Saturday, May 31, 2014

Katie and Hayden get a kitchen

Hayden hopes the freezer contains Ben and Jerry's That's My Jam, as spills will blend into her dress.

Kitchen construction is hell, even in miniature. Somehow, I got the notion that I needed to build the kitchen from scratch, using balsa (because I rightly didn't trust the heavy-duty utility knife to cut basswood).

Monday, May 26, 2014

Katie and Hayden get nightstands with drawers and silly bun feet

Nightstands with storage are a necessity in the small loft condo.

These are built from matchboxes, which can be had at Dollar Tree in a ten-pack for $1. This technique is expounded upon in Eileen Mercer's Let's Make Doll Furniture (1975) which extols the virtues of re-using household items and limiting the extravaganza to maybe three colors of paint. I have read the book so many times that it may be imprinted on my DNA.

Katie and Hayden move into an apartment

The girls' budget was constrained. Although Hayden has access to the Basswood trust fund, it's understood that she's supposed to try to make ends meet on her job as a publisher's assistant. And while Katie's vintage bicycle and skate shop is the darling of the hipster set, it makes very little actual money. The girls finally settled on a loft condo that doesn't offer much space but is close to downtown amenities.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Katie and Hayden get no-sew wrap dresses

Amidst the dust of construction of their kitchen, Katie and Hayden still have time and energy for looking nice.

These dresses are based on the How to Make a No-Sew Doll Dress tutorial from My Froggy Stuff.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Katie and Hayden feel a bit underdressed

Katie and Hayden aren't sure what to make the giant monster coming in with the tide. This is a very strange beach!

Hayden is wearing her sunglasses because, having sworn I wasn't removing any more accessories, I cut the little plastic strings while waiting for the iron to heat. Everybody involved still has all limbs, much to my surprise.

Katie and Hayden arrive dressed for summer in Phoenix

They are from the "Making Waves" line released in May 2011, so they've been out in their swim suits, looking for a home, for three solid years now.

This, of course, is the sofa that may or may not actually be 1:6 scale. The girls seem to fit on it, and it barely squeezes into the available space on the existing bookshelves, so I'm calling that a win. The art behind them is "Easily Apples in the Back Yard" by Tyler Nguyen. The owl is here because everybody needs an owl.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Katie and Hayden also get occasional tables

These are the world's easiest occasional tables, but they depend on the presence of specific items.

The pieces are:
  • Rubber leg tips in 1-1/2 inch (38 mm) size. A two-pack is on the order of $3 at Home Depot.
  • Plastic buttons with a 1-3/4 inch diameter and a recess under the raised rim. This recess fits over the ridge of the rubber leg tip. I got mine at SAS Fabrics (your "polar fleece for the entire drill team headquarters") for 25 cents each.
  • Sticky-back cork paper from the hell-hole that is Michael's. I have this around for other projects.
Here's what to do:
  1. Measure and cut the cork paper to fit in the center of the button, covering the holes.
  2. Flip the rubber leg tip upside-down, so the ridged part is the top.
  3. Hot-glue the button to the rubber let tip.
  4. Peel the protective backing from the cork circle and stick it in the middle of the button.
The most time-consuming part of the project is waiting for the hot-glue gun to heat.

And there they are! When I bought the constituent pieces, I had no special plans for them, but putting together tables assuaged my woe at having a bed-making project not go well. There are beds that, once made, nobody really wants to lie in.

Katie and Hayden get a couch

Katie and Hayden may be hung up in the intricacies of the U.S. Postal System, but they will at least come home to a comfortable couch.

The couch frame is a shoebox that the cat had not yet commandeered for napping. I looked up sofa dimensions to get the seat depth -- 28", which comes out to 3-1/2" [which I woke up at 4 a.m. and realized was 1:8 , not 1:6, dammit] -- and then somewhat randomly picked 1-1/2" for the arm height and 2-1/4" for the back height. The seat sticks out slightly further than the arms because the shoebox construction had its side flaps meeting in a way where a bit of cardboard fell off unless I simply cut the arm back further.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Victorian Fixer

This is becoming a mod Tudor 1970s swinging London house... slowly.

The Colonial Cottage

The father of Selena (of Hipster House) lives in a rehabbed colonial stone cottage in a coastal village in New England. Most of the rehabbing was done in the 1980s, which will explain the kitchen.

The Chicken Coop

A converted chicken coop that's off the grid is the home of a faceless Everyperson who started as a keychain-sized possible artist model from Arizona Art Supply.

This is a Michael's barn, posed here with two wells: one from Hobby Lobby and a far superior one from Michael's California Mission collection.

The Swamp Home

The Swamp Home got its name from its resemblance to the houses in Lee County, Florida, that are touted in foreclosure auctions.

It's actually a perfectly respectable 1950s one-bedroom in a "people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw orgies" way. It boasts a garage, which is a giveaway that my dad built it, as he thinks of things like that.

The bedroom furniture is a vintage made-in-Hong-Kong set that I found on Etsy. The bathroom vanity is a Hobby Lobby charm (and may not stick around). The kitchen is being fitted for built-ins.

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The Steampunk Orchid

The Steampunk Orchid is the home of the Goth Bunny, who gives tattoos to tourists in Bisbee. Although Bisbee was founded a bit late for the house's Carpenter Gothic style, Arizona architecture prior to the bungalow phase tended to lag the rest of the country, so it wouldn't be unusual for a vernacular style that was getting old on the East Coast in 1870 to show up here in 1885. The house under 400 square feet, making it small enough to be tucked in an odd corner of Bisbee's hills.

Friday, May 16, 2014

The Moose Lodge

Modernism is the mode at the Moose Lodge, the home of a record producer known only as The Moose. He lives up in the bucolic North Central Corridor, where he can take a morning stroll on the bridle path to get his juice at Luci, an afternoon stroll to get his ice cream at Churn, and a Sunday morning stroll to get brunch at Dick's Hideaway.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Lambsy Divey's

Every Phoenix neighborhood needs a dive bar. This one's on the verge of downtown, convenient to both Big Head Maude (who goes often) and Iphigenia Lapin (who doesn't).

Casa Conejo: A Compact Condo

Casa Conejo -- home of Iphigenia Lapin, who works as a risk analyst for the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality -- is located in a tiny garden loft-condo in-fill development in the Roosevelt Historic District. Ms. Lapin takes the light rail to Central Station, then the DASH to her office.

Big Head Maude's Storybook Cottage

Big Head Maude lives in a Creatology Puzzle Dollhouse with her cat Luna and whichever band members choose to crash on the couch. Trish the guitarist and Billie the drummer are the ones most often seen these days.

This storybook cottage is in the F.Q. Story historic neighborhood west of Central Avenue, between McDowell and Roosevelt, and east of Grand Avenue. This location is convenient if the band ever gets a gig at the Crescent Ballroom. In the mean time, Maude is most likely to be found at Lola or the Pita Jungle.

I bought the kit on impulse at Michael's and starting assembling it one autumn night in late 2010 while waiting for a landlord to show up to fix something. It goes together really easily, then requires a ton of added trim to be respectable. The house is about 550 square feet.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Welcome to the Hipster House

Welcome to the Hipster House, which Selena and Veinous Dude bought at the bottom of the housing bust and lovingly restored on a slim budget.

The house is a Tudor revival in the Brentwood Historic District, a pocket of the Coronado neighborhood between McDowell Road, I-10, 16th Street and 20th Street. The major source of groceries is thus the ever-ebullient Pro's Ranch Market at Roosevelt and 16th Street, which Veinous Dude likes because he can get pork bellies and pig's feet for cheap. You won't find those at Fry's.

One neighborhood resident told the Arizona Republic:
They're imperfect homes. They're all unique, from the style of windows to the color they're painted to the stucco on the walls.
This house is a Dura-Craft Sweetheart Cottage (no longer in production, thanks to Dura-Craft's going bankrupt in 2005) that I bought as an unfinished shell at Auntie Em's in 2010 over the Independence Day weekend. While Dura-Craft claimed the house was in 1:12 scale, that would make it a mere 255 square feet, which is ridiculously small for a two-story. At 1:18, it has a more realistic 20 feet  of frontage and rooms that are a bit over 11 feet deep, for total size around 450 square feet.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Coming Soon: Katie and Hayden from Liv World

Meet the best fashion dolls you've never heard of: the Liv World gang.
Photo from 2009 press release

Briefly marketed from 2009 to 2012, the Liv World dolls were extensively posable, had flat feet (no perma-high heels!), and were pretty without being painted as utterly vacuous.

My mom found a mysterious blond fashion doll, highly jointed, at a thrift store. We researched and discovered it was an early Sophie.

Since then, we've been keeping an eye out in the places that remaindered dolls show up -- which means Tuesday Morning, Big Lots, and the sorts of decaying Toys R Us that haven't reorganized their shelves since late 2010 -- for more. As a result of this vigilance, I will soon be getting a Katie (the one in the hat) and a Hayden (not shown, as she joined later) in the mail.

What this really constitutes is an excuse to build fashion-doll-sized furniture.

It turns out that 1:6 lends itself to an attitude of "let's build furniture from random household trash and dollar store items!" Given enough spray paint and hot glue, all things are possible. I'm figuring a can of beige, a can of white, and a can of black should be sufficient to make anything look like it came from IKEA.

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