A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

Welcome to my blog. Please feel free to leave a comment. I assure you I always read and appreciate everything you have to say. Unfortunately, thanks to Blogger being, well . . . Blogger, I can not respond to comments nor leave any on your blogs. They simply disappear into the ether. Occasionally I will remember to respond in the next blog post I put up, but usually these good intentions slip my mind. So if you want to ask a question or get a response to any comments you may have please leave an email address or other contact method in your comment and I will get back to you.

I have also added a separate page to the blog for the Tower of Magic with a brief summary of all the rooms of the ToM in the one spot. The link is just below this and above the main body of the blog, or you can just click here.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Bakery & Madame Bellerose's - Week Ten or Fun with Polymer Clay

Two weeks ago the Bakery reached the point where it needed some accessories making from clay. Finally, I have brought work on MB's up to the same point and spent all weekend working on polymer clay bits and pieces for the two projects. From the photos I've included, you can see some of my, uh, 'masterpieces'. All right, so working with clay is not my best talent, but scarily enough I have improved greatly in this area - just imagine how awful my first attempts were. For MB's kitchen, I have made some carrots (even I can't mess up a simple carrot), a couple of mixing bowls, cracked eggs and whole eggs, a casserole in the making, a kettle, some baking trays and other utencils, not all of which are seen in the picture above. The copper kettle and utencils are just white sculpy painted with copper paint (after it was baked of course). The roll of roast meat and the crate of fruit in the photo were pre-bought as is. For the Bakery I have made four types of 'bread' - white and brown, baked and unbaked. Most of the baked bread won't be used in the actual bakery, but in the 'shop' section above - it has ended up in the sewer for safekeeping until then! (Better not tell that to the customers!) I have also made some pastry crusts and 'meat' for pie making. There is also a 'chandelier' so that the bakers will be able to see what they're doing and other accessories such as a meat cleaver for the fellow cutting meat. Next, I need to work on other accessories made from other materials, dress and wig people to live and work in both projects, add any other touches that are needed and both MB's and the basement of the bakery will be finished! I hope to finish both before Christmas and still find time to make my Grandma's christmas present (which I'll post more info about sometime later on). I probably won't start work on the next level of the Bakery until after Christmas even if the basement block is finished weeks before - with the approach of summer and Christmas both, there is simply too much to do in the meantime.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Madame Bellerose - Week Nine

Again this week there is no progress on the Bakery. This is largely because we have FINALLY been getting some good weather down here and as a result, I've been outside instead of working on dollshouses inside. Hopefully by the time I post week ten's blog, I will have all the bread, dough and other bakery accessories sorted. As you can see above, MB's main project of the week has been the velvet curtains separating the Seance Room from the Lounge. This has made a remarkable difference to the house. The colours of the two rooms looked pretty awful together, but now they have been separated by curtains, the colour of which works for both rooms, the rooms finally look like they belong side by side and the curtains give both rooms a much more finished look. The curtains themselves are velveteen which were loosely pleated by pinning them in shape then using steam and a little starch on them. The swag at the top is very simple - I was going to try for a more complicated design, but after all the trouble I had getting the main curtains right, I decided the perhaps less would be more. The chairs for the seance room have been finished(?) by upholstering the seats in the same velveteen fabric. I say finished with a question mark as I think that the chair backs need some sort of ornamentation, but haven't found anything that might work, so the chairs are finished, but I might add to them later on. The bedroom is also getting closer to completion, with the bed now dressed in deep pink satin and lace. This room now only needs accessories such as lamps, rugs and cosmetics (etc) for the vanity table. I have made a beaded lightshade to hang from the ceiling, but haven't installed it yet.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Madame Bellerose's - Week Eight

First let me explain that there is no post on the progress of the Bakery this week as I haven't made any - I spent all my time working on MB's instead. Having said that you're probably expecting me to say I got a lot of things done to MB's, but you'd be wrong. This was one of those weeks when nothing really seemed to get done. True I built an entire table, renovated eight chairs and painted two rooms worth of furniture - but none of it is finished yet. For the Seance Room I made a table around which the Seances and other mystical activities can be held. Traditionally such a table would be round, but to make it a little different and a little less like a re-creation of King Arthur's round table, I made my table hexagonal. With the exception of the legs, which are short posts designed for scrapbooking of all things, the table is made from balsa wood. The chairs I have had for years - they were $2 for two at a certain bargain outlet all Tasmanians are familiar with. I cut out the backs of the chairs and replaced them with a solid back in the shape of a gothic arch. With that done I painted the lot, along with the bedroom furniture and gave everything a coat of gloss sealer.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Week Seven and a Half - You Must Know Which Projects I Mean by Now

Thanks to a public holiday for Show Day, I have made some headway on both projects. Being pressed for time, I'll just let the photos do the talking . . .

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Week Seven - Madame Bellerose's & The Bakery

After twenty-one straight wet weekends, we finally had a dry weekend in Tasmania! We actually had two days of pleasant weather in a row! Of course, it hasn't lasted. Today it's overcast, there's a southerly that must be coming straight from the Anarctic bending the trees double and it's forecast to rain in the afternoon. It's the middle of spring (well, almost) and I'm currently wearing fingerless gloves in a vain attempt to stop my fingers freezing. It's the local Show on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, so of course we expect it to rain the rest of the week. Or to cut a long story short, don't believe anyone who tells you the weather in Tasmania is beautiful. But all this is beside the point. Progress on MB's has been confined to the kitchen this week with the kitchen table and hutch being assembled and painted. I have also made a start on the sink for the scullery. The sink was made out of air drying clay, painted, varnished and filled with 'water'. The water was made from Scenic Water, the foaming suds were achieved by injecting the Scenic Water with real suds before it was set. The sink still need something to stand on however. In the Bakery, I focused on the storage room, making about a dozen sacks for the likes of flour, salt and sugar. These were made from calico blocks glued at the bottom and sides, turned inside out, stuffed with whatever was handy and sewn up accross the top. I then decided that the sacks needed to be a slightly deeper colour and more 'dirty' looking. To achieve this I put them in a bowl of weak coffee to stain them. Now what happens to objects held together with water soluable glue when you submerge them in hot water? Why, they fall apart of course! So after I stitched the whole lot of them back together again (which was something I did after I was through bashing my head on the table) the sacks were finished. I gave them a dusting with talcum powder to look like flour seeping out and positioned them in the storage room. I reserved one 'opened' sack to go in the main bakery as the sack currently in use and another 'full' sack to be being carried up from the storage area. A third sack is open in the storage room with it's contents scattered over the floor. The flour the sack contains is talcum powder again. Amongst the 'flour' there are also precious gems being smuggled - their retrieval being the reason for the sack being opened. Eventaully, I will add a smuggler sorting through the flour to retrive the gems and passing them to his accomplice in the 'sewer' section.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Bakery and Madame Bellerose's - Week Six

It's been another week when not very much seems to have progressed. I have almost finished the curved stairs in MB's, too bad they look awful. MB's also has some "stained glass windows" added, but I need to figure out how to frame/finish them before they'll look right. Having tried to make some casing for arounf the doorways myself, I have now ordered some of the ready-made variety. The Bakery now has working trapdoors in the hatchways and is pretty much ready for furniture, accessories and people to start being made/added - unless I decide to start work on the rest of the shop/house above first. The plan is to finish the basement block bakery first, then move on to the rest, but now I'm wondering if it might be easier to do it the other way around.