Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Scene

If you follow the blog Mini Mod Pod, then you know about the Halloween challenge.

I love Halloween and minis, so of course I'm joining in on this. Here's what I came up with;

Yeah, I know I was supposed to try for spooky, but I had this image in my head and just went with it.

The assorted mini ceramic pieces, furniture, metal jack-o-lantern pail (under table), and some accessories are all purchased items (craft shows, garage sales, found items, ebay)

What I made: The flower arrangements, the polymer clay jack-o-lantern on the ground and the box on the table, the punch bowl set (still have a few up on Etsy), the leaves (They're REAL), the polymer clay gourds scattered amongst the leaves, and the "Day of the Dead" styled skeleton woman(sort of). The backdrop is one of Billy's side exterior walls.

Now back to that skeleton woman. It's not part of my culture, but thanks to several years of high school Spanish classes, I know a few things about, "El Dia de los Muertos", and sort of admire some of the visuals used. I believe these dolls are called Catrinas and I've been wanting to try and make one for a while (wikipedia for more info).  I'm pretty happy with the results.

It's a little late to make more for the Etsy shop this year and I think I need to find some sturdier material and sealers for the next time if I intend to sell these(quality first). So as a small Halloween gift to my readers/followers, here is a brief tutorial on how to make your own. (apologies for the poor lighting/rough layout-I did most of this at night).



Finally, add clothing(I just wrapped her in strips of cloth), some props, and-Ta da! You've got a Catrina.
If you try to make one, let me know. I would love to see how yours turned out. :)

Despite the east coast weather, I hope everyone has a great week and eats lots of candy!

Happy Halloween

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Van Buren-Concept idea

I apologize for putting this off for so long, (but it was a lot of thinking and typing).

First, since it's been a while, Ta-da!

I think I've pulled enough wallpaper off the walls that I can sand the rest down. Most of the busted flooring came out, a couple problem spots and some glue to remove. Everything is going good,..
Except this room-The kitchen;


I've been asking around, and now I've got a small list of things I can try to get this floor out. I'll let you know how it goes. The loose bits of wallpaper came out, but I've lost my patience with this room. I'll probably just sand the rest down.

Since, aside from the floors, I completely painted Billy, and this house would need extensive sanding for me to attempt that again(I am tired of painting anyways), this house is going to have a lot of wallpaper, tiles, and wood paneling.

And now for the concept idea part;

Some ground rules for the colors (so it doesn't look like a larger Billy)
before I forget to mention it;
Warm colors. reds, browns, greys on the exterior. The interior is a little more flexible, but I'm still trying for the muted warm feel.

This isn't a new house. It's been, "lived in", by a couple different people and abandoned for who knows how long(there was a tiny calendar from the 80's inside-true story). I've watched people fix up old houses/buildings in real life. Not to take away from all the work they've put into their homes, but I'm doing something surprisingly similar...on a 1/12 scale, of course. So I want it to look like someone happened upon this house, liked it, and moved in.

Also unlike Billy, this house is going to have a permanent family living in it (dolls?, I dunno). I'm thinking a couple with a child or two. Somebody's going to be an artist or craftsman because I'm seeing a studio on the 3rd floor. Before I get ahead of myself, let's look at the plan;

Master bath in the attic/3rd floor? At first I thought someone bashed in that middle room(the other rooms are just too big to be a bathroom), but no, that's just the Van Buren. Check out the hallway/crawlspace between the bathroom/roof. It's a rather large space that I can barely reach(my only complaint about this house design).

It's kind of weird to have to walk up to your attic just to find a bathroom, so my solution is to make the right half of the attic a master bedroom(weird, but old houses make you do weird things sometimes), left half-the studio space. And since I've got two stairway closet spaces, but I'm only excited about the one on the first floor, I might try to cheat in a half bath, you know, so the, "kids", have something on their floor.


This is the living room on the second floor. The mid-wall molding is something I'd want in a dining room(which should be on the first floor with the kitchen), so I'm going to pull this out. I'll move it downstairs, or buy more if it turns out to be rotted like some of the door frames.

Not sure what's happening with the doors yet, but I've been pulling out all the frames so I could remove the busted hinges(they'll be clutter in the closet or something-I've been trying to save/reuse what I can) along with the window trim so I could remove the old aceate(decided not to replace it-I like being able to reach through the windows). Some rooms should have doors, but some would look better without them. I'll think it over.

Now the exterior;

           (aside from the shingles and chimneys being gone, outside hasn't changed much)

 The widow's walk will probably be a rooftop garden,accessible through the studio.
I might just scratch rebuilding the balcony and just make a big window to replace the doors. Two reasons for that: 1. I'm missing a door and the one I do have was attacked by a crayon and needs to be remade anyway. 2. When I move the house to another room, it just clears the doorway. It won't fit through anymore once I rebuild the balcony. The house has a widow's walk, does it really need a balcony? I don't think so.

This house doesn't have siding, which I wouldn't have noticed, except that Billy has milled siding(and I really like how it looks). As a result, I have slightly higher expectations now. I want to try something new, so I'm (in theory) going to make my Van Buren a cobblestone. Talked my family into saving me egg cartons and other packing material, so I won't have to spend a fortune on clay to do this. I need enough to cover 3 walls and a few areas around the open side. That pile looks promising, but I think that I could still use a few more.

...So that's the Van Buren, thus far...If you read this whole post,
I salute you...onward!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Stuff Just Happens Sometimes

Last week, I went out with some of my family to volunteer at a fall event over at a nature center we frequent (I'll name drop when I have a better story about the place). Unfortunately, this time around, volunteering involved sitting out in the rain, for 3 hours, at night with the temp 36°F (that's 2.22°C) and falling. We were under a tent and I had mittens, but it was still cold/wet and my feet were numb by the time we were done(and there was ice on the car). Hunky Dory, if you read my blog posts-I stand by my statement that I'm not looking forward to winter. (<- This is all foreshadowing, btw)

The nature center is kind of far from our house, but it's also closer to Letchworth State park than our house is. So since it was peak weekend for the fall leaves, we stayed the night in a hotel and then spent Columbus Day enjoying a walk along "The Grand Canyon of the East".

  Most people I meet online think, 'city', when I say I'm from New York.

 I think that's funny.

 So then we came back home, where I spent a few days helping around the house/decorating for Halloween, and then...that 3 hour, rainy freezefest caught up with me. Well to be fair, I spent Thursday morning tearing the rest of the old wallpaper out of the Van Buren, but by the afternoon I was side-lined by a cold. And then the universe seemed to get on board, our wi-fi died for a couple days. And the house cleaning meant my work area ended up being packed away for a while. AND every time I tried working on more polymer clay minis for the Etsy shop, the oven was occupied. So basically, all I did for a couple days was sleep. That's probably why this cold is going away so fast, but I've been pretty bored (doesn't happen much). I'll just call it a trade-off and enjoy not having a sore throat anymore.

Last night after everyone was done working in the kitchen, I commandeered the table and oven, to try and catch up on my minis(now that I feel better). I also got a little distracted/inspired by the basket of gourds my mom had out for decoration, so I made some mini gourds which I'll show those off once I photograph them.

It's kind of been a lousy week, but hey,
I got some awesome photos to show for it, right?

(Edit: Before I forget; What I'm  assuming is the conclusion to the, "I'm a Giant", challenge.  Thank you, Mini Dork!)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

It's Fall!

Last post was so long, I'm going to take a break from the dollhouse updates and try to make this one much shorter, ok? Right, so...

1. It's October, and we have gourds and pumpkins-Welcome to the delightful season of Fall. :)

Some produce from the family pumpkin patch. Last year was so damp and cold, N.Y. ended up with tons of green pumpkins that sort of just rotted on the vine. It's nice to see so many ripe ones this year!

2. Bridget of Tweety Petie Products, posted about a tutorial that she made for making mini realistic fall leaves. I wanted to try making my own, but at the time, all the leaves here were still green. Now that they've started changing colors, here's what I got to make yesterday;

Made some changes to Bridget's process. Instead of Gallery Glass with a toothpick, I tried Polycrylic with a Q-tip. One problem I had: The yellow leaves I used shriveled up so much that they just looked like crumpled paper after they dried. Solution: I stretched them out and added a second coat of Polycrylic, so now they just look like crinkled leaves.

Since I don't know how these hold up long term and shipping plant related things gets tricky, I think I'll keep using paper leaves for my sale items (online at least), but I really like how these turned out. They're going into my new fall/Halloween scene. ~ Thanks for the tutorial Bridget!

3. DEVIANTART MEMBERS! Did you hear about the Fall Diorama contest? Click here for the link!
I'm against graphic design contests, for professional reasons that make me sound really angry when I type it all out, but sometimes there's an artsy fun one on DA that I'll enter. If you do decide to enter this contest-READ THE RULES FIRST! The winner has to send their entry to DeviantArt HQ, and you won't get it back! So don't use any costly minis you don't intend to send away forever.

I'll get back to posting about the Van Buren and my Etsy shop soon(btw, those shipping costs I was worried about being too high-turns out I charge less than some chain stores!). Unitl then, Happy Fall!