A Randomly Selected Newspaper Headline:

The following is a randomly selected newspaper headline from many years ago:

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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, May 27, 2013

Adding the Portals

Getting around in Bellerose House has become a little easier this week with the addition of doors that allow the residents to move from one room to another (albeit with difficulty as none of the doors have door knobs just yet!).

In the Dining room, the main entry door now sits on the back wall.  The door has side lights and a deerfield pediment.  On the right you can almost see another door leading toward the kitchen.  These (and the other doors in the house) were made with the door slips I showed you a couple of weeks ago.  I can tell you that they are very effective and easy to use.  The one flaw in them is that they are possibly a little low, only just over six inches high.  They probably wouldn't be right for a modern house, but look OK in a period house when doorways tended to be a little lower than today.

 In the kitchen is another "slip" door on the side wall and the one door in the house not done with the slips.  For the 'tradesmans entrance' I used the side door that came as part of the Garden Pavillion kit (aka the Dragon Wizard's Lair).

On the next floor up, there are no doors.  A window has been added to the back wall of the faux hallway behind the sitting room.  In the middle of the room currently rests one of the four pieces of coving for the room; the only one painted so far.

 More doors on the top floor with the bedroom portal now in place.  Technically the doors that I've used aren't typically Edwardian.  The framing around the door is Victorian while the six panelled doors are more Georgian.  I could have made some doors that were more suited to the era, but I see this house not as a new build but as an older house that has been modified over the years, hence a mix in the styles of some of the built in features like the doors.

The final two rooms have seen the most drastic changes this week.  The bathroom and second bedroom are no longer emtpy boxes but have been wallpapered, tiled and had doors added.   In the bathroom the door is on the back wall, mostly hidden by a pony wall.  This short wall will block the view of activity in the bathroom should the door ever be opened at an inoppurtune moment.  It will also help protect against chilly draughts blowing in.  The stacked black drawers next to the door will be replaced by a proper storage unit eventually.

There were only three colours that really worked with the bathroom tiles; green, white or pink.  I have a few personal issues with pink, but there will already be a lot of green accents in this house and white would have been too stark and clinical.  So the upper walls were done pink . . . . Is it just because I have issues with pink or does it really look as horrid as I think it does?  I'm thinking I might have to replace the pink with a light green.

The second bedroom walls are covered in "jubilee" paper by JLB miniatures.  I really like this paper because the colours aren't as bold as many miniature papers and the softer effect really helps the pattern look right in scale and not as overpowering as some papers tend to be.  Just to add a little interest I added a small dogleg in the back wall bringing the door forward a little.

The house now needs trim throughout (cornice/coving, skirting and lots of very 'Federation' (Aussie Edwardian) fretwork details). 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Paper Everywhere

With the boring outside done (paw prints patched and all) I was finally able to start making Bellerose House look like someplace people could live.

The Dining room has had both walls and floors covered.  The flooring in here (and throughout most of the house) is fake.  The tiles in the raised entry area are just a paper sheet from DHE while the parquet in the dining area is printed from a printable tile found on the internet.  Normally, I wouldn't consider printed flooring good enough as it tends to look too . . . .flat.  It lacks the texture of "real" flooring.  But one thing I've noticed is that by the time I've finished working on a room, very little of the floor remains visible.  Between furniture, rugs and people the floor virtually disappears, so this time I decided it wasn't worth the effort of spending hours rolling, marking and painting clay to create a more realistic tile effect.  At the moment the two different floors in this room sort of clash; they both have detailed patterns that compete for attention.  Never fear though, by the time I've finished there will be more of a break between the two to ease the competition.  The wallpaper in here is a scrapbooking paper with a neutral damask pattern.

 Next door in the kitchen is one of the few floors that are "real" and textured in this house.  Although it doesn't show up well in this photo, the floor in here is "slate" made from a layer of polyfilla into which lines were scored to create a block or flagstone pattern.  It's still a little too dark at the moment and needs some more light highlights to bring it to life.  The walls have been covered with "tiles" above which they are covered with a pale blue fabric.

The next floor up sees a return to fake paper flooring.  I bought this parquet paper to use in the house that is now Preston House the second time I decorated it (Preston House is the third incarnation of that particular house).  I had so much left over from that project that I could use it on several floors since and still cover the floor of both rooms on this level.  Since I decided to keep the archway that directly connects the Sitting room to the Rec room these rooms will have a lot in common decor wise, but hopefully still have two distinct personalities.  The Sitting room is covered floor to (almost) ceiling with a William Morris wallpaper called "Golden Lily".  This paper is absolutely gorgeous and not as badly hung as it appears in this photo (I promise!).  It's just that the paper has a slight glossy sheen that wreaks havoc with a camera flash.

Take the photo without the flash and the paper is flawless, but the room is horribly dark and gloomy.  Until we get some sun back in wintery Tasmania, it's a lose-lose situation for taking photos.  The gap between ceiling and paper will be filled by some wide gothic cornice/coving.  The faux hallway behind the room has been papered with more of the Dining room paper.

Through the arch is the Rec room which again features the William Morris paper.  This time it lines the upper walls and some panelling will be used on the lower walls.  By using the dining table as a stand-in pool table I've decided that the three functions I want for this room (pool room, study and art studio) will all fit.  I wouldn't want to be sitting at the desk when anyone was trying to wield a pool cue though, it could prove painful!

 Up to the top floor and the main bedroom is, well, very yellow.  This is the wallpaper I bought for the bedroom in Preston House but decided not to use.  I used a solid fitted carpet in here instead of say, floorboards and a rug, as I really didn't think this room needed any more pattern or visual interest than that which the wallpaper already gave it.  If I were to remove the fire from along the left wall you'd see a small hole in the carpet.  This is because after I pulled the carpet out of the cupboard I left is sitting out in the open where any cat could come along and chew on it.  Luckily, aside from that one small patch, I still had enough unchewed carpet to cover the room.

 The final two rooms are the least adavnced.  Both these rooms have had floorboards made from popsicle sticks laid, but no other work has been done in them.  As you can probably tell from the photo, there aren't quite enough tiles to cover both sides and the back wall of the bathroom.  I do have a plan to accomodate this, but I can't afford to make a mistake or simply change my mind so I'm procrastinating over starting the walls in here until I'm absolutely sure I haven't overlooked anything.  As for the second bedroom, I simply ran out of suitable adhesive before I reached that room. 

Friday, May 17, 2013

Gonna Be a Bear

I don't know the source for this except to say it was going around my Grandma's retirement complex.

"Gonna Be a Bear . . . . 

"In this life I'm a woman.  In my next life I'd like to come back as a bear.  When you're a bear you get to hibernate.  You do nothing for six months.  I could live with that.

"Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid.  I could deal with that too.

"When you're a girl bear you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown cute, cuddly cubs.  I could definately deal with that.

"If you're a mama bear, everyone knows you mean business.  You swat everyone who bothers your cubs.  If your cubs get out of line you swat them too.  I could deal with that.

"If you're a bear your mate Expects you to wake up growling.  He Expects that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.  Yep, gonna be a bear!"

Monday, May 13, 2013

A Little Fur-ensic Evidence

I accomplished quite a lot in miniatures this week . . . but can't show you any of it because the work was done on my entry in this year's DHE competition and I can't reveal it until after the entries close in September.

I did do a little work on Bellerose House, but it's not much to look at.  I applied some textured paste to the exterior of the newly added bathroom/spare room to blend it into the finish of the existing house.  This takes forever to dry, so it's slow progress.  After a couple of coats I thought I was ready to apply a coat of paint over the whole exterior to tone it all in together and the outside would be finished.  Then I saw this:

If you can't see what the mark in the surface is, perhaps this photo of the cupboard beside the house will help:

 The trail leads right to Charlie the cat's favourite cat bed.  Good job he's so cute or there'd be trouble!

Once I've fixed the footprints and given the outside a final coat of paint, I'll be ready to start decorating the inside of the house.  The dining room walls will be covered with the beige and white scrapbooking paper in the below photo.  The yellow paper I bought for Preston House last year but decided not to use.  It will go in Bellerose House's bedroom.  The pink and teal fabric may be used in the Rec room, but I am worried it won't work with the wallpaper I want to use in the adjoining Sitting room, but I won't know if it does or not until the Sitting room paper arrives.

Although the order with the Sitting room wallpaper has yet to arrive,the rest of the goodies have arrived in the mail.  The plaster cornice/coving is for the gothic themed sitting room.  It's from Sue Cook Miniatures  and is probably the last thing I'll be buying from there, not because of the service or quality of the items but simply because the postage from the UK cost more than the price of the already expensive moulding.  And that's after Sue discounted the postage cost a little.  UK postage charges are just criminal these days!  The doors came from a mob called Minaco on ebay.  For around $8 you get three pairs of door facings.  You can either glue a pair to either side of a piece of wood to make a "real" working door or simply glue one panel to a wall and surround with some trim/framing to create a fake door.  They are a great idea and the cheapest way I've come across to make panelled doors.  The tiles came from Jacquies Miniatures.  The green "modernist" tiles are for the bathroom while the white tiles are for the kitchen.

Provided Charlie neither walks through it, sits on it or eats it, there should be something worth looking at in Bellerose House by this time next week.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Walled In

Bellerose House is starting to take shape with all the internal walls and structures added and the new rooms added over the Sitting room.

In the Dining room, the floor has been raised at the back of the room.  This raised area is where the "entry hall" will be with the "front door" in the centre of the back wall.  The two holes in the floor are where I was going to put two stairs down into the dining area of the room, but I've veered back to the original plan of having one set of steps directly in front of the front door.  A fake door in the side wall (next to the lady in red) will allow "access" to the kitchen.

Next door in the kitchen the rear of the room is also raised up a step.  A fake corridor will run behind the oven to connect to the dining room.  The raised rear area will house the scullery while the kitchen proper will be at the front of the room.

Directly above the dining room is the sitting room.  This is all on one level, but has a fake wall at the back to create the illusion of a corridor running behind.  The doorway will be decorated with a fretwork arch and be left open (no door) allowing a view of the corridor.

 Connecting to the Sitting room is the Rec room.  I've used a fake wall in here to create two recessed windows which will have built in bench seats under them.  Between the windows is a fireplace.  I was going to split the function of this room three ways to be a pool/games room, a study and an art studio, but looking at the space and trying to visualise a pool table in it, I don't think there will be room for all three.  Either the study or the art studio (or both) may have to be moved upstairs.

Above the Rec room is the Bedroom.  There's yet another fake wall here creating a short passage between the main part of the room and the door on the real back wall.  I did this just to make it really hard to arrange the furniture in the room nicely.

Finally, next to the bedroom, two new rooms have been built on.  On the right is the bathroom featuring the bathrrom suite I bought at the local doll bear and miniature fair last month while the left room could either be a second bedroom or study or art studio or a combination of these, I'll make a final decision on this after I decide what will and won't work in the Rec room.

Next up I need to refinish the exterior to make the extension blend in while I wait for all the goodies I've ordered to decorate the house to arrive.  Hopefully I'll be able to show you at least some of these goodies next week.