Monday, July 15, 2019

Little Progress.....

Remember The Leaves.....?

I Have to Admit, Dear Readers, that I slacked off last week from the Weekly Leaf Making Challenge. There were just so many exciting other things to play with over my Vacation, and then the first week back to work is a little exhausting! So at the end of the day when I should be starting on those ten leafy stems.... I let other things take my attention, which just meant that on the Week-end, when I might have had time to make progress on the Sugarplum kit, I had to play catch-up with the leaves instead. At least I have now reached the stage of this Summer Lilac where the leaves are attached to the stems Before the stems are attached to the bush! But I still have to make all those stems.... above you see ten stems with the leaf twigs attached.  I was about to start adding the leaves when I remembered that I need to take an extra step with these stems Before I add the leaves! They need to be painted gray-brown like the rest of the "older" stems on the bush. It only takes a few weeks after the stems grow for them to begin to turn the gray-brown color!

Here you can see I have started to paint the stems....
And that I need to be careful to leave the twigs green.... 
because they are the same color as the leaf!

Here you can see a close-up of the color of the finished "aged" stem...
 the stem is the gray-brown, and the leaf stem is green like the leaves.

Here you can see the stems painted.... ready to add the leaves!

Here the leaves have been attached to the stems....

And beginning the painting of the leaves.
Of course, there were times while the glue dried, 
or the paint was drying that allowed me
 to fiddle with the Sugarplum kit just a little bit.

I had to remove the doors from their Hinges
 in order to carve the Faux board paneling and add
 the cross pieces which accommodate those huge screws!

And then I stained them a dark walnut color...
(They are supposed to be old oak doors!)

Then I had to test them in the room to see how they looked.... 
the stain did not take evenly on the plywood grain....
 I am not sure I can do anything about it!

Then I decided that if I was going to Kit-bash the Sugarplum,
 I might as well get on with making the necessary cuts....
 starting with removing the floor.
The floor in this kit pretty much holds the house together.
But one of the changes I am making is to increase 
the height of the ceiling in this (upper floor) room.
The kit has this ceiling at only 6 and 1/2 inches high!
I was planning to add 1 and 1/2 inches for a total of 8 inches high,
 but I measured wrong, forgetting that there is
 the 1/2 inch foundation area below the floor level...
 so when I move the floor down I now have
 two extra inches of height making it 8 and 1/2 inches high.  
I think I can live with that!

In order to make the floor fit into the new lower level walls, 
I needed to cut all the tabs and the front porch floor off of the floor panel.
It only makes me aware of the warping of the plywood!

This gives the lower level a nine inch ceiling height.

And with the attic floor positioned.... 
you can see how low the ceiling would be
 without the additional wall height!
I will need to cut the front wall openings for the alcove,
 and I will need to extend the porch door lower too.
And there will need to be a door in the side wall
 for the Tower Stairs to access the second floor.

The alcove will stick out over the front... along with the porch... 
with supporting brackets underneath.

And there will need to be some elaborate structural joining 
where the kit walls meet the new plywood lower walls....
Still a whole lot of kit bashing to do!

But meanwhile, Dear Readers,
 I have finished painting the leaves 
on the Ten leafy Stems...

And I have taken a careful look at the
 Summer Lilac Shrub as it stands.....

As you can see, it has nowhere near enough leaves!
This is about fifty four branches attached to the stems.
There needs to be at least twice as many....
I estimate between 120 and 135 leafy branches in all.
That leaves me 70 or 80 still to make....
At ten leafy stems per week.....
I think I can finish it before we officially reach Autumn!
But only if there is no more Slacking off!

So I hope you can bear with me, Dear Readers,
If  there is little Other progress
 while I Work on those Summer Lilac leaves!
I just Have to remember those Leaves!


  1. If your stain isn't finishing as evenly as you like you could always get some paint in a similar color and add it on top of the stain. And then a little black wash to age it.

    I have trouble with the same thing and layers of paint generally save my butt.

  2. I wonder if you knew what you were getting into when you planned that lilac bush. It sure is a tour de force! Worth it, tho - it's amazing. I wish it could have its lovely blossoms all year long.
    Much love,

  3. If I were measuring progress with my yardstick, I'd say you actually accomplished a great deal this week! Each task on the lilac shrub is so labor intensive, and though you're an expert now, it's still a marvelous achievement! I'm still just blown away at the texture and color on the branches! Outstanding!
    The progress on the Sugarplum is no less impressive! You've practically adjusted every board of the original kit, and added a whole other structure beneath it! I love how the front facade is shaping up, and having the taller ceiling height is going to make it so much nicer a view inside.
    Though you still have a good amount of work in front of you, it's the doing that is the rewarding part. Having a second project to keep your hands busy while paint and glue dry will make all of it so much more interesting!

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  5. It take a lot of courage to make changes in an original house kit. The challenge is big and you already doing a good job.
    The lilac leaves already look great on the branches.
    Hugs, Drora

  6. I LOVE kitbashing and so I'm not in the least surprised to see that you are already doing Big Changes to the Sugarplum Cottage.
    And your Summer Lilac is really moving along as well -
    so I'll just Leaf it to you!

  7. Hi, Betsy - The twigs, stems, and leaves for the lilac shrub are coming along beautifully. The number of all of the above that you need to make would seem daunting and discouraging to someone else, but I'm sure that you'll continue as you began - branch by branch by branch - until you create a perfect shrub. You've also made a nice start on transforming the Sugarplum Cottage. This is such an interesting project; it's going to be fun to watch the process!

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  9. The cottage looks beautiful. I'm curious to see more.

  10. Gosh, you don't make it easy for yourself, do you? Such attention to detail in the work on these plants is enviable. I also like the direction your build is taking, especially the alcove.

  11. The things you call "little progress"... *LOL* Knowing from your well shown and explained posts how much work and effort the business of leaves making means I would call this a big progress. The summer lilac looks already stunning!

    And your kit bashing process is so fascinating to follow - I am a bit jealous because this is totally out of my means. The changes you're making will offer you so much more opportunities. The bay window will become a true highlight... and the doors look great in their oak look. So sad the paint was not as supportive as it should be but I guess you'll fix that… if nothing else helps hang a Christmas wreath over it! *teehee*