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, April 29, 2011

Yet another new follower!

Sunset Garden - Complete by Alennka
Sunset Garden - Complete, a photo by Alennka on Flickr.

Welcome to the third new follower in three days, MrsPitstop! If you read the last post, you'll know she is currently offering a giveaway on her blog Modern Dolls House http://moderndollshouse.blogspot.com/ She also has a second blog Old Dragon Cottage http://olddragoncottage.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Welcome New Follower (& giveaway info)

Welcome to Dollshouse Daydreams newest follower Paul Smith. I can't find a blog for Paul but as usual will be glad to add the link if he has one. In other business, MrsPitStop of the Modern Dolls House blog is currently holding a giveaway to celebrate reaching 50 followers. If you would like to find out more, visit her blog here: http://moderndollshouse.blogspot.com/2011/04/i-have-50-followers-giveaway-post.html

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Castle Starcaster - Week Twelve

Welcome to the newest follower, Vanessa, who doesn't appear to have a blog of her own.

 As you may have already guessed, most of my attention this week was on the new Witch Shop, but I still managed to do a few small things to the castle, mainly in the bedroom where I finally finished the walls.  This was done with balsa wood sheets about 1.5mm thick.  I used a round tipped stylus to score lines into the wood to create the effect of vertical planks or "shaker" style panelling.  This was then given a wash of white paint, allowing the wood grain to show through in the hope it would look like limewashed wood.  Sadly, in photos this looks pretty ordinary.  You can barely see the panelling and the paint job just looks shoddy.  It does look a great deal better with the naked eye, although I may add a heavier coat of paint.  The furniture in the room is not necessarily the furniture that will be in there permanently, but it does give an idea of what the layout of the finished room will be.

Even though this is meant to be a post about the castle, here a a few shots of the W. Shop as it looks now: 

Believe me, figuring out which bit of wooden trim goes where is an absolute bugger.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Witch Shop - Week One

Four days after taking the flat-pack kit out of the box, this is what the shop looks like:

The style of the building is Tudor, but the shop is set in a more modern era, perhaps Victorian.  So the shop is going to look "mixed" and have both old and new elements.  The interior walls for example have all been given a finish to look like rough plaster as might be expected in a tudor era building, but I have added colour to the walls where traditionally they would have been limewashed white.  The room on the ground floor also has wallpaper around the bottom half of the walls, the idea being to make it look like a recent addition to a much older style.  How well this works is something I've yet to decide.  I'm also not sure about the purple exterior walls.

I'm not going to go through how I did what's been done as most of it is the same as for other projects already blogged about (clay and impress mould bricks, pollyfilla plaster, etc), but do ask if you'd like an explanation of something in more detail.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Castle Starcaster - Week Eleven

Well, the mailman came back again today! This time he brought me a small telescope and open astrological book bought on ebay from seller whydgc. The telescope will find a home in the top floor of the castle and enable the castle's resident to get a better view of the dragons that fly over the distant mountains. You may wonder how can he see anything through the castle walls, but the answer is simple: there is now a large picture window in the back wall of the castle's top floor.

I'm really pleased with this window. I painted the scene of mountains and somehow managed to make it look almost realistic (well, by the standards of my ability to paint anything it looks almost realistic). The arches that frame the window and decorate the other walls were cut from balsawood. Those for the back wall were joined together with tape and the window scene glued in place before the whole construction was attached to the back wall. The remaining arches were glued directly to the side walls.

I think the walls look very effective with one exception; the door. I cut the hole in the left side wall to provide access to the roof before assembling the castle and long before I had the idea to put decorative arches on the walls, thus the size, shape and position of the door doesn't work with the arches. I haven't quite decided how to fix this yet. I started by making and installing the door and door frame, but that didn't help me sort out what to do about the arches around the door.

I've gotten ahead of myself because all this happened after I laid the floor in the top room and also in the Library downstairs. While the top room has simple straight planks covering the floor, the Library floor was laid in a herringbone pattern. The method I used was the same as the floor in the centre room, so if you want to know more about it, please read Week Ten's post. I had been worried about how I was going to handle a complicated design like this and keep it all straight and even, but it was much easier than I had expected.

The rest of the progress for the week was in little bits and pieces. I made a door for the bedroom, but haven't managed to do the walls in there yet. I added some trim around the top of the walls in the Entry Hall, but I'm still not sure I like the ceiling in there. I made four hinges and still have about twenty-eight to go. As the doorhandles that came with the castle have a pewter look, I made the hinges in a pewter tone as well. (They are made from faux leadlighting outliner.)

This week I am preparing to build the Stratford Bakery kit over Easter so it can start to become a witches shop. If you have any ideas what such a shop could be called, please click the photo at the top right of this page to enter my giveaway.

Monday, April 18, 2011

I love the mailman . . . .

. . . . And the mailman must be pretty fond of me too! Just look what he brought me this morning:
The dragons and crow were made by the wonderfully talented Nickycc (aka the Mini Dragon Queen) while the cabinet and davenport desk came from Tom Thumbs Miniature Emporium. This is rapidly becoming a favourite store of mine as the prices are extremely reasonable, the postage is prompt and Sue (who runs the store) tends to include lovely bonus thank you items with orders. The small gold clock you can see in front of the desk was the freebie with this order. I suspect it will find a home in the witches shop. Thank you, Sue!

The desk, cabinet and crow with mail are all for the witches shop, although I do intend to repaint the glossy white cabinet. Perhaps these items will help you help me find the perfect name for the shop, so if you have any inspirations, please enter my Suggest-a-Name giveaway!

The mounted dragon head and little red dragon will find a home either in the castle or in the shop, it depends on where the perfect spot for them appears.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Suggest-a-Name Giveaway!

 If you've been paying attention, you'll know I'm planning to turn my Stratford Bakery kit into a witches shop.  I've been thinking: now that the castle is coming along and is mainly in one piece instead of scattered around the room, perhaps I have room to start work on another project alongside it.  Easter is coming . . . Wouldn't that four day break be an excellent chance to make a start on a new project?

Alas, I have one problem.  The shop doesn't have a name.  The naming of things is not a strength of mine.  People yes, but things, such as shops, no.  So I am appealling to you to help me come up with a name for the shop and am offering a giveaway prize to reward one lucky suggester.

At the start of the year I offered a giveaway that was drawn at the start of February (two and a half months ago).  Sadly, the winner still hasn't claimed their prize despite my attempts to let them know about it.  So I am re-offering the prize which consisted of a faux window, a straw mat, a pair of wooden candle sconces and a few extra mystery items.  I hope to have even more additions to the prize ready by the time I re-draw it.

To enter the giveaway :

1)  You must be a follower of this blog (newcomers welcome)
2)  Leave a comment on this post.  Please include in your comment a suggestion for the name of the Witch Shop, or if like me naming things aren't your strong suite, a suggestion of something you'd like to see included in the shop.
3)  You may offer as many suggestions as you like, but you will only be entered in the draw once.  If you entered the giveaway the first time around you're already included in this re-draw.  If you would like to enter again you'll be given two entries and thus two chances to win.
4)  Entries will be open until 31st May. 
5)  The winner will be drawn at random, regardless of whether I choose to use your suggestion or not.
6)  Good Luck!

Finally, to help you think up suggestions here are some ideas I have for the shop:

This is the basic kit which will become the shop.  The shop will be in the ground floor room.  It will have sections like "hats", "herbs", "brooms" and other witchy things.  An internal staircase will be added leading to the room above.  In this second floor room will be the shops book section along with some comfy sofas and a fireplace where the local coven can converge to discuss the latest tome of spells over tea and cake.  The room on the right will be a bed-sit and home to Hetty, the shop's sales assistant.  Beneath this room I plan to add a wall along the back of the open section.  In the wall will be a door, probably meant to lead to the home of the owner of the shop.  Most of the space under the overhanging room will be made into a small garden.

Next photo is some of the items I've collected for the shop.  The doll is Hetty who will become the sales assistant.  The birdcage is either for the shop's familiar section or perhaps Hetty keeps a pet in her bedsit.  The table and cupboard are to display items in the shop.  If you look closely, you'll see the door knocker sitting on the door knobs of the cupboard.  This is for the door in the wall I'll be adding under the overhang room.  It was made by the wonderfully talented Nickycc whose shop can be found here:
http://nickycc.com/OnlineStore/index.php  Nicky also made Artie's new friends pictured below.

I have gone completely overboard at Nicky's store lately.  The two little dragons and the door knocker were my first order.  Before that one arrived, I went back and bought one of her mounted dragons heads and yesterday I saw on her blog that she had yet more new items that I had to have.  A cute little dragon on a perch among others.  These dragons will find a home in either the castle or the witch shop.

The inspiration to do a witches shop came from watching the progress of a member of the DHE forums, Dolly Donut.  You can see the images of her finished witches shop here : http://www.dollshouseforum.com/forum/home-sweet-home-gallery/6954-salestras-27.html

I would love to have a hat and shoe department like Janice's, (Of Being a Mini Mum blog)  http://onbeingaminimum.blogspot.com/2010/11/emporiums-hat-shoe-department-opens-for.html

I will add more details about the shop once i get started on it!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Castle Starcaster - Week Ten

My main goal for the week was to finish off the halls downstairs by adding cornicing/coving, trimming around the dividing arch and finishing the fireplace. Needless to say, I've finished none of the above. I did get close on the fireplace, but it still needs a little more work before it is glued in place and complete. The fireplace is made mostly of thick cardboard with an opening cut out at the bottom. Above the opening is a strip of corncie/coving (depending on where you live) ontop of which sit thirteen premade wood turned posts supporting another piece of cornice topped off by a length of fancy wood trim. The entire item was glued together, then painted. It seemed like a good idea at the time until I had to try and paint behind the turned posts. It wasn't going to work, so I still have to paint some thin card to match and slide it in behind the posts to finish the fireplace.

While making fireplaces, I also made one for the bedroom. The back and base are made of brick board (MDF with brick shapes cut into it). The sides are rectangular posts of balsa wood onto which are mounted some fancy corbel brackets. It is topped off with a hood of cardboard covered in a textured gold paper. The assembled fireplace was painted in soft white, the same colour as the walls will eventually be painted, then dirtied up with some black paint. The gold hood also had some black paint added and mostly rubbed off to tone down the gold.

When not working on fireplaces, I was working on floors. In the bedroom, I used popsicle type sticks to lay straight, narrow floorboards accross the room. Next door in the "centre room" I used the same sticks in a more complicated pattern. This represents my first attempt at any type of parquet floor and I'm quite pleased with the result. Too bad I forgot to allow for the fireplace on the side wall in the floor design. At the moment that is another problem in the "later" basket. Once the floors were laid, gaps between the boards were filled with some wood filler, the floors were sanded and given a couple of coats of my mix of wood stain.

With the floor in the centre room laid and stained, there was no reason not to start on the panelling for the walls, so panel the walls I did. As with the low panelling downstairs, the panelling consists of 0.8mm thick balsa wood sheets glued to the walls with thicker, centimetre wide strips added over the top in a grid pattern. The panels aren't quite finished due to a short fall in the amount of strips I had on hand. I could cut my own, but then they wouldn't be straight, so the walls are waiting for me to head out to the shops before they'll be finished. I still don't know what the purpose of this room will be, hence it's current, undescriptive monkier of "centre room". The Library and Bedroom flank it on either side, the entry hall is directly below and the sorcerer/sorceress' work room/study is directly above it, but what happens in this room is anybody's guess. Oh well, at least it looks good.

On an entirely unrelated note, take a look at this:

My order from Betterworldbooks.com has arrived. Did I go a little overboard?

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Photos are back!!

Well, it seems Blogger has finally fixed whatever was making a meal out of trying to add photos. If everything is working as it is meant to, you'll see a photo below showing the ceiling of the bedroom:

The ceiling is covered with strips medieval style tiles printed on paper, separated by beams of balsa wood. The beams were given a bit of extra detail by running a relief sticker along the centre of each one. The upper section of the walls are covered with more of the tiles, the lower parts of the walls will be covered in panelling painted white to match the beams.

The goal for this week is to finish the fireplace and cornicing/coving in the dining hall and to lay as much of the floor upstairs as possible.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Castle Starcaster - Week Nine

Castle Starcaster - Week Nine by Alennka
Castle Starcaster - Week Nine, a photo by Alennka on Flickr.

The walls in the halls (entry and dining) have been finished off by the addition of some simple wooden panelling. The panelling is made from balsa wood: 0.8mm thick pieces form the backing while strips a few millimetres thick and about 0.75cm wide form the panels.

The fireplace has been started, but as you can see clearly has a long way to go. The hearth and back are lined with "tiles" left over from the bedroom. Unlike the bedroom, these tiles have been given some coats of gloss to give them a more tile-like shine.

The patchwork of rugs on the floor has nothing to do with covering cravasses between tiles where the clay shrank, nor to do with obsuring the fact the floor seems to have developed a sag in the middle. Honestly. Those rugs however are going to remain in place until I find a larger, more suitable covering for the floor covering.