A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:
The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:
Friday, December 24, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Merry Christmas to all my followers. However you celebrate I hope you have a wonderful time and keep safe through the holiday season. Ginny the cat is certainly enjoying herself by ensuring all the tinsel is properly flattened. Put anything that makes a rustling noise down in my house and it gets sat on, laid on and slept on! (And tie the tree to the wall or there will be a very loud crash!)
In miniature news for the week, the Inn is still plodding along very slowly. The roof still isn't quite right, but is probably going to stay as it as (at least for now). I've started to make a bed for the "high" bedroom and hopefully I will add a photo to my Flickr account over the next couple of days, so keep an eye on the Flickr thumbnails to the left for it to appear. I really need to pick up the speed on the Inn as this morning I broke down and ordered Cumberland Castle!!! I've put in an order through Fairy Meadow Miniatures' website, but included a message saying not to worry about posting it until next year. That will give me three kits to play with once the Inn is finished, so the Inn needs to get finished because I want to play! Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post - it is partly due to your lack of discouragement that I took the plunge and bought the kit. I know I am going to love it and will adapt my plans for the Tower of Magic to suit. Have I explained about the Tower of Magic yet? I know I've mentioned it before, but have I told you exactly what it is? Oh well, I'll add another post soon with more info about it for anyone whose been wondering what I've been rambling on about.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
At least I can be reasonably sure the castle won't sell out until after the 20th of January as FMM will be closed for Christmas from Saturday until then. That's a whole month to think about it . . . but what if the shop burns down over Christmas and they don't restock an C. Castles? Or what if they sell out before this Saturday? $600 is really too much to contemplate spending on top of the $400 I've only just forked out. Isn't it? It could be turned into the Tower of Magic, it would be a perfect Tower of Magic. Acutally, it would be two or three TofM's all joined together. The real magic involved would of course go in finding somewhere to put the finished castle.
When I bought the Retreat and Stratford B. I said how fortunate it was that they didn't have a Cumberland or I'd have bought that too. If I knew they were getting Cumberlands in stock, and so soon, I may have skipped the other two kits and just bought this one instead. Maybe if I complain about how unfair it is I'll get a discount on the Castle? Probably not.
What to do??? What to do???
Alienora blogs about her own dollshouses on her blog at http://alienora74.blogspot.com/
Anna Amnell is a Finnish author of historical novels and you'll find her blog here : http://amnellanna.blogspot.com/ Anna has also turned her hand to dollshouses, some apparently based around her novels. I first found some photos of her dollshouses about eighteen months ago and love what she did with her DHE Gateshouse kit. You can find some pictures of it on Flickr here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/amnellanna/sets/72157594290018836/ and here : http://www.flickr.com/photos/amnellanna/sets/72157594420412213/
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
I think (but can't swear to the fact) my newest follower is Karin Corbin, whose blog can be found here: http://karincorbin.blogspot.com/ Welcome Karin, I hope you enjoy following my blog. I have just signed up to follow yours and know I am going to love it!
I've also found a couple more websites to add to the Links page. All three new links can be found on the links page under Aussie Suppliers.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
My number of followers has gone up to sixty-two, but 62 must be a private follower as I can't see their name/icon anywhere (or maybe it's in plain sight right in front of me and I just missed seeing it). Anyway, welcome to follower no. 62 whoever you are, I hope you don't get too bored or confused by my occasional ability to waffle on and on and my tenuous grasp of the English language (ain't a governement funded education great?).
Monday, December 6, 2010
Both kits are made in England by Dollshouse Emporium and I bought both from Fairy Meadow Miniatures in Sydney. Now DHE tends to stop making all the kits I like and FMM can only carry so much DHE stock and when they run out, they often don't get the same item back in stock again. So buying while they have the kits in Oz instead of waiting until I need a new project and discovering there are none in Oz and DHE have stopped making them is a must. At least that's how I justify this expensive Christmas present to myself. It's just lucky FMM don't have a Cumberland Castle kit while I'm in a mood to spend money or I really wouldn't have any left at all!
And a quick note to other Australians who'd like a new dollshouse this Christmas, take a look at ebay. There are some fantasic houses up for auction at the moment, but all pick up only from what to me are far-away places but might work for some of you. There is a F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S partly finished house made from (I think) a Greenleaf kit in the Sydney area and the bidding is currently at $71.00. Now that is a bargain!
Linda is also the newest follower of this blog so I'd like not only to offer my thanks for her generosity in holding this lovely giveaway, but also to warmly welcome her to my blog.
I was planning on holding a giveaway of my own before Christmas, but it turns out Christmas is only three weeks away (that scare anyone else?) and I'm just not going to get organised enough to prepare the prize in time. The giveaway will be held sometime in January next year instead (I hope), so please keep an eye out for it in the new year.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Firstly, to make the tile involved marking out tile shapes on a piece of cardboard and then cutting them out. The marking out was fairly easy (aside from when there was a cat sitting in the middle of the cardboard trying to catch the ruler) but the cutting was a different matter. After a while not only does the sound of all the bones in the back of my hand popping as they move about indepentantly (shouldnt they have all fused together by the time a person gets to be 28?) really start to get annoying but it also starts to get sore and worse I get a semi permenent scissor handle shaped depression in the flesh of my thumb. So I can only cut so many tiles at a time before I have to stop and do something else for a while - such as read a chapter of a book. The problem here is that I was reading one of Terry Pratchett's discworld novels and they don't have chapters so I tend to just keep on and on reading rather than just reading a chapter and going back to something vaugley useful.
The next reason why the Inn hasn't progressed that much this week is that Christmas is coming - only 29 days more! That always means a lot of work. Cupbaords need to be cleaned out so that there will be room to pack them full of Christmas goodies, there are boxes to be decorated so that presents can be put inside them, my Grandma's silver teapot needs it's annual polish, etc, etc. My mother pulled up the carpet in the front room and has set my father to laying a laminate floor and of course someone ended up helping to clear out the room first. I'm sure everyone reading this is familiar with the bustle that is December. So in short, there isn't a lot of time left over for working on dollshouses. And it's only going to get worse between now and Christmas.
I will try to keep up work on the Inn, but frankly, I doubt I will even get the roof finished before Christmas. I will (try) to keep the blog up to date and add some seasonal posts such as pictures of the Gingerbread house I want to try to make (if it turns out to be presentable). If however I get behind, I appologise in advance.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
The tavern level has a single removable front wall with a single large window (or at the moment a single black hole). It is cut from foamboard to fit between the wooden posts at either end of the opening. The panel was then given a thin coat of pollyfilla to create a rougher surface and it was painted in a pale green. Balsa wood strips were then glued to the front of the panel overhaning both sides so that they completely covered the supporting posts. These pieces cover the slightly wavering edges of the board to give a nice neat finish.
The remaining floors have three front wall sections each, one for each room and one for the hallway between them. They were made in the same fashion as the tavern panel with the exception that the wood strips on the inside edges of each of the side panels are wide enough to cover the supporting post and the edge of the centre panel. This means that the side panels hold the centre panel in place so only the side panels will need securing to the building.
Finally, I started adding thin balsa strips to decorate the fronts. I started by framing the holes for the windows and made it as far as almost finishing the fronts of the first bedroom level. I still need to work on the levels above and below this one, plus do all the sides which at this point have been painted to match the front panels. Then figure out how to permanently, but removably attach the fronts. Then made the windows. Then make the tiles for the roof. Then cover the roof. I think saying I will be ready to start working on the inside by Christmas is really quite optomistic, especially if making roof tiles is going to be as horrid and time consuming as I am expecting. Perhaps I should go back to plan A, thatch?
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I'm still not sure about the furniture in this room, somehow no arrangement or subsitution seems to work quite right. However what you see in the photo is how it is going to stay, whether it looks right or not. To tell the truth, I am simply sick of fussing with this room. In the time I've spent fussing with this one single room I've built an entire four story Inn!
I think at this point I'll take a few weeks off this project and come back and finish it off later. The only main feature the room is missing at the moment are lights. These will of course be dummy (non working) lights which I will have to make. Right now I think I'll wait until the Dancing Dragon Inn is ready to have it's lights done and do the two at once.
Monday, November 8, 2010
The final floor of the Inn was added this week and topped off with a roof. As with all the other levels, this one started with a piece of foamboard cut to size and a hole cut in to allow the stairs to pass through. The under side was given a skim coat of pollyfilla and painted off white to create the ceiling of the bedrooms below while the top side was covered in more popsicle stick "floorboards". Once I has a floor, I added the walls to the sides and back of the floor. These walls were only 3" high as most of the height of this level is under the sloping roof ontop of the walls.
The exact shape and design of the roof is something that had been under debate in my head for weeks. There were all sorts of ways I could have made it, but many of them left me undable to access the rooms within, made the roof too high or created low points where the mini residents would have to duck to walk underneath. Finally I settled on a compromise mix of a few different ideas. The result is a roof with three peaks, their ridges running back to front with the central ridge slightly lower that the two either side. Like the walls, the roof was made by making a frame out of balsa wood and filling the sections created with foamboard. At this point I made a discovery. Peel the plastic-paper outer layer off the foamboard and you are left with a rough, off white surface that imitates a rough plaster finish reasonably well. As this floor is where the cheapest rooms of the Inn are located, a cheap coat of "plaster" seemed like a good finish for the walls and peeling off the layer of foamboard was much easier than going over it with pollyfilla and painting it. Strips of balsa wood were then added to the walls for some extra decoration.
The exterior of the roof still needs to be covered in tiles. A quick measure of the roof I'd created gave me an area of 480 square inches that need to be covered, requiring approximately 2000 standard twelth scale roof tiles. Having seen the prices of roof tiles (and adding on the fact that I'd have to get them shipped from the UK or US) there was just no way I was going to finish the roof with pre-bought tiles. Now I have two choices; use a sheet of preformed tile effect cladding or make my own tiles. The preformed cladding sheets do look quite economical (even though I still can't find any in Oz), but every tile it perfect and identical and having seen other miniature tiled roofs (rooves?) around the internet, the roofs with cracked and slipping tiles absolutely look better than those with neat, orderly rows of tiles. Acheiving this means using individual tiles, so I'm going to have a go at making my own. The plan is to use terracotta air dry clay, roll it flat and cut it into tile sized rectangles. I have a feeling the plan may be a simple one, but that it may take weeks to produce enough tiles to cover the roof. The thought of what is sure to be time consuming and tedious work making tiles is why I'm thinking I'll work on making the removable front walls next and finish the roof off later.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Now, on to business . . . .
Last week finished with the exterior walls of the second floor in place. This week saw the internal walls added and decorated. The first task was to make a "garderobe" (toliet facility) which lives behind the back wall of the "high" bedroom on the left. It is separated from the main room by a curtain. Sadly, the actual garderobe can't be seen once the walls and ceiling are in place, but trust me, it's there. Walls made of foamboard were then added to divide the bedrooms from each other and from the central hallway-come-stairwell. On the back wall at the top of the stairs is a (badly) hand painted scene of a hallway on the far side of the back wall to make the inn seem bigger than it is.
On the left is the "high" bedroom for use by the Inn's wealthy customers (this is why it is the only room with a garderobe). To give it a touch of luxury I covered the upper walls with "tudor frieze" by Jackson's Miniatures. The lower walls were panelled with thin balsa wood. More balsa made the door and door frame. As usual the door opens by pivoting on pins inserted in the top and bottom of the door. Eventually, this room will have a big four post bed and other accessories. The suit of armour you might spot in this week's photos prbably won't stay. He was bought for the hall, but it turns out he won't fit, so I'll probably keep him to use in the Tower of Magic, which will probably be my next project after the 'Dragon is finished.
The "low" bedroom, which isn't low so much as just a bit lower than the "high" room, already has it's bed. It's a cupboard bed built into the back of the room. Not so long ago it was comon for people to sleep enclosed in a cupboard to protect against draughts and keep heat in, the cupboard doing much the same job as the curtains around a four post bed. My cupbaord bed is a built in fixture of the room. Some wood turnings create a vent across the top of the bed door to guard against suffocation. The "carved" panels on each side of the bed are felt ribbon (intended for scrapbooking) laid over balsa wood and stained to match the rest of the wood. Having the bed built in at the back of the room leaves a large floor space free at the front of the room. In time this space will be filled with a table surrounded by some rather shady characters who are studying maps of the city in order to plan a daring robbery
All the walls of the "low" bedroom and the hallway are covered in wood panelling. This is made of very thin balsa wood with thicker strips over the top to create the panelled look. Once the walls were finished, the stairs up to the top floor were glued in place and ceiling beams were added. Although not shown in the photos, the next (and final) floor, another piece of foamboard, was then laid on top of the beams. By the end of this week, the final floor walls should be well underway and the roof should be started. I haven't decided what to cover the roof with yet. I had thought about thatching it, but when I thought about that idea I had to wonder - how do you get dust out of thatch? And the worse thought - how do you stop the cat eating, clawing and otherwise abusing the thatch? So for practical reasons I think thatching the roof is out. So maybe tiles? Anyway, that's something to decide after I've got it framed up.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Once the rug arrives and I can see how it looks, I'll decide whether or not to add a table between the chairs (the one that came with them was too big!). Then it'll just be a matter of sorting out the accessories, adding a vase of flowers and some books, repainting the red candles, perhaps adding a few cushions or a throw to the chaise, etc.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
There are two bedrooms on this level plus the hallway/stairwell area. On the left will be the "grand" bedroom for the Inn's richer clientele, on the right will be a more modest room. The hallway will be in the middle. The stairs up to the top floor will probably move from their position in these photos to run back to front, or maybe front to back.
The first step of adding this level was to cut out a piece of board to fit over the tavern level and cut out a gap for the stairs to come up through. The underside of the board was given a rough plaster finish by skimming it with pollyfilla and painting it off-white. When this was dry it was then glued down over the ceiling beams of the tavern. Floorboards in the form of more craft sticks (i.e. ice cream sticks sold without the best part) were laid over the entire floor before I started to add the posts and external walls.
Next up I need to add the internal walls and decorate them, then add the ceiling beams before moving on to the next (and final) floor. For the "high" bedroom I have a page of the Tudor Freize by Jackson's Miniatures. The hallway and second bedroom will be much plainer, either given a rough plaster or wood panelled finish (or a combination of the two). Only the high room will have, uh, facilities. This will be in the form of a garderobe in the back wall. The other rooms will have to settle for chamber pots.
Later on there will be the last floor in the attic, the roof and the opening front panels to go!
Monday, October 25, 2010
I gave up on my dream of an oval rug and settled for a rectangular one. No Aussie store had any the right size that didn't have a lot of red in it, so I had to order a rug from Canada that will hopefully fit the space and suit the colour scheme. As for whether the pattern is right for the Regency era . . . . well, it's probably about as acurate as the rest of the room (which of course means not very acurate at all).
For the centre of the room I bid on and won an ebay auction for a pair of chairs and a small table. These are ex-display items from a store so were relatively cheap. Again, they may not be perfect "Regency" but re-upholstered and painted (not necessarily in that order, mind) they are going to do.
Now all I have to do is wait for everything to arrive in the mail! The chairs should be here this week, but the rug may well take longer. In the meantime, I have re-organised the existing furniture once more, taking out both the chaise and the cabinet and putting in a small black side table "borrowed" from another project. I think this will work better, but need to see the chairs I've ordered in the space before I can be absolutely certain there won't be any more rearrangement and replacement of furniture.
Just to make it look like I'd done something for the room this week (aside from add the overmantle mirror, which incidentally is a perfect fit for the space I'd left bare of vines, which is pretty good guesswork!) I dressed the naked lady whose been standing about in the room for weeks. Her gown is in Regency fashion with a high waist and sleeves that puff at the shoulder. The colour of her gown is another matter. I have to admit that I don't recall ever seeing a Regency gown in such a strong colour, I think the more fashionable colours of the time were all soft and pale. However, when I was going through my collected fabrics looking for the right one for this gown, it struck me that this colour (a deep rose pink) matched the centres of the flowers on the walls and was a good contrast to the room. Holding a piece of this fabric in the room just looked better than any other the other options, so I just figured to heck with historical accuracy, as I've already said I'm not doing a terribly good job of it anyway. I chose this doll for this room as her hair was already suitable, being curled at the front and pulled into a bun at the back. I think she needs something to hold onto before she is finsihed . . . perhaps a mini Jane Austen novel?
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
I started the week by making the decision to change the colour of the woodwork. The "oak" colour I had been using was too new and unweathered looking. As I mixed it to match the colour of a relatively new, varnished oak cupboard of my mothers this shouldn't really have been a surprise. So I altered my pot of "wood stain" (i.e. acrylic paint and water) until the colour was a more silvery-brown. The result is a more settled been-around-for-a-while look with out the oak looking like it's centuries old. I think the end reuslt is much better than the original although repainting all the wood visible in the building was one of the most tedious things I've done lately.
Beams accross the ceiling were added to make it look like the next floor is being supported by something more than luck. The front door was made (yep, balsa wood again) and installed and the railing was added around the balcony between the steps and the front door. Aside from a bit to finish off around the kitchen door and some rails for the stairs, this pretty much has the taven ready to be built on top of!
Opps! Looking at the photos just now I've realised I've added beams accross a space that was supposed to be open to the next floor in a sort of gallery. I'll need to think about this.
Anyway, that's pretty much the progress for the week. This week should hopefully see the next floor going up and the first two bedrooms of the inn starting to rake shape!
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Dexter is made by the Dollshouse Emporium and I purchsed him from Fairy Meadow Miniatures in Sydney.
Also, I need to welcome yet another new follower to the blog. Vickyg has her own blog, Vicky's Houses featuring some of her lovely houses. Welcome Vicky!
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
|The Piano "Before"|
|The Piano "after"|
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Before starting work on the next floor I still need to add some decorative brackets to the posts, finish off the area around the stream, add a railing to the steps and finish off the front edge of the base. Fairy Meadow Miniatures recently sent out an email newsletter in which they mentioned having new stock from Dollshouse Emporium, so I went over to their site to take a look. Amongst the other items listed I spotted one item I just had to have. It's Dexter the Digging Dog Isn't it fortunate I'm working on a project with some muddy ground? I've ordered Dexter and plan to have him digging by the stream. They also have an item called "Soggy Moggy in a Bucket" that made it into the order as well, I can imagine the poor pussy landed in the bucket after falling off a rail or other high perch with another more fortunate cat still up there looking down at his bedraggled buddy! I haven't decided yet exactly where the bucket and perch will be, but will try and work it into the Inn at some point.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
The upper walls of the shop were given a rough coat of pollyfilla to look like render and painted in a creamy yellow (who said tudor buildings alway have to be white?). The stream bed was painted a muddy brown and lined with fine gravel. A photo of a tudor-eske street somewhere in England has become the backdrop of the arch.
These things done it was time to start on the wooden skeleton that will support the upper floors. At the moment they look a little like a forest of pillars, but hopefully over the next couple of weeks it will all start to make sense. Directly outside the shop is the road, running from the arch to the front where it joins another road running the length of the front. Next to the road is a market space where a trader will have some kind of as yet undefined stall. Next is the stream which will be surrounded by plants. At the back of the market space are some steps that lead up to a bridge crossing the stream. At the moment the bridge leads nowhere, but in time there will be a staircase leading from it up to the next level where the tavern of the Inn will be. There will also be another lower bridge on the road at the front.
Aside from re-arranging the furniture (or small boxes the approximate size and shape the furniture will be) nothing much happened in the Regency Drawing Room again this week. I'm still waiting for the fireplace to arrive before I go any further. Hopefully it will come this week.
But more to the point, welcome to the newest followers of my blog!
Kevin & Karen of the Tudor Dolls House are making an absolutely amazing Tudor building. I'm jealous!
Casita Mini of the Casita Mini blog also has some wonderful photos on her blog. Until I figure out the whole translation thing I can't really say any more than that!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Now on to the Inn . . .
I started with a piece of MDF. I glued some 0.75cm thick foamboard over most of this leaving only an off centre channel which will form a stream bed. Over this I added a thin layer of air-dry clay. I used a clay impress mould by Malcom's Miniatures to make a herringbone brick pattern in the clay where the road and buildings will be, leaving the stream bed and surround 'natural'. The mould works really well and I was pleased with the result. The only complaint I can make about them is their size. When you're trying to cover a large area like I was, the small size of the mould means you have to make a lot of impressions with it and that means there are lots of chances for you to make a mistake and go off square. The trouble with getting off square is that one row of bricks doesn't quite line up with the next. I started in the back corner and worked forward, so all the bits where I ended up off square were at the front. My tip for anyone wanting to use this type of mould is to start at the front and work back, that way if you do gradually get out of line, it will be at the back where it will be less noticable.
Next I started work on the back wall which is made of a piece of Tough Foamboard. I'm pleased that the shop has started to keep this tougher foamboard as it doesn't warp as easily as the usual stuff. I just made one mistake with it. I read the label that said "Easy to cut foam core" and thought it meant the whole thing was easy to cut. When I tried to cut it I soon realised it meant exactly what it said, the foam core in the middle is easy to cut, the tough coating on either side of that core is most definately not easy to cut. I'm thinking I should lift the embargo on power tools and borrow my mum's Dremel to see if that has a blade that can cut it. Or failing that perhaps the circular saw. Making two cuts with my craft knife took most of an afternoon but at least I have no fear of the stuff warping or collapsing when a cat jumps on it. When I had managed to cut through the board for the back wall plus three smaller walls for the "shop" on ground level, I again got out the clay and coated the back wall and used an impress mould to 'brick' the entire wall, leaving one clear archway to give the impression of a street behind the wall and a smaller arch through with the stream emerges. I added a two inch high strip of clay "bircks" arond the bottom of the walls for the shop.
Once the clay was just dry enough to handle I started to assemble the walls. I drilled down into the MDF base and inserted cut off toothpicks into the holes to act as dowels. The foamboard walls were then lowered over the toothpicks, the toothpicks piercing the soft foam core and locking both pieces together with the help of a little glue of course. The exception to this was the side wall of the shop space which has a single toothpick in it's bottom allowing it to pivot open for access.
This was all then left to dry thoroughly. By the next morning all the air dry clay was horribly cracked, the result of shrinking as it dried. All air clays do this a little, but this was a great deal worse than I had allowed for. The only thing that stopped me from tearing off all the clay and starting again was the fact that the next lot of clay could crack just as badly (although as I said earlier, the Drawing Room project's cornicing didn't survive and will need a second attempt). At this point I've been considering what to do about this for a couple of days and have decided to leave the clay bricks cracked and go with a "rustic" look. Some of the cracks will be covered by wooden posts and battons while others will hopefully look like old, cracked bricks.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
If you're looking for some cheap furniture, please take a look at the links below. For some extra incentive, any follower of this blog who is a winning bidder will find an extra bonus item enclosed with their item. Just send me your blogger ID so I'll know who you are!
I have also listed a more expensive, but still bargain priced, item. It is a Wooten or Collectors Cabinet and a high qaulity item. I've never used it because I decided it was just too big for the space I bought it for. Here's the link: Wooten