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. 

28 days…

Where has the year gone?

Twenty eight days left until this little tent has to be done.

Please excuse me while I go freak out.


Here’s a lovely, calming picture of a sunflower as a thank you for stopping by today. I’ll be chained to my craft table for the rest of the day. 

Quick Progress Update

My neighbors probably think I’m crazy. I spent a portion of the morning burning small sticks and kindling. Sitting on my front porch, holding tiny sticks with tweezers, lighting them on fire, and then placing them in a bowl to catch the ash. Totally normal neighbor behavior. The newest neighbor on the block did a double take when she drove by this morning. Im not sure explaining to her what I was doing will help any…

“Well, you see, I’m creating a dollhouse sized wall tent set in 1950’s Africa and I needed realistic looking ash and burned sticks for the fire pit. The tweezers were so I didn’t burn myself, obviously.” – see totally normal. 


Before I had even started this built I had bought the little black pot. I was planning on hanging it above the fire pit, but it doesn’t hang level. I wouldn’t want any food to spill out on the fire. I don’t like being wasteful when I camp.  I built a little over the campfire grill grate thing (technical term). Now my little adventurer can make something in the pot and something on the grill. It’s made out of thin wire, toothpicks, super glue, a few choice words, and paint. 


Obviously from reading my story above you already know that I had decided that the best way to get authentic looking ash and burned logs was to use authentic ash and burned sticks. Ash was brushed onto the rock ring and around the campfire as well. And I’m calling it done. Another item crossed off the list. Unless I decide something needs to go into the pot. 

I worked on some lighting this week too, but haven’t gotten pictures yet. I’ll take some when I’m done with that part. I also decided I needed a fourth rug for the porch area. Of course it’s the one that gave me the hardest time. Using the dremel to sand the rug caused the threads to pull through making the whole rug bunch up. Then I had to do extra trimming on the front and back to get it to flatten out. I ended up dousing it with starch and ironing it. It’s nice and flat now, it just looks extra well worn. 

After the lighting is installed, the roof goes on, decor goes in, and then I finish landscaping the open side of the tent, then I think I might be done. Crazy. 

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

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. 

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.