Category Archives: Research & beginning

Deskwork day


Not in the Potting Shed

Tidying up my mind
(Mrs Darling in “Peter Pan”)

It’s cleaning time.

Yes, I’m still hiding out from those chimneys (the ladder thing is the problem), but am working away on this and that in the meantime.  Hoping that the whole structure will be more or less complete before Christmas.  With that in mind I thought I’d further avoid the chimney thing by reviewing how I came to build this house in the first place.

No, don’t panic, I don’t think I’m going to go on at length, but I do find it help to step back and looking again at what I’m playing at.  The ramble is going to be short on photos, although it does offer the opportunity to wander through some possibly useful links.


  • Lots of research amongst own deco belongings, web searching and the ever enjoyable buying in of books to help before start
  • A long search for a photo of a facade that made my fingers itch with the urge to try to build it
  • Deciding on a layout, and reshaping that a few times
  • Generally bathing in nostalgia for the 50s (well, some aspects of it)

Why build from a blank

Other than to avoid the original cost of a ready cut house kit, I still don’t know why I choose to build from scratch.  Goodness only knows I spend more than enough by the time the item is finished.

I suppose it’s mostly to do with the contrast between the personality of the structure that develops and grows as you go along rather than trying (and undoubtedly failing) to make an adequate fist at something that has a more or less pre-determined outcome.

I don’t think I could work on a kit house that’s any bigger than a room box or two without wanting to hack it about and add here and there.  Too much of a butterfly mind, too many ‘what ifs’.  Scratch build offers the huge possibility for variation or flights of fancy.

The desk work

As part of reviewing the build of Nostalgia Close, I’ve started a little cleaning up of the website.  Bit early for spring cleaning (well very early really) but, when the energy allows I much prefer a good rootle around in the autumn.  Perhaps it’s the whole hibernation thing, getting everything ready for a good rest-up.

I’m dreadful for not throwing things away, but a little rationalisation in the sub-menus wouldn’t go amiss, though adding insult to injury, I have finally started to add sub-menus for the first time to the general Art Deco Build heading (which has now been changed to 1930-50 Semi so you no longer have to search blindly for a particular room.  I’ve worked through the two-year project and I do hope it’s now easier to use.

— ~ —

Scratch-build and ready cut kits

While tidying around, I came across some of the links to plans, kits and photos collected when researching the 30s – 50s, including some earlier period houses:

I do love floor plans.  These are old plans from Hobbies found on Fine Scroll Saw site plus this one too

Some current plans available from Hobbies – General page for books and designs, where you can find a 1930s styling Size 650 D x 960 W x 800mm High 15 room house and an Edwardian house, four roomed whose plans can be bought separately, wood pack available and a separate fittings pack.  Also there is an 18″ high mini greenhouse for full-sized seedlings which I must say I find appealing

I collected an American site with various house photos I rather liked

Most relevant to what I was supposed to be researching at the time is Homes through the decades (a large but extremely interesting pdf file from the National House Building Council) and a site with an article on why a 1940s house is a 1930s house – and

The Imperial War Museums 1940s house and the tours of rooms on YouTube – kitchen

Daily Mail articles; one on someone decorating his own home a la 1930s(?) and one about a house trapped in time

What was actually used

The house I used as the springboard for this build.  I thought I had first viewed it on Flickr, but I’m probably wrong.  Here it’s on a Pinterest page with lots of very interesting Deco housing.



Cranking up the engine


– cleaning, sorting and gambling on fabric

theinfill dolls house blog Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - a Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house blog - reshaping an Deco house - curtains

Bought these three new pieces of fabric – couldn’t resist though not suitable for this project but so evocative. In to storage they go, replacing some of the last hoard. ‘Twas ever thus.

Getting back into the swing of things takes some doing after a long break.  Not laid a finger on the actual model for best part of – is it seven weeks now? – at least since well before Christmas.  A couple of mornings ago I took a look at what’s lying around on the tables of the ‘Potting Shed’ and thought “Really?”

Usually when I break off midway through a job, everything gets left fairly well aligned; not neat but sorted into collection trays of what’s going on such as a tray with half finished fireplace and its making, tray of instruments/tools last used for particular job in hand.  You get the idea.  They’re usually circling whatever was last being done, but here there are things missing and shuffled around like a pack of cards.

Owning up time

In an effort to shake off the virus ridden daze, I’ve recently been rootling around a bit so that I could have some smaller activity to keep the mind and hands going.  Result – havoc among what was a carefully choreographed layout.

The only thing to do is to embark on a mildly thorough clean up.

Explanation of ‘mildly thorough’:

  • total disruption around the outer edges
  • a sorting out into understandable places
  • + gentle sorting only closest to the centre of work

This way should find where most of the equipment has got to, what the peripheral trays are doing where they are (and why) and eventually locate the centre of the disarray.  Theory being that arising from the rubble, there will be a clearer view of what the heck was going on in the Potting Shed last year.

A storm of materials and other gubbins has spilled out all over the dining table during the past few weeks too and this must cease!

Following on from the ‘wool filing’ (see previous blog entry) I’ve worked further around the outer-outer edges of the total disruption zone. Been going through hoards of stuff (there is no better word for it – or perhaps there is and it’s rubbish) with the thought of putting some of the larger mini-ing storage items in any newly gained spaces, giving magic elbow room where it is much needed. Can’t promise that it’ll work but the intentions are good and, if the dining table is cleared then there’ll be room to spread once more won’t there 😉

Sitting down jobs

I’ve tried ribbon binding and stitching the edges of some flannel/winceyette for mini blankets.  Also have very successfully managed to lose the first few blankets made so far and have started again today.

Plus I’ve made a mess of trying to create a candlewick bedspread from an old face cloth but it did set me thinking about the possibilities of textured fleece for a coverlet.

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Not the look I was looking for!

And must own up to having become hypnotised buying fat quarters (and this link too).  The hope is some of them might be suitable fabrics for curtaining and general 1:12 décor in the current house.  Finding it totally mesmerising –  I see a piece that would do for other jobs but not what I’m supposed to be looking for, or a piece arrives and, glorious as it is, it isn’t quite ‘it’, so on with the search in case I missed the very one I was looking for …

No, no must go back to the blanket stitch edging, it’s got to get neater some time if I keep at it.

‘Twas on the Monday morning …


title from:  The Gas Man Cometh – Flanders and Swann 

and a Happy New Year

Pottering and rootling

We’re still here but this virus that’s doing the rounds has had us both  pretty much knocked out; up and down for weeks, but in the ‘up’ moments, dazed but still full of umph, we’ve tried to do whatever we thought we were up for, as you do.

theinfill dolls house blog - Art Deco house and Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - a Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house blog - sorting storage and workspace

Twisted silk fabric waste – always a cheerful sight.  Have made a headband or two from it so far.


Over the 50 odd years I’ve carted hoarded wools and yarns around with me from place to place I’ve mostly worked my way through it or passed it on – I say mostly.  Or at least I thought I had.

Not trusting self to be up for more ‘delicate’ work, I set a general aim of resurrecting a sewing space (out of what’s left of my puppet making workspace) where I might be able to house the current old sewing machine, instead of it hiding it in a corner of another room. I knew it was going to be more of an archaeological exercise than anything else as all of the remaining 3 metres square, along with any remains from the puppet and bag making eras, had been topped up and totally smothered by the sort of large cardboard boxes that ‘have to be kept’, bags of decorating coveralls for furniture and floors (enough to protect 5 houses I swear!) caravan cable, screen wash and antifreeze, old window blind inners – you get the general idea. Time to get down to some digging out and chucking whilst on a healthy ‘up wave’.

Trying to keep busy in the ‘down’ of the wave, I encased mother’s 30s through to 50s knitting patterns in the pockets of an A3 folder along with what remaining iron-on embroidery transfers I’ve bought throughout the years.

‘Up’ times

Once the boxes were winkled out (a job for both of us) I set about re-siting all other large objects, not needed on the sewing journey, in a handy cupboard elsewhere – which, of course, meant sorting and dealing with the things already in said cupboard first, including a load of guess what, yes yarns.  As well as loose yarns skulking in the sewing area and the cupboard there were plenty more totally elsewhere in a blanket box along with sewing patterns and magazines.  Oh, joy!

It took a few sessions to get as far as sorting the hoard into just one hidey-hole. I’m pleased to say that amongst the whole lot there is only one started/not finished wool item, one ditto crochet and one further ditto tatted, all of which surprised me ‘cos I anticipated much worse.  All three looked more or less from the same ‘period’ as far as I can recall, as though life had been overtaken at some point in the 90s by an all-embracing event, leaving these efforts high and dry.

Ah, remember now, ’twas when I started Further Ed. teaching.  Time all eaten up by prep, delivery and travel – so it goes.


Sum-total of effort to-date: – large and obliging cupboard sorted (except the quite large middle shelf that has S’s items on it) and all bought sewing patterns (not homemade, those I chucked out), all knitting needles, all very old knitting machine literature (must get rid of that), all 70s, 80s and 90s knitting patterns plus a few yarn magazines and most of the yarns I’d decided to keep – sorted more or less by ply – are all, yes all, in the blanket box.

theinfill dolls house blog - Art Deco house and Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - a Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house blog - sorting storage and workspace - yarns for dolls hair

So far I’ve only used wool for mini dolls’ hair and these will add to my store in the sewing ‘room’ or the ‘Potting Shed’ workspace.  Downside of that is that they’re a good distance apart so I’ll have to remember where I’m hiding them

And the rest?  I’m about to pass on to charity all the ex-mill yarn hanks (lovely and greasy as they are) as there is no way I’m spending time washing and balling these and I’ll never use them.

theinfill dolls house blog - Art Deco house and Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - a Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house blog - sorting storage and workspace - yarns to go

Big box and lots of cops and hanks of yarn

What wouldn’t fit in?  The cotton and cotton look-alike yarns mostly for crochet and tatting – these will have to go back to a cubbyhole in the ‘sewing’ space for the moment, along with the wools suitable for mini figure hair/animals etc.

Am I likely to knit or weave again?  Not sure.  It’s possible I might do some inkle loom lengths.  So why keep any yarn?  Well it’s probably sentiment – too big a move to get rid of all at one go.  But we’ll see.

Checking out the slice of cake theory


Outer walls –quick dry run
seeing if the planned reveal idea works

Busy labelling all parts of this build including which bits face in and which out.  Dry build seems to me to need at least two pairs of hands.

The front view gives us the small bedroom and leaves bit more wall downstairs creating a lobby hall table and phone area I hope.

theinfill dolls house blog Hogepotche Hall –Hodgepodge Hall - a Medieval, Tudor, Jacobean dolls house blog - reshaping an Deco house -exploring the reveal

Sitting room and front bedroom slice removed giving views down through open doors of upper and lower hallways to
the bathroom and kitchen at the back (which have their own full reveal there on back wall)
The whole of the downstairs hallway and small lobby to the side can be viewed as well as the complete view of the back bedroom and dining room.

Need to cut in the walls to the ground floor boarding and to mark up the first floor level all round. Can then double layer the walls and floor/ceilings for electrics.

Haven’t yet cut out the roof but have been advised that it would probably have 40 degree pitch from the horizontal so have worked out the height of the building at the ridge (29.5”).  At the moment I’ve cut both side walls the same height as the frontage (and backage come to that) but the mid wall between the second semi needs to go all the way to the ridge eventually.  The next door semi shares the roof ridge.

Running out of elbow room here so moving some things to the dining room table (the real one).