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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Gingerbread House

I've finally made and decorated the gingerbread house I wanted to do.  All in all, I could have made a house as wonky and unsofisticated when I was ten, but the experience was fun never the less.  Here's the result of an afternoon's work:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas!

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


Oh no.  I've just been over to Fairy Meadow Miniatures website and found they've added even more DHE house kits.  Worse, they now have Cumberland Castle and more terribly the East Wing extension too.  It was always a wish of mine that they get this kit in stock so I could get my hands on it, but can I justify buying it now when I've only just bought two other kits and still have an Inn to complete?  Can I buy it and still eat?  Can I afford not to buy it now and risk it selling out before I am ready to purchase?  Oh dear, oh dear.

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???

Welcome New Followers!

Warmest welcomes to Alienora and Anna Amnell, the newest followers of the blog.

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Fourteen

It's another week with not much to report progress wise. The Inn's roof has been given about four layers of paint. I decided to try for a earthen tile/terracotta colour. I haven't quite got the colouring right yet, so there will be at least one or two more layers of paint to go until I'm happy with it. You can also easily see in the photos many patches that are still white where I've managed not to get paint. In my defence most of these are invisble to the naked eye and most of the rest are under the wonky ridge capping that still needs glueing down properly. Once this is done, the exterior will be finished, barring a few little details like covering the orange paint under the eaves and tidying up a few bits and pieces. Hopefully by Christmas I'll be able to start working on the insides again.

Australia Post have set some speed records this week, delivering both my purchase from Fairy Meadow Miniatures and the delightful giveaway prize from Linda at http://lindasminiaturehappenings.blogspot.com/ after only a few days.  The reason for this amazing speed is probably because they work seven day weeks in December and maybe hire extra workers to cope with the Christmas rush.  I have to wonder if they can do it in December, why not be so efficent all year round?  Anyway, here is a picture of the lovely little things from Linda:

Thanks so much Linda, I just love every piece.  I hate to say this but despite the fact that they are gorgeous, I don't think I can use them in the Inn.  They're just the wrong style for it, so rather sadly I'm going to have to store them away until next time.  On the plus side I do have an idea for which they will be perfect, I just have to get around to doing it.

The two kits from Fairy Meadow Miniatures arrived early Monday morning.  I should mention that I was wrong earlier when I said I'd bought DHE kits made in England.  Boldly printed on the boxes was "Made in Thailand".  Silly me assuming an English company would have it's products made in England.  That makes them very well travelled houses - from Thailand to England to Sydney to Tasmania.  I spent Monday evening eagerly opening up the boxes and ticking off the contents to make sure all the bits and pieces were there.  I started with The Retreat and found all the bits were not only there, but easily identified. 

The Stratford Bakery was another matter, despite the smaller parts being separated into bags marked bag 1, bag 2, etc, and the list of contents listing the contents bag by bag.  The problem was that a lot of the pieces all look the same, some varying only very slightly from others.  The most worrying part is that when all the contents were checked off as present, there were still half a dozen unidentified items out of bag two that bore no resemblance to anything in the diagrams.  Are they extra pieces that shouldn't be there or are they necessary parts not listed in the contents?  I guess I'll find out when I do a dry build.  For now both kits have been squeezed into a cupboard until after Christmas when I will hopefully find the time to dry build them and take some measurements.  Then they'll be going away again until after I finish the Inn.  Maybe.  I could probably make room to work on the Retreat along side the Inn, it's only small after all . . . . . . .

And to add a little bit of seasonal cheer, here's a photo of how my present wrapping and decorating is going.  I'm quite pleased with the boxes.  They were painted red, green and white and then had fabric pasted over them.  The bows however are all wrong and at this rate are going to be replaced with dull shop bought bows.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Welcome Follower No. 63 and Links

Ginny the cat helping build Highcroft
There's something odd happening with my followers lately. First there is a new follower I can't find on the list, now there is another new follower who has appeared seond on the follower list instead of first where the newbies normally go.

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Thirteen

I've done such a good job of side-tracking myself this week that I'd almost forgotten to do this week's post on the Inn.  I've been browsing the internet for ideas for the Christmas Gingerbread house I want to try and make.  How about one like those pictured here?  Yes, maybe that is just a little ambitious for my first try, but wow, aren't those some works of art?  Mine will be small, crooked and if I leave out where it can be seen probably nibbled by a cat, certainly covered in cat fur.  As I've already blogged about I have bought a Retreat and a Stratford bakery kit purely on the basis of extreme greed.  Hopefully they should arrive before Christmas so I can take some time over the Christmas break to dry build them, take some measurements and start coming up with plans for what to do with them - and then put them neatly back in their boxes until after the Inn is finished.  Cough.  Maybe.  Christmas is actually a bad time to start working on projects in Australia because stores often close for Christmas and tend to stay closed until the end of Summer (Jan-Feb).  This means that it can be hard to get your hands on vital supplies.  It's much better to work on existing projects you've already bought all the supplies for.

But I'm supposed to be talking about the progress on the Inn I've made this week.  The good news is that I now have all the shingles/tiles on the roof.  Next up I need to decide what colour they ought to be . . . a terracotta/clay tile colour . . . a grey slate colour . . . a faux wood look?  I'll have to try a few different colours on some leftover tiles and see which looks best.

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

I've Been Naughty . . .

I just bought a Retreat kit and a Stratford Bakery kit!  I don't need them - the Inn should keep my busy for a long time to come and I have lots of plans for future projects built from scratch, but what the ****.

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!

Yipee . . . I won!! I won!!!

I got a shock when I sat down and checked my emails this morning.  I've won Linda at Linda's Miniature Musings' giveaway prize!  Just in time for Christmas too!  Luck isn't usually with me when it comes to competitions and prize draws, so actually winning something is a decided shock and then to win something so lovely . . . well, it's a good job I'm fit and healthy.

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.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hats and Horses Don't Mix?

Followers of this blog will know I often use dolls I have on hand to model my works in progress.  After several comments suggesting it would be more tasteful to use clothed dolls, I decided to get Naked Neville something to wear.  A suit being auctioned on ebay by Lesley's Miniature Knitting looked like it would work on Neville when I finally get around to making that Edwardian era roombox for him.  The auction included shirt, trousers, jacket and a hat.  When it arrived in the mail I was disapointed to find the hat had been crushed.  It might have been Australia Post's fault or it might have something to do with the fact my mail is delivered by the postman, who then puts the mail in the dog's mouth, who then delivers it to me.  Not only is my mail usually damp, it occasionally has tooth-marks in it as well.

Making the most of the situation, I had a bit of fun coming up with the story of how the hat ended up in such a sorry state.

Proud and dapper in his new suit, Neville promenades along the street.  An errant gust of wind blows his new hat into the path of an oncoming horse.

If only the horse had a rider, they might have been able to miss the hat, but the horse's rider was too embarrassed to go out with the horse because she is still naked.  Neville pick up the hat and surveys the damage while the horse looks on bashfully.

The horse, apparently a close relative of Mr. Ed, says how sorry he is and asks if Neville will forgive him.  Neville would like to be angry, but can't help thinking the horse has a long enough face already.  Neville says they can call it even if the horse will give him a lift to the nearest hat repair shop.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Twelve

There's not a lot to say about this week. In fact the photo says about all of it. I've made a start at tiling the roof, but have only managed to add half a dozen rows of tile on two sections of roof. There are a number of reasons why I've not made a great amount of progress this week and here they are:

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Eleven

There have been no dramatic changes to the appearance of the Inn this week. The front has been finished off with the addition of a multitude of wooden strips, not only on the fronts, but also on the sides of the building. I'm not sure I'm happy with the look of this - I think the tavern level in particular is a bit too busy. However, it's too late to change now, so this is how it is going to remain.

The other addition this week is the windows. It doesn't show up well in all the photos, but all the black holes in the walls now have acetate "glass" filling them in. I used some faux leadlighting outliner on the clear acetate to create the look of a leaded window with a multitude of small paynes comprising the whole. This leading was done in a vareity of patterns in the hope of giving the Inn a bit of an "added to over time" look.  I suspect when the Inn was fiest built none of the windows had glass and this was added over time as the proprietors could afford it.  Certainly the Inn must have been doing a roaring trade to be able to afford to glaze all it's windows at once.

The window that opens on the balcony by the Inn's front door was given a bit of extra attention. Some time ago I downloaded an image of a dragon from a free online colouring-in site and printed it out in a range of sizes to use when I make the signs for the inn. I still haven't made the signs, but have added the dragon image to the front window. I simply placed the acetate window over the printed image and "traced" it using the outliner. I then added a pattern of leading over the whole window and when the leading was dry, coloured in the dragon and parts of the leading with Gallery Glass paints.

Once all the leading on the windows was dry they were glued into the prepared frames of the Inn. Mostly, these are simple rectangles flush with the front of the Inn. The window in the removable section of the tavern front, as well as the window in the side wall of the tavern overhanging the stairs from ground level are both built out about 3/4" and the two large windows on the top floor jut out to make a two payne bay window.

The next task to be tackled is the roof. I have been through various plans for this, including thatch and clay tile. Last week was to use terracotta air dry clay to make indivual tiles to cover the roof. Needless to say that plan has changed; I've come to the conclusion that making that many tiles is going to take from now 'till Christmas . . . 2011! Not to mention where am I going to put all those tiles where they can lie flat while they dry? So the revised plan is to cut tiles from some thick cardboard and paint them to suit. I would have had to use paint on the clay tiles to get the right effect anyway so hopefully the finished effect won't be too different. The final rationalisation for taking this short cut is that without the aid of a stepladder, most of the roof is kind of hard to see anyway.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Ten

This was one of those weeks when I seemed to spend a lot of time busily working away on the Inn, but with very little to show for it at the end. My goal of the week was to make the front panels and finish off the exterior of the Inn, excluding the roof and windows. As you can see in the photo, the Inn does have front walls now, but they still need work, namely the addition of more decorative wooden strips/noggings and securing to the building. At the moment the fronts are held in place with either clamps, pins or luck. I'm not sure whether to try using hooks and eyes to hold them on or to try and find some form of magnetic catch. One would be visible on the outside while the other would be visible on the inside and neither would look very pretty.

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

Drawing Room - Week Nine

Drawing Room - Week Nine
Originally uploaded by Alennka
At long last the room has a rug for the floor. It's not oval as I originally intended and I'm not sure it's exactly Regency, but at least it's a rug. I can always change it at some point in the furture if I ever find something I like better.

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Nine

For some reason, Blogger isn't letting me add photos this week, so until I get this sorted out, please take a look the the photos on my Flickr account here: Dancing Dragon Inn

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Eight

It may be a little late to mention this, but last week I gave the blog a quick make-over, changing the colours and adding a few gadgets. As a result, the tabs to change between the main page and links page seem to have become disjointed from the main body of the page. If anyone out there in blog land has had this problem and knows how to fix it, I'd appreciate it if you would leave me a few tips because nothing I do seems to work. Just for fun i've added a poll asking which of the miniature projects featured so far in my blog is your favourite. It is open until the end of December and you can vote for as many houses as you like. To help you choose, I'll add a page sumarising each project over the next few weeks, so keep an eye out for new tabs at the top of the blog.

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

Regency Room - Week Eight

Regency Room - Week Eight
Originally uploaded by Alennka
More re-arranging this week with the chaise coming back into the room. The two chairs arrived and the seats have been recovered in a cotton with a floral pattern. I left them the colour they came (wood) rather than repaint them as the logical colour to paint them is gold to match the rest of the furniture and I think gold chairs on top of gold everything else would really have been a bit too far over the top.

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Seven

The Inn continued to grow with the addition of the third level. As usual I had to revise my intentions for this floor in order to fit everything in and keep it accessible from the front. Although the rooms may be a bit more cramped than I intended and the hallway has a curious dogleg in it, I did manage to fit all the features into this level that I orginally wanted!

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

Regency Drawing Room - Week Seven

Drawing Room - Week Seven
Originally uploaded by Alennka
After weeks of not really going anything to this room while I tried to find a suitable rug and make my mind up about the furniture to include in the room I came to the conclusion that I'd dithered about enough.

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

DD Inn & Drawing Room - Week Six

For yet another week, not much has changed in the Drawing Room. I have been looking for a suitable rug, but not been able to find one. I've been trying to find out what type of lights would be suitable, but not been able to find any good examples. Basically, I'm about ready to give up on finding anything I need to finish this room off. My Overmantle mirror arrived in the mail this morning. I haven't had the chance to see what it looks like in position yet, but I have a feeling it is going to be a bit too large for the space I've left for it which will mean repainting some of the vines over the fireplace. The only change actually made to the room lately is the addition of two as yet incomplete seats. The furniture arrangement in this room still isn't working for me and I'm really very close to pulling the whole lot apart and forgetting the whole thing.

Luckily I'm doing better with the Dancing Dragon Inn.

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.

I concentraited on finishing all the tasks that needed doing on the first floor before the second floor was put on top and restricted access. The first floor is entirely devoted to the Tavern. The right side of the tavern is dominated by the fireplace. The brick back and base of the fireplace is made of MDF brick board that I pulled out of the house that became Highcroft Castle. I repainted it to match the other brickwork and added some black "soot". The front and sides of the fireplace are balsa wood. It still needs some decoration to finish it off, perhaps some sort of crest or heraldic shields on the front above the lintel and of course a firemark and a fire (etc).

The left side of the tavern is where the counter or bar is located. Made of balsa wood (well, what else?) I gave it a carved look by adding some lace over the wood and staining the whole lot. I'm not sure a floral design is quite right for a tavern, but try to find some lace with a more "manly" design. On the back wall over the bar are some shevles which help to frame the "doorway" into the "kitchen". If you took a peek behind the curtain covering the door you'd find only a blank wall. I'm a bit diaspointed I had to leave the kitchen out, but there simply wasn't room for it. Between the arrangement of bar and fireplace I've left myself a pokey little space under the stairs I'm not quite sure what to do with. All suggestions are gratefully accepted.

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

DD Inn & Drawing Room - Week Five

My goal of the week was to get the first floor on the DD Inn. The first step in this process was to cut a piece of foamboard to act as the actual floor. The underside of this was given a coat of polyfilla and painted off white to resemble render. Once dry, this was glued in place over the ground level structure. Some "beams" of balsa wood were glued to the underside of the floor so it would look like there was actually something holding it up and on the top side, floorboards were added. The floorboards are popsicle sticks (from a craft shop, not used) with the rounded ends cut off. These were cut, glued in place and then given a coat of stain to match the rest of the woodwork.
Next came the hard part . . . figuring out where to position the walls and supporting posts. Looking at the space I could see straight away there wasn't room to put the tavern and a kitchen on this level, so the kitchen is going to be imaginary, accessed though a false door in the back wall. The next change of plan came when I realised that if I put a balcony with railing all along the front, having the front open would be incredibly difficult. After much debating of the alternatives on how to achieve the right 'look' while still being able to get into the Inn, I came up with a compromise. A section approximately five inches long from the stairs up from ground level accross the front will have a balcony, the front wall behind the balcony not opening. The front wall will then step forward to the front edge of the floor and open for access. With this decided, I marked out where to position the wooden posts and drilled down into the floor and up into the posts and used toothpicks as dowels inserted in the holes to secure the posts to the floor. The posts were all then connected at the top by more balsa wood beams. Next I cut sections of foamboard to fill the space between the posts for the walls. The exterior of the walls were given a pollyfilla rendered look while the inside was painted with a woodgrain effect to act as a base for the wood panelling look I'll be adding later.

The next problem was the stairs up to the second floor. The original design I had in mind for them would have had them emerging in the middle of the second floor bedroom instrad of in the hallway were they were meant to be. After considering several alternatives and calculating where they would emerge on the next level, I settled for the layout you see in the photos, an "L" shaped stair with the main section pointed to the right side of the building. At the moment the stairs look like they're floating, but there will be posts and a railing that will make it look more secure added sometime in the future.

While waiting for various bits of the Inn to dry, I worked on some bits and pieces for the Drawing Room. I made a firescreen for the fireplace our of some pieces of wooden trim and a picture cut out of a cross stitch catalogue. Somehow, this construction ended up being too tall for the fireplace. Now I'm not sure whether to leave it as it is or to try cutting it down a little. The oriental cabinet that was going to be basically black has become much more colourful. I printed out a chinoserie image I collected some time ago the appropriate size and wrapped the cabinet in it. It still needs the doors (which don't open) marking out properly and hinges and handles adding. The finished result is definately going to be over the top, but then so is the gold piano. I've finally ordered a mirror for over the mantle that should fit in the empty space over the fireplace. I've also added the pair of Dresden figures I bought at the Honart Miniature Fair back in July and a couple of vases. Now the room only needs a rug, a couple of suitable chairs and some lights. Oh, and some clothes on the lady doll might be a good idea too. And maybe a table. Trim around the top of the panelling. Okay, so there's still a lot to do in here and I'm not having much luck getting it done. I can't find a rug that's about 6"x9" oval and the right colours and pattern and I've not gotten very far trying to figure out what lights should be in a Regency era room.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Dexter vs the Dragon

As I said in yesterday's post, Dexter the Digging Dog arrived in the mail that morning.  Since he was so cute, I couldn't wait to get him in position digging up the ground be the stream.  I managed to squeeze in a special stop at the hobby store for some miniature railway gravel to use as dirt and got to work.  Here is the result - Dexter and his pile of dirt!

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

Week Four - Drawing Room & D.D. Inn

Yikes!! Even more new followers! At this rate I'm going to need to start giving serious thought to what to do as a 100 follower giveaway . . . . And that is something I never thought I'd have to say! Welcome to the newest followers: Clara of lavidaen miniatura , Marie ofle petit monde merveilleux and cathy_b_1 who doesn't appear to have a blog.

The Piano "Before"
In the Regency Drawing Room I've been arranging and re-arranging the furniture for weeks and reached the conclusion that the Spinet piano was just too big for the space. Having bought it espeically for the room, I didn't want to not use it and add it to the ever growing box of furniture bought but for one reason or another not used. Thus with a great deal of trepidation I began to cut it down to a more suitable size. This involved removing the legs and cutting along the back and side of the piano to reduce both it's width and depth. I was very nervous about doing this as I can't cut straight and was really worried about ruining the piano all together. I credit luck more than skill that the new back and side edges are reasonably straight. After the legs were reattached, the piano was painted gold and decorated with some flower decals. It is now a much better size for the room . . . just as long as you don't look at the back which is just a little rough.

The Piano "after"
Another furniture problem I had with the room was the chaise. The one I was going to place in the room had a partial back on one of the long sides. This meant to look right from the viewer's perspective the chaise had to be in the room with the 'back' at the far side. Yet from the point of view of the person in the room, it should be the other way around. Emboldened by my success with the piano I decided to solve the problem by removing the back piece entirely. This too was painted to match the piano and reupholstered in purple velveteen. I also started painting the cabinet I put together some weeks back out of balsa wood and some ready made legs. The plan is to laquer it and turn it into an oriental style cabinet to add to the chinoserie feel of the room. Now I've seen it in the room in black, it looks too dark for the space. Even when it's been made shiny and had lots of gold added to it, I think it will still look wrong. So, do I try and paint it a different colour? But which colour? I've seen this style of cabinet in black or red, but neither is going to work in the room. I'm not sure it would look right painted say, plum pink to match the fireplace. So maybe I should leave the cabinet out of the room and put the chaise against the wall (in which case it could have kept it's back). I need to give this some more thought.

The few other touches added to the room include some braid around the ceiling to act as a cornice or coving (depending on what part of the world you're in), more braid for the skirting board and a hearth and a back for the fireplace made from air dry clay and the same impress mould I used on the Dancing Dragon's brickwork. Now technically, the fireplace should be deeper than just the surround, but to do that now would require cutting a hole in the back of the box and having the fire place permanently jutting out the back. I decided that the better solution was to place a firescreen infront of the fireplace and hope no one notices that it isn't as deep as it should be.

Not too much happened to the Dancing Dragon this week. I've added a railing along the stairs up to the next level. This is made from staircase spindles carefully split at the top so a split ring could be inserted. Through the rings a length of string was threaded to create a handrail. I've also built the bridge over the stream at the front. This is all balsa wood and consists of two curved supports over which planks have been laid. The posts along the front edge will eventually be joined by a handrail of some sort. Finally, I've started adding some plants to the 'wilderness' section around the stream. Dexter the Digging Dog, who I mentioned in the last post, arrived in the mail just this morning (and he is as gorgeous in real life as he was as a photo on the internet!) and as soon as I get into town to buy some 'dirt' I'll place him by the stream with a pile of dirt he's dug up. Eventually, I'll also add his young owner fishing off the bridge.

The good news is that I think I've finished all the jobs that require access from above, so I'm ready to start work on the next level. The problem is that I need to make a final decision on the layout of the second floor. Most of it will be occupied by the tavern of the Dancing Dragon. What I haven't decided is whether the rest of the floor should be the kitchen, a private 'back room' or just an extension of the tavern.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week Three

With most of the week's focus on the Regency Drawing Room, I'm really surprised how much I got done on the Inn as well. I started by finishing the route to the first floor by making the stairs up from the boardwalk. Now the stairs and walk only need handrails adding.

Most of the work this week was on the shop section. I made a door and two windows to fill in the holes in the walls. The door and shuttered window are both made of balsa wood and open and close by pivoting on pins inserted through the frames. The rounded window at the front is made from a frame of balsa wood around which a piece of acetate sheet has been secured. Before glueing and pinning the acetate in place I used some faux leadlighting outliner to create a pattern of leaded panes. At some point I may add some clear faux leadlighting paint to the window to make the glass look a little imperfect. This window isn't quite finished yet as it still needs some more wooden trim around the top and bottom of the curves. The corners of the shop have been trimed with balsa wood to resemble wooden posts and more wood has been added along the top of the bricks to neaten up the join between brick and wall. Some more bits of decorative trim (like those all ready above the curved window) on the walls will pretty much finish off the exterior of the shop.

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.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to yet another new follower!

I'm not sure what's going on lately, but everytime I look there seems to be yet another new follower. This is something I always find to be turely amazing.

Welcome to the newest follower, Ana, whose blog Mi mundo en rosa features some lovely hand made minis. And just in case you missed it at the bottom of the past post, welcome again to Natasha and Cyndy, neither of whom appear to have blogs at the moment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Regency Drawing Room - Week Three

Now technically, this post should be entitled Week Five, but I've decided that as the past two weeks have seen no work done on the room while I waited for the fireplace to arrive that they won't be counted in the time taken. Hence I'm picking up again at week three of the project. The long wait for the arrival of the fire surround ended last Tuesday when my package from Jennifers of Walsall arrived. I love this fireplace and it was $30 cheaper than most of the others I'd been looking at for this room. Once I had the fireplace I centred it on the back wall and drew around it so i had a pencil outline of the fireplace on the wall. Next I made a final decision on the height of the panelling and drew a line around the wall at that height. Next came the hard part. I wanted to give this room a chinoserie style and the only way to do what I wanted was to hand paint the walls. It's not the painting that scared me, it was the trying to have it turn out looking like it was supposed to. Art is not a strong point of mine so making a picture where there was nothing before is very difficult. I started by drawing the position and shape of the vines in pencil, leaving space above the fireplace for an overmantle. This is why I wanted the firesurround before I started, so I could be certain the vines grew around the fireplace without being too close or too far away. Once I was more or less happy with the shape and position of the vines it started to paint. I used a brush called a 'blade' or a 'dagger' to paint over the lines with a beige acrylic paint. Then I went over the beige in places with a light brown to give the vines some character. Next I used some green to paint random leaves onto the vines, trying to keep the leaves smaller at the top and larger at the bottom with sometimes limited success. While I had the green out I added some grass around the bottom of the wall, or rather the top of the panelling, between the vines. Last were the flowers. Some experimentation on scrap paper proved that I can not paint a flower. Period. So I settled for light pink blobs with a deep pink dot in the centre.
A chinoserie wall would normally have birds among the vines as well. There is no doubt that I can't paint a bird, so decided not to push my luck. Perhaps I could find some bird decals and use them? Anyway, even without the birds I am quite proud of the walls. I may have to stop claiming I can't paint if I keep getting results like this!
For the panelling around the bottom of the walls I had six plain picture frames purchased from D's Miniature Collectables on ebay. From memory their username is restless61 and they are well worth looking up. I positioned the frames on two strips of thin cardboard cut the height of the panelling. Unfortunately, having turned the corners of the walls into curves meant that I couldn't position the frames at even distances because the solid frame could not curve with the wall. Hopefully by the time the room is furnished you won't notice the big gap between the frames either side of the curves. After the frames were glued in place, the lot was painted with some white gloss and glued onto the walls. Next I need to find some braid to trim the top and bottom of the panelling, again curves mean that wooden trim and skirting board is not an option.
On the ceiling I added some pieces of scroll like . . um . . bits in the middle of which there will eventually be a ceiling rose and light fixture. Now I just need to figure out what sort of light fixture that should be and where to get one or how to make one. The other key feature still to be addressed for the room is a floor rug, but I'm yet to see one that would look all right with lavender, pink and green walls. It should be an oriental rug, but can't be too busy. I was also thinking that the curved walls might make an oval rug a good idea.
And finally, a warm wlecome to this blog's newest followers Natasha and Cyndy. I can't seem to find a blog for either of you, but let me know if you have one and i'll add the link.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Marions' Giveaway and Welcome to my Fifty-Second Follower!

Marion of Marion's Miniatures is currently offering a fabulous giveaway on her blog to celebrate reaching 100 followers.  Congratulations Marion!  As you can see in the photo it is a magnificent knitted outfit for an infant.  To enter, simply go to her blog Marion's Miniatures and leave a comment .

I don't have as many followers as Marion, but yet again the number I do have has risen thanks to Berri Jones deciding to sign up.  Welcome Berri!  I can't seem to find a blog for you, but if you have one just let me know and I'll be glad to add the link here.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Dancing Dragon - Week Two

Dancing Dragon - Week Two
Originally uploaded by Alennka
This week started with a few days of doing nothing while I considered the problem of the cracked clay. In the end I decided to leave it as is and call it 'rustic'. I could have pulled it all off and tried again, but chances are the clay would have just cracked all over again anyway. So that decision made it was time to start painting the clay to look like bricks. I started with a coat of sealer and then added some sploggy coats of reddish-orange and brown and filled the cracks in with some dark brown. I then covered the whole lot with a coat of the main brick colour which is a sort of orangish-brownish red. The earlier coats of paint showed through this layer giving the bricks some variation in colour. Next can the 'mortar', some grey paint which was carefully rubbed off the bricks so it was visible only in the gaps between bricks. I then dry brushed some more brickish reds and oranges over the top until I was happy with the look of the bricks. All this was then covered with a matte sealer.

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.

Welcome More New Followers

The Waggon
Originally uploaded by Alennka
Wow! More than fifty followers now! I really should try and think up something to do as a giveaway to celebrate . . . . .

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

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week One

First off, a quick note on the progress of the Regency Drawing Room. Basically, there wasn't any. I put a couple of coats of varnish on the floor and used air drying clay and a mould to create some cornicing/coving for around the top of the walls. This shrank something wicked as it dried and had to be removed from the room. The Spinet piano I ordered for the room has arrived and it bigger than I'd imagined. Now I'm worried that it's going to be too dominating in the room. As usual I've barely started and I need more space! Hopefully the fireplace will arrive this week (but most likely it won't until next week) then I can finish the walls.

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

Furniture for Sale!

I have just listed a dozen or so pieces of furniture on ebay for the bargain starting price of $0.99 each.  Some of it is a little damaged, some is as new, all of it has been hanging about for years and I've reached the conclusion that I'm just not going to find a use for it.  Scarily enough taking this lot out of my spare furniture box hasn't left it any less overflowing with the furniture I am keeping!

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!

Cradle 2

Secreatary Desk


Hat Stand

High Chair

Dressing Table

Welsh Dresser

Ladies Chairs



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