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Monday, 2 August 2021

The Next Big Step....

 ....involves the staircase. 

I had ordered the wood for this months ago, during the height of the pandemic, and when it arrived one of the pieces I needed was very badly warped, as well as stained. This happened at the factory, as the package itself was dry and unstained. While I was out this morning, the Carpenter-in-Chief contacted the manufacturer, with a photo, and new wood is on the way to replace the damaged piece. At least, I can begin sanding, painting, aging and distressing the pieces I do have.

When we started this project, the C-in-C wanted to know where the heck this stairway was going, did I really need it? Well, it goes to an imaginary second story/attic, so I will attempt to paint the illusion of a dark opening in the "ceiling", to suggest that. After all, I need that staircase to hide the privy under, and perhaps also the eventual electrics!

So, as those among you who do embroidery for their dolls' houses know, you end up with an awful lot of tiny pieces of canvas. Along with those, I have a massive lifetime collection of embroidery floss. I like to think of this as a Serendipity project; making something from left-overs, essentially. The tangle of floss represents left-overs from kits, threads I can no longer match to their skeins, floss my children used when they wanted to learn embroidery, and so forth. And the first result is the "modern" rug in the centre. This one is done, ready to have the hems turned. It was worked on 24ct canvas, with 2 strands of floss; some of the stripes have two colours in the needle, which gives a subtle, tweed effect.

A small project like this is handy to carry around. Basically, I decide on a colour scheme, pull all the various bits of those colours from the tangle, and stitch away. The next one is intended to be a rag rug, the sort you use in front of the kitchen sink (or in the bedrooms of your servants!), in blues and greys.
This one, in brown tones, may fit into my Trash-to-Treasure Loft Project, as it pulls from the natural shades in that little vignette. But if we ever get back to having shows again, I may also try to sell it.

Tomorrow I begin sanding the treads and risers of my staircase....

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

The Last Straw....

 ....went in this afternoon and the roof is now fully "reeded".

The slot for the half wall fits perfectly, and now all that has to happen is for the beam to be glued into place. (I held it in place with a finger for the photo below.)

I had to bend down at a very odd angle to take this photo of the reeded roof! Anyone who wants to see it when the room box is completed will have to be able to bend, or use a mirror. It seems a little silly to do all this work, when it will be pretty much invisible. However, like the fully beamed ceilings in my Tudor Merchant's house, I will know that I actually made the ceilings look real!

There is very little left over from the corn whisk that provided the reeds. I was a little concerned that there wouldn't be enough pre-cut reeds to finish the last row. The Carpenter-in-Chief actually went to his workshop and brought out the corn whisk he inherited from his father's workshop - it comes with a holder for the wall - and said if I needed it, I could have a few pieces of his corn whisk, but that he didn't want me to completely cut it up....

Fortunately, it was not necessary to cut anything out of his whisk, but it was a very kind offer!

Next up, the stairs and the lighting. I will need help with both of those!

Wednesday, 21 July 2021

Three Rows Done, and a Lucky Thought....

Three of the rows are done, only five more to go! To the left of the pencil is a (difficult to see) rectangle drawn on the yellow strip. At some point last night I woke up, and suddenly remembered that there was a wall somewhere in there; did the reeds have to be interrupted? So I taped the ceiling to the room box and realized, yes indeed, there is the half-width wall between the toilet/sink corridor and the workshop proper. I had taken it out a week or more ago....

Whew! Glad that popped into my brain before I had to cut a section of reeds out. I'll have to cut the broom straw to size there, as I'll need to mask the area of the wall with a scrap piece of wood. It will be fiddly, for sure. However, having gone this far, I may as well continue on, right?


Sunday, 18 July 2021

There's Glue Everywhere!

Those of who who work with tacky glues know that that stuff gets everywhere! I decided to keep a damp sponge handy while gluing the first row of "straw" down onto my roof. As you can see, you can only work a very small section at a time - the area with the white glue - and you have to hold it down as you wait for the glue to work. To speed things up, I decided to use the extra thick, extra quick stuff.

Yes, it works, but you also glue your fingers to the straw, very quickly. So then you wash them on your sponge, and you go back to holding on to your straw. As the broom straw is NOT straight or flat, it tends to want to move and/or stick to itself as you manoeuvre it into place, which is apparently easier when being manipulated by damp fingers....

I will try to do one row a day, at least! Once the stuff is really dry, I can trim it to fit the beam, using a very sharp scalpel blade to get a clean cut. Then it is on to fitting the next beam, trimming if necessary where it sits on the slanted beam, and gluing it into place. It needs an hour or more to really dry well.

This will obviously take a while, but I am determined!


Friday, 16 July 2021

Preparing the Beamed Ceiling

The first thing you have to do to prepare a beamed, reeded ceiling is to mark on your ceiling plate where the beams are intended to go. The Carpenter-in-Chief undertook to do this for me this morning, as I am very straight-line challenged.

Then you tape off the areas where the beams are going to go, and put a seal coat on those sections. I am "thrifty", so re-used the same pieces of masking tape for the whole thing. Well, I'll admit it, I am very low on masking tape, and we have had a severe thunderstorm warning, which means I do not want to make the drive into town! As my room box carcass is MDF, a seal coat is needed as that stuff just drinks the paint.

That done, you proceed to put ochre paint in the areas where the reeds (corn broom cuttings) will go, and the area above the toilet and the stairs in white. The painted areas have to dry before you can do the next sections of tape. It all takes time....

Once all the sections are painted, I can glue down the first beam; this will be under the piece of masking tape, next to the right-hand wall of the room-box. And once that beam is securely glued, I begin to glue on the pre-cut pieces of broom corn. Then the reeds are trimmed to fit, and the next beam is glued in place, and the whole process starts over again, for nine beams and eight areas of reed "thatch".

I will just go ahead and work away, then. 


Thursday, 15 July 2021

Some Further Progress, But No Saws Yet...

Marilyn at Charminis and I did have a virtual meeting yesterday, and I did get some prep work done for the wooden shoe factory. As the saws are still in the Research & Development phase - I can't mimic the teeth of the saws well enough to my taste - I did some boring but necessary work towards the roof for the workshop.

The beams at the right had to be notched, individually, at the far end in order to fit into the angle of the beams on the slanted roof section, a job which required a saw, a sharp knife, a file, sandpaper and a fair bit of patience as well as trepidation, as I was cutting along the narrow end of an angle and worried about breaking the thin part of the angle off. But it is done,they fit, and they are stained and numbered and ready to install.

The stumpy thing with the yellow end is what is left of the corn whisk broom that I have been dismantling  to make the reeds for the roof; they are all cut into 2" (5 cm) sections ready to be glued between the roof beams.

That is a job which should take a while, and hopefully I will be able to come up with a method of making saws that I can live with! One has teeth on both edges, while the other is a large curved saw, with teeth along the curves. 


Saturday, 10 July 2021

Catching Up

 Nothing to show today; it had been at least three weeks since our mini group got together, as Real Life caught up with all three of us. We finally met this past Wednesday. We are all rather pandemic-weary, just want to go back to normal social interactions!

Our house and contents are 27 or so years old, and the past few weeks we have had a number of small messes to deal with. Our refrigerator died in the middle of a serious heat-wave; who knew that you could no longer buy a fridge and get it the same or the next day? We spent an anxious Friday visiting every appliance store in our small city, and were quoted anywhere from three days to two weeks for delivery. At last we found a store that had a fridge in stock, and that agreed to deliver it, even though it was past hours and on a weekend. Thank heavens! It's not the fridge we would have chosen if we had had the time, but we can live with it.

The heat-wave left as abruptly as it came; one morning we woke up to find that our heating had come on automatically. We usually set this at 15C (about 60F) in the summer, and that night the temperatures went to 11C, in July! Two cork floors needed repairs; this is a noisy job. Then a toilet needed to be replaced. We hope all will be quiet for a while now. We also got our second Covid shots, but are now waiting to see if will indeed need a third in the autumn.

I've been trying to make two saws for the wooden shoe factory; the two I made during our meeting this past week are pretty good, but I'm not really satisfied with them. Therefore, I will continue to experiment.

Now, once I finish knitting the newest pair of socks, I can get back to minis!