Monday, May 27, 2013

An Interesting Week

A list of things that happened last week, worth mentioning;

1. Not long after I posted the latest riker mount set on Etsy,

I got a request for a custom order. Which I gladly accepted.
On the left is a 1:12 scale tiger swallowtail (see above photo for size reference), and on the right is the custom version;

Apologies for the unfocused WIP shot,
but it wasn't photo-shoot time and these are really small.

No cases, but I'm still in the middle of water proofing them for terrarium use. I enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to make these work for my new client, but, with the exception of custom orders, I think I'm still sticking with 1:12 for regular shop items. (I like my comfort zone)

2. I won a giveaway on Monique's blog, Fabulously Small, and then another giveaway  at The Shopping Sherpa blog a day or two later. Two wins in one week, after months of not winning, I must have had a lucky streak. :)

3. I have a friend who has an aunt that's into miniatures. Every once in a while she'd make the comment that she needs to introduce us, but since I'm in the U.S. and her aunt's in Australia, that probably wasn't going to happen. Well, thanks to an off-hand comment on Facebook, I at least got to talk with her online. (Hi, again) As it turns out, online she knows some of the other Australian mini bloggers that I also follow and talk too. Its surprising that we haven't run into each other online before this, but who knows maybe we have. It's not like we knew eachother already, right?

4.  I'm always on the look out for type boxes, shadow boxes, or really anything that I can use for future miniature displays. Well my friend's mother (different friend than in #3, btw) found me this at the salvation army;

Can I use this? Yes, I can.

 5. My little brother showed up the other day with a terrarium for one of his spiders, cork wood, and some moss. After repeatedly insisting that I drop everything and make a mock environment for his spider, I did;

We've made one of these before, with a rock ledge, so the cork wood setup really didn't take that long. Supposedly, the spider has since moved in, but hasn't calmed down enough to build a web yet. If it looks cool when it does, I'll post a photo. :)
6. While out for a family birthday party, my little brother, one of my older brothers, and I ended up spending most of the day wandering through the woods. Out in the woods, in the middle of nowhere people tend to dump junk that they can't easily dispose of. So, it's not surprising when you come across a steep slope covered in old tires, broken glass, metal, and other random junk that looks like it's been piling up there since the 50's, which is what we ended up walking through. This wasn't my idea, can't say it was fun, and at one point I slipped and the only thing that stopped me from sliding down a pile of broken glass was the thorn bush I grabbed onto. But it was memorable and the whole scene was pretty cool looking, in a sci-fi wasteland sort of way. Didn't have a camera, but I did pick up this small piece of scrap iron,
I feel like this somehow needs to find it's way into a dollhouse

And I'm pretty sure that the thorn pricks on my hand will stick around for a few more days, so I'm not likely to forget that birthday party. XD

7. I blogged about my interesting week. The End. ^_^

Friday, May 17, 2013

Etsy Shop News

After leaving the shop on auto pilot for a while and some more mini-making it was time for some updates and changes.
What's New?

1. You know those mini riker mounts I made for the Steampunk House? Well I've been making more. Morpho butterfly and other sets are available now and more varieties are on the way!

I've also been adding in other assorted goods, including some one-time destash items worth checking out.
New items being added weekly.

2. You can now use Direct Checkout at my Etsy Shop! I now accept credit cards and Etsy gift cards, no Papypal account required. Still want to use Paypal? No worries, that's still an option. (Direct Checkout spooked me a little before, but the Etsy staff made some changes, so I decided to give it a try).

3. I am no longer listing international shipping as an option. Between having to know what I can ship where, the very high cost for the buyer (I use flat rate boxes, and it's over $20 now for non-U.S. locations), and living in a town with no post office (it complicates things), I don't want to make offers that I'm not sure I can back up 100%.

> However, if you don't live in the U.S. and are so interested in purchasing my work that you'd be willing to contact me about it, if the item in question is ok to ship to your country, I will ship internationally upon request. 

Sorry for the inconvenience. Hopefully I haven't alienated anyone, but at the moment that click-able option was more trouble than it's worth.

4. Illustration prints in my Etsy shop-coming soon! If you were part of the Kickstarter Campaign last month, this isn't news, but it's still worth mentioning. Thanks again to all the backers and other supporters, I'm just waiting for Amazon to clear the funds we raised, and then this project is a go!

If you're waiting to see the official 'Thank You Backers' post, don't worry I'm working on it.
Btw, if you backed the project and want a promo spot in the thank you post (the offer I posted earlier/on Kickstarter), please read the newest KS project update that I posted and send me your info ASAP. < You backed my project, I don't want you to miss out!

That's all for now,

Monday, May 13, 2013

Undersized Urbanite Winners Announced!, And We Move On...

With 13 finalists, you should be expecting roughly 10 'I Lost' posts online today, and sadly I am one of them. ^_^

I'm actually trying not to sound depressed because even when I entered I knew the odds of winning were slim. Did I want to win? Uh, yeah (where have you been?). Do I feel like I was in the running? Yep, but a lot of people were.

It's weird because part of that sinking feeling I got when I didn't win is also a little directed at the other entrants too. I mean, in all seriousness, I went through the entries myself, in terms of skill, they all could have won. In many respects, they all should have won, but it came down to personal preferences, number of readers/who actually voted, and with the glitch I'm not ruling out luck or timing either.

Only 3 houses could win, and I can't argue with the results;

Congrats Brae, Lyssa, & Audra!


So wait, Why am I not totally devastated that I lost?

"I would love to win, but I still gain something if I lose, it won't break the bank, I have the time, and I'll enjoy participating." < That's my criteria for entering a contest.

All contests are gambles. Especially vote related ones. If you can't afford to lose, you shouldn't enter. And when it comes to creative-based contests, they take time and money. Even if you win these types of contests, you will not make that time/money back. I didn't enter expecting to make any real money from this (and my budget was smaller than 1/12 scale house). I already had the cabinet, so all it really cost me was time.

This contest allowed me to blog my progress, demonstrate my skills in I way I did not previously have an opportunity to, and at no point did I have to giveaway my work or even my rights as copyright holder(lots of design contests want the copyright, if not the original entry-not dollhouse contests though).

I'm the proud owner/creator of this neat little Steampunk House, and people will be able to see it online for years to come.

I've met and befriended some really talented people. I gained quite a few new readers/followers on this blog, plus my Facebook page, Tumblr page, and DeviantArt gallery.

And since finishing the Steampunk House, I switched to working on new items for my Etsy shop.

I made 4 pairs of mini Morpho Butterfly riker mounts last week, and the first one sold within an hour after I posted it in my shop. That's the fastest online sale I've ever made. ^_^

But I can't just make little bugs all day every day, so what's next with this blog?

Good question. Well let's see: The Curious Concepts Project is a go, just as soon as Amazon clears my funding in a week or so. That means you're going to be hearing a lot more about my illustration work.

Again though, lot's of people, self included, enjoy my miniature work, so there are also plans to keep working on Billy and the Van Buren, assuming I can dig it out of that pile of stuff it's been in since last Fall.

Then there's finding something to do with The Steampunk House now that it's done. Pretty much anyone that's seen it in person agrees with me that it should be publicly displayed somewhere. Whether that means an art show down the road or what, I don't know, but too much time has gone into the piece for it to end up packed away in the basement (it's definitely a portfolio piece).

Which reminds me, How awesome is it that from mid-November until last week, 13 people, and Christina (who also ran this whole thing),  somehow finished their dollhouse projects. I mean there were flesh wounds and half of us quit sleeping, and everything else, but we did it! We are now part of the, "Hey, I joined this lengthy online blog project, and I actually met the Deadline!", club. Congrats. Not everyone can pull that off with such stunning results.

Again, thank you Christina for hosting this event, it was fun. Glad to hear there are plans for an Undersized Urbanite 2014. No idea if I'll be entering again next year, but I certainly will be following from now on.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Voting is Open Again! Go Vote Now!!!

Voting is now closed. Thank you everyone that participated.


Didn't see any new post from Christina, but Mama's Minis blog announced that voting has resumed, so I'll take her word for it.

You have until 8. Vote! Vote! Vote!
I still have to, too (it shouldn't be this difficult, but it is).

Again, here is my entry, >>>The Steampunk House<<<, if you missed it.

And Happy Mother's Day to all you Moms out there!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Issues With Undersized Urbanite Voting Site < Please Read!

Voting is now closed. Thank you everyone that participated.




According to Christina (the host), something has gone wrong with the voting system for Undersized Urbanite.

I'm not in charge of anything, so read the whole thing on her site if you want to know more.

This is just me letting my readers know that voting has been suspended. *sigh*
Christina did comment on her post saying that the glitch may be fixable (really hope we don't have to start over) and voting might open up again on Sunday. *fingers crossed*

I would also like it known that a glitch is a glitch, and Christina has been working very hard to host/run/sponsor this contest, so any unhappy feelings about this issue are directed to a messed up computer program-not her (She's pretty awesome).

Thanks also goes out to the one or two people who caught the glitch, because this would be a much bigger mess (even if we do end up starting over) if it had been discovered after the winners were announced.

I'll post updates when I get them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Have You Voted Yet?

Voting is now closed. Thank you everyone that participated.


If you're looking for my Steampunk House entry,  CLICK HERE!!!!


We're half-way through the voting period for the Undersized Urbanite Dollhouse Contest, which means most of the people that were waiting until later to choose their favorites, are right on track for forgetting to vote altogether. ^_^

Click here to vote! It all ends May 12.

Now I will admit that I haven't used all 3 votes yet myself, but I have 2 perfectly good excuses;

1. After spending months following the progress of many of the other entrants, I'm pretty emotionally attached to these projects and have to really think about who's getting my vote and why.

2. Something about the last week or so of non-stop mini making and sleep deprivation to meet the deadline, resulted in me not being in the best mood for looking at all of the other entries right away. I realized that halfway through the second super long entry post that  tried reading.

So, I took a break and just worked on uploading my project to my DA gallery and FB albums, because I know there are people on those sites that read my blog,...but only if I post the pretty pictures there first (hi guys!) Some people just don't like reading about WIP, I can understand that.

Now that I've gotten a couple nights worth of sleeping like a normal person, I'm all set to look at the final entries and use up my votes.

And so should you!

If you've been avoiding it because you think it's going to be a hassle, don't be silly.
> In my country, if I want to vote in an election, I have to drive to a fire hall, wait in a line, talk to several people who seem surprised that I even showed up (did you know that young U.S. voters statistically don't vote?), show my I.D., sign something to prove that I am who my I.D. says I am, get a frightening looking scan-tron (which gives me SATs flashbacks btw), fill that out-in pen behind this metal wall thing that barely has enough table space for writing, put my ballot into what I can only describe as a patriotic "CoinStar" machine, and then stand there awkwardly until the machine says I voted, so I can drive back home. (There used to be this cool booth thing with a lever that made you feel like you had real power as a voter-Yeah, they got rid of that).

^^^ You do not have to do any of that to vote in this contest! Just go to the voting page, find the entries you want to win, and click "Vote". < That's it! (Do it) ^_^

Saturday, May 4, 2013

My Undersized Urbanite Entry - The Steampunk House

Here it is, at last, my entry for the Undersized Urbanite Dollhouse Contest!


Voting is now closed. Thank you everyone that participated.


The before photos;

Just a weird little cabinet. Bought it for $20 at a local antique co-op. The new materials and, "Made in China", sticker was a dead giveaway that it wasn't really an antique, but hey it was neat, I hadn't seen one of these before, and I knew I could use it...

...So in the basement it sat, for years, until the opportunity came along to turn that blank white house above into this beauty;

 Come on, I'll give you the tour;

First, let's just enjoy the Exterior for a minute.

A 12 oz. can of Loganberry for size reference (guess where I'm from)

Because it was a cabinet, this house is more of a flat outline than a true dollhouse. So to make it visually interesting, I used an assortment of textures. Old brownstone influences, vertical wood elements, scalloped shingles and 'tarnished metal' paint detailing.

I wanted this house to look like an old, slightly run down building. Some interesting people showed up, loved it, and decided to make it into their own little quirky townhouse.
And I got to cross, "Try to make egg carton stone work", off my creative to-do list. :)

Exterior Materials;

Egg cartons
Balsa wood
Acrylic paint
Corrugated scrap booking paper


Ok, Now let's go inside,

And start with the Basement.

It's old and unfinished.
The floor is just packed stone,

and the ceiling could use some work too.
Although the basement is half the height of a typical room, the tiny tenants of this house have plans to renovate the space...Assuming that they stop using it to store the "artifacts" that they've been finding, first.
  Some of this stuff is pretty neat though. 
That large metal piece was part of a very heavy necklace. And the pottery:

I made these out of paper, gesso, paint, & polyurethane.

Basement Materials;

Egg cartons
Balsa wood
Popsicle sticks
Acrylic paint
Other props


Next, we head up the stairs to the Kitchen.

I think that, if this were a real room, the first thing that you'd notice walking in is the eclectic tile floor,

Hand cut, baked polymer clay tiles, along with some paper, sealed with polyurethane.

Then you might notice the re-purposed industrial spring bar stools,

Pipe-cleaner + a ton of paint and Polycrylic.
The seat is a cotton/fabric covered bottle top.

And then you'd turn and see the rest of the place.

Regular readers of my blog will recognize that almost everything in this room/house is handmade and was created over the course of this project. If you'd like to read about all of the handmade items in detail later, just follow the, "Undersized Urbanite", tags on my posts. There's not enough room to talk about them all here. :)

I will highlight the counter though because: A). It has a real glass mosaic top;

Along with some black acrylic paint, all sealed with a thick coat of Polycrylic.

And B). It rotates out into an island, for when the tenants are entertaining guests.

 Steampunk ingenuity.

Plus a few more photos of the top monitor fridge because it took so long to make, and because I only made that specific type of fridge because it fits into the non-modern electricity Steampunk theme, it deserves a little more face time too.

I think these people have a tiny drinking problem. 
(Thanks again for the bottles Neen)

Kitchen Materials;

Scrap booking paper
Balsa/Bass wood
Polymer clay
Acrylic paint
Other props

And with that, we go up another flight of stairs to the Bedroom.

A little sparse compared to the kitchen, but it's got everything these little people need.
 An oil lamp (found it) & big book (painted gift) for night time reading, 
a piggy bank (purchased item) for safe keeping,

Steampunk bunkbeds (handmade),

And a pewter alligator to live underneath the Steampunk bunk-beds. :)  

The carpet is upholstery fabric and, believe it or not, the wallpaper is a crinkled up paper bag + some paint.

 (This is my favorite door, btw)

Bedroom Materials;

Brown paper bag
Upholstery fabric
Balsa/Bass wood
Acrylic paint
Other props


Now up the stairs, one more time (this is a tall house) to the Observatory.

Prior to moving into the Steampunk house, the tiny tenants did some traveling, and they are very curious about the world. So when they discovered their spacious attic, with a window letting them peer out into their town or up at the night sky, they declared it their personal observatory and filled it with all of the souvenirs that they've acquired during their adventures.

A Popsicle stick and Polyurethane  hardwood floor makes for one classy observatory.


And a handmade upholstered bench makes for a comfy place to sit,
as long as you don't have a problem with mummies,

Or bugs.
(bought the mummy, photographed and miniaturized all of the bugs)

Observatory Materials;

Brown paper bag
Balsa/Bass wood
Mixed Media
Acrylic paint
Other props


So that is the now finished Steampunk House. I hope you've enjoyed your tour and the dollhouse (vote for me! May 5-12). Please be careful walking back down all of those stairs on your way out,and have a wonderful day.

Thank you Christina, of Little Victorian, for hosting the Undersized Urbanite Dollhouse Contest,
I really enjoyed it. :)

And good luck to all of the other entrants!