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Monday, January 20, 2014


This morning, I sat down and started a birdhouse.  Walter was not awake and I couldn't pound and saw.

I actually designed these a couple of years ago.  Sometimes, I do things for no particular reason...More like doodling than designing.  Self entertainment.

I took some of the shingles that came with the kit and cut them  with scissors in the shapes I needed.  If it works, I will put a pattern in a future post.
I found three pages.  Birdhouses, wind chimes and flower pots.  Even a stone pattern.

I must have known that there was a garden cottage coming...
Yesterday afternoon, I did a little pokeberry bush in a pot. 

We have a real one of these in the back yard.  It came in and seeded probably by a bird.  I didn't know what it was at first, but I thought it was interesting, so kept watering it.  It is now the size of a small tree. In fact, it is the little tree that you see when I show photos of the squirrels and birds outside the computer room window.

I finally found out that they are a desert plant and grow wild in AZ.  I have never seen any in the wild, so I am happy to have it.  It is an evergreen and in the late summer it has tiny white berries that change to red orange after a while.

I probably have the only mini one in existence. 

I know....You want to know about the cottage.  This morning I got serious, after Walter got up, and dry fitted the whole thing.  I love Greenleaf, but this one is a bear to put together!  Some of the pieces have to be turned this way and that to get into a complicated series of tab and slot fittings.  And I had to do a bit of whittling here and there to get it together.

I am going to re cut the top floor.  I think that it will be more stable in one L shaped piece.

I am still debating the tower.  If I do it, it will go over the slanted roof piece on the right, that you see in this photo.

Notice though.  The floor is going to be perfectly flat when it is all glued together.  Sometimes that's all it takes.  I will not be unwarping this floor.

I had a 19th century German kitchen to fix when I worked at the museum.  When it came, one end of it was about 3" off of the counter top.  That's how badly it was warped.  I took some towels dampened with hot water and squeezed out as dry as I could get them by hand,  I laid them over the wood floor and weighted it down.  I let it sit for a couple of days until it was completely dry and when the weights were taken off, it was just as flat as it was the day it was made. I don't know if this would work where the climate is damp, but here in AZ it does wonders. This was an extreme example of what you can do when you have to.  Be warned, on the thin plywood, you do NOT want to get it soaking wet.  You will probably wind up with plywood that is coming apart. 

In this case, the only warping that I am going to have to remedy is the porch roof.  It seems to want to curl upward. 

I will probably just dampen it a bit and weight it down.  It isn't as drastic as the kitchen was.

Usually, the warping in the kits are taken care of when you glue things together.  I don't go crazy trying to straighten them before building.

Another thing that helps is putting a foundation under the building and gluing it to that.  I use the 1/8 plywood for that, but I build an under side frame with 1/2" square lumber.  Around the edges and a couple of cross braces is enough.  I put them together with 1/2" finishing nails and white glue.

I will certainly be doing that for this one.  It has to have space for the garden. 

Spike is the only one keeping  me company this morning.  If I drop wood, he fetches.  The Terrible Two are nowhere in sight. Since they found out that this wasn't for them, they are in a snit. Although Zar pricked up his ears when I mentioned that Daisy might have a little interest in Steampunk....

I am going back to work now.  At least Spike likes me....

See you tomorrow.


Veronique Blommaart said...

My doodles never look this good :(
Tessie seems quiet... what happened?

Caseymini said...

Veronique, I hit the wrong button...You probably got the reallllly short version of the blog today. I hope you get back for the rest...

Neen said...


Thank you for posting the treatment of warped floors etc. in a dollhouse, I have a 1960s WoodMaster fiberboard house that has a very warped second floor, and at least three old, Greenleaf kits with warped wood. Yours is the best solution I have seen. Thanks!

Caseymini said...

Neen, I don't think that I would use this on fiberboard! You might end up with mush.

It works pretty well with plywood. Just don't get it really wet and be sure to dampen both sides of the ply. I put the damp towels on the kitchen because it was an EXTREME case.

For as little warping as is in the Greenleaf kits, usually the warping gets straightened out with the gluing. A little dampness goes a long way. Be sure to protect the surface that you are doing it on and protect the wood from whatever you weight it down with.

As bad as the floor on mine looked yesterday, it is straight enough today, with just taping together, that I will not dampen it! I will only dampen the porch roof slightly and weight it down for a couple of hours.

Lucille said...

It's coming along! You did a lot in one day, Casey! I suppose having Spike for company must be a great help!

mcddiss said...

esa nueva casita se ve muy bien ,me alegro de que hayas podido arreglar la cocina



12Create said...

I'm really excited to see how the bird houses turn out. I love your 'doodles' of them.

chapchap73 said...

Hi Casey! I just love the garden cottage plan so far. Great solution for the teeny second floor. Will Daisy be making an appearance in clay form? Hugs, Sarah

Giac said...

Hello Casey,
Thank you for the tips about building the kit. I had 2 Greenleaf houses in the past and cannot say it was a pleasure to work with the wood or to assemble. I look forward to seeing it come together. the plant is just lovely...Tessie looks very proud of it!
Big hug,

Steinworks said...

Good Morning Casey
thanks for the tip on how to fix warps, now I know what to do when I get my kit (hopefully soon)


Veronique Blommaart said...

LOL! I did indeed get the short version :-) I have caught up now, including today's post (adore the birdhouse!)

Cara said...

What did you use to make the little pokeberry bush? I love that!

Caseymini said...

Cara, the branches are dried Nandina from my back yard. The leaves are green drawing paper and the berries are the tiniest scale apples from the train store.