A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:
The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:
Friday, July 30, 2010
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Where the stream emerges from the back wall I built a pile of rocks. The idea here is to conceal the fact that the stream emerges from nowhere. The rocks look a little out of place at the moment but will hopefully look better once there are "plants" growing bewteen the stones.
Having made the garden look much neater than at the start of the week, I then made an absolute mess of it by cutting a path out of the foam base. This channel was filled with air-dry clay and a texture plate was then pressed over it to add a stone pattern to the clay.
Monday, July 26, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
A quick word of welcome to the newest followers to the blog.
Norma of Make Mine Mini is a fellow Australian (by way of New Zealand, but hey, no-one's perfect).
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The garden is starting to look a little more like a garden now that the walls have been painted and a tree has even made it's way into the garden. Painting the walls was a long process . . . A word to the wise, don't try painting things in Tasmania in the middle of July. Why? Because it's cold and wet and it takes forever for each coat of paint to dry.
I started by sealing the dried clay with PVA glue mixed with water. The walls were then coated with successive layers of paint in shades of grey and brown. Some layers were applied as a wash (the paint watered down), some were sponged on and some were drybrushed on. I kept adding various paints in different ways until I had a wall that looked fairly convincing as stone. When I was happy with the walls (or was it when I was just simply sick of fiddling with them and decided they'd do?) they were given a coat of clear Matt sealer. Next, I started work on the ground. I wanted to raise the ground of the garden up off the MDF base so I could create a pond. Obviously, the pond needs to be lower than the ground or the water wouldn't sit in the pond, it would spread through the garden. The ground was raised by cutting a block of oasis foam into slices about a centimetre thick which were then laid over the base of the garden. I cut a channel for a stream and pond with a craft knife and added some contour to the ground by pressing gently on the foam. The foam was then drenched with a mix of water and PVA glue to help toughen it up and hold it in place. Over this I poured some watered down pollyfilla to smooth out some dips I didn't want in the ground and again to toughen the foam up. As oasis foam is designed to absorb and hold water (and as it is still cold, though slightly less wet) this is still drying out.
Monday, July 12, 2010
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
This is how I ended up with an assembled pyramid ready to be decorated without ever actually making the decision to make a pyramid. Typically, of all the things I bought at the Miniatures Fair for all the projects I had in mind, I started the one that I bought nothing for! The pyramid itself is not anywhere near to scale, it is essenitally just an eccentricaly shaped roombox rather than a model pyramid. Inside will be a tomb, ancient Egyptian in style. There are three possiblities: first has the priests attending the tomb with offerings, perhaps even finalising the burial of whoever owns the tomb. Secondly, the burial could be long since complete and the tomb in the process of being looted by tomb robbers. Thirdly, the tomb could be in the process of being excavated by archeologists.
In any event, the main feature of the tomb will be the sarcophogus and the decorations on the walls. As the inside space is rather small, there won't be the room to add much more in the way of "grave goods", although I hope to be able to add some canopic jars (these hold the organs removed from the mummy), some offering jars and if I can figure out how to make it even a disassembled chariot for the deceased to use in the next world. Right now I am more concerned with figuring out the outside of the tomb. I spent and hour cutting up egg carton lids and glueing them to the floor and although they would make superb blocks for the exterior walls, the floor used almost all my saved egg cartons and it will be a long time before I go through enough eggs to cover the entire pyramid. At the moment I'm thinking I can make faux stone blocks from polyfilla or clay or use a stencil to paint the blocks. In any event, going around the corners and keeping everything straight is going to be tricky. I now realise I should have drawn some guidelines on the sides before I assembled them. There is also evidence that real pyramids were brightly painted when they were built, so do I make the outside stone coloured, or do I get more creative and give it a more imaginative paint job?
Monday, July 5, 2010
So, I still haven't decided what to do next. Perhaps I could try doing everything at once? First up though, I have to move Highcroft so I have space to work on something else. Whatever the original kit house was made from (surprisingly it's not MDF, but something denser and darker in colour) is very heavy, so much so I had trouble carrying it when it was utterly empty and missing all the internal floors. Moving it now is not something I'm looking forward to. The tower unit, being mainly a hollow plastic board is thankfully much, much lighter.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Many of you have been wondering what I will do now that Highcroft is finished. The short answer is that I haven't decided yet. I have a number of ideas (which I will detail below) but have been holding off making a decision as to which comes next for two reasons. First, tomorrow is the Tasmanian Miniature Enthusiats Extravaganza in Hobart. (Typical Hobart, they can't have a Dollshouse Fair, they have to have an Extravagana instead. For some reason all people from Hobart think that it is a big city and the only place of importance in Tasmania. Would you believe that Hobart is even trying to bid to host the Olympic Games? Of course, one expects Hobartians to be a little deluded - it's where all the Tasmanian politicians hang out!) I am hoping to find two matching candlearbra's for the Great Hall in Highcroft (and you all thought I was going to leave them mismatched) If I can't find any, I'll have to buy online and pay for postage. I may also find something that inspires a new idea, or changes my plans for an existing idea, hence my not wanting to make a firm decision beforehand. The second reason I've not made a firm choice is that I haven't had the time to get out and browse the local hardware and craft stores to see what is currently available that might be useful and what is not currently available that I won't be able to use. I would like to try using Builders/Insulation foam, commonly used for building dollshouses in the US, but so far no one in Australia even seems to know what it is, let alone keeps some in stock.
Now for some of the ideas I'm considering . . . .
I'll start with the largest, most ambitious idea. Ever see the houses built by Gerry Welsh of Manorcraft? If not, you can see samples of his work on his web site here. I've wanted to have a house like his since I first came accross a picture of one and am working on a plan for a tudor-ish house four stories tall inspired by his various creations. It will house an inn with tavern and guest rooms and also have space for a small shop and an open market area. I am having a little trouble figuring out how to layout and access the rooms on the top two floors, but I'm pretty certain that the bottom two floors will work. I just have to figure out what to build it out of. Last year when I bought the Magical Mystery Tower kit (for the Magician's Lookout) I didn't use the MDF board that came with the kit to use as a base and garden area for the tower. This board is 56cm long by 32cm wide and a good size to use as a base for this house.
Next, there is the "Pyramid Tomb". The plan for this one is to make a pyramid out four trigangles of some type of board and a square base, then decorate the inside to look like an Egyptian tomb, either as it was shortly after the burial was placed in it or as it is being examined by archeologists centuries later.
Heather's lovely "Wizard's Lair" which you can find on here blog here gave me the idea of doing a similar tower that is essentially a series of roomboxes one ontop of the other, each fractionally smaller than the last. The advantages of this are that it can be made to be floor standing (hence I won't need to find a shelf for it) and it can be made as a series of roomboxes and when one box is complete, I can leave the tower and do something different before coming back to the tower if I want to. I would also like to try Heather's method of making plaster panels for the walls (thanks again for the instructions Heather!), but the middle of a Tasmanian winter is probably not the best time to try it, plus I still haven't figured out how to prevent a cat from landing in the middle of the wet plaster. The tower itself could be the home of a sorceress, i have a couple of different ideas for the contents of a Sorceress' Tower.
Even though I'm not making the garden for Highcroft, I still have the plans for the garden in my head and could make the garden as a separate project. It would be something of an enchanted garden with faeries hiding under leaves (etc), surrounded by stone walls with a gate and a fountain flowing into a pond or stream.
By stripping out old houses and by just collecting things that might be useful oneday, I have a growing collection of furniture, most of it reasonably modern, by which I mean Victorian. So perhaps I should do something Victorian to use some of this.
I still want to do an Art Deco room. In all the houses/rooms I've done, I have never made a bathroom. Occasionally, there will be a bathing area, like the tub in Highcroft's bedroom, but never a dedicated bathroom. Lately I've been wondering what would happen if I combined the desire to do an art deco room with the desire to do a bathroom. An art deco bathroom?
And there are plenty more possiblities!