How to see all posts

A number of people have found it difficult to see the whole blog. At the bottom of each page, there is a "newer post" and an "older post" link. just click on these to see more posts. There is also a list of pages by month in the left sidebar.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

More progress on the roof

Yesterday and today I put the little skinny pieces outside the main framework. It sure was a lot of work! There are some pieces I will have to adjust, because even after hours of trying to get everything straight there are a lot of crooked ones.

It was almost impossible to clamp most of this, I used a combination of masking tape, clothespins, and little bar clamps. Whatever worked best on each section. There are still three clothespins clamping some of the corners. I'm beginning to think I'll never get it all straight, but I've got to try!

Some of the parts look darker than others. It's because the outside edges of some will show after the house is finished, so I stained some of those, while other things were drying. Other parts of this just look dark because of the lighting. It's pretty dark in here, so parts of this were in shadow.

Most of this framework will never be seen.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Working on the roof

On Sunday, we went off the island and I got a new Dremel and flexible shaft for it. The dremel is variable speed, and the flexible shaft is light and easy to use. Much nicer than the old one I used to have! I was able to set the tool to a speed I was comfortable with, and managed to get the middle floor hinged yesterday. Today, it was rainy and cold, so we didn't open the shop, but I hope tomorrow is warmer so I can get to work on hinging the top floor. I am also building another dollhouse, the Greenleaf Orchid, for my granddaughter for her birthday, so I may not get to it, if I get too busy on her house.

I've been working on the roof for the ryokan in the evenings at home.

This is the completed framing for the roof. It's a bit difficult not to be able to read Japanese for this step. I downloaded the google translate app to my phone, but there is no cellphone signal at my house. It was great when my wifi worked, but my DSL internet has been running at 12 kbs lately, and sometimes not at all. Fairpoint just keeps trying to make me buy a more expensive internet. Since they took over from Verizon, my internet has gone from around 100 kbs to between 12 and 20. Most of the time now, it's slower than the old dial up modem I had back in the 1990's. Anyway, the wifi and my beautiful Asus router don't like those speeds, and now I do better by plugging directly into the modem. (The modem is new, I bought a new one in case the problem was with the old one, but it wasn't. It was Fairpoint slowing me down even more because I'm grandfathered in to a lower price, and they don't like it).

Anyway, I can't use the app,so I'm really having a hard time figuring out exactly what I am supposed to be doing on the roof. It's mostly trial and error, trying to figure out what to do from the pictures, and holding everything up against the roof to see if it seems to be right before I glue.

Lots of skinny little pieces I have to figure out for tomorrow night!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Better views of the outside of the house

Yesterday I moved the ryokan up to the gift shop my mother and I run in the summer time. I got some better pictures of the outside, and am incuding side and back views of the house. You can click on any photo to enlarge it.

The house open.

The house closed.

This is how the house looks from the back. You can see the shoji for the hallway windows. They all slide to open, but don't look as good from the back as they do from the front, since the paper is glued to the outside of the windows. The lower right windows are the slatted windows in the spa.

This is the left hand side. It's pretty plain. The hinges are installed on the extensions of the second floor, but they aren't attached to the house part yet. I worked for two hours, (and broke one drill), trying to get one hinge installed, only to find out that it was a tiny bit too high, so I had to take the screws out, and will have to try again. For me, the hinges are the most difficult part of the house so far.

This is the right side of the house. You can see the kitchen door on the bottom.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Finished the house part of the ryokan and started the roof

Tonight I finished the house part of the ryokan and started the roof. It's pretty exciting! This is how the house looks now.

This is the framework for the left hand side of the roof. (That's stain on the wax paper and plywood below the roof, not blood, I'm a very messy stainer I think)!

This part of the roof is the easy part. There are a lot of monotonous things to do on it, and I understand putting the tiles on it isn't easy! It also will have wood on the eaves, with lots of little sticks and corner braces and things under it. Sort of like what is on the shingled overhangs of the house.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Top left extension and porch

I am getting close to finishing all but the roof of the ryokan.

Today I got all but the railings and shingled overhang done on the final extension. This is a view of the whole building open. It really looks huge sitting on my coffee table.

This porch had two tatami mats on the floor. It is the porch for the irori (firepit) room.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Top right extension and porch all finished

I had already stained all the parts for the railings and overhang, and had shingled the overhang, so tonight I managed to finish that extension and porch. Now just one more extension to do, and I will start the roof! I still haven't hinged anything except the bottom two rooms, so things look a bit crooked.

Depending on the weather, I may get this moved up to the gift shop this weekend. If so, I will be able to get some decent photos of it outside before I bring it in. I only have room to stand back about three feet from it in my living room, so it's difficult to get a decent shot of it on my cellphone.

Finished the top right porch and Shoji

Today I finished the porch to the top right tatami room. Now all that is left is the railing around the outside of it, and the ovehang. I've already got the glass doors on the porch installed. I'll take a picture of that when I've finished the railings.

The porches and extensions take longer than the rooms inside. I suppose because there are so many steps to them. Only one more to go before I start on the roof!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Top right porch and extension progress, top floor hallway

This is a view of the whole ryokan with the top right porch and extension on. I still have to do the shoji and sliding "glass" doors on the porch, then it will be ready for the railing and shingled overhang like on the floor below.

So far, I have just painted all the porches inside and out with the same cream paint as on the outside of the ryokan, to keep them all matching from the outside. I may add some art work to them later on.

The top floor hallway us finished except for another of those plants where you have to cut an endless amount of leaves and glue them to wire and bamboo. This one is supposed to look like bamboo plants coming out of a base. There will also be shoe stones in front of each door.

I haven't put in the top of the staircase yet because I am going to be moving this up to the gift shop very soon, and I didn't want to break it, so I just added the railings around the top.

I am not going to permanently join all the floors to each other. I'm going to try to keep each floor separate, and maybe use magnets to keep them together, so it will be easy to separate them to move the house. I really want to take it to some shows when it is completed, and it will be very difficult to move it if it's all together. I want to try to figure out a way to attach the top parts of the stairs so they can be removed easily as well.

I also just purchased a set of five LEDs that run on battery from As soon as I get to making the ceiling lights, I am going to try wiring those, and doing the first floor. If the ones I got work out, I'll try wiring each floor separately with more sets.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The very primitive bathroom

I have completed the bathroom for the ryokan. This is a very primitive bathroom, and Peggy has given a very good explanation of these toilets on her blog, so I'll let you go over there to read it, as well as see the little poster she has glued to the bathroom door showing how to use it.

The bathroom is going to be installed in this corner of the top floor hallway. The hallway isn't glued to the other rooms yet, so the bathroom is just standing where it belongs right now. I wanted to make sure I got photos before I close it all in, because you really won't be able to see much in there once everything is finished.

This is the view looking in from the open door.

This is looking down from where the ceiling is going to be. You can see that nothing is really lined up right now, because neither the hallway, nor the bathroom are glued in place. I didn't get very fancy with the sink bowl, because you will barely be able to see it once the ceiling is on. That funny looking thing on the left is the toilet.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Irori Room almost done

Today I finished the crane that holds the pots over the fire, and the ceiling to the irori room. The beam that holds the crane had to be carved out to make it more rustic, and the fish had to be shaped and details carved into it, then I had to attach tiny hooks and things to a bamboo pole. There is a tiny hook below the fish that will hold a tiny pot.

The irori (firepit) wasn't supposed to be finished until after the next chapter, which is the bathroom, but I assembled the wooden parts and laid the top over it just so I could take a picture with that under the crane. Later there will be a lot of details added to the firepit.

The next chapter is the bathroom, which is extremely primitive.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Fusuma and floor in the irori room

I installed the fusuma to the irori (firepit) room, and installed the floor. The fusuma in this room has a grated window in the center of each side. This fusuma was supposed to have paper over the windows, but like Peggy did with her ryokan, I decided to leave mine open as well.

I need to put another coat of varnish on the floor when this one dries. In the next kit, I will be building and installing the irori.

This is the side of the fusuma facing the hallway. I decided to use some chiyogami paper I had that had butterflies in it.

The rooms aren't attached to each other yet, which is why there is a gap between the walls.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Third floor and irori room

I have been working on the third floor for the last two days. The hallway in the middle is pretty much like the other hallways.

The room on the left is where the irori, or firepit is going to be. For the back and left wall, I have used some mulberry paper with Japanese designs in circles embossed on it. I have painted the right wall white, to add a little brightness to the room. There are individual planks to glue to the floor, and I have stained those with the same walnut stain as I have used on the rest of the house, so I decided the white wall would make a nice contrast, as well as brighten things up in there.

The firepit will be in the center of the room with a fancy crane for holding pots hanging from a beam above it.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tokonoma in top right tatami room

I finished the tokonoma in the top right tatami room. This room is now finished except for the ceiling.

This one had two of the tiny cabinets to make, but the sliding doors fit better in this one than they did in some of the others, so I didn't have to spend as much time getting them to slide.

I used the same chiyogami paper on the doors as I did on the fusuma. The painted walls are actually a light gold to match the wallpaper, but they look almost white when using the camera flash.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Fusuma and top right tatami room

I finished the fusuma for the top right tatami room. As usual, I used some of my chiyogami paper for both sides. The painted wall matches the paper on the walls better in real life than it does in the photo.

This is the side facing the top hallway. The paper I used on the hallway walls is a very sheer mulberry paper with a scroll pattern. I am disappointed that the pattern of the mulberry paper doesn't show up better than this though.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Top right tatami room

Today I started the top floor. This photo shows how tall it's getting. (I should have set it a little straighter before I took the picture though)! This is the last tatami room. It will have a tokonoma like the other tatami rooms. I used pale yellow mulberry paper, with metallic coppery gold flowers on two of the walls. Now that I'm staining the wooden parts that need it while I am visiting my mother, the rooms are coming along much faster.

The two other rooms on this floor are the central hallway, and the room with the irori, or firepit in the center. After that, it will be the porches and their overhangs, then the roof. I understand that the roof is quite an undertaking!

I can't believe I have this much done already!

Monday, May 2, 2016

I finished the overhang on the righthand extension on the second floor

I didn't really expect to get both extension overhangs done this fast, but I am anxious to start on the top floor, so I worked really hard on them.

They don't show up very well in this photo, but my cellphone doesn't take great pictures inside.

I messed up on the second overhang. On both of them, I was so careful to make sure that they were all right side up. There are four pieces to each overhang, and they all have slanted sides that have to slant right with both the roof, and each other. Then you have to turn them over and put the little beams underneath before you can shingle. Well, I must have turned the long front piece the wrong way on this overhang, because I had finished all of them, and glued the first two on, and the long front one didn't fit right. It was upside down!!! :-(

Anyway, ungluing the little beams and all those shingles and getting everything smoothed out would have been a nightmare, so I ended up using my X-Acto knife, files and sandpaper to change the angles so it would fit the edges of the other pieces as well as the house. It was a royal pain, but it doesn't look bad. I will just need to add a few shingles to the corners where there are slight gaps tomorrow, once everything is fully dry.

At any rate, I was dreading working on these, because I knew all those shingles weren't going to be fun, but it wasn't as bad as I had been afraid it would be. Now I can build and decorate the top floor rooms!

Overhang on lefthand second floor extension

I finished the overhang on the left hand second floor extension. For these, you have to measure and mark the underside for little sticks, stain them, and paint the ends white. Then put all those shingles on. I was glad all the pieces of the extension fit as well as they did when I put them on. These photos show how much more finished it looks with the overhangs.

I have done quite a lot on the overhang for the other side, so hopefully I should be able to put that on tonight. Then I will be able to start making and decorating the top floor!