Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ashes, Birds, Branches.....

It's The Little Things.....

Another Busy weekend, Dear Readers, working on the RL project, kept me from doing much with the minis. But I have become really determined to accomplish at least Something in spite of the demands on my time and energy! And this weekend I was able to get three small things done! I realized that I had forgotten to add the ashes to the bedroom fireplace! And because I had also decided that it would Have to have a lit fire, there absolutely needed to be a pile of ashes below the fire grate! So I cut a piece of egg carton that had a humped shape and glued it in the hearth. Then I painted it ash colored and gave it a try with the "regency" fire grate.

Yes, I know, my pictures are terribly dark, it is almost impossible to see the details!

There will need to be a fire screen or a fender at the very least 
to prevent run away coals, but I think it is looking good!
Such a small detail, but I would have been 
very annoyed if there were no ashes!

The second thing I accomplished, Dear Readers, 
was that I remembered I had not yet painted
 All the birds on the walls of the bedroom!
This was something that would be very very difficult to do
if I had already glued the walls in place!

I managed to add four birds to the front wall, which is already attached, 
but without the side wall in the way, I can reach in from the side 
to paint on the front wall with at least a little less trouble!
(The above picture shows the side wall in place, but it is still removable!)
There still need to be quite a few more birds added to all the walls. 
The idea is that it is a New England version of the
 Chinoiserie wall decor, so fashionable in the eighteenth century,
and so it needs to be filled with our native birds!
So far the fireplace wall has American Bluebirds and Robins, 
and the front wall has the Red-winged Blackbirds and the Cardinals.
But that is just a start! There are many more that I plan to add.
It is such a little thing, but I think it makes a huge difference!

And the third thing I managed to do was to start the painting 
of the sculpey tree branches for the Parlor Fireplace.

Here you can see them all removed from the parlor but not yet painted.
The color of the sculpey is just a little darker than the paint I used for the Fireplace.
It is a slow process to paint all the branches, 
so I started with the ones surrounding the mirror on the mantel.

This is just with the first coat of paint. 
There will need to be some shadowing and texturing and marbling 
to make them match the fireplace.

But, of course, I have to test them in place even though they are not nearly done.....
(And once again, I am sorry it is so difficult to get good pictures at this time of year!)
Above, you can see them in place with the sconces turned off.

And here you can see the sconces turned on, and the sconce "shades" added.
This view is taken while the side wall is removed... 
once it is attached you will not be able to see this view
 except through the side windows!

I do think I am going to like the effect when they are all painted!
The color difference is very small, 
but I think it is such an improvement 
to have them unified in color!
So Dear Readers, I might have only done three little things,
But we all know those Little Things 
make a Huge difference!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Not Much At All....

What We Can See....

Once Again, Dear Readers, the RL Renovation project consumed almost all of my Time and even more of my energy this past weekend, leaving me with very little to show you! But I did manage to accomplish two very small things in my mini worlds, so here I will show you a great many pictures about not much at all! The first thing I did was to test a "lampshade" of sorts for the candle light sconces in the parlor of Hardwick Hall. I cut the end off of a metal filigree jewelry part and placed it over the bulb to see if it would mute the glaring light from the bare bulbs, but still cast enough light. You can see it above in the branches of the tree by the windows. I think it succeeds in muting the light, and casts more wonderful shadows on the ceiling, but the question remains about whether it leaves us with enough light in this room! This is a Dark room, and all the trees are supposed to be spooky and minimally lit... and I have always felt that the bare bulbs need a shade of some kind.

In this picture you can see the sconces over the mantel are also on, but without any shades, they are a bit more glaring and make it hard to see the other features of the room. (One of the difficult features of this room is that the fireplace wall is angled away from the open side of the room, making a direct view of the fireplace impossible except through the windows on the side wall.)

And here is that view from outside, at night, with the sconces on.... 
the light is dim but at the same time too bright to see past the glaring light bulbs!

And another view of the mantel from the open side of the house....
this is as much of it as can be seen from this side!
I think I am going to try the "lampshades" on all the sconces and see how it looks....
but I only had the time to make the one shade so far!

I do like the effect of the one "lampshade" 
and I guess I will just have to wait and see 
whether we can still see enough when they all have "shades"!

The other thing I accomplished last weekend, Dear Readers,
was to glue a couple of additional boards onto the bed frames 
for the Cloud Palace Bear-Racks!

This is how it looked at the start of the weekend.....

And this is how it looked by the end of the weekend!
I think it makes the beds look much cozier!

This is a close-up of the lower bunk..... 
there is a shelf for bearsonal items....

And here is the upper bunk.... there is a shelf here too,
but the picture is a bit too dark....!

Hamish Harry has come to inspect the bunks!

He has even found a temporary pad to give it a try!
(There will, of course, be proper mattresses and bedding soon...!)

I think Hamish Harry looks Happy with the accommodations!
But I still need to build the bed for the loft ....

Where Brother Beorn will have his own Bearsonal Working space...
He is very patient!
So, Dear Readers, between the Bear Racks and the sconces,
I think you can see 
That there is not much to see at all!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016


And Not So New..... Progress!

It was a busy weekend in my RL World, Dear Readers, with the removal of the last Christmas decorations and the Beginning of a major refurbishing of one of the bedrooms in my house, so not much got done on the mini houses. But whenever I say that, I often discover that I got more done than I thought I did! Since the Christmas Trees have been taken down, the Doll Houses have been shuffled around again, and it suddenly feels as though there is a Lot of room, and the new positions of the houses makes it easier to see what needs to be done. So I started to "chip away" at the problems I was having with the Willowcrest. The windows continue to be the most obvious sticking place when it comes to moving forward with this building! Above you can see the kitchen window from the exterior, after I had already added the cross pieces at the bottom of the windows where they abut the sill. I could not find a good picture from before.... but I had already decided that it looked too unrealistic to leave them with no "bottom" to the windows! And to make matters worse, this window was originally constructed with the exterior sill sitting above the level of the window openings so that it would show from the interior and look awful! (It must be a mistake in the kit design!)

This picture shows the interior view (or it would if it was lit well enough... sorry about that!) where you can see the window sill and the added pieces at the window bottoms when looking out from the inside.

And since the kitchen wall still has not been attached, 
you can see it better here.... along with the larger pieces I am adding 
on the interior to hide both the exterior pieces.

And testing it with the sink I plan to use in this kitchen...... 
before adding the interior window sill.....

Which you can see here.
And I think it looks okay, even though it would look better
 if I had realized before adding the muntins...
that the windows would need an extra "bottom" piece.

But it turns out that once the sink is positioned in front of the window......
you can't see much of the sill anyway!
And while I had the sink out, I glued all its pieces on too!

And while I was adding the fiddly little pieces to the windows....

I also added the cross bars and muntins to the cellar windows.....
although here, I decided that there was not enough room 
at the bottom to add the window bottoms.

Probably not noticeable to anybody else....
But I think it looks strange... and will probably
 hide it behind a bush when the house is finished!

And here you can see a test run of the kitchen stove....
Not a new piece, but I haven't shown it here yet!
It resembles the stove in my RL kitchen.....
because this house resembles my RL house in the basic layout, 
so I decided to use that to influence some of the design choices for this project!

Here you can see the mini stove on top of the RL kitchen stove!
The rooms in this kit are really quite small.....
just like the ones in my RL house....
You start to notice that as soon as you try to place the furniture in them!

Here you can (sort of) see the Willowcrest back in the construction area....
(It is really difficult to get good pictures at this time of year!)
But I think, Dear Readers, that I am getting closer 
to being ready to glue the walls on this house!
I have also decided that I will need to paint all those "trees" in the parlor, 
and not just leave them the unpainted color of the sculpey clay.
 Here you can sort of see them as they are 
(picture taken months ago when there was still a little sunlight...!)
I think they need to look as though they are the same carved stone as the fireplace... 
otherwise they neither look real nor like stone.... 
but just sort of raw... and that has been bothering me!
And while I have debated with myself for a long time about the name for this house....
in my mind I have always thought of it as "Hardwick Hall".
Yes, it is a bit of a Grandiose name for such a tiny bit of space!
But it belongs to my Witches, and it does have a fairly Grand facade....
and I am just getting tired of calling it "the Willowcrest"!
So I am making it official..... "Hardwick Hall" it is!

And on an Entirely different note... also a New beginning...
There is a new persona in my doll Worlds.....

She is made by the very talented Sumaiya.
Sumaiya's blog was one of the first blogs I discovered 
years ago as I was finding my way back into miniatures, 
and I have always been enchanted with her exotic and elegant dolls.
As soon as I saw this one posted on Sumaiya's blog,
I knew she had to come play in my Little Worlds!

She comes with the name "Meera"
But I think that is only part of her name...
She obviously has the ability to hold her listeners Spellbound....
and perhaps, like Sheherezad, 
she has a thousand songs to sing...
or ballads to enchant us....!
I do not know yet what her story will be... 
or where she will lead me...
But that, Dear Readers, 
is part of the mystery of anything New!
And I do hope you have enjoyed 
all this "Little" Progress!

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Picky Picky!

Little Details.....

I had a couple of days of Holiday Time left, Dear Readers, after I had finished painting the Christmas Card (see previous post for a picture!), and had hoped to get a Great many things done on All my mini projects! But, as often happens, every little thing takes longer than you could imagine to complete.... and the Indecisive part of my Imagination prevented me from Choosing the best projects for the moment.... so I did not get very much done at all. But I did get a few Little Things done.... even ones I had almost forgotten about! I hope you can recognize, or even Remember The Folly Bed Nook in the above picture (It is so dark at this time of year it is difficult to get a good photo!) Long ago I had started to sew a pair of bolsters for either end of the bed, but I was not at all satisfied with the way the first one was turning out, so I put them aside and forgot about them! Well, for some reason, I decided it was time to finally finish them!

I had sewn one of them but did not have the right material to stuff them. I wanted to try sand or beads so they would look heavy and sag in the middle. They are sewn the old fashioned way by hand, and at first I thought they would be too large and bulky for the bed nook. But then I decided to over-stitch the ends, making a welt around the end seams, which gave more shape and definition to the pillow. I had bought some bird gravel and used it to stuff and I really liked the way it came out after all! Then I tried to make the second one to be just like the first one, and even though I had cut the pieces at the same time, the second one did not turn out right at all! I had to pick it apart and re-stitch it more than three times! (This never happens to me!) Eventually I got it close enough to the first one....

When they are in place on the bed they are almost impossible to see.... 
(Maybe the next time there is a sunny morning.....)
But I know they are there!

And because one is at each end of the bed.... 
you don't notice any difference in size at all!

Another Tiny little detail that I worked on was the Curtain rods in the Willowcrest.
It bothered me that it was impossible to remove the curtains from the rod once the walls were all in place! This is because the rods are made to slide out the ends of the eye-screws that hold them to the walls.... but you need enough length of the wall on either side of the window for this to work!  Which just isn't there in these small rooms! I decided I would need to open up one of the eyes on each set of curtain rods.... so that it was a hook instead....

This way you could lift one end of the rod out of the holder 
and slide the curtain off the end!
So while I had taken the Willowcrest mostly apart.....
I fixed all the curtain rods!
And while I was at it I worked on those pesky window sills....
remember the problem with the muntins abutting the window sill on the exterior?
When I fixed the exterior side.... it left an unfinished strip visible from the inside!

Here you can see I have covered three out of four of the panes... 
that little white stripe at the bottom on the right 
is the exterior frame showing on the inside.
(Sorry about all the reflections!)
You can also see I have added the under-painting for some more flowers
 on the wall murals along the bottom edge.
And once all the window frames had been fixed... I added the interior sills.
It makes the windows so much more realistic!
(The kit design does not include any interior window sills!)

Here you can see the window sill added to the interior of the window.
(Sorry it is so dark.... night again!)
And the exterior window sills that had not yet been attached I fitted and glued in place.
It takes quite a bit of picky carving away at the notches in these pre-cut pieces 
to get them to fit flush to the frames and the wall!

These also required the exterior window frames and muntins to be added.....

And I had Almost enough already painted pieces 
of the very fine silver trim I am using....
But not quite enough! 
I will have to cut and paint some more pieces 
in order to complete all the windows.

And yet another small detail I worked on 
was the fireplace for the Willowcrest bedroom...

I had not been happy with the way the paint looked 
the first time around, so I re-painted it!
It is made of wood, but I wanted it to resemble carved stone.
(I also added a thicker wooden base for the hearth.)
And painted the bricks on the hearth interior....
And tested the look with the Regency Fireplace insert....

It looks lovely, but Much too clean!
So I added a lot of "soot".

Which really doesn't show well in this photo... 
the light is too glaring!

Maybe you can see the soot a little better in this view.
I have not attached the plug to the wiring for the fire yet.... 
so we cannot see it lit.
But you can sort of see the additional tiny flowers 
I added at the bottom of the murals....
(Very picky little details!)
Tulips, violets and dandelions....

So hard to imagine at this time of year! 
(And there will also be a baseboard added at the bottom.)
I will have to get some better pictures for you in the daylight!

And Another project I picked away at was the 
Painting of the rocks on the Cloud Palace Tower!

Believe it or not, Dear Readers, this is a part of the project 
that one could never possibly be satisfied with the results!
The rocks are fine.... but they are all different
 from the ones painted on the lowest section of the Tower!
It is like when you buy yarn and you get two different dye lots 
and don't notice until the project is all done and you can see where one color is off!
The paint batches for the rocks will never match the older part!
So I have decided that it is "good enough" and moved on 
to gluing the parts together!

Which means I can construct the beds 
for the Guy Bearys.... in the "Bear Racks"!
(Otherwise know as bunk beds and a loft!)
Once I get the interior structure glued 
I can add all the rest of the "Rocks" 
to the outside of the Tower!
And one more thing I want to show you, Dear Readers, 
is not a project at all....
But a Gift I received for Christmas from my Dear Niece!

She sent me this fantastic roll-top desk 
and the beautiful painting and the bouquet of flowers!
Thank you, Hali!
The only way I can be picky with these is Where to put them... 
and I think the roll-top desk might just belong 
here in the attic of the Willowcrest!

So Dear Readers, I hope I have not bored you 
with all these Picky Little Details!
Sometimes you just have to be Very Picky!