Sunday 16 December 2012

Winter Cabin gets some lights!

I’ve been busy working on my winter cabin! The sanding has been relentless, unsure what has been used to stain and finish the piece, but whatever it is, it’s pretty resistant! lol

I’ve managed to remove most of the varnish and get down to the natural wood colour to show some ageing and wear and tear. This is almost done and I have added some further ageing and dirt, I may add some damp areas. A lot of the cabin will have snow on it, so there is not so much of a need to be so meticulous. :o) The inside has been sanded too, and although in the photo’s it still looks rather orange it is rather more subtle in real life…it’s a classic case that the camera does tell lies! :oP
After sanding, I hinged the back...that was another all afternoon job! :oP

I was going to add wood (to look like slats) to the inside walls, but because of the tiny space and so many pieces glued on, I decided to sand the original wood walls and to show wear and tear, I have added a wash of age in places and I may do some more work on this.

I just added a row of boards along the bottom of the walls. This isn’t skirting board, just a bit of detail…this as I say could have continued up the walls, but I didn’t like the look either…so another reason not to have the slats on the walls. 
 The back hinged, sanded and aged...the beginning of some of the work at least.  
After sanding and even more sanding....and ageing. It looks raw when the ageing wash first goes on, but once it's dried I sand it again and it's muted and natural looking. I think I repeated the process a couple of times.    
 Here is the raw looking aged wash applied....
Just after ageing...
Just after the first sanding another wash of age and more sanding. 
Trying the wood for floorboards..
 Here are the floorboards before I cut them to size etc.

I also laid my floorboards. I cut and stained them last weekend and I stained them a very similar colour to the boards around the bottom of the walls. They have been sanded before I stained them. I will gently sand again and apply a layer of natural wax to seal them (and the boards around the walls too). 
I've cut them so they look like realistic floorboards...
I know what I want to do to this tiny cabin, so my next job was to fit 2 of the 3 lights I am having. I don’t like fitting lights at the best of times, let alone when I have a tiny space to work in that has blind spots (I can’t see what I’m doing nor aiming at!) to boot! Lol I first fitted the outside light. I found it hard to find the right lights for this cabin, most lights are for either inside or outside houses and not cabins, etc! I looked at all the LED lights too, again none suitable for a cabin.  I was also looking for a specific style too….I don’t make life easy for myself. :OP I like the existence of lights in a project, even if they are non working ones, after all unnatural light comes from somewhere and not nowhere. So, I persevere with this task. :oP
It took me all of Friday afternoon to fit 2 lights! Yep, just try drilling holes in the spaces I had to and then trying to thread the wires through. Ummm it’s done now and I am pleased. I painted the white wires brown to tone them down and make them blend just a little better. I was going to add ceiling  rafters, but all this work would have never been seen...they would have covered the wires too.

Today I glued the wires to the wall and ceiling using clear bathroom caulking. I first saw this idea when I bought a fireplace with a light fire in it. It advised to fit the fireplace to the back of a wall using the clear caulking, because it wasn’t a permanent fixative, one could easily remove the fireplace to change the bulb (within the fire) and/or check on the wiring. Using the clear caulking will allow me to check the light (I can still actually take it off the wall) and bulb because the wires can be easily removed from the ceiling. 
The simple beam I made to hang the inside cabin's ceiling light to, otherwise it would have nothing to keep it suspended!. If I didn't have this, the wire would have to go though the roof to keep it suspended, and I didn't want that.  
I will have some wire showing, because this is how it's meant to be and it would be far too high up to the ceiling too! lol
All the floorboards glued down..I will wax them tomorrow to seal them.
I have already bought some snow, ice and icicles products, more are on their way and I will buy the remainder after Christmas. I am having 3 snowy projects in total so it doesn’t matter if I have surplus over. :o) Most snow products aren’t that cheap, but some are ridiculously cheap! :o) Many items can be used for other non snowy projects too. 

I have white flocking powder, ultra fine iridescent glitter, Aleene’s normal and glittery snow, and jewellery wire. I also have Scenic Water, Triple Thick Brush-on Gloss and  plain white wax!  You’ll have to wait to see what else turns up in the post! :o)

I have 2 commissions in the pipeline for this little project…it needs a few special things! I have also have 2 other commissions for my Harry Potter projects. :o)

I have also taken advantage of DHE’s 10% off till Monday, so I have bought 3 kits maybe one or two for kit bashes! ;o)  

Have a fun filled Christmas and a great New Year everyone!!

 Michelle xxxx 

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Some new little projects and news!

Well here I am! Firstly for those not on FB  (for those that are, skip the next two paragraphs)! :O) Last week I knew we would find out whether we’d move home in a few weeks or not. We had a not so nice buyer for our house who was like that from the word go ….who has dropped out of the sale, it was either him or us . Also, on the same day, the home we wanted, well we found it was too close from a flood plain, etc., so we have dropped out of that too. We are all happy and not sad or disappointed and our home is back on the market. But we are in the quiet time of selling, so some peace for a while! :o)

We always wanted a slow move and most definitely did not want to move until next year for many reasons, I am a firm believer that things happen for a good reason. So we are all greatly relieved we have more time to prepare and sort stuff out…it does mean though that we’ve had to all get our heads around Christmas..what a nightmare on that score! Lol

I have purchased two cabins! One will be a Winter one and the other Spring/Summer and will emulate my real work/craft space. :o)

The Winter one will be loosely based on a Swiss chalet style, but with some German and Scandinavian style thrown in!  but it will be a retreat for Father Christmas too! Bit of a mix! lol 
This one is tiny, but lots of fun! The back slides out, which means one looses a lot of shelving etc., potential, so I am going to change it to a hinged back (if I can).  I'm going to sand it all down and take that shininess off and tone the colour down and make it less dolls house like, It's far too orange, although the photo's do make it worse than it actually is. 

I'm going to add lots of snow too, which I hasten to add I have never attempted before, but you'll have to wait and see what else I do to it. :o)

I am going to use it as Father Christmas' retreat, after his weary day at work! Although it will be a mainly wintry themed project, the inside contents will be inspired by this fabulous children's short film and book. I have a rough idea what it will be filled with and with ole Mr Christmas inside!

I will work on the wintry one first and then move onto the other one, or I just might open the other kit to see what I want to do with that one....I have already bought some bits for a kit bash for it and some mini's for both projects. :o) 

A big warm welcome to my new followers….I hope you don’t mind my ramblings and madness! :o))

Michelle xxxx 

Saturday 20 October 2012

Flourish & Blotts gets furnished….

 Well, actually it still has a long way to go yet in many ways! :o) 

Some months ago I mentioned that I was going to commission the bookcases and counter for this shop, I was under the misapprehension that perhaps the commission wouldn’t take too long because one gets to apply the finish to the barewood pieces. :o)))

I now know why the commission took longer than I anticipated. Rob Lucas has amazing skill and talent that is in big demand!  :o)))

My bookshop is based on the real one and like many old bookshops you find yourself in the UK, very tight for space and books stuffed in every conceivable space going!
When I contacted Rob he requested sketches of what I wanted. I can’t sketch for toffee, so I instead I scoured the Web for bookcases in the style I wanted. I already knew what the counter looked like so I sent the photo from the actual shop and another photo from the web for the shape etc. Rob completed a sketch of the counter, and I requested shelves inside the counter too.

This shop originally was going to be another type of shop, but I bought another kit for that project, so this homemade shop became a spare. It’s tiny, so any potential shoppers are going to have to be on the slim side! lol   
 Inside the counter, perfect in everyway and just what I wanted!
Last week they finally arrived. They are perfect, perfect for my project! They fit perfectly too (much to my relief because I had to measure my shop). I couldn’t be more thrilled with the pieces. :o))

Holding back the bookcases, they all lean forward....rickety floorboards! Very authentic, I did want them aged and rickety, but perhaps not between the wall and floor! lol. 

I have a few ideas and plans already, but unsure what to do with the upstairs wall space. I was going to have a clock, I may have some bookshelves stuffed with books and books piled on the floor.  I could have a wall light?
The photo’s unfortunately don’t show too well all the fine detail, but the pieces have fine and detailed architrave around the top and bottom, and beading down each edge. I believe the pieces are made from Bass wood. 

Fitting the pieces in the shop was the fun part, my floorboards are very rickety and just like in real life (!) so I am going to have to secure the bookcases to the walls because they lean forward. I will use the clear silicone sealant that you use around baths etc. I use it behind fireplaces, it allows you to secure the fireplace, but also remove it if you need to change the bulb or check on the wiring. I will want to remove the bookcases, so this is ideal.   
I know when I move I won't be so limited with space. I can now have the slightly deeper shadow box that I made.  In the film this small back room is where Gilderoy Lockhart signs his books. I may now have real shelves on the back wall of the shadow box, a small window (like upstairs) and a desk piled high with books. I may also, on occasions just have the doors ajar.   

I am going to frame the door with books, I have packed all my books away and could only find  some glued pages (for insides of books) and I did try these, but forgot to take the photo of them to give you an idea what it may look like! :o)

The stairs will run up along these bookcases and I plan on making them removable. I don't think you'd find stairs in real life like this, but one does in Harry Potter. :o) However, in the film, the doglegged staircase runs along the back wall too. My building isn't wide enough to do this, so I've had to adapt the idea. I tried it today and it all fits, though it's a cosy fit! lol :o) 
I knew the position of the upper floor landing newel posts would be an issue. I plan to have one here, it gives enough realistic space to get access to the books. Skirting board painted black with gold writing will cover the floor edges, but the stairs will cover most on the side you can see. 

I can now add the skirting board and cornice, now I know where the bookcases will be etc.
The newel post on the opposite side will be in the same position. 
You may just be able to see the fine detailing. :o)
I wanted to stain my bookcases in my Summer House, all rather too smelly for my craft room, I had to reorganise some working space! 

However, I have started to tidy and pack up both my craft room and Summer House. Nothing is actually packed permanently away yet, but I’ve been rearranging my supplies and tools. I decided that I can do some work on this project. It’s not easy though, having peeps coming to view one’s house (the Estate Agent shows the potential vendors around for us) whilst I hide out in the Summer House (if I'm not at work). Just how much I get done or will do remains to be seen. :oP
 I have 6 stains to choose from, I also mix up my own stains from acrylics. I often age with the latter. I want a warm oak colour for my bookcases etc., not too dark because I have black paintwork in the shop. I always start with the lighter and warmer colour first and go from there, just my preference.  I will finish and seal with wax polish, this also helps defining the detailing, and enhance any ageing I want to do.
 Getting ready for staining....
Not quite ready....
I’ve started on the staining, it has taken some time just to do this much. I had to stop, I have an ear infection which makes me feel rather groggy and having my yearly flu jab didn’t help my cause. :o(
My blinds for the shop. My Mum made the blinds and I've done the rest. They still need their cords to pull them down. :o)

These are the finials I bought ages ago. I will finish them with either a wax polish or satin acrylic varnish. I drilled a hole in each pole for the finial to fit into and the metal fitting fits between the pole and finial.  All the metal furnishings are solid brass and hand made by Tony Hooper. :o) 
I don't think ( I think they are too vulnerable and may come apart whilst moving) I will glue together my blinds (pole and finials).  
I will be removing that spare bit of thread too! lol

I believe my Gobstopper Machine for Sugar Plum's Sweet Shop may be ready next week. It's wild and very wacky...methinks Sugar Plum's upper room space maybe going lateral (into another kit) and thus have more sweet making space! 

A big warm welcome to my new followers….I hope you don’t mind my ramblings and madness! :o))

Michelle xxxx 

Saturday 13 October 2012

Hogwarts - Gryffindor’s Common Room Commission and more…

Well as I’m not doing any mini work at the moment and my brains are fried and dried! So, I thought I’d show you my long awaited commission for Hogwarts - Gryffindor’s Common room fireplace and accessories! 

I really didn’t want to make my own fireplace for Gryffindor’s Common room as I knew it would be a devil to make, so I asked Ericka VanHorn whether she would, and I got lucky!

I received many accessories with the fireplace, these include two open books, one  of them is about  The Three Brothers and there are also two paper bundles, one on Horcruxes and the other on wands. There is a wand, a tiny orrey, potions, phials, newspapers and lots of sweets which include teeny tiny chocolate frogs! I also have Harry’s broom and Weasley Wizard Wheezes goods! There is also a wonderful standing candelabra (not photographed here, I accidentally forgot to add it to the scene!) There is also a stack of books, but Ericka forgot to add them to the parcel, so they are on their way over with some other items that I recently bought.

It arrived this week a long with lots of Harry Potter related goodies! :o)) Ericka has even added the shield above the fireplace, I know she wanted to do the proper motto for Gryffindor, but you can’t really see what it says…so I said it matters not one iota! :o)) 
Ericka has made Sirus Black’s face in the flames (from the scene where he is talking to Harry Potter) which I particularly love. :o)) His face and the fireplace lights up, unfortunately I haven’t finished wiring so I can’t show you. I am hopeful that Ericka will show this piece on her blog and with it lit. :o))

It is a piece that you really need to see in real life. I really can’t wait to add it properly to my scene, but Hogwarts is not done and I haven’t laid the flooring for the Common Room yet and there are light wires showing through the flooring!    

Ericka informs me that Martha Puff has included my fireplace in American Miniaturist Magazine. I am thrilled to have more mini’s in a magazine, but also so thrilled for Ericka too!  Ericka has sent me a copy over with the book stack. :o)))  Once received I will show it on here.  :o)

Thank you so much Ericka! I love it and I really can’t wait to add it properly to the room! ;o))

 This is the wall it will go on. The project is far from finished as you can see! :o) 
 The sweets that I received from Ericka too. Most will end up in Sugar Plum's Sweet Shop. :o) 
I have also made some recent purchases from Nikki Rowe. I have bought some food too…well witches and wizards need to eat and most nice ones eat fairly normal food too! ;o) I also have a wonderful mandrake waiting for his pot! Lol I have a lot of projects so they will all be homed in various new homes. :o))
I love the pumpkin pies and pumpkin loaf! 
 Lots of different cheeses!
All together in Hogwart's not finished kitchen! Not a place to put food either...on the dusty kitchen floor! lol

A big warm welcome to my new followers….I hope you don’t mind my ramblings and madness! :o))

Michelle xxxx 

Sunday 2 September 2012

Flourish and Blotts…but somewhat belated update!

This is how Flourish's looks at the moment...not finished! lol
This isn‘t real time work, I last worked on ole Flourish‘s in June! I’m currently awaiting the bookcases and shop counter to be completed as part of a commission, all work has had to stop till they are all in situ.  :o)

Flourish’s outside is almost finished. I need to do the sign and then add the fascia etc. All  my shops will have a hanging sign and the bay and bowed windows will  have a lead roof (none of mine have had that added yet, although I do have the lead for Flourish’s!).

I’ve moved Slug and Jiggers to face the other way (how I had to start with), I had issues with opening Flourish’s front. So, it means I have make the back of Slugs and Jiggers and Flourish’s more presentable. However, I am going to wait till I have my complete line up in place before I do that…I just might move it all back to how it was just because of the extra work I now have to do! Lol :o)
There is some cosmetic work to be done on the side of Slug and Jiggers where bits of plaster have chipped off and of course the can see the bare wood back!   
The back of Flourish's is slightly exposed too, and this needs attention. However I want a trompe l'oeil behind the back doors, so I will have to somehow obscure the lower view of the gap.

 How it was and how I prefer the layout....hmmm Apologies for the grainy photo's but the light in this area of the room is appalling no matter what time of day and one taken with a flash is even dire. 
 It's looks much better in good light! lol
 No, that's not the ghastly sign I will be having! lol It's just a prototype I used just to see how the font would look etc. I printed it off when my printer was out of red and blue ink! 
  Trying the door lintel in place. I can't glue it on until the sign etc is in place. 
The floorboards have been aged and waxed. As you can see I added another bit! To be honest I have no idea why it was cut away in the first place!! lol It maybe because the shop was going to be another shop in the beginning. :o) Anyhow, I'm sure I can use some kind of story as to why it's like it.....maybe a couple of house Elves did it one night! :o) lol
The horrid doglegged staircase, but this is how they will look (layout wise) once in. They will be painted black but with the top of the hand rail will be stained.
With the back doors in. I adapted the hanging light after a kind soul telling me how easy it was to do! Thank you wasn't so bad. :o)
 With all the door and window furnishings added.

I’ve used all hand made brass door furnishings, and have added an oval knob for the main door like the real one. Fitting the key hole for the back door was mighty fiddly!
 With the stairs this time....

Close-ups of Flourish’s wallpaper aren’t kind. I love the pattern, only it stretched as it was being glued on, so I have areas where it is paler than others. Seeing that my shops are aged and rather dirty this is not a bad thing, but not good if you want a pristine look! I know much is dependant on the paper, but sometimes it’s also to do with glue and method used. I used slightly watered down PVA to glue it on, but some kind and talented individual suggested a combination of Pritt Stick and PVA, or just Pritt Stick. I think it’s down to method too. The faults don’t stop there unfortunately and I would redo it because I hate it so much,  but the paper was not cheap and as I’m having floor to ceiling bookcases, shelves and skirting board still to be added, the worse areas will be covered….what a relief for small mercies! :o)
I've not attached the window sills that I made yet, as I may need to shorten them when the bookcases are in situ. 
 The black trim will be added above the window and not over the doors architrave! It will have words in gold on it pertinent to the shop. :o)
One of the blinds that my Mum made. I have yet to add the finials to the ends, these have been stained and will be waxed. I will have a tiny pull cord etc in the middle of the blind. 
The back doors in the shop which in real life leads to a tiny room with lots of books and a desk etc. I made the stairs from scratch and of course aged and distressed the lot!

I still plan on having a trompe O'leil, but it’s vital I get the perspective correct. Take a look at this blog link and you will see a spectacular trompe O’leil where an image of an open door leads into a garden. No, I don’t’ want a garden scene…but just a certain scene behind my own real opening doors. I have the image, it’s just a case of working with it to get it right. :o))
The chimney stack that I made and wooden chimney pot that I made look and feel like terracotta.  
 I've added the mortar to set the chimney pot. ;o) It was still drying when I took the photo.

I wanted another lead roof, I’m much happier with Flourish’s roof compared to Slug and Jiggers. The lead is a lot neater and I’m far happier with the ageing, I used a different method this time and it’s far more realistic in my humble opinion. I will redo Slugs roof age  and distress work! ;o)  Again I made the chimney stack and made a wooden chimney pot look like a real terracotta using modelling dust (I needed one ASAP and that’s all I had at the time). 
Some stairs that I've made to look like worn and aged stone. They aren't finished yet. :o)

The downstairs of the Weasley shop. I thought the stairs looked better this way, rather than 'come at you' as you open the front. The only thing is, they are rather near to the other wall (once its in situ), so  I may take a couple of cms off the top floor so I can set them further back and thus make it look like a realistic space that little wizards can move in! lol

I’ve been gluing parts of the Weasley shop together today and I’ve tried 3 different types of hinges for it…none work with the kit….hmmm looks like I may have to use hook and eyes for the front! Grrrrr!

A big warm welcome to my new followers….I hope you don’t mind my ramblings and madness! :o))

Michelle xxxx