Posts Tagged ‘the DIY gene’

I am going to find a way by which I can apply high gloss oil based paint and avoid all the mess and the cleaning, whether it be by airbrush with some sort of disposable nozzle or by getting someone else to apply it, by hook or by crook I will find a way.


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In addition to proving myself gauche in matters of Bespaq, I also made a booboo in the DIY world. Another reader has advised it’s a tenon saw – n0t a tennant saw or a tennent saw or whatever… 🙂

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Had to pike on this eve’s entertainment having put my neck out – I can take pills, but in doing so I can’t drive (they be strong uns, sirrah).

So back to the dollhouse drawing board and the Hitchcock masterpieces collection – another Jimmy Stewart special. Yeee-hah!

For a crappo night, it’s been quite good as I think I have managed to sort out something that has been puzzling me for a while – not being gifted in the spatial measurement-y spectrum.

I don’t want to alarm anyone, but I think I know what I am doing with the stairs.

It was elementary – solved by mapping out what I need to cut for the interior walls. Eureka!

Now I can progress to the floors which I previously had a moment with where I drew the ground floor plan onto the first floor thereby confusing myself somewhat significantly (that special DIY gene strikes again!).

If course it does mean I am going to have to do some fancy jigsaw work with the pre-made flights of stairs I purchased, but life is filled with challenges 🙂

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I should explain, for posterity, that I am not gifted in the DIY sense.

I am missing that small, but essential gene, that enables people to know how to position a wrench when undoing a pipe, saw something in a straight line and hammer a nail without bending it or dropping it or denting the wall right next to it.

I couldn’t draw a straight line even if you gave me a ruler with clamps and a marker than only draws straight lines. I couldn’t work out how many pieces of MDF needed to jigsaw three identical floors – even when I have the measurements for the floors and for the size of the MDF and a measuring tape.

I have already confessed my early wallpapering efforts with you. Let it be said that the coverlets and curtains I sewed for my dollhouse were also incredible “special”. That’s ‘special’ with in inverted commas and a peculiar emphasis that only works in conversation – you know the one.

When I decided I would pave a small part of the garden (a real garden in a real 1:1 house) – a nice curving arch around a lemon tree, I was fine while digging out the area to pave, fine when gathering the bricks together, fine when planting the lemon tree. I hit the limits of my ability at the leveling and paving in a regular organised pattern. The first (and only) five rows I paved straggled upwards, downwards, left, right and were all slightly skewiff. I was summarily fired from that task, which also put paid to my optimistic intention to pave a path down the side of the same 1:1 house once my beautiful paved arch was completed.

On one hand, there’s me. On the other, there’s my dad.

My dad is incredibly gifted with the DIY gene – he can understand the enigmatic and mystical workings of cars, reticulation systems,  drilling, roofing, cabinet making, 90 degree angles and so much more. If it needs to be made, fixed, renovated -he’s da man.

It’s amazing. Totally incomprehensible, but amazing.

There’s only been one time he slipped – when he made a queen sized bed base for me that was 30cm too wide and too deep. I’d like to write that this shows he’s only human in the DIY regard…but I was in charge of writing down the measurements and telling him the measurements when we bought the timber. So it was likely not him who slipped but my recessive gene proving too strong for his DIY mojo.

We could debate whether it’s a case of nature or nurture. I won’t disagree that facets of DIY are learnt but I have been assisting my Dad and watching him since I was old enough to pick up a hammer. No amount of diagrams, explanations, demonstrations and assistance have made any difference.

I have always been aware of my “specialness” in regard to DIY, yesterday I discovered actual proof that this missing gene I am inflicted with, may be a recessive gene.

I should have been alerted when my uncle told my about my granpa’s attempt at crazy paving (what is it with us missing DIY gene sufferers and paving?) – it was…crazier than your ordinary crazy paving.

Much like my attempt only he used irregularly shaped stones thereby upping the ante on the paving scale and providing one more critical vector where things could go horribly wrong.

It’s hard enough paving with regular, uniform brick shapes, upping the ante with irregularly shaped  rocks is a bit like using a backhoe to dig a hole for your pot of petunias.

Anyhoo, as I have been stripping and cleaning this dollshouse I have noticed the following things – one of which has escaped my notice for 27 years and is actually blindingly obvious, so I should have noticed it at some point.

Firstly, as I took out the floors and took the roof off,  measured the distances between floors so that when I come to put in my new, amazing, non-buckled floors I know where they need to go. Kind of important as that will determine where my new stairs (or new non-imaginary lift) will need to stop…and start…and stop and… You get the idea.

Did I mention that there are three floors? (including the ground floor one) And that I will be putting in a fourth floor (as part of my magnificent, space-giving attic conversion (attic conversion sounds so…posh, doesn’t it?)?

It turns out my first (ground) floor is about 24 cm high, while my second (first) floor is 22cm high and my third (second) floor is 18cm high.

Not a problem until you consider how many steps you will need to get from one level to another, if you use stairs.

Not a problem until you decide to use standard, premade dollhouse stairs which, altho there are different lengths) are all uniform. Making my own stairs would have just given me sooooo many more points where I could mess this up and I figured I would have a hard enough time working out where to cut the holes in the floors for the stairs without increasing the difficulty scale.

Not a problem unless you have precut dollhouse windows meaning you can’t mess around too much with the relative heights of floors.

Speaking of windows, that leads me to my second example (this is the one I possibly should have noticed over the last 27 years).

Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

What is wrong with this?

What is wrong with this?

Hint…look at the windows.

Seen it yet?

Look at that top row of windows – small, small and then…big.

Now look at the middle row of windows – same level, same level and then…one inch or so lower.

Now look at the bottom row of windows – big, doorway and then…small.

You see where I am going with this now?

Yes – it looks like the door of the dollhouse on the right has actually been put on upside down.

If it was the other way around we’d have three small windows in the top row, three big windows (all on the same level) in the middle row and a big window to match the other big window on the other side of the door. It would even be at the same level as the other window.

Call me crazy, but…do you think my granpa has possibly put that right hand door on upside down?

Now I don’t claim to call myself a geneticist (or a handy-woman for that matter), and my granpa was my maternal grandfather and my Dad therefore doesn’t come from the same genetic strain; however the DIY and the anti–DIY genes meet in me…

Hmmmm… that’s something to ponder.

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