Thursday, March 29, 2012

All Done!

Because I am a lazy sloth and of course waited until the last minute to finish up, I don't have as many pics as I wanted to have because I spent that time… you know, finishing up. :)


Now that I had the whole thing taped up, glued together and patched with tape and/or oaktag, it was time to do the fun stuff. Like putting "stucco" on the outer walls, using DecoArt Texture Terra Cotta (color is Santa Fe), applied with a small palette knife. I overlapped the exposed brick a bit.

Doesn't that look nice? Yeah, I don't like it, either. I'm going to have to do something about that.

Much better! I made a solution of brown acrylic paint and water (4:1) and sponged it on. I then immediately rolled a wet, wadded-up paper towel over the surface, unevenly removing the wash. And although I didn't get a pic of it, I added an antiqued bronzed brooch finding above the window.

So now that that's done, let's work on the interior.

While working on the bakery project, I discovered that the best source for wallpaper is the scrapbook aisle at the local craft store. Last time, I used regular scrapbook paper and had to apply it to white cardstock to keep it from wrinkling. I then glued the cardstock up with liquid glue. But if you're lucky enough to find an appropriately printed cardstock, you can skip the intermediate step and ModPodge that sucker directly to the wall.

I found a really nice piece of cardstock that looks like Venetian plaster that has seen better days. Perfect! I used dark green paint on the casement window, then added some of the leftover brown wash (I let it dry instead of wiping it back off). I then put on a coat of "weathered wood" texture medium and when that dried, I added a thin coat of green again. This gave the paint a slightly shabby look that didn't photograph as well as it looks. The window handles are from Houseworks (Houseworks is great; just don't buy their clapboard siding). I sealed the taped-up edges with Sno-Tex.

And now, the finished product… all furnished up!

On the walls, left to right: a miniature painted plate given to me as a gift, two jewelry findings connected by a twisted length of red embroidery thread, two enameled charms with the hanging loops clipped off.

In the window: a clay geranium purchased from Hobby Builders Supply.

On the floor, left to right: a terra cotta planter from HBS (filled with pieces of a floral pic purchased from a craft store), a basket and some grapes, both from HBS (I made the grape leaves from punched floral tape and fine-gauge floral wire), and a pair of pruning shears, also from HBS.

Furniture: balloon-back chair from HBS, handcrafted table (made from a mahogany wooden disk, a resized-and-printed image of a mosaic tabletop and bent-wire legs covered in DecoArt Texture Fierro).

On the table: battery-operated brass lamp, reading glasses, wine bottle and wineglass (all from HBS), and a miniature newspaper purchased at a craft store.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Building the walls

Now that we've got the floor squared away, it's time to put the walls together.

The walls were pre-cut from foamcore, but they still weren't quite ready for assembly. For one thing, they were flat. In order to make them fit on the base, they needed to be bent. Foamcore doesn't really like to bend, so it needs a little help.

The answer is to v-e-r-y carefully score it with a sharp craft knife, resulting in a sort of hinge (miraculously, I managed not to cut all the way through the foamcore but if you do, there's no need to panic; you can always tape the pieces back together). I also cut window openings into both walls.

Once I scored the pieces, it was time to put them together. The larger wall went in back, and the "wings" bent forward so that the entire construct fits neatly on the base. There is a largish gap between the front and back walls, but only in the center; the side pieces fit together snugly. I taped the side pieces securely together with masking tape. You can't see it, but I stuffed a couple of pieces of styrofoam into the center section for stability's sake. And I dry-fit the adorable casement window (from Houseworks) for about the 50th time, just because.

The kit also came with a few patches of "brick", also made from spackle, that were intended to give the walls that "lived-in-but-not-necessarily-well-maintained" look. I'm planning to stucco the exterior wall and I want it to look like the stucco came off in a couple of places, exposing the brick. In order to do that, I could glue the patches of brick onto the walls and then cover them with a thick layer of stucco OR...

I could do what I did, which was trace around the patches of brick and using that sharp craft knife once again, cut around the outlines and peel away the paper. Then I carefully gouged out the foam to about half the depth of the wall and glued the bricks into the resulting holes. Voila!

Notice that I taped over the corners of the outside wall, where the "hinge" left gaps.

I gave the bricks the same treatment I gave the floor: I painted them (brick red, what else?), further tinted a few of the bricks with pastel chalk, and then slapped a coat of varnish on top. Once everything was nice and dry, I grouted it... but this time, I wasn't so careful cleaning up. This resulted in a pleasantly shabby-looking effect.

The last thing I needed to do was cover up the gaps between the center sections of the interior and exterior walls. I used oak tag (also known as "the stuff they make manila folders out of") to cover the top and to line the window openings. In order to make the oak tag bend cleanly, I had to score it. I know my limitations, so my handy-dandy sharp craft knife remained securely in its case because there was NO WAY that I wouldn't cut all the way through (oak tag may be thick, sturdy paper, but it's still just paper). Instead, I lightly went over it with my paper cutter, being careful not to exert any pressure. This gave it the light scoring I needed to give it a nice, sharp-edged bend. I also cut notches into the top so that the stiff oak tag would curve neatly over the tops of the walls.

And here's the finished product, complete with somewhat grungy-looking brickwork.

Next time, we'll finish up the walls.