Tuesday, December 22, 2015

* The 2015 Gingerbread House Series *

~*~ The 2015 Gingerbread House Series ~*~

I really thought I was calling it quits on the tradition this year. I didn't think I had the time and just wasn't feeling it, but then really early one morning last week I had an idea - I was going to made adorably kitsch Christmas clocks for the series this year! Decision made. So after several days/late nights, multiple bakes in the oven, and lots of gluing/painting, here we are. ^_^

And now I'm going to answer some of your questions;

1. No, the clocks do not work. I did include faux winding devices on the backs of these, because I would imagine they would be wind up clocks, but they aren't wind-able. (I would love to have those kinds of skills though)

2. The clocks themselves are printies glued behind a round piece of clear polymer clay, sealed with Polycrylic. I used a general clip art clock face, added my own hands in Photoshop, and then scaled the clocks down to fit inside this year's house design. The Polycrylic added a glassy shine to the finished piece.


So far the people who've seen the end results approve. I like them, and I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. Really happy that I was able to keep going with the annual gingerbread houses. I think I would've regretted it the next time I wanted to make more tiny gingerbread themed anything (you don't just skip a year...). Switched up the medium a bit, and I think that helped a little, time-wise. I used puff paint instead of tinted TLS. Less baking, more mess, but the dry time isn't bad. The results are sort of the same, so I might keep going with the paint from now on.  

Full list of materials;

Polymer clay - The gingerbread/candies/clock glass
TLS & Elmer's glue - Both pretty much just used as unseen glue
DIY printie clock - the clock
Reclaimed cardboard - The base and roof
Puff paint - All the frosting

And because these gingerbread house clocks are the 2015 series, they are initialed and dated on the bottom.


Apologies if anyone was hoping to snag one in time for Christmas this year (I usually get these posted late in the season anyway, but this year I really pushed it). As of posting this, 2 are now up for auction on eBay, AND EDIT: I had a chance to also post some on Etsy too.


This may or may not be my last post for 2015 (not sure), so I would like to end this entry by saying that I hope you're all doing well, I hope you are with loved ones and enjoying the season. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Undersized Urbanite - Pretty Sure I'm Entering This Year

Christina over at Little Victorian is hosting The Undersized Urbanite Dollhouse Contest once again, and although it's been open for entries since September - I'm just now getting to it. And honestly I wasn't sure I was even going to enter this year, but between months of working like a crazy person, and more recently coming down with a cold bad enough that it killed my ambition there for a bit (and got me thinking about how much I'd been working lately), I decided that it was time that I get back into the art studio and work on something just because I wanted to make something cool/for my own enjoyment. Sound good to you? Ok, then here we go;

A year or two ago I stumbled upon one of those puzzle dollhouses on a clearance rack for $3.00, because the packaging had been torn open and it looked like there were pieces missing (turns out it was all there, but either way $3 is a steal for any kit) 

I spent an evening in the art studio with my friends/co-artists. They worked on their projects while I popped together the dollhouse before deciding what to do with it.

A couple days later, at 5am or so while I was at work, I had this idea that the dollhouse is going to end up looking pretty weird this time around. At first I was referring to the idea as a "mushroom" (it does sort of look like that in my head), but my friends were getting too caught up in the idea of it being a mushroom house when really the better term is just to refer to the plan as a Surreal styled dollhouse - There you go, My plan is to make a Surreal looking dollhouse. The photo above is the color scheme I think I've chosen for the exterior (here's hoping that the red/green/purple combo doesn't come back to bite me). And I also had these 2 little wooden birdhouses I thought I could use as odd shaped additions.

Since the studio gives me more space to work I might attempt a small yard, and for that I might just use some of these floor tiles I picked up at a garage sale last summer. They look like stone and I've been wanting to find a use for them. Have to get a board or something to use for a base first, but it's do-able.

The puzzle house is not one inch scale like I'm used to (half inch scale maybe?) and I don't have any furniture that fits. Luckily, I did buy this furniture puzzle hoping the furniture would work with a different dollhouse, but it too appears to be closer to half inch scale and will probably work better for this project. If that doesn't work, I'm sure I could manage with scratch building, but since I only have until February it would be nice if the puzzle furniture worked out.

Back to the house building now;

After following the directions to see how the house is supposed to be put together (which you just saw), I started making changes. Here's me figuring out how to attach the bird house rooms.

And here's how I left the house in the studio on day #2 of this build. The roof is off while I paint it red. The porch is being all torn apart and redesigned to make room for the bird house on the right (which is attached with nothing other than tape and paper towels for now). I know it's starting to look funny, but the idea in my head is pretty cool, so I'm hoping I can make it turn out the way I want.

No promises that I can make the deadline on this one, but I'm going to try. Stay tuned. ^_^

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Magical Miniatures and Halloween Fun

So this isn't a place where I typically brag about my vacations, but I did go to Disney World a couple weeks ago, had some Halloween fun at the Magic Kingdom (my mom and I trick or treated like sophisticated adults: hit every spot in the park, and ended up with a ridiculous amount of candy), AND during one of the days at the parks I saw something worth blogging about.

A couple years ago I passed along a neat article about Walt Disney and how, like many creative individuals, he had a thing for working in miniature. After that blog post I had people in the comments asking me if I had any pictures/if I knew where to find images of Disney's miniature collection. And the answer is still No. And I've never been to Disneyland, so if the collection is there/still there, I haven't seen it. However, if you go to Walt Disney World, you may cross paths with some models and some miniature scenes, some of which were made by Walt Disney himself.

And I did take some pictures. Of course, this is not my work, I am posting it specifically for discussion purposes, and thanks to the lighting + display case you are definitely much better off seeing this in person. Until you book your Disney trip though, here are some shots of a tiny set Walt Disney made back in the 40's, "Granny's Cabin";

And if you noticed in the placard, 
working on this miniature scene indirectly led to the planning of Disneyland. How cool is that?

So there you go, miniature work, by Walt Disney.


Now, did I mention that I had some Halloween fun while I was on this trip? Yes, well Halloween also means it's the time of year where you can find all things, "The Nightmare Before Christmas", and since that's a movie I have cherished since I saw it in the movie theater, when I was only 4, you can imagine my delight anytime that movie or those characters popped up in the parks. I ended up bringing some things home with me;

That hat is pretty much a replacement for a similar one I've been wearing for the last decade or so, the purse I plan to start using soon, and the figurines - well my mom's guess was that they'd end up in a miniature scene - Yep, she was right;

(Several Fall's worth of tiny leaves, made by me)

So in conclusion to what I'm hoping is a cohesive post, despite being swamped with work and so busy you'd think I couldn't possible have time for fun or Halloween, it turns out I can/I did. And hey, look I even had a second to make a quick scene and blog. Hooray - And Happy Halloween Everyone! ^_^

Thursday, October 8, 2015

A New Place To Work, A New Place To Work On

Time to catch up on blogging - Where to Start?...Ok, first some big news - I have an art studio to work in now. ^_^   ^_^   ^_^

A few friends and I are sharing the space, so it's both huge and affordable. We started renting the place in August and plan on being there for at least the next year.

Part of me wants to post photos of what it looks like right now, but right now it's a mess and my friends and I are still working on hanging artwork/etc., so for now, I'll just show you what the place looked like the day I picked up my keys.

It's part of a much, much bigger art building in Lockport, and I will post more about it once I'm better set up to let in visitors.

 Finding this space when I did turned out to be such great timing too because the week after I signed the lease, I crossed paths with a cool dollhouse at a rummage sale. Without the studio I would've had to pass, no room at home for another big (tiny) house, but with the studio I had the space for it - Hooray;

 (It barely fit in the back of the car, but chillin' in the studio it looks so small)

 It's a Country Manor Dollhouse kit by Skil-Craft, catalog # 688. Thank you too Kelly and the rest of the Greenleaf Forum community for solving that mystery for me. ^_^

This house was so well put together, and so well kept over the years (no idea when it was assembled, but the kit is from the 70's). Damage-wise, I need to fix some railings and the window "glass" is yellowed/cracked/covered in stickers. Compared to all my troubles with the Van Buren, this is going to be such an easy project.

Since it's living in the studio, the plan is to restore it and then use it as a tiny showroom for at least some of the miniatures I have for sale. It also gives me an opportunity to do more with mini furniture vs. the 'everything except furniture' I usually sell.

Already got started, and even with the crazy schedule I have right now, I'm slowly making progress on everything. So more updates should be on the way soon.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Ahhhh! It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything.

Ahhhh! It’s been so long since I’ve posted anything. I’ve been working nonstop for weeks, but online it looks like I just dropped off the face of the earth. I have been so busy this summer with so many potential plans just sort of up in the air. Couldn’t post any updates for a while, hopefully that will change soon now that I have some of the major stuff worked out.

What I can post about right now though is this;


1. I am working on more mini patchwork dragons ^_^ (once I’m done beading, this will be #21 in the series, with 2 more also in the works) If you want to see the whole series so far, they’re all in my DeviantArt gallery (click on the photo to go there)

2. If you’re one of my customers/followers that have contacted me asking when I will be restocking certain things in my shops - I made a list and am working on making more of everything that was asked for.

The new dragons will eventually be up for auction on eBay; http://stores.ebay.com/Kyle-Lefort
Everthing else, I will try to split my inventory between eBay and Etsy; https://www.etsy.com/shop/KyleLefort

3. And if anyone was wondering - Yes I will have a table at the WNY Miniature Enthusiasts show this year; http://stepoutbuffalo.com/events/wny-miniature-enthusiasts-35th-annual-dollhouse-show-sale/

I am scrambling to get everything on my to-do list crossed off by the end of summer, but by this fall I should have a lot of fun things to share, so stay tuned. ^_^

Monday, June 8, 2015

The Reptile Show

Sorry about having to take a month to post this, work + a small business + life = The blog takes the back seat a lot, but I get to it when I can.

While I'm at it: I would like to thank everyone who's left nice comments under my blog posts - I read all of them, but lately I've been so busy I just can't respond to every comment I receive. I do appreciate all of them though. I love it when someone takes the time to let me know I'm not just talking to myself here. XD

Ok, so now the much delayed post about the reptile show
- The Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo!
- It was interesting. (I mean that in a good way)

First the setup;
As I said earlier, I was really at this show to help out Nate. I did bring some of my own art/mini work, but it was off to the side and I forgot to photograph it once that portion of the table was set up (oops). Look how many displays this kid made though.

I don't really have much to write or say (other than recommend you go to the one next fall, you will see some some cool stuff, I promise ^_^ ), so here are just some of the odd/fun highlights I managed to also take pictures of;

The table right next to me was a case full of pythons. The people running the table had no problems letting you hold these guys.

Some of the friendliest snakes ever, I've been told. Actually, I've held these kind of snakes before, didn't have any problems. But still, table full of snakes 2 feet away from me all day. I did not hold any snakes at this show (just because), but my mom did, which is a big deal for her since she doesn't like snakes at all.

There was this guy;

I would've tried to get clearer photos, but despite being in this building for hours, after this turtle person walked by once, I never saw them again...

And one thing that I really wanted to bring home with me (but sadly didn't),

Baby Tortoises!

Baby tortoises are so cute because they act like big old tortoises, while still being adorably small. And I do like great big tortoises too, so please no comments about how irresponsible it is to buy a pet when it's a cute baby and forgetting that it will grow. :P Maybe someday when I can afford one I will add a new reptile to the family....

And there you have it, The Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo!
Honestly, I don't know what else to say - If you live in the area, I recommend you check it out next time, and if you don't live nearby go to the reptile house in your nearest zoo or something - Go see some cool snakes/turtles/lizards and such. Maybe there is even a show like this near you. ^_^

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Not So Much Blogging, Very Much Busy Working

Packing things up for the Buffalo Niagara Reptile Expo (May 3rd, 9:00am - 3:30pm); https://www.facebook.com/events/723840184374069/

My main purpose for attending this show is to help out Nathan Lefort ( https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nathan-Lefort/667222623368680?fref=ts ) so if you like riker mounts/display domes/pretty butterflies/creepy bugs (and you're in the WNY area) - Stop by my table.

Along with Nate's work, I will also be bringing this pile of handmade miniature riker mounts, mini hedgehogs, what's currently available from my Mini Patchwork Dragon Series, a few assorted mini plushies, art postcards, and every metallic art print I have in stock - Including the [finally available in print] Yellow Spotted Salamander illustration I've had floating around online for the past couple years. ~ I have a long day ahead of me, should be fun though. Might take pictures, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Curious Concepts Project: Finished! Hooray!

Well it's done, totally finished. The Curious Concepts Project, for those who haven't been following along, was a small Kickstarter project I had been working on. Originally planned out to last 6 months, life thought it would be funny to cause a whole mess of tiny yet annoying delays, so the project stretched out to a little longer than a year. Otherwise I think it went well.

Summing up what I was asking of backers: " See some cool illustrations, Help make them available online, & Take part in the creation of a whole new series". And I'd have to say this project was pretty successful in doing those things. For one thing, these now exist;

Some of them are available on Etsy, along with many of my other illustrations/digital paintings. And thanks to the funds from this project - They're actually affordable and easy to ship now.

There's also a whole mess of Haiku Letter Drawings, which you can see on DeviantArt. Here are some of my favorites;

N.C. Sailor Boy - Haiku Letter Drawing by Kyle-Lefort on DeviantArt
Desert Sunset - Haiku Letter Drawing by Kyle-Lefort on DeviantArt
Thank You Flowers - Haiku Letter Drawing by Kyle-Lefort on DeviantArt
Bubbly Frog - Haiku Letter Drawing by Kyle-Lefort on DeviantArt

If you would like to see all the blog posts about this project, just follow the Curious Concepts Project tags.

In closing, I would like to thank everyone: For backing the project, for re-blogging/sharing the project so others knew about it, for following, for reading my posts, for commenting,... Thank you so much. I appreciate it, I really do. ^_^

So what's next? We we'll just have to wait and see.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Wrapping Things Up and Starting the New Year

Hello blog readers! How are you?

So, it's been a while. I don't think I ever mentioned it, but I picked up a side job. It's not related to art/design, but the extra paycheck is significantly helping to wipe out what's left of my student loans (hooray!). The set hours also has me sleeping like a normal person for once. My family thinks that's great, I think it's weird. I never realized how much times zones factor into talking to customers online until I stopped being available to talk whenever. It's safe to say between that and the holiday rush, I've been adjusting. Understandably I've fallen behind on things like blogging, but now that it's January - I'm reorganizing and catching up.

As is tradition, I spent some of the holidays making gifts for friends and family, and as is tradition, I waited until January to post photos of these gifts on the blog. Apologies for the not so great lighting, it gets dark really early here in Nov./Dec.

The first gift was for my pint -sized niece. She loves apples, and her grandma has some decorative plush apples that she loves to play with, even though they probably weren't intended to be toys. So I decided to make her a few kid-friendly plush apples for her to enjoy at home. While I was on an online adventure looking for apple inspiration, I came across an assortment of bloggers making happy little PB&J (how cute), and I ended up making some of those too. Everyone thought the toys I made should come in a basket (I agree, apples belong in baskets), but this gift had to be mailed (I feel like baskets don't mail all that well), so I wandered around a few stores until I found the basket-like blue bag everything is sitting on here - worked out really well. My niece loved the red and gold apples, she kept holding them and excitedly talking about Snow White. She also put the two halves of the P&J together and pretended to take a bite. My brother made some comment about how he didn't expect her to get all that excited about some apples, but hey I know my niece.
I ended up free handing my own patterns for these, but did some blog reading to figure out the stems of the apples since the ones I had in real life use cinnamon sticks (not kid-friendly). I you want to give these a try I recommend While Wearing High Heels - Amy has some great patterns/tuts available there. If you do some digging, you should cross paths with some sandwich tuts too.
Next batch of gifts were for my out of town friends. A little bit of a back story here - I live in Western New York, which means I'm from Buffalo. Funny thing about the city of Buffalo, it wasn't actually named after the animal (check wikipeia - no one is really sure how "Buffalo" happened) and what Americans keep calling "Buffalo" are actually Bison. (go figure) That said, if you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, there are "Buffalo" statues everywhere. I mean EVERYWHERE. Entire herds of them are set up along the highways and everything. Imagine growing up thinking this was a perfectly normal thing to see everyday, now imagine leaving town and not seeing all the ridiculous Buffalo everywhere anymore. A darn shame, right? Well I thought so. And so I made some Buffalo, and mailed them to my friends.

Made 3 of them, and added some string so they could be ornaments

No links for these, I drew up the patterns myself, based off of a public domain photo of a Bison.

Last, but not least, a previously mentioned pint -sized niece had a birthday after Christmas. I wanted to make some owls. There you go.

Man, I am getting good at this making my own patterns thing. Aren't they cute? I have no idea if she'll play with them, but they did get a hug, so I think she liked them. 
Originally the plan was to make an owl inside of an egg, but then my brother, still being home from school, suggested that I should make a mother and baby set. I liked that idea, so I forgot about the egg and made a baby owl instead.

And there you have it, the handmade gifts of 2014. ^_^

Now what? Well, if you follow me on Facebook or Tumblr, you can probably guess, but if not, I'll be back with another post soon.