Saturday, August 11, 2012

Fun bits finally!

Yay!!!!!!! Finally get to move forward a bit. Started the basic coloring of the stonework. It is always such a challenge to get the various hues in the rock. Rocks have so many colors from blues and blacks to pinks, oranges, you name it! Here I show step one and tow. It will probably get 3 more steps before sealing and grouting. Then aging and moss.

 Step One

 Step two

I am really putting off the roofing. I am still kind of torn on just how I am going to do it.....

Friday, August 10, 2012

Mindless Cutting

I have been sitting here for hours cutting these damnable (pardon my French) bricks. Then it dawned on me. How many do i really need?

Well, suffice it to say that I have enough to do the porch, foundation, and even roof if I choose to do so (which wouldn't look right anyway). Wow, talk about mindless! Well, since I NEVER throw anything away (new show idea: Mini Hoarders), I will simply put the extras away for future use. Ya never know when they will come in handy!

I am at a weird juncture in the project where I really need to be careful not to skip ahead even one step. I am notorious for that. I can't install the bricks until I do the stone coloring but can't do that until I finish adding the door and window trims. Soooo tricky. I just want to charge ahead! But I have to move forward cautiously.

I also need to install the wallpapers and flooring before I install the custom windows which I haven't even started.

I am starting to sweat. Need a glass of Cabernet stat!


Starting the porch

I am beginning work on the brick porch as well as some accent stonework around the door and windows. For the porch floor, I am going to use egg carton to cut my bricks from and the "frames" around the windows will be a combo of clay and egg carton.

Here is an example of the bricks for the porch. The don't look like much now but you will see what can be done with them in the near future. There are some really great tutorials out there that will show you better than I how they use egg carton to achieve a level of realism that can't be believed until seen. While you will often see them cut with an exacto knife, I always use scissors. This is because it "pinches" the sides down when you cut and gives them a bit more depth. An exacto knife, especially with a fresh blade, makes too "clean" a cut and allows them to stay "flatter surfaced" which I feel isn't as authentic. You decide!

A great tutorial for creating egg carton bricks is here.

No detail is left uncovered. And seriously, spend some time around her blog. Her attention to detail puts the rest of us to shame. Seriously. To shame!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Mr Anderson Moves Into Garth Manor

So, Mr. Anderson has claimed squatters rights in Garth Manor. Why are cats so fascinated with dollhouses? Maybe the same reason we mini-folk are fascinated by them?

I am ready to focus on other details now.

Back to cool and grey

 Aging Test step one

This is the nightmare that is my work room.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Look Closely....wait for it....wait for it.....

This is an example of how I want to feature "hidden" elements within the walls of Garth Manor. Take a moment and really look around this room. Look closely. Carefully. Give yourself time. Don'y give up. Wait for it.........

Comment your reation!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Garth Manor- The History and the Mystery


Garth Manor is a blend of Second Empire and Richardsonian Romanesque style.

It was built by Raymond Garth as a wedding gift for his beloved Lilian. He had made his fortune in shipping during the industrial revolution and wanted to reflect his success in a proper mansion for his newly emerging family.

Lilian was pregnant with their first child when construction began in 1874. Raymond had strict orders to not allow Lilian anywhere near the site until the day it was completed. Lilian had always dreamt of raising many children, and she always envisioned them living in the height of modern style in a fanciful Second Empire home. Her humble beginnings fueled her desire to show that she had achieved status in life. No longer was she just the pub owners daughter, but the wealthy and respectable wife of a shipping magnate.

Raymond Garth had come from a wealthy background and his parents were not fond of his choice for a wife. They felt he should marry into society, not marry from outside polite circles. He loved Lilian with all his heart but his heart could be as cold as stone at times.

He had originally intended to build her Second Empire home she dreamt of, with it's gingerbread trim and mansard roof. However, 3 months into her pregnancy she miscarried. This sent the controlling natured Raymond into a fit of rage and he ordered the builders to "build a fortress against the world". He demanded that the plans be changed to reflect the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Heavy, imposing stone would now swallow up the fanciful details that were Lilian's dreams. If only to protect her.

Upon completion of the house, Lilian was able to view it for the first time. Like a twisted, distorted fairy tale,  the house loomed above her. When she squinted her eyes to gaze up at the dominating tower, she could see her dream home but when she relaxed her eyes, all she saw was heavy stone and sorrow. She had an uneasy feeling about this house, like she was viewing a fairy tale but only as a reflection on a warped mirror. It made her nauseus.

Raymond promised her that her dream home would be built when she bore them a son and heir. To their delight, she was pregnant again in the Spring. She gave birth to a lovely daughter with flaxan hair and eyes like the sky. Unfortunately one who could neither hear nor see.

She became pregnant again. A son this time, but a horribly disfigured child who was never able to speak above a grunt. He would, to Raymond's disgust, clomp around the hallways while bellowing inanities and dragging his one good leg.

 In their desperation they tried yet again to have a "normal" child. Raymond was now at his wits end with Lilian. And while he still loved her, the pressure to produce a "normal" child was becoming the main focus of his life (to the neglect of everything else, including his business and family).

It was at this point that Lilian became desperate and sought the help of a local "Wise Woman", a Witch.

This woman promised that if she helped Lilian produce a healthy child, Lilian would be in her debt and servitude for eternity. Lilian agreed and soon found herself bathing in all sorts of "herbal remedies", sleeping with noxious herbs and roots under her pillows, and placing candles by the family crypt at midnight while chanting some sort of foreign mumbo-jumbo.

They were soon blessed with a son named Andrew that Lilian carried to term and was born of "normal attributes". However, as he grew older, it was observed that Andrew had a fascination with hurting others. One day Raymond was outraged to find Andrew torturing a helpless bird.  He was sent away to private school so they could deal with him since Raymond and Lilian couldn't take it anymore.

However, he was soon expelled after forcing the head of a fellow student down into the marsh and nearly drowning him. When Lilian confronted the Witch about Andrew's condition she was told that the deal was still valid, that Andrew was essentially "healthy" and that Lilian's soul was hers for eternity.

And there was the Garth Family. Raymond, who had become a complete recluse due to his shame, Lilian, driven mad by failure as a mother and wife, and 3 "shameful children, all of whom had "conditions" which kept them isolated in their manor.

Until one night......

Raymond Garth had been surrounded by this "freakshow" for so many years that it had effected his entire life. His business was bankrupt, his family was a shame, and he had become sick with a fever he could not shake. Opium was his only release yet it came with the price of wracking pain when he missed a dose, and the visions, when he had it, were like glimpses into Hell.

One night Raymond Garth could not take it anymore. He assembled his whole family into the living room. He had given the servants the night off so he himself prepared  the brandy. Only this Brandy had an added ingredient. One that would give him the solace he so deeply desired.

As the wracking pain speared through t he bodies of his entire family, he pointed the shining pistol under his chin and pulled the trigger. The last image he had on this plane was that of his beloved wife Lilian, writhing on the floor in agony...........

The property went uninhabited until the late 1960's when a group of young idealists leased the property from the city and tried to turn the house into an commune type facility.  They worked for months trying to restore the place to it's former grandeur as well as modernize some of the outdated plumbing and electrical. As the idealistic tenants moved in, though, problems soon began.

The place had always been draped with a negative energy, like a wet blanket of despair. This soon manifested as violent mood swings among it's new inhabitants. Perversion, drugs, witchcraft, drug addiction, disease, and jealousy soon became commonplace within it's walls.

Then one night it all exploded in what police described as an "orgy of violence".

The scene was "Indescribable. The worst thing I have ever seen." as one officer was quoted as saying.

The property has since stood empty.

In the end, Garth Manor stands not as a once stately home, but a monolithic tombstone, an eternal crypt for anyone who dares to enter.

Front Done!

Finished the entire front yesterday. I like the look of the stone all the way up and I am glad I decided not to add brick work on the facing. The structure is very imposing. It will become even more imposing when I add in the coloring and aging.

I only have two side sections and the tower sides and back to do. That should go pretty quickly. Hopefully.

My next step will be to start of the slate roofing. These will also be done in paperclay but it is going to be a long process. I am kinda dreading it. I could go the easier route and use wood shingles but I don't think it would have the same effect. I will lay out one inch wide strips of paper clay the length of each section of roofing and then go back and carve in the details for each shingle.

I will be making the front porch flooring bricked with some circular accents at the door. I will also be adding a short stone wall to semi-enclose the "porch". This will give the front some more depth and detail since I am not using the porch roof. I may also add a lions head fountain just to the right of the front door which will have "water" spilling into a small fountain base. I think it will be a cool touch.

Does an abandoned house still have running water?

Sunday, August 5, 2012

 Hand Cramps............
Getting there......

Blood, Sweat, and Tears.....

Despite the heat yesterday, I was able to finish two more sections on the upper levels. I certainly put blood, sweat, and tears into the work. Literally. First off I was sweating heavier than an Eskimo in Savannah in August. Then I cut myself with a chef grade butcher knife while trimming clay. I then proceeded to step on a bottle of black acrylic paint that the cat had knocked off the table when I was downstairs rinsing brushes and it squirted all over the floor. Ok, it didn't make me cry but I was close.

 The clay was really drying up fast because of the high heat so I had to carve in my details fast on the large sections of clay while keeping the rest covered with damp paper towels and plastic wrap.
The final trim work on this beast is going to be a challenge. That makes it all the more fun.
Today I will get the two short sides (seen on the left) as well as the two large right sides with the window (kitchen bay). I need to check my measurements again because I may still add a conservatory right off the kitchen. A small one. This means turning the middle of the three windows into a door. I love making last second decisions. I love the idea of having a conservatory because I'll get to do real serious aging and gunk up the glass. Plus you can put strange things in a conservatory.

I am not really happy with the way the chimney has turned out so far. I am going to go back to it soon and add some further clay work and details. It still needs to be grouted and the chimney pots need to be put on top. I am my own worst judge. I think I may add some decorative element to the front face to break up the monotony. I will see if it needs it after it is grouted and trimmed out around the roof lines and contact points.