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.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Second Time Around

With the Lair finished, it was time to do something I've been wanting to do for years . . . . rip everything our of the Bellerose house and start it again from scratch.  Most of you won't be familiar with this house in it's first incarnation, it was the very first house I worked on on this blog and it was horrid.  It was one of those houses that just would not cooperate and I hated it from about five minutes after I first started it.  Now after years of ignoring it I'm finally going to turn it into something fabulous (I hope!).

This is the house with all everything stripped out of it (and a few test pieces of furniture moved back in).  As you can see it's basically five big empty boxes and was made using two cheap shelf units side by side.  As part of the renovation, I'll add a sixth room where you can see the bath in this photo.

The original house was Victorian, the new house will be late Victorian/Edwardian with a jumble of influences from between 1890 to 1910.  The ground floor will hold the dining room combined with the entry hall and the kitchen.  Technically, you would have been unlikely to walk right into a dining room through the front door of an Edwardian house, but in this case it's a better use of the available space.  This is going to be a back to front house, so the front door of the house will be on the back wall.  It'll just be a fake door, not an opening one. The back of the room will be raised above the level of the dining room floor by a platform.  Some fancy fretwork railing will separate the two levels of the room and help define the two spaces (entry/dining).

Next door will be the kitchen, right where it used to be.  Most of the furniture from the original kitchen will be reused in here (oven, table, sink and hutch) but rearranged to make better use of the space and allow for an expanded scullery area.  Like the dining room the back of the room will be raised up a couple of steps to define the areas of kitchen and scullery.

The middle floor will house the sitting room and what I'm currently calling the Rec room (as in recreation room).  The Sitting room will reuse the original gothic style sofa and chairs and the gothic theme in here will be enhnced with the addition of some of Sue Cook's plasterware and some William Morris style wallpaper.  Style wise this room will probably be a bit behind the times of the rest of the house, but hopefully it will good good enough you will be able to forgive the residents for not keeping it more up to date.  The Rec room will have a combination of uses, part study/office, part games room (including pool table) and part artist's studio.  Basically it's a place to spend your leisure time whether you like to read, paint or play games.

The top floor will be for bedrooms and bathroom.  The main bedroom will have a chinoserie theme (using up the paper I bought last year for Preston House but decided not to use).  Next door to this will be the bathroom which may be one large room or I may divide into two to create a bathroom and a second small bedroom.

So, here's hoping that this house will be better the second time around.

Monday, April 22, 2013

'Ere Be Dragons

'Ere be dragons . . . . Or at least 'ere be one dragon.  As promised last week, the Dragon Wizard has summoned up another companion in the form of a serpentine oriental style dragon.  I call him Claude, not very oriental I know, but take a look at that face and tell me he doesn't look like a Claude?

 Claude started out as a wire skeleton over which some kitchen alfoil was wrapped to create his "muscles".  He was topped off with a skin of polymer clay.  A small tear shaped cutter was held at an angle so that only the rounded bottom pressed into the clay to create his scales.

Claude's eyes are dark blue gemstone beads that were inserted in his head durring sculpting.  This is the first time I've tried using solid eyes in polymer clay creations and had them turn out well.

Claude was wrapped around an unturned ceramic mixing bowl and held in place with balsa wood scaffolding to create his shape before being baked in the oven.   He's a little top heavy so you may notice a discreet stand holding his neck up in some photos.

Claude was supposed to have his head turned around to look more directly at the Wizard, but this just proved to hard to position for baking.

 Aside perhaps from a few touches here and there, the Lair is now finished.  I used DHE's "Garden Pavillion" kit to create the Lair, or rather I used the Pavillion part of the kit.  I would like to use the "Garden" section to add an oriental garden infront of the Lair, but this would make the Lair twice as deep and I can't think where I could put it.  I don't know where it's going to fit in now as it is.  Nor do I know how I'd keep some (1:1) cats out of the garden if I made it.  So for now, I'm going to start on a few of the other projects I'm bursting to do and I'll come back to the possible garden at a later time.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lair Work

It's been another busy week in the Dragon Wizard's Lair with the furniture from last week finished off and a few new additions added.

The daybed was finished off with a red brocade seat cushion which was then almost totally hidden from view by the addition of the Dragon Wizard's new companion.  I was planning ahead and made the doll I knew I would want to accompany the DW at the same time as I made the ladies for Pennicotts.  All she needed now was dressing, wiggin and her make up putting on.  Much like the DW, she is dressed in an outfit of chiffon and brocade and hand wigged.

Once she was dressed and wigged she was glued into position on the daybed and her gown was pinned into position to drape nicely.  It was then sprayed with starch and allowed to dry.  When the pins were removed this was the result:

A few pieces of jewllery finished her off nicely.  The companion is meant to be glamourous, yet still leave DW to be the star of the show.  Aside from forgetting to put shoes on her before glueing her feet onto the daybed, I think she turned out pretty well.  My current plan is to put a pair of slippers under the daybed so it looks like she kicked them off before putting her feet up.

I made the daybed and the Companion to sit along the right side wall, but as soon as I tried the finished bed/doll in position I realised that she looked better the other way around, so I swapped the daybed with the console table moving the daybed to the left wall.

This arrangement means that the large cabinet has to sit at an angle to fit in.  I showed you the start of the cabinet last week.  This week it has been finished off by adding "paintings" (images printed off the computer) to all the cupboard doors and drawer fronts.  These were glued in place and then surrounded by "copper" fixings made from copper toned faux leadlighting outliner.  The door/drawer knobs are all blobs of the outliner too.  The open sections at the top were filled in with paper scrolls and a metal bead to resemble small pot or inkwell.  A small gold dragon statue sits ontop.

The console table (now on the right side of the Lair) has been topped off with a bonsai tree.  The bonsai was made from pieces of wire twisted together to form a trunk and flared apart to create spread roots and branches.  I only had green wire and so had to paint it brown.  The paint doesn't stick well to the wire so you can still see some patches of green that will need to be touched up.  Lichen moss was glued onto the branches to create the foliage.  I found a shallow bowl (or maybe it was a deep plate?) in my stash and glued a couple of small polished pebbles into it.  The bonsai was glued atop one of the rocks with it's roots spread over it.  Some autumnally toned fake railway foliage was glued around the rocks in the base to finish it off.

 I'm not sure I like the right side with the console table there, so maybe I'll end up moving the daybed and Companion back over there . . . . . . . Perhaps.

 Anyway, here's how the overall Lair looks with the current arrangement:

  What do you think?  Should the console table and daybed/Companion switch places?  The Lair is now nearly complete, there is just one more major item yet to be made and added: a dragon.  (Well, he is a dragon wizard after all).  The dragon will be a long snakelike oriental type and (if I am good enough) will wrap around the dragon wizard as though answering a magical summons. Yep, I've saved the hardest thing for last.

Starying away from miniautes, a couple of months back I showed you a section of the cross stitch I had been working on.  Well after many years of work, it is finally finished and here it is:

Nope, sorry, that's Ginny.  Here's the cross stitch:

Ginny again . . . . .  Finally, I moved the cross stich to somewhere the cat didn't want to be and managed to get a photo:

The design is called "The Japanese Garden" by Anchor's Maia range.  It's 30cm x 40cm or 12" x 16".  I started this about six years ago, so now you know that I don't finish everything as quickly as I do dollshouses.  The fact that this design has an oriental flavour and I am currently working on an oriental-ish dollshouse is just a coinsidence.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Long Time, No Blog

I have been a very lazy blogger lately.  I have no excuse, I just didn't feel like blogging, so kept finding other things to do instead.  The next thing I knew it was almost a month since my last post.  I think this level of blog neglect is a record for me.

First up I need to warn everyone that my email address seems to have been Hacked.  If you recieve an email from celestial@y7mail.com please delete it immediately.  I did not send it and it will probably do horrible things to your computer.  I have sent up a new email account with a different address and will not use the celestial address again.  I am also totally unable to access the celestial account so if you've sent me an email over the past few days I won't recieve it and I've also lost my contacts/address book so if I had your email address, I've now lost it so will be unable to contact you except through non-email means (i.e. blog comments).

When not panicing over my electronic security (or obvious lack thereof) I've been hard at work on the Dragon Wizard's Lair.  The inside of the Lair is starting to come together now I've started adding furniture.

 Along the left side of the Lair are some stacked chests, a daybed and a stand.  All are hand made, the daybed and stand from balsa wood with some laser cut panels in the daybed.  The chests were printed from a printables website sometime ago for a project I decided not to use them in.  I've since completely forgotten the site where I found them, but they look quite convincing as long as they are tucked up a back corner. 

The red hanging covers the patchy wall where I blocked off the side door that came in the kit.  It isn't necessarily the hanging that I will use, it's just one that was left over from the Oriental Folly.

 Along the opposite wall are two more pieces of furniture.  The tall cabinet at the back is not finished, so still looks a little odd. Before I started it looke like this:

I cut the top off and re-attached it underneath the bottom.  The door of the (formerly) bottom cupboard were bashed out and a range of shelves and drawers made out of balsa wood were aranged in the cavity.  More balsa wood made a pair of drawers to sit under the unit.  With these drawers in place, the whole unit still looked a little on the small side so I added some pre-bought chunky wooden drawers under them.  A pair of "fins" carved from balsa wood were added to the top and I had a very unconvincing Japanese style document cabinet.

The console table is more balsa wood and a laser cut panel.  The filigree pieces at either end are cut from pieces of fan blade, the same sort of fan I used to create the railing for the stairs in Preston House last year.

 Outside the Lair has a stronger Japanese feel than the inside does.  The walls are painted the same colour as the internal walls and decorated with some balsa wood strips painted dark brown.  I punched out the internal structure of the windows and doors that came with the kit and redesigned them to have a more asian flavour.  Hmmm . . . . I think I like the windows/doors on the Oriental Folly more than these.  Oh well.  Like the Oriental Folly the roof is made from glueing drinking straws along it and covering them with air dry clay.  This time I arranged the straws closer together so each tile is arched unlike the folly which has an arched tile then a flat one.  The tiles were then painted olive green and covered with gloss varnish.

The weekend also saw the annual Doll, Bear and Miniature fair held at the local Casino in support of the Eskleigh home.  As usual the event was packed and a combination of exciting and disappointing.   I bought a lot of wonderful things including a bathroom suite for the next house I'm going to do and a fabulous fireplace for an absloute bargain price.  Mostly the rest of my haul was knick knacks that will always be useful to fill any empty space.  I don't know what I'll do with the garden gnomes/dwarves but I simply couldn't resist.  Sadly, I didn't find anything to accent the Lair or my Cabin for the DHE competition.  (By the way, if you see a building sitting next to the Lair in a few photos, just ignore it, I can't tell you about it until much later in the year!).

The fair featured all the usual suspects and a newcommer to the fair, Shelly MacLeod of Dollhouse Dreaming.  She is a truely talented artisan.  Here's a sample of her work which I've "borrowed" from her website:

Not only does she make the most exqusite dolls but she also makes houses and is a talented painter.  Her site, Dollhouse Dreaming, is well worth looking at even though none of the photos there actually does justice to the pieces she makes.  There is just one catch, buying one of her absolutely gorgeous dolls would have wiped out my entire budget for the fair.  I guess I'll just have to keep on dreaming . . . .

Email Hack

I'm not too sure what's going on at the moment, but I'm pretty sure my email address has been hacked.

If you recieve an email claiming to be from me at celestial@y7mail.com delete it immediately. I've set up a new email account and will be using this for the duration. If you notice anything odd on my Flickr or Blog pages, do not trust it.

Yahoo isn't letting me back into my email account until I answer the security question "where did you spend your honeymoon?".  I'm having trouble answering this as I'm not married!