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

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Monday, March 1, 2010

Highcroft Castle - Week Three

Still being fed up with stonework, I decided to start work on the interior of the Great Hall this week. Having been too busy lately to sit down and think things through properly, I pretty much made up the plan for the Hall as i went along by rummaging through my cupboard and shelves until I found something that would work. Normally when I decorate a room I start with the ceiling, then the walls and cover the floor last. Although I haven't quite figured out the ceiling yet, I do know that I am going to do an ornate panelled ceiling that I will assemble outside the house/castle and install as one piece when it's finished. This means that it will be easier to add the ceiling after finishing the walls. As I wanted to add a 'fake' wall at the back of the room to create the impression of a corridor beyond with flooring that continued under the wall, I decided to start with the floor and reverse my usual order of decoratiion. I considered (very breifly) using more of my stencilled stone for the floor, but as I've said, I'm sick of doing that, so quickly dismissed the idea. Next I considered using teracotta tile and pulled out some terracotta coloured air drying clay. After playing with the clay for a few minutes to see how much it would cover when rolled flat, I decided I didn't have enough for the whole floor, but did cover a piece of round MDF I'm planning to use as a floor in the 'tower' section of the castle when I get as far as working on the tower. By adding grooves in a grid pattern, I created the look of a tiled floor. Now I just have to hope that the tower will work as I hope it will when I get around to building it! With tiles dismissed, I went through my collection of assorted floor papers. There was plain floorboard (a little dull), leftover parquet floor (not enough), various carpet (not enough and not very great hall-ish), ornate victorian style tiles (too Victorian and again not enough) and lastly some black and white chequerboard scrapbooking paper. This paper was absoultely perfect and there was just enough left (this paper having been left over from the first time I decorated the house!). I gave it a couple of coats of spray gloss and (after cutting it to fit of course) stuck it into place with double sided tape. Next job to tackle was the walls. I started by cutting the back wall out of foamboard and cutting the arched openings and two fireplace openings from this piece. At this point I realised the probably wan't enough height for the balcony/gallery that was going to run accross the upper back wall. For the time being I've left them out, but may add two smaller balconies in the back corners of the room later on. I had been considering creating a wood panelled effect for the hall and as a test run decided to try a panelled wall in the corridor behind the 'back wall' as it would be at the back and largly obscured by the back wall, so if it didn't look good, maybe no one would really notice when it was finished. I found some pieces of oak veneer (left over flooring from my last castle) and stuck these pieces to a piece of sturdy cardboard. Next I cut strips of balsa wood and glued them over the veneer in a grid to create a panelled look. Lastly the whole thing was stained with watered down brown paint and sealed with gloss varnish. When glued in postion with the fake back wall in front, the panelling is quite effective, but I don't think with would work so well if you could see the walls more clearly. Plus, I didn't have anywhere near enough veneer to cover all the walls this way. So it was back to rumaging, but I couldn't find anything that really seemed to work, until I remembered the embossed paper I had used on the ceilings of Madame Bellerose's house. Beacuse I was worried about crushing the pattern, I had stored this away in a different place to my other papers and it took a while to find it, but when I did I realised this was perfect for the castle. There wasn't enough to cover the walls floor to ceiling, but I think that would have been too much anyway. I painted come pieces of thin cardboard cut to size for the top half of the walls in a beige stain. The embossed paper was the wrong colour, so I gave it s couple of coats of acrylic stain in ruby and went over that with a rub on paint in silver to highlight the pattern of the paper. All this was then stuck on the walls. I was going to show you a picture of the result of all this here, but Blogger seems to be having an issue adding photos again, so if you want to see the Hall, you'll need to broswe over to my flickr account ).HERE I still need to add a rail/beam around the walls where the two wall papers meet and of course finish around the arches and the fireplaces. Lastly, I need to create a ceiling and the basic decoration of the Hall will be finished! After what seemed like an eternity of stenciling stone, I finally feel like I am making progress! (just don't tell me that I still have to finish that stonework

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