Sunday, February 26, 2017

A Nasty, Horrible, No-Good Day!

Yesterday the wind was howling around the corners of our house, the pinion trees were dancing in a St. Vitus frenzy and the cat refused to go out.  Above it all the Sandia mountains loomed in their majestic way as though to say, "this too will pass."  Something like what Ruth Bader Ginsburg said, "A great man once said that the true symbol of the United States is not the bald eagle; it is the pendulum, and when the pendulum swings too far in one direction, it will go back."  She went on to say that there have been bad times throughout out history, but there are always reason to hope.  I am hoping for better times in our country and less wind on the mountainside.

  I had planned to work in the yard, trimming away the winter wizened branches and foliage of last summer's glory, but instead began planning my next miniature project.  For an upcoming "Small Works" show at St. Mark's, I plan to make a miniature cooperative art studio.  I think a sculpture, a painter and a potter will share this space.  The potter will be isolated with a french door from the larger open space to keep the clay dust down!  I am imagining large, faux steel and glass sky lights and brick walls.  There will be a sleeping loft for that bad boy painter who has been thrown out by his wife.  Are you seeing it?

I have been collecting images of studios for inspiration and making little tiny things to go into it.
Here are two different sizes of masking tape for the painter and a little square which I mocked up in paper for size, but will be made of wood.  On order is a cunning little miter box so the painter can construct his own frames...
And just to challenge my newly acquired skills with a slightly large miter box, I plan to try to duplicate this little potters wheel...

Well, so much for dreaming!  Here are some updates I made to Hogwarts Castle over the last year, during the time I took a lengthy sabbatical from blogging.

 Stonework has been added to the exterior.  There is a new window in the Great Hall and the Potions Lab and the Chamber of Secrets are now in the dungeons beneath the Great Hall. I purchased some wonderful dolls, furniture and accessories from a collector who was downsizing to add to the Castle which prompted the construction of:

 Minerva McGonagle's bed chamber because I had to find room for her transfigured self (notice the cat looking to jump on the bed).  I still need to cut windows into this space and add some light fixtures to reduce the gloom.

 The little Quidditch trunk is here because I have not yet made a miniature Madam Hooch.  McGonagle was quite a strong Quidditch player in her youth and continues to be very interested in how her house does in the competitions.  The lace on the canopy and pillow was tatted by my great-grandmother Anna Ogden Womack and my sister Rosalind used it to create the bed linens.  This bed was not completely put together when I inherited it from Rosalind, but fortunately all the sewing was done.  I updated it to Gryffindor colors.

The matching sofa, chair and ottoman, I purchased at an antique store on Central in Albuquerque along with many other little pieces for $20.  The little red tables are from the Dollar Store. They are pretty rough and need a lot of sanding before you can paint or stain them, but by far the cheapest dollhouse table you will find anywhere.  You will see more of them in the boys and girls dorm rooms in Gryffindor Tower.  My sister, Rosalind, made the rug from a kit. 

Honeydukes has two new proprietors.  I sold the Halloween display from it to a a friend who collects miniatures, so now there are only Christmas and Easter items for sale.


 Snapes Potions Lab had to be doubled in size to provide support for the upper stories of the castle, so he now has a study/bedchamber at the far end.  Once the battery operated LED lights I ordered arrive, I will figure out how to partially screen his bed from the classroom area.  For now, I need the natural light to be able to see all the parts of this space.

I was so inspired by Hagrid, Professor Flitwick, Hermoine, Draco (incorrectly identified by the seller as Ron) and the two little witches now running Honeydukes that were part of my big purchase that I have now tried my hand at doll making.  I really enjoyed sculpting the dolls, but cannot say the same for sewing the little tiny robes.  I am not a great seamstress to begin with, and sewing on a 1/12" scale is tedious and frustrating!  Even worse is trying to make wigs that look somewhat close to real. Back to U-Tube to watch those tutorials again!
  Madeye Moody in the tan pants was the closest to being finished except for his hair.  However, Sati, our mean little cat has made off with his head.  She thinks she is the queen, but I wasn't aware she was channeling the Red Queen.  One leg of Snape's trousers is cut out and modestly draped over him, as he, and all the dolls are anatomically correct.  Professor Sprout needs gray hair, which I do not yet have, so will have to see if any of my friends will donate some at their next haircut.  Planning to use my own hair for Snape and doll hair for Trelawney since her hair is so wild.  Lots to do still. Be aware, if you make your own miniature dolls that you should not attach the arms until the clothes are on if you want to avoid breaking something.  Madeye's arm will need some Skelegrow as I ill-advisedly sculpted him all in one piece.  A special thanks to my friend, Vicki for providing the velvet, silk and leather scraps I have been using. 

Coming up in future posts, you will get a sneak peek at the partially constructed classroom tower, the nearly complete Gryffindor tower, and Hagrid's Hut. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

Beware! The Chamber of Secrets Has Been Created in Miniature

Image via

Months ago, I began to create a Chamber of Secrets to go into the dungeons at my Miniature Hogwarts.  A busy spring and summer meant I never posted photos of it.  Here is how I went about creating the Chamber in 1/12" scale.
First I made a screen shot of a photo of the scary face from which the basilisk emerges.
Photo via
 Then I scaled it to fit my back wall and began to build the face on it with Sculpey...
This kept everything to scale.  You can see where I ran out of gray clay and switched to brown.  Not to worry, everything will be painted after baking the Sculpey.  You can't tell in this photo, but there is a sheet of parchment paper over the photo so that I can bake the head separately. 

 Under the brow there is some crumpled tin foil so that I did not have to use an enormous amount of clay and it would bake more quickly.

Checking scale with my little Harry Potter doll.

Painted the floor blue then installed the walkways.

And the pool in front of the face.

 Hmmm, the arch blocks the view of the face.  Will need to cut the top off and move it up!  Notice the not yet painted snake heads in the water.

Arch fixed so that there is a better view.  The lighting is provided by little LED fairy lights run along the floor.  The battery pack is hidden just to the right of the Chamber's door, which I still have not finished.  Struggling with the foam core holding the weight of the Sculpey carved snake hinges.

 Keep forgetting that I have not painted the snakes in the water.  Should I make that very scary Basilisk from the movie?