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Saturday, 28 November 2015

Books Vignette Progress Six

Today I had a good day for getting work done on my miniatures; quite necessary, because next Saturday is the model railroad show and I have some things to get ready for that. First of all, I did paint and "tile" my fishmonger's stall, and tried some of the fish my older daughter made for me to see how it all looked together:

The silvery fish look pretty good against the tiles, although I think some of the smaller fish products need to be in trays or tubs; however, the bigger fish should look quite good piled across the table. This should work nicely. I'll try to make a couple of trays tomorrow.

I took a number of very big breaths, did some calming thinking, and actually CUT INTO my book covers. The first cut was for the clerestory window, high up in the end wall. There is also "glass" in the window, now, although I still have to make the window frame inside the book vignette.

It fits and there are no huge gaps on the sides, thank heaven. Cutting through book board is very hard on knives, I used a dollar store folding box-type cutter with razor blades in it to do this job. The window is designed primarily to bring light into the interior of the box, although there will also be a set of LED lights inside.

This is a general and messy view into the book box, from the back side. The panelling for under the bay window is going in with double-sided tape, as I think that will hold better than glue in the long run. I seem to leave gaps when I glue, although I spread the stuff using an old credit card! The bay window also has glass, now, and you can just see the side door into the shop. The framing for inside and outside of this door is drying in the photo. Cutting the opening for the door took some more calming breaths! You can also see the clerestory window, minus its inner frame. And white dust, where I had to do some sanding....

For putting the plastic "glass" into the window frames, I used tiny self-adhesive double-sided glue dots; these things are tough, and they should hold the windows in place. I first used these dots (the local brand is called Zots) to glue items onto the shelf liners in my Provencal scent shop, and more than a year later, they are still holding tight. They are pretty much invisible, once they're in place.

Tomorrow, the inside window frame...

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Back to Minis

Now that I have some priority projects done, I can get back to miniatures and get things ready for the upcoming show with the local model railroaders. This year, I will be bringing my between-the-wars market scene, and I finally put the fishmonger's stall together today.

It still needs to be painted, and I have decided to put a strip across the back of the table as well, but it is just about ready to spray white. The design is from the Venus and Martin Dodge book, Making Miniatures, another David & Charles publication. This book was the first one I got, back in 1996, and got me started on this hobby.

The fishmonger is financially stressed,(perhaps the boat needs repairs!) so the canopy over the stall is faded and fraying around the edges. I'm going to try to do a "tile" centre for this stall; seems to me fish look good on blue and white tile, and the cold tiles would also keep the fish cool, as well as being easy to clean, just hose it off. I have some Delft blue tile paper that would do the job, especially with a shiny tile finish. I think the proprietor will be a woman; my great-grandmother was a fish wholesaler in Amsterdam, a century or more ago, and this would be a fun way to remember that. (As a wholesaler, she did quite well!)

There are already a lot fish ready to go onto the stall, some made for me by my older daughter quite a few years ago, including some lovely squid and scallops. I will just steal some trout from the Tudor market, and the oysters from the shop in a box - people here don't "get" buckets of oysters, so they aren't selling. And I may have to add a display shelf to develop extra space. There are smoked kippers and cod fillets ready to go into the stall as well. However, one of these days I need to add shrimp and sole. And perhaps crab and lobster....

Tomorrow I work, but Friday is another mini day - back to the book vignette, which I would also like to be able to display at the show.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Life Means More Than Minis....

....and that means that I must finish off some other projects; some quilting, some sewing, and some desperately needed tidying of my sewing room. After Tuesday, there may be time for minis. Winter is here; the trees are mostly bare, and it is chilly outside today. The garden is almost ready for its load of winter snow.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Books Vignette Progress Five


So the window works; it still has to be glued up and have the "glass" put in, but it works. I only had to re-do the decorative framing five times, I think? And the wooden inner frame exploded on me and also had to be re-glued.

The books are still loose, so they are being held together around the inner box by a piece of heavy elastic. The base of the window gives me more than 1 1/2" (4 cm approx.) of display space, which is a good thing, as the inner box is very narrow and doesn't have all that much display space. Now I have to design a small "copper" mansard roof for the window; a friend suggested a potato chip can might help with this, as I would like the little roof to have a bit of a curve to it.

Guess I have to go out and buy some potato chips; too bad, isn't it?

Monday, 9 November 2015

Books Vignette Progress Four

....well, some progress has been made, but there are also more difficulties to deal with. At any rate, I made the three sections of panelling, which I will detail here:

Above are the three sections in their base coat of terra cotta paint. The front wall section now has to be re-done, as I made it backwards; i.e., the window is not centered in the wall, as the book spines are different thicknesses, and I papered and panelled the wrong side....

The same panels, with the larger pieces now dry-brushed in dark burnt umber, and sponged in the same colour with first, the coarse sponge and then the finer sponge. The small panelling piece has not yet been sponged in this photo.(Sponges are in the photo below.)

On top of the dark burnt umber, I dry-brushed on a deep mustard colour called Antique Gold, (not a metallic gold). This adds a nice depth to the pieces. The upper piece is not yet brushed with the gold colour; you can see it looks more reddish.

The last coat of colour is a wash of diluted brown iron oxide, to blend the colours. In this photo, the two upper panels have been washed with the oxide, the lower one has not; you can see how the iron oxide wash blends and tones everything nicely.  Once it is dry, it can be given a coat of satin varnish.

Laid out on the floor, it's looking pretty good.  (But remember, the left-hand section will have to be re-done as I did it backwards.) The white strips are where the panel sections fit together; a space has to be left as the cardboard used for the panels has some thickness. The wallpaper doesn't add any appreciable thickness, so it doesn't need trimming.

I did learn a very valuable lesson; the shiny printed side of the packaging cardboard I used (a  cereal box and a carton that held frozen waffles) will not glue to the walls unless you first sand it to create some roughness. The plastic of the gator board also needs to be sanded to allow the glued panel to adhere to its surface. Then it has to go under weights overnight to dry thoroughly. I used a Bostick glue stick to hold my paper to the plastic; hopefully, it will hold well. My sample is nicely stuck on, so it ought to work.

Now I have to re-paper the correct side of the front wall, and make another section of panelling. And one good thing, I was so frustrated that I gave my work area a thorough cleaning!

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Books Vignette Progress Three

Well, I had hoped to get the bay window done, but unfortunately, it exploded while I was sanding it; I think my glue has deteriorated. However, I did take a very big step, and cut the window openings in the gator board inside box.

The clerestory window is painted, and is sitting inside the partially finished wall; the wallpaper is in place, the bottom half of the wall will be panelled. This window has to remain as a friction fit, as I will have to remove it if I need to take the inner box out in order to repair wiring or replace batteries, eventually. I also papered the back wall.

The opening for the front window has also been cut, but not as yet papered, as I am testing glues; the Weldbond I used on the other two walls and the floor has a tendency to ripple as it is applied, so I am trying some other glues on the gator board scraps. Cutting into the board was a great leap of courage for me; I am glad that I finally did it! However, I still have to cut an opening in the two side book covers....

The window frames for the bay window are made and painted; I think I must have made them 3 or 4 times, before I was completely happy. My carpenter's glue has some mould in it, and I think I need to replace it, as it just doesn't seem to want to grab. Tomorrow I will make a quick stop at a hardware store. Now I just have to hope the frame holds together; it will have a bottom to sit on, with a small lip all around, and likely a flat top on which I hope to build the little roof. But the inner frame has to be rebuilt, as it needs to be deeper,  3/4" (approx. 2 cm.) to fit both the wall of the gator board box and the wall of the book spines.

The display shelf and flat roofing piece will need to be cut on the table saw, likely out of plywood, if I have it in the right thickness; otherwise, that is something else I may have to pick up tomorrow. I would really, really like to have the box ready for wiring by our miniature group meeting on Tuesday evening. Tomorrow is another day!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Books Vignette Progress Two

Today I began work on another version of the bay display window for my altered books vignette. I had thought of doing a round window, but decided that for my first window attempt I should probably follow a set of instructions, so I reached for my book, The Dolls' House Shopkeeper by Lionel and Ann Bernard, published by David & Charles. Their design for a toy shop had a nice rectangular bay window, and I decided that I could use the decorative muntins  used for the door to make the window match for the shop front.

So here are the two side panels of the bay window, with the framework for the window and the display shelf, in the gluing jig. I made lots of mistakes as I went along! Although I was making notes re sizes and measurements, I forgot, for example, that I had to subtract twice the 1/8" measurement for the height of the side windows. So although they were glued, I had to take them apart and cut them down 1/8" and then re-glue them. As a result, I only got the two side panels made. The front will, hopefully, be added tomorrow.

The books are not yet glued together, so they are being held in place with round elastic. Here are the two side panels, with the decorative muntins, in place in the window opening; friction fit only at this point, I won't glue again until I am sure I did it correctly! Come to think of it, I will have to add a  inner window lining once I cut the opening in the gator board inside box, unless I can figure out a way to wrap the wallpaper around that opening....

My hope is still to make a small sloping roof over the window; ideally, I would like to faux finish it to look like verdigrised copper. My thought right now is to shape the roof from balsa wood, and then add a paint and paper finish to make it look like copper. We'll see if I can manage it.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

There Is a Door

Well, I am really quite pleased with how the door for the books vignette has turned out. The original design for the door came from Le Monde Creatif de Catherine, while the design for the door plate and handle came from Cinderella Moments. I added a handle and plate on the inside, although the door will be non-functioning, as you will be able to see inside and it would be strange not to have an interior handle as well.

The door plate is cereal box cardboard, painted to resemble weathered brass. The base coat was burnt umber, with a dry-brushed coat of antique gold, which was then dry-brushed with a metallic old gold colour. The handle is made from antiqued brass, 26 gauge wire, 4 strands twisted and shaped.

I wanted a door that would maximize the amount of natural light coming in to the vignette, although it will also have LED lighting, and this one fits the bill wonderfully. The dark blue matches the book cover on the side the door will go into; the clerestory window that goes into the opposite end, will be a dark brownish-red colour, to match the book cover on that side.

Yesterday I was able to pick up another sheet of the scrapbooking "wallpaper" for inside the vignette; I was concerned that one sheet wouldn't be enough, but they only had the one left over at that time. Fortunately, they got a new shipment.

Now I have to go back to making wall panelling; I'd like to have a piece long enough to cover the entire back wall, about 11" or 27.5 cm, so I have to find a fairly big piece of packaging cardboard. The samples I had made up earlier won't fit; I forgot you have to measure and match your panelling to the size of the wall....

Monday, 2 November 2015

I've Been Busy, Honest....

We got home from our Montreal trip late Thursday, but the travel in Quebec is such a chore, that I needed a day to recover. I've been working steadily for the last three days, so I thought I would show you the progress. They are far from finished, though.

 I have three projects on the go; this one, the bay window for the book vignette, did not turn out as well as I hoped, so I will be redesigning it. It needs more depth, as it goes quite a way into the book spines. And I think a round display window might be extra interesting. So back to the drawing board on that one. I used mat board for my experiment, so haven't wasted any wood.

 Project two is the faux door (non-opening) to go into the book project. I found a design I really like, on a French blog, (Le Monde Creatif de Catharine) and am trying to more or less replicate it. The door is being made like a sandwich, in 3 layers; the window fits into a recess in  the door, so I won't have to use power tools on thin wood. The 3 layers are all 1/16" (about 1 mm, I think!), so the finished door should be 3/16" or .3 cm thick. Right now, I am gluing in the edging pieces. It's one of those glue things up and then wait projects....

And here is the progress on the trunk kit; the slats were stained using  a stain marker, and I really like the colour contrasts. I'm going to try and hinge the trunk. It may end up in the second steam punk project, the one I have to make to take the overflow from the book vignette. (The commercial door under all the wood and the pencil is there for me to use for measurements.)

Working is slow, as my sprained finger hurts all the time. I have to remember not to bend it too much. Knitting is out at the moment, as casting on appears to use my little finger. And here I thought our pinkies, like our baby toes, were mostly vestigial!