Sunday, April 26, 2020

Drapes, Booze and Books

Hey I hope everybody is doing well!  I got started working on minis earlier than usual because I got up much earlier than I normally would on a weekend.  I like to try and sleep in some on Saturday and Sunday but it didn't happen this weekend.

So I decided I'd finish up my embers and get the fireplace wired.

I tested out how they looked and shook off any loose coal before I put the lights under the plastic.

You can see the red nicely enough here.  So I tried it out in the fireplace to make sure everything would fit.  And it looks pretty good.

So I got a hole drilled in the back of the fireplace and glued everything in.  I like it.

My husband had printed out pictures of Poe and his wife.  I have some frames ordered and the pictures are a good size for the chimney surround.

I had some Chrysnbon frames and I'd purchased some pictures from Etsy so I chose a couple from the right era and cut them to fit the frames.

I don't know what's gotten into me.  This is the second year where I've had a project where I need to make books.  I had some left from Fine Print.  And plenty of covers to make more.

So I started to work on books.  While the covers dried I did some research and tried to determine what I'd need to do to make the acrylic look like cognac, absinthe, wine and whiskey... yeah, I'm figuring that Poe did his share of drinking.

I have a bunch of decanters as well as wine glasses and so I spent a little time while the books dried mixing, pouring and mixing some more.  I'll make some trays for a few of them, and leave bottles without for others.

Books, books, books!  I have a pile o' books.

I plan to have other things on the shelves but just in case they don't work out I wanted to have enough books to fill the shelves in reasonably well.  So I did a test run of how well they'd work.  I could use a few more I think.

I knew I needed to start on my curtains.  So I went hunting through my fabrics and found some very thin white fabric and some purple satin.  I only have one pleater so I got started on the sheers first.  I need to draw out the shape of my purple drapes and I'm not sure how elaborate I want them yet.

I like to use watered down white glue to keep the pleats and it takes a while to dry so I'll likely only be able to do one set of drapes per day.  The glue doesn't discolor the fabric and holds it very well.  I know a lot of folks swear by unscented hair spray but with all the humidity we can have here I don't trust it.  If it won't work on my hair I doubt it will work on fabric.  It took me forever to find my fabric so I only got one done this weekend.

The other thing I wanted to do was make a coal bin.  I saw one on Etsy that was more elaborate than the simple Chrynsbon that came with the stoves I made last year.  So I decided I'd try to recreate it.

The dimensions were off a bit...but with some sanding and a bit of work I managed to come up with something close to what I wanted.

I managed to get it stained and some paint added to hide the little spots where my glue messed it up.

So I think I'll be making some more books and once I get my PDF instructions for the chaise kit I'll try to work on that as well.

I'm not sure about the handle on top of the coal scuttle.  It looks a little insubstantial. I might try to redo it with something a little larger.  I'll live with it a little while and see how I feel.

Am I weird to want a vacation?

I hope you're all doing well.  Stay safe and healthy and lets keep practicing patience and good sense.  I'm grateful for all of you and this hobby I've become so obsessed with.

Sunday, April 19, 2020

Wainscoting and Wallpaper

I hope everyone is doing well!  Still enduring this quarantine with as much grace as we possibly can.  My 'wallpaper' arrived and while it looks a bit lighter than I was hoping I love the pattern so I decided to go with it.

An odd view really. I don't know what I was thinking with the camera.

And I managed to figure out the wainscoting for around the windows and side walls.  They look good together.  A nice contrast, the dark wood and the lighter walls.  I'm covering the windows up with the drapes and sheers so I'm not adding a ton of trim around them.

I had to let the glue dry and so I started to work on my sconces for the fireplace columns.

I started with these:

And because they were so beautiful and bright and shiny... You know I couldn't leave them like that.  I primed them and added black and then a dull gold before I added them to the fireplace columns.

I also glued my floor into place.  That was a little tricky and I had to reposition a bit more before the glue dried but I got it done. Yay.

I glued the doorknobs onto the door and I also added the door knocker but I'll have to show you that another time.

The left wall is the one with the fake window so it's missing it's middle panel.

I also got to work on my desk and the bust of 'Pallas'.  The desk I stained with the Dark Walnut but I also used Ebony stain and Sharpie marker to give it darker streaks.

Oh, and since I wanted a lamp on the desk I got this one:

 and gave it the same treatment as the sconces.  I think it looks good on the desk.

I got the 'bust of Pallas' from FiguresTop a shop on Etsy.  It doesn't come with a stand so I found one of my little wood caps and sanded it so it would act as a stand.  I was very careful about waiting for the glue to dry before I touched it.

It starts out as plastic so I primed it and then gave it the same stone treatment as the fireplace. The stand is 'stone' as well so I used a screw in the bottom to hold it with while I painted it.  That's why it's sitting on the ribbon spool. The screw goes down the middle so the paint doesn't rub off.

I had to make a pedestal so I got the leftover dowel from the stairs of the WQRC and cut it down.  I used some matboard to make a some trim at the bottom and some woodsies at the top.  Then I painted it with browns and some black to give it a wood look.

I added semi-gloss poly to the bust and high gloss to the column then once they dried glued them together.

It's slender but its not obtrusive.  And it's the right height for the raven to sit on top of it and tap at the door.

Then I started to work on my 'embers'.  I got some of my black beads and a plastic rectangle bubble from the doorknobs and coated it with glue then dumped the beads on top.

Once they dried I added some of the coal I'd gotten a couple years ago.  The idea is to have the fire effect bulbs under the plastic and give that glow of dying embers through the coal.

The glue will dry and then I'll make sure the fire can be seen through the coal.  I did get a small brass fireplace guard and that will hide some of the less pretty coal.

I'm pretty pleased with my progress so far.  I'm going to go through my books and get some added to the shelves.  I really want to have a dome with a heart on display under it... I'll probably borrow a black cat from the WQRC.  My husband printed out the 'paintings' of Poe and his wife so I'll try to get them onto the fireplace soon.

I'm making a list of things the chamber should have.  A cask of Amontillado, a black cat, a purloined letter.  Any suggestions?  I need things from Poe's stories or poems.  So I'll be doing a lot of reading for research.  Big hardship since I love reading.

Have a great week.  I really am grateful for all of you making me feel connected to the world and hope you're all staying safe and healthy.

Rather than try to fill the shelves after I've glued them in I'm waiting to glue them in until after I've added the books and curiosities.

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Weathering and Stain

So this week I had to give in and color my own hair because my salon appointment last month was postponed and I doubt the appointment I have this Thursday will be kept.  And an inch of silver roots is my limit.

The company I work for is a family owned restaurant with several locations in DFW and we're open for curbside takeaway this Easter.  No one at the company has been laid off, and we're hoping that continues.  The accounting staff was given Friday off in honor of the holiday.  So I got an extra day to work on my roombox.

I spent a lot of it working on the back wall of the 'chamber'.  I built up the bookshelves with scrap wood and added a wood panel to the front of each of them.  And I made up the wood enclosure for the area over the mantle.  I actually made it too tall because my fireplace ended up being slightly larger than I'd planned.

I had some thin wood trim and some wider trim and used it on the inch wide strip wood I put between the fireplace and bookcases to make it look more like elaborate columns.  Then I added my crown molding to go around the columns and baseboards for the front of the bookcases.

I also made progress on my herringbone floor.

I want the room to look dark and gothic so I started with American Walnut on the floor.

It still looked a little too light for me.  So I added some Dark Walnut.  And I stained the bookcases with the Dark Walnut as well.

I added some American Walnut on top of it and sealed it with a semi-gloss poly.

The floor looks a bit lighter in this picture simply because of the sun coming in the windows.

You recall I didn't care for how new the windows and door trim looked after I painted them?  I added a black paint wash over the top of all of it to give it a more aged look and I think it suits the mood of the room a bit more.

The next step will be getting the wallpaper and wainscoting on the walls, and adding the window trim, curtains and cornices.

I have some sconces on order and a lamp for the desk.  I want to wire the sconces before I do the portraits and any trim to go on the center of the chimney surround.  Once I get the room trim established I'll work on the furniture and all the oddities.

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy.

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Fireplace and Floor

First of all, I hope you're all doing well.  We're still here.  Folks at work are making masks for the people at our workplace who have to deal with the general public.  I'm bringing hair ties because I buy them as cat toys.  Jack can share since he hasn't played with these yet.

I'm working out of our office this week and my husband is working at home.  Which is good because while we love each other, too much togetherness tends to make us annoyed with each other.  Seriously we had this stay at home thing down way before it was necessary.  We don't go out unless we have to.  But we like our alone time.  Even from one another.

Yeah, I never said we were normal.

But on to more fun topics like mini-ing.  In my last post I was trying to figure out my window colors.  I decided after messing around with them that the Nautical and Cloudy Day would work very well.  I'll probably do a little bit of aging on them just to give them a more dreary gothic look but here they are for now.

See what I mean about the colors?  I needed enough of a grey for the outer color that it wouldn't clash with the beige book or the gold book on the end.  I think these work.

They just look a little too clean to me.  Definitely needs some aging.  Drippy black paint could do the trick. We'll see.

I'll admit that I spent a lot of time researching flooring and how to make a narrow room look wider.  So I went with a herringbone.  It's a slightly more modern type but I really didn't want to do all the angle cuts.  Plus I'll have a rug on the floor and furniture so I don't want it to stand out too much.

I got this far and stopped because  I don't want to get carried away and do the whole floor when I needed to figure out the layout and depth of the back wall bookcases and fireplace.

So I got out my graph paper and worked on that.

I'll have an inch spacer column on either side of the fireplace, and another on the end closest to the open wall.  The far wall will have a smaller column.

I pried off the bottom trim of the bookcases because I'll end up building them up a bit and adding some paneling I think.  If nothing else I'll have the baseboards wrap around the bottoms.

So I started experimenting with trims to go with the corbels.

In the end I decided to go with this:

I build out my fireplace with foam core board and matboard.

And glued on my corbels then added spackle to look like stone.

I thought about doing it in white but that would be too bright in the room.  So I got out my greys and started to layer them on to look like stone.

I spent a little time building my mantle.  I wanted it to protrude slightly out from the fireplace on the sides, to bump up against the columns on either side.

I'm very proud also that it's level.  That's not easy for me.

If you'll recall from my drawing I drew columns up from either side of the mantle.  I'm planning on that being wood and paneling over the fireplace, with a picture of Poe and his wife.  And hopefully sconces over the little wood carvings on the columns.

I don't want the woodwork above the fireplace to protrude out from the wall too much more than the bookshelves but I need the portraits to show so they'll have to push out from the wall a bit.

So far I'm happy with how it's going.  I need to get going on my window treatments soon and the chair and chaise lounge.  But I want to have a good idea of how much floor space I have and I need the back wall mostly done before that can happen.

I hope you all are staying healthy and safe.  Thankfully we all have this hobby to keep us busy right?