Inspiration for 2019’s Creatin’ Contest

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This year’s kit is the Serendipity Shed. I’m so happy it is on the smaller side, help ease me back into larger projects. It would make an adorable floral shop, farm stand, or bakery. However I see something a little different.

 

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Big open windows providing lots of natural light.

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Every surface littered with tools and supplies.

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And walls adorned with inspiration.

If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m planning on making an artist’s studio. More specifically an artist’s studio in France during the early 1900’s. I’m seeing beautiful architecture that has been neglected during the frenzy of creation.

A look inside an artist’s studio is undoubtedly a view into the artist’s mind. A place of creation and personal haven, the studio, like a diary, is full of an artist’s personal baggage… It is a place where one’s greatest artistic triumphs sit beside one’s greatest failures, finished pieces among works in progress, where piles of books, clippings, and other specimens of inspiration or just general interest collide, to form great ideas and eventually great works of art. It is both a place of joy and disappointment; inspiration and frustration. But most of all it is a necessary place in which an artist may grow.   – Lydia Andersen

To do this I’ll need to raise the roof some and flatten it out (not a fan of the slant). I’m planning herringbone wood floors, enlarging the windows, and adding transom windows over the French doors. I’ve yet to decide if I want this to be set in a garden or in some way as part of a larger building. I think once I get it I’ll be able to picture it more clearly. Until then I’ll keep keeping on with my little pumpkin project.

 

 

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Hello!

So, it’s been a while, but I’m still here! Getting myself back into the creative groove after our move took way longer than I expected. My work area had turned into a catch all for anything and everything. It was not very conducive to creativity. After Christmas I was determined to take it back.

This is what I ended up after a trip to Ikea, an unexpected trip for the kids to visit grandparents, and a few days of organizing and purging. Not too shabby. It’s not that clean right now, but everything has a place and I love it.

Have you ever imagined making something and you can’t let it go until you make it. That’s what my current little project is. It’s been camping out in my brain since October.

I saw this magazine cover in a doctors office and knew instantly that I had to recreate it in miniature.

I started off with some questionable math to figure out the dimensions for my box. I tried to scale down the magazine size based on how big my putka pods where in relation to the measurements of pumpkins on the magazine. It’s just a bit off, but I don’t think it will be too bad.

Next the pods needed stems. I used some jute string and lots of glue.

It’s at this point that I start to question if I have any clue about what I’m doing. Thankfully, I’ve learned to just keep going.

I’m glad I did. After it was dry and trimmed it looked pretty good.

Here they are after a little paint and some dry brushing. I also made a few tinier pumpkins out of polymer clay.

Now on to the box. I painted the inside of the box with a yellow ochre paint and made a foliage base from moss and dried leaves that were crumbled up.

Speaking of leaves, I’ve seen a tip about using dried leaves and a leaf punch to make realistic fall leaves. The problem I ran into is that all the leaves around my house are brown now. I needed them to have a little bit of color variation. I ended up using watered down gouache in crimson and yellow ochre to tint the leaves.

This is a test of how the leaves would look. I’m pretty happy with them. I’ll probably need to punch more, but I’ll do that as needed.

That’s where I am now. I need to do the finishing touches on all of the pumpkins and work out how to make shoes. I’ve made a few attempts that haven’t quite worked. I’ll be making a few modifications on the last pair that I attempted and I hope that works right. On the up side I haven’t glued the shoes to my fingers yet, so that’s a win.

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to and I look forward to sharing more of the crazy places my brain takes me.

Slow Moving

Getting back into the habit of minis is harder than I thought it would be. Add in 4 nor’easters, losing power for 5 days, and still trying to get settled into our house and it starts to feel impossible.

This is where I am so far. Since the structure itself is overwhelming me right now, I decided to smart small. These are all made with Crayola Model Magic and then painted with craft paint. I like it because it is an air dry clay that doesn’t seem to shrink very much.

The bread still needs some detail work. The carrot tops are laser cut ferns. The little roots on the leaks are tiny pieces of jute string. The baskets are from Miniatures.com and the flower pot is one that I found at a thrift store many years ago.

I’m attempting cookies and onions. So far the onions look like lemons, but I have faith they’ll work out.

I’ve been turning to watercolor doodling when I feel like I’ve hit a mini wall.

Clearly, I’ve been hitting a lot of walls lately. It’s ok. I know that when the inspiration hits I’ll be able to tackle anything. Right now I just need to move slow and try to be kind to myself.

Inspiration

When I saw the new kit for the first time, it stumped me. I want to think outside of the box. I love trying to see past whats given and create something unusual. I just couldn’t see past the cute cottage. I showed my husband and shared why I was stuck.

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After a quick google search, he showed me this picture. He said the kit reminded him a bit of a hobbit house, minus being imbedded in the side of a hill. Cue angels singing.

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I plan on having the house look shorter from the outside, imbedding it into the landscaping. There will be lots of timbers, stone, and brick. Not so much thatch. I’m thinking of a grass covered roof to create the idea of being in a hill.

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Round doors painted fun bright colors with carved wood trim. Lots of warm lamp light.

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Worn weather wood, round windows, and cracked plaster. Overgrown gardens with vines and flowers.

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Right now I haven’t decided on whether or not I will keep the ceilings tall. At one point I had thought of having the ceilings be low and curved like Bag End and create a little root cellar.

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Similar to this pantry that was in the movie The Hobbit.

My other thought was to keep the ceilings tall with large wood beams and maybe have a loft area that would be the bedroom. There would be steps from the front door down into the living area, creating a sunken living area feel. I’m sure as I start working on it the vision will become more clear.

It’s Here

It’s here!

It’s bigger than I anticipated. My dollhouse tables/carts were sold when we moved, so I’ll need one for this kit. Mainly because I don’t have enough room on my table, but also because our ferret has figured out how to get up on my drafting table. He ran off with my orchid from my last blog post. I still haven’t found it.

It went together really quickly during the dry fit. I’m having a bit of a block on where to start. I guess I’ll start with a place to work on it and then get a base for it to be on. I should also figure out how I plan on having it open. Leaving it with 4 walls would really help prevent ferret thefts, however, I’m kind of old school and enjoy having an open wall.

The only part of the dry fit that gave me any problems is this little part under the roof. It won’t be a problem with what I have planned. I just can’t figure out where I went wrong. I’m sure it’s something simple that I’m missing.

I’m excited to get it going. I love my plan, more about that later, and really hope I can do it justice.

Playing

To kill time until my next kit arrives, I’ve decided to make little vignettes. The first one I’m working on is this little desk that I painted quite a while ago.

It called for an aged rug, an orchid and a cup of tea. There will be a journal, some pencils, and something needs to go in the basket, I’m just not sure what. I’m still working on the tea to make it look right. Oh, and I had forgotten how delicate the orchids are to make. I’ve knocked each bloom off the plant at least twice. I’ve gotten a little rusty not working on tiny things for almost a year. So, hopefully these little groupings will get my skills back on track.

Getting Settled

It’s almost 2018. That doesn’t seem possible.

Let me get you caught up on where I am now. We sold our house and moved 1300 miles north. We spent the summer in a tiny little cottage in New Hampshire while we waited to close on our new house in Massachusetts.

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Our new house is great. It’s surrounded by woods in a quiet little town. There are an abundance of little red squirrels and chipmunks. There is also a family of 3 deer that visit every once in a while.

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Our kids have played outside more in the past 5 months than they did in the past 2 years living in Florida. We’ve been enjoying the novelty of snow and ice. However, I could do without the single digit temperatures.

And much to my delight I’ve started finding 4 leaf clovers again. Ever since I was a kid, I could spot one just by walking though the yard. Florida doesn’t seem to have the right type of clover.

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Now that we’re mostly settled and the holidays are over, I can dig back into my miniatures. My idea for the Creatin’ Contest 2017 never made it past the planning stages. My master plan was to turn it into an orchid green house. Maybe I’ll get it up and going. I’m waiting to see what the kit is for 2018 before I make any decisions on what my next project is. I also need to make more room on my desk.

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It’s hard to tell in the picture above, but I have 4 dollhouses on my art desk. I started resting a tray on the open drawer and using it as extra work space. Not the ideal way to work.

So, that’s where I’m at now. I’m looking forward to getting back into miniatures regularly.   I’m really excited for everyone who entered the Creatin’ Contest this year. There are some really beautiful builds and I wish you all luck!

Life

Hello!

It’s been a while. I’m sorry for the radio silence. Life has become increasingly hectic. 


First, I finished the little little badger. The recipient loved it! I’m so relieved. I always have a little doubt demon sitting on my shoulder pointing out all of my mistakes. I’m glad I can shut him up for a little bit. 


Next piece of life getting crazy, my black belt test is going to be in June. 

*insert internal screaming*

I love karate. I love doing the katas and pushing myself to get better. However, I hate sparring. Well, not all sparring. I like light sparring to work on movement and combinations. I don’t like when my partner thinks pain is the only way to show good technique. Blah.

And lastly, after much deliberation we have decided it’s time to move. We’ve lived in Florida for about 6 years. At the time 12 months of sunshine and daily thunderstorms sounded like heaven. Well, we managed to pick the one part of Florida that doesn’t have daily thunderstorms. We barely ever get rain. I need rain. There is just too much sun! There are other factors too, but I won’t bore you with the details. So, for the past 2 weeks I’ve been packing, decluttering, touching up paint, and finishing house projects so we can get the house listed by the end of the month. 

*insert more internal screaming*


This is the current state of my creative space. I haven’t touched it in weeks! I’m really hoping I can get away with packing up 95% of it and leaving just enough to be able to do some playing. 


That’s a lot to go through and pack. I also have to pack up my 2 finished houses (that’s going to be fun) and my 2 works in progress. I’m not considering the Craftsman Cabin a workin progress since I haven’t done anything with it yet. Yes, I just took this picture tonight. To say I’m feeling behind is an understatement. 

 

However, im worried that we will need to move all of my stuff, including my desk, out of this room to be able to stage it properly when we get the house listed. I’ll probably go back to how I used to work (on the dining room table and cleaning it up at the end of each play session). Oh, well. There is still so much left to do to get the house ready, I don’t even have time to think about playing right now. 

That’s where I’m at right now. There will probably be more radio silence until the house is at least listed. I’m dying to play and make little things, but no playing until my work is done. Until then, I’ll be scrubbing floors, rearranging furniture, weeding, and trying to keep my sanity intact. 

Almost done

I’m hoping by the end of the weekend my little Hufflepuff Badger will be done. 


Only 3 more colors to finish up, then a quick press and into a frame. Today is day 15 since starting it. Some days I was able to work on it for hours on end. Others I had to grab a minute or 2 when I could. Only one of those days did I not touch it at all. Not too bad considering the majority of my projects sit untouched for months. It probably helps that I have to mail it this week.


I’ve seen people post pictures of their cats in their dollhouse builds. I have 2 cats (Skippy, who is pictured, and Penny) who couldn’t care less about my dollhouses. 


The closest my dog, Bolt, has gotten to the dollhouses is when he runs into their tables while playing with the kids, and I have a mini heart attack. So, I’ve always thought how lucky I was. 


Then I received this picture in a text from my husband this week. 

Um, no. 

A few months ago, before Bill was adopted, I had asked for help building plexiglass cases for them. I guess I’ll need to get more serious about following up on that request. 

The Craftsman Cabin

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My beautiful picture

I live in a small town on the East Coast of Florida, minutes away from NASA. The town was established in 1925. In the 1960’s the town had a 1000% population increase thanks to the space program.

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The majority of the town was built during the 1950’s and 60’s and pride in the space program was quite evident. Schools are named after space missions.

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Our local elementary school has a boilerplate from a Mercury mission proudly displayed in front of the school.

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Most of the homes and businesses in the area were built during this time. A time noted in history as mid century. My home was built in 1965 and is one of the youngest ones on the block.

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You might be asking yourself, “What does this have to do with the Craftsman Cabin kit for this years HBS Creatin Contest?”. Well, I’m glad you asked. Having been surrounded by mid century architect for years now, I have a really hard time seeing anything craftsman about this kit. Don’t get me wrong, Fran at miniatures.com did an amazing job on her build. It looks very craftsman. However, this just screams mid century to me. Let me give you some examples…

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…this is the house we almost bought when we first moved to the area…

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…this is the local fresh seafood market…

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…then 2 doors down from the seafood market…

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…and our neighbors house. These are the ones within just a 1 mile radius of my house. As you can see , I’m surrounded by buildings that rock the asymmetrical peaked roof/flat roof combo built in the mid 1950’s-60’s. That was a really long way to justify why I’ll be going with a more mid century design aesthetic than craftsman. I love mid century design, so it will be a real hardship for me.

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This is where I am so far in the design process. You can see exactly where I’m going, right? I can tell you it won’t be a house. For some reason I have a hard time doing traditional houses. Right now I’m oscillating between 2 ideas that are similar, but have 2 very different uses. When I nail it down I’ll share more. I’m trying to wait until my Hufflepuff embroidery is done. It helps that some of my supplies that I will need to use to get started haven’t arrived yet. They are scheduled to arrive this week though, so I need to get the badger done!

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This is where I left it last night. I learned yesterday that my satin stitch needs a lot of practice. I’m beyond thrilled with how the badger turned out. So, hopefully the person I send it to is too distracted by him to notice the messy satin stitch. Plus, I’ll be framing it,  so it will be harder to see the mistakes *insert evil laugh here*. Well, I’m off to do some more stitching. Have a great day!