So, I Caved

The kit looked so lonely waiting to be played with. I couldn’t just leave it lying there all alone. There’s no harm in just doing a dry fit. 



It’s much bigger than I was anticipating and has nice bones. I have 3 ideas circulating through my head. I need to spend some time just taking it in before I make any final decisions. I’m hoping to have my final idea flushed out by the end of the month. 

On a side note, I’ve been commissioned to make some customer furniture! My 8 year old has decided he likes stop motion animation. He’s used birthday money to buy Stickbots, downloaded a free stop motion animation app on the iPad, set up a green screen studio, and ordered some furniture for a video he wants to make. He was very specific. He wanted a black sofa, a crimson red desk, and a mug for the desk. 


Turns out he saw a similar setup in a YouTube video and wants to do something similar. I’m just excited he wanted me to make him miniature furniture. He thinks he needs a larger green screen area and I tend to agree. 

As for my to do list, I was able to get quite a bit done. Sadly, it wasn’t stuff that was on the list initially. I added it on the list so I could cross it off. And to add to the fun, this week our home became ground zero for a chest cold that won’t let go. I’m hoping tomorrow I can get a few things done and start to feel productive again.

Boring

It’s here. I’m not allowing myself to play yet. Booo! 


This list is my priority right now. The things I’ve been putting off, that need to get done, if I want to get paid. Darn real life. 

In real life I refinish mid century furniture. I currently have 2 dressers, 5 chairs, and 2 dining room tables that are in various states of disrepair. My goal is to get at least the dressers, 1 dining table and 2 of the chairs done this week. Ambitious considering the kids don’t have school tomorrow and I’m traveling on Friday. I like to aim big or set myself up for failure, however you want to look at it. 

I’ll be back once I’ve completed my “adulting” quota for the month. 

Butterfly Chairs

I was flipping through the pictures I have stored on my phone and came across some that I had taken while making the butterfly chairs for the tent. I’m not sure I’d write a very good tutorial on how to make them. Especially since most of my technique is just eyeballing what looks right. I thought I would share them anyways, just in case someone might find some part of it helpful. 

First: lots and lots of image research. Trying to find ones that were the right era was easy. Finding links that had measurements was not that easy. 

Next: I used the thinnest dowels that came in a package at the craft store. I created the “x” in the front and back first. I had drawn out a rough sketch to act as a template so that all the angles were the same for both chairs. I used a clear plastic transparency over top of the template so that I could glue and tape the pieces down while they dried. The glue didn’t really stick to the plastic. It also made it so I could use the template again quickly.  Adding the side bars was a bit trickier. Glue, tape, and vertical surfaces to prop the chair against were essential. 

Originally I had planned on using this woven fabric, but decided it was too see through. That’s when I started working out how to make the vinyl thinner. It took a couple pattern adjustments to get the seat to sit right. 

After the chair had dried for a few days (yes, I wanted to make sure nothing was going to move), I painted it to give it a look of a warm walnut. I made the fittings and hardware from black card stock that I burnished with silver crayon.

And the first one being modeled with its inspiration. Not exactly the same and The seat could use a few more pattern tweaks, but overall I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. 

Happy New Year

Happy 2017!

After the deaths of Carrie Fisher and her mom (and don’t even get me started on all those who passed away in the weeks and months before that) I wasn’t really all that sad to say goodbye to 2016. I’m not really big on making resolutions. I always aim way too high and then feel a bit like a failure. So, every year I try to just be better. Help make the world better by being a better human.

For Christmas I received a gift certificate for the exact amount of the 2017 Creatin’ Contest kit. And my gears have been turning. However, I wanted to finish sharing all the inside details of the tent before I move on to the next build.

So, back to Africa.

 

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My tiny traveler has to use her limited storage space efficiently. While researching campaign furniture, I came across tent pole straps with hooks. The unusable space on the center pole suddenly becomes useful vertical storage. The strap is made from hooks I purchased from miniatures.com and leather fringe found in the jewelry department at JoAnn’s fabric. The boots were a splurge, but they are so darn cute (boots and binoculars also from miniatures.com).  The messenger bag is made with masking tape, the leather fringe, and paint. The butterfly net is a fancy toothpick, tulle, and some wire. I used super glue to make both of these items since I needed something that would grab quickly.

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The pictures were found on google. They were resized using photoshop and printed out. I put a layer of clear packing tape, gave the tape a light sanding to bring down the shime a little, and then cut them out.

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The basket was found on miniatures.com. The fabric is just scraps that were doused with a heavy amount of starch and then left to dry. The blue vase was picked up at my local dollhouse store. The brass urn was found at a thrift store.

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The canteen is air dry clay, wrapped in masking tape, painted, and then more of that leather fringe for the handle.

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Behind the bed is a brass lamp fitting that is being used as a sort of umbrella stand, except it holds spears and walking sticks. The spear is a bamboo skewer, aluminum foil, and some thread. the dark walking stick is carved out of a small dowel and painted. The one with the ball is a loose interpretation of a self defense weapon. Its a bead on the end of a skewer, coated in tissue paper and glue, then painted.

The shields were wood discs that were soaked in hot water until they were malleable, then tied onto a spoon to create a curve. I let them dry for a few days. Three of the shields were given texture with tissue paper and glue. The long skinny brown shield was given its woven texture with fabric from an old tie. All of the shields have edging made from waxed string.

The beaded Masai necklace is micro beads glued onto card stock and painted. It was a pain in the butt to make and I’m not 100% happy with it, but by gosh it was going in.

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The mud cloth tapestry was inspired by one that I found on Etsy. I printed it out in the size I wanted, used graphite to transfer the design to the fabric I wanted to use, then used super fine tipped pens to ink the design. My eyes were so angry at me after that. I may need to start thinking about glasses.

The little flashlight on the bed was a piece of a mechanical pencil. A little paint, some aluminum foil, and *bam* you have a flashlight.

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The trunks were made using wooden building blocks. The pencil is a toothpick that was sanded down and painted. The vase is the top of an acorn on a piece of Fimo clay. It was painted and then I added puka shells made out of Fimo. The giraffe statue (there is also a lion and elephant) were made by glueing tiny toy animals to a wooden base, coated them with spackling paste to make them look a little bit more carved, and then painted black.

The brass lamp was found on miniatures.com, but it didn’t light up. I wanted it to look like it had flame, so I decided I was going to make it light up. I soaked it in water to loosen the glue that held on the glass hurricane. After that was removed I used my handy dandy Dremel with a drill bit to drill down through the center of the brass base (I added a tiny drop of water in the cup that holds the hurricane to keep things cool- also, I’d recommend wearing safety glasses). I thread the wires of a tiny chip light that’s battery operated (found on miniatures.com) through the hole and glued it in place. The hurricane was glued back in place. The battery is hidden in the trunk that is under the cot.

  • bird cage was found at a thrift store
  • journals were purchased at my local miniatures store and altered

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The vase and magnifying glass were found on, you guessed it, miniatures.com. The gloriosa lilies were made by me. The jar for the butterfly was found at Michaels in their very limited miniatures section. The butterfly is a species found in Kenya. The pictures was found using google, resized using photoshop, and printed out. I used a ball stylus to give them a little bit of dimension. They were then glued to small sticks from my yard and then glued into the jars.

I think I’m going to stop there for tonight. I’ll post a little bit more about the details around the work table and then move on to fun new ideas!

I hope everyone had a safe and healthy holiday season. If this year is anything like last year, it will be 2018 in a blink.

 

A Porch with a View

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Welcome to my little slice of the Kenyan savanna. I’ll give as much detail as I can about where everything came from. If I leave anything out feel free to ask.

I wanted the tent to be lived in, but not too messy, warm, and welcoming. All of the rugs in the tent are from miniatures.com. They were each faded and worn using paint and the sanding bit on my Dremel.

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The chairs and the folding stool were designed by me using pictures from the internet as my models. I wasn’t happy with the “leather” seat on the stool, so I replaced it with a canvas one. The chairs are made using the thinnest dowels I could find at the craft store, glue, some black card stock, some paint, and faux leather vinyl. The vinyl had a fuzzy backing on it making it too thick. Using that handy sanding bit on the Dremel I was able to sand the fuzz of the back. That made it much thinner and it ended up looking like the back side of a hide. Win, win! After some paint, stain, and a few thin black lines, I ended up with a seat material that looked pretty convincing.

The little cup was a birthday present to myself. I bought it and the little journal at a local dollhouse store called The Toy Box. The journal was aged using sandpaper and given labels using tiny pieces of masking tape. For the papers, I found images of old antique naturalist journals on google, resized the images to be roughly 8×11, and then printed them using my computer. They were just crumpled a little to make them well used.

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The little black mamba started out life as a tiny bright orange snake with black stripes. It was surprisingly easy to paint him the right colors. He means no harm. He’s just looking for a snack.

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The Moroccan inspired lantern was made using a pair of earrings I had bought weeks before I even received my kit. I added some jewelry findings and beads, chain, paint and a tiny little LED light. The battery is hidden under the rain tarp and can be turned on by applying pressure in just the right spot.

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The bottles for the butterfly jars were purchased from the craft store or miniatures.com. The table was made from a slice of closet dowel. I had received the little Coleman lamp last year for my birthday. With a little thinking outside of the box, I was able to electrify it.

The flooring was made with placemats that were found at a local thrift store.

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The little black pot was another Toy Box purchase. The fire grate was made using toothpicks and pieces of wire. The basket is a piece of woven cotton webbing (used for belts) glued together in a tube and painted. It’s filled with tiny little pieces of wood from my yard.

The yellow grasses (there are 2 different textures) are from decorative brooms that I picked up at thrift stores. The yellow flowers and patches of greener short grass are also thrift store finds. The rocks around the fire pit are from my driveway. I also used very old potpourri, that was easy to crumble, as dirt and debris.

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I’ll give details about the inside when I share more pictures of the inside.

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I loved how this picture turned out, until I realized I had left the piece of card board that I was using as a reflector in the picture. Doh. Oh, well.

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The wood beams are dowels that I sanded with the Dremel, stained, and painted. The roping is jute string and the fabric is simple cotton muslin in 2 different colors that I sewed together in panels.

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Not a bad view.

Under African Skies

Amelia met her husband while studying anthropology in New York. They dreamt of a life of adventure and travel – exploring the dark corners of the world – but he enlisted the day after Pearl Harbor. When he died, Amelia was devastated but slowly she picked herself up and in the spring of 1949 – and against her family’s wishes – Amelia packed her clothes and her determination into a steamer trunk then headed across the Atlantic.

She spent a year living in Liberia among the Toma tribe and earned their friendship as well as an ornate horned mask – a token usually only earned by tribal boys who became of age. She recruited a group of locals to trek into the Belgian Congo. During the expedition across the continent, some encounters were peaceful like when she was bestowed a handsome wooden doll and a splendid woven shield from the Zande tribe in the Congo. Other adventures were harrowing – including the day she came face-to-face with cannibals but quick-witted Amelia tamed them by sharing her expansive collection of butterfly specimens.

Her experiences strengthen her childhood convictions that every corner of the world is beautiful and worth preserving. Now, living alongside the Massai in the grasslands in Kenya, Amelia studies the flora, fauna, and people of the region. The Massai have gifted her various weapons, and a large Korhogo mud cloth painting that she hangs over her bed. In the afternoons, she writes manuscripts and textbooks about the local culture and wildlife to tell the world about the vulnerability and majesty from deep within the African continent; and the evenings, she sips tea and watches a new family of Fennec foxes play and hunt around her tent.

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I have a ton of detail shots that I’ll be sharing in batches. I wish we could submit more than 4 pictures. There are so many pictures that capture the essence of the tent, but don’t show much of the detail. Oh, well. I’m proud of it.

Thank you everyone for all of your kind words and words of encouragement. It’s wonderful being part of such a supportive community. Thank you all!

It is done…

I just pushed the “register” button for my entry.

After I come down off of the “oh my goodness, what have I done, were those the right pictures?” high, I’ll over share my final pictures.

eeep…what have I done….

Breathing Room

I’ll probably regret this tomorrow, but I’m going to say I think I can breathe. Just tiny, tiny breaths, but breaths all the same. 

The landscaping is done (except attaching the 2 last ropes) and I’ve gotten pretty far in furnishing. The rugs are stuck down, the shelves are stuck down, the trunks are stuck in place. I had to stop when I started accessorizing the work table. My brain is fried. Maybe a good night sleep and I can wrap it up in the morning. 




I think I’ve found a good spot for photos. I was looking for a big field, with longish grass, and no signs of modern life. There are some open fields across the street from the air force base. Now, I just have to get over the fear of looking like a crazy person setting up a dollhouse photo shoot on the side of a busy road. 

Time for a nice quiet night so I can knock out the rest of this tomorrow. My goal is to be done and submitted by tomorrow night. Then I can officially consider it done early. 

Tick, tick, tick…


Just a quick update- today was pretty productive. The rain tarp and the ropes to hold it on are all in place! Well, mostly. I left 2 of the ropes loose to make reaching my big hands into the tent a tad bit easier. 



I’ll be adding landscaping around the edges of the tent and the path. Similar to the front. 


So far, so good. Until tomorrow. 

Procrastination

There were 2 lessons I thought I learned last year. First, don’t wait until the end to figure out where the lights are going. And second, don’t wait until the end in general. Well, it’s official, I didn’t learn either lesson. 

The lights are the easier of the 2 problems to fix. I was able to hide batteries in and behind furniture. There are 3 lights I ended up not using. I don’t think they really added anything. 

Now, the “don’t wait until the end part”, yeah, I don’t think I’ll ever learn that lesson. 


The list doesn’t look long. However, add in all of my normal “adult” responsibilities, holiday responsibilities, and my husband being out of town 2 days this week (making me sole taxi driver, chef, and game warden to my 3 kids). 


This is the state of things right now. This is the last side that needs landscaping. Not a lot more to do, it just takes a long time. It can end up feeling like your planting a lawn one blade of grass at a time. 


The rug on the front porch is secured down and I know where I want to put the chairs. If you look carefully you’ll see the black mamba who’s come for a visit. 


Everything is attached to the walls on the inside. I’m waiting until the landscaping is done before I secure down much more. I tend to make a mess when I garden. 

The list of things to do flips back and forth between feeling oppressive and not feeling likes it’s really that bad. I’m sure it will come together quickly, fingers crossed.