More Pages

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Happy New Year!
and The Transfiguration of the 'Villa de Cuivre' Windows

I hope you all are having a grand holiday season!   I wish you all a very Happy New Year too! 

One thing I really love about the holiday's is that I always get to do that project that I have wanted to do, just hanging around, waiting patiently for it's heyday.  This year, that project was getting solidly off and running on the Steampunk…. Villa de Cuivre… I guess.  Doesn't roll off the tongue in quite the same way!

In my last post, I shared with you some of the first efforts I would be making toward getting started this year with miniatures again.  Of those, I have finished fixing the kitchen door (and broke the other one in the process!  That still is not fixed. I needed more practice I guess.  One step forward, one step back...!)  The main project for me this week was working on the transfiguration of the Villa's front windows.

The old windows were kind of cool....  in their own way.

But the more I looked at them, the less they looked like they belonged on this villa.  They belong on a forest cottage.  You know, snuggled back into the deep dark forest on the gothic inspired cabin that Briar Rose grew up in.  Now those are the right windows for that. 

But when I compared these windows to the other windows and doors on the villa, they just did not play well together in my mind. 

There are the butterfly reminiscent windows for the grand parlor;

The Victor Horta Reincarnation windows for the Grand Entry..

And the Victorian Double Doors in the Kitchen.

And then this....

See my point?  Even the "pocket gingerbread" beneath the windows upstages the windows... So I had to rethink. 

I knew I wanted something that had the same sort of effect...but this reincarnation had to be more in the spirit of the other doors and windows in the house (and in it's future!).  They had to take on the bold, brash elegance of the rest of the house as well.  

I also knew I wanted to keep the arched and somewhat Noveau air of the windows.  And I wanted to open up the view into the rooms from outside the villa.  

It actually took me a while to come up with the new ideas, because I was also working on the ideas for the new Grand Entry door that was such a dismal failure before.  I wanted them both to integrate together, and also to echo the spirit of some of the other elements of the Villa.  More on that dang door in another post.  

In the end, I ended up with this:   

I think it accomplished what I set out to do. 

I used the same basic processes I used in the first set of windows I constructed.. piecing together the frame using basswood strips.  But I learned a lot from the first set of windows I did, and I feel that these are much better constructed.  Using the square, measuring more carefully, adjusting the amounts of glue and removing excess glue, all things that come from experience... made the job much easier and much faster this time around. 

Over and above the basics, there are several "new" techniques I used for these windows.  

First, I actually purchased acetate (at Hobby Lobby of course!) for the windows, because sometime in the last few years the plastic being used to package fruit, bread and other perishables has lost it's shape.  It is so much thinner than it was?  Or maybe it is just Texas.  Who knows.  I was just not happy with it.  And given the opportunity to do this again, I will purchase the "real meal deal" again.  It makes such a difference in the final product.  Not quite as easy to cut, but the result is much nicer.

Secondly, there are actually two layers of window in this set.  This is because sandwiched in between the two window layers are two arches made of copper tubing.  This extra set of window surfaces really made this window feel more realistic... it loses some of it's detail in the photo, but it really gives the window a sense of being multi-dimensional.  

To make the arches, I used bendable copper tubing (also a hobby lobby snag - Gotta love Hobby Lobby!)

I bent the tubing into arches using a jig I made up from cardboard, a piece of old molding, and a socket...  Yes, you heard me.  I glued a socket to a piece of cardboard.  (Very long story... I have a son who carried off my tools regularly.  I could probably replace Sear's inventory of socket wrench supplies!) 

It was relatively simple to bend the tubing into arches of generally the same shape and size using this tool.  I just placed the tubing next to the wood molding and bent the tube around the socket by pulling the tubing around the socket, as you see above. 

Perfectly arched copper tubing every time!  With the slightest bit of adjustment and straightening... I had perfect arches ready for my window.  

Once the arches were bent, trimmed out, and straightened, they were sandwiched between two sheets of the acetate.  The whole thing is held together by tension.  

I did glue the wood trims in, but the wire is not glued, and is held by ensuring that there was just enough tension to keep the two wire arches in place, and enough pressure from the two pieces of acetate to keep them straight and level in the window.  I felt pretty pleased with myself!  

To finish off the windows and to help hide a few (minor) sins, I used skewers you can buy from the grocery store, with tiny carvings at their tops, and cut them to size to add some elegance to the window assembly.  

I cut the tips off at just the right place to again create a tension, so that I did not have to glue over the window.  I painted them the copper color and installed them... three to the inside, and 1 to the outside.  I liked the final effect a lot.

There is still some work to do.  I have not painted all of the mullions yet... I am stuck on the horns of a dilemma… I cannot decide whether to paint the mullions the same color as the windows themselves, or to go to black.  I am leaning toward the black (not pictured), since I think it will add the contrast that is missing on the left... you can see the contrast of the wood tone to the copper, and I like that effect, so am thinking I will duplicate it with black instead.  Any opinions are welcomed!  

Once I have completed the windows, I plan to begin on the infamous grand entry door.  I have some new ideas that I think (I hope), I can execute this time! 

Enjoy Your Holiday!  Until Next Time, 

Doug S


  1. Your new arched windows make a BIG difference to the facade of yourVilla de Cuivre!
    Now they appear to visually in balance with the lower section of the window AND they allow in more light!
    Your jig for making them all match is Pretty Darn Clever Doug, and as far as painting the window mullions black; I would have to see it first.
    But please keep moving forward even if you do end up taking one step backwards, every so often because that's just the nature of the beast! ;)


    1. Hello Elizabeth! I really don't think that the improvements come across very well in the photos, to be truthful. I really do like the change in real life, but my photography skills (and probably tools!) are not the best. They really do lose the 3 dimensional qualities that I most like with the change. I am glad you like them...

      I do not get credit for the jig idea. I saw a video of a steel worker who did similar things in order to ensure that his project came out uniform. Here is the link to that video if you want to see it.

      I saved it off because I imagined I might use the idea some time. I did of course cobble mine maybe some ingenuity in regard to duplicating an idea. lol

      I know I complain a little bit about taking steps backwards, but I have learned to recognize that it really represents progress forward if you do not quit. My son actually taught me that. I don't even get credit for that idea. :0) I watched him struggle through things enough and come up with amazing accomplishments, and actually paid enough attention to that to try it out myself. It is GOOD to learn from your children new life lessons. lol.

      As always, I so appreciate you stopping by and leaving your comments. Glad you were not chased away by my long absence!

      Doug S

    2. Thanks for the link Doug! I went and had a look at not one but 2 of the scroll benders and I'm convinced that making a jig is a worthwhile investment if you intend to repeat a pattern many times over.
      Your improvised jig suited your purposes to a T AND produced the required uniformity you needed so KUDOS to you! :D

  2. I'm so happy that you were able to find time over Christmas to play, Doug! I love the new window design and it's completely out of the box design! I have a K&S metal bender tool, yet still do not achieve results as good as your homemade jig! Bravo! I'm hopeful with you for the front doors, and love your attitude about setbacks being just part of the process. I wish you the best in 2019, and especially lots of time for creating!

  3. Hey there Jodi!

    I has been a wonderful (and needed!) holiday season so far. I have been wanting to get started again on this hobby, because it does so much for me creatively. It's been even worse since we came down to Texas, because I wake up to my project every morning... it is set up in the bedroom, because we actually have space there! Every time I walk by it I say to myself... "you gotta finish that!" Ha. It has been good to finally get restarted...

    I actually really liked working with that little jig.. it made something so easy that I really thought would be "the hard part". I had more trouble with the tubing bending on me (they were not kidding when they advertised bendable bent at the drop of a hat!)

    Yes... (mutter, mutter)… that front door. Hmmm... I have a new plan now, so I am going to get that going as soon as I get completed with the windows...any month now. lol I will eventually come up with something that really works... I know I will, but in the meantime, it is frustrating that I can't seem to express the cool stuff I have in my mind in 3 dimensional space... there is that complaining again. The truth is, I have a mind that almost craves "problems" (OK, not big ones, little ones!). I get a charge out of figuring my way through things, especially creative pursuits. So complaining or not, I am in a happy place. :0)

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts! I consider it a true treasure to hear them!

    Doug S

  4. What a difference the new Windows make, Doug! another that the old ones weren't any good, but you have definitely cracked it with the these. I love the delicate curve to the new frame and the detail below them.
    Have a great Christmas and New Year...

  5. Hey there Simon!

    I think it makes a real difference too. It was quite a lot of fun redesigning these. They feel much more like they "belong" than the first set. I have set those aside for some other future project.

    I am looking forward to getting that door done too. It would represent a real coup to vanquish that.

    Thank You so much for leaving your thoughts! It is always an honor to have you stop by. :0)

  6. acabo de descubrir tu blogm me quedo por aquí y te invito al mio ...

  7. Thanks Carmen! I'll head on over! :0)


Welcome to the blog! I appreciate your visit, and welcome your comments!