Friday, 6 April 2018

Stonewalled by Villa Leone

Stonewalling is a refusal to communicate or cooperate
 Villa Leone, has been deliberately refusing to cooperate with me
which means that 
 I've had nothing of interest to communicate
on my blog.

 There's been nothing new
to show you since 
 January 14th

I've been busy pouting.

I've been mad at Leone for stonewalling me

I'd suggest an idea but Leone would refuse it. 
So I'd try something else, 
however it didn't matter what I came up with because, 
 the Villa rejected all of my ideas for it. 

This went on
 week after week

and since 
stubbornly refused to communicate or cooperate-
 I stubbornly continued to pout

Secretly I knew that the Villa 
was pushing hard for me to make the staircase for the second floor 
yet I continued to resist 
because frankly-
I hate making stairs.

Eventually, I opted for a reconciliation. 

I resigned myself 
to working on the Villa's second floor staircase 
leading up to a 3rd floor Master Bedroom. 

But I wanted as much floor space on the 3rd level as possible 
so I figured the best approach 
was to install the second flight of stairs 
right next to the first. 
I papered the ceiling, cut the hole for the stairs, made the tile floor for the hallway using 
a STAND IN flight of steps 
as a temporary substitute for those
which I will eventually have to build.

At the same time
I also had to plan out the bathroom which will be 
the room closest to the viewer,
 as well as 
plan the layout for the adjacent library/music room 
on the second floor.  

 Many fine details for the entire second floor
 had to be planned 

Once I had a workable floor-plan, 
and had cut out the opening in the ceiling for the stairs,
I began constructing the interior walls 
for the 2nd floor hall and its future staircase. 

For the dividing stair/bathroom wall,
I cut out a window to provide additional light and interest in this tall, dark stairwell, 
and would look good 
on the bathroom side of the wall, too.  

The "iron" grill was added to the window 
to help dress it up.
I fashioned the "L"shaped STONE WALL to not only enclose the first floor stairwell, 
but to also support the run of the staircase 
on its opposite side.

Since the stair enclosure looked plain to me, 
and since I have lots of cherubs in my stash, 
I decided to add a couple of angelic"carvings" to further embellish the walls.

The musical cherubs were glued in place
 and painted to match the stone. 

The cartouche carvings were a gift from Fatima 
which I cut to fit, 
later I added the extra bit of plastic curlicue 
cut from a doily
 to fill up the space underneath it. 
I found a hanging light fixture in my stash and tried it out in the hall.
(but HOW will they 
(or I) ever be able to change the bulb?)
I don't know

moving on

I also made the tile floor for the hall

 from sheets of 
Scrap Book paper 

At this stage I was feeling pretty confident about my progress.
that is

and this is when I ran headlong into
another STONE WALL! ➽
Megan from the blog
ran into exactly the same problem.
She discovered that she no room at the top of her staircase for a landing
 neither did I!

Try as I might
(And I did try)
there was no room to step off the top stair.
there was NO ROOM for A BEDROOM 
 on the 3rd floor!

I did EVERYTHING I could to try to have a bed up there
 but there just wasn't enough room! 
by now, I was 
 I realized that I would have to forfeit either 
the entire bedroom 
 a staircase leading up to it
wouldn't let me have both!



In theory there's
 SCADS of space in the attic 
however there's also inset interior walls
which support the roof
as well as the 3 recessed windows on all three walls, 
 a long hole in the floor to accommodate the staircase,
so in reality,
there's very little usable wall or floorspace despite it's great size. 

 I realized that I was snookered. 

after some more required pouting,
 I chose to move the stairs 
to the opposite side of the hall 
so I could at least have a landing.
 in fact:
the new position of the staircase is
 close to their
Designated Location 
as per the original instructions in the kit.
(I guess I should have read them)

Thus, the attic bedroom was moved down to the
leaving enough room on the 3rd floor for it to become 
the library/music room.

I think that this arrangement will work.


I had already done
had to be 
Which meant that I had to patch up the hole I'd cut in the ceiling, 

then recut a new one. 
I also had to entirely cover over the old ceiling paper in the hall 
with a new ceiling paper
 to hide my ugly patch job.

I also decided to remove and dismantled the existing stone walls and make a half wall instead.  
When that was done, 
this is what it looked like

I found smaller seated cherub in my stash and glued it next to the ball on the banister,
then tried out the arrangement with

requesting that she perform the balcony scene from 
"Romeo and Juliet"

but alas! 
she was up-staged!
Visually there was

the cherub with the harp 
Stealing the show 
and the view from afar
really odd

like- what IS all that stuff over there?
I pried off both of the angels, ditched the small one and moved the bigger cherub further down the pony wall,
 gluing it in between both of the cartouches.

I left the ball on the banister alone. 

Now it looks like this
and as it happens,
this new half wall will make it easier in the future

 for Isabella
(probably me)
to change the
light bulb in the hanging fixture


 a little Shakespeare, 
if you please...

"O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or, if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love,. And I'll no longer be a Capulet."
I like the look of the half wall much better! 

and now that the angels are out of sight- 

it looks cleaner
The floor tiles haven't been glued down
since there are
electrical wires for the first floor ceiling lights
 directly underneath it.
They will need to be connected 

to the power strips
before the tile are permanently affixed, 
and once the floor is installed I will build the dividing wall between the hall
the bedroom.

One of the most difficult tasks I had to perform, was getting my hand and arm through a window to apply the drywall filler along the join between the bathroom wall and the exterior wall, 
while working carefully around 
the hanging lamp and the pictures. 
Then I had to clean up the resulting mess.
I also had to paint it with a 

When I told Janine that I had learned to become 
a contortionist 
 I wasn't kidding


the hoops we'll jump through for the sake of this hobby!
After I viewed the above photo 
I knew I needed to install some ceiling trim. 

out comes the tub of wall putty 

and then the paints

 an unsightly
 stray blob of putty,
is found still clinging to the framed painting

how annoying!

Gold gilded frames in the gallery
 came courtesy of
Jean-Claude at

Maison fran├žaise 1/12

thank you again Jean-Claude! 

Artwork on the narrow wall 
leading towards 
the bathroom,
 are a round brass button cover,
a cherub earring, 

and a coat of arms with a lion in the center of the shield
Viva Leone!   
and yes,
 me and the Villa are on speaking terms again
And so there you have it!
weeks of pouting 

and of doing nothing,
and then 
of doing something
and all for what?-

a pony wall.


 that's how I roll
when I'm stonewalled

by the way,
 I still have to make the stairs! >< 


 I think that's h-all 
for now


Sunday, 14 January 2018

"You Can Leave Your Hat On!" - ballad of a Stove Hood

Inspiration can come from many different sources. 

As I was writing this blog, the theme song from the movie 
The Full Monty 
was looping through my head- hence the blog's title: 
"You Can Leave Your Hat On" 
In a way, it was an appropriate choice 
in that throughout the making of 
I kept putting things ON
only to 
                                   strip em off....

But once again, I am getting way ahead of my story.
Let me begin it this way

When working on the left side of Villa Leone's kitchen my original muse was a 

MINWORKS blogpost 
from several years ago.
My friends Janine and her hubby Bruce,
had made a Fantastic Hall Lantern 
for their
Award winning
French House, 
by gluing together

 2 night lights from the dollar store 
to form a single hanging fixture.  

Remembering what they had done, had me cruising the aisles of different dollar stores, 
looking more closely at what night lights had to offer.

Last year I stumbled across this one which I thought might one day make a pretty good stove hood. 

           It's shape reminded me of a hat.  
Funny thing is that what I both Liked and Disliked about the shade, was it's unique hat-like shape, however I didn't  want it to continue looking like a hat once it was installed in the kitchen.

But another reason that I thought the shade might work as a hood, was that the plastic was easy to drill through, and since it was already hollow, adding lights and hiding the wires inside it would be pretty easy. 
I was eager to try it out with my FANTASTIC- NEW-TOTALLY GORGEOUS  8 burner, double oven, MOLLY SUE MINIATURES 

 I could see the potential of a beautiful relationship between the two, so I decided to proceed with the hood
 as planned.

  I would need a tiled wall behind the stove, 
I dug through my 
"used- to- be-organized- but- is- now- really- messy" 
stash of building supplies, 
and located some leftover plastic embossed "tin tile" which I would paint and install beneath the hood.
I used an earlier tutorial of mine for painting these particular plastic tiles
"Big Tiles- try- try again"

To widened the base of the hood I cut a rectangle of foam core board to equal the width of the stove, and glued 2 wooden corbels to the underside for supports. 
These I'd also found in my messy stash. 
 I cut some wood trim to bulk up the base, then tried it out with the doll "cooking" at the stove. 
 What I had was a plastic hat with a wooden brim.  Clearly additional work was required. 
To make it look more interesting, I cut up a plastic picture frame to add some carving.  
It was very heavy- looking carving and Naturally, I thought I could "lighten it up" with Even MORE 
Heavy Carving

I kept on adding things: a lion head, a plastic circle,  rhinestones, and metal bits and more wood trim.
"maybe it will look better, once it's painted"  
Base coat on

then 2 finish coats of black acrylic paint.  

And although wouldn't admit it out loud,

 I thought it looked like 
a halloween witch hat. 
Even so;
 I persisted in the belief that I could fix it up
by adding still more to it.

I randomly brushed a gold nail polish over the black paint which gave the hood metallic highlights.
The general idea was to make it appear in harmony with  the brass trims on the Italian stove. 
However, no matter what I did
it still wasn't doing it for me.

This was THE Moment
 my career as 
A Stripper 

Off came the top!
to bad for me-
 the crowd WASN'T going wild :(

Perhaps once it is actually installed in the kitchen?...

and so
 I was back to putting things on again

(lyrics from the song)

so I drilled two holes into the plastic bottom 
of the night light hood,
I added two gold glass buttons I'd found in my stash.

I threaded the bulbs through the buttons,
 then gathered the wires into the hood, 
which were then fed through the kitchen wall 
and hooked up to the transformer.
At the back of the hood, I covered over the hole with filigree 

right where the shade would have attached to the night light bulb,  

this became the hood's Exhaust Fan. 

I tested the lights before gluing the hood to the wall 
The buttons make the lights HUGE! 

I remembered I had some brass strips and some brass doweling.
I cut the brass trims to fit the hood 

then glued them both in place. 
                      Then the tiles were glued to the wall. 
                    The hood was positioned above them.
I couldn't get a crisp a bend at the corners with the brass, but it still looked better than I'd expected. 
I was stoked about both the brass and the tiles. 
The Lara Copper fry pan was a Christmas gift from Linda Park!
and since I'd made hooks for utensil bar,
 I was able to hang the pan right away and 
 LOved it!
Linda emailed me, asking about how things in the kitchen were progressing?

I had been on a roll- 
 I had already done a lot-
and I liked it a lot - well mostly 


To me
My dollar store night light still resembled 
a hat-

a tall Top Hat wearing a lot of brass!
All interest in the kitchen, suddenly "bump and grind-ed"  to to a halt. 
I felt like slinking off stage.  
In my frustration, I was going give up on the kitchen and go to work on the second floor of the villa instead, since nothing I did; helped, and I could no longer pretend to like- THE HAT!  
However, working on the second floor of the villa meant working on the second floor staircase- Arrgggh!!!
nooooo- I'm not ready for that yet either! 

So, I put on my thinking cap  to try and come up with an viable solution; because having glued the hood to the wall, I had no other choice but to leave the hat on.   
 Then a light switched on!... I had an idea
What if- I lowered the ceiling height to hide the hat? 
much like a burlesque FAN DANCER; it's all still there,                          but you just can't see it
I tried out a section of wood across the top of the hood to see if it would work and what it would look like. 
"YES-I think that I could live with this"
           but first I had to pry off that lion medallion

  Sudden Exposure-
(you can see it's undies!)

I made second hat 
to cover the first hat
I cut a length of foam insulation to span
the width of the wall, which I then covered with 
wallpapered cardstock on the narrow front face 
as well as on the underside. 
Then the new hat was glued in place 
right over the old black hoodie. 
I added the ceiling beams for a little Venetian character
and permanently affixed the lantern to the ceiling.

To finish off the top of the hood, I cut 2 strips of self-stick gold ribbon, doubled up, and glued them to the top of the hood to form a thick band to cover the gap at the cut out.

I chose to use ribbon because it was flexible and would easily conform to the contours of the hood AND because I had lots of it, therefore, IF I made a mistake, 
which I usually do; 
I could try again. 

This gold lame ribbon has a fuzzy texture like velcro
I applied the first of 2 layers

I used my finger to smear a layer of drywall putty over the surface of the gold ribbon which I had painted black. 

I smoothed drywall putty over the ribbon and let it dry. 

I cleaned off the overage and waited until the putty had set.
When it was dry to the touch, I painted it again with black acrylic paints. 

 then highlighted it with more gold nail polish.
                   Everything was Looking good! 
The crowd was going wild!!!
Ta Dah!
With the new dropped ceiling over the stove,
 the rest of the kitchen
became fun to play with again.

In the photos above and below,  you can see that
I've placed the sewing box which I won last year as part of a multi- Giveaway from Pepper's
MitchyMoo Miniatures blogspot

I'm treating it in the kitchen as a Spice Box. 

Here's a view of both sides of Leone's kitchen

mmmmm.. good!
Sauteed mushrooms in butter
Irina Miniatures

I LOVE cooking on my new Italian stove

Oh, by the way-
would you like to stay for dinner?


 Well then,
"take off your coat" 


 I think You know the rest

and thus ends my brief career as a Stripper.
rated "G" for all audiences 

take it away Tom Jones!