The Den of Slack

Victorianna porch progress

I’m at a point with the Victorianna where I’m doing a lot of work with little noticeable progress. Case in point: a month after my last post about the porch, I’m still puttering around with it.

First of all, the siding is all on. This house was so easy to side compared to ones that have a lot of angles to worry about. I also got to use up a lot of small scrap pieces left over from other houses. I think I only used one new piece of siding, and the rest were leftovers.

The trickiest parts were making sure the siding pieces were lined up on each side of the bay windows, and leaving enough of a gap for the porch to fit into. (It’s not glued in here, just held in place by the siding.)

I’m planning to add 1:12 crown molding to the edge of the upstairs porch (same as on the Gull Bay) and will make a railing out of 1:12 spandrel trim from Victorian Doll House Wood Works on eBay.

Next came paint. First I filled in the gaps between the tower pieces with wood filler, and after the first coat of paint I did a second coat of wood filler. I’m not being particularly neat with those seams or with the visible tabs because I plan to cover them up. (I probably didn’t need to paint the towers at all — I planning to cover them up with trim — but I’m still formulating ideas for how to handle them so decided to paint just in case.)

My first attempt at painting the porch was with a slightly darker pink that I’d bought to complement the house color, but it turned out not to contrast enough. I looked online for guidance on what color a Victorian porch floor should be and read that they’re usually gray or dark green to mask dirt. I tried a couple of grays off my super-organized paint shelf and decided on the darker one.

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Gull Bay door repair

Remember my last post when I said that breaking something can make it better in the end? Sometimes that’s true. Other times you spend lots of time and money and effort trying to get the broken thing back to how it was before. That’s what happened with the front door on the Gull Bay Cottage.

Back in 2014, I spent a few feverish months finishing this pull-apart house made by Jackie Kerr Deiber. It’s modeled after an HO scale Millie August house and is designed to be completely enclosed, with two pieces that slide together. Figuring out how to decorate and electrify this thing was a challenge!

The front door that came with it was a modified Houseworks Victorian door with the transom window removed from the top to make it shorter. To provide a better view into the house, I removed the solid door from the frame and replaced it with a Grandt Line door with a window in it. You can read all about this here.

Long story short, because the Grandt Line door was plastic I couldn’t pin hinge it, so I used regular hinges. But — also because of the plastic — I couldn’t put the hinges in with nails, so I super glued them. It worked, and I was proud of my cleverness… until I slid the house together for what was LITERALLY the last time.

I’m not exaggerating. The furniture was all stuck in place with tacky wax. I’d taken a bunch of pictures of the interior and was sliding the two pieces together so I could put the house up on the shelf where it would live. I didn’t notice that the front door was open. It got wedged between the wall and a grandfather clock stuck with wax to the floor and the super glued hinges popped right off.

I tried in vain to super glue the hinges again but it didn’t work — too hard to reach my hands in to do it, too much of a mess on the door and the hinges for the glue to want to stick. The sides held into the frame with nails were fine, but I couldn’t see a way to reattach the plastic door without removing the whole frame, which had the potential to mess up the trim and wallpaper and siding. Blargh.

This happened in July 2014, and the 99% finished house has been sitting sadly with a broken door until a few weeks ago, when I attempted to hinge the plastic door with a piece of a Tyvek envelope that came in the mail. I very quickly figured out that wouldn’t work (plus it looked pretty ugly). I tried painting over the areas where the hinges had been, thinking I could just glue in the door, but even that looked bad. The first step toward change is admitting you have a problem, and I had to admit that my clever Grandt Line door needed to go.

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Victorianna pediment do-over

Sometimes breaking something makes it better. I learn this lesson over and over, working on dollhouses.

One short day after posting about the front door pediment I made for the Victorianna, I destroyed it. I was checking to see how it fit into the hole I cut into the siding, and pressed on the center piece too hard. The only points of contact were where the spokes touched the arch — not very secure.

I tried to glue it back together and failed miserably. Luckily I have another $2 flea market window so I could make a new one. But first, looking at the arch I was left with, I started thinking about what else I could do with it. I dug through my stash and found this resin embellishment.

(This came on a card with a circular embellishment I’m planning to use as window trim on the Elizabeth Anne. I’ll get around to that kit when the Victorianna’s finished… someday.)

With a little trimming, I could make the embellishment fit inside the half circle of trim.

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