Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Building The Built-in Shelves.....




And the Spiral Stairs.....

I had a week off from Work, Dear Readers, and I can assure you that I spent as much of it as possible reveling in my myriad mini projects and I have So much to show you that I don't quite know where to start! But I think it would be unkind if I did not show you the second set of ornate brocade curtains that I did complete for The Folly Living Room! Above you can see the panels completed, with their wires sewn in the hems and the gold braid fringe added. These are for the larger window, so they needed to be wider and show more of the blue flower pattern, which works perfectly with the colors in this room.

Here they are installed with the pelmet which has the wider design too.
I may need to make the pelmet trim go "around the corner"....
 because you can see that side from this angle.

And with more furniture... 
I think it adds to the cozy feel of this room 
and brings the blue into balance.
Without a Doubt..... 
these curtains transform this room!

But the real project I want to show you, Dear Readers, is the building of the Shelves for the Hardwick Hall Attic Reading Room! I had ordered the wood to build these shelves weeks ahead of time, but it was on back-order and did not arrive in time. I was forced to make do by cutting my own wood strips out of basswood sheets, which actually turned out to be for the best because it allowed me to build  deeper shelving units for the far wall, which would be useful for holding larger sized books. So I cut 1" strips for the back wall shelves and 3/4' strips for the side shelves. The whole process was very time consuming because the attic is not exactly square.... (you have to love these kits!....) which required cutting and testing for fit every step of the way!
 And while I was doing that I also had begun to glue the spiral stairs together... (until now they had been temporarily strung on a thin dowel... and fell apart with every shift!) This was also a complicated process of gluing one part then waiting 'til it dried thoroughly before gluing the next one!

This was especially necessary when it came to attaching the spindles to the stairs because they were wobbly and had to align exactly with the curved railing that would go on top.... but the railing couldn't be attached until all the spindles were firmly and precisely in place. And because it was a curved shape.... spiraling upward.... just supporting two ends wasn't enough.... you had to have a middle-point also supported at the same time. I managed to get the bottom two spindles glued in while the railing was balanced on the upper spindle.... but you had to add the spindles one at a time and wait for the glue to dry.... or it all would fall apart! I would add a piece every two or four hours....!


 Meanwhile I was building the bookshelves....
Starting at the back in the darkest corner of the attic....
where I had to measure and fit and test and then glue...

The gap you can see between the side of the shelves and the wall 
is to allow for the depth of the side wall shelving.... 
I made a drawing first so I could do the math 
and get the general measures worked out...
 but all the pieces needed adjusting to fit the actual space.... 

Here you can see the top shelf which
 covers the distance all the way to the side wall....
 and needed to be just the right length and angle.....

Here I am building the basic unit....
 with my cutting mat to help keep them square.....
 (except that the walls aren't square....)

And slowly adding spindles to the Spiral stairs.....
 that folded paper is being a force to push 
the spindle against the railing while it dries... 
without exerting too much force which would make the railing fall off....
 because it is not attached  but is only there for alignment purposes!

Here is the Attic with morning light.... 
showing (sort of) the back two shelf units in position.
 And Madame Durant has come to inspect the work....
there is still a long way to go!


Here you can see an overhead view of the two back units 
and the two sides also begun....
(I know.... it is dark.....)
And then I had an idea.... 
one of Those ideas that wouldn't go away.....
How could we get more light into those back corners? 
Could we add mirrors behind the shelves...?
Or perhaps some glittery silver paper????

Which I had several sheets of.... purchased long ago.....
Shouldn't we at least test it out?
At first, Dear Readers, I thought it was too much....
But the more I looked, the more I liked it...

Especially when the outside spotlight was not shining directly in!
But what about with the books in place... 
would they block too much of the paper...?


Well, we had to try a few books....
(Gosh I am going to have to make/acquire/buy a lot of books!)

Ohhh, I am liking this!!!
And even though the books will eventually cover much of the paper...
 I think it will still be lurking there... a presence... 
like a mist on a meadow at dusk....!

And in the morning light.... with no additional lighting.....
It is simply radiant!


Here you can see the side shelving also completed
 and the top edge trim has been added too.
But all the side trim and end trim has yet to be added....
especially where the shelves meet the bench alcoves.
 
Meanwhile I have completed all the spindles on the Spiral stairs...

And it is time to glue on the handrails
... a much easier task... but still best done one rail at a time!

The shelf units are getting their facing trim....

Always testing the fit of every piece.....
The units will not be glued to each other
 until they are glued into the Attic... 
because of those crooked walls!
And once they are... 
you will not be able to get close enough
 to see this top view.


The trim on the ends has been added too....
 
And Finally, Dear Readers, 
I take my courage in my hands
 and Glue the Shelf units in place!
Because only then can I start to add the trim
 around the alcoves where they meet the shelves.
I have pulled the curtains away to keep them from the glue... 
and I know you can't see it, but I have added the trim in that dark corner!

And the alcove trim on the side alcoves is also being added....

Here you can see where the shelves and the alcove have a gap....

And here you can see all the trim has been added....
Except for the near side of the alcove... 
because those shelves have not been built yet!

And let's not forget the Spiral stairs railings... 
another section attached!

And the attic Shelves are very nearly done....
 (except for those aforementioned units at the front of the attic)
And we can revel in those amazing shelves.... 
and the contemplation of all those books....

By Day and also by Night.....

Especially by Night.... 
can we admire the brilliance added by those silver papers....

And perhaps with the fireplace too.....
Yes, those back corners are going to be hard to see...

Dark and Sparkly and Mysterious!

But my Vacation is quickly winding to a close....

Even the Spiral staircase is Almost complete... 
only the finials left to add....

And I must say, Dear Readers, 
there was even more that I accomplished...
 but I will show you that another day. 
Right now all I want to do is 
Revel in that Attic with those Built-in shelves... 
and Contemplate the next parts of those Incredible Spiral Stairs!


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Making Progress.....




But Not Where You'd Think.....

Well, Dear Readers, I have to confess, sometimes I have no idea where my projects will lead me next! I have so many of them in partly finished condition, all halted for one reason or another, and all waiting for my ideas to catch up with my abilities.... or my abilities to catch up with my ideas! Above you can see the Folly Living Room bathed in rare morning sunlight and clearly revealing the entirely irregular and unfinished window curtains. Or it would if Will were not standing in the way! Some of you might recall that The Folly was the first dollhouse project I started when I returned to making miniatures .... Ten years ago this month! I have sporadically added to and improved on it since then, but the Living Room has remained essentially the same for many years now... with incomplete curtains tacked up with thumb-tacks and the gold fringe pinned "temporarily" in place. In fact, the entire roll of gold braid has been draped across the floor and out of the room all this time as I had been unwilling to commit to cutting it at an incorrect length...! The problem lay in my not being sure what method to use to ensure that the curtains would "drape" realistically! The fabric I had chosen was a heavy ornate brocaded satin which I love because it is that beautiful royal blue and the flowers on it are lush and gilded and oriental and a brilliant carmine just like the walls in this room! Where would I ever find a better pattern to go with this overly ornate Regency style Living Room?


I had read on other blogs about using hairspray and pins, or soaking the fabric in a mixture of water and glue and shaping it before it dried..... but  I was worried that such treatment would ruin the gloss of the satin and besides... I wanted my curtains to be able to open and close on real curtain rods! While I was busy making the tiny curtains for the Secret Christmas House last summer, I finally decided to test the fabric in the water and glue mixture..... the results are pinned to the small window behind Will. I was right, it ruined the gloss of the satin and completely altered the color of the blue. That method clearly would not do! But there was a less frequently mentioned method I had read about that involved stitching wires into the hems to make them "pose-able", and as you know from my recent post about the curtains for the Hardwick Hall Attic window nook, I found that method to be quite successful! So why shouldn't I try it on the curtains for The Folly Living Room too? Well, one reason was that being able to reach inside The Folly Living Room would require moving the house..... not a simple thing in my overcrowded and messy workroom! But bit by bit I packed and cleaned and rearranged all the accumulated partly done projects and detritus for same, and moved The Folly to where I can reach inside the rooms!

Here it is at the working end of my Worktable....

Here I have begun to remove the pieces in the way.... 
 as well as those "test" curtains which had been there for a long time!
Another thing which I had made ages ago, Dear Readers,
was the "Pelmet" for the small window on the far wall...
Which you can see here in all it's ornate gilded glory!

This would cover the top of the curtain, 
hiding the rods and rings... and adding to the Regency flair of this room.
And part of my problem was not knowing how
 to make this design work on the much wider window on the side wall...
I had even made most of the pelmet for that window ages ago! 
Just not the crowning pieces... 
how to have the same shape but over a wider expanse...


Suddenly last weekend I figured out
 that the Pelmet just needed "finials" at either end....
Which you can see being painted above.

And another problem was how to attach the curtain rod holders....
 because the walls on this kit are very thin!
But once I had the room open
 and was measuring where they would go, 
I realized that the exterior window trims
 were deep enough to take the screw eye....

The first one is installed above....

And the second one, with the curtain rod in place... 
it is the same wire coat hanger that 
I used for the Hardwick Hall curtains.

And then we have to test the Pelmet... 
because it is a bit tricky to align ... 
it slides onto the curtain rod too.... 
and we have to make sure this idea will work!
It does!
It was also crucial to be able to measure
 the exact length of the curtains... 
which couldn't be done until the rod was actually in place!

Here I am testing the first panel... 
it has been hemmed with the wire on three sides
 as with the Hardwick Hall curtains.

And with the gold braid fringe added....
(Yes, the daylight is fading....)
but we must try it with the Pelmet.....

Which you can hardly see! 
But never mind, 
I am quickly sewing the second curtain panel....

Which you can see here.... with the lights on.....
Oh, Dear Readers, I am liking this very much!

Except I didn't like the "puffy" un-pleated middle of the curtains.... 
which was something I had worried about with this method.....
 and decided to try gently ironing the "pleats" into the drapes....


This is much better!

I think they look Wonderful in this room!
Oh, but let's try the Pelmet.....

And the furniture too...!
Now That is looking like I had hoped it would!

With the rest of the furnishings.....

With a glance to the ceiling above.....
(This was my very first painted ceiling!)
So, where do we go from here...?

Well, there is that other window..... 
which still does not even have it's trim added!
But I have made the Pelmet......

And I know exactly how I will make the curtains!
 It shouldn't take me very long!

So it seems we are making Progress, Dear Readers,
Just not where I expected I would!