Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lights ON!

Whew!  What a whirlwind weekend...figuratively, and literally.  The weather changed abruptly and overnight here in Minnesota we went from sunglasses and tee-shirts to knit caps and flannel!  The wind is making quick work of the remaining leaves in the trees, much to the consternation of my Shetland Sheepdog, Miss Edie.  Edie is ever so slightly OCD, she barks at any and I mean anything that's even slightly out of place.  And the new swirling spirals of russet and orange autumn leaves drive the poor, persnickety pooch mad, mad, mad!  

After much tinkering (and a few colorful explicatives) I am pleased to report that I finally got the electrical system working in the Entrance Hall of Merriman Park!   Thank you, gentle Reader, for your polite applause at my success.  Of course it couldn't have happened without a heaping helping of major drama, now could it?

First off, I needed to visit the local dollhouse shop on the other end of town, to pick up a few odds and ends.  It's a pleasant jaunt down meandering  Minnehaha Parkway (gorgeous in its seasonal autumn splendor) which turns into 50th Street and on into the suburban hinterland of Edina, where the aforementioned shop is located.  After jumping into the car and turning the key and hearing no familiar 'vroom-vromm' noise it was determined that the car's battery was dead.  Drats!

After a jump-start from Neighbor McFriendly, and a trip to the automotive shop for a new battery, it was off, at long last, to Edina!  But by the time yours truly finally made it home, the sun was already dipping behind the horizon.  And there is no way on Earth, dear Reader, that I would even attempt to wire Merriman Park in the dim, yet decidedly glamorous evening light of my 'real-life' house!  Oh, well, "tomorrow is another day," as Miss Scarlet used to say. 

Up, today, at the crack of noon (I need my beauty rest --don't judge me)!  And after a cafe au lait, I begin the lighting project in earnest.  The chandelier wire needs extending but --no worries!-- I bought some of those shrink-tube thing-ies so I'm good to go!  But do you think I could find them?  Hell, no!  I turned the entire house apart and they were nowhere to be seen.  Double-Drats!

And the local dollhouse shop is closed on Sundays!  This is getting so complicated...

The huz comes up with a brill idea:  a Hobby Shop!  So after a quick Google search it's off to Scale Models in St Paul!  

OK, if you ever have the misfortune of finding yourself in St Paul --I'm not dogging it, but I once lived there briefly and it can only be described as a cemetery, with lights.  But please, please, please do yourself a favor and head over to Scale Models on Lexington and University Avenue!

If you dream of  starring in a John Waters film --and who doesn't-- just run on down to Scale Models!  From the outside, the shop looks to be about six feet wide, but enter and make your way down the creaky, water-stained stair and in the dank basement you will find a model-makers Paradise!  It's huge!  It goes on and on and on for like, forever!  (Sort of like this post, but I digress).

Sitting on a bench at the base of the stairs is the strangest apparition:  I swore it was an old man, but the huz insists it was an elderly woman!  And he/she just sits there with a preternatural, evil grin on his/her face!  It's just like the creepy chauffeur in Burnt Offerings!
Anyway, long story short:  I got more shrink-tubes.  Then the Real Fun began.  It only took several attempts to get everything working, but I did it!  I really did it!  I am pretty and I am smart! AND I made my own lampshades...OK before you look at this next picture, please keep in mind that I am new to this and don't laugh!  This is sort of embarrassing, but I made the lampshades out of toothpaste caps!  Is that too ghetto?  Painted black with the inside gold I hope they're not too obvious.  Of course right after I finished making them, I got an email from Clair-bell and they do carry black shades for only three bucks a pop, so maybe I should just spring for it and get them!

Toothpaste cap lampshades: ghetto or gorgeous?
All I have left, is to finish a few miters to the cornice and glue everything down.  I'm not going to post any more photos of the Hall until it is once-and-for-all complete.  (Just a few more days, my my estimation).  I don't know about you, dear, patient Reader, but I am getting a little tired of looking at this room.

And so then, it's on to the Drawing Room! 


Giac said...[Reply]

Hi John,
Talk about a crazy weekend! Congratulations on getting the electrical done. It gets easier! I said it before but it bears repeating: The hall looks wonderful! You really did a fantastic job!
Can't wait to see more!

John said...[Reply]

Hi, Giac!
Crazy --I know, right? Just another day in the life!

Teresa said...[Reply]

I could never get tired of looking at that room! It is gorgeous!There is so much to look at. What will you do after this room?

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Teresa! Next is the room above the Hall --the Drawing Room.

Pedrete said...[Reply]

Oh Dios mio, John!! Eres único!! Me he reído muchísimo leyendo tu post, eres genial, sencillamente genial!! Las pantallas de pasta de dientes se ven preciosas, al menos en la fotografía, creo que no tienes por qué cambiarlas. ¡¡Un abrazo enorme!!

Fi.P said...[Reply]

OMG......Just when I think I'm browsing a nice miniature blog I am creeped out to the max by your " Burnt Offerings".....its evening here and my Hubby is away and i never get scared but I now feel decidedly alone!!!!!!

So much so I can't remember what you wrote about Merriman Park, I have to re visit......

I have the shivers.....

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Your toothpaste caps look sensational and if you had not have said I would never have guessed.

I don't think we have caps like this any more?

Your landing looks fabulous too, it's added so much depth. It certainly has added that sense of intrigue.

Well done!!

Now i just have to go and get that creepy movie out of my head!!

Bon Nuit.

John said...[Reply]

Gracias, Pedrete! Estoy feliz de que haya disfrutado de mi escritura. Tengan una excelente semana!

Fi --I KNOW! I first saw that movie when I was a kid, while babysitting in a creepy house! That chauffeur STILL gives me nightmares...sorry it frightened you, too --but it's almost Halloween, so 'Trick or Treat!'

iseecerulean said...[Reply]


The toothpaste cap shades are fabulous...I wouldn't have guessed what they were made form.

Irene said...[Reply]

It certainly sounds like it was all go a the weekend for you but well worth it in the end. The black shades are very good, I see no need to change them and I noticed you have the medallion on the hall floor - very nice!

Re the weather - welcome to my world!

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, iseecerulean, and you too, Irene!

Yup, looks like winter is just around the corner --in other words: dollhouse weather!

Andy said...[Reply]

Congratulations on fixing the lighting, it looks great! The black caps look convincing too (I'll let you into a secret; I used to use toothpaste caps as lampshades when I was young and built myself houses out of Lego bricks! The lamp bases were little chess pieces, there's a little memory you've brought back to me!! My mum used to worry because I never built cars or space rockets with Lego, until my aunt told her I'd probably be an architect one day!) Anyway, I'm loving the hall, can't wait to see progress on the drawing room!!

Simon said...[Reply]

Hey John, I get so excited first hing on a Monday morning when I get up to check if you or Giac have added antyhing whilst I was sleeping (the time delay kills me!). That is SI funny about the tooth paste caps, I spotted that once when, er, how should I say it, I was indisposed in the bathroom one. Its funny how you completely re-assess everyday objects around you. They have turned out great, well done. They look betted than anything you can buy. Its funny you saying about the dolls house weather, I was reading through some of your older Posts where you refer to this being a project to while away these evenings, like you really need an excuse. Fabulous work and a great read as always. Stay warm...

cassandra ludwig-malone toth said...[Reply]

Oh yes, leave those shades, I think it's an brilliant bow to the inventive nature that is mini-mania.

You are nearly DONE with this room, you are in the decorating stage - I am so envious! It looks wonderful, in fact that scene with the lamp shades reminds of the pictures from my collection of English House Beautiful's from the 1980's. Those were my first exposure to truly fabulous decor.

Reading your blog has made me take a dip into lighting with the order of my first battery-powered chandelier which is on it's way to me now! Lighting is magical.

Haven't seen Burnt Offerings but I am enjoying more Dark Shadows and now I am feeling positively sorry for Barnabas - he really was a good and nice fellow until Angelique came along.


Your blog is just inspiring me a lot! Ain't this insanity great?

John said...[Reply]

Hi, Andy,
Lol, we had the same childhood! That's why I was hesitant about the shades in the first place --because I think we all probably used toothpaste caps for lampshades! I was 'supposed' to be an architect, too (but all the math scared me away, plus I wanted to design buildings like Merriman Park and figured I would be stuck doing K-Marts, or something. (Not that there is anything wrong with that)! Did you end up an architect?

Hi Simon!
I always look forward to your posts, too! Yes, MP started out solely as a 'wintertime project,' but the copious amount of encouragement I've received from you & 'the gang' has inspired me to work on it even during fair weather --so thank you for that.

Hi, Cassandra!
I think I just might keep the shades as a nod to my (and Andy's)! childhood. I think it's important to mix 'high' and 'low'- end; it adds personality. If I inspire you half as much as the inspiration I have gleaned from everyone who has commented on this rather weird post, then I must be doing a pretty good job, right?

Scott B said...[Reply]

Great post . . . The Entrance Hall looks terrific!
Thanks also for the reminder about "Burnt Offerings". A Halloween must-see!

John said...[Reply]

Thanks, Scott! I know, Karen Black RULES...Oh, guess I shouldn't put Ms Black before Ms. Bette Davis! Oops!

jeffry said...[Reply]

Great news to see that you've got the electrical system working again. The house comes alive when there is light, don't you think?
Sorry to say...but I never heard of the movie Burnt Offerings! But the trailer was "nice"...I have to watch it someday...looked at the internet to buy me a dvd.

John said...[Reply]

Hi Jeffry! You're right about the lights, and now that I finished up all the touch-ups, I find myself just sitting there staring at it for the longest time.

I haven't seen Burnt Offerings in a long time --I wonder if it would still scare me like it once did? Let me know if you liked it!

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Hi John,

it's Friday night here and I'm just checking in to see if there are any new posts...not yet.

I have to say after checking out of your last post I went off to bed, and how many times do you think I got up to check the doors were locked? Up and down the stairs all night I was...every creak and wind gust.....sheeesh!!

It didn't help that I was reading an Australian who hung Laura Whisheart kind of book for BC, because I'm not the scaredie cat type, but I was glad to see the light of day.

When it comes to Halloween I will be checking in on Merriman park to see if there are any signs of festivities......can you believe the last couple of years Halloween has taken off to the extreme here in Australia and last year my daughter wanted to go as a Zombie. I bound her in dirty bandages and cobwebs with some fake blood to add effect. I then told her she looked more like and accident victim than a Zombie and she promptly passed out on me!!!!

I think maybe the scaredie cat thing runs in the family,......he,he

Have a good week end and i look forward to new posts. Fi : )

John said...[Reply]

Hi, Fi!

Last weekend was the 'Zombie Pub Crawl' here in Minneapolis --imagine thousands of drunk 'zombies' staggering from bar to bar, shrieking: "BRAINS! BRAINS!" at innocent passers-by!

Fi.P said...[Reply]

Love It!!!!

Josje said...[Reply]

Great lampshades! I really like the way the light shines through it. Well done on your lighting, the entrance hall looks fabulous.