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attaching the door

  • Posted on December 11, 2018 at 8:10 am

this probably doesn’t deserve a separate post, since the door is just glued together then glued on the caravan, but my time has been a bit tight lately and it took two days to get it done!

after the paint dried, i glued the details to the door first. it turned out the window frame was slightly too small to match up so i didn’t use it, but there is enough detail on the door that it didn’t matter.
door glued

then glued the door to the caravan.
door attached

i was being lazy and didn’t want to take all the bedding and stuff out of the caravan again so that i could turn it on it’s side, so i ended up having to sit there and hold it in place while the glue set, only a couple of minutes so not too bad. luckily i also like to read, so it wasn’t a problem just sitting there.
the size is perfect. i kind of wish now that i had made the top wood paneling covering extend to the edges,i think it would have looked better, but it’s too late now and it is what it is.

a door for the caravan

  • Posted on December 10, 2018 at 9:05 am

i ordered an 85 mm door for my realpuki caravan a while back, but due to the mail strike here, it just arrived. it was worth the wait though, the detail is fabulous.
they’ll have to stoop a bit to get in, but the size was the right fit for the caravan. and since i am putting it on the back wall, it won’t actually open anyway 🙂
here’s how it came. the details were actually in a square but i took the outside edges off right away. it was nicely packaged and arrived safely in spite of the intricacy
fairy door

here i have separated out the parts i plan to use. the notice for the door is cute, but doesn’t really fit my caravan, so for now at least i’m leaving it to the side.
fairy door parts

and here are the pieces painted and waiting to dry.
fairy door painted
i painted the door itself with a light coat of translucent blue. i brushed it on lightly trying to leave unpainted any part that might have worn off. the ironwork was first painted solid black, then dry-brushed with brown stain to mimic rust. my puki’s really ought to take better care of their caravan! 😉

ageing the wheels

  • Posted on December 9, 2018 at 2:47 pm

finally got a chance to try and fix the wheels on the caravan. several people had suggested just trying to make them look dirtier/more worn to fit the rest of the caravan, so i thought i would try that first. i put the caravan up on a couple of paint jars, so i could access all the edges at once, and then with dark brown stain did a combination of dry brushing, smudging and painting on a very watered down version till i like the effect. i think the wheels fit in better now. what do you think?

front
ageing the wheels

back
ageing the wheels

from a “distance”
ageing the wheels

christmas lights… wow!

  • Posted on December 4, 2018 at 7:43 pm

that is my son’s comment every time he sees lights. since it is december i promised him we would set up the tree, but life intruded and we just haven’t done it yet. as a compromise i decided to add lights to the mini tree and put them out on the table. he seems happy for now.

i had dental surgery today and apparently did some rather odd things while under the sedation, but i’d recovered enough by tonight that meg said she would help me untangle the lights. i was grateful for her help because they were rather a mess. the little tree wasn’t too bad. it was 16 feet long, and while it uncoiled like a spring when we took it off the cardboard, it was at least in more or less a straight line. we wrapped it round the tree, looping around the branches and the length was pretty much perfect!
small tree with lights
the lights can be either white or multicolored and have an option of several different patterns solid, blinking, fade in and out etc. the lights on colored mode are a little pale, but i like the concept.

the larger sting was more of a challenge. it was 33 feet long, which i figure would be about right. but they had wrapped it double around the cone so first we had to untwist the whole length which was springy and kept trying to re-twist. then get it wrapped evenly around the tree without tangling again! the whole thing reminds me why our full-sized trees are pre-lit. these one are going to get stored pre-decorated as well.

finally after much work, and several cup of cocoa on megs part, and ice-cream fudge bars on mine (dental surgery, remember, no hot liquids 🙁 ) we were done and the results were definitely worth it. the string would have been perfect if it just had 3 more lights, but i doubt anyone will notice, other than meg and me.
meg with tree
this tree has lots of different patterns in the lights as well, but they are always colored, since the covers give the color not the leds. as a result they are much brighter.

when i am feeling better, we plan to set the tree up in front of the fire place and try and corral the littles for some christmas pics (if we can get them out from behind the tree where the controls are!)

in the mean time, we’ll leave you with one last picture of our lovely lit trees
reflections

and so it begins again

  • Posted on November 27, 2018 at 12:11 pm

i finished up the ornaments on my mini tree (see post earlier this month) and in keeping with my resolution to purge i bundled up most of the extra beads and dropped them off at the charity store, yesterday. i was planning to just drop and run, but they had a big sign up front that all their christmas stuff was now out… so i just had to go take a look. on one of the tables was an 15″ tree, one of the ones with perfect scale tiny branches and it was marked at only $2. of course i immediately decided my girls needed a second tree. the 24″ one is a bit big for some of the smaller kids.

once i got home and confirmed that this indeed was a perfect tree, i panicked. i realized that i had just given away all the extra ornaments :doh you see why i so seldom purge?
because who doesn't need two christmas trees?
i found some lovely angel charms on sale for cyber monday and quickly ordered a few. but luckily before i went too crazy reordering ornaments i took a look through the beads and charms that i had decided to keep and found i had a lot more than i thought. enough to pretty much fill the tree, which is what i did this morning.
minit tree ornaments
i have a few spots left for the angel charms when they come, the angel on top desparately needs repainting, and of course i will need to add lights (which i have in my box) and make another tree skirt. but overall i’m happy and my desire to purge is back on track 🙂

third try is the charm

  • Posted on November 18, 2018 at 3:13 pm

i have a 24″ mini tree i bought several years ago and have slowly been changing into a prop for my mnf and smaller girls. it is approx 24 inches tall so on the scale of a 7′ tree. i wish i had thought to take a picture of it “before”. it used to have really ugly outsized berries and huge globs of “snow”. i have removed most of that and replaced them with better scale, mostly homemade ornaments. adding a few more each year. unfortunately while i was working on it, i left it on my south facing kitchen windowsill and noticed that this year instead of having a nice green pine, it has faded to more of a blue spruce :(. not sure if it is possible to recolor it? especially since the ornies are wired on and would be hard to remove. if you have any suggestions on how to fix it, please comment below. otherwise my girls will just have a spruce tree. something that is much more common here anyway, so i guess it works?

the tree had a burlap bag around the bottom and i have wanted a tree skirt to cover it since the beginning. i had elaborate plans but never got around to doing it so today was the day!

my first attempt was to make an origami white felt skirt using a pattern i’d saved ages ago. it looked nice flat but didn’t suit my tree, so into the recycle bin it went.

second attempt was to make a lined skirt. this is the fabric i’m using
tree skirt
i spite of careful measuring, the lining made the skirt too stiff, it stuck out and didn’t hit the floor. so attempt two also went into the recycle bin.

this time i decided to make it just a single layer. i cut the appropriate circle, then slit up the back and trimmed the center till it was just wide enough to wrap round the trunk.
tree skirt
already a vast improvement. but of course i couldn’t stop there…

i went through my lace bin and found some red ruffled elastic. i folded over the outside edge about 1/4″ and pinned the elastic to that edge. then top stitched them together. the back slit and center were just turned and stitched. while looking for buttons to do up the back, i spied a bunch of floral shaped mother of pearl buttons and scattered them around the edge to see what they would look like. i liked it, so tacked them down with glue to keep track of where to put them and then sewed each one on by hand. that looked pretty good but it was still a bit sparse, so i tried adding square mop buttons and some assorted red ones. almost there…. it just needed a few green ones for pop. happy with the number and placement i glued and stitched those as well. several hours later this was the result
tree skirt
i think it is kind of fun and quirky. it’s all made from supplies unearthed in my craft purge, and should be plenty big enough to hide the battery pack from my fairy light string that will go on later this week.
tree skirt done

(here is a picture of the tree taken 5 years ago just so you can see the scale)
merry christmas!

washtub

  • Posted on October 16, 2018 at 3:56 pm

in my pre-purge days i had amassed quite a collection of sample cups – you know the ones that costco, or the groceries stores used to pass out samples of food items they want you to try? anyway every time i got a sample, if the food in it wasn’t too sticky, once iI ate the food, i would stick it in my purse or pocket instead of the garbage. at home i would wash it out and add it to my ever growing pile. One time i really scored and the lady passing out samples accidently knocked a stack onto the floor while we were there. she explained that she couldn’t use them for food anymore (obviously) and would just have to throw them out, if we had any use for them, we were welcome to them, of course i snagged them all!

anyway i use the for all sorts of things, like mixing paint colors or holding small amounts of glue when crafting. i reuse them as much as possible and then throw them out when they get too covered with stuff or crack, as they eventually do. as i was looking for something to turn into a washtub, my eyes lit on the stack of sample cups and i knew that some of them would be perfect.
stack of cups
this is just a few of the ones i have at the moment. you can see they are all well used.

sprayed with primer
while i was making my washboard i coated the cups with off white primer. i have a good can of spray that will stick pretty much anything – wood, metal, plastic etc. i use that as my base coat so my acrylic paints will stick and not just drip or peel off.

next i sprayed on a coat of stainless silver to get the right base color…. and disaster!
disaster
even though they were both the same kind and brand of paint. the paint peeled and buckled when i put on the first coat. so back to the drawing board.

of course this washtub fits the bigger of my two washboards, so i had to find something else for my realpuki’s anyway. as luck would have it, i was putting in an order for new saw blades at stockade wood supplies, and they had a miniature tub available, and it was smaller than any of the ones i had seen. i thought it might be the perfect size so added it to my order.

wash tub new
turns out it was perfect. since it was already silver i just needed to make it look worn.

washtub painted
washtub painted
to age it, i brushed on random streaks and dabs of black and white and grays. as usual i put a bit of each color on my palette, and used a toothpick to swirl it together in the middle. this gives me black, white, and a near infinite variety of grays. i looked at several pictures of old galvanized tins and buckets from the internet, as i worked, so i could see what i was aiming for, and make sure it looked realistic.
After that paint dried, for the final touch, i added some rusty brown wood stain in the creases, and around the handles -places where rust was most likely to form. the stain is more transparent than the paint, so works better for light rusting than the thicker acrylic would.

washtub done
and ready to go

washboard

  • Posted on October 13, 2018 at 9:58 am

it’s hard to stay clean while traveling, so my ‘pukis asked for a washtub and board. i made the washboard first.

washboard supplies
i started with toothpicks – placed on duck tape to make it easier to cut them all the same size,
skinny sticks
and 5/8″ wide craft sticks.
not shown is silver and black paint, wood stain, and fast tack glue.

washboard pieces cut dimensions
here are the sizes i cut to get to approx 1/12th scale. i used a pair of heavy duty scissors to cut on the drawn line for the toothpicks, and my small saw to cut the wood. you could use a small saw for all of it, or a good cutting knife.

washboard done
first i pre-painted the rollers silver and stained the wood. when that was dry, i glued the top and bottom wood pieces to the top and bottom toothpick. next i lined up toothpicks till i liked the length and glued on the sides. there is no need to glue the toothpicks to each other as the side pieces hold them all in place. make sure the glue covers the whole edge except for the bottom “leg” portion.

once the glue dried, i dry brushed on black paint over the silver to age it.

there you have a quick and easy washboard!

except…. it was too big!
and done again
i somehow forgot that 1/12th scale is too big for my ‘puki’s :doh. the washboard was better suited for my realfees or my dream high elf so i’m thinking it’s actually more like 1/8th? anyhow i did the same thing again just cutting it all smaller.

this time i used the skinny sticks for the top and the bottom, and match sticks for the sides. the finished measurements are 1″ wide by 1-3/4″ long. the toothpicks, top and bottom pieces are cut 3/4″ wide. the bottom is a full skinny stick width, the top is a piece split roughly in half.

back to the campfire

  • Posted on October 12, 2018 at 12:53 pm

with the fire mostly done, i turned my attention back to cooking. it was now time to build the stand for my soup pot.

i started with some fairly stiff wire that i had salvaged from some packing materials. it was the right diameter, stiffness and best of all free…

cook stand start
i cut it down and bent it to make two side posts with loops – i wanted to make the loops smaller, but it was too stiff to bend with the end of my pliers. this is the smallest diameter i could use and still bend it. the cross bar has turned up hooks on the end to hold extra pots and pans or a coffee pot – all still on the way. the small hook in the center was formed by trimming down an eye pin and forming it into a roughly “s” shape

cook stand done
after spraying all the wire parts with several coats of flat black paint, to more closely mimic cast or forged iron bars, i cut pieces off of my dried branches to form the bottom supports, drilled holes in the center and glued it all together with e6ooo glue. because the loops were really too big, the stand fell apart easily, consequently i ended up having to glue the crossbar in place as well. since there wasn’t a lot of surface area touching, i left it to set for the full 72 hours before moving it again. lastly i touched up the glue with matte black acrylic paint to get rid of the shine. the roughness left by the glue just added to the look of cast iron -bonus!

the other problem i ran into was the bottom log supports weren’t quite wide enough to make the whole array steady on the uneven grass of the diorama, which means i had to glue them down as well. that was a little disappointing, as i had planned to make a second optional tripod structure that i could swap out for some pictures. i am quite used to things not necessarily working out according to my original ideas though, so in spite of the problems, and changes i am happy with how it came out. i’ll save the tripod idea for a campfire i’m planning later for my larger dolls.

cook stand with pot
and here it is with the soup pot on.

we interrupt this campfire

  • Posted on October 4, 2018 at 1:57 pm

to bring you a minifee sized desk.

we have so much snow that school was cancelled the last couple of days, and it’s hard to work on the diorama when my son is home. instead i decided on a quick and easy project – redoing a wooden jewelry box i picked up a while back. it is the perfect size for my minifee’s bedroom…
dresser start
but those pineapples have to go!

dresser drawers
pulling off the handles left some largish holes so i covered them with printed cardstock

dresser
glue on some buttons for handles and i’m done!

the original plan was rhinestone buttons for handles, but i didn’t have enough of any of them, and they didn’t go together well enough to mix and match, so used these wooden ones instead. in the end i rather like the more subtle look.