A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:
The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:
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Monday, July 23, 2012
Do you remember when I credited Kiki's red eyes to the fact that he'd been awake for the past few thousand years? Being unable to rest for that long is sure to leave a body in a bad mood, right? Well, I'm starting to think that Kiki has found a way to get his revenge on me for making him so rest-less. I'm now pretty sure that the Georgian house is in fact cursed . . . and who knows more about curses than a mummy? Is the curse Kiki's way of getting back at me for locking him into a sealed temple/tomb for thousands of years with no company and nowhere to lie down even if he did get sleepy? Perhaps if I slipped the sarcophogus from the Unwrapping Party in with him for a while work on the Georgian house would go better? Or maybe he's just mad because I gave him the silliest vaguely Egypitan name that came to mind?
As you've probably guessed, work on the lights for the Georgian House has not run smoothly. I set out to make three different types of lights for the house. The first type is the floor standing candleabra. I had four ceiling lights I took out of Dawncrest Castle that I decided to adapt into candleabra. This actually started out quite well. I carefully removed the hanging chain from the top of the light and unscrewed the bulbs for safekeeping. Next, I hollowed out a piece of balsa wood dowel so that the bottom of the light fitting sat snuggly inside it. The light was glued into the balsa which in turn was glued onto a longer pole with some feet shaped out of more balsa wood on the bottom. The power cord was glued down the back of the pole where it would be out of sight and this is the result:
Foregoing the fact that the lighting highlights the fact that the coving/cornice still hasn't been fixed, do you notice that the light is leaning against the wall? Well, that's because when you whack a heavy metal light fitting ontop of a structure made of out light-weight balsa wood it becomes just a little top heavy . . . just enough that it prefers falling over to standing up. Still, if I glue it in place it should be OK. So, I made three of these and set them aside to paint them later . . . . .
The next type of light is the simplest; a basic candlestick. I made four of these out of small plastic toy chess men. All they needed was the top cutting off to make a flat surface and a quick soak in hot water to melt the glue holding magnets in their bases. They're hollow, so these two actions left an open chanel to pass a power cord through, but before wiring them up, I set them aside to paint them at the same time as all the other lights . . . .
The final type of light is the wall sconce and far less simple than the first two. Right or wrong, when I think of Georgian era lights I think of thin, gracefully curving supports in almost an 's' shape, so this is what I wanted to achieve. I took a cotton bud, cut the ends off so I was left with a hollow, strong tube. The tube was too rigid to bend into a curve, so I tried putting it in a pan of boiling water for a few miniutes to soften it which did work a little, but not enough to create the graceful curves I wanted. The best I could do was a simple bend per piece that was ultimately just a loose ninety degree bend. A flat bead was pushed over the top of the tube to create the candle holder while the base of the tubes were fitted into pieces of balsa wood carved into a teardrop shape which formed the wall plate. At this point they looked pretty terrible, uneven, wonky and ugly, but a coat of paint might have made them look better . . . . .
So, now all three types of light were ready to be painted. I took them outside and attacked them with a can of gold spray paint and waited for them to dry . . . . and waited . . . . . and waited . . . . and waited . . . . and waited . . . . . To cut a long story short, the rotten things are still tacky even now and most have marks where I had to pick them up and bring them inside before night (and rain) fell. All the different surfaces painted; plastic, wood and metal are still tacky, although understandably the wooden surfaces have dried better than the others. What I have now is a mess of sticky, ugly and at least half ruined light fittings that I doubt I can use. At least none of the wiring and bulbs were put into them yet and can be used later; later being when I think up a better way to make the sconces.
Like I said; this house is Cursed.
At least some of the other things done to the house this week actually did work. Mostly.
The nursery room in the above photo is now more or less ready for someone to move into. The walls have been finished off with some wooden panelling made out of strips of balsawood. I made a fire surround for the room by making a temporary mould of the pre-bought surround for the blue bedroom and making a copy of it in plaster. The copy is decidedly imperfect, so I painted it black as the colour tends to camouflage the odd lump or bump. Imperfect is fine for this room as children in this era seem to have ranked lower than some servants, so their room would have had the oldest, most beaten up fittings and furnishings. Besides, once a fender has been added around the fire for safety it will conceal the fire surround even more. Some simple coving/cornice was made from three strips of balsawood stacked to create an inverted step and painted white. It looks surprisingly effective, but is very hard to cut to make a neat corner join. A little filler in the corner a touch up of the paint should do the trick.
I used the same method in the study and discovered that although inside corners might have been difficult, ouside corners were impossible. A lot of filler and a lot of paint will be needed for the corner above the bookcase. Adding the coving/cornice in here highlighted how low the ceilings are, the door arch goes right up to the coving, but that's not the worst of it, just look at the fire overmantle:
It actually extends up above the height of the coving! I had to cut the coving to go around it. Actually, I don't think this looks too bad, it just makes the overmantle look more monumental and overstatedly grand. Well, that's my excuse.
The kitchen has a new sink. Typical of the era, it is a "lead lined" wooden sink. The lead is just metallic paint but is quite convincing enough. I'll add a drying rack on the wall beside the fireplace so the heat of the cooking fire will help to dry anything washed in the sink and possibly a cistern/tank on the wall above the sink.
There's still a lot to add to the kitchen, but it's already starting to look crowded in there. By the time I add a table in the middle of the floor there will hardly be room to move in there. Guess I'll need to hire a skinny cook to work in there!
Last week I had the quality bedroom furniture I bought twelve months ago to go into this house set out in the bedroom. Ideally, the bed needs to point forward so you can see all it's fine features, but there's no way to fit everything in the room with the bed that way. It has to do diagonally as in the photo or with the head against the side wall (where the dressing table is). The wardrobe came with the set, but is it really era appropriate?
Having doubts about this furniture in this room I boxed it up again and pulled out some bits and pices from my store of unused furniture and tried some alternatives. You have to imagine the bed with a grand canopy over it and add some extra chairs, chests of drawers and so forth, but ulitmately I think the room done this way is more Georgian feeling than with the other furniture. I think maybe I'll go this way and make a separate roombox for the "good" furniture later on . . . . Or in other words, expect to see it back here next week and the alternate furniture back in it's box. (It's the curse, it's pervasive!)
Taking a break from the house entirely, I finished off the 1/24th scale lady doll I made from polymer clay way back when I made the people for the Dig Site. At that point she was scuplted, baked and her face was painted, then she was set aside as I won't need her until I start work on her 24th scale house. Eventually. I decided to finish her now for two reasons; first this house is cursed and is driving me nuts and second, the Tasmanian Miniature Extravaganza is being held in Hobart this weekend, I'm going and I might find something for her house while I'm there and I will need here there to check the sizing and get here approval (hey, it's her house after all). I couldn't take her for a day out in the nude now could I?
Her dress is a piece of lavender linen while the bodice is a piece of silk ribbon. Her hair is done in a simple bun. At some point in this process she decided she wanted to be called Tilli. Tilli isn't from any particular era as I don't know what sort of theme her house will have yet, aside of course from "small".
To go back to the Tasmanian Miniature Extravaganza and clarify things, it's not all that the name suggests. The "extravaganza" is just a fair, pure and simple and it's only held every other year. Still, it does attract most of the "big" miniature retailers in Australia and it's always crowded. I have a list of things I'd like to find there and will show you what I do find next week.