I only have time for a brief update today. Yesterday was club meeting day and a very resourceful member taught us how to make cacti and the planters for them.
I don't have time to go into detail today, but here's a picture of my finished product. I don't know if I will be 'selling' cacti in my flower shop, but I'll keep them here for the time being. The cacti are probably a bit out of scale (although I know there are huge cacti!), and therefore I might prefer to use them with my Adobe house that is still half finished.
It was a fun workshop though and I have enough material for more cacti, so perhaps I will be showing some more later today or tomorrow.
I just remembered that when I started with miniatures, now some 12 years ago, I had made cacti for my conservatory. I didn't have tutorials at the time and very little help. I just looked at pictures and tried to copy mother nature. The picture is probably too clear, but from a distance those three cacti look quite realistic. I used very finely rolled cotton wool for the dots on the cactus in the centre, pulled out cotton wool for the one on the left and little snippets of an old toothbrush for the needles on the right one. They were far from perfect, but I was, and still am as a matter of fact, happy with the result. Bye the way, they were made out of Fimo, and I can't even remember anymore what the containers were made of. ;-)
This is all I have time for right now. See you next time.
Although I have been back from my trip for over a week now, I haven't had much time to update my blogs. There's always so much else to do... However, our local group's get-together was last Sunday and I took my florist to do some more brick laying. It took me the best part of the day and a sore back, but once you start you'll have to finish, especially in the warmer months when the paper clay tends to dry a lot quicker. So here are the pictures of the side and front of the shop:
Next step is probably the dormer, but I am not too sure yet if I am going to do cladding or add brickwork. Building structures often don't have brickwork for dormers, because there wouldn't be a base for the bricks to sit on. If I can't make up my mind I may start on the paving. Let's keep it a surprise for the moment. :-)
The other additions for the shop can be found on my other blog: Marion's Miniatures, because that's where I have written about my trip to New Zealand.
Additions to this blog however are six new followers that I would like to welcome. They are:
Glad the inside is finished, so I can get on with a different task. I have now started with the brickwork on the outside as you can see in the picture:
I am not overly happy with the quality of the bricks, but will have to live with it.... In normal circumstances I work with a layer of paperclay which is 3mm thick, but since I decided only afterwards to work with clay I realised too late that my window frames should have been at least 4 or 5 mms thick. With a flat layer of clay it doesn't matter, but when you have to carve out bricks it makes all the difference. Now my layers was less then 2mm, which is far too thin. The thickness and therefore the texture of the clay is very important when you do your carving, as is the dryness. Too wet and you drag your clay, too dry and you can't carve anymore. In this case I couldn't get the texture right and in most cases I carved right through the layer of clay until I touched the wood. So, I hope that when it's painted it will look a little bit better then it does now. I know, it doesn't look too bad, but it's not my standard of work. :-)
Inside I had to work with the two different clays, because I was running out of the Creative Paperclay and the last packet I had I wanted to keep for the outside walls. So I had to finish of one wall with the other paperclay. I am glad I had foreseen the problem with the colours, because it is now apparent that the other clay is more grey then white. If it's going to worry me when it's all dry I might just put a light coat of paint on top, but I'll wait a while before I take that step.
I am also glad that paperclay is so forgiving. You can do almost everything with it and repair mistakes. Now, that is what I call great! I said last night that I was going to try something different, and I am glad I have been able to make repairs. I wanted to stencil a nice edge with flowers along the ceiling, but I didn't have the right stencils for it. Then I thought I'd stencil a bit next to the dormer window on either side. Well, that didn't quite work. I think the old paint I have for stencilling has dried out too much, so I got some more paperclay and pasted that over the top, just like when I repair cracks.....
Next picture shows you the other tiles that I have framed so this tile picture can hang on the wall next to the door. I thought I'd allow myself a picture with flowers in a flower shop.
And all this will have to do for the time being, because tomorrow I am going to pack and take of to New Zealand on Friday. I am going to the Dollhouse and Miniatures Convention in Auckland with a friend from there and then on to stay with her for a fortnight. we'll have a great time, I guess, because we'll have a lot to talk about and a lot to mini together. So, will see you back after the 5th of November.
But, before I go I want to quickly welcome a few more followers (not all new, because with 3 blogs you tend to see well-known names...), but at least new on this blog. A warm welcome to:
Today I finished the inside walls. Glad it's done, because once the walls are in place you have a heck of time to get into the corners. It's easier when you plan a building, work with foam core (gator board) and clad the walls before you put the lot together, as we did with the witch's cottage. Never mind, it's done, because where there is a will there is a way....
I was asked what to do with the cracks. Well, it depends of course on how big your cracks are. Even though I am not world's biggest expert on paperclay I could probably also say, it depends on what kind of clay you work with. From my own experience I could say that the depth and the number of cracks appear to be different when working with two different clays. I don't think weather has a lot to do with it, but it is possible of influence: in warm weather the clay dries faster and dries out faster when working with it, so that could be a reason. However, when working with the paperclay I definitely feel the difference in structure, so I think that might be the biggest reason. So far I have worked with Creative Clay in cold weather, although we had a heater on in the room, and in warm weather and the cracks are minimal. When I did 'Scrooge' (with the 'pottery paperclay') it was very cold and the clay dried very slowly, but still the cracks were bigger and there were more of them. I feel there is a lot more moisture in the latter clay. Sometimes, however, it also depends on how you combine layers. If you are a bit short and just move two layers alongside and against each other without smoothing out each layer your chances are that you will have not only cracks, but parts that will curl away.
Now, what to do with them if you have cracks. I will show you with a few pictures what I do. I had a crack in the corner where two walls meet (yes, didn't smooth out enough) and a smaller one next to it. For the crack in the corner I rolled out a 'worm' with wet hands and placed it in the corner from top to bottom, then smoothed it out with my fingers. I am not a nail biter, so generally my nails get in the way with such a job, but I was lucky that I lost a large part of a nail from my index finger the other day and hence I had a nice smoothing tool. :-) Where I couldn't even get my finger in the corner I used a plastic smoothing tool to finish it off. Apologies for the first picture. It's blurred and I can't take it again, but you get the drift...
For the little crack in the top corner I picked up a little ball of clay with wet fingers, worked it flat and into a not too moist paste and rubbed it carefully into the crack. The crack was only tiny and didn't need to be filled, but I did it anyway, so that I could show you. Bye the way, it now shows the wallpaper that I have used for the ceiling.
I figure that when you have bigger cracks you could do the same. Make the clay into a (very thick) paste and rub it in. If you have used a stiff brush to texture the walls don't forget to repeat it on your repaired part. Don't forget the glue either in the corners (like I did!). I just hope it will hold anyway.
This brings the inside plastering to an end. The top floor is finished and drying:
I don't know yet what I'll do with the ugly edges, but I am not going to worry about them now.
For further decoration I have something in mind, but I need a sample wall with dry clay to try it out, so once I get that done I'll let you know.
I noticed that a few people would like me to show more in depth what I am doing with the paperclay. Yes, I am 'plastering' the walls with paperclay. Since I have done a workshop with Rik Pierce I am totally addicted. :-)
Before I show you the pictures and explain I need to tell you that there are different kinds of paperclay. One is rather expensive (for me and probably for a few more people) and that is the Creative Paperclay that Rik uses. It's also the best. I can't deny that, but having said that, I have had satisfactory results with the paperclay that I buy locally (in Brisbane, Australia) at the pottery supply shop. The good thing is, I can get 10 kilos for the same price as I can buy the Creative Paperclay over here. The local paperclay is produced in Sydney, I've been told, and the quality is generally good enough for the work I do.
For my florist I have been using the Creative Paperclay. For the paperclay workshop I took ('Scrooge', on my other blog) I have used the pottery paperclay. I am not sure if it was the paperclay itself of the fact that my current batch of Creative Paperclay has dried out slightly, but at the moment I don't have a lot of shrinkage or the cracks that go with it, which I did have with the other sort. Also, I don't have much left of the good stuff, so I am putting on thinner layers, which also may make a difference. Thinner layer, less moisture, less room for shrinkage.
Anyway, this is how I do it. I roll out the paperclay on a tray with edges of approx. 3mm, so when I roll (I use a piece of drainpipe) the sheet is of even width. I measure the wall and cut out the shape that I need. I smear glue on the wall, lay the sheet of clay on top and flatten and push it gently in place. I make the corrections that are needed here and there and roughen the surface with a stiff brush. When done, it can be left to dry and you can do whatever you want, leave it or give it a light wash for a dirty wall, or paint it in a particular colour (also a wash; for a natural look don't 'paint').
The picture that you see on the wall is a picture made up of tiles. I have worked it into the 'plaster'. To my idea it presents a bit of a rustic look. They are six individual tiles that I have glued on a piece of paper to hold them together to stick neatly onto the wall.
I have made up another one as well, but that picture will hang 'on' the wall. It's also a series of tiles, but framed. I'll show you it at a later stage.
I'm going back to work now, before the last of the afternoon light fades away. I don't like working with artificial light.
I hope my explanations have been of some use to you.
I am very pleased with my self, but my back is screaming. It needs a rest. So, for tonight I show you what I have been able to do today and then it's off to bed....
All went well so far. I have painted the floor boards with a coat of gloss semi-transparent baltic pine. I like the colour, but not the gloss. I had a big can still left from another job, so I thought I'd better use it. I am going to try and sand back the floor and then put on bees wax. Hopefully it will look a bit more worn. But I do like the colour, so that's great.
You can't see this, but the ceiling hase been done with decorative white wallpaper. It's a bit like an old fashioned decorative plaster ceiling. I've tried to take a picture, but I can't get it focussed, so you'll have to believe me. ;-)
What you can see is the plastered wall. I have left the wall to the right to be done later, because I have other plans with that one. If I can manage what I have in mind I'll show you tomorrow. The other walls are done with paperclay. Very difficult to do it on the inside when the walls are in place, but I had no choice. I am curious as how much it will shrink overnight. Well, I guess I'll see the damage tomorrow....
And I couldn't help myself, but next is a picture with the lights on. It looks so real.
Changing my mind caused indeed a lot more work, but something I gladly did, because I like working with wood. Next month it will even be better, because then I will have my own table saw. But for now I can get a lot done with my scroll saw and the disk sander. The latter has been one of my best buys. You can do a lot of precision work with a disk sander, that's what makes it such a great piece of equipment. I have used it a lot today to sand all the diagonal parts of the timber floor boards. If you measure correctly you don't even have to use the attachments to set the angles, which makes it even a lot quicker.
So, what have I done today? It doesn't look like much, but it took me the best part of the day to glue all the floor boards on the ground floor in place and to cut and glue the floor boards for the first floor. However, I did say it was fun and it looks great. The floors look quite light, but I am going to think of a colour that shows the wood mellow with age.
Did I tell you yesterday that I thought I was going to cheat? Well, I haven't. At least, not really. If I couldn't think of a solution I was going to use balsa. Now, that is what I call cheating... :-) Although, I have used balsa a lot in the past, even to make furniture. However, I discovered some bass wood of equal thickness as the other timber, so I used that. I still consider it cheating a bit, because now I have used two different kinds of timber. Not only that, but they don't look alike, nor do they even smell alike! I got around the problem of the two colours by cutting the planks up here and there and exchange them with the different colours. Worked a treat! So, now I have a ground floor of lovely smelling camphor laurel mixed with bass wood.
The first floor is probably done in Tasmanian oak, but I am not too sure about it. I should keep track, not only of what type of timber I use to make something, but also of the discarded parts, because although I am learning, I can not yet tell the differences most of the time.
Anyway, enough of my chattering. Here are the pictures:
And now it's Saturday night, nothing worthwhile on tv, so I might get on with it.....
One shouldn't change one's mind too often, it always means more work. :-)
You may recall that the building originally was meant for a workshop at the club, consisting only of a base with two walls. An inside/outside scene. The club member who prepared the kits decided to extend it and since I liked the idea I did so too. One thing lead to another and I ended up with a building complete with roof and dormer window. Then I decided it was going to be my flower shop. So far so good, but when you don't plan these things properly you're bound to run into little problems here and there. Now I want the inside and outside clad with paper clay and also the cobble stones in the street are going to be done in paper clay. This means that the existing floor is too low. I realised it after the stairs were completed, the floor boards scored and the door frame installed.
Now I am going to install a floor with real floor boards, which means that the first step of the stairs will be a bit too low, but I am not going to worry about it. I didn't like the idea of the door frame disappearing behind the floor boards, so I've cut them shorter:
The paint work, already finished, needs a bit of repairing, but that's no big deal. I've started on the floor boards, but alas, I didn't work out the measurements correctly and now I am short of wood for the planks. I'll need to put up my thinking cap to solve the problem, because I cannot remember what kind of timber I used and where it came from in the first place..... I might have to cheat a bit. If I do so I will take a picture of the finished work and let you try and find out where I have cheated!!!
This is the floor so far:
So far I am quite happy with it, considering that almost nothing is square and I had to do a lot of measuring and sanding....
Oh, and I can show you a piccie of the spiral staircase as well. It worked out fine. All I need to do now is to think of a suitable colour. The outfit of the shop is going to be something like shabby chic, so it will need to blend in well.
I am going to wait with placing the staircase until I have done the decorating, because it will only get in the way and will get damaged too if I'm not careful.
Since I have started posting on this blog again I have discovered a number of new followers. Of course it's time to welcome all of you, so, a warm welcome to
Insofar you had a blog I have visited and enjoyed what I saw. Tori is my dear daughter-in-law who is a wonderful scrapper, but doesn't have time for frivolous things like blogs, what with her family, work and study!
That's all for now. I should consider housework today and if I'm good possibly a little bit of creativity....
It seems I am getting stuck into it again. I just needed a bit of help to get on the way, I think. Hubby helped me further with the spiral stairs. He seems to know what he's doing. I still lack that kind of insight. :-)
Anyway, while he was working on the stairs I went to look for something that I could use for the banisters. I didn't have any spindles, but I remembered I had disgarded the stairs of my Del Prado house. I went in search and yes, there they were, in a box full of junk. The parts that is. I decided that I could use the parts for the spiral stairs. So I set out to cut the parts that would replace the spindles (see picture).
Hubby routered the slots for them to be glued in and I finished it off:
I found a length of electric wire which will do for the top of the banisters, so when the glue is dry tomorrow I will try and finish the stairs properly. They can be set into place, because the preparations have been done:
Slot in the floor
Receiving hole in the ground floor
As you can see, I have already started on the floor boards. It's going to be a fairly old building, so a timber floor will do. So much nicer. I love wood. A tiled floor would be rather 'cold' in a flower shop I reckon.
Just as well I was concentrating on doing a good job, because the building inspector arrived unexpectedly:
So far the work has been approved. She's cute, isn't she, this building inspector? I wish they were all like that. :-)
I haven't planned far ahead, but I have this vague idea of an old building, so I might try and work with paperclay, inside and out. Therefore I have started painting the door and windows, although I haven't decided on the colour yet. I will probably look into that tomorrow. So, this is what I have done so far:
The door already has glass in it, so I am painstakingly painting around the edges. I have a fairly steady hand, so hopefully I can pull that off. With the door and window frames I haven't been so careful, since the areas around them are going to be covered anyway.
Well, that's all for today. See you tomorrow for another episode....
One can't always make plants and flowers. One needs a building to house them! So, I have taken up working on my florist again. My hubby has helped me this morning with electrifying. Boy, that's the best part of building: seeing everything lit up! I know the basics of electricity, but hubby, having been an electrician by trade, always has some handy hints, so I am learning as I go. He instructs, I do the work. Best way to remember what to do next time when I am trying to do this.
This time I have two downlights in the bay window of the shop and one light in the dormer upstairs. Since I am using MDF it's very simple, just drill a few holes and with the router create a channel where needed.
They now have the lights in them:
And the dormer:
I don't know what kind of lamp I will have in this little room upstairs, but at least there's light! Initially I wanted a kind of fluro, but can't get it here, and since I am impatient I am not going to wait till I can get one. ;-)
Downstairs I will make a kind of cupboard in the back of the shop which will house the plug for the lights. At the moment I have created a temporary connection:
And this is what it looks like from the outside. I should have probably waited till night time, but will take another picture later on.
My hubby is working on the spiral stairs. He's started them some 10 years ago, just for fun, but promised he would finish them now so I can use them in the shop. This is where they were at when I discovered them in my box full of 'junk':
It's not much to look at, but while I am writing this I can hear a lot of noice (scroll saw, sanding disk) from the garage, so I guess I will have something more to show next time...
Yes, in the southern hemisphere spring is in the air, albeit a bit wet which is quite unusual for this time of the year. However, more time for me to spend indoors and I have finally finished the parrot tulips I had started in June. Remember I forgot to bring my paint? Well, they're finished now and I have also managed to squeeze in a planter with white geraniums. One can never have enough geraniums I reckon.
I still have a stack of flower kits, so these are still from Variaatjes. I hope I won't reach the bottom of the stack too soon. I love the vase that came with the tulip flower kit. Don't you? And the planter for the white geraniums is just cardboard, but I happened to have some terracotta paint for a full scale outdoor job and tried in on the card. Looks pretty enough to me. The white geraniums have replaced the pink ones outside Scrooge's residence, because the pink ones will probably look prettier on the florist's wall.
Well that's it for today. Running out of time. I have noticed quite a number of new followers. Hello to you all. I have visited your blogs, insofar you have one, and will come back to welcome you all properly. For now, I am going to do some much needed housework. :-)
Look at the picture. Can you tell my heart wasn't in it?
It also was a kit and an obviously much cheaper one than I have made up before. I bought it at a show and for the money there's really nothing wrong with it, but I should have realised it was meant for a complete novice. Without bragging I would say that over time I have graduated to a higher lever. ;-) Well, they might find a place somewhere in my florist's, at the back......
This really made me decide that I need to get some good punches and experiment myself. Paper is no problem, as I have already obtained some good quality rice paper, but the lack of punches is the main problem. Once I have a few I can try and experiment. Plenty of examples in the garden. :-)
That reminds me. I saw some really beautiful life size, that is 'real' peonies on someone's blog this morning. Unfortunately I have forgotten who's blog, but I am sure I will come across it again some time. Anyway, I was going to use the pictures to make my own and then realised that I had made them already from a kit, but haven't shown them to you yet:
Now, this one may take pride of place, somewhere at the front? I love the vase too. Those kits from VaRIAatjes always come with an appropriate beautiful vase or container. No, I won't go on about the VaRIAatjes kits, I promise. (I don't have shares either LOL) It's just that I have so many of the kits and still lots to go, so you might hear me mention it again now and then....
Off to my next job. I have started on a doll's pram for a change. When that's finished I will show it in my general blog. Have a nice day!
I managed to colour the petals and make the cuts for the fine fringe and discovered....... that I had forgotten to bring my paint. Silly. But, I thought I show you that my intentions were good. ;-)
Well, there's always another kit. And no, this time I am not going to say or promise anything. I'll just see how I go first and show you the finished product. Don't hold your breath though, it won't be tonight. LOL
I've finally managed to add another plant to my collection: a standard hibiscus. Since I am not at home at the moment, my hobbying is limited to what I can take with me. VaRIAatjes Workshopboxes are my favorite, because not only do I still need lots of plants for the shop, the kits contain everything I need and list on the back exactly what tools I need, so I can easily work away from home. So, here's a picture of the finished product:
I am quite happy with the result, and also with the planter that was included in the kit! Now I am going to start on a kit with Parrot Tulips. I've made lots of tulips before, but these are different and I reckon, more beautiful. Wish me luck. ;-)
I wanted to welcome a lot more followers to this blog, but since I have problems with the wireless connection where I am (this posting took a lot of repeated log-ins) I'd better wait till I am back home again. Be assured that I appreciate all you new friends out there and I am already following all of your blogs too, to my knowledge. It's so great, this wonderful world of bloggers from far away in most cases. Thank you all for sharing. As for the tulips: watch this space. :-)
..... but I'm getting there. Since I had to go back to the woodcrafters' this morning to finish some dovetail work on magazine holders that I am making I thought I might as well take my florist's and finish what I can while I am there. I'd done the angles for the roof at home, as well as the opening for the dormer window, but I needed to take my scroll saw in for a 'tune-up' since the blade wouldn't stay in the centre. There's always a friendly helping hand around, so I came home again happy. The magazine holders I wasn't so happy with, but I won't go into detail, since they have nothing to do with my florist's. At the club I have access to a bigger disk sander as well as a belt sander, so I got the angles on the roof done properly. I could have used a plane, but I can't eyeball the angles very well, so the sander gives me a better support and I can see what I am doing.
It doesn't look like I have done a lot, but I have unintentionally taken on a difficult job with all the angles. However, it's a good learning curve and I am not unhappy with the result so far. One drawback though is the clarity of pictures. You can see where I have been cheating with the dormer on the inside to fix the wrong angle of the inside wall...... :-)
The opening between wall and window is to be fitted with a window sill, but alas, there are only so many hours in a day and I have too many projects going simultaneously.
I also had in mind to welcome my followers on this blog, but it has taken up almost all week to list the 65!!! on my other blog, that of the witch's cottage, so please be patient and I will get around to it. It's nice though, to see that my florist's also attracts regular visitors. Did you know I like comments too???? ;-)
The club meeting on Sunday was productive insofar that I got the roof done. I needed a lot of help measuring (like before), because of the odd shape of the house. We finally got it right after a lot of planing and adjusting. However, that was the good part. I got a lot of practice using the hand (or block) plane and I did a little bit of work on the band saw. It feels great to be working with wood and I would have never experienced it had I not been confronted with this little project that ever only was to be a floor and two walls with a bay window........
If you look closer at the 2nd picture you can see that the wall has been extended above the door and the bay window. The roof with that bit of wall section would come off at the original building, but I have decided to extend it so that I can put lights in the dormer or anywhere else upstairs. With a split floor it would have been rather difficult to fix the wiring.
The next picture shows spiral stairs in the making (if you were wondering what the heck they were). :-) In the distant past my husband sometimes helped me out with little things and at some stage he started experimenting with a spiral staircase. Sadly it never got used, until...... perhaps now! I was thinking of using an oriental fan that had fallen apart and to use the parts to transform it into a black cast iron staircase, but in hindsight, I might just see what I can do with these treads. I'll keep you posted.......
On another note: I noticed to my surprise that I may welcome even more followers. I promised the other day that I would get properly aquainted with all of you, but so far I have been working on the list of my other blog (that's the problem when you have more than one and I was actually planning a third!!!) However, I will get back to this when I have finished the other list and will then only welcome those people more extensively that are not (yet) a follower of my witch's cottage's blog to save myself time. You know, I do want to work on my miniatures rather then spending all my time on the computer. LOL
I'll keep in touch. In the meantime a warm welcome to my new followers and warm regards in general from me, and thank you again for visiting....