Tuesday, January 31, 2017

New Backdrop for Photos of Little Houses

A couple of years ago I went to one of those painting classes where you get a group of people together for a painting party. I didn't like it because I don't like being told what to do (especially artistically) so I didn't follow instructions, but I did end up with a pretty nice canvas that I've used as a backdrop for some of my photos with my Halloween houses.

I decided to do another one that might work a little better. I just painted some Payne's grey (which always gets me because it's not grey), titanium white and cobalt blue for the sky. I added some varieties of green, Payne's grey and black to anchor the bottom of the painting and to function as the ground.

I like it very much as a background for the houses. I think it makes them more interesting. I may play around with it some more. I also will probably paint a piece for the houses to sit on so the backgrounds merge better. Let me know what you think.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Sea-worn Beach House

This is my most recent cardboard house - the Sea-worn Beach House. The goals with this little house were to make a wraparound porch, add the siding BEFORE cutting out the windows and doors, add dormers, and use different colors.

I did pretty well for the most part. I added dormers to the roof which are a serious pain trying to get them to stick on with regular glue because they kept sliding up or down depending on how I was pushing on them while waiting for the glue to hold. And I did ok with the colors. I chose blues primarily because I wanted to enter this month's Frilly and Funkie challenge "Winter Hues". I think these colors can have a spooky vibe without being out and out Halloweeny. I did glue the siding on the house before cutting out the windows (an idea I learned from watching one of Tim Holtz' videos on making the Village Manor - great idea!) but I didn't do it for the tiny dormers. The dormers would have looked much better if I had done it like I did the house. It was so much easier than "my glue each tiny piece in place" technique after windows, etc. are already cut out.

But the wraparound porch?? I just couldn't get the angles right and my lopsided prototype looked funny with such a tall, narrow house with a steep roof. The front porch was the best I could do.

My brother, the cabinet maker, helped me by cutting the stairs from scrap wood in his shop. Cutting tiny pieces of wood is probably more dangerous than cutting large sheets because your fingers are closer to the saw blade. We were debating about the steps being too tall or not and he said,  "Nobody is going to use them. We don't have to build to code." I laughed.

I noticed on this view that I didn't add a chimney. That will just have to be on the house punch list and done later. I just plain forgot. The painters need to do some touching up as well. 
Two LED tea lights make this house light up nicely. I made the base with a space for the two lights. I also lined the inside of the house with metallic tape to reflect the light better. It might actually be too much. What do you think?

I'm also going to use this house as a sample when I talk to people at Habitat for Humanity. I hope to do that this week.

It's more winter-like weather here again this week. I hope everybody is staying warm. Thank you for reading my blog.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Love Gives You Wings

The Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge is "Spread Your Wings". I thought about Hermes, a greek god with wings on his feet as part of the inspiration for this piece. The other inspiration is the Red Boot Coalition started by a friend of mine, Molly Barker. The Red Boot Coalition strives to help people listen and express themselves in a very loving, nonjudgmental environment - especially important in this time when people are so polarized.

I am trying to spread my artistic wings as well by trying new techniques - stamping, different cutouts, painting, stencils, etc.

I hope you are doing well and thank you for visiting.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

First Spooky House finished for 2017

Well, I finally did it. I finished the spooky house I'm going to use as my demo model. I hope to have an art sale of my Halloween houses with a non-profit charity as the beneficiary and I needed a model to get things going.

I am going to share it with the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge which is "Anything but a Card". Thank goodness my house is not a card so it fits well with this theme and I don't really have to apologize for posting a house - again. I only have about an hour to get it in for this challenge.

I made this house with a custom die I designed, but it could easily be done with some of the Tim Holtz dies - particularly the Village Brownstone. The Italianate tower in the front is simply a square with the angle cut out where it meets the front of the house and the roofline. The front piece is really just half of the house put on the front as an ell. The porch is simply a piece of corrugated cardboard covered with individual strips of cardstock painted brown. I used a plain piece of cardboard for the metal roof covered with metallic duct tape from a home improvement store. The metallic tape was colored with multiple alcohol inks to give it that rusted look.

The black windows are cut from the Village manor die set from Tim Holtz and Sizzix. The shingles on the roof are also from one of the Sizzix Village rooftops dies. I colored some clear acetate packaging with Ranger alcohol ink to make the many windows - 23 or so depending on how you count the front bay windows. 

I glued the siding on piece by piece, but I am going to do it a different way next time. I am going to glue the siding pieces on BEFORE I cut out the windows next time. That will save me a lot of time "measuring" (really, roughly estimating by trial and error) the individual pieces to fit around the windows and the door. 

I had to make my own crackle paint because they don't make my favorite Distress Picket Fence crackle paint any more. I coated a piece of black cardstock with glue then painted it with white gesso, then repeated the process. The paint really does look like old peeling paint on an abandoned house so it worked out, but it took a long time. Then I cut thin strips on my guillotine cutter.

The base is my normal base of multiple layers of corrugated cardboard glued together and covered with paper mache.  I finally remembered to cut out a place for LED tea lights. See how nicely the house lights up. There is also a hole in the back if someone wants to add more light to the house.

That's the first Halloween house of 2017 for me. I am really happy about how this one turned out. I can't wait to add others to the collection.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sneak Peek for the next house

Everyone who is going to the Craft and Hobby Association (CHA) show is doing these incredible sneak peeks of the products they are releasing and the projects they've done with them. Well, I'm not going (I have to figure out how to be a member so I can go, currently I don't qualify as I don't make a living on my crafts, though I love them and live to make them). But I do have a sneak peek.

Two years ago one of my friends mentioned that I should have an art show of my little halloween houses which I thought would be a really fun idea. I've been thinking about it ever since and I am going to try to make it happen this year especially since I'm not going on any dramatic trips this year. My plan is to make some sample Halloween houses and go to Habitat for Humanity to get their permission to be the beneficiary of the sale of the houses. Then go to some galleries or cafes where they display art for sale and display the Halloween houses for the month of October and sell or auction the pieces for Habitat for Humanity.

I need a nice dramatic house to sell Habitat on the concept. If that organization is not interested, then I will find another organization to support. I just think the house concept works so perfectly with Habitat and I love that nonprofit because I love to build houses - cardboard or real ones even.

Ok, so above is the inspiration for my house. It's an Italianate house in Coudersport, Pennsylvania that has been abandoned for a number of years. I first became aware of the house on a facebook post where it said, "If money was no object, would you fix up this old house?" My answer is "Yes, I would love to restore that house!" As money is an object, but cardboard is not, I decided to make a cardboard version - of the unrestored house, of course. It's perfect for Halloween.

Here are a few photos of the house in process. I am really happy about the way it is turning out.

The pieces are shown above - the many windows to be glued on, the back piece with the hole for a light source, the support for the tower, the front gable with bay windows and the basic house piece. The front gable and the basic house piece are from the custom die I had made by Accucut.

Here you can see the front gable with the bay windows a little closer. The bay window are a bit of struggle - mainly because I am a mess with glue. I get glue balls stuck all over the house especially on little tiny pieces. It's one reason I like Halloween houses because I am so messy and it doesn't matter on Halloween houses.

Here is the sneak piece of the house mostly assembled. I decided to put the siding on before I glue on the roof so it would be easier to get in all the corners. The bay windows are not glued on yet. I decided to make an open base so there could be at least 2 lights inserted in the house for a more effective spooky effect.

Well, that's my only sneak peek. I think I can finish it this week and hope to meet with someone from Habitat next week. I will let you know.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Little House for the Baby Shower - Challenge Edition

I decided to make a house for a friend's baby shower. The mom-to-be is having a baby girl which makes it a little easier in terms of color choices and frilliness. I had been thinking of something to make for the Vintage Journey's "Going Round in Circles" challenge and Simon Says Stamp Wednesday "Winter Birthday" challenge. A house - yes, I thought of making this little house. As you may have noticed I ALWAYS think of making a house. A real challenge for me is NOT making a house. The choice of my project may not be very creative, but I think the little house is a creative success.

The background is shadows from clouds as the sun shone through them. Cool, isn't it.?
I used a circular base made from a couple of ribbon rolls. I was trying to experiment with some stamping on the circles using a Tim Holtz wood grain stamp, but with so much of the circle is covered up it was not terribly effective. Still the wood grain stamping is something to be used again in the future.

The other 2 circles are the stepping stone and the clock. I used an old Tim Holtz clock stamp (old stamp, not old Tim Holtz) from a 2012 collection called "Little Things".

The paper is from a Valentine Martha Stewart 12 x 12 paper pad that is sadly no longer being made. It's a lovely set of papers. I fussy cut a bird out to sit over the door because the space looked blank and because I didn't orient the other bird in the corner correctly. The door is the 3 layers of cardboard with one layer of the woodgrain stamped paper on top with a tiny gold brad for the doorknob.

The roof is a polka dot embossed which paper that I found on a 6 x 6 pad at Michael's after Christmas sale. I edged it a little with some pink, but I'm not sure I like that. I also glittered it lightly and the used Modge Podge over the glitter so little hands won't get glitter everywhere.

To hide the edges of my cardboard circles which are made up of 3-4 layers of smooth and corrugated cardboard combined, I edged them with ribbon. On the bottom piece you can see where I held it with gesso-covered hands. That's typical for me. It just adds to the individual artistic quirkiness I tell myself.

The base consists of a larger ribbon roll over a smaller one so when the little girl gets old enough she can store her treasures in it. Storing treasures is important for a child.

So I am sharing this little house as a Winter Birthday gift for a baby on Simon Says Stamp Wednesday challenge and the Vintage journey challenge "Going Round in Circles".

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Snowflake China Cabinet

I just finished my Snowflake China Cabinet.

The two specific blogs that inspired me to make this project are from Redanne and Nicole Wright. Anne on her blog "Redanne" made an Apothecary Cabinet using Eileen Hull's candy drawer dies for Halloween 2015 that is amazingly awesome. I just got the candy drawer dies on sale so I felt it was the right time to use them. Nicole Wright of Nicole Wright Designs made a shadow box ornament using Tim Holtz' Window and Window box die that is equally awesome. I have had that die for awhile, but haven't used it much. I started thinking that maybe I could make a china cabinet combining the two.

We actually had some snow here yesterday (which is it's own kind of magic for Upstate South Carolina) that had been predicted for at least a week. I was thinking about a project for a couple of online challenges and snow fits the theme for several of them.

So here it is the Snowflake China Cabinet. I decided to use Tim Holtz Mini Snowflakes as the "china". I glued several pieces together, glittered them and stacked them inside the cabinet like your would store your good china. I made some bowls out of a Martha Stewart snowflake punch the same way.

My brother is a cabinet maker who would not have approved of the hodgepodge way I put the cabinet together. I basically built it section by section rather than by having a pre-conceived plan with perfectly fitting pieces just waiting to be glued together. I also neglected to take pictures as I went along because the plan was rather haphazard.

Candy Drawer base 
First, I made the candy drawer base gluing 6 of them together and covering the seams between each drawer with Tim Holtz Sketchbook tissue tape. Then I made the middle drawer section for the top with the Sizzix movers and shapers large matchbox die. I made a box for them to fit in and glued them together. I also covered all the edges with the same tissue tape. The drawer fronts were covered with a blue scrapbook paper and edged with blueprint paint and a cornflower blue pearlescent paint. Each drawer has a glittered snowflake on it and adhered with a brad that was painted with the silver Ranger mixative for alcohol ink.

China Cabinet Doors
I made the doors on the cabinet by cutting out 4 windows and trimming the sides so that they would be straight. Then I glued 2 pieces together with a piece of acetate (leftover packaging from various dies) in the middle which was roughly the same size. The windows were also decorated with some tissue tape. My cabinet maker brother was actually impressed with my "glass" doors.

To install the doors, I adhered 2 sides to the cabinet (see how piecemeal it was constructed) and glued a cardstock flange to attached the doors to. I used 4 brads for each door. The flange moves with the door.

China Cabinet Shelf
Now with the sides on I could make a shelf for the china. I fold a piece of cardboard as a shelf support and glued it in the space between the sides and the middle drawers followed by gluing a shelf on.

Paint difficult spots before the back goes on
At this point I painted the inside of the visible section with gesso and then a light blue pearlescent paint - Martha Stewart cornflower blue. Cornflower blue is a favorite color of mine. I just love it.

Snowflake Stenciled Sides
I stamped the sides with the Tim Holtz Papillon french script. I am learning, slowly, that the background needs to be in the background so I stamped it with a lighter ink - Ranger watering can archival ink. I wanted some snowflakes to show up on the sides so I used Ranger texture paste through the Tim Holtz snowflake layering stencil. The snowflakes don't really show up even though I painted them with glue and dusted them with glitter. Oh well, it's not a detail that is critical to the design. Like I said, I am slowly learning to keep the background in the background. It will take time.

This view shows the snowflakes very well, but without perfectly placed light, they don't show up well at all.

Cabinet Back and Top
I cut the cabinet top out with the Sizzix on the edge Bracket die. It makes a lovely curve for the top of the cabinet. That piece also serves as the back of the piece. It was also stamped with the Papillon stamp. The part that is visible in the cabinet was lightly painted with the cornflower blue.

Glue it all together
All the makeshift pieces (sides, top, and the back) were glued on and I added some wooden feet that I found in my stash. To avoid exacerbating the seriously monochromatic color scheme that is going on, I painted them with distress hickory smoke paint.

My cabinet is a little wonky, a little distressed, but I am still very pleased with how it turned out. It's always fun doing something new and interesting.

Here are the challenges that I'd like to enter for this project:

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog - Simon Says: Start Afresh - What is more appropriate than making something you've never made before using tools you've never used before and you have snow outside that makes everything fresh looking?

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog - Simon Says: New Something - Again this project is perfect for new things - new dies, new stamps, new year, new techniques.

Creative Carte Blanche - Baby, It's Cold Outside - The snowflakes and the cool colors are appropriate for this challenge. I love the inspiration on their blog.

Stamps and Stencils - Swirls, Whirls and Flourishes  - This blog is a mixed media blog which emphasizes stamping and stencils. I don't usually use stamps or stencils because I usually make little houses, but this time I used both techniques. I used a swirly stamp in several places and the bracket top I count as a flourish. So I think the Snowflake China cabinet fits.

Thank you for reading. I hope you are staying warm no matter what the weather. Take care.


Tuesday, January 3, 2017

One more Christmas House

I finished my last Christmas glitter house on December 31st for a co-worker who is moving to live closer to her family. She admired one of the other Christmas houses so I made a very similar one for her as a going away present.

This is an original pattern that I drew that is pretty easy to cut out. I think it makes a lovely little house based on old fashioned putz houses. I found some embellishments that worked well on the gables to look like victorian gingerbread decorations.

I like the contrast of the pink and green. And I especially like the striped green paper. It looks very Christmasy to me. The pink of the roof has a bit too much salmon color, but not enough to bother me much. I did a better job embossing the snowflakes and highlighting them with Picket Fence distress paint.

I also added the pink embellishments on the side gables. Just another fun detail.

Here you can see the traditional hole for the light in the back on putz houses. Now days I think most people use tiny strings of LED lights to light up their putz houses.

I am entering this one in a Vintage Journey December challenge called "Winter Magic". The Christmas glitter house with the snowflake roof fits in nicely with the Winter Magic theme.