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.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Steampunk People

These are the people for the 24th scale Steampunk Wizard's Tower.  The first two are intended to be more wizard than steampunk and the other two more steampunk than wizard.  They were all made from my only 24th scale mould, so all look suspiciously alike.  As usual, my camera can't (or won't!) capture their full detail.

Tessa has been working at the desk downstairs and has just stood up to stretch her legs and greet the cat that has settled on the stairs.  As you can see, I've re-hung the Octopus light fitting in this room.  By hanging it closer to the ceiling than it originally was makes it less dominating and this way I think I can get away with such a large light in this small space.

Upstairs, Herbet, the Steampunk Wizard himself, has just been fetching some extra reference books and is heading back to his table tp resume his own work.

I've tried to strike a balance between steampunk and wizard in his attire.  He wears a white shirt, blue trousers and a gold foil waistcoat (vest) which all lean to the steampunk side.  Over these he has his more wizardly robe and obligatory pointy hat, the point of which has been curled around by inserting a piece of wire on the inside and then bending to shape.  His hat has been decorated with gold chain and small watch parts.

There isn't really space in the Tower for Sally and Sam, the more pure steampunk pair.  They will be going into storage until I get around to trying to make my Steampunk Airship.

The Tower is now finished, I just need to have another go at getting some decent pictures of it.  I'm not too sure what happened to this batch, they're either very dark or look like they had a yellow filter on them.  Hopefully, I will have some good photos of the Tower for next week's post.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Of Dragons and Cephalopods . . . . .

After avoiding polymer clay due to the heat for the past few weeks I finally gave up waiting for the weather to change and went ahead and made the dragon for the Hall.  The warm weather made the clay so soft to work with that it was impossible not to get unwanted distortions and marks so I kept the dragon as plain and simple as possible.  The result is far from perfect, but quite effective enough when the dragon is fitted in place in the rafters.

The dragon has a core of scrunched aluminium kitchen foil under a 'skin' of green polymer clay.  He was baked on a frame made from scraps of balsa wood which simulated the rafters and allowed him to hang properly.  After baking the plain green clay was given a coat of gloss varnish mixed with green mica powder to give him a shiny, irridesent finish.  His wings lie flat along his back and are made of Fantasy Film and wire.

With the dragon fixed in place in the rafters, the Hall is now complete.  I'll now conentraite on finishing the 24th scale tower before starting the next rooms for the Tower of Magic, the Lab and the Master's Chamber.

While I had the clay out to make the dragon, I made a start on some accessories for the Tower.

For the hanging shelves I made a horned dragon skull and coil from clay.  The books (urgh, more books!) are printies wrapped around balsa wood pieces and the glass phial is from a jewellery pendant.

 You'll have to excuse the above photo, if my camera has a marco setting (for taking photos of small things) I haven't found it yet.  On the worktable is another coil, an empty tea cup and assorted tools made from polymer clay.  These are joined by (yes more) books, some small (watch) gears bought on the interent and a magnifying glass.  The magnifying glass is made from jewellery findings for the base and supporting arm and a large cog like gear shaped finding for the surround of the glass.  The 'glass' is clear faux leadlighting paint

On the left wall a polymer clay octopus sits on rocks in a tank made from a clear acrylic box.

The ceiling has been decorated with flat backed gems in a random pattern.

Downstairs, the desk has another clay tea cup and (wait for it) more books and a clock made with more assorted watch parts and a cut out clock face from an old magazine.

The grandfather clock has migrated to the downstairs room as the furniture continues to be rearranged.  Both stoves have been given drinking straw chimneys and glued in position, so they at least won't be moving.  Maybe.  Small clay coal scuttles filled with seed bead 'coals' have been positioned beside each stove.

The final piece of polymer clay for the Tower is this cephalopod (i.e. octopus) chandelier.  I did have him hanging in the downstairs room, but his hook fell out of the ceiling.  When in place he does look a little too large for 24th scale.  OK, a lot large.  As a 12th scale light fitting he would be fine.  At the moment I'm not sure whether to re-hang him downstairs or to try him upstairs were the vaulted ceiling creates more height (which he will fill) or maybe to leave him for a future 12th scale room and try remaking a smaller light for the Tower. . . . .

Monday, February 10, 2014

Pigs May Fly . . .

For yet another week it's been too hot here (remember, it's summer downunder!) to attempt working with polymer clay, so I've been forced to find alternate ideas to replace those I would have done in clay.  The dragon who was going to be sleeping in the rafters is the one item that I'm really disappointed I haven't been able to do, but trying to make him to lie on and hang from the confined space of the rafters would have been incredibly difficult anyway.

In his place there is a cat hunting a rat over some abandoned scrolls, a couple of little fairies and a small orange dragon.  Maybe if I get some decent (i.e. cool) weather soon I'll replace these with the dragon I originally wanted.

On the other side of the ceiling, Orville the piglet has exchanged his orange butterfly wings for some snowy white feathered ones.  He's been joined by some lost books and a blue crystal ball.

Meanwhile on ground level, the sorceress in purple has opened her spell book to try and find a way to entice Orville back down from the rafters.

The other two people dressed last week are enjoying a relaxing game of checkers and glasses of wine with some colourful biscuts.

  I've done a little bit of re-arranging of the furniture and placed this gold table topped with an owl on stand along the right wall flanked by the two spare chairs . . . .

while the side table that was in that postion has jumped to the opposite wall.  It now holds a jewelled bonsai cultivated in the Crystal Garden and is flanked by a pair of pillars topped with crystal balls.

With the Hall now as close to finished as it can get until I get a chance to make the dragon I want, I spent some time working on the furniture for my 24th (1/2") scale tower.

 For the upper floor there are some tables, a stove, a chaise and grandfather clock as well as some wall mounted shevles.

The furniture is all made from balsa wood with the addition of some fancy turnings.  I'm particularly pleased with the grandfather (or long case) clock which is futher decorated with a clock face cut out from an old dolls house magazine and some jewellery findings for the weights, pendulum and finial on top.

Downstairs there are two armchairs with side tables, a footstool, stove and desk with chair.  The desk chair is the one piece of purchased furniture in the tower.

The armchairs could use some throw cushions, but I haven't figured out how to make some small enough without them disintergrating yet.

The desk drawer knobs are small gears from watch parts, the first real steampunk touch the tower has received.   As usual now I've made the furniture I keep re-arranging it and still can't really find a layout I truely like.

The tower has a far longer list of must have polymer clay items than the Hall did, so hopefully I'll get some cooler weather so I can keep working in here.  If not, I'll be starting to work on one of the next two room for the ToM; either the Lab or the Master's Chamber.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

New Looks

Black wasn't at all right.  A dark tone like the walnut used for the beams might have been too drab.  So the table and chairs have been given a new look using a mix of walnut, cherry and fruitwood stains.  I'm not sure how they turned out to be so orange, I think it might be the reflection of the burnt orange fireplace.  Maybe I should have used a bit extra walnut to deepen the colour a little more.  At the moment I'm hoping that by the time the accessories have been added it will improve the appearance of the furniture and I won't have to fiddle with it.

The faux wood look was done by first covering the existing black of the chairs and table with a coat of beige.  I then used a stiff brush to apply some of my mixed woodstain gels in grain-like streaks.  When this was thoroughly dry I added another coat of the stain, this time with a soft brush and I added a little water to the very thick gel so that it spread more easily.  This was then finished with a coat of gloss.

The chair backs were further decorated with some gold relief stickers in a fan shape which were filled with faux leadlighting paints for a bit of colour.  I'm thinking that the chair backs are still a bit too plain and need more decoration but that depends on whether I can find some more relief stickers in a suitable design.  The seat cushions have also been reupholstered in plain blue velveteen.

The next task I would usually undertake for a room would be the accessories.  Unfortunately we have finally been getting some hot summer weather here in Tasmania and if I tried to work with polymer clay it would just get too soft and sticky and be impossible to scuplt.  So instead I skipped ahead and dressed a few people for the room.

Again, I couldn't make new dolls out of clay, so I used some dolls already on hand.  The first was this porcelain doll who has been dressed in a medieval style gown.  It has a high waist and full circle sleeves from just above the elbow.

Her headdress is made from a piece of stain ribbon, gold seaquins and flat backed gems with some red fabric.  Her necklace is made of strung white pearl seed beads with a gold finding and more flat backed gems.

Next, I finished off the wizard I started for the Library before I decided there was no room for him.  I replaced the trim along the edge of his robe with something less glitzy, gave him some ginger hair and a hat.

I don't like his outfit but at least his beard an mustache worked reasonably well.

 The third doll for the Hall is a plastic Heidi Ott lady in a fantasy gown.  Her skirt and sleeves are patterned chiffon, her bodice is silk dupion and her waist sash is satin ribbon.

The sleeves are open along the top of the arm and the shoulders are left exposed.  Gold ribbon trims the edges of the bodice and attaches the sleeves to the gown.  The doll was pre-wigged, I only added a gold ribbon tiara ontop.

 A piece of excess chiffon was used to make a "bum-roll" to lift the rear of her skirts and increase the size of her hips as they looked too skinny.  I was thinking about making the dress look good rather than how to fit the doll wearing the dress into the Hall when I decided to give her a small train at the back.

Next week I'll either show you the accessories from polymer clay for the room or the start of the furniture for the 24th scale tower, depending on the weather.