Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Undersized Urbanite- Yay Progress!

First thing I see when I log onto blogger today, Christina posted the March update for the Undersized Urbanite Dollhouse Contest, I recognize all of the entrants this time, which means I must have finally gotten everyone added to my reading list. Some of the houses look like they're done or getting close, so I'd better get moving.

The thing I've been working on, but can't loudly announce until it launches was up for approval this week, and after 2 1/2 days of nervously waiting working on the dollhouse, I received an email saying that it was approved...Of course this weekend is Easter and I can't compete with that, so I decided to hold off until sometime next week (excited that it got approved, now I've got to do some real planning). Here's hoping that I can finally have some useful purpose for my illustration work, again.

Now back to the dollhouse;

Repainted the door/windows on Monday. The insides were their original pink, the outside was a splotchy awful black, but now both sides have a muted gold base coat, better suited for a Steampunk house.

I tried gluing in the basement ceiling, even used these scary clamps, but they couldn't reach all of the warped spots and I think I took them off to soon anyway. It's not going to fall down again, but it looks a little sketchy, so I might try this again. The floor isn't getting any glue until I'm 100% done with this room though.

I actually had to go and look up when I last mentioned the kitchen counter (February). It was just a paper template then, but now it's almost done;

This why I had to make my own tiny gears

The house is pretty compact and while I wanted the kitchen and living room to be on the same floor, I had to come up with a way for everything to magically fit. I remembered watching some room make over show on HGTV, they fit a dining area into a tight space by combining it with the counter. Up against the wall for a counter, rotated out into the room for a table. Well I have even less space to work with, so the table, "When not in use" (like people really live here, I'm a dork :P ), overlaps and becomes part of the counter top.  (above photo)

When the tiny residents need a place to eat, they just turn a crank on the side of he counter, and then the gear/pulley system will rotate the glass mosaic slab out 90 degrees into the room. (no the gears don't actually turn, but I'm pretty sure this would work if they could) 

The top part isn't completely attached yet which is why I'm holding it up in the photo. The counter can actually support the table section on it's own though. It's hollow and made out of light wood scraps and used to fall over if the table wasn't sitting on top of it, but after adding a wider base, and some rocks, it stays in place.

Wasn't kidding about those rocks.

Now I just need to make some bar stools.

I'm going to try using these plastic bottle caps

And on top of all of this, I managed to start and complete a large portion of the top floor observatory. 

I have this half sun pin that I wanted to incorporate into the interior design of this room, but after making a wall template, I realized that it was just too big and heavy for such a small space. So I drew up a small paper version, and with a few coats of acrylic medium, it will be a neat sculptural element for the room.

See that little arch that I penciled in between the sun and the doorway?

Well, after some thought, I decided to make it bigger.

And made a Popsicle stick floor.

And built a small door before turning in for the night on Tuesday.

I wish I could be this ambitious with the dollhouse longer, but with Easter comes cleaning up for a family party, and my minis have to be packed up so the little kids can't get to them. It's not a pleasant process, most of it was shoved into a spare room, not sure where I'm putting this house yet. The only plus was that I had to go through a few boxes of things and ended up pulling out some stuff I might end up using later for this project. 

Lamps and candlestick holders were on ebay, alligator is from a church rummage sale, mouse and doorknob were salvaged from the Van Buren,  mouse trap came from a co-op in North Tonawanda, found the metal seashell somewhere, the metal people moved here from a gift shop in either Salem or Boston (I want to say Salem), and the unpainted wooden books were a gift from Neen.

Not saying that all of this will end up in the house, but it does look like the kind of stuff that you would find inside. And now I know where everything is.

I think it's safe to say, I'm back on track with this project.


Just a quick note; Based on some of the comments I've read, I'm guessing that the copyright notice/privacy policy on my blog has spooked some people. The notice is just to clarify some things and to let you about third party stuff. I know this is a blog and that the internet is for sharing ideas. If you actually read the notice (link in the sidebar) you'll see that you can re-post some of my blog stuff, most of it if you ask first.
Also, anyone involved with Undersized Urbanite, you're welcome to re-post things related to the challenge, just link back, no need to ask.

Thank you, and Happy Easter

Friday, March 22, 2013

Catching Up

13 days, no posts, I know.

Still working on stuff with nothing finished, but my house for Undersized Urbanite is supposed to be a blog challenge, so I really need to keep posting about it.

As I've mentioned, I'm working on some other things that are really eating up my time. Realized that I actually went a week without working on my little Steampunk house (not good), but I had computer things to do...

...Or at least I did until I tried to install an update for a certain freeware video file converter(never again). Used it for years on a couple different computers, never had a problem, but this time I got a notice about "Complimentary third party software" being auto-installed (uh-oh). Then AVG pops up saying stuff about viruses (great), and after three attempts lets me know that it couldn't remove the threat (disconnect the wi-fi and shut down the laptop-quickly). Restarted and ran a full computer scan with Malwarebytes: anti-malware, which both found/removed the Adware/bad cookies and gave me 3 1/2 hours to kill while it did that. I don't know if anyone else has ever tried this, but when I'm frustrated with work, life,or anything really, I go work on a dollhouse. Pretty sure that's what I used to do when I was little, but it still works. It gets you away from the stuff you can't control long enough for things to work themselves out and you end with a cool looking dollhouse. Win-win situation.

This time it was finishing the mortar on the two large side exterior walls, and I figured out how to do the chimneys;

Cereal box bits, graph paper, and more egg carton

A few weeks ago, I took the black corrugated paper from the Michaels sale, and started cutting it into shingle pieces.

Now that the chimneys have been worked out, I can shingle the roof.

I have run into a few problems though.

The double-sided tape I used for the basement is holding the walls in place really well, but the floor and ceiling, not so much;

Looks like it's time for some glue.

The gears and such I have are actually way too big to work as gears in a 1:12 scene, so I made some at the sizes I need;

Paper, acrylic paint medium, gold metallic paint, & Polycrylic
(they should work)

And what I think is the most interesting issue so far, the living room carpet. It was some remnant upholstery fabric that went well with the scrapbook paper walls. Knowing what it looked like, I color matched some paint to it for the furniture and other things, from memory. This week I pulled the fabric out of storage to see if the furniture still matched the color;

Oh yes, it matches. It's practically camouflage!

Luckily I planned on tile by the fridge, so it's going to be on the opposite side of the room, and the fireplace is getting a few more coats of paint-darker paint. Glad I checked.

I'm getting close to finishing the exterior. I thought that, because it's outside, the mortar needed to be darker than the ashy, gray-ish brown I used in the basement, so I ended up using the same color that I painted the stone pieces. Most of it looks good although I went back an scratched out some super dark spots and have to touch up a couple of light spots too. The space around the emblem stone detail got some gold paint, but the end results of this paint job look a little flat. Since back when I sketched it all out, I've been thnking that it needed another color, like green or something. Sounds like a weird choice, but with the metallic parts, a tarnished metal type of green might not be such a bad idea. Anyway, here's where I am with the exterior;

(it can't sit upright until I tape down the siding)

Doesn't look too bad, if I do say so myself. Needs some more work, mostly paint though. The door/windows are not staying that splotchy black color, the edges of the walls probably shouldn't be white, and then there's the green that I just mentioned (maybe).

You have now been caught up (yay!).


And just a follow up on my birthday-The party was on Sunday, I got my pudding, and all was well (like I knew it would be). A couple people commented on my statement about not knowing what season to expect, saying that it is Spring, and that the weather was going to act like Spring. Well it did on Sunday. I was walking along the canal without a coat, it was nice, but then it got cold again and it's been snowing pretty good for the past couple days...I know my March.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Time Waits For No One

It's been over a week since my last post, and when I promised to get back on track with blogging. I followed through with the already planned posts, but clearly I'm preoccupied with something. Well it's a few things.

Firstly, which I have to keep getting reminded of for some reason this year, my birthday is on Tuesday. It's weird though, because I tend to feel down about it. I like birthdays, but it's something about the time of year I guess. Crazy weather, not really winter, not quite spring yet. My brain can't figure out what to do, and due to my family's schedule this week, celebrating keeps getting moved to different days (kind of hard to get excited about sketchy plans). I kept being told Monady until this morning, my birthday dinner is now tomorrow. Oh, but when I was asked what I wanted for my birthday, I said pudding. Gift/dinner doesn't matter, I would just like pudding. I'm pretty low maintenance like that. Supposedly, I'm getting a batch of chocolate and vanilla-awesome. My plan is to sit in the kitchen for the next day or two until this birthday thing happens, I'm sure that my family will figure it out.

I've also been a bit light on work lately which means I have to spend more time talking to potential clients, until I find someone with design needs that match my talents. March must be my slow season because this happened last year too. Anyway, to combat this annual funk I dove into what I hope will be a successful attempt at getting my illustration work going again. More on that once the project launches, hopefully sometime this week (thought I'd have it up two weeks ago, but learning experiences always taken longer than you think they will).

My Steampunk house for Undersized Urbanite is also understandably falling behind on the to-do list. I did get a chance to work on it a little, but there's nothing finished enough to show off. In terms of what the new thing I'm trying to start is going to do to this challenge: I'm trying to plan it out so that any major new projects won't start until this ones is finished. Fingers crossed that I'm timing everything right.

And actually I wasn't even going to post this weekend, I've been cutting back on everything lately, but I received a package in the mail today!

It was from Neen. I was one of the first 5 to try and help identify her mystery house, so as thanks for the help(if anyone can ID that house, please let her know), she decided to send me a blue elephant and a white CB2 igloo chair, AND two wooden books AND some bottles, which I didn't know about until I opened the box. So thanks for the gifts and the surprise Neen, I know that you didn't know about my birthday, but your timing was non the less impeccable.

I made a quick set up with Billy and some of it's furniture. That elephant goes really well with the colors in this house and my still unfinished doll seems to like that chair. I actually tried to buy one from CB2 months ago, but my order got screwed up, and it never panned out, until now (thanks again Neen). Must be why he likes it so much.

I really need to do something with his house, it's still Christmas in there. Luckily, I could just slide it all to the corner and cover it up with a room divider (Did I ever post about that project...nope, guess that gets added to my list). I let the penguin join in though, because penguins are just delightful birds. He might be moving in now. If a stuffed elephant is the decor why not keep a penguin around too. Billy's not supposed to be a normal looking house anyway.

Ok, now that I've gotten completely side tracked by a dollhouse(it's just so much fun sometimes), time to go back to working on the thing I can't really talk about until it launches. Adios and her's hoping that I'm a little more prepared for blogging next time.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 2

Welcome to - Polymer Clay, Part 2

After digging through all of my past files and posts online, I present to you examples of my past work, featuring polymer clay;

You can sculpt figures with it.  Just 15min. in an oven for each piece to cure.
Berries and globs of sherbet for mini Halloween punch. Plus a serving spoon so the 'host' can dish it out.

Indoor mosaic work. 

Dinner Rolls, Candles(fake ones), & tiny gingerbread houses.

Super tiny chocolates.

mini clay bowls by ~Listener-Liserian on deviantART
mini box by ~Listener-Liserian on deviantART
 (If you're wondering about the weird screen-name, It's an old account)

Bowls and boxes, if you're super patient about sculpting...Like I was that week...

Strawberry Charm Pendants by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART



Black and Blue Clay Cabochon by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART
Tree Silhoutte Cabochon by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART
(Sold, but the others are still available).

The Steampunk Gear by ~Kyle-Lefort on deviantART

Handmade cabochons, and many other jewelry pieces.


Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do with polymer clay. I'm just one person with a knack for working small. Hopefully, my work has inspired you (just a little?...maybe?), and now you know a little more about what I use to make it.


Looking for more Tutorials and other useful info?

Mini Wire Shelving Tutorial


Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 1 

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 2