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, March 24, 2014

The Best and The Worst

The two current rooms on the Tower of Magic are shaping up to be the best and the worst of the rooms done for the ToM so far.  The 'worst' is the Master's Chamber.  Since you last saw this room I've rearranged the layout by ripping out the fireplace and moving it to the opposite wall and adding a chimney breast behind it.  The bed has moved over to where the fire used to be.  The sample furniture you saw last time has either been replaced with a more suitable counterpart or repainted to match the scheme of the room.  The furniture in here is a real mix of qualities from the good quality JiYai bedside/nightstand to a slightly crooked handmade washstand.  The wardrobe is made from a kit with some missing and damaged parts I picked up on ebay a few months ago and the plastic desk was part of the huge parcel of freebies Lorraine at Fairy Meadow Miniatures sent me before Christmas.

By rearranging the room and taking out those rather nasty windows and curtains, I think this room will work when I get to put it all together.  Maybe.  Hopefully.  It will never be my favourite room though.  I'm not sure if it's because the black and white pattern on the wallpaper is too bold, if it's all the red or if the whole thing is just a really bad design scheme.  Well, at least I've gotten things right in the Lab . . .

 Last time you saw the Lab it was pretty much a blank slate ready and begging to be filled, so fill it I did.  First off the furniture was stained in a mix of walnut and mahogany stains to make it as close a match to the Angel Downton side table as possible.  Then I trawled through my stash for suitable accessories pulled out the polymer clay to make what I didn't have.

On the central main table a spell book rests open (totally hiding the bookrest beneath it).  The wizard working in here is a little sort sighted so a large magnifying glass is attached to the table and positioned over the text to make it easier to read.

Whatever the spell in progress, it seems to involve a quantity of mushrooms and is progress is being supervised by one of Nicky Cooper's cute little dragons.  An agate slice serves as the chopping board.

Books are stacked on the opposite corner of the table with candles left burning on them until the melted wax has run down the stack.

In the corner of the room a fire burns in the fireplace.  Glass bottles have been stored on the lip around the hood of the fireplace and a selection of utencils hangs from the bar to the front.

From the side you can see the pair of cauldrons hung over the fire so their contents can bubble away.

Next to the fire on the back wall is the lectern.  This is filled with a range of scrolls and books.

Atop the lectern is an open spell book.  It's rather obvious in these photos that it's made from an old telephone directory with a cut out from a dollshouse magazine glued between the pages.  It has a metallic red leather cover.

On the right wall are the open shelves.  These have been stacked with a range of pots and jars and even more books and scrolls.

The side table rests along the opposite wall.  This holds more jars, books and another of Nicky's little dragons.

Over the side table, a range of jars hang from the overhead shelf.  These were supposed to hang from a large rack over the centre table, but there wasn't really enough height and it made the room look too crowded so I bent some short pins with pliers and  pushed them into the underside of the balsa wood shelf to create quick hangers for the jars.

This little imp in a cage was also supposed be be on the central rack but for now is hanging from the ceiling hook intended for the defunct rack alone.

As you might imagine, after collecting and making all these bits and pieces it took an entire day just to position them in the Lab and fix them down.

The Lab is shaping up to be my favourite room in the ToM so far.

 Those of you who follow Daydreamer at About My Dollhouses will remember a few weeks ago when she showed off her newly aquired sewing machine.  Well, I hate to be a copycat, but here's my version of her picture of two sizes of vintage sewing machine:

I really couldn't believe it when after reading her post and marvelling at the detail of the miniature I clicked over to ebay to see if there were any bargains going and found an identical Bodo Hening machine listed as part of a bulk lot with other furniture.  And more unbelieveable was the starting price and no one else was bidding on it.  I couldn't resist and  put on a bid for 1c more than the starting price expecting to be outbid, but no.  Clearly the seller nor the other buyers on ebay in Australia realised quite what was on offer and I was thrilled to snap it up for a bargain price.  The detail of the miniature really is astounding, especially when you see it next to a 'real' machine (in this case my Grandmother's).  In fact if the miniature had a hole in the needle I think you could almost actually sew with it.  I guess now I have to start planning a sewing room somewhere . . . .

And other side note to finish for this week, this one aimed at my fellow Australians.  Since I started miniatures I've been trying to find some thin, supple leather for upholstery, clothing and accessories but never been able to find anything really suitable.  It was all either too thick or too stiff.  Last week I went into my local Spotlight and found something new called 'faux leatherette' in the fabric dept.  It is no more than a millimetre thick and as soft and supple as a regular fabric and looks enough like real leather for all but the most finicky.  If your local Spotlight is like mine they will sell what they have in stock and never get any more in again.  So my tip if you want some leather suitable for miniatures is to head into Spotlight now and grab some before it's gone.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Have You Had Spam in Your Blog Reading List?

The other day when I logged onto my Blogger dashboard to catch up with all the blogs I follow, I found a number of offensive spam entries in the reading list.  As many of you follow the same blogs I do it's possbile you've struck the same issue.  The offending blog is in your reading list under the name "Alcorn Gardens".  It's an old blog that I don't think has been updated anytime recently (in fact I don't remember it at all!).  You'll need to stop following this blog to get rid of the spam entries.

I'm back to having issues with photos on blogger again.  I've spent so much time beating my head against a rock over this that I haven't done a proper blog post this week, but hopefully I'll be able to show you the progress on both rooms next week.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Fifty Percent Success . . .

I'm having trouble replying to comments again.  If you have left a comment over the past few weeks, I haven't ignored you, I've just gone around in circles until I was too frustrated to carry on.  And Daydreamer, about that dark blue night sky ceiling?  Wait 'till I do the ToM's bathroom . . . .

Some paint has transformed the Wizard's Lab from a white mess into a stone chamber.  The polyfilla "stones" you saw last week were first sanded, then painted with a couple of coats of dark grey.  Successively lighter coats of grey were dry brushed over the top of this to create the stone effect.  The chunky brackets that support the shelf above the stone work were salvaged from Bellerose house when it was renovated last year.  The hood over the fireplace is one of the marvellous freebies sent to me by Lorraine of Fairy Meadow Miniatures last year.  The wall beyond the doorway in the back wall is covered with a bookshelf look printable paper from one of the free printie sites on the internet.  This hopefully gives the impression that there is a hallway lined with bookcases back there.

To fill the lab I've started knocking together some furniture.  The table on the left wall was made by the talented Angela Downton as was the small bookrest on the main table, while the remaining furniture is quite obviously hand made from balsa wood and assorted pieces of trim and beads.  And did you notice, this is the first room in the Tower of Magic that Chrysta (the first doll made for the ToM) actually fits into and doesn't clash with the colour scheme in?  I don't know if she's exactly dressed to work in the lab though . . . .

Meanwhilte the Master's Chamber is looking . . . . kind of like the tent of a carnival magician actually.  I'm really not feeling this room at all at the moment.  I don't know if hideous is too strong a term to use, but it sure is looking less impressive than the Lab.   The blue curtains were meant to break the red in a complimentary way, but they just look wrong don't they?  The colour scheme is supposed to be black, white and red with hits of blue (because green would look too much like Christmas) but I'm now wondering if I should replace the black and white wallpaper with something in blue and have a blue and red room instead.  Or do I ditch the blue . . .

The one thing about the MC that is fabulous is the fabric ceiling.   Whatever else you may say about this room (and please be a derogatory as you like for this one) you have to admit that the ceiling works.  It was created by cutting a piece of cardboard slightly smaller than the size of the ceiling.  A piece of fabric was then cut long enough to wrap all the way around the edges of the cardboard with a few inches left over and slightly wider than the distance from the corner of the cardboard to the centre.  The sides of the fabric were sewn together to form a large ring and one edge was gathered to form a small ring.  This gathered edge was glued onto the centre of the cardboard and the remaining edge was then pulled over the edges of the cardboard and secured tightly.  A ceiling rose tidies up the centre.

I had hopes that adding furniture would make me like this room better.   If only I could find a way I like to arrange the furniture.  The two main contenders for arrangement are with the bed against the back wall as in the above photo or with the bed on the side wall as below.    Of course once I get the layout right, I then have to figure out what colour to paint/finish the furniture.

Yup, the Master's Chamber is one of those sorts of rooms that just refuse to co-operate.  Oh well, at least the Lab looks good.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Still Towering

As usual, I had trouble deciding which of the the next two rooms of the Tower of Magic to start next.  As usual, I solved the problem by making a start on both.  Above is a photo of the "Wizard's Lab".  This will be where spells are enacted, potitions brewed and other magic conducted.  The walls and floor have been covered with Pollyfilla scored to resemble stone blocks which now need to be sanded an painted.  A ledge or shelf will run around the wall about 1 1/2" from the ceiling above which the walls will be covered with a solid paper.  In the corner is a fireplace topped with the kitchen hood that was part of the freebie package Lorraine at Fairy Meadow Miniatures sent me last year.

The second room is what will be the "Master's Chamber" (i.e. bedroom).  Normally when I do a bedroom it ends up very girly whether or not I intend it to when I start it.  This will be a strictly masculine bedroom fit for the master magician who leads the community of the Tower.  At least that's the plan.  At this point only the wallpaper has been installed.  This will be finished off with panelling around the lower wall, a wooden floor and a totally over the top fabric ceiling.  The fabric ceiling will be in red as this was the only suitable fabric I could find in a manly colour but I am worried it will end up looking a little too much like a tart's boudoir.

To finish off this week, some better photos of the Steampunk Wizard's Tower:

There is a close up shot of the top floor too, only for some reason it refuses to load!