Saturday, March 17, 2018

Springtime Projects - Little Houses and a Woodland Scene

Springtime Mixed Media Craft Projects
My three most recent cardboard creations - two little houses and one mixed media project

Here are my most recent craft projects. I've been writing about them on my new blog - It is a much easier blog name to remember. Thank you for stopping by. I hope to see you there.


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Irish Cottage St. Patrick's Day House

I am working on a new blog to show my houses better. It's which is much easier to remember and to tell people.

Here is a photo of my newest house - the Irish Cottage St. Patrick's Day house. You can see it in this post on the new blog. I hope to see you there.

Irish Cottage St. Patrick's Day Putz house
Irish Cottage St. Patrick's Day House

Please let me know what you think and join me on my new blog.

Thank you.

P. S. I am leaving this blog in place for now, but I have migrated all of the content from this blog to the new one.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bunnies in the Garden - Springtime Putz House

Springtime Windmill Putz House - the Miller's Place

Please join my on my new blog - where this project is included with more already added. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

Springtime Little Glitter house - Bunnies in the Garden
Bunnies in the Garden Springtime at the Miller's Place - Spring season putz house

I am always experimenting with different shapes for glitter houses or Putz houses. I made a house 2 years ago based on the shape of Candy Corn because I had never seen a house based on this concept. Below is my favorite. It sits on a round base where the top that comes off to put treats inside. My first attempt at polymer candy decorates the base.

Candy Corn Glitter house
The Candy Corn house from Halloween 2015

Later, I wondered if this shape could be modified into a different house - what about a windmill? Since Spring is on the way, I modified the house to look Springy with bunnies in the garden. That also fits with the theme of this week's Simon Says Stamp Challenge "In My Garden" though the bunnies are in the Miller's garden.  That is the house at the top of the page - Bunnies in the Garden, Springtime at the Miller's place.

Making the Bunnies in the Garden Springtime at the Miller's Place House

There are number of fun things about making this cardboard house - the overall shape, the stone surface, the rotating windmill blades, the roof, and the bunnies in the garden.

Here is a summary of the steps for making the house:
  1. Make the shape of the house
  2. Paint the house, stencil the stone surface
  3. Glue the house together and adhere the roof and shingles
  4. Make the base
  5. Glue the house to the base and make the border

There are number of fun things about making this cardboard house - the overall shape, the stone surface, the rotating windmill blades, the roof, and the bunnies in the garden. I'll start with the overall shape.

Cardboard cutouts for the Miller's Place house. See how the roof is scored so it will bend around the curve at the top.

1. Make the shape of the house

The overall shape makes a unique house that works pretty well as a windmill, though I think the windmill blades need to be larger. When you cut out a house like this it is very important to make sure that the front and back curves match. If you don't, then wonkiness rears its mismatched head. I managed to cut these out so they are very symmetrical and the roof fits on nicely.

I only cut out one window on the front because I didn't want a window behind the windmill blades. Also, the door was made separately and glued on. If you don't have to cut out a door so that light shines through it, don't cut it out. The cardboard house becomes a little less structurally sound if you have a cut at the bottom of the house. I always include the hole in the back as a tribute to old fashioned Putz houses that used the hole for lighting.

2. Paint the house and stencil the stone surface

Stone stenciled on the back of the Putz Windmill house
You can see the first stones that I drew which bled through. I thought they looked pretty good for contrast. For some reason I always stencil better on the back than the front.  I always try to paint the glued seam to disguise it as seen on the right side.

The cardboard was painted with white gesso as the first layer then gesso mixed with Antique Linen Distress Paint and sand for the second layer. The sand gives the house a lovely texture that is perfect to mimic a stone surface.

I made this stone surface just as I did the Stone Stenciled Clock House. Before gluing the house together, I used the Tim Holtz mini stone stencil by Stampers Anonymous to stencil the surface with various shades of brown and grey. I used the Distress Oxides - Walnut Stain, Frayed Burlap and Hickory Smoke. I did try to draw some stones first with Distress pens, but they didn't look right so I painted over them. The paint bled through the gesso which I left because I kind of liked the effect. There were some places where I didn't stencil effectively and you couldn't see the distinction between the individual stones so I painted more obvious mortar lines with Antique Linen distress paint.

3. Glue the house together and adhere the roof and shingles

Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house roof shingles
Staggered rooftop pieces were painted and distressed, then glued to the roof. 

Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house roof shingles and the bunny border
Side view of the Miller's Place Putz house showing the bunny border and the  roof shingles

After the stenciling, the house was glued together where the tab is located in the back. In order to make the roof curve to fit the pattern, the underside of the cardboard was scored in parallel lines to make it more flexible. Then I used my thumbs  to bend the cardboard in a U-shape to fit the shape of the house. I applied liberal amounts of Aileen's Fast Grab glue to the edge of the house and situated the roof piece on the house. Finally I used painter's tape to hold the roof in place while the glue dried. After the house was glued together, I glued the window shape on the window opening and glued the door on.

The roof shingles were made from the Tim Holtz rooftop die. I painted the roof pieces with hickory smoke and distressed with various brown distress oxides. I started at the bottom of the roof and layered each level of shingles until I got to the curved top of the roof. I curved the last couple of layers, then left a small gap until they levels almost touched. Then I curved a piece of a painted cardboard on the top as the ridge cap.

Miller's place putz house windmill blades rotating on a brad in the center
Miller's Place Windmill rotates on a brad in the center.  A small Idea-ology gear  provides a stable base for the brad.

If you want a windmill to rotate, make a small hole in top part of the house where you want the windmill to be centered. Also make sure the front roof edge doesn't extend past the edge of the house so the windmill blades can rotate. And finally you need to realize that if you have a moving part on your little house, children will play with it. They will probably play with the house no matter what, but a moving part makes it even more compelling to a child. I used a small brad that was long enough to go through the layers of cardboard to allow the windmill to rotate.

4. Make the base 

Six layers of corrugated cardboard were glued together with hot glue. To cover the rough cardboard edges, torn strips of white scrap paper were glued on with collage medium. The base for this house is small about 4" x 3" because this is an experimental seasonal house. It does have a square cut on in the center large enough for an LED light to fit inside to light up the window. 

I painted the base with Mowed Lawn Distress Paint because I love this green. It is so perfect for a Springtime house.

5. Glue the house to the base and make the border

The house was then glued in place with the Fast Grab glue. I dyed some moss with Mowed Lawn Distress Spray stain and glued that around the house. Another really fun part was making the bunnies in the garden. I made border using an old Martha Stewart edge punch by punching 3 strips and gluing them together. The grass around the bunnies was painted Mowed Lawn green and then adhered to the sides of the base.

And that's it - the Bunnies in the Garden Springtime Putz House - a fun project for this time of year. I will be sharing this project with the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge "In My Garden". I hope you enjoyed reading about the process and can take some inspiration from it.

What do you think about the Candy Corn shape as a windmill house? I will be posting 2 more Candy Corn houses in about a week so you can compare the designs. Thank you for reading.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

How to Make a Butterfly Vintage Print - Variation on a Theme

Please join my on my new blog - where this project is included with more already added. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

Butterfly Vintage Print photo
Butterfly Vintage Print

There are three intersecting inspirations for this project. One is a stunning book I found online called British Butterflies by James Duncan published in 1855. You can find the book on a site called This volume has the most beautiful vintage butterfly prints I have ever seen. The drawings in this book have inspired me ever since I first looked at them.

Print from British Butterflies that my project is based on. Isn't it beautiful?

The second inspiration is the gorgeous new stamp from Tim Holtz and Stampers Anonymous called Glorious Bouquet. I figured it would be a great background for the butterflies.

And then the final inspiration is this week's Monday challenge at Simon Says Stamp - Grunge It Up. All 3 of these percolated in my mind to come up with this particular vintage butterfly project.

I've made a Vintage Butterfly Print before. It is one of my favorite projects and is actually on the wall next to my computer right now.

Butterfly Vintage Print with hand drawn background
My first Butterfly Vintage Print - I drew this background to mimic the one in the British Butterflies book

Here is a brief summary of the process to make this Butterfly Vintage Print:

  1. Print out vintage print from the British Butterfly book
  2. Stamp the Glorious Bouquet in a subtle ink to form the background
  3. Distress the background to look like it came from an old book
  4. Cut out butterflies with Tim Holtz Flutter set
  5. Cut out black background for butterflies
  6. Draw butterfly markings with permanent black ink
  7. Color butterflies
  8. Layer finished butterflies over the black butterfly background
  9. Glue butterflies to the print and the print to black cardstock
  10. Add antennae
  11. Distress box to function as a frame for the print
  12. Place butterfly print in the distress, grunged-up box
Now I'll go over the steps in a little more detail so you visualize the process a little better and maybe use this as an inspiration for your own project.

1. Print the vintage print you choose from the British Butterfly book. There are 34 beautiful illustrations to choose from. I chose Plate 31 for this project. I print out the illustration just so I can look at it while I am working so I don't have to continually go to the computer to see the butterflies.

2. Background with the Glorious Bouquet stamp. I used the Ranger Archival ink called Watering Can, a lovely grey shade, to form the background on 110# white cardstock. Though this stamp is so beautiful on it can stand on its own, it must be subtle to mimic the botanical background for this project. 

3. Distress the background. I needed to seriously distress the background to look like it was from a 150-year-old book. I have difficulty distressing with the blending tool sometimes. I tend to leave circular patterns on the paper; most of the time it doesn't matter, but here it does. I decided to wet the paper and paint the distress inks and stains with a large water brush.  I like how it turned out. To me it looks like an ancient page. 

4. Die cut the butterflies. I used Tim Holtz' Flutter set to pick out different butterfly die shapes that were close to the design on the print. Notice that none of these butterflies have a "tail" on the wings so I chose the dies with more rounded wings. I am so happy that there are so many choices in this set of butterfly dies. 

5. Cut out a black background for butterflies. I cut out a second set of butterflies in black cardstock to glue behind my butterflies just to give them a little more dimension. I like to glue them together and then bend the wings upward so the black background gives them a deep shadow. 

6. Draw butterfly markings in black permanent ink. Here is the only hard part, drawing the markings on the butterfly. I could have stamped them, but I wanted my butterflies to look like the ones in the illustration so I chose to draw the specific markings as best as I could on each butterfly. And do use a permanent ink and then let it dry. Some of the ink smeared because I didn't let the ink dry enough. Remember you can choose to use stamps and then color the butterflies similar to the ones in the print. That is always an option.

Colored butterflies for vintage botanical print
Close-up of butterflies for the print

7. Color the butterflies. The fun part - coloring the butterflies. Part of the reason I chose this particular print is because I love the blue butterflies. These butterflies are in the same family of butterflies that I colored previously - Polyommatus. They have the loveliest shade of blue. I used distress pens, crayons and a water brush to color these butterflies. 

8. Layer butterflies on the black background. Glue the body of the butterfly on the body of the black butterfly cutout. Leave the wings free so you can bend them upward a little bit for dimension. Two of the butterflies are resting on a leaf with the wings up so I folded those 2 in half and cut half a black cardstock butterfly for the background.

9. Glue the butterflies to the botanical background. I tried to glue them in a similar placing to what is shown on the print. Since my flowers are different from the background on the inspiration print, it doesn't really matter that much. But since the print has such a pleasing arrangement, I thought I would use the same one. After that I glued the print to heavy black cardstock to give it a black border and make it a little more sturdy.

10. Glue antennae on the butterflies. On my previous print, I drew the antennae (latin plurals drive me crazy) on with a fine Micron pen. This background is busier so I didn't really think that was a good option as they wouldn't show up very well. I decided to use thread. I coated black thread with glossy accents to make the thread have more body. Then I folded it in a V-shape, and adhered on the head of each butterfly. 

11. Distress box as a frame for the butterfly print. You have to use what you have and what I have at my house are Fancy Feast boxes. They may be a little deep as a frame, but they are sturdy and plentiful. I covered the box with pages from an aged paperback book that was falling apart. Then I whitewashed it a little bit with diluted white gesso, inked and painted with various shades of blue followed by distressing with Distress oxides brown shades and black soot. 

Grunged up box for the Butterfly Vintage Print
Distressed canned kitty food box for vintage print frame
Side view of the seriously distressed box for the vintage print.

Back of canned food box for frame of butterfly vintage print.
It's a Fancy Feast box, alright. I'm not advertising for them. It's just what I have at home. 

12. Adhere the print to the box frame. I added a piece of brown corrugated cardboard to the base of the box just for a little more dimension. The print was then adhered to the cardboard which fit nicely in the distressed Fancy Feast box. 

And that's it - the latest Butterfly Vintage Print. I hope you enjoyed seeing this project and that you can find some inspiration in the process. 

I am sharing this with this week's Simon Says Stamp Challenge - Grunge It Up. 

I appreciate comments and pins and likes and stuff like that. Thank you for stopping by my blog.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Wilkins House Putz Project for Habitat

Please join my on my new blog - where this project is included with more already added. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

Wilkins House putz version
The Wilkins House as the putz version. The trees are not glued on yet because I will probably add snow and glitter to them. I will also put more snow on the roof, the stairs and the base.

Finally, I have finished my most ambitious little cardboard house - the Wilkins House. It is based on a famous house in my hometown that was saved from the destruction by moving it and fully renovating it in its new site. I figured it would be a good project for the next Habitat for Humanity auction which isn't until October. I am glad I finished it now because it basically took me about 2 months to get it done.

Wilkins Putz House conservatory side view
Conservatory side of the Wilkins House

Wilkins putz house porch side view
Wilkins House Porch side view

Wilkins Putz House top porch view
Wilkins House top porch view

Bird's eye view of the Wilkins putz house
Bird's eye view of the house. Definitely needs more snow.

To recap and give you an idea of the challenges in making this house, I've written about 6 blog posts describing the process:

Next Putz House for Habitat

Putz Plan Progress

Wilkins House Putz Progress Prototype 4

Spring Mansion - Evolution of a Putz House

Spring Mansion - What I learned from crafting a prototype

It's Going to Work

The major challenge for me is always measuring accurately. All the pieces had to fit together or the house would look wonky like some of the elements on the Spring Mansion, the prototype house. I wouldn't say that the pieces are perfect, but they are pretty dang good for me. I am very pleased with how the house has turned out. I am hoping the house will bring a lot of money for Habitat of Greenville during the October auction fundraiser.

Wilkins House Putz Version with real Wilkins House
Comparison of the real Wilkins House with my putz version.

Next? Now I get to make Halloween houses which will be sold (not auctioned) to raise money for Habitat. My favorite houses to make. The first one I am going to make is a simplified Halloween version of the Wilkins House. I hope I can complete it much faster than this one.

Oh, I am going to enter this into an online challenge. I found that the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge is "Add a Die Cut". I have used a number of dies in this project. My favorites are the windows from the Tim Holtz Village Manor and then the rooftop dies. The other die used was the fence die where I used the offcuts to make the balusters and the notching around the top of the house. I'm saving all the fence pieces I cut out for the Halloween houses I will be making.

Thank you for stopping by.