A Quick Update

The removable wall has been started. The windows have been added. Some how the door is too small for the hole I cut, but I’ll be able to fix it with the frame.

All of the areas painted black have their stonework done. Once the windows and doors are in place I’ll finish adding the rest of the stonework.

While I was waiting for glue to dry I decided to start painting the stones. I’m kind of loving it so far.

Lots of touch ups and some weathering in my future. I’ll add grout after the painting is done.

Well, that’s all for now. I just wanted to give you a quick update on how the cork stonework was working out. I’ll be back soon to hopefully share a solution to a problem that had been stumping me for weeks. I just have to make sure it will work first. Until then have a great week!

Next Steps

Way back in the beginning I had decided that I wanted my studio to be part of an apartment building. Since I’m not a completely crazy person I need to figure out a way to capture just part of the building.

I decided to pull inspiration from artists like Ichiyo Haga. However, mine needs to open up to reveal the studio. I’ve let the technical aspect of this intimidate me.

This is where I was last week. It was emptied out. I noticed the top was sagging a little so I put in 2 supports to brace it better.

I used some mat board to create a blank canvas. I needed to hide the spaces I won’t be furnishing so that I could get a better idea of what the outside of the building will look like. If that makes sense.

One of the things I’ve been mentally struggling with is how to keep the build looking like the kit. I’ve been using all of the pieces from the kit and adding more to it, but I know it’s possible to look at it and not know the kit was even used. So how do I keep the integrity of the kit while making my vision come to life?

I started with measuring and adding.

And then some sketching. There are a few mess ups, but it gives me a good road map of how to attack the front of the building. I’m aiming to keep the architectural elements from the kit intact. I’ll just expand them to repeat around the studio. There will be a couple of balconies, lots of tall windows, and a few French doors. The building facade will have a stone or brick finish. The windows and balconies will have iron railings. The center doors and flanking windows will be the area that opens up to reveal the studio. All of the windows will need to be custom, but they will look a lot like the windows from the kit. I may even cannibalize the kit windows. The front will be held on with magnets. This is where next week’s projects will be heading. Yay! Finally I have less of a general concept and more of a plan! It might just be 12% of a plan, but that’s better than 11%.

Last Day of Summer

It’s been months since I’ve written anything, but I’ve been slowly cranking out projects. And when I say slowly, I mean snails pace. Here’s a quick summary of the last few months:

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I finished the floor and I love the way it turned out. I wanted to wear it on a chain as a necklace for a few days, but decided it was a bit chunky for my normal style.

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The lantern is finished.

I’m thinking of abandoning it somewhere in Boston. I love the idea of a little bit of the wild being left in the hustle and bustle of a big city.

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I made an easel from pieces of walnut. I’m happy with the way it turned out. I know what I would do differently if I was to make another one, but I’m not going to point those things out.

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It still looks a little too new. I plan on giving it a few paint drips to help make it look well loved.  It’s fully adjustable.

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I’ve also made a few million paint brushes. Ok, maybe I’ve only made about 45, but it feels like a million. I think I need to make more. I plan on sharing how I made them in a future post.

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The canvases are made from wood stretcher bars I cut and glued together and fabric. The fabric is lightly glued to the canvas. I want to add nail head trim to some of them, but the nails I have are too big for the scale. The newspapers are scans of French newspapers I found online. I scaled them in Microsoft Word and printed them onto old typewriter paper and onion skin paper. The chair is a Chrysabon kit. I did a little dry brushing to make it look a little bit more like wood. It will be getting paint drops to help it look well loved. The rug has been aged a bit, but needs more work. I have a couple of more rugs that will be going into the studio that are still waiting for their turn to be aged.

Warning: The next few pictures are not for the faint of heart.

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This is what my desk area looked like this morning. This is the result of months of projects and a ferret who loves digging around in the polyfil. He’s also figured out how to get up on the desk, but I can’t figure out how he’s doing it. It’s not a big deal really. He just loves spilling water, knocking things off the desk (usually breaking them), and digging around in my carefully organized piles of junk making them less organized.

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I know it’s time to clean up when my work space is whittled down to roughly 5″x10″. Such a mess, but an organized mess. The funny thing is I know exactly were everything is.

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I’ve been using the build as a random storage area too. This needs to be cleaned out also. In the top left is a sofa I’ve been working on. I don’t like the way the tufting is coming out so it will be getting redone. Below the sofa is a round table from House of Miniatures. I thought I was going to use it in the studio, maybe as a still life setup, but the ferret has knocked it off my desk twice and broken it twice. It no longer sits level and I’m not sure I’m willing to fix it a third time. The rest of it is odds and ends of things I’ll be using and things that were just stuffed there because my desk was a mess.

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See? The mess wasn’t that bad. This is after about 25 minutes. Now it’s a blank slate, ready for new messes.

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So much more space now.

The kids go back to school tomorrow. While the summer was fun and full of trips, laser tag, and beach visits I’m glad it’s over. I’m looking forward to having a normal schedule again. Now I just need to think about what mess I want to make tomorrow.

Lots of Little Irons

The last few weeks have been a hodgepodge of projects. Some bigger than others.

I finished my tiny pumpkin project! I’m really happy with how it turned out. It’s always a nice little boost to finish a project.

A few weeks ago I made the original walls from the Serendipity Shed kit taller and just a tiny bit deeper. The window holes were patched with some foam core.

This side of the walls will be seen, so they are getting the most attention. I want them to have the look of old plaster. To hide the joints and window openings I first gave the entire wall a thin coat of spackle and then sanded that smooth. I wasn’t a fan of the finished texture of the spackle. Next I decided to try glueing a piece of tissue paper over the spackle, thinking that maybe it would create a more worn plaster look. Sadly it’s created more of an old leather texture. I’m still not happy. I might try another plaster type product and see if I get a better result.

Since the walls had me a little stuck, I decided to keep cutting out wood for the floor. This is what I have so far. Clearly I need a lot more wood for the floor.

I’m kind of in love with the color and pattern. The pieces will be sanded and will be fit together better. I just needed to make a mock up so I could estimate how much more wood I would need. I have plans next week to drive up to my closest dollhouse shop, Earth and Tree Miniatures, to pick up some molding pieces and more wood for the floor.

And now for something completely different. I’ve been wanting to make some tiny little projects and decided to work on them in my Creatin Contest down time. I love this little house.

The roof is shingled and the sides have custom wood siding.

It even sits on a stone foundation. It’s about 2.5″ tall and 1.5″ wide. I’ll be ordering a tiny cloche for it to sit in. I’m certain I’ll knock it off the shelf if it’s not protected.

And finally, I’ll leave you with some pictures of a few more projects I’ve been killing time with.

While I haven’t gotten as much done with the Creatin Contest as I’d like, I have been keeping myself busy. I’ll share more of the finished projects as I get them done.

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!

 

Potpourri 

Hello! It’s been too long. Sorry. Life doesn’t seem to want to slow down. This will be a quick update about the past month or so. 


First, which some of you probably know, my little tent won 3rd place in the Creatin Contest! You guys, I about died. There is so much amazing talent represented in the entries. I would hate to be a judge. Congratulations to everyone who entered! So much time and love were poured into their projects and it shows.


The 2017 kit is still sitting and waiting for some love. I think I’ve finally hit on the idea that I want to go with, but that’s for another time. 

I’ve been keeping myself busy with little embroidery and sewing projects. 


I tried paper pieced quilting. I made the fox for my grandmother and Twilight Sparkle was for my sister. I prefer paper piecing to traditional quilting. It is finicky, but I don’t have the patience for the precision of traditional quilts. 


I’ve signed up for a Labyrinth “quilt-a-long”. Each week there is an option for a paper pieced quilt block or an embroidery one. I’ve been doing the embroidered choice. I’m not sure how many blocks have been released so far, but I know it’s more than the 2 that I’ve gotten done.


This is a cross stitch of the Anchorman cast I made for my husband. It’s done and framed now. It was my first counted cross stitch. I’m glad I started with something simple. It’s amazing how one miscount can throw off everything. 

I also signed up for a Valentine card exchange and a craft exchange. 


My Valentine card was distinctly geeky. I loved K-2SO from Rogue One. 


This is for the craft exchange. It’s a version of the Hufflepuff house crest from Harry Potter. Yes, I also like Harry Potter. I’m a bit of a geek. This has to be done and mailed before the 23rd. It’s coming along quickly, as long as I can devote hours to it. It will end up being framed. I figured if it’s behind glass it will be harder to see my mistakes (I’m just kind of making things up as I go along). 


My middle child turned 11. He didn’t know what theme he wanted for his cake. So, I got to choose. My two youngest love listening to crazy songs that get stuck in your head for years. One of those songs is called Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows. Being the awesome mom that I am, I knew that had to be the theme. He loved it!

So, as you can see I’ve just been doing what ever peaks my interest. It’s been my way of recovering from dollhouse burnout. However, I’m starting to get the mini-itch again. Now that my idea is taking root, I’m wanting to get started. 

Oh, also, we have a new family member.


His name is Bill Furry and is a ball of energy. The only way I can get a picture of him is if he is sleeping. 


He’s so very helpful in making sure my trash can in the art room is empty. And he’s decided to help relocate some of my supplies. Thankfully, he’s not very good at hiding them yet. Emptying trash cans is tiring work. 

I think that about sums up the past month or so. Now that mini-ideas are starting to percolate again, I’ll be posting more often. Until then, hope you are having a fantastic March.