Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Final Pieces on the Chateau

I am finishing the Chateau tonight. The base is next. I finally thought of a cool thing to do with the base to fit this particular house which is more formal than most of my houses.


I've got to glue the chimneys on after I am sure the turrets are fully adhered. I'm really happy about the witch weather vane. It's not perfect, but it twirls and is well anchored. I put a tape roll behind her because she is not balanced and she'll turn so that the heavy broom side is down and you wouldn't be able to see her very well. It's not a problem when I stand the house up though.

I made some design flaws that affected attaching the turrets. I did not make sure that the roof/wall intersection was flat so the turrets poke out a little bit at the roofline. And there is a bit of a gap at the top part of the turret. It's not terrible, but noticeable to me. I don't know if it would bother other people. 

To make the door I glued 3 layers of cardboard together, painted it black and cut out the center door. I used some of the offcuts of the cornerstones to make the stone-framed doorway. I cut a door out from one layer of cardboard and made it a little smaller to fit inside the 3 layers of cardboard that make up the doorway. That way the door is recessed. I glued a piece of black cardstock to the back of the door frame and glued the door in this space. I like the dimensional quality of it. I should have done the upper window the same way, but I didn't think of it when I made the window. 

Thank you for reading. Talk to you later. 
Lucy




Sunday, May 28, 2017

Fun to Build - the Chateau

I've been off for a few days so I've been working on the latest house which has been surprisingly fun to build. Part of the reason it's so fun is because the house is looking good.

I've clamped and temporarily taped some of the pieces together so you can get an idea of what it looks like at this stage. The front roof, twin chimneys, turrets and the roof top are not glued on yet, but I think it's going to be pretty cool.



I've been trying to figure out how to make a weather vane and I think I've done it. More on that in another post where I will go into more detail.

The corner blocks are called "quoins", a term I've never heard before. You can see them on the original drawing of the chateau. I made them out of one of the Tim Holtz Village Roof patterns and I think they work perfectly and add a nice detail.

I'm unsure what color to paint the chimneys. I may use a light grey blue to distinguish them from the main part of the house. The windows will be a light blue. The chimneys will also have quoins on them.

I haven't made the doorway yet. It will be painted like the cornerstones, the quoins - white with distressing. The upper window will be painted similarly with a blue window frame.  And then I have to figure out what kind of base to make for this house. I want the landscaping to fit with the house so I will have to experiment.

That's it for now. I actually have to work tomorrow so more in a day or two. Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

The Chateau

I found a drawing of a French chateau on pinterest that I'm making for the next Halloween house. It has some really cool features that I am anxious to work on.


This is from an old French book that you can find on Google. I tried to find an example of the house, but I couldn't find an actual house that looks like this.

I will make it more Halloween-like by using dark colors - black roof, grey plaster for the main body of the house and distressed white brick on the sides of the chimney and the house. Unlike my last 2 houses, I have not designed the base yet. I will probably make a stucco wall to go around this house.

Here is my simplified drawing.


And here is the basic structure of the house.


I figure the 2 hardest things will be the eyebrow dormer and the conical roofs on the turrets. In order to make the turrets adhere to the house, they are basically semi-circular with a flat back to sit on the front.

I'm going to experiment with making a weather vane on the top maybe with a witch.

That's the current plan. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Count's Keep - Newest Bat Wing House

I decided to do some "home improvements" on the previous Bat wing house:

1. More prominent spiderweb design
2. Rounded wings
3. Door to open easier to show the Count inside
4. Wider base.

You can see them side by side below. I always like to change the houses up a little bit, but since the basic design was so similar I decided to change the color scheme. Purple is a little more Halloweeny, I think. I don't really like the color as well because it doesn't show up as effectively. I'm just a blue person - that's all there is to it.

I was able to make the spider web embossed design standout so much better by using some advice I got on the Creative Carte Blanche Facebook page. Anne suggested using a gilding paste, but I don't have any white paste like that. It gave me an idea though. I first painted it with my finger like I would rub on gilding paste. It was a little messy so I decided to paint the white on by pulling a brush that had just a little white paint on it parallel to the surface of the house - just enough to catch the embossing and paint it. It worked. Now the question is - does it make the house look better? I think the subtle design of the first one is my preference. Maybe the windows make it look too busy, because I do like the way the painted spiderweb on the back looks as opposed to the one distressed with white paint.



I reinforced the door with bookbinder's tape so the door can be opened and closed repeatedly without falling off. I forgot to do that on the first house.


The bat wing is longer on this house and the back part of the wing roofline is curved. I think it looks better, though I don't know if it is worth the trouble to do that.


Still deciding on adding a moon or not, I probably will. 

I really like this base with the inset stairs. I wrote about making it in this post.


I painted the rocky base and then went over it lightly with black paint to make striations to look like stratified rock layers.


The wall is made with a Tim Holtz stone stencil from Stamper's Anonymous. I made caps for the posts and stuck a bead in the middle. It is anchored in the post with a wire through it so it is not easy to pull off.


That's the latest House for Habitat. My next crafty project should be some graduation cards though I am currently lacking in design inspiration.

Next house might have round turret or two. That's the plan, anyway. Thank you for reading. Have a good day.



The Village is Growing!

The houses I am making for a "Houses for Habitat" fundraiser are now making a village. There was a brief respite from the recent rain so I took a photo in front of my dog house to show you some of the houses as a collection. All of these houses use the same basic pattern, but I always try to vary them with gables, dormers, altered rooflines, colors, finishes, settings, etc.


I finished the second bat wing house called "The Count's Keep" with the home improvements I talked about in the last post. It's the one with the purple windows in the front. I am pleased with it, but I must admit I like the blue windows better. Purple may be more like Halloween though. What do you think?

I will write more about that later tonight. I have to work for a few hours while one of my co-workers goes to his daughter's dance recital. See you later.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Home Sweet Home?? The Count Awaits

I finished the Count Awaits house last night when I added the moon with some bats on it. Not super tickled about the moon because I don't think I placed it right, but it's ok. Kids will love it, I think.

I had not planned to enter this one in a challenge because I didn't know of a challenge it would fit, but lo and behold this week's Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is ... "Home Sweet Home". Now this doesn't really apply to the Count Awaits Bat Wing house unless you add a question mark to the end of the statement.


I am going to make another one with this pattern, but with a wider, shorter base and I'm going to angle the back of the roofline to make more of a winglike shape.


I am very happy with how the underwing looks. You may wonder why I included wing underneath the main wing. The main reason is that the pointy ends of the wings are vulnerable to bending. If I make them 2 layers of cardboard thick, then they are sturdier. Also by sliding the wing over the edges of the gabled roof that straight edge of the roof is covered up.


I think the naked moon on the back of the house needs something. I may stamp "Happy Halloween" and add a few bats.


So planned home improvements for the next house will be:
1. Angled roofline to match the wings better.
2. Wider, less steep base.
3. Make the door open up better.
4. Embossing the spider web. I am going to try a different technique. I think I am going to paint the house with white gesso after the embossing, then black paint and wipe the black off the raised spider web design. Another option is to use a large spider web stamp with embossing powder after a stamped design. Something like this was suggested by Cheryl Grigsby on the Creative Carte Blanche Facebook page. I'll experiment and see how it goes.
5. New colors maybe. May try to red to see how that works.
6. Smaller moon. Will probably try the Tim Holtz Moon that's comes as a Mover and Shaper. Here for example.

Gotta go. More crafting to do, you know how it is. Can't let blogging and the internet interfere with crafting. Ya'll take care. Thank you for reading.

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Count Awaits - Making Bat Wings

I decided to rename this house as "The Count Awaits"  rather than Slippery Slope. Slippery Slope is kind of off-putting. You can barely see the Count in the doorway below. The door doesn't open as I would like partly because of the angle of the coffin door.


So after testing out sizes of wings and experimenting with the underwing I made the bones on the wing with some twine I had on hand. It was easy to glue down and curve. I let that dry and painted it with black gesso. Then I did test fits on house again with the underwings cut so they fit under the eaves of the house and matched up with the outside wing.



I glued the underwings on the house so they would be secure because that is the most fiddly part of making the wings.


I glued the outside wings on and covered them with tissue paper folded around the edges of both wings to make them strong and make them function as one piece.

I painted again with the blue underwing color and the black on top. The edges are a little sloppy, but I am fairly happy with it. I still have some touching up to do. The spiderweb embossing is better on the back because it is not interrupted by other elements like windows and doors. I also need to distress the sides a little better.


The next element to work on is the "bat ground", a moon of some sort. I have cut out 3 different moons from corrugated cardboard and covered them with paper mache. The oven again is my friend and is drying these as I speak - the turned off, barely warm oven, that is.


I should have this finished soon. Thank you for stopping by.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Sea Life Framed

Last time I used the Tim Holtz Sea Life stamps I made a Fish bowl to contain them. This time I wanted to participate in two online challenges - Simon Says Stamp "It's a Frame Up" and the PaperArtsy Challenge "Assemblages" so I had to come up with a project that fit both. I saw a shadowbox online done by a French artist, Chloe Remiat, that was simple and beautifully executed that it made me think I could use the Sea Life stamps in a similar manner. It turns out it wasn't easy, but I still had fun making the project.


I did not take photos of the steps along the way because truthfully, I was in a hurry. The Simon Says Stamp challenges last only a week and the Paper Artsy Challenges are for two weeks. It is difficult for me to make anything in a week's time. Also I am in the middle of the "The Count Awaits" House. 

I used a Fancy Feast canned cat food box as the basic structure. I covered the inside with distressed and stenciled and stamped watercolor paper trying to mimic the undersea ocean. I stamped all the sea creatures from Tim Holtz's Sea Life set, but I also stamped the Butterfly fish from Designs by Ryn. I was going to have bubbles floating by all some of the animals, but it was hard enough to suspend the sea creatures without adding bubbles. 

The frame itself is another saved piece of cardboard from work which I distressed, cut out the center and glued on top of the Fancy Feast box. The thread is just black buttonhole thread punched through the box top and bottom and tied. That was a little hard because if the pieces were really free floating, not touching the box, they all would flip to the back side. Why does that happen? You'd think I'd have a 50% chance for one of them to float face forward. I actually glued the tail of the Butterfly fish to the side of the box so she wouldn't go all wonky. 

I decided to think of the thread as strings like on a puppet rather than trying to disguise it. 

So again, I am sharing this project with Simon Says Stamp "It's a Frame Up" based on the box frame containing the sea creatures. 

The design team assemblages on the Paper Artsy blog are so wonderful that they are a little intimidating. My project is not nearly as imaginative, but it's a start. When I first started doing this paper crafting, most of my projects (except for the little houses) were pinterest failures, but I am getting better.







Friday, May 12, 2017

Slippery Slope - The Count Awaits

This house is going to be named "Slippery Slope - the Count Awaits" so the question a visitor would ask,  "Do I really want to go up those stairs?"

I have been planning on using the cutout of the Count Dracula from a retired Martha Stewart punch ever since I stumbled onto it. There was one on sale on Ebay for several years that was listed at $300, now reduced to about $150, but I found one much cheaper on an Etsy site. I felt like I'd won the lottery when I got it.

The photo below shows the figure in the coffin-shaped doorway on a sketch of the facade.


The silhouette of the Count in the doorway to see how he will fit. It also shows the embossed facade with the Sizzix Tim Holtz Spiderweb embossing folder. The house is painted black and I used Ranger Picket Fence ink to highlight the embossing. I used leftover acetate packaging for the windows. They were colored with blue Ranger alcohol ink.


Here are a few more step-by-step photos of the house. The house structure is based on a house pattern that I sent to Accucut for a custom die. This glued-on facade (glued front and back to the base structure of the house) has 3 gables which will serve as the body of the bat and the 2 side supports for the wings. The photos show it best.


I was going to have red windows and red bat underwings, but the color was too jarring for me. It would make a good Halloween design, but too stark in my opinion. The white piece in the door is the hinge part for the coffin door so it can actually open a little. The Count is in the doorway. The cutout portion of the door was glued onto the hinge piece. I had to cut the main door down a little bit to allow it to fit and move. 

Initial design for the bat wing template.


Testing the wings - too big. I wanted them to be exaggerated, but that was extreme.



Moon prototype for the "Batground". Not sure about this.



Modified wings - much better. 


I think I need to add framing around the Moon window and the coffin-shaped doorway. What do you think? It's not glued down yet, but I think it makes the doorway and the moon show up so much better.


This is where I am now. I am pleased with how it is turning out. I do have to figure out some more details about the wings and the moon. My plan for the wings is to glue some string to function as the bones of the wings and then cover it with a layer of tissue paper and paint it black.

The plan for the moon is to make several paper mache prototypes of different sizes and try them out. If they don't work on this house, I'm sure they will work on some other project. 

That's the current progress on the Slippery Slope house.

I hope you will make a little cardboard house sometime and have fun in the creative process like I do. Thank you for reading my blog and for all your wonderful comments.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Slippery Slope - Fun with a New Halloween House

This whole house design is inspired by the base and bat wings. I conceived of the base when I heard someone use the term "slippery slope" and it hit me that this was the perfect concept for a Halloween house particularly a bat-winged Halloween house.

Here is the basic sketch of the house, the concept drawings. 


The left-sided drawing was the first one after I drew the anatomy of a bat wing. A bat wing is really kind of amazing. The majority of the wing is the bat's hand. Remember that a bat is a mammal so it's structure is closer to our anatomy more than to a bird. If you spread out your hand with the thumb sticking up that is analogous to what makes up the bat wing. In fact, a bat has a little tiny thumb sticking up at the top of the wing. I haven't figured out what to make that out of yet, but I am going to put a little spire at the apex of the wings to represent the thumb. If it's made out of cardboard it will probably be too fragile so I will probably make it out of wire of some kind.

The drawing on the right is easier to execute and looks better to me. You probably can't see much difference, but the straight lines forming the side gables are easier to make than curved ones would be. Also I like the moon cutout rather than a circular window in the middle gable. 

Now back to the base. You saw the concept drawing above. Here it is in it's raw form being executed.  I have used Mod Podge to glue the layers together. There are 14 layers. There were 13 layers, but I am a little superstitious so I added an extra layer. Not rational, I know. 

When I first made bases for the cardboard houses I squirted the glue out of my glue bottle to adhere the layers together, but there were 2 problems with that - one, squeezing the glue bottle that much killed my hands. It really hurt. Two, it was hard to get enough glue on the edges to prevent them from flipping up and not adhering at the edge. So I now get a paintbrush, dip it in the Mod Podge making sure to cover the edges well, then paint both the top and bottom of the adjoining pieces. When I have all the layers added, I use strips of scrap paper, packing paper in this case, to hold the edges together. If the base gets a little wonky and is sloped on the top I try to squash it down to make it level. Pretty easy to do at this stage. 


This is what my oven is for - drying craft pieces. I turn on the timer for 3-5 minutes, heat up the oven during that time, turn it off and put my pieces in. Have I ever left the oven on with some craft pieces in there? Yes, and the smell will alert you pretty quickly. Have I ever burned up something I am working on? No, not yet. I have melted the acetate a little bit though.


Slippery slope base in progress. Still playing around with the paint. Since the house will be black, I need the base to be lighter for contrast. 


Here is the house in progress balancing on the slippery slope base. 


More tomorrow on making the house. I don't know why this one is going so fast. Maybe because I have several days off in a row AND I am inspired. 

Once again thank you for stopping by and reading about my crafty journey. I have really appreciated everyone's comments on my previous houses. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Finished (basically) the Gothic Halloween House

The house is done. I need to clean up a few more details which are more evident on the photos than in real life. The house will get a new name but I haven't thought of it yet - Gothic Halloween House is too generic.


Well, I say the house is done, but I had to split the fence in the back because I didn't have one piece that would go all along the back so I am going to add a wonky gate. I wanted the seam to be in the middle rather than on one of the sides. The tombstones lean forward a little bit. I will inundate them with some more glue and gently straighten them. I keep finding little corners where the cardboard is not painted. I may add more yellow on the outside of the fence to look like dried grass. And then there is a little extra decorating - polymer clay pumpkins need to be made as well as a willow tree and an owl. But the house structure is done.

As I said in my last post, I am very happy with house because the house matched my inner vision which is rare. Every once in a while what you make is BETTER than you envision, mostly it's not quite there, but this one matched what I hoped it would be which really pleases me.

I often share my houses to various online challenges if the theme fits and I have just squeaked in on the latest deadline for Frilly and Funkie's most recent challenge - "Put On Your Inking Cap". This challenge refers to using various inks, paints, sprays, stains rather than a pre-printed design on paper in your projects. I think this little house fits nicely - no pre-printed scrapbook paper here. I had already added the previous Slate house, but I am adding this one with 9 hours to go for a month long challenge. Squeaking in, for sure.


The view below shows how the tombstones lean forward a little bit.


Back of the house. You can't really see the gap in the fencing too well here. The fence lines on the back don't line up straight because I cover my base with paper mache which often gets lumpy.





That's my most recent house. I don't have a specific idea what to make next - probably need to work on my real human-sized house. 

Thank you for stopping by. I hope you are having a lovely Spring day. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Glue is drying - almost done on the Gothic Halloween House


The house is all done; most glue balls and kitty hair fluff have been removed. 



I glued on a flap on the underside front of the house to provide more gluing surface. I learned this from Howard Lamey of Little Glitterhouses - the master in making little cardboard houses. He posts often on the forum Cardboard Christmas which has incredible information if you want to learn how to make cardboard houses.


I had to cut a notch out because of the cutout in the base for LED tea light. I use LOTS of glue to make sure my little houses are sturdy and will be around for years.



Decor elements for this house. I am gluing the gravestones on the back of the house. I have distressed both the gravestones and the fence pieces. I like how the graveyard looks peeking out from behind the house. This is from Tim Holtz' On the Edge Graveyard die. It is one of my very favorite dies.






The fence posts in the front are glued in place. I'll glue the front pieces of fencing on first and then match the same level for the fencing on each side.


I also distressed the back of the graveyard, but not in as much detail. It's more abstract.


The back of the house. Again notice my extremely generous use of glue. When the dried glue is too prominent, I paint over it to mute the shine and obscure the glue lines.


I might have the fences glued on tonight. If so, I will post the finished house tonight. I am really tickled about this house because it is looking like what I conceived of. That doesn't always happen. 

Thank you for stopping by.