Saturday, October 22, 2016

A little Fall Mischief

A family member had a couple of huge ferns that needed somewhere indoors to over winter. I offered to house them in the art studio this year. The ferns are turning out to be a lot of fun so far....

 

 (originally posted on Instagram)

 

Happy Halloween!

 

 And believe it or not, I actually got a lot of work done in the studio yesterday too. ^_^

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hermit Crabs

Funny story, a few months ago I randomly and quite suddenly ended up with a hermit crab. This is Harold;

Before anyone lectures me about the red sand and painted shell, keep reading...


Harold's original owner had a cat and they weren't getting along with Harold, and I previously had a few hermit crabs (when I was 8 or 9), so now Harold is my buddy. Of course, the reason it has been decades since my last hermit crab buddies is because they didn't seem to move much, and then they'd die after a month or two. Tons of reasons for this - I was a little kid, I was relying on the brightly colored things that the hermit crab came with at the pet store, I didn't have the internet back then,...but now I am an adult, with the ability to buy whatever/whenever, I can google how to properly care for a hermit crab (in theory), and I had a real desire to care of what (who) is now a part of my life. 

Got Harold out of the dyed red sand, got him a decent habitat, shared some grapes with him;

Harold really seems to enjoy grapes

Since hermit crabs are actually social creatures, I brought home Tabitha, 
who got along great with Harold;


In my spare time I've been trying to create a fun and sustainable habitat. This first version was all about triangle huts, which worked great as huts if you're Tabitha, and after hearing a repetitive *thud* sound every few minutes coming from the tank I found out that Harold enjoyed climbing to the top and then letting go, crashing into whatever was below - The triangles were later cut down into trapezoids and Harold would just [safely] chill on top.

Late night adventuring, with Harold 

Once I was positive that Harold and Tabitha had had the basics well managed, I got a little more into the hermit crab thing. Upped the size of the tank so there was room for a salt water bath and more hermit crabs. Then came Gus;

Gus tightrope walking across a Popsicle stick for no apparent reason,
I was impressed
 Spend the night running marathons through the tank, spend the day cuddle napping

After watching every single crab reject the one spare shell that was sent along with Harold, and knowing that shells are kind of import to these little guys, I went back to Google to figure out how to guess what a nice shell looks like.
Calling it, "Shell Christmas", every crab was given one or two shells that I thought they might want to move into. Harold finally ditched that [possibly toxic] painted blue shell.
Tabitha actually picked two new shells, and kept her original shell (she switched daily until she molted). Gus just likes the shell he came with, and that's cool too. (be who you wanna be, live in what you wanna live in). 

One evening, I realized that they watched me watching T.V.

Had a big enough tank for 5 hermit crabs, so I tried introducing two more - This is where things got complicated.

Big Louise;


Don't get me wrong, Big Louise is a very nice and beautiful hermit crab. The day I brought home Gus, she was at the pet store and I would have brought her home then, but she just seemed too big to safely move into my tank. The next time I went to buy a crab though, the guy at the store commented that this one was the only one left in the tank, and he did that whole "Trust me", thing - had me believing that she would get along with everybody just fine....About an hour into meeting the others she tried to rip Harold out of his shell. ><  I immediately got her into a separate tank and did some reading - Given more time she might have been able to fit in, but seeing as Harold is the whole reason this adventure started, I couldn't risk him being hurt. I did the responsible pet owner thing and found another enthusiastic pet owner to be friends with her. I get updates on how she's doing...I sort of have a hermit crab pen pal now. She's doing well. 

And then there's this cutie (Morpheus);

He saw Harold's old shell and got excited, because, shell! ^_^

  This is Morpheus, the tinniest member of my hermit crab community. Kind of thought he was dead at the pet store (I was assured that he was just really pale and probably asleep), I found him while the pet store guy was telling me that Big Louise was the only crab in the tank. Didn't want to ditch either lone crab, so I brought this little one home too and gave him a big name like Morpheus. Fed him and stuff, gave him a salt water bath and he brightened right up. He's very much alive and healthy, and really cute too. Plus the other crabs accepted him immediately, which is always nice to see. My only complaint is that he refuses to be photographed, runs off and blurs every time. ><

Now that my hermit crab community is a little more established they're all mellowed out and fallen into their own little hermit crab routines. A couple of them molted, Tabitha's molt had me thinking she was dead for a weekend, Gus's molt went just fine. Occasionally I take what I believe to be a cute photo and share it with my friends - My friends either think I'm nuts or are enjoying the pics, I can never tell.

-----

I do enjoy these animals, and so much more than I thought I would. Granted there are lists of reasons not to have hermit crabs, but I was given Harold, and the rest are the happy healthy crew I brought together. Part of me wants to recommend them as delightful pets, part of me didn't even want to share this experience out of concern that it will result in several misguided attempts at pet ownership as soon as someone reads this. So what I am going to do is end this with some solid advice: IF YOU REALLY WANT A PET HERMIT CRAB - Do some research first. Make sure you can take care of them. Make sure you don't just put one alone in a tank (they need buddies). Make sure you actually want/can afford/have the time to take care of your pet. AND understand that as amused as I am by these little guys - They sleep most of the day, and have quite a few boring moments.

Possibly more pics of hermit crab adventures to come, so stay tuned. ^_^



Saturday, June 11, 2016

Life, Am I Right?

Oh boy, did I ever fall behind on blogging.

Let's see, since my last post here:

I obviously did not win Undersized Urbanite (loved all the entries btw). However, I did plant an entire garden's worth of plants indoors at my art studio, some of which are still in there, but most have made it out to the great outdoors now that it's Summer/not the dead of winter when I planted them.

I made a few new art pieces as well as a whole mess of new miniature inventory for a dollhouse show in Syracuse NY this past May...I had a table at a dollhouse show in Syracuse this past May (that's right, I'm on track to be in not 1, but 2 shows a year now).

After all that I wound up having to deal with some drama (not my drama, I had to step in and end someone else's drama and it was a yucky situation  - and while it did effect things, no I'm not posting anymore about it online). That derailed some aspects of my work, but now I think I'm back on track and headed to all good places. Keeping it happy over here.

Then there was a whole ton of life, death, war, famine, and an alien invasion that obliterated the planet (made up most of those just now), ANNNNNNNND here we are today. Alive, relatively well, and super busy. ^_^

And I know what you're saying right now - "You were off having a life? Pics or it didn't happen".

*boom* Pics! (well links to all the pics anyway);

https://www.facebook.com/Kyle.K.Lefort/

http://kyle-lefort.tumblr.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kylelefortcreative/

http://kyle-lefort.deviantart.com/

If I disappear off the face of the blogging earth and you want to track me down or just follow along with my work, these are your go-to links.

Hoping I will find more time to blog in the coming months, I have so many neat things to share, but it's a lot of catch up and work time right now, so I will just have to leave you with a friendly Hello and I'll see you later. ^_^


Monday, February 8, 2016

Undersized Urbanite - The Surrealism House

Hello fellow miniaturists, bloggers, lovers of all things dollhouse, random visitors, voters, and other special guests! It's that time again - The big reveal for Undersized Urbanite!

As stated in my WIP posts, my dollhouse did not get as 'done' as I had hoped, but I do have a pretty interesting exterior to show off, so here we go;




Now for close ups;

I think that the egg carton mosaic turned out beautifully

The re-design for the new front door was a last minute miracle. A big Thank You to one of my "Mantis" prints, which I decided to cut up for the cause (to be fair, it was a damaged print, but I just couldn't throw away those pretty metallic colors - planned to use it throughout the house actually).


I know that I changed my color scheme from gray to purple halfway through sketching out the mosaic siding, but I'm still not sure what possessed me to start painting clouds on the purple after that - It did turn out really well though,...


...So well that I decided to paint the top floor sky blue and keep those clouds going. ^_^

What house wouldn't be complete without some trippy racing stripes, right? XD


And then finally, I give you a little bit of Steampunk, 
because I can't stop going back to Steampunk (it's fun).

So there you have it - The exterior of My Surrealism House. ^_^

---

There are a couple other things I did get a chance to work on, but they're part of the unfinished interior, but you know what? I'm going to show you anyway (Why not?);


Did you notice all the gold accents on the outside of the house? Well I got the idea for that while I was attempting to get the inside of the house painted. This painting/mural on the third floor is a mix of green, copper, and three shades of gold metallic paint. No sketching, just painted whatever I felt like painting.

And on that third floor, I also started a pond. It's acrylic paint with a few coats of Polycrylic to get the water effect. (I was hoping to add ducks - maybe someday) The green around the pond is more of the "Mantis" print - I was hoping to cover at least half of the floor with those shiny sea-foam tiles I was making (again, someday...). Oh, but what's with the puddle on the unfinished second floor hardwood? I'm glad you asked!

 I don't know if it was ever mentioned here on the blog, but one very rainy weekend last fall I walked into the art studio to find a huge puddle on the floor and rain pouring down in through the ceiling. It was just traumatic enough that I won't forget it anytime soon, but thanks to the studio visitors (some of which are friends now) who didn't seem to think a flood made the space any less awesome, that day was also just entertaining enough that it made it into this project. (Of course, I'm sure there was not actually a duck pond on the roof -it's more fun to to think about than cold Fall rain though).

I even made sure the ceiling is leaking.

Maybe I'll hold onto to the house and complete the interior next year, maybe when I have some time I'll keep working on it just for fun, maybe I'll finish it for an upcoming show - who knows? - For now though, this project is finished. As with any other year, I would like to say Thank You to Christina over at Little Victorian, for hosting Undersized Urbanite once more (Thank You!).

 Best wishes to the other entrants, hopefully you all finished in time. Can't wait to see everyone's entries. I think voting is open to everyone, so if you're reading this I encourage you to head on over to the official contest page and pick your favorite dollhouse.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Undersized Urbanite - Not Sure I'll Finish On Time ...

I am pretty sure I will not quite get the dollhouse done on time this year, still trying, so without spending a whole mess of time blogging progress - Here's a quick shot of the newly finished mosaic work and pretty, pretty blue door. 


(You can also view this on Instagram)

 

I'm hoping to at least have the exterior all nice and pretty by the deadline, so back to work I go. ^_^

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Undersized Urbanite - Progress With A Bit Of Purple

Update Time!

At the moment I am torn between working on the dollhouse for Undersized Urbanite and posting updates for you all to see, so bear with me while I try to fit in time to take/edit photos + compose the quick write ups. As of typing this, I am actually weeks ahead of what you are seeing here, but I still have a ways to go (Will she meet the deadline? Stay tuned...).


Theme - wise the surreal house has been coming along nicely, the plan in my head has changed a bit though. Not that you could really see what the original plan was to begin with, I just thought I'd let you know that there is a lot more purple now (with even more on the way). ^_^


 Here's how the dollhouse looked the last time you saw it;

(Artwork in the background by studio co-artists:
 painting on the left by Dan Covey, 
2 digital pieces on the right are by Michele Mirabella)



 I planned to do some faux-stone mosaic work siding, 
so first I had to sketch out that area.


For new readers: By "faux-stone", 
I mean that I'm using egg carton/packing materials 
made out of recycled paper products. 


 I painted the mosaic area gray and then started cutting out the carton.
I'm going with a mix of triangles and some free form shapes this time around.


Painted the pieces purple and started gluing them in place.





 The tricky part is finding something to use as the mortar/filler that goes between the carton pieces. Previous projetcs I was using clay, but that can be time consuming and a little expensive. So this time around I am using Puff paint/dimensional fabric paint. 
So far, I am enjoying the results.

I tested the puff paint out on a few pieces at the back of the house - looks good.


And here is the first finished section of the mosaic wall. It needs some touch ups, 
and I might do some light painting over the bright white to dull it a little bit, 
but this turned out really well. I am super happy with the house at this stage.

For anyone looking for this paint to try out on their own projects:
I am using Tulip Dimensional Fabric paint, Slick White. 
If you can't find it at your local store, it is available on Amazon.


 (Yep, ending this post with an ad, but I do like this paint, so why not?)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

* The 2015 Gingerbread House Series *

~*~ The 2015 Gingerbread House Series ~*~

I really thought I was calling it quits on the tradition this year. I didn't think I had the time and just wasn't feeling it, but then really early one morning last week I had an idea - I was going to made adorably kitsch Christmas clocks for the series this year! Decision made. So after several days/late nights, multiple bakes in the oven, and lots of gluing/painting, here we are. ^_^




And now I'm going to answer some of your questions;

1. No, the clocks do not work. I did include faux winding devices on the backs of these, because I would imagine they would be wind up clocks, but they aren't wind-able. (I would love to have those kinds of skills though)

2. The clocks themselves are printies glued behind a round piece of clear polymer clay, sealed with Polycrylic. I used a general clip art clock face, added my own hands in Photoshop, and then scaled the clocks down to fit inside this year's house design. The Polycrylic added a glassy shine to the finished piece.

-----

So far the people who've seen the end results approve. I like them, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Really happy that I was able to keep going with the annual gingerbread houses. I think I would've regretted it the next time I wanted to make more tiny gingerbread themed anything (you don't just skip a year...). Switched up the medium a bit, and I think that helped a little, time-wise. I used puff paint instead of tinted TLS. Less baking, more mess, but the dry time isn't bad. The results are sort of the same, so I might keep going with the paint from now on.  

Full list of materials;

Polymer clay - The gingerbread/candies/clock glass
TLS & Elmer's glue - Both pretty much just used as unseen glue
DIY printie clock - the clock
Reclaimed cardboard - The base and roof
Puff paint - All the frosting


And because these gingerbread house clocks are the 2015 series, they are initialed and dated on the bottom.

----

Apologies if anyone was hoping to snag one in time for Christmas this year (I usually get these posted late in the season anyway, but this year I really pushed it). As of posting this, 2 are now up for auction on eBay, AND EDIT: I had a chance to also post some on Etsy too.


----

This may or may not be my last post for 2015 (not sure), so I would like to end this entry by saying that I hope you're all doing well, I hope you are with loved ones and enjoying the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.