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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Lighting the Fires

 I had two goals to achieve in the castle this week; the lights and the fires.  I had hoped to do the fires the previous week, but had a problem finding the things I needed to do so.  Thus this week started with me going out to every shop I could think of that might just have some black seed beads until I finally found some.  With that problem sorted, I made some andirons by glueing some wooden beads together and painting them pewter.  I then glued some logs to the backs of them and then tipped some matt black and red glass seed beads coated in watered down PVA glue over the top.  I've used this method to make some very effective fake fires before, but somehow something didn't quite work this time.  True, I did forget to use some black paint to make the logs look charred before adding the beads, but there is something else wrong as well.  Not enough beads perhaps?  I'll have to take a close look at some of the earlier fires and compare them to see if I can figure it out.

My other main goal for the week was the lights.  When I say lights, like the fires, I mean fake lights and not things that really light up.  As this is a castle, candle lights seemed like the most obvious choice.  I made candles for the various light fittings by dripping wax from a 1:1 candle into sections of drinking straw and poking a piece of cotton into the top to be the wick.  When the wax was dry, the candles were carefully pushed out of the straws.  To fix the candles in position on their various fittings, I remelted the bottoms of the candles and quickly postitioned them.  I then dripped a little extra wax over the candles to give them a used, dribbly look.

The first light I started on was the chandelier for the Entry Hall.  This was made from two chipboard scrapbooking accessories in a flower or star shape, one being slightly smaller than the other.  On the tip of each petal/point, I glued a cylindrical wooden bead with a round flat bead on top of that.  The two shapes were stacked on top of each other, connected by a larger cylindrical bead.  It was then painted black and had some  candles added to each of the flat round beads.  The chandelier was then suspended from the Entry Hall ceiling on a length of chain.  When it was first hung, it looked like this:

The next day it was hanging like this:

It had taken on quite a lean, which rather alarmed Artie, who wasn't quite tall enough to prod it back to the level.  We think a cat must have been playing with it when we weren't looking.

Scattered around the walls of the Entry and Dining Halls are seven wall mounted candle sconces.  These have balsa wood backs with a gold finding acting as a reflecting plate.  The candles stand on a piece of cornice (or depending on where you live coving) about half a centimetre wide and attached at the bottom of the balsa backing.  The final lighting task was to finish the three candlearbra started last week by adding candles.

With the major targets finished, I went back to my "to-do" list and decided the next thing was to make the extra foodstuffs needed for the kitchen as well as the other polymer clay pieces the castle needed.  

 For the kitchen I made various vegetables like carrots and zuchinis, a griddle with sizzling bacon for the hotplate, a meat and vegetable casserole in the previously empty pot hanging over the fire and some mice. 

For the garden, there were some lilly pads and flowers and a pair of birds.  The flowers were given some colour with chalk paints and they and the lilly pads were positioned in the castle's fountain and the Witch shop's garden pond.

In the library, the items on the desk were rearranged and had a large book on an equally large bookrest added to them.  Another of Nicky Cooper's little dragons has moved into the castle and has taken up residence on the library desk.

 With all of this done, I think I have achieved my goal of having the castle ready to populate by the time my "people" moulds arrive in the mail.  Yes, there are still a lot of things that need fixing, replaing or adding, but I can class all of these as finishing touches that come after the populating phase.


  1. You've been busy - I'm impressed! Your ceiling light is very effective and I smiled at the picture of Artie trying to fix it in the second pic after the "cat attack". I also like the little metal details on your table candelabra, its a nice touch.

    Hopefully, you'll get the solution to your fires - it's a good way of getting the effect using the seed beads. I wouldn't have thought of that.

  2. Thanks Irene. I probably wouldn't have ever thought of seed bead fires either, except that one day some time ago I was rifling though draws and cupboards looking for inspiration on how to make a fire (um, without resorting to matches that is) and there were the red glass beads catching the light and glowing like embers. Perfect.