, but I will!

So many little, tiny stitches.
  • Your progress may seem infinitessimally small, but many very small steps will lead to great joy and beauty.

  • Many small projects very quickly becomes one very large mess.
  • Having a hobby you enjoy can give one something to look forward to.
  • Your own life may be a horrible mess, but you can control the mini world.

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Before Shots of My Undersized Urbanite Project

My Keystone dollhouse project is hidden until Christmas, so it is difficult for me to photograph surreptiously.  But, since we had company over the weekend, and I needed to put my flooring project away temporarily, I stored it in the dollhouse and stole a couple of pictures.  I also set up my bathroom furniture in the pink upstairs room, and, wouldn't you know it, the ceilings are too low for the corner vanity?  Even if I move the bathroom down the hall, the second floor ceilings will not accomodate the vanity against the back wall, and I cannot place it anywhere else.  So, luckily I have a cool Tomy bathroom set.  Should I modify the vanity by removing the bottom shelf, or go with the Tomy?  We'll see what I come up with there.
This is the lower level, which
will be the kitchen.  The vanity
fits there, but it doesn't go in
the kitchen!  It looks wonky
because I haven't yet fixed
the floor.
The vanity doesn't fit in this
room. Hence, it will be a
 bedroom, but the ceilings
 are equally low throughout
the second floor!

The ground floor has wallpaper fitted for the dining room, and, although not shown yet in the pictures below, it is fabulous.  I am going to use the half wall from the great room upstairs to partition the bathroom, and downstairs I will use my new and improved orange juice cap dividing screen.  The lower heat setting on the iron did the trick.  The ground floor should look great in time for Christmas.  I also have to fix the front door, which has a major chip on one side, and make a successful replacement set of windows.  I did make a mold and casting of the one large window that came with the house, but that leaked out of the mold, and I didn't use mildew remover mold release, so it cracked when removing it from the mold.  Will the second time be the charm?
The floor looks good in its
future home
Success making a geometric

I Need to Dump on You

This post will offer you a glimpse of teaching today.  Yes, it will be another downer post today.  I am suffering a cold, so I took a nap yesterday, and it helped, for a bit.  Today, I was observed, and, although I am always prepared as a professional, it is always a stressful experience.  Whether by design, or by an especially faithful application of Murphy's Law, I am always observed with my worst class.  Another perverse contrivance of observations is that the class unfailingly acts like attentive, academically-minded angels while there is another adult in the room, so that when I inform them about the class' poor performance, the administrator who observed them and me will respond how they weren't as bad as I portrayed them.   I think it went well, but, unsurprisingly, I've been preoccupied lately.  So, who knows how it went?

After my observation, I forgot to eat lunch.  Did I mention that I have been preoccupied lately?  I also forgot that I forgot to eat lunch, so when I didn't have the energy for my second class, I chalked it up to my cold.  That class didn't go very well.  But, the nadir of my day was to come next, during a coverage.  A coverage is an "emergency" (it never really is an emergency, but it's supposed to be) where a teacher needs someone to cover for them.  And, it's always a horrible experience for the coverage teacher, because the kids just have to test you.  I started out telling them two things: stay in your seats, and no one can go to the bathroom because it was last period and my school locks the bathrooms last period.  It's not my rule.  So, of course, they were running everyone, hiding under desks, and I do believe that not one student failed to ask to use the bathroom.  One girl got up and when I told her to sit down, she had the nerve to tell me that she had to throw out her gum (again, a school no-no) because it had lost its flavor.  Another girl was using her cell phone (wouldn't you know it, not allowed?), and wouldn't turn it over when I requested it.  Okay, that's a call to the dean.  So far, nothing out of the ordinary, unfortunately.

Wasn't it me who was
 just saying how kids
are no longer cute at
a certain age
I'm building up the scene now, so here comes the clincher.  None of this misbehavior and disrespect can touch the next boy who asked to use the bathroom.  Nevermind that I told the whole class no bathroom.  Nevermind that it is school policy and he's been in the school for three years at least.  This boy responded to my "no" with "but I have to take a dump".  I have never, in ten years of teaching, been so instantaneously disgusted and infuriated with a child.  And, of course, as a sub in this new teacher-bashing environment, I have no immediate recourse. I have to I tell my own students at the beginning of the year to not bother asking last period, and that "it's an emergency" will not change the policy.  I even have to go as far as letting the ladies know that "I have my period" will not do the trick.  Yes, children in middle school will use these exact lines to a teacher, even after explicitly telling them not to.  But this ill-bred boy kicked it up a notch, let's just say.  When I asked him if he had any manners, he pretended to not hear me. 

Even though I was a substitute, I will find this vulgar child's parents, and he will explain to them exactly what he said.  And, I'm sure they will shrug and, given his poor upbringing, I assume they will turn the tables on me and ask if I let him go since he was obviously in such distress.  I know it will get me nowhere, and yet, I cannot let it go.  These are the children that I'm supposed to teach fractions, and they haven't yet learned basic civility and courtesy.  It was a very disheartening day.  Thank you for letting me "dump" on you!  That feels better.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Things a Teacher Won't Tell Parents

Sometimes I read something that I just must share.  An article in Reader's Digest, entitled "13+ Things Your Child’s Teacher Won’t Tell You" is one of those things.  Every single one of the, if the writers and editors bothered to count, thirty-four things rang true.  Well, except for the one about not arriving just before the bell.  I usually do do that.  Sometimes I even get in a teensy bit after the bell, but I have a co-teacher in the morning...who is usually later than me...ummmm...  But I do stay up to an hour after, so that one at least rings half true.  The ones that stood out in my mind are detailed below:
6. Your child may be the center of your universe, but I have to share mine with 25 others.
13. The students we remember are happy, respectful, and good-hearted, not necessarily the ones with the highest grades.
19.  The truth is simple: your kid will lie to get out of trouble.
23. Check their homework.  Just because your child says he did his homework doesn’t mean it’s true. You must check. Every night.
24. We get jaded too.  Teaching is not as joyful as it once was for many of us. Disrespectful students and belligerent parents take a toll on us.
31. Don't ask us to do your dirty work.  We wish parents would make their kids own up to their actions instead of pressuring us to bend the rules.
sorry, becoming a teen...
...means you're not adorable
I'd like to add to the above list that, at a certain point, kids stop being cute.  It's rough for the child to realize this, but you can't go around forever thinking it's adorable to fart and act helpless.  Everyone needs to grow up eventually. 

Teaching's a tough job, people, and until you actually have real experience in a classroom, please do not assume you know anything at all about the work we do.  Thank you, and good night.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

What it Should Have Looked Like, What it Will Look Like, and What Does it Look Like to You?

Well, that didn't turn out the way I thought it would
I was aiming to make a supercool geometric room divider from the plastic pulls that come on orange juice containers.  And it nearly worked.  The superglue and hot glue wasn't working, so I decided to iron it underneath wax paper.  I guess the iron was set too high.  But, the idea has traction.  The next one will be better.  This should have looked better.


And, speaking of possibly good ideas, have I made any progress on the floor?  Seriously?  I feel like it's going nowhere.  It will be amazing, it will be amazing.  That is my mantra.

And finally, does anyone have any guesses as to what this will be? I have high hopes.  We'll see if it measures up in any meaningful way.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Dollhouse Herringbone Floor Progress - Not as Bad as I Thought

Okay, so you agree that this is around 10%
finished, right?  I mean, definitely not less
than 10% done.  It's clearly not going
to take as long as I first thought, right?
  It's really not going to be so bad.
This herringbone floor is really not as bad as I thought it would be.  I have around 10% of it finished.  I'm going to attempt to sand it before I complete the whole thing and then learn that it crumbles to pieces when I try to sand it.  So far, here are a few things I've learned:

  • I've never really studied a coffee stirrer before, but now that I have, I realize that they have no standard width, depth or length.  They are not retangular in shape, either.  In other words, they suck.  If it wasn't for the fact that they were free, I wouldn't be using them.
  • Coffee stirrers are easily cut by scissors, but they are also easily turned into splinters by scissors.
  • I should have started on one of the uglier, smaller floors.  I would be done by now, and the wood in the main room is not as hideous as the 1960's bright blue and pink painted floors. 
  • I'm going to need an orbital sander.
Just look at this picture again.  I drew some lines
over it now.  It's even more than 10% done, right?
It is so clear now with the lines. It's practically
done.  I'm totally not worried.  I should not be
worried, right?
When my husband asked me "Where is this going?", and I replied, "Where do you think?", I was surprised when he said, the resignation in his tone barely noticeable, "On the wall".  Um, honey, things cut from dowels and painted silver go on the wall.  Things cut from milk cartons go on the wall.  Coffee stirrers painstakingly laid in a zigzag pattern is obviously NOT wall art.  Duh!

Or, could it be?

Thursday, November 29, 2012

First Undersized Urbanite Project - A Herringbone Pattern False Floor

Since I am renovating a Keystone of Boston dollhouse that is in very, very good condition, I want to modify it in a way that maintains its value.  Not that I think I could actually get money for it one day, but who knows?  Maybe it will one day be auctionned off at Christies.  But, realistically, I want to be able to change it without destroying it.  So, the first project that I have taken on is to redo the floor in the main room.  The main room is a combination living room and dining room, with a half wall partitioning them.  So, the actual measurements are a whopping 15" x 24".  I am making the "hardwood" flooring from coffee stirrers.  Cost: $0.00.  Thank you, Trader Joe's and Barnes and Noble and Starbucks.  Each stirrer is 5.5" long, and my pattern requires cutting them to 7/8 of an inch long.  I will definitely regret this decision later, if I do not already realize my foolhardiness.

What I've done so far is fashion a cardboard footprint.  I had to glue two 8.5" x 11" pieces (which, for those math phobes out there, makes 17" x 22") and made up the rest with strips.  Then, I surrounded the perimeter with full coffee stirrers, and I will painstakingly and hopefully patiently glue the tiny, tiny strips of wood into a zigzag pattern.  Let's do the math, shall we?

Area of floor: 360 square inches (minus around 7 square inches for the cutout for the stair landing)

Area of one wood strip: 0.1640625 square inches (dimensions 3/16" x 7/8" or 0.1875" x 0.875")

Number of wood strips needed to cover floor: 360 ÷ 0.1640625 = 2194

Or, in other words, I'm going to be gluing for a very, very long time.  Let's hope it turns out okay, and that I survive the ordeal with most of my sanity intact.  Or is it already gone?

Monday, November 26, 2012

Fixed Up Bedroom Set and Starburst Mirror

I spent an awfully long time
on that mattress...
...just to cover it up with a
fitted sheet
My inquisitive daughter found the bedroom set I bought from the estate sale that "coorced" me to buy the Keystone of Boston dollhouse.  But, I have made some minor changes.  The chair's back was off, and I've reglued it.  The cradle now features a mattress, as does the master bed, after one misfire.  I love the button detailing.  I need to now make the bedding.  I'm thinking white sheets would go best with the extremely busy hand painting. 
Then I have a new starburst mirror, made with polymer clay.  I will add it to my etsy store.  I love it! 

The Hard Way Copyright © 2012 Design by Ipietoon Blogger Template

Blogging tips