Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Miniature Halloween Challenge ~ Collected Scenes 2013

Hey Everybody! Happy Halloween!

A couple weeks ago I posted the Miniature Halloween Challenge, and now it's time to show off everyone's wonderful scenes.

So without further delay,
Here are some of the Awesome Halloween Mini Scenes of 2013!
(posted in the order I received them, If I've missed anyone let me know)

Marisa's scene;

Lenore's scene;

Emily's scene;

Lisa's scene; 

My scene;

Jane's scene;

Thank you to everyone who participated, and Thanks to everyone who's taken the time to enjoy this collection of tiny Halloween scenes. 

I do encourage all of my readers to follow the links under each photo and visit the blogs of these talented people. If there are any scenes that you really like, I'm sure that the original creators would love to hear it.

Hope everyone has fun this year, eat lots of candy, carve a pumpkin, and run around in a costume-party or not. Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 28, 2013

My Mini Halloween Scene - 2013

The big Halloween Challenge post will be up in a couple days, which means that it's time for me to post my Miniature Halloween Scene. ^_^

Didn't have a lot of free time this year, but I made a ton of real miniature leaves for local shows next year, so those became the inspiration for my scene. The Catrina and Octopus seem pretty happy dancing in the leaves, and I raided my Etsy Shop inventory for some pumpkins and Jack-O-Lanterns. Is it ever really Halloween without them?

Since I didn't even get a chance to make my scene until after my own deadline passed, I wouldn't be surprised if there are other people running late with their scenes too. If you had any interest in my, "Miniature Halloween Challenge!", I will be accepting late entries right up until I make the Challenge post on the 30th. If you already gave me your entry, it will be in the post, no worries.

Happy Halloween ^_^

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Curious Concepts Project: New Series Progress: "A Skydiver" and "Neil" Part 2

Time for a progress report on the Curious Concepts Project!

>>Click here to read the last project update first, if you haven't yet.<<

I was so focused on working on the new illustrations, I neglected to update sooner, so Illustration #1: Brandi's request, "A skydiver", has gone through quite of few changes since everyone last saw it;

Made some composition changes

Blocked out the colors

Painted in the Background


Still trying to figure out the whale

Starting to like the whale again, except it's too dark

Lightened up the whale

Shading all the little people, and the fish.

This one is taking longer than I thought it would, but it actually has a lot of little details, so I guess that was bound to happen. This is probably also going to be the largest illustration in the new series. I want to say it's almost done, but between still needing to draw in a plane and the rest of the rigging, I'm pretty sure this is only the half way point.
Illustration #2: Devon's request, "Neil".
Not as much progress with this one, but it is really close to being finished.
This is what it looked like last update,

And this is how it is now.
More shading and details. A few more left to do and then this piece is all done. I don't know if I've mentioned it before or not, but this composition's lighting blocks out one of the eyes-enough that I can't draw one in, but something needs to be there-So I was thinking about adding an eye patch, maybe. We'll see how it looks when I'm done shading, if the shadows aren't dark enough, eye patch it is.


That's where the project is now. I'm hoping to be much further along at the next update. I've been scrambling to keep inline with my planned schedule, but if you read the blog or even just talked to me in person then you know that October has been one of the busiest months I've ever had in terms of art and design, and that's actually a really good thing. It do need to stick to my personal commitments though, hence the scrambling.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Miniature Halloween Challenge!

One of the things I love about the dollhouse miniatures blogging community is the occasional friendly blog challenge. Read through my reading list of blogs that I follow and I haven't seen any for Halloween yet this year, so maybe that just means that it's my turn to host one. ^_^

I don't have much time for miniatures this month, so I'm just going to have to enjoy the hobby by encouraging you guys. This is a really informal challenge, so don't go crazy with it, just have fun!

(And this isn't a requirement, but if you're reading this and want to post a link to this challenge on your blog/sidebar so more people will see it, I would really appreciate it.)

Here's how it works;

1. Make a miniature scene for Halloween.
-You can make miniatures, buy them, re-purpose stuff you have lying aroung-Use whatever you want.
-Scale does not matter, but your work has to clearly be in miniature.

2. Take a picture.
-You can keep your work, we all just want to see it.

3. Leave a comment for me at the bottom of THIS POST, where I can find it.
-I need your name/screen name,
-a link to the photo you want me to post,
-and a link to your blog or website (if you have one)

4. I will make a super special Halloween post displaying all of your wonderful work.

No prizes or anything, this is just for fun. ^_^
-If you needed an excuse to make something for Halloween-You've got one now.
-This is a great way to advertise your blog/website-links will be publicly posted under your photo.
-And if you aren't a miniature artist, but maybe want to give it a try, this is a great no pressure way to start.

DEADLINE: Sunday October 27th. 
----Edit since even I am running late, I will definitely accept late entries.
I'm in New York, so remember that there's a time difference if you live somewhere else, if you live west of here, get your entry in early. I will accept entries if they're a little late, but on time works sooo much better.
I plan on having the entries all posted by the 30th. 1 photo/entry per person, please.

And a quick note about Copyright (I'm a designer, I can't help it);
By giving me any photos/info to post on my blog, A). You are guaranteeing that it is your work to post and in good faith I will post it as such. B). You are giving me permission to use your photo/entry on my blog. Aside from back linking to the Halloween post in the future, or otherwise using post content like any responsible blogger would, I'm not going to use your work without further permission. You will be credited for your work, and you remain the Copyright holder of your scene design and the photo that you took.

That said, this is the internet, so you are more than welcome to add a watermark to your photo-Just don't make it so distracting that we can't enjoy your work.

For some mini inspiration, here is a photo of my entry for Mini Mod Pod's Halloween Challenge last year;

You've still got about a week, so get creating!
Can't wait to see what you guys come up with. ^_^

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

My Nice Fall Weekend

I've been working on various art/design projects lately, and this weekend was no different. But after finishing up a week's worth of outdoor painting, in some of the nicest fall weather one could ever hope for, I sort of got a couple days off. And I have photos.

Saturday evening was a backyard bonfire with a few of my friends. It was so warm out I didn't need a coat or even a sweater. It was midnight before anyone commented about being cold. And a screech owl stopped by to say "Hello", which is pretty neat to hear when you're just sitting in your backyard.

Sunday I headed an hour south with my mom and little brother for some volunteering at Beaver Meadow.
Most of my family went to day camp out there during our summers growing up, and clearly we love the place because now we head out there to volunteer when ever we can.

^^^This is their Nature Center 

They have a fall event called, "The Enchanted Forest", which is really cute and a ton of fun for the kids. Out in the woods, at night, throughout Columbus Day weekend some of the animals become "Enchanted" and start talking. A bit of a spoiler alert here: They're people in costumes. Naturalists and a few really dedicated volunteers take on animal characters to teach people about the nocturnal wildlife in the area. I've only ever gotten to see the show as a "Firefly" (guides that take groups through the event trail-They wear all black and carry lanterns), but even knowing who's wearing the costumes I'm pretty impressed by how into their acts these people get.

Last year I was stuck out in a snack tent and it was so cold and rainy that I had a surprisingly bad night that turned into a terrible cold, which of course I whined about on the blog, but really, I do love volunteering at this thing. To keep it that way my family made sure that we got to spend the night inside for once-call it a recovery year. My brother somehow ended up in the reptile room handling snakes.

My mom and I worked the craft room. We helped the kids make owls out of toilet paper rolls and paper. No idea who came up with the design, but how cute are these?

I named mine Hootington.

3 hours of crafting is not a bad way to spend the evening especially when it helps out a group of people who've been working very hard to make this a great event all weekend. And it was nice seeing a bunch of our nature friends again.

We decided to spend Columbus Day at Letchworth State park again this year, so instead of going all the way back home, we stayed at a nearby hotel.

The hotel is in the middle of a golf course, so the landscaping outside is just beautiful, especially since it's Fall.

 And this is on a cloudy day.

After I was done marveling at the pretty trees next to the parking lot, we headed out for a drive through a very rural portion of New York. Stopped in Varysburg for lunch and then we were off to Letchworth.
My brother started off the weekend with a cold, so we couldn't do as much hiking as last year, and it was much cloudier, but still I got some great photos.

There was a train!

And I'm not saying a troll lives in that little tunnel, but I dunno
...lawn gnome maybe?

We also went through a museum at the park. Stuff behind glass usually doesn't photograph well, so please forgive the image quality of these two.

The original headstone of Mary Jemison.
If you ever got the chance to read, "Indian Captive: The Story of Mary Jemison", in school-This was Corn Tassel. If you didn't read that book, don't worry because it's, "Highly fictionalized", and won't really teach you who Mary Jemison was. (It would be like reading, "The Crucible", to learn about the Salem witch hunt-you get the gist of it, but the details are really skewed) I know enough about the woman to think this was neat though.

And here we have a Mastodon skull. How cool is that?
They dug it up somewhere nearby.

On the way home we ended up driving through the Iroquois Nature Preserve. Beaver Meadow is part of the Buffalo Audubon, and Letchworth is a State park, but as it turns out
Iroquois is a National Wildlife Refuge. So while the lookout spot we usually stop at wasn't blocked or anything, this was tacked onto a railing;

My mom, brother, and I all took photos because an example of what happens when the U.S. government decides to act like spoiled children is worth documenting. Last I heard, the Republicans finally caved before they accidentally ran this country over another financial cliff, but I still felt like I should post this. Never forget, right?

And so ended my weekend. Politics aside, it was great and I had fun. I love the Fall and trips like this are a big part of how I manage to really enjoy it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Undersized Urbanite 2014 - My House

Undersized Urbanite officially started up again last week, but like a lot of the entrants this year-I'm off to a late start. Granted, I think I joined in a month late last time, but last time I wasn't getting the newsletter telling me the start date.

To give you some back story as to what's been going on this past week: No internet for a day + I really need to finish up The Curious Concepts Project + I got approved to do something awesome in Buffalo this week (You can see it on my FB page for now) + Still posting new things up on Etsy = October is turning into a very busy month for me. In a good way.

All that said, I am entering this year and will be diving in as soon as I can. So it's time for my first post.
I've talked about it before, this is my house for the year;

(That blue disk is a "Lazy Susan" base for the house)

Haven't touched it since it was given to me over the summer, so the first WIP post will probably be about how I scrubbed it down with dish soap and/or vinegar, and fixed the Lazy Susan so that the base isn't just sitting in the top floor.

Last year I struggled designing my house at the start because I didn't zero in on a theme right away. It turned out pretty well (Click here to see my Steapunk House), but I want to start off with a real plan this time. Fortunately, this isn't just a white house and all I have to do is decide what stays and what needs to go.

My first thought was, "Flowers. I can do a garden-themed house". There's a few problems though. 1. I didn't paint any of those flowers and I feel like no matter how many times I say that, people are going to think that is some of my work. 2. That painting is painfully out of scale and needs things, like a door. 3. Upon further thought I realized that I don't really want to make a garden house. Gardens are for yards, greenhouses, or at least a scene that's going to have actual windows. And I already decided to make a garden for another house, but I haven't really gotten to it yet-that should be a sign that I don't want to do an entire house of flowers. So why was I even thinking about designing around something I didn't even like that much? I'm a designer, and I don't have to actually like something to make it look awesome. This is a personal project though, so I'm not tied to any restrictions because, hey, I made them up here.

The other theme I can pull from this house, is birds. Or at least a birdhouse. Tough to see in the photos, but at the very top floor there is a birdhouse door/opening. I like that it's there and it would be a pain to design around if I tried to make it not a birdhouse, so something bird themed is probably a good way to go.

Thanks to some ground rules I set for myself with this whole dollhouse thing that I've been doing, here are some extra guidelines I have to follow (along with the Undersized Urbanite rules, of course);

*So that it doesn't end up looking like any other of my projects, the exterior of this house can't be the color green, a Brownstone, or a Cobblestone. Actually, I think stone/brick is out completely because I really need a ton of egg carton for the Van Buren (which I have been working on over the summer, btw)

*Steampunk, beach/summer/vacation home,  and refurbished old building have all been used and can't be main themes.

*I kind of don't want this project to just be a house. A cafe or a store maybe?

*Bright colors are a must because everything I've made after "Billy" has been darker builds and it's starting to look a little gloomy around here.

*I need to figure out a way to put in some doors/windows so that this looks like a building instead of a rectangle with a roof. I've done fake doors before, windows are going to be the challenge.

It's going to be a while before I can really get started, but I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

So How Did the Show Go?

I still have to post about Undersized Urbanite, The Curious Concepts Project, and maybe another neat project in the works, But before I get any more behind on my blog this week;

So How Did the Show Go?

Pretty good. Since it was my first time selling my miniatures at an actual dollhouse miniatures show (and I really only had a month to prepare for it/and I never went to this or any miniatures show beforehand) , I was expecting a learning curve. So I was considering the entry fee "advertising money" and if I managed to make some sales-yay me. My main goal was to inform as many interested western New Yorkers as possible that I exist and that I have creative miniatures available online-year round. Pretty sure I did that, so I'm calling this a success.

Despite my optimism about shows, no matter what the outcome, yes I have been really disappointed with some of the shows/sales I've gone to-Not this one though. A lot of good things cam out of this show;

*I met pretty much all of the WNY Miniature Enthusiasts. A nice bunch of people. This is the first show I've ever gone to where I was given a bag of snacks. I already knew one of the members, but even the people I hadn't met before were checking in on me and stopped to talk a few times throughout the day.

*People were taking my business cards. That is super important because it's pretty much the only way to get the urls for my etsy shop and website (which sadly, is never 100% up to date, but it does link to everything else online) without having to stumble onto the links online somewhere.

*I got to meet a ton of local people that are into dollhouses, and we talked. I learned about a few peoples' projects, I explained how I made a few things, I tried to help fix a few creative/supply dilemmas, and I found out that 1/4 scale is really popular here. Also, the micro mini pumpkins I made a while back, are 1/4 scale (I'm starting to run out of those now).

*I didn't turn a profit this time around, but I sold a lot of miniatures compared to the other local sales, so it's a start.

*Because people who are really into dollhouse miniatures are also for some reason, some of the nicest complete strangers you will ever run into, I ended up with some good advice from a couple of the other sellers. The woman in the booth next to mine even gave me tips for marketing the new furniture I've been working on.

Pretty happy with how the whole thing went, and yes, I plan to be at this show next year.
Thank you to all of my blog readers that wished me well, thanks to everyone that stopped at my table at the show, and thank you to anyone who found there way to my blog. Much appreciated. ^_^