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.

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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.