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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.


  1. Lights hate me too :(

    The castle is looking great, the Great Hall looks fabulous!


  2. I like - lots of pics showing lots of progress. It's all coming together really well and I particularly like your "stool of ease" with accompanying sponge stick - that's a great touch!