In the Meantime

Since I can’t proceed until the mortar cures, I’ll have to make do with shuttling between a new project (more on that later)…and maybe working on the little things with the Sedona. In this case, this entry is more on the latter.

With the Sedona having a new L-shaped deck (really liking that), I had to figure out something for the space that the deck now surrounds. Luckily, I had these suckers on hand.

Mini stones. Photos from

Mini stones. Photos from

Doing a dry-fit run on the stones.

These are actually thin slabs of wood (about 2 mm thick) that were randomly cut and painted to simulate stone. I bought a pack of the large and mini stones from during one of their promo sales. They carry a pretty big selection of stuff, and if you sign up to receive their emails (and get their catalog), they tend to offer good sales on their merchandise.

Anyways, I only bought one of each set as an experiment — since kinda sucked since I don’t think it’s enough pieces to cover the area. But figured, might as well try…

It took some time finagling the pieces, but the photo on the right was the layout that I was okay with. Definitely didn’t have enough to cover the space, but at least it covered enough until my next order arrives (yay for sales – bought more of the stones to keep on hand). So I started gluing each piece down with tacky glue and putting them in position.  Hopefully once the other stones arrive, I can fill the gaps between the stones with either sand — or maybe some fine gravel. What do you think?

Other than that, this is actually coming along pretty well. Pretty happy about that.

Finally! We’re back in business…I think

After the whole Primrose debacle, I should have been in limbo in terms of doing miniature work. I couldn’t work on the Sedona roombox since I was waiting on the door. And I didn’t have any other mini project I could work on.

Can finally install the last of the tiles.

Can finally install the last of the tiles.

But in end, it worked out — this past week had been crazy at work (got pulled to work at our annual conference after all), and this past Saturday was spent getting the house ready to have my friends over.  AND that’s when the package arrived (hurray!) with the door.

So let’s just say Sunday was a somewhat spastic, frantic race to see what I could accomplish. Shall we begin?

As you can see on the photo on the right, the front door from Earth & Tree Miniatures arrived. It’s basically an interior glass door — I had to use a utility blade to widen the door opening to accommodate the frame. Once it was snug, I started cutting/mitering the door trims to fit around the opening.

After cutting the trims down to fit, I secured them against the wall using painter’s tape. Didn’t want to glue them in place yet since (a) I need to apply stucco on the walls, (b) haven’t installed the lights (c) haven’t painted/stained the door & trim, and (d) I needed to install the last row of tiles.  You can tell I had a crapload of work left huh?

As for the tiles, I had to use a pair of sharp shears to trim the last pieces of tiles down to size. Especially in the areas where it had to flush against the door trim. Will admit, I broke about a dozen of my tiles until I got them down pat. Did a dry-fit to make sure everything looked right, then proceeded to glue them into place.

Once the tiles were installed, I had to wait for the adhesive to dry before I could move to the next step. So I shifted my attention to the Sedona’s outside deck area. To be honest, I didn’t really have a clear idea how I wanted this place to look — only that it was going to be a sitting area. And that seating area had to have some kind of deck.


Measuring and cutting the deck base. Please ignore the meaty claw that is my fat-ass hand.

So I did a rough measurement of the area where I wanted the deck — figured having it flushed against the terrace’s rear wall would be a good spot. From there, I took a piece of 10mm thick (about 3/8 inches) cellfoam and cut out a rectangle based on those measurements. After it was cut out, I covered it with some beadboard that I purchased from eBay. Didn’t realize these were a bit hard to come by — I apparently bought this vendor’s last piece of the walnut beadboard. Which is a total bummer since I can see so many uses for this….

The cellfoam piece covered with beadboard -turned decking platform.

The cellfoam piece covered with beadboard -turned decking platform.

Since I wanted to conserve this piece of beadboard (aka — I can’t fudge this up since I can’t buy replacements), I carefully cut off enough to cover the cellfoam piece. After a light sanding and a single layer of varnish — my deck was done. But once I put it down on the Sedona’s terrace for a dry fit….found myself making a second, more narrow deck. Maybe someplace to put plants or a lounge chair…

Did a dry-run with the first deck….then added a second one.

At this point, figured the glue should be dry enough for me to go back to the tiles.

Because the flooring was my first attempt in making tiles out of air-dry clay, alot of the screw-ups imperfections were definitely visible. Alot of them had creases and cracks on the tiles when I was cutting them into shape that didn’t exactly smooth out as I had hoped. And now that they were completely dry…those screw-ups imperfections were even more in your face. Or maybe just to me.

(Please note the following are clear examples of this writer literally “winging it”)

Not sure where I got this idea, but I filled the creases on the tiles with a dry brush of Chroma’s Jo Sonja wood gel stain (Picking White to be exact). Nothing fancy really — just a quick swipe of the paint over the files then wiped off the excess with a dry paper towel. The gel was thick enough to act as a filler on the creases — and oddly, it actually gave each tiles a unique look.

After applying a layer of Sonja Wood Stain Gel (picking white)

After applying a layer of Sonja Wood Stain Gel (picking white). Oh yeah, and installed painter’s tape along the walls so they wouldn’t get ruined in case I screwed this up. <face palm>

Before the gel could fully dry, I brushed a layer of FolkArt waterbase varnish (satin finish) to seal the tiles — and to dilute the white stain gel a bit more. Again, the tiles were blotted dry with a paper towel before I threw two more coats of the varnish. Once those layers were completely dry, I moved to applying grout to fill the gaps between the tiles.

Groutin' Time!

Groutin’ Time!

For the grout, I caved in and bought pre-made miniature brick/stone mortar from a local miniature store (local as in it’s an hour’s drive from my house). Couldn’t resist — I mean, it’s $5 a canister, and the store was doing 30% off all their stuff. Not passing up a sale that’s for sure.

The instructions were pretty straightforward – just stir the contents of the canister and apply the stuff on the files using either a sponge brush or a putty knife. Since I was too lazy to fish for my collection of putty knives, I went for the sponge brush route. Installation is the same as how you would do tile in real life — you smear and spread it over & between your tiles to fill the gaps. Then you take a wet sponge and wipe off the excess.

As you can see in the above photo, I put on a thick layer of the mortar to make sure it got in the gaps using one sponge. But then I used a second sponge brush to push the excess mortar on the tiles onto the next row of gaps to make the stuff spread out. Plus, it means that the layer that was directly on the tiles should be relatively thin — and should make clean up easier. When it came time to wipe off the excess, I used an empty yogurt container and filled it with water so I can rinse the sponge in it. Wanted to make sure the tiles were as clean as possible.

Tadah!! The floor’s done…sort of.

Was pretty happy how the mortar turned out — then realized in the instructions that while the stuff should be dry in an hour or so….I need to let it cure for a week.

(Insert sound of hand slapping forehead. Repeat.)

Well this sucks. Maybe I should start a second project to pass the time. Will have to think that over some more. Question is, which one?

Guess for now…I can start salvaging working on the door and the wood trim.

Staining the ceiling trim and door with more of the wood stain gel. Though I might need to sand these and throw another layer of stain… (sigh)…