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Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Highcroft Castle - Week Nineteen

After last week's gargantuan effort to dress all those people, I spent this week working at a more relaxed pace, mainly fussing with a few of the small bits and pieces that still needed finishing off. Down in the Treasury, I finally covered up the melamine ceiling with some wood veneer and added a wooden beam to cover up where the stone didn't quite meet the ceiling. I moved the gate from the arch to the back wall. Originally, the plan was that the actual Treasury would be at the front, then there would be the gate in the arch, behind which would be the guard room. The problem with this was that when the gate was in place, you couldn't see the guard's table behind it. I bought this table especially for this space and was didn't see the point in it being there if it couldn't be seen. By moving the gate to the back wall, the table becomes visible but the guard room now becomes part of the Treasury rather than being separate from it. This means that the guards on duty in the guard room could nip into the actual treasury and pinch some of the kingdom's valuables with ease. I guess they'll just have to put guards on the guards! With this sorted out, I finished off the Treasury by arranging the crowns I had made previously on stands and adding a selection of bottles, semi-precious stones and other bits and pieces on the shelves. The finishing touch was to add a rug to the floor. Although it looks like animal hide, it is actually a scrapbooking paper. With the exception of one or two details I may have overlooked, this is the Treasury room finished.

When I made the ceiling in the Great Hall, I left three spaces where the balsa wood strips crossed bare so that lights could be hung from these points. If I used lights that "work" I would have had to wire them in long before now, but all the lights in the castle are dummy lights. The two side lights were actually taken out of the house as it was originally decorated (i.e. before I stripped it to turn it into a castle). I merely added some plastic candles and hang them from a hook. I think perhaps they need to be on a slightly longer chain, but otherwise I think they work quite well. The central light was more of a problem. After playing around with all the bits and pieces I had that might be useful, I came up with the design for the light. It consists of two metal scrapbooking embelishments, a cheap hoop earing and some pre-bought candle sconces. The scrapbooking embelishments were secured to the hoop earing by weaving a length of wire through the holes in the embelishments and over the hoop. This made them one solid piece. The candle sconces were simply glued in place around the outside of the embelishments. Unforntunately, I've had these sconces for a while and some were bent out of shape and others had loose arms. After a lot of careful fiddling, they are still a little crooked, but probably as good as they are going to get. Some gold chain attaches the lot to the ceiling.

As you probably already noticed in the picture of the lights, some tapestries have appeared in the Great Hall. There are now also tapestries in the bedroom, the solar and the sorcerer's study. These were all printed on transfer paper, them ironed onto some adia fabric. The texture ot the adia makes them look more like they were stitched than a flat fabric would. They are all hung by glueing loops of ribbon to the top and threading a painted toothpick or skewer (depending on the length needed) through the loops. The toothpicks/skewers were finished off by adding a metal bead to each end.

In the catacombes, I was going to fill the shelves primarily with books, but decided on scrolls instead as they are sooooooooo much easier to make and I was feeling lazy at the time. Some glass jars occupy the bottom shelves holding a range of powders and liquids, including my first attempts at colouring Scenic Water. Food dyes do seem to colourise it quite well, but in a jar no more than an inch high, it's hard to get a small enough amount of dye, hence the liquid in the jars is quite strong in colour.

Lastly, this week I did a little work in the bedroom. As mentioned earlier, I added some tapestries to the walls, two large tapestries over the bathtub and two smaller ones flanking the bed. Next I made some curtains from purple chiffon to enclose the bath. Their purpose is purely decorative and they help to soften the join between the white wallpaper and the black marble. Some off-white lace trim finishes them off and acts as a pelmet around the top. The opposite side of the bedroom still looks wrong somehow. I have decided to panel the bottom two inches or so of the walls at this end of the room in the hope that this will add the warmth and interest the room needs.

This leaves very few things that need attending to in the castle. Most of the remaining tasks won't affect the overall appearance of the castle such as attaching the front panel to the catacombes and finishing the inside of the front cover of the main castle. This, however, does not mean the castle is almost finished. It simple means that the centre and left wing of the castle is almost finished. You might have noticed the doorway in the right hand wall of the Great Hall and wondered where it leads. Well, right now it leads absolutely nowhere. In time it will lead to the castle gardens. I haven't quite decided the final size or layout of the garden yet, but this is roughly the current concept: Beneath the garden (on the level of the kitchen) will be a cave, the home of the dragonets in the castle and their much larger mother dragon. Above this (on the level of the Great Hall) will be the castle gardens. The gardens will have all the usual features - trees, flowers, a water feature of some sort, perhaps some kind of pavillion, etc. It will be inhabited by some of the more mystical of the castle's denizens such as faeries. As with the tower wing on the left of the castle, this garden wing will be a separate unit to the main building.


  1. You have been busy and the lighting looks great. I have to make a light fitting too but nothing so imaginative - my one will be a copy. The tapestries are very effective as well. Lots to see and a nice long post!

  2. Love the idea of transfers on aida fabric! I will have to try that!