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Sunday, April 13, 2014

Intermediate Work : The Buddha Pedestal, the Side Garden

Cut block of wood before painting and varnishing.
April 5th - 13th 2014

One of my first purchases was a little green Buddha statue that was to decorate one of the rooms.  The second floor room in fact is the Buddha room (the first floor room is the Gohonzon room - from a different buddhist practice).  I decided not to make a Shinto room although I very much may add a small Shinto shrine or a kamidana and a Toro gate somewhere in the house. Thing is, I would need to find very small versions of the shrine as I do not think I can make one so small.  But you never know!
So, I created a pedestal for the Buddha statue.  It was so small on it’s little black table that it needed to be noticed in the room.  I just cut up a block of wood, painted and varnished it then positioned it in the Tokonoma. I added some little flowers that I had bought at the Milano show.  The Buddha looks presentable now.
The Buddha ready for installation.

Raised to a proper height.

In the meantime, I had ordered some things off the HBS miniatures site to build the side garden.  I really hadn’t planned on doing it yet but I was a bit down and wanted to try something different rather than continue with the porch build.  I found my previously purchased self-adhesive grass
Self adhesive grass and glueing a paving stone.
Waiting for the glued "growie" flower beds to dry.
and cut out a square to fit the garden area.  I made sure to cut a small circle where the lantern would sit.  I then glued some paving stones onto the grass.  I had to clamp them down otherwise they would just sit too far up on top of the grass fibers. Then I was able to install the grass onto the base.  I trimmed it up a bit and started working on the flower box and the “beds”.  I had also purchased lots of little “growies” which are just foam and colored moss material that gets spread down on top of the grass. Since I wanted clumped beds, I used my acetate to create some mounds of wild flowers.  Then I glued them into place.  I also found a flower box and some ivy which I cut in half and glued into the box.  I positioned it on the wall and used wax holder to attach the ivy to the house outside wall.  Ivy doesn’t need a trellis since it attaches itself readily to any surface.  So that’s what my ivy is doing. The Scale of the box and the flowers is a bit big but I think overall it's ok.

Positioning the grass onto the dollhouse pavement.

The fence was made from another Ikea placemat I found in the discount section.  Just cut to size and re-enforced across the original stitching.  I used a fence foto I found for inspiration.
Inspirational fencing (and fountain)
I cut additional slats and made little ties along the central slat just like the picture. I cut some end pieces to size and attached the little fence to the back end of the garden.
Working on the Ikea placemat to create the back fence.
One of the tied pieces disappears behind the house but that’s ok.  Then I just installed the flower beds and finally the lantern in place.  My little garden is just missing a small bamboo fountain.  But that will come later.
Side garden.
Detail of the lantern in place.
View from above.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Chapter 78 - Roof and Sliding Windows to the Right Side Porch, Bamboo Plant for Second Floor Landing

 March 9th - 1st April 2014

This chapter is still finishing up the porch section with the sliding windows (two out of four) and the ceiling roof.  So, first up was to paint all the pieces the usual burnt umber color.  I am actually finishing my last tube of this color which is surprising since two bottles were used to paint all of the brown trim of the house.  Not bad trying to be frugal with acrylic paint! 

I glued and painted the roof piece and fitted it in as well as the trim inside the porch.  The nice thing about this kit is the detail.  There are small wooden sticks that are installed in each angle of the rooms and the porches to hide the juncture points.  Even so, it still doesn’t hide the gap in the porch area.  I seriously considered taking it apart but having glued it in so well, it wasn’t budging, so it stays that way.  Next were the outside wooden additions and the ceiling/roof.  And finally, the trim to the top of the roof.
Adding the internal finishing.
Adding the external finishing
Internal detail of the ceiling/roof section
Finished roof with trim.
I had two of the four sliding windows to make here too, which I did and put aside.
Windows to be installed later.
Next up was the small garden / bamboo plant for the landing.  This thing was supposed to house the tōrō lantern too but since it will not, I opted for filling it in with some grass and moss material. 
First thing was to find some pics of decent bamboo.  I found one that I liked that showed the bamboo stalks yellowish rather than green. 
Bamboo inspiration.

Some would be a bit bent but not as many or as severe as the instructions shown in the kit so, I bent a few pieces of the sticks after cutting them into different lengths.  That meant soaking them and then bending them overnite. 
Once they were dried, I mixed some green and yellow acrylic and painted the bamboo. I then added some details where the bamboo stalks separate - following the inspirational pic.  The kit came with some green wire to be used for the branches of the stalks but it was much too thick.  I had already purchased some paper covered wire from Georgia Steeds over at her Miniature Garden Centre (and some kits but those will be used later...) so I figured this would be the perfect time to use some of the wire. 
Bending the sticks.
Slight bend to some of the bamboo.
Obvious difference in thickness of the kit's wires.
I added branches by twisting then separating the wire.  The pic had most of the foliage toward the top of the stalks so I was going to try and go with that.  The shorter stalks would have lower branches anyway.  I then gave a quick touch up with yellow to the wires have the branches be a little less dark green.

Decorated bamboo stalks.

Added branches using the fine wire.
Next I covered the base with some more of the synthetic moss and the static grass.  Then I trimmed the bottom edges of the bamboo stalks and inserted them into the base.  The next step was cutting out all of the leaves.

The base before being shaped and covered with moss.
After the grass and moss treatment.

Inserting the bamboo into the baase.
Bamboo leaf template
Cutting out the leaves.
This took longer than I thought for two reasons.  I wasn’t really liking the color and ended up shading the backside with some green to give it some movement and then my sister arrived for a two week visit.  So, adding anything to the bamboo tree was delayed.  I did get back to it by the 30th March and finished cutting and gluing the leaves on.  In the end, I covered the tree branches overall without really overloading the top.  I gave the leaves a slight brushing of varnish to bring out the color.
Painting in a little color.

Finished bamboo tree.
During the tree decorating, I decided to add a small “vase” in the corner where the tōrō was supposed to go.  I had a coral bead (white sponge coral painted coral color - not real red coral :-) so I varnished that a bit too and used that as a vase.  I had already opened Georgia’s kits so I decided to use one of the orchid kits (the cattleya) to make a small arrangement. 
Miniature Garden Centre kit.
The pieces in the kit are SUPER small and my hands are lousy in managing such small paper cut outs.  I had to use tweezers and a toothpick for managing the pieces.  I also used a piece of acetate to glue the starting dots where the other petals would be mounted.  I knew I’d be able to unattach the flowers from there once completed.  
Teeny tiny pieces from the kit.

Flower mounted on an acetate sheet for easy removal.
Orchid painted and ready for mounting on the wire stems.
Finished orchid plant mounted next to the bamboo.
They are a little open for orchids but I actually like the final effect.

Eventual position for the bamboo tree and plant.