Saturday, July 25, 2015

Layering the floor

Thanks to everyone for their kind comments on my last posting.  I've continued on now with the floor of the castle room.  I should point out that wood flooring was not correct for the Tudor period, which the castle room was originally designed.  But since I am working on the philosophy that this is a modern day renovation of a old castle room, I elected to go with a wood flooring for my project.  I guess this is the point where personal taste takes over for authentic replication, and the interior designer in me steps forward and the historian is pushed in the closet!!

I used a wired brush to give the foam a wood grain appearance.  There's one large floor panel for the main room, a rectangular floor piece for the roof of the stairwell, and two square floor pieces for the floor of the turret and the roof of the turret.  The roof piece is actually grained on both sides to act as the ceiling of the turret and roof, all in one.  These are the finished pieces after I had carved and grained the pieces.  I should tell you these were carved back in 2010 at camp.  So nothing new in the first three pictures.

Close up to see the grain.

So this is my most recent changes.  Since I no longer needed the sand, I put on a first coat of raw umber that was diluted half and half with water.  This was the look after drying overnight.  I was really pleased with the look and even considered stopping at this point and leaving it.  The pink shows through, but it gives the floors a warm appearance.

 I waited another day and thought about it and then I realized that the turret piece that acts as floor and ceiling, which is not shown in the pictures here (and not stained at this point) had black lettering of the builder foam and would be visible if I only did this one coat.  You can see the number written on the old picture from camp.  

So I decided to add a brush of raw Sienna to give it a more golden appearance.  At this point it appeared too orange.

I had hoped to turn the floor around because I had accidentally dropped the floor and caused this gouge in the front edge.  But I've also marked the floor where the turret stairs are added and this showed up through the paint, so I am still debating this and may fill the gap.  You can see the grain still shows up clearly, despite too coats of paint wash.

So then I added a wash of Burnt Sienna to see if I could get some red from it, but it just looked more orange.

So I put on a fourth coat of the original raw umber again.  This I really liked, and once it's dried I think this will be the final finish, (plus a clear coat). 

This is about an hour later when it's dry.  The redness has diminished even more and it has an appearance of a gunstock finish.  I like it! 

Next step is to work on the one wrong cut turret wall and temporarily assemble the castle to see if I have overlooked areas to be painted.  I know some edges still need to be carved and painted, but I wanted to ensure I didn't paint any edges that will be glued.

For those who asked questions about the carving process if you look back at my posts from September 2010 you can see more detail on how this was accomplished.

I also still have to apply several more coats to the stone to get the lighter final finish.

Hope you like the progress.  I'm leaving for another business trip on Tuesday, and when I return I have to write my final exam for this semester's course, so there may not be any postings for a few weeks.  I'm off to Las Vegas for the semi annual furniture show (yes I buy furniture in real life, versus building the miniature pieces).  

I was so disappointed when Dansey's Hobbies closed in Las Vegas, it was always a stop during each trip.  If anyone knows of another miniature shop destination in Las Vegas, I would love to hear.  I've decided to leave three days earlier and have some me time in a warmer climate.  We've not had a great summer in Newfoundland and with work being so stressful, I just need a break. 

So,Viva Las Vegas, until the next time.....


Monday, July 20, 2015

Once Upon A Time.....

Once upon a time a miniaturist starting to build a castle room!  (Screeching halt!!)  Yes I did start one back in 2010!  Yes I said 2010.  This is the prototype (not my finished work).  I had grand plans to make it into an old restored castle room in today's world, something straight out of the pages of Architectural Digest!  (Screeching halt again!!) 

Then I did the unthinkable, I carved one wall incorrectly, and I promptly packed up the castle and stored it away in my workroom.  Nothing brings me to a halt faster than making a mistake!  What me, yes me, I get so discouraged I have to walk away from the project and move on to other work.  Which I did. 

As I started one project after another, the castle room kept calling out to me, "What about me, what about me?", (guess the old castle is haunted by ghost!)

So while paint was drying on all the mini accessories for my other projects, I took the castle room out of it's storage area and sized it up.  Started thinking, what if I painted one wall and see if I could hide the incorrectly carved wall in the painting.  The plans called for adding sand to the paint to give the walls a feel of real stone, maybe with a little spackle and a lot of sandy paint, I could hide my mistake.
Well I started to paint the walls, first coat has to be very dark, (it will be lighter I promise).

Still have lots of builder foam to paint yet, plus the carved wood floors have to be painted.

Here's a close up of the first coat.  I had to run a skewer stick through the grout lines to make them more pronounced.   You can still see the pink lettering of the builder foam, but there are many more layers to go.  I had to give the walls a rough brushing after they dried to get rid of all the clumps of sand made from dragging the skewer stick through the grout lines.

The masked areas denote where walls have to be glued, so the masking tape will be removed later once I glue the walls together.

Here's a sample paint board I did at Camp, back in 2010.  This was the first coat.

Then a lighter second coat.

And still a lighter third coat.  This is more the colour I am aiming for in the end.

So don't think I have fallen through the cracks (of the castle) again.  I am still here, still reading everyone's blog postings, following everyone's miniature Facebook pages, and quietly (cough, cough) working away. 
It's been a stressful week of work and doing this aimless painting has been very therapeutic.  Now if I could only make miniatures all day long and not have to go to work!  Then I wouldn't have any stress at all. (But really I would be stressing out about having no job)

So until the next time......
I'll be searching for that Pot of Gold, or that lucky winning lottery ticket, or that rich husband, (scratch that one, already have a wonderful husband!)

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Accessories for inside "Doreen's Fine Things"

I am still working on accessories for inside "Doreen's Fine Things" while the glue dries on the reupholstery job.  I've collected quite a few printie kits from Heirlooms by Susan over the past several years.  I love the quality of the printies.  I decided to use some of the pieces from Kit 3 and Kit 10 to use in the front window.  I'm going to cut out all the printies from these few pages and assemble them to decide which ones I will use.

Here's what they all look like after they've been cut out.

One thing I like best about Susan's kits are the detailed assembly instructions she provides with each kit.

Susan recommends to finish the edges with a gold stamp pad.  I'm debating using a colour instead of gold, so I've taken out a selection of stamp pads to test on some scrap paper first.  I recommend doing this with all printies because the ink can bleed and some of these pads take a long time to dry.  These are all the ones I tested.

Here is the results on the scrap of the paper the printies were cut from.

This is an old printie I assembled several years ago from Craft Pack.  You can see here that when I used the ink on this edge it bled down into the canister.  So testing first is extremely important or you will end up with a problem like this.

After my test, I decided to go with gold after all and I am using this Studio G scrapbooking product.  It's acid free and it didn't bleed at all.

Before I can start anything, Susan recommends to score all folding lines first to ensure you get a clean bent edge.  I like to use a clear straight edge so I can see what I am doing.  I've also learned that I am a little heavy handed so I use a medium size stylus for the scoring, I have a tendency to tear the paper with a fine stylus because I am so heavy handed.  This drafter's triangle is over thirty years old from my college days taking drafting.  We use to keep masking tape on one side so that we didn't smudge the lines as much as we moved the triangle over our work.  The tape is still there!

A great way to ensure you haven't missed a scored edge is to hold the printie up to a light.  Here in the picture you can see I have scored all the necessary folding edges.

Once I finished treating all the edges with the gold stamp I had a lot of yellow fingers.  Frequent washing is required to ensure you don't get this ink elsewhere.  Susan recommended folding first and then doing the edges, think I should have taken the advice.

But the finished results look wonderful.  Way too much for the window, so I'll be saving these for future projects.  Overall I was pleased with the quality of the printies.


I also had a kit from Dragonfly International that I had purchased from Grandpa's Dollhouse.  I assembled this kit has well.  

So I have lots of other choices to use for the window box in Doreen's Fine Things.

Now it's on to deciding which items to use, so many choices!

Until the next time....

Friday, July 3, 2015

I must confess.....

I recently read a posting on someone's Facebook page regarding collecting supplies for a future miniature project. The person was a bit embarrassed to say they had accumulated so much product for a project that they hadn't even started yet.  I could only chuckle at the posting and point a big finger at myself, oh my, I've been there, and am still there.  

Four (or was it five) years ago I had this fabulous idea to build a miniature wine cellar.  I had been inspired by one I had seen made by Whitledge-Burgess, theirs had a wine tasting room included.  I wanted to do my own version immediately.  I started wildly sketching ideas and started to save pictures of wine cellars on my computer, this was way before Pinterest came along for me.  To say the least, now there's even a Pinterest board for wine cellars.  

I found this web site for these fabulous full size wine cellars.  The company had a brouchure you could request with even more ideas.  I promptly filled out the form for the brouchure, which I received within the week.  Funny thing was, they started emailing me immediately, wanting to prepare a quote for a new wine cellar in my home.  I was too embarrassed to respond back and say, "oh no, I'm just building one in"

Since this time I've collected two full size wine crates to build the miniature wine cellar inside of, can't decide which shape I want.  Isn't that an ingenious idea though, a miniature wine cellar inside a full size wine crate!  You can use that one, send me a picture when you get it built!

I've collected miniature wine crates, kegs, stemware, carafes, corkscrew and other wine related paraphernalia, and of course wine bottles.  Some of the wine bottles are inexpensive bulk packages, and some are individual purchases that in some cases were more expensive than the full size!   Here's some of my growing collection. 

Oh and by the way, I haven't even started building the project.  Simply because there are "So Mini Projects" in the works already.  So it's on my bucket list!

Oh did I tell you about the decorator's shop I'm going to build some day.  You should see what I've collected for that!...oh

Until the next time....
The very guilty, okay not really, but laughing....

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

While the glue dries!

I've struggled with keeping the wisteria vine attached to the bookstore and I have taken Betsy's advice  at About My Doll House and added eye hooks to the front of the store and wired and glued the vine to the shop.  Here below you can see some of the small eye hooks I used for the task.  (You can also see the blob of glue on the corbel bracket that failed to hold the vine first).  Betsy thanks so much, I think this will finally work.

While everything is now wired and glued into place I couldn't work on the front of the shops anymore, so I moved on to the inside of "Doreen's Fine Things".  Each time I showed the inside staged I used the burgundy upholstered chair shown below.  This chair actually belongs to the castle room, so I have started with a new unstained and unupholstered chair shown below in three stages.

These chairs are actually Bespaq chairs I purchased at Ron's Miniatures in Orlando over five years ago.  I like the natural upholstery for the store window, but I had to remove it to stain the chair.  Some of these pictures are a year old because I actually removed and stained the wood that long ago, but then got tied up with finishing the shop and real life.

Once removed I stained the chair as shown below.

I used Varathane Wood Stain which I really like and have tubes of it in every shade.  My local Canadian Tire actually had them on clearance this week from $5.00 to $8.00 a tube (depending on colour), they were normally $14.00 tube.  As long as the stain doesn't dry up, I think I have enough stain now to last the rest of my mini making life!  I like the stain because it's a gel like mixture that you can pour a little out and what you don't use you can scoop back into the tube, the opening is large enough.  Also because it's gel based, it doesn't run and spread too fast into other surfaces like the liquid stains do and sometimes even the marker pens.

Once the stain was dry, I started back at the reupholstering.  I use cardboard between the padded pieces and the clamps so that the clamps don't make indentation marks into the upholstery.

Now I just have to wait until the glue dries.  See that's the reason I am working at so many projects at the same time, because it takes so long for glue to dry! 

I've been busy trying out different accessories to show in the window as well.  More about that in the next post.

This project is finally getting close to completion, it's so exciting to see the finished product come together.  Plus I am working fast so I can move on to the Whitledge Burgess projects!  Can't wait, think once I'm ready I will start the Exquistrian Suite first. Or maybe the kitchen, oh my, too many choices.

I'm going back to Camp Mini Ha Ha this year as well.  This means I have to prepare 32 small gifts (we call them tidbits) for all the other attendees plus five larger gifts for the evening draws.  It's great you bring 32 + 5 gifts, and you return with 32 + 5 individual gifts from all the other campers.  What a great way to grow your accessory and furniture stash for future projects.

Well off I go to work on my "so mini projects", see the name is so appropriate!

Until the next time....