Final Stages

Hey everyone — yes, this is WAY, way, wwwwwaaaaaayyyy overdue a post. And for that I’m really sorry! 😦

Things picked up rather fast since the last post. Because BK and I had schedule to go up to Cape Cod to see his family (and see his grandmother at Martha’s Vineyard), I was clocking in long hours at the office to make sure everything was in place during my absence. It was pretty harrowing — I didn’t realize how those final 5 business days took a massive toll on me. I’d arrive at my office just before 7 am…and was literally the last one to leave the building around 8-9 pm. Suffice to say, BK was pretty upset since it meant he had to pack up the car by himself the last evenings before our trip.

But once we got up to the New England region….it was amazing. We both got to relax — at least I managed to relax for the first time in years. Got to spend time with my in-laws and my grandmother-in-law (who I absolutely adore), and most importantly…got to spend quality time with BK. And realize a bunch of things. Like the importance of not letting work get in the way of life. Or perhaps that it’s time I start to look elsewhere.

Or as BK cheekily pointed out “….you need to go back to your hobby. I miss seeing you work away on your houses.”

Man, talk about lucking out with him. 🙂

Now that we’re back…and I’m slowly getting back in the pace at my office (albeit with much resistance), I finally was able to pad downstairs in the dining room/craft room and attempt to finish working on the ARC II. Granted, I did this around 6:45 am this morning, and it’s now 9:16 am….so am reporting to you what I just did.

During the trip, I was seriously debating what to do for the ARC II’s exterior. BK had suggested maybe doing stonework using egg cartons. I actually blanched at the thought of doing that (because we all know my “wonderful” progress with that idea with the CC right?).

Getting prepped for the exterior work.

Getting prepped for the exterior work.

So after much thinking (and gorging on seafood at the Cape),  I made the call to do a stucco exterior instead. So after rummaging through my bins, I found one of jars of Greenleaf stucco powder. Which I proceeded to mix with a bit of water, and several globs of Titanium white acrylic paint in a spare plastic cup from last weekend’s 4th of July BBQ at the house (hopefully more on that later).

stucco-03

Have to admit, was a little nervous making the mix. Was worried if I put too much water, the powder would be a watery mess. Too little water meant the stuff would be too thick to be able to spread easily on the ARC II’s exterior walls. Luckily, it panned out in the end. Though for added safety measure (because I’m a paranoid freak like that), I mixed a big tablespoon of tacky glue to the mixture. Mostly to make sure that it does stick to the walls — and on each other if I end up doing layers.

Once the stuff is mixed, I started to spread it out. Sorry, I didn’t take pics of the actual process. But I used a couple of 2 inch sponge brushes and a plastic dinner knife to spread the stucco. Plus I had to move quickly since the stuff starts to dry out very fast.  I found out later that having an extra plastic cup filled with hot water and a plastic spoon nearby the mix was super useful. If the mixture got dry, a few spoonfuls of the water and a quick mix….we were golden.

So after about an hour of application and some layering…..I got to this stage.

View so far.

View so far.

...and another.

…and another.

Overall, it gave the effect I wanted. Though I might have to go back and add more layers to cover where the floors attach to the walls. You can make out the slots despite the layers of stuff. Looking back, I probably should use have used either wood filler or caulk to fill in those slots. That might have generated a more “smooth” surface to spread the stucco. But overall, not bad.

And as you can see in the above photo….I got some of the stucco on the grassy area of the front yard. I was able to dab them out with some wet Q-Tips. But the others…well, I kinda cheated and resorted to camouflage. In the form of bushes that is.

Yeah I know it's cheating.

Yeah I know it’s cheating.

Some of the stucco got on the inside edges of the door and windows — but a quick wipe with damp kitchen towel did the trick.

So while I let the stucco dry (I put the ARC II by the patio door so the morning light could shine on it and start the drying process), I tackled the roof.  I had originally planned to have the roof receive the same treatment as the stone path in the front yard. But after calculating how much it would cost to get enough stones to cover the whole roof….had to resort to plan B.

Faux flooring paper. Image from Manor House Miniatures.

Had extra sheets of the faux “slate flooring paper” from Manor House miniatures. Granted, it’s set to 1:12 scale, but the pattern’s subtle enough that it should work. At least that’s the theory my delusional creative extraordinary brilliant mind was thinking….

Nothing special here in terms of what I did. I just used the ARC’s roof/second floor ceiling panel to trace the shape onto the paper flooring, cut it out and attached it to the roof using good ol’ YES paste, making sure the paper is applied smoothly. Then sprayed it with matte sealer to make sure it doesn’t get scratched up later on….

The finished product.

The finished product.

Once the paper was set….it was time to glue it onto the ARC. It took some adjusting, but managed to secure it in place.

After the roof, I installed the railings. I painted the top rail using Titanium white acrylic paint (I kept the edges plain to show the dark brown finish), while the posts were painted the same turquoise blue I used on the ARC’s bed. After sanding the edges and repainting them, they were then glued into place. For parts this small, a fast grabbing tacky glue definitely helped.

Railings installed.

Railings installed.

stucco-07

Top railing applied.

Top railing applied.

Woot! It's done!

Woot! It’s done!

And there you have it….the ARC II’s all assembled. Now I just need to let everything dry some more….and I can start decorating. THEN I can safely say I’m done!

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