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Sunday, September 30, 2012


This week I thought we would add a box of Bartlett Pears to the produce stand. They really are easy, if you look carefully you will see that they are really just a variation of the apple. Almost the same color clay, same size ball of clay, similar stems and coated with chalk to give the color.

I made Bartlett Pears because that is what grows here and is the most common in our markets here. These are a starting point for you. Make whatever type of pear you want, just some simple changes to the basic shape and different colors of chalk and you can make any type pear you desire. It really does help to have some real pears on hand to use as a reference. On that note I have to admit I was so hungry by the time I had this video done. Those pears sitting under my camera lights right next to me smelled so good while I was working. I just had to eat one while the mini ones baked.

I think the main thing to keep in mind for this project is to keep your hands clean. Use a wet wipe and clean your hands between pears. I found I could do up to 2 before I wiped the chalk off my hands, even better to do a quick clean up between each one. The added second it takes to do this will pay off big time in the quality of your finished product.

Clays used in this project:
pears: equal parts: white Fimo
Translucent white Fimo

stems: marble together a brown and a green I used:
raw sienna (Premo)
apple green (Fimo)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Farm-stand Parking Lot and Landscape

This week the project I am showing is how I did the landscaping around the Farm-stand that we have been filling with produce all summer.

I know that not many of you are going to be making a parking lot but the same technique can be used for walkways and such around your dollhouse.
I also touch a bit on how I make grass for lawns in the video. It is not the main focus but you will see how I do that process. I will be doing the grass technique in the future when I landscape my large dollhouse.

The graveling process was time consuming but it is also a fairly large area too. It took me a week to do, working on it some everyday. I did need to spend a lot of time waiting for glue to dry so that was part of the time. Also I needed to buy more glue twice! I really underestimated the amount of glue this would take. I used 4 ½ bottles (5 oz size) of my cheap glue. I chose to use the cheap glue because I knew it was much thinner and would spread out thinner on the board. Also I knew it would take a lot of glue and didn't want to waste the good glue on this project. This is one of those projects where the cheap glue is going to do what you want and the better (thicker) glues really would not do as well. It would have taken a lot more tacky glue to cover the surface because it is so much thicker, so that would have gotten pretty expensive.

The total spent on materials for the gravel area is well under $10. Lets see, 5 bottles of glue at $.99 each ($ 4.95) bag of cat litter $.99 so a total of $5.96 not bad at all. It would have been more had I needed to go buy paint for under but I already had the paint left over from a floor painting project we did a few years ago. If I would have had to buy paint it would have been around $3 or $4 so we would still be under $10 for this.

Now the biggest thing I learned in this process is that it is much messier than I had anticipated. I should have put down a drop cloth of some kind on the floor to make clean up easier. Or better yet done this outside (but you need the weather to cooperate for that to work. So next time a drop cloth is definitely on the list. I think one of those party table cloths from the dollar store would have worked just fine.

Now that the base is done I only have one more type of produce I am going to add to this. So next week I will show you that.

I do have at least one or two plants I want to do for the green house but I need to figure out how to do them so they will show up later on.
I need to do a few little things like finish making the sign for the store and a few little things then I will do a video tour of the Farm-stand for you.

Then we are on to other projects. I have a lot of fun things planned but be sure to request what you want to see too.

Now lets get a closer look at some of the pictures I took while doing this project.

So first a couple of shots of the finished product so you can see where I was going with this. I love how the grass and gravel turned out. It is even better in person too.

Here is the gravel as we started it out, just glued down to the gray board. It already looks like a gravel parking lot.

After the glue water mixture (when I looked online I found that people use anywhere from 1 part glue/ 10 parts water to equal parts glue and water, the constant was the drop or two of dish washing soap)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Short Craft Room Tour

As promised I did a short tour of my new craft room/ office for you. I will do another longer more detailed one someday if I ever get organized.

The room used to belong to my daughter as her bedroom. When she moved out I took over the room and started to get it organized into my craft room/ office.

The first thing that I did was to repaint the room in a lovely medium blue. I love the color and how it looks against the white trim in our house.

I will have to decide what to do about the carpet in the room. Right now it is pretty gross. I am going to do a thorough shampoo of it soon but I think I will have to replace it one of these days. It was cheap carpet and it is almost 20 years old. And since my daughter did most of her playing in here it took a lot of abuse. I would really like to have a hard surface floor in here because it would be much easier to maintain with all the stuff I am sure to spill on the floor. However, I am afraid that would not be a good choice since I tape my videos in here. I am really afraid how that I would get a lot of echos if it were a hard surface (one of the other bedrooms in our house has a hard floor and the echos are really bad in there) so for now I am leaving the carpet alone.

Since the floor is already in pretty bad shape I wasn't too worried about spilling when I painted so I did the painting without a drop cloth. That was fine up until the very end thanks to Buddy and Emily. First off, they have a strange relationship for a cat and dog. They are best friends and play together all the time. When Buddy gets tired of Emily's energy he gets up where she can't and the game ends. They were both helping me to paint the room as only pets can help. Then the playing started. I was down on the floor painting the bottom of that wall that has my calendar on it. Buddy ran around several pieces of furniture and the ladder then jumped over my paint tray. Emily came right behind him except she didn't jump. She ran right through the paint tray with both feet on her left side! Thankfully my son was coming down the hall outside the door of the craft room because I yelled to grab Emily and he did as she got to the door. We then had to clean the mess off her paws and there is still a blotch of blue paint that resembles her foot prints leading to the door. I did get most of it out but not quite all of it. Oh well, at least it makes for a good story when people see the spot.

If you follow me on Facebook you also saw the picture of Buddy on the top of the ladder. If I wasn't using the ladder that was where we would find him a lot of the time. There were several times I had to get him down so I could use the ladder. I think he was mad when we put the ladder back outside. LOL

Since the sun was so bright outside when I filmed I had the blinds shut. I did take a picture out the window and included that in the video too. And yes, I do live in the middle of nowhere. The window looks out at the closest paved road that is ¼ mile away across the neighbor’s field.

At the end of the video in addition the picture from my window I added pictures of the current household pets.

Let me tell you a bit about each one:

Rocky is the newest member of the household, he is a hamster and lives on the dresser in my craft room/ office. He seems to be settling in pretty well although we have only had him for a few weeks.

Emily has made a few impromptu appearances in my videos. She is 5 years old (she'll be 6 in just over a month) she is a Papillon and has a really bad habit of sticking her head up from under the table when I work. She thinks if I am sitting down she should be in my lap. She does settle for laying at my feet most of the time though.

Buddy found us, or rather he found my youngest son. He showed up at our door about 4 years ago. After much begging from my son we took Buddy in. The funniest thing was that immediately he and Emily became best friends. They sleep together and play together constantly.

Sasha, is the senior cat of the house. At about 7 ½ years old. We got her as a kitten at about 6 weeks old. She wouldn't stand still for a good picture, but I did the best I could. She spends most of her time sleeping in warm spots and eating. And really just tolerates the rest of us being here.

So that is the tour and the pet introductions I hope you enjoyed the video and this post and I will see you all later.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Dollhouse Mini Apples

This week we will try our hand at making some apples for the dolls in the dollhouse to enjoy. After some of the projects that we have already made this summer these are easy! Really just simple balls with stems and colored with artist chalk.

The clay mixture is mostly translucent, (3 parts) with some white (1 part) and just a pinch of yellow (or you could use an equally tiny pinch of green instead). The outside color comes from a brushing of artist chalk. I know some people do make their mini apples from colored clay and that is easier. However, the results are not nearly as life like. The thin coating of chalk gives the skin of the apples the same type of translucency that the real ones have.

As far as different varieties of apples go to the store and find an example of the type you want to make and go from there. Having the apple on the table in front of you makes this so much easier. If you have no access to a real apple get some good pictures and have them handy, not as good but better than nothing. This goes for any food item you are going to make, having the real thing in front of you makes it so much easier. I really can't over emphasize that point.

The farm-stand is getting really full, we will have one more tutorial on a produce item and then that part of the project will be done. I do want to make a few different plants but I'm not sure if I will get to them right away or not.

I will be doing at least one tutorial on some of the outside landscaping that will go around the farm-stand too. Then we will get to have a tour of the farm-stand I hope you will enjoy it.

Where from there? I have some really fun projects planned for the next few months. A lot of different foods (don't worry we will be doing some more fruits and veggies that we missed too) that have been requested. Other non-food projects too. So stay tuned for all of those.

Well, here are the pictures that I took of the apple project (I know they were at the end of the video but here you can look as long as you want or just skip them)

Completed boxes of apples

Now where to put these???

Showing the layer of clay balls to fill the bottom of the box.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Easy Plants For the Dollhouse

Watch this week's video here

This week we are going to make what may be the easiest plants ever for your dollhouse. I start with either a plastic plant designed for use in a home aquarium or simply a very small silk greenery from the craft store. These are cut into manageable size pieces and “'planted” into scale size plant pots.

Personally my favorite material to use as dirt in mini plants is used coffee grounds that have been well dried. If you don't have access to coffee grounds I would recommend using either used and dried tea leaves or some real potting soil (be sure use just the smallest bits, run it through a strainer) Other options include some of the materials available to the model railroad hobby, check out one of their stores some day for some really fun products.

When you pick out your plants to use be sure to look at them carefully. You need ones that have small enough leaves to be in scale. There really are so many choices out there I know you will find some wonderful ones if you look.

So you may be wondering why plants this week. Well, the farm-stand is filling up quickly, there really is no more room inside for more produce. I do have a few more items planned for outside they will come in a few weeks. If you have been following this blog you know I have been working on the greenhouse extension for the main structure. I decided to have plants for sale out there. I have a couple of more plants planned.

When the farm-stand is finished (probably a matter of a few weeks) there will be a special video tour of it.

After this series is done I have some really fun things planned. Oh, and don't worry if you requested produce that hasn't made it to the farm-stand, I will be doing more produce later too. 


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Farm-stand Display Table

This week I am going to show you how to make the display table that I will be using in my Farm-stand. It is very similar to the one I have used in the pictures lately I just needed to play with the size so it will fit in the building better.

You will need to cut some Basswood in the following sizes:

1 piece 1/16” x 2”x 9 ½ ” (top)
3 pieces 1/4” x 1/4” x 9 (lengthwise braces)
2 pieces 1/4” x 1/4” x 3 ½” (back legs)
2 pieces 1/4” x 1/4” x 3” (front legs)
6 pieces 1/4” x 1/4” x 1 ½” (short braces)
1 piece 1/8” x 1/8” x 9 ½” (front lip)

Having a gluing jig on hand to use in gluing the pieces together is a big help but not absolutely necessary. If you don't have one just be sure to keep your joints at right angles and you will be fine.

I know there are directions online for making a gluing jig and if you are planning to build very many minis it would be a good thing to look into. There are also many versions for sale online, just use your favorite search engine to look for “magnetic gluing jig” and you should be able to find something. I have to say it is one of my most used tools that I own so I think it is well worth the money spent on it.

If you want to stain your display table you will need to do that before you begin gluing. If you are going to paint I recommend doing that after you complete the assembly. For my use I am leaving mine unfinished.

The card-stock around the base is totally optional. I want to block off the view of the bottom because I think it would distract from the produce displayed on the top. If you want to leave yours open go ahead. It will look great either way. 


Now I did mention in the video that I would fill you in on why I ended up having to take apart the first display table and re-d o it for the video. Well, first off I totally messed up my measurements for the top of the table. For some reason when I cut it out initially I cut the top (and the font lip) the same length as the long brace pieces. I have no idea why it didn't occur to me that I needed to add on the width of the legs to that length in order to cover them.

Also I am still getting used to my new work area and for the majority of the video the camera was filming empty space and I was working just out of camera range. This time I tried to be a lot more careful about staying in the view of the camera as much as possible.

So you see we all make mistakes and have to take things apart and start over.

I also made a couple of square tables for the displaying produce on the other side of the room. Those were so simple I don't think they need to go into a video. Here are the steps. I found a couple of yogurt containers (one per table) and cut off the top to make the container just under 2 ½” tall (mine had a rim in just the right place). I then cut a square of 1/16” basswood that was 3” square.

I used hot glue to attach the wood square to what used to be the bottom of the yogurt container.

I cut a strip of card-stock that was 2 ½” wide and long enough to go around 3 sides (9”). I scored the card-stock at 3” and 6” from one end so it would fold nicely. I then ran a bead of glue around three sides of the wood square and attached the card-stock as a covering around the edge. That's it, I told you it was simple.