Friday, August 28, 2009

One-Year Blogiversary

Today it's been a year since I started this blog and the building of Myrtlewood Manor. At the time, I just wanted an online site to journal the building process. I never guessed there were so many of you out there doing the same thing! Over the past year, I've had the opportunity to meet (online) and be inspired by so many fellow miniaturists. I've really developed a lot creatively and technically, and that's thanks in no small part to all you kind folks who so generously share your miniature endeavors and techniques. I look forward with eager anticipation to each new post by all my new friends.

Year 1 Progress Report:
In the first year of building, I've managed to build the base, frame the first floor, brick the front porch, complete all the floors on the first floor, build all four walls for the dining room, and build a wall of bookcases for the library. When taking breaks from construction, I've built some furniture from kits, as well as tried my hand at a number of other accessories. I've also worked out most of the color scheme for Myrtlewood, which was not easy given my indecisive and perfectionist nature, and amassed quite a few of the fabrics, paints and wallpaper I'll need to decorate the various rooms.

Grand Plans for the Future:
Since the planning stages, I've estimated the building of Myrtlewood as about a 10-year project. In Year 2, I hope to complete the library, the parlor and the entrance hall and tackle the wiring. In Year 3, I plan to build the kitchen and butler's pantry, the music room, the ballroom and the grand curving staircase in the main hall, as well as install the ceilings and light fixtures for the first floor. Years 4 through 6 should see the completion of the second floor, as well as the building of the grand front porch with columns and some work on the exterior of the Manor. In Years 7 through 9, I plan to complete the third floor and start work on the roof. Finally, I'll use Year 10 to finish the roof and exterior of the Manor, as well as any final interior or exterior finish work still needed.

Whew! After all that, I figure it will take me at least 10 years to make all the furnishings and accessories. And then? Well, I can't think that far in advance, but if I'm still into miniatures in 19 years, I'm sure I'll be able to come up with some other project to tickle my fancy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oil Paintings

Okay, I know I'm supposed to be working on the Manor, but these were very fun to make and took very little time (and I do need something to do while waiting for paint to dry, don't I?).
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These are just printed from my large file of saved images of art. I think these particular images came from Christie's site. I like to use lesser-known or unknown works of art, because I don't want it to be immediately apparent that these are fakes.

The frames were very cheap; I can't remember exactly what they cost, but I think it was around US$3 for both. They were sort of a dull gold color all over, so I "antiqued" them with some burnt umber paint.

Once I'd sized and printed off the pictures, I texturized them to make them look more like oil paintings. I'd read about a gel medium you can paint over a print to give it texture, but it was late at night and I was impatient to try these out on my wall. So I experimented with Aleene's tacky glue. Using a small brush, I painted the glue right over the prints using short, choppy strokes to build up texture. I'm quite pleased with the results, and happy I saved myself some money, too. I won't be buying that gel medium after all, because glue works so well.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dining Room Wall 3

As you can see, I've completed the third wall for the dining room at Myrtlewood Manor.
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You may notice there are small spaces in the corners and that the moulding doesn't quite match up in each corner. I haven't permanently installed the walls yet (it's much easier to make minor adjustments while I can still remove them); once I do, I plan to correct these imperfections with wood filler.

I still have to install the windows; I've been working on them but they may take another few weeks to finish. Painting all those little parts can get a bit tedious. I find myself taking frequent breaks, which means that my progress has been quite slow. I'll post more pictures when I finally complete them.