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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Highcroft Castle - Week Thirteen

This week it was the Great Hall's turn to aquire some furniture. The original idea was that the Queen and other high ranking diners would be seated on a dias in the centre of the room with the less important guests on benches to the sides. The "high" table would be semi-circular allowing for a brazier to be placed in the middle to keep everyone warm. The furniture that I've made for the Hall (everything bar the brazier) is pretty much exactly as I planned from the start of the project. . . . . . Too bad it doesn't look right in the space. Tall backed chairs on a raised dias right in front of the arched doorways at the back make the arches look lower - too low. They are supposed to look grand and impressive, but now they just get lost. Those seated at the sides of the dias will be indanger of toppling off it. The "low" tables and seating might squeeze a total of six diners, but would be better if there were only four. A total of seven guests at a banquet? It seems like a small gathering for such a grand occasion.

So . . .

I'm thinking that I will change the layout of this room. I'll block off the arched doorway on the right and turn it into a stained glass window. (This was supposed to be the doorway to the right wing one day, but the wing may never be added anyway and if it is, I'll just have to put fake doors in the back and have it connect to the main building via imaginary, unseen passageways.) The dias will move in front of this window so that the diners sit with their backs to it, still on the semi-circular table with a brazier in the cut out middle. I will then add either one long table with benches down the middle of the room (running from the dias on the right to the left wall) or two or three separate tables running from the back wall to the front, probably the former but it depends how things fit when I get around to measuring. The only problem with this arrangement will be that the symetry of the room will be ruined. So if I decide I don't like the room a-symetrical, I'll change it again and just have one simple long table running the length of the room, no dias, no curves, but more space to play with.

But all this will be handled (maybe) this week - I'm supposed to be telling you about last week. In the Great Hall the furniture has been made, as usual, from balsa wood with a few embelishments of wooden beads and some laser cut fretwork. The fretwork used in the chair backs was purchased on ebay from  amd5758 .  This seller has some wonderful castle/medieval pub type items, both ready made and some bits to make your own like the fretwork. The chairs themsevles are very simply made from four pieces of balsa wood - the back, the seat and two sides. These pieces were draw on paper to make sure they looked right, then the paper became a pattern for the chairs. A hole was cut in the backs to insert the fretwork and I may add a bead as a finial at each side of the backs. The table is similarly simple. It is merely balsa wood cut to shape supported on legs made from beads "strung" on toothpicks. The tip of the toothpick protrudes a little from the top of the beads, allowing me to push them into the balsa wood table tops to ensure everything is locked together. The dias is just cardboard covered in grey carpet with some red and gold braid to trim the edges. Also in the Great Hall, I've placed some scrap wood look paper at the back of the minstrel galleries, confirming that they do look better with a darker colour behind them. Now I just find some deep coloued paper that will look good with the room to use as a permanent wall covering.

Not a lot happened in the sorcerer's study this week. The bookcase I started modifying last week was supposed to be painted with layers of successivly lighter paint, lightly sanded to reveal the layers, but the midnight blue looked so good just as it was i decided to leave it as it was. I simply added a little rub on paint in light blue over the raised designs on the plaster trim pieces to highlight them. I've been collecting books to put on this bookshelf for months. Whenever there was a % off sale at one of my favourite Dollshouse stores, a pack of blank books was included in my order. It never occured to me to measure the height of the shelves I wanted to put them on. Yes, you guessed right, the books are too tall to fit on the shelves. I'll either have to pile them on horizontally instead of vertially or make my own books the right height.

The drawer's I've raised on stilts looked to good in their orginal finish to repaint, so I thought I'd just paint the bottom and have a contrast. It didn't work - the unit doesn't look like it's meant to be one thing with the bottom painted blue. So this will be painted as close to the wood colour of the top as possible. If this doesn't work, I'll have to repain the whole thing. Lastly, I made a quick table for the room out of balsa wood and recycled newel posts which still needs painting.

The final item I've made this week is the knoll sofa for the solar. Do you believe it is made from cardboard? Four rectangles of corugated cardboard make up it's frame. The side pieces were cut half way through just above the height of the seat to enable them to fold down. The back and side were covered in thin foam and upholstered with some fabric left over from an earlier project. The cushions for the seat are two pieces of thicker foam. The sofa still needs some finials on the back corners so that the sides can be tied up. Months back there were some suitable finials listed by one of the Australian based online DH stores I frequent. Now I need some . . . . yes you guessed it again - they no longer have them! Now I either have to improvise or pay to get something similar shipped from the US.


  1. Alennka, it's looking wonderful. And I adore the Knole sofa! It's one of my favourite styles, and I've been wanting to make one for my own castle, and yours looks so beautiful that it gives me the courage to try it myself :)

  2. it is looking wonderful.

    The Knole sofa is great...I used to have a real one and I'd love one again but they aren't common in the USA.

  3. Hi! Your Knoll sofa is grand! It's just as good as the ones offered for sale! I love the fabric! I will have to try to make one for my own castle! MAny thanks for the "instructions."

  4. Hi Dangerous Mezzo. The sofa was one of the easiest pieces of mini furniture I've ever made, it's definately worth trying it yourself.

    Hi Tallulah Belle and Heather. I love the look of the sofa, but can't imagine a full sized one would be terribly comfortable. Out of interest I looked at some mini knoll sofa's for sale and was amazed by the price of $70US. Mine, being made of cardboard packaging from a (full sized) quilt cover, foam packing from a motherboard and fabric left over from another project, cost virtually nothing.

    Here's a thought: As it seems to be so popular, perhaps I should make a second sofa and offer it as a giveaway?