Welcome to my newest follower, Mags Cassidy. Mags makes some pretty amazing miniatures from polymer clay and her lovely blog can be found here: http://mags-nificentminiatures.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The Little Dollhouse
It seems Blogger is somehow interfering with the link, so here is the address for the site: http://www.thelittledollhouse.com.au If you have trouble with the link, just copy and paste the address into your browser.
The site is still being set up and there is no actual web store active yet, but given their range at the fair, it will be a good site to keep an eye on. If you scroll down to the Fair post and look at the photo I bought the rug, barrels, firebaskets, maybe the weather vane and a few other bits pictured there and there was much more I could have bought were things like cash and storage space not limited.
Monday, March 28, 2011
The major task of the week was adding the tiled floor in the entry hall and dining room on the ground floor. The tiles are made from air drying clay which was rolled out into a thin sheet a few millimetres thick and (very carefully) glued onto the existing floor/steps structure of the ground floor. Before the clay dried, I used a hexagonal shaped cutter (much like a cookie cutter only much smaller) to create the tiled effect. The cutter came from My Tiny World in the UK.
My original plan had been to paint the floor white with the occasional tile in black to add interest but as the clay dried, I looked at the white clay and thought "that doesn't look right" so instead of a white floor, I painted the whole lot black. . . . And I'm still not sure it looks right. The clay must not have been properly dry all the way through as new cracks have opened up around the tiles since I painted it, creating ugly white gaps. I'll leave it for a couple of days to ensure the clay is totally dry and not going to crack any more before I fill/paint these cracks and give the floor a coat of gloss to finish it provided I don't decide to paint it some other colour in the meantime.
One small change was made in the kitchen this week with the oven doors being added. The doors are simply stiff cardboard cut to shape and carefully bent to create a curve to match the curve of the oven. Some jewellery findings act as fancy hinges and catches. After the assembly was painted black it was glued onto hinges attached to the inside of the oven.
It was too awkward to clamp the doors onto the hinges while the glue dried, so instead I used a pair of magnets, one inside on the back of the hinge and one one the outside to hold the doors in place. Unfortunately I removed the magnets from the right hand door too soon (before the glue set) which is why the door is currently hanging at an angle.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
It's just as well I was having trouble adding photos last week because you really didn't want to see the fireplace I had made for the kitchen. It was ugly and awkward, so I started the week by pulling it apart and starting again. The re-vamped version has an oven in the left corner (still in need of doors), a central open fire and a hotplate on the right, all sitting on a raised hearth under an angled hood. The hanging bracket I picked up at the fair is installed on the edge of the hotplate box to overhang the fire. To the right of the oven/fireplace is a fake door made of balsa wood. The wood was cut to shape and then the frame and vertical boards were penciled on before a round ended stylus was used to press them into the wood. The door was then stained a nice wood tone while the frame part was painted to look like stone. The door still needs a handle and hinges, but already really adds to the look of the kitchen.
Next door to the kitchen in the entry and dining rooms I spent some time working on the upper walls. The walls of both rooms were painted gold and then covered with a crocheted fabric. The fabric was originally purple, but I recoloured it by simply painting it wtih acrylics, green for the dining room and red for the entry hall. The fabric was attached using wallpaper paste. The effect is perhaps more Morroccan Palatial than medieval type castle, but I like it. The lower section of the walls will be covered with wood panelling at some point after I add floor covering.
Although there is still a long way to go in most parts of the castle, there is one room in the castle that is almost finished. It's the little room that sits on top of the centre tower of the castle. As the only way to see into the room is from the arched doorway on the room's side at the back of the roof and as it would have been incredibly awkward to try and use clay and moulds on the walls inside, I covered the walls with a grey stone paper. The paper is absolutely inferior to the clay and pollyfilla stones used elsewhere in the castle but for a pokey little space no one is likely to pay much attention to, it's more than adequate. All this space needs is the trapdoor adding to fill the hole in the floor.
Finally for this week, I've stained the front doors and put all the windows in place. It's not finished yet as the door needs hinges and handles, the windows could use some more colourful leadlighting and there will be a few other additions like vines or decorative stonework of some sort, but at least you can get an idea of how it will look.
Monday, March 21, 2011
The annual Doll, Bear and Miniature fair was held at the local casino over the weekend. For the six or seven years it has been running, the amount of miniatures seems to have decreased each year so it was a pleasant surprise to find lots of miniature stalls there this year. Due to fewer stalls in all, each stall had more space and thus a better range of goodies.
The single most expensive item I bought there was the chest of drawers at the back of the photo. I love the colour of the wood and the look of all the drawers, it'll be perfect for my plans for the Stratford Bakery (a witches' shop). The vendor said she got it in from the UK and judging from the little gazebo woodburned into the bottom it was made by town square miniatures.
On top of the drawers are somewicker baskets that would make great witches shopping baskets. There are also hat stands for the shop's millinery department and the round rug will probably end up on the shop's floor while the weather vane is for the roof. Hetty, the red haired doll will probably be the shops pretty young sales assistant while her friend George was bought simply because coloured dolls are hard to find - he will find a suitable home sometime.
For the castle I found a hanging bracket designed for hanging pot plants but quite suitable for hanging cooking pots over the kitchen fire. The pair of barrels are also intended for the kitchen. Everything else in the photo is just something that was too good to leave behind and sooner or later will find a home somewhere.
Thursday, March 17, 2011
I've just done a little online shopping, not for miniatures this time but for second hand books. I am supposed to be saving money, but I'm not doing very well. I placed the order with Better World Books. Like most online stores, they sent out a confirmation email. Unlike most, theirs was written by someone with a good imagination and a sense of humour. Here is part of the email:
(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note - it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)
Holy canasta! It's me... it's me! I can't believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I've got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can't believe I'm leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already - the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge - so many memories. I don't have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it's time to see the world!
I can't wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol' brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?
I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I've had, I'm ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn't take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I've found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.
As the books say, Better World Books not only have a vast range of second hand books, some of them hard to find, but their profits fund world literacy. They also offer free worldwide shipping. I reccomend you browse their considerable range next time you're short of something to read or if you're looking for an old, out of print book.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Okay . . . No photos this weeks as Blogger seems to be doing something odd with them at the moment - I upload them and then they vanish. While I work on getting them where they're meant to be, please visit my Flickr photostream to see this week's images. And the only way I've managed to break my posts up into paragraphs lately is by manually adding the html tags. Is it just me or is Blogger getting dodgy to use?
I started the week at a point where I wasn't sure what to tackle next. I still haven't decided how to finish the windows, so couldn't finish the outside front and didn't know where to start inside. So for a while I played about with the ceilings. I'd found a fabric with a geometric print I wanted to use in the Library so I cut a thin piece of card to the size of the ceiling, covered it with the fabric and then glued the upholstered card to the ceiling.
Downstairs in the Entry Hall and the dining room I had an embossed paper I had planned to use on the walls, but after I took it out the packet and carefully examined it I discovered the pattern wasn't printed/embossed straight on the pages and trying to make it all line up correctly would be nearly impossible. So I picked out the best pieces and used them on the ceilings of the two rooms instead. Most people don't really look up, so slightly crooked ceilings don't bother me as much as the walls would. I had to join two pages together then cut them to size for each ceiling and them carefully used some rub on paint to colour the paper and highlight the embossed design, green for the dining room and red for the hall.
On the top floor, I created another ceiling in much the same way as I did for the Library, but used black paper and a clear plastic embedded with glitter to cover the card. The bits of glitter look like stars and reflect the light to make the ceiling sparkle like it was lit by starlight.
Having fiddled about on ceilings I finally settle on starting to work in the kitchen. The left hand wall and ceiling of the kitchen were covered with a thin skim of pollyfilla to look like rough plaster and painted white. The back and right side wall and floor were given a thicker coat of pollyfilla. As this dried I used a toothpick to carve out lines to create a stone block look. Once dry this was painted with various shades of grey to (almost) match the stone outside the castle. As I raised the kichen up a couple of steps from the base level of the castle, I filled in the front of the raised floor by adding a strip of card covered in polyfilla and painted white to match the left wall. Into this I cut three arches, lined the arches with stone made from eggcartons and used black card to fill the hole from behind. A bamboo skewer painted metallic grey and cut into short lengths created bars. I call them the dungeon windows, although maybe they open onto a storage celler beneath the kitchen.
Next came the ovens which sit against the back wall. The unit is made from polystyrene which was then coated with (more) pollyfilla and painted with (more) white. A scrap of balsa wood forms the lintel over the open fireplace while beside that are two bake ovens one ontop of the other. I'm pretty sure this would be a pretty impractical arragnement in real life, but this is a fantasy castle so what the heck. Besides, I'm currently thinking that the whole unit is a mess, wrong and needs redoing from scratch, so I might try and fit a different design into the same space. Beside the oven in the corner are the hotplates, which still need a hood or chimney making to go over the top.
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wow! I'm now up to 84 Followers thanks to Ascensión. Her blog can be found here: http://ascension-misminiaturas.blogspot.com/ The most current post on her blog shows some fabulous witches vanity items (purfume bottles etc) and if you scroll further down you'll find some truely amazing cakes and teapots. Welcome to my blog Ascensión and thanks for following.
And speaking of Witchy items . . . .
I've decided that my Stratford Bakery kit will become a witch shop. Those of you who haunt the DHE forums will be familiar with Dolly Donut's (Sal's) "Salestras" shop. Those of you who aren't DHE forum regulars, you can see the shop here: http://www.dollshouseforum.com/forum/home-sweet-home-gallery/6954-salestras.html (photos of the finished item are on page 27) Now who could help but be inspired by that? Despite the fact I would love to make exact copies of everything Dolly Donut has done, I'm going to try very hard not to copy anything except the "feel" of the finished item. For one thing any copy I tried would just look second rate in comparision. That said, I may still need to ask permission to borrow some of her ideas depending on how the rest of the planning process goes.
I'm going to add an internal stair case to create a store over two levels. Downstairs wil be shelves and displays of potions, broomsticks and other various witchy necessities. In the room directly above a book section with a large fireplace and seating for customers to get comfortable while aquainting themselves with the stock. I expect there is also a regular meeting of a book group or some such up there after hours as well. The final room upstairs will either be a bed-sit for the owner to live in or maybe an office. By adding a solid back wall under the overhanging room and a fence down the side I hope to create a small garden area where some of the herbs used in potions sold in the store can be grown.
Next weekend is the annual Doll, Bear and Miniature fair at the local casino. I'm hoping to find some bits and pieces there to start the shop and don't want to make my plans too firm until I know what I might find. I would like to know what I'm going to do with the Retreat by then as well so I know what I need to keep an eye out for for it, but at the moment I'm still stuck on that one.
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Monday, March 7, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
|Which room will it all end up in?|