Monday, December 26, 2011

Nice Girls Don't Wear Cha-Cha Heels!

Christmas has mercifully come and gone and since Ray Whitledge is dying to know, I am pleased to report that Santa brought Merriman Park a fab, new chandelier!  Ain't she pur-dy?  Unfortunately, the sconces didn't make it in time but should be here in a day or two...not that I could hook them up if I had them!  Oh, I am a regular expert now at splicing hair-sized wires together with shrinky-tubes and my hot-pink, Revlon blow-dryer.  And installing Tic-Tac-sized plugs is a cinch, darlings!  Today, I can practically do that in my sleep  But what do you do when all twelve sockets are in use?  I tried adding another socket strip to my transformer, but only one will work.  It's supposed to be able to handle sixty-two lights, so what gives?  Can I splice some of  my fixtures together and put them on a single plug to free up space?  Or maybe I'm just not hooking up the second socket strip correctly?  Ugh! 

Anyhoo, on this side of the room, you can see the glam, new console table, (another prezzie from that jolly, old elf), under the painting, Dante et Virgil.  Oh, and in the corner niche that is allegedly, supposed to be Hercules (whom I have been affectionately referring to as Lady-Legs)!  He reminds me of those certain queens you see at the gym who only work out their chest and shoulders and never bother to touch the leg machines, so from the waist up they look like The Incredible Hulk but from the waist down they sort of look like an ostrich!  But I dunno, his face is kind of hot, with his beard, he is totally serving up a heapin' helpin' of  Lumberjack Realness!

In the other niche we have a generic, female, Grecian goddess.  Both of these statues were marketed as a pair, but other than the hideous, albeit matching bases they came attached to (which I promptly sawed off)! I don't think they relate to one another very well.  Hercules bares some semblance to an ancient Greek work, while the female figure, in her 'saucy country wench' pose, strikes me as being more of an eighteenth-century French piece. But what do I know from Art?  Her proportions are not much better than Lady-Legs:  her head is gi-normous and her feet can only be described as flippers.  But thus far, they are the ONLY statues I could find that fit the they will just have to do, for now!  Lady-Legs is also nearly a quarter inch shorter than Country Wench, so I had to fashion a new pedestal for him to stand on.  Kind of like how Tom Cruise has to stand on a little box when he's filming a movie so he can look his co-star in the eye.  (And that is not just idle gossip, darlings, I read it in the Enquirer)!

You may recognize the chairs in the photo to be the same ones from the Entrance Hall, and you would be correct.  (Good detective work)!  I really wanted to have four matching chairs for the Hall, but was unable to find another set so I'm moving these upstairs and am getting four new (matching) chairs for the hall.
The room will really come together with the crown molding in place!  But I first have to wait for the sconces to arrive so I can then glue the walls in place, etc.'s all about the correct order!

Hope all y'all had a great Christmas!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Seasons Greetings!

                    From all the boys at Merriman Park! 
"Thank you kindly for stopping by!  Y'all come back, now,  y'hear?"

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Putzing Around

Dante et Virgil by William-Adolphe Bouguereau
The Drawing Room is reaching that critical point when I can start fastening walls, floors and ceilings down for good.  Unfortunately, I need three pairs of sconces installed first, and I only have one set.  I'm also planning on changing out the chandelier for something a little grander, but these installations will have to wait til X-mas!  That is, if Santy Claus brings me what I asked for!  (Dawn Davenport:  "I asked, for cha-cha heels and I better get!")

So I have been keeping busy by making is a painting I found in an ad I received in the mail for the GLBT Review.  Though I did not subscribe to their publication, I did purloin this image for my burgeoning gallery!

In order for the frame to accommodate the size of the painting, I had to join two matching frames together.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I often purchase things in pairs, so fortunately I had a set on hand.  I cut the frames in two using a miniature miter box, and making the cuts at a 45  degree angle.  Then I just glued the frames back together, making a longer frame!  (The two smaller, left-over pieces I also glued together to create another smaller frame for future use.  Then I filled the small cracks with gesso and sanded, and painted.  I like to use a reddish primer coat for gilt frames.  (As a framer in a previous existence, this is how its done).  Back in the day, they called this base-coat Venetian Red, or Pompeii Red.  When that has dried, I dab on the acrylic metallic gold paint, leaving the background color to come through here and there.  A sprinkle of gold pigment powder for added sparkle completes the frame.

Of course I over-painted my artwork with clear gel-medium and then lacquered it, a la Ray Witledge.  This technique will make your works of art appear very realistic!  Try it!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Painting the Drawing Room

I've always been fond of this grey-green hue.  Muddy colors in general appeal to me because they are so complicated and change color with the varying light.  We have the Pantone catalog of colors at the department store where I work in Display, so I spent my lunch hour perusing the thousands of thumbnail swatches and gradually whittled my selection down.

Then it was off to Home Depot, where they wisely started offering 8oz. sample jars of paint for just a few bucks.  Eight ounces doesn't sound like much, but it was still way more than I needed --thank god I didn't buy a whole quart!

Unfortunately, after painting a partial wall, I found the color too bright.  Back to square one, darlings!  Of course I couldn't get too upset --did you hear the Entrance Hall of Merriman Park is now ensconced in Sue Cook's Gallery?  Oh, you already knew?  My, how news travels!

Well anyway,  I decided that since the color was all wrong, instead of just shelving it until it dried up to dust, I'd try doctoring it up, myself.  A few squirts of Alizarin Crimson should do the trick.  Sho' nuff, it worked!  If you ever want to tone down a color, always use its exact opposite on the color wheel (never black)! --works like a charm and you won't get a murky mess.

I chose a velvety brown for the niches.  Mrs. Thorn used a similar scheme in one of her rooms to great effect.  I am not planning on using the bust of George Washington in the niche, but it gives you a hint of what a statue will look like (if ever I find a pair)!

Since I was kind of on a roll, I thought I'd tackle the fireplace.  I was going for a brown marble effect and even though its been ages since I faux-marbled anything, it's a little frightening how it all comes back.  You have to understand, darlings, that I had the misfortune of living through that brief, tragic moment in history when every and I mean everything was faux-painted!  I think I've already written about how my ex-best friend, Todd faux-marbled his entire dining room set: table, chairs, all of it in painstakingly wrought in shiny, black marble.  I was like, "really?  Marble Windsor-style chairs, huh?  They must be really heavy."

Anyway, here's my version, though it turned out a bit lighter than I had imagined.  But I'll live with it for a few days and we'll see if it makes the final cut.

I also managed to drill all the holes for the wiring, my Christmas present is rumored to be a chandelier and wall sconces!  So all in all, a pretty productive weekend! 

Have a great week!

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm In Sue Cook's Gallery!

I recently learned that Sue Cook chose this photo of my Entrance Hall for her website gallery.  What an incredible honor!  I have been on Cloud Nine all the live-long day.  Even the freezing temperatures today --highs in the low teens (Fahrenheit) couldn't get me down.  "I'm in Sue Cook!" was my Mantra for the Day!  I am bubbling over in awesomeness.

Incidentally,  our very own Simon Williams has new pics posted in Sue's Gallery as well!  Congratulations, Si! 

Original sketch of Merriman Park.
I first learned of Sue Cook a couple Christmas' ago.  Merriman Park was just an idea, a twinkle in my eye if you will, simply a sketch scrawled on a napkin back then.  And for that particular Christmas, Glen presented me with a veritable stack of dollhouse books for inspiration.  Many of those books featured Sue's gorgeous fireplace mantels and other components.  How I coveted them and how thrilled I was when I googled her and found  her catalog --now I could purchase for myself all her breath-taking creations!

It is so thrilling that my very first miniature room is on Sue Cook's Gallery!  I think I just might celebrate by running down to Happy Hour --it's three-for-ones, children!  And it's Friday!  Happy Friday, all!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Wall panels, mirrors, ceiling ornamentation and a flooring surprise...

Finally, at long last, some of my long-awaited supplies started arriving this week.  My wall panels from Lawbre were well-worth the wait, (as was their ceiling medallion).  The ceiling medallion  is made up of stylized tobacco leaves, arranged in a classical pattern.  Very appropriate to a Virginia residence!  It's going to look great centered in the ceiling frame I built from stock moldings.  Speaking of moldings & supplies, I've made several jaunts to the local dollhouse shop, Little Enchantments, (Hi, Karen!) where I have become a familiar fixture. 

Unfortunately, the parquet flooring I ordered on-line turned out not to be real wood.  For fake wood, I have to admit, it is a fabulous faux;  in fact, when I unpacked it I played around with it for about ten minutes before I had the "wait a minute!" realization!  I suppose I should have just packed it right back up and sent it back whence it came, but I was so utterly desperate for a project to work on, I laid it out anyway.  It's just glued down to a backer-board so I can always toss it as my whim dictates...

I dunno, I keep going back and forth on it...I mean on one hand it's a great reproduction.  Plus my 'marble' floor in the room below is not exactly 'real' marble either so why the double-standard? 

But I had my heart set on real wood!

I'm sure there is no compare between a real wood floor and a fake one (however well-done).  I just am not experienced enough to have savored the difference...Merriman Park is, after all, my first dollhouse.  I'm just afraid that if I stick to the fake flooring someday I'll be like, "oh, hell,  no!  What was I thinking?" 

Pardon me while I rant:  when I bought this flooring there was no mention in the description that it wasn't real wood.  It was sandwiched between real wood floors, so I'm sorry --it was rather misleading.  Guess that's the risk you run from buying on-line.

Wall panels from Lawbre.  I think I figured out how to make my own...stay tuned!

My Braxton Payne mantel and mirror I made to go with my niches.

It's really not so bad...or is it?

Don't worry!  It's all just held up with wax for now:  I'll make sure everything is centered.