Saturday, February 28, 2009
I am currently digging through my different stashes to find bits and bobs for the cottage. I found this bunch of stuff in with my mini fashion supplies. I think that some of it has possibilities. It's just another pile to sort. The two watches on top are the ones that April gave me yesterday. She says that I gave them to her. I am kind of chickening out when it comes to tearing them apart. It seems a shame since they both still work. Oh well, they were Wal Mart's best for around five dollars. That was many years ago. It just goes to show that you don't have to spend a lot of money to get a good watch or at least one that runs a long time. And just think. No batteries to replace!
See you tomorrow.
Friday, February 27, 2009
A little later I had another person join the followers list. It was my kidnapping daughter. I think that I had better welcome her if I want to be kidnapped again any time soon! She doesn't have a blog. Come on in, April. Today was fun! Welcome to the party!
At the first thrift shop that we went to, I found this for a dollar. It is a little book called"A Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools". It was published in 1963. The amazing part is the illustrations. Someone painted hundreds of them in full color.
Nikki, if you need some friends for your new mushroom men, just yell! There are some fantastic looking mushrooms in this book. I will be happy to scan some of the pages for you.
They are "Take a Seat" chairs. They are resin cast. I again paid 1.00 each......The last time I saw them at a miniature show, I think that they were about 15.00 each. The director's chair even has the texture of the canvas on the red part. There is a rolled up script in the pocket on the side. The other one is labeled Patio chair. They both have all of the original tags on them. I am jumping up and down almost as much as Carolyn! I found chairs! They are sitting on the mushroom/toadstool book in the photo.
I just want to say thanks to April for the kidnapping! It was fun. I only had to pay $3.00!
Now more about the lights. I found a couple more to fuss with and then I built another one from scratch. I have worked on one of these, but I will probably add more as soon as I tear the two watches that April gave me into little pieces. I finally have a few cog wheels and other little parts to play with. The one that I worked on only has some 26 gage, brass wire wound around parts of it so far. I think that the shade needs something.
This is the one that I scratch built on another one of the picture hangers. It is just starting to get interesting. I need to build some kind of shade for it still.
I used mostly parts from that batch of broken jewelry that I bought the other day.
So much for the works in progress. I am going to stop working on them for a day or two and finish Carolyn's chair. As soon as that is finished, I will get back to the Glencroft.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I dug through my electrical supplies and found a 5 light transformer that I didn't remember buying. That worked for testing what I was building. Actually, the first thing I did was rework a brass Houseworks chandelier. The silly thing has been in my stash since the 1980s when someone gave it to me.
First I tried wrapping the copper wiring tape around it. That too, was from the 80s. I never used it for wiring. It was from a foray that I took into real stained glass. A couple of classes and lots of cuts on my hands later, I decided that I would rather do miniatures. I always use round wire for minis, so the tape just sat in the electrical drawer. It still might stick to something else, but it definitely doesn't stick to shiny brass now.
Next, I pulled out the paints. Here's what I have so far. I am going to make black shades for the five lights. I am still debating knocking down more of the shiny brass. Maybe an antiquing wash. Anyway, it still lights after all these years. Yes. Those are the original bulbs.
I lost interest in that. Next I took up these. I spotted this package of "Professional" picture hangers.....I didn't know that picture hangers could be amateur. I guess the way that I usually hang pictures by pounding a nail in the wall would be considered amateurish. So now we know. If you want to be a professional picture hanger, you must use these fancy brass thingies.
If you will notice, the label on the package says that they won't damage your walls......I'm not sure how they figure that. The nails that come in the set are bigger than the regular ones that I use to hang things. But being an amateur, what do I know?
These will never be used to hang a picture, so what do I care? I am turning them upside down, doing some bending and using them for the body of wall sconces. First I bent the hook out straight. Then I bent the end with the little half round half balls up at a right angle. The little black dot that you see in the middle of each one is the hole for that big ol' nail that won't damage your wall. It goes straight through, so the wire leads from the bulbs can be fed through said hole.
This is my first try. I just wanted to see what I could co with some wire. I used #18 copper and #26 brass. The larger the number, the smaller the gauge. I never quite understood why they do that with needles, threads and wire. It seems like the wire should have a smaller number if it is smaller wire. That's just my twisted logic.
This first one isn't perfect, but they will get better. I have lots of the picture hangers and lots of wire. This is another case of "Practice, practice, practice!" That's really only about 1 1/4" long. The darker wire in the center is exactly the same as the top wire. It just looks darker because of no light behind it. The copper spiral at the bottom continues up and does a serpentine design up the back of the sconce.
I am going back and do some more mad experimentation now. I think I will try making the next one look like a miniature slinky around the bulb. An orange stick should work to shape it. Wish me luck.
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Here's a close up of a few of the items. The gold circle pin is some kind of fine mesh. The bangle bracelet has two beautiful little cameos dangling from it that are about a quarter inch tall. The link bracelet in front of that actually has an aged bronze with some green stuff "growing" on the back....You know. When something has been left in moisture the copper particles turn color. It looks like it could be pretty old. The silver necklace with the scroll work is a complete necklace, but the finish has worn off, leaving it a very dull metal. Can you tell that I am a little excited with the find? I am.
Last night Walter came in from the garage with a remote control that no longer has a TV to control...It was in pieces. He is always on the lookout for parts for my mad experiments. I got lots of little pieces from the inside of that too. I am on a roll.
When I got home with the gesso this morning, I started priming and sealing the house. Sasha asked yesterday, in a comment, what kind of primer I use on my houses. Gesso is my weapon of choice. I have used it since art classes in college. It goes onto wood kind of uneven and streaky looking. The wood soaks it up, giving it a lasting seal. If you have never used it, I guess I should go into a little more detail. Nowadays it is acrylic. The kind that I use is about the consistency of toothpaste. You have to use a fairly stiff brush to spread it. The nice thing about it is that it fills in all of the little imperfections in the wood. The ceiling of the living room and the dinning room looked like that particular piece of wood had worm holes in it. Seriously! Now you couldn't tell that they were there. It also fills in some of the tab and slot areas if they aren't to big. It can also be laid on more heavily to look like plaster.
It doesn't always look like it covered well after the first coat, but if it's painted with the gesso it is sealed. After one coat, I lightly sand. Usually that is enough to get it ready to either paint or paper. Needless to say, I have a long, long way to go.
I found a website a few days ago that has some really neat Steampunk Wallpapers for your computer screen. I had trouble choosing the one that I liked best. It really puts me in the mood to work on the house. If you would like one, go here. http://steampunkwallpaper.com/ There are about 130 different ones to choose from and they are already in different sizes for full screen or wide screen.
Now I have to try go back to work. This morning Tessie introduced Reggie to the dragon of choice.... They keep buzzing my head! Who's got the fly swatter?
See you tomorrow!
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
This morning I am juggling housework(real) and housebuilding(Glencroft). It's not much fun. I want to be doing all housebuilding and zero housework.
For some reason, the only way that the dark piece that you see would fit was inside out.....That is the uncut side of the board. I really had to fight to get those into place.
It looks like I am going to have to find a new tenant for the Glencroft. Reggie announced last night that he wants to become a basket maker! Sure he does. I am extremely suspicious......He has moved into the vacant Basketmaker's cottage. I don't really believe he wants to learn a new trade.
He swears that he has given up the Steampunk life. He's sleeping on the alcove seat.....At least that's where he says he is sleeping.
I caught him going into the cottage this morning.....Tessie was on her doorstep waving to him. Hmmmmm...... A little suspicious, I would say. They both say that they are just good friends.
Still later I caught this photo. It's kind of blurry because they were going to fast for me to catch a good shot.
Reggie has left the Steampunk motorcycle in the Glencroft. He has taken to riding double with Tessie. So far she won't let him drive. I have a feeling that I am going to have to mediate sooner or later. Perhaps that is not a good idea. I don't think I want to be caught in the middle when the two of them start bickering.
So far, it is working to my advantage. The quiet is bliss. I don't even mind the roar of a motorcycle around the living room. I should be able to finish the weaving and trim on the wicker chair for the contest. Let's just hope that they are having a good time! I am going back to work.
See you tomorrow.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I have made lots of great new friends by writing this blog. I have decided to celebrate. I can't send everyone gifts, so I have decided to do one of those infernal drawings that everyone but the winner dislikes.
I went to the basket maker's shop this morning and stole the chair that he was working on. You may ask why in the world would I give an unfinished chair as a prize? It's simple. The person that wins it gets to pick out the fabric for the cushions. That way it will match the room where you want to display it.
We have to have some rules for the drawing. First of all, please don't try to enter by leaving a comment! Instead, go to E-Mail Me, on the left, poke that and write to me there. All that you have to do to be entered into the drawing is put the title of my very first entry in the subject line of the E mail...... I will give you a couple of clues. It's in the archives and is today's date a year ago. Also, remember that the earliest entries are at the bottom of the page. How hard can that be? One entry per person!!!!!!!
I will give you until midnight on the 26th to send me an E mail. Then I will have an impartial participant(my husband) draw a name from all of the entries. I will contact that person to get their snail mail addy and to let them choose the fabric for the chair.
Let the game begin! I will see you all tomorrow.
I assume that I am supposed to do the same thing that she did upon receiving it. Rules are simple: list 5 of addictions and list 5 bloggers who I think are fabulous.
BTW, I look nothing like the lady in the award and I have cats.....
OK. Five addictions. 1. Miniatures. 2. Blogs. 3. Chocolate. 4. More chocolate. 5 Anything that strikes my fancy at any given moment. Right now it's Steampunk.
Now for five blogs.....It is really hard to choose. I think that I will just close my eyes and draw names from a hat.
1. Tiffany at Mini Mischief http://minimischief.blogspot.com/
2. Debbie at Tiny Treasures http://debbiestinytreasures.blogspot.com/
3. Nikki at Witch and Wizard Miniatures http://nikkinikkinikki72.blogspot.com/
4. Katie at Katie's Clay Corner http://katiesclaycorner.blogspot.com/
5. Gina at More Minis @ Blogspot http://moreminis.blogspot.com/
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Then I dug up one of the interior doors to trace on the side of the wall. I cut it out. It is a bit rough in spots. Thank goodness this house begs for trims. Mind you, I had to cut the door out while standing on my head, balancing on one hand and clutching an Exacto knife between my teeth..... Not really. It was pretty easy because I could still pop the window piece out and start the sawing there. I used a combination of coping saw and keyhole saw for that. The coping saw is good for doing the curves. The keyhole makes faster work of the straight sides and bottom.
I also had to make the window above that into a doorway. I cut it up to six inches. I know....Low door. It will be a bookcase when I finish. It will either slide or swing to reveal the workroom. I haven't decided which it will be yet.
I took this close up in the middle of cutting the doorway so that you could see my method of turning corners without breaking saw blades. See the tiny hole in the top left corner? I did that with a couple of swipes of the Exacto. That gives me enough room to change direction with the keyhole saw.
Just looking at it, I am wondering if I could do a pivoting bookcase on a center axis. Maybe that would be even easier than the other two. I always loved the ones in the movies that did that. Hmmmmmm........The wheels are turning now. No pun intended. I want this house to have all kinds of gadgets.
Back to the dreams of dumbwaiters. I decided that it would go in the corner of the kitchen. It will be two feet square. Translate that to inches. I sometimes think in feet rather than inches. It is easier for me to think real house sizes and then work it out in inches after the fact.
The dumbwaiter will sit inside the walls that are already established. I will only need the two interior walls. Here you see where it will be. It will sit on the floor/base so that the ceiling lines match. I simply took the outside piece once again and traced the roof line from that.
I know it looks funny, but "Trust me. I know what I'm doing.". That has always been a favorite phrase of mine when I am teaching classes. Invariably there will be one Doubting Thomas in every class. I may have done the same thing a hundred times, but the person in question has never done it, therefore it can't be done. My friends tease me about it, but they know that, when I use that phrase, I do know what I am doing. So.....Trust me. There will be a working dumbwaiter in that corner of the kitchen when I am done.
I am also thinking that there should be some kind of communication system between the rooms. At first I thought of the old fashioned bells on cords system, but the guy that owns this house will have none of that nonsense. He will invent something better. I hear that there is a system where the people can actually speak through tubes nowadays! I am going to have to look into that.
Excuse me whilst I go hunt for that on the new steam powered computer that I just purchased.
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
I went to put away the huge mess that I made with the paints. When I returned this is what I found.....
Now Tessie wants goggles and an aviator's helmet too....I don't think that she has any idea what either of the items are, but they sound cool and Reggie needs them to ride the bike. She is demanding an "equal opportunity". She heard that phrase during the presidential elections and has been using it since when she wants something that someone else has or is getting.
I guess that we know what I will be doing for the rest of the day. Goggles??? Aviator helmets??? We'll have two of each please. So much for building a house today.
See you tomorrow.
Jean Day of Jean Day Miniatures http://jdayminis.blogspot.com/ just signed on as a follower. I almost feel like I know this one. Hers is one of the websites that I have visited many times over the years. She has lots of wonderful minis for sale and some wonderful printables too. Be sure to go over to her regular website as well as the blog.
Come on in and Welcome, Jean! Glad to have you here.
Friday, February 20, 2009
He also may become the older uncle of a younger Steampunk man. He seemed to want gray hair and a beard. That could always change tho. He could change his mind about the gray and wash it away. You just never know........
See you tomorrow.
It is kind of spooky to see him like this.......I started working on the house and(let's call him Daniel for the time being. On one of the websites for name meanings the definition was "Ruler of the world".) started walking around and criticising the workmanship. "There are too many cracks. Where's the roof? What is that sloppy part over there going to be?" On that last one, he was refering to the kitchen addition.
I have dry fitted the rest of the walls. You can't tell it from this photo, but some of the walls are kind of warped. I had it stored flat so I know that it wasn't my fault. Anyway, it was a struggle to get some of the walls to go together. They are goint to have to be tightly clamped when I glue them for real. All in all, it's a great kit, but there are a few drawbacks. I did have to adjust the size of a couple of the tabs that were too long to fit in the matching slots. I think that it is going to look great when I finish. It's just the getting there that is the hard part.
I have to get back to work, but before I go, one last photo. Daniel is an inventor, writer and adventurer. He got bored and in his condition he can't go too far. He did manage to make it into the wilds of the workroom. He came back with this. Yes, another motorcycle. He won't be outdone by a mere girl like Tessie.
He has declared it unusable and ugly in it's present condition. He demands that I finish him and provide a tool kit. He wants to Steampunk the thing. Here we go again. How is it that I always seem to make friends with the unruley ones?
You may notice that he looks like I already slit his throat. I didn't. I was tempted after an hour with him, but I didn't. I made him so that his head can turn. It will be covered by his collar. It was an experiment that worked! I need to get him done fast and get him out of my hair!
See you later if I finish him. If not, I may lock him in a closet and wait for tomorrow to come.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
She was standing in the corner that I put together yesterday. She had the magic hammer in hand. Not again! I politely asked her to go home. She, not so politely, told me that that guy that was in the photos yesterday was "Not at all photogenic!". She informed me that I shouldn't "let him out of his cage" until he actually looked like a man. She then spouted a laundry list of what he should look like and how he should be dressed. In other words, she wants me to make her a dream man of her own......I don't think that will happen. I have plans for a live-in housekeeper. Tessie is definitely not qualified.
I haven't asked Tessie yet. Maybe I should be quiet about it until time to move. I don't want her following me around nagging.
I guess that, since I have a new helper on the job, I should get back at it and keep a close eye on her. She can wreck faster than I can build.
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
This is what it looked like after I got done. The pile on the left is allllllllll waste! The pile on the right is the house. What a shame that they can't figure out a better way to lay them out so that not so much waste is left.
I think that Greenleaf needs to sharpen their cutters. Some of those pieces weren't even half way through. I had one piece that wouldn't cut by hand. I finally got my jigsaw out. That even bound up with the cutting. I don't know what the middle ply of the wood was, but I think they slipped in some iron for Steampunk purposes.
Anyway, this morning I decided that I needed help. I got out the chenille stems and went to work. On the left you see the bare stems. I double them for strength. They are 12" long, so when they are bent in half and their toes turned up, they are just right for a 6 foot man in mini.
After that I cut off the end of his arms and wrapped him in floral tape. All I had was green. He looks a little alien so far. He will get better(I hope.)
The reason for cutting off his arms is when I sculpt the lower arms and hands I don't want the wire to poke through the flat hand part.
I went and rummaged through my stuff and found a 5/8" wooden bead. I am going to try this for a head form this time. Yup. He's still green.
After that I covered the head with Fimo and started sculpting. If you are interested in learning to make dolls, go to this Addy on U tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xo4COOhPk3k It is Jodie Creager with excerpts of their video on sculpting faces. She explains the process much better than I could. Her doll is bigger and easier to see too. There are 5 sections to the lesson. It is really a valuable lesson.
By the way, those aren't the guy's bare feet. Those are my fingers holding him up.
When I finished sculpting I stuck his head in the oven. No. Not murder. I was bringing him to life. I feel like Frankenstein when I do this.......
He still doesn't have any arms, legs, hair or clothes, but he is already starting to look like something. And I fear that he is going to be another one of those people that like to stick his nose into the building of his house. He looks so pathetic sitting there with nothing but a frame. I have to get him done soon!
I have one piece of the foundation glued to the side of the house. The next pieces are an odd corner. I finally figured out that they don't go in flat, like the diagram looks. They are an inward corner. I am waiting for them to dry. Then the first two walls will be raised. Hey! At least it's a start!
I have to go to Wednesday Mini Witches later, so there will be plenty of time for the first part to dry.
I hear him calling me. He needs a name, a body and some clothes. Poor man! I have to go work on him some more before I leave.
See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
I am not so sure that I want to know! See that little tiny square of sandpaper laying on the many pages of directions? It is that with which they expect you to finish off all of those hundreds of parts. Yeah. Sure. That will do it.......Plus about 17 more sheets of various weights. That one quarter sheet is #280. It should last about 3 minutes.
Under the pages of directions, I found a double sheet that was titled "The Instruction Warm-up Sheet". If I had never done this before, that alone would scare me to pieces. Just think of the poor people that chose this as their first dollhouse. Instructions for what to do before you read the real instructions? Ummmmm.....Close the box quickly and shove it back under the bed before something weird jumps out.
Under that, I found 11 sheets of shingles that I will have to break apart and then I won't be happy. Knowing about me and shingles, they will at least have to be cut into quarters. I know. I could save a lot of time by slapping those on the roof the way that they are. No way. I like little shingles. That's 4 times as much work, but it has to be done for me to be happy. When do we get to the fun part?
OK. Move the shingles aside. Oh look! More not quite fun stuff. There are 14, count 'em, 14 sheets of punch out pieces.....And there aren't very many BIG pieces. One quarter sheet of sandpaper and 14 sheets of plywood? What's wrong with this picture? I wonder if I could tie sandpaper to Mookie's feet and let him run across the pieces? I guess not. He just ran and hid. He's under the bed, now that there is room.
To make matters worse, I have to figure out what all of these little parts are and label them. I will probably misplace at least half of them before this is over.
Now down to the fun part. I can never leave well enough alone. I kept looking at the photo on the box. I shouldn't have done that. I kept thinking that it should have 3 rooms on the first floor and 3 on the second.....Yup. I got out the quad rule and here's what I came up with. There will be an extension on what I call the kitchen side. If I had a place to put it when I'm done, I thought of a way to do the other end too.
The extension will be the kitchen. The original kitchen will be a dining room. The living room will stay a living room.
Upstairs the extension will be the bath. It has to be over the kitchen for pluming purposes. The middle room will be the bedroom and the room by the stairs will be the workroom and study.
That is at least the plan today. Years ago, I did a Harrison that had a secret passage from the billiard room up to the maid's room. The man of the house was not always a gentleman.... I am trying to figure out how to work a couple of secret passages into this one. So far, it is too small. We shall see. I don't know if I should tell you if and when I work it out. Then it wouldn't be a secret. As the saying goes, "If I tell you, I will have to shoot you!". Well maybe nothing that drastic.
I am now going to go back to the torture chamber and start labeling little tiny pieces, half of which, I will probably lose, replace with something else or not use at all. Wish me luck.
See you tomorrow.