Wednesday, November 27, 2019

A Time To Gather.....

And A Time To Feast.....

I am Sure that Many of you, Dear Readers, will not be surprised to find that the Family is Gathering at Sally May and Chip's house for Thanksgiving dinner. It is something of a Tradition because Sally May loves to cook and their house is large enough to hold everybody comfortably, even though a few of the windows are still needing replacing. (Chip is working on it!) We will not count how many Times the same meal has been brought out and the same folks have gathered because Thanksgiving is an Ageless Tradition. Whoever it was who First decided to give thanks for a good harvest and bountiful meals has long been lost to time. But it is certain that people have been celebrating their Harvests and Giving Thanks for their blessings for as long as people can remember.

 And as you might imagine, the gentlemen of the Family
 have gathered in the living room for drinks and snacks...
(they are Not turning on the TV)

 while the Ladies of the Family have rushed to the kitchen
 to help Sally May finish preparing the meal. 
It is tradition, after all!

Arthur is so devoted to Pollyanna 
that he is asking if she needs any help...
She assures him she has things under control.....

So Arthur joins the Guys in the living room.
Chip's Mother, Blanche, has a sore ankle
 so she is excused from the kitchen... 
and is helping the Guys keep
 the conversation interesting. 

Joanna and Sally May are admiring the Turkey
 which has just come out of the oven...
It is Huge and smells delicious!

Helen is arranging the tableware, 
while Pollyanna and Joanna begin to carry in the dishes... 
It is the same menu every year and always has been....

Sally May carries in the Turkey...
Are they forgetting anything...?
"I'm hungry" declares Annabelle..... "when can I eat?"
"We're almost ready..." replies Helen.....
"Is it Time to call in the Gentlemen?"
They all Gather around the table...

Chip is ready to begin carving the turkey... 
but first he asks his Father to say the Grace...

They all hold hands and repeat the blessing.....
 and then they fill their plates.

Meanwhile in the kitchen, 
the dogs are "guarding" the dessert...
"Do you think they would notice one little nibble...?" thinks Oreo.....
"You have so much to learn..." sighs Honey.

Well, Dear Readers, I am sure
 you will think you have been here before... 
witnessing this same ritual... 
And probably you are right! 
For the Time to Gather and Give Thanks is upon us...
I hope you all are surrounded by those you Love
 and that your Feast is Bountiful!
Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 18, 2019

Warp Wrestling....

A Twisty Business.....

I Left you last week, Dear Readers, with the unfinished repairs to the base of the Dollmaker's Studio and the woeful discovery of my dead drill. You can imagine my happiness when I happened to mention the dead drill to a co-worker the next morning and she said "You can have the one Randy (our boss) gave me when I moved here. I'm not using it!" And she brought it to work the following day! So I was able to tackle the Warp Issues on the weekend without having to purchase a new drill! I wish I could say the rest of the repairs were that easy. The plywood I used is quite thin... only 1/4 inch thick, so any screws used need to be pre-drilled quite carefully right along the edge of the facing board. This is hard to do with a bent and twisted board! I decided to get the less warped side done first and screw it in place (not yet with glue so it was still removable) and then wrestle the warped side, one screw at a time until all of them were aligned correctly.

This is what the base looked like to begin with... 
the front panel not attached. 
(Sorry for the blurry photos....! My camera
 is getting old and the light is not the best...)

And because I did not remember to take photos
 of the Wrestling match in progress.... 
here you can see the front panel
 with screws on both ends... still not glued.
The next step was to add the cross-beams
 at the front and back which would tie
 the warped walls firmly together at the top.

Here you can see both of them added, 
making a sturdy framework at the top of the room.
This required screwing a longer screw through
 from the outside corners into the long beam. 
The front panel is still removable.....

Because it is easier to add the hinges to the doors
 while the whole panel is unattached...
(And the newly added cross beams are holding 
the warped wall in place... for the moment!)

And this time when I attach the panel, 
I added glue to the joined edges.

Here you can see a close-up of the more warped side.... 
wrestled into alignment as best I could!
And yes, there are a Mighty mess of screws involved!
These will be covered by the "stone" facade of the base.

But first I needed to add primer to the doors....
And even though the walls are straightened out... the floor is not!

Here you can see I am testing the upper floor added onto the base.
I have increased the ceiling height of the upstairs room
 by extending the walls of the base above the floor level...
The junction of the walls will require some finesse... 
still in the "development" stage!
But the floor does help hold the building "square".

Meanwhile, I have begun to make the egg carton "stones" for the floor....

I am not attaching them until I figure out
 what to do about the warp in the Floor!
Should I build a framework to go under the floor... 
thereby raising the whole structure?
 Or should I just screw the floor 
to the base board now.. and forever...?

I don't really want to do either!
I am reluctant to raise the floor... 
it is supposed to be stone on the ground....

And I don't want to attach the whole building 
firmly to the base at this early stage of the build....
Hmmmmm...... this will take some thinking....!

Even though, without thinking it through...
 I started to attach the "stones" 
on the outside of the wall by the door!
(Which will make the courses wrong
 if I add a framework under the floor...!)
I declare, Dear Readers,
This Warp-wrestling is a Twisty Business
That might just have me tied up in knots!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Slow Progress....

Moving at Warped Speed....

I Probably should Not be surprised, Dear Readers, at just how warped the the plywood walls for the base of the Dollmaker's Studio have become in the nearly four months that have passed since I launched this project back in July. I had thought I would build a nice sturdy little base for the Sugarplum Cottage kit to perch atop, and thought the quarter inch plywood would be quite strong enough given that the kit walls are less than an eighth inch thick. But I wasn't thinking at all about the warping possibilities! Alas, the weather is now much drier than it was in July, and the pieces that looked just fine in the humid air are no longer just fine. In the above picture you can see how much the right hand wall is twisted.

And here you can see just how much the floor is buckled.
I had thought that by putting primer and paint
 on both sides of the walls, 
I could prevent this sort of warping, 
but apparently I was wrong.

Even the top edge of the front wall, 
where I needed to cut openings for the door and the alcove,
 has become alarmingly twisted out of alignment!
This will need some adjustments!
So, for starters, I had decided to add a rear,
 opening wall framework, (much like for the Castle)

Which would allow for me to (hopefully)
 with screws and glue,
 align the twisted front the way it should be.

And even allow for the addition of
 hinged doors to the front of the Studio!
(When I get to the hinges, of course)
But you can see how far out of alignment 
the front wall is on this corner!

The other corner is not too bad.
The addition of the front framework will 
really add stability to the whole building,
 so perhaps I should be thankful that the warping
 has caused me to re-think the structure before I had gone too far!

And the view from the arched doorway 
will be much improved by having the fourth wall there too!

I was all set to get started
 adding the screws and glue, Dear Readers,
 when I discovered that my battery powered drill
 was no longer taking a charge!
Well Dang!
I have been using that drill for over twenty years
 and it always charged up just fine....
 but not this time.
It was too late to go out and get a new one... 
if I could even get a battery for the old drill.
Clearly, Everything is going to just take longer to get done!
But at least the Dollmaker's Studio
 is now on the Worktable...
And Progress is being made....
Even if it is at Warped Speed!

Monday, November 4, 2019

Cleaning Up.....

After The Party.....

I Suppose, Dear Readers, that after the tumult of the recent few weeks in my mini worlds, the Old Witches can be forgiven for taking advantage of the refreshments after all the guests had gone home. Ken stayed to serve the Potent brew and The Deadly Nightshades played until Dawn.

They wouldn't want to fall afoul of the Witches, after all!

And they could wait until morning to put the Hall to rights...
whatever that would entail!
Who knew what Era it would turn out to be!

And I am sure you can understand, Dear Readers,
 that I was equally curious to find out
 how all the Mini-worlds would return to "normal"
 once the fervor of the Holiday was past.
There was so much that needed to find it's way home.....

Because during the story-telling frenzy, 
most of the Castle is turned inside out more than once!
It makes a Grand Mess!
So in the Aftermath, I find myself needing to rearrange everything...
(Especially now that I am not making Lilac bushes any more...)

The Folly, which has spent the better part of two years
 sitting at the end of the work table, finds itself moving aside.....

Leaving room to move the Dollmaker's 
Workshop onto the work table!

Where maybe I will finally be able to get some progress
 made on the now quite warped structure!
And after waiting in vain all fall for
 the sun to come shine on the Summer Lilac shrub
 in the Folly garden, Dear Readers,
would you believe that this morning
 as I was rushing to get ready to go to work...

A little sliver of the low sun
 reached way into the dark corner of my workroom
 and caught the lilac shrub in a magical morning light....

Can you believe how beautiful it looks?

There is nothing like the early morning sun!

So unexpected.... and so brief.....

And so beautiful!

Such a narrow Tiny sliver of sunlight!
And I could not have planned for this if I had tried!
It was a bonus Gift...
From Cleaning up
After the Party!