I had a lovely "Staycation" this week. If you have never run across this term, it was originally coined by Brent Butt on the show "Corner Gas", a rather hilarious show about a small town in Saskatchewan and the eccentric characters who lived there. Well, hilarious if you don't know similar characters in your own life, I suppose. I do have a relative who assures me that "Corner Gas" was less of a whacky sitcom and more of a documentary (having lived in that town and went to school apparently with Mr. Butt's uncle or some such) , and I do admit it kind of scares me that certain characters from that show are running around loose in real life, but I digress.
Anyway, I am quite taken with the word, "Staycation". I find that - for some bizarre reason - when you take time off of work, it is expected that you will be jetting off to some exotic locale - be it the Mayan Riviera, Greece, Paris, or the local fishing hole - anywhere, really, just as long as you aren't home. I have to ask, what is wrong with home? I don't have to worry about passports, my luggage, bugs, illnesses, or being hopelessly lost (which I seem to manage on every vacation). Just as long as I am away, isn't that good enough? Well, not enough for some - sadly. I have been "vacation-shamed" on more than one occasion. "Staycation" tends to sum up the sentiment that, yes, I am rested, but no - I gave Hawaii a miss this time around. I imagine when I return to the daily grind, I will still have to apologize for not exploring the 7 hills of Rome this week, but generally they shut up when I let them know I would happily go elsewhere next time, all they have to do is buy my the ticket and pay my way. That seems fair, right? Good, because I think so too.
I found lots of things to do this week to keep me occupied, and actually didn't do all that I intended - the weather was good, so I rode my bike quite happily (discounting one bad bus driver who tried to run me down and about 100 bike racers who thought I was going to get out of their way this morning so they could actually go faster, the bums. ) I caught the latest Star Trek movie, painted the water colour picture above, mucked out the fridge, and worked on my Washtub Cottage. I was quite content.
Ah, yes, the Washtub Cottage. I am hurtling towards the finish line with the structure. Last week I left off with me just finishing my entry way, which was not painted. This situation has since been rectified.
Again, I am doing muuuuch better with the stone work. Just in time not to do any more. In the left hand corner, you can see the front walk, which is happily drying.
Above and below, the chimneys with their chimney caps on (not quite all snug in their beds).
I could have left the chimneys like this, and painted them as I have painted the other stone work. However, the clever authoress suggested that one use "de-pinned" push pins as the chimney pots. I went out and bought a lovely package of them from the dollar store - for $1.50 Cdn (about 100 count in a package). The pins were clipped with heavy wire clippers and much care that the pointy bit didn't get away from me. The now flattened pins were glued to the chimney cap. To make it easier to attach the pin tops, I first drilled pilot holes with an intact pin. That gave me a divot where the pin could sit and be glued (I could not completely excise the pin from the base unfortunately). I used a combination of "Crazy" glue and white glue, and the chimney pots will not be going anywhere too soon.
I bought clear pins, because I think I will eventually have more uses for them. Just looking at this picture, I could easily see these being useful for a table base.
The finished chimneys, ready to be attached to the roof. I mucked them up quite a lot with blacks and greys, as I am going for very old, very sooty cottage.
Here are all the bits, in various stages of paint. My next step was to build some windows for my house.
The window was quite interesting. I built it right on the pattern in the book (the acetate sandwiched between, otherwise you have a whole host of new problems), and the frame was done with computer labels trimmed to fit - this took care of that nasty little problem of having to glue on acetate, and kept the pattern accurate without having to fuss with it - I would recommend even if you don't have a picture in front of you, draw your template out, as it will save many hair pulling out sessions later on. The frames were then painted. Surprisingly, the label glue held on like a champ, even when I painted and later "cleaned the glass" later with a damp cloth.
The first window in. Only 4 to go! I did scrape the window openings out a bit, which is the beauty of using an air drying clay. Just don't breath in the dust <cough>.
All of the windows in, the window sills in place (which were just lengths of matboard cut to fit and painted), and the door is lodged in the frame. When I built the door, it didn't seem to want to stay in the frame where I wanted it, so I built a fake frame (as I did with the interior doors) and I was able to mount the door with less hassle. I put the door handle on the left. I wanted to mention that before I get many angry letters that it should be on the right. Actually, where the door handle is on an exterior door seems to be personal preference. I walked around the neighbourhood and was shocked to find examples of both left and right-handed doorknobs, so I am quite happy with mine (okay, fine, I did glue my door in the wrong way initially, but once again, it all works out). Still, I imagine in an old cottage, the building codes might have been a little lax anyway.
Initially the door looked like this. It is a piece of rectangle matboard, which has been scored vertically to make it look planked, with two "heavy" pieces to use to secure the planks, then painted and a patina was arranged. Once again, it is a surprise in how simple something can be, yet how effective, and how inexpensive as well.
I felt confident enough then to glue my roof to my entry way. I noted later that there were some gaps - this is one of the downsides of the clay, it tends to mess up pieces that fit so nicely together before they were "clayed" with. I will do something about that later on. Maybe.
This is the entry way roof before I trimmed back the shingles. They don't look like much now, but they will once they are painted and aged.
While I waited for the glue to try on the above, I assembled and started shingling the front roof. The roof actually has 3 pieces to it - it is designed to have part of the roof in back as a permanent piece, but the front is removable, as is the front facade, for access. When one is not looking in to the structure, then one can pop it together and presumably avoid dust issues. I shingled about 4 before I said "ENOUGH". The problem with shingles is ... well... they are boooooring. A total snooze. I find myself rushing through the process, and unfortunately rushing can be fatal. So I think I will do a little bit of shingling as I go, when I have more patience, and by next week you will see the completed piece (don't you hate cliff hangers?).
As we are flying ever more towards summer, I thought maybe you would enjoy a little tutorial I found on how to make flip flops (we used to call them "thongs" when I was a wee little thing back in the more innocent days of my childhood - sigh). This pattern is actually made with Babs of the Plastic Fantastic set in mind, but remember Babs is twice the size of 1:12 - take this lovely lady's pattern, and half all your measurements, and you are golden. May you have a moment or two for your own "Staycation", and be happily rested the next time we meet!