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A derelict corner shop, in 1/12 miniature scale!

6 December 2012

A wide range of ideas and building talent and technique have been evident during the 2012 Creative Competition run.

Isobel Sage, from Surrey, created a somewhat derelict shop with her  entry.

Careful attention to detail – and almost four months of hard work – resulted in this evocative result.

The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

"I thought I would have one more crack at the competition as it is a corner shop with an upstairs floor separate to the lower one," she said, "but rather than being just a shop, I thought I would do a derelict one with boarded up and broken windows and items left scattered around inside, telling of the previous occupants; old shop signage and items they might have used but possibly broken.”

The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

She also ordered a shop counter, dressmaker's dummy wooden dolls house, biscuit tin, shop advertising boards, but the screen she wanted had been discontinued.

Here are some more (selected!) extracts from her Corner Shop build diary:

April 15: Put down the outer border of flooring on the ground floor. (After doing parquet flooring the previous year for the Village Hall and enjoying it so much, I decided I would do the same type of flooring for the old shop.)

April 19: Marked out grid lines on ground floor and put a few blocks out and photographed it for reference. Started gluing blocks to the floor. Completed almost 4 complete rows.

April 20: Cut out a few more blocks and spent 2 hours gluing them down.

April 23: Cut out a few more blocks and glued 2 rows in place. I had spent some time looking at the older houses near me to see what colour mortar they had. I decided I would need a dark sandy brown colour for my shop walls.

Interior upper floor - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

Interior lower floor - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

Close up on darkroom notice - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

April 27: Cut out more wood blocks and did a dry build of the ground floor to assess which way round the stairs went and marked their position on the wall. Took photos for progress record.

May 10: I have almost finished the parquet flooring – just one small triangular area to fill and a few edge pieces.

May 11: Went to Kensington dolls house fair. Bought a Bromley Crafts stencil and red brick compound. Also got some advice on how to use one of the stencils for my project. I found a stall selling a camera and tripod, another with Phoenix fireplace kits, hopefully the right size for my needs. I was pleased to find a screen, luckily it has one hinge that is different to the others that I can remove to make it look damaged without spoiling the overall look of it.

May 12: Painted all the outside walls brown and green for the old mortar.

May 13: Completed laying the parquet flooring. Stained it and gave it a good sanding.

May 14: Put a coat of polish on parquet flooring. Rubbed it in well.

May 15: Sanded the parquet floor again.

Through the upper door - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

Through the upper door - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

May 18: taped floor and ceiling together, drilled some holes and used fretsaw to cut an uneven hole between them. Painted a coat of magnolia emulsion on both ceilings. Cut out more depressors for planking and stained with light oak wood dye, let them dry. Marked where joints would be for nailing the planks! Planked the whole floor, making some jagged around the hole. Marked the nails. Painted the inside walls of upstairs ready for decorating.

May 19: Bought more acrylic paints. Also started gluing phoenix fireplace – only to discover it wasn't a rapid set glue as I had supposed! Will have to try and get the rapid one tomorrow!

May 21: Painted upstairs window frames, lower window frames, and front door with green paint.

May 28: Painted black on windows and doors for cracked look. Marked out placement of rafters for loft. Cut two ready for gluing in place.

House martin's nest - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

Pigeon on roof - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

For sale sign - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

New shop poster - The Corner Shop, Isobel Sage

May 29: Printed off more shop signs. Put coat of red paint inside upstairs door. Cut out the loft hole and damage to upper floor at top of the steps. Glued rafters in loft in place plus supports for water tank Put wood edging to loft hole plus edging around it.

May 30: Painted fireplace. Worked out dimensions for dark room and dais.

May 31: Cut out wood piece for dais. Measured and cut downstairs skirting board. Applied damage effect and painted cream 1st coat on. Decided on position of privy – to face towards back of steps. Put a coat of cream paint on inside of shop counter over crackle glaze already applied, also put coat of red over the rest of counter and applied a little more damage effect and sanded it and skirting boards down when paint was dry. Red colour is more subdued with thinning out by sanding. Will put crackle glaze on next.

June 1: Applied crackle glaze to counter and when dry put on dark brown. Also put 2 cream coats on skirting boards, then crackle and a final brown coat. Put 2 coats emulsion on inside of ground floor - bit concerned as I can see a bowing of the MDF! Made a cold water tank out of an emulsion tester pot, painted the inside window facings.

June 8: Cut out pieces for the toilet seat and the base. Cut out the toilet hole and hold from cistern to bowl. Glued the 3 bits together.

June 9: Made the back wall of privy and cut out the base.

Isobel Sage with her shop

Isobel Sage with her shop

June 10: Made the cistern, back plate and top. Rubbed it down and painted it. Cut the skewer for the water pipe to bowl. Cut up a bottle lid and glued it in place for the toilet bowl. Painted inside of walls. Put in panel pin for lever.

June 17: Went to Leatherhead (Formerly Dorking) DH fair. A bit of disappointment regarding the low number of stall holders and the types of products that were absent. Large empty spaces in the big hall, and no-one selling paints, glues, effects (e.g. scenic water). Also no Bromley Crafts nor tools or resin figures or kits. But, despite that, I was pleased to be able to find so many of the items I was hoping to purchase. I got a lot of timber for shelving, walls, and other items.

Managed to find a robins nest in a book, 2 blackbirds and 1 pigeon. Also a martins nest and 2 chicks. Found material for curtains upstairs, some carpets, newspapers, and patterns for haberdashery shop. Made door frame for privy, painted privy door, did the crackle coat and dirty looking top coat. Painted the frame as well the same. Also put a weak wash of dark umber on walls inside and out. Marked placement of hinges. Cut brass pins to make nails for hinges.

June 18: After work, logged on and ordered goods and tools from Hobby's and DHE. Discovered I had been using an old Hobby's catalogue. Decided to use the armchair I had started last year – finished t off, now it will need distressing and spoiling. Must order stencil Bromley crafts tomorrow!

June 20: Hobby's and DHE packages came today

June 22: Glued and pinned hinges on privy door. Glued downstairs skirting boards. Made up downstairs cupboard and stained it with antique pine. Still need to sort out doors. Made up the rest of upstairs fireplace. Put a frame around and tiles – some broken. Cut a hole in an upstairs window glass.

June 24: Tidied up the chimney hole in roof. Enlarged it and straightened the sides ready to put in brickwork.

June 26: Painted same thin typewriter paper with splotches of colours on one side. These will be for leaves blown into both shops. Finished making up the sewing machine and did first gluing for oil heater. Rolled up the 2nd part of brass and held in place ready.

July 2: Looked for and found some sheer netting, which I can use upstairs and have 'blown' out of one of the windows. Found some faded wallpapers and got enamel paints out. Also found patterns that can be glued to screen. Started painting and sanding the screen.

July 3: I feel a bit sad at having to make so many things grubby and tatty!

July 27: Glued lower back wall to base and then left hand wall. Tried doing left wall, but fit wasn't right. Decided to trim skirting board and dado back a little. The I realised I needed to put the windows in place first. Cut more holes in 'glass'. Glued both windows in place, one window was slightly warped, and needed quite a bit of weight to help it stick. Then I noticed that the glass had slipped out of place necessitating removal of window and repositioning of glass. Finally got it in place. Then remembered that the inside part of the window would need gluing in place. As I was doing windows, I decided to glue the upstairs glass into frames. Managed to finish the hole I had started in the thicker piece of perspex/acrylic. Having places the door in its panel, I felt it wasn't quite right. I think I may have to remove the brickwork and either redo it to fit properly with either side, or just have it painted.

August 5: Finished lettering on shop door.

August 8: Printed out street signs to be laminated to resemble metal.

August 9: Glued front door into place and added the inside parts. Put frame panel in place. Realised I hadn't painted upper window facings. Glued the frameworks together and put 3 coats of cream paint on, with sanding down after 2. Painted on the crackled coat on both. Placed the darkroom red bulb through the prepared hole. Painted the inside of the added walls. Dirtied up the ground floor walls. Attached the roof to ground floor. Cut a hearth stone for 1st floor fireplace.

August 10: Decided I should take the plunge and put the two floors together. I put the 2 long sides together and held with masking tape. I used the floor as a template and kept the walls square. Left for quite a while to get really bonded before moving the walls over to the ground floor and gluing them in place, then while it was still moveable – glued the floor into place! Then did the ultimate test – dry tested the ceiling with the darkroom walls in place, and it fitted well! Glued the skirting boards in place and then painted all the bare wood ready to do the brickwork.

August 15: Put rafters into the roof at last. Stuck down wallpaper that had unpeeled and papered the last wall. Purchased 2 rolls of wallpaper and a small air brush set from Hobbycraft. Also bought some tester paints from Homebase. Made up shop name signs onto thin 1/16 inch wood. Painted the upper trim with black paint. Put the 'glass' panels into the counter and broke the 3 tier display stand. Applied a coat of green paint to top floor. Cut out shop adverts and saucy photos ready for use. Applied black wash to upper floor bricks. Soaked curtain material and signs in strong cold tea to age them.

August 16: The rugs don't take the tea dye very well. Neither did the curtain material. Put a coat of paint on darkroom. Cut the hinge holes out on doorpost Put the roof on the privy and left a stain in the bowl.

August 18: Began writing up about the shop. Attached the for sale sign.

August 19: Scraped off bricks for putting in date plaque. Painted on the white calcium deposit from hard water overflow. Sealed all the brickwork. Stuck in light switched and sockets, dirtied up the upstairs ceiling. Stuck in the sink, work bench and shelves. Drilled hole in the trim for drainpipe. I also did some damages on trim 'from bricks'.

August 23: Tried setting the net curtain in a blowy position – but couldn't get it how I wanted. Cut out a piece of photo paper and made “ghost photos” on upper wall. Also did a clock shape. Made a new, narrower net, with a wooden pelmet. Cut it up but only draped one piece out of the hole.

August 25 (am): Checked the fit of the small roof panel. It needed trimming down quite a lot to make an easy fit. Glued down the roof and then realised I hadn't done the ceiling. Stuck one advert on an outside wall. Put scenic rust on roof of privy.

August 25 (pm): Stitched the curtain and fixed it to the rings. Snapped it into place. Stuck the ceiling down and the tap to darkroom. Started the chimney, Have done 4 courses tonight Also did some of the wall at top of stairs – 1 bag of bricks used already!

August 26 (am): Stuck up adverts around ground floor inside and on the outer part. Trimmed away a bit of privy roof so it sits nearer the shop. Laid five more courses in the chimney. Looks quite good.

August 26(pm): Finished the broken chimney. Also did the walls at top of steps. Rubbed and cut at roof door so that it fits better – I was way too tight.

August 27 (pm): Glued shop to base. Made the rim for alley alley grating. Glued ridge tile at lower corner of chimney. Filled in around roof edge. Decided not to use lead flashing or sandpaper, left it as cement. Stuck bird's nest under the trim (eaves). Put sewing machine, dummy and a shop sign in attic, Left a trail of material down left hole. Stuck nest in boot in darkroom. Put for sale sign in windows and new shop poster. Made a step fr top and a sign for steps – 'danger'. Glued privy In place and put caution sign on door. I won't have time to make a new counter so will have to make do with what I have now. Cut some dowel for a scaffolding pole to support outside landing.

August 28: “I can hardly believe it – I have finished it! Spent 1.5 hours taking photos! I just need one with me with it!”
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