Monday, November 3, 2014

The Willowcrest




What.... Another Project????
(Or Who Let the Genie Out Of the Bottle...?)

As some of you may have guessed, Dear Readers, I have become swept up in yet Another House building project! It is the Willowcrest Kit, by Greenleaf Dollhouses, a medium sized Victorian House with oodles of fancy trim and interesting spaces. I had bought the kit four or five years ago, in a panic because it had disappeared from the catalogs and I thought it would be discontinued. The house had always called to me from the catalog pages.... something about the elaborate roofline and all those arched windows... I thought that if I was going to build another kit, this would be it! But I had not dared to open the Huge, Heavy box in which it arrived! It looked Way too big! But a couple of weeks ago this kit was featured on not just one but two blogs I read .... in the same week.... and it made me think I needed to have a look inside the box.... just to check out the instructions, mind you.... and maybe do a little test fit of the main pieces to see how big it would be.... and before I knew it I was assembling the Willowcrest!


As many of you know, when assembling these kits, they tell you to read ALL the instructions first.... because things MUST be done in a certain order or it will become impossible to complete the building as specified. This is a fancy kit and there are 18 large sheets of pieces to punch out .... and they tell you to "Remove and prepare" each piece before you assemble it to the next one.... this means punch it out, sand it and primer or stain and varnish it....depending on your chosen method of decor! And this is where it always gets COMPLICATED for me....because I like a painted decor..... usually a fancy painted decor.... and it is much easier to do this before it is all assembled! And I like color! Rich, dark ,wild saturated color! So the "preparation" part of each piece means sanding, primer, two or three coats of color paint.... and then the "decorative painting. And I like the woodwork to look like dark old Victorian wood..... stained and varnished! (see the above picture of the floors being varnished...) Which brings me to another Complicated part..... they don't tell you to add the interior door and window trim until nearly the final steps! Which makes sense in many houses.... but in this one there are windows and doors in places you can't reach when the house is done! I am referring to the stairway which twists around in a front corner of the house.... it is a wonderful and dramatically moody staircase.....

Which looks like this after the complicated assembly of dozens of stained and varnished pieces... before inserting it carefully into the corner of the house...

It squeezes into the section painted dark blue in the above picture.... 
but not until after the dividing wall between it and the rear (orange) room is in place..... 
and firmly attached, never to move again!
And this is where my "mural painting" gets me into trouble.....
I need to paint the murals for the stair well walls before I assemble any of this hallway!
Because I am envisioning this house as a "Witchy House"..... 
(it will belong to one of my Witch dolls... Madame Artemis Durant,
and she is named for the Moon Goddess Artemis... Goddess of the Hunt....)
So the hallway stairs will have Moon maidens marching up the stairs...
each holding the emblem of the moon at a different phase.....


Here you can see the first two maidens at the bottom of the stairs...
On the back side of the kitchen wall....

And I wanted there to be trees as well.....

And here I am testing how they will look with the stairs in place...
oh, and the door trim too...!
You will notice that I couldn't wait until the final steps to remove and prepare the trim! 
How on earth would I be able to attach the trim to the stairway window once it is all done? 
This area will be almost completely inaccessible!
So why am I painting murals in this invisible space????
Because you will be able to catch glimpses of it through the doors....
And once I had thought of it... I had to do it!
So the maidens march up the stairs.... 
and I paint them one wall at a time....

Here is the kitchen wall....

And the beginnings of the stair wall with the window....

And most of the details done.... except for the window!
(Which is not supposed to be done until the last steps!) 
I am planning to make the window stained glass ....
as though it is a continuation of the painting....
but I need new glass paint....
and I need to figure out if any old sheet plastic 
packaging material will work with the glass paints!

Here is a view you can barely see from outside.....
catching a glimpse through the parlor door....

Like so..... 
Oh, and of course I had to paint the parlor ceiling with some moody clouds....
And there will be trees on the walls that arch over the ceiling....
And I had to add the ornate Victorian trim at the top of the walls....
(these pictures are taken with a flash.... 
because everything is so dark these days!)

But let us not forget the Moon Maidens.....
there will be thirteen in all....
One through six on the stairs going up, 
number seven, the full moon at the top of the stairs, 
and eight through thirteen the waning moons 
going up the stairs to the third floor....

Here you can see a glimpse of number four 
and just the beginnings of the next two on the front wall....

And mostly completed.... 
these will be only visible with a glimpse through the bedroom and bathroom doors!
That is why I am not worried about the rough patches 
where the kit pieces notch together between the floors....!

Here you can see the stair well.... 
with out the ceiling in place....
So this will not be visible once it is done!
As you can imagine, Dear Readers, 
I have not glued the outer walls in place yet!
And the farther I go in working on these paintings....
the more I realize that I will have to think ahead about the lighting too.....
If I am going to have electric lights......
What I really mean is Since I will end up wanting electric lights.....
I have to plan where the wires will run....
Before I get any further with the interior decor.....
which has to be "finished" before I can tackle much of the exterior decor!

Madame Artemis has come to check out the progress on "her" house.
So far she like what she sees.... 
but she is a little concerned with the Time table ....
Just How long will these murals take....?
And Why did I think I needed Another Project?
The truth is, Dear Readers,
It's like letting the Genie out of the bottle....
Once it was out of the Box....
I just couldn't resist starting the Willowcrest Kit!



18 comments:

  1. Hi! Wonderful progress! Love the staircase!
    Hugs
    Kikka

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  2. Beautiful project. I really like the staircaise.

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  3. Hello Betsey,
    The Willowcrest is one of my favorite dollhouse kits. It is gorgeous and I know yours will be yet another masterpiece. the Goddesses in the staircase are wonderful. The talent in your vanes is almost frightening! They are perfectly drawn and really add to the grandeur of the staircase. I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug,
    Giac

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  4. Betsy, I really LOVE this gorgeous artistic idea of the women who are walking up the stairs and they're carrying the moon with them..........it's breathtaking and BEAUTIFUL!!
    I'm not familiar with dollhouse kits, but the Willowcrest seems to me a wonderful house with lots of possibilities ;)! Oh, I wish we could see more of it....don't let us wait too long!
    Hugs, Ilona

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  5. I loooooooooooveeeeeee your Moon Maiden. And the sky. And thetrees! And the colours! How GOOD you have started another project!! :D Can't wait to see more!
    Hugs

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  6. I too, LOVE this new project - spooky, moody - what a great concept the moon maidens are! And when did you find the time to do this blog, while also doing extra blogs with your Halloween story? Do you think maybe in some other incarnation you've lived in one or several of your houses? I definitely think so. And... long ago, I figured out that you never have to finish one book ( or one project) before starting another. In fact, you don't have to finish them ever, but that's a secret.
    Love, Mom

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  7. Wow, the Genie came out of the bottle and I didn't even rub it... *LOL* It just happened and I can look at your newest miracle! Like your Mom already said - how could you manage to do all of this with working at your Halloween post at the same time and having of course RL duties like all of us... You're a miracle yourself... and that new house of yours will be pure magic. I love your bright colours, the sky ceiling - but above all the maidens! What a brilliant idea to symbolize the phases of the moon... and your paintings are breathtaking as always!

    Hugs
    Birgit

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  8. I like the idea of the ladies walking up the stairs. It really adds character and uniqueness to the house. Nice job!

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  9. Wow, what a project, what a house this is going to be. I just can't wait to see more!
    All the best
    Vivian

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  10. L'idée des jeunes filles portant les différentes phases de la lune promet un projet plein de magie et de féerie. Je suis déjà émerveillé et me réjouis de suivre ce nouveau feuilleton.

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  11. Wonderful unique painting on this, and the rich floors look fantastic!
    ~J

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  12. This staircase is so beautiful, wonderful decor. Hannah

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  13. Ooh goody - another artistic project to enjoy watching you create. I just can't believe not only the quality of your work but the quantity of work you put out. This house and its story is intriguing and I can't wait to see what you do with it. I also love the staircase.

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  14. Looks like a lot of fun. Looking forward to watching your progress.

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  15. Oh your mural with the Moon Maidens is glorious! It immediately reminded me of Pre-Raphaelite paintings, for which I do have a bit of a weakness. I also love the pink parlor with the clowds on the ceiling and the little touches of pink in there. The view through to the Moon Maiden with the red dress is just wonderful. Yes, very wonderful!

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  16. Hi Betsy,
    Love, love, love the new build, especially the Moon Maiden murals. You are so damn creative!
    Best to you,
    Vicki

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  17. Wow!!!! great idea and so beautiful

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