Happy Mother's Day to all who celebrate it today. The UK, of course, celebrates Mother's Day in March (Mothering Sunday), which I don't mind saying gave me a few moments of panic when one of my facebook pals wished one of her UK pals a Happy Mother's day in March, and I thought I still had a couple of months to shop. Not cool dude, really not cool.
Something that always makes me wonder at this time of year though - have you ever noticed that Mother's Day cards are always nice? Even in the funny ones, mom is always the victor and the hero, and often dad gets made the butt of the joke (see gassy comment below). That is great, of course, you shouldn't make fun of your mom. However, when father's day rolls around, we see he is a lazy, gassy, TV-watching sports addict with a predilection to pizza, golf, cars, and in general being a large goof ball, if the cards are any indication - no gentle humour, just a swift kick to the family jewels. I guess I wonder how the dads feel about all of this, although the truth being known, cards are really a girl thing anyway, we just get way more excited (for a variety of reasons, and the card companies know this and pander to us for those reasons). I know I can sit in a card store for hours going through all the sentiments (nope, too sloppy, too mean, too crude, too rude, too uncomfortable, too inappropriate, too noisy and of course "really - they thought THAT was funny?" ) to pick out the card that says it all, without saying too much. A card given is a treasure, and one I am always reluctant to throw away once received. I don't envy the card designer one bit though - no where in the world of art is any piece so scrutinized and criticized as that found in the card section of the local drug store...the stress of that job must be overwhelming at times.
At any rate, this week we found ourselves dealing with abnormally warm days, not entirely unwelcome, but a tease - June is a rainy month, of course, and this little bit of summer in May always confuses the locals. I did not do many things this week, other than work on my sock monkey ....
Her top is a hair band, believe it or don't. Her skirt is sewn from cotton fabric, and took some doing - I found my rotary cutter had been dulled beyond use, so I was reduced to using scissors - nothing like being thrown into the dark ages of sewing. I did a little youtube surfing for tutorials, and found a fairly simple pattern for a skirt that I could expand upon to the double ruffle Flamenco skirt above. I am rather pleased in how it turned out. Not bad for someone who has learned most of her sewing skills from Youtube, anyway (really, go take a look, some of those youngsters who make clothes for their dolls are brilliant little designers!). There is still quite a lot of beading and artistry to be done on my Flamenco monkey, but that is the easy part for me, the hard part (construction sewing) is done.
Today I worked a little more on my Washtub Cottage. As you recall, last week I had just put down clay on my floor...
Today I started the paint job. The directions called for an air dry clay that may or may not be available in my area (I didn't go looking) , but what I did have was Das clay. I wanted my grout to be grey to white, rather than terra cotta, so I gave the floor a nice wash with my grey paint first.
Sadly I can't do much about my flagstone, I am not horrendously happy with it. I am not good with random - I tend to do better with patterns (such as the tile floor beside it). Wish I would have done a more geometric design, but nothing for it but to work with how it turned out.
While I waited for my floors to dry, I started on the first floor ceiling.
I measured the board off, and prepared to add the beam structure.
I lined up my floor to the ceiling, to make sure I had the channel for the partitions marked off and oriented correctly.
Once the center beam was placed, I could start putting the shorter beams in place. The "ribs" were a slightly thinner wood than the center "spine" beam. They were placed at about 1/4 inch intervals, except for two pieces that were left off and have a mysterious function at a later date, to be told to me in not so secret later on (I just didn't read that far yet). You will notice, no stairs in the Washtub (which can be a good or a bad thing, depending on your point of view).
|Beam Me Up Scottie!|
|After the First Coat of Paint|
This is after the second coat, and also after the distressing/antiquing look. This was achieved using a dry brush technique, with a make up sponge as the brush. Clever, no? The next step was to paint in between the beams, to give the ceiling that distinctive plaster look. I didn't have any ivory paint as they called for, so I "buttered" up some white paint with a little pastel yellow.
A little touch up perhaps is needed, but not bad!
As the ceiling lay drying, waiting for me to flip it about and put down the floor boards on the other side, I went back to the first floor and did a little antiquing to the stones there. Again, I am a little more pleased with the terra cotta tiles than the flag stones, but I got it so it is workable. Sometimes too one has to think - maybe it will just look better once decorated, so I am hoping against that promise.
The thing I like about 1/4 scale is that paper becomes so versatile. A hard wood floor in a bigger scale means finding milled stock wood that is thin enough, and has a good grade grain, which can often cost just as much as lumber at the lumber yard for full scale projects. But 1/4 scale and you want to make flooring boards? Cut 1/8 strips and glue them down...Voila! a hard wood floor. I won't lie to you, however, actually cutting these strips is a little tedious. If you have access to a paper cutting machine of some sort, like the old style machete cutter they foolishly used to trust angst-ridden teenage artists with in school with, then you could make short work and very accurate cuts. These strips don't have to be exact, by the way, but it would definitely be quicker work.
I put the strips down randomly-ish - okay, there was a little bit of planning for where the floor breaks were. You don't want the majority to be grouping anywhere specific, for one thing. I put in a full board every second one, to ensure I didn't have a break too close to another one.
The floor, trimmed, and ready to paint. Note the gap for the partition wall.
The floor, painted black a couple of coats. It is starting to look quite nice already. The next step was to dry brush brown over top, in one direction as to simulate wood grain. The final step was to go over it with an ivory paint in dry brush technique (again with the make up sponge) to give the floor a dusty, aged feel.
Niiiiice. This I do like.
I called it quits about then, but all my floors and ceiling are done. Now it is on to the first floor partitions and doors and walls, and I can start on my exterior. So far, I am very impressed with how the cottage is going up. One thing that I like is this kit was laser cut. That is something you should always look for in a wood kit, because you won't have to deal with excising stuck pieces, breaking pieces, and crumbly wood (which are common in the die cut process). Plus it has a pleasant barbecued smell that is rather nice as well.
That is all for today, it is time to wrap things up for the day. Before you go, though, help yourself to a pot of Mother's Day tea - this video is quite clever, and although it uses fondant, the technique can be easily translated to polyclay (just don't let anyone eat these if you are making it out of polymer clay...!) I hope you enjoy the video.
Once again, until we meet again, happy Mother's Day, you children I adore! But you could call a little more often...