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Saturday, 28 November 2020

It's a Matter of Go and Stop

As you can see, construction goes on, but the need to prepare all the individual units before actual assembly is driving me a little bit crazy! The toilet area is done, I just have to install a door in the partition, but I can't glue anything in place yet, as I have to finish the hallway, install the faux slanted area of the roof, and finish the back wall before anything can be made permanent. The buttress and toilet block will help support the wall with the door, and the stairs will go on the left.

A lot of the pieces are currently living in a box, awaiting their installation. The end of the hallway area is next, to finish the walls, and the floor. Right now, the wall between the hallway and the main portion of the workshop is screwed in place, but not glued, as it has to come out again in order for me to work in that area. A slanted beam goes at the top of the wall,  and it has to be covered in "reeds" - I am using an old corn broom whisk, which is nice and dirty as it is used....

So, next up, I need to reed and beam that roof slant portion, and when that is in place, I can do the buttress and wall. When those are done, I can install a small sink area and a bricked drain. Then the hallway partition will be affixed, after which comes the slanted roof portion over the workshop, with reeds and beams. Rinse and repeat - finish buttresses, walls and floors.

It will be a while yet!


Thursday, 19 November 2020

New Colour of Cellulose Clay

 As mentioned in the last post, Das/Prang air-dry clay has a new colour, Stone. I bought it thinking it was the white clay. Anyway, I find that I like this colour for certain applications, and the photo below shows the clay freshly applied to the wall on the hall side of the wooden shoe factory:

It is quite dark when it is fresh from the package, but as you can see in the photo below, it dries to a nice concrete colour:

I can see using this to represent cement and concrete in mini structures in the future. For the klompenmakerij, it will form a very good, slightly dirty background for the walls of the wooden shoe manufactory. Das/Prang has been used extensively in my structures over the years. Usually, I apply it directly to walls and floors, over a thin coat of wood glue; as it is a cellulose product, this is the best glue to use for it. In my house, the clay usually dries overnight hard enough to sand and paint the next day.

In case you haven't used this product before, it comes in two sizes of bricks, and in white, terra cotta and now stone. I use battens taped to my surface to dictate the thickness of the finished slab of clay, and a marble pastry roller to flatten it out, on a piece of wax paper, which makes it much easier to lift and place on the surfaces. Aside from walls and floors, I've also used it successfully to make brick slips and tiles, which I allow to dry under weights (heavy art textbooks!) between pieces of wax paper and plastic wrap. This takes longer than drying it on the surfaces themselves, of course, more like 48 hours depending on the amount of moisture in the air. However, these days I usually apply it directly to the surfaces to be stuccoed, bricked or cemented.

The brick walls of the Tudor Apothecary and Workshop were applied directly to the MDF base with wood glue, and the bricks inscribed in situ. The tile floor in the workshop was dried under weights, then cut and glued to the MDF floor. Two or three thin coats of matte, outdoor varnish waterproofed the clay tiles enough that I could use spackle compound for grout. The spackle was then tinted after it had dried.

Wednesday, 18 November 2020

Klompenmakerij Update

I do have half of my hand-made Christmas gifts done and ready to send off, which gives me a half day on which to work on minis. We missed two weeks of virtual meetings, so it was very nice to be able to get together again today.

Work did continue, however, so this is to show you a little of what has been accomplished (and it is just a little, sadly!). However, any progress is better than none, right?


The toilet is ready to be installed in the space under the stairs, at the left. I have to add "water" to the pail, and make a lid for the box, as well as dirtying up the wall a bit; it is my experience that gentlemen don't always "aim" that well. Only a part of the floor will be finished, with spackle compound painted gray, as very little of the toilet area will be visible without physical contortions, once the roof is in place. I do think it might be nice to add a duckboard to the front of the toilet box, as the floor is supposed to be dried clay.

The door to the toilet is in the process of  being worked on, part of what I did today, but requires some drilling I can't do with my little pin vice; I'll have to asked the Carpenter-in-Chief to do this for me, as well as some drilling for a little tool shelf.

The wall in the hallway is stained, and I am currently making the sink and grate for the end of this space. To give an idea, I put some of the furnishings I finished earlier, in place. The little knobs in the wall above the bench are for coats, hats and aprons. As I couldn't find my manufactured knobs, I cut some fancy toothpicks down to replace them.

The plastered wall on the workshop side of this wall has now been dirtied up and aged. There will be some tools hung here, as well as on the small shelf near the floor. I used a new colour of Das/Prang air-dry clay for this, a stone gray shade. There are photos of this as it was applied, as well as when it was dry, and I will try to get those posted later. The wall was then textured with a small wire brush, and once dry it was painted with white paint with a little bit of ochre in it, to make it look aged. The "dirt" marks around the edges were done with powdered chalks. I want this workshop to look rough and utilitarian.

This is the workshop space proper; the little stove in the right back corner will be given a better chimney and a coat of black paint before installation. (It's a pencil sharpener.) The yellow object - the inside of a Kinder Egg - is going to be transformed into a propane tank. On the little table will be coffee and tea equipment; a hot plate, kettle, and above it, a small shelf with mugs, and tea, coffee, sugar and milk at hand.

The sloped buttresses aren't in place yet, below the windows, as I have to coat them in plaster with bits of brick showing through. As they were cut from a piece of melamine shelving, I will also have to sand to give the surfaces "teeth" to grab the glue and paper clay.

Two more Christmas gifts to get done and mailed await me; I cut the pieces for one this morning, and the other one requires knitting. Once those are done, I will be able to work a little more rapidly on the wooden shoe workshop, I hope!

Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Progress Report Wooden Shoe Factory

 I am still trying to do some minis between all the other things I am currently working on. Today marked one of our "live" mini get-togethers; once a month we meet up in person, pandemic conditions permitting. I brought the stairway wall to begin gluing on the rough planking.

Hallway wall planked from floor to ceiling, but not yet stained. I am using skinny craft sticks, as I want my wooden shoe factory to look old and used, and those sticks are quite rough, which is the effect I am trying for.


This shows the inside wall of the toilet under the stairs; everything in terms of partitions has to be made flat, as the working space is quite tight! The end wall will be whitewashed; right now, it has its seal coat on. The toilet box will be on the end wall. And the hall wall has been stained. There is going to be a dark area, with a small sink and faucet at the end, below the (invisible here) window. The door to the toilet opens out into the hallway, which will partly hide that sink and the duckboards on bricks under it. However, I will know it is there....

View from the other direction; the hallway side of the stair wall is being planked. This is a tedious job, as each stick has to be chamfered along the edges, and these darn sticks are skinny, too. Again, once they are in place, they will be stained. This area will have a light in it. I may have to put a candle on the toilet box, or hang a fake light bulb on a cord, with a pull-spring, for effect.

I have to have the toilet and sink in place, along with shelves and a tool holder, knobs for coats and other things, before the partitions can be glued and screwed in place, again due to the tightness of the stairs/toilet and the sink area. The back wall of the larger workshop will need to be finished, as well as the floors. I should be busy for a while yet!

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

Back to the Klompenfabriek (Wooden Shoe Workshop)

 It's been a couple of insane weeks, with so much happening that miniatures have had to take a back seat for a while. We were unable to get together for our weekly on-line mini meetings, but I have been working, although not as much as I had hoped.

This is a head-on shot of the klompenfabriek as it is is now, with the buttresses still leaning against the outer walls below the windows. When the base was screwed onto the walls, the floors became uneven back there, not uncommon with MDF, which is the Carpenter-in-Chief's dolls' house building material of choice. The stringers for the stair are in the stairway space, and the wall along the side of the stairs has been cut, doorway and all This will also be the bathroom for the workshop, so I have to seal-coat and then paint both sides of the left wall white, make the door to fit, install the privy box, and then place the stairs.

The gap between the buttresses on the left is for this half wall; this is the workshop side, partially filled in with individually shaped wooden planks. The original design had house siding, i.e. overlapping boards here, but I felt that a small workshop would more likely purchase inexpensive rough planks to cover the walls. Above this planking, the wall will be "stucco", better known as paper clay....

On the hall side, this wall is completely planked. I used dollar store craft sticks, as I wanted the walls to look rough and not fancy. They will be stained in oak; as that paint is oil-based, I will have to do the work outside in the workshop, as I really dislike the smell of oil-based paints in the house.

The smaller buttress against the back wall, between the half wall and the privy door, will have a small sink and a bricked grid to stand on; that is the next part of the work to be done. (I have to make both the sink and the grid.)

The interior walls will be paper clay stucco, with bricks showing through here and there. The working Dutch door is in need of muntins in the window, and I admit to being worried that I will get glue on the perspex windows....

The floor is supposed to be "dirt", and will likely also be made of paper clay. I hope that Das/Prang clay is still available in the stores; there are constant shortages of hobby materials due to the pandemic, I am told. I have some clay, but not enough for the whole building.

Hopefully, I can make the time to do some more work on this project in the next week or so, in between knitting, making Christmas gifts (they need to be mailed mid-November) and all the normal things life tends to throw at us from time to time!

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

Finished a Couple More Things

 This afternoon, Marilyn and I were working away at our miniatures for our weekly session via Skype, and I managed to finish last week's planter and plants, as well as finish a basic shabby chic bathroom shelf. I am happy with the way they turned out. The planter will go on the side wall of Floriana, my shabby chic flower shop, and the bathroom shelf will be dressed with odds and ends and go into my sales box. I think the shelf might have been an old CMHH item.

As there were some leaves left over of the arrowhead plant in the planter, I potted them up to place somewhere in Floriana; perhaps they will spur me on to make the Autumn window display!

Thursday, 8 October 2020

This Week's Mini Creation

When I looked at the date of this project, I gasped; it was published in the January 1998 Nutshell News/Dollhouse Miniatures, to which I subscribed at the time, and I had wanted to do it since first seeing it. It took me 22 years!

The lattice planter is a David Krupick tutorial. As I was using what I had in my scrap pile, the wood doesn't exactly match (witness the gap in the top of the diamond!), so rather than varnish it and leaving it natural wood, I'll stain and paint it, then add some age.

The leaves are printies that came with the article back then, which I will make up and plant in the planter. As yet, there is no specific place for this piece, so we'll have to see if I keep it or sell it.