Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Porch Report

Supreme architect and friend, M.Charles was fantastic a few weeks back when he came to visit and help design & build the cottage porch here in Halfland. You helped me so much that day, Charles. I can't thank you enough. THANK YOU!

He dove in and did a lot of problem solving to work out the perfect porch for this set using nothing but materials on hand. His wonderful sketches are above. He wouldn't leave until he got the construction well underway.
 Cirelle came a few Saturdays back and talked me through how I could construct the rest. That helped a lot too. Last night I made good progress in actually installing the portico lattice roof of her suggestion from redwood lathing strips, after actually installing the handmade twig and spindle railings that she had launched.
It's still in progress as you see it above, yet surprisingly rugged and sturdy, held to the cottage via just two screws.  What happens next is the wisteria chair gets finished and planted off the back of the decking and its vines woven in between the roof's trellis slats. But that's after the entire porch structure gets its color/tone evened out with diluted acrylic paints.

Cirelle will have to get the window box replanted with it's tiny fleurs. And the water bucket pulley system devised for over the rain barrel. Rana's loom will have to be built and set on this new room/porch and her bags of wool set around it. I'll have to use wood epoxy to secure the little acorn nut post caps to complete the scene.

The scenes planned for the porch set (on the cottage set) is Rana seen weaving a macro texture of a butterfly wing in wool on her rustic loom with a spider nearby threading gems onto its web in the doorway.
Construction deets: I have sorted all my dried and seasoned branches and twigs in the store room, so it was a simple matter to locate fairly uniform diameter twigs to cut down for the porch's railing balusters and posts. With Charles' advice in my ear, I constructed the railings by careful cutting and gluing. I used a scrap of some kind of wooden channel that I was able to shove the uprights into for stability. I used ample wood glue and let the four lengths dry flat with heavy tools as weights.

After they were solid, I filled in any gaps and blended the various shapes into the form with my trusty pre-mixed flexible cement. The railing lengths were joined by a time consuming process of drilling small holes into each newel post and length in order to embed pieces of wire between each join. Then the glue, then the cement, and finally the wood epoxy. The tall porch posts were custom fitted with cement collars so they can be removed from their drilled plug-in holes. After that was all dry I moved the porch set from the workshop to the main set for finishing and installation.

Meanwhile, I took apart a very old store bought twig chair, chopped it to pieces and reassembled it to be smaller for Halfland's main scale. I've had the chair for years and have always noticed little munchy bits heaped around the chair wherever it was. I knew something was inside having itself a feast. Sure enough, as I was disassembling it, I discovered the entire chair was filled with cleared out tunnels and holes. Somehow I don't mind. It seems right that Halfland should have living things in it.

I have been creating a wisteria vine for the porch from old dead tree trunks that I've saved and handmade fabric blossoms and crepe paper leaves. I've been wiring those elements onto the chair, trying to make them seem half of the other. I want her porch chair to look nearly grown there.


  1. Es un trabajo increible ¡¡ me encanta cada paso que dais ¡¡ no tengo palabras ....

  2. ¡Recepción a Halfland, Ángeles!

    ¡Usted es demasiado bueno!


  3. This looks amazing! So much detail and hard work. Very inspiring.

  4. Thank you kindly, Ms. AshBob!

    Welcome to Halfland, official like.

    Please keep watching...

    Did you both know that you are invited to make a small fish puppet for the underwater scene? Details in the sidebar--->

    Would love to have yours included!

  5. So great and such beautiful work. The details are just amazing. Everything you do just fits so well into your world, even the photos with the effects.

    Such wonderful stuff, I think your blog is my favorite out of everyone that I visit.


  6. Thank you, that sounds amazing. I'll check that out for the fish puppet, I'd love to contribute to it :)

  7. HIGH PRAISE HIGH PRAISE! Thank you, Jeff! Very kind of you to say!

    I enjoy watching your work gogogogo as well.

    Any little squigley fish would be great, AshBob--oh--someone had the great idea of See Weed and a Coral that is also a Choral! Fun!

    I'd love a simply=rendered Seahorse that is a little horse with an inner tube around it's belly and a snorkle and mask over its face but it really is all open to anything at all.

    It's really much more about having everyone joining in the puppet fun!

  8. That sounds so sweet about the Seahorse! Do you mean actually like a 'real horse' who thinks its a seahorse? Or a proper seahorse itself with the snorkle etc? I'd be happy to give this a a go and send it.
    When is the deadline for all of these?

  9. ok, MS. Ash, It's after 4 in the am , please tell me you are not in my time zone! I have to be the only all nighter working fool.

    In any case---YES! I was thinking of a horse (not too realistic) with an inner tube around him and mask, etc. I have a picture of a real horse in that get that I thought would be a fit for an idea.

    I'd love you to make one, or any way you's like to interpret an idea.

    No rules for how animatable the puppet is. It can be just a piece of paper with wire scotch taped on the back--real down and dirty is perfectly fine.

    Deadline is not soon. The undersea set hasn't been launched yet, shooting on the main set first.

    So there is actually plenty of time.

    But, word of caution, open ended time like that can make a task linger than is mentally healthy.

    I started 1/2L in 1993.
    0.o nuff said.

    Having said that, yes please, please make any little thing. Comfortably yet soon!

    And thank you for doing it!

  10. haha, wow late night! I'm in the UK so it's just after 1pm here.
    That sounds so exciting and fun! I would be thrilled to do that.

    Would it be possible for you to email me the pic you have please? (my email is in my profile on here).
    I'm away for a week or so from this weekend but once I'm back I'd love to start making this. Possibly with an armature inside or something. It sounds so sweet.

  11. YES! I will indeed email you a snap of the picture! Thank you so much, Ash!

    Have a wonderful trip!

  12. Lookin' lovely, Lady Noble! What a beautiful addition to Rana's cottage :)

  13. Thank you very kindly, Jeff!


  14. That'd be great thanks! And no problem. Looking forward to it.
    And thank you! (i'm helping on a stop motion) So it'll be a great break im sure.

  15. Fantastic!!


  16. Anonymous1:34 AM

    WoW Shel!
    I'm so overwhelmed by the though off seeing this little heaven for real... Soon???
    From your closer then ever... Hila :)

  17. HOORAY! Can't wait for you to actually be here, Hila!

  18. My God, this entire project continues to amaze & captivate me. The blogsite itself is a little haven for me, nevermind its many other little creatures! :-)

  19. henniemavis THANK YOU! Your comments really spur things on here. I have so much to show you. Things that are nearly complete that will surprise and delight I hope.

    Let's just say the sunset is made of tulle!

  20. ASHBOB!!!, I've got the photo to send you but now your profile isn't displaying to the public? Could you please email me at nobledesign[at]sbcglobal[dot]net ????

  21. sorry about that, I've sent an email now but just incase mine is: ashh87 [at]blueyonder[dot]co[dot]uk

  22. Hooray! Thank you AshBob!

    I just sent you the snapshot of the idea to the email addy above.

    Hopefully you'll get it and have FUN making a Sea Horse for Halfland!!!


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