Slowly

Things are being crossed off my list slowly. The smaller green shelves had been put aside, waiting for some bottle blanks to arrive. 


This is what the shelves looked like the last time I shared them. I had ordered some bottle blanks in both 1:12 and 1:24th scale from Alpha Stamps and just needed to wait for them to arrive. The shelves did get a coat of teal paint. The bright green just wasn’t doing it for me.


The tiny bottles came in the mail yesterday. The labels were images I had found in google. After printing them, cutting them out and glueing them on, I gave the label a light coat of nail polish top coat. Some of the bottles are made from larger plastic wine bottles that I had picked up at a local dollhouse shop. I cut them down, sanded them to smooth out the rough edges, and then glued tops on to make them look more like bottles and jars (the orang and green bottles on the top right, the green bottle and small silver capped bottle on the middle left, and the clear bottle with the gold top on the middle right were all made from the wine bottles). 


I’m calling the shelves done. They are officially crossed off the list. 

I’m working on how to hide the batteries for a couple of lights that I’ve made. One will be hid in a suitcase I’m working on right now. Another will be hid behind the shelves. That one won’t take too much fussing. The rest of the lights will be using a battery hid in the ceiling of the tent. I just have to wait for the rest of the light kits to get here.

 One thing I thought I had learned from my last build was not to wait until the end to install the lights. I guess what I really learned is that I have commitment issues with furniture and lighting. I now know where I want everything to be set up. However, at the beginning of this process I had completely different ideas. I’m glad I didn’t wire for where I thought I’d want the lights. I’d be going back and changing everything. This approach gives me more chances to practice my creative problem solving. I seem to get a chance to practice that almost daily. 

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Gloriosa Lilies

With the deadline quickly approaching, I have a renewed sense of urgency. I would ideally like to be done before Thanksgiving. Last year I barely finished 2 days before the deadline. While I loved what I was doing, I felt like it was a dark shadow over my favorite time of year. I just wasn’t able to fully enjoy things. Working on my flower shop I felt guilty that I wasn’t doing things for the holidays (which I love). And when I was doing stuff for the holidays I was slightly panicked that I wasn’t going to finish in time. 

My to do list is mostly the unfun things, time consuming tasks, or things I’m stuck on. I have to finish the back part of the structure (log supports), finish the top of the tent (tarp, tie down ropes), finish the second chair I was working on (hardware, making the seat), landscaping, making and installing the lights, and putting everything into place. Each of those things has multiple steps and  I’m sure there are 10 other things I’m forgetting. The more I talk about it the more I start to panic and who really needs sleep anyways?

Deep breath.

Ok, back to the main reason I’m posting today. Many years ago my husband and I went on a safari vacation in Kenya. One morning, when our tour guide was driving into the park, I noticed by the side of the road a clump of gloriosa lilies. I squealed. I was working at as an event florist in DC. I had never really given much thought to the flowers we used in our arrangemets, so to see one in the wild was pretty neat. When I had decided on the theme for this build I knew I had to include gloriosa lilies. 


This is one of the pictures I used for reference when creating my own miniature version.


The petals and leaves are made from 2 sheets of origami paper that were glued wrong sides together. The petal and leaf shapes were just eyeballed. Nothing in nature is perfect, so I wasn’t too concerned about the flowers being perfect either. The yellow was painted on the edges of the petals. 


The petals and leaves were shaped using my handy pink eraser, tweezers, and ball stylus. The petals were glued to wire that was painted green. The leaves were glued to thicker wire that was also painted green. Little tendrils made from wire were added to the main plant stem. After all of glue was mostly dry, the paint was touched up and some veriations in color were also added to the leaves. Lastly the flowers were glued in place. 



After all of the glue dries for a couple of days, I plan on adjusting some of the plants. Bending wires, fluffing out the leaves a bit more, just trying to get them to look a bit more fancy and natural. My version is probably not true 1:12 scale. The flowers are a little bigger than your average gloriosa lily. I prefer to think that they are really well fertilized and therefore big and beautiful. 

These took many, many hours over a 3 day period. I’m sure I could have gotten them done in one day if I completely ignored my real life, however my kids don’t seem to appreciate a free range lifestyle. Oh well. 

My next project will either be finishing my second chair or finally tackling the support beams for the back of the tent. Either way the next project will be very messy and dusty, which is why I’ve been avoiding them. I’ll just have to embrace the mess and get it done! 

Aging

Rugs. I’m talking about aging rugs. Don’t get me started on my aging. 

The rugs in the tent have been traveling with my little adventurer across the African continent. 

Originally I wanted to avoid buying premade rugs. Mostly because I haven’t really found any that had patterns that made me excited. However, after my very short attempt at weaving a rug, I gave in and bought 3 rugs. 


They were all too new looking. I thought maybe some bleach would tone down the vibrancy of the rugs. Turns out bleach has little effect on polyester. So, plan B- paint.


Beige paint, tan paint, and lots of water smeared all over the rug. Then I let it dry.


After it was completely dry, I took my Dremel’s sanding bit and added lots and lots of wear. There are areas that are worn through and some rough spots along the edges. This leaves the surface really fuzzy though. Using a pair of tiny scissors I “shaved” the rug, trimming around holes and worn spots so they are more visible. 


The fringe on the end is cut down to look a little bit more in scale. 


I’m happy with the aging of the rugs. 


One more thing I can cross off the list that won’t stop growing. 

The List

With *mumble, mumble* days left until December 16th, I decided it was time to make a list of things to do to get this build done. Let’s just say I didn’t feel better after making the list.

Here’s the abbridged version:

  • finish all the things (lights, furniture, landscaping, structure, details, etc)

That about sums it up.

The past week I’ve been working on odds and ends to fill up the book trunks. I’ve been trying to make books, artifacts, papers, and collected goodies to fill the shelves. I’m happy to say the 2 bigger shelves are almost done. 

shelves1

shelves9

shelves8

The little lion statue is made from a little plastic toy that I glued to a piece of wood. It needs to be touched up. I made the mistake of trying to touch it up with a sharpie and now it taunts me. The little guy wearing the beads and shells was based on a little East African statue I found on line. The tiki is a bead. All the dollhouses I have made have a little tiki in them. It’s an easter egg that represents where my husband and I were married.

shelves7

The little bowls on the bottom shelf are the tops of acorns. The wooden box on the bottom shelf is just a little block of wood that has been detailed to look like it can open. There needs to be something else on the shelf that has the folded fabrics, I’m just not sure what (maybe a gourd or wooden mask). That spot will be low priority though. If I think of something great, if not no big deal. 

 These shelves are mostly done. I finished up the ammunition storage box and the little strong box today. There are a few more details I’ll be adding, mostly papers and maybe one more artifact. 

I’m loving the little bird. It just needs a little something by it. I have a few things I can try. Again, not a huge priority. 


I was hoping to achieve the messy genius look without it being so messy that it detracts from the details. The research table will probably be a bit more messy. Open journals, charts, jars of butterflies, papers and so on and so on. 


These shelves are giving me a problem. First, I think I’m going to repaint the green. I like the idea of green, this one is just too lime green. Second, I didn’t factor in the size of these shelves when I made them. I based them on an antique campaign book trunk. It’s smaller and thinner than the blue shelves. Books don’t fit well. Papers don’t fit well. I tried making a box of Kodak film, my adventurer likes taking pictures. A shelf of camera gear and film sounds doable. I’m not sure it looks like a box of film, so maybe camera equipment minus boxes of film. I’m also thinking about bottles of chemicals used in collecting samples, cleaning equipment, and studying things under the microscope and s me boxes of slides. I’m working on a little clock and have a few pieces of pottery and birds to add.


Can you tell I like the birds? I’m sure it will all fall into place. I might just have to paint the inside and put it aside for a few days. Sometimes I’ll get “ahha” moments at 3pm on some random Tuesday. 

As for the rest of the list, I think what I’m going to try and do is break the list down into groups of easy, time consuming, and “I’m avoiding it because it is intimidating me or I’m scare of messing it up”. Then I’ll try to knock a few off each week. Fingers crossed it will be done in time…less than 2 months.  Oh and the one thing I swore I would do different in this build from my last one- not saving lighting until last. What have I done with the lighting…saved it for last. Yay for learning lessons!

I’m Back

Hurricane Matthew was an emotional rollercoaster that I’m more than happy to not experience again. It started Tuesday when I had to accept the fact an Category 4 hurricane was heading straight towards our county. Wednesday we packed, secured the house and yard, and then just waited. We had planned on evacuating Thursday afternoon to my in-laws condo on the main land. Around 12:30 am on Thursday the storms direction put us right in the path for eye wall to hit us, the storm surge predictions were getting to be up to 11 feet (putting flooding on our road at about 8-9 feet) with possible winds of 140+. It was decided that we were going to head further away. We found a hotel in Orlando that had made their whole hotel pet friendly for the hurricane. So first thing in the morning we had the kids play “the house is burning, which 3 things do you want to take” game, packed up the pets (all 5 of them), and headed to safer ground. 
We took our first family selfie right before we left. We were saying good bye to our house. 

We decided to drop the cats and guinea pig off at my in-laws condo. The dogs came with us to the hotel. It was a long 20 or so hours. One dog gets extremely flatulent when he’s stressed, the other barks and grumbles. It was a rainy and windy night. We decided in the morning to head back toward home since the eye of the hurricane was heading north. 
In the night the storm had shifted north again, so the eye was about 20 miles off shore when it passed our town. St. Augustine and Jacksonville ended up receiving the flooding that we were preparing for. 


Our house was in amazing shape. Mostly tree litter, some very minor flooding (a rolled up rug and some sandbags prevented it from being worse), and we lost half of our plumeria tree. We had power, water, and joy of joys for my kids, internet. No broken windows. No roof damage. All five of our huge trees were still standing. 


We spent 5 hours on Saturday and a couple on Sunday cleaning up the yard. 


The pile is about 5 feet tall, 4 feet wide, and maybe 25 feet long. I’ve been slowly getting the house back in order. Something about the storm has made me want to purge all the clutter. I just want it all gone. Clean slate. I don’t know why, but we’ll see how long it lasts. 

I feel extremely fortunate for how everything worked out for us, but I think I’ll pass on the next hurricane. I may have aged 5 years in 36 hours time.

 I haven’t done much mini-ing since we’ve been home. Trying to get my mind back into it is hard right now when I see so much that needs to be done. Both my parents and my in-laws have winter homes here, so we’ve also been checking on their properties, organizing with insurance adjusters for them, and emptying their refrigerators of spoiled food. I’ll get back into the swing of things. My drive to be creative will start demanding to be acknowledged. 

Matthew

The past few days I’ve decided to work on stylizing the book trunk shelves in my tent.


After loading all the books I’ve made, 5 more books that I made while loading the already made books, and most of the other shelf items I had squirreled away, I realized I needed more stuff. At first I just thought more books. My husband suggested more artifacts and collected items. That sounded like way more fun than making more books.


Using fimo I made some little pieces of pottery, a few carved bird figurines, and some tiny pucca shells to adorn a “gourd vessel”. The little bowls and the top of the gourd vessel are acorn tops from my yard. 

I’ve been having fun researching things my little anthropologist would collect. However, this week has had a shadow looming over it. For a few days my husband has been telling me about a hurricane that’s been headed our way. Sweet little Hurricane Matthew. I was in denial, teasing my husband about wanting to buy water and non-parishable food. I was convinced it wasn’t going to happen. Well, tomorrow at 3pm the mandatory evacuation of our barrier island starts. The weather projections have it making landfall in our county. Woohoo! Thankfully my in-laws have a condo on the mainland that we can go and stay at. It will be our 3 kids, 2 large dogs, 2 cats (one of which is an outdoor cat that adopted us 3 years ago- I’m not leaving him behind), a guinea pig, and the adults in a small 2 bedroom condo. The plus side is it has awesome views to the east, so it will be fun watching the hurricane. 

I keep joking about bringing my little tent with us, but I’m sure it will be safer here than with the zoo. Anyway, not much miniaturing will get done this weekend. I guess a hurricane makes a pretty decent excuse for not getting stuff done.