Wednesday, 12 May 2010

My Witch's House - the exterior.....

This is my most current project and has been built from a kit that I got for my birthday from Maple Street Miniatures. It has been my most ambitious project so far,and certainly the biggest! I wanted to try out some of the different techniques and finishes I had seen on other houses as well as deal with the building of the kit which was a challenge in itself!

The kit came with lots and lots of lengths of balsa which were for the external beams and windows. The windows were originally flat to the house but I decided to make them into bay windows so that I would have window ledges inside and ledges for flower pots and climbers outside. I distressed the wood with a craft knife and needle, stained them with a simple oak stain, washed them with a slime green acrylic mixture and then finally buffed them with artists linseed oil. Many days and many nights! The windows were my first real attempt at woodworking and their imperfections suited the house really.  
I cut all the external woodwork to size and then marked the pattern on the outside walls. I used Peter Clark's fabulous brick cards for the brickwork, cutting them to size and then gluing onto a coat of cement coloured paint.

After sticking the bricks where I wanted them I began the plaster work. I used a mixture of fine ready made polyfilla and white paint which gave me a gloopy consistency that I found comfortable to work with. I definitely got better the more I did. On the outside I used a stencil brush to apply the mixture and then add an almost stippled effect. Then I glued the beams and trusses while the polyfilla mixture was wet as this allowed me to squish the wood into place if necessary. Gosh reading it back it seems like a doddle but I can tell you there were times my workroom was a no go area for any of my family because they would never know what would come flying across the room or what they would hear! When I had finished each side or door a huge sense of relief and not a little pride would fill me, an ' I did that' moment that I am sure you have all experienced. A great feeling..... 

One of the reasons I wanted this kit was the potting/storage area beneath  which seemed to offer an opportunity to do something different. At the moment it is still in the planning stage and I will post some more photos tomorrow showing its nooks and crannies but I am sure you can spot some of my Miniatura buys. Very few of which were ever on any list!
I still have to add catches to the 'doors' I have left this until last because I am still in and out all the time.
I know it is all a little bright but I have been terrified of dirtying it up as I have had visions of getting the paint wash all wrong - bottle green for example - and then having to chip off huge areas of polyfilla. I had a go in the log store but was not at all confident in what I achieved so I am putting the aging process of for a while.

I have been lucky enough to commission Julie of  Bellabelledolls to make my first ever figure, for this house. When she arrives I will  be able to name the house around the kindly witch. I hope she will approve of what I have created for her, I mean Julia not the witch - or do I?!
More pics tomorrow.


  1. Wow, Janice, that's a tour de force! So much to look at ... I adore the bay windows, by the way, I think they're really successful :) Congratulations!

  2. This is fabulous! Just fabulous! :)

  3. Thanks for posting these pics Janice, they a were just what I wanted to see! it is amazing love everything about it. You are clever doing it from a kit, it is a beautiful one and very fitting for a witch! I love that area below too, such alot you can do with that! Im doing Lolas beams in polyfilla with her, do you glue the underside then stick them into it or will they stay up on their own once in the polyfilla? thanks Janice, see you Friday I hope, wont have enough money to buy up all the things I want so there will be plenty for you Im sure!! Cant wait to see Julies doll, you will be thrilled to bits with it , I know, I always am and cant wait to go back for more!! Love Katexxx

  4. Thank you everyone. It did become a labour of love...honest!

    Hi Kate, I used glue with all my beams because I only polyfilled up to the edge of each beam. I had drawn a grid to see where beams finished and plaster began. This worked for me because I didn't want too thick a layer.
    If you do a layer of plaster and then add the beams while it is wet I wouldn't think you would need glue. This could be a much better and quicker way.

  5. What a wonderful witches house, it is terrific :0) Your going to love your witch from Julie, she is an amazing doll artist. I spotted the little dragon and his pot in your potting/storage area! Fab ;0)
    Julia x

  6. I think this is such a fab house,it has that higgledy piggledy look just perfect for a kind old witch ( who I am, really looking forward to making !)
    its scary dirtying it up, the best thing is to put some polyfilla to match yours on a bit of card or waste mdf and then try out some different paint effects on it, then when you find what works you can put it on the actual house ! It looks lovely though,just how it is,
    julie xxx

  7. Hi Julia and all your lovely cushions are all inside making it comfy too.

    Hi Julie, what a good idea, that is exactly what I need to do. Thank you.

  8. I have a house to build that I would like that can look like yours...I love it. Great work done!

  9. It looks wonderful, I can imagine the work hours that you've put on!

  10. What a wonderful house!! I love the cats just draped over the bay window :o) just as they would be in real life. I think your new arrival will be most content with her new home.
    I also worried about dirtying up my house in case I ruined it, but practice elsewhere first like Julie suggested and then go fo it!!! and it'll look even better than it does now :o)

  11. Muchas gracias Eva. Me gusta edificar las casas pero me encanta terminar!

    Hi Ira the amount of dust in my real house shows the hours I am sorry to say!

  12. This is the kit I almost bought as my Hogwarts. I think it's a wonderful kit with lots of detail. I can see how much work you have put in and yes, a labour of love! :o)) My Coach House kit has as many beams on the outside and I have to make my window frames....unsure when that will be!! lol

    As for dirtying it up, practice like Julie suggested on a spare piece of wood with polyfiller on it. For a slime colour I usually use a moss green with a little brown mixed in. For a more dirty age colour I use more brown, a little moss green and a touch of black and I take off any excess (on my brush) on paper or an old cloth before I apply it on my project :o))

    Good luck with your exam on Friday. ;o)

    Michelle xx

  13. Hi Wendie, the cats are wonderful. They are by David Ward who will be at Kensington I hope although he missed Miniatura.
    I have a ginger pair as well and they are cute too.
    As a Pratchett fan I know you are creating Grannie Weatherwax one of my all time heroines!

  14. Hi Michelle, I liked the coach house too and it was my original choice for house and shop. Then I decided I wanted two seperate projects.
    We do make it more difficult for ourselves.

  15. Hola que tál?, soy Nati de los blog:" LOS CUENTOS DE NATI" y:"LOS PREMIOS DE NATI", en el primero podrás encontrar un mundo de Hadas, Duendes... y demás seres fantasticos en mundos imaginarios con una chispa de realidad(En unos más q en otros), si te gusta dejar volar tu imaginación y recuperar al niñ@ que llevas dentro este es tu sitio.
    Y en el segundo podras encontras Mimos, Premios y otras cositas que si te gustan puedes llevarte a tu blog, dedicada@s tod@s con todo mí cariño para tí.
    Y dicho esto, tengo que decirte que tu blog me parece muy interesante y especial, tiene un toque y un duende que no he podido encontrar en ningun otro blog por más que he pululado por la red y ese algo que lo hace tan especial eres TÚ. Enhorabuena por lo que has consegido y te deseo que consigas mucho más.
    Yo me quedo como segidora para poder entrar poco a poco y empaparme de tu sabiduria y tu buen trabajo y así crecer como persona y como artista en este mundo tan Fantastico llamado: Bloger.
    A mí ya sabes dónde encontrarme y si te quedas será un honor para mi humildes casitas.
    Hasta pronto, deseandote lo mejor para todos los días de tu vida, besos.

  16. Wow Janice! What an undertaking! I'm still having a hard time filling a table scene... this is magnificent, I am jealous :)

  17. Es una casa expectacular, la felicito por tan maravilloso trabajo,desde luego tiene que sentirse algo muy especial despues de terminar una obra como esta ¡Felicidades!

  18. What a beautiful house...just wonderful!

  19. Es un trabajo impresionante porque de un kit usted a sabido sacar algo muy personal.
    un abrazo

    It's an awesome job because of a kit you known how to make something very personal.
    a hug

  20. Janice - what can I say but WOW!!
    Thanks so much for sharing the process, it's fascinating!

  21. ¡Que casa mas maravillosa!!Y cada cosa del blog me gusta mucho ( =

  22. Delicious, wonderful house!!!
    I admire Your special abilities!

  23. oh this is just gorgeous! what a wonderful kit! Just love it!
    your very clever to get that all together so beautifully and with such precision, a brilliant job!


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