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11 posts from January 2015

grand plans for a new build

There is no progress to report on the kitchen this week.  I intended to get the roof on and the ductwork placed, but I got the kit for the 2015 Creatin' Contest in the mail this week so have been busy scheming.

It's in dry fit, I've stared at it for hours, rearranged cardboard cutout furniture, and made a plan of attack. I placed an order for materials and will have to wait for them to arrive before I assault it with my saw.

I've got all year to build it, so I can take my time.  I'm going to finish the English Cottage Kitchen, the Chantilly and the Fairfield at the same time I'm building this contest kit.  There are two rolling carts in my studio, so I can have two in progress helps to putter with decorating an old one while I think through problems building the new one.  What I plan to do with this kit is going to be complicated, so I expect unforeseen troubles.

Welcome to all the new folks that came for the mini canning giveaway...I hope you stick around!

working on the exterior

When I plastered the exterior walls I used plaster of paris....I applied it with an old paintbrush, working quickly before the plaster set up.  I was left with a lot of brush marks...won't apply it that way again.  Yesterday morning I started up the kerosene heater in the garage, let it warm up for an hour, then carried the house out there for a good sanding.  I didn't want to remove all the brush marks, just take the tops off so they weren't so prominant.

Before   After

The sanding was finished quicker than I expected...I shouldn't have bothered to heat the garage.

After I cleaned my mess I brought it back into my studio to make the exterior walls for the addition.

I reviewed the pictures I took of Marie Antoinette's estate at Versaille...

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I made the walls on matboard, so that I can work with them on my table, weighing them down to dry as I go...except for the sliver of third wall, which I had to apply directly because there wasn't enough room.

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I purposefully didn't draw out a pattern, but worked freehand, so to speak.  It took all day.  I listened to the entire season of Firefly while I worked....I've seen it a zillion times so I don't have to watch the screen.  Today I will listen to Serenity.  I love being able to stream Netflix on my iPad.

Right now there is a coat of gesso between the I fill them.  I have about a quarter of a jar of pumice gel and a third a jar of heavy gel medium left over from previous projects....I'm going to mix it with acrylic paint and some non-skid paint additive I bought one day to do something with...wish me luck.


still trying to figure out miniature canning

It's been almost a year since my first foray into canning.  It's a good time for a second, since I did a super cleaning of my studio Saturday, srubbing and scraping down my work table with comet, steel wool, and a putty was white under there! have a clean space to work. 

I used erasers as molds last time, but over the last year I've accumulated a bunch of glass jars, so used those this time.  I bought some polymer clay canes during a huge end-of-year sale from Tiny Food Supply (which is still going on, by the way)...two colors of mushroom, two kinds of pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, two colors of onion slices, three colors of pepper rings, black olives, and peppermint candy....the canes were easy to slice and work with.

I used jeweler's quality Ice Resin, because that's what I have on hand already.  It's easy to work with and won't yellow.

Most of the glass jars I got at the dollar store (eight for a dollar!), I just had to empty the fingernail glitter out of them.  The other sizes I got from Alpha Stamps during a one day flash-sale so I'd have a variety to put on the shelves.  The round jars don't stand on their own, but sit nicely on a pillow of museum wax.

You may be thinking "wait, aren't those too big?"...yes, they are, I'll get there....

It's hard to get a good picture, my camera refuses to focus on the contents of the jars unless I photograph two or three at a time, which would be a very long blog post, but here are the results of my second foray...without lids and labels, because they have to cure longer first...



I love the polymer clay food canes, but canned they're too bright, I should have colored the resin slightly....and the pickles don't look like pickles because the brine isn't dark green. The liquid in jars of canned food is not crystal clear in life sized jars and when it is in miniature the result is not realistic.   I spent a long time cutting up little tomatoes, peppers, etc to make salsa and it looks like fruit salad.

I did color the resin for the jar of beets...with eye shadow, because I bought some at the dollar store to use the tins as baking pans, and it seemed a shame to waste the shadow...but even though I visually inspected it before I used it and didn't see any, there are glittery shiny bits in it, which can be seen in the jar of beets.  Next time I will use chalk or pastels.  Also...a little color goes a long way.

They are too big.  I knew they were when I started, but was ignoring it. Smiley I shouldn't have.  I was correct in my assumption that canning in glass jars is easier, but....not worth it.  I should start saying to myself 'what is the most painful and time consuming way you can think of to do this', then do it that way, because that seems to give the best result in any mini thing I've made so far.

Here they are in comparison to the eraser-mold batch....


And here they are in comparison to other kitchen stuff....


So...if you want to can a gallon of something, use the glass jars.  If you want to can a quart of something, use the eraser mold technique.

I was thinking that I'd still use a few of these, even though they're the wrong size, because I love how they turned out, especially the jars of mushrooms and pepper rings.....but I know I'll get disgusted eventually, buy more canes, and do it right.

These won't go to waste, I won't throw them away, I'll finish them off and give them away to someone who works in 1/6 scale.   If nobody here raises their hand I'll offer them up on the Greenleaf forum, there are people there who build for Blythe dolls.

Oh...I forgot to mention....I also used three quart sized, plastic, proper 1/12 scale canning jars I bought from a miniatures  shop.  They were very hard to fill and even with a coat of clear finger nail polish aren't clear like glass...but that could be because I slopped resin on them then sanded it off.   I've got three more, so I'll give them another try...I do love the lids.  Maybe if I punch a hole through a piece of cardstock then use rubber cement to adhere it to the top, to use as a guard, I can fill them without dribbling.


Have any of you canned in minature?  Do you have any advice?  Besides the fact that I should have done a test canning garbage before I wasted the polymer clay canes I bought, because that has already occured to me. 

dirt, grime, stains, and grunge

My daughter objected to my bricks being all the same color, so I gave some a gray wash and dabbed others with a different shade of brick colored paint....she's right, it looks better this way.  I see in the unforgiving the camera is...that the top brick on the right side is too orange...I'll have to fix it.


 I used silicone adhesive caulk to adhere the pantry wall to the kitchen.  Once the walls are finished you won't notice the seam.


 I blended the seam on the inside with washes of black and gray paint and brown antiquing wax.  I'm still madly in love with the antiquing wax.  Then I added an electrical conduit with a plug for the refrigerator and a water pipe wrapped in insulation. 

I also added a curtain rod.  My original plan was to have a curtain that would hide the pantry from view, only pulled back along the wall, because it's a pain to have a curtain in the way all the time.  I love how that stone wall turned out though, so I'm not putting a curtain up to hide it.  I'll leave the rod empty.


 I added a fake light switch for the pantry light, since I put in one for the pendant lights in the kitchen.


The top of the fuse box, conduit and the top of the vegetable bin got dirtied up a bit.


I fixed the broken freezer door handle and set the refrigerator in place.  I'm not sure yet if I'm going to glue it in.  After the picture was taken I added a slight stain under the handles, where one would grab to open the doors.


I chipped enamel and stained the Aga.  I think I dirtied it too much....I may take some of the grunge off.



 It doesn't look as bad in place as is does on my worktable under my magnifier, but still....


I had planned to run the exhaust pipes for the Aga through the wall into the pantry, join with the furnace exhaust, then vent up and out through the roof.  There was more room in my imagination than in the house...there isn't enough room with a curtain I ran the exhaust pipe higher up the wall, straight through to outside.  I'm doing a thatched roof on the main structure, and it would be silly to have it vent through that roof.....but yet it's also silly to have it vent directly through the wall, where the exhaust would collect under the eaves.  Since I decided I'm not going to put a curtain up I'm going to plug the hole I drilled, shorten the pipe, and route it as originally planned.  I think there is enough room between the curtain rod and the support beam to drill the hole...I'll figure it out.


 The project as it stands today.....


Since this post is picture heavy anyway I'll throw in a gratuitous cat picture for Susan.


lighting perfection!

Look at this!!!

 Is that not the coolest thing you've even seen?!?  I'm so happy!  Yay, me!  Yay, husband!

I was beginning to wonder if I was going to meet my goal to have the lights done before the weekend was over...I was going to make a simple faux cupboard to house the battery, but it evolved into a vegetable bin with working drawers in the front half, with battery storage in the back half, which took much longer to build.  I'm glad I did, I'm happy with it.

Pictures I took along the way....





I messed up the edge of the wall with the dremel when I cut the groove.  I knew I'd never be able to touch it up with fresh paint, so I removed the surface of the stones just to the left of the groove and patched the area.







 I painted the vegetable bins gray to match the color scheme of the kitchen, but now kind of wish I hadn't because it blends in with the the fuse box, even though they're diffferent grays.  Maybe once I pile some stuff on top it'll look better....if it doesn't I can always paint the fusebox a different color....I'm not repainting the vegetable bins...too much work to age them just so.

Now I have to buy some mini onions....I'll put it on my shopping list for the Bishop show in April.

wiring progress...conduit is in

I made quite a bit of progress yesterday.  Yay!  All the conduit is in and all the wires have been extended to reach the fusebox.


My painting all the conduit blue by mistake was fortuitous...I realized I didn't plan in a light switch for the pendants  (let me rephrase that...I planned a real light switch, not a fake one for visual interest) I ran extra conduit over to the wall next to the door to a quickly built switch.  I had to make some additional junction boxes, but I'm glad I put the fake switch in. 


I built in some fake electrical outlets along the back of the counter, to plug in fake small appliances...and one up top above a beam, because I've never lived in a old house where there wasn't at least one oddball "why is that there?" outlet.  In my current domicile, that outlet is in the peak of the rafters of the garage (no, it's not for the garage door opener, that's got its own outlet in the rafters).


I didn't want to designate the outlets, and thus the whole house, to a specific country, despite the fact the fact that I'm calling this build the English Cottrage Kitchen, so I glued on white circles instead of making realistic outlet covers.  Consider them all plugged with those white thingmabobs you stick in outlets to keep toddlers from sticking paper clips or whatnot into them.

The majority of the conduit is strictly for appearance, only the pendant's wires run through some.  The wires on the lamps and fireplace run under the house, because that's easier.



Now all the wires terminate to the spot on the pantry wall where the switches and battery will be.  Today I have to build a cabinet to house the battery and the fake fusebox that will house the real switches.


Susan's gratuitous cat picture....