Sunday, March 17, 2019

Floors, Windows and Stairs

My weekend didn't start out all that well.  I got home on Friday night and found this.

That's the pigeon on the floor by the way.

So despite there being very little room, The Building Inspector has been leaping from the floor to the roof of the cottage and has been... investigating the dollhouse.  I've come home to find the pigeon in the garden and the spire over the front door gable broken.  So the pigeon has already been glued back on the roof once.  The gable has been broken four times now.

I put the spire and pigeon inside the house and then put the vegetable garden in too.  I fixed the wall.  The glue is still drying.

So I spent part of my Saturday morning trying to figure out a way to get the cottage covered.  Without breaking the spires or the tree.  I'm a little irked actually.  Tali's been getting glared at all weekend.

When I finally did start working on the current projects I did get the railing on the spiral stairs. I used a rounded cord and threaded it through my spindles.

I'm going to paint the whole thing with modge podge to stiffen up the railing.  Then I'll coat it with gesso and paint it metallic black.

Then I started thinking of how I could support my floors with my three story build.  And figured out a way to get the angles for the mansard roof.  I'm going to do a flat roof, similar to my Gothic Victorian, for the book store.  The third floor will have a ceiling height of maybe nine inches and the bottom two floors will have ten inch ceilings.

I'm planning to have a nice plaster ceiling for the second floor.  I have some wood trim that I can paint to look like plaster.  The chandelier will hang from a nice ceiling medallion.  I'll have to change out the chain so it hangs lower but I'm pretty sure I've got some in my stash that will work.

So I got some of my wood lengths and glued them to the edges of my side walls.  They'll look like part of the trim in the store.

I used a piece of scrap wood to make sure I allowed enough room for my second floor.

So I'll run the railing around the opening in the middle of the floor and near the edge of the opening for the stairs.  The support beams are also where I'll put my magnets to hold the walls on.

I was planning on putting actual stairs in the back, to go up to the third floor.  But I'm really debating that.  If I don't put stairs in, I can use the space to put my wires and the transformer.  I can put a false door on the second floor and make a bit more of a landing for the third floor.  That way it looks as if the stairs go up to the third floor.

I think that way I can hide the wires and save myself some trouble.

I also did a mock up of the front elevation with the dormers for the third floor taped in place.  They'll sit a little bit higher up but I like the look of them.

I'll need to cut my top wall to accommodate them, but that won't be too hard.  I want to add some trim too, at the top of the second floor.  Give it a slightly more Victorian look.  I don't want the pediments on top of the windows, I think they'd look too busy.  At least four small ones would.  Maybe a larger one in the middle and two smaller on the side and then something to give the top pizzazz.

I also want to do the edges in brick or stone, something very geometric. Like this:

I love that contrast and it would be fun to do something like that on the corners.  I've seen quite a few buildings that are mostly brick with painted wooden facades.  We'll see.

How are the rest of you doing?

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Figuring Out the Layout and the Spiral Stairs

Oh these darn stairs are killing me.  I've been busting my butt on them the whole day and I'm not feeling like I've made a ton of progress.  I need to find something for the railing that won't pull my spindles off.  I have some chain that could work. It'd be flexible enough I think.

So we'll see how I do with it next week.

I also went through my left over pieces from other kits I've bashed and found a window for the opening under the loft area.  I'll have to widen the opening but not by a lot.  Beats having to make one from scratch like I have to do the tall corner window.

As the post title suggests I did some work figuring out the layout of the shop and even got the balcony type second floor cut.

The first floor will have three section bookshelves on two of the walls.  I don't think I'll end up doing the corner shelf.  I think it makes everything look too crowded.

The measuring tape is where I'll put the spiral stairs.  But you see what I mean with the corner shelf?  I love it but it really doesn't help with the space much.  And it doesn't quite match the rest of the shelves.  So I'm thinking of something more like this.

That gives me more floor room and makes the stairs feel less crowded against the shelves.

The second floor will be slightly similar.  I want about a two and a half inch to three inch aisle for customers.  The second floor will have a hallway with the back stairs to the third floor behind the rear wall.  I'll add a narrow door at the foot of the stairs.

The circle at the rear is the stairs.  I'm debating if I want to make the shelves painted or stained.  I'll need a wooden floor on all three levels and I'm wondering just how fancy or simple I should make it.

I did work on the front elevation as well.  Got my two separate pieces glued together.

I also needed to figure out a way to make display tables for the shop windows.  So I started going through my House of Miniatures kits.

I know I can use the table, stove and bureau in the living quarters.  If I adjust the two Chippendale Lowboys they'll fit in the window area of the shop on the first floor.

I also spent several hours cutting plexiglass for the shop front since it doesn't come with glass or trim. I'm hopeful that by next weekend I'll have my third floor figured out and with some luck the angles of the mansard roof.

Hope you're all having a good weekend!

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Splitting My Time

This year as I've mentioned, I'm going to do my best to use what I have.  I've also decided that I'm going to seriously attempt to do two builds and split the weekend between the two of them.  Saturday for the contest build and Sunday for my loft.

So Saturday I worked on a dry fit of my Victorian Bookstore.  I got the walls cut and the first floor and taped them together.

I bought a storefront to use for the first floor. It doesn't come with trim or glass for the windows but I can get those made. I've got plenty of plastic for the windows.

I don't want any windows on the sides, mostly because an old building pressed between other buildings wouldn't have windows on those walls.  The back I haven't decided about yet.  I want a mansard roof and that'll be tricky to cut with the angles I need.  But I have two dormers that will fit up against the roof and bring some light to the third story.

I did some work on the kit's original front so I can use the side windows on the front.

That took up most of the day.  So Sunday I started to work on my spiral staircase again.  I couldn't find any lace that would really work on the fronts of the steps so I went through my jewelry stash and found these.

I used one of my wire cutters to cut them into quarters.  That got me two steps out of each piece and I'm pretty happy with how the steps came out.

While they dried I started to work on my spindles.  I decided to go with an alternating look.

Then I added a slight lip so the steps would have a tiny overhang and assembled the steps again.  I haven't glued everything together yet, waiting on all of the glue to dry completely.

I'm cautiously pleased with how it's turning out so far.

I'll admit to relaxing a bit more during the weekends rather than work on the minis morning, noon and night.  I imagine I'll end up getting a little more intense about it after I've given myself some time to breathe.

I'm excited about the bookstore though.  I've wanted to do one for a while.  And I've got some really fun ideas for the loft so this will be an enjoyable year.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Thus Begins the Year of Scrounging

This year I want to try and limit my spending.  I've decided that if I can't buy it with my weekly 'allowance' or with my gift certificates I'm going to try and either do without it or make it myself.  It's mostly an exercise in budgeting and trying to track what I'm spending more closely.  And also to see how well I can make things instead of buying them.

Plus, this would get me to use things from my stash instead of buying new.  My stash is getting more than a little out of control.

I got the new kit in the mail this week.  That was exciting.  So I did a dry fit.

I like it.  I want to make it about three times taller, maybe an inch wider and an inch and a half deeper.  But I want the footprint to be relatively small.  The size is going to depend on a couple of things.  But the windows will all be on the front rather than two on the sides.

I want to do a mansard roof, so it doesn't get too tall.  That will give the living quarters some interest and realism I think.  I'm thinking a spiral staircase on the ground floor up to the second and then a straight staircase in the back up to the third floor.  And since I wanted to do a spiral stair case up to the loft in the Downtown Loft I that will be good practice for the shop.

I have been working on the Downtown Loft.  I cut a larger window in the upper front wall of the addition and built up the wall thicknesses to match the original kit.  I also closed in the backdoor since I decided I didn't want it after all.

And I started work on the spiral staircase.

Cutting out my steps and some side braces was the first step.

I plan to paint the entire thing black metallic so it looks like wrought iron.  That way the flowers won't really show up.  I ended up needing thirteen steps so I cut one more after I got all these glued.

Then I did a dry fit to see how everything would look together.

I don't like how the front pieces don't meet the steps under them.  Rather than pry them off or add 'legs' to the sides I'm going to use some of my lace and glue it over them.  That will join the steps up but keep it a bit airy looking.

My next issue is figuring out the spindles.  Rather than something really thick like typical spindles I'm planning on toothpicks with beads.  I worked up three different designs and I'm having trouble deciding between them.

Number one:

Number two:

And Number three:

I like three, but I was also thinking of doing alternating spindles of one and two.  Or maybe a reverse of three, with two round beads in the middle and one oval to alternate with three as it is.

The big issue with how I'm making this staircase is that it might end up being a bit too elaborate for the Downtown Loft. The house is supposed to be more modern and simple.  So I'm still debating.

But I'm in no rush and playing around with design is part of the fun.

I'm also seriously debating selling a couple of my houses.  The Beach Bungalow and the Gothic Victorian maybe.  Possibly the Craftsman Tiny House though that one is smaller and doesn't take up so much room that I'd need to get rid of it.  I'd have to do it for pickup only since shipping for either of them would be astronomical.  My husband tells me that I don't need to but at the same time, I haven't worked on either of them in years (literally) so I'm still keeping it in the back of my mind.

How are all of you doing?

Sunday, February 17, 2019

The Wicked Queen's Retirement Cottage - Cecelia Alyce Speaks Up

Feh!  I object to the soubriquet ‘Wicked Queen’!  I am no such thing.  I am Cecelia Alyce wife to the king, may God rest his soul, and step mother to his daughter Elianora.  She may call me wicked, hating that her father loved me after her mother died too young, but saying it does not make it so. 

Truly, Elianora might call me a Wicked Queen, or when she was feeling unkind, a Wicked Witch, but she had no idea what she was saying.  I do have a few small talents, enough to keep my work flowing smoothly.  An extra pair of hands can be very helpful, and I am always careful to never let any of the town’s folk see the pease pottage stirring itself or the kettle and carafe pouring out of their own volition.

Spinning and weaving are far safer past times for my neighbors to witness, or gardening.  My stillroom always smells of apples in the fall, when I make my cider.  The apples come from my tree, still bearing fruit even so late in the season. 

I have a bountiful harvest and my kitchen is rather messy at the moment.  And no thanks to that wily rabbit who still attempts to steal my lettuces.  My sweet little friends, Boadicea, a lovely black cat, Bathsheba, a regal black and white feline and Cleopatra, my adorable little calico do their best to keep the rodents from rampaging through my garden and household.  Arthur is my hedgehog, he’s a bit shy but he enjoys the warmth of the fireplace and pays for his lodging by eating worms and bugs to keep them from eating my stores.

Elianora was a sweet child when she was young, if a bit spoilt, but as she grew older she became more and more angry with me.  And more demanding of her father.  I did my best to be a good mother to her, out of love for her father, hoping she could love me as a daughter would.  Alas it was not to be.  And when my beloved died, she grew angry and resentful for he had named me regent until such a time as she reached her majority. 

Feh! Wicked!  Who was it kept the country from war?  Who was it dealt with trade and sickness and a bad harvest and kept the people of our land from starving?  Certainly not my silly little step daughter who had no interest in the practicalities of being a princess and soon to be queen.  She was more interested in her music and needlework and gowns.  Not running a household and from there learning to run a kingdom.

The foolish girl, truly she has more hair than wit, ran off and met some wandering fop who claims to be a prince of a land of which I have never heard.  He’s a handsome fellow, and practical, thank God, so likely now that they’re married he’ll keep her from running the kingdom to ruin with balls and tournaments and hiring minstrels.

But once she married Elianora was insistent that I leave the palace.  Truthfully, I longed for my simpler life, my cottage where I’d lived as my town’s wisewoman, providing them poultices and tinctures, salves and potions, and acting as their midwife and healer.  T’was how my beloved and I met in fact.  Elianora had grown ill on their journey from the capital into the country and his majesty had heard from my townsmen that I was an accomplished healer.

I was able to help Elianora recover, truly it was no great feat, she had a terrible cold, settling in her chest and needed rest and warmth and a few potions to speed her humors to proper balance.

As thanks for saving his only child my beloved offered to build a second floor onto my humble two room cottage.  I was able to have a proper stillroom and workroom for my weaving thanks to his generosity, and lived at the town inn nursing Elianora while the rooms were built.  My love even had the chimney pots specially made, with dragons, since I made up tales of them to entertain his child while she was ill. 

During the time I cared for Elianora his majesty began to court me.  I’m no great beauty, though I’m fair enough, but my king grew to love me for my plain speaking and thoughtful nature as well as my ability to listen without judgement.  It was the most joyous day of my life, the day he asked me to wed.

While Elianora was making plans for her wedding, something that very well might have bankrupted the kingdom had I not had a firm word with her and the merchants selling her cloth of gold and ruby studded slippers, I knew it would soon come time for me to leave the capital and palace. 

I had a tower constructed and attached to the back of my cottage, with a lovely stone winding stair and a room at the top from where I might look at the stars.  My love educated me in the study of the heavens and gifted me with one of the most wonderful telescopes, newly invented in Southern Europe.  We had no such things where I had lived and I was astounded by the knowledge my king possessed.  He gifted me also with a lovely orrey to mimic the planets of the heavens and a armillary sphere as well as the tellurion.  I have installed all of his wonderful gifts in the tower that I might continue my studies.

I miss my beloved greatly and brought with me from the palace a few things I could not bear to part with.  The bed with its draperies and lace was the one we shared, and while it makes the bedroom of the cottage feel small, there is a comfort to it.  The lute was another gift, as was the mirror on my mantle. 

I also brought with me the crown my love placed upon my head when he named me his queen.  It is mine by right and certainly doesn’t suit my stepdaughter so she may use her own, or the one belonging to her mother, kept safe in the treasury.

Now I live simply again, and keep my eye upon the wind for change will come upon us whether we will it or no.  No one can gainsay the Almighty after all.  And Wicked Queen she might call me, but I am Cecelia Alyce of Cornwall and I am content with the life I’ve been given.  Have some tea, and tell me what troubles you this fine day.