Thursday, September 30, 2010
It's very hard to concentrate on what I am doing with Tessie sitting on the roof peak, loudly singing a medley from "Fiddler on the Roof". She realllllly likes "If I Were a Rich Man". Over and over....
I stopped about two courses of shingles on the other side to write this. I couldn't take the serenading any longer. Zar was about to join in when I left.
I need lots of reference points for doing a Russian cottage, so I went straight to the source.
April majored in Russian and has been over there a few times. Being the good daughter that she is, she always knows what to bring back for me. These are just some of the books that she brought back. The two on the left are on Russian cottages and patterns for the intricate trim that goes around the windows and doors. The two on the right are on Russian needlework. They will all be useful for decorating this house. Tessie had her nose buried in them all of yesterday evening. And yes, she was humming a lot......We know what that means. She really liked what she was seeing.
She has used a whole pad of post-it notes to mark things that she wants incorporated into the cottage. The cottage is nowhere near big enough to hold everything that she marked.
Yesterday, I was thinking that I should "age" the shingles and other areas of the cottage sooner or later. Tessie and I put our heads together and she concocted an old recipe for ageing that has been around for years. I let her do it. I didn't want to get involved. It is nasty stuff while it is brewing.
If you try this at home. Please do it outside and with a bottle that you don't want to keep....In other words, don't use Grandma Daisy's cut glass punch bowl.....She won't be happy with the resultant stains.
I am sure that there is an exact recipe for this somewhere, but I usually just pull apart enough of a roll of steel wool to fit into the bottle and then pour vinegar over it to cover. It can always be watered down later.
The vinegar reacts with the steel wool and turns it black. That, in turn, makes the vinegar into a stain.
Tessie just informed me, "I did the important part. I put the stuff together. You have to fish the steel wool out of the bottle. I don't want to get my apron dirty."
Why do I always get the dirty jobs? I am going to mess with her head and just pour the vinegar solution off into another bottle. Ha! I win!
The Shaker peg in front is what I tested it with. At the bottom you see the raw wood. The center gray part is what it looked like yesterday and the top part is what another coat of it did this morning. I think it is pretty close to what I want.
By the way, if you try this, be aware that it expands and smells icky. The liquid bubbles up and overflows the bottle if it is too full. The white foam on the top of the bottle in the picture is the result. I did have it too full at one point and it overflowed. I am doing it on a glass top table outside, so the overflow will wipe right off. Be very careful!
The resultant liquid is great for aging, but the mess that you create if you aren't careful can be really irritating and sometimes impossible to clean up. Do it at your own risk!
I am going back and play with shingles now.
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
This is what I saw.....Tessie was in one of her "I'd rather do it by hand." moods.
The puffing and panting was from the strain of moving a house on her back....Yes. You heard me. On her back!
She managed to put it down without wrecking it. Then she turned to glare at me and announced, " This house is already started. It is small. And it will work! I want a tiny house. This is a tiny house. It is 8 X 13 on the ground floor. That's 104 square feet/inches."
She said all of this while climbing over all of the spare parts for the house that were conveniently stored on the ground floor.
This is one of the kits that Greenleaf put out for their annual contest a few years ago. This is as far as I got....
Attention span problem.....What attention span. I don't have one.
Anyway, I thought it would make a good Russian country cottage at the time.
I put the onion dome shape on the roof. It was originally just a round arch shape. I got the roof on and some of the shingles on one side then something distracted me. It may even have been something to do with real life....Who knows?
Tessie immediately started making plans this morning.
See the space that she is sitting in, on the second floor? That's where the bed will go.
Her arm is on the roof line. In the daytime, the bed will be stored in the crawl space. It will be pulled out at night. That way, more space during the day.
I cut the side out of the bottom floor. When I stopped, I think that I was going to put a fireplace/kitchen area there. The chimney will be outside the wall. I have a photo somewhere of a real Russian cottage that is arranged that way. It only adds a couple more feet to the end of the house. Maybe another 8 to 10 square feet.
After Tessie rested from dragging the house around, she went back and found my file on Russian houses.
It looks like there will be no room for argument. At least not until she realizes how very small this house is compared to the townhouse.
I am going to try to do a bit on both houses every day. That way when she changes her mind again, and she will, I will be ahead of the game.
This is the plan so far. Wish me luck! I am going to need it.....Please don't remind her about the Magnolia that is hiding under the bed....
See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This morning I picked up a copy of Country Victorian at Walmart and started looking through it. I was curious because it is the "Winter 2011" issue. Seems to be a bit early??? Am I wrong or does 2011 start January 1st?
Anyway, I found an article that I just plain couldn't resist.
I brought it home and looked through the rest of the magazine. I am not much of a fan of Victorian decor. Too fancy for me. However, this issue had a lot of shabby chic in it, so it was OK.
I searched and found the article that I had bought it for and as I was flipping the pages, Tessie appeared and asked, "Whatcha' looking at?"
I tried to hide it. Didn't work. She insisted on looking over my shoulder. The house has a bed in a loft on one side. A whole library in the roof line on the other side. It is a studio space for the lady that owns it. She did most of the remodeling herself. There doesn't appear to be any place for cooking, but other than that, it is really beautifully done and I could see it in miniature.
Tessie started to purr. She has this way of humming under her breath when she sees something that she likes. That's just the start. It works up to a bad case of the "I want"s in just a short time.
Here is what I found. The house in question is exactly 10 feet by 9 feet. In Tessie's world, that translates to 10 inches by 9 inches!
She immediately started Oh-ing and Ah-ing over every photo. The "I want"s started and didn't stop for about 15 minutes.....Then they were silenced and the "Can you make"s took over.
I looked on and waited until she started with the "I need" section of her performance.
I glared at her and said, "No, Tessie. I have to finish the townhouse and the clockwork cottage."
Then the usual round of "No you don't." "Yes I do." "No you don't." "Yes I do." went on for a while.
She disappeared. I was relieved. It was short lived.
She came back and exclaimed, "You hid the book!"
This is the book in question. I didn't hide it. It is indeed a tiny book. I went all over the house looking for it. It is hiding in between or behind some larger books somewhere.
The reason that Tessie wants to find it is, there is a floor plan in it that almost duplicates the house in the article.
If you can find this book anywhere, it is wonderful. I have had it since 1993 when it first appeared on the scene. I have always wanted to make some of the tiny h0uses that are in it. I just looked and Alibris has it. http://www.alibris.com/booksearch.detail?invid=10400974558&keyword=The+Tiny+Book+of+Tiny+Houses&qwork=6709832&qsort=&page=1
These are real houses and each has floor plans and measurements. All of them would be great for people that have a limited area for displaying minis.
Tessie is pushing me for a summer cottage in the woods like the one in the magazine. So far, I am holding out.....
Please help me. I really don't need another project. Somebody distract Tessie, so that I can run away and hide now!
See you tomorrow.
Monday, September 27, 2010
Tessie and friends are still partying. They didn't invite me, so I am doing laundry and in between loads, cleaning the workroom.....Trying anyway.
As I was putting things away, I found an unopened package of four turned legs. I put them in the "wood to be put away" pile and went about my business.
Then I found an 8" length of molding. It also went into the "wood to be put away" pile.
It was fate. How could I fight it when I found a scrap of 3/32" bass wood just big enough for a table top, with just a smidgen of trimming.
So much for cleaning. I left the legs long. They were 2 1/2" to be specific. I took the eight inch piece of molding and cut it into four pieces. Two pieces were 2 3/4" long and two were 1 1/4" long.
I glued the legs and the molding together for the bottom of the table. I used the gluing jig to hold them in place until they were dry. Oh. I forgot to say that I stained all of the pieces before gluing.
I then cut a piece for the top that was 3 1/2" by 2". I sanded the top and rounded the top edges with an emery board. That was stained too.
When the bottom assembly was dry, I flipped the top on its front and clued the legs and skirt piece to the center back.
I then sprayed the whole thing with Deft semi gloss varnish.
I need to sand it and spray again. I thought that I would show you what it looks like now, because it is getting late.
I had to drag Tessie out of the party to pose with the table. She refused to let go of the half eaten pumpkin cookie. She said, "If I give you the cookie, you'll eat it. Stay away from my cookies!!!" So we took the photo, cookie and all.
I have to go back now and either sand and spray the table or clean the workroom some more.....Guess which activity I am voting for?
See you tomorrow.
Sunday, September 26, 2010
As I left, to told Tessie that I would see if I could scare up the makings for Bug Beer and some cookies.
She said that would be good if I could find a large supply, especially of the bug beer.
I headed out and found what I was looking for in that little bargain section at the front of the Target stores. They have the Halloween stuff in the dollar bins now. I grabbed a bag of Halloween pencils. That's all Tessie needs.
When I got home, I sat my little power saw to cut about half inch slices off of the pencils and went to work. I won't let Tessie use the saw. I fear that she would wind up cutting off a foot. She isn't always too careful.
I cut up two pencils for a start. The polka dot one, I just cut into the half inch slices. I was a little more selective with the other one, but it was still easy. The pencils happened to have designs on them that were about a half inch tall with a bit of plain color in between. I just cut that part out.
All together, I got 18 cans out of the two pencils. There will be a large supply of others if she runs out.
I doubled pieces of painter's tape with the sticky side out and stuck the cans to it. That made it very simple to paint the ends of the cans without having to pick each one up. I got out the silver paint and dabbed some paint on them.
After they were dry, I stuck them together in six packs. I know there are very few six packs around anymore, but that's how Bug Beer has always been packaged. Witches are slow to change.
Next, I sliced the erasers with an Exacto knife. Each eraser yielded 6 or seven cookies. They would make a lot more if one wanted to go to the fuss of taking off the metal collar. I decide that, for a dollar, I could afford to just slice the part that showed.
I took a Pigma Micron black .005 size pen and drew Jack O Lanterns on the orange ones. Spider went on the yellow ones and webs went on the pink ones.
Before Tessie went back to feed the masses, she sat down and had a few cookies and a bug beer. She said, "I need a break from all of the commotion that is going on in the retro room. They will get their bug beer after I have mine." and then, "First come, gets first pick of the goodies!"
I can't argue with that logic.
Have fun making your own bug beer and cookies for Halloween!
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
Now. About not being in the mood....That is for minis. I am rebelling and taking the day off.
I had to go over to April's and Seth's house this morning and feed the cats and chickens. That part was fun. The three chickens greeted me like a long lost cousin. The two cats put their noses in the air and pretty much ignored me. I had to work on them to get them to like me. They miss mom and dad.
On the way back, I hit seven or eight garage sales......Nothing! Nada! I hate it when an old guy tries to pass off a dirty wooden wine box from the 90s as an "antique cigar box"! I think that he sat and looked at it for a bit and thought to himself...."What can I call this and how much will some stupid person pay. The rest didn't even have anything interesting.
When I arrived home, my cats ignored me too.....I am getting a complex.
I started cleaning my workroom and decided that was too much like work. After all, this is the weekend and weekends are supposed to be fun. Right?
I opened my UFO bead drawer. I have a lot of UnFinished Objects in that drawer. Tessie was following me around with a gleam in her eye. You know how she loves "shiny".
She climbed in and immediately spotted what she called the beaded afghan. She pulled it onto her lap and refused to part with it.
She announced, "This is going to make a wonderful Mosaic table top, since you won't let me use it for an afghan."
You know how these things go with her. She started making a pile of things that she wants me to finish.....She may be irritating, but at least she is motivational.
These are some of the things that she dug out. Don't forget to poke the photo to see better.
From right to left, four peyote stitch bracelets, two circular medallion starts, one beaded embroidery butterfly, a ring at the top, a small tube beaded bead at the bottom, her medallion, the front of a medicine bag, a small piece of loom work and a North African panel of peyote stitch.
In my defence, I do finish things. I just don't always finish them right away. Tessie lugged these pieces out so that you could see proof. Mind you, the bottle on the front left has been finished and used so long that there are a few beads missing from the neck. I guess I should fix that before I work on anything else.
I am surprised that the handles on the tools have held up so well. I thought those would be the pieces that would need repairs. They get the most and the roughest use.
Before I go, I will show you one last piece. This one was done in the early 90s when this kind of amulet necklace was very popular here in the southwest. I made this one for a contest at one of the local bead shops. It won me first place and a shopping spree.
Tessie pulled it out of my jewelry chest and has been trying to shrink it all afternoon. No success. I didn't explain that her spells will not work on amulets. They have a magic of their own. I am afraid that if she found that out, she would confiscate it and try to use it for her spells..... That could be big trouble....Please don't say the word amulet around her. She doesn't need any more help.
I am going to go now and not do minis for the rest of the day.
I found some really interesting fabric for a bed and am getting in the mood to make one. Maybe by tomorrow I will be back to doing minis
See you then.
Friday, September 24, 2010
I seem to have a thing for footstools, all shapes and sizes. This one caught my eye because it was cheap and I like the hidey hole. More storage is never a bad thing around here.
I will have to do just a little repair on the finish and put a new pad and upholstery on the top and it will be as good as new.
On the way back, I stopped at Dollar tree. My car is trained to automatically turn into that shopping center whenever we go by there.
Anyway, it made Tessie forgive me for the footstool.....I found her some new friends.
These garlands of skeletons(4 to a package) were a pretty good find. A couple of years ago I found some at Walmart and paid more than a dollar.
As soon as Tessie saw them she glared at me and asked,"Sooo....Do they dance?"
I answered, "How should I know? You're the one that has a thing about dancing skeletons, not me."
She lined them up an was working on a Rockettes routine....So far they aren't too coordinated. I don't see a chorus line in their future. They are trying.....
The one that she is holding has real quail feathers on it and some tiny pieces of jade and agate.
The one by her feet is the rainbow one that I already had finished. I like that one because it has such happy colors.
Now that I have shown you all of the work that I didn't do this morning, I guess that I should go and actually do something constructive for the rest of the day....First I am going to bake a life sized chocolate cake. Hey! That's constructive.
See you tomorrow.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I received some goodies yesterday from my friend Kathi over at Beautiful Mini Blessings http://beautifulminiblessings.blogspot.com/ ! Casey opened the package by mistake, but I rectified that quickly. She no longer remembers a thing about it.
While she was out this morning, I had Zar help me set up the tripod and take a couple of photos so that you could see what I got.
There was a super cool necklace. Kathi thought it was a keyring. Wrong. It is a little heavy but it expresses how I feel, so I will wear it on special occasions(and when Casey gets unruly). There were also some clips with LOL and other initials on them. I am going to have to look those up. I don't speak computer very well. Hey! Give me a break! I am jumping up and down on the keys as fast as I can, as it is! Read the Necklace!
I also got two pair of flip flops. Puce and orange....Unfortunately, they were a few sizes to big for me. I did notice that Zar has his eye on those for when he hits the beach... There was also some very retro material and some puce and pink rubberized fabric, some pink cording and some snow cones....
For those of you with not so good eyesight, here's a close up of the note that Kathi sent with the package. If you still can't read the message, poke the photo! Thank you so much for all of the goodies, Kathi! I will put them to good use!
I hear Casey coming now. I have to invisibl-ize what I just put on the blog and zap myself out of here. Later!
Tessie thinks she got away with that! Don't tell her I watched the whole thing. You should see her jump up and down on the keyboard when she gets going! I had trouble not giving myself away by laughing at her.
I will add my thanks. Kathi, that "necklace" is a hoot! Tessie can barely walk with it around her neck, but she is nothing, if not determined!
I kept myself out of the way by doing some yard work while she was jumping around.
After I came back in, we both settled down with some books and supplies for basketry.
The finished one is the rainbow one down by the start of the bargello rug. I am not too far behind. The two baskets sitting on their spools are almost finished. The twined one that Tessie is holding is almost done. There is however, a twined one on the floor that is about 1/3 done and we won't talk about the checkerboard one that I started this morning..... I think that I had better get back to work...
See you tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Don't forget to poke the photos.
This first one shows the lounge and mesh chairs. You can also see a portion of the floor. It's kind of hard to make out, but I just wanted to show you that you can make a floor from 1:1 size textured vinyl wallpaper. The nice thing about vinyl for any purpose in mini is, it can be painted to match the scene.
Next is the bookcase. No. I still haven't found the flat screen....It will turn up sooner or later. Let's hope it's sooner. Tessie is becoming really irritated.
She insisted on the dancing skeletons. She said that would do as entertainment until the TV showed up. Unfortunately, they are really bad dancers.
All in all, I think that the bookcase turned out well, considering that it was a Dollar Tree find.
The silver bottle next to the bookcase is a fragrance bottle from India. I am not sure where I found it. It has been around for a long time. The larger silver canister on the top shelf is also an Indian piece. It has an inlay of mother of pearl on the lid.
On to the right side of the room. I didn't make the sofa for this box, but it couldn't have been a better fit if I had. And no, I still didn't make a palm tree. Maybe I will do that today at Wednesday Witches.
Here's the whole thing. I do believe that this furniture was meant for this box. It reminds me of some of the 60s ranch houses.
I am basically finished with the room now.....Shhh....Don't remind Tessie that the TV isn't in there yet.
Of course, a new room box can't be left to it's own devices.....Let's party!!! After I took the photo, I realized that the whole thing looks a bit crooked....It's not. It's the angle. Honest!
Three witches, an old maid, an Apache Indian and a Steampunk scientist do a party make!
It's time to have some fun!
See you tomorrow.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
There was a pile of lumber and plexi glass on the table and Zar was adding to it.
It seems that Tessie has changed her mind about living in a 60s house. To quote her, "It's too passe'." (I couldn't figure out how to get the "e" with the mark over the top into the paragraph.)
She discovered that I had another one of the 20 year old greenhouse kits from Pic'n'Sav stashed in the workroom. Who am I to argue with getting something else out of the workroom? She went to all of the trouble of getting it out and it is a fast project.....The only thing that I didn't think of is all the furniture that I am going to have to rebuild for the townhouse.
It was easier to go to work than expend a lot of time and energy arguing. I knew that she would win anyway. The six year old's attention span is wavering.
I went and got a couple of pieces of real corded wallpaper. I didn't have enough of one color, so I pieced it and then painted it charcoal grey.
Next, I painted the main frame of the structure Ceramcoat Rain Gray. I stained the smaller bars with Minwax Early American. It didn't take long for it all to dry. I also cut pieces of the smaller size from regular dollhouse wood and painted it white. I glued those to the inside so that the glue wouldn't show.
Then I put the pieces together with the screws provided. I think that took all of 10 minutes.
Tessie and Zar helped hold the pieces together while I screwed things in place.
After that was done, basically all I had to do was move furniture from the townhouse to the new building. Tessie is calling it her conservatory. I think that she has plans for growing more plants in here. She has already accessorized it to make it her own.
She is however, complaining a lot because I misplaced her flatscreen. It will go in the top shelf of the bookcase once I find it.....Oh. I forgot. The bookcase is one of the Dollar Tree boxes. I stained the outer pieces to match the stain on the outside of the room and then I painted the back wall of it the same charcoal gray as the floor.
The plant in the corner will be replaced with a potted palm as soon as I get a chance to make one. That one belongs on the rooftop.
Not bad for a morning's work. Now all I have to do is go find the flatscreen TV. I will get no rest until I do.....
See you tomorrow.
Monday, September 20, 2010
It's not going to be easy to resist making more mini furniture or painting the walls in the townhouse, but I am determined.
Meanwhile, Zar has taken over Tessie's new bathroom to give Beau a bath.... Dangerous decision if she catches him.
Beau finally got away and he and Spike invaded the workroom. It's the only safe place in the house where the door can be closed and there is food...... Need I say more?
I took a break and decided to try out some of the furniture in different rooms. I think that I am about to throw my hands in the air and start from scratch. Right now, nothing seems to work for me. I like it all, but not necessarily together.
I have definitely decided that I don't want all three overstuffed pieces in the living room together. It either has to be the blue chair with red sofa, or the orange lounge with the red sofa. Not all of them at once. Right now everything looks disjointed to me.
That's the main reason that I have resorted to "big" housework. You didn't honestly think that I liked it better than working on minis, did you??? Come on! Get serious!
Anyway, I am just stalling. Reality is creeping towards me. Slowly and surely. Nooooooo.......
See you tomorrow.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Zar countered with, "If they are too long, they can be cut down to match."
That settled it. I now have legs without one stroke of carving. I used my miter box and cut them all to the same length, painted them black and glued them onto the bottom plate of the latest chair.
Did I mention that Tessie discovered that the thorns also make a good substitute for a wand? I do hope that she zapped Zar to the right spot on the branch....I think that was an area without thorns.....I hope.....
See you tomorrow.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
The first thing I did today was make a jig for the legs of the chair. In order to get them all the same, I took a small block of pine and drew a line 1 1/4" down from one edge. Then I pounded a large nail, the diameter that I wanted the bottom of the chair legs to be, into the wood just above the line.
It's not very scientific, but it works for me. I cut the wires just by eye to the length that I needed. They can be trimmed more later.
Probably about 3 to 3 1/2" would do it.
Then I wrapped the center of the wire around the nail and bent the ends flat over the edge of the wood block.
This next photo looks a bit messy. I did clean up the glue after I took it.
I cut two pieces of cardboard from a box that I had on hand. I used the bend in the box for the bend that I needed in the seat base.
I cut two of these. You have to do it to match your chair, so I just gave you some general measurements for mine. The widest part of the front is 1 1/8" wide. The depth to the fold was 3/4" and the flap was 1/2".
After the glue dries, you can manipulate the legs more and clean things up. I made the legs flair out more than they are in this photo.
Here is a photo of the chair with the base glued underneath. I have it clamped together for drying.
I cut a cardboard form for the seat. This was also cut from the bend in the box. I wanted a "contour" seat.
Here you can see the back and front view. I got the bend by putting two layers of thin batting on the front seat part and then covering the whole top surface with a third that went up the back bend.