Sunday, March 27, 2011

Seems y'all like creepy stuff

Well the poll finished and it seems the majority of you folks would like a Haunted roombox.  Good thing cause that is what I have up my sleeve. 

I have a lot of things to finish first (including The Mystic Path) before I can start on that. I also have my big trip to Chicago to get done.  WOOHOO!!  I'm so excited.  Is it too early to start packing now? I know it is only a weekend, but with the luggage restrictions I have to pack very carefully to make sure I have room to bring goodies back with me.  I think a couple wooden cigar boxes should work nicely to protect my little treasures on their flight back to South Carolina.  Of course, that will limit my shoes.  Hmmmm....also need to pack laptop so I can update blog with show pics.  Gosh...It is going to be like a game of Tetris.  heehee

Speaking of my favorite little metaphysical shop, I was able to work on the curtain brackets this weekend, but they have not been installed and no pics have been taken.  I know...mean of me to tease with info and no new pictures, but is just the way I roll sometimes.  HAHA  Oh wait...maybe I should do a creepy laugh here since i know what is up my sleeve.  BWUHAHAHAHAHA!

I see you shiver with antici....pation. 

Till later!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How about a VOTE? Oh, and Chicago!!

Good morning everyone.

I know...two posts in less than 24 hours? You are thinking...what could Dale be up to? Is he perhaps not getting enough sleep?  Could the allergies be driving him crazy?  Both are probably true, but that isn't why I'm here again so soon.  (Although, the recent 85 degree weather and rain we had has caused the yearly cursed blooming of the Bradford Pears and a dramatic increase in my weepy-eyed look.  I love nothing much more than living in the South, but OMG...stop with the Bradford Pear planting. They are pretty for about a week and then they smell like old fish.  I will never understand the attraction to them but every developer feels the need to plant rows and rows of these trees in every community down here.)

Oops..enough ranting about my allergies and trees.  You can't say I didn't warn you from the very beginning that I tend to go off on little side trips before I finally get my tracks back to where they need to be.

First...I know most of you didn't notice the Poll I put up about a week ago in the upper left of my blog.  It is entirely my fault because I was distracted (see a pattern here yet) and forgot to tell y'all about it.  Forgive me.  I would love to get an idea from you what your dream roombox would be.  I think there are a couple days left on it.  Don't worry, I'm not tracking your vital information or anything. :-)  I just want to get an idea of what people want.  Personally, I'm leaning toward making a very haunted roombox (Disneyesque, Haunted Mansion type of thing)...but no more info on that yet.  That sure was a long way to go to just ask you to vote.  Thanks!!

Second.  I know that I mentioned way back when I first started this blog that I would be going to Chicago for the big Bishop International Show on April 8, 9 & 10.  I would love to know if anyone else is going and maybe there would be a chance to meet up somewhere or just say "Howdy".  I'm generally pretty friendly and I'm not afraid to holler across a big room if I see you.  I'm still leaning toward wearing a tux jacket with tails.  It just sounds like fun attire to me and how many people you think will be running around in a tails?

Till later!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Mystic Path....Part 4

Hello everyone.  Also a big hello to all the new followers. I'm honored to have you all here on my little journey.

Sorry for the delay in posting, but I haven't had time to do any minis lately, but I was able to pop out something I have been excited about for a long time.  Finally, I have a crystal ball for our Madam Aspen.  If you remember the story, she is away for the night and there are some magical happenings going on while she is gone.  I thought a glowing crystal ball on her table would be a perfect addition.

I have had a big marble I found for a long time but wasn't sure how I was going to light it up so it had an eerie glow.  Well, it suddenly fell into my head that I would have to make a stand from polymer clay and that is just what I did.  Sorry I don't have any "in the making" photos, but it was actually pretty easy.

I thought I would create a base that looked kinda woodsy and earthy.  I put some Sculpey into my clay gun and pushed out some spaghetti thin strands and started wrapping and forming them into a woodsy shape. The hard part was keeping it deep enough to hide the bulb but still small enough to look natural and not too large for the table it would be displayed on.  Once i was happy with the look, off it went to the oven for baking.  15 minutes later I had a nice stand ready for painting.

I applied a base coat of a soft brown and then brushed it with a bronze powder and antiqued with black.

The bulb was wired through a small hole I drilled in the base and through the top of the table.  Initially, the light was way too bright so I used some green Gallery Glass paint to tint the bulb and painted small spot on the bottom of the marble.  To me, green is just eerie.  Nobody looks good in green light except maybe the Wicked Witch of the West.  I can't leave it wired for now as I'll have to get the outside of the box finished first, but I couldn't wait to show everyone what it looks like.

Till later!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Mystic Path....Part 3

First, thanks everyone that has started following me and thanks to Victoria for the very nice post about my blog on her own blog! are awesome and so are your creations!! I have threatened to do a project with her and she hasn't run away so we'll have to see what happens in the future.

I'm sorry that there has been a lapse in my postings, but I had a friend in town and not everything can be miniatures. Sometimes real life steps in and in this case, it was a great visit!

I think we left off last time with the completion of the trim work on the shop space on the first floor and I promised to start telling you about the upstairs space, also known as the fortune teller's room.

When I think "fortune teller" my mind immediately goes to a dark room, plush with unusual lighting, creative furnishings and a general feeling of mystery.  That is the look and feel I wanted to create on the second floor of my roombox.  First thing I did was created an interior wall with a bumped out doorway. I wanted the viewer to feel they could exit the room and explore beyond the doors if they were allowed. 

Following the same procedures as the first floor, I created the walls with foam core and then attached the wallpaper to the mat board and attached that to the wooden walls.  In this picture, they are still loose and not attached because you shouldn't put up your finished walls until after you have completed your ceiling.  Always work from the top me, i have learned the hard way.

Now it was time to decide what I wanted to do to the ceiling.  I thought about papering the ceiling, but felt that it was just too boring for my eccentric lady of the house.  I was looking through some pictures and came across a photo of a bedroom with a pleated fabric ceiling.  THAT WAS IT!  After finding just the right colored Dupioni silk to match the wallpaper, I sat down and created a fabric ceiling for my lady, but I didn't want to do the entire ceiling. Call me silly, but that just seemed to be a bit busy for me.  Then I had another thought.  What if the room was divided into two separate areas.  In the larger area to the left would be the table with the crystal ball. I had already determined that and made allowances in the floor to even light the ball.  On the left I decided there needed to be an area where the clients could be greeted by Madam Aspen and led into the "inner sanctum".  not only would that allow me to break up the space, but it would also give it a bit more mystery. 

Now that it was decided only the left would be for fortunes, that is all I made a pleated ceiling for.  This is how that turned out.  First picture shows it before installation and the second shows you what it looks like in place. noticed the light huh?  Well, of course Madam couldn't have just a simple chandelier or ceiling fixture. I made a lamp and give it an old world (pseudo Moroccan) feel.  At least that is what I wanted it to look like.  The cylinder in the center is made from an aluminum mesh (the kind used for sculptures) and the top and bottom are buttons I found at a local store. I drilled a whole through the top button to run the light through.  The fun part was putting dot of glass paint in each of the tiny little diamonds on the mesh. Pictures really don't do justice to this fixture.  One day I will get a good picture showing the variety of color.

Now you say, you must have installed the crown molding and the baseboard.  Well, normally I would have, but I wanted some more custom lighting in the room. I just could not find any lights or electrified candles that I liked so I would have to make them.  Before I could attach the wallpaper I would have to finish my lighting and get it all installed. 

Next on my list of light projects was a table lamp with a cutout shade and some fun fringe. It just screamed eccentric to me and I'm LOVING it.

Now, what good is a fortune teller without some candles.  I looked online and in the stores and all the candles that were ready-made had these HUGE flame bulbs on them that just looked seriously out of place to me.  What can I say...I'm really picky.  I set out making some custom polymer clay candles and then electrified them with some tiny Micro bulbs that were only 1.5V.  Well guess what? Anyone? Anyone?  I'll tell you what.  When you plug a 1.5V bulb into a 12V transformer, they blow up and are then useless pieces of glass with some wires attached.  ARGH!! After a nice chat with the local mini store owner, I was taught about an amazing creation called a "resistor". WOOHOO! All I had to do was attach the resistor to one of the wires on the bulb (new ones of course) and then wire as normal.  Well I'll be worked.  Not being an electrician, I was more than pleased with my work.  The candles aren't much to look at with bright photo lights are on, but in the darkened room, they create the perfect subtle look I was hoping for. (sorry it's so blurry).

At this point I still have not installed the trim work and I also have to created the beam/curtain holder that will divide the room, but it is slowly starting to look like something.

Oh, and I intentionally left the doors at the back cracked and put a bulb in the outer "hall" so there is some light spilling in from the back.  It's that whole "illusion of more" thing I love so much about the Thorne Rooms.

This post gets you all caught up with how the room looks now.  Everything from here on out will be shown as I finish it.

Till Later!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Welcome to all my new friends!

Hello everyone.

First, I want to thank everyone that has joined and is following my blog. I never expected to be up to 13 people in just a week.  I just hope I can continue to keep y'all entertained with my general ramblings.  It is very exciting to be sharing my latest project (and biggest to date).  I never thought when I started doing minis years ago that I would ever acquire such a great group of people I'm happy to call friends. 

There are a lot of plans in my day today so not sure if I'll get my update done on The Mystic Path, but if it doesn't happen today, I'm sure there will be something tomorrow.

Oh, and before I anyone else feeling just all out of sorts with this time change? Oh what a difference an hour makes.  I hate losing that hour, but I'm sure glad it won't be dark so early after I get home from work.  A bit of daylight does wonders to a creative mind.

Till later!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Mystic Path....Part 2

On Thursday, we took a look at the bare bones of the roombox I'm working on, The Mystic Path. Today we'll take a look at some of the more decorative aspects of this project.

Once the interior walls were in place and the wooden floor installed, it was time to finish the flooring and start adding wallpaper and trim work to the store on the first level.

Now I can't say that I actually "stained" the floors.  what I actually used was a very diluted acrylic paint in a nutmeg color.  After a few applications of the stain (wiping off excess between coats and letting each coat dry between applications) I sealed the floors with a satin sealer.  I think in total I did about three coats of the sealer, sanding between each layer. 

May not be a perfect, pristine floor, but this is an older building after all and the store gets a lot of traffic in and out of it.

After the floor was completed, I painted the ceiling with a sealer coat and then two finish coats of a cream colored acrylic. 

Behind the door to the left, I built a false wall at the back of the box and wallpapered and added trim work so it would appear there is a hallway beyond the door.  There will either be a small table or a set of shelves out there that you can just see through the partially opened door.  This picture shows a test of furniture and was taken before the trim was added.

Rather than glue the wallpaper directly to the walls, I used a thin mat board and glued the wallpaper to it.  Then each wall was put into place.  The bookshelves in the rear were stained and then I added a small wall sconce above each section of the shelving.  The wires for those lights are run through the wall and attached to the tapewire at the back of the box.

Once I had the wiring completed for the sconces and all the wallpaper in place, I painted the crown molding and baseboard trim with acrylic paint.  After the pieces had dried, each was cut to length and attached to the walls.  This not only helps hide the rough edges of the walls, but also gives the room a completed look.

Here is the metaphysical shop, all ready for furniture and accessories.

And if you are wondering what the room looks like with just the lighting on and no outside lights....

Our next installment will show the wallpaper and some of the work that has been done in Madam Aspen's room upstairs. 

Till later!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Mystic Path

About nine years ago I had a dream to build a roombox.  This roombox would be two stories tall and tell a story. The lower floor would be a metaphysical shop full of candles, crystals, incense, herbs and other witchcraft items. It's the kind of old store you walk into and are immediately at peace. A sweet aroma of burning incense would be prominent and there would be more to see in that store than you could ever fully absorb in just one visit.  The second floor was to be the lair of the resident fortune teller, Madam Aspen.  When looking at the roombox, it would be obvious that the shop was closed for the night, perhaps the owner is out for the evening celebrating the upcoming Samhain.  The shop lights are dim and you can just make out the merchandise on the shelves.  Upstairs, she has left a couple candles burning and there is an eerie glow coming from her crystal ball.  Perhaps there is a restless spirit longing to make contact and share some important news, but alas....our witch is not there to receive the message.

Other than the dream, I never did anything more about this roombox than to build the box.  Soon after my time to work with minis dwindled to nearly nothing and everything was packed away into a closet, not to be touched for over 8 years. 

Now I'm back and the first project I took up was this called "The Mystic Path".  I have gotten a good bit of the basic construction done and soon hope to be moving onto the fun part of actually accessorizing the shop and our fortune tellers room upstairs.  Over the few days or so, I'm going to share with you what I have done and then I'll pick up and start posting projects as they are completed.

First a few pics of the basic box and general layout of the rooms.

The basic box is constructed of plywood (in future boxes I'll use cabinet grade so there aren't knots to deal with) and measures 15.75" wide x 19.75" tall x 12" deep.  Each floor is just over 9" tall.  The small pieces of wood you see attached to the floors and ceiling are there to be a guide for the interior walls.

This is the shop floor with the interior foamcore walls in place and the wood floor installed.  The wood floor was put down one board at a time.  I used a thin wooden craft stick and each board was cut to length as it was glued in place.

The second floor will house the fortune teller's room.  In this picture you see the interior walls installed as well as a double-door in place to check the look.  On the floor is a strip of tapewire that will be used to light the crystal ball.  After this picture was taken, I also installed an additional strip of tapewire on the right wall near the door for a table lamp and there is also a strip on the ceiling to light the lamp above the table where Madam Aspen works her magick.

The final picture tonight shows the wooden floors in place on both levels.  You can see the hole cut in the upper floor. That will be hidden by a carpet. 

I hope you enjoy what you see so far.  There is much more to come.  On our next journey we will look at the finished floor as well as some wallpaper and trimwork. 

Till later!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Reach for the sky!

There are days when a guy just needs some inspiration.  When I'm not feeling creative or just don't have the energy to create, but want to look at some amazing miniatures, the video below is where I go. 

Looking at these really gets my creative juices flowing and I realize that there isn't much I can't do if given the proper tools and some patience. 

When looking at the video, keep in mind that all the rooms you are looking at is crafted in standard 1/12 dollhouse scale.  If you don't know what that means, remember that everything that is one foot in life size is one inch in this scale. 

Amazing huh?  Maybe one day I'll have a video like this on YouTube showing my creations.  Never give up and strive to REACH FOR THE SKY!

Till later!

Monday, March 7, 2011 I come!

Ok....addicted to this already. 

Before turning in for the night, thought I would share with everyone that I'll be going to Chicago, IL this year for the Bishop International Show as well as the IMA and the Three Blind Mice shows. WOOHOO!!  Air tickets are purchased and hotel is booked.  I'm so excited.  This is my first trip there in almost nine years. 

Last time I went I walked around with a pirate doll in my pocket.  Wasn't but a few weeks ago that someone remembered that about me.  Guess I'll have to come up with something else to do this year.  Maybe a tux jacket? Too dapper.  Hat? Not my style.  Any suggestions? 

Till later!

A Blog is Born

Jumping into a blog can be interesting.  Think about it, are there really that many people that would want to listen to what I have to say?  Let's say that you found this by accident and actually are interested in dollhouse-scale miniatures.  Maybe you stumbled onto my website and find my blog that way. Is there anything that I can say that hasn't been taught or said before?  Probably not.  Why lie to you about that.  Miniatures have been around for a long time and while there is some new technology, the basics are pretty much the same as they have been for hundreds of years. 

What I am hoping you get from this blog is a fresh look, a new way to do things.  What we talk about isn't necessarily new, but it could be new to me or you. 

Now there are some changes that might be happening so if you come back and things look different, don't be afraid.  It is probably just my inner "Renaissance Man" kicking in.  Sometimes things just need changed.  Something to always remember around here is "change is good".  Something else you might find yourself saying is "oh no...Dale must be bored."  Don't worry, that isn't a bad thing, it just means I've done a complete turnaround and I'm heading in another direction.

Anyway.  This is enough to get started.  I have lots of things in mind to talk about with you, but I can't do everything in one post.  If I did, it wouldn't be a blog, it would be a web page.

Till later!