The Den of Slack

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A dead plant and Jesse James’s severed hand

Boss Fight Studio says their Sam & Max figures are *finally* close to shipping, so I decided to dust off the Freelance Police office that I finished a year ago and start cluttering it up.

I’m waiting for the figures to get here so I can use them as a size reference for building furniture, but in the meantime I’ll work on some accessories, starting with — drum roll please — a dead plant and a severed hand!

The dead plant, which happens to be named Hubert, sits on a small table near the window.

I made the table out of a golf tee and a 1 1/8″ wood disc. I started out with two sizes of disks, planning to stack the larger one on top of the smaller one, but as I played around with them I decided to only use the smaller one. (Both because the larger disk didn’t take stain nicely, and because it made the table top-heavy.)

The golf tee has a finish similar to Golden Oak stain, so I stained the disk to match it. Then I cut the tip off the tee and drilled a hole in the center of the disk the same diameter. First I did a pilot hole with my micro drill, shown here, and then I drilled the larger hole with the power drill.

Next I made the plant. I filled a 1:12 terracotta pot with air dry clay.

This is a piece of caspia basil with the leafy parts removed. I cut off a segment and painted it brown.

I poked a toothpick into the clay to make a hole, and then smeared glue on the clay. I kept the toothpick in during this process so the hole wouldn’t get plugged up.

I added coffee grounds for dirt, and glued the painted caspia basil piece into the hole.

Then I glued on one dead leaf. This is “leaf litter” left over from the fall section of the Four Seasons Roombox.

Voila! A dead plant!

The plant is okay, but I didn’t like how the table turned out. The light colored stain doesn’t match the rest of the room.

I sanded it with fine grit sandpaper and applied a coat of Minwax Aged Oak gel stain. This is the same stain I used for Sam’s desk. The golden color underneath changes the tone but it still darkened up nicely. I’m not sure if this would have worked with regular stain, since the sandpaper didn’t take all the shiny finish off the tee, but gel stain works over polyurethane.

Hubert looks right at home!

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Attic trunk roombox by Bauder Pine

It turns out my new house has A LOT of fruit trees. For the past five weeks I have been dealing with a huge harvest of plums and peaches. I’ve made 30+ jars of jam! But it’s dying down now, so I can finally start to break in my new workshop.

The new workshop doesn’t have a sink, so I wanted to start with something relatively small and self-contained that wouldn’t require constant access to water. (In other words, something that won’t turn into a big mess that needs to be mopped up!) So I pulled out the attic trunk roombox that I bought off eBay in March.

This roombox was from a Bauder-Pine workshop at the NAME 1987 national convention in Atlanta. It’s rare for me to buy something that’s already finished, but I passed up bidding on one of these years ago and didn’t want to repeat my mistake.

Opening the top of the trunk gives access to lights and the area behind the door and window.

I neglected to take a “before” photo of this view so this picture is from the eBay auction (hence the “Pic 8” label).

The “stones” on the fireplace are painted wood. I know this because I bumped one of them and a bit of wood flaked off. (I was able to glue it back on.)

I like how the mortar spooges out between the stones and between the lath pieces on this side. It’s very attic-like. Beyond the door you can see some ugly wallpaper.

I pulled these out of my stash as possible wallpaper replacements (both are from Itsy Bitsy Mini). The newspaper print might be appropriate inside an attic, but it didn’t seem right for the hallway outside the attic, so I decided to go with the birds.

The room is a separate structure that theoretically lifts out of the trunk, but the wire for the lights runs through both the room and the trunk, which prevents me from pulling the room out without disconnecting the lights. This leaves a very narrow space for dealing with the wallpaper. Also, as you can sort of see in this picture, the floor has a step.

I taped together pieces of paper to make a template.

Then I used the template to cut out the wallpaper. I sprayed this with UV-protection matte sealer before proceeding.

That looks a lot better!

The Itsy Bitsy paper is nice and stiff, and when I did a dry fit it neatly covered up the paper underneath. But when I put wallpaper mucilage on the back of the paper, it softened, and I wasn’t able to push it all the way down to the step. So you can see a bit of the old paper peeking out the bottom. This isn’t that noticeable (it’s behind a door!) but I couldn’t stand to leave it that way.

Baseboard to the rescue! That’s better, but I don’t like how the baseboard stops abruptly at the edge of the step. I’ve never liked that in dollhouse stairs and decided to do something about it this time.

I cut a piece of baseboard with 45-degree angles at each end and sanded down the pointy parts to meet up with the baseboard pieces above and below the step. Then I cut a triangular piece of basswood for the angled piece to sit on top of.

I painted all the pieces with Behr Varnished Ivory.

Here’s the top view.

And here’s the view through the door. You can just barely see this baseboard because of the angle. I would have liked to fill in the gap where the pieces meet with wood filler and paint over the seam, but there’s no way to do that in this narrow space.

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Square Kashkuli Gabbeh carpet & free petit point charts

In January I posted about the Kashkuli Gabbeh carpet that I charted based on a picture I found online. I finished a smaller version in May, but the move got me distracted and I only just got around to taking pictures and cleaning up the charts. (Scroll to the end of the post for download links.)

This carpet is about 5″ square, which would make it 10′ square in half scale. It fits perfectly in the Rosedale’s second floor living room.

Here are the two carpets side by side (click the image for a bigger version):

The larger carpet is 5″ by 7.5″. Both are stitched with one strand of DMC floss on 40-count Verdal evenweave. Of course, if you want to use these for 1:12 scale you can stitch them on a lower count fabric. The variegated blue borders are Weeks Dye Works Union Blue. If you don’t to use the variegated floss, I think either the light blue or dark blue that already appear in the design will work as a substitution.

I made a few changes the second time I stitched it that are reflected in both charts. The dark red is a little darker, the light yellow is a little lighter, and I used dark blue in the borders with the red H motifs instead of the variegated blue. I also changed the spacing on the border with the light background, so none of the medallions get cut off.

One change that isn’t reflected in the charts is that I stitched the variegated borders vertically instead of horizontally on the vertical edges. This strays from the look of the original rug and I’m not sure if it was the right call. It might have been better to stick with the horizontal rows, but to use much shorter lengths of the variegated floss so I didn’t end up with blocks of solid color like I did in the large carpet. I’m not stitching it for a third time, though!

Here are the charts for the two versions (for personal, noncommerical use):

Large Kashkuli Gabbeh Carpet Chart
Square Kashkuli Gabbeh Carpet Chart

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