Saturday, September 17, 2016

2016 HBS Creatin' Contest Progress - A Pictorial Update...

I have been completely engrossed in working on the Creatin' Contest build for the last couple weeks, but nothing was "done" enough to share.  Now, I have so much to share that if I talked about every step this post would be super long! I'll just put some captions on the photos and write whenever anything needs explaining...

*** Note: I am taking photos with an iPhone 5s - not the greatest way to capture clear, sharp photos of miniatures. Add to that my lighting. I have a 5 arm chandelier which has 5 bright white LED bulbs installed. This is great for seeing what you are working on - a vast improvement over the 60 watt clear bulbs I was stuck with for nearly four years. BUT, they confuse the poor iPhone camera. Some things I focus on become way too washed out while the background is often dark and hard to make out details. I try to do the best I can editing the photos, but there again my tools are only marginal. I apologize for the photo quality, and would welcome any advice on a great, affordable digital camera for minis, and an affordable and user friendly editing software.

Now on to the not so great photos...

Prepping the exterior trim for spray painting. I am fortunate to have an insulated and heated garage so can pretty much spray paint all year round. 
Prepping the diamond speed shingles to be spray painted. What a huge time saver this is!

I used the Rustoleum stone spray with the texture. It takes a few coats and smells like petroleum but really leaves a nice asphalt looking result. Don't be freaked by the curling - overnight they all laid flat again.

They were really quick and easy to install with Quick Grip. With the human eye, there is not so much variance in the coloring as it looks in the photo. It actually looks really natural.

The inside has turned into a catch-all while I work on the exterior. Who's the piggy now?

My brilliant husband saw me struggling to find a ridge cap solution. He walked right over to my wood supply display and came right back with a piece of cove molding. I never would have though of it. I likely would have made a shingle cap but this was so much simpler. I think it goes well with the cartoony theme, too!
With the roofing done, I could finally install the chimney! I am still working on my caulking skills, but will save the amendments for when I do the final touch ups.
Using some of the shelf kit parts, I combined it with a larger piece of wood to make the piggies bath shelf. I spray painted them in the same trim color, then added three hooks - one for each pig.
I painted the pigs initials - one for Bob, Joe and Sam. These will indicate on the bath shelf whose towel and bath pouf is whose.
Using a low quality baby washcloth, I cut the towels - one for each of them. I painted on some watered down Elmer's glue, arranged them into shape, held the tops with a little clamp, then let them dry overnight.
Instead of just painting the inside of the acrylic jars, I wanted them to look like real bubbled bath mix. I discovered how to do that by accident. I use 2 part epoxy for all sorts of mini things, and often add a bit of acrylic paint in to make things like milk. I discovered that Amazing casting resin actually starts to react with the paint as soon as it begins to harden, causing it to literally bubble up like soda when shaken. There is a small working time to get the stuff into the jar, and add only a little because IT GROWS like magic rocks! It is still pliable, like taffy for a few minutes. Let your imagination fly! It hardens overnight, but marvelous sponges, cheese and simulated bubble baths can be achieved with practice!

I wish I had remembered to take photos of the reaction and end substance. I promise I will in a future post.

It's hard to really see the bubbles in this photo, and I had to squish the milk bath foam down to fit in the jar a bit. I swirled extra brown paint into the mud bath jar. Pigs just love their mud baths! I drilled holes in the lids and added tiny door knobs as handles.

Here's the shelf mounted on the wall of the front porch. The piggies have all they need: Milk Bath, Mud Bath, a rubber ducky, and their own personal towels and bath poufs. You have to use your imagination when wondering how they actually fit into that small galvanized tub!

During all of the drying time in between projects, I had a flower factory going. It seems like when you plant a mini flower garden that you always wish you had more flowers. I made lots! I had nine kits all together, and my favorite by far were the ones by Bonnie Lavish. So simple to do, and such great results. Just the fact that her leaves are done with a hole in the center makes them appear so much more realistic. Next time I do some mini shopping, I'll be restocking these kits!

So pretty! I want more!!!
Nothing says 'this is a happy home' like a welcoming bunch of colorful flowers!

I really had just enough in the end. Next time I order kits, I'll add 20% more than I think I might need!
The little house mailbox even looks better with it's added landscaping!

I had a third lantern to match the interior lanterns, but when it arrived broken I wrothe it off. I am glad I pulled it back out again, because I was able to carefully deconstruct it and insert a new bulb. It went back together beautifully, and I was able to tie it into the wires running down the roof. I painted all three with a coat of bronze metallic glaze, and the all look so much better!
When I made the base and installed the trim, I left space that I could use to add a littel greenery on the front opening side of the structure and all along the back. For the back, I wanted something simple so I just made a couple quick hedges out of foam and clump foliage. Even after you spray them with Scenic Cement, they tend to shed a little. I will just keep spraying on layers over the next few days until they give up!
I debated on whether I should put the garden on the front porch or back here. Back here won after I saw all of those luscious flowers. I made a small brick patio with real bricks for the tomatoes and gardening supplies and used the rest of the space to "plant" the vegetables. One of the zucchini plants had to be eliminated for space reasons, but I hope to use it elsewhere. 
These are a set of bargain garden tools that come unfinished. It was easy to age them with some brown and black washes. I made the hanging shelf from scrap wood and small picture hanging nails I had in a kit around the house. The whole unit got a coat of age and grunge. I have plans for the top shelf in a later post...

Small brick patio with tomato pots, fertilizer and a galvanized watering can.

Just enough vegetables to be put up for winter!

Instead of planting it in the ground, I planted the Swiss Chard in the bucket that came with the dry sink kit. It serves a great purpose - it sits on the removable cover over the junction splice. The white you see beneth is only liquid electrical tape. I wanted to add another layer before I paint it brown to blend in.

Here is where the 12v pronged cord will plug in. Once the brown paint has been added, it will blend right in.
A major portion of the build has been accomplished and I feel really good about where I am at with the contest deadline. I have a few outdoor accessories I'd like to add to the mix, so look for some fun tutorial projects in my next post. I'll give you a hint - it's about birds and bees!

Have an awesome and relaxing weekend, my friends! I plan to start mine thinking about all of the wonderful things that I am grateful for!



  1. Wow! That looks amazing! I can't believe how much you accomplished!

    1. Thanks Penelope! It seems like I am getting nothing done, then all of a sudden it starts coming together!

  2. Hello Jodi
    What lucky little piggies they are! :) This is a marvellous build, I just love it. You have thought of everything a little piggy could possibly need. I'm really looking forward to seeing more!
    All the best

    1. Hi Vivian! Thanks so much for your kind words! It has been so enjoyable and therapeutic to work on!

  3. It looks amazing!!

    I take almost all my pics with my Blackberry. Yes, I'm one of 10 people that still have one. But it's all about natural light, seldom the camera, so fear not. I also use paperbacks to make a base for my phone to avoid shakes as I take pics. They look better then my Canon Rebel that costs tons. Go figure. I either take my items to a bright window or just go outside. Second, I edit using All you need comes free....cropping, light, colour adjusting. I eventually subscribed for a small fee. But I can edit a picture now in 3 mins and watermark it. It's amazing.

    1. The natural light is a great idea - I'll try giving that a shot - maybe take the photos from the opposite side of the room where the window is letting light onto the subject. I never thought of using PicMonkey for editing my photos. I have used it to adjust my patterns when I've made fabric and wallpaper through Spoonflower. I'll have to check it out! Thanks Kat!

  4. jodi, I am speechless! the plants, the hiding of the electrical cord, the bubbles, the sponges, the little mail box, the bag with soil ... you are amazing. well done :-)

    1. Thanks Marion - a big departure from the beloved modern/contemporary look we love, but still so much fun to get silly and creative!

  5. Fabulous work Jodi. So much detail to look at and so well planned. Love it =0)

    1. Thanks Pepper! I really shot myself in the foot by not space planning the barn bash. But, I really learned from that experience and now make drawings and plans, and do a lot of research for projects. I guess that is the road we all travel as we get more mini experience. Have I said that it is so nice to have you back with us?

  6. Oh my! I love your roof and those flowers! Gorgeous and so realistic looking. With the milk bath and mud bath you're going to have some happy piggies.

    That mailbox! OHMIGOD! It was so cute before but it's gone over the top with adorableness now.

    1. Thanks Sheila! This is such a perfect project to incorporate simple and cute! Much less pressure than going for that totally modern and realistic look, though that is the plan for the next project. We are all glutton for challenges, aren't we?

  7. You were busy! It's so neat to watch this come together :)

    1. Thanks Keli! I can't wait to see it in our local library! I will be lurking behind the shelves just to watch all of the 5 year olds check it out on Reading Saturdays. If they love it, I will be sooooo happy!

  8. Hello Jodi,
    Absolutely spectacular! I love it. You thought of so many details and the building is perfect. I love the roof, the brick, the door and window details. Everything was great then you made it even better with all the accessories and landscaping. I love the bath area. Congratulations! this project is amazing and you should be so proud of it.
    Big hug

    1. Thank you, Giac! Our mini creations become like our babies, don't they? We know all that we have put into making them just so, and the reward is getting to marvel at them when they are complete!

  9. You are doing a terrific job on this project. I love all the details and thank you for showing how they were done. by the way, I loved your mailbox so much, that it inspired me to make a little home for a fairy after seeing it.
    Hugs, Drora

    1. Hi Drora! The fairy house is just adorable, and making it from styrofoam is brilliant! I love the carved details you achieved on the barrel roof and stone siding! I have an entire small sized box of square and dense styrofoam pieces that would be perfect for making birdhouses and such! Thanks for sparking further ideas!