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.

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.

 

Easter Eggs

I like to hide Easter eggs in my dollhouses. I mentioned the tiki, that represents where my husband and I got married, in a previous post. I also use butterflies and bees in my builds (my flower shop was Butterfly Flowers and there was a mural of a bee on the side). I’ll use names of family members and dates if I need numbers or names. I even used artwork my kids had made for a tiny little art gallery. They are just little ways to capture memories. 

When I was about 4, my dad was hired by the State Department. Our first tour abroad was in Monrovia, Liberia in West Africa. We lived there for about 3.5 years.

To me, our home was paradise. I could play outside all day. I would climb trees and  create forts in bushes in the yard. I’d capture grasshoppers, tadpoles, and snails to keep in jars in my room. I even remember finding what I thought were cockroach eggs and I tried hatching them. I was a weird kid. I loved the rain storms. I loved the flowers. It’s the first home I really remember. 

I decided that I needed to have a small tribute to Liberia in this tent. 


I found this mask on Pinterest. It spoke to me and it turns out it’s a mask from the Toma Tribe in Northern Liberia. Perfect.

I decided to work on it today while I waited for the glue I used for the trim wood around the base of the landscaping to dry. 


Here’s my replica. It’s made with balsa wood, toothpicks, cheesecloth, a couple of seed beads, some red thread, and a tiny bit of masking tape. The basic shapes were cut out and glued together, painted, sanded, dusted with chalk, stained, and painted some more. The fibers were glued to the mask after they were painted. The tips of the horns got a coat of clear nail polish to give them a tiny bit of shine. 

I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. 


Here they are side by side. Isn’t he cute? 

Now all of my diversion projects are done. I’m still waiting for my lighting supplies to get here, so I can’t work on any more lights (I still need to find the right drill bit though, so maybe it’s good they aren’t here yet). The only projects that leaves me with are landscaping and finishing up the trip wood around the base. Oh,  I also need to weather the canvas for the roof. 

As I get closer to done I keep getting this strange emotion that’s a combination of giddy and scared, maybe. It’s hard to explain. Anyway, I’ll stop rambling for the night. I’ll check in again soon when after I get some of my landscaping done.  


As a bonus for reading my ramblings, here’s the trunk I made to hide the battery for one of my lights. It was supposed to be a suitcase, but it just looked too big. I used fabric from an old tie, masking tape for the “leather” parts, and black card stock with gold rub’n buff for the metal accents. The base kit was purchased from Alpha Stamps

And the Kitchen Sink

That’s what this update is going to be…everything AND the kitchen sink. I can’t believe that it has been over a month since my last post. If I keep this up there will only be 3 more posts before the Creatin’ Contest deadline. Eeep! I’ll try my best to have more posts before December. This time of year starts to transition into warp speed and before you know it we’ll be wishing each other a Happy Valentine’s Day.

So, lets see… what’s happened this past month? I kept thinking that I hadn’t done much mini wise, but it turns out I have gotten a lot done. It’s mostly details and accessories. That’s my favorite part.

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First, I finally have my own work space. It looks like a mess, but it’s wonderful. I spent a full 2 days at this table after it was delivered. I’m sharing the office space with my husband (his idea). I was able to condense all of my dollhouse/mini supplies into one space that I don’t have to clean up when we want to eat. Yay!

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For the tent, I made a work table. It’s a made with a piece of walnut I found at our local dollhouse store, tiny dowels, and toothpicks. The legs are painted with silver nail polish to try and get a metal look. It’s not done. There are a few more details I want to add (hardware, weathering, and aging).

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The work table now has some papers, notebooks, pencils, and butterflies in jars. You can see the stereo microscope I mentioned in my last post. Hard to believe its made out of a couple of those dental flosser things and a few other odds and ends. The papers, charts,  and pictures are images that I found on google. After their size was reduced, I printed them out, cut them out, and wrinkled them to make them look like they have traveled around Africa.

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The butterflies are also made from pictures I found on google. They were printed out, glued together, and cut out. I used a ball stylus to give them a little bit of dimension. They were glued to small sticks from my yard and then glued into the jars. The glass containers were found in various places (miniatures.com, Michaels beads and jewelry department, and the scrapbooking area).

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The butterfly net, that is hanging from the center pole, was made with a toothpick, some thick wire, and fine tulle. Fast drying super glue gel was the trick to making it work. My fingers stuck to everything, but it was worth it.

 

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The leather satchel was finished today. I went through so many different ideas to make this thing and they all kept failing. Fabric was too stiff, too thick, too thin, wouldn’t take glue, and on and on. I gave up and wouldn’t work on this project for about 10 days. Sometimes a set back will do that to me. I need to let it roll around in my brain to come up with a solution. Today while I was working on something unrelated at my messy art desk, I noticed a material that I hadn’t considered before, masking tape. It’s backed with a single ply of paper towel, glued together, and painted. The leather straps were found at Joanne Fabrics in their jewelry making department. The masking tape has a great leather look, is nice and thin, and will hold the slouchy shape I want.

I think that’s about all I’ve gotten done. I’ll be starting on landscaping soon and finishing up the outside supports and roof. Some details on the furniture, another rug, and finishing the second butterfly chair are also on the agenda. There are roughly 88 days until it needs to be done. While that seems like a long time, I can’t get too comfortable. There is Halloween (I always make the costumes for my family and we all dress up), Science Fair for my 5th grader, Thanksgiving, my 7 year olds birthday, getting ready for Christmas, all of the school/work/life commitments that pop up during these next few months in those 88 day also. Plus my “real” job, which I have sorely neglected the past few months. WooHoo!

I’ll end with some more eye candy. I was having too much fun taking pictures.

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Hopefully, I’ll be back before October is over. Maybe even before September is over. Can it be possible?