Monday, June 27, 2016

Bricks and Bases

Foundations... Getting to The Bottom....

I had a couple of extra days off from work last week, Dear Readers, and I made really good use of the time to work on the Foundation of Hardwick Hall! I started right in making lots of bricks out of egg cartons (thinking I would need Lots and Lots of bricks) I measured and drew guide lines on a pile of flat pieces....

Then I cut some of them into the little bricks... 

separating the regular sized ones from
 the extra long ones needed for all the corner pieces.....

Which you can see here with their ends folded 
to make a continuous corner piece.

I wanted to accomplish a lot on my extra days off... 
and got started early gluing them onto Hardwick Hall.

It was a lovely Summer Morning and It went very quickly!
I only had to cut more long corner bricks once....
There are more corners than you would think on this kit!
And the other side too! 
And then I realized I would have way more bricks 
than I thought I would need.... 
so I started to think about where else I could use all these bricks...!
There was always the Folly... 
 the Foundation section and the Garden wall could both use bricks... 
and the Conservatory foundation could also use bricks... 
Lots and Lots of bricks....
But they both had "issues" with their Bases...
That I had never finished constructing.... or had yet to start!
So I decided that first I needed to complete the Base for Hardwick Hall.
I started with plywood and attached low "stone walls" for the edges, 
leaving a gap for the front gate, 
and a separate back section that would open
 to hide the electrical plug strips.

At this point I decided the "hill" the house was sitting on 
definitely needed to be taller.... 
an extra layer of the pink insulation was needed!

From this.......

To this.....

And with the House.....

And hope there is still room for the front steps to fit all the way.....

Here we are test fitting... it looks as though they will work!
But it has gotten late and dark....

So I wait for morning to actually cut the styrofoam away 
and attach the front steps.

And here I am testing the front fencing.... 
it will have to be old looking.... maybe broken in places.

And then I had one of Those Ideas, Dear Readers...!
I was thinking there would be some trees 
in the front "yard", one on either side.....
and suddenly they were "Tree Houses".... 
with tiny rooms inside....!
But You haven't even finished the First Tree House, I hear you say!
Yes, but I must at least Ready the bases 
for these Eventual Tree Houses....
Before I glue it all down!
I can work on the Tree Houses...
I reply!
So I made two separate removable tree House Frames.....

Here you can see the beginnings.
I cut away the pink foam 
and attach the support posts for the eventual doors
 securely to a removable plywood base.
The whole Tree structure can be lifted out while it is being built.

Here you can see one of the "Trees"
 has the wire supports added... 
and the other "Tree" is removed.

And while I was working on the bases, Dear Readers, 
I decided to take The Folly off its incomplete base so I could work on it too!

(sorry the picture is a bit blurry... no excuse!)
The front side wall and the Tree House side wall were never attached.
And the pink foam  "ground" wasn't finished being shaped.

And once the walls were attached, 
I painted the whole base a brick red!
The walls are supposed to be brick walls... 
so until I make all those egg carton bricks... 
the walls will just be plain paint. 

And on the left side where there is the garden area, 
I trimmed the foam base back 
so the house foundation can be completed in brick.... 
those egg carton bricks I already cut out!

And while I was going full steam ahead on the bases... 
did I start the base for the Conservatory?
Well, I did... but I am not sure I am happy with it....

So it might be a while before I add any bricks to this one!

But I did glue the foam into the base for The Folly....
So I could add those bricks any time!
And build the front steps....
And work on The Tree House....!

Any one of Those Tree Houses, I should say!
Between the bricks and the bases, Dear Readers,
I have been getting to the Bottom of it All!


  1. Wow Betsy you were on a roll 😀 Hardwick Hall looks great on its new base and the tree houses in the big trees are going to be amazing. I can't wait to see more, I love how the steps look. Lucky you cut all those extra bricks so you can use them on the Folly and conservatory, I hate cutting bricks.

    1. Hi Victoria! I was determined to make some "real" progress! I am still trying to get "The Folly" base to fit the way I want it to... the steps and the front lawn are still very unfinished. I am glad you like those steps for Hardwick Hall... and the Tree Houses just have to happen! I am trying to make myself "finish" the Tree House at "The Folly" before I start the new ones! I still have a lot of the technical stuff to figure out.

  2. Great work. The bricks are perfect.

    1. Thank you Fabi! The bricks do work so well made from egg cartons! It is worth all the work in the end!

  3. Oh my, Betsy, I think you will have 'square' eyes (I hope you understand what I mean ;O?) after you will ever finished after cutting lots of egg carton bricks ;)! But for now I think you've done a lot of work at all of the bases, let's start bricking :D!
    It was fun to see again some of your dollhouses at the above pictures. Each of them is already wonderful, so if they ever will get their bricks they will become even more wonderful!
    Wishing you a lot of patience for cutting of all these most needed bricks.
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Thank you Ilona! Yes, I have "square eyes"! LOL! And fingers too! I have cut even more bricks because "The Folly" does need a lot! I am working away at the next steps! Thank you for commenting!

  4. Well Betsy, I have to say, I have never seen anyone make as good a use from their time off work before :) Good for you. The new bases really promise to give that something extra to your properties! Brilliant work.
    All the best

    1. Thank you Vivian! Sometimes there is such a backlog of building plans that when given a little extra time a whole bunch of things come together quickly. I felt like I was finally getting to these steps I had been planning for forever!

  5. Well, you sure did get a lot done!
    Where do you get egg cartons these daze?
    That Hardwick Hall is really a masterpiece; I wish it could be on a lonely, solitary hilltop instead of such a small base, but I guess it's a city house.
    Anyway, Lots of progress!
    Love, Mom

    1. Hi Mom! I have a collection of the egg cartons... I hope it is enough for all these projects! And Hardwick Hall can be as lonely as we want.... far away on a distant Heath!
      I am getting a lot done!

  6. Hi Betsy.
    The bricks are looking great, as usual. You accomplished so much on your extra days off work.
    The house looks just right on the hill and the trees will be a wonderful addition, I can't wait to see how you make them.
    I have to admit at looking at the background in one of your pictures and being impressed (and jealous) of all your projects ;-)
    Have a great week

    1. Hi Simon! I plan to construct the Tree Houses pretty much the same way I did (am doing) the first one. And as for my large number of projects.... I try to think I will get them all done "someday"! I have taken over the Dining Room in my house.... and a good bit of the Sitting Room too! (I have to move things when I have guests....)Thanks for commenting!

  7. Now I'm sitting here having two questions... about your days off... was it a whole work free month??? Wow, you've accomplished a lot, jumping a huge step ahead. That was progress for sure! And the second question: How on earth can anyone cut way too many eggstone bricks??? *LOL* I'm glad you did - because this started this train of thought and was the beginning of all this stunning (and promising!) progress. The stairs and fence in the garden allow a little vision of how it's going to be... and what could be better than more tree houses? According to me that's a brilliant idea! ;O)


    1. Dear Birgit, my sister who is visiting me wants me to Say "Hi" from her and to tell you the Bearys are Happy as can be at her house "Hope Cottage"!!! :)
      I am so glad you think more Tree Houses are a great idea! LOL! I can't wait to get to working on them.... but I really think I should (ahem) finish the first one first! As for the bricks... It is really all "relative"... the foundation of Hardwick Hall didn't need very many... but the Folly and the Conservatory need tons! So I really haven't cut too many at all... I'm still cutting them! And have a long way to go! As Ilona says.... I am getting :square eyes"!!! :)

  8. Hi, Betsy - Well, you work so amazingly fast and go in so many directions that by the time I reached this "comment" space, my head was spinning. Now I can't remember all the things I wanted to comment on! If only I had a small portion of your speed and versatility. All the bricks and bases on all the houses look good; I especially like the addition to Hardwick Hall's hill. And the trees! Your mind moves at the speed of light! The trees are a wonderful idea, and I'm so looking forward to seeing how you build (grow?) them. This is such an energetic post that I'm super motivated to get on faster with my own slow project. Thanks for another inspiring blogpost.

    1. Hi Marjorie! I was making a lot of progress! It doesn't always work that way... which is why I tend to jump around on my projects.... if I can't make up my mind I just work on something else that I am sure about. Eventually I figure out what to do with the problems and get back on track... it is not a very efficient way of progressing... but it seems to get me there eventually! I plan to eventually make the trees pretty much like the first Tree is a complicated step by step creation and is not fast. I do hope you will stick around to see them when I get to them! But I am trying to finish the first one first! LOL!

  9. I am always always ashamed I do nothing seeing your multiple progresses! Can't wait to see more of the bases works!:)

    1. Dear Ewa, you accomplish so much with your furniture building! I am always Daydreaming about learning to make furniture... and here you are actually doing it!!! I think what you make is gorgeous! :)

  10. Hi Betsy! Not only do I LOVE your brickwork but I also like the colors that you've painted them- A Perfect choice!
    Your base for Hardwick Hall couldn't be better. It was a Brilliant Idea to have the staircase ascend up the hill like you have done and the gate posts are Exactly the right visual weight to support them.
    Your trees are going to be another rare feast as you get going on them. Trust you to plan for that ahead of time! ;P
    Bottom Line is that I am always AMAZED by the complexity of each of your projects, Betsy. It is like those wooden Ukrainian dolls where you open the one to find smaller one inside which holds a smaller one, which holds a smaller one, then smaller etc. etc.
    ONLY YOU do these kinds of projects Betsy; and I take my hat off to you! :D


    1. Dear Elizabeth, I hate to disappoint you, but I haven't even painted the bricks yet!!! That is just the "raw" egg cartons! I do agree that the color looks good... but it is so unusual to have them that color around here... I am probably going to do the usual dark red and mossy thing... maybe with some peeling paint too!
      As for the Tree Houses... I am excited all over again to be working on more little worlds! I do love the added surprise of small worlds where they are not expected! Yes, the Really Tiny ones too!

  11. Les briques sont très réussies et les soubassement sont une excellente idée. Cela termine joliment la maison d'y mettre des plantes, escaliers, grilles,...Et comme Simon je trouve agréable de voir réunies plusieurs de vos si belles maisons.

    1. Hi Jean-Claude! I am glad you like to see my messy workroom! LOL! I do have so many partly done projects! I Daydream about finishing them... I hope to be playing with them all for many years! LOL! And sometimes the Stories just demand a new "venue"! :)

  12. Dear Betsy,
    You were inspired! I am most impressed at the progress in so many directions. I remember your writing about putting Hardwick on a hill and now it is there! The magic of Betsy.
    My friend Fatima is also making bricks and more bricks for her Victoria (Garfield) house - it seems never to be enough.
    Great job as always.
    Regards Janine

    1. Hi Janine! I impressed myself with the amount I got done! It was a big effort with the big tools.. but it made such a difference! I can now move forward on some of the parts that were impossible to do without the bases. At the same time, I always find it hard to "limit" all those options by finishing the bases... then you have to stay within the bounds you have set! LOL!

  13. Wow the bricks look wonderful. Goodness you have done a LOT of work I felt tired even reading about all the amazing work you have done :D It is always a pleasure to see your wonderful houses.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Hi Maria! I am so sorry to wear you out with all that hard work! LOL! It was a bit wearing! But now I can make progress on finishing some of these properties! I am glad you like seeing them! Thank you for commenting!

  14. The base of the house is looking great. I like the sloped yard and fence too. Looking forward to your progress with the trees. keep up the good work!

    1. Thank you Troy! I do like to make "interesting" landscapes... no flat yards for me! LOL! I am looking forward to working more on the Tree House.... I am trying to make myself finish the first one first!

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you Brae! Your comments mean a lot to me! :)

  16. Hello Betsy,
    Fantastic work on the bricks and on the hill. I swear Hardwick Hall is one of my favourite dollhouse projects of all time. It is beautiful and the hill with the steps will be perfect! I just love the vision you have and the fact that you can create anything you can imagine. Both houses look terrific with their new "yards". I can't wait to see more.
    Big hug