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.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Accessorizing the Upper Floors

This week I've been continuing to add accessories and details to the castle.  Unfortunately, my camera can't focus on items as small as most of the accessories I've added, so I can't show you close ups of details.

The Great Hall walls have been adorned with 'tapestries' and the tables covered in runners made from pieces of woven ribbon.  There are a pair of goblets and plates on the high table but you'll need some imagination to see them in this photo.

On the long table are a pair of candle holders, each containing four candles made from pieces of white foam.  These are not the best pieces in the castle and I will be replacing them with something else . . . as soon as I figure out what that is.

In the dressing room adjoining the purple bedroom, wooden beads serve as storage boxes stacked atop the bank of cupboards on the back wall.  A piece of self adhesive faux cow hide makes a cosy rug for underfoot.

Next door in the purple bedroom there have been a few changes.  The steps leading up to the raised area have been moved forward so that the raised area is accessed from the centre of the room rather than against the back wall.  Some black lace creates a railing around the raised area.  The half tester bed has been draped with satin ribbon (for the bedspread) and with a woven cotton ribbon for the hanging 'curtains' and central stripe down the bed.

The furniture in the lower portion of the room has been re-arranged since last time with the shelf unit originally intended for the Hall being re-jigged for use as a wash stand and decorated with a basin and jug made from polymer clay.  To give you and idea of the size of things, the jug is about 5mm high.  A vase of flowers stands on a table by the door while a rocking chair sits in the middle of the rug by the fireplace.

Above the purple bedroom is the Alchemist's Lab.  Shelves on the side and rear walls give the alchemist plenty of storage.  He has a small writing desk for writing up the results of his experiments and a large central work table on which to carry them out.

A bowl of purple fluff is being heated over a small brazier on the worktable.  I couldn't tell you what the alchemist is hoping to achieve by doing this though.   Bunches of drying herbs hang from the overhead beam.  Overall, I really like this room, but think it's a touch too neat at the moment; it needs more mess!

Adjoining the lab is the alchemists bedroom with what I suppose you could call a four poster sitter/day bed, storage chest and another writing desk, this time by the fire.

Coming back around to the other side of the castle is the Library which hasn't changed too much.  A rug covers the flawed floorboards and some books and scrolls have been added to the desk.

Above the Library is the Gallery, which again looks very much the same as last time only with some cushions added to the seats and a length of woven ribbon laid as a floor rug.

The bed in the blue bedroom has been dressed with golden yellow satin ribbon for the bed cover adorned with some patterned red woven ribbon trim.  The curtains are made from a pre-pleated fabric.  A tiny polymer clay hairbrush and comb sit on the dressing table along with some small bead perfume bottles.

Finally, the Solar seats have had maroon and green felt cushions added as well as a plain felt rug laid on the floor.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Weaponry to Roasting Chickens

Now that the basic furniture for the castle is finished, it's time to start adding the accessories and finer details.  One of the first rooms to be accessorised was the armoury.

The weapons on display are largely made from straight lengths of wire with foil 'blades' on the tips.  These blades are made from thick silver foil.  I used shaped paper punches to create the shapes of the blades.  For example, the axe like blades in the central stands are made by using a butterfly shaped punch to cut a shape out of the foil.  This butterfly shape was then folded in half around the tip of the wire to create an axe-head-like shape.  Other punches that proved useful were a large snowflake and a flower shape with the arms of the snowflake and the petals of the flowers cut off to be used on individual weapons.

The swords displayed over the doorway are polymer clay.  They would make great 12th scale daggers but really are a bit too thick in the blade to look quite right in 48th scale.  The shields are printed from images on the internet.

Below the armoury a few extra details have also been added to the basement.  In the central well room there are now a couple of polymer clay buckets with wire handles to help retrieve and carry water from the well.

At the bottom of the stair tower I added some simple shelves with a random splash of colourful bits and bobs to add interest to an otherwise dull space.

 On the opposite side of the basement, the dungeon floors have been covered with 'rushes' (or rather dried grass from the craft store) to soak up those unmentionable fluids that might get spilled in such a place.

In the cell this poor little guy has been put in chains.  He is made from polymer clay and dressed in felt.

In the central guards room the guards have acquired a jug of ale and a pair of cups to help the long hours of guard duty along.

 In the torture chamber I've added a polymer clay Iron Maiden.  You can't see it in this photo but inside the Maiden are spikes made by pushing bits of wire into the unbaked clay.

Above the dungeons, the kitchen has also had some details added.

A fowl is roasting on the spit over the fire with fresh wood stacked on the outside of the andirons ready to be added to the fire as it burns down.

The bread oven and hotplates are heated by red hot coals (red glass seed beads) in the bottom fire boxes while a pair of polymer clay saucepans simmer away in the hotplate with a cauldron suspended above.

At the buttery end of the kitchen a few extra jugs have been added as well as the result of my attempts to make barrels from polymer clay (those miscellaneous brown lumps).  When it comes to barrels, the only thing to do is buy them.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Furnishing the Top Half

Another week, another load of tiny furniture made for the castle.

I've taken to calling this room the Gallery as it's long and narrow.  In Tudor and Elizabethan times the Gallery was a long room usually with large windows where people could walk up and down and get daily exercise and sunshine without having to brave the weather outdoors.  The X frame chairs and fire surround in here are more Petite Properties kits while the benches are balsa wood creations.

Up one floor is the blue bedroom.  The balsa wood bed is decidedly crooked and leans to the right, but then so do the walls . . . .

Let's face it, if you make it up the 125 steps from the ground to reach the top floor, you're going to need somewhere to sit for a while.  So the room that opens from the stairs at the top of the castle has become the Solar (or sitting room).

On the right side of the castle, the purple bedroom sits atop the Great Hall.  This is a split level room with a half-tester bed on the raised section.

Adjoining the purple bedroom is a dressing room.  A bank of cupboards lines the back wall while storage chests and shelves line the side walls.

The top floor on the right side houses the Alchemists Lab.  A beam has been added near the roof so that the alchemist can hang bunches of herbs and other items from it.  He has a long table to work on and lots of shelves to store his ingredients and books (etc).

 Next to the Lab is the alchemists bedchamber.  His bed is sort of a cross between a sleigh bed, a cupboard bed and a four poster.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Beginning to Fill the Spaces

I've been back to work on the inside of the castle this week making furniture for the first three floors.  The dungeon is rather sparely furnished with nothing more than a single bench and some chains in the right end cell.  The guardroom in the centre has a table and a few rickety stools so the guards on duty can sit and maybe amuse themselves with a card game.

The left cell has become the torture chamber and houses this rather unconvincing rack made of balsa wood, metal gears, chain and jump rings.  I'm hoping to add an Iron Maiden as well, but this will have to wait until I pull out my polymer clay.

In the buttery alcove of the kitchen there are two shelf units holding barrels of wine or ale.  The barrels on the front shelf are from A Trifle Small in the UK, but due to a shortage of barrels, the back shelf holds pieces of balsa dowel the same size as the barrels.  Hopefully no one will notice.  Additional storage is in the form of a "Tudor Cupboard" from a kit by Petite Properties.

At the other end of the kitchen, work has begun on the ovens.  The black andirons in the fireplace in the back wall will support a spit for roasting meats while on the side wall is a bread oven and hotplate unit which still needs considerable work.

Up another level and the Great Hall has acquired some long tables and benches.  Two parallel tables fill the main floor area.  These are actually a little too wide for the space and either need to be cut to be narrower or I could just take one table away.

The head table in the raised section of the Great Hall has a pair of high backed chairs rather than simple bench seats.  In the alcove in the back wall is a slightly wonky court cupboard.  Creating this alcove and putting a shelf unit in it was a really great idea . . . in theory.  In practise it really looks pretty terrible.  There may end up being a really big tapestry hanging over this section of wall and covering up the entire alcove.

Coming around to the left side of the castle and the basement level now houses the Treasury and a well room.

The Treasury, or strong room, or vault (e.t.c.) houses the castle valuables.  These valuables are stored in wooden chests or fancy boxes and bottles made of beads.

Next door is the well room which ensures the castle a supply of fresh water.  The well is a piece of balsa dowel coated in polyfiller for a stone effect and capped with a wooden lid to prevent accidental dunkings.

The armoury - come - entry hall has the beginnings of some weapons racks and a couple of bench seats plus some slightly too tall suits of armour.

The Library is dominated by this dual sided sloped desk.  The ladder is a single piece of balsa with sections cut away to create a ladder.

The first three floors now have at least the skeletons of their furniture and I have now to address the top three floors.