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, March 30, 2012

For Sale

With the local Doll, Bear and Miniature fair to be held in May and the bi-annual Miniature Extravaganza in July, I will be needing some extra cash to take advantage of the events.  I've given up on the idea of saving, everytime you try and save money a string of minor disasters happen that force you to spend more than you normally would.  So I've decided instead to try and make some money by selling some things I don't need.

I'll be listing these items on ebay soon, but I'm offering them here first to my wonderful followers first on a first in best dressed basis.  The items are all one of a kind and of . . . dubious . . . quality.  I either made or refinished every item so expect flaws.

The prices I give are in Australian dollars.  All prices are negotiable so feel free to make an offer and I am willing to split up a set if you only want one item.  Postage will vary depending on where you are so please ask me for a quote.  You can pay with Paypal.  If you're an Australian, you can also pay with direct debit, cheque or money order if you prefer.  You can ask questions or make offers by leaving a comment of this post or emailing me at celestial@y7mail.com.

Oh yes, and all items are of course 1/12 scale.

This dinning set consists of four side chairs (no carvers), table and sideboard/hutch/dresser. All have been painted black with gold accents.  The chair seats are upholstered in red crushed velvet.  The table top has a golden sunburst desgin in the centre.  Both chairs and table are cheap commonly available miniatures which have been custom refinished.  The sideboard/hutch/whatever is a cheap set of non working drawers with a shelf unit made of balsa wood glued on top.  It is highly imperfect and you will probably be better off asking me not to include it with the rest of the set.  Price is $25 + postage or a reasonable offer.

These two chairs are finished in the same way as the dining set above, but have a different design on the back panel.  I had them mixed in with the dining set for years and no one ever noticed that they didn't match.  Price is $10 + postage or a reasonable offer.

This four piece lounge set consists of a coffee table, a sofa and two chairs, one with arms for a gentleman and one without for ladies (so their voluminous skirts can cascade over the sides).   They have been upholstered with a crushed red velvet and are stained in "mahogany".  Price is $25 + postage or a reasonable offer.

 This set of musical instruments consists of a harp, music stand, piano, piano stool and a brass horn (french horn?).  All have been painted white with gold accents.  The piano has had beads glued under it's feet to lift it up enough that a 1/12 scale doll can sit at it comfortably.  The beads look a little like wheels but mean that the "pedals" don't reach the floor.  They will be easy enough to snap off if you don't want them.  Price is $25 + postage or a reasonable offer.

This bed is made from balsa wood in a sleigh bed style.  The bedspread/cover is not removable.  As shown in the last photo the bed is actually too short for a 1/12 scale doll but it does look okay when in a room setting without anyone in it.   Price is $10 + postage or a reasonable offer.

This doll has porcelain head, hands and feet on a soft body.  She was hand dressed and wigged.  I don't like her enough to reuse her when I redo the Georgian house, but don't know if I could bear to strip and redress her.  She wears one of the first wigs I ever made and her dress is also made not long after I first started making miniature clothes and it shows.  She is not well finished: many flaws.  Price is  $10 + postage or a reasonable offer.

This is the bed from the pre-renovated Dawncrest Castle.  I was sorry not to be able to reuse it in the castle.  The bed and bedding were all handmade and thus are imperfect.  The bed is made mostly of balsa wood with pre turned posts at the foot.  It comes with one large pillow and four smaller bolster cushions.  Price is $20 + postage or a reasonable offer.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Second Wizard

The doll I made a couple of weeks ago with the intention of making him into a wizardly companion for the Sorceress turned out looking decidedly un-wizardly  So this week I decided to have another go.

Hmmm . . . . Better than last time but I'm not entirely certain he's quite right either.

I don't really know why I'm worried about making a wizard to go into the cave, be barely fits in anyway there's so much already down there.  At this point I haven't decided whether to use him in the cave or save him for my next wizardly project.

Meanwhile the Grotto area is still annoying me.  It needed some sparkle, so I hung some crystal stars from the ceiling.  Unfortunately it still lacks focus.  It needs something tall and shimmery and raising the mermaid onto a pedestal doesn't cut it.  Is it too late to rip out the Grotto and start again?

In other parts of the cave, some new Gremlins have taken up residence and started causing trouble.  This pair was made by Nickycc.

Next door to the cave, the crypt is now more or less finished.  I took the ghost lady out, she was too dominating in the space.  A few accessories were added to the shelf, a few mice from the Old castle kitchen and a cat to chase them have found their way into the crypt too.

In the Hall, the guest's luggage has finally arrived.  The pile of trunks is stacked shoulder high and the servants can't quite figure out how they're going to get those boxes up the narrow spiral stairs of the castle.

 I have done a tad of re-organising in the Wardrobe.  The "stooll of ease" is now on the right wall under the window making room for some extra storage trunks on the left.

Overall, the castle is getting close to being finished.  I have a lot of little accessories to make, but nothing that will really change the way it looks now.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Population Boom

After burying the floor under a foot deep mass of fabrics and trims and suffering countless needle and pin pricks, the castle is now loaded with lots of gaily dressed people.  All the clothes have been hand made and many of the dolls were hand wigged too.  Many of the dolls used are from the castle before I started to renovate it, a couple were made from polymer clay especially for the remodelled castle.

Heidi Ott child doll in green dress.
Sitting lady in black.
Lady in blue velveteen gown
Heidi Ott lady doll in red gown.
Golden hair net.
She needs more jewellery!
The men of the castle.  Not too sure about that blue hat though!
Zaltar, Sarisha and Nera.  The two girls were made from polymer clay.
 I named the castle Dawncrest because certain elements of the castle reminded me of a fictional castle called Dawncrest.  So to enhance the similarity I made three dolls up to look like three characters from the story in which the original Dawncrest appears.  They are from an exotic foreign land and have just arrived.  Do you remember those boxes I started to make a couple of weeks ago?  When I get around to finishing them, they will be the travellers' luggage.

 Now I'll probably end up spending all week rearranging the dolls until I find a position I like for everyone.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Clay Pits

The idea this week was to make all the little bits and pieces the castle needed from polymer clay.  Between interuptions, a marked lack of ability and a rapidly dwindling pool of enthusiasim only a few items were made before I packed the clay away again.  As for those items I did make . . . well, there is a varying degree of success there.  For example, Gertie the Ghost was made for the Crypt.  She does look sort of ghost like and she even glows in the dark, but she's really too big and too dominating for the space.  I did use the remainder of my glow in the dark sculpy to make a single disembodied arm that could be positioned to reach out from behind something as an alternative to Gertie but every time I try and glue it in place, it falls down.  That's all right though, I'm not really sure I like that yet either.  Yep, it was that sort of week.

The rest of the items made with the clay are for the Magician's Cave.  Mostly they consisted of dragons and gremlins.  Making gremlins is actually fairly fun, but for goodness sake leave the dragons to the professionals.  Mine look like rats that have been exposed to large doses of radiation!.  The two dragons I did make are on the right side of the photo below.  The green dragon is in a cage while his lavender toned friend swings beneath it in an attempt to spring the captive.  I guess things would have gone better if I wan't being so ambitious and just made freestanding dragons in bland poses.  In the cage beside them is a yellow dragon made by Nickycc.  Even though he doesn't show up too well in this photo it's still clear how much better the yellow dragon is than my attempts. 

It's really very surprising how tiny Nicky's dragons actually are, I kept having to make mine smaller and smaller and still they're giants compared to Nicky's.  The third cage at the back holds a gremlin I made with legs hanging down.  Both the dragon and gremlin in cages that I made were sculpted in bits (i.e. body, head, wings) out of the cage then assembled in the cage.  Yes, there was cursing involved at that point.  In the Grotto area there is a small mermaid and a beflippered water dragon.  I don't have a good photo of either because the whole grotto area needs . . . .well, something different to them to give it more of a boost.

The last clay items made were people.  They didn't really want to co operate either.  Below is a photo of the man who was supposed to be a wizardly companion for the sorceress.

 Overlooking the fact that his head isn't on straight, there really isn't anything very wizardy or magical about him is there?  He looks more like a servant somehow.  He'll find a home somewhere in the castle, but not as a wizard.  I also made two women who will be positioned in the Hall, but they're still naked and bald and refused to be photographed until next week.

At this point I gave up on the clay completely and set about making things for the Cave from everything but clay.  I made stacks and stacks of books by cutting blocks of balsa wood to book size and wrapping them in leather covers.  Glass bottles were filled with "magic" ingredients, paper was rolled into scrolls and cnadles were made from wax.  When I though I had enough of everything I started loading up the shelves.

 Hmm, not bad but I think they could use some cobwebs.  Billy the Gremlin is holding a bottle on the top shelf.  He's another of Nickycc's masterpieces and the reason why I tried making gremlins was so he could have some company.

After the shelves were filled I had enough books left over to make a few crazy stacks to spread around the cave.  I had been having trouble finding furniture that looked right in the cave and have reached the conclusion that I can only add very low items if I want things to look at home.  The current low table is an agate slice sitting on a stool.  With proper legs made for it I think this is the winning option, plus it allows me to display more of Nicky's dragons right at the front where they will be most noticable.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Bits and Pieces

Remember last week I had trouble with one of the lights in the Magician's Cave and no amount of fiddling or twitching would get it to go?  It turns out I didn't need to spend all that time trying to cajole it to work; all I needed to do was leave it alone for a few days, then switch the lights on again.  Instant success.  Are lights always this temperamental or is it just me they don't like?

Moving on from electrics, a lot of little things happened in the castle this week with the result that most of the rooms are really starting to come together.  The Wardrobe had perhaps the most dramatic change.  The cupboard unit on the back wall has been painted, a small shelf has been added on the left wall, a straw mat has been made for the floor and the, uh, facilities in the form of a "stool of ease" have been added.  The stool of ease was used in the Tudor era as a forerunner of the modern toilet.  It is essentially a box with a hole in the top.  One sits over the hole and fills up the bucket in the cupboard below.  My version has a padded velvet seat with closeable lid, opening doors in the side to allow for the bucket to be swapped for an empty one and a sponge on a stick hanging from the side to be used in the manner we would use toiliet paper today.

 Next door in the bedroom there have been a few small changes.  I made a set of bedsteps out of balsa wood and swapped the side table with the one from the Solar.  By using this table as a desk I can put a chair in the room where just a chair on it's own looked out of place before.  The fireplace has been dirtied up with a little "soot" (i.e. drybrushed black paint) and the embers have been given a small makeover.  The way the embers came the black coals seemed to block too much of the light bulb inside meaning when the fire was turned on, there wasn't much glow.  So I pried off a lot of the coals and replaced them with a thin layer of black glass seed beads mixed with a few red ones.  The red beads give the effect of glowing coals even when the lights are out and there is more glow when turned on.  I did the same for all three of the castle's fireplaces.

 There is a new rag style rug for the Solar floor.  Those of you who have been following since Highcroft Castle will recognise the way I made the rug.  It's a length of varigated knitting yarn coiled into a circle.

There were lots of changes in the Hall.  I finally decided on a design for the cupboard for the right back corner.  I needed to put something here as this is where the stairs came up from the kitchen in the original castle and the clay floor sunk a little over the patch and needed obscuring.  I used a cheap plain cupboard that had been in the original bedroom, added an open shelf on the top and painted the lot white to compliment the Hall.  I painted some relief stickers the green used in the hall and added them to the cupboard.

 Across the other side of the Hall is the only other piece of furniture the room is going to have.  It's a simple bench seat.  The base is made of short turned posts connected by arches of balsa wood designed to echo the post and arch design of the Gallery railing above.  The seat of the bench is a plank of more balsa.  Again, this was painted green and white.

 The fire surround has been painted and glued into place.  Yet again, more green and white with gold accents.  Some of the tapestries from the Old castle have been rehung in the Hall, each selected because green was a predominate colour in it.  Alas the one over the fire needs to be popped off the wall and rehung as it managed to get itself crooked.

The chandelier that hangs from the Gallery ceiling has been raised and centred over the new Hall fireplace.

Finally, I've started making a few boxes.  They'll go in the Hall, but they're not furniture.  I'll leave you to guess at their purpose for now.