Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Entrance Hall, Photographed

The facade of Merriman Park

The other rooms look so bare!

What a fuss I made about lighting!

"And where have you been all evening, little mister?" Check out the new floor medallion, and note conspicuous absence of center table.  Most of the furnishings in this room are from New England Miniatures (hi, Grazhina)! and our local dollhouse shop, Little Enchantments (hi, Karen)!
I swear I did not kill any of the animals hanging on the wall! (They all committed suicide just so they could become gorgeous accessories in this glamorous room.  The cameo was in a box of trinkets my friend Carolyn gave me ages ago.
I made faux marble plinths with seed-pearl feet for the pair of gilded sphinx on the demi-lune tables.
That's my 'real life' kitty, Whiskers, photo-shopped  into the room.  I adore trick photography!

I should have had my friend take my Halloween photo!
Never did get around to building a new cabinet for Merriman Park to sit sure needs one!

And that, dear Reader, concludes our little tour through one of the Stately Homes of America!  Special thanks to BFF Eric Lindahl for the awesome pics!

Additional thanks to: Giac, Simon, Irene, WB Design, Andy, Fiona, Pedrete & Madelva, Karin Corbin, Anneke, Jeffry, Josje, Iris, Cassandra, Barb in MN, Kate Merchant, my partner, Glen (who puts up with this madness) and so many others!  Without your advice, support, enthusiasm (and sometimes hand-holding) Merriman Park would have no doubt been cast off to the basement, gathering cobwebs. 

Curvy Molding

I came up with this one on my own!  The Problem:  How to fabricate matching trim to go around the arched tops of my niches?  (Especially without a workshop full of fancy gadgets),  The Answer:  Make a mold of the straight, wooden molding and cast it in leftover DAS clay and then bend the pliable, cast molding to fit the curve!

 I know it looks a little rough, but I'll work out the kinks.  BTW, the second attempt with the DAS and wine bottle went a lot better, with a little vegetable oil spray to loosen things up a bit.  Guess I'll chalk the first attempt as a 'practice piece.'

Happy Halloween!

From the boys of Merriman Park!  There will be lots of Tricks & Treats, bobbing for apples, and maybe even ghost stories in front of the fire.

I'm living vicariously through my dollhouse for Halloween, since it falls on a Monday this year.  There was of course the usual shenanigans planned for last night at all the bars, but yours truly could not decide on a costume for the evening.  And last year was such a dreadful bore!  Everyone was dressed the same:  either you were a sexy pirate, a sexy cowboy, or a sexy policeman.  Blah, blah, blah!

So I stayed home and worked on my niches.  Anneke was kind enough to pass on the information about DAS.  It is an air-drying, modeling clay that doesn't shrink.  I have to say, it was the perfect solution!  Thanks, Anneke!
This was my first attempt.  I left the clay on the wine bottle overnight and it stuck to the bottle as I tried to remove it.  But the clay that was pressed against the glass was still fairly soft, so I was able to repair the minor damage.  Maybe I should grease the bottle a little next time?
This photo shows you how large the niche is.  They will support two 'life-size' statues, hopefully of Roman gods or goddesses.  That is, if I can find some!

I also received my photographs of the Entrance Hall!  They are burned to a CD so as soon as Glen gets up this morning (usually at the crack of noon, on a Sunday) I will post them later today!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I think I solved my niche dilemma!  Whilst pouring the evening cocktails I just happened to glance at the vodka bottle and then it hit me:  The vodka bottle is the same shape as my niches!  So I placed my handy niche template over the bottle and guess what?  The vodka bottle was too big.  Rats! But you can't  foil the likes of me that easily, I'm here to tell you...  

A dash to the recycling bin produced two new contenders: wine bottle versus super-sized, cheap-o wine bottle.   And the winner is: super-sized, cheap-o wine bottle!

Now that we have the mold, what to use to fabricate the actual niches?  We've already poo-pooed  papier-mache as being too difficult to obtain a smooth finish.  I want my niches smooth as a baby's bottom!  Laugh not, gentle Reader, but I have just recently stumbled across a blog posting extolling the virtues of using laundry dryer-lint as a papier-mache substitute!  As unlikely (not to mention unsavory) a prospect this may seem, your intrepid amateur miniaturist has taken a solemn vow to leave no stone unturned in his never-ending Quest for Fabulosity!

But seriously: what am I going to use?  Fimo?  Plaster of Paris?  I've heard that Fimo shrinks when you bake it which might be problematic.  I remember as a boy in art class mixing saw-dust with glue and making a paste that you could model and I assume, sand smooth.  Decisions, decisions! 


Anyway, enough about my tiresome niches...I grow WEARY of them!  In honor of Halloween which is, after all, right around the corner, and since this is a dollhouse blog, (right)? I bring you this macabre little gem.  (Warning, Fiona!  This might give you the hebe-jeebies)!  Happy Halloween, everyone!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Drawing Room ReDux

Hope I'm not mixing too many Orders!
Still working on refining the plans for the Drawing Room.  I found a similar cornice that Thomas Jefferson used in his own house, Monticello, and I think it is appropriate here in Merriman Park.  It features a favorite motif of Jefferson's: the ox skull(!) interchanged with a rosette medallion.  I think the ox skulls are just  too butch for words.

I'm also still stewing on how to fabricate the niches on the back wall.  They are quite a bit larger than what I can find commercially available and I have resolved to attempt to create more of my own components in the other rooms.  I suppose that I could break down and buy the smaller-sized niches.  Problem solved, right?  But I really like the larger scale of the ones in my sketches! 

(I have a fab surround from Sue Cook for the door).
 I figure, if I fail at the niches, I can always just fill the arches with mirrors!  That might be pretty awesome!  I am for sure going to put a mirror over the fireplace mantle.  Oh, I just noticed I forgot to pencil in the sconces on the pilasters.  Ooops!

This room is starting to remind me of one of the 'period rooms' at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.  That room , I recall was a Music Room from a grand house in Paris.  The walls were painted cream and all the moldings were gilded.  And it really has arched mirrors in all the corners, too!  Spooky!

Definitely going to put another corridor beyond the door opening!
 I'm not yet sure what colors I will end up using in this space, but there is plenty of time before I have to worry about that.  What do you think?   I know that a parquet wood floor would look stunning in a room like this, don't you agree? 

Anyway, back to the niches...Mirrors would be lovely, but right now I have my heart set on niches with statuary!  We're talking Roman gods & goddesses!  Thanks to everyone for your great suggestions on how to pull off the curved and rounded tops of the recesses.  Andy mentioned papier-mache and that is something I have worked with in the past.  I've never been very good at getting a smooth finish with papier-mache.  Here's a puppet head I made a few years ago out of the stuff:

Mr. Punch!
See how the surface is rippled from the layers of paper?  I just don't like that!  (Guess that's why I abandoned this project!

I made the head by sculpting it with clay and then papering it over the clay and then slicing the papier-mache, removed the clay and re-joined the halves.

Probably should have made a cast of the clay head and papier-machied the inside of the cast.  Anyway, if I attempt this technique on the niches, that's how I'll do it.

Guess I can always go back to the mirrors if the niches don't turn out!

Funny thing is that Thomas Jefferson has two similar niches in his Drawing Room at Monticello.  But while he was stationed in Paris as the new American Ambassador, he purchased two matching pier mirrors and sent them (along with a whole warehouse full of French furniture) and where do you think he hung his brand-new Paris mirrors?

That's right --he hung them over the niches and covered them up completely!

Isn't that rather ironic?

Addendum:  OK, after I posted this, there was something nagging me and I think it's that the cornice and the pillar capitals don't really go together.  I don't want the neighbors of Merriman Park to titter behind their fans that I mixed Doric and Corinthian Orders in my principal room!  So I am going to use the Thomas Jefferson cornice in the Library and chose a more apropos cornice for the Drawing Room, which, by the way, seems to be morphing into the Music Room.  Opinions?

Confidential to Karin Corbin:  W.W.K.C.D?

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Drawing Room--Preliminary Plans

I finished the Entrance Hall!  My very first room!  I feel just like a parent must feel when their child graduates from high school.  I have a photographer friend coming over in a few minutes to snap a few decent photographs.  Its 'unveiling' I fear is going to be somewhat of an anti-climax, as you've seen most of it.  All rather like that old Peggy Lee song, Is That All There Is?  Let's have a listen, shall we?

Is that all there is to the Entrance Hall?  Is that all there is? lol!  I LOVE that song.  Bette Midler does a nice version, too.

So, on to the next!  The Drawing Room!

The Drawing Room is located immediately above the Hall.  I chose to do this room next so that when the center component is open, it will look like the house is finished.  Funny that I chose to start with the two most difficult rooms in the house!  Maybe I should have practiced on a bedroom or something?  Oh well, too late for that now... I have been busy drawing up some rough sketches of the new Drawing is a sneak peek:
That's my Sue Cook door surround in the center which will be flanked by two Corinthian pilasters. I don't think the pilasters are as wide as I drew them --(the catalog describes them as being 2" wide at their widest point so I was guessing at the width of the column part).  Moving outward, two arch-topped niches will fit into the back corners of the room at angles.  I'm not sure yet if there will be fabulous statuary in the niches or shelves for more gorgeous little things.  I'd like to do curved niches with a scallop shell in the arch, but I haven't quite figured out how to make that idea work in reality! 

That's about it for now...I'll post photos of the completed Entrance Hall in a day or so.

Have a great week, everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Lights ON!

Whew!  What a whirlwind weekend...figuratively, and literally.  The weather changed abruptly and overnight here in Minnesota we went from sunglasses and tee-shirts to knit caps and flannel!  The wind is making quick work of the remaining leaves in the trees, much to the consternation of my Shetland Sheepdog, Miss Edie.  Edie is ever so slightly OCD, she barks at any and I mean anything that's even slightly out of place.  And the new swirling spirals of russet and orange autumn leaves drive the poor, persnickety pooch mad, mad, mad!  

After much tinkering (and a few colorful explicatives) I am pleased to report that I finally got the electrical system working in the Entrance Hall of Merriman Park!   Thank you, gentle Reader, for your polite applause at my success.  Of course it couldn't have happened without a heaping helping of major drama, now could it?

First off, I needed to visit the local dollhouse shop on the other end of town, to pick up a few odds and ends.  It's a pleasant jaunt down meandering  Minnehaha Parkway (gorgeous in its seasonal autumn splendor) which turns into 50th Street and on into the suburban hinterland of Edina, where the aforementioned shop is located.  After jumping into the car and turning the key and hearing no familiar 'vroom-vromm' noise it was determined that the car's battery was dead.  Drats!

After a jump-start from Neighbor McFriendly, and a trip to the automotive shop for a new battery, it was off, at long last, to Edina!  But by the time yours truly finally made it home, the sun was already dipping behind the horizon.  And there is no way on Earth, dear Reader, that I would even attempt to wire Merriman Park in the dim, yet decidedly glamorous evening light of my 'real-life' house!  Oh, well, "tomorrow is another day," as Miss Scarlet used to say. 

Up, today, at the crack of noon (I need my beauty rest --don't judge me)!  And after a cafe au lait, I begin the lighting project in earnest.  The chandelier wire needs extending but --no worries!-- I bought some of those shrink-tube thing-ies so I'm good to go!  But do you think I could find them?  Hell, no!  I turned the entire house apart and they were nowhere to be seen.  Double-Drats!

And the local dollhouse shop is closed on Sundays!  This is getting so complicated...

The huz comes up with a brill idea:  a Hobby Shop!  So after a quick Google search it's off to Scale Models in St Paul!  

OK, if you ever have the misfortune of finding yourself in St Paul --I'm not dogging it, but I once lived there briefly and it can only be described as a cemetery, with lights.  But please, please, please do yourself a favor and head over to Scale Models on Lexington and University Avenue!

If you dream of  starring in a John Waters film --and who doesn't-- just run on down to Scale Models!  From the outside, the shop looks to be about six feet wide, but enter and make your way down the creaky, water-stained stair and in the dank basement you will find a model-makers Paradise!  It's huge!  It goes on and on and on for like, forever!  (Sort of like this post, but I digress).

Sitting on a bench at the base of the stairs is the strangest apparition:  I swore it was an old man, but the huz insists it was an elderly woman!  And he/she just sits there with a preternatural, evil grin on his/her face!  It's just like the creepy chauffeur in Burnt Offerings!
Anyway, long story short:  I got more shrink-tubes.  Then the Real Fun began.  It only took several attempts to get everything working, but I did it!  I really did it!  I am pretty and I am smart! AND I made my own lampshades...OK before you look at this next picture, please keep in mind that I am new to this and don't laugh!  This is sort of embarrassing, but I made the lampshades out of toothpaste caps!  Is that too ghetto?  Painted black with the inside gold I hope they're not too obvious.  Of course right after I finished making them, I got an email from Clair-bell and they do carry black shades for only three bucks a pop, so maybe I should just spring for it and get them!

Toothpaste cap lampshades: ghetto or gorgeous?
All I have left, is to finish a few miters to the cornice and glue everything down.  I'm not going to post any more photos of the Hall until it is once-and-for-all complete.  (Just a few more days, my my estimation).  I don't know about you, dear, patient Reader, but I am getting a little tired of looking at this room.

And so then, it's on to the Drawing Room! 

Friday, October 14, 2011


Happy Friday!

Not much progress to report, but I did get some more art framed, I finished the stair banister finials and I whipped up a corridor which you will get a glimpse of through all the doorways along the back wall.

The scenic wallpaper is from Les Chinoiserie in Spain.
Isn't it cool?!  It really makes it look as if the house goes back a lot further.  And it only added two inches! Do you like the scenic wallpaper?  I bought it originally for the Entrance Hall but decided I'd rather have lots of gilt-framed paintings there, instead.

Here's how I made it:  it's really just a little box made up from scrap stock leftover from the construction of Merriman Park.  Waste not, want not!  After making the box I just papered and trimmed it out with molding.

I added mirrors on the end panels just in case someone sticks their head into the room for a peek down the corridor. The mirrors give the illusion that the hallway goes on and on forever!  I love that!

Some leftover marble tiles finish off the floor.

The gentlemen are pleased with the Hall's progress!

Looks like I'll be making another trip to the local dollhouse shop to buy a new circuit-breaker thing-y. so hopefully I will be able to tackle the lighting, once and for all.  Did you just roll your eyes?  Can't say I blame you --I've been trying to get all the lamps working for like, forever! 

Guess I'll have to get some kind of generic lamp to light the corridor, it won't be seen --does anyone have any suggestions?  I'm also looking for 'candle shades,' in black, if anyone knows where to pick those up?  I just need a few more odds and ends to finally finish off this room once and for all...

Ha! I'm beginning to wonder if it will ever be completely finished!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Monday, October 10, 2011


I just dropped my  medallion on the floor and when I bent over to pick it up, I slammed my head on the back of a chair!  Now that  the stars have cleared, I think I'm getting a black eye...Ugh!  I look a hot mess!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Two Steps Forward...

...And three steps back!  Ugh!  What a busy weekend it has been.  Unfortunately, mostly puttering around the house, trying to ready things for when the weather finally turns.  END OF TIMES ALERT!:  It's still hot and summer-y here, we almost turned on the air-conditioner!  In October?  We usually have the furnace fired up by now.  Spooky.

In spite of the balmy weather, we emptied the fish pond and brought all the gold-fishies in for the winter.  And by 'we, ' I mean Glen!  Don't judge me, yours truly was busy cleaning out the garage.  We finally made the sad decision to sell the little convertible. 'Gia,' poor dear, has been sitting in the garage for ages and we never seem to be able to scrape up the cash to have her repaired. It's only a one-car garage, so the space has been rendered for the most part, useless. 

Until now!

Sad as it was to see Gia towed away, the garage is now positively brimming with possibilities for a new workshop!   And OMG! You would not believe the cache of tools I found. 

Anyway, I did manage to work on Merriman Park a bit, this afternoon.  But I am afraid my efforts were for naught!  OK, you guys: I was once  practically a straight-A student (except in Math) so it's not like I'm a blubbering imbecile.  But whilst trying to hook up the fireplace sconces to the socket strip I blew everything up!  Now, nothing works, and the socket strip warning light is going crazy!  Ugh!

I figured out what I did wrong...I won't say what it was because it's simply too embarrassing for words!  Suffice it to say that it was a typical 'guy-thing': in other words: I should have read the directions. 

Oh, well.  Live and learn, right?

I started cutting the pieces for the cornice --and that was no treat either!  My cornice is made from resin and it's a drag to work with.  And those inside corners all need to be coped which is tough enough on real wood, but the resin --Ugh!-- you have to go slow because the saw blade heats up and starts melting the resin.  It's a gooey mess!

I also added gilt powder to the stair, for extra sparkle.
I got some fireplace stuff:  the grate, fender, andirons and tools are from the local dollhouse store, Little Enchantments, in Edina.  The lady who owns the shop is such a delight --do pop in if you ever find yourself in town.  The vases are from a Canadian source, The Little Dollhouse. (Shout-out to Giac)! They are of an ancient Greek design, I figure the owner of Merriman Park picked them up on his Grand Tour of Europe.

I had to correct a mistake I made in the floor border:  I neglected to factor in the thickness of the wainscot and the skirting and it bothered me that the borders were not all evenly wide.  I have also decided to add a medallion to the canter of the floor.  I could tell by the sound of crickets chirping when I asked what you thought of the old medallion I made up that it didn't quite make the medallion mustard (it's OK --I didn't care for it, either)!  I found a gaw-jess medallion on-line and honeys, you are going to love it!

I need to pick up a pair of lamps for the Hall table.  I bought a frame on-line for the large painting, but when it arrived, it was too small!
What else?  I cut mirrors for the top of the stair, though it probably wasn't necessary--they don't really show.  I'm working on the banister finals, with my new-found tools (no more kitchen knife, thank you very much)! I think I'll take Karin Corbin's advice and buy some 'mini-files.' 

I am thinking about removing the door on the stair landing and replacing it with a tromp-l'oiel view into another room: one of my heroine, Mrs. James Ward Thorne!  Do you think that could work?

Friday, October 7, 2011


Whilst readying the Chanel mannequins for the upcoming Trunk Show at the department store where I work in Display, I  'came out' of the miniaturist closet to Patric & Susan, co-workers at the aforementioned emporium.

Our store is in the process of phasing-out the 'ye-olde'  accoutrements of yesteryear --namely : cash registers!  It's all changing over to I-Pads, darlings, who carries cash, nowadays?  Anyway, I just happened to casually mention that I was building a dollhouse and was blogging about its progress and in a whirl the I-Pad was produced and the next thing I knew my blog, Merriman Park, was staring us in the face.

I think it's safe to say that Patric is perhaps even more Obsessive-Compulsive Disordered  than yours truly --he collects decorative carrot objets, for god's sake!  (I'm not judging, I'm just saying)!  He peppered me with a barrage of questions:  "what year was Merriman Park built?  Oh, that was during slavery days--how many slaves are indentured to Merriman Park?  What? Oh, no, Merriman Park is most-definitely not a Newport residence, if its not Virginia, it's South Carolina...."

All this forced me to decide, once and for all,  Merriman Park's history.  I guess I've harbored pretensions that Merriman Park was a European residence, but Patric's grilling of me made me realize that it  is undoubtedly and unabashedly American.  I mean, the architecture of  Thomas Jefferson inspired it!  And Thomas Jefferson was from Virginia and the houses that I modeled Merriman Park after, Edgemont and  Bremo are both located in Virginia.  So that means if I accept the idea that Merriman Park is an antebellum Southern house, there were most definitely slaves afoot.

I'm having a hard time adjusting to this reality!

Am I making too much of a big deal over this?  I'm not one of those 'politically-correct' types, but it does make me think a little about my 'hero,' Thomas Jefferson, who wrote so eloquently that 'all men were created equal'  --except, I guess --his chattel!  

Monday, October 3, 2011


It's true that I haven't been at this whole miniatures thing very long.  But imagine my surprise and utter bewilderment at being plucked from relative obscurity and thrown into the center-stage of Miniaturist Limelight! You may be asking yourselves, Gentle Reader, "Oh hell, no, what the @#$ is she going on about now?" and so, I will tell you:  Merriman Park just got a major shout-out from none other than Whitledge-Burgess!

Do you understand what this means?  It's like you're a member of the corps de ballet and all of a sudden they cast you in the lead role...You guys, I'm like, The Black Swan!  

I've been on Cloud-9 all the live-long day!  Even at my job today at the Department Store where I work in Display, nothing and I mean nothing could get me down!   Even knowing that Simon was yucking it up, touring the Stately Homes of England (whilst yours truly was slogging through the hum-drum ennui of making sure all gazillion opera-chairs from our Major Fashion Event  this weekend were properly sent back to the rental company), couldn't get me down).

Whitledge-Burgess is now offering a selection of their gorgeous room-box settings in kit form!  Read All About It in their latest newsletter:

In other news, I made a 'test run' of trying to carve a curlicue finial for my stair railing.  I haven't carved anything in years, unless you count the Thanksgiving turkey.  My Grandpa once gave me a 'whittling  knife' when I was a boy and I totally scared my parents because I developed a certain penchant for carving miniature pagan idols from sticks!  (I was really into Easter Island at the time --don't judge me)!

This was just a test-run!  I need to glue up some stock to match the thickness of the railing.  But I spent only approximately fifteen or twenty minutes with this practice piece of wood and a kitchen paring knife so I think I'm golden.  I really think that I can do this!  I suppose there is some high-tech tool that I should have used, (but don't own), that would work better.  If you guys saw the few, primitive tools I own you would either laugh, or cry!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Indian Summer

It was way too gorgeous outside today to be fussing with miniatures indoors!  Sunny, blue skies and summertime temperatures enticed me out into the garden to apply gilt paint on the Entrance Hall stair.
Enough of that for today!  Time to take the dogs out for a walk down the street to Minnehaha Park!
Wow!  The leaves are really changing...hard to believe that in a month they will all be gone.
The Sumac are really on fire!
In the middle of the park sits the John Stevens House, the first home built in Minneapolis.  It originally sat downtown, where the Main Post Office is today.  It was identified and saved from demolition and moved to this spot in the late 1800's.  I love this little home!  Wouldn't it make a great dollhouse?
John Stevens
Also situated in Minnehaha Park is the Longfellow House.  It was built as a 3/4 scale reproduction of the home of the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.  Longfellow immortalized Minnehaha Falls in his epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha.  The poem was such a sensation in its day, it made Minnehaha Park a major tourist attraction. Sorry about the exposure.
I think this would make a great dollhouse, too.  The pilasters could hide the seams where it opens up!  I made a birdhouse modeled on the Longfellow House once a while back but I don't have any photos of it.
The flower gardens in back of the Longfellow House are winding down.  We've already had a few overnight frosts.
"From the forests and the prairies,
From the great lakes of the Northland,
From the land of the Ojibways,
From the land of the Dacotahs,
From the mountains, moors, and fen-lands
Where the heron, the Shuh-shuh-gah,
Feeds among the reeds and rushes.
I repeat them as I heard them
From the lips of Nawadaha,
The musician, the sweet singer."
Minnehaha Creek flows for several long miles from the eastern shore of Lake Minnetonka, where I grew up, and empties into the Mississippi River, near where I live today.  None of my photographs of Minnehaha Falls turned out --I'll have to show you it some other day.
Whew! Edie & Jack the Shelties are exhausted!  Best get back to the house...Maybe I can get the stairway finished?
Later that night:   The ends of the railing are whispering that they want a curlicue finial to finish themselves off.  I've never used FIMO before, but do you think that would work?  Also, since I finished the stair runners in black marble, should the landing runner be black marble as well? I kind of like it 'as is,' personally.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Slow Going

Lucky for me, I usually have weekends free at  my job at the Department Store where I work in Display.  But not this weekend.  We had a Major Fashion Event at the store today which required me to go in late last night after closing and set up a huge stage set and catwalk and seating for eight hundred.  Then I had to go back early this morning and tear it all down!  So there wasn't a whole lot of time to work on Merriman Park.

When I arrived home this morning my entire body was positively screaming for a little nap (and, I'm not going to lie, a Bloody Mary, too)!  But I foreswore those tempting diversions when I caught a glimpse of poor, neglected Merriman Park, sulking in its corner of the dining room and so, to work!

Here it is, under construction.  I just love my new bannister from Sue Cook Miniatures!  I added some bull-nose molding to the stair landing as per Giac and took Irene's advice and tarted up the stair runners with black marble.  In deference to Simon I thought the bannister splats should be highlighted here and there in gold, all the better to draw attention to the detail.

I'm trying so very hard to resist attaching the railing until it is completely dry!  Patience is not one of my virtues, I fear.  (But having to sand off my fingerprints once already may be deterrent enough!

In addition to the stair splats, I also picked up this keystone from Miss Sue.  The old keystone, I'm afraid, simply did not make the keystone cut.  This little beauty I also used on the facade of Merriman Park.  I personally love to have continuity between indoors and out, (especially in an Entrance Hall), and I thought this would be a subtle reference to the exterior.  Of course, the stair splats are the same as my exterior balcony, so maybe I am taking this concept too far?  As a matter of fact, I am toying with the idea of replacing my Entrance Hall chandelier with a hanging 'lantern'-style fixture.  I've noticed that this is appropriate to a Hall (thanks, Irene)!  but, try as I may, I can't seem to find a lantern that I like.  So for now, I guess I'm sticking with the chandelier!