Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Castle Great Hall Revisited....


Strengthening Corners High and Low.... 

Some of you, Dear Readers, might Remember last summer's frenzy of strengthening the Castle.... in particular adding trim around all the eaves and doors and windows of the so far completed rooms. And you might remember that I had just begun on the Great Hall when I added the structural cross beam along the upper front where none had been built in the original construction process. And that was as far as I got. The building season had come to a close and there were still several parts of the Great Hall that needed solutions! In particular the eaves just below the vaulted ceiling along the back wall. There was no supporting beam on that side either!

Here you can see what I mean. 
I have turned on the flash so you can see 
all the glaring deficiencies in this construction!
Once I had added the support across the opening side,
 it was even more necessary to strengthen the back side
 where the ceiling would meet the wall.
I had always intended to add a row of 
 "stone" buttressing under the ceiling edge,
 but had not figured out the precise method of attaching these "stones".
The window frames got in the way, for starters, 
and the wall itself is irregular,
 and the ceiling edges were even more irregular....
 It needed solutions!

Here you can see one end of the Great Hall with the ceiling removed. 
(I will not firmly attach it until I have completed the painting part....)
You can see there is no "framework" on the back wall
 to support this barrel vaulted ceiling!
(What was I thinking!)
And another place that really needed "strengthening"
 was the opening doors on the front wall. 

They have those wonderful hinges 
supporting the opening of the bi-fold doors,
 but the plywood warps terribly
 in the ever changing humidity of this region.
At the moment we are terribly humid... 
so the doors have swelled to their less warped shape
 and they close just right.
It is another story in the dry winter air.
(I could not find a picture to show you...)
But all winter I was planning out how to add "buttressing"
 to the inside panels without getting in the way of the windows.
It needed to sort of align with the roof arches... 
(for rational minds like mine!)
Which meant they would not align exactly with the hinged folds.

And after much fiddling and testing
 (a challenge when the interior can't be seen properly 
when the doors are closed!)
 I figured out where the "posts" should go...

Along with a narrower strip that would be attached to the other door panel
 and would cover the "crack" between the door sections when closed.
Believe me, these add a lot of structure to the doors!

The lighting is a little better in this picture.
 You can see that I had to carve away where
 the bracing would bump into the gallery.
And somewhere in this "strengthening" process,
 it occurred to me to just add a "beam"
across the back to support the ceiling,
 much like the one across the front,
 although it would be interrupted by the chimney flue....
It would really simplify the juncture of the roof and the wall.

Here you can see I have cut some sections of wood
 for the "stone" beams and am testing them in place.
They obscure the top of the window trim "stones"... 
but I have figured out how to integrate that into the new plan....
(It is still being constructed...)

Here those supports have been painted to resemble stone... 
but are still not glued in place.
There will be more strengthening on all the edges of this ceiling...

And the arch of the barrel vault
 needs to be made more symmetrical...

On both ends of the Great Hall.
Which is difficult to do with the ceiling in place....
And hard to tell what looks right when it is not in place!
And maybe while I am doing that,
 I will Finally finish painting all those Patient Saints!
I can Dream.... Right?

So there you can see, Dear Readers,
 the partially strengthened corners of the
 Great Hall Ceiling and Doors.
It is Progress at last!

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Completing Corners.....



Carpet and Castle...

Last Week, Dear Readers, I was on vacation (a "stay-cation", we call it because I go nowhere) and I was able to wallow in my many mini projects to my hearts content! I leapt from project to project (while waiting for paint and glue to dry, of course) and managed to solve a whole bunch of technically complicated corners of my incomplete projects. I cannot tell you how satisfying it is to ignore the clock and simply fiddle with the many many possible options until the pieces fit and the problems are solved! At the time it sometimes feels like I am not getting anywhere.... because my attention is on so many small bits and pieces, but when I stand back, a lot of progress has been made! To begin with, I had showed you the carpet with the corner designs completed, but the background not yet done. In the above picture you can see the background dark red color is being added. It didn't take long to finish the background.

All I need to do now is take it out of the frame and bind the edges.
But I think it looks as good as I hoped it would!
And if the dark red color that came with the kit
 is not enough to bind all the edges, 
I have some of that same color
 from a previous kit so I am not worried at all!
And because I had the many days of my vacation stretching before me, 
I returned to the Castle, (my biggest unfinished project),
 with the goal of tackling some of those big unfinished corners!
Of course, this requires that I send away all the little people
 who are living there and empty the rooms of the furniture
 that has collected since last summer's marathon of 
"strengthening" all the unfinished corners and edges.
I thought I had finished all the edges
 of the already "completed" rooms...
But I was wrong!
You might recall that I had "strengthened the corner posts
 in the stables and the Guard Room....
but really I had only done the visible back corner of those rooms!

Here you can see the Guard Room's massive back post...
and the one to the front by the door is puny in comparison!
This has bugged me all winter!

Part of the problem was I would need to reposition
 the torch lamp and holder bracket
 in order to strengthen the front corner post.
 But the torch light was damaged last year in the building process,
 so it needed fixing anyway. 
I removed it and pried the bracket from the wall.

Here you can see the post is strengthened.
The capital at the top has not been added yet... 
it requires complicated shaping...

Here it is being painted.....

(I apologize for the dark photos....)
This is the spot the capital must fit into...
and surround the previous "capital" 
which was never adequate
 to support those arched stones!
 (This bothered me a lot!)

Here you can see it in place!
And now at least it matches the other corner post!

Here, I will shine a little spotlight on the back corner....!
Or better yet... turn on those Castle Lights!

That is more like it!

Much Much Better!!
But it is still not done, Dear Readers...
The front opening doors need the trim added around the opening.
And in particular the "doorstop" piece....

And in this case it needed to be sturdy... at least the central "stop" piece!
I used a small piece of plywood and attached it with glue and a screw!
Then I could add the rest of the regular pieces just using the regular wood and glue.

But you can see how just that one piece 
stops the doors from pushing in beyond the wall.
Which is what you can see happens with the doors to the Lord's Chamber....

Which will eventually need to have the trim and doorstop added.
But first we need to finish the trim and corners of the Stables.
Because, believe it or not, I discovered that there was a crack
 all along the front of the stables ceiling that needed to be covered,
 just like the other sides I did last year.

You can't see this from the front... 
but this door needed the "doorstop" and trim anyway.

And this corner post was mostly "strengthened" last year.... 
complicated by the stall which is attached here.
I added a tiny corner chunk and started the door trim.

Here it is almost completed.
(And no, I didn't send all the little people away...!)
The work in this corner was not too disruptive!

See how neat it looks?

And the trim in the Guard Room mostly done...
I still need to add the part in the closet...

And you can see how nicely the doors line up when they are closed!

Well, Dear Readers, that is not all the "corners" 
I completed on my Vacation... 
but the rest will have to be another post! 
I have been wanting to get this done for years...
And now I have Completed these Corners!

Tuesday, July 6, 2021

Carpet Continued...


 And a Little Distraction...

As You can see, Dear Readers, I have been making great progress on the carpet stitching! I have to confess, I have been more than a little obsessed with figuring out whether or not I had enough threads in the right colors to finish the roses. And there was really only one way of proving it... and that was by stitching all the roses! The above picture proves that, yes, I did! There was not a lot of thread left over in the end, and I had even used some of the "tail ends" I had saved from the first round of stitching the roses according to the charted kit instructions.

This is all that was left of the pinks 
and the darker "green" for the leaves!
(Really a grayish green.)
But the color I was most concerned about...
 the off-white that was the background inside the "cartouches"
was in extremely short supply.
I was certain I would not have enough for all four corner cartouches.

But you can rest assured that I had a back-up supply!
As I was deciding to add to this carpet,
 and was debating the quantity of threads needed,
 I remembered that I had leftover threads from other kits I had completed... 
and some of the threads were the same colors I would need!
In particular, the white was so close a match...
 I could not tell the difference...

The number on this pack is 882...
The number on the carpet white is 881...

But which is which?

 This is the third corner with the white background added.

And here they are all four corners completed!
And the red in the scroll-work as well... 
which I was also a little worried about having enough threads!
So now all that is needed is the dark red background filled in... 
and if I run out of those threads, 
the same color is part of that other kit! 
No worries!!
But what is the distraction I hear you ask?
Well, Dear Readers, I have the unusual habit
 of painting on my walls...
And I start what will someday be a very elaborate painted mural... 
and then I add to it from time to time... 
and it takes years and years...
 and I have yet to "finish"...
But I felt like adding to my bedroom mural....

Just the small blossoms along the bottom.... 
the bigger trees and shrubs have been there for years now...
(This is just part of one wall...)

It is supposed to be a morning in May....
So all the blossoms are the ones that would be blooming in May...
even though it is now July...
But some of the blossoms I can still pick to see if I have them right...
Like this little Johnny jump-up...!
(I apologize for the dark photo... it was a gloomy rainy day)

Of course, one can get endlessly lost in the details...
I painted for hours... all weekend....
And it still isn't finished.....

Not by a long shot.....!
But it is progress!
And not only do I love doing it....
 getting lost in the details....
But it gives me endless pleasure to look at it... 
especially on cold Winter nights...
When one can hardly remember the color green...!
So you can see 
I got a little Distracted, Dear Readers, 
but I made progress on some of my 
unfinished projects....
Big and small!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Complicated Corners...



Floor and Ceiling...

I had left you, Dear Readers, with my bold additions of Cartouches with Roses along the sides of the carpet I am enlarging, but did not show you the many attempts I have made to design the rest of the expanded carpet. I quickly decided that the more I could make use of the designs already "charted" in the kit, the better it would be in the end. The simplest addition would be to reverse the scrolls that were already the framework of the design. This decision was aided by the happy coincidence that there was just enough room for a second set of scrolls in the added carpet width! You can see above that I started right in with that plan and really liked the results. One of my chief concerns with this expansion of the original kit design, was the quantity of threads I would need. I had calculated the square inches of extra stitching and believed there would be enough thread overall to complete the extra designs... but only if I stayed carefully within the "proportions" of the colors of thread included in the carpet. So far I think we are going to make it! But it is a close thing with the threads for the pink roses... I have more than doubled the original number of roses!

I knew I wanted roses in the corners
and I wanted them to sort of mimic the other roses
 that were already in the corners,
 but they would need to be in "cartouches"
 like the other ones I had added.
I jumped right in, sort of copying the design from the kit,
 but the space required that I adjust their "angle"a little bit.
They needed to fit in this sort of square space.
Getting the "framework for the "cartouche" to fit the space
 was much more challenging than I had thought it would be!

After many tries... 
I am getting really good at un-stitching the threads...
I have settled on the not really square shape you see above.
It needed to meet up with the side and end borders 
and with the tips of the "scrolls" which
 extended from the corner rose clusters.
And I wanted it to end up being a "cartouche" 
sort of like the ones I had added at the sides.
But there wasn't enough room for as many rows of color all around...
So I had to compromise with the red and gray rows...

So this is what I came up with....
The framework is not as bold as the ones at the sides...
But I think it ends up with enough of a soft "floral" shape 
while still fitting in the space.
It is going to have to suffice because 
it is way too late to un-stitch it again...! 
As for the Complicated corners for the ceiling trim, Dear Readers,
 this was just as difficult and just as much trial and error!
To begin with, I had to make a "template
 that I could glue the pieces to
 that would fit into the inside corner of the ceiling trim
 when it was completed and in place.

And because it is a tight corner, 
and nothing stays put at an angle,
I can only glue one piece at a time...
wait for it to dry, and then add another...
and after a while see if it looks okay....
(And it is also really tricky to photograph!)

And then try to hold the pieces in place
 to see if the angles fit in the corner correctly...

So hard to tell!
And so much waiting for glue to dry...!

But there would need to be more corners.....
so I started more...

And trying to get a sense of how they will look...
So hard to tell...!
But I had to keep going anyway...

Each corner will need to be a little different to fit the space...

And adding primer to the first bunch....
 because maybe that will make it easier to tell if it looks right...

And that's as far as I got, Dear Readers,
 with the Complicated Corners
 of the carpet and the ceiling trim!
Nowhere near finished, 
But at least it is progress!