Saturday, March 17, 2018

Springtime Projects - Little Houses and a Woodland Scene

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

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


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Irish Cottage St. Patrick's Day House

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

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

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

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

Thank you.

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

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Bunnies in the Garden - Springtime Putz House

Springtime Windmill Putz House - the Miller's Place

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

Windmill Putz House called "Bunnies in the Garden - Springtime at the Miller's Place

Candy Corn Glitter house
The Candy Corn house from Halloween 2015

Lots more information and a free pattern on how to make a Candy Corn shaped house on Please do stop by.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

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

Please join me on my new blog - where this project is included with more crafty projects are being added all the time. Thank you. I hope to see you there.

This project is based on the illustration below. It's from an incredible book called British Butterflies available at biodiversity. org. I've moved all the content from this blogpost to my new blog. You can find it here. Thank you for visiting and I hope to see you will click on over to see the post on

Print from British Butterflies

Colored butterflies for vintage botanical print
Butterfly close-up

See how to make this vintage butterfly print at

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

I have moved this post to my new blog. You can read all about this Putz house project here.

Please do join me on my new paper crafting blog. There's lots of new content that I think you will like.


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

Saturday, February 3, 2018

Spring Mansion - What I learned from crafting a prototype

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

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. But 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 . Or at least figure them out first. I found the porches 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


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.


I wrote a post on how to draw a steeple pattern which I wouldn't have figured out if I didn't have to try out so many sizes of steeples for my prototypes. You'll find that 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
Steeples are so much easier now.


I made the second story porch on the Spring Mansion with just one thin layer of cardboard which looked flimsy. I glued an additional layer of cardboard which helped but didn't completely solve the problem. What to do on the real Wilkins Putz House? Glue 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. 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.


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.

Have a great day.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Spring Mansion - Evolution of a Putz House

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

I've most this post on the Spring Mansion here. You can read about the design challenges of this particular little cardboard house.

Spring Mansion cardboard putz house
Spring Mansion on a sunny day

Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Spring Mansion angled side view

Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Spring Mansion side view with the wonky fencing

Roofline overview of Spring Mansion putz glitterhouse
Kind of a cool bird's eye view 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Wilkins House Putz Progress Prototype 4

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

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

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

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".

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How to Draw Patterns for a Steeple for Your Little House

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

Tutorial - How to Draw a Pattern for a Steeple 

The Circle and Chord Method

I've  been struggling with drawing patterns for steeples ever since I started making little houses. I basically made them by drawing a triangle the size I want and then tracing 3 copies to make the pattern. I knew I had to figure out a way using geometry and finally, I did. I can't believe it is this easy. Once you see the process you'll see that you can make a steeple with many sides easily.

But first you need a specific tool - a compass.

Steeple pattern how to DIY
The compass - our special tool for drawing a steeple pattern


1. Determine the size of your triangle for the steeple. For the purposes of this tutorial, the width will be 1 inch and each side of the triangle will be 2 inches. That's not the height of the triangle because each 2 inch side is slanted. The height of the triangle is just a smidge under 2 inches (I confess, I didn't measure it.)

2. Set your compass to 2 inches.

3. Draw a circle on the graph paper with a radius of 2 inches. I knew I didn't need an entire circle because of the size of my steeple so I only drew a portion of the circle. You can barely see the little hole that the compass made in the center of the circle and how the circle intersects 2 inches when the lines are perpendicular.

Circle for Steeple pattern how to tutorial
Draw a circle with a 2 inch radius. 

4. Mark a point on the circle as the starting point for your pattern. Now set the compass for one inch because that is the width we want for the steeple. Put the compass on your starting point and mark one inch intervals - as many as you need for the size of your steeple. Here we need 4 sides so I made a total of 5 marks (to include an extra side as a tab for gluing).

Circle for steeple pattern DIY tutorial
Mark one inch segments on the circle you've drawn.

5. Draw a line connecting the starting point with the one inch marks. You are drawing a chord on the circle - I had to look up the technical name for this because I didn't remember it from geometry. 

Chords marking base of steeple triangle tutorial
Circle marked with one inch chords which will form the base of your triangles.

6. Now use your ruler to draw a line from the center point to each end of the chord on the circle. These lines form the sides of your steeple pattern. And there you have your steeple pattern. You can make a 6 sided pattern just as easy. 

Steeple sides marked on your pattern steeple tutorial

7. Here is the finished pattern and the sample steeple.

Steeple pattern DIY pre-scored and cut out
Cut out the Steeple pattern. Try to remember to score it  before you cut it out. It is so much easier if you do this. 
Steeple pattern DIY cut out and taped
The steeple pattern cut out and taped together. I am so happy I know how to do  this now.

What do you think? Will this help you when you make steeple for little houses or little churches? I certainly hope so. It has already made my life a little easier in making the top to the tower on the Wilkins House prototype.

Now I'm going steeple crazy. It's going to be so much fun.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Putz Plan Progress

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

Just a brief post to show you a major design detail in making a putz house. This is the first house I am making this year for the Habitat for Humanity fundraiser which happens in October. It takes me quite awhile to get these houses done. I want this one to be very special and generate a lot of money at the auction.

As I mentioned in the last post, it is based on a real house known as the Wilkins House in my hometown of Greenville, South Carolina. I don't intend to do a true reproduction of the house partly because it would be seriously difficult and would become tedious. This is my hobby and it is supposed to be fun. I just like to make the houses.

But that doesn't mean I don't put a lot of thought into making a house. This one will probably take the entire month of January. Imagine if I tried to do a reproduction!! I'd only get one house done every 2-3 months.

Here are a couple of other views of the real Wilkins House. This one is from the Greenville Journal.

Wilkins House Greenville Journal
Wilkins House - angled view. This view shows the Conservatory very well. You can see all the gorgeous detail on the house, the balusters, 8 columns in the front, molding, quoins, and ornate chimneys. It also shows the apartment built on the back for the owner to live in. 

Old Photo of the Wilkins House from It's kind of fuzzy photo, but here I just want to show the front facade that helps me decide what proportions to use. 
Putz prototypes for the Wilkins House Cardboard house
These are the second and third prototypes I've made for this house. The first one I threw away because it was too big.
Ok, so what are the decisions I am making here? I'm trying to convey the IDEA of this house within the size constraints of a putz house. I don't want it to be so big that someone has to do major rearranging to display the house.  In my opinion that limits the width of the house to 5 inches or less. The 5 inch width was the first prototype that was discarded because it just didn't look right. The prototype on the right is 4 inches wide, but I didn't think it gave me enough space to include many details and it looks too tall, too slim. The left handed prototype looks better to me. It measures 4.5 inches across the front and 2.5 inches on the sides. I think I can fit the double windows on each side of the front tower as well as the quoins - the delightful stones on the edges of the walls.

I also increased the depth of the front tower to help give me space for those quoins as well. I know by comparing the houses that the proportions aren't the same, but I think with paint and the architectural details, people will be able to tell right off what house this is based on. And most importantly, I think this will make a very attractive little cardboard house on its own, even if someone has never seen the Wilkins House.

I don't think I told you that I intend to make 2 houses from this pattern - one for Christmas and one for Halloween. The Christmas house will have the brick color painted with a cranberry Christmasy red while the Halloween one will be painted with a more orangey red. That way I am using this time-consuming pattern twice and both houses will auctioned off for Habitat. I just think it will be fun to have the putz decorated for two of my favorite seasons.

That's it for now. Maybe tomorrow I will actually cut out the cardboard for the base structure. Then many more decisions about adding details.

Thank you for stopping by. Stay warm.