Friday, September 29, 2017

...and miles to go before I sleep....

...or before I finish...or something like that! Or both!

Arriving home from Camp Mini Ha Ha on Monday afternoon with nothing completed on my project but the portico and my pond (which I still love looking at), I sat down at my dining table on Tuesday and worked away at the tower and the main house while I listened to the banging and stomping of the contractors working away in my basement after the flooding incident from August (about time they got to work, isn't it?).

I haven't had time to work on it since Tuesday but I'll give you a run-down of where I'm at now.

Before I left Camp I had started to glue rocks around the base of the tower to tie it into the style of the front portico. Okay - not my favourite job but it's done now so that's a relief. Here it is with just a small section left to do. Notice that I painted the cylinder black in the section where the stones were going. If there were any spaces visible I didn't want it to show through as light brown or worse - white!

While I was at Camp I had applied tissue paper to the upper walls of the tower and to the inside and outside walls of the house, to make it look like stucco. On Tuesday, I mixed up some paint using "ivory" mixed with white for the first coat. I thought it was way too yellow looking so I mixed up a second batch, starting with the white this time and adding small bits of ivory to get a colour I liked better. I don't know if you can notice the difference in this photo but the tower is still showing the yellowish colour while the front wall of the house has been repainted with the new colour. You can click on the picture to get a larger size if you want.

While still at Camp I had Wayne - our wonderful carpentry assistant and all-round handyman, cut out some circular windows in the tower. Once home I wondered how I should finish these cut edges. The simple answer would be to use paper or a lightweight cardboard but - let me ask you this: have you ever known me to take the easy way??? Of course not! So, while I was painting all the walls, I dropped several narrow coffee stir sticks in a pot of water on the stove and let them boil away.

Yes, you're absolutely right - at one point I was so engrossed in my painting that I forgot they were on the stove and yes, they did boil dry. Luckily the smell alerted me very early so I was able to fill the pot back up and bring them back to a boil without any real damage. I watched them carefully after that. I let them simmer away for a couple of hours and, I must admit, they were still difficult to bend around the inside of these circular windows and the door frames at this point. I probably should have left them for another hour or so. If the diameter of the circles had been larger it would've been easier. First, I took an old small diameter pill bottle and wrapped a stick around that while it was still hot and wet. Then I cut it to length quickly before it cooled down too much, and slid it into the opening which I had already covered with Quick Grip glue. It might not be perfect but all my round openings are now lined with wood:

In the picture above showing the closeup of the rocks on the bottom of the tower, you might notice that I lined the bottom two-thirds of the tower with a peel and stick paper that looked like very narrow vertical boards. I'm going to put a more decorative paper on the top one third since this is where I will be putting a bathroom - even though you will only be able to see it through the windows -that's not the point! The point is that even mini people don't like to have to use an outhouse in the middle of winter or to bathe in the river! My little residents enjoy their creature comforts!

So, this weekend I'm hoping to finish lining the other window frames, plan out my lighting, build a second set of stairs to reach the bathroom level of the tower, and faux paint both sets of stairs to look like limestone rock. Then I have to get serious about planning furniture placement and start putting the walls of the house together. I still have a very long way to go before I get to the landscaping - which is the part I'm really looking forward to because I've never done it before. Have I mentioned this is only the 4th year I have actually been building minis? I'm not sure I have enough years left to become as practiced and talented as so many of you out there but I'm going to give it my best effort. So - if I want to live that long I should make sure I get my "beauty rest". Okay - that's definitely not working for me but, hey, I live in hope. so, until my next post -- TTFN!! - Marilyn


  1. Hello Marilyn,
    I never used the wood boiling technique. that's a pretty great technique I will definitely be trying. The openings look awesome. I just can't wait to see more.
    Big hug

    1. Hi Giac. Yes, I figured if they use large steamers for bending wood in real life, I should be able to get the same effect by boiling up the coffee stirrers. As I mentioned, for a diameter as small as I was working with, I probably needed to simmer them for another hour or so but it worked pretty well. A large diameter circle wouldn't have been quite as difficult. Let me know if you give it a try and how it works out for you. Hugs back at you! - Marilyn

  2. Your curved window inserts are Marvelous Marilyn and what an ingenious way to achieve them!
    And although I have some Real Life bentwood chairs I never would have thought of applying the same principals to bending wood in miniature - simply BRILLIANT! :D