Friday, 31 January 2014

A Better Day at Honeydukes......

Today I put the windows out of mind, and out of sight and turned to the cornicing of the main shop.
This edging will also support the upper floor so I really made an effort with my measuring to try and avoid any wonkiness.
 The cornice is a very distinctive decorative feature in the Universal shop so I wanted mine to have the same impact. I have used three different wooden strips - a cornice, a plain strip and a strip of skirting board.
 The corners are not perfect but I have never managed a clean join and considering three pieces are meeting in the corner I am pretty pleased. 
I have used simple gold outlines letters for the writing which I have covered with a coating of Modge Podge.
 I have completed three sides but left the bottom piece off the side with the window opening as I am not sure how I will finish of the top of that window now I have ordered some ready cut circles. 
The upper floor fits nicely and I am glad that I have lowered this ceiling. I have also been thinking about lighting today with the City of London Festival on Sunday. The seller I normally buy my lighting from will be there so I intend to look for a couple of statement lights.
You can see the lights here but I don't really like these very much.
I like this one by SWP. The only problem is I will need three I think to have any real effect on such a large ceiling and that is pricey.
This is SWP's version of the HP Universal light.
So a little undecided, hopefully I will be able to have a good look on Sunday and decide which if any will do. For the first time ever I am going to try routing the upper floor to hide the wires for a ceiling light which will enable me to have this type of fitment. It can't be that difficult, can it??!!
Have a great weekend wherever you are and whatever the weather.

Thursday, 30 January 2014

And the Week Started Off So Well.....Honeydukes Bay Window Crisis!!

I have spent this week working on the windows of Honeydukes. I have researched lots of different sites and taken on board lots of helpful advice and began the week feeling positive that the look I want is achievable.
I began with the cardboard tubes picked for their size if not for their content!
 I decided to build the layers of the side window first as I don't have to worry about the front opening panel. This window soon proved problematic as the circular tube cannot be placed half way because of the pavement width. This means I have to have a larger ledge inside the shop which won't match the front two bays. Hmmmm, I am not good with things that do not match. 
The actual window is made from a plastic sink mat that I have cut to size. I got this idea from Pinterest where someone had used plastic storage baskets for window panes. I then saw these large sink mats that I hope will provide the bend required for the bow. 
 I have then built the top but as you can see the pavement edging looks to small and nondescript once the top is added.
 I decided that all my circles would be made with balsa wood as I thought this material would be easier for me to cut. I found this cutting tool in Hobbycraft which is mainly for card and paper but I thought it would at least mark the wood for me. Which it did but as balsa is so soft and is not great when cutting against the grain I found out very quickly that circles and thin balsa do not go together!
 The cut circles look better than I thought after a lot of careful sanding but the pavement plinth still looks a bit weak. The wood is the real problem because I have had to use quite a thin balsa sheet so that I can cut it into circles.
The drums are to be covered in a very thin veneer I have had hanging around for a while. I was hoping this veneer  would add texture to the plain cardboard. Thanks Jo for this tip!! I cut strips to size, then steamed them in my vegetable steamer, while they were still damp I have lined these tubes with the strips to get the veneer to bend.
 I then glued the veneer strip around the tube. I was amazed when the is worked first time but.....I then realised I need the joins to be half way round the tube so they can be hidden by the window's edges. Oh, well practice makes perfect!!
 So, I cut out lots of circles, lots of semi-circles, lots of strips of veneer and painted and stained. Then today I have sat down and put all the windows together and discovered all sorts of problems. The main one being I am not convinced the window will glue in properly and be resilient enough. I know the stonework will act as a stabiliser and I can use architrave inside the shop which will help.
This window is one of the front windows and here I have used a 6mm craft circle that I bought on Ebay, for the pavement plinth and the top piece which seem to add a bit more substance.
This will help with the painting as the outside will need to be weathered and I am not sure the balsa will stand up to this.
So I sat and looked at everything this evening and thought, 'this is not working' and have walked away for the moment. I have found some craft circles on Ebay that are 3mm in depth that may prove more robust than the ones I have cut. They won't arrive for a few days so I think I will go back to the drawing board and think through some of the problems.
It's so annoying but I am trying not to look at it as a complete waste of time. What it has shown me is I need to learn how to use a jigsaw or whatever tool it is you need to cut circles!!

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Tiles, Coblestones and Paint, and Yet More Paint......Honeydukes

I have been working hard on the main bones of the ground floor over the last few days and have nearly finished the painting.
 The black and white tiles are copied from what I have seen of photos of the Honeydukes in Universal Studios. I purchased these mini ones from Romney Miniatures and they were extremely easy to cut and glue down. I did have to lightly sand the edges of some of the tiles to ensure they were completely straight but this didn't take long.
The cobblestones are from one of my favourite suppliers Richard Stacey who has a website and an Ebay Shop. These were very simple to lay and cut and are all made of real stone. I also bought his cutting tool which worked great. Wish I had bought one of these five projects ago and a snip, excuse the pun, for £4.50!!
 I spent some time pondering the paint and eventually got a large jam jar and poured in two acrylic paint colours I thought would give me the green I wanted. Then I poured in white to tone it down a bit. This is the second coat and it is still a bit too dark, this photograph has lightened it up a bit.
I have now spilt my mixture into two jars. This darker shade I will use on the weathered outside of the shop and the new mixture I will add more white paint to and give the shop furniture a 3rd and definitely last coat tomorrow.
The pink shade of the staircase I am happy with. In fact there is a lot less pink in the shop than I thought so I won't have to mess around with that colour at all.
I persuaded my other half to cut all the cornices for me tonight so I will give them a last paint before fixing them in place.
Acrylic paint is a very matt finish so I am going to give everything a coat of gloss Modge Podge both to seal/protect and to give everything a nice shine.
I went out today to get a few bits and pieces for the bay windows today. Not quite the supplies I normally go miniature shopping for but I am hoping my plan will work. Really want to get all the painting out of the way now so I can start messing around with the windows.
It's been an incredibly wet and miserable weekend here but I hope the sun has shone in your part of the the world. 

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Small Scale Kits by Jane Harrop and The Art of Mini......Fun but Fiddly!!

 I have recently been playing with a couple of smaller scale kits I bough with the Beach Hut in mind. The first is by Jane Harrop  and is in 1/48th scale I think. I thought it would be fun next to my 1/12th version.
 The parts are all very easy to assemble if a little bit fiddly for a bit of a sausage finger like me. I painted everything before putting it together as advised and used extra tacky glue to hold the pieces in place.
 I used matt emulsion paints because of matching the colours and I think this type of paint may be a tad too thick to use, or I should have thinned it down a bit
 The package includes very detailed instructions, a lovely coloured postcard of the finished item and a clear picture of all the pieces. Jane will be at the City of London Fair in February so I hope to be able to pick up another of her kits then.
The second kit is from The Art of Mini a miniaturist whose work I have looked at for a long time and whose stand is completely mobbed at the shows she attends. I think she is also having a stand at the February show which is amazing and I will definitely be joining the queues.
 This 'dolls house' shelving kit can be used for shelving or as a 1/48th house display I think. Again these pieces were all very clearly labelled and the whole piece went together very easily. Well apart for the roof dormer which looks a bit rubbish.
 I am terrified of touching it though in case the whole thing falls apart!! I will probably just touch up the paint. Again I definitely used the wrong paint  but I have learnt a lesson.
 At the moment it is sitting outside the beach hut and filling a big gap quite nicely. These kits are great for when you have to hide all your stuff away and can only work on a tray in a secluded when all my kids are home and the other half has decided to take a couple of days off work. 
I am also thinking they would be very easy to play with when on holiday as you need so little equipment. I have a long plane journey coming up in March and I quite fancy seeing the look on my husband's face as I start getting out my glue and brushes!!
 A trick I used when making these was to use Lego structures to create my right angles and hold pieces in place. I found this tip on a website many moons ago and have not tried it before. It really does work very well indeed.
I have also spent most of the day painting the wood for Honeydukes. I had forgotten how long all these jobs take. Luckily there was lots of tennis on today so I was able to sit and be entertained while undercoating.
 These three pieces will make up the extra deep cornice that goes all the way around Honeydukes.
 Of course I did not have enough of the straight piece so I had to take a trip to Hobbycraft for some more wood. 
This will be the look of the woodwork obviously painted in green. Only ladies tennis tomorrow, which bores me to tears, so I will be laying the shop floor and hopefully the cobblestones too.

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

And So It Begins.......Honeydukes My Project For 2014

I have finally started my project for 2014, Honeydukes, which will be a mixed inspiration from the film and the theme park shop at Universal. This is the exterior I am hoping to recreate as far as possible. I love the tall bay windows and steeply sloping roof.
I eventually came up with a design that would include the features I really liked but in a manageable size. I drew up the plans on graph paper and made a cardboard model in the dimensions I wanted. After a lot of tweaking I found a model company that were able to cut out the MDF pieces to my plans. I asked for 6mm MDF following the very helpful advice of Jo Medvics, which will hopefully cut down on the finished weight of the shop.
 I spent a long time hunting for a model company who could cut out this kit and it is not a cheap option but I just don't have to appropriate power tools to enable me to do this at home. For anyone who is a confident user of power tools I would really recommend this route rather than buying a kit, it is great fun working everything out and the end result is exactly what you want.
 The first thing I did was sticky tape the ground floor together to see if my measurements worked!! Then I sealed all the pieces with a mix of emulsion paint, PVA and water. The whole of the interior will be off-white so I sorted out my inside and outside and painted all the interior sides before assembling for real. My son's Beano collection came in very handy for weighing down the floor and creating sturdy right angles for the basic ground floor structure.
The structure has a much taller ground floor than usual because of the very deep cornice/wall signage that goes around the shop. 
Once I had a play with the shop fittings I decided that the ceiling was too high, so I have trimmed the top floor piece to sit lower and it will rest on the over sized cornice. Like all building projects it is evolving as I am playing with it.
 The gap in the back wall is where the Bertie Botts display will be placed......eventually!! 
 The wall units are the generic type you see everywhere, I bought mine on Ebay, but the counter I designed and had made by the lovely Rob Lucas. It is a copy of the counter from the flim version of Honeydukes sized to match the wall units. As usual Rob has made a lovely piece that fits perfectly.
The spiral staircase will fit through the gap and I want it to simply appear in the upper floor so I am not too worried as to where it is finally placed. I will probably make the gap smaller once I know exactly where I want the staircase to go.
At the moment I am going to concentrate on the lower level, starting with the interior fittings. So tomorrow I am planning to lay the ground floor tiles and start painting the wooden cabinets, cornice, door, panelling and staircase. 
Plus, mix the colours........I am dreading this bit as the colours are the heart of this project and I am terrible at making decisions about colour. I am going to prepare lots of wooden strips and mix and match. Wish me luck!!
The photos of Honeydukes are from the websites Orlando Inside and Hughes Reviews.