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.

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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.

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. 

Quick Update

Hope everyone is having a lovely first weekend of fall. Here in Florida the best ways to know it’s fall is 1) the days start getting shorter and 2) the humidity isn’t as bad as it was during the summer.

The table is done. That’s all I did this weekend. I never tell anyone what I really did over the weekends, because I’m sure people really wouldn’t understand. 

“I spent the better part of 2 days making a miniature lantern light up and then carving a piece of wood to make a 1:12 scale table for the lantern to sit on.” Yeah, I’m  totally normal. 


It’s a bit more rough than I had originally planned. Turns out I’m very impatient when it comes to carving pieces of wooden closet dowel rod. My Dremel was a big help. I’m not sure it would have gotten done without it. All of the wiring and battery are inside of it. 

Now to get back to landscaping. 

So much landscaping. 

Bad Pictures

I’ve been using my high tech cell phone camera to capture progress  updates this past week. Technically, it’s a better quality camera than the first digital camera I ever owned, however the pictures still aren’t great. I figured an update didn’t need to be magazine worthy.


Landscaping started this week. I’ve decided it’s about the same as planting an entire yard, one blade of grass at a time, with tweezers. The tall grasses are made from decorative straw brooms. The other ingredients of the landscape include sheet moss, little rocks, very old potpourri, and some tiny dried flowers. 


Next up: I have a tiny miniature Coleman lantern like the one pictured above. Since I took it apart and drilled a hole through it, it’s probably a super rare, one of a kind antique and it’s worth millions of dollars. Please don’t tell me if it is. I’d rather not know.


I wanted it to light up. I took it apart, drilled a hole for the wires, cleaned up the rouge glue and paint, “frosted” the inside of the hurricane, gave it a fresh coat of paint, then added some grunge to it, and finally glued everything back in place. I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out. You can’t see the details very well, because of the bad pictures, but I’m sure you get the idea. 


Next, where do I hide the battery and switch? Why be conventional? I’ll make a fun stump side table, hollow it out and hide the wires in there. Easy, peasy. 


I should’ve learn by now that nothing is easy peasy with me. After some googling I decided that this table needed to be something that has been collected on my adventurer’s journey. I decided on trying to make a table inspired by tables carved from one large slice of log. I’m starting with one small slice of closet dowel rod. Pretty much the same thing. 


The carving part is going to take forever. One day I’ll learn to just take the easy path.  Oh, you can also see in this picture, the support beams and lashing have finally been installed. It was one of those things that was causing me anxiety because how I thought it should work wasn’t working. Turns out I was overthinking it. It went together quite simply with a little patience and glue. 

There will be plenty of room for the battery inside the table. And the button will be easily accessible. My main lesson on last years build was to not wait until the last minute to add the lighting. Guess who still doesn’t know where she wants to put lights (except for this light, I know where it’s going)? I have at least 2 other lights (I’ll need more though) that I’m still trying to figure out where they are going. This year, to accommodate my poor wire hiding planning, I think I’ll try hiding the batteries and wires inside or behind furniture. Maybe one of these years I’ll be able to plan ahead and wire accordingly. Then again, why be predictable.

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?

 

Little Bits

This weekend was productive. I was able to finish up two more shields, another campaign trunk, and a painted tapestry. Unfortunately my eyes are angry at me about the tapestry. The joys of getting older.

Hope you had a lovely weekend.

Newest Addition


He’s a little fennec fox that will be hanging out around my Backyard Bungalow build. I’m thinking of naming him Nyuki (means bee in Swahili) or maybe Dogo (which means small). I haven’t fully made up my mind, but I’m leaning heavily towards Nyuki.