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).

Balsa is easy to cut, but mine disintegrated under sanding, even with the finest-grain sandpaper in my stash. Frustrated, I Googled to see if balsa is actual wood or is some bizarre form of wood felt. It is wood. When it's a tree, it's the ochroma lagopus and it's 60% water. Upon being kiln-dried, most of that water becomes air, which explains why my balsa slurped spray paint like a sponge. The nice people at SIG, who are all about radio-controlled model airplanes, swear balsa can be sanded. Perhaps theirs is a better balsa. Perhaps they aren't in a climate where 8% humidity is a damp day.

I started out taking step-by-step photos, which plan died the third time I had to re-cut the kitchen cabinet due to measuring errors, splitting balsa wood, and general mayhem. Also, it would be irresponsible to encourage others to do what I did. So let's move straight to the fixtures.

The refrigerator is apartment-sized, at 3" wide x 3" deep x 10" tall. It has its little grill at the bottom but not, yet, its nameplate. It also lacks a solution for keeping the doors closed, as the magnet method failed utterly.

Gasket! It has a gasket. The gasket it partly to compensate for the extra bulk created by the fabric hinge and partly because I wanted a gasket. The slide-out transparent shelf is plastic needlepoint canvas. The second vegetable crisper is waiting on a second trip to Jack in the Box, as it's a syrup container. I think their chicken-strip-dip containers are the same size, which broadens my menu options somewhat.

The control dials are the soft plastic inserts from clip-earring blanks, dating from a several-years-ago project that ran aground on the reality that I spend too much work time on the phone to wear earrings unless I want to petition to turn into one of those Borg who stroll around the office wearing bluetooth headsets.

I need to find a better solution for electric range burner spirals than drawing freehand, as it was my repeated efforts to do so that led to my learning how nicely nail polish remover takes permanent marker off metal.

The oven rack is more needlepoint canvas, painted silver. There are also electric heating elements down there, but I couldn't make them show up in the photo.

Sink cabinet
"Rustic" is marvelous for justifying poor workmanship. Clearly, this cabinet was built from salvaged barnwood, possibly by a one-eyed carpenter with a crooked ruler.

The sink is a condiment cup: these come in packs from Dollar Tree. The faucet is a screwhook, so it's a good thing I capitulated to splitting balsa and made the counter from the kind of cardboard that's two layers with corrugated cardboard in between. The handles started as two halves of a jewelry finding from some bead store, cut up and painted silver.

At this point, I was binge-reading Victoria Elizabeth Barnes' blog on renovation of her Victorian home. This is my excuse for needing to have vintage-looking glass handles on the doors (real) and drawers (fake).

That's also why the cabinet interior has toile shelf paper. The black stripe is the magnet, which contacts tiny washers on the insides of the doors.

The shelving is constructed from The Same Trim I Use On Everything (tm), scrap balsa strips, and more needlepoint canvas. In theory, it's wrought iron, but the black didn't show up against anything, so I rubbed some silver over it. They are hot-glued into place because I don't trust them to carry weight with just blue-tack.

This is not the final arrangement -- it's just to show the shelves in action with some of the large-scale dishes my mother sent. A few are in the middle stages of being repainted from silver to gloss white, to resemble milk glass.

The floor is a peel-and-stick tile from Home Depot because using a peel-and-stick tile for a dollhouse floor was, inexplicably, on my bucket list. To my lasting surprise, the heavy-duty utility knife that was supposed to be capable of cutting it actually was.

Having declared a preliminary victory, I can now fuss over making tiny oven mitts (which requires tiny binding, damn it) or move on to trying to build a bathroom from scratch from common household objects.

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