The Den of Slack

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Mansard Victorian – making plans & cutting holes

Now that the Craftsman bungalow is finished, I’m going to dig in to the Bauder Pine Mansard Victorian shell I bought earlier this year. The house came with two side additions that I decided not to use. I don’t like how much they stick out, or the flat roofs. They don’t look like natural extensions of the house to me.

That being said, I did want to add *something* to the side of the house, to enlarge the footprint. I have several pieces of Bauder-Pine furniture that I want to use in this house, and I was having trouble making it all fit. In particular, the living room, dining room, and kitchen were giving me trouble.

There’s easily enough space to divide the first floor into three rooms, but the front door is centered on the house. It makes the most sense for the door to open into the living room, except that would put the living room in the middle.

I know dollhouses are unrealistic places with missing walls and sometimes no stairs or bathroom, but I just couldn’t reconcile the idea of a living room between a kitchen and a dining room!

Here’s the furniture I’m trying to accommodate:

I thought about combining the kitchen and dining room into one, but the bay windows were getting in the way. Either I wouldn’t have enough wall space for all of the appliances, or a corner for the cabinet, or a big enough space for the table and benches.

I bought this Lawbre French canopy years ago thinking it would make a good bay window roof whenever I got around to building the Queen Anne Rowhouse kit I have in my stash. (Which may now never happen, seeing as I already have a normal Rowhouse and a heavily bashed Rowhouse… how many rowhouses does one person need? Um, can I get back to you on that?)

An early idea was to build a bump-out on one side of the Mansard Victorian, like the one on the Rowhouse. I planned to bash a side-by-side window into a smaller piano window that could have the Cassidy Creations player piano underneath it.

When I couldn’t find a good way to arrange the furniture, I started thinking about adding another addition to the other side of the house. I liked the idea of a bay window, just not one as sticky-outy as the extensions that came with the house.

I searched for 1:12 bay windows to see if I could find something to bash into a 1:24 addition, and look what I found!

The ceiling is 6.25″ tall, which makes for a nice high 12.5′ ceiling in half scale. It really doesn’t give me that much extra floor space, but I liked the mansard roof so much that I was determined to make it work.

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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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