Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Exterior: Step Two

Ta-daaa! I have made a start on the brickwork and I can say that I'm extremely pleased with how it looks! It looks rather uneven (which is purely down to my inexperience) but I actually quite like the effect as my house isn't going to be pristine anyway. Also, I am yet to sand it down.

I must say, it is easier than it looks and although I will only be showing photos of a small part, I have actually finished both side walls now and the look much more even. I will put the new photos on tomorrow when the walls have dried :)

It's definitely not perfect, but I'm happy with it for my little, creaky old house.

Now, for all of you who are maybe interested in doing brickwork like this...here is a list of tips that I have discovered whilst doing mine:


1. The stencil is different at each end. Sounds obvious, but I didn't realise until I was on my third panel. One side is tailored to be used for the edge of the wall (silly me!).

2. Always, always, always test a new batch of brick compound with the stencil on a spare bit of wood- it's surprisingly tricky to get it right first time. See picture for an example...(the one on the left was my first attempt at the mixture, which as you can see, would have gone horribly wrong if I didn't test it first).

3. Keep a towel or newspaper underneath the house because a lot of the brick compound falls off as you are spreading it.

4. If you have a cat (or a dog) you will get hairs in the mixture, but don't worry- they don't show! (haha).

5. Unfortunately, you can subtly see the join in my walls and that's simply because I haven't followed the 'big brick, little brick' format, I have simply finished one block and moved the stencil up to do the next. Try and make it so it follows a pattern.

6. The stencil adhesive and the instructions promised me that I would only need to reapply the spray-glue every now and again but I had to do it every time I did another section. This is probably because you're also advised to clean the stencil between uses so if you're doing a large house, bear in mind you might need two adhesive glue sprays.

7. The brick compound goes a very long way.

8. Don't glue your windows in before you do the brickwork. I have now set myself the lovely task of working around the window frames.

9. Really important- always start at the sides or back of your house because you may make little mistakes or need time to perfect your technique. This way, by the time you work your way to the front, it will be fabulous!

10. Finally, and worth taking note, the brick compound dries a lot lighter than when it's applied. You may be able to tell by the photo below:

It also dries very patchy and makes you think, "**#!" but don't worry!- it soon looks all lovely and even.

I will add the new photos soon!

Jess! :D

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Exterior: Step One

So, here it is. As promised, I've made a start!

I covered the front and sides (I will do the back too but not today) with matt emulsion paint from Wilkinsons. The paint pots are only 97p each (!!) and the shade I selected was 'Pearl Grey'. I was recommended Wilko's from a lovely person on the Dolls House Emporium forum and even though they said I would only need one pot, me, being overly cautious, bought three. That person was so right, I haven't even reached the end of one pot. However, by the time I do the back it will probably be close to empty. I don't think I need to do the roof yet as the paint is purely there to look like grouting when I use the brick compound. If I like the brick compound, I am planning to get a roof one so probably won't need to paint it at all.

The more I'm looking, the more purple it appears, which isn't good! Perhaps it's because a) the lighting in my bedroom is awful and b) I have purple walls.

The one thing I didn't do was paint onto a base. After much deliberation, and a touch of impatience, I decided to just paint straight onto the wood. I did do a test first on my spare wood and it dried fine. Some people recommended that I do a base of 50:50 pva glue and water, whereas others said they have never done that and it worked fine. I must say, I'm in the second camp.

I think that if you're painting your house for the exterior, it might be wise to use a base in order to bring out the best colour, but for me- the only purpose the paint serves is a base for the brick compound and to appear like grouting.

I really recommend the taster pots from Wilkinson's- the colour comes out evenly and they are really cheap!

I'm just waiting for my sprays to arrive from Bromley Craft Products and I can crack on with the exterior. Guess what I did? I ordered another varnish, even though I have one! How silly of me!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Shop Front

Hey guys!

Firstly, can I say a big welcome to my two latest followers, Irene and Lara. Thank you for choosing to follow my blog...I hope I keep you interested! Also, thanks to all my older followers for sticking around! I realise I didn't welcome everyone...I only got the idea after a certain amount so please class this as your hellp/thank you! :D

Well, I ordered some varnish spray and some stencil adhesive from Bromley Craft Products so I can make a start on the brickwork. I still need some cement coloured matt emulsion paint as a base coat and with the snow the way it is, I'm not sure when I can get to the DIY shop!

So, today, with a good two foot of snow around our house, I decided to paint the shop front.

I found going around the actual lettering was the easiest thing to paint! The only problems I encountered were little hairs falling out the paintbrush and me not being able to get an even coverage. I solved this simply by going over the fainter bits again.

Ta-daa! Painting the lettering was so hard. I know it sounds stupid and looks ridiculously easy..but it really wasn't. I had paint all over the place. I managed to touch it up though. The last thing I did was the white border which was equally as tricky. It takes a steady hand, I can tell you!

What do you think?


Jess x

Friday, 26 November 2010

It's been a while!

Hello everyone,

I am just putting in a quick post to let everyone know I'm still here! Please bear with me, I'm not going anywhere!

I am so, so busy lately. As some of you may know, I am doing a degree in Youth Work and Youth Studies and that just sucks up such a lot of my time! As well as two full days at university, I do around 10-20 hours a week on placement so I just never seem to have a moment! I'm currently working with Connexions and with Special Needs young people and I'm really enjoying it :)

Come the Xmas holidays though (can't wait!) I am going to completely finish the outside of my house- there, you have it in writing! haha!

It's snowing heaven's high at the moment and I'm at my boyfriend's, unable to get home. It would have been the perfect day to crack on with my dolls house but it's 8 miles away on roads that have been deemed by Arriva bus at 'impassable'. I sure aren't going to drive!

Just a quick update about my dolls, Julie (lovely lady from bellabelle dolls) has been running late with commissions so it will more likely be in the new year when I receive them. She has just recently got a new granddaughter so who can blame her?! It's also pretty good for me as I will have the latest installement from my student loan then (it's a slippery slope...).

I will update with photo's soon :D

Jess x

Sunday, 24 October 2010

My stairs are in!

Look at the stairs! How lovely to they look? My lovely, fabulous grandad assembled and varnished them for me. (Remember how I said DIY wasn't my thing? Well, I could wire a dolls house but could not get the little spindles to stick!). I have just rested them in place as I don't want to glue them until the interior decorating is done and I have put a runner down them. I think they look great! Much nicer than the stairs that came with my 'Dolls House Emporium' Wentworth Court, anyway! Wow, I just noticed how different the colours of the varnish look in each picture! Oh well, that's camera flashes for you!

Thanks Grandad :D
P.S Welcome to new follower, Eloisa!

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Bromley Craft Products

Woo! Here is my stuff from Bromley Craft Products! You can see that I have two bags of brick compound, a tin of matt varnish and the stencil. The stencil is typical for an Edwardian house facade so I am really looking forward to getting started. They were bought for me by my lovely parents-in-law, Aly and Neil, for my birthday. I actually can't wait to get it done because Neil (or Nelly as we fondly call him) does not 'get' my interest in dolls houses. If I'm honest, I can't understand his collection of 50+ Monopoly boards so it works both ways! (I hope he reads this at some point hehe!)

Anyways, I am very happy with the stuff that I got although there's some other little bits and pieces that I need before I can get started. If I'm honest, I didn't see any mention of the extra things on the website, only when I got the instructions with my items. I need to buy some adhesive re-positioning spray for the stencil, which I can get from their website. I also need some matt emulsion paint to put down as a basecoat (I'm guessing, anyway!) before I start with the brick compound. If anyone has done this before, I'd love a tip or two regarding this!

When I am ready to start I will put up a step by step guide so if there's anyone out there who's interested in doing it, I can hopefully give you a few ideas.


You can find the link for Bromley Craft Products above. They have some lovely things and it's free delivery when you spend £30.00 or more.

Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, 10 October 2010

Lights are almost finished!

Good afternoon everybody!

Welcome to all the new followers!

Here is an updated photograph of the light situation! I have drilled holes in four rooms but one of the light fittings needs some new bulbs so I don't want to stick it up yet. That is something that concerned me- how on earth do you change the little bulbs once the lights are fixed on the ceiling?

The top two rooms have lamps which will stand on tables and as I haven't bought them yet, I cannot drill the holes as I'm not sure how high they will be. It's certainly coming together though and I was well proud of myself for managing to wire the house all on my own! It was definately easier than I expected.

It's my 22nd birthday today and I have some brick compound coming from Bromley Craft Products so I will post an update of that when it arrives! Exciting- it's going to start looking good!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Let there be light!

Here are the lovely lights I bought from ebay store 'dollshousesuppliers'. The also use the name 'My Tiny World' which has it's own website too. I have bought from them before and have always like the quality of their products but this time I had a little problem.

I emailed before purchasing the lights asking if they are compatiable with Dolls House Emporium lighting equipment I was assured that they were. Sadly, the lights did not fit into my DHE socket strip. I contacted the shop asking for a refund which they were more than happy to co-operate with but then I had a change of heart.

I picked the lights because they were good value (the lot cost me about £45.00 inc. P+P) and I haven't found cheaper ones anywhere on the net. I decided the best thing was to sell my DHE socket strip online and buy another one from dollshousesuppliers instead.

P.S Sorry for the picture quality- I should really invest in a half- decent camera

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Finally Glued in Place!

Here we are! Finished at last! The only thing I have yet to glue on is the shop sign, which I want to paint so will leave it for now. I don't know why I put off gluing it for so long- I guess it was just the idea of commiting with glue is so scary first time round! Anyway, thanks to the help of my 16 year old brother, I think we did a pretty good job!

The hardest part by far, and I'm ashamed to say I have given up, was trying to screw minute screws in for the front door. Could we do it? No way! I even had a specialist pair of tweezers with a magnifying glass but we simply couldn't do it. So then I thought, 'well, I spend that much time trying to keep my other dolls' house door shut that I may as well glue this one in place instead!'. I haven't actually done this yet as I want to paint it but I reckon I will cheat. I occasionally make jewellery and nothing has ever been as fiddly as those screws! If anyone does have any suggestions though- I'd love to hear them!

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

The Dolls House Emporium's New Catalogue

Oooh, how exciting! The post man dropped my shiny, new catalogue off today and what a catalogue it is!

There's so much I wish to buy from there and I am getting frustrated by the lack of slow progress surrounding my Curiosity Shop. You all know what it's like with miniatures though, sometimes your money simply has to go elsewhere! I can't wait for my next installment of my student loan to arrive as I will have enough money to really start the decorating then.

There are a few things in terms of decorating that I have my eye on from the DHE. I did want to show you put they haven't come in on the website yet! It's basically 'Arts and Crafts Floor Tiles' and they will look lovely.

However, I did order one thing off ebay today (I am supposed to be saving for my holiday to Morocco next week, but shhh... ) I bought a little street sign for the exterior when it is completed. You can pick your own street name which is just lovely, so I called mine 'Ruby Street' after my faithful companion, Ruby. (She's the cat you can see when I reply to comments).

I have chosen the middle design. It cost £4.99 with free p+p and was from an ebay seller 'smallerhomes'. He is classed as a top rated seller and has 100% positive feedback which is great. Now I just need to complete the front of the house! Pictures to follow shortly :D

Thursday, 15 July 2010

How exciting! A commission for my house!


Apologises the the delay in an updated post, but you all know what it's like with Dolls Houses- it can be such a slow process!

I have some very exciting news- I have asked Julie Campbell from Bellabelle Dolls to commission me a couple of dolls for the Curiosity Shop. I know it's pretty unusual to have the dolls before the house is complete but in this case, I want to complete my house around the dolls- after all, it is their shop! I want an elderly couple and couldn't think of anyone better than Julie to make the dolls for me. As she is so in demand, the dolls won't be ready until November so unfortunately, I won't have any pictures until then but do be sure to pop back later!

Check out her websites- she's amazing! Just check out Captain Jack Sparrow above!



Tuesday, 22 June 2010


So here is the house, dry built! Yey! I cannot include the front panels or the roof panels because they are obviously attached with hinges and I haven't got round to that yet. But it's somewhat reassuring that I have managed to get it all together like this! Tomorrow, I shall glue it. I did consider painting the ceilings first but I think I will paint them after gluing so if I do get paint on the other walls, I can paper over them last. My greatest fear regarding the house is that the walls expand with the paint or wallpaper paste and it no longer slots together!

I have decided that my shop is going to Edwardian. I bought a lovely little book from
http://www.amazon.co.uk/ last week which is going to really help me choose the correct decor. I would really recommend the books in this range- they are small enough to put in your handbag but very imformative and have loads of photos of all the rooms in an Edwardian house, including the exterior.

Until next time!


Wednesday, 16 June 2010

And so the fun begins!

Well here it is, all unpacked and ready to get started. There is actually not quite as much wood as I thought which is somewhat comforting! My DIY skills are really terrible. I even had to meet with my head teacher, head of year and form tutor to make a case to drop technology as a GCSE. Needless to say, they agreed.

I am particularly impressed with the windows that I got with the kit. They open and close and I love anything with attention to detail.

Speaking of attention to detail, have a look at the doors that were supplied with the kit! They are brilliant...

Finally, I have something that will make you chuckle. Without sounding like a broken record... my DIY skills blah blah blah...check out the instructions (the only instructions...)

Oh dear. Well, here goes...


Welcome to the Curiosity Shop

Hello! Welcome to my blog! This will chart my progress of building, decorating and furnishing this lovely little dolls house store and living quarters. I must admit now, DIY has never been my strong point and I usually rely on my grandad to do it all for me, but this time I am determined to give it my best shot! The photos you can see show the completed house although today the house is in bits on my bedroom floor, ready to assemble. I am looking forward to the challenge and hope you will stop by every now and again to see my progress.