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?
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:
A 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.|
|Rip saw with guide for cutting the floors|
|Both floor pieces glued and taped|
|Glued floors next to plywood base|
|Gorilla Glue applied to plywood|
|Joined bases fit to plywood|
|Base and plywood weighted down to dry overnight|
|Hard to see lines to be cut|
|Completed piles of newly reconfigured walls|
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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...
Here's to all of us having an enjoyable and productive weekend, which hopefully includes lots of mini-ing!
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
I made mattresses out of foam core and covered the visible "sheets" with fabric.
Attached the quilts to the foam core...
A perfect fit for the space! I think the piggies are going to squeal!
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!
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!
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!
BobBob 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 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.
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!
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 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 -
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...
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...
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!
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!
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.
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~!!!
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.
Front 3/4" + Spine 3/8" + Back 3/4" + a smidge more to fold the front edges under = 2"
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"
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.
- 3 strips of 6" x 1.25" tulle or netting with a small weave for the pouf
- 1/4" x 1/4" basswood (or scrap wood of close measure) cut to 1.5" long for the handle
- 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.
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.
For The Pouf
1. Cut 3 strips of tulle 6" long x 1.25" wide
I am happy with the results and am happy that Bob, Joe and Sam don't have to share a bath pouf!
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 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:
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.
I had a lot of the Farrow tiny plastic tea cups and saucers left over from my
I coated the entire chain assembly in flat black and let dry. Then I sprayed and overcoating of aged bronze metallic.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
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.
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!
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
I had a PS #4, but I've forgotten what it was now. Oh well - next time!
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?|
|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.|
|I wish I had remembered to take photos of the reaction and end substance. I promise I will in a future post.|
|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!|
|Small brick patio with tomato pots, fertilizer and a galvanized watering can.|
|Just enough vegetables to be put up for winter!|
|Here is where the 12v pronged cord will plug in. Once the brown paint has been added, it will blend right in.|
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???
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.|
|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.|
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!|
|Musical instruments are always close at hand for these merry fellows!|
|Kettle braised wolf tenderloin, harvest root vegetables in red wine bordelaise.|
|Mmmm... Looks delicious!|
|Ooohhh and crusty french loaves, too!|
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!
My last actual full working day was Monday. I should have more to show for the week, but honestly, I was pretty lazy...
- 2 different grits of sandpaper (I use 220 and 400)
- Double sided tape
- A stick, of course
- Scissors and/or Xacto knife
|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!|
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!|
|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!
First, for the happy ending...
|Bob, Joe and Sam are so happy to inhabit their new home!|
|Front edge landscaping is finished!|
|Wolf Stew is just about ready to eat!|
|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!|
|Bob the brick house builder extraordinaire!|
|Joe - the culinarily creative!|
|Sam, our clever cultivator!|
|Just look at her smile!|