Wednesday, March 24, 2010


The landscaping has started.  As the process continues, my workbench becomes increasingly messy, as you can see!

I use model railroad lanscaping materials for my
landscapes because I know they will maintain their color and texture over time. The plastic box on the left holds fine ground foam in a mixture of medium to light greens, which I use for grass. (Adding a light color gives the effect of sun on the grass, so that it looks more real.) The flowers are little snips of bunka.

For the stones, I use real, tiny beach pebbles, which are readily available on lakeshores here in the midwest.  If you don't happen to have a lake nearby, you can use the tiny stones that pet shops sell for aquariums.

I hope to have these finished by this evening.

Monday, March 22, 2010

One more day

I thought the Glencairn Cottages would be done today, but forgot I hadn't made the shutters yet. Some projects are like that - there always seems to be one more thing to do.  I'm hoping to finish up the architectural detailing tonight, and start the landscaping in the morning.

Photos tomorrow for sure, whether it's finished or not!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Great thoughts

While working on the furniture for the Glencairn Cottages, I heard these wonderful words from the great dancer Martha Graham quoted by Dr. Christiane Nothrup.  Beacuse I believe we are all artists in one way or another, I want to share them:

"There is a vitality, a life-force, a energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. There is no satisfaction whatever anytime. There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than others. If I add something to my time, then that is my prize."

New photos tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Shingles are Done!

As you can see, I still need to paint them.

To imitate shake shingles, I use randomly sized paper shingles that come on a roll.  Although they have adhesive backing, I ignore that and use white glue so I can be sure they will stay in place over time. The shingles are really HO scale (1:84), which is too large for 1:144; so I trim them down a bit and apply them so the rows are closer together. The fact that they come in a strip is convenient, but in a number of areas I had to cut them apart and put on one shingle at a time.

I had a bit of a scare a while ago when the manufacturer, Campbell Scale Models, stopped making these shingles. I couldn't find a substitute, and thought I was going to have to start making my own from brown paper.  Not a happy prospect.  Fortunately, I'm now able to order them again, so I must not be the only one who uses them!

I also finished the chimney and put the remaining colors on all the stone.  Next I will finish furnishing the interior. I leave final exterior finish till after that, when I won't have to handle the building so much. I'm hoping to have these done this weekend.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Shingles and More Shingles

I've nearly finished attaching the shingles to the two houses.  It's a slow process, as the complicated roof requires a lot of special fitting. As so often happens, this is taking longer than anticipated.  Pictures tomorrow!

Friday, March 5, 2010


Stucco and stones have been added to the exteriors and are partly painted, though everything will get another coat. Like the Tower House (see archive) the stones are made from pieces of thin styrene strips, textured with gesso, and then painted. They  will get two additional colors, which blend into a tawny beige. The front doors - strips of N scale 2x8 wood, stained a light walnut color - have also been installed,

The upstairs walls and dormers are almost completed, but the gable end (with a large opening to make it easy to see the bedroom) still needs to be added before the roofs are installed. You can see the patterns for the gable ends in the background. There are two patterns because in this small scale, very slight variations occur from buuilding to building. I've found it's simpler to make a pattern for each one than to make just one pattern and have to adjust it.  The room on the right side will be completely closed when the house is finished. There is a small door in the bedroom, indicating that it's an attic space.

The rest of the chimney stones will be added after the roof is on.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Back to work at last

It took longer than I anticipated to recover from that virus cold.  I'm finally back to work, and almost ready to put the roof on the Glencairn Cottage.  Pictures tomorrow!