Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Next Textured House - The Slate House

I just finished this house last night. The glue is dry. It's a beautiful day outside so I took photos outside. I have 2 challenges that I would like to share it with - Paper Artsy and Frilly and Funkie challenges.


I used the Stamper's Anonymous Slate Stencil by Tim Holtz for the texture on the house. Since this is a Halloween house I painted the "mortar" black to give a little creepy factor. I wanted a little color to the house so I used some blue on the windows and on the slate roof as well as the base. The bricks on the chimney have some blue as well. The colors I used are Tumbled Glass, Broken China and Stormy Sky from Tim Holtz' Ranger crayons and paints and stains.


I was happy about two particular details - the rocky base and the fence. I feel like I made the hill the house sits on look more like a hill. I made this fence from scratch. It's cardstock covering a strip of corrugated cardboard painted with gesso with a little ochre in it which was mixed with sand to give texture. I also distressed it with some black soot so the fence would not look too pristine. I like how it defines the house.





I saw a chimney somewhat like this when I went to Virginia to visit Monticello last week. I tried to copy it, but wasn't terribly successful. It's still kind of a cool chimney though. Still wrestling with getting the chimney to be straight up and down. This roof was kind of difficult because it's curved.



Here are the three stone textured houses. In terms of texture clearly the French house was the most successful. In terms of Halloween, the Slate house has the most spook potential. The Bluestone Creek house has my first water feature which I am very happy with.

Lessons learned (this is where I try to be positive about changes I can make rather than criticizing myself):
1.  Proportions are always important. The little portico in the front is a bit to fat for the tall thin house.  If I had left out the middle window on the second row, I could have made it taller and skinnier which would fit the proportions of the house better.

2. Again proportion. The slate roof tiles might look better if they were smaller.

3. Competing textures - the slate roof and the slate siding compete with each other. A grey metal roof might be a better choice. Same thing with the door, a less textured door would go better.

Overall, I am very happy about this house. I wasn't until I put in on the base and made the fence. I think that tied everything together.

Challenges:
The PaperArtsy challenge this time is "Found Objects" - while I am not as creative in my found objects as the design team artists - most things in the construction of the little houses are things I have saved from the trash or recycling. The main house cardboard is the backing for labels at the hospital where I work. The base is corrugated cardboard from shipping boxes. The windows are acetate from packaging and on the Slate house, the rough roof texture is from a box for cat litter. Be sure to check out the cool things from "Found Objects".

The other challenge is the Frilly and Funkie challenge "Put Your Inking Cap On" which is to make a project without using designer papers. Sometimes I make a house with designer papers, but lately I have been making my own designs for the siding of the house. No designer papers in this project. Do go to their website and see the "no designer paper" designs they have there.

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are doing well.




How to Add Light to Your Little Houses

Traditionally little glitter houses were lit by a bulb that was inserted in the back of the house. Sometimes people would take their Japanese houses and cut a hole in the bottom to insert a light bulb, but the houses were not made that way.

I still usually cut a hole for a light bulb in the back, but I don't make it as big as I used to because we have LED lights now which are smaller and more powerful.

What I've started doing on some of my houses is cutting a rectangle in the base to fit 2-3 LED tea lights to illuminate the houses. I think the first one I did it on was the Abandoned Italianate House.


You can see how nicely it lights up. Also, this way the body of the tea light doesn't show up if you look in the house.

I've done it on my last 2 textured houses as well.


Messy bottom on the Stone House, but you get the idea.

I'm going to go into a little more detail on how I made the base for my last house.

First, I've found it takes about 6 layers of cardboard for the depth of the base to cover the bottom of the light. This is important in the this case because the diameter of the light is 1.5 inches and the width of the last 3 stone-textured houses I've made is 1.25 inches. I made them narrow to both save space and to be able to cut the entire house out of a 8.5 x 11 inch piece of cardboard. So I add a smaller piece on top to make a "hill" and to reduce the size of the hole and allow me to glue the house down effectively.


Six layers of cardboard with a 1.75 x 3.25 rectangle cut out.


This photo shows how the "hill is made" to make the opening just a little smaller.


You can see how the house sits on the hill.

I didn't take more photos of the process of gluing the base together because my hands are always covered in the thick layer of glue for this part. 

I coat each layer of cardboard with glue, usually mod podge with a paint brush and then cover it with scrap paper or cardstock or newspaper which is also heavily coated with Mod Podge. I often wrinkle the paper so the ground is lumpy and and a little more natural looking. Then I paint it with gesso and acrylic paints.


Here you can see into the house and see a little bit of the hole for the light in the back. When you want to insert the lights you just pick up the house and center the house over the LED lights and they fit very nicely.

Making bases for my little houses is not one of my favorite things in the creative process, but when I get them right, they really help make the house.



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Fishbowl - Monday Watery Challenge

There are several things that inspired this project. First, the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is "Splash It On". Second, I wanted a project to use some of my new stamps and dies - specifically, Sea Life and City Scape. And then there are some specific recent projects that have been inspiring.



A couple of weeks ago the challenge on the Simon Says Stamp blog was "Make a Rainbow". A number of people used the Cityscape dies and colored them. I had always envisioned Cityscape as background pieces in grey and blacks. It had never occurred to me to make them in color. When I thought of that in the context of a water splashed piece, I thought about making them to look like the little buildings you see in the bottom of an aquarium.


Barbara Schiassi of yayascrap.blogspot.com made an incredible project with Sea Life and Distress Oxides of fish in an aquarium. Truly inspirational. So I thought I would make one with a fish bowl. I cut out the shape of a fish bowl from a large piece of acetate. Then tinted it a very light blue with alcohol ink. The background was made with Distress Oxide inks and some Tumbled Glass distress ink as well. I stenciled some texture paste through a random stencil to make the rocks at the bottom of a fishbowl. The texture paste was colored with Broken China Distress crayon and smeared about.


I cut out the buildings and colored them with various inks and then a layer of Glossy Accents to make them look like ceramic.

The fish and seaweed were stamped and colored. I fussy cut the fish and the seaweed. I also cut the background to the shape of the fishbowl. The elements were arranged on the watery background and glued down. I put the fish between the buildings so it would look like he was swimming through the underwater city.

I needed a background for the bowl so I used the distress oxides again, but I thought they were too bright to contrast with the water in the fishbowl so I did a light gesso whitewash. I stamped more seaweed on the side in brown ink. I needed something else so I cut out the word "Explore" with another fish who escaped the fishbowl.

I am so glad I finally thought of a project to use Sea Life. These stamps are incredible.

Next up - I've made 2 non-house projects so it's time for another house. I'm going to make a spooky one next.

I will be sharing this with the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge - "Splash It On".

Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Chocolate Bunny Easter Cards

I made a bunch of chocolate bunny Easter cards for my co-workers' kids. I designed them to look like sugar eggs with a chocolate bunny inside.

I meant to enter this card in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge "Hip Hop", but I didn't have my computer with me and I could not figure out for the life of me how to post a photo in the blog from my iPad. I know there must be a way, but I couldn't do it.


Here is the card. I am going to enter it in the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge "Spring Color Inspiration". I have 2 of the 4 colors in the project for sure. And the other colors are certainly "Springy".

First I made the Easter bunny from a Tim Holtz mover and shaper bunny. I painted it a deep brown and then coated it with a thick layer of Glossy Accents or the Tim Holtz Distress Paper Mosaic Glaze. The Mosaic Glaze was a little easier to use. After the coating dried, I dabbed a blob of white Enamel Accents for the eye and then a smaller blob of blue in the center. The bunny really looks like chocolate to me.

I cut out the largest oval from the Sizzix framelits for the eggs. I used a smaller oval from a different set to make the opening in the front. I painted the egg with white gesso and then covered it with a coarse glitter. I made a bunch of little flowers from various punches and used Perfect Pearls in the center to make the stamens. 

The back piece was made by stamping a design with Picked Raspberry ink and then covering it with clear embossing powder and embossing it. 

The grass is made from a sheet of green cardstock that I ran through the shredder. I am tickled about that because I think it looks like Easter grass and I didn't have to buy any. 

I stamped Happy Easter on a strip and figured out how to fold it to look like a pop-up banner. 

The hinge between the eggs was a little tricky because it's hard to hinge an oval object. 



If I do an Easter card again, it will not be an oval shape. I will place it on a square or rectangular background to make it easier to work with. 

Anyway, that was my Easter challenge this year. I may go back to making little houses for Easter or Spring next year since I do know how to make little houses.

Again, I am sharing this with the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge "Spring Color Inspiration". Thank you for stopping by.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Another Stone house - 3 Gables, Rusty Roof

Yes, another house. This one will also be decorated for Halloween at a later date so I can sell it for my "Halloween Houses for Habitat" fundraiser. Right now I'm leaving it as a regular stone house, hence the name "La Maison en pierre". It's official name (as if it were a pedigreed canine) is "La Maison en pierre avec trois pignons" - the Stone house with 3 Gables. I think it looks French so it gets a French name, though if someone visits from France, please forgive me if my impression is inaccurate.


I made this house with several online craft challenges in mind. One is "Count Me In" at Frilly and Funkie. This challenge ends today so I was in a bit of rush to complete the house. I need to do some touch up painting especially around the fence.  Count me in obviously refers to numbers. And you can clearly see that there are no obvious numbers in the house. But numbers played a big role in this design - 3 gables in the front, 3 gable additions, 3 windows under each of the front gables and 3 windows on each gable end. I also stamped the base with a Tim Holtz "Papillon" stamp which does have some numbers in it. The "Three" theme was also designed to fit with a Vintage Journey's challenge this month - "The Magic of Three".


Three windows on each side.


I started to cut out 3 light holes in the back, but decided against it. You may notice that I used a halloween fence with bats on it, but I painted over the fence several times to make it strong which obscured some of the detail of the bats. The other challenge that helped determine the design was this month's Country View Crafts "Rust" challenge. That determined what kind of roof I would use. I also used a different technique to make a rusted roof. I used Prima Rust effect paste. I smeared 3 colors of paste over aluminum duct tape (notice duct, not duck. It is a real metallic tape that you buy in a home improvement store.) I did use my alcohol inks a little bit to add some more color. The only downside that I see to this paste is that the grit does come off some. My houses aren't really meant to be handled, but people can't help but touch them. Normal human behavior. That's why I try to make them really strong.




Another challenge I designed it for is the Artistic Stamper's April creative challenge "Backgrounds". While I struggle with backgrounds on my cards and other mixed media pieces, I do pretty well with the backgrounds on the house, the house siding, and bases. I think the background of the stone work on the house is pretty cool and the stamping on the base looks good. The base is stamped with Tim Holtz "Papillon" stamp and over painted with a wash of raw umber.


Better view of the rust on the roof.


Here's the number on the Tim Holtz "Papillon" stamp to fit  the "Count Me In" on the Frilly and Funkie challenge and the Artistic Stamper challenge.


Below is a photo of both houses. You can see that I learned something about painting the stones from the new Tim Holtz "Stone" layering stencil. I actually painted the stones on this last house individually to preserve the color of the mortar which is Ranger's Pumice Stone Distress paint.


Outside of the online craft challenges, I had a number of other challenges such as:
1. Difficulty gluing the windows because of the texture paste
2. Centering the house on the base (one day I will learn to measure before I place a glued object.)
3. Painting the texture paste edges to help make them less obvious around the windows and the corners of the house.

I will learn these things eventually. As I said, I will be decorating this house as a Halloween house which I will post closer to that time, maybe I can cover up some of the mistakes at that time.

So here are the challenges I've shared this with:
Frilly and Funkie - Count Me In
Vintage Journey - The Magic of Three
Country View Crafts - Rust
Artistic Stamper - Backgrounds

Thank you for stopping by.
Lucy