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Also if for some reason I can't post I will try to give a head's up on the Facebook page so check there too.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What's Up???

Well, this is the spot in my blog that I normally point you in the direction of today's video but not today. I didn't get a video done this week but I do have some stuff for you to go look at if you are interested.

First off this week has just been one of those weeks. Monday started off really good, I had some shopping to do first thing in the morning and I had a bunch of plans for the rest of the day. Part way into my stop at the first store I started to get a headache. By the time I got home it was threatening to become a migraine. I was lucky enough to avoid that but it was still a miserable day.

Tuesday I had a couple of things outside the house I had to do but by this time I was well aware that I had caught the bug my oldest son brought home with him. Thankfully the worst of the symptoms were short lived but it sure drained me.

Then on Wednesday the Cricut Explore Air that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I have now spent pretty much all day long for the last 3 days trying to figure that thing out. I am in awe of all it can do and at the same time sooooo very frustrated at trying to get myself to the point where I can do what I want to do with it.

I have plans for that machine and some of them might be of benefit to you the reader of my blog. I have for a long time been wanting to create some kits for making some simple projects and I think that I can produce the parts I want to with my Cricut. I just have to master the darn thing first.

In the meantime how many of you know about my other blogs and YouTube channels? I thought since I didn't get a video done for you this week I would share some of the other things I have been putting up in the last few months. My hope is that at least a few of you share some of my other interests and will want to hop over to see some of those videos and read some of those blog posts too.

So first off, I have a blog and YouTube channel devoted to 18” dolls. That includes the ones from American Girl, the Journey Girls (from Toys R Us), Our Generation (from Target) and many other dolls that size. I have some tutorials over there as well as some blogs that are in the form of a story from the perspective of one of the dolls. I have also written some reviews of doll related purchases and the months that I actually get any doll sewing done I post some photos of that too. If you are interested here is the link to the blog and you can you can go from there.

I have also been posting to my general crafts, beauty, everything else blog and channel more lately too. I named this one “Joanne's Place” partly because that is the name I gave to my Etsy shop when I opened it but also because I hope it will be a homey spot for readers to come and hang out with me. Over there you will find some beauty/ makeup related posts, some general crafting (lots more to come) and some planner related posts. Although I have had this blog up (under a different name) for about a year I hadn't posted much on it. I recently added the YouTube channel to it so I can use a similar system for it as I use for this blog.

That blog and channel will be the spot for anything other than mini and doll related posts. I am hoping to do everything from the types of posts that are already there to also some vlogging posts, card making, general crafting and sewing ones too. Since that channel and blog are fairly young I don't have a complete idea of where it will go in the future.

Now onto the first blog I started and the most neglected one of the batch. I have a cooking blog but I haven't posted to it in over a year. I do have the best intentions of getting it back on track but I just haven't gotten to it. I do have a lot of recipes over there that are favorites of my family so if that kind of thing interests you here it the link to it.

I would be very happy if you went and checked out my other content on these other blogs. If there are things you would like to see me post let me know.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Scarecrow

This week I decided to show you a fun fall decorating project that you can use outside your dollhouse. These little scarecrows have been around for many years and there are several variations on them. This is just my twist on them.

I am going to have you start by building a structure to hang your scarecrow from. I am using a 1 ½” wooden wheel from the craft store and a ¼” wooden dowel. I use this combination a lot when I need to make something that stands up because they are easy to get, inexpensive and easy to work with. Use whatever works for you. I have also made these in the past using a miniature wooden bucket to hold the dowel. It really is up to you and what you have available what you use. I want this project to be one that anyone can do without having to go buy a lot of stuff.

After the stand is put together we can get busy making the head of the scarecrow. For this just cut a rough circle of fabric. You can stuff the head with whatever you have, I used cotton balls this time but again use what you have. Tie the bottom shut with either some thread or a piece of string and paint on a face.

Next the pants, the cut shape to make pants looks complicated but as you can see from the video it is a really simple shape to cut out. My pant legs came out looking kind of like skinny jeans so if you want to have a baggier look make the rectangle a bit wider from the start. You can of course sew the seams either by hand or machine but glue works just as well as you can see in the video.

Next I gave the stand a light coat of brown paint, totally optional but I wanted to coat under the coffee ground dirt in case I didn't get an even coat.

The shirt is just another simple shape that I glued but you could sew it if you desire.

I do urge you to have fun with the hat. I made a really simple on but use your imagination. I have even used purchased straw hats on these in the past (I couldn't find any in my stash this morning)

Putting the scarecrow together is really simple. Just grab all the parts we made, some rafia (or straw or whatever) and some glue.

If you want to set yours on the dollhouse porch don't add the coffee grounds but I wanted to put mine in the yard.

These would also be cute in a pumpkin patch or the garden next summer.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Paint Cans & Drop Cloth

This is another part of the set that I used to offer for sale along with the paint roller I showed you how to make last week.

I had to come up with a new way to make the paint cans because quite frankly I can not remember how I used to make them. I did a quick search through my old minis and didn't see any of the old ones hanging around anymore either. So I just went with what seemed like the easiest way to show you.

I did leave off the wire handle this time but that would be easy enough to add if you wish to do so. I would recommend using some of the wire sold to make jewelry with.

For the drop cloth I just use a piece of inexpensive muslin, unbleached is best for this. It will look a lot like a piece of canvas in scale.

I cut mine to 9” by 12” to translate to a 9' by 12' drop cloth in scale since a quick online search confirmed my feeling that this is a really common size. Of course you can make yours any size you wish.

Once you seal the edge to stop the fabric from fraying the fun part begins. Just splatter on as much acrylic paint in as many colors as you desire. This is a case where more is better! Just have fun. Be warned however that there will be paint all over everything in the area that you do this so be sure to clear a large area or even better if the weather permits do this outside.

For display of the cloth if you want to make it drape there are a few tricks to get a realistic drape. One way is cover whatever you want the cloth to cover with plastic (for protection) and get the cloth wet and mold it to the shape you desire. Some well placed weights will help to convince the fabric to do what you want. It should stay in place once dry. 

If you are sure you won't change your mind later you can even dip the fabric in a stiffening solution before draping it.

Now the paint cans. These are really simple cylinders of paper with an end glued in the bottom and then painted to look like a can with paint inside. Make a label if you wish either on the computer like I did or by hand and glue in place.

If you want a paint tray what I used to include in my sets that I sold were the tins that the Altoids breath strips come in. I looked online and they appear to still come in the same tin that they did back then. I looked for them but didn't find them this week. The tin is slightly large for scale as I recall but still worked out really cute.

Now for the scene that a former customer purchased one of my sets created. I really wish I still had the photos she sent me because they were darling and really showed my set off at its best. Unfortunately I lost those photos in a computer/hard drive crash a couple of computers ago.

The back story first. She had been gifted an older dollhouse that needed a lot of work. She loved the house but because her home was very small the dollhouse was on display throughout this renovation.

When she made her purchase from me she was part way through striping out all the old wallpaper so she could wire the house and put in wall paper that was more to her taste. Unfortunately for her, it was her turn to host a holiday get together. She really felt the dollhouse was at the stage where it was more of an eyesore than an art piece and wanted to do something to make the situation make sense.

She found my listing for the paint cans, drop cloth, paint, roller and paint tray and wrote to me to see if I could do a custom set with colors she wanted. I was more than happy to do this and as we talked she asked if it would be possible for her to send a few other pieces to have me splatter paint to match. I was thrilled to help her out.

In the end she sent two different mini ladders she had purchased and had me age and splatter them. She also purchased several paint cans from me and had me add paint to some of the rollers and paint trays also. She also sent a doll dressed as a painter to have me add a few splashes of paint to match everything else.

In the photos she sent she staged the house with paint cans in various rooms. The ladders were set up the drop cloths were laid out and the painter was busy at work getting his work done.

It was a marvelous scene and from what I heard from her the guests at her holiday party were fascinated with it.

So you see, there are many ways to set up a dollhouse scene if you put your mind to it. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Paint Roller

The paint rollers I am showing this this tutorial are very similar to some that I used to make many years ago to sell. Back in the day I made a set with the paint roller, a drop cloth (very paint splattered) a paint tray and a can of paint. The paint rollers I made for those sets were based on a certain bead that I found that was the perfect size to create the roller portion. When I ran out of those beads I searched everywhere and wasn't able to find anything that would work. That was the end of those cute sets. I have looked off and on for years to find a replacement for the beads and never had any luck. Then the other day as I was trying to come up with a topic for this week's tutorial it suddenly occurred to me that the bead would be easy to make! So this week we get to make some paint rollers. Be sure to let me know if you would like to see some more parts of that old set as tutorials.

So the first step to making the paint roller is to create a simple paper bead. Paper beads as super simple to make and can be used in so many ways. We are actually going to be making two of them today.

For the first bead you will need a strip of card stock (I like to use white for this part) that is ¾” by 4 ½”. You will need to pre-roll this strip of paper, I used the blade from my scissors just like I would if I was curling a piece of ribbon to make a bow. Then roll the strip into a cylinder and check how big it is. You want this bead to be right around ¼” in diameter. When you have the bead the size you want add some Mod Podge or glue (I just use my fingers for this step) just don't put any glue at the beginning of the strip. You want this to bead to slip off the toothpick when dry. I like to start my bead on a really thin double pointed knitting needle but that is optional. You could just start it in your fingers if you want to. Wind the paper up to make a nice tight bead and coat it with more Mod Podge (or glue) and balance it on a toothpick stuck into either a drying board or a piece of foam. Allow the bead to dry.

This next step is optional- use an emery board to smooth the spot where your paper strip ended. It just takes a few moments and will make your bead look nicer.

Now coat the sides of the bead with more Mod Podge and roll it in some white flocking. This makes your paint roller look all fluffy just like the real thing. Balance it on the toothpick and allow to dry again.

Use a ¼” hole punch to make two little circles of card stock to cover the ends of your bead. This will both make it look more finished and prevent the head pin we are using in the next step from sliding out.

After the glue on the end pieces dries use a sewing pin to make a tiny hole in each end then thread the bead onto a jewelry head pin. The ones I used today are 2” long and they were the perfect length for the paint roller.

Bend the wire as I show in the video.

Now cut another strip of paper that is ½” by 1 ¼” and pre-roll it. Using lots of glue or Mod Podge form this strip on the end of the head pin to form the handle of the paint roller. Remember you can have some fun with this strip because the handles on paint rollers come in a lot of different colors. Allow to dry.

By the way if you have problems keeping the handle (the bead you made last) you might need a drop of super glue to help hold it.

Give the handle a final coat of either Mod Podge or clear nail polish and you are ready for the dolls to do some home improvement projects in the doll house.