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".

Saturday, January 6, 2018

How to Draw Patterns for a Steeple for Your Little House

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

Directions:

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

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 GreenvilleHistory.org. 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.