Making Potions

Standard

I’ve been busy with writing and making mini books / earrings, so there hasn’t been as much progres on the Fantasy Dollshouse as I’d like. However, I’ve also been making potions, and today added specimen jars to that. I think I’m almost done with those now, and thought I’d share a photo. 

Potions have been fun, since I’ve been able to work on those with my 7yo as well, and she’s been thrilled. I had some labels I’d printed off and adhered to bottles, so some of those we had to try and decide what that particular potion would look like. Others, like today, I’m making specimen jars for my wizard. I think they’ll need speciman labels too, but for now the glue to seal things up is still drying, so guess I’ll have to try and be patient. 

The smaller jars I plan to paint the lids with metallic paint so they look like they have rusty metal lids, since otherwise the lid is slightly off scale. In case you’re wondering, these are the little nail-art bottles from Dollar Tree which I collected tons of, since I adore them (and mini jars can be expensive otherwise.) 

Today the specimens were collected out of my garden. Many of them are technically weeds, but they were nice tiny fine flowers. I got them into the jar, then covered with baby oil and I’m hoping it will preserve them. Then I use a circle of plastic glued to the top, and seal that on top with white glue and a tiny glass bead to form the “glass lid.” They are a touch tall, but I figure when one is collecting specimens, perhaps one allows for exceptionally tall jars (these would be at least 1 foot tall in 1/12 scale.) 

I’m not certain why I haven’t started filling all of the shelves yet, but I still want to make some curiosities as well, and then intermingle it all in my “shop.” Yeah, I have no idea when exactly I’ll find time to do that either, but I’m working on it, lol!

Have to run. Thanks for stopping by. Happy crafting, and remember: what happens in the craft room stays in the craft room. 

 

Advertisements

Mini MY Books

Standard

Last week I made my oodles and caboodles of mini books, and it was suggested that I should try and make my own books in miniature (I write paranormal romance for anyone who doesn’t know.) And I thought: why not? 

They turned out really well, don’t you think? The “big” ones are 4cm high (just over 1 1/2”), whereas the little guys are 2.5 cm (or 1”) high. Technically, that would still be a bit off scale, since the actual books are 5×8…but I didn’t feel like messing around and 1” seemed good to me. 😉 

I made little ones with both paper, and some that are charms that could be worn. Interestingly, you can tell which are the paper ones and they do have a more “real” feel (both in weight, and because the pages partially fall open, I think.)

Of course, to overcomplicate my life, I also looked at creating read-able mini-books. Currently, I’ve filed that under “more trouble than it’s worth”. Because, while I of course have the original text, to make it small enough to fit in the books, it’s super small…and I’m not even sure my printer would be able to print that high a quality at that size. For example, on the back covers of the books, technically you can see the text, but on the 1” high books, it’s too small to have printed correctly, and it’s unfortunately not readable. So, maybe another day. 

Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to this week. 🙂 What do you think? 

Thanks for stopping by. And as always: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting to you!

Books, books, and more Mini Books

Standard

In an effort to not actually think, I’ve been busy making mini-books now. Between, hmm, Thursday and Saturday night? I’ve made 133 mini books (which is about 50 more than I thought I’d made…and also explains why I’m kind of tired of making mini-books.) Hubby said it looked like a very small library had exploded, which is kind of what happened…or more like the library isn’t technically built yet?

Anyway, my fingers are now also suitably blackened since I’ve “distressed” many of them, as pretty much all of these books are intended for the fantasy dollhouse. Because what self-respecting witch or wizard would be without a plethora of books? (And yes, I also know I should be about actually writing my real books, but not happening right now.)

Most of these are made with opening pages using cut-off spines from glued magazine spines (magazines are now no longer safe around me since I’ve discovered this method.) I thought it would be a nightmare to cut the narrow section off the magazine, but turned out not too bad. You just measure, then I just used my plain old metal ruler and an exacto-blade and you do a whole bunch of  cuts until it goes all the way through. Not that bad at all. Needless to say most of the insides of the books aren’t actually interesting…but I don’t especially mind. Most of them are just needed to fill the plethora of shelves I’ve also made. 

Covers are a combination of those I printed off the internet of actual books (which were more tedious and time-consuming to put together, but very pretty in the end.) Others are pieces of scrapbook paper, some painted cloth to resemble old leather, and one of my other favorite effects was using masking tape and painting it. It really does have a nice leathery texture. What do you think?

Just a few more books to make that need to dry to the next step (and by few I mean 5 of them…I really am quite tired of making books for now. Plus, I’ve used up all the suitable magazines.) 😉 But I did want to try making a few open books (that will be permanently open, displaying their spell or whatevers.)

That’s that then. Time to pack up the books until I’ve finished everything and can start making displays. Next I may move onto polymer clay. I need to try and make mini-bones for curiosities (as hubby has declared purchasing bones from owl pellets gross and a no-go, even if they are sterilized.) Also going to experiment with resin again to make some of the potion jars. That should be interesting. 

Thanks for stopping by. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting! 🙂 

Fantasy Dollhouse (Pt 8): Furnishings

Standard

I finished painting and then “antiquing” all the furnishings this week. Well, I suppose the table isn’t quite done, but everything else. I’m quite pleased with the result. 

The larger chairs (to the left in the photo) aren’t going to end up in this house; I decided they were too big, which is why I made the smaller four. The smaller four also have actual woven seats, which turned out to be easier than expected, and look pretty sharp. The other two pieces I’m really pleased with are side by side to the right of the photo. 

The first is the “curiosity” cabinet, painted in indigo blue and copper highlights. I purchased a gorgeous one…which turned out too tall for the low ceilings in my first floor. So, using the purchased one as inspiration, I made this one completely from scratch out of junk I had in the house. The main body is a plastic container I had (I believe it may have been from the dollar store and held tiny pill trays). The rest (the doors, base, and top) are all made of a combination of matte board, card, lace and beads. But this one is just the right height and is going to look fantastic once it’s filled with interesting bits and bobs. 😉 

The other piece is to the right of the blue curio cabinet, and it’s, well, kind of a hoosier? The drawers on the base all open (constructed with card), the knobs are ugly plastic beads that were also gessoed so they ended up looking like wood, and the open shelves above are matte board. What I like best about this wonky piece is the paint job, with the shades of blue (my wizard evidently likes blue, as everything for the wizard’s potion room / lab has blue incorporated somewhere.) This was also a very loose take on Bermuda painting effect, which was a lot more fun to play with in miniature (ie: and not end up with a real-size piece I wasn’t sure i wanted.) 

That’s it for now. I’m moving on to books and filling all of those shelves, plus digging through my stash to find all the treasures I’ve been accumulating. More pics when there’s more to show you. 😉 

Otherwise, thanks for reading. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting!

Fantasy Dollhouse (Pt 7)

Standard

I started building this dollhouse when my Grandfather became ill and later passed last year, and now I’m working on the furnishings after just losing my Grandmother, two people who meant a huge amount to me. So perhaps some of that love is built into it. 

Fantasy house furnishings: the white stage

Anyway, I’ve been working on building furniture for the house. Full disclosure? Building furniture isn’t my favorite thing to do – I prefer making accessories and the like. But, building small intricate and irritating things has helped to occupy my mind (especially chairs – notice how many of those there are? Not sure if you can see it in the photo, but there are 10.)

I’m a mixed-media kind of gal (ie: I kind of use whatever I have around), so it’s built from a combination of card, cardboard, balsa wood, toothpicks, all kinds of things. Some of the patterns I’ve loosely followed out of books, and others I’ve had to invent since there are some unusual shapes and sizes to fit in the house – like the round tower and the low ceilings. 

Now…it’s all white. Yesterday I finished basically priming it with gesso, which leaves a nice chalky finish, and definitely makes things look more interesting. It also really helps ceil the matt board and card, and gives everything a nice hard surface, plus it preps it better for paint so (ideally) the paint will take consistently over the various surfaces. If I was doing a shabby chic or even ghost house, I might leave it almost as is. I kind of like the white. 😉 

But, the house is probably on the opposite end of the spectrum from shabby chic, and I want COLOR! Lots of color. Most of it will be in rich pseudo-woods, I’m even going to experiment with some interesting effects like Bahama painting (ie: lots of blues). Will definitely post when things start to look a little more interesting very soon. 🙂 

 

Fantasy Dollhouse Pt 6: Adding Life

Standard

I just realized yet again, I haven’t updated this blog with more current photos of progress on the fantasy dollhouse. In my defence, there was the usual insanity of the holiday season coupled with maybe overcommitting myself to volunteering, plus a complete revision of my latest book. You know, the usual. 😉 

Anyway, it took me so long to get the trees and “moss” added that my original intention to get photos became impossible (or at the very least, pretty darned uncomfortable) with the arrival of snow. So, yet again you have to up with pictures in my could-be-tidied-craft room. 

Onto the how: after I finished painting the egg carton shingles and aging the heck out of everything, it looked pretty dull to me. Plus, I’ve fallen in love with the look of moss covered roofs. I’m sure they’re terrible in real life, but this is fantasy, right? I started by splattering lime and greeny-yellow paint lightly over the roof to simulate lichen. I also decided that after all the trouble I’d taken to paint the roof tiles, I didn’t want to completely cover them in moss. From there I added glue and used “Green Grass Fine Turf” (the kind from railroad landscaping supply) and added it to places where moss tends to grow, particularly in gulleys, under the shingles, anywhere it can settle. I also added the occasional lichen since I read evidently, you can even get things like tomato plants growing in the shingles, and that sounded fun. 

Adding the green helped, but I also needed the trees. My original thought on these was that I wanted the trees to actually form the four corners of the building. But, since I like the faux-beams I have, instead I blended the trees into the wood. These are made of a wire armature covered in paper. The final bark, to give it a somewhat smooth maple-like mark was tissue and glue, built up to form the roots. Eventually I’d like to finish the garden in front of the house (it’s about the only place I have room for a garden). But for now, it’s a start. The maple leaves were cut out using a leaf punch out of simple printer paper I painted on both sides with shades ranging from pale green to browns, yellows, and oranges. I decided that this garden is going to simulate the very early autumn season, so not everything has changed colours yet (including the rose bush.) I glued lichen to the ends of each branches to simulate finer branches, and from there added each leaf one by one with tweezers (yes, really.) 

The climbing rose was a new adventure. I’ve never built a vine like this, but chose to build this one similarly to the trees. Which meant starting with a wire armature and building it into “branches” that all connect to a base kind of trunk. I gave it texture by coating in texture paste, then painting deep brown / grey, and dry brushing with greys and greens. I had to use hot-glue to attach it to the tower, since it kept falling down otherwise, and I wasn’t able to achieve the kind of twining look I wanted (as if there really was more roughness to my “stone tower” for the vine to cling to. From there, I again added small pieces of lichen to act as smaller, new growth branches. The roses are all hand sculpted from polymer clay shaded with chalk pastels before baking. Leaves were cut out of printer paper again painted on both sides, but this time in shades of yellows and greens (since I didn’t want it to be too late of autumn.) 

I’m particularly pleased with the climbing rose, since I feel it definitely adds that fantasy element and softens some of the harshness the house can have to set the tone for the right kind of fantasy (ie: not super dark and creepy.) I’ll either move onto the interior next or the garden, but the other houses are definitely feeling (and looking!) neglected, so they may crop up soon. 

What do you think? Any suggestions for what I plant in my magical garden? 

Thanks as always for stopping by. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting!

Fantasy Dollhouse Pt5

Standard

Sorry, I know, there haven’t been many posts lately. Partially because the steps I was working on weren’t all that interesting to show the stages (unless you like looking at painted egg cartons.) 😉 I’ve also been busy since my first paranormal romance book releases this week which is, well, exciting and stressful. 

Finally, though, I have something worth showing you: the basic structure of the house is complete! Last night I finished adding some washes to age and gunk it up. So, it is looking a bit dark and gloomy, no doubt about it. But, that also means it’s almost ready to bring some life to it. I’ll be adding “moss” to the roof, plus two trees on the front section, along with vines and some landscaping that I think will really liven things up. 

The faux-slate shingles are made of egg carton following directions I found over at Treefeathers. Well, mostly following the directions. I confess I didn’t pain the sides and backs of them before I glued them on. I ended up instead covering those lighter edges with my dark wash. I also attached them in two different ways. I started using paper mache, since that worked really well for attaching the bricks and stones to the walls. It didn’t work as well for the shingles, since they weren’t flat and there was an overlap. I ended up switching to the glue-gun, which was fast and easy…fast and easy still meaning it took a couple of sessions to finish gluing them all on. 

The tower roof also still needs a finial on the top, which I’m going to make out of half of a plaster easter egg (we seem to have a lot of those around here.) 😉 I also want to make a weather vane and attach it all in one go, which is why for now, the very top of the tower roof isn’t quite finished off. 

I’ve made the two trees for the front, or at least, their rough forms which are currently under-painted black (I haven’t had a chance to begin any of the dry-brushing. I think I’m going to set the exterior to be very late summer / early autumn to allow for some yellowed leaves in the trees, just for some variety in colour, and because I didn’t want them all bare and skeletal. My intention for the house has never been to have it all dark and gloomy, but more of a fantasy-type witch house, not scary. Harry Potter-level witch / wizard, if that makes sense. 

Okay, I think that’s about all I have to say this time. I hope your projects have been going well. Any questions or comments? As always, thanks for stopping by and reading. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting!

Fantasy Dollhouse pt4

Standard

Have you ever reached that point in a project when you’re starting to wonder when it will EVER be done?? That’s about where I’m headed on the fantasy dollhouse. I mean, I’m relatively happy with how it’s turning out, but I’ve been working on it for what seems like forever (in reality, something like around two and a half months, I think.)

Anyway, enough whining. This week I tackled the roof, something I’ve been dreading basically since deciding to build the darned thing. While walls aren’t quite as difficult (generally straight lines), the roof requires angles and pitches, and a lot of things that are likely far beyond me. Now, I already had the general angle of the roof from the gable ends (all required height to still fit beneath that shelf.) The catches were plenty: 

  1. a LOT of different gables / angles;
  2. Creation of the eyelash window (think that’s what it’s called);
  3. The tower roof, which was a whole other issue, because I also decided I want this removable…mostly because I don’t think I’ll be able to open the back access door for the top floor of the tower without otherwise creating an extremely complicated roof, and from what you can see, I’d already basically done that for the main house. 😉 
  4. the expanse of the roof, which nixxed my idea to use a kind of wood planks all the way across (I had nothing long enough);  
  5. The chimney / fireplace on the second floor which also houses the battery pack for the lights – and therefore needs to be removable (nothing like making my life easier, right?) 😉 
  6. The low clearance height of the second floor, which means I wanted the front portion of the roof to open for better access. 
I know I want to go with a faux-slate roof using egg cartons (the slates being something I haven’t begun to manufacture yet either.) So taking all this into consideration, I went with a black foam-core for the main structure. At least it was still light, but ironically, after using the material for most of the rest of the house, it wasn’t my first choice in this situation. Oh, well. It was what I had, and it works, which is basically how most materials were decided. 😉 Seriously though, it was also still lightweight while relatively strong (it could handle the expanse with the support of a very small central square dowel that runs the length of the house from the two main gable ends.) The main roof was a bit fiddly, especially fitting in and around the tower itself, and while I did try measuring and figuring out the angles…some of it I ended up just snipping and clipping until it fit, and plan to get a tighter fit once it’s secured and I’m moving onto the actual “slate” roofing material. 
 
The eyelash window was the next issue. I created this starting with a bamboo skewer, which could run the length from the central dowel beam out to the end of the window. That at least would establish the general height of the little window’s dormer-style roof. From there, I used a mix of thin cardboard (like cereal box weight) and construction paper to run lengths and widths, alternating which direction they went to weave a little dome-shape over the window and tie it into the main roof. I then covered this in small pieces of a tissue-paper / wood glue mache, and once it was dry it’s surprisingly rigid despite being very thin and light. 
 
The tower roof. Ah, the tower roof. So, this one I tried to be all technical and use perfectly measured and angled pieces customized for each and every wall section of the octagon…which was great until I went to assemble it, and it didn’t sit how I wanted. At which point I trimmed down all the pieces, and pieced them together using the glue gun. It is still quite custom – the front piece always has to line up with the front wall section (the one with the window in it.) 
 
After that, I’ve coated pretty much everything in the tissue-paper / wood glue mache mix to cover the edges of the foam core, add some ridgity (hopefully), and otherwise smooth out the shapes to prep it for the next steps. The undersides I’ve used the same treatement, only applying the tissue especially roughly to give the illusion of render / plaster. Once everything is nice and dry, it’s time to paint both sides (the top will remain black / dark grey as a base for the slate.) I also need to attach the thick piece of fabric ribbon to the two main roof sections to create a hinge, and paint it to camoflauge. After that, it’s time to install the permanently adhered pieces of roof (the front section of roof that goes over the eyelash window), get my faux slate all painted and ready, then finish the roof off. Because of how well using a paper-mache mix worked when I applied the egg carton bricks / render to the walls, I want to use it again for the roof. I found it did a nicer job than glue because the mache mix soaked into the egg carton making it harder, plus creating a stronger bond with very little effort (ie: none of that standing there holding it until it stuck in the position I wanted it.) 
 
So, what do you think?? Any suggestions? 
 
Thanks for stopping by, and remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room. Happy crafting!

Fantasy Dollhouse Project Pt3

Standard

So I’ve been working some more on the dollhouse whenever I have a chance. Although I’m not posting pictures of how far I’ve come, this weekend I’m supposed to pretend I have any clue what I’m doing and give the structure a roof. Under normal circumstances, this isn’t my strong suit. And this particular roof is a complicated best. Will post whenever it’s finally done. 🙂 

But I have accomplished finishing some other projects that I’m quite pleased with. The staircase and the second floor fireplace. 

I’ve posted two pictures of the staircase – unpainted, and painted. You know, this was one of those projects that actually turned out much better than expected. It’s contructed of various guages of wire, paper, facial tissue, a cheap plastic fan, and a dowel in the center. I then coated the wire lightly with texture paste before painting to give it a rougher “bark” texture, as my original idea was that the staircase was “growing” out of a tree. Once painted, it got a few touches of “moss” (green landscaping flocking) along with some flowersoft flowers. I took lots of photos, because actually, once in the house, it’s not super visible. But at least I know I could make another now!

Next up was the fireplace. Another challenge, as I wanted to conceal the battery back that powers the string of LED lights somewhere, and thought the chimney was a good solution. But because of the low height of the chimney (the entire house has to fit beneath that shelf, remember?), it meant I didn’t have a lot of room. My solution is a fireplace / chimney combo that slides over the battery compartment (which is velcroed to the inside of the chimney wall) and can be removed if / when I need to change the batteries. Fortunately, I can reach up into the fireplace to turn on the lights, which means I won’t have to keep taking it off (which is GREAT, since it’s a bit finicky getting it back on – you need to line up with the back wall, plus then fit overtop of the fitted LED that pokes through the fireplace hearthstone. 

The next photo shows the fireplace looking a lot less pink. 😉 I used cheap airdry clay from the DollarTree, and as a consequence, my color choices were pretty limited, and hot pink it was. I’m posting a picture a bit early, as I haven’t finished dirtying up the fireplace, nor have I created the “fire” for inside, but that’s up next. 🙂 

So, what do you think? 

As always, thanks for stopping by and visiting. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room!

Fantasy Dollhouse Pt2

Standard

 I’ve been working on the fantasy dollhouse some more this past weekend. And yes, there’s only one picture – but lots of progress, really (though no pictorial proof.) 

Here’s an updated photo. You can see that I’ve actually stood the walls now, and there’s a lot more colour than there used to be. At some point, particularly when the body of the house is finished, I’d like to take it outside for a pretty photo. But for the first time, I wanted to check to ensure the house would fit where it’s supposed to. 

You see, this will be full-size dollhouse number 4 in 1/12 scale…and that’s if you don’t count the three other shops. 😉 

The tower

You can see the tower is looking a lot less cardboard-tub-ish. 😉 The “stones” are egg-carton pieces, that’s then been “grouted” in using joint compound mixed with acrylic paint. The rest of the door is made of foam core covered in tissue. The door itself is foam core with thing cardboard (think cereal box) planks. The support for the third floor (which I’m still deciding whether it will exist or not…the shape is a little unwieldy), those are made out of foam core and an air dry foam-clay. 

The windows

I had fun making these windows, even if the fumes probably weren’t awesome. These are made out of translucent pony-beads that I melted in shape on the BBQ. They have chicken wire melted in with them to give the leading. The upper window is pieces of wire to create more of a stained-glass-effect. The down-side? They’re not super clear, so you can’t see right through them. But, I like how they look like the really old blown glass. You sometimes still see in London pubs (I can’t remember the darned name!)

The house body

The timbers are foam-core that’s been stripped of it’s paper and then textured using a wire brush before painting. The bricks are also egg carton, while the render is paper-mache. 

I was relieved to see that the house does indeed fit in it’s proscribed hole (hubby even had to cut down the above shelf to give it a bit more room. And that’s part of why I had the tower rise so much higher…since it could. 

I also constructed the spiral staircase which I wanted to look kind of like a tree holding the steps (because we couldn’t do things the easy way, could we??) Plus, I’ve been working on the “beams” to support the second floor. These also need to be hollow so that I could lay a tiny LED light strand for ambient light. Besides that, despite not burning myself all this time…I managed to get a blister after a glue-gun burn for the first time last night. *Head-palm.*

Heres to more construction…and more remembering that the HOT glue-gun is indeed hot. 😉 

So, what do you think? Think I should have that third floor up on the tower (it’s built, a timbered-type-construction)?

Thanks for reading, and happy creating. And remember: what happens in the craft room, stays in the craft room!