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

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

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

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.

Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Going to Work!

The pieces for the Wilkins House are going to fit together!

Testing fitting the pieces of the Wilkins House putz house
I think all the pieces are going to fit together and actually work! I am delighted. The paint color is a mixture of Candied Apple and Fired Brick mixed with sand to give it a rough texture.

This view shows how the front porches will go on the Wilkins House. They are not glued on yet. And there is lots of trim that is needed as well. You see some of the trim in the background. The top part of the front tower has been glued down because it has to fit the angle of the roof so it had to go first. The top piece determines where the top porch floor goes. Then the bottom part of the tower determines where the bottom of the porch goes. And amazingly, they all fit!

I am more likely to eyeball how something goes together rather than measure carefully, but because of all the components of this house I had to improve my measuring skills. Fortunately, I've been pretty successful. I will know for sure when I add the side embellishments and the railing for the porches and the conservatory.

Cardboard pieces for the Wilkins Putz House
These are all the pieces that needed to be painted for the Wilkins house. At least I think that was all of them. I painted one extra sheet of cardboard with gesso and sand in case I needed more stone-textured embellishments. 

Still lots of details on this house to come - trim around the roof, roof shingles which I'm going to make to look like slate, 2 chimneys, the details around the conservatory, the front columns, quoins (can't forget the quoins), stone front stairs and then landscaping. The most challenging part is an ornate little princess balcony that is at the top of the tower - haven't really worked that out yet. Probably another week or two before I get the house done. This is a seriously time-consuming house. I am ready to go back to Halloween houses so I can quit worrying about perfect fits and I can paint streaks on the house to distress it and use dark colors that I am more comfortable with and so on.

Previous links to making the Wilkins House from the first to the last one:

Next Putz House for Habitat
Putz Plan Progress
Wilkins House Putz Progress Prototype 4
Spring Mansion - The Evolution of a Putz House
Spring Mansion - What I learned from crafting a Prototype

That's the brief update for today. Thank you for following me on this Putz house-making journey.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Spring Mansion - What I learned from crafting a prototype

Lessons Learned?

Lessons learned with the Spring Mansion, the putz prototype house? Many things:
  1. How to make a tower to fit a hipped roof
  2. How to draw a steeple pattern 
  3. How to make a second story porch or rather how NOT to make a second story porch
  4. How to cut small dowels to length
  5. How to make a solid porch floor
  6. How to make folded cardboard stairs
  7. How to make porch railings
  8. And most important, do the hard things first.


Most of these lessons I learned are really are what not to do. I listed the most important last. If you have challenging details for a project do them FIRST when you are the freshest on your project. The porches are the most challenging for me so that is what I worked on first for the real Wilkins House.

Base for the porch of the Wilkins Putz house
Base for the porch floor of the Wilkins Putz House


This took me awhile to figure out. I couldn't get the angle right because it wasn't what I thought it was. Finally I had to just measure against the roof to get the appropriate angle. That method always works. It's not based on geometry skills, but it works.


See the post on how to draw a steeple pattern. I wouldn't have figured this out if I didn't have to try out so many sizes of steeples for my various prototypes. And drawing the pattern is so easy. I am so glad I figured it out (not that I invented this method, it's really simple geometry).

Steeple roof for the Putz Wilkins House
I am so happy about how nicely my steeples work out now. I'm not afraid to make them anymore.


I made the second story porch on the Spring Mansion with just one thin layer of cardboard which was not sufficient. It looked flimsy and would not support the visual weight of the porch railing. I glued an additional layer of cardboard which helped but didn't completely solve the problem. Next time on the real Wilkins Putz House? I've glued 2 pieces of heavy duty cardboard together for the second story porch floor. The heavy duty cardboard was the backing board from a watercolor paper pad - very substantial cardboard.


Lesson number 4 was learning to cut small dowels to length. On my Halloween houses, the dowels can be wonky and it doesn't matter, but if you are trying to make a pretty house the dowels need to be the same length and the porch supported by the dowels needs to be level. That didn't happen on the Spring Mansion. I had been cutting the dowels with my garden clippers but that doesn't leave a smooth end. Now I am cutting them with a dremel tool and then sanding the edge to make a nice flat end.

Porch progress for the Putz house, Wilkins house
I cut these dowels with the garden clippers which you can see leaves a really messy edge. I just cut them to see how they would fit in the porch floor after I drilled holes. They fit nicely and will be very strong. I was going to push them through the top porch piece but I don't think that will be necessary. I think everything is going to be sturdy enough without that extra fiddly work. The final cut will be done with the dremel tool.


Part of the problem with the dowels was related to lesson number 5 - how to make a solid porch floor. I made the porch floor from folded cardboard which means that it flexed so the height at one end of the porch was different from the other end. This time I made it with layers of corrugated cardboard covered with thinner cardboard. I drilled holes the size of the dowels to make sure they are well anchored on the floor.

Side view of porch floor layers for the Wilkins Putz house
Porch floor made of about 5 layers of corrugated cardboard. I added another thinner, smoother layer of cardboard on top. I used painter's tape to hold all the layers together while the glue dried. It peels off fairly easily.


I haven't made these yet so I have to experiment some more. I will write a separate post about making stairs. The stairs on the Spring Mansion were made from a complicated folded design that leaves folded edges in prominent places which I don't want on the Wilkins House.

Cardstock prototype for stair on putz house
Cardboard prototype for stairs on the Spring Mansion. It is unnecessarily complicated and leaves a folded edge on the front sides of the stairs.
Stairs on Spring Mansion Putz House
Close-up view of the stairs on the Spring Mansion - kind of wonky with seams showing in the front. 


Porch railings are not really hard; they just take time. For the Wilkins house I  measured out 5/8 of an inch and glued the railings onto the balusters so that the entire piece was 5/8" high. Much, much nicer and it will be so much nicer to work with when I put the railings on the house.

Wilkins Putz House Porch Railings in progress
Porch railings that were measured to 5/8 inch. They aren't perfect but they are close and will look so much better than  on the Spring Mansion. 

Those are major lessons that I can think of right now. There are probably other subtle things I learned that I'm not even aware of.

Thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you have a happy creative day today.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Spring Mansion - Evolution of a Putz House

I've been working making a little cardboard Putz house based on the Wilkins House, a dramatic example of the Italianate style in my hometown. The goal is to make 2 versions (one Christmas and one Halloween) that will be auctioned off at the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser in October. Last year my little house that was auctioned was sold for $80. I am hoping that these houses will sell for much more. In other words, I want these Wilkins House putz houses to be spectacular. (By the way, the sale of all of the other Halloween houses brought in an additional $1300 for Habitat.)

I've talked about this project in 3 previous blogposts:
Next Putz House for Habitat
Putz Plan Progress
Wilkins House Putz Progress Prototype 4

I finally realized that in order to make such a complicated house in miniature I needed to do a mock-up. That mock-up evolved into the Spring Mansion. The design ended up being so different from the inspiration that it took on a life of its own. I decided to call it Spring mansion because it's not spooky like my Halloween houses, the lawn is a spring green, the house colors are nice and crisp like springtime, so the house became the Spring mansion.

This article is not about the Wilkins House, but about a new house - the Spring Mansion.

Spring Mansion cardboard putz house
Spring Mansion on a sunny day

I am very happy about a number of things with this house. I love the colors - the house itself is painted with a Tim Holtz Distress Hickory Smoke; the chimneys, porch and stairs are painted with Distress Pumice Stone paint. The roof shingle color is Faded Jeans in the same line of Distress paint, distressed on the edges with some Black Soot Ink.  Mowed Lawn, of course, is the color of the green base. The trim is painted with a thick white gesso. And always, I love these windows. They are die cuts from the Village Manor by Tim Holtz and Sizzix. I just think they are so cool. Most importantly is that they are so cool and I don't have to cut them by hand.

I have been experimenting with some of the trim. The balusters on the Wilkins House are vase-shaped which I know I cannot cut by hand and I don't have a die to cut this shape. As a result I had to look around for something that might be interesting and function as a baluster. The fence was my first attempt. It's made from Tim Holtz Thinlet called Lace. I was going to use it on the porch to form the balusters, but the scale is too big. 

Next, I found some offcuts from a fence on the Tim Holtz Village Bungalow that I thought my work. So what you see on the porch is the upside down offcut from the top of the fence. The trim around the house is the bottom of the fence. Here is a photo from the Sizzix website to help you visualize what I am talking about. I neglected to take photos when I was making these pieces.

Sizzix Village Bungalow
Sizzix Village Bungalow - Offcuts from the fence to make the trim around the house and to make the balusters  for the porch
I think the offcuts work pretty well. The problem - I didn't glue on the railing evenly. You will see in the upcoming photos. 

Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Spring Mansion angled side view

Notice the wonky fence lines. Usually I do a better job matching up edges and gluing them together. My cabinetmaker brother suggested that I miter the edges. Miter cardboard? I think he was joking for the most part.

Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Spring Mansion side view which shows the fencing pattern better
The photo above shows how the lace was modified to make a fence, but you can also see that I didn't glue the railing pieces on evenly where the front of the fencing on this side is shorter than the back of the fencing. That will be rectified on the next house.

Spring Mansion top view rooflines putz house
View of the rooflines on the Spring Mansion

Spring Mansion putz house roof view
Bird's eye view of roof on the Spring Mansion

I do love the rooflines on this house. This part worked out well because the edges of the hipped roofs came together so nicely. It doesn't always happen so easily. I also like the grey chimneys. I drew the mortar lines by hand. 

Roofline overview of Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Looking down on the house where the rooflines come together 

Despite the wonkiness of the fence and the porch, I still love this house. I like the colors and the overall design of the house. It's a good starting point for the real Wilkins house, don't you think?
I'll go over lessons learned and improvements in the next post. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wilkins House Putz Progress Prototype 4

Prototype number FOUR for the Wilkins House

Progress on the Wilkins House as a Putz House
The FOURTH prototype for the Wilkins House, not the final project but a prototype that I will turn into a Putz house, but it is still only a prototype.

I continue to work on the Wilkins House as the putz house that I talked about here and here. I have a couple of other crafty projects I am working on as well that distract me a little from the Wilkins House, but no matter what, I find that on a complicated project I have to ruminate and ponder what to do next so it will turn out the way I see it in my mind.

Wilkins House from the Greenville Daily Photo
Photo of the Wilkins House from the Greenville Daily Photo

I finally realized that I could not envision adding the important details to the Wilkins House unless I made a cardboard Putz model to play around with. The first 3 prototypes were made of cardstock. This is the first cardboard prototype. I will turn it into a house that I will sell to raise money for Habitat for Humanity, but not as the actual house to be auctioned off. The details I am debating about are the double windows, the molding around the edges of the house, the quoins (love quoins, those stones on the side of the house), the balusters, and all the columns supporting the porches. In this model I decided just to use single windows and only one porch just to get a feel for scale. This house is 4.5 inches across and has a depth of 2.5 inches.

Putz Pattern Wilkins House Prototype
Pattern for Wilkins House Putz Prototype #4

Lots of erasures on the pattern, aren't there? I tried to fit in the double windows but I just don't think they will fit with this size pattern. One reason I want my windows to be this size is because I have a window frame die from the Village Manor that will look so perfect for this house. It's the same one I used on my Stone Stenciled Clock House which is one of my most popular houses.

Stone Stenciled Clock House Window view
Windows from the Tim Holtz Village Manor on the Stone Stenciled Clock House. I just think these will be perfect for the Wilkins House though I will have to trim them a little to make double windows.

I am including a few progress photos so you can see some of the steps involved in making this little cardboard house.

Taping the hipped roof together while glue sets
Tape holding the hipped roof together while the glue sets. The cutout in the roof is to allow light into the uppermost window. 

Basic structure of the putz house
Basic structure of the cardboard house
Porch roof of cardboard house supporting tower
Porch roof added to support the front tower
The single layer of cardboard for the porch roof was too thin so I duplicated it and glued the additional layer on. It looks a little more substantial now. I should have made it thicker to begin with.
All this brings us to the photo below where the little house is ready for primer. I am planning on painting the house with a layer of dark grey paint mixed with sand. I may draw mortar to mimic brick, but I haven't decided on that yet. The trim will be a lighter grey paint that is also sanded. 

Little cardboard putz house ready for primer
Ready for gesso. Porch roof and floor added. Chimneys made. Columns need to be cut to size and the base is done. 
That's the progress so far. What I have learned is that the house has be slightly wider to accommodate double windows and quoins. I think I will add an additional 1 inch in width and 1/2 inch in height for the foundation. Also the tower on the front is too tall. It needs to come down about 1/4 inch. I think the silhouette will match the real Wilkins house better with these changes. 

Thank you for stopping by and reading about my crafty projects. I do appreciate your comments. Let me know what you think.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Frosted Butterflies Out of Season

Challenges for this Week - Winter Blues and Think Inside or Outside the Box

I haven't done many challenges lately because it's prime time at work - flu season in the emergency department where I work and I have some long term projects like the Wilkins House that are occupying my imagination. I did finally come up with an idea of Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge "Winter Blues" and A Vintage Journey "Think Inside or Outside the Box". It's called Frosted Butterflies Out of Season. 

Frosted Butterflied Mixed Media piece
Ethereal Frosted Butterflies are flying out of season in the snow. 
I'd like to explain the ideas behind this piece. I think the concept in my head is better than the execution. Ok, here are the two main inspirations behind this piece. First was Simo's stunning Icy Inspiration project for a recent Simon Says Stamp Challenge. She layered a beautiful snowflake on a blue background that made my mouth drop. You can check out her work on her blog - Ginny and the Sheep. The butterflies came to mind because of Amber's art journal page called Fear of the Unknown. She did an incredible job coloring the butterflies in her journal. Her butterflies just dance across the page. So it occurred to me to combine these two ideas to make the butterflies translucent and glittery like they were frosted. 

Close-up view of the Frosted Butterflies. On some of the butterflies I outlined the bodies on the background piece. Not sure if I would do that again.

I didn't take photos as I was doing the project because I didn't have any idea if it would work or not. I cut out the butterflies from leftover plastic packaging with Tim Holtz' Flutter and Perspective. Then I stamped them with a white ink and applied glitter right away. I left them to dry overnight. I added a background cutout of the butterflies to make them show up better.

Frosted Butterflies Mixed Media piece
Background too light. I know how to fix it on the next project. 

The background was made using watercolor paper and distress oxides. I think I used Iced Spruce, Faded Jeans, and a little Broken China. I used Peacock Feathers on another sheet to line the box that that put the background in. I tried to layer the background, but really backgrounds remain a challenge to me. I rarely get the depth I am looking for. I think I've made two backgrounds with decent depth. I like the one on the Halloween piece "Grumpy Back Seat Driver" and "A Study in Perspective". Both achieved what I envisioned. Well, actually "A Study in Perspective" worked better than I hoped. This background is just too light. I ran out of time so I went with it. I like the idea of these butterflies so much that I will likely do this project over in the future. Everything is a learning experience, isn't it?

Wildflowers for Frosted Butterflies Mixed Media piece
View of the Wildflowers on Frosted Butterflies

The wildflowers were cut from watercolor paper using various blue distress sprays, inks and crayons. Basically I used the same colors as on the background.

Tim Holtz Watering Can to anchor the flowers on the Frosted Butterflies Mixed Media project
Watering Can to anchor the flowers

Now to the watering can. I couldn't figure out how to ground the flowers - how to anchor them on the page. At first, I thought I would use a Tim Holtz framelit mason jar from the Flower Jar die set, but it was way too small. Then I remembered that I had just bought the watering can die. It is probably  little too small, but I think it works on the page and it certainly anchors the flowers. I used a distress spray to color it - Hickory Smoke, I think. I colored the edges with Hickory Smoke distress crayon. I smeared a little glue on it and used some fine glitter to help keep with the frosted theme. To anchor the watering can, I added some Snowtex which was lightly glittered as well. 

Oh, and the box - well, that's a Fancy Feast box. It is such a nice size for a project like this. And for the challenge for A Vintage Journey, I was able to use both inside and outside of the box to hold the butterflies. I do need to remember that I need to weigh it down when I am gluing stuff to it so it won't get all wonky and crooked. Another lesson for me.

Frosted Butterflies Out of Season
Frosted Butterflies Out of Season

So that is my most recent project. I love the butterflies and will use this concept again. I just need to work on the backgrounds. I am sharing this project with Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge "Winter Blues" and with A Vintage Journey's "Think Inside or Outside the Box".