Monday, May 23, 2011


For the flooring of 'Warm Thatcham' I used 2.5mm balsa. It's cheap, can be cut with a craft knife and I can easily get my hands on it. I cut into lengths 1/2" wide. For this house I wanted to really capture the idea of it being a real floor and I wanted light from above and below to filter through the cracks. I laid out a grid work of beams first. I used 9mm square balsa. I whittle the edges with a craft knife and sanded it a little. For the effect of peg type nails I used a round needle file to put a hole in the ends. Pushed in a satay stick which I cut of with bullnose pliers. Stained them and then glued in place. Beams around the interior on the first floor line and then crossbeams on those. L shaped cut out on each end so it would sit flat for the floorboards to sit on above. I laid lighting wire along grooves I cut out along the top of the beams all the way over to the chimney which is where I was hiding all my wires.
Floor boards cut into varying lengths. I made knot marks in some by going at the wood with the round needle file at an angle. Then stained them. Laid them down on the supporting beams and pierce a small hole where a peg would go. Where it would go through to the beam if it were real. Holes made with round needle file but used toothpicks this time as pegs, again cut off with bullnose pliers. Glued them in place. Occasionally checking that it was fairly straight. Allowing a little wonkiness and cracks. Worked my way across and cut the ends of when all done.
I love the effect. While it is easy to do it is the most time consuming. This was a small floor area to work on so I went a little bonkers doing it. For the Coventry I used precut timber flooring. I got them from ebay. Yay ebay!! $7 for a bag of 100. It's oak and are very thin. Easily cut with scissors. Cut a heap in varying lengths and glued them on straight to the ply floor of the house. Went along after and filled in the gaps. Cutting around corners and allowing for doorways etc. Gave it all a light sand then quickly painted on the stain. I left it darker around the edges, rubbing it off more where people would walk. I have found here in our tropical climate that after high rain and humidity the floorboards curved a little. I loved the look but I think to stop that from happening I would have to cover the entire timber strip piece in glue and work in sections. Placing something heavy on it to keep it flat and let it dry out. But I loved the curled look. I did the same for the first floor. This method is so much quicker and easier but a different look. Way to go with larger areas to cover.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Flowering Creeper

This creeper of mine is an unknown variety, I made it up. I knew what kind of leaf I wanted, very much like a wisteria but could see a single yellow flower so that's what I did. The vine itself is completely inspired on how Rik Pierce does his. 20 or so lengths of wire wrapping around itself. Painted over that with gesso. Then colour washes in grey, beige and green here and there. Was going to do the fluffy landscaping stuff but eh.... not so sure. The colour wasn't quite right and I would've had to buy some more. nah. So out came the crepe paper and soaked strips in watered down acrylic paint. I did four varying shades. Just added more of a green after one strip had been soaked. Took a bit to dry. Leaf punch for the well leaf. Glued them on the ends. For the flowers ages ago I had found packets of Lily of the Valley in a cheap bin. Love those cheap bins! Wash of yellow on the outside and soft pink on the inside. Glued on the end of each branch.

Flowers and Pots.

Today I potted. Got out my assorted collection of little terracotta pots and got them gungy. I gave them all a wash of a dark sap green followed by splashes of a lighter sap green around the rim mostly and finished of with burnt umber around the base. I would do about five at a time. Because I then put them all into a glass of water and let them sit for a minute or two. Took out one at a time and rub over them with a cloth to give it a more weathered look. Once they had dried a bit it was time for some moss and lichen using that fluffy landscaping stuff. The flowers are all made from polymer clay and sooo not by me. I got them through ebay from seller called beautifullyhandmade. She also has roses and gladioli. Many different colours and they are lovely. She's in England but charges the most ridiculously cheap postage. She also does a variety of food and charges very little. In the pots I used a ball of paperclay with a squirt of white glue in first. The flower pushed into the clay and then more green fluff stuff and PVA to cover it all up.

The rabbit is from beautifullyhandmade is well.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Warm Thatcham

Well I commandeered the kitchen table, determined to get my little house finished. To have one of my houses finished! I am very good at starting but my finishing needs a lot of work! I have done the larger portion of the landscaping for now. The wisteria needs foliage and flowers. I have a daffodil kit en route somewhere over the Pacific and they will be scattered around the garden. Mossy pots stacked and pile of wood for the fire, etc needs to be gathered and glued in place. A chook and hedgehog are still determining their allotted space in the garden. I have included some pictures of 'Warm Thatcham' so far. I am so looking forward to finally furnishing one of my homes! I have mountains of furniture, plates, bits and bobs that I have been collecting like the proverbial packrat for over a year and to use them finally will be lovely. I will still have to make the larger portion of furniture as the house is so small and the usual pieces of furniture you buy looks even chunkier in my little house.

Looking in through the front door.

Bay window to the right of the house. The wisteria waiting for it's leaves.

Looking throught the front door into the lounge.

Looking through the back door into the kitchen.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Pics.

I had enough light today to take some photos of the townhouse so far. It a wet Mother's Day here! I used balsa, picture framing mould and timber beading to get the architectural detail I wanted. Doing an image search on the Internet gave me plenty of ideas on how I wanted it to look.
Once glued on and set I used an old credit type card to spread on the spak. As it was setting I went over it with a small paint roller to remove any lines the card left and to give it a more stucco appearance. I applied the spak on in two layers. For the first floor stone look. I left a satay stick width between my balsa strips and glued them on. I just put the spak along the gap and just used my finger running along the top to get a nice curved look. Used the card to wipe off excess. When that was set I went over the entire lot with gesso to fill in any holes and cracks etc.
For the front I am using 9mm ply. It came in the perfect length already and for free Bunnings cut the width for me! Yay! I am hopeless with a jigsaw, much better with a hand saw but I wanted it to be perfectly cut. I'm happy and the woman at the counter gave me a chocolate for Mother's Day. Now to the task of measuring out all the windows and the front door and all the other bits! I will be putting a small sill like peice of timber out the front for the shop stairs to sit on. So the front peice will be like an L shape. As the front will be a completely separate to the rest of the house I can't put a light on the wall so I thought a Victorian style street lamp out on the footpath would be the way to go. Ruler and pencil in hand I'm off to do some measuring. Clear the kitchen table kids!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

A French Townhouse.

Yes this is a bookcase. It did belong to my nephew Joshua and eventually found it's way into the laundry after a new bed forced it out of his room. I had been working on building a french style townhouse for my niece Rebekah. Wondering how to build something narrow but sturdy was going to be a challenge I thought till I spied it in my sisters laundry as we were trying to prevent flooding rain ruin her stuff. Perfect says I. It was very nearly what I had measured out already and with a cavity at the bottom for electrical hardware wire stuff. Shoved it in her wagon once the storm deluge had passed and followed the Arc to my place where it took up residency in my mini room. Bookcase!! How easy! How cheap! It cost $39!

A quick test with some superfine spak proved I wouldn't need to treat it first just a clean up. I loosened off the screws and squeezed my favourite Liquid Nails for extra strength. I have use balsa strips and picture framing to add architectural detail. The rooms are small yes and I will have to make most of the furniture to make it look right. There will be a bookshop on the bottom floor. It will have a slight magical feel to it. At first it will appear to be rather normal but upon closer inspection little odd things will appear. My niece is a bit of a bookworm and adores all things French. She will be off to France later this year with her school!!! So envious!! I've put in orders for various things already of course. I have already done the sides but I ran out of sunlight before I had the chance to take a photo. Now I'm stuck with what to do next. This is more what I would call usual dollhouse making, not the back to front inside out way I end up doing things. I'm floundering and flopsing around trying to figure my next step. But I'll take some pics tomorrow. It's an awful lot of fun!