A room box and an optical illusion – continued


Ceilings and puzzles and an attempt at ‘gardening leave’

Starting with the puzzles, or more truthfully, one puzzle with lots of parts all dealing with the order in which to carry out the remaining tasks.

I would like (and definitely in my imagination, see) this room box is being the inside of a book or group of books.

The image in my mind

Imagine four or five books side by side on a shelf but the book spines are false and are mounted on what forms the fourth wall of the box so that it can swing open in one piece to view the room(s).

  • Now go back in your mind to the real books side by side on a shelf.  What do they look like?  Which part of a book possibly stands higher than other parts – in this case I’m thinking that the edges of the spine and covers will stand slightly higher than the pages enclosed, therefore for building an imitation, the room box ceiling/page edges probably needs to go on before the sides/covers.  I think …
  • Are the imaginary books a set so that the two outer walls/book covers can match?
  • Will I be able to add odd bits and pieces of a house, like doors, windows etc inserted in the spines and do they need to be in the same scale????
  • And so the queries need answering, and there are a number further basic questions I still need to work on before moving on with the outer walls.

Yes, I did plan all this before I started, but time has passed, I’m getting older minute by minute and things change, so planning questions need answering once more.

One decision made

I have, meanwhile made a move on the ceiling/page edges I believe.

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Over the hidden corridor which provides the reflected ‘extension’ to the house I’ve added a further LED bulb shining down the full height mirror and given it a perspex ceiling so you can view the set up down there should you wish.

The ceiling and the page edges

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Scanned and printed page edges and another piece of perspex.
Will be adding ceiling beams and woodwork around the top of the walls too, which might throw some interesting shadows, who knows?

These page edges are supposed to represent a number of books side by side so I’m rashly imagining being able to add some indication of the intervening book cover edges over the top of the paper.  May not as it’s only a whim but I do rather like the thought.

Another decison taken on furniture, figures, odds and ends

The figure (hovering over a Barton Tudor chair) is peering round the door – presumably the female figure in the corridor has called out some message/instruction before walking away.  The dog will be placed more or less as was, looking pleadingly at the male figure and the only other furniture in the room is a lovely small corner wall cupboard bought in, a homemade cardboard coffer, placed bottom right against the wall hanging, and a rather lovely chair that I could just not resist.

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The chair does need re-angling so that the items on the table become more visible, but it will sit more or less here, possibly facing the open window so that the gent can rest a foot on the back cross piece, perhaps

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Table items added

I’m hoping to place some reading material in the hands of the figure for him to be reading.  I seriously suspect that he’s skiving, hiding behind the door reading illicit materials.

Theoretically there’s not that much left to do, so here’s hoping.

The ‘gardening leave’?

I’ve been determined to get on in the raised bedswe have in our very small garden areas as I needed to get something planted, but it’s been a struggle (as I imagine it has for lots of us).  Trying to gauge what’s going on with the weather, particularly the temperature, and balancing that against just how short the growing season might be up here near the Scottish border is one puzzle over which I have no real control.  So much hail at this time of year is causing havoc with the apple blossom (three miniature trees) and throwing off all the planning and planting too.   Got lots of sorting and clearing done though so that’s been good, and have now more or less put in all the seeds etc that I think I’ll go for this year.  Time will tell what we’ll get and I’m looking forward to seeing whatever veg we get grow and develop.  I do like this time of year – once the basic chores are more or less done.



Thro a glass darkly …


Apologies for the biblical ref, but it fitted so well to a very minor problem in my mini-ing world.

The front ‘room’ space in this build is to house a semi-seated fella, sort of hiding behind the open door into the corridor that has been created with the use of the mirrors.

He’s perched on the edge of a table (if I can get him to stay there) and he’s reading.  But to begin at the beginning of this stage of construction …

I couldn’t stand the wooden floor and therefore have covered it over – didn’t dare try to remove it first for fear of tearing away too much of the base.

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Bit rough and it appears to rise up in the centre but at least looks used

I’ve also thrown together a very rough approximation of a low hall chair – you may know the sort; not designed for anybody to sit on really as v uncomfy but fairly fancy.   It’s made out of scraps of wood from the bits drawer and been stuck to the short, hidden corridor wall face next to the one pillar and below the single homemade wall light.

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and is very rough and ready. There it sits squeezed in next to the pillar

I’ve also added a bit of drape on the right-hand side of the corridor face of the doorway – you can just see it on the right lower edge of the door framing – and a high up border around the walls, both of which are reflected in front of that figure, along with the two further doorways created by the reflections.  I’m hoping it will look better when the ceiling is on.

This is where the biblical reference comes in.  Having finished faffing around with the optical illusion it was time to really do some work on the remains of the box.  It was more than about time as the main narrative of this room box thingy takes place here, well sort of.

In the following combo photo you may be able to spot what I felt my next problem might be. Look at the doorway in the top left mini image with the longer view and the perching figure.

After all the fun making and remaking the corridor illusion, when viewed from out front, i.e. viewed as the background to the larger space of the room at the front, the whole mirror illusion tends to look like a totally flat photo stuck on the back wall.  Sheesh!

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(top left)  A try out of possible placement of chosen furniture shows up how flat the corridor thro the door looks.
It needs a few break-through items in the corridor that will both cross the threshhold from one space to the other and that won’t impinge too much on the mirror that holds the corridor image, causing odd duplicates of strange objects along the length of the reflection in all the wrong places.
The easiest solution seemed to be to use a fallen broom and a basket of roses that have been left just by the doorway by the woman who is walking away from us, giving us a secondary story for the scene.

With the help of a mischievous dog whose master is not paying him enough attention and is now knocking things over and ‘stealing’ one of the roses, it creates not just a storyline of its own but links the two parts or scenes together more firmly.  The slight repeat in the mirror of the roses works quite well, making the very small basket seem larger and the broom handle lying at that angle is not too intrusive.

Logic tells me that spaniels have soft mouths and why one would go for a rose which probably has thorns on it I have no idea, but it works for the image, if nothing else 🙂  Sorry spaniel

On the whole the broom and roses at least draw the eye to the space behind and reduce the flatness a little.

Am pleased with the rather smart chair the figure is leaning towards, the corner table will be heavily draped to hide the hacking mess I made of one (totally the wrong shape and size) that I had to hand and forced into suitable dimensions and there’ll be a small corner cupboard above it.

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Took this pic to remind me of the possible coverings for table and I see that the broom handle has moved (again!) and shows up as a trip hazard in the doorway that appears at right angles the other side of the roses – note to self ‘sort it out’.

Pushing on I started work on the side walls and added a window (another item I’ve had to hand for years) and made an attempt at a street scene with a bit of lighting added.  I tried out a white LED and then automatically went for a yellower one which may have turned out to be the wrong decision as it looks as though I’m spilling a watered down drink outside the window, but it stays, nevertheless.

Now working on the right-hand wall and will put up the corner cupboard by the window on the left.  I had a lovely one full of detailing (also old ‘stock’) but it was far too dominant and as the scene isn’t actually about the furniture, I cheated and bought a much, much smaller and plainer one – also very lovely and just what was needed with its plain neatness.  Compromise, compomise …

Got a bit of fabric pressing to do next before that right-side wall can go in place.



Building rooms that aren’t there


Or a good excuse to share the touch of redecorating I’ve done to the work so far.

Let’s see if I can explain more clearly what all this mirror stuff involves and I hope that these are more useful photos.

What we see through the doorway …

All in a mirror

All built and reflected from two angled mirrors

The other real wall of the corridor:

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The view of both real and very short corridor bits that run across the room box and provide the reflected image of the corridor that isn’t there.

I hope that does make more sense?

I see, however that the badly set tiles are already lifting and all the edges look as though the dog/cat name your pet has licked them …

Onward to the doorway and the room at the front.  Possibly a change in floor covering.  Going to spend some time mocking up a terracotta style piece of flooring I think.



Samuel van Hoogenstraten Peep Show – National Gallery

By way of an experiment


or two

Between doing other things I’ve been getting extra exercise sorting out my workroom and storage.  We’ve seriously run out of bookshelf room in every possible place in the house and sorting has been sitting on the to-do list far too long.

It’s never easy for us to relinquish books so I thought meantime, until we manage to build up the determination to do it, I’d try and find some space elsewhere.  That’s how I ended up doing the workroom sorting.

Most of the bits and pieces I’ve been trying to use up (as opposed to buying more) have been stored in cardboard boxes around the room and under the work-surfaces.  In going through these items I’ve freed up a set of cubby holes original bought at the closure of a local knitting/sewing shop many years ago.

001_Img_9928 storage space of familiar dimentsions

As many of my books re mini-ing and crafts generally have had to be stacked on top of each other making it very difficult to get at some of them without doing damage to both me and the books, it would be great to get some books into this ‘shelving’. The height of each cubby is only going to allow an 8” books to fit (20cms or so) but it would be very useful, nevertheless.  The downside is that the smaller books range across various areas of crafts, history or general knowledge and therefore will have to ‘live’ in smaller clusters of their subject matter.

But as you can see from the shape of the cubbies in the photo it is far too tempting a set of spaces not to use some of them for mini constructions seeing as how they are so room-room-boxy.

Am having a go at designing a variation of a room box to fit one of the cubbies and I’ll see how it goes from there.  

It’s a bit of a leap in the dark, this box, as it’s sort of a combo of book nook, room box and … well you’ll see.


I experimented with paper cut out figures, cut from computer print outs of famouse paintings.

These next two photos show what they looked like. 

  The figure (paper cut out) is leaning up against the left-hand larger mirror which will be entirely hidden when the dividing wall is back in place between the corridor and the larger area to the front which will be the main room.

The next one shows trying out both figures together but I think I’m going to go with the darker, less colourful image by herself.  The very last one of the two photos shows how the figure and the mirrors are set up.



So far the room box appears to be of a greater depth than the books and shelves, which is at least a ‘good thing’. 

The plan for this first one is to have side walls, a ceiling and hopefully a frontage too with possibly a smidgeon of lighting. 

With the exception of the freshly printed figures, everything used is from what I’ve had in stock.  Am determined (this time) to use up as much of it as possible in these experiments.

The visuals play havoc with your sense of what you’re seeing though as you work on it, and the angles for the mirrors were fun to work out. I’ve made a fair old mess of applying the tissue with the pattern on it on the back wall of the corridor but I’ll see what I can do about that, perhaps with a little bit of visual distraction around it, who knows.

The optical illusion is an attempt to pay homage to van Hoogstraten’s peep-show and here is a further link to more information on some of the optics involved.