Saturday, December 13, 2008

Brick & Stone Tutorials

There is a scintillating conversation going on at the Small Stuff Digest about egg carton bricks and stones. From there, I found some really good tutorial links that show you how to make cardboard/styrofoam bricks and stones. Before I forget the links, here they are:

The following link by Pat Thomas explains an excellent way to make polymer clay bricks.

And this link has some really awesome dollhouse tutorials:

Paperclay brick tutorial:

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Things to look out for - Tips from Becky Winsor

After my desperate plea for help on the Small Stuff Digest, Becky Winsor came to the rescue. I found her email quite helpful, so I asked her permission to reprint it on the blog:

Hello Sumaiya,
Your question about short circuits hit home with me as I think I've made every mistake possible with wiring. I only use the tape wire and the most common error is not making sure to connect the pink side to the pink side and blue side to blue side when putting in the little brads at tape intersections. You really have to be sure the brads are going through ONLY pink or ONLY blue tape. The second most common mistake, at least by me, is allowing the little light fixture wires to touch once they're connected to the tape. That will definitely short circuit the system. Fortunately, neither of these problems will ruin a system. Once the problem is corrected the system should work just fine.
Best of luck with it,
Becky Winsor

As I was reading the email, I was mentally checking off the possibilities. Since I have a single strip of tape wire, I will not need to worry about connecting blue to blue and pink to pink. But I will definitely double check the fixture wires again to make sure their positive and negative ends aren't touching. Thank you Becky for your tips!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

How to Electrify a Dollhouse

"Oh what a tangled web we weave ..."
I get slightly philosophical when I look at the exterior of the Garfield, crisscrossed with electrical wires. Looks a fright now, doesn't it?

The photo above shows the house from the right hand side. Below are photos taken from the front, the left and the back, respectively.

A single strip of copper tape wire goes around the house. The wires from the interior lights are brought out to the exterior through tiny holes on the walls. These wires are soldered onto the main copper wire, and the junctions are secured with electrical tape.

Front View

Left View

Back View

If you look at the photo below, you can see close-ups of the connections. Instead of using a junction splice, I decided to solder the transformer's lead-in wire directly to the copper tape wire. In my experience, sometimes the junction splice's pins jiggle and lose connection with the tape wire.

So these are the steps. I am eternally paranoid about short circuits. But today, while I was blogging about the electrical work, I came across the most wonderful tutorial on Christine's Blog - Small World Builders. Upon reading the steps of the tutorial, it seems like I did things right, so I am slightly at ease at the moment. Here is the link:

I will cover the wirings with card-stock paper before I put bricks on the exterior. I am a bit anxious though, because once the brickwork goes up, I don't think I will have the patience to take it all down in case of a short circuit. If you find any potential red flags after reading my blog, please leave a comment, or send me a note at, so that I may fix the problem before I cover it all up.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stairs Makeover

I had a problem with the stairs. On the second and third floor, the back rooms are at a slightly lower level from the front rooms. Shown above are the assembled stairs for the second and third floor.

I absolutely detested the original stairs: the first tread is immediately below the doorway. It seemed to me that whoever opened the door would trip and fall unless the stairs were extended a little bit from the doorway. So I bashed the two stairs together to come up with modified stairs for the second floor. Now the lady of the manor can open the door, glide in and gently walk down the stairs. In my opinion, things would be a lot easier if the rooms were at the same level. Any way ...

I didn't much care for the patchwork look on the sides of the stairs. So I covered the sides with card-stock paper and finished off with the same narrow wooden trims I am using in the rest of the house. The stairs were painted dark brown, the treads covered with the same wood-grained Con-Tact paper as the floor, a tiny golden craft-book decal for details, and the entire thing got one coat of glaze.

So, what would happen to the third floor, you may wonder. I am using the wider stairs that were meant for the porch, and promoting them to the third floor. The third floor has an open floor plan, so it doesn't bother me that the stairs start a little lower ... no surprised tumble down the stairs at any rate!

The photo below shows the second and third floor stairs, and part of the trims I am working on currently. More about trims coming up later ...

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Found this wonderful reference drawing of Victorian Moldings. Although my molding plans for this house are not nearly as ambitious, it's nice to have something to refer to. Click on the drawing to see a larger version.

I think I will have very simple crown moldings and baseboards in addition to the door and window casings provided in the Garfield kit.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Stained Glass Window

Behold the magic of Gallery Glass Window Color! Found this paint in the glass tiles/stained glass section at Hobby Lobby. The paint becomes more translucent as it dries. The photos show the dry state (above) and the wet state (below) of the paint.

I would suggest painting the windows before assembly, but if you have already finished your house, don't despair! The paint is thick enough to paint the windows at an upright position and dripping can be avoided if you are a little careful. The Gallery Glass paints come in an array of colors. I have used teal and harvest yellow for my manor.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bay Windows

The first and second floor bay windows are complete, at least on the inside. The outside will get the same treatment as the rest of the house exterior. At this point the shell of the house is complete. Now comes the fun part of decorating! :D

Monday, September 29, 2008


The pond arrived today! This will be part of the garden. I bought this from eBay for $9.99 (+$7 shipping).

Attic Ideas

Here are some wonderful tips and messages I got from my friends at SmallStuff Digest, and I had to share them on the blog!


One way to make the doorway taller would be to raise the walls of the third floor by separating the third floor wall at the tabs and splicing in a strip of wood wide enough to raise the roofline to whatever height you want the top of the doorway to the tower, and reinforce it on the exterior wall with an ornamental pice of stripwood glued over the "seams", and make new interior walls.

Havana (FL) Holly


Sumaiya? I just left the doorway off when I built mine. I hated the doorway because it blocked the view into the room. I think they made the doorway so small for 2 reasons the first reason is it's a hidden room and the doorways are always smaller and the 2nd reason is that you can take the tower roof off. I glued my tower roof down--didn't want the cat to knock it over and chew on it.



If you can't find a good solution to the low door then perhaps you can find comfort in the authenticity of having a low door. Lower than normal doors were frequently used on medieval buildings including towers, castles and cottages. It forced the person entering to stoop. They were unable to come charging into a room, sword at ready, and kill the persons within.


The best way for you to get the best information on your Garfield Manor Kit is at the Greenleaf Website When you get to the home page click on the Community Link that you will find on the left side of your screen. Then select the Greenleaf Forum. In the forum section scroll down and in the Miniature Forum section and click on the Forum: Questions about a Particular house. Here you will click on the Greenleaf houses and you are on your way to answering many of your guest ions. Another way to get to what you want is to put Garfield Manor in the search box. I hope this helps you.


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Main Roof - Dry Fitting

I had a "So That's Why!" moment today. Apparently, making the tower room door taller was absolutely useless! The slanted roof cuts across the tower room in such a way that it's impossible to have the doorway any taller. I am crushed!

If I were any good at kit-bashing, I'd figure out a way to make the attic roof higher, since right now the third floor rooms seem very cramped and hard to access. I hope the Greenleaf designers will rethink the design in later versions and make the floor-plan more open for maximum use and enjoyment.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

The Tower Roof

I skipped a few steps and decided to work on the tower roof. It would have gone a lot faster if I had used a glue-gun. I used wood glue instead which seems a lot more reliable to me, and it took ages to dry. The gaps between the joints will be covered once I add the roof tiles. I don't know why I decided to wallpaper inside the roof, since I cannot imagine anyone would ever look up inside; I guess this is where my obsessive perfectionist side prevails. I decided to keep the tower roof unglued from the tower room for easy access later.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Tower Room

This is my favorite room in the manor now - the tower room. I think I will make it an artist's studio, since the lady of the house loves to paint as the afternoon sunlight streams in through the windows.

The walls still have tiny gaps where they join, but a bit of wood filler on the outside will seal that easily. I am making the tower roof right's taking ages!

The Tower Room Doorway - Why?

For the love of all that is good in this world...WHY is the doorway shaped this way? It would be a lot prettier if this doorway had the same arch as the other doors and windows for the sake of consistency, or even if it were a regular rectangular doorway!

Well, I made the doorway taller, so that my doll could walk through without bumping his head. :) I will have to make a door later out of scrap particle board.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Second Floor - Back Room

I was up all night last night finishing up the second floor. The closets were installed, the back wall went up, and finally, the wiring was soldered for the hanging tiffany lamp. Other than the steps, moldings and doors, the second floor is complete.

I love the lights. As of now, there are 4 modern chandeliers, 2 tiffany lamps and 4 tulip sconces in the house ... first and second floor. I plan to add more lights on the third floor, and some electrical outlets on each floor for additional table lamps as needed. Dear reader, if you love this house, please say a little prayer for it so that the circuit never shorts out! :)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Corner Cupboard

Inspired by the work of my friend Kathy Calhoun, I was nudged into action and decided to install the corner cupboard on the first floor. Originally, the cupboard did not have a wood backing, and the wallpaper was supposed to show through. However, I created solid backing using scrap particle-board. Instead of having three shelves, I have only one high shelf. I would probably keep one ornate floral arrangement or hang a painting in that corner.

To see Kathy's progress on her Garfield, visit:

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My Favorite Place In The House

This is the second floor landing, and my favorite spot in the Garfield. You look in through the balcony and catch a tantalizing glimpse of this otherwise hidden corner.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

A Quick Glance At Where We Stand

Pardon the mess please! It is, after all, a construction zone. :) Just wanted to post a photo of the structure as of now. Bought a simple and inexpensive cart from Home Depot: easier to move the house to a corner when I am done for the day.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Second Floor Landing

I am loving the lights that went on the landing walls. Firstly, I covered the side facing us with fabric. Then I made holes for the lights to go through. The wires go around the doorway and out a small hole to the exterior of the structure. Then I hid the exposed wires with fabric "wallpaper" on the other side of these walls. The exterior of the house is a mess right now with wires and tapes, but all will be hidden when the faux brick goes up.

I just adore the tiny window above the bathroom door!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

The Kitchen

The last scene of the dollhouse animation was filmed in the kitchen area, and the back wall had to be left open because of that particular camera angle. With the animation complete, I can resume construction on the Garfield. Finally, the back wall is up and the kitchen light working.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Second Floor Railing

Assembled, painted and decorated the second floor railing today. If you remember the staircase, this is the same Asian-influenced ornamentation that was used there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

"Ke" - The Animation

Wanted to share the final version of the animation that was filmed inside the Garfield. It was filmed mostly in the downstairs living-room, and partly in the kitchen.

Setting the Stage

Construction on the Garfield was at a stand-still for the last three months, because it was being used to film a short animation. Only the living room had been used: the furniture and lighting change made all the difference! This is one of the settings created for the animation.

I am thinking of changing the curtains to something more substantial and formal. The lace was a quick and cheap solution because I did not have to take time to drape it meticulously. I will also take down the moldings I used in this room and use a thinner molding: the thick concave shape of the molding makes it difficult cut at angles, and does not meet perfectly at the corners.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Adding to the Decor

My classes are officially over now: the graduation ceremony was yesterday. I can't wait to get back to working on the Garfield. I have been buying random decoration items for the house. I was excited about these two art glass pitchers that I had won for under $4 on eBay! They finally arrived yesterday.... Aren't they just perfect?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Color Scheme

For a while now, I have been thinking about the color scheme for decorating the house, and today I found this perfect photo to inspire me! I love succulents: there is a soothing subtleness about them. This will go perfectly with the dark walnut and cream upholstered furniture in my collection.

Monday, February 4, 2008


The chandelier is working! Talk about suffering for art: I burnt my hand while soldering the connections. Note to self: never watch Lost and handle the soldering iron at the same time!