HBS Creatin' Contest 2016

That's right! I've taken the plunge into the HBS Creatin' Contest pool of highly creative and talented folks! I'm just terrible at keeping secrets so I am going to post my entire build right out there for everyone to see! I hope it sparks your creative ideas, that you learn from my mistakes experiences, and that I end up with a project that I enjoy looking at for a long time!

I hope you'll come join in this adventure with me!

The mystery theme post is coming soon! Can you guess what wacky ideas I've come up with?


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May 1, 2016

Once you've been doing minis for a couple years you begin to realize that every idea ever thought of has already been done. Kind of like how every TV show and movie ever made are all based on plots already created by Shakespeare. There's nothing new in the world. So, how to be original?...

If you let my mind loose on things, you might be in trouble. My sense of humor is a little twisted - just ask my family. Here are a couple ideas that have crossed my mind for this project. 

1. The Stuttering Sphincter - A mini museum dedicated to all things gastro/intestinal...

2. Weed Them And Reap - A newly legal retail marijuana store here in Washington State.

3. The Three Little Pigs: Revenge!

One - seriously, that was just funny. Two - I already kinda did that with CannaBliss, even though it is a Dispensary for the Legal Acquisition of Cannabis for Medical Patients Only.

Okay, so now you know. It's number 3! I am going with a miniature depiction of the timeless tale of The Three Little Pigs. With a slightly twisted bit of humor thrown in just for fun! I hope you'll laugh right along with me! :O)

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Coming Soon...

What's In The Drawer???

See what I have been collecting for this project for
OVER TWO YEARS NOW!!!

Just as soon as Shabby is ready for her interior decor...
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May 12, 2016

Of course, a representation in miniature of the timeless tale of The Three Little Pigs would have to include the most important characters - The Little Piggies! And here they are!



Oh I have many alterations and costuming planned for them, but these Geico piggies were the perfect starting point. Their little heads even bobble!!!

And then, of course, the build just wouldn't support the story's plot without BRICKS! Bricks of all different media, sizes, colors and patterns! This photo doesn't even include the egg carton bricks that will need to be made!


And, in an effore to try to be original, I have to ditch the doors and windows from the kit and add my own interpretation of what I imagine a smart little mason piggy would use in his structure. Certainly something reinforced with lead! Hence, the replacement windows and doors:



And last, but certainly not least (and not the end of the sourcing of perfect accessories for this project) are the little trinkets that I've been collecting for the last two years while dreaming of making this project a reality!



I am so excited to get started! The only thing in my way are a little project called The Shabby Chic Soap Shop and a job which gets crazy busy over the next four weeks. But then - it's on! I sure hope that sharing this little dream with you makes you just as happy as I am to share it!
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May 17, 2016


This is not my first time ever entering the infamous HBS Creatin' Contest - I actually entered the 20th Creatin' Contest. That's the one with the Charming Cottage Kit - Nancy Enge won with her phenomenal Sea House Pavillion! I was making dollhouse lamps for my parents for Christmas that year, so I only started the kit in November and entered just as a last minute "why not" kind of thing. I won a $5.00 gift certificate, and my mom LOVED her dollhouse lamp, so it was great all the way around!



I wasn't going to enter this year, either. Let's face it - there are so many amazingly talented miniaturists out there that competing just isn't my thing. What did appeal to me was being part of the community of  blogger friends who are working on this project simultaneously and sharing the experience! That part is so exciting to me, I truly love how unique and supportive our community is and I really wanted to be a part of it! I also finally joined Instagram, so it will be double the fun following everyone and seeing their great ideas! #hbscreatincontest2016



When the kit was first revealed I thought it was cute and a great size for those of us that have to watch how much space a project takes up in our homes. But, I couldn't come up with any ideas that lit my fire. Until I remembered a project that has been in the works in my mind since 2012. Once I thought about how I could bash the kit to fit the needs for my idea, I was off and running! I ordered two kits in April, and have been waiting excitedly to get started!


I've been collecting minis and materials for this project for about two years now. Each time I was shopping or came up with another idea for it I would add little extras on to my orders. I just kept adding things into a box, then it became a drawer, then it became two drawers!


The theme is an adaptation on the classic children's book The Three Little Pigs. I remembered reading this and many stories to my kids when they were little and thinking how many of these books had wonderful art but very dark narratives. What's with wolves trying to eat pigs, children and poor grandmothers? And why are these themes in children's books? Who knows, but I love it when the good guys win, so I am highlighting the ending of The Three Little Pigs in my miniature scene. My working title is: The Three Little Pigs: REVENGE!

I hope to capture a certain cartoon-ish art style with the project. Wikipedia says:

cartoon is a form of two-dimensional illustrated visual art. While the specific definition has changed over time, modern usage refers to a typically non-realistic or semi-realistic drawing or painting intended for satire, caricature, or humor, or to the artistic style of such works.

 Well, we are going three dimensional here, but I hope to evoke the satire and humor part. The most important part of my theme will of course be the little piggies. It took hours of searching for just the right characters, but when I saw the 5" Maxwell bobble heads I knew they would be perfect. I just plan to cut off the Geico base and dress them each in their own unique personalities.


Suddenly it was time to begin working on the kit. I knew I was going to have some major alterations ahead of me, so I just put fear aside and jumped right in. I needed to combine two kits in order to have the room I needed for the things I have planned. I also wanted to use different windows and door, so adjustments had to be made to the walls and floor. I did a dry fit, traced where openings needed to be enlarged or closed all together and where the base needed to be shortened. I didn't want to go more than 30" wide for the project as a whole.

Replacement door and windows
Mock up - opening will now be what was the side

Marking where front porch will be cut down.
Once I had each of the pieces marked out, it was time for the scary part - cutting things with big tools! Yikes! It doesn't matter how many times I do this, I still get nervous! The rip saw was the perfect saw to cut both floor pieces. They were going to be straight cuts and having the guard on the saw is great for making sure that they are straight!

Rip saw with guide for cutting the floors
Once I had the pieces cut it was time to join them. One of these days I am going to learn how to cut slots for biscuits and properly join wood together. But not today... I used wood glue and lots of blue tape and pressure to join the floors together, letting it dry thoroughly before moving it at all!

Both floor pieces glued and taped
Because I knew there would be a lot of stress on the one glue joint, I decided to go ahead and attach the plywood base at this very early construction stage. My hubs cut out a 15" x 30" piece of plywood on his table saw.

Glued floors next to plywood base
Gorilla Glue applied to plywood
Joined bases fit to plywood
Base and plywood weighted down to dry overnight
Now that the floor was under control, it was time to tackle the walls. For these, I had to break out the scroll saw. I needed to make larger window openings for the two back walls. On the panel that will be the front door I needed to close up the original window opening (precious wall space needed), fill in the giant opening for a much smaller door, and add a support piece above the new door/window and one below the window. On the other end wall, I needed to enlarge the original window opening and enclose the giant opening for the kit's original door.  I also needed to remove the majority of the front wall, so that just a side and bottom frame remained. This meant very careful cutting on the walls, and then using the pieces that I cut away to fill in the areas that needed filling.

Hard to see lines to be cut

Completed piles of newly reconfigured walls
Once the pieces were cut, I needed to glue in and spackle the areas where holes in the walls were being filled in. I didn't get photos of this process - sorry! I was trying to watch TV at the same time with the hubs and sneak work in so that he didn't feel abandoned! ;O) Here are the walls after gluing, spackling and sanding.




Finally it was time to glue walls to the floor and base. I usually like to do a bit of finish work on the walls of a dollhouse kit before I assemble because it is easier than reaching in with my big hands. This time, though, since I will be doing a lot of brick work, I needed the walls and floor to be attached first so that where corners and floors meet walls look right. I dry fit everything again to make sure it was nice and square. I have to say that this is a well made kit and would be extremely simple for anyone to put together as originally intended. I then added wood glue to the pieces and taped everything up tight to dry.

Glued and taped! Yeah!

While I waited for the walls and floor to set, I started painting the doors and windows. I like to use spray paint on them because I like the finish it gives much better, and there is much less sanding to do. This photo represents four coats, so far. I'll probably get two more in today and then let them dry overnight. Tomorrow, I'll get the other side.


Meanwhile, I have some decisions to make about brick. I have several options - I have been colecting brick options for a while now. I just need to decide what will go where and in what logical order I need to start. My window of opportunity for mini time is closing, so I need to take advantage while I can. Work will ramp up soon and I'll have no way to get out of my responsibilities. :O(

I have some exciting surprises planned - all of the lighting will be attached to the roofing and outside! There are lots of roof and beam modifications yet ahead of me, so I'll keep the scroll saw and some bravery handy!

If you are also participating in this years contest, please leave a comment! Especially if you are blogging about it or posting on your Facebook page! I'd love to add you to my blog roll and see what amazing ideas everyone is working on! I just can't get enough!

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The central focus of the whole little piggy scene is going to be the fireplace. So, I needed to come up with a design that would fit the layout and accommodate the elements that I want to include. Important stuff, like firewood storage, a place to bake yummy loaves of bread, and of course a large enough fire to heat the house and cook in. I measured the wall space and then drew a rough design that was the perfect size for Maxwell. He seemed very happy with it!



I decided that foam core would be the best material to work with. It's easy to cut and is much lighter than wood. Using my drawing, I measured and cut the pieces.


I did a dry fit to make sure it looked proportionate to Maxwell. Then I glued and clamped it - leaving the front and shelf as separate pieces for easier brick application.


While the glue dried, I set to work making my "bricks". I grabbed a couple lids from my pile of egg cartons. I picked out colors and squirted a little of each one on a paper plate. I started with the lighter color combinations as the backdrop, then splotched and dry brushed additional colors until I liked the effect.


Once the paint had dried overnight, it was time to cut out the bricks. I only used two lids, but it took a very long time to cut each little brick to size. I wondered if I'd have enough, but looking at the giant pile of individual bricks, I felt pretty good about it.


Brick by egg carton brick I went. In total, it took me about two full days to cover every inch. In the end, I had just enough! Lucky, lucky!


I left the front and the shelf detached so that it would be easier to grout. This meant that I had to attach the side bricks and the brick openings around the shelf only half on so that they could be joined to the main piece and grouted after the pieces were glued together.


I wrapped around and glued bricks where the openings could be seen.


Remember the Dreadful Egg Carton Stones incident? I'll never forget it, so I diligently applied two coats of matte varnish, letting them dry thoroughly in between, and then used old reliable SPACKLE rather than MOSIAC TILE GROUT to grout the bricks. It came out perfectly, in spite of the horrible fear I aquired from messing up the stones. Phew!


While I let everything dry and while I contemplated aging the grout/brick, I decided to get out the stuff I needed to make the fire. I purchased a fire kit from somewhere last summer. It has three bulbs; two orange and one red. It flickers and runs off of it's own battery so you don't have to worry about it pulling juice from your 12v system and dimming the lights (this is a known problem when you run the flickering bulbs on the main circuit of your house lights). It comes with a piece of shimmery cellophane and gives the effect of a real fireplace. 


I glued the three bulbs into a metal fire grate, then layered the cellophane and logs to get the look of a real fire. This is it when it was finished drying and hooked up to a 9 volt battery to test it. I love it! It's going to look great under the copper pot in the fireplace!


I made a swinging pot arm and hook and attached it to the inside of the fireplace, then aged the grout and brick with a watered down brown wash. I love the way it all turned out! All it needs now is a mantle and some accessories!



You can also see in the photo that I have finished the floor brick tile and have begun the kitchen brick tile, but I'll save that for another post. Maybe by then I'll have the rest of the walls bricked as well! I'm keeping my fingers crossed for one more mini day before work steals all of my time.

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When it comes to brick options, there is a whole world out there beyond the egg carton kind. The ones I am using on the 2016 Creatin' Contest build seem a little less labor intensive than the egg carton version (used for the fireplace), and I am really having fun with the variety! There are great options out there for every budget!


The type of "brick" I saw and wanted to use as flooring is a product by MBS, or Model Builders Supply. I linked to their web site so that you can take a look at all of the wonderful products they have, but many miniature stores and suppliers carry a variety of their products, as well. Mine is called Interlocking Stone, and comes in a brick red color. I purchased mine through an eBay seller. The great thing about this type of brick is that it comes in a 14" x 24" plastic sheet and can be grouted and painted. I will also likely use it on the patio (unless something more fun makes itself known). 


It was so easy to cut it to size - I just scored the line and it snapped off perfectly! Grouting it was also a dream. I just used spackle and my finger to squish it in, let it set up overnight, then wiped away the excess.


It comes with a sheet of detailed instructions and gives great tips on painting and washes. I chose a brown wash and am still working on the layers to get the desired effect.


The next type of brick I wanted to throw into the mix is a Patio Brick Sheet by Houseworks. They are available from Miniatures.com and measure 6-1/8" x 12-1/8". Each little brick is 3/8" square and 3/32" thick. They come attached to a plastic mesh backing to make for faster and more accurate installation. Instead of using them as flooring, I thought they would make a great kitchen tile! I attached them using Tacky Glue and then used the spackle again as the grout. They were pretty easy to cut - just score several times and then use pliers next to the score and snap off. I applied the same wash on them as the floor.




That brings me to the next type of brick. I wanted something quicker for the inside walls. As long as it took to do the fireplace, I was afraid egg carton bricking the walls would take forever! There is a deadline, people! I tried Magic Systems Magic Masonry Brik on a project waaaayyyy back in 2002. I really enjoyed the stuff - and have since used the Slat and Ston versions (I have not misspelled them, they really are spelled that way on the packaging).


It comes with a roll (or two if you buy the larger kit) of stickers and dry grout/mortar mix in brick red or a gray-ish white. You can use the package as a mixing bowl for the dry mortar - just add water until it is akin to frosting. I like to mix mine in a Rubbermaid container because it stays moist for a long time. If it becomes too dry while you store it, no problem! Just add water and it reconstitutes! 


The first step to the process is to paint your background color. This becomes the grout. I chose white because I knew I was adding washes later and this was a perfect starting color. I let my "grout" dry for a couple of days. The next step is to apply the sticker to the wall. I started at the base of the wall and worked my way up overlapping consecutive rows by one brick to maintain the pattern.


One note on the sticker roll. Because of my past experience with the stickers, I have found it less frustrating to remove the "waste" part of the sticker prior to attempting to peel it from the slippery backing and apply it to the walls. Why? Because not every "waste" brick wants to kindly peel away from the "good" sticker. It is difficult to stop in mid-stick to remove the pesky "waste" and it's even more difficult trying to remove them once you have the sticker applied nicely to the wall. Trust me - take a few minutes and remove them first!




For the mortar mix, I grabbed a few tools I thought I might need to do the job. I ended up really only using the large putty knife. You can give texture to the mortar if you wish, but on the small Brik it didn't seem necessary. If I was doing a Slat kit I would have definitely done some texturing. It does spread very much like frosting and is ready to have the sticker pulled away after about 5 minutes. I did mine all at once and it worked out very well. It is messy, though (or is it just me?), so have your trash receptacle handy.




The mortar does lighten up a bit when it is dry. The color might be perfect for those of you who are going for Brick Red, but you can see that it does not match the warm color pallet I'm going for here. No worries! I learned while using the Slat on the Tuscan Villa and the Ston on Encounters that it takes very well to paint and color washes. Tip: If your grout is dark, you don't even really need to be all that careful! My white grout called for a little patience. I put a little squirt of paint into the bottom of several dixie cups and added water. I dipped the tip of the paint brush into the paint/water mixture and by just touching the tip of the brush to the brick it gave me the color variation I was after.



After that it was just a matter of applying the color wash. To keep the same tone, I used the Burnt Umber wash that I had used on the fireplace and the floor. I used it on the kitchen tile brick, too! Overall, I really like the way it turned out - subtle, textural and most important for Little Pigs trying to be protected from the Deadly Hot Air spewed by the lungs of Big Bad Wolves: Brick!



A couple more washes and I can move on to the next phase which involves a rip saw, a scroll saw, faux walls and lighting. Wish me luck!

For today, though, I will just bask in all of the juicy posts I missed the over the last few weeks of work! Yippee!



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Some people who are entering the 2016 HBS Creatin' Contest keep us all in such suspense! I see little peeks and get so excited that I am like a kid on Christmas Eve! I used to beg my parents to let me open my presents early. I'd say "Just one? Please can I open just one? Please, please, pretty please mommy?" I'd jump up and down with my hands folded in prayer gesture on my chest and display all of the childlike exuberance I could muster. Some years I must have been more skilled or adorable than others, because sometimes, rarely, she would say YES!!!

I suck at keeping secrets and surprises. I always want to give my gifts or good news to everyone AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! I am so much happier giving gifts than receiving them. Probably because I am a pleaser, and partly because I rock at giving gifts! If you squeal or even cry, I've done my job well!

All of that said, I am sharing every gory detail, success and failure with you during my contest build. If you like one of my ideas, I wholeheartedly want you to take it and run with it! Sharing leads to inspiration, and inspired miniaturists keep our childlike dreams alive. And best of all, we pass on the love for our obsession to a whole new generation of dreamers!

Okay, so where did I last leave off... Oh yeah! I got all of the bricking finished, except for the outside, so it was time to wrap up some structural issues. I left this little bit of space on the back foundation so that I could create a fake wall.


I cut a piece of plywood down to size with the rip saw, made the side strips then used the scroll saw to make the outer window openings. The outer windows are the exact same as the ones you'll see from the inside. Here's the glued and primed fake wall:



The fake wall will serve as the housing for the scenery that you'll see looking through the windows from inside. It will also store the artificial sunshine coming through the windows. Here are the window scenes: A blown down wooden house, and the remnants of the straw house being blown in the wind. That Big Bad Wolf can really blow!


Now for some structure... I combined two kits, butt to butt and reassigned the opening to the side. Lots of cutting and filling in. That meant that I needed to modify some of the structural peices - like the ridge beam for the roof. I had to join both into one, so I drilled a hole in the center ends of each and glued in a dowel for strength. Then, I needed to decide on my roof length and cut it to size. Later, I stained it and glued it in.




Speaking of the roof, I had a total of four pieces from both kits. All too short for the new configuration. This meant that I had to join two for each roof side, cutting one of them to the proper new length. I kept a small overhang on one end, and shortened the porch to keep the project under 30" (my shelf limit).



Notice here that I have had to add an additional piece of trim to the edge of the roof to account for the fake wall. Once the roofing is on, no one will ever know! Shhhh...


Here's a peek at the inside with the back roof in place. It's going to need some light in there!


Look what adding the front roof does to it! Downright spooky in there! I better make some adjustments, both for light and accessibility!



That's better!


Oh yeah! The beams on the floor have also been modified from both kits, beaten up a bit and will be added to the ceiling later...





Now for the sunshine... I ran a long strip of warm white LED's across the top of the window openings on the interior of the fake room. I also tied in the ceiling lanterns and the fire from the hearth into the tape runs. I lined the interior wall with aluminum tape for optimum reflection, and added just a peek of a hedge to both windows so they'll be seen from the inside.


Here it is all closed up with the back roof getting glued into place. I'm going to need some fascia on the roof edges to help hide the light leaks.


And here it is from the inside. I will wait to add the front roof piece until I am done with most of the fiddling inside. I have been planning this fake window scene in my mind since I dreamed up this project many years ago, and I am really please with how it is turning out!





Next time I'll work on ceiling beams and a lot of pig friendly furniture! But first, I need a nice long weekend away with the hubs enjoying the beautiful forest, warm sun on my arms, and reconnecting with the knowledge that we are all a part of something bigger and more beautiful than our daily lives allow us to perceive!

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Do you ever feel like you've put a lot of time into a project, but don't have much to show for it? That was my impression when I started to process all of the photos to post on the blog. Tomorrow is Friday! I got back from camping Monday night. What exactly have I been doing for the last three days?

I started out putting together a Chrysnbon Dry Sink kit. In the past, I have successfully turned it into a "wet" sink, so that's what I did this time - minus the tap. I'm still waiting for it to arrive...

After I get the main structure assembled, I tape off the upper portion of the kit so that I can paint the base color. In this case, I went for DecoArt Americana Georgia Clay. Two coats, then a matte sealer.


Then I taped off the Georgia Clay, and used Krylon Fusion White Satin to paint the "porcelain" sink section. Then I added two coats of gloss sealer.


Notice how I drilled the drain hole? Once the paint and sealer were nice and dry I glued in an eyelet from the sewing kit I inherited from my beloved grandma. I just love looking through her sewing basket. I re-read letters we'd sent back and forth to each other after I first got married (I keep them there). It still smells like her house: homey and loving. I hope she smiles when she sees her old notions being used for something entirely different.


For the drain board side of the sink, I just made it look like a little cutting board. Here's what I did:



Here's the end result - I'll add the tap as soon as it arrives. Also, please remember that this project, even though it it being entered in the Creatin" Contest, is based on a children's story and will be donated to my local library after it is completed. It is supposed to look a bit "cartoony".



Here it is in the kitchen with a few little accessories added...



Next, I started on the beds for the little piggies. I originally wanted to make them a triple bunk bed, but the ceiling height just wouldn't allow for that. Instead, the gracious builder/mason piggy let his poor brothers, having recently lost their dream homes, to move into to his modest abode. Bunk beds for them were essential to the space.



See the two bags of scrap wood I've been accumulating/using for the last four years? I am proud to say that these beds are made from 100% recycled materials! They also seem to be a good fit for the space...


After adding a little color, it's starting to feel like home in here. Next, I'll make sure each of our hero's have comfy mattresses and homemade quilts! I know they are getting anxious to move out of their temporary drawer!



Here's to all of us having an enjoyable and productive weekend, which hopefully includes lots of mini-ing!


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This blog is (mostly) about positive things such as miniatures. I bet that's why you are all here - making the rounds to see what other creative minds are doing in the mini realm. We all get each other, and I love that! Mini's are what I do to distract me from some of the tough stuff in life, and I am sooooooo grateful to have them. Usually, no matter what's going on in my real world, my minis are a way for me to escape and enjoy. But not always. I've had a tough couple weeks, so much so that even mini-ing didn't appeal to me. I'm sure you've all been there, and here's a hug for the next time you need it!

Thank goodness, like most tough times, it's now in the rear view, and I can focus a little time to the HBS Creatin' Contest build! When I last left off I had gotten the bunk beds and single bed made, and just needed to dress them. I found some awesome little quilts on eBay by tonis-treasures when I was buying things planning for this project last year.

I made mattresses out of foam core and covered the visible "sheets" with fabric.



Attached the quilts to the foam core...


Glued and clamped them to the bed frames...



And voila!



A perfect fit for the space! I think the piggies are going to squeal!


Next, I needed a table. I could not believe that in all of the kits I've been collecting for the last four years that I did not have a dining room table kit! I had to get creative! The hubs had saved me some nice thin-ish slabs of oak. He also happens to have hole saw bits in several sizes. Gotta love a man with tools! Then I found the cork from a magnum bottle of champagne (left the wine tasting with tons of corks, too - you know... Just in case...) with the perfect curvy character. I also had some circle shaped Woodsies. I was in business!


Glued...



Painted, stained and hole covered with a vase (cheap glass vial painted red inside). I did have some chair kits! Phew! That would have taken some major brain power to make three chairs from scratch, although I have done it before - from chop sticks, even!


But it was still missing something... The flowers! One rose (Bonnie Lavish kits) for each little piggy! I dusted the edges with artists chalk to give them some blush.



I believe that takes care of all of the major furnishings for the build!

Next up, I needed to remove the Geico piggies from their bases. When I bought them, I thought I could just run them through the scroll saw.



Ummmm, No. Too wide and too tall. I attempted to use a Dremel cut off wheel attachment. Ummmm, No. They broke. A lot of them. What the heck was this stuff made of?!? Apparently, some kind of epoxy. So, I swallowed my "I can do it all by myself" pride and asked the tool expert - the hubs. He (patronizingly) said "no problem sweetie". But it was a problem! I kind of felt better that he had trouble, too! ;O) He Dremeled, he hacksawed, he coping sawed and I helped him grip. Finally! A giant mess (it looks like a DEA smuggling photo) to clean, but free piggies!!! And an awesome man willing to help!



And now, the fun part! Getting to dress and personalize each of them! Very exciting! More kits are involved! They're going to be so stinkin' cute!

Except, I got word that my next crazy busy work schedule will most likely start a week early. So that means like next week. No mini life well into August. :o( I'm sad, but that's life! Gotta pay the bills and buy more kits!

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Since my kids were very young (and my nieces and nephews), I have been putting my own spin on classic fairy tales for them. I wanted them to understand that those who are pure of heart and intention do win! The bullies always lose in the end, and when they fall, they fall HARD!

No project like The Three Little Pigs - Revenge could be complete without the most important element - it's characters! From the time I dreamt of this build I knew I had to find the perfect piggies. I searched and searched and then one day found these little guys on eBay. They were just the right height at 5" (without the bases), had bobbling heads and totally captured the look I wanted - fairy tale fun!


Each one would need to have a very unique personality. I began searching for costuming that would fit their skills and interests. Each one needed to stand out on his own, but look similar enough that you knew they were very closely bonded brothers. Without any further adoo, I present to you our three little heros:

Bob

Bob is a logical, level headed and handy young pig. He's gifted in brick laying, and enjoys a good round of chess. He's a methodical thinker, and often succeeds by applying common sense to a problem. He thinks of problems as opportunities. Safety and security are a priority for Bob. He's the oldest of the three, and feels a strong sense of protection for his brothers. He also just really enjoys their company!



Joe

Joe is the jokester of the family. He's always coming up with the funniest quips and often ribs his brothers in good fun! When it comes to the culinary arts, he could not be more serious or talented. Joe's specialty is combining the most seemingly odd combinations of ingredients to make a 5 star meal. He is also an expert at tenderizing even the most unforgiving cuts of meat. Joe loves to share meals and laughs with his brothers, for never a merrier bunch you shall find.


Sam
Last but certainly not least is sam. Sam is a caring and nurturing soul. His love and care for his brothers is evident in the way he takes care of them all. Keeping the house in tip top shape is a point of pride for Sam. He's an avid gardener growing not only the best produce for miles around, passers by are often seen admiring his flowers in abundant bloom.  Sam's gentle way and happy go lucky presence make him a friend to all.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting our little heros and will continue to check in on the progress for the HBS Creatin' Contest build. Coming soon... That dastardly villain; The Big Bad Wolf!

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Before I share the exciting news, I feel that I owe respect to honesty and therefore, need to first make a confession. You see, I seem to be suffering from (que dramatic music)... Project completion impotency! To prove my point, I will list off for you the projects that are started, some pretty far along, and yet not fully satisfied. Ahem...

1. Real Good Toys Barn Bash - trimming out the back opening, attaching it to a foundation, roofing and landscaping are all that she needs to be completed. Why have I stalled? Because I am a fickle be-otch and began fantasizing about Alki Point. There she sits, dusty and disheveled. If you listen closely, you can hear her say "cheater"!



2. Alki Point - She is done! Finito! Terminus! Only, she needs to have her power strip tidied up and concealed. Then she needs to have her glamour shots taken at the real Alki Beach. Why is this not done, since February you ask? Because. I got busy with (and excited over) the Shabby Chic Soap Shop. Plus, driving to Alki from Spanaway means traffic. Lots of it. I. Hate. Traffic! Oh, and see that building next to her on the right - that's next on my list.



3. Starbucks - this is the first in the set of three Street Of Shops. I stopped work on her because I wanted the brick facade to be continuous, and therefore would need to complete the other two in the set first. Yeah... That was like three years ago... I just need to finish it by itself and be done. She's all finished inside. I even built on a replica bathroom which is also finished inside. If/when I ever get to the next two shops, I'll improvise on brick continuity.



4. The Shabby Chic Soap Shop - I got stuck and frustrated trying to make the chandelier, which turned out to be way too chunky and completely horrible looking. Then I stalled out on whether or not to drop $60 on a real battery operated chandelier (even though I have wired wall sconces) and just forget trying to make one. Then I decided maybe it didn't need to be electrified at all. Then I felt lazy about not doing the wiring. Then I walked by it one day (it currently sits on the shelf so I'd have room to work on the Creatin' Contest build) and HATED the outside color scheme including the shingles!!! Now I've decided it all has to be repainted. As soon as I figure out what and how to do it.




And of course on top of all those, I am currently working on the Creatin' Contest build. See that list there? There's sooooo much left to do on this project! You'd think all of this wanton mini lust and the associated guilt would be enough to make me just stop and FINISH WHAT I STARTED!


Nope. I can't...

I have a serious addiction! It is a disease, you know. I can't be blamed for that. Can I? I'm not trying to hide anything. The blog name says it all...

Ugh... Now that I've admitted all of my shame, I'm a little hesitant to share my good news. Maybe you'll all be really mad at me. Maybe you will all want to come to my house and take these poor unloved projects away from me. Maybe you'll all think I'm a really bad person. :O(

But wait! YOU guys are my peeps! We are all completely and madly codependent! We support and enable each other all the time! You! You glorious comrades totally get it! You probably have a dozen or so mini skeletons on your shelves or hidden in closets, as well. In fact, you have probably purchased something in the last couple weeks that you totally did not need but wanted really, really bad!

Phew! Thanks for being in this with me! I love you guys!

Okay - so finally out with the good news!

A few posts ago I mentioned that Hobby Lobby had the RGT Beachside Bungalow kit for $119, then had the 40% coupon. I got it for half the regular price, so there was no way I was letting that opportunity pass me by.



I told myself that I was not even going to open the kit until I at least had the contest build completed. Then one day I was sitting at the computer, minding my own business when the kit's finishing page just pops up on the screen! I didn't think there would be any harm in reading it, right? But it got me so excited! It has already finished wood floors! I wondered what they looked like. I opened the box. I looked at the pictures online. I wondered if I could swap the stairs to the other side of the house. I drew out the dimensions and made a first floor layout in my design program. That got me to thinking about the kitchen. That got me looking for cabinet kits. That got me looking over at Elf Miniatures to see what they had available and what the pricing was like. That got me talking to Elizabeth (I love her!) and totally coming up with an affordable and awesome kitchen plan!

The Wall Of Cabinets Layout


The Island Layout


I was shocked at how quickly Elizabeth got back to me. She asked me so many important questions and clarified every detail to be sure I would get exactly what I wanted. She offered options to me that weren't even listed on the web site, and ended up saving me even more money so that I could afford the fridge cabinet enclosure. Then, to put the cherry on top, she said they would go out airmail from the UK on Wednesday!!! What?!?



I just don't deserve so much happiness, but I am so grateful for it! My "Notes From The Universe" this morning said:

"The secret behind miracles is that the person performing them begins without any knowledge of exactly how they will succeed... yet still they begin.

When you move, I move -
The Universe"

Thanks for sticking through all my rambling to the end! I'll post photos of the new loot as soon as it arrives!

As for when the project will actually start - that remains to be seen...

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It wasn't easy growing up bad. He couldn't help it - he was just born that way. No matter how many times he tried to be nice just to fit in, it never felt right. In fact, he was never happier than when he could make the other animals tremble in fear. It was such a rush! He especially liked picking on the three pig brothers. Little squealers - always trying to be nice to him. He couldn't stand it!

Growing up, he'd gotten warning after warning from everyone telling him his behavior would lead to big trouble. He ignored them. How could any trouble come to him? He towered over every other living thing! He could squash them like bugs if he wanted to. He WAS the TROUBLE.

His greatest accomplishment was his ability to fill his enormous lungs with air and blow nearly everything to smithereens. He practiced every day, and soon he could blow down fences, trees and even farm wagons! Any pip squeak who got in his way got blown down hard! Everyone was afraid of him, and he loved it!

Eventually, like all bullies who refuse to change, he did get into trouble. He began blowing down straw and wooden houses in the village. Everyone was terrified! Who would be next? After two of the nicest pigs had their dream homes blown down, the sheriff decided enough was enough! It took eight strong bears to do the job, but they finally put the Big Bad Wolf in jail, No matter how hard he huffed and puffed, those concrete walls and iron bars were never coming down.

What will happen to the Big Bad Wolf? Will he get out of jail? Will he be scared straight? Will he change his ways? Is the village safe? Check back soon to find out...

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I've been working as furiously as possible trying to get as many of the mundane tasks done as possible before my attention has to shift to work. This way, I'll have the fun and impactful stuff to look forward to when I can finally get back to mini-ing!


For this project, the set design includes loads of bricks! That's a lot of fiddly and repetitive detail just for a backdrop, but it is all about the details, right! So, I got out the egg cartons and paint to make a ton of bricks (snicker). I recycled a priority mail box to build the chimney and the chimney breast.


I covered the exterior in a layer of mud brown before applying more of the Magic Systems brick stickers. There was a lot of area to cover, so when I applied the mortar I had to work quick! Thankfully, it went very smoothly and I even managed to contain the mess to the brown craft paper I'd lined under the structure!


Just like the inside, I did not care for the flat monotone brick red color of the mortar, so I went at each brick with a warm color palette of acrylic paint. Once I was satisfied that there was enough diversity I gave them an overall ageing wash of watered down burnt umber.


Luckily, I had enough of the egg carton brick left to do the front porch floor. It and the chimney assembly also received the burnt umber wash. I think I'll wait to actually attach the chimney assembly until after I do the roofing. This will save me from having to work out complicated cuts in the speed shingles. These are the diamond shaped ones I was going to use on the Sugarplum roof but decided they were too big for that small house. I think they'll work perfect for the little pigs roof.



I crafted the kitchen faucet out of a couple spigots and a piece of scrap wood. I had the soap holder and bar of soap from the sink kit, so I added those and made the little bar of Lava. That seems like what crafty little pigs might use.


I was able to cross some things off the long list, and I am trying not to think about the fact that by the time I start working on the contest build again I will have less than four months to finish. I have some adorable things in mind, so I am really looking forward to getting back to the fun of it! I hope you all are truly enjoying your builds, as well!

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A couple of weeks ago I was told that the "take over your whole life" part of my job was likely starting a week early. Now the news is that it might be another week. It sure is difficult to make plans when you're in "wait mode". So, what better to do than a series of little projects on the HBS Creatin' Contest build!


It seems to me that little pigs would have lots of indoor activities at their disposal. You never know when a bad wolf might be lurking outside. So, having books to read and games to play would be essential!

I have a few of those cute but not always in scale cabinets that Michael's sells. They are always good for quick projects, like a bookshelf. Here is what I started with.


About 30 to 45 seconds in the microwave will usually loosen the glue up enough that you can pull parts off. TWO IMPORTANT CAUTIONS:

1. PULL OUT ALL METAL DOOR PINS BEFORE YOU ZAP IT! THERE ARE USUALLY TWO FOR EACH DOOR - TOP AND BOTTOM.
2. HANDLE WITH A POT HOLDER WHEN PULLING OUT OF THE MICROWAVE AND AS YOU ARE PULLING OFF THE PIECES! THEY ARE ~H~O~T~!!!


These are the parts I pulled off to use in another project someday...


These are the parts I will use. I had to add my own bottom shelf piece from my scrap bin because the original bottom was an inside fit and did not want to come off without splitting. This sometimes happens. Sometimes you will even have to make a small repair to splintered off pieces after you pull the doors off. A little wood glue and some sanding does the trick.


I taped off the top of the shelf and painted the body in the same Georgia Clay that I've used for much of the furniture in this build, then stained the top and shelves in the same Chrysnbon Fruitwood stain that I seem to have oodles of packages of. After it dried, I put two coats of ultra matte sealer on and let that dry thoroughly.

Now, to fill the shelves... I ordered a sheet of the vintage cut & glue game boxes from HBS. It was my first time using them, and they are really cute! Patience while cutting them out, and then letting the glue dry thoroughly before handling them is the trick. The mini clamps are also a must have. I suppose you could use paper clips in a pinch. I also went over the edges with a sharpie where necessary.


I saw Marilyn's video about a kit she purchased to make loads of books. I decided to give it a shot using my own blocks of wood and my own printed covers. Some of the books were double thick by gluing two pieces together, and some were just a single piece of wood. Once I had them measured and cut for the shelf, I painted the edges with a Folkart paint called Linen.


To make the covers, I just measured how long and high they needed to be as follows:

Front 3/4" + Spine 3/8" + Back 3/4" + a smidge more to fold the front edges under = 2"

Height 7/8"

I converted the measurements to decimals using this handy Fraction to Decimal chart. This meant I needed them to be:

Front .75" + Spine .375" + Back .75" + a smidge more to fold the front edges under = 2.0"

Height .896"

In my drawing program, I made a box for the front, spine and back at the height I needed. Then I grabbed nice book jackets off the interwebs and resized them to fit into the boxes. In some cases I had to cut up the images, regroup and reconfigure them.


Then I printed them out on matte photo paper and gave them a coat of matte Mod Podge.


Once dry, I cut them out and colored the edges and a bit of the inner cover with coordinating sharpies. I used Mod Podge to adhere them to the wood blocks.


Once the shelf was dry and the books and games were completed I could load them up! I even had a special little piggy bank to add to the shelf.



A fun, easy and quick project to fill the time until there is no time. For minis. that is. Now let's see what else I can bang out before the chaos begins!

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I'm making lots of accessories for the HBS Creatin' Contest build and one of the items I thought would be fun for each pig to have was his own shower pouf. I have some tulle in a few different colors, so I went in search of a real life tutorial. I found this one, and thus began some trial and error to adapt it to a 1:12 scale, doable project.

Supplies needed:

  • 3 strips of 6" x 1.25" tulle or netting with a small weave for the pouf
  • Scissors
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • 1/4" x 1/4" basswood (or scrap wood of close measure) cut to 1.5" long for the handle
  • Sandpaper
  • 3/32" drill bit and/or pilot hole punch
  • Thin string or hemp rope 
  • Tacky Glue


For The Handle

1. Cut handle wood to 1.5" long. I am doing multiple at a time hoping that the odds will help get me a better result.


2. Using sandpaper or sanding block, round off edges to shape as a handle. Be as basic or as fancy as you like.

3. Drill a hole towards the end of the handle which is large enough for your string or hemp to pass through. Mine were about 1/16" from the end.


4. Paint and/or seal as you like. I experimented with different stains, but ended up liking a Folkart Honeycomb watered down a bit.

5. With your string, tie a hanging cord through the hole. I found that by coating the string in some tacky glue I could get the knot very small and it would not come undone. Cut off excess ends.


6. Set aside.

For The Pouf

1. Cut 3 strips of tulle 6" long x 1.25" wide


2. Fold each strip in half lengthwise. I found that I needed to set something heavy on top because it would not stay folded while I folded the other strips.


3. Stack all three folded pieces on top of one another with the folded edges on the same side. I used a clamp to hold them in place while I worked.


4. Using a matching thread color, run a basting stitch down the center of the entire length of the folded pieces.


5. Cut the open edges to make them straight if necessary.


6. Pull the thread to begin bunching the tulle.


7. Coat the end of the handle in a little Tacky Glue and then place the handle into the center of the bunch.


8. Cinch up the tulle wrapping it around the handle, then wrap the thread around the center of the bunch about three times to secure it to the handle. Tie off the thread and cut excess.


9. Leave to dry a bit before handling too much.


I made about five of them before I got the hang of it. It is a bit fiddly, and maybe one of my mini genius readers could suggest a better method. Please feel free to leave comments!

I am happy with the results and am happy that Bob, Joe and Sam don't have to share a bath pouf!


I am going to keep going with this marathon of little projects and postings until the minute I get pulled away to real work! This deadline thing is kinda working for me!

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As far as blog posts before work get's crazy, this will be my last hoorah! The word is that a 1:00pm conference call tomorrow will kick things off and then the rat race is on!

First up, I wanted to make the little pigs a nice rain barrel for the front porch. I had an unfinished wooden barrel, the pump assembly from the Chrysnbon sink kit and a spigot from a garden hose set.


I wanted it to look something like this:


I'd need to make some modifications to my barrel, like chisling in board lines, making the metal straps prominent and adding some rivet detail. And definitely give it a good old country aged flavor. On my last order from HBS/miniatures.com I saw a new product called Fred's Wood Weathering Stuff. It looked intriguing, so I picked up a bottle to give it a try.

I started with a smaller barrel just to make sure it would go in the distressed direction that I had in mind. The instructions say to keep layering on coats until you achieve the look you want. This is after the first coat:


This is after the second coat:


This is after the third coat:


The directions also say that it will affect different woods in different ways. I found it to be a nice aged and weathered finish, and am excited to use it on other woods and painted surfaces in the future. There is no odor at all - I was kind of expecting it to be vinegar based, but there is no odor at all. It will stain clothing etc., so be careful when you are applying it. Overall, I give it two thumbs up!

I repeated the three coats onto my larger barrel, but took the detailing a step further. I made vertical board marks using a small flat blade screwdriver to chisel them in. Then I used a dark brown to highlight the barrel straps and the grove between the boards. I used the same brown watered down washes to highlight areas where grime might accumulate over the years. Then I added rivets or nail head dots using a metallic bronze glaze. I used the same glaze to tone down the brass spigot. For the pump I added a black plastic "pipe" to reach the bottom of the barrel.


Now for the rain chain... There are a million styles and materials in the real life versions, so this is where you get to let your imagination go wild! I made the one for Encounters using a plain copper chain. You can use the glue bottle tops from Tacky Glue, you can use a variety of beads, you can use saucers - just dig through your stash and you'll find something!

I had a lot of the Farrow tiny plastic tea cups and saucers left over from my failed attempt at still in design mode chandelier prototype for the Shabby Chic Soap Shop. I liked the bell shape and thought they would work nicely for rain chain cups. I grabbed those, some black chain and a screw in eyelet.



I cut the handles off and sanded any uneven plastic leftover from manufacturing.


Then I found a drill bit that was just a touch smaller than the width of the chain links and drilled holes through the bottom of the teacups.


I measured the height from my roof edge to the top of my rain barrel and decided that five cups would work nicely.


To string my cups onto my chain, i looped a piece of piano wire through the last chink and used that to thread on the cups.


Some cups were a tighter fit than others, and I found that forcing them only made my chain break. After the first repair, I figured out that going slow and putting equal pressure on both ends of the chain made the cups slide up the chain nicely. They fit so snugly, I didn't even need to glue them. I spaced them out evenly, and added in a couple decorative larger jump rings at the top and bottom.


To paint the assembly, I needed to rig up a paint booth - one where I could turn the chain 360 degrees to coat all sides. I drilled a hole into the top flap of this Amazon box, then attached the chain with a piece of copper wire threaded through a loop, up through the drill hole, then flattened it out so I could spin the chain as needed to paint.


I coated the entire chain assembly in flat black and let dry. Then I sprayed and overcoating of aged bronze metallic.


Here is a mock up of the assembly - not where it will end up yet because I still have some detailing to do to the barrel. It just gives you an idea of something you can do that's easy, fun and will add another level of detail to your project!


This will be one of the last things marked off my Creatin' Contest To Do list for a few weeks, I'm afraid. But I have so many more fun and interesting things to look forward to! That will keep me motivated to work hard and fast so I can get back to the excitement of creating a mini world!

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I am happy to say that my 19 day work marathon finally wrapped up last Friday night! It's amazing how quickly things fall apart when you don't clean for three weeks! I spent the weekend getting the house back in order and was ready for minis on Monday!

At this point in the HBS Creatin' Contest build I could have gone in several directions. The open side roof piece and the roofing needs to be done, then there's the fascia, and I have a long list of little projects that all need doing. It was a toss up, but I decided that some mini vegetable gardening sounded the most rewarding.

Have you ever watched the Food Network show called Semi Homemade? I haven't seen it in years, but I love Sandra Lee's philosophy: Why do it all from scratch when you can save time with a few ready made ingredients? For this post I am going to share how I used ready made minis, kits and good old mini ingenuity to create the vegetable garden for the little piggies...

I started with some carrots, beets and tomatoes from NattyCollection and some vegetable kits from TheMiniatureGarden on Etsy.


 I highly recommend all of the products from both artisans, but I wanted to expand and combine things to make them more realistic and more my own.

Tomato Vines
The tomatoes on the left are from the kit. they are plasticy one hole beads. The ones on the right are like FIMO, but softer and a little pliable, which was really handy for making alterations. I thought it would ne mice to combine the kit and the clay tomatoes.


I needed to make the vine wires attach to the "clay" tomatoes, so I drilled little insertion holes in the top and glued in the wires. For the kit tomatoes, I did the same but they already had the hole.



Then I bent the little wires to form a loop and cut away the excess wire.


Once everyone had their loop, I strung several of the tomatoes onto long wires.



I made the structure of the tomato vine using wire for the main stem and then smaller vines branching off of it.


I added the strings of tomatoes at random spots, wrapping the extra wire around the main stem.


Next it was time to add the leaves and flowers. I added veins to the leaves then glued them on as a tomato vines leaves naturally grow. Looking at photos really helped! I also attached a wooden stake to each plant.



They were starting to actually look good, but I thought adding some green and unripe tomatoes would really add some nice detail. I looked around for what I could use, and painted styrofoam balls worked out perfectly!



Here they are before potting so that I could determine how tall to leave them.


And here they are sculpted and planted in their barrels. A fun and rewarding little project!


Zucchini Plants
The zucchini plants started out as a kit. The kit does not include actual zucchini - only the leaves and flowers. I decided to make my own to add a bit more visual interest. I just cut off the ends of some take-out chopsticks, sanded them to shape, then painted them. I used my little star-flower paper punch for the little flowery thing on the ends, I am not even going to pretend to know vegetable plant anatomy, and tonight I am just too lazy to Google it!




I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had all of the paper punches I need for future zucchini plants! In fact, I cut out more pieces to beef up the kits!


Here's a photo of a zucchini plant's leaf. See the spotting? It was easy to replicate using a little dry brushing with a pale gray paint.


Now it was time to vein the leaves, crinkle the flowers, add the wire stems and assemble everything. Once again, Google photos really helped, as the kit instructions have only outlined renderings.



I just love the vibrant colors! These will add so much visual interest to the little garden, and they were so simple to make!



Lettuce
The lettuce kit came with some strips of thick green crepe paper and some wire. Next time I'm at Joanne's or Michaels, I'm going to buy some! I see lots of lettuce in my future projects! It was probably the most fun of all the vegetables!

After cutting and shaping the paper, I ended up with enough leaves to make 8 heads. Three of them had one extra leaf. The first leaf gets glued about 1/8" onto the wire, then gets rolled up tightly. Each consecutive leaf gets glued a little offset from the previous leaf. Once all of the leaves are glued, you use tweezers to fan out the leaves. For the red leaf, I just watered down some purplish/red paint and dabbed it on. LOVE, love love the lettuce!






Green Onions, Swiss Chard & Leeks (oh my!)
Who knew that so many awesome mini veggies could be made from these simple and everyday supplies:


For these little veggies, a pictorial will do nicely!





Reworked Clay Carrots & Beets
NattyCollection makes fabulous mini food and other items, but there is a certain style I was after with the garden for this project. I guess more organic looking is what I was after. Like I mentioned earlier in the post, these veggies are soft and pretty pliable which allowed me to make alterations.

For the carrots, I was able to twist out and drill the carrots to add my own tops made from painted Lycopodium. I dabbed some glue on the end of the stock and pushed it into the drilled hole with the aid of a piece of wire. It's not a perfect carrot top, but it has a much more natural look.



For the beets, I cut about 2/3 off the bottom and affixed them to a "dirt mound" to give the illusion of a planted vegetable.


I attached all of the veggies to dirt mounds, coated the mounds in a light layer of glue, then added Woodlamd Scenics dirt on top. I also dirtied up the carrots and bottoms of other veggies.


I will wait until the last steps to attach the vegetables to the base and create the actual garden. When the roofers come they always make such a mess and kill all of the plants anyway. Better to wait...



I'm not sure what to tackle next, but I hope it will be as fun as the vegetable garden was! It's so nice to be back into the mini swing of things!

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I was working away on the foundation trim, roofing and front porch accessories (for the HBS Creatin' Contest 2016) when I found myself waiting for glue to dry. I know - story of our lives, right?!? Anyway, one of the projects I wanted to make was a cottage mail box to match the house. I started on it and thought "Oh! This might be fun to share!". So, I made a pattern and instruction sheet. Here is the tutorial and a link to the printable .pdf - enjoy!

Make A 1/12th Scale Cottage Mailbox .pdf

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B-TDO8Yunzncand3d2JwV3JTZUU/view?usp=sharing

YOULL NEED:
· 4 X 4 X 1/16 BALSA OR BASSWOOD
· XACTO KNIFE
· TAPE
· GLUE
· PAINT
· 1 PIECE RIBBON

DIRECTIONS
1. PRINT PATTERN AND MEASURE 1 CHECK SQUARE (ON PRINT SHEET) TO MAKE SURE YOUR PRINTER OR PAGE SETTINGS DID NOT RESIZE THE PATTERN.



2. PLACE THE PATTERN OVER BALSA OR BASSWOOD. ADHERE ON 4 SIDES WITH TAPE AND CUT ON OUTLINES USING A RULER AS A CUTTING GUIDE.


3. LIGHTLY SAND PIECES MAKING SURE NOT TO RESHAPE THE EDGES.

4. GLUE THE FRONT TO THE SIDES AND BACK. THE FRONT AND BACK PANELS OVERLAP THE SIDE PANELS. LET DRY, THEN GLUE YOUR STRUCTURE CENTERED ON THE BASE.


5. LAY THE ROOF FRONT AND BACK DOWN, TOP EDGES TOGETHER. GLUE A 1 STRIP RIBBON, EQUALLY DISTRIBUTED, CONNECTING BOTH ROOFS. THIS WILL BE YOUR HINGE.


6. PAINT THE INTERIOR AND EXTERIOR OF YOUR PIECES. GET AS DETAILED AS YOU WANT WITH THE ROOF, DOOR AND WINDOWS AND CHIMNEY (FLAG). CLAPBOARD LINES AND ROOF TILES CAN BE LIGHTLY GROVED INTO THE WOOD WITH A RULER AND SMALL FLAT BLADE SCREWDRIVER. FOR A MORE POLISHED LOOK, SAND PIECES AFTER THE FIRST COAT, THEN APPLY A FINAL COAT.




7. GLUE THE BACK ROOF ONLY TO THE STRUCTURE, LEAVING THE FRONT ROOF TO FREELY OPEN FOR THE MAIL. THE TOP OF THE FRONT WALL WILL HOLD IT IN PLACE WHEN YOU WANT IT CLOSED.


8. ATTACH THE FLAG TO EITHER SIDE. YOU CAN GLUE IT IN THE UP POSITION, OR ATTACH TO THE MAILBOX WITH A SMALL BRAD TO MAKE IT LOWERABLE.


9. APPLY A COAT OF VARNISH/SEALER.

P.S. #1 To make this a birdhouse instead, just cut a hole in one side and attach both roof halves with glue. A rope hanger can be glued between the roof halves, and a perch can be added below the hole.

PS #2 - I also wanted to share about a new place/product I found. It's calledeyeletoutlet.com. I was looking for 1/8" eyelets to use as grommets for an upcoming shower curtain project. These have in scale shafts (used to make baby shoes for the laces to go through) so they won't look bulky. The pack of 60 was $1.79 and the tool was $3.99. To make the shipping charges of $4.00 seem more reasonable, I also ordered several washi tape rolls which are on sale now, too. I had my order in 2 days! They also have 1/16" eyelets which would work well for 1/2 or smaller scales.



PS #3 - Did anyone else notice the web site re-do at miniatures.com? Totally new, and the Blogs section is now GONE! Luckily, I have most all of them (the ones that still post regularly) on my blog roll.

I had a PS #4, but I've forgotten what it was now. Oh well - next time!

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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!

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One of the details that I wanted to add to the Creatin' Contest build was a skep for honey bees. I thought about all of the different methods I could use, and decided that hemp twine should both be doable and realistic-ish. This is one example of what a real skep looks like:


Before I started, I did a little research in hopes that if I knew how the structure was intended to work, I'd do a better job and be able to come up with a similar design in 1/12th scale. This description is courtesy of Wikipedia:

Skeps, which are baskets placed open-end-down, have been used for about 2000 years. Initially they were made from wicker plastered with mud and dung but from the Middle Ages they were made of straw. In northern and western Europe, skeps were made of coils of grass or straw. In its simplest form, there is a single entrance at the bottom of the skep. Again, there is no internal structure provided for the bees and the colony must produce its own honeycomb, which is attached to the inside of the skep.

Here is a great 1:1 tutorial on how to make your own: How To Build A Bee Skep
Amazingly intricate and lovely!

On a side note, my dad and brother went to a class on bee keeping last spring. They had two hives going in my brother's yard for several months. The things I learned about bees from both of them is truly fascinating! Unfortunately, his first hive had mites and the second swarmed (vacated the hive to find one more suitable). I think he will try again this spring.

Anyway, I knew I was going to need a form in a sort of half egg or rounded pyramid shape. I began scavenging in all my little nooks and crannies and came up with a good candidate: the body from a small broken resin doll. The plan was to wrap the twine around the form and secure the shape with watered down Tacky Glue. I used my Dremel sanding bit to reshape it just a bit.



I began by taping the twine to the bottom of the form, then ran it vertically up to the top and taped it there, then back down to the bottom to begin wrapping.



I wrapped several rows, but stopped there to paint on some of the glue. I didn't want it to start unraveling as the curve in the form began to taper. I let it dry for about 30 minutes or so, then continued all of the rows to the top before applying glue. I left the string long to use in a later step.



 While that dried, I began working on the tray for the bottom. This is the part of the structure that is removable to access the honey. I had a Woodsie circle that was the perfect size. I sanded, painted (FolkArt Honeycomb, appropriately) and drilled two holes in the bottom for stringing the twine.



Once the skep had dried, I needed to carefully remove it from the form. My clay tool has very thin metal and worked perfectly to pry it loose.


Once it was free of the form I coated the inside with a heavy coat of glue.


Once that was dry, I began to attach the tray to the bottom. I strung a nice long piece of twine in the bottom left hole, then brought it out through the top of the skep. I made a loop that was long enough for the skep to hang from. I then threaded the twine back down through the tray's right hole and made another knot. 


To secure the tray and make sure it can't be pulled down any farther than the loop, I secured it using the string leftover from wrapping the twine. I trimmed it down and glued it onto the inside of the skep. 



I trimmed the excess twine from under the tray, cut an access door in the front and viola - a 1/12th scale working bee skep! Hooray!




Now all I needed were bees! Okay - let's give that a try! I started with some natural pipe cleaners (yellow ones would work beautifully, but these are what I had), a yellow Sharpie, a black Sharpie, some black waxed hemp twine and a mini leaf punch. 




I colored the pipe cleaner yellow first, then went back and added black lines. The execution would have worked better if I had done 2 things: 1. Used a black Sharpie with a finer tip. 2. Let the ink dry thoroughly before I handled them.


I cut them into about 3/8" pieces and got a little creeped out! Don't they look like dead bees just laying there!


The waxed hemp twine has four layers of smaller string twisted together. I untwisted them and cut them into about 1-1/2" lengths. I used the leaf punch on parchment paper for the wings.



I tied the waxed hemp about 2/3 up the bodies and left the strings long. The idea was to use them to attach the wings, one on each string, then wrap the string around again and tie another knot for the antennae. Unfortunately, the wings just looked too big and not translucent enough, so I scrapped that idea. Our little bees will have tiny, imaginary wings unless I can come up with a better solution. Using the waxed hemp for the antennae worked great, though!


And here is one of the finished bees hanging out on the skep. I put several more around the house on flowers and such, too. They are large enough to see, and perfect for a fantasy build like this one!



Can you spot another one?



Now for the birds... Well, their houses anyway. I will need to order some birdies!

I wanted to add some cutsie bird houses, so I broke out my scrap bags. It only took a couple minutes to sort through and grab what I'd need and to configure five of them! I cut the roofs at different angles for variety.



I'm not the world's most steady handed painter, so I decided to paint all of the components before I assembled them.


It wasn't long before they turned into this...


They were cute and all, but still not quite there... How about some decoupaged flowers, and a couple cute buckets?




Now we were getting somewhere!






Not bad for only doing some research, sorting through scraps and a weekend's worth of work!

Have a great week everyone! See you next fall! :O)

Jodi

P.S. - There were so many photos that I left them smaller this time. You can always click on them to see enlarged slides.

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It seems that a lot of us participating in this year's HBS Creatin' Contest are beginning to realize that the December 16th entry deadline is coming up rather quickly! Several of us have been posting and chatting about our To Do lists. In my case, it seems that as soon as I check something off, I realize I need to add several more things. Talk about lighting a fire under your butt!

The highest priority item on my list was addressing the fireplace's flame lighting. It was the age old story of how everything was working just perfectly until I lost access to the connections, and then it just stopped working. It took me a good while to sit and think about a Plan B. But I finally just got out all the parts and made myself sit there until I came up with a solution.


The first thing was to remove the grate with logs from the fireplace. I had to cut the original wires in order to free it. Then I removed the non working bulbs and saved them for another project some day. Rather than trying to connect the new lights to the 12 volt system, my only option seemed to be running them using a 9 volt battery system.


I debated for a long time about having access to the switch while still camouflaging the battery and wires. In the end, I remembered Brae's hidden battery in her firewood box and that gave me an idea. If I loosened the firewood from the fireplace cubby and made it so that it could slide in and out that would solve all my issues.



I inserted the new lights into the fire grate, drilled a hole into the side wall of the fireplace, strung the light wires through, met them up with the switch wires in the firewood cubby, attached all wires together then and heat shrink tubed them securely. Now I only needed to come up with the camouflaged log system.


I grabbed some quick wood scrap and Woodsies and came up with a sort of log/battery box toboggan. When it's inserted into the cubby, you (almost) can't see a thing!




To celebrate after the resolved lighting issue, I decided it was time to mount the head of that Big Old Bad Woolf! It will serve as a reminder that no matter how big the bullies are in your life, just look them right in the eye and you'll persevere in the end!


Now that one important item was finally crossed off the list, it was time to move onto some of the fun details for the project! The oldest piggy, Bob, knew that it would be important and inspirational to chronicle the events that took place with The Big Bad Wolf. He's been typing up a novel about it since very near the beginning. He used to have his typewriter sitting on the kitchen table, but now that his brothers were sharing the space he needed a dedicated writing desk. I took one of the HOM kits in my stash and gave it some new legs that would fit better into our cartoony scene, For the seating, I added a bigger seat, padding and fabric to a little milking stool.



It was also important for Bob to have everyday supplies like pencils, paper pad, stamps, envelopes, tape, twine and a ruler. I'll have to hunt for some scissors to add in the drawer soon.



Here's the extra large but somehow perfect typewriter with the last page of the story being written. I think Bob's publisher is going to be pleased!


I'll leave you with a few up to date progress shots. There are still many items on my list that I'd like to include on the project. We'll see how many I end up with time for.





I am always looking to the next mini projects in the queue. It's embarrassing to admit, but in my daily gratitude conversations with the universe, I often express just how lovely my life is, and that when it's my time to leave this Earth I will do so with no regrets. I always include an asterisk at the end of the conversation, though, asking if I can please stay until such and such mini projects are finished. I bet I get some head shaking with that request. What can I say - I really love miniatures.

I'd love some wisdom and feedback on a particular decision that I am struggling to make. After the contest build is completed, do I start on the Beachside Bungalow, or finish the Shabby Chic Soap Shop first? I am leaning toward finishing the soap shop. What do you all think???

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Makes me a very cranky miniaturist! Therefore, this time in my bi-monthly work overload, I instituted staggered deadlines! It's been brilliant! Every 9 days or so I get 1 or 2 days off! I am at the end of the second day of play time, and while I will be back at the grindstone tomorrow, I managed to finish up quite a few items on the Creatin' Contest To-Do List!

First up, it felt like the kitchen area needed some more detail. I decided to reconfigure another Michael's hutch to make a small shelf for under the window. This involved popping the piece in the microwave for about 30 seconds. After each time in the micro, I would pull the parts off that I didn't want or that I wanted to reconfigure. For anyone who's new to softening glue with this technique, please make sure to remove any and all hinge pins before placing in the microwave. Also, only handle the hot piece using potholders or in my case an Ove-Glove. They work great!

Original hutch - removing the doors and metal hinge pins.

After the first 30 seconds in the micro, I separated the top and bottom.

I had to use a variety tools to saw off some curvy bits to make the bottom flush.

I popped it in the micro again to remove the shelves - there was not enough space between them to display what I had in mind.

I wanted to use the scrolly piece, but needed to cut it down a bit.

Scrolly bit and first shelf were ready for painting, gluing, filling and sanding.

I decided to stain the shelves and top, and use Georgia Clay on the rest to tie the piece to the other furniture in the build.
Once everything for the shelf was finished, I glued it together. Now I could work on the shelf fillers. I believe the last time I worked with polymer clay was when I was working on Starbucks back in 2013. The last time I made canning jars was way back in 2003! I made some basic fruit and vegetable shapes, and a couple loaves of bread. I had a couple adorable, wonderful loaves that I purchased for this project, but they completely disappeared someplace and I was forced to just make my own. I do hope I find them one day - they were so stinkin' cute!!!

Rolling balls for peach slices. I like to bake the balls, then cut the slices while the clay is still warm.

I made apples, peaches, choke cherries, green beans and potatoes.

Here the canning jars are getting ready for filling. I like to use food coloring, alcohol ink or chalk pastels for coloring the resin.

Chalk gives the loaves the perfect just baked look!

I also needed to fill the kettle with wolf meat and vegetables in wine sauce.
Now I needed to make some groceries for the shelf. I cut 1/4" dowels into 1/2" lengths. These were going to become canned goods. Instead of painting the tops, I decided to try out the aluminum tape that I have. I used a paper punch to punch the tape then affixed one to the top and bottom of the cans.


I thought that food labels from the 40's seemed kind of appropriate for the piggies. I found some really great labels googling, then adapted them in my graphice program to fit some wooden shapes I cut.


Here is the filled up little shelf in it's new home. I was careful not to block the view out the window of poor Sam's straw house still being blown about in the wind. I added a few other details I had in my stash, unused from past projects.

These little piggies won't be going hungry!
I made some napkins, added some silverware and painted plates and bowls for the table. Since they're celebrating their freedom from that terrorizing wolf, they'll even partake in some wine with dinner.

Musical instruments are always close at hand for these merry fellows!
Joe likes to display his daily epicurean genius on the menu board. Today's menu is truly an inspired culinary experience!

Kettle braised wolf tenderloin, harvest root vegetables in red wine bordelaise.
Mmmm... Looks delicious!

Ooohhh and crusty french loaves, too!
Nothing beats a home cooked meal shared with the piggies you love!


This was just the relaxing break I needed to fill up my happy tank again! I'm ready for more hard work, and soon after I'll be back to my beloved mini world! This time, to begin adding final details to this fun little build!  See you in about 10 days or so!

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My last actual full working day was Monday. I should have more to show for the week, but honestly, I was pretty lazy...

Tuesday was a blur, and aside from emptying and refilling the dishwasher and feeding the puppies, I did nothing productive (except catch up on Game of Thrones, which I enjoyed very much).

When it came to the Creatin' Contest, I crossed old items off the list and created a new list. I farted around with it for a while yesterday, then on and off between loads of laundry and housekeeping today (I had groceries delivered - my life is so hard! :O>). When I looked at the list again, I was surprised that I got so little done. I enjoyed myself, so that's something...

The next bit is going to be a bit less organized than I usually try to be. I think all those long hours took a toll, and I'll need a couple weeks to restart the old brain again. Enough whining... Here I go...

I had to change the sandpaper on my sanding stick, so I thought for the sake of any newbies who happen by, I'd risk the redundancy of a little "how to" because learning about the sanding stick really helped me to become a much better sander.

Very briefly... You'll need:
  1. 2 different grits of sandpaper (I use 220 and 400)
  2. Double sided tape
  3. A stick, of course
  4. Scissors and/or Xacto knife

Cut the double sided tape to the length of your stick, peel the backing (only the stick side) and adhere.


Cut the sandpaper to cover the stick. Each piece should cover half of the stick. Cut the width so that it wraps to meet itself at the center of the back sides.


Peel off the top backing and carefully adhere the sandpapers.


Viola! Now you have a sturdy and flat surface to sand on that lasts a long time. No more rounded edges or uneven surfaces! So simple, but so handy. To the forgotten person who suggested this to me so long ago - a giant cosmic Thank You! I hope you just received good shivers!

Next up, I needed some throw rugs. I have some wonderful velour paper that has an adhesive backing. I bought mine on Amazon about a year ago and have not seen it in all white packs since. They do have multi-colored packs, but there are only 2 white sheets included. S.E.I does sell velvet non adhesive backed paper by the sheet in Coconut. Order at least a dozen to make it worth the $7.50 shipping. The service is excellent.

I found some rugs in colors I liked on www.rugs-direct.com. I made a kitchen runner, a round rug for under the table, an oval rug for the hearth (I think I need to print it a bit larger) and an inside and outside doormat.


 I let them dry overnight, cut them out, then colored the raw edges in coordinating Sharpie. 


Once I've done a "final" cleaning, I'll peel the backing off and adhere them down. Since this build will be displayed in a library, I am going to "nail" everything down.



This next section we'll call "How to make a NON GOOD LOOKING cherry pie because you have not done it in 14 years".

I started off with some light beige and translucent Sculpey, some Translucent Liquid Sculpey, some artists chalk and the leftover choke cherries from the previous canning. Oh! And a pie tin - duh!


To make the pie filling I added some Translucent Liquid Sculpey and chalk scrapings into a cup, then added in the cherries. Don't panic - the Translucent Liquid Sculpey does not actually become translucent until it is baked. Right at this stage it looks like Pepto Bismol. Not exactly a good association when expecting a cherry pie!


I mixed a tiny bit of the light beige into a large amount of translucent to make the pie crust. I flattened it out then set the pie tin up-side-down on top of it and cut around it with the Xacto.


You'll have to forgive me here, as I was more worried about messing up the pie than I was about showing you how (not) to do it. The photos are sparse.

I poured the filling into the tin and covered over it with the "crust". A little peek...



I rolled out a snake of pie crust and placed it along the edge of the tin, then made little pinch marks with a toothpick. What I failed to show here were the little "vent holes". I cut six of them, then used the remaining Translucent Liquid Sculpey to indicate oozed out filling.


Then I baked it, brushed the edges with brown chalk to give it a fresh baked crust, scraped some more cherry colored chalk into a bit of varnish and coated the top. Not beautiful, but passable in this setting. I obviously need some practice!!!


There are still several things "to do", and the one I hope to tackle this weekend are the bed pillows. I've had this new machine since July and have not even opened it yet! There it sits as if it's purpose was to be a pile holder! The nerve of me! 


Send good thoughts my way for the reawakened adventure into sewing. I'll make sure to practice on some scraps before I get out the good fabric!

And I'll leave you tonight with a beautiful fall shot of Mt. Rainier from the back yard. If October is any indication, I think the snow pack is going to be good this year!


Have a happy weekend, and don't forget to buy candy!



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Sam loves his new pillow!

Last Saturday I finally unboxed the new sewing machine! One look at the 77 page instruction manual and about a dozen individual loose informational sheets and I knew that this was going to require some real concentration! I haven't really done any sewing on a machine since the early 90's, and even then I was really just a novice. My memory isn't all that great either, so this might as well have been my first time.

There are so many stitches and functions! It even sews letters!
With absolute silence in the room, I opened the manual and began to read it methodically. I did my best to absorb each word and understand the terms and the functions before moving on to the next section. I learned some new words (feed dogs) and had a few "aha" moments. It literally took me two full days  of reading and doing, but by Monday night I had the bobbin threaded, the needle threaded, and began to practice sewing on the pillow material.

I had to draw out a diagram to plan how I would sew the pillows, where they would fold, how much of a seam allowance to plan for, where the hand stitch opening would be, what size would work well for the beds etc... I thought having a real pillow inside of a pillowcase would be great, so I planned for both.


Once I had it on paper and felt comfortable with the plan, I cut the fabric. Before I sewed them, I wanted to incorporate name tags. This was probably the largest mental challenge; I'm sewing the pillows inside out, the tags need to be on the right finished side, and the label needs to face up. I really had to sit there for a long while and ponder all the angles! I kicked myself for not making the tags double sided!!! In the end, I figured it out correctly! My hand sewn ends could use more practice, but since they'll be hidden inside the pillowcase, I think they are great!

I used pink thread so that I could keep a good eye on my machine stitches as I went along.


A perfect fit for the bed!
After sewing and stuffing the pillows, I was feeling a little more confident with the pillowcases. Rather than just going by my planned measurements, I cut extra fabric and measured for length and width as I went along. It worked out really well! I love how they turned out!

Look at those stitches! Awesome, right!?!





The machine was a dream to use, and I will no longer be intimidated to make my own pillows! Hopefully, I'll be making lots of other great mini items myself, too! Making is the part I really love!

My to-do list is getting shorter and I expect to be finished up with this project by the end of next week. Then I can set up for the photos! In-between now and then, I am doing more on the organizational plan to my work space. More storage and a display shelf are happening this weekend! I'll post some photos when I get it all completed!

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First, for the happy ending...
Bob, Joe and Sam are so happy to inhabit their new home!
I promised myself that I was going to GET MY LIST DONE TODAY! Well... You know how that goes. While you have the stuff out to finish up the last details you suddenly realize that a space needs this or you need to rearrange that. Instead of crossing off, you're adding to...

Front edge landscaping is finished!
But the good news is that I am (probably) finished except for final touch ups, adding the felt bottom, and setting up for contest photos! I decided to wait a couple weeks on the photo shoot just in case of any 3:00 AM epiphanies! I am bound to run across something I forgot.

Wolf Stew is just about ready to eat!
I know that all of you are probably tired of seeing any more of this project, so I promise these will be the last photos I share until after the contest deadline. Then I'll share the photo shoot photos and we'll put this one to bed!

Joe loves his well appointed and organized kitchen!
That cookbook sure came in handy!
Sam appreciates the nicely set table!
Bob is laughing at how ironic it is that "Hungry Like The Wolf" is playing on the radio right now!
Sam says come on in and grab a bowl!
But first check out my flowers! It's a cutting garden!
And now our little village saving heroes in their close ups:

Bob the brick house builder extraordinaire!
Then...
Joe - the culinarily creative!
Last but not least...
Sam, our clever cultivator!
Thank you all so much for sharing this incredibly fun process with me, and for all of your encouraging and lovely comments! 

And now for a new (or renewed) beginning...

This darling little gal has been sitting on the shelf behind my worktable, patiently awaiting for it to be her turn again. She was so gracious when I told her that she would be on hold while I participated in this year's Creatin' Contest. But now, she's back on the table!

Just look at her smile!
I had not forgotten her at all! In fact, over the last few weeks I've had my visions renewed of what she is to become and it is lovely! A frilly, girly, smelling fabulous and chic-ly shabby favorite soap shop!


Her bodice and roof are getting a makeover! The garden I am preparing for will be spectacular!


The interior will be a wonder for the eyes and heaven for the nose! Soap, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, body scrub, drawer sachets, candles, potpourri, and wonderful cards and gifts!



I'll be learning new skills and techniques in mold making & casting, polymer clay, sewing, fabric printing and making plain and shabby items chic!

I hope you'll come along and share the journey! I think it's going to be super fun!

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Greetings fellow mini makers!

My contest photos have been taken and submitted! Oh boy! This means that soon those of you who have been building in secret will show us the goods! How exciting! I hope that all of you are feeling good about the deadline and where you're at with your builds!



Now I must finish cleaning and organizing my work room, which is also my dining room, just in time to host 18 for Thanksgiving! I am certain to go through mini withdraw, especially since I have to wait until Saturday to start my Super Secret Mini Miniature Project! Shhh... Don't tell anyone!

I am so grateful, for family, for miniatures, for all of the billions of blessings and good things that make up my life each day, and especially for the friendships with kindred spirits that the blog and social media world have made possible!

I wish all of you a very Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you are enjoying this special time of year!

Jodi

8 comments:

  1. Revenge? Oh my...sounds devilishly fun!

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  2. Oh Keli I hope so! I better get started, though! I have several tons of bricks to do!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the idea of vengeful pigs! Cannabliss is awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Cyd! I know you'll appreciate a little dark humor! And I still love looking at CannaBliss! It still is one of my favorite projects!

      Delete
  4. It's just a pile of tape. I got so angry that none of my 100 plus windows would fit I kicked mine. But it's staring at me..

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    Replies
    1. 100 windows? And none would fit? You need bigger tools and to use that frustration as motivation to do something cool! A window store, maybe?

      Delete
  5. Hi Jodi!
    I haven't been getting the notices regarding your postings so right off I apologize for not visiting your WONDERFUL blog sooner!
    Your THREE LITTLE PIGS sharing the brick house with the wolf's head mounted over the mantle is quite humorous, although not so much for the wolf, but the the entire process of this build and THE DETAILS which you have filled it with are Fantastic!!!
    I've enjoyed seeing all of the varied methods you have used for the bricks, and stonework, and fireplace. I LOVE the rain chain and the rain barrel.
    I am fascinated by the amount of flowers and vegetables growing in your garden and especially LOVE your tomato plant tutorial.
    The beds, the books the canning and the general convivial atmosphere of these 3 brothers all with jobs to do and doing them well, makes for an ADORABLE HBS project from the beginning to THE END.
    Congratulations on your HBS entry, an Enjoyable and Novel storyline; and may they all live Happily Every After!

    all except The Wolf, of course ;P

    elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Thanks so much, Elizabeth! I am sorry that your post emails suddenly stopped - I had a number of blogs in my blogroll disappear, as well, and have had to manually add them back in. It sounds as if it is a common issue?
      The project was a lot of fun to do, and I enjoyed the whimsical nature which allowed me to take license with a number of details. I can't wait to donate it to our library in March!
      I'm so glad to have you back - your insights and comments are always a fresh breath of air!

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