Grand Hotel REDO:Stickers,Cleaning,Masking, Painting.

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Finally I'm getting back to the Hotel!

With great weather for a day, I was able to get around to painting the Grand Hotel.

First: Steps to removing stickers and gunk from Mattel Plastics 

  1. Give your house, furniture, or vehicle a good wash. I use a kitchen spray cleaner with a bit of bleach--(Some of the items I get are really disgusting, but Cheap!) and a complete rinse. Let dry.
  2. Work on the stickers you wish to remove. (Almost all of the ones in this Hotel were crooked and faded. This was a PINK house, faded to icky apricot.) Gently score the stickers with a plastic spoon or knife edge. You want to cut through the surface of the sticker but not scratch the plastic walls. Pull at any stickers that are lose---they won't all come off, but usually some of the shiny top will rip off.
  3. I use Goo-Gone in the bottle. The Spray, I only use outside. Carefully Saturate the stickers, move on to the next one, etc. Let sit and then begin to use a plastic scraper and remove as much as possible. Depending on how old your item is---the harder it may be to remove. Those exposed to lots of sunlight are easiest to remove as the glue has dried up.
  4. Repeat application of Goo-gone if necessary. Sometimes, three applications are necessary.When all the residual gunk has been removed, (You may have to use nail polish remover to get the gunk off and get a cleaner surface.) --
  5. Wear gloves and saturate some paper towel and wash down all areas with Alcohol where you have used the remover oil. (You may have to use nail polish remover to get the gunk off and get a cleaner surface.) I wash the entire surface with clean paper towels and alcohol. This gives a good clean surface for paint.
  6. Do this cleaning twice to make sure you don't miss any. You will get crazing, and snakeskin texture, and sometimes paint will not stick at all if it isn't oil free.
  7. Masking: Once clean, mask all the areas you don't want painted with removable painter's tape. You can use sheet paper to mask off large areas, just make sure you seal the edges tightly.
  8. You can see I have masked off the windows with green tape, and the side entrance with paper. I did the windows on both sides, as I wanted to retain the blue windows. My windows were quite brittle, so taking them off wasn't an option.

You can see the horrid fading of the Mattel plastic. This toy was probably outside or on a sun porch!

I got so excited to start spraying I forgot to photo the inside at the masking stage. Here you can see where I have starting to mask the big areas off over the finished white.

Many spray paints are now designed to spray on plastic. It's amazing how well it sticks, and I love all the colors available. I chose white for all the inside, and a darker gray for the outside. I will be touch up painting by brush lots of details and and textures on this building. Remember to spray outdoors or in a ventilated area (like a porch).
 I prefer Satin finishes, which are more durable than flat finishes. 
You certainly can brush on with a paint of your choice and then seal it. Lots of work that way. 
  1. Spray smoothly and quickly trying not to overlap. This is hard without all the little crevices. I made about 4 quick passes across the whole interior. 
  2. In the next photo, you can see the phone and cord covered.(Mask all electrical areas) Luckily the paint dries within 30 minutes or so. A breezy day that is dry and warm is even better.

Preparing for the exterior side spraying.
  1. I reversed the large entrance papers and tape to the inside now! The house is still glowing peachy. I'm hoping the Gray will block that out!
  2. I didn't paint the floors, but I did the underside ceilings. Remember I have new wood floors for both levels. The Pillars were tricky, and had lots of crevices. Since I will be using all angles for photos and through the windows, I really tried to cover everything.
  3. It two cans completely to do the inside + touch ups. 

Masking the insides!

  1. Now that you have your inside basically painted. Allow to dry and then use the painters tape to very tightly mask off any areas where the darker exterior will seep through. 
  2. I closed up the house after this and used a blocking paper to keep from going into the hole in the middles at the top.

The grills on top are very detailed so I tightly masked them, underneath.

Here are some missing parts? I don't know if I removed it or not...I'll come up with something! The exterior windows have lots of detail...I masked them off in long pieces, rubbed hard and then trimmed them all with an exact knife. There will be lots of touch up painting when the masking is peeled off.

After the first coat, you can see a bit o peach showing through. This was evened out with a second coat. The outside took about 2/3 can. Darker colors have more opacifiers in them.
Yellows, whites, some reds and oranges will need many coats.

When I finished, I moved the whole thing into the garage for two days! Can't wait to remove all the tape and papers, and see what I have left to do! Let the paint stand as long as you can before you do other treatments. 

Next Post: Details and touch ups...I have no major plan, I will try and do some dry brushing with craft paints to see if I can bring up all the details! 

Listed here in order are links for all the Hotel posts: 

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Update on Doll Room-September 2019

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Hello there, Doll lovers!
Sorry I have been so AWOL. 

I'm finally down in the doll room for a bit of time the end of August. I've been gone long enough, so long I need to remember where everything is. Sigh---I lost all of Spring and most of Summer. So, I'll just have to try and catch up. 
Stairs are an issue, with three times my a day.

I've been an opportunistic collector---I seldom buy new dolls, unless it's something I need (articulated bodies) or an incredible deal to add to my HFIM family. I've been fortunate to win several dolls online groups and at my Windy City Collectors BDC group.

My plan this year was to diversify my doll 'family' to more reflect the community (Chicago) where they live. I live way out in the burbs...which is a bit boring.
I really appreciate the effort Mattel has made in the last few years to diversify their dolls and make every child able to find a doll which reflects what they see their own mirror. The career dolls for the 60th anniversary have been interesting, but I have managed to pass on them.
NOW, if we could only get Mattel to do a few 'Aged' ones for us old farts...that would be great!
Speaking of which, I plan on aging a few dolls and having them live in a refurbished cottage, a bit of old-fashioned fun. Next year, maybe!Where will I ever put that!

I realize in changing everyone for a swimsuit series, that I need to find a better way to store my dolls' clothes.

 I seldom buy new, but I pick up 'lots' or 'bags' of used/vintage clothes. These deals seem to be farther apart now. Three and four years ago I was coming home with bags of clothes, and dolls were being sold nude in thrift stores. NOW, the thrift stores are being lazy and not undressing them, bundling dolls in bags of 3-4, so fewer clothing deals are available. 

Here's the girls I still need to assign names, switch bodies, or find homes. Such a dilemma. They were all skipped in the swimsuit shoot.

The boys---are half GI Joes and half Mattel Kens. I have a few Kens in baskets with molded hair, which I really don't like.  They have such thick legs which are sticky. Well, the Kens are less varied and until they make articulated Kens worth buying, I probably won't buy any. 

Emily on the left, I finally stripped from her sewed on outfit (She's the Greyhound Girl). and she has that really small waist, so dressing her isn't easy to go with her personae. When I have my knee replacement in October, the plan is to have a whole bunch of clothes machine sewn, and then do the handwork while I'm recovering.

The doll in the middle (1992 50's Barbie poodle skirt Repro) 
has the disintegrating legs occurring on dolls in the late 80's and early 90's. She had been boxed since the early 90's and was very bad--the oils leached from the plastic all through her socks and underwear, luckily the skirt was fine.  I'm trying to find an articulated match for her, reasonable. I think I will name her Sandy (from Grease).

I won this doll as a prize giveaway. I've named her Babs. She is a 1995 Reproduction of a 1962 Titian. I love her bangs and the soft no.2 face. She has really red lipstick and attached Pearl earrings which is nice. Her hair needs a bit of a recurl on the bottom, which shouldn't be an issue. 

I'm calling this sweet girl, 'Faizah'. Not sure of her story yet, she is a standard playline and has really silky hair. I'm not sure there is an articulated body out there for her, but maybe sometime in the future. I may retouch some highlights on her face, because with normal light source, she is hard to photograph. I had to use a direct spotlight to get her to show up+the huge overhead LED light system in the craft room.

I picked this pretty gal up for the clothes she was wearing, an adorable Tweety Bird shirt and matching drawstring pants which are in the wash. I've named her Kennedy. Her hair is a bit of a fright, so I'm planning on a shoulder length perm...we will see. she has very pretty green eyes, and that courageous lipstick.

I've named this tiny girl, Nour. She has gray eyes and already has had a haircut, which I just evened out. I haven't tracked her down yet, but she has a petite body or teen Stacie body. I don't know if she started out that way, or has been switched. She will join the teen crew as an exchange student from somewhere exotic.

I want to add this American Indian girl to the HFIM storyline. Her braid was still intact. I'm having a hard time naming her. I found her for $ a tee-shirt and icky shorts.

She's a 1995 American Indian Barbie. The small baby is 'Blue Feather', her cousin which she cares for. Photo from pinterest, untraceable.

I got very excited to find this small book online(Amazon)sold with all the pages shown---thinking she would be named in it. However, she is only referred to as American Indian Barbie. The photos show painted tee-pee's and designs on her costume as beadwork, typical of the Northern Plains tribes, many of which came from the moved Midwest:Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan tribes. When I figure out her background and story, I'll do a post on it.

Another doll, I haven't dealt with is this Katniss Doll from 'Catching Fire'. She will be Kat or Jennifer---and I'll see what I have after she is removed from the box and de-costumed. I know she is articulated, and has thick hair. I really like her realistic body, I'm hoping she doesn't have flat feet! (Sindy--my chef, is the same face mold, and her hair is a we will see if they are related or not?)

Last, I have this exotic girl from the Jazz Baby series. She has three wigs, and the skinniest body and is fully articulated. Totally exotic and a very strong personality--she will need a specially 'designed' wardrobe(home sewn)

So far, 'Diva', her stage name, will have a great backstory and reside in the largest apartment in the hotel. 

Speaking of the hotel, we left the Hotel Project waiting for the exterior window to go behind the stained glass. All the doll story original plans for the Hotel, had to be scrapped and redone---after finding this window intact from 1892 behind a wall.

This was the twist on the story---but then I blew out my knee in early May...and I haven't been able to get back to the project!

Tutorial post Here. 
I am going down into the doll room today and try to wrangle the Hotel, and get it ready to paint, so I can move forward

Way back in February we were at this stage

Apartment 1

Apartment 2

Foyer on the first floor
I've seen front doors available, but I'm not willing to pay the price, 
so I will be making some.

The new tiles had been installed on the first floor.

I need to get everything painted soon, while the weather is reasonable. Which means taping off all those windows! I'm planning on gray/white on the outside and all white on the inside, keeping the windows, blue. We will see. 

The Beauty Salon, Foyer, and Bakery/Coffee Shop need to be finalized and I'll install lighting on the ground floor and the finished two apartments upstairs. later, I'll add the adjacent kitchen, 
The Hotel (in my head) will have six floors. LOL. (There will be other residents coming from fictitious 'other' apartments which will be out-of-sight. With lots of tenants, the story possibilities will provide many photo ops. 
Side and back walls, will be removable for photos. I will definitely do a post on that.

How are your doll stories, 
dioramas, and dolls doing?

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Back to School

Just some archive photos of school projects and shots of the kids going to school!

In the 18th Century a slave,  Phyllis Wheatley had to study at night in her room. African American girls weren't allowed in school, but she was taught to read and write by her owners. More here:First Published African American Woman.


I write after all my work is done!


The girls are anxious to go to school.


Updated vintage chalk board with map!

Chalk and erasers made of toothpicks and sticky foam/felt.

Revitalized baby changing table. Tutorial on the chalkboard and cabinet are HERE.

Lots of supplies.

An ancient computer.


Working at the dining room table.


First day of school. Smile!

History is a great subject.


The girls think so.
Fold-up Classroom and others for diorama posts are HERE.

We know who that is, George Washington!

"Class, General and then President Washington was praised in a poem by a young slave girl, Phillis Wheatley. Please for homework, read her poem and write another  poem or story about someone you admire in History. Class dismissed!"


"What I tried to say about President Washington was, First in War, First in Peace, First in the Hearts of his Countrymen."

Thank you for visiting, I will try and respond to every question and comment. 

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