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.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

2013 In Review . . . Part Two

This year I decided to enter the DHE Creative Competition for the first time.  The only problem was that I couldn't decide which of dozens of ideas would work best with the competition kit, "The Cabin".  As the kit was released days before my birthday so DHE gave me 5% off my purchases and my birthday present from Grandmother and parents was cash I decided all these factors combined into a good excuse to buy two Cabins and make two competition entries.  The first was the Steampunk Inventors Workshop (SPIW for short).

Initially, I had very ambitious plans to turn the kit upside down and make a steampunk airship.  After some time playing with the kit trying to nut out how best to do this I came to the conculsion that the only way would be to build it from scratch, so I shelved the airship for a future time and instead used the Cabin to create the far less challenging SPIW.  In the workshop, inventor Oscar is making some last minute adjustments to his latest invention and at the same time making an absolute mess of the workshop his wife has recently finished cleaning.  A potential investor has just arrived by flying chair on the rooftop landing platform.  However will they get everything tidied up?

I worked on the SPIW alongside the Dragon Wizard's Lair.  I used it as a way to use up some furniture and odd knick knacks that had been hanging about forever.  Where else was I ever going to use a fishtank pump valve?  See more of the SPIW here.

After the SPIW, I started on the other Cabin kit which became Mill Cottage.  This was done alongside work on Bellerose House.  Mill Cottage was the more ambitious of the two Cabins and the one I expected to actually have a chance of winning something in the competition.  (This was clearly before I saw other people's competition entries).

I raised the height of the walls a couple of inches so I would have the height to add a mezzanine level so I would be able to fit in a bed space as well as a kitchen and sitting area.  I wanted the building to have a very homey feel both inside and out, something achieved in so small part by filling the house with cats.

 Like the SPIW almost everything that went into Mill Cottage was either dug out of my stash or made specifically for the cottage.  I'm really proud of the mill wheel.  Of course I always mean to make it slightly wonky.  Honestly.  More photos of Mill Cottage here.

After completeing work on Bellerose House, I decided it was time to break with reality and work on my favourite kind of project, a full blown fantasy project. The Crystal Garden is the first of a series of roomboxes that will stack together to create the "Tower of Magic".

The three main ingredients in the garden are glass tiles, faux leadlighting paint and beads.  The tiles line the back wall and paths while smaller tiles line the sides of the garden beds.  The leadlighting paint create the stained glass looking landscapes out the side windows and the decorated ceiling.  These areas are backed with mirror paper to bounce the light back through the faux leadlighting and give the impression of light coming in through it.  Beads of plastic, gemstone and glass form the flowers and foliage of the plants growing in the garden.

A slice of geode tops the central fountain.  It is the fountain that lets the whole scene down.  It just looks . . . messy.  Until I have a better idea for it though, the fountain will remain with it's geode slice.  Amy and Gemma have taken up residence in the garden, Gemma with a book to read while Amy admires the crystal blooms.

The next room in the Tower of Magic is the Library.  Almost everything in this room was handmade from the bookcases to the wizard Aldus whose fallen asleep while reading.  The room contains over 1000 handmade books.

My favourite part of the Library is the carefully placed mirror that gives the illusion that the rows of shevles continue on beyond the back of the Library.  I will definately be looking to use more mirrors like this in the future.   You can see more of both rooms in the Tower of Magic here.  The next room in the Tower of Magic will be the Great Hall which I will begin sometime soon.

Rushed through to be ready for Christmas was the Victorian Street Scene in 24th (1/2") scale.  This is built into a cheap Christmas gift box and is set somewhere around 1850.  The ladies skirts are made with wire edged Christmas ribbon, the wire of the top edge pulled up to create the gathers around the waist.

 This is another almost all handmade scene, the main exceptions being the electric stree lights and the brick sheet used for the upper wall of the bakery.  The bags and boxes carried by the ladies are cut outs from old dollshouse magazines.  More of the Victorian Street here.

Finally for the year, something you haven't seen before, my first 1/48th (1/4") scale house.  As you can see the house is shorter than 6" tall Harry.

 The house was made from this cheap kit that seems to be quite common in Australian miniature stores at the moment.  I Altered the kit by doubling the depth of the house and moving the part left open from the back to the side.

 Upstairs is the bed that came as a freebie with Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine a few months ago.  The bed kit was made by Petite Properties and I certainly reccomend their products.  Downstairs the furniture is all a cheap plastic set.  Although this house was fun to do I'm not sure I will ever be ready to make furniture from scratch in this tiny size.

The bed is a kit as I've said while the dressing table is scratch made.  There is a slight difference in quality I have to admit.

The wallpapers and upstairs floor paper are cut outs from a very old miniatures magazine.  The downstairs floor is polyfilla marked to form a stone tile pattern.

 Model railway trees and foliage flank the front of the house while a very tiny newspaper sits on the front step.

 The outside of the house has a Tudor timbered look.  Rather than use timber, this was done with a little brown cardboard.

 The roof tiles are balsa wood cut into strips and then notched to create a strip of tiles.  The strips were then layered on the roof to resemble real tiles.

The house sits on a small piece of mountboard about 10cm square.

Commenting on my last post, Daydreamer asked if Charlie the cat had finished chewing on houses.  Well, I haven't caught him eating any houses lately, but this is what he's done to the tower of Highcroft Castle:

 . . . . . . . Anybody want to adopt a cat????