Monday, March 20, 2023

Curtains, Window Seat Lights, Gilded Trim Etc....



Details And Distractions...

I Hope you won't mind, Dear Readers, that I have a Lot of details to show you this week! And even though I am now Retired and (in theory) have all the time in the World for minis, it hasn't exactly worked out that way! My younger son came East for two weeks and has been back and forth between my house and his Dad's (an hour away) so there has been more than a usual amount of distraction! It was absolutely Wonderful to have such a long visit with him, the first here since covid shut travel down in 2020! We talked and talked and ate and ate and consumed pots of tea (me) and coffee (him) and he helped me get some necessary projects accomplished too. Tonight he is headed back to Alaska. So here I am trying to put a sense of organization into the many little things I did during the past two weeks. For starters, I decided to grapple with the "difficulties" I was having with the Gilded trim for the ceiling of The Doll Maker's Studio. You can see a lovely picture of one section partly painted in the above picture.

Here you can see it really really close up, 
and if you look carefully you will see all the "white" spots
 where the gold paint has not quite covered over the primer.
And even where it has covered, it still needs several more coats of paint.
I did lots and lots of painting!

This section is the long side that you don't ever see
 unless you are looking in the windows.
And if you look carefully on the left end you will see a little cherub...
One of the troubles I had with this trim, from the very beginning,
 was that I wanted cherubs in the trim and couldn't find any that would work!
So I decided (at least two years ago)
 that I would have to try to make my own from sculpey.
This little guy was among the first of my attempts,
 but I thought he was too small.
So I made some others, and I didn't exactly like them either!
But if you know me, you will understand that I couldn't just throw them away!
(These guys take on a life of their own!)
I dithered and debated forever.... 
and eventually decided I had to try to make them work.

But here I must show you that I did get the second curtain made
 and here I am testing it with the first one.
And if you look closely at the gilded trim right above it
 you will see some very "blobby" parts amongst the swags.

I'm sorry I don't have better pictures....
 but there is a cherub sort of wrapped in the ribbon swag...
 he has a rather homely face 
and his wings had to not bump into the ceiling... 
(which is removed here).

And on the other side of this trim is the other fellow...
 but he is facing toward the wall so his fanny is what you see...
 along with his wings and the back of his head.
I decided that people would probably be too busy
 looking at the window seat to notice them up above.
They also needed lots of touch up with the painting.
I will try to get better shots of them...
 they are kind of cute in their own way... 
But first I have to show you the corner piece of trim
 that needed to be adjusted....

Here you can see I am trying to make the final piece of  "corner trim"
 fit into the corner properly and meet up at all the other sections correctly.
And you might recall me mentioning that 
the curtain rod needs to lift out of one of the hook eyes
 so the curtains can be removed.
But this corner trim was preventing the rod from lifting out!

Here the corner piece has been pulled out 
(none of the trim pieces are glued in place so far!)
and I have taken my pliers to the pieces at the bottom and pulled them apart!
There is the evidence of my destruction!
With a great deal of taking it out and putting it back again,
 I was able to figure out where exactly the trim needed to stop.
And meanwhile, Dear Readers, between visits with my son,
 I had also decided to add the electrical outlet to the back corner of this room....

Here I have run the outlet through the wall
 and need to get it hooked up to test the wires before I glue it down.
I have been endlessly debating the lighting for this room.
The chief light source is the chandelier in the middle of the room.
 There is also the battery operated lamp that came with
 the original kit and will sit on the work table.
I have always thought the front window would look lovely
 with a string of Christmas lights 
rather than anything as bright as sconces.
I needed to test my theory!

Outlet works! Check!

But in order to hang the lights there would need to be hooks....
Made out of wire and poked into the wood frame.

And testing the lights in the window....

And with the curtains.... I think it will look just lovely!

And meanwhile, I have repaired the corner trim....

And repainted it....
I don't know why I sweated so much over this corner...
 it is absolutely Not visible!
But, yes, I will know it is there!

And more layers of paint.... 
you have to look from every angle....
 and I'm sure there will still be "missed spots" 
when it is too late to fix it.

Okay, so maybe here is a better view of the cherub...
can you see him there sort of swathed in the ribbon? 
He is supposed to be trying to hang the garland on the ceiling....

And the other one... carrying the other end of the garland... 
can you see his wings and fanny?
Well, never mind.... 
 I will know they are there 
and I am glad I included them after all!

There was still more painting to do...

And here's the first little cherub...
I'm glad there was room for him too!

Here's the last view of all the trim sections together....

And the last view of the walls without the trim.....!
Yes, I started to glue it in place!
One side at a time, but adding the next section 
before the glue was dry so it could be adjusted if necessary...

And with the ceiling in place (temporarily)
the morning sun is reflecting off the floor 
(protected by a sheet of paper)...

And with the paper out of the way....

I just have one small adjustment to make
 on the trim for the opening side wall....
 the piece you will hardly ever see...
so it has not yet been glued down.
And the ceiling is still removable....
 but not for long!
So, In spite of a lot of Distraction, Dear Readers,
 I have managed to complete a lot of little details
 and made a whole lot of Progress!

Thursday, March 9, 2023

The Doll Maker's Studio....


Just A Quick Little Project....

I Hope you will understand, Dear Readers, if I return to The Doll Maker's Studio after all my dithering. It sits right in the way of everything else on the corner of my work table, and truly, there is nowhere else to place it while it is being constructed! My house is small and already has mini houses in almost every room on almost every table and chair and it is a juggling act to have visitors and to access materials. And the Doll Maker's Studio was originally just a cute very small "vignette" kit from Sandra Morris of Tower House Dolls in England. As soon as I opened the kit it "needed" to expand into a small building of three stories and infinitely more details! It quickly became anything but a "quick little project"! But in spite of all my other distractions, I am making progress!

Most of my attention for the past year or so
 has been on the second floor studio room. 
Originally this was made from the "Sugarplum" kit made by Greenleaf, 
and like all their kits it is made of very thin plywood
 with tab and slot construction.
There has been a great deal of "adjusting" 
required at every single step of the project!
Very little of the kit is as it was originally intended.... 
with the exception of the ceiling construction in this room.
This is because the tab and slot method is actually
 structurally necessary in keeping the house pieces together properly!
So even though it is elaborately painted with clouds and cherubs
 and is being "supported" by billowing gilded floral swags....
Those "tabs" still need to go into the slots 
when the ceiling is finally glued in place.

And at the moment, none of it is glued in place!
(I apologize for the glaring flash pictures... 
this room is too dark to see details without it.)
And as always it is a challenge to figure out
 which steps are necessary to complete
 before the ceiling is glued in! 
 The gilded trim needs more coats of paint,
 in particular on the opening wall side
 which you can't even see except when looking in windows.
And before the ceiling is attached,
 I want to get the curtains for the window seat done,
 so I can be sure they fit around the cornice trim.
And the window seat alcove can't be attached
 until the ceiling is in place because that wall 
needs to remain "flexible" so the ceiling tab can be slotted in place.
Yes, it's complicated!
And I thought I had the curtains all figured out, Dear Readers,
 until I was searching through my boxes of material
 and came across a different scrap of velvet....

Which would be a Much better match for the wallpaper in this room!
I won't even show you the maroon velveteen I thought I was going to use... 
it looks terrible in comparison!
Here I am testing the gold fringe trim which
 I have used on so many of my velvet curtains.... 
and I just don't think it is right here.

Especially when I found this
 much more opulent trim in my supplies!
No Contest!
These drapes need the bold gold to balance the cornice trim!

Then it was just a matter of making the curtains.... 
and I like my curtains to be able to
 "open and close" as real ones would.
This means sewing hems and attaching
 curtain rings to go on the curtain rod.
I stitch florist wire into the hems
 so I can "shape" the curtains somewhat into pleats.

I didn't hem the lower end until the rings were attached
 and I could measure the actual length of the curtain.
Here I have pinned the gold braid on
 and am testing it in place on the curtain rod.
I use coat hanger wire for the rod
 and run it through two small eye hooks, 
one of which has been bent part way open
 so the rod can lift out to slide the rings on and off.
(In this case the partly open hook is the right hand one.)

Here the first curtain is done 
and I am beginning the second one.

Here the finished curtain is being tested in place.
I think it will do!
And when the other one is done, 
they will probably be positioned so they are mostly open... 
because one will want to see into the window seat alcove!
This will compress the trim into tighter folds.... 
We will see how it works!

Yes, Dear Readers, 
The Doll Maker's Studio
Was meant to be 
just a Quick Little Project!

Tuesday, February 28, 2023

Not To Mention the Chapel....



No, I Have Not Forgotten the Chapel....

Well, Dear Readers, this Project Review becomes almost Embarrassing when we open the doors to the Chapel. I don't know how Father Alban can stand the accumulated mess of parts and unfinished projects that clutter his Chapel! I know this entire Tower of the Castle has been on "hold" for what seems like forever while I try to "quickly finish" the other tower, and the Great Hall. I am sure I had a reason for this at some long time past.... but I cannot remember it now! I was in the middle of painting the murals on the ceiling and the remaining wall, and I think I wanted to get the Great Hall finished first....

And at the moment the lights are not even hooked up,
 due to the exterior painting that was being done
 a couple of summers ago!
So I cannot even shed more light on this chaos!
Perhaps that is just as well...
Finding the thread of my inspiration
 is proving more challenging than I had thought!
And while I dither, Dear Readers,
I hope you will not mind one more tiny update on the carpet stitching...

It is so soothing to just follow the pattern and add stitch after stitch...

And suddenly the central portion is complete!
Oh, my!
And the outer borders are taking shape too.
And soon, I am sure I will pick up the threads of my other projects,
 and figure out the next steps
 on one project or another.
But, No! I have not Forgotten the Chapel!

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Or Maybe the Tree House....



Do You Even Remember The Tree House....?

It has been a while, Dear Readers, since I visited The Tree House, let alone did a post about it. And I will admit I was really shocked to realize it is nearly ten years since I last worked on it! Yikes! How does that happen? There it sits, half finished on one side of The Folly Landscape, wires dangling and doors and walls taped together... how could I ignore it for so long? Walk right by it daily and not look inside? Well, I will admit that I do occasionally open the doors and look wistfully in... Gosh, I do love those tiny rooms! But Time, that elusive, fitful collaborator goes whizzing by and off I go to complete the Castle ceilings or the Lilac blossoms or another chapter of whatever Story is ruling my dreams...! And still it waits.... is it next.... Well, I really don't know... but we can visit if you like! And I must admit, Jodi's current project on her blog My Miniature Madness has inspired me to think about it again....

The Tree House is designed to be a series of rooms
 stacked within the hollow trunk of an ancient Tree beside The Folly.
So far there are six stories, starting with the kitchen
 which is partly below ground level.

All the rooms have doors that close for the fourth wall.
This allows the tiny interiors protection 
and a feeling of secrecy when viewed from outside.
And they are lit with small LED's and battery packs.
But it has been so long... they are not lighting....

But with new batteries and a new battery switch unit,
 they work! Hooray!

The kitchen was the beginning of my foray into tiny...
 this is a 1:48 scale build... and I built everything from scratch!
I fell in Love with making tiny furniture.... chairs in particular...
 you will have to visit my side-bar to find the posts with details...
And every floor has stairs that lead up inside the walls to the next level.
I know it is too dark to see properly... 
but on the right side is a twisty root hand rail for the steps going up....

To the Salon! The stairs land at the hall
 seen through the door in the back wall.
All the doors open and close on tiny hinges!
Yes.... I am nuts... but I love to make them open and close!

And I had barely gotten started when I realized
 the ceiling needed to be domed and painted too...
to make room for that grand chandelier.... (1.5 inches tall)

And the elegant window in the opening wall needed to have shutters...
(to hide the light from passer-by outside the tree....)
which had to have hinges.....
Yes, they open.....

And close!
(It makes me giddy with delight!)

And to the left there is a little alcove...
With a rose arbor painting and a tiny settee and a harp....

So hard to see and almost impossible to photograph...
nestled under a "lost marble" window!
And the matched suite of furniture in this room
 is the one and only foray into matched furniture I have ever done!
Again... you will have to visit the sidebar to find detailed posts.

And I don't even show you the marble stairs
 going up inside the wall to the next level...
(But they are there!)

And they bring us to the Library... 
A gothic masterpiece that I wish I had in RL!
And too many details to begin to show you...

 And the collections it inspired....
a "coquillage" box made with real tiny shells
 (the babies of the North Atlantic Whelk)
Tiny butterflies and Terrariums in bell jars... 
(made from gelatin capsules!)
Tiny open books, shelves full of closed books.....
In cabinets whose doors open....

And close! (Of course!)
But for these I made pin hinges....
reasoning they would be sturdier 
in the small dimensions of these shelves. 

And that secretary desk...!
Whose doors and drawers open and close... 
along with the hinged slanted top!
Oh, I had fun building that!
And the chairs....
Not to mention the "Tiffany " lamp!
And the stairs go up in the walls to the next level...

To the Chinoiserie Bedroom!
Again.... I got utterly carried away!
Painting the walls by hand.... (took weeks!)
Making the furniture.... 
the Pagoda Bed ....
(with the hand embroidered curtains
 that took me over a year to complete!)

Lets have a look with the lights on and the fire lit....

The bed curtains a bit closer, stitched with antique
 (my grandmother's) silk sewing thread
 on lovely dupioni silk cloth in a shade
 that perfectly matches the wall paint!
 (And so hard to get good focus at this scale!)

And let's not forget the ceiling...

Domed, gilded and bossed......
and so so difficult to see, let alone photograph!
But I know it is there!

And the Recamier under the gothic window....
with the tiny crystal wall sconces...

And the Pagoda Door on the opening wall...

Which leads out to a Juliet balcony
 overlooking the stream below...
And yes, the doors open and close!
And by now, Dear Readers, you must realize
 I have no restraint with this project!

A residence this magnificent must also have
 opulent bathing facilities!
And so we have the Abalone shell bathroom!

With that beautiful seashell tub!

Surrounded by pearl pillars and pearl dotted net curtains...
As if it is afloat on the blue "pond"
(another abalone shell)
And real scallop shell sconces and an art deco fireplace!
And lest you wonder where in all this splendor the "loo" is located.... 
never fear.... 
There is a closet to the side....
painted with Lilac bush murals!

And a still incomplete chamber for dressing...
 with wall murals of sea horses in the foaming waves...!

And here you see the open door wall... 
with the abalone shell tiles and Scallop shells too!

And is there more....?
Well, the next floor up is the Nursery...

 Or the beginnings of the Nursery....!
The outside of the Bed nook shown here....
Walls still incomplete and taped in place...

The inside of the Bed Nook.... in the opening door wall...
with those real lace curtains that open and shut on the curtain rod... 
and the windows hinge open too!

The nursery "Scandinavian Tile Stove" is lit and warm...
but there are no lights...  nothing is finished.
The Nanny's room is through the door on the right...

Just the bare bones and nothing attached....
 (all the walls fall down if bumped!)

Oh, and I forgot to show you the tiny
 Dressing Room off the Chinoiserie Bedroom...

It is impossible to get a good shot because
 the Dollmaker's Studio Project is in the way!
But I had a lot of fun painting the murals of roses on this one!
(You can look it up in the side bar of my blog to see more details....)

Well, once again, Dear Readers, 
I have gotten completely carried away 
just reviewing this incomplete project!
I worked on it almost exclusively for more than two years
 from May 2012 to Sept 2014!
And yes.... there is a lot more still waiting to get built!
When the Spirit moves me....
We shall see!
But Someday I know it will look like a Tree....
 with these amazing rooms tucked inside!

So, did you even remember the Tree House?