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Sunday, May 26, 2013

May Holiday, Berlin and the Pavement is Born

May 4  - 26th 2013

Sorry for the lack of updates.  My sister visited from around 4th May till the 16th so I have been very busy with other activities and unable to work on any projects during that time.

We did have a lovely time together and a great trip to the city of Berlin.  I had been there many years ago and was glad to return to see how the city has developed.  When I was there before, it seemed to be in a constant state of construction.  What I didn't know was that Berlin is ALWAYS in a state of construction.  The amount of new buildings and blocks of flats or just overhauling of existing squares or office skyscrapers is constant.  I had heard the reference to Berlin as a city that never *is* but is always *becoming*.  I think that is true. 
The highlight of the trip for me was to finally view the bust of Nefertiti.  Something I have been dreaming of since I was a teenager.  It was well worth the wait.  There was a special showing since it has been 100 years since the bust was found.  Fascinating!  I also celebrated my 50th birthday while there.  Even if I do not care much about birthdays or my age, it was very nice to celebrate in a such a unique city and in the company of my husband and sister.  We of course had a grand time at the HB Hofbraeuhaus eating lunch meats and various sausages and hot dogs and drinking liters of beer.  What more do you need from life?

I finally got back to some mini work today.  I tackled the pavement base for the dollshouse and must say that even if I am very pleased with the plan, it is going to take me a very long time to execute it.  Since this phase is necessary before proceeding further in the build, then I must excuse myself for a while as I carve out my pavement.  I've gotten hold of a wrist brace to at least avoid any damage from holding the dremel carving tool over long periods but it is going to be a long process.

I will leave you with this teaser.  See you when I see you !

Friday, May 3, 2013

Intermediate Work - Bamboo Shades for Right Side First Floor Porch, Pavement Research

April 26th - May 3rd 2013

I had already done a pretty extensive chapter and tutorial on the bamboo shades here, but since I wanted shades on every porch, I had some more to make.  I figured I’d make these since they are pretty easy and then start to think about how I was going to stabilize the dollhouse.  It’s getting big and heavy.

Anyway, bamboo shades were made from a cheapy placemat I found at Ikea.  I had to abandon the bugle beads since the holes were much too small to pass the DMC thread for the pull.  I opted for some triangular beads and glued those in place to line up the pull string.  I attached the shades onto the porch by putting a glob of tacky wax adhesive and glue.  That way I didn’t have to come up with a way to clamp the shades in place while the glue dried.  Done.

Trimming the bamboo to size

Fitting in the beads which will hold the pull string.

Glue the back support (bottom edge of the placemat cut to size)

Glue and tacky stuff for easier attachment.

Ready to roll.
 While I was working on these, I got to thinking seriously about the final disposition of the dollhouse.  I had bought a table at Ikea (for like €20.00) and had some plywood cut to size at my local hobby place (€5.00).  I decided I would fix the house to the plywood and the plywood to the table.  That way if I wanted to ever change the actual table I could do that.  Plus, I wanted to decorate the plywood with some kind of stone pattern to simulate a street or garden path. 

My original idea was to use some paper with stone decoration on it.  But it just seemed so flat to me.  Plus I had to keep in mind that the ground floor has two sliding rooms so the this may cause too much friction every time I would open the rooms.  I thought I could use stencils but even here was very time consuming considering the amount of space I was going to have to fill (60cm by 90cm).  Then I came across a blog that has some excellent suggestions for flooring.  I used a scrap piece of plywood and made some cutting tests with my dremel machine.  I figured out the speed had to be pretty high otherwise a straight cut into the wood is impossible.  Also, once I started screwing around with color, the cut areas were not so visible and I really did not like the final effect.  I also made a cutting test using my stencil to make some stone pavement.  I used some of my smelly vinegar wood aging (copper and steel) to age the wood and see what kind of result came out.  Didn’t like that either.  Altho the steel one made a nice effect by darkening on top of the “stone” and not on the inside.  Since I’m debating on adding grass inside the cracks, this could be doable.  Anyway, I have a lot more testing I need to do.

Paper stone pattern

Transferring the stone pattern from MitchyMoo's blog

After "carving" the pattern.

Painted a not like. The detail is lost.
Cutting out the stencils.

Penciling in the stencil for "carving".

Cooper wash on the left, steel wash on the right.
In the meantime, here are some pics that got me thinking.  I love the food pic in particular (ok, I HAVE to try fimo!!!) and the perfectly shiny waxed floor of a ryokan hotel entrance.  That is what I should have done from the beginning ! Live and learn.
Like the different pavement sizes.

Straight forward long stones perhaps would give depth?

Absolutely yummy looking fish and love the serving tray! Help! I must learn to use FIMO!

Perfectly waxed wooden floor.  Looks liquid.

I like this placement of the table and the futon layered on top. May use this.
I think this is my favorite stone look.  It may just be where I'm going.