The conservatory has a floor

I LOVE THIS FLOOR.

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I constructed it with authentic used bricks, grouted with spackle, put on some gray grunginess, then sealed it with a matte varnish.  It did not take as long as I suspected it would.  The only thing I wish I had done differently is stir a little gray paint into the spackle before I grouted.

Because I knew I would want to manage the randomness I made a decision to not look at any brick I grabbed from the bag.  It was a great opportunity to practice self-discipline.  Even when I grabbed the sixth (gulp!) light brick in a row, I just glued it down next to the previous one.  I am quite proud of myself.


The conservatory continued

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Because the walls panels in the conservatory are made from MDF I cut down and glued in coffee stir sticks to create an all wood surface that will take stain. Once the glue was dry I applied a coat of a new product to me, Unicorn Spit, which I like, so far, though the finish was very chalky feeling when dry.  That meant it was easier to sand it back off places I didn’t want it, but it did have to be sealed.  I used an ivory colored finishing wax.

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I may have to wax the exterior side of the walls too, they pick up every speck of sanding dust off my table and cling to it. 

When I buffed the wax some areas on the windows wiped back down to bare wood, which is okay with me, I deliberately left imperfections on the walls to ‘age’ them.  Because of the manufacturing imperfections (gaps and glue smears) this is never going to be a pristinely finished build.

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The roof is meant to be removable, but since my frame is wobbly I am going to glue it in place. I think I clamped it too tightly during assembly. I am leaving the back wall removable, so won’t need access through the top too.

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Next to my to-do list is to ink the rest of the roof pieces, cut a new floor from thinner wood, and figure out which glue to secure the windows in place with.

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After a brief rant about how stupid the windows are I flipped them over to discover the panes fit into a recess on the other side.  Duh.  There is no trim, but if I glue carefully and sparingly with the right product I may be able to avoid both discoloring the panes and trimming.  Silicone, perhaps?

I am planning a brick floor, so need to determine glue and grout for that as well.  Tacky glue should do the trick there, and if I don’t have grout in the mosaic supplies I haven’t touched in a decade and a half then I’ll probably use spackle.  I need to figure out spacers as well, for when I glue the bricks down, I’m not so good at eyeballing things.  

Lots to do, lots to do, but my husband has been ill the past few days and I woke up this morning with a cough, so...


The conservatory reinvisioned

My original plan for the conservatory involved an oceanfront pier/dock.  Now that I’m using the contest kit for the dock I am reimagining the conservatory slightly.  I am going to build the conservatory and the contest kit simultaneously so I can landscape...seascape?...them at the same time.

I set the builds on my shelf, determining where I want which, since they’ll be pieces of a cohesive whole.

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I did a quick dry fit of the conservatory, to jog my memory, then glued the roof frame together...

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I’ve been playing around with the seascaping items I have so far....barnacles I made last year, some octopi, and teeny shells.  I have more shells, including limpets, on order, and Nancy is making me some rocks.  I’m in no hurry, I want to make sure it’s exactly how I want it before I pour water.  I’m also letting Nancy pour her water first, so I can learn from her process. :)  

I made a couple unsuccessful attempts at crafting sea anemone last weekend.  I have an idea to make closed instead of open ones, which will fit better anyway, since my seascape is going to be set in low tide.

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It feels really, really, good to be engaged with a project again!


Contest kit planning

I’ve been playing with the contest kit...dreaming, scheming, doing the usual mental pre-build.

The side wall isn’t wide enough to contain the elements I need without crowding.   I was going to make it wider, but then it occurred to me that I could fit the elements on the other (wider) wall, if I move the dock to the other side.

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Good.  Plus, the conservatory will sit next to it on the shelf pleasingly in this configuration.

I cut some planks to build the dock from a piece of wormy hardwood I delightedly pulled, years ago, from my brother-in-law’s shop scrap bin.

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I think I’ve got the support structure figured out, but am still contemplating options.  While contemplating I played with bricks, experimenting with ideas.

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Before I begin construction on the walls I need to make a decision on a roof.  More to come on that.

Oh!  I solved the problem of where it’s going to be housed after the build is done.  Last weekend I traded the bookshelves in my studio with deeper, industrial shelves.    They work great.

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