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Victorianna porch modifications

I’ve been doing small stuff on the Victorianna that hasn’t really been blog-worthy, including a lot of thinking and looking at pictures to figure out how I want to handle the porch. Like with everything else in this house, I’m not following the directions.

CatColorado’s Victorianna gallery on the Greenleaf forum has some good pictures of how the porch roof is supposed to be assembled. The porch roof wedges up against the tower in a way that crowds the windows, which I’m not crazy about since I want to add lots of frilly embellishments to the bay windows.

Looking at pictures of real Victorians got me thinking about turning the porch roof into a second story balcony so I can have more pretty railings and trim. I did the same thing on my Fairfield, leaving off the roof pieces so the intended base of the first story porch ceiling became a second story porch floor.

I made that decision near the end of the build, when it was too late to add a balcony door. With the Victorianna I still have time to add a door.

Here’s the front of the house before I made any porch modifications. The porch roof assembly has a bottom piece with tabs that fit into the open slots, including at the base of the triangular support piece. There’s also a top piece rests on the slant of the triangle.

Geoff used an oscillating multi tool to cut off the triangular support, and to enlarge the window hole into a door hole. This gives a nice view of the stairs I worked so hard on. Notice the slot about an inch under the door. This is where a tab on the bottom porch roof piece would normally fit. Keep that in mind for farther down in this post.

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Little House Cabin landscaping

Ever since I finished my Little House in the Big Woods cabin a few years ago, I always intended to add a base with landscaping. I wanted to make a wooded scene with outbuildings and a vegetable garden and cows and horses and a chicken coop and a covered wagon and other details from the Laura Ingalls Wilder book. It looked great in my head.

On a recent trip to Michaels, I noticed the basswood rounds in the aisle with the wood plaques. They look like log slices and I thought it would be a neat thing to make a base out of. I didn’t know the house’s dimensions, so I went back a few days later armed with a 40% off coupon. The largest one Michaels had was barely large enough for the cabin to fit. The regular price was $10.99.

I was also looking for Gallery Glass paint and apparently Michaels doesn’t carry that anymore, so I tried the Joann’s in the next strip mall over. They didn’t have Gallery Glass either (I ended up buying it on their website) but they did have an extra large basswood round that was bigger than the one I’d bought at Michaels. It was also $19.99! (As a point of comparison, the cabin house kit itself only cost me $25…)

I didn’t have a Joann’s coupon with me, but I bought it anyway. (And I didn’t bother returning the one from Michaels, I’m sure I can find some other use for it someday…)

So, that was a bit of a splurge, especially since when I got home I found a Joann’s coupon for 60% off, which would have made the price about $7. Bah. But my base turned out so good, I’m over it. :) (I didn’t want to buy one of these things online because the websites don’t give exact dimensions, and I needed to make sure my house would fit on it.)

As you can see, the house fits on this one with room to spare all the way around. Initially I didn’t like how tall it is but after I saw the house on the shorter one from Michaels, I liked the look of this better. It’s more substantial.

I wanted to attach a turntable to the bottom before I started doing anything to the base, but I didn’t have one and the nearby hardware store didn’t either, so I played around with trees while I was waiting for Geoff to pick one up for me at Home Depot. The base isn’t as large as I’d imagined — no space for outbuildings and not much space for the titular Big Woods, but I could at least fit a few pine trees around the house.

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Half scale bathroom accessories

Every year, the Half Scale Yahoo Group does a swap, and I participated this year for the fourth time. It’s a fairly large affair — this year we had 39 participants — so it’s important to come up with items that don’t have too many steps and can be made relatively cheaply. The value of the swap item is supposed to be ~$5 — not that it cost that much to make, but you would pay that much for the item if you were buying it.

Past years, I’ve made record albums, kitchen canisters, and butcher block cutting boards. This year the theme was “accessories from all around the house” and I decided to turn my attention to the room it’s nearly impossible to find good mini accessories for: the bathroom.

I found tutorials online for making a 1:12 scale plunger using a small suction cup, but couldn’t find any suction cups tiny enough for half scale. I looked at ear buds but even those were too big, and also kind of expensive in the volume I needed. After a long time poking around online, I don’t remember how I came across these red pipe end caps — but they’re perfect!

I started by cutting down the cap to end up with just the round part. I used a sharp utility knife for this and it cut easily, but I had a hard time getting straight lines. Luckily I had 100 caps and only needed 39 of them, so it was okay to mess some up.

I “drilled” a hole in the cap using my micro drill. This was also hard to do in the exact center since what seemed like the center sometimes turned out not to be when the rounded cap got squished into a flat position. I don’t know what size bit this is, but it’s the same size as a toothpick.

Next I cut the top off a fancy toothpick.

I left one ridge at the end of the toothpick, to “grab” under the hole and prevent the handle from sliding right out.

I stuck the pointy part of the toothpick up through the hole and pulled until the notch settled in the hole. I didn’t bother with glue, it’s a snug fit. Finally I cut down the top of the toothpick and sanded the top with an emery board to round it. The plunger’s finished height is 15/16″.

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