Monday, August 13, 2018


It Had To Be Done.....

I was Only part way through Constructing the Lord's Council Chamber, Dear Readers, when I stopped working on the Castle Tower all those years ago, and I truly couldn't remember how much of what was in the room had been glued in! I am sure you can remember what the room looked like Before I tore it all apart... the Wizard has been using it for making his Potions for several years now.... but I forgot to take a picture of the deconstruction. As I discovered, the fireplace had not been attached, but the stairs and the inner wall (already removed in the above picture) had been glued in place. So why did I feel it necessary to undo that work, I hear you wondering? Well, there was a problem with the stairs that was bothering me too much to let it go. The support beam for the upper floor on the left side had no cut-out for where the stairs would come up... and so it blocked a good part of the stair where it passed the beam! (Of course I have no picture of that!) So I needed to take the inner wall out and remove the stairs and try to cut a space into that beam. I thought maybe I could saw through it with the beam in place... but that was not working at all! There was nothing I could do but try to remove the beam (screwed and glued to the wall!) and replace it with the necessary gap for the stairs.

I had to swing the Tower away from the Great Hall portion of The Castle
 in order to access the screws which are screwed from the exterior
 into the floor supporting beams...
(I apologize for the dark pictures... it was ... still is... 
incredibly dark and gloomy and rainy all weekend!)
Once they were unscrewed I could chisel the beam 
away from the wall in order to cut it shorter.
But before I did that I remembered to drill two additional
 screw holes where the shorter beam sections would be.

Here you can (sort of ) see the beam replaced with a gap for the stairs... 
(the beam has been painted to resemble stone in case you are confused)

And with the upper floor back in place (not attached) 
you can see there is no "beam" in the way of the opening...
 even though the stairs have not been replaced yet.

In this picture you can sort of get a better sense of where the beam used to be!
Meanwhile I am still trying to get the "prosceniums"
 and doors attached to this upper portion of the Tower.
But this is where we encounter some of the warping of the plywood....

You can see how much the outer wall is leaning in the upper two rooms!
This meant that the process of attaching the "prosceniums"
 would be a bit tricky... as it needed to correct the warp if at all possible!

Of course I forgot to take any pictures of the process....
 and this one shot is fairly blurry... 
but I think it shows that we narrowed the gap between the Castle sections.
 And Ta da.... 
the doors are attached for the Council Chamber! 
None of these unpainted prosceniums and doors are glued yet...
 I am simply drilling and attaching with the screws
 which can be removed when the painting needs to be done.

And then I re-glued those stairs.... 
having decided not to rebuild them from scratch.... 
even though they are a bit uneven 
and have gaps where they abut the wall....
because it is a narrow and dark stairwell where you can barely see....
(but the little people can easily scamper up and down the stairs now!)

The process of adding the proscenium to the Top floor 
was a bit more challenging, Dear Readers,
 because it was much more warped at the top,
 and I also discovered that my measurements were a little off!

Because the screws are going into the narrow 3/8ths inch thick plywood, 
I pre-drill the holes in the proscenium edge carefully centered on that width.
 Next I hold it in place and drill one hole at a time into the wall, 
making sure it is centered properly.
 This requires that I force the bent wall into alignment 
and hold it while I drill the screw hole and insert the screw! 
At the top of the Tower
I needed to make sure the proscenium edge also aligned
 with the top floor or ceiling of the Tower...

Which you can see here just propped in place...
(not drilled or screwed or glued)

And with the top aligned correctly... 
it became clear that somewhere along the way
 there had been a net loss of an eighth of an inch
 in the prosceniums' collective height... 
causing a gap at the foot of this proscenium.
But it was more important to have the tops aligned correctly... 
this gap could be filled later.

Here you can see I have only drilled and screwed
 the bottom two holes on the left side,
 and only the bottom one on the right side
 in order to hold it in place while I 
slowly bend the walls back into alignment...

Here you can see a close-up of the warped top wall!
It required considerable coercion!
Both sides did!
Here you can (almost) see the results... screwed in alignment!

And the gap at the bottom of the wall will be filled with this piece... 
which is why we Do NOT throw away the little pieces
 we trim off of the doors to make them fit better...!
I will glue it in later... but first I want to add the doors!

Can you see all those hinges?
Now I can open and close all the doors!
Of course, I will need to take it apart 
as I actually work on the rooms....
but for now the Tower is nearly "built"...!
I just need to add those "beams" to the top of the walls
 where they abut the roof... and drill and screw and glue them in place.

Meanwhile I have re-attached the inner wall in the Lord's Council Chamber.... 
the stairs run behind it up to the Bed Chamber on the top floor.
And even though I had hoped to start in on the prosceniums and doors
 for the Chapel Tower, Dear Readers, I ran out of time. 
And the more I worked on the Guards Tower,
 the more I realized that I will probably need
 to undo a fair amount of the Chapel tower too! 
But that is a task for next week. 
For now I will leave you with a picture 
of lilac blossom number twenty-one!

And the entire collection...!

Sometimes, Dear Readers,
 Undoing Just has to be done!


  1. Hello Betsy,
    Great work. I know what a pain and how scary it is do undo a miniature room (I really do), but in the end you will love the room even more and it will just be more realistic staircase. Well done! The blossoms are coming along so beautifully.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac! It really feels good to get the problems fixed and now I hope I will be able to make some real progress again! I must admit that the enormity of the project has made me a little nervous... I will be working on this for a long time! :)

  2. Stairs and lights are the hardest. I'm glad you got up the nerve to make your fixes!

    1. Hi Sheila! I hope I am going to make some real progress now. This project has been waiting for my attention for a long time! And yes, the lights also need my attention! :)

  3. It is a lot like ripping out knitting! People are always saying "how can you do that!" Well - you know.

  4. What a great reminder that sometimes you need to let things sit a spell before you figure out how to solve a puzzle and then muster the courage to undo and re-begin again. I have a couple projects like that just waiting to be undone and renewed! I am happy to see that the warps have succumbed to your persistence (and screws) and that you are improving on the areas that needed redoing!

    1. Hi Jodi! The for "a spell" part is the only questionable part! LOL! I left this for years! But I am so glad I am now coming back to it with renewed energy and a lot more knowledge and confidence. It is a very big project and I know I will be working on it for a long time... it does feel good to make some progress! :)

  5. Ei yi yi!!!
    Whata super trooper you are Betsy, but inevitably it those little extra details- that count!

    1. Hi Elizabeth! I think I didn't realize how much it was bothering me until I really looked at it.... it was in the way! LOL! I am glad to be making progress again! :)

  6. Wow the courage to undo it! But now you know it's just right and your little people can go up and down the stairs without that beam hitting them.
    The blossoms are coming along nicely!
    I hope your weather lightens up soon. It seems to be very unevenly distributed this summer.
    Big hugs,

    1. Hi Veronique! Yes, the little people would not have been happy (nor would I) if I had left it as is... so I am glad I tackled it at last! If I am going to bother to have stairs.... they need to be working stairs! I am so glad to hear your weather is improving! We are way ahead on rain but are getting some dry days too. :)

  7. You're one tough woman, you really are! But if it had to be done it was necessary to do it - and you've been the right lady for this job, you and your screwdriver. A dream team for sure, well, you're used to work hand in hand you two after quite a few hinges here and there… *grin* As always it's impressive to see that you're thinking of every detail… and that even with all this work of undoing and fixing you managed to keep up with your lilacs. Welcome to No. 21!


    1. Dear Birgit, you know I am well acquainted with my screwdriver by now! LOL! Every time I turn around I am finding another place to add hinges...! :) And the lilac blossoms are on schedule.... it is the shrubs that are falling behind and need some attention... I will be making leaves all Winter I fear! :)

  8. I can see why you would halt at the thought of removing all that good work but if you didn't, it would niggle away and you would never be happy so well done you! It really is a magnificent build.

    1. Hi Irene! Yes, it would really bother me! :) It is amazing to me how much bigger this project gets as I work on it....! I keep thinking of more details to add... but I suppose that is always what happens! It does feel good to make some progress. :)

  9. What a lot of work you have done :). I am sure you would have liked to have a few extra hands to help lol.
    Hugs Maria

    1. Hi Maria! Yes, I had that thought a few times! LOL! :)

  10. Hi Betsy, it's me again ;) I've missed your blogs. We always learn more of your miniature works, creativity and clever inventions, as I do now again ;).
    You've done fantastic work, it must surely have been hard to undo these walls for some time, but at the end the result of this staircase will be worthy the extra work. As soon when I saw the gap at the right side wall I knew it was really neccessary to undo this construction for getting a more stabile and good tower. I think your way of working and solving this problem was clever and very inventive, excellent qualifications for what you are wellknown for in our miniature world.
    I was curious to read about the number of your lilac blossoms, but oh my, you really were continuing in making them: 24 of them are ready now, chapeau, dear Betsy!!!
    Thank you for your best wishes for my family and me, dear friend :)!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Hi Ilona! I am glad to see you are feeling like making minis again! (And especially enjoying the new "mini" in your family!) I am glad I found the courage to fix the stairs problem before I went any further.... at least now things can go forward with confidence! It is a big project and I am just rediscovering how much there is to do! I will be building this for a long time! :)

  11. Hello, Betsy - I feel exhausted after reading this blog! Removing that beam from the stair wall and getting those warped pieces properly aligned and drilling those many holes in the proscenium edges - WHEW! That's a lot of hard work, but you overcame those challenges - and did it all so very well. I'm impressed with your skill; warped wood is the worst! I warmly welcome lilac blossom #21 - such admirable perseverance!

    1. Hi Marjorie! I am glad I finally tackled some of those problems that were keeping me from making any progress.... it feels good to get them straightened out! It is a good thing I enjoy working with wood... otherwise I think I would have given up long ago! There is so much still to do... I will be building this for a long time! :)