Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Crooked house part 1

Anyone reading my blog will know that I have found it best to follow my mini muse.  I so wanted to work on something else, but it really is better when I don't force myself.  In this case for awhile it meant working on three projects at once.  One being...

Crooked House

On Smaller and Smaller Adventures, I had accepted the Firecracker challenge and for my efforts my name was the lucky one drawn to receive a Crooked house made by Susie Newell.  I'll be honest.  First I didn't in any way enter the challenge in order to win (drawing was of participants and not who was best or most creative, etc).  I was just interested in the project.  Second on hearing that I was the lucky drawing winner I was both excited and not so much.  It is so cool to win, but I just wasn't enthused about the crooked house.  Don't get me wrong, I think it is a really neat project, it just hadn't drawn me in...yet.
The house came and I found it to be very charming but again, not so exciting to me.  I knew that it was something that Susie had started but had decided to change gears.  Pam Junk Knapp the owner of SASA, had rescued them (or at least I think this to be the case) from the garbage to become drawing prizes.  So knowing it was a reject for someone else I was not concerned that it was not finished and ready to move in.  It was missing a chimney and also one window without the mesh.  All things I could deal with.  But the appeal of it wasn't there. 
Then Pam posted photos on SASA of her finished crooked house.  She had previously shared the interior.  Now that did appeal.  She had done it with melted BPF and painted in green and purple.  It was cool.  Then  in the finished landscaped photos were the green lush landscape and purple flowers.

That's when it hit me. 
The artist who is going to live there would never leave it yellow.  She's like Mr. Pine and his purple house.  First, she loves purple.  Secondly, others have a yellow house, so this one shouldn't be. 
When I get a kit, I don't want it to be like everyone else.  I rarely if ever bother trying to find the same color of paint the kit maker used. Maybe I stick to a similar color, but exact color is not an issue for me.
So I painted over the yellow and green with purple.  It took a couple of coats - mixing and blending until me and the artist who will live there were happy. 

I forgot to take pics of the house as I got it, but in this photo you can see the color it started as.
Then in process of painting with purple
I took the windows it came with out.
And here you can see the results of the purple
The final result I was happy with.

Pam had also changed her roof moving away from the green to mixed/aged green.  She added shingles.  My artist liked the shingles but suggested I go with black and to use some of those decorative cut scissors.  I found in my stash some black cardboard.  They were a folder for my kid's portraits.  They have a slight texture and made it easy-peasy to make into shingles.  I loved that I didn't have to measure or be straight.  The scissors I used were the pinking shear style.  I glued them on without even eyeballing the straightness - after all it is a crooked house.  Ok, I admit that sometimes I eyed and then made the row more crooked.  LOL

Keeping with the black and purple theme with accents of white.  I let the artist come out and play with the inside as well.  The inside has some texture on it and so I dabbed purple inside and swirled it around.  Once I was satisfied with the overall color, I decided it might be fun to do some splatter painting.  Of course that worked very well.

Along the same line, the idea of black/white tile was very prominent, but the idea of straight lines was not what came to mind.  I played a bit with finding images on line, then got out pen and paper and made up some samples.  I hand-painted the floors according to one of the samples.  I drew wavy lines going east to west then lines north to south.  Then I painted every other section black.  It helped me to dot them first, then go back and fill in. 
I had also liked what Pam did with her not full floors so that is how I ended up with curved floors.

Next I knew I needed a base to put the house on.  I was working on 3 projects at once so I made three bases - building them from blue or pink builder's foam (a dense foam that cuts easy and is lightweight).  Each one was built to fit in a 12" x 8" dome.  I usually purchase these at my local chain craft stores. 
One base was for the Crooked house, another for the Mushroom house and the third for an Egg house.

  This post was intended to be posted a long time ago. 

Not sure why I didn't post it, but since I did all the above more happened, so here that is:
At some point I decided the base I had made was not working so I built up a new one. This time I didn't use the ridgd wrap on it but used celluclay instead. I wanted a crooked lane so I worked that part until I was happy with it. It is a tad steep but this in mini world.
Influnced by the project Pam did and also the centerpieces, I considered having a cave under the house, but decided it wasn't needed.
The flowering trees are some artifical things I bought possibly for another project and then didn't use. I did cut them before using them as they were in bunches and taller. The color differences was part of the bunch.
After all the fun I had with the Winter Centerpiece base, I knew I wanted something fun here. I liked the crooked lane rhyme so here is where it went and it goes all the way around.
I painted the base another color at first and didn't like it. Then I believe I did the floor and the idea of using black came to me. The letters are done with a silver paint pen and I added three dots here and there that are same color as the purple flowers.

Wire Tree
For some reason, I decided this should have a crazy tree. I had loved using the powder puff trees in the winter centerpiece so I wanted something fun. I know I took pics of  this tree at some point and posted it to the web, but couldn't find them. It could have been to a group although still couldn't find where I thought they could be. Should have been on my computer but am thinking those pics got eaten when I had a computer crash after a switch from one to another. I had recovered some others but didn't find these.
So here is new ones
I'm not totally happy with the steps, but not sure I want to try to build them up. If I do then the path would be extra step right there.
In this pic, can also see the new windows. I used paint only for the lines around and the trim. This is how the house was painted before rather than having raised trim. On the inside I did add the wire mesh (art sculpture mesh) and cut window frames. I did those by placing a piece of card on the inside tracing the opening, then cutting that hole and then cutting a quarter inch larger.
The landscaping and around the outside of the house is done.
That is unless I find the chimney that has shown up from time to time but didn't get added on it yet. Maybe it is in the box with the interior things. But it would need to be painted probably.
That's all that is left is the inside.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Egg house Part 1 - Development and some stages

I have wanted to do an egg house for a very long time.  I have considered several variations of this over the years. Initially I bought a big but short sided rectangular basket for a base as I wanted to make a village with multiple houses.  This would work in 1/144th but not 1/4".  So the basket was given away.
Later, I think, oh I can use these plastic eggs.  Just regular size eggs, but then I get out my ruler and the size is too small.  I couldn't put more than a chair in those and how can a 1/4" bunny person stand up in it?  So that idea gets tossed as well.
Lately, I have been planning my thoughts on paper.  Just a simple sketch, adding notes about details I want to add.  I sketched an idea for my latest idea of an egghouse.  Based on that sketch, I went through my stash.  Sure enough I had several egg shapes available.  One was a L'eggs (old pantyhose container) egg.  I went so far as to glue the two halves together.  But then I decided it was bit small.  Next consideration was a plastic egg already had a hole cut in it.  It was ok, but looked at my other options.  A paper mache egg also was pre cut.  Nope, then lastly was a plastic egg that the opening was around the oval or side as opposed to around the middle like the typical plastic egg.  This egg was larger than the other 3 and has a clear half and not clear other half.

This egg house needs something to hold it up. My sketch was to have a tree trunk.  This became something that was open and would be in addition to the egg having living space.  That solved a problem that the egg was still small so not enough room for more than a stove and chair. 

When I started this I was working on more than one project at the time as I was doing similar things.  For example for the Mushroom house I was using an ice cream container as a starting point for the stem and for the egg house for the trunk.



Here I have drawn a line to determine where to reshape the opening.
Notice the extra cardboard to make the shape and to the side is a circle cut from builders foam to go inside.
This picture shows test fitting inside the dome and how it might sit on the base.

Test-fitting made me realize this wasn't the right trunk yet.
My new trunk was made using a manila folder and I didn't have to add extra pieces to wrap around.
I actually made a shorter one as had decided it would sit on several layers of foam to raise it up.
notice that the egg has a line on it.
Here's how I got that line - used a mug to draw the line with a sharpie.  Later I used isopropyl alcohol to remove the sharpie

After setting the egg on the short trunk and on the layers of foam - I realized I could still have my tall trunk and the layers.  By cutting into the layers I was able to insert the trunk down in them.
Here can see the back view of all that cutting
Along about now is when I should have been deciding on where the electrical would go.  But no - I can't seem to think that far ahead.  I am sure it was because I was thinking I would not include electrical but that is really crazy thinking now that we have these wonderful LED's.

After more trimming of the foam - I was ready to add the plaster cloth.
Here is the back after adding the plaster cloth

At some point between these pictures, I cut the opening in the back of the egg. Then  I painted the stump and that's when I realized I wanted to light it.
I added 4 lights. 
For the top floor the wires ran on the outside of the egg in the groove where the two halves go together.
The lower floor of the egg has the wire going up the side and I covered it with spackle. The wire along the ceiling is hidden by a thin card with a hole in the middle.
At the bottom of the egg I drilled another hole for the floor below the egg.

The lowest floor then also has a thin card for the light.
The wires for the trunk floors was hidden either with spackle, or I ran behind the plaster cloth I used to make the bark on the trunk. That is where the tricky part was. This is why we should always plan to light and think ahead for the placement of wires.
Here is the egg with my markings to tell me where to not paint. I painted the inside first. Plastic doesn't take paint well and definitely I had issues with opacity. The paint brand I used has something to do with that, but ultimately I painted the outside as well. Eventually I built up both in and out side enough so wasn't see thru anymore.
I then cut door and window trim from thin card and glued it to the egg.
I did paint the egg a matte pink and then later changed to a lighter pink with pearl finish. Same with the trim - painted it lime green and then later painted it a darker green.
My next phase was to add the deck. I started with the pieces around the trunk. Each piece was measured and cut. The measuring was not precise. I did a lot of holding up and marking with a pencil. EVERY PIECE WAS HAND CUT. Other than having an idea of how deep the deck was going to be, I didn't measure the pieces with a ruler.
Then I added the lower brace. These I kept in mind where the deck edge was going to be. Then connected together with a horizontal. These pieces I made sure they were in line with the others.
Next on the deck framing was the outer piece, then the middle pieces for support.
Here it is all supported.
Here with the boards all added on top of the frame. I glued a section at a time, trimmed all the ends after the glue was dry.
The railing was added as a end support and then a top rail the length of the section. The between supports then added in.
Different view - each board that was cut at an angle on the inside, was done by either eye-balling it or by marking with pencil the angle. Sometimes I had to cut again, but most time it worked. 
Here it is with a white wash to the deck and the new pink and green colors. The base also has been painted with green where I was adding in the grassy areas.
The landscaping is where I have gotten stuck. Last time I worked on this was in 2016.
I'm sharing this now, before this post gets any longer and so it can get published.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Alice in Wonderland - part 9 the court

When I decided to make this project there were certain scenes that I wanted to do. But then I also had other space so I can't really say why the courtroom is one I decided on. Maybe it was the card people I made initially that helped me decide.
Back when I did the tree for the tea party scene I also finished up the wallpapering for the court section. I envisioned this stately court with a dais and paneling on the walls... but then I went to my stash; I didn't find what I was looking for. What did happen was just a nice brown paneled room - wood wallpaper and floor plus a shiny ceiling. I am pleased with this section despite the grandiose ideas I had to start with. That is normal for me to dream and then scale back once I realize I don't have the space, materials or whatever it takes to make the dream happen.

This week I have finally gotten back in there and made progress.
Top
First, I finished up the top.  I just went with a hedge of sorts. But before I glued it down, I decided to make the rabbit hole smaller.
The hole was just too big and it bothered me, so I added paper inside and painted it. Then I added more paper (after the above photo) to make it even smaller and more ragged. Once painted brown under and green on top, while the paper was still wet with glue, I poked the new hole. I added glue and filled the area with greenery.


This hole actually goes down into the ground some and I am pleased iwth it now.
Also note the light down below - to the right.


Mr. Rabbit looks quite dapper, but almost too small. Yet, I remind myself, that he would be smaller than her.

Back to the court

I already had the two guards made so next was to make the queen. 
I really wanted her to be over the top and I think I did with her. The king on the other hand was more robust instead. One touch I added for the king was the wig. It was in my notes so I added it.
I discussed how I made them previously. The king has a bead to enhance his girth. All the card people are enhanced with bits of ribbon, shiny paper, trim, beads, sequins and glitter. It was fun to pull out different parts of my stash to play with.
I also got creative to cover the heads on the K and J because they are two headed. Just looked funny to have that head upside down. The Q it was hidden in her skirt, but for the K I used a half of a sequin. For J I used a whole heart sequin and added the sash over it.
I was also trying to make him look guilty for stealing those tarts by folded him over a bit.

The table with the tart tray is a gold painted bird bath using a paint pen. It covered the best although getting into a few spots was tricky.  I used a heart shape sequin for a tray. The tarts are some things I made years back for a swap and I went crazy making extra for once.

I also added glitter to the rabbit's clothes to enhance him. 



This one shows the full court and how it is with the rest of the project on that side.
I still need to add edging and then lastly I will be finishing up the tea party.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Alice in Wonderland Part 8 - some figures

Several weeks ago I purchased some charms from Alpha Stamps to use in my Alice in Wonderland project.
To do this, I first cut away the bails (loops) and I used files and my Dremel to reshape where I cut. I should have used it to reshape Alice, but I left her as is except for fixing her hair.
Next I base coated each charm in white. The two bigger rabbits, I painted them very similar. Each color required two coats over the base coat.
Here is the first rabbit in place to finish off Mr. Rabbit house section
I also got started with the figures for the Tea Party
the March Hare started out in a broken egg shell like this one
the Mad Hatter was a Christmas figure

After some carving with the Dremel and some paint
I realize they both need bowties and maybe some other touch ups, but this is a great start.
I also need a dormouse and I may have just the thing in my stash, now where is that box....

Sunday, September 25, 2016

I published my first miniature photo book

I can't believe it - I almost forgot to share this.

Two weeks ago I had my first miniature photo book published/printed. 
I made this book using software that I purchased to do family photo albums: My Memories Suite 7. I used the free verison to test this software. But in order to order a photo album, you do have to purchase the software. I purchased this software after testing several other photo book making software that you use online. Some are of course better than others.I choose to purchase software as I didn't like the idea of being online the entire time I was designing. Today I have better internet speed and data amount available, but I would still prefer the offline option. I did ultimately need to upgrade my computer to handle the graphics but that became a problem only after upgrading to Windows 10. Read more about that here.

I decided to create a photo book for this project, not because of a story that goes with it. I do have other projects that do and I am thinking I might make a book for them in the future. Instead it was because the rhymes. I had done research on each rhyme and I wanted to share that. Well I also wanted to share the rhyme with the pics of the project.
To make this more than just a rhyme book, I also wanted to share how I did it. 
So I made it a flip book - making the back of the book look like a front as well.
Here is a pic of inside the book
To keep the book unified I used the same background through the entire book.
I also did the front rhyme section all with the same fonts and font size. But I varied the font color with each rhyme.
This was my third digital photo book (second with the same software). The other two are 12x12 inch size. This is a 8x8 inch size. 
One issue I had was only seen once the book is printed. The text on some pages was too far into the center. If I was publishing this to sell, I would have to fix that. But I am not and won't be spending any more on it. It isn't bad, but a lesson learned for future in smaller books. The software does have guidelines for the edges to stay out of. This is in case they trim it too much in the process of finishing the book. You don't want text or a pic to get cut off. But the inside area issue has more to do with the fact this is a regular style of book instead of a lay flat.

The how to portion was to take all the blog posts I shared on how I made it and put them into the book. I had to do some re-writing so it was a cohesive book. 
The center of the book has a little game and also shows the top view and each side view. In hindsight I wish I had done a two page spread of the side views. That is mostly due to the 8x8 size.

I am overall very pleased with the book and hope one day to share the rhyme part with my grandkids or maybe a great niece or nephew.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

In the box - Raggedy garden corner

A few months ago, I challenged Little Enough News members to think inside the box. I wasn't able to work on one myself although I bought a box to use. I was planning to use the lid as an extension of the box for a extra space and at the time wanted to do  Thanksgiving or Autumn.
Last week I bought two raggedy dolls on ebay for a song. I was so excited that I got such a great deal.  I looked at these dolls and thought what could I do for them to get a home. But I put them down and had to come back.
Later I was moving some items around because I had been packing and shipping stuff for my garage sale. I spied the box I bought for the In the Box challenge and I thought, yes. This is what they can go in. 
I had bought the frame at some point and had in mind to build a box to fit, but this box fit.
Here's my initial items to use:
I didn't take any in between pics, so I will just outline the steps.
Box
The box had a lid and I decided it wasn't needed for this frame. I painted the outside an off white. Inside was light blue on all walls except the floor. The floor was painted brown.
This part was easy.
Later I added the clouds to the ceiling and along the top of the walls.
I applied glue to the floor and sprinkled on the ground cover. Patted it into the glue and let dry. Shake it off to remove excess.
Then I added some shrubbery, keeping in mind where the bench was going to go.
The bench was repainted to fix some issues I felt with the pink. I did consider some greens, black or brown. I decided to repaint off white and just fix the pink color. For once I did not paint the entire thing. I wanted this to be quick as possible, so I didn't repaint the back (that doesn't show) or the bench. 

Frame
The frame took the longest to do. I painted three coats of off white. Getting in the openings I intentionally used a cheaper brush so to not ruin one by pushing into those openings. I only painted the back of it once to allow for warping. I think the cutouts helped with this as I had very little issue with that. I sanded between each coat.
As I painted it I wanted to do something to use the red and blue colors of the dolls. One idea I considered but discarded was to add glue or puff paint to add dimensional details. Another idea was to stain over the paint to give an antiqued look. Also this was discarded. It was only after the inside of the box was done that I came up with another idea on how to incorporate the red and blue.
I pulled from my stash some red papers. I decided I wanted to use some red tissue paper although I considered some shiny paper and also some glitter paper. I considered to cover all the openings with the red, but then I thought what if I added blue in some openings. I didn't have any blue tissue paper so I checked my ribbon stash.
In hindsight the all red for the openings would have been much easier, but I am very satisfied with the combo of red and blue. There were several places that I had to use the ribbon side by side to cover the opening since the ribbon I had wasn't wide enough.
One idea for the back, would have been to have a second frame to cover the back to cover the mess. But I didn't have one of those and I like that I can see light through the covered openings so I will leave it a mess in the back.

Base
I knew the frame needed to have the box lifted since the frame couldn't support the front. I noticed the smaller box on my desk and it was the right size height wise, but not big enough to support the box and frame. I had more of the smaller box, so I used two. I then ended up covering these two boxes with some thin card that I painted to match.

Now for the finished piece
From start to finish it took about 4 hours. 

Ideas to make it quicker:
use a printed background in the box
use a single color for the opening or none
stain the frame (then the edges in the openings don't have to be dealt with)
leave the box outside unpainted
not repaint the bench