Emerson’s Apartment: Planning stages!

By now you may know that I have a Nightscape Giselle who I’ve cast as a character named Emerson Appleton.


I’ve really fallen for this version of Integrity Toys Giselle sculpt. I think it’s the combination of hair/eye color. Either way she’s managed to wiggle her way into being a complete character rather than just an alternative look for Giselle Weston (which is what I had planned).

Since Emerson isn’t an actress, model or other person associated with the Wrenwood Hall costume drama I had to figure out what she does…and that also leads to where she lives.

See, the good thing about having the actresses for Wrenwood is that it is believable that 3 of them could live packed into an apartment until they start getting some money and get established. That means one apartment for them (which can later be split to different uses and/or revamped for individual apartments). With Emerson, and other non-WH characters I have to give them a bit more thought because anyplace I make for them is going to be a more or less permanent arrangement.

Emerson is an artist and a would-be writer.
She comes from a well-off family and can afford the rental rates in Quinlan’s more desirable Center Square district. I originally thought I might make her a two bedroom apartment (one for art/writing one for sleep) but the fact is that while she doesn’t come off as a spoiled brat, she is, in fact spoiled and used to a certain standard of things in her life. Since she will be moving to Quinlan, she will need to adjust to the pace of life there, and get her feet under her…because prior to this she had an apartment in NYC, and a shared studio space–both of which she has left behind.

So she complained to her Aunt that she couldn’t possibly stand to live in a studio apartment! How would she have the space she needs?!

Agnes said too bad, so sad. You’re getting a studio apartment until I think you are going to stick around. I greatly dislike having to pay off the remains of your leases when you get bored with them. It was decided that she could get a Studio and be happy with it–or stay in NYC and shut up. Or move home with Us.

Of course when it comes to dioramas I always want big and roomy and spacious.

In reality, very few people who aren’t drawing some serious money, don’t get everything they want in an apartment. This is the compromise I face when making and planning out a diorama/roomset. Size vs. Available Space, and of course, ease of storage. FWIW I would like someday to be able to leave all of my important dioramas set-up but I’m not sure I could ever manage that. Maybe just 2 or three? Or if we built me a garage just for doll stuff…. LOL *I can dream!*

I drew up what I felt was the “ideal” floorplan. One that artist-girl Emerson would want. Then I looked at the sizes of the individual rooms of it and shook my head. there was no way. If I did it that size, and to proper scale it would be 10 feet long (not even going into width here). So that was out.Β  I took that sketch and started paring down the room dimensions, and re-jigging how they were arranged. I wanted a roomy living room, a bathroom, a kitchen (possibly eat-in), a large bedroom and detailed hallway. That wasn’t going to happen!

Then I pared it down some more.

And some more after that.


I came up with something that while not perfect it works for the planned use. I tweaked some things (I changed the one bedroom to a eat in kitchen) and decided that Emerson will have to cope with managing her clutter.Β  So I’m going to run with it.

Diorama stuff: Emerson’s Apartment

I’ve been kind of quiet here on the blog. I haven’t got an excuse–I have got reasons!

Firstly, I have been giving a lot of thought to the two roomset/dioramas I want to get on the ball with making. The first is Emerson’s apartment, and although it isn’t strictly 1/6 (I have to make allowances for that simply because we don’t live in a big enough house to do it to true 1/6 and still have room for us humans and furballs πŸ˜‰

The second is the cafe and that’s just on hold until I can afford to buy the supplies to make it. πŸ˜›

In anycase, I am basing the apartment on one I lived in in NY. It wasn’t my favorite apartment but it wasn’t the worst one I’d lived in either. I also feel that with some tweaks and flips I can use it for other characters who may,or may not be living in the same building… πŸ™‚ I could actually see one of her cousins living in the same building (possibly she put in a good word with the landlord Mr.Benedetti and got her the apt?) And who knows who else lives in the building???

BTW: if I haven’t introduced her—this is Emerson (Emerson Appleton).


This is the part where I get serious: Dioramas!

You know how people make “bucket” lists of things they want to do or see before they drop dead?

Mine is pretty simple, if time consumptive–I want all of the dioramas made that I have in my head and in my notebooks! Yeah, it would take years to make them all. I knooooooow. And of late I haven’t been doing much of anything like moving them along…

But this is where that stops.
I thought about all of the ones I want to make, all of the ones I started or planned on and decided I’d pick two and run with them. This year (what’s left of it anyway) is going to be their year.

The oldest diorama that I have been trying to make/scrapping/trying to make is without a doubt the Cafe. It was meant to be a social spot in Quinlan for the University students and other city folk to go to. Open mic nights/ poetry nights, acoustic bands, you know, that kind of thing.Β  You may recall that I have been talking about it on and off since….2010. Six years. I feel it’s one of those do it now or STFU about it forever.

So I redrew up the floor plan for the cafe and the sidewalk outside of it. It’s a big set, but not as big as I’d originally planned nor anywhere near as complicated.

The other diorama I drew up floor plans for is Emerson’s apartment. I know she will be moving to Quinlan and will need a place to live. I debated whether I needed Emerson’s or Giselle’s done first. I think that since Giselle will be seen a lot in the Wrenwood Hall sets and the cafe there isn’t an immediate need for her to have an apartment (although she shares one with one of the other cast-members of WH.)

This means that I now have to start going through my accumulated props and pieces to see what can be used where and how.

This is all made a little more difficult by the fact that our living room is my current studio since the house is in a state of renovation and it seems unlikely that I will have a studio/ office space of my own until next year sometime if I am lucky. (then I will be able to set up my dioramas and leave them set up!!Β  The sheer luxury of that would be Awesome (because it takes me hours to dress a set for a photoshoot) and that would save me the time and effort.

I’ll update soon on how the 2 sets are going.


Mini-project that just sort of Popped up on the scene…

Maybe it’d be more appropriate to say that I wanted to make a particularly themed room and I decided to do that? (Don’t fret–The medieval-esque diorama has not been abandoned or cast aside! I promise!) πŸ˜‰

The new project is only a little thing and it will give me a bit of time to continue to figure out and plan the Wrenwood small set (I’ve figured out the floor treatment, now I just need to decide once and for all about the walls–and am I going to grave them into the MDF or am I going to sculpt them on? Or both?)

Anyway, as a hint to my mini-project: I’m making another brick wall, and we’ll get to see Giselle, Taylor and whoever their third roommate is in it! πŸ˜‰ (it’s just a bit of light relief to quote Mark…And yes, I drafted him into making a piece or two of furniture for it.)

I’ll update with photos sometime in the next week (depending on work and stuff). πŸ˜€

Wrenwood Diorama #1: with photos of progress

Making the first diorama for the Wrenwood Hall photostories should be remarkably easy–except of course for me having that commitment issue when it comes to allocating dedicated walls to the diorama!

To re-cap where I left off in the last post about Wrenwood:

the small Wrenwood set has 2 long walls (26 inches each) and 2 short walls (22 inches each). Not a huge room by any means. But what I am trying to keep in mind as I decide which walls get doors, windows etc. is that the long walls (26 inch) will be useable in the large (36×26) Wrenwood Hall diorama base too…I really DO try to get as much use out of a wall (in as many sets as possible).

Anywho…I decided that for the first go-round I wanted to have a smallish door (hah hah! This is only small when you consider that the door in the large set will be a double-width door–maybe I should call it “regular” size?) and the window seat/alcove for this set.

The regular door will fit in the side wall, and the window seat/alcove will go in the long wall.

Here are photos of the diorama it as it currently is–in progress! πŸ™‚





You can tell I messed up a bit because durh! I originally put the “regular” door in the long wall! Oh well. That is part of the reason I wanted to be sure to have a couple of extra “blanks” for the walls.

That wall won’t go to waste since it’ll attach to the set (could for example use the long wall with the door & the short wall with the door and have that room as a bit of a pass through or else an outer chamber to someone else’s rooms…) There are always options πŸ™‚ Like in the photos above I’ve actually included that wall in the shots and think it will work for an entrance to another room, a storage room or something….

You can also see that Electra wanted to help! She’s showing off the window seat wall.

It IS very wide but some of that will disappear with I’ve done the stonework and treatments. My version is supposed to be wide though since I am roughly modeling it on this one: (notice I did say roughly!) Excuse the poor photo I can’t find my other files at the moment. :S


I guess I should say at this point that I made the openings for the doors and window/alcove large enough so that I could have the Tall Fashion Royalty guys (specifically London Calling Kyu) and the FR2 (or Fashion Royalty 2.0 which is I guess what they are calling the newest generation of the body for the girls) going through them without smacking their heads.

Bearing in mind that I have an eclectic mix of dolls and action figures as cast members I also made sure that they are wide enough that even the super brawny Hot Toys guys can get through them (because, hey, you never know when you might have some marauders breaching the hall and stealing away the hot chicks!)

I have been pondering whether I want to do the walls to appear like they have been rendered and whitewashed (aka plaster/ tudor walls withΒ  linen fold paneling) or to do them all as stone (probably what I will go for).

Pros & cons of doing the different styles of wall treatments:

  • The whitewashed/plastered look (with or without paneling) would be easiest and quickest.
  • Plaster/paneling would look ok but I don’t think I’ll get that dark and semi gloomy look / feel I want with them.
  • Stone look would allow me more leeway on where and how I place wall hangings / lighting without the worry of damaging the plaster look or the plaster getting stained (or cracking).
  • Doing stone the way I plan to will be labor intensive and some of it will require me making it up as I go for how to make the treatments for the windows & doors.
  • The stone look will seem IMO more in keeping with the feel I am going for. More work, more effort but probably (maybe) worth it?

Ok so there you have it! That’s my update for the week. Oh, yea, and I should mention I am working on a decorating scheme for my standard white wall diorama (you know, the one that shows up in Friday Monologues, Etsy pics and stuff).


Wrenwood Hall redux: Planning & Purchasing & Puttering…

What can I say? Wrenwood Hall won out in the competition for which diorama I should work on next (I promise the cafe will be after this–or maybe the apartment) πŸ˜‰

I had to do some research for the best place for me to buy my MDF from since buying it from Home Despot was just too expensive for what I need (it’s about 6$ per 4×2 piece and I found a place I can get an 8×4 sheet for 15$(plus tax) which gives me more wall for money — always a good thing IMO.)That’s turned out well because with the amount of alternative walls I want it has managed to save me about 100$.

We spent my days off this week going to get it (a trip in and of itself) and trying to get it cut to size to fit in the car (difficult to say the best). Yesterday, Mark was kindly cutting it to the real sizes I need and not the weird sizes the lumber yard did.

Here are the cut sheets: (if you look closely you can see Mark’s cutting list with my commentary on how many of each walls/floors I need minimum) πŸ™‚



and here you can see where he had to glue another piece onto the main piece to get it to be the necessary size…


Which means that later this week/next week I get to work on the dioramas for Wrenwood Hall! Yay! WoooWoooWooo!!! πŸ˜€

Ok, so here’s the plan:

1 diorama set which measures approximately 36X26 (this requires a new frame/base be built for it.)

1 diorama set which measures approximately 26×22 — this is my current diorama/roomset base size (the one you see all my furniture and Friday monologues in). I’m going to start with that one for this project since base-making takes more time than I can have at the moment and it requires Mark helping me with it–and he has a lot on his plate right now with the house repairs (me poking him to make things for etsy, and for me ) etc.

Now, this post is pretty much me “thinking outloud” so I do apologize if none of it makes sense…

Out of the 26×22 diorama base & walls I want to be able to do/get the following:

A garden set/diorama
While eventually I’d like to be able to build a real 1:6 garden outdoors (raised for ease of photography and creaky bones) I need to be more practical if I want something to use this year! This is me, being practical. I’ll take the 26×22 base, and dedicate 3 or 4 walls for it(meaning that they will be bespoke to that diorama only). And then set about populating it with greenery etc. I’m hoping to pull off a feel similar to a medieval cloistered garden, but since this is a smaller garden (more like a pocket garden) I’m … well…I’m hoping it will work. I have some vague ideas in mind and I’ll have to run with it as I go.

Medieval-esque rooms/chambers.
This is going to be a smaller room whichΒ  could be: a lesser bedroom/study/stillroom or general “background shots” room. This will be what I’m using until I get the larger (36×26) base and walls done.

I plan to work on both simultaneously, since I am really feeling the urge to get working on this project and the more that I can get done then the closer I will be to shooting photos. Being realistic I probably won’t get to work on the Cafe set until October or November (if I stay on track with this one).

So how do I feel?
A little overwhelmed, a lot excited! And of course I’m suffering from commitment issues!

Do I give the walls dressed stone treatment? Do I make them look like rocks? A hybrid? Do I do paneling? How do I want to treat it?

I decided that for now, on the small set I’d take a leaf out of the history books. See the photos below? Those are from a castle in Yorkshire, called Skipton Castle.

You can see how some of the walls are stone, and some are stone which has been covered over with plaster (lime). In the photo below you can see a room where the walls are all stone.Β  It’s possible that they were coated with plaster, but they could also have been left plain. Since I am going for hollywood accuracy (which is to say minimal) I’m probably going to leave most of them looking like stone. I may make one or two to look like rendered plaster. Maybe.


In the photo below you can see a nice example of stonework as well as a small fireplace in a circular tower room.


So you can guess I’m probably going to be pretty busy working on this stuff, eh? And this doesn’t even start to cover my ideas for the medieval garden diorama. Heh. So many ideas.

That’s true. I also have to work on a set for Giselle & Taylor’s temporary living room. And costumes for the Wrenwood actresses (Giselle & co).Β  And of course there’s that whole making things for Etsy thing…

But this is where I am at right now. Thought I’d share some of the process. πŸ˜‰

What comes first? Cafe? Apartment? Medieval chamber?

Right now I’m conflicted. πŸ˜‰

There are a lot of things (1/6 related) that I should be working on. Or rather that I want to work on in between jobs and house stuff and cat stuff.

For example:

I’m supposed to be dedicated to making the Cafe diorama/set. And Giselle & Co’s apartment Diorama/Set.Β  And of course at least one interior set for Wrenwood Hall.

Where I stand with these ideas/ projects:

  • Giselle’s apt: Still narrowing down what floorplan I want to use. I’d like big and roomy but not overly complicated. I have 2 frontrunners in that area but I’m still hemming a bit about them because neither makes me go “Rah! AWEsome!” One is better than the other IMO but if I made it the way I want to it will take a lot of effort and I’ll be making rooms I am not 100% sure people will ever see. Yes, I am the person who plans the whole floorplan even the bits behind the scenes. Yes it’s a hassle. I know. (But if I do it this way then if I ever do want to use those then I have it already figured out instead of trying to cobble together other parts into a cohesive unit. You know what I mean?
  • Cafe: I’ve got the basic dimensions down, and a cutting list. However, because I want to be able to shoot the interior AND exterior for shots (including surrounding businesses/facades/street) I need to tweak it more before we start making bespoke bases and walls/etc.

Both the Cafe & the Apartment sets will require a much larger shooting/set-up surface…

Which means I’ll have to re-jig my studio/office and keep an eye out for either a cheap dining room table or throw a piece of plywood on saw horses. The Saw horse table has the pros of being easy to flat pack and get out of the way if I don’t have the set up and being used. And I can cut the legs to a height that is comfortable for me to work with… Hmm. Saw horse table is looking to be the way to go. πŸ˜‰

  • Wrenwood Hall/Interior Set: Since this is not a full set (or I don’t envision it as one at this point) I see it as some simple walls and a more complicated window/ window seat area. We’ll see. this one should be the cheapest of all the sets that need to be made because this should only = 1 room.

Also, on the 1/6 board I’m on there is a challenge that I am running for making some version of a 1/6 garden…container garden, flower bed or whatever. And I really want to do something with that for Wrenwood Hall. I mean I have to set a good example, right? So I’m thinking of either doing the small “cloister” type garden, or else a few raised beds ala Medieval Herb garden looking…. I’m not sure which. I have some stone and bits that I could use for the Cloister idea, and possibly a fountain-y thing….

So these are the things flapping around in the back of my mind while in 1:1 we’re planning out raised garden beds, fixing the basement doors, painting the porch and replacing leaky pipes and I’;m dealing with the stupiditiy from work. Ugh!

Gosh, is it any wonder I love 1/6 so much? πŸ˜‰

What are you interested in — in 1/6 scale?

So at last, things are moving along here!Β  πŸ˜€ We’re going to survive the winter (I think! We’ve kept the house in the high 50’s and mid 60’s woot! warmth!) and Mark and I are settling in to start making some 1/6 stuff to put up on Etsy.

I have my ideas, he has his….but out of curiosity–and some weird kind of market research, I guess….

  • What would you folks like to see being made?
  • What’s missing from your dioramas?
  • What small things, large things, minis etc are you missing and wish you could get?
  • Furniture?
  • Walls(textured like brick etc)?
  • Accessories?
  • A specific style (aside from mid century modern, please?)?

Your feedback on this is pretty important πŸ˜€ so please don’t hesitate to comment!

As a reminder here are some of the things that mark has made: (also doors and windows and whatnot)

2-bookcases so-in-style-trichelle-1

karly-desk White shelving units

1:6 scale sash window Β Β Β Β Β Β  karly-dresser

Β chairs-desks5-lr.jpg

Paloma at the window labtable2sw

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