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, February 28, 2013

Giveaway Ends Soon

Just a quick reminder to everyone that my giveaway will officially close on Thursday 28th.  As long as you leave a comment before I draw the winner over the weekend I'll still include you in the draw.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Apothecary Catches Up

Having spent the past couple of weeks focused on Pennicott's, this week it I decided it was time to give the Apothecary some TLC.  The first thing the Apothecary needed was some equipment to work with, so out came the polymer clay to create a range of bottles, jugs, mortar and pestles, plates and some distilation equipment.  While I had the clay out, I also made a start on a few people to inhabbit both the Apothecary and Pennicott's.

Once the clay creations had been baked, many of them were embellished with some acrylic paint.  This was watered down slightly and then coated in high gloss varnish to give the effect of glazed pottery.  The clay creations were then positioned in the Apothecary along with some other ready made items.

On the shelves in the back wall there are some cheap book blocks and a row of wooden storage canisters on the top shelf.  The next three shelves down hold a mix of clay vessels, small metal bead "pots" and a few glass storage jars.  In the medieval period, glass would have been a luxury item, so I kept the amount of glass jars to a minimum.

 On the central table a brazier of hot coats heats sits under a distillation jug which is producing a green liquid slowly dripping into a glass demi-john.  In times of pestilence, the apothecary would have been called upon to treat the ill and his long nosed "Plague Doctor" outfit hangs on the wall at the foot of the stairs ready for use.

Above the table, the hanging rack has been filled with bunches of herbs hung up to dry.

The desk on the left wall as been filled with papers and books and a bowl of half eaten pies left over from lunch.

 Despite concentraiting on the Apothecary, I did make one piece for Pennicott's.  I finished one of the polymer clay dolls I made by painting his face, wigging him and dressing him in a suit I stripped off a cheap pre-bought doll I redressed some time ago.  I'm not to sure about the wasitcoat that came with the outfit, I think they had become a little passe for daily wear by the fifties, but otherwise the suit is about perfect which just goes to prove the wisdom of never throwing anything away.

 Kenneth as I call this fellow is sitting on the chaise in front of the downstairs window while he waits for his lady to finish her shopping.  They've made a few stops already as evidenced by the boxes and bags beside him.  These were made from free printables off the internet while his "Time" magazine was a cut-out from an old dolls house magazine.

 And here he is in situ in the shop:

 I know I'm biased, but I think both properties are shaping up very well and both are coming close to completion with each needing only people and a range of finishing touches adding.

Monday, February 18, 2013

More Stock

First off this week is a quick reminder; the 200 Follower Giveaway is open.  If you haven't entered the draw yet, you'll find the link on the sidebar at the right of screen.

Lots more stock has arrived at Pennicott's this week, so much in fact that I had to add a couple of extra shelves in the back corner to hold it all.

 The upstairs counter has been filled with display items.  Mostly the items in the counter are excess items from other areas, such as an extra jewellery display and extra perfume bottles.

The window at the far end of the counter displays a silk handbag and a tray of assorted perfume bottles.

 The high counter adjoining the main counter displays some underwear, more jewellery and if you look really hard a pair of black gloves.

 In the centre of the floor is a display of clutch purses topped off by my attempt at making a 50s style "UFO" hat.  The purses are rectangles of cardboard wrapped in fabric and decorated with trims and flat backed jewels.  Each is displayed on a stand made from a small square of balsa wood impaled by a piece of toothpick.

Okay . . . So I said I'd at least try to make my own shoes.  I lied.  I have never made a sucessful pair of shoes yet and I didn't think it was likely I'd be able to manage it this time either.  Besides, the weather was way too hot to make attempting highly frustrating tasks seem like a good idea.  On display in the shop are styleless plastic shoes made by Heidi Ott.

 After carefully prising the top shelf out of this display unit I added a display of undergarments and gloves.  The underwear is blue silk while the gloves are made of white felt cut freehand into glove like shapes and embelished with a couple of rhinestones.  The bottom shelf holds a range of fans.  These were from a printables website and simply printed out and glued onto stands.

 Beside (and ontop of) this unit is the store's range of hats.  For the most part these are displayed on more balsa and toothpick stands. 

Most of the hats are arranged on newly added shelves made of more balsa wood and some pre-bought laser cut brackets

  The hats themselves were made from either straw braid or felt.

 The top floor is now getting very crowded.  The blank bit of wall at the end of the counter has been filled with some ad posters from printable websites but I wonder if the space might look better if I put a faux door in there instead?

 There were some changes downstairs as well.  I made a new display platform for two gowns in the front window and a raised platform to hold a gown in the centre alcove at the back.

 A few framed images of era appropriate gowns have been added to the walls.  Over the stairs are two portraits of ladies from an earlier period.  These ladies are Eustacia and Hortense Pennicott, the sisters who founded the store as they were in their youth.  Their niece and current store owner Audrey decided to keep them around for good luck.

 All this progress on the shop has been at the Apothecary's expense with not one jot of forward movement there.  The next task I want to do for the Apothecary is to make a range of clay pots and storage jars and it has just been too hot to try working with clay.  Maybe I'll be able to go ahead with it this week.  After all, this is Tasmania, we don't get that much hot weather (I hope!).

Friday, February 15, 2013

200 Follower Giveaway!

200 wonderful people have chosen to follow my blog and to celebrate I'm holding a giveaway.  The prize is a gown on a mannequin.  The winner will be able to choose what era, style and colour of gown they want and I will make it to their specification (or as close as I can manage).  The mannequin is the same as those I used for the dresses for Pennicott's.

To enter the draw all you need to do is be a follower of this blog and leave a comment on this post before 28th February.  The winner will be drawn in early March. 

 As I am allowing the winner to choose what style of gown they would like made, I can't show you a photo of the prize itself just yet, but here are a few samples of gown's I've made in the past so you can see the standard the gown will have.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

The First Shipment

The first shipment of stock has arrived at Pennicott's and owner Audrey has been busy stocking up the shelves.  In the above photo you can see the shelves behind the upstairs counter laden with a range of perfume bottles with lots of excess bottles temporarily stacked on the high counter.  These are all made from an assortment of beads with a few pre-bought "spray tops".  The long counter holds a few extra jewellery displays.

 The main jewellery dispay is on the shelf unit on the back wall.  The jewellery is made from a mix of beads, jewellery findings and rhinestones and is displayed on polymer clay busts or rectangles of balsa wood covered in velveteen.

The shoes on display are all made by Heidi Ott.  I will try to make some shoes of my own, but when they turn out to be completely horrid, these shoes will be my back up.

Downstairs, six mannequins have been dressed for display.  Now I just need to figure out how to fit them all in the shop!

This gown is plum gem studded chiffon over a beige satin underlay.  It has a fitted bodice and fish tail skirt with bow detail on the back.

This gown has a similar fish-tail style in yellow and cream.

The next gown has a fitted bodice and full circle skirt in ivory silk with a purple lace overlay.

 Certainly the most striking of the gowns is this one in red brocade and gold lamae.

Another full circle skirted gown in green velveteen.

The final gown is fully fitted with a rouched effect.

Being prepared for the next shipment of stock are some hats.  Audrey wasn't too impressed with these few samples and wants some styles more appropriate for the era.

The Apothecary wasn't totally forgotten this week.  "Coals" have been added under the hot plates, the cupboard on the back wall has been "painted" using a faux mini tapestry that was hanging about (pardon the pun) and I raided my supply of accessories for anything and everything that could suit the setting and discovered I still have a lot of things to make for this space.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Final Furniture

This week I focused on getting all the remaining furniture and building decoration work done in both Pennicott's and the Apothecary so that I can now start making accessories like dresses for the mannequins without splashing wood stain on them.  I found a long, low shelf that I pulled out of the pre-renovation Dawncrest Castle to position behind the upstairs counter and built some new shelves from balsa wood to sit atop them and frame the window.  I don't really like the fact that the counter/shelf structure now has three different wood finishes in one area, but my excuse is that when A.L. Pennicott renovated, she started to run short of funds and has to reuse a few items that no longer quite matched the rest of the shop.  Hopefully by the time they're filled with stock you won't notice the mis-match.

The rails have been added around the top of the stairwell.  They're done with pre-bought plastic railing and balsa wood posts.  I can't add the angled railing on the stairs themselves just yet as I am one length of railing short.

 Most of the furniture I made this week was for the apothecary.  The big hole in the back wall has been filled with a simple shelf unit which will hold the apothecary's various ingredients and supplies.  Beside the shelves is a small pine cupboard.  The stairs leading up to the main building are more salvage from Dawncrest Castle.  On the left wall is a small desk and stool while in the middle of the floor are two trestle tables.  I'm having trouble getting the trestle at one end of the longer table to stand up properly so I'll replace it with one of the spares that belong to the third trestle table currently folded up in storage under the stairs.  The row of hotplates on the right wall have been covered by a large metal look hood.  The hood looks decidedly out of place at the moment; it's too new and shiny looking.  I wonder if it would be better if I covered it with more brick effect or perhaps some wooden planking?