The Den of Slack

Craftsman bungalow vignette – finished!

With the porch finished, all I had left to do on the bungalow were a few pieces of trim. But first, as I often do as a project nears completion (see here and here), I went down a rabbit hole of destruction that took a little work to climb back out of.

It all started when I added beams to the ceiling. These came with the kit, but there was no interior photo so I didn’t know how they would look. But beams are beams, right? I know what beams look like. What could go wrong?

I stained them to match the rest of the wood, glued them in, and… I didn’t like them.

I used a scrap piece of wood to make sure the beams on each side of the ceiling are evenly spaced, but didn’t think about how the two at the top would look in relation to each other, and they’re too close together. And I also just didn’t like the look. It’s distracting, and it doesn’t say Craftsman to me.

Of course, I let the glue dry before I decided I didn’t like them. So when I pulled them down, the ceiling ended up like this.

So that’s not great, but shouldn’t be hard to fix. Right? Except…

Yikes. I didn’t notice that some glue on the beam had stuck to the wallpaper, and when I pulled the beam down, the wallpaper came with it.

Luckily one torn piece was still attached, and the other piece was stuck to the beam.

I was able to glue them back in place. Those spots aren’t perfect, you have to really look for them.

(It’s a good thing this was Brodnax Prints paper, which is thin and not coated. If it had been the thicker Itsy Bitsy Mini paper that I often use, I think the patch would have been more noticeable. On the other hand, the thicker, coated paper might not have torn in the first place?)

I cut another piece of ceiling paper and glued it in over the shreds of the old one. It’s like it never happened! Except…

There are some cracks where the ceiling paper doesn’t quite meet the wallpaper, and you can see the wood underneath. This was true with the first attempt too (you can see them in the first photo above, between the beams). I’d been planning to add skinny basswood strips, either painted ceiling color or stained, between the beams.

I played around with trim but it since very skinny pieces of wood tend to be flexible and not perfectly straight, I didn’t think I could glue it in snug enough to neatly fix the problem. I also tried masking the wallpaper and ceiling paper and dabbing paint in the cracks, which was pretty risky (speaking of ruining houses when they’re almost done) and didn’t work anyway.

If only the ceiling paper were a little thicker, these cracks wouldn’t be a problem…

I cut a piece of stiff paper and glued this in on top of the ceiling paper. The thickness of the paper covers up the cracks.

Then I glued a piece of ceiling paper on top of that. Third time’s a charm! Except…

The multiple layers of paper have gotten rather thick, especially at the peak where they’re not folded sharply.

Luckily this will be covered up by the stripwood trim I’m adding to the edges of the roof.

I glued 1/4″ x 1/32″ strip wood around the edges of the roof, stained Minwax Ebony like the shingles. My roof peaks had been a little sloppy because of how the pieces fit together, but the trim turns this into a nice sharp corner.

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Dopefish cross stitch (plus free chart)

I don’t sit around all day and play with dollhouses (as much as I would like to). By day I’m a PR/marketing consultant in the video game industry, as well as a freelance copyeditor and writer.

(Side note: I don’t copyedit my own blog entries! Please don’t take anything you see on this blog as evidence of my skills!)

For the past few years, one of my consulting gigs has been with JDRF Game2Give, a program that spreads awareness about type 1 diabetes (T1D) within the video game industry, and fundraises for research toward cures. In August we held our annual 10-day Game Over, T1D! livestream fundraiser, which raised over $50,000.

As part of that event, the JDRF Game2Give team did our own charity streams, which are sort of the┬ámodern-day equivalent of a TV telethon. I included some cross stitch rewards for big donations — $150 for one character, or $1,000 for a 14-character baby afghan.

(Clearly I don’t copyedit my own tweets, either, because that should have been “auctioned off a Thimbleweed Park cross stitch afghan.” D’oh. Here’s the afghan I was talking about.)

We kicked off our fundraising with an Animal Crossing stream, so I offered to cross stitch characters from that game. As the event stretched on with no one taking me up on it, I threw in any of the characters from Thimbleweed Park, which I charted several years ago after doing PR for that game.

Near the end of the week, someone reached out on Twitter and asked if I would stitch the Dopefish from the 1991 game Commander Keen 4. That’s not a game I’ve played, but I googled it and the character looked simple enough, so I said sure. He made a $150 donation and I got to work.

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Craftsman bungalow vignette – finishing the porch

Back in June, I started the porch on the Craftsman bungalow vignette. Then I realized I should finish the interior windows and paneling before attaching the porch, while I could still easily put the vignette face-down on the table.

Here’s where I left off.

I positioned the porch so there would be the same amount of space between the posts and the corners of the porch roof. I drew pencil lines at the outer edges of the door trim to make sure I lined it up correctly when gluing.

The directions just said to glue the porch to the front of the house, without any tips for how to do that. The porch is made from a solid block of wood. I didn’t have high hopes that regular glue would hold it, but gave it a try.

As predicted, that didn’t work. Because the porch is being attached to siding rather than a flat surface, the glue didn’t have much to adhere to. I could have gotten out the big clamps and clamped it into position to dry, but I just didn’t have a good feeling about the glue holding, so I wiped it off while it was still wet and asked Geoff for help.

My initial thought was to nail the porch to the house through the bottom of the foundation. Geoff held the nail gun in there and found that it would fit, with the nails going in at an angle.

Because he likes to over-engineer things (in a good way), he suggested using construction adhesive in addition to nails.

We turned the house upside down on the workbench. I used the lines I’d drawn around the door to position the porch, held it in place while flipping the house over, and then drew a line on the bottom that extended from the porch to the underside of the foundation. This way, when it came time to glue, I just had to match up the two lines.

(I also labeled the bottom of the porch “bottom” because attaching it upside down totally seemed like something I would do.)

To make sure the bottom of the porch was flush with the bottom of the foundation, Geoff clamped a metal straight edge to the porch to use as a guide.

He squirted on the construction adhesive.

And then clamped the porch in place.

We let it sit for a few minutes, and then he shot in some nails. He did the outer edges first, and then removed the clamp and did the center. It probably didn’t need that many nails, but see above re: over-engineering. (I’m not complaining!)

Once the porch was nailed in, we turned the house right side up again.

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