The Den of Slack

Victorianna right tower finished

The last time I worked on the Victorianna’s right tower, I had assembled the cupola (a bashed 1:48 gazebo) to look like this.

To finish it, I needed to fill those gaps between the wall pieces, and also clean up the platform that goes around the cupola. I cut dowel pieces to fill up the gaps. For the platform, I used thin strip wood to cover up the many different pieces that have been sandwiched together to form this surface.

I painted the pieces before gluing them in. I knew they’d need more paint once they were in, since there would be gaps to fill, but doing one coat first made the job a little easier. Of course, the paint caused the thin strip wood to curl, so it had to be taped down overnight while the glue dried.

Next I filled in the gaps with wood filler, being super careful not to get filler on the windows.

And here it is painted.

The cupola is enclosed, so it doesn’t technically need a railing, but the platform around it looks unfinished, especially compared to the beefier tower roof on the left.

My original plan was to put roof trim around the edge, but I couldn’t cut the pieces in a way that made the repeating pattern look nice.

So I decided to do a railing similar to the porch railing, but using the shorter spindles I’d used inside the cupola. I started by cutting out the handrail pieces using the 37.5-degree angle on the miter box.

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Thimbleweed Park afghan complete, and being auctioned for charity!

Just about a year after I started it, my Thimbleweed Park afghan is complete. What began as a gift for Ron Gilbert to celebrate the game’s launch spun into a massive and somewhat crazy project encompassing 48 characters plus the iconic road sign. It all adds up to 72,049 stitches. Yes, I counted.

So now that it’s done, what to do with it? For me, the fun of this project was converting the original pixel art into charts and seeing the characters come to life. Now that I’ve done this (and learned a lot about charting cross stitch along the way) I want to see the afghan off to a good home.

As I was working on it and posting my progress on Twitter, people kept asking if they could pay me to make them a Thimbleweed Park cross stitch. My answer to that question is no — this was always a labor of love, not something I ever intended to make money from. On the other hand, it’s a one-of-a-kind adventure game heirloom, and I want to do something cool with it. So I’m auctioning it off for charity.

The charity in question is the Video Game History Foundation, a nonprofit that archives games and game-related goodies that are at risk of being lost forever as floppies go obsolete and old boxes and magazines end up in the landfill. They love classic adventure games as much as I do, and if I can raise even a small amount to help the cause — and pass the afghan along to someone who will love and appreciate it at the same time — then I will be very happy.

The auction just went live and it will close in seven days, on May 16, at 10:07am Pacific time (7:07pm CEST). Please help spread the word!

Update May 16: The auction has ended with a closing bid of $1,787! I’m overwhelmed!

Fixing broken things

Almost three years have passed since I packed up 17 dollhouses (yikes), ~20 bins of furniture and supplies, and more kits than I care to count and moved from one 1:1 scale house to another. Even though the move was only 25 miles, getting the houses packed up, transported, and unpacked was a huge effort that I hope never to repeat.

The new house didn’t have a dedicated place to put the dollhouses, so they were scattered all over the house and garage until Geoff built me a workshop in the garage.

The new workshop has proven very good for working in — I have plenty of space for all of my supplies, easy access to tools, and a lot of table and floorspace to spread out on. But it’s turning out not to be great for displaying houses, for a few reasons. The countertop we built for the houses to sit on, with storage behind the houses, isn’t really convenient for setting up furniture. Things get banged into and lost. And don’t even get me started about the rat that was living in the rafters all winter. (Yes, really. Ugh.)

About six months after we moved in, I discovered that the Victorianna’s bathroom floor tiles had changed color. The garage has two west-facing windows and these were shining direct sunlight on the dollhouses for a few hours each afternoon. It didn’t occur to me that this was a problem until too late. (I posted about fixing those tiles here.)

Over time, there have been a lot of problems like that. I’ve become so frustrated with the dollhouses falling into disrepair that we’re rearranging some of our 1:1 furniture (can I get away with making that joke a second time?) so I can move some of the more finished dollhouses out of the garage. While doing that, I’m trying to fix things that have broken and finish small things I never got around to when I was working on the houses. (I have a problem with finishing projects!)

Which brings me to the Rosedale’s tiles. Yep, it happened again.

The Rosedale has two rooms — a bathroom and a laundry room — with floor tiles I printed on an inkjet printer back in 2011. I’m not exactly sure when or how they got messed up. As far as I can remember, they looked totally fine up until the move. I took pictures for my Rosedale gallery about six months after moving, and you can tell in those photos that they’ve started to change, but they still looked a lot better then than they do today.

The Victorianna is open on the sides, which put the bathroom in the path of the sunlight coming through the window, but the Rosedale’s open back has mostly been facing away from those windows. So… who knows what the real culprit is? A mix of sunlight and moisture? The garage isn’t climate controlled, but it isn’t particularly damp either.

While searching through my stash for tiles to replace these with, it occurred to me that I probably still had the original files. (My computers are like my workshop — nothing gets thrown away!) Because these are such simple rooms and I’ll soon be moving the Rosedale into my climate controlled dining room, I decided to take the risk of using the same printed tiles again.

Here’s how the faded bathroom tile looks next to a new printout of the same tile. Wow.

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