Thursday, September 27, 2012

What's new-Billy

About a month or two ago I started furnishing Billy...and that's pretty much it.

So I'm going to share the progress thus far, and hopefully that gets things moving again. (Is it weird that I'm stuck at the fun part?)

First, the concept idea. (btw, this is a loooong post)

The house is a Swiss Chalet design, so it's basically a ski lodge. That said, I live in Western New York, we have ski resorts that turn into golf courses in the summer. So I decided that Billy is a weekend cabin/timeshare/vacation home. And thanks to being near a couple of the great lakes, I can also justify pretending that the tiny inhabitants occasionally spend time at the beach. No specific season, as people stay there year round. No specific characters to design around, other than assorted vacationers.

So in terms of furnishings, I'm trying to make it look like every cabin and family owned hotel I've ever stayed in. Happy colors. Vintage/slightly worn, visibly refinished/repaired furniture that only sort of matches. Out of date appliances. Random items left behind by past visitors. If you've ever been to a place where it looks like the decorator's been reading Better Homes & Gardens Magazine, but just didn't have the budget to go out and buy the stuff in the pictures, you've got the idea. I also decided that I'm ok with it looking just a little tacky in a, family fun vacation sort of way.

The current exterior;

I started decorating for summer, but then things got busier around here and now we're into the fall. I'll probably just pack up this stuff until next year and start making some leaves now.

Tried making bunting to sell on Etsy, but this string took so long, I don't think it's worth the labor to sell them unless I come up with a faster way to make them. (I do need to make 2 more just to reach across the railing though).

What I've got;
The flowers are older minis I made last year. (bunting is from this year)
"Welcome" rock is from a local store.
Lantern, ebay find.
Glass(Pelican?) is from a church rummage sale. My brothers are all grown ups now, so it's safe to use in a dollhouse without having to worry about any "hurricanes" destroying it(hopefully).
Birds nest on the railing,
is a vintage mini I bought at a local co-op. 

I ended up aquiring a table/cabinet that the house can sit on 24/7 (I used to just move it from room to room as needed), so now I'm thinking Billy could use some grass and landscaping. The table top is pretty beat up, so I'm covering it either way.

Here's, the first floor;

It's a mix of found, bought, handmade, and repaired items, I'm not going to talk about everything right now (feel free to ask).

When I was, 10 I think, my mom and I were out for a walk and found an old Strawberry shortcake house that had been set out with the garbage (family history of garbage dollhouses). We took it home where my brothers eventually destroyed it, but I kept the random furniture from inside (none of which was Strawberry Shortcake, btw). This is a plastic sink unit from that story. I never thought I'd find a place for it, but it sort of fits in with my concept idea, so I guess it finally has a home.
The teapot came with the bird's nest and the toaster is from a hobby shop. It's a lot of silver over here, so clearly I need to rethink this(or just break out the paint). There's a new fridge too, but to save some money I bought one with a crooked door/missing hinge pin-half price! Easy fix, but of course I haven't gotten to it yet.
(the store selling the fridge also had tiny rubber chickens-score!)

The fridge is going where the pear picture is (for some reason the printer spit it out, I liked it, now it just needs a frame). I just bought some mini hold wax, so I can hang up the pictures now.

WIP, fixed and soon to be refinished cabinet/secretary. Handmade paper bowl, co-op item (books), Rement jar, and The Lamp.

Don't know the scale of the table, but it's too small. Record player is actually a WIP clay Victrola(will talk about later). Couch/bench is from a Dura-Craft furniture kit, that came with a dollhouse kit, that I was supposed to have built, when I was twelve (it's still in it's box-no room right now. Billy was a smaller/easier build). That ceiling lamp (another co-op item), was also waiting for mini wax.

Another painting to hang (I think it used to be a business card for a realtor or something). Got it when I was younger, and it was packed up with some of my old dollhouse/mini toys. I just painted some balsa to match the house, and block mounted it. Pottery and WIP doll are more of my handmade work.

So that's the first floor so far, and the second floor..

...I don't like it. The black furniture doesn't work for me, and the bed is the wrong scale. And since I think multiple people would want to stay here, I need more than one bed in this room. The rocking chair might stay, but the rest is going as soon as I decide what I want to do with the space.

So, that's Billy.

I'm still pulling wallpaper and busted parts out of the Van Buren. I spent a good portion of last Sunday working on it, so it's starting to look less like it's haunted and more like an empty house I need to sand.
I'm going to talk more about this house, but in another post, on another day because this is getting too long.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New Etsy Listing

New to the Etsy shop- Monochromatic shapes, pillow set!

I know there are tons of standard square pillows on Etsy, so I thought I would try something a little different.

The current listing only has one set available, but I'm half way through making a second set. They take a while to stitch, but I really like the end results.

Couch (is just a prop); Bozart Toys

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

It's 2 a.m. , but I said I would announce it...

I decided to post new items on Etsy as I finish them. First up, Halloween themed punch bowl sets;
Available now at my Etsy shop.

I've opened up my shop to international shipping too, but I'm not entirely sold on that idea yet. There's a few reasons for that. 1. The idea of shipping something I made outside of the U.S. generally just makes me worry. 2. Regulations vary by country. (It's already in my shop policy that I'll give refunds in the event that I find I can't ship something, so hopefully I don't run into a problem there). 3. Not even sure the shipping costs are worth it. Speaking of which,

*If you find reading about shipping really boring, just skip this;*
I decided to use USPS flat rate priority mail shipping boxes. Sturdy, ready to mail boxes. Convenient, flat rate prices, and priority shipping, 2-3 days domestic. U.S. is $5 (I'm rounding up, btw), which isn't terrible. Canada and Mexico end up being $13. That might be a little high, but I once bought something from Canada, shipping was $10. My order came poorly packed in a flimsy box (really surprised that nothing broke), and it took weeks to get it in the mail. So, I would pay $13 if I knew it was priority mail and wasn't going break. I guess what I'm saying is that I'm ok charging people for the quality shipping my work needs to get to them in one piece, as quickly as possible. However, everywhere else, international shipping is almost $17. That sounds like a lot to me.

I'm interested in what other people think. If you bought miniatures from a foreign country, how much of an issue is the shipping costs? Would you buy something online if the shipping cost more than what you bought?

Regardless, I've posted the new shipping costs on Etsy, so we'll see how this all works out.

Wow, I started this at 2, but now it's 3. Don't blog when you're tired-it takes forever. I'm going to bed, but before I do I'm posting this photo of the Van Buren pretending that it's a spooky backdrop.

                                                           (all this Halloween stuff, and this isn't even my Fall post...)

It was for a, movie themed, contest entry over on DeviantArt that you can see here if you want.

Annnnd Goodnight. (morning)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Busy, busy, busy

As you may have noticed, it's been a while since I've posted any progress on my dollhouse renovation, or what ever happened to Billy since I finished building it.

It's on my to-do list, I've just been busy. With what? Well design work, a bit of traveling, trying to acquire a steady paycheck, finishing my website, and working on stuff for my Etsy shop.

Not going to blog about the paycheck thing, but I will tell you that there will be some new stuff showing up on Etsy soon. I already posted a couple new things...last month, but I'd like to have more to offer. Don't worry, I'll announce when everything's dry/sculpted/glued/sewn and available for sale.

Once all that's under control, I should be able to dive back into working on the Van Buren. It looks like it's going to need a lot of sanding, which means I have to take it outside-again. So that's through a door it just fits through, up the stairs, through the house, out the back door, through the garage (saying hello to my rabbits as I pass-because they're staring), and into the yard. Then doing that again, in reverse order, when I'm done. Might trick someone into helping me this time...

Anyways, because blog posts with pictures are more fun, look I made a bunch of tiny lamp shades.

                                                      Now I'm going to make a bunch of tiny lamps!

I'm also trying to work out international shipping, because I feel like I'm excluding people who enjoy my work, by only shipping U.S. And that's pretty dumb, I think.

...Back to work I go!

Friday, September 7, 2012

What I've Been Up to This Summer---Traveling

Went to a few places this summer, most recently, 1000 Islands (also in New York). Specifically Clayton, where we were visiting a family friend. I don't want this post to end up like a boring vacation slide show, so I'll just share some of the more relevant photos.

We went to the antique boat museum in Clayton, where we got a tour of this awesome houseboat.

I would love to live in a houseboat, but this one needs a tugboat to move-I can't afford 2 boats. Also, since a millionaire built it and another millionaire bought and fixed it up after it sank-twice-I don't think a houseboat this awesome would be in my price range to begin with.

Some inside photos;

I want to make these shelving units (in mini)

I want to make this fireplace (in mini)

I  really liked this boat.

And, the last Lady of the house...

had a miniature collection. (see I told you it was all relevant!)

And now I will leave you with photo of some Canadian Geese. Why? Because this isn't Canada.

 (although we are very very close, this time).

Oh, and this squirrel from an ice cream parlor we went too-don't touch it (I love Clayton). XD

What I've Been Up to this Summer---Graphic Design

This year (2012) was the 75th Anniversary of 4-H in Niagara County(New York). A committee formed to plan out the fair celebration events, and during a fair event last year (2011), they made an announcement that they could use some help. I happened to be sitting in the stands at the time.

Long before setting out to be a graphic designer, I was a 4-H member (since I was 6 years old) in Niagara County.

Turns out, they needed someone to design an event logo, and illustrate a book cover.


(Just a legal note; The official 4-H clover emblem was used with permission. I am not personally selling anything containing the emblem. Any sales of items containing my design work that used the emblem , to the best of my knowledge, was for fundraising purposes and all profits went towards sponsoring future Niagara County 4-H programs. I am displaying my work online for portfolio purposes only.)

I was expecting it to be a 1-2 month project, but it ended up taking most of the year as I was also involved with a few other aspects of the event.

Somewhere in the middle of that I was doing some design work for my brother's secondhand/restored furniture store when he and a new business partner decided to change the direction of what the store sold, drastically. Actually, they started a new business. This time its gaming. I designed a logo for them;

And now I've finally gotten up and running, well almost. Most of my professional work is up and most of the html/CSS coding is done, but it still needs some finishing touches. And of course, my mini work still needs to find it's way onto the site. >< I'm working on it.

For anyone interested in seeing more of my professional design work here's the link, and now we move on...