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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Chapter 77b - The Stair Bannisters to the Second Floor Landing, Installation of the Stairs, The Stone Lantern

Tōrō lamp inspiration
March 2nd - 6th 2014

These are the remaining pieces to the kit that I had already previously opened to make the shōji.
Once I saw the remaining pieces, I admit I was a bit stressed.  This is where I make the final pieces to install the bannisters and the stairs from the first floor to the second floor.  I really do not want to do this yet so it’s highly unlikely that I will.  For the reason that the fitting stresses me out and also because I’d prefer to install the two hinged porch extensions onto their relative rooms by just taking the whole floor off and drilling and installing things from my work table.  It’s easier and more stable than trying to balance the porches into position using the below porches as support.  So, these stair pieces were constructed just like the others and put aside awaiting their day of installation when the entire floor is actually in place.

The two bannisters drying.  Then they'll be added to the stairway storage box!
More mossy tōrō inspiration.
In this chapter, there was also a stone lantern or a tōrō to assemble.  I have never seen one of these inside a house and the instruction have you placing it on the second floor landing - but who am I to question it.  In any case, I am planning a small garden on the left side of the house so I would prefer to put the lantern there.  Obviously, it’s still too early to decorate the garden (since I still have lots of large sections of house to install) and I wouldn’t want to ruin my tōrō during roof and floor installations so I’ll build it now and put it away for when the garden is ready to be decorated.

I gathered some visual images of stone lanterns and the ones I liked the most were the moss covered ones.  A lantern that looks like it’s seen many years outside guiding you through the garden path.  So, that was my idea - to paint the lantern to simulate aged stone, then cover it in moss.
I painted first an undercoat of blue grey.  Then I applied a little wax to the areas that I wanted to have show up after.  I then painted a coat of dark grey, let it dry and then sanded away in areas.  The undercoat showed up since it had been protected with the wax. I then got my stencil brush and used some white to touch up the lantern.  The added white gave a rough look of stone - not just solid grey.  Then I added a bit of grey green in areas that I intended to add my “moss”.
Blue grey stone and painted foil (yellow)

Waxing up the areas that I want to show thru.

Overpainted dark grey with blue grey areas showing thru.



Added white with a stencil brush.






























I had found for €1 a little round piece of mixed synthetic moss.  I suppose you could use it to make a faery garden or something but I saw the potential to use it in the landscaping, which I will eventually. (Side note: stores like Michael’s or craft stores in general do not exist here in Italy. We end up trying to find our craft stuff from many sources including garden centers and home furnishing places.  Some Lowe’s type stores do have aisles where they sell paints and some craft stuff - mostly for stenciling or simple projects but nothing like a true craft store. No dollhouse or miniature or jewelry or scrap booking etc. So it’s a constant scavenger hunt for materials!)  Anyway, I cut up a few pieces of the moss and glued them onto the lantern.

Mossy mat that I found in a home decorating store.

Added mossy bits and static grass.














I then added some of my static grass leftovers and waited till it was dry.  I then was able to trim the grass and mossy bits down close to the lantern to simulate moss instead of grass.  I filled in some more areas and touched it up a bit then added a foil (leftover from my fire LED kit) that I had painted a bit yellow to the inside of the lamp.  Then I closed it off on the top.  As a last touch, I glued a little bit of fine sand to areas of the lamp then used my finger to blend it into the wood.  It gave the stone an additional roughness that I liked plus it highlighted the green tones I had lightly brushed on.   I like it.  It’s quite small and will look nice in the garden.

Close up of the lantern top.

Finished tōrō

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Chapter 76b - The Walls and Floor to the Right Side Porch

February 26th - 2nd March 2014

This chapter is the support pieces and flooring to the right side porch which connects to the shōji I had already constructed in a previous chapter.  So, I had to paint the porch pieces (both external and internal) before proceeding with the construction.  I decided to use red on one wall to match up with the room wall with red in it.  I had already imagined which scroll I was going to hang on that wall anyway so it was just a matter of figuring out which piece was the one that fit on the right side of the porch.  As usual, painting and waiting for paint to dry is never fun.  But once done, I started on constructing the porch.

Painting and drying....BOOORING!
 I also had to make the “wood floor” which I’ve done previously so I won’t explain how here again.  Suffice to say that I did make the boards broader (7mm instead of 5mm) also because I had already made them broader in the other porch too.  I figured the landings would have finer boards, but the porches would be a little more “rustic”.  Anyway, it was easier to paint them too since I have a 4mm flat brush which fits perfectly into the board widths for painting differing colors of brown.  That done I could now proceed in assembling the porch.

7mm boards ready for varnishing.
As usual, there were some fitting issues but overall I managed to compensate and fit everything in where it needed to go.  Some areas do show gaps.  I’m not sure why this side was such a lousy fit.  I’m a bit of a perfectionist but not to the point of ruining my fun so I just pretty much left the gaps as is.  I don’t think they will compromise the stability of the porch anyway. At least I hope not. 

Gluing and clamping the sides.
The one red wall on the porch. The floor "fitted".
The weird gap.  I have no idea why this piece was so reluctant to fit.
 The next step will be fitting the last two shōji, the outside windows and the roof.  Should the spaces not be stable enough for that work, it will show (when the whole thing just comes apart! haha!).
Finished porch. Just needs the last shōji, external windows and the roof.