Monday, 31 October 2011

Landscaping started

Last of the half term for me, tomorrow is back to school ... I'm so glad only do 4 days a week but somehow dream of it being none. So the next few days may be a bit sporadic in posts or minis or even both LOL.

Straight into the workroom this morning to see if the floor had dried out okay on the pumpkin, all was well so a coat of satin varnish and left to dry. I then decided time to think about landscaping, I couldn't find any builders foam round here unless brought whole sheet, rather expensive and rather large, so this is something must source in the future. A visit to the garden centre and some oasis for dried flowers is sure going to work (said with fingers crossed), its very crumply and the dust from it goes everywhere and clings. But there is something rather cathatic about moulding it with knife and fingers.

I've glued the pumpkin to some foam board - just under 12" square and built up the oasis around the pumpkin to give what will hopefully be a landscaped garden. The little steps are made from a broom handle cut diagonally, and the pots are just an idea at this moment in time. I really am winging this, never having used half the items before and just hoping that they work. A real learning curve!!!!

I think the oasis will need to be cover either with paper mache or similar to counteract the dust, will have to see what works when it is all dried and glued together. The tube was there to remind me that this area needs to be flat to house a battery. My thinking on this at the moment is an outside loo with a wood store backed onto it, the battery going in the little room.

The final picture is of the little guy giving me a list of what is required, don't you just think I might be getting some grief here, he seems to know what he wants.

Well it might not be finished for Halloween this year but I wish you all a haunting evening.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Pumpkin floor and a possible owner

Well I tried putting the individual sticks into the pumpkin and glue them in, oh boy what a mess, not only me but everywhere else covered in glue, them there sticks were not all straight and they had a mind of their own.

Thinking cap on new method required, lets glue shorter lengths of sticks to ordinary note paper in sets of 5 can squeeze them together without getting glue on me and everything else, whoopie that has worked and lots of sections drying off before being cut.

So whilst waiting for them to dry sorted through some old stash and car boot finds to give me an idea of placement, along with a few cut up bits of card in scale to lay out in the pumpkin, maybe a bed there or a hutch/dresser there and I found him. You know one of those eureka moments, is he gnome or elf or a mixture but I just love the way he wags his finger telling me exactly what he wants. The right size, right colours, sometimes things just fall into place. It will make it so much easier to have a character to work around and personally I think he is better than a witch or mouse. A home for a garden gnome/elf just right.
The sticks on the paper finally dried and I cut around them to create shapes for the floor, somehow I knew this wasn't going to be one of those instant jobs. So let the fun begin.

5 hours later all the flooring done, will now need to leave to dry before a quick sand and varnish to seal it, that will be tomorrow. The finished floor picture below shows why it took so long all the ins and out of a pumpkin wall, I'll be seeing sticks in my sleep.

In the meantime can start planning the landscaping and a place for the hidden battery and light switch.

If you wish to see a close up of the pictures just click on anyone and it will open to a larger image.

I wonder if the little gnome has a name? Well just thinking out loud.

Till the next time take care and be happy.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

A walk in the woods

Today no minis, just thought about them, but I did get to go for a walk in the woodland and was really hoping the autumn colours would be there but the colours are late this year as it has been so unseasonably warm.

 The holly trees are covered in berries almost drooping with the weight of them.

The walk however was brilliant, the breeze was coming in from the sea and so fresh and clean, and it stirred the pine trees to give that wonderful scent from the pines, not too strong just a gentle suggestion, oh so relaxing.

So todays post is just a few pictures of woodland.

Friday, 28 October 2011

The stone surround worked Yippee!

Today I had to parcel up some swaps I'd organised for one of the groups I belonged to and it just had to take longer than anticipated so didn't manage to get as far as wanted with the pumpkin, but yipee the air dry clay worked, no cracks didn't fall off and very little shrinkage.

The lattice window and surrounds were given a quick touch up with black and a green /black wash given to the stones, will see tomorrow if needs more colour. The silly little black hat and pipe (not fixed) was a try out for the stove pipe, but I think both bits will need to be a bit larger to keep in with outside look of the pumpkin.

I found the floor of the pumpkin was maybe too low down and certainly not flat enough for any flooring I had in mind. Using a piece of paper and a round ended tool, a squiggly sort of circle shape was embrossed into the paper and cut out to give me the floor plan to mark out on 3mm foam board.

Then came the giggly bit, the paper floor goes through the hole, the foam board doesn't no matter which way it was not having it, so eventually cut in half, trimmed where necessary and glued in. Weighted down by umpteen craft paint pots and left to dry overnight.

The bamboo mat on the left was a find in a thrift shop and I am hoping this will make a natural looking floor. It cuts easily with scissors and hopefully will continue the rustic look.

If it goes to plan I will show tomorrow, if it doesn't the thinking cap will have to go on again.

A very warm weekend for this time of year is forecast and if the wind stays down it is possible the trusty camera will get to takes some great autumn pictures. So lots planned and very hopeful.

The early evening let me know autumn has arrived, the sunset started with all those lovely red, orange and pink colours, then the haunting sound of geese as they flew in a V formation overhead, followed by another and then another and even more there were hundreds of them in all directions, all calling as they head home to roost for the evening. It is definately an awe inspiring sight and sound the only down side is winter is just around the corner, shivering just thinking about it.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Pumpkin Light and Window

Well the weather is certainly not good today, so definately no gardening, did go to King's Lynn for checkup and a bit of real life shopping yuk!!!!

Okay back to mini pumpkin, I did try the half pingpong ball for the overhead light and somehow wasn't quite right so a good rumage through collected bits gave me a few Christmas light 'flowers' (its amazing what comes in useful) and with a trusting LED tried them all in the hole which they slotted into very well.

Well the only orange one I had looked the best, somehow the blue and green glow didn't work well with the interior colour and made it look dirty. I was hoping to cut one of these in half for matching wall lights but as usual with Murphy's law only one orange.

The photo on the right shows the light fitment in place. I drilled a hole in the top left of the pumpkin stalk for the LED to go into the light fitting and I will hide it with the landscaping at a later stage.

I am not trying for a perfect look inside the pumpkin as it is so uneven I thought that keeping this look would add a sense of realism ....... realism ha ha, a home in a pumpkin :o) now I know I'm loosing it.

One of the things I have found is that pumpkins are round not an easy object to keep hold of, or to work with and that as big as the hole at the front seems, a paintbrush, glue and hands don't necessarily all fit in at once. So a whole new set of logistics are being brought into play.

The window is finally glued to the outside of the pumpkin, it took a mixture of wood glue and super glue gel to get it to stay in place due to the curve.

So today I used an air drying clay (in this instance Das because I had some) to make the stones around the window and now waiting with some trepidation for the clay to dry and hopefully work.

If all goes well will do the washes on the outside of the pumpkin and the stones tomorrow to add a patina of age and cover any marks made by the clay.

Till then mini hugs and may all be well in your world.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Adding the Window

Its been a glorious mild day today, ideal for gardening so minis took a bit of a back burner, got to make hay whilst the sun shines.

To make the lattice window, I used silver stiffened type ribbon on sale at Christmas time from my stash and painted it with black acrylic paint. I suppose any netting would work if it was stiffened first to keep its shape.

Using black card (the type used for card making) I folded it in half and cut out the pattern to go through both sides.
I then glued the lattice ribbon between the card and left to dry.

Once the window is dry can cut the surround to be the same  arch shape ... don't trim too close the edges are about right need some space for gluing to outside of pumpkin.

The final picture shows the window from the inside of the pumpkin, tomorrow would like to try and add some edging to the outside to give it gothic look.

The only thing I regret is not adding a thin sheet of acetate, the really thin one as this has to be bent to fit the pumpkin shape and if too stiff would cause problems. Well I least I know for next time. 

Its amazing how the lights in the workroom have made the "custard cream" colour look so pumpkin like.

Now off to dream of the next stage and the overhead lighting.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The pumpkin continues with colour

Apologies real life and being under the weather seems to detract from blogging.

I finally started on the insides of the pumpkin, trimmed around the window at the back to give it a straighter edge and cut down the under hanging piece from the stalk. Using tissue paper and glue layered up the floor in an attempt to get it reasonably even and also around all the rough cuts (window, front opening and the bottom of the stalk), that took 2 days to dry ......... oh don't you just hate it when you have to be patient :o)

Once dry gave the insides a coat of white poster paint and then pottered off to the shops to get some lovely pumpkin colours I wanted a lighter colour for the interior and a darker one for the exterior and decided that emulsion (house paint) in tester pots would be ideal, gives you plenty of paint for more than one coat and covers very well over the paper maché. The colours I used were from Wilkinsons and the light one was "custard cream" and the dark one "jelly bean",  but there were different brands and colours to choose from and at £1.00 a tester not very expensive, most testers are matt, so if you want a shine will need to varnish with satin or gloss when finished.

The pictures show two coats of the custard cream inside and just the first coat of jelly bean on the outside and the stalk hasn't been done yet. I'm going to try for a trellis type window and think some more about the kind of flooring the pumpkin will have. I still haven't decided on witch or mouse, maybe should make a mouse as a witch its something I've never done so should be an interesting experiment. I also need to think about the lighting for the pumpkin, a central one certainly but do I want other lights too and if so where and start on the design for a pot bellied stove.

Whichever way I go I don't believe this will be finished in time for Halloween this year somehow : o)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Pumpkin and the Garden

Well the say the first cut is the hardest, so with my trusty blade I cut away the first part of the pumpkin, once inside I realised this might be an interesting project, the floor and walls are uneven so thinking hat on for making sure this looks good.

I did do some rough sketches of what I would like to do but being in pencil they didn't show up very well when scanned. It will definately have a pot bellied or wood burning stove with a black stack pipe on the top with the Chinese looking hat shape to crown it. The outside will be landscaped to look autumnal and natural if I can find or make the parts, certainly a toadstool or two, and of course those collected acorn caps could come in very handy.

Wondering if the back window opening would look better if arched more or left as it is, maybe make it leaded with a stained glass look and a rustic frame.
The furniture will definately have a rustic cottage feel to it.

The top stalk hangs down inside the the pumpkin as long as it is on the outside and is hollow, so do I cut or use it to create hidden overhead  lighting with LEDs because they don't get hot. This is the challenge to come up with ways and means to overcome these questions.

Feeling under the weather today it isn't easy to get motivated into starting, so tonight will stick to drawing and collecting ideas to use in this project.

To add a bit of colour to todays post a few lovely flowers growing in the garden, and a bountiful harvest of grapes nature is certainly grand and I love this time of year.

See you tomorrow, take care and mini hugs.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Plans for October - Pumpkin house and Autumn Scenes

A wonderful close friend of mine bought me a paper mache pumpkin from Hobbycraft, something I have been after for ages to do a project in - usually I remember too late and they have sold out. This pumpkin has an arched window already cut out of the back and I think it will be the right size for 1-24 scale, certainly not quite tall enough for 1-12. Now the next stage is to work out whether a mouse house or a Halloween witchy poo, oh decisions, decisions.

Tomorrow will start the planning and cutting and working out what will go where.

In the meantime will share the following pictures from a stroll in the woodland at the end of September, it has been unseasonably warm and I'm hoping that I can get some great autumn colours but not yet it appears. But my joy was finding for the first time in years the fairy tale toadstool, the red cap, (they always appeared in the old stories from Hans Christian Anderson and Grimms Fairy Tales), this woodland is magical there is a story around every corner.

The knotted roots look like the ones from the Lord of the Rings, you almost expect them to get up and start walking, these are the beech trees and they give some fabulous looking pictures.

The woodland goes from young woodland to old gnarled trees. Those that have stood for a long time and young saplings, from dark and eerie to light ethereal just fantastic. You can just loose yourself in childhood dreams, the dark forest of Hansel and Gretal and the old trees of Sherwood forest ..... oh why did I have to become old. :o)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Real life gets in the way

Firstly, apologies for not posting, things have been a bit hectic in work and real life, along with all the many projects involved in, but finally I have sorted them out and hopefully will be back on track again. Whew!!!

Did take some time out for a visit to the beach and took some pictures of a wonderful sunset, no filters were used just an older Olympus digital camera.

I am so lucky to be in the country side and only about two and half miles from the coast.

Tomorrow will post some of the woodland and a project I have in mind for the month of October, it will be so nice to do something of my own in the mini world.

Until then take care