Category: "The Artist's Studio"

Hummingbird shower mural - shower surround

by brae  

With the hummingbird tile mural in place, it was time to address the shower walls and door.  First, since I wasn't sure how easily this would be accomplished once the shower surround was in place, I added the shower head and water control lever from ELF Miniatures.

I used a simple washer to serve as an escutcheon for the water control lever.  I added lines of red and blue paint to indicate the hot-cold adjustment.  :D  I glued a Chrysnbon soap dish to the shower wall.  The blue soap is also from ELF Miniatures.

The drain cover is from ELF Miniatures, too.  I added a piece of wooden dowel to create a surface for gluing it in place.  The shower base is from The Dolls House Emporium.

I built a basswood frame for the shower surround, figuring it out as I went.  I put the remaining furniture in place to see if this was going to work.  It's a reasonable sized room so it just squeaks by with enough space.

I painted the wood pieces Warm White by Americana and then installed the shower surround piece by piece.  For some pieces, I used double-sided tape as well as glue and pins to keep it all solid and stuck together.  I thought tape would be better than glue alone since the tape would stay sticky whereas glue would harden and run the risk of popping loose.  It's not the most solid construction, but since it is a stationary unit there shouldn't be a problem with its staying together.

I cut one piece of acrylic sheet to serve as a partial wall and door on the sink side -- I scored a line to delineate where the wall and the door separate.  I cut another solid piece of acrylic to serve as the front wall.  I had originally planned to pin hinge a working door, but the acrylic I had was just too thin to do so without a frame and the idea of a frame didn't match the simple lines I wanted for the shower surround.  The hummingbird tile is the focus, and the surround just encloses the unit to make it believable.

I cut small pieces of metal sheet (it has an adhesive back) and stuck them to the acrylic to mimic pin hinge casings. Here's a photo that shows them better.

The door handle is from ELF Miniatures.  I drilled holes in the acrylic to help keep it attached.   And, yes, though it doesn't open, the measurements of the door allow it to clear the wall sink with no problem.  :D

Here's the original inspiration from Fine & Country.

I love the way my interpretation turned out...and I especially like that the bathroom is almost done!  :D

Odds and ends - Studio progress

by brae  

I've been making a number of accessories for the Studio as well as finishing up yet more trim and structural details.  I cut a section of Feathers scrapbook paper by Recollections, glued it to a piece of black mat board and had instant wall art!

I finished assembling the Chrysnbon radiator for the bathroom.  The shower needs to be finished before the final baseboard trim can be added.  For now, I still have the scrap holding the wire for the flickering LED for the wood stove, just to keep it from being pulled out of shape.

I made a bath mat and rug for around the toilet using baby terry cloth.  I cut the shapes and then dabbed Fray Check all along the edges.  That stuff is noxious, but it works so well to keep fabric intact on cut edges.

I made two modern block shelves for groceries and dishes to sit on above the Miele half fridge.  I have more accessories planned for this space.  The tiny cross stitch is by Mary Lynne at The Dollhouse Needle, but it has since been moved to the living area.

On the exterior, I wired the wood stove flickering LED switch inside the firewood box.

As shown previously, the firewood lifts out to access the switch and battery inside.

I created a simple step for the door from basswood.

Even with templates, the red siding didn't fit perfectly when installed.  There was also a seam near the top in front where the wall was taller than the length of the siding strips.  I painted strip wood to match and covered these imperfections.

It's a subtle change, but it makes the structure more complete.

Slowly but surely...I'm getting there!  :D

The Artist's Studio - landscaping

by brae  

With The Deck completed, it was time to put in the landscaping.  I started by applying stucco patch material to the previously sculpted builders foam base.  This evened out the landscape and filled in holes and gaps.  It also solidified the deck support posts into the foam base.

I checked the depth of the deck posts by putting the pieces back in place.  Seems like the Studio would work for a sandy beach or snowy hillside, too.  :D

I covered all of the wiring channels with tape and then painted the new surfaces brown.

I had leftover Meadow Field Grass by Heki, from Scenery Express -- one full sheet and several large scraps.  I had used this material for The Aero Squadron Lounge.  The grass placement included the back side by the firewood box, the entire side by the fountain and the front portion in front of The Deck.  I cut patterns to determine how far in the grass would go.

Inside this area under The Deck, I applied Fine Foliage/Turf in Dark Earth by MBS followed by Woodland Scenics Fine Dark Brown Ballast to serve as exposed dirt.

I used a brush to apply Aleene's Clear Gel Glue and then liberally applied the landscaping materials.  I pressed it in with my fingertips and then let it dry for an hour or so.

I added a gravel pathway at the bottom of the stairs using decorative terra cotta colored sand from Joann's.

I checked my templates and cut the grass to fit.  The back of this particular material is paper, so it makes it harder to piece.  The sheets don't come any larger, either.  I cut it roughly with an X-Acto knife to keep it from being too uniform.

Where there are seams, I make them as natural looking as possible, as though there's just a variation in the lawn in that particular spot.

Here's the finished landscaping without The Deck.

With The Deck in place, the seam is a little less obvious at first glance.

The materials do create wonderfully realistic landscapes, so it's a shame they have to be pieced at all.

I kept the landscaping simple since there is so much already going on outside the Studio.  :D

I added two landscaping lights from Creative Reproductions 2 Scale to the steps.  These came three in a pack and needed to be wired in a series.  I contacted Carl at CR2S to make sure I understood what this meant.  He was very helpful and mentioned I could use two instead of three...but a single lamp could not be used with the 12V system since it would burn out the bulbs.  Using only two means they burn brighter than if I had used three, but it is still safe to use with the 12V system. I don't have them attached to the wiring system yet...so you'll have to wait to see them lit up.  :]

I like this particular color for the gravel because it doesn't compete with the other exterior finishes.

To finish the back two corners of the retaining wall, I used the two toppers from the narrow newel posts I had used to make the farmhouse hutch.  I stained these to match the retaining wall.

I taped them to a piece of basswood to run them through the scroll saw for a clean cut.  :D

Inside Woodrow's burrow, I left it mostly just painted foam since the interior wouldn't be easily seen.

It's coming together!!!  :D

The Deck - part 8 - completion!

by brae  

Continuing work on The Deck.  I completed Leaf 3 with its winding center vein.

Leaf 3 sits on top of the main deck and the two side leaves.  I tried three different angles to see what looked best.

I liked this last layout the best, but before I could glue the top leaf to the main assembly I needed to address the stem.

This stem is partial since Leaf 3 will cover the front area and I didn't want to cut more boards than necessary.

Here's the original from Trex as a reminder.

I then glued Leaf 3 in place and finished up the walnut trim around the main and side decks.

I used the two scraps from the inset cutouts to make two matching steps up to the side deck.

I cut posts to support the leaves.  I originally had these closer to the tips but moved them back once I started planning the landscaping.  They will still support the leaves, perhaps more readily in these positions, but mostly stay out of sight.

The entire deck will remain removable.

The side deck is one piece, and it slides forward until its interior trim abuts the front opening trim.  For the front leaf deck , the trim by the front opening and the trim by the side deck keep it locked in place.

Who's that under The Deck?  It's Woodrow!!!  :D

Hooray, The Deck is done!  :D

The Deck - part 7

by brae  

Continuing work on The Deck.  I finished the second leaf in the same manner as the first leaf.

Before going further, I needed to see if I could replicate one part of the deck shown in the original inspiration piece.  For reference, here is the beautiful deck from Trex.

One of the side leaves is inset and on the same plane as the main deck.  I took a scrap of card from the recycling bin and traced Leaf 1.

I then put a layer of masking tape over the main deck to keep the wood from splitting and the boards from lifting during the cutting process.  I traced the outline onto the taped section.

I then cut the main deck using the scroll saw.  This was a one-shot deal.  If it didn't work, I'd have to reconstruct this part of the straight deck.

Moment of truth right before fitting...

It worked!!!  :D

Having the leaf inset makes for easier furniture placement, too.

Since my deck is a smaller version of the original, I decided to inset Leaf 2 on the other side.  This time, I cut it in deeper than Leaf 1.

Another feature of the original deck is that the leaves have stems that continue into the main deck.  I cut pieces of walnut for the stems and marked them on the main deck.  I removed the pieces from the deck and cut them to fit.  I glued the pieces back in place with the walnut stems.

Marvelous!  :D

On the underside, I had to attach the two leaves to the main deck.  I opted for lengths of skinny sticks.  These won't be readily seen, even when viewing the under structure.

And, just so you don't think my vacation week has been all work and no play, here's a funny picture of Jasper.  He's sleeping in a pose I like to call The Frozen Shrimp.  Haaaaaaaaa!  :D


shrimp image from Wikipedia

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