Wednesday, 6 August 2014

A dream come true

Frankly, I had given up on my dream. I missed the deadline when I could get my money back, and really, I wanted my house, not the money back. So I waited and waited, getting phone calls and emails from the seller and the manufacturer, promising that soon, soon, next week, any time now... It sounded like one huge conspiracy.

And yet - this mythical time has come. Two huge packages (and one more, the basement, still to be delivered, soon, very soon...).

Now that it's here it's intimidating. For one thing, there aren't any instructions. Yet. Soon, any day. The reason for the delay was that the manufacturer had been improving the kit, to address customers' comments. That's what she told me, and it must be true because all dollhouse sites that sell this kit say that it is temporarily unavailable due to manufacturer's improvements. The manufacturer ensured me that I would be the first proud owner of the new model. It will only be widely available in October, for Christmas. The implication, however, is that there are no instructions, and I know for sure that even the most experienced dollhouse maker cannot assemble such a complicated structure without instructions.

I have waited long enough, and I am not in a hurry. Meanwhile, I am researching dollhouse assembly. The first thing I did of course was ask all my Facebook groups, and I immediately got loads of helpful advice. The most important was that my kit is made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard; imagine: a week ago I had no idea!) which must be sealed before you do anything with it. It makes sense: despite the fancy name, it is pressed sawdust and will soak up any moisture like a sponge. But I am glad I asked. What I actually asked was whether it is better to assemble first and paint then or the other way round. I can see the advantages and disadvantages. The websites disagree on this, and so do my Facebook friends. My Tudor house was assembled, and it was quite a job to paint it on the inside. Likewise, my Georgian house gave me some headache. My modern house has detachable walls, so it was relatively easy. When I built the Playmobil house I worked from ground floor upwards, decorating one wall at a time before assembling it. This will obviously not work with the new house because at least the shell has to be in place. But I believe, and the experts confirm, that the exterior walls and as much as possible of the interior should be decorated before assembly.

Some time in the distant future when I come to that stage, I have a wonderful guide in these tutorials. I will not do it exactly this way, but there are lots of good ideas.

So far, I need to seal the MDF. I went to the huge store where I hadn't been since our early days in Cambridge. Already then we noticed that the salespeople were not the brightest representatives of the noble British nation. This time, to my inquiry, the young lady promply said: "No, we don't sell it anymore". What do you mean, you don't sell it anymore? No, they had changed everything in the store last March and since then they didn't have MDF sealer. Fortunately, there was an older male assistant nearby (I know I am now sexist and ageist) who said, of course they had it, and what did I want it for. Dollhouses weren't part of his world.

I also bought glue, filler, masking tape, sandpaper and a new mini roller. I have started a file for bookkeeping. It will be very interesting to see how much it all adds up to when I am done. What I forgot was white spirit to clean the brush. The effing sealer is of course oil-based. I hate oil-based paint, but not much I can do about it. Staffan was an angel and went to the local petrol station to get white spirit, only to discover that they didn't have it (as any Swedish petrol station would), but Tesco did. Meanwhile, I took the first piece, identified in the parts list as (19) small front, outdoors, but even so the fumes of the sealer made me high in no time.

This is as far as I have got. There are about three hundred thousand parts in this kit, although not all must be primed, some must be stained. What a wonderful life I have in front of me!

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