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About this blog

Community Members go head to head against the seasoned Team Builders in a miniature show down!

Entries in this blog

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We really enjoyed the opportunity to build and blog as a part of the Community Team.

I counted the days in my blog as I knew Ray and I couldn't build each day due to work and other family obligations (my dad suffered a brain injury a couple of months ago).

We were very surprised to see that we could build a lovely house in under 2 weeks. Ray and I had never built a house using a kit before this Orchid. What a lovely experience.

-Susanne

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Yesterday Ray finished shingling the roof with Cork shingles that I'd cut. We're satisfied with how the shingles went on, but we're going to do some shading with a highlighter to add definition.

Mother Bear had a surprise for me. She'd hidden it very well behind her apron, but now the 3 Bears are four. I've created a place for the newest Baby Bear in the charming little alcove off of the Master Bedroom. I took pity on Mother Bear having to heat baby bottles over the fireplace, so found her a small stove that would fit into her kitchen. I think it also works better for cooking her porridge.

Oh, and another surprise. Goldilocks will have to be jockeying for space on the former Baby Bear's bed. It seems that this bear family already had a Raggedy Anne little girl that comes over for naps.

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I'll take more photos when my camera battery recharges ... I'll get some photos of the cork shingles.

This week I'll finish up my landscaping, and when Ray's off work again (next weekend) we'll shadow the cork shingles and the Orchid will be completed.

-Susanne

Yesterday I cut shingles out of my corking material. I traced them using the shingles that came with the Orchid kit as a pattern.

While I was at work today Ray got most of the shingling done. He would have completed the job, but he ran out of shingles. Tomorrow I'll pick up some more cork.

We used aluminium foil for flashing material.

-Susanne

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Well here it is - at last - the completed bash.

From this: blog-86-1157693249_thumb.jpg to this blog-86-1157693286_thumb.jpg

The front entry way

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Interior:

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Exterior angles

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I'd like to say thanks to everyone the Greenleaf Forum who helped with landscaping tips. painting and paperclay tips, opinions and ideas on how to tackle the various problems I encountered while trying this bash experiement. Without their enthusiasm and encouragment I would not have had the courage to tackle such a project. I learned so many things through this build that I really believe this will remain one of my favorite houses of all time.

Thanks again everyone!! :angry:

Landscaping

Well I'm there - at the end. Tomorrow will be my last blog entry for this project. I've built a couple of small retaining walls - this time out of polymer clay and put some of my preserved plant material in the retaining walls. It's doubtful that I'll have enough coffee grounds by tomorrow to put in some nice walk ways but we'll see - I'm amazed that used and dried coffee grounds look so much like rich mulch but after this project I know I won't be throwing the coffee grounds away anymore.

So here it is - the Orchid - nearly done. I still have a few more bits of lanscaping to put in, need to finish gluing down the grass edges over the board - and after 3 other kinds of glue failed I found a nice 3M spay product that works really well :angry: , and I need to take it out in the sunshine and try to get some final photos of it and she'll be complete. But for now - here's how the landscaping is coming along

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As I mentioned I made the stones out of white bulk polymerclay - for things like this it's cheaper than paperclay and I don't have to wait for drying time or worry about cracking as it dries and they're definitely small enough to go in the oven. I gave it the same treatment as the paperclay stones on the building a light wash of grey paint and wiped off the excess. I put some foam core down inside the walls to protect the "grass" mat underneath and then went with non-hardening clay like plastina to stick the "plants" into this way I can always change the plants if or when I want to by removing the plant stuffs and sticking new in. I'd like to make more rocks tonight and perhaps a path going over to the well - we'll see what happens when I get the rocks made. Hopefully there will be some nice sunshine for taking photos tomorrow.

Nearing the End

Still no landscaping. I haven't a clue where I put my stuff except that I had a few days before I started looking for it - <sigh> But here's a picture of the new paint job. I think it will work out alright. I'm afraid it may take me a few more houses to learn to do it right the first time and to make them look more the way I want but I think this is better than the last paint job I had on this one - so after sanding, and quite a few color washes Here's how the house stands.

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A bit of landscaping and I'll consider this a done deal. I'm not sure yet if I'll use the well in the above photo with this building or not.

And a few more bits for the interior made from home made moulds

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Tomorrow I'll make one more attempt to find the landscaping stuff I have here and if I can't find it I'll be off to the craft shop again to get some more. And then it will be a wrap.

The Green Leaf is done and open for business.

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Care to look around?

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The workshop. Once we start to show some profit we plan to get more inventory.

We just planted the seeds for the landscaping so they will take a awhile to grow in. Come back and see when they are mature!

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It has been so great to be apart of this build! I wanted to thank everyone at GreenLeaf and everyone here for letting me a part of this community! Everyones houses are so wonderful and imaginative. There are some very talented people here and I can say I knew them when. :angry:

Here's a photo of the thick paint job that I really didn't like. I almost forgot to take a photo before sanded it all off. All that was left was this one little wall but you can still see the very flat grey color I had painted it.

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and here at long last is the front of the building - not finished but I'm much happier with the way it looks. I've added yet more to it but am not so worried about how the paint will go on. The roof may be a bit tricky but it can be a little uneven I think and still be ok. The parts I'm adding to the front will be fine just as long as I paint them all at the same time - the boarder blocks can be a bit lighter in shade than the rest :angry: Once a put new boarders blocks around the side windows I'll be ready for what I hope will be the last of the painting to be done on this :huh:

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As you can see the sanding left some of the dark places and lightened others I'm hoping that this will give a deeper look to the stones.. and if nothing else I hope it will look better than the flat grey it was before.

I'm afraid there aren't any photos for this update but I wanted to let everyone know why the heck it's taking me so long to finish this up. Every night I work on it... I live with the next day on the kitchen table where I walk by it several dozen times.. and that night I start again trying to fix what I did the night before. This has been going on for about a week. You might be asking what could be so tough? What you messing up every night. Well I may have mentioned I"m not the greatest with paint. So I started out with my blank paperclay.. and gave it a nice light wash.. only it wasn't all that light so I had to wash as much off as I could.. but then it still wasn't quite getting in all the crevaces as dark as I wanted so I went back over those with a darker wash but then couldn't get all the dark off the stones and had to try to wash it off again.. and then I painted the roof..... and of course it dripped down the walls :angry: which I wiped off.. but again it doesn't all want to come off so I had to try to wash it off which took off some of the paint under it too and then I added the windows.... and it looked ok till I realized that I just couldn't live with some of the gaps between the windows and the walls.. small gaps but gaps none the less and they had to be filled.. so that left nicely painted (sort of) walls but white paperclay on the edges - no problem I'll give them a nice wash and they'll blend in... or not. The wash went on but they did NOT blend. Ok so I started in with other colors to the stones randomly - Wow! Nutti was right add those other colors helps a LOT!!.. except I still couldn't get the patches to blend in.. Finally I decided I needed to just paint over the entire thing to just cover it all and make it a uniform color which I could then add different color washes too and I chose a nice light grey... which dried about 2 shades darker than it went on :lol: And Now the chappel and the roof were almost the same color grey! :lol: So tonight I repainted the roof a darker slate color.. but it still was very bland, dark and flat looking and the washes of color were now not showing up so well on that flat dark grey stone.

So after thinking and contemplating I finally found a use for that bit of sandpaper that came with the kit (the same sand paper I almost never use on the kit edges)... I sanded down the entire building! I left all the detail and some of the thicker paint but took off most of it and you know what ? I think this just may work! I've added a few more bits of paperclay. I've got about half the details on that have been bugging me - my nice octagon openings in the entrance look like round portholes <humph> so I'm edging them and tomorrow when I'm more awake I'll finish adding the rest of the stone edging and after that... back to painting this time with very light transparent washes of color :lol:

So what have I learned from all the paperclay on this building?

1. It really helps if your clay is uniform thickness - it helps give the building a uniform look that way all your groves between blocks is about teh same depth and all the block has about teh same texture and what ever shrinkage you have in the paperclay will be uniform throughout the build.

2. The thicker the paperclay is the more it tends to crack :huh: For some reason (at least for me) it seems to shrink more if it's laid on thicker perhaps it's something to do with the tensile strength of it and shrinking the way there is the least resistance <?> so where ever you make an impression (morter line) it will crack and then tend to split even past the impression but if it's thinner the shrinkage perhaps goes into it thinning against the wall rather than thickening and cracking.

3. When painting.. very very light washes. To get a lighter color you don't really need to keep adding white paint (which is the first thing I always think of) but instead use a little paint and a lot of water so it looks like really thinned out watercolors then just apply in thin coats and a sponge brush helps keep it from dripping. If a drip does start you can use a dry sponge brush to stop it.

4. Just like Nutti said - unevenness in painting can really REALLY be helped by adding other colors in thin light washes in a random pattern to your stones

5. Random patterning isn't as hard as it sounds if you remember to sometimes wash the same colors on conecting stones.. so it's not polka dot but actually random, some touching, some not, very unevenly distributed. I had a tendancy to want to make it even and not have any stones of the same colors next to each other.. to be really random some of them would have to be next to each other.

6. Paperclay takes sanding really well :lol: and is actually pretty durable stuff!

Tomorrow if nothing else there will be photos of the sanded exterior

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I had the day off today and decided I'd do nothing but read my book and work on my miniature projects. It was a wonderful restful day.

The "big" jobs I have left on the Orchid is to fix the roofing job. Ray and I both have Monday off, so we're planning on finishing off the roof. Otherwise, I just have to glue my landscaping in place, install the crown mouldings and finishing trim on the back of the dollhouse.

Today, I painted shelves (Mama Bear insists her kitchen be put to order today) and helped her unpack Bear Family food. She didn't want a stove in her kitchen. She only cooks porridge and says she can do that fine over the fireplace.

Oh, and Goldilocks has already moved in!! So far the Bear Family doesn't even seem to have noticed her.

-Susanne

Ta da!

I finished her yesterday. I had alot of fun building this house. I have no idea what I am going to do with her or where I am going to put her.

Here is the staircase area. I made this stained glass before and I mounted it and secured it to the ceiling.

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One view of the gallery area. I put bowls with tiny star fish in the window.

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Here are another views of gallery.

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This is the staircase landing in the studio...

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and the studio. I made the lil easel.

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A full view of interior...

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A full view of exterior...

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Thank you so much for having the opportunity to join in on this fun group build! :angry:

Almost there

Well as I said in my last entry the interior is almost there. A couple more things and it's done - it's the exterior that's been perplexing me now, but it too - finally- is almost there. I've gone over some of the paint to try to even it out - it's still too dark but I'm afraid that's just how it will have to be. I've found I an lighten it but it lightens very unevenly so I'm going to let it be dark. I've also spent a bit of time filling cracks, filling window gaps and in general just trying to smooth out the over all look of it and make sure there aren't any glaring "oops"es showing.. and there still may be a few I haven't spotted. I painted the under side of the eves - something I'm now wishing I'd done before assembly :angry: :huh: And I've been working a few details that I hope will add just a few nice touches to the place.

I used the wooden door frame that came with the kit on the inside and planned to do the same with the exterior of the front door but apparently I misplaced it.. which is probably not such a bad thing because it forced me to do some block work there which I think will make it look more finished in the long run. Here's my block work around the front door exterior and a block step which is paperclay over the hard styrofoam. As you can see I still have some painting touch ups to do.

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Once this is completely dry and I'm satisfied that all gaps there have been filled it will finally be time to add on the entry way permanantly but I've been working on a shield for the interior. I found an image of a shield I liked (from one of the small ones I had on the interior back wall) and I sculpted it in polymer clay the size I want it - then baked the shield. Once it was baked I made a press moldl also in polymer clay from it and baked the mould. The next step was to make a mould out of paperclay which will keep the weight down. Below is the mould and the paperclay sheild that came out of it - the last step will be to paint it then put it on the wall.

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As you can see in the above picture there is also a smaller mould there made directly off one of the tiny shields I had up - In this case I just used the original to make the mould from in order to do this:

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Unfortunately right now the small paperclay shield, unpainted looks like a nose beneath two hollow eyes but once it's attached and painted it should be a great detail to add to the entryway above the arch - at least that's my hope :lol:

Roofing Done

I finished the roofing on saturday. It was kinda tedious but I loved the way it looks.

I just glued and trimmed lengths of the twine to the house. I let them overlap so I could get a good tension and pull without messing up the glue.

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I used twine and made a spiral on each side of the gable. I noticed later that they werent even. I dont care at this point..LOL

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I waited to finish the whole roof before I started to trim.

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Today was a day with accomplishments and a major disappointment.

The cork looked real good over the three gables. Today, however, when I applied it to other areas of the roof, it kept spring up. I tried glue and extra double sided tape, but it wouldn't hold down firmly. We've decided that we're going to take the cork off and redo the roof. You win some and you lose some. I have a couple of other ideas that I'll try out before tacking the roof again. Like I said before, I'd like to achieve that hushed forest effect.

We painted the window trims and applied some of the gingerbread mouldings today. Wow do they ever change the appearance of this house.

Ray and I are back to work tomorrow, and have out-of-town company coming for the weekend. I won't be working on the house again until early next week.

I took some photos to show what it looks like so far ... including the disastrous roofing job.

Mama Bear isn't happy with the delay, but I've let the family move in until I can get back at the roof. I've only allowed her the "bear" necessities for furnishings. She insisted on the large casket of honey, but I told her she'd better not get everything sticky. I also lightly landscaped so that she'd have her raspberry bushes and some strawberry plants.

- Susanne

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Well, it's taken just over a month from beginning building to completed decorating on this little house. The build was SO easy and went together quickly so that it left lots of time for the fun stuff!!

The only problem I ran into was with the porch posts. They didn't meet up with the porch rail, but I figured it out. My gable addition was not straight . . . it pointed upwards, which made the porch posts short, so I had to add in pieces to accommodate the difference (just call it a decorative detail!) :angry:

After much #*%*(* and digging out the jujube stones and re-paperclaying new ones, I finally got the stone effect I was after. They turned out pretty nice (if I do say so myself)! :huh:

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Once the house was done I was able to go ahead with landscaping. I attached the house to a piece of foam and plywood, glued on the grass and commenced planting flower beds! :lol:

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I then started on the pond. I dug out the grass and foam to create a divet.

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Then I used paperclay to create the pond and stones surrounding it.

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I painted the 'water' with Avalon Blue and painted the stones with the same colors on the house. It turned out great and is one of my favorite things about the landscaping.

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The interior is pretty much complete also. My kitchen finally arrived! :lol: I just have crown moulding to install in the parlor and kitchen and I want to paint the dining table and chairs. I also would like to add towels and whatnots to the bathroom, but other than that, I'd say I'm done (famous last words)!! :lol:

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Today I put a coat of varnish on the shingles and trim and I'm done!!

This was a very fun project and I want to thank Greenleaf for the opportunity to participate!! :lol: It's also been great fun to see all the other "Orchid's". Everyone has done or is doing a fantastic job!!

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Roofing

I painted the house chocolate brown! Reminds me of a Hershey bar. Mmmmm.

I was staring at the roof today and I really didnt want to have to dig out those blasted shingles. Then another click went off in my head.

Jute Twine!

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As I was sitting watching Oprah, I cut off lengths and glued and glued and glued.

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I glued for about an hour and got one side done.

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After the glue is completely dry, I am going to try to color some of the twine and weave it into the parts that are already glued.

I really like it. It is really different. I am thinking of twisting it into circles on either side of the gable roof. We`ll see how that goes!

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I finished papering the outside and started working on the front porch yesterday.

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I think I am going to use some wood to reinforce the porch to the house to make it sturdier.

I am using 4 colors of brown for the outside.

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Today I am going to add some more color and I am going to reattach the boards that I had from the stoning fiasco!

Thinking about adding something else but it is going to take some time today to sit and stare at it and think it over. Maybe some cracks. Maybe some faux stones. I dont know! :angry:

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Ray and I went for a beautiful ride out in the country this morning. We didn't start on the Orchid until late afternoon, but got a fair amount accomplished today.

I painted the exterior with a stucco/acrylic paint mixture. It was great fun - kind of like icing a cake. I'm quite happy with the results. Tomorrow I'll touch up any areas where I didn't completely cover.

I wanted a thatch roof effect for the roof, so that the house will look (and sound) like it resides in a forest. What I mean by sound is that quiet muffled sound that you get when you walk through the heavily mulched floor of a forest. I've not found a satisfactory method of thatching using loose fibres yet. And it was very important to me to attain that forest floor effect. I found a substitution that was acceptable to me. I'm gluing down sheets of thin cork. I bought the cork in rolls that were being sold as shelf liner. The material is very flexible. This evening I started the roofing and have found the cork is working very well. In the photos, you'll see that I've reinforced the "caps" with masking tape until the glue dries.

I'm hoping that tomorrow Ray and I will be able to finish the house.

-Susanne

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It's been a day of frustrations. The house itself is a dream to put together however making mitred corners for an octagonal window without posessing sufficient math skills can be quite challenging After all the time I spent today on it I don't care if I ever make another octagonal window frame. I cut it out of scrap, recut.. recut.. glued in place.. pulled it off.. recut again.. <sigh> I'm sure tomorrow though I'll feel differently. It took a lot of time to figure out the angle to cut it at.. next time it will be a lot easier but I think I'll still plan on buying double or tripple the wood that I think I'll need just to have on hand for the mistakes I'll make in measuring. In the end I still managed to make the frame too large for the window but did find that the angle for cutting on is an imaginary line on my Easy Cutter half way between 60 degrees and 75 degrees. I really don't want to take them down and do them yet again. I'm afraid I'll shorten them too much and really mess up the windows (and not have enough wood left to fix it) so here is what the windows look like for now. I had thought I could live with the paperclay I put around the inside of the windows but after a couple of days they just looked worse and worse - I'll have to see how these look in a couple days

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And now for the interior. I picked up a few bits of furniture for the inside while I was at the mini shop the other day. I had wanted something for the back wall but didn't know what. These two shields appear to be the right thing though I just tacked them up quickly with mini hold to see how I like them. They'll need to be straightened and applied correctly, and possibly painted first. I had wanted a sarcophagus for the back wall as well but for now the chest will have to do

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The front wall is much the same as it was - added is a table and gobblets and of course the new wood molding around the windows above. Also a single simple bench sits below the dias

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The interior as it is today:

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The front door is completed sans hinges. The opening in the bottom was filled with 2 bits I found at the mini shop that are glued on to make up the door pannels and below that a rectangular piece that I cut from what was left of the kit sheet after all the pieces had been punched out. Staining the whole thing makes a world of difference and of course the "leaded" window panes are in place.

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Okay the stones were not what I had wanted. They didnt stick. There was a big mess. Alot of swearing. That is all I want to say about that.

It took me an hour to pick off the remaining gunk and figure out HOW was I going to cover this mess..

Papier Mache!

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I was thinking it was going to look kinda gnarly

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but I like it and it will look good painted with little touches here and there.

I have finished both sides and am getting ready to put the porch together. Then I will mache the rest of the house!

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I used school brown paper bags, water and glue!

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Today Ray worked on painting, cutting and installing interior trims. It's amazing how this detail completes a room.

I traced the house onto the base we will be attaching it to. I then cut out four foamcore pieces and glued some grass onto each of the pieces. I bought the roll of grass at a Miniature Railway Hobby Supply store. Previously I'd completed a mock-up of how I want the landscaping arranged. Since the house will belong to the Three Bears, it will be located in a forest. So, I'm looking at lots of trees and shubbery (but not so much as to hide the fairy tale look of the Orchid).

I was hoping Ray would be able to finish the interior trims today, so that I could start to finish the outside of the cottage. But you can't hurry a perfectionist. I was able to put a second coat on the exterior trims today while he was working on the inside.

After looking at the photos that I've taken, it looks like tomorrow I'll be scraping some paint off the windows. :huh: :angry: If Ray had painted the exterior trims he wouldn't have gotten paint on the window panes - he has a much steadier hand than I do.

This is such an enjoyable house to work on.

- Susanne

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Chuggin along

I finally sat down and painted the staircase.

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The colors are Steamed Milk and Safari Taupe.

It took a few tries but I finally got the staircase to behave and stay in place. I noticed that I have to do a lil touch-ups on the stair treads.

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Today i started working on the outside. I finally finally got the bay window together and to fit (kinda sorta) in the window.

I am using strips of basswood painted Steamed Milk on the outside. I am thinking of filling in the gaps with little black stones.

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I am using tile grout on the base of the house and covering each section with Black aquarium stones.

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This is a pure experiment! I do not know how it is going to turn out! You will all see what I see as I progress.

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