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.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Book Tutorial (At last)

Greetings to Sarah (no blog), Patrizia, Malu2 and Carmen the 108-111th followers of the blog.  Would you believe it, my followers have increased by a whopping ten percent in just a week.

Now on to the promised book making tutorial:

What you'll need:

Old phone directory or magazine
Retractable Craft Knife
Tacky Glue
Thin Leather or Paper Printed with Leather Texture (see below)

I bought some thin leather to use in book making, but then decided it would be a waste to actually use it.  So I scanned the leather pieces,  shrank each image and pasted several copies together to create one large sheet of leather texture which I printed on high quality paper (not photo paper).  Below are some of the scanned images I used which you may copy and use for your own books.

I used Microsoft Word to postion them on a page being sure to cover as much as the page as possible to avoid waste.  Try and butt the images up together so there is no white gap between them.  You can put several different colours on one page, but remember you will have to cut your books where the colours meet.

Start by marking a line down the front of your phone book.  This line should be as far away from the spine of the book as you want your mini books to be deep.  If you want to put finished books on a shelf, always measure the depth and hight of the shelves first so you don't end up with books that are too big.  In this example I've made quite large books about 2cm deep.

Use your craft knife to carefully cut through the cardboard cover along the line marked.  Cut repeatedly along this line, severing a few pages at a time and discarding the pages as they come loose.  This takes patience and a steady hand.  If you try and rush, you'll end up with books with raggedy pages, so go slowly and be careful to always hold your knife straight to avoid crooked books.

Decide how wide you want your books to be and open the spine of your phone book so that your chosen width is on one side and all the excess book is on the other side of the opening.  In this example I'm making the books almost 1cm thick, but most 1/12 scale books would be much thinner than this.  Just choose whatever looks right for what you want.  Hold the book open and run your knife through the spine between the pages.  Repeat this step until the entire book is divided into book-width sections.

Take a piece of your chosen book covering (i.e. leather or printer paper) and wrap this around the cut up section of phone book so that it starts at the front of the book, wraps around the spine and comes covers the back of the book just like the dust jacket on a real book.  Leave about 0.5cm overhang on the front side and mark a line on the inside of the cover 0.5cm past the edge of the pages at the back of the book.  Remove the covering, straighten up your line if needed and cut along it.  Repeat this step until you have enough cover cut to size to cover the length of the phone book strip.

Spread a small amount of tacky glue on the top of you book strip and carefully press the cover onto it, remembering to leave the 0.5cm overhang at the side.  Then apply glue to the opposite side of the book and wrap the cover around the spine and press this into the glue.  You may like to add a clamp to ensure the cover is held in postion while the glue dries but it isn't necessary.

Set the book strip aside until the glue is completely dry.

Now it's time to cut the long strip into individual books.  Decide what height you want your first book (each book can be a different height if you wish).  1/12 scale books would be anywhere between about 1.5cm-3cm high depending on the size you want.  Use a fine tipped pencil to mark a line at that height from the top of long section.  Use a craft knife to score along this line.   If you're covering your books in real leather, but sure to cut all the way through it.

This next step gets a little dangerous, so please be careful!  If you can clamp your book to the table, do so now.  If clamping is impractical, be sure and keep your fingers well away from your knife.  Extend the blade of your craft knife so you have a length of 5cm or so.  With the book lying flat on it's side, use your knife like a saw to slowly saw through the pages as shown in the photo.  Again this step takes patience and be careful to hold the knife straight while you work or you'll end up with crooked books.  Once you make it about three quaters of the way through the book, turn it over and finish cutting from the other side.  If you own a thin bladed razor saw, I imagine this would be a safer tool to use for this step than the knife.  If you are making very thin books, you can try a sharp pair of scissors or a guillotine instead of the knife.

Repeat this step until the entire spine of the phone book is cut into mini-book sided pieces.  If you changed cover colours part way along the strip, remember you will have to cut at this point, so try and adjust your heights to allow for this.

Fold the 0.5cm excess on the front and back of the cover over the first few pages of the book (again, just like the dust jacket of a "real" book).

Your books are now finished.  You can use a fine tipped gold pen to add details to the cover of the book.

If you want to use pre-printed book covers like those you can find at places like Jim's Miniature Printables, you need to print them out first and measure carefully.  Cut the phone book into mini books the width, depth and height of your covers and glue the covers on last.  This is a slower process than covering a phone book height strip of books all at once, but the resulting books are more detailed.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Blue Witch . . . .

Well, you'd be blue too if this happened to you!

Actually, she's called the Blue Witch because her skirt, gloves, boots and hatband are all in shades of blue.  Of course once she peels herself off the wall and the bruises some up she'll be the Black-and-Blue Witch.  The idea for a having a broomstick riding witch crash into the side of the shop came from browsing Margriet's Miniatures blog and you can see her original by clicking here.  It was one of those things that is so simple to do, very funny to look at, but who'd ever be crazy enough to think of doing it?  Aparently it was Marsha of Sassy Mini Dolls who provided Margriet with a kit for her witch.  I hope neither Margriet nor Marsha mind me "borrowing" their idea.

I made the boots and gloved hands from polymer clay along with a half-sphere shape for the head.  Her stockings are some old socks cut up, sewn into small tubes, glued into her boots and stuffed to resemble legs.  A white dress I'd stripped off a cheap doll became the Blue Witch's undergarment.  Her gloves were glued directly into the sleeves while the tops of her stockings were glued into the skirt.  Over this she wears a hand made blue patterned skirt and black overcoat stripped off a male doll at some point in the past.  Her "body" was then glued onto the wall.  Her head was glued onto the wall above her body after it had had hair glued onto it.  This was then topped off with a quick black fabric hat and a broomstick.

While I was working with polymer clay for the witch, I made a number of other micsellanious items for the shop and castle and here are a few of them:

  These potion bottles were supposed to be a little crooked and wacky, but they largely look just plain badly made.  They each have a crystal bead sandwiched between layers of clay.  The clay was later coated with various mica powders.  This was my first experimentation with these powders.  The effects they produce are really fabulous, but I think I need a lot more practise before I get really fabulous results.  The unicorn horns turned out quite well though.

Some of the unicorn horns and dragon eggs made their way into the two display tables for the shop as you can see here:

Putting the clay aside, I spent some time rearranging furniture.  The layout of the shop has changed again.  Yes, again.  The units that were to be on the back wall are now along the side wall and visa versa.  Hopefully this will be the last, final change of layout in the shop.  Maybe.  In the Centre Room of the castle I played around with possiblities.  Rumaging in my furniture box I found a kit gothic bench seat I bought about two years ago.  If I were to use this seat to make this room a Sitting room it would look something like this:

Or this (imagine the screen is a fireplace):

Or this:

None of them are exactly thrilling are they?  The studying of dragons is meant to be done in the room above this, but while making the dragons' eggs I wondered if maybe I should line the walls of this room with display cases for the eggs of every different species of dragon.  The disadvantage of the idea is that it would cover up all my panelling, that would be a shame as in this room I actually managed to make it (more or less) straight.

So really, it was just a whole week of fiddling about, but not actually achieving anything of note.  It's just been one of those weeks when the opporunity to sit down and actually get something done hasn't been there.  I haven't even gotten the giveaway prize organised yet!  On that note, thanks to everyone who has entered the giveaway so far.  Those of you who haven't entered still have a week left to go.  Some entries have failed to include a number between one and ten.  Rather than disquallify these entries, I've decided I'll get random.org to assign them a random number so they can be included in the draw.  I also have a number of new followers to welcome to the fold.  They are Craftland, Maria Ireland, Rosella, Inesmaud.hertrampf (no blog) and Glenys (no blog).  Thank you all for following.

Before I go, I did promise to add a book making tutorial last week.  I haven't forgotten about it, I just haven't gotten around to it.  It'll be done soon, I promise.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Welcome Newbies!

Note:  This post relates to my 100 Follower giveaway.  If you haven't entered yet, please visit this post to read the instructions on how to enter.

I opened my 100 Follower giveaway yesterday with a deal of trepidation.  After all I had to grovel for entries in my last giveaway.  Thanks to the sixteen followers who have already entered this time I don't feel as dejected about this giveaway as I came to feel about the last one.  Who would have thought not having a prize to offer would be so popular!  It's interesting; so far four is the most popular number chosen (5 entries), while one, two and three have not been picked at all.

Greetings to followers 101 and 102, kreattiva and NarinaNäpertää.  I caon't see a blog for kreattiva, but you'll find NarinaNäpertää's here: http://narinanapertaa.blogspot.com/.  Welcome to the blog.

Drora of Drora's Minimundo has told me that she is currently offering a giveaway of her own.  It's a gorgeous 1/48th outdoor scene.  Her draw is open until the 30th June, so be sure to head over and take a look.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

100 Followers! Time for another Giveaway!

Who would ever have suspected my humble little blog would attract 100 followers?  Who ever it was, it sure wasn't me!  My 100th follower is Maija from Finland.  Welcome Maija and thanks for following.

100 Followers means it's time for a 100 follower giveaway.

To enter the giveaway: leave a comment on this post and include a number between one and ten in your comment.  I'll decide the winner by going over to random.org and use their random string generator to generate a random number between one and ten.  All entries that nominated this number will then go into the final draw to decide the winner.

Entries will close on 6th July.

I'm sure at this point you're all wondering what you will win.  Frankly, so am I!  I wasn't expecting to reach 100 so quickly and thus have nothing prepared to offer as the prize.  So for now, please consider it a "mystery prize" and I'll add a photo and details of the prize once I get organised.  It will be something in 1/12 scale and most likely have a magical theme.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

All Booked Up . . .

Being a report on Castle Starcaster Week 20 and Witch Shop Week 9

Wow!  99 Followers!  How amazing!  Welcome to Oberon's Wood who is a pagan artist and miniaturist.  Her miniatures shop can be found at Sorceress Hollow.

I started out the week making books, lots and lots of books.  Some are from a kit and consist of a book sized block of wood around which a piece of leather is wrapped like a book cover.  Some are made from old phone books and covered with printed paper covers.  (I plan to do a tutorial on this method of book making soon, so be sure and check back later in the week!)  Everytime I finished a book I tossed it onto the floor of the Castle's library.  Eventually, the entire floor of the library was knee deep in books.  I knew I still didn't have enough books, but was so tired of making them that I decided to stop and put what I had on the shelves to get an idea of how many more I needed.  To my surprise I had enough books to fill all the shelves in the Library.  It's remarkable how much better the room looks with books on the shelves (especially compared to when they were on the floor!)  The bad news is that I have no books left over for the witch shop and thus still have about as many books yet to make as I have already made.

Before I could fill the shelves, I had to remove the dragons who had decided they were a safe place to perch while work was underway in the castle.  Remember last week I worked on the Dragon Study room?  Well, silly me, those dragons in the library were supposed to be in that room, but I had forgotten all about them!  So when they came out of the library, they went into the Dragon room and set about causing mischief in there.  One of the additions the room still needs is a nest for the little dragons to rest in when their mischief is done.  There are now seven of Nicky Cooper's little dragons in the room, can you spot them all?

Speaking of Nicky, I have another of her lovely creatures to add to the Witch Shop too.  He's the Monster-Under-the-Bed and came in a little cage looking very droopy and miserable.  I bought him thinking to make him an item for sale in the shop, but have since very carefully pried him out of his cage and am now thinking he will be in one of two possible places.  First is hiding under Hetty's bed which will surely make him feel more at home.  The second possiblity is to add a collar and leash and have him in the reading room under one of the chairs as the pet of one of the gathered witches waiting forlornly for all the cackling to subside so he can get a bit of rest.

As you can see in the photo, I have finished some more furniture for the shop.  The glossy white cabinet that's been seen in earlier photos of the shop has been repainted in black paint crackled to reveal the metallic blue beneath.  I "borrowed" a counter from a much earlier shop and found this a better fit than the counter I had been planning to use in the shop, so I swapped counters and repainted the smaller one to match the rest of the shop furniture.  Going back to the dragons of Nicky Cooper, some of them came in clear plastic cases with padded bases.  These cases were turned into display tables by adding a strip of balsa wood around the base and glueing some Georgian style pre bought legs underneath.  A little bit of faux leadlighting outline tape around the edges of the clear tops finished them off and now all they need is something to be displayed in them.

Flipping back over to the Castle, I did a little work in the long neglected dining room.  There needed to be a thick fuzzy rug under the table to conceal the fact that the floor is sagging in the middle.  The fabric I used for the rug is really weird stuff called feather fabric.  It's not as dense as a fur fabric and has a long but sparse pile.  The vivid white of the fabric didn't look right against the black floor, so I soaked it in some watered down metallic platinum coloured paint which gave it more of a shipskin or fleece look.  The two chairs in the room were recovered with red velveteen and a bench seat was made for the front side of the table.  A table runner was made from green velveteen and more of the metallic ribbon used around the tops of the walls.  I bought this table specifically to go in this room, but right from the first time I put the table into the room I worried that the table was too big.  I still think maybe the table should get the boot and this room should become some sort of sitting room, or at least a dining room with a smaller table.  But then what do I do with the very gorgeous table?

While I'm sharing problems, I still don't know what to do with the centre room!  It's the room in the exact centre of the castle being on the second of three floors and the middle of the three rooms accross.  It has to be a public space (not a bathroom etc) as it opens into the library, has a fake door accessing the supposed back of the castle and has stairs up to the next level.  The dining table is not a good fit for this room either, besides a dining room upstairs between a library and a bedroom doesn't seem right.  So what can it be?  I'm seriously lacking in ideas for this one and any suggestions would be welcome.  And no, I don't believe in subtlety when dropping hints.

Monday, June 20, 2011

DHE in the US

Dollshouse Emporium (who made the castle and tudor shop kits I'm currently working on) have started a new webstore based in the US for the benefit of their US customers. You'll find the site here: DHE Minis.  Those of you in Australia should note that at current exchange rates it is cheaper to buy from the new US site than from the existing UK site.  I say this without factoring in postage costs.  The US site has free postage for orders of $60US or a flat $12US fee on orders less than this.  If they follow the same model as the UK site, this will apply to international orders too, but no where is this actually stated.

DHE have also started a forum attached to their US site that is separate from the UK forums.  I have registered to join the forum so I can ask about international postage (etc) but have to wait for the moderator to approve me before I can post.  Looking at the forum, I may be the first person other than DHE staff to register; certainly the only post one the forum is from the admin.  I'm sure everyone will find it a bit odd if the first US DHE forum member is an Aussie!  Oh well, perhaps they'll take that as a hint and come to Oz!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why English is Hard to Learn

I have yet another new follower to welcome, but unfortunately I don't know who they are. My follower count has gone up to 98, but I can't find a new name on the list. Perhaps it's another fault of Bloggers or perhaps the follower simply wishes to be anonymous. Whatever the case, welcome to the blog.

And now some more excerpts from my Grandmother's retirement village newletter:

Why English is hard to learn:

The bandage was wound around the wound

The farm was used to produce produce

The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse

We must polish the Polish furniture

He could lead if he could get the lead out

Since there was not time like the present he thought it was time to present the present

I did not object to the object

The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert

There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row

They were too close to the door to close it

Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear

How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

I shed my clothes in the shed

A duck grows up before it grows down

You chop a tree down before you chop it up

One goose, two geese. So one moose, two meese?

We ship by truck but send cargo by ship

Bakers bake, so why don't grocers grace?

The plural of tooth is teeth, so why isn't the plural of booth, beeth?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught?

Quicksand can work slowly

Boxing rings are square

If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat?

The Golden Phone

A man decided to write a book about famous churches around the world. He bought a plane ticket to Orlando thinking that he would start by working his way accross the US from south to north. On his first day he went into a church and was taking photographs when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read "$10,000 per call". The man, being intrigued, asked a nearby priest what the telephone was used for. The priest said that it was a direct line to heaven and for $10,000 you could talk to God.

The man thanked the priest and went on his way. His next stop was Atlanta. There, in a large cathedral he saw another golden telephone with the same sign beneath it and he asked a passing nun what it's purpose was. She said that it was a direct line to heaven and for $10,000 you could talk to God.

The man then travelled all accross America, Europe, Japan and New Zealand. In every church he saw the same golden telephone and sign with $10,000 per call on it.

Then he travelled to Australia.

He arrived at the Gold Coast and in the first church he entered there was again the golden telephone, but the sign under it read "40c per call".

The man was so surprised he asked a priest about the sign. "Father, I've travelled all over the world and I've seen the same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it's a direct line to heaven, but everywhere else the price was $10,000 per call. Why is it so cheap here?"

The priest smiled and answered, "You're in Australia now son. This is God's own country - it's a local call".

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Of Witches and Dragons

Being a report on Castle Starcaster Week 19 and Witch Shop Week Eight.

Firstly this week I have two more new followers to welcome.  I'm up to 97 followers now and isn't that amazing.  The two newcomers are Caraloo of Lilac Hill News and Rosamargarita of Chiquicosas.  Thanks for following.  In other news, Linda of Linda's Miniature Musings is currently offering a giveaway on her blog.  For a chance to win a 1/144 scale house kit, please visit her blog here.

Those of you who have been following for a while will know that because I added extra doors in the Castle, I was short of door handles.  So a couple of weeks ago I ordered some more handles to match the others.  While browsing the store to see if there was anything else I needed that I could put on the same order I found a 1/12 scale bicycle.  By no means was this something I needed, but the moment I saw it I could see it being ridden by a slightly eccentric witch who was having difficulties with her broomstick and was forced to resort to an alternate means of transportation.  From that moment, I had to have the bike and when it arrived in the mail early in the week I couldn't wait to get started on making the witch to ride it.  And here she is:

Her name is Minerva (Minnie for short).  I can't tell you how proud I am of Minnie as every part of her was made from scratch.  A week ago she was only a lump of polymer clay, some wire and foam.   Before you start thinking I'm really something and managed to sculpt her by hand I'd better admit that I used push moulds to create her face and hands.  I've had the push mould of 1/12 scale faces, hands and feet for years, but only used it once before.  I was disapointed that all the faces were the faces of ugly old hags and because old hags are only a small portion of the population that discovery really sapped my enthusiasm for the push mould and because I can't make faces without help (at least not ones even uglier than those in the moulds) there died my ambitions of making my own dolls.  Minerva, however, would have to be a hand made doll if she was going to fill the vision in my head and fortunately she was supposed to look like an old hag so the moulds for once proved perfect.

I mixed even amounts of Super Sculpy and translucent Sculpy to create her skin colour and pushed a ball of this into the mould.  A tip to remember is to lightly spray the mould with water to prevent the clay from sticking.   I then carefully curled the excess clay back to create a head shape behind the face.  I adapted the face by enlarging the nose by inserting a ball tipped stylus up the nostrils and carefully swirling it about and pushing forward.  The mouth was opened by carefully cutting between the lips with a thin blade and the stylus was again used to work it open and create a cavity for the mouth.  Another minus with the moulds is that none of the faces have ears so I attached some cresent shaped bits of clay to the sides of her head.  They look nothing like ears, but they are covered by her hair and gave me something to attach her earings too later on.  Minnie's hands also came out of the mould.  Her fingers were carefully cut apart and curled about the bike's handlebars so she would be able to grip them.  Minnie's feet and lower legs were made without the aid of a mould which is why one boot is larger than the other.

Once baked and cooled, Minnie's face was painted with chalk pastels for her cheeks, lips and ears and normal acrylics for her eyes and eyebrows.  Her shoes and legs were also painted with acrylics, black for the boots and black and white stripes for the stockings.  Her "bits" were all joined using a heavy gauge wire which was then wrapped in thin foam to create a slightly chubby body.  Her hair is merino wool which varigates from white to orange and is parted in the middle.

Minnie's clothes were all hand made too.  She wears red bloomers, a red petticoat (not visible in the photos), a black dress with a green sash at the waist and a matching green hat.  Her outfit is completed with sun and star earings that match the cresent moon in her hat.  I dabbed super glue onto the bike's axles and pedals to stop them moving and then glued Minnie onto the bike.  Her broken broom is tied onto the back so she can take it into the shop to get it repaired and she has a couple of books in the front basket as she's late for the book meeting in the Reading room of the shop!

Alongisde Minerva, I made two more dolls in the same way.  They are Hector and Agatha.  Agatha is a kindly old witch whose come to attend the book club meeting.  Hector is the renowned author of many books on magic and witchcraft and has been invited to attend the book meeting as a guest speaker.

The past few weeks, the Witch Shop has been getting much more attention than the Castle, so once I had finished with Minerva, Hector and Agatha I decided to concentrate all my attention on the castle for a few days.  I decided to accessorise the room on the top floor of the castle which is a room for the studying of dragons. 

To get a better view of the dragons flying over the distant mountains there is a telescope on a stand positioned by the windows.  The telescope came from ebay while the stand is four fan blades painted brassie gold and glued around a block of balsa wood painted black.  In the back left corner of the room an articulated dragon skeleton is displayed.  This is one idea that didn't work so well.  The basic skeleton is that of a duck billed dinosaur with polymer clay wing bones glued on it.  Sadly, it just looks like a dinosaur with weirdly positioned antlers on it's back.  I think this is going to have to be replaced by something else.

On the right side wall is a tall cupboard made from a kit.  It holds a range of items from books and scrolls to dragon scales and potion bottles. 

A lovely open book and dragon embryo in jar bought from ebay seller whydgc is the focal point on the central table made by Angela Downton.  The table was further accessorised with some books made from cut up old phone directories and a jar of "dragon scales" (i.e. cut up Easter egg wrappers).  On the left wall by the door to the roof garden is a rack from which two cloaks hang so folks can go out into the garden even in bad weather.  This room still needs a few touches and accessories, but is getting fairly close to being the first castle room to be finished.

Despite the fact I said no more Witch Shop this week, I did make far too many potion bottles for the Dragon Room, so I positioned some of the leftovers on the shop shelves.  I filled up half the shelves and still have potion bottles left over!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Welcome More New Followers

Dancing Dragon Inn - Week 21 by Alennka
Dancing Dragon Inn - Week 21, a photo by Alennka on Flickr.
Greetings to Plushpussycat and My Wee Life.  Welcome to the blog and thanks for following.

Wow, I'm now up to a whopping 95 followers!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Found It!

I started this weeks Castle post by welcoming some new followers.  Among them was Diane, whose blog address I rather embarassingly couldn't remember at the time.  Well, I've gone back through the blogs I'm following and found Diane's blog.  It's My Miniatures Journal and Diane's latest post shows of her Lighthouse.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Witch Shop - Week Seven

Yikes!  Another new follower to welcome!  Hello and welcome to Agata of http://idolcidiagata.blogspot.com/  When I first took a look at the photos on her blog (its written in Italian, so reading it was out without waiting to get it translated) I thought "Wow, that is some impressive miniature food!" but when I looked at the photos more closely I realised Agata makes 1:1 scale food.  Real food that really looks incredibly good.

At the start of the week I decided that yes, there was room for fireplaces in the two upstairs rooms of the shop.  One of the things that had made me heasitant to add a fireplace in the reading room was the opening roof above the fireplace.  How could I make a chimney that looked good both when the roof was closed and open?  I solved the problem by creating the impression of a chimney without bothering with an actual chimney.  This was done with a sheet of paperclay the width of the fireplace unit and the height of the wall, angled at the top to match the angle of the roof.  I used my herringbone brick impress mould to create the impression of bricks in the clay and when dry, painted them to look like bricks and glued the sheet to the wall.  The fireplace itself was made from corrugated cardboard.  It has a high hearth and two openings in the front, one for a store of firewood and one for the fire itself.  The design was based on my hazy recollection of a Tudor fireplace I think I saw in a dollshouse magazine once.  It is finished off with more clay, another impress mould and brick coloured paints.  Because the fireplace juts out from the wall but the "chimney" doesn't, there is a nice wide ledge ontop of the fireplace to display some heatproof witchy items.   The afternoon tea spread for the withes reading group will have to go on the little table to the side of the fireplace or on the coffee table in the middle of the group of chairs.  I do have an old tea trolley in my box of miscellaneous furniture, but there is no where for it to go.  What ever gave me the idea the rooms in this kit were big and spacious?  I could do with them being at least half as big again!

In the Bedsit I made a simple rectangular fireplace that covers about two thirds of the back wall of the room.  It was made out of thick corrugated cardboard which was then coated with some polyfilla and painted white to resemble rough plasterwork.  The hearth was covered in a thin layer of paperclay on which I used my herringbone brick impress mould.  The back of the fireplace is prebought MDF brickboard. Both this and hearth were painted first in mortar grey, then dry brushed successive layers of brick tones of reds and browns before the lot was covered in "soot" (black paint).  A thin strip of balsa wood accross the top of the opening creates the look of a lintel while some bits of black wire bent into hooks and stuck up the chimney make pot hangers (or do I mean cauldron hangers?).  Now Hetty has somewhere to cook her meals and can keep warm in winter.  There's just one problem in this room though, I can't fit a table in it.  So Hetty can cook over a fire, but doesn't have anywhere to prepare the meal before it goes in the pot, nor anywhere to sit down and eat.  The only solution I hve for this is to make a folding table attached to the wall that takes up no space when not in use, the only problem no one will be able to get in or out of the room when it is in use.  It may not matter anyway as I have just bought a shiny brass bed for the room that I hope will fit.  There is a good chance that when it arrives I will have to completely rethink the room to fit it in.  So I won't be making any changes in this room for a couple of weeks until the bed arrives and I have the chance to see how it looks.