Sunday, January 20, 2019

The Christmas Lantern Part II

Another nice weekend.  I'm still a bit behind with work stuff but I'm trusting that I'll get caught up eventually.  Who knows, maybe I'll end up working next Saturday but we'll see how the week goes.

The Christmas lights arrived midweek.  So that was exciting.  I didn't want to put anything else on the tree until I got the lights on.  I need to get some more nine volt batteries.  Right now my tester battery has been stolen from the WQRC and she's going to be irked with me if she can't write at her desk because the battery for her light is gone.

I got started with them and my garland to go over the windows.  I was debating about different colors of tinsel and whether or not to use tinsel with the evergreen garland and eventually decided to go with red and gold ribbon, like the wreath.

Only phone pictures this time I'm afraid.




I dug out one of my candy dishes and some of the candies I got last year.  They look better on the table than the Christmas cookies.


The other thing I worked on this weekend was the chair for the lantern.  I tried to make a half scale version of Kris's upholstered chair tutorial.



I need to make some presents for under the tree.  I have some but they aren't to scale and they don't look right.

That's pretty much it for this week.  I'm a little excited.  Only a few more days until we start hearing about the Creatin' Contest results.


Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Christmas Lantern

I've been taking my time this weekend.  It's nice to sit and read and not feel pressured by a deadline to get my hands full of stain or glue.  So I've been working on my commissioned Christmas Lantern on and off.

Chris requested lights on the Christmas tree so I really can't finish the lantern until I have them.  I've been working on the insides, getting all the paneling and trim glued in.


The floor is always the first step.  I always end up sanding down the edges so the door to the lantern will close before I can glue it in permanently.


Testing my tree placement.  I always replace the wooden tree stand with a bead and jewelry finding to make it look more fancy.


The panels are always tricky.  The angle of the ends needs to be right, and they can't push out as far as the metal framing or again the door won't close.  They also have to accommodate the prongs holding in the glass while not showing as anything but full panels on the ends.

I use my Dremel sander head to sand down the lower middle of the panels so they'll fit flat against the glass and then stain both sides so it looks pretty through the cut metal.


I used one of the chandeliers I had in my stash and crazy glue to stick a magnet to the top rather than use the sticky foam.  If the bulbs need replacing it can be taken down partway to put new ones in.


Wood strips and quarter round trim finish off the walls, then I add the crown moldings.  They help finish the 'room' and keep the wire for the chandelier hidden.

I asked Chris if he'd prefer a painted table or a wood stained one and he thought his wife would like a wood look table.  So I used one of the fancy dowels and a woodsie, stained with red mahogany and then wrapped the edge in lace, stained with the same color and then slathered modge podge on it to give it stiffness and shine.


The table looks good but the plate of cookies seems out of scale so I'm going to try and make a candy dish instead.


Chris and his wife decorate with gold and red at Christmas time so he asked that I use those colors primarily.  I have gold and red tinsel and some pretty printed red fabric that will look lovely on the chair I'll make.  He thought she'd prefer an evergreen wreath rather than the bell wreath so I got started on that too.


The gold thread doesn't show up as much as the red in the picture but I think with a fancy bow in red and gold it'll look really nice hanging outside the lantern.  That's the fabric I plan on using for the chair, it's a subtle floral.

I'm going to make a garland/swag to go above the windows like the other lantern and use red and gold ornaments on the tree.  I've got a couple of presents to put under it which will take up some floor space.  Maybe I can make a little pillow to go on the chair.

It's nice to take my time.

How are all of you doing?




Sunday, January 6, 2019

This Year

I don't know about the rest of you but it's something of a relief to have 2018 over with.  We're going live with our new accounting program for Period 1 of 2019 and the good news is that we've pretty much figured out how my duties will work with the new program.  It's taken two Saturdays of working to feel caught up enough that I'm not freaking out about the whole process.

But it's worth it to be able to relax a bit.

I'm going to try something new in 2019.  Usually in the first couple months of the year I work on some little project until the new kit for the contest comes out and then I go nonstop every weekend trying to finish my project for that year's contest.  It works when I'm not sure how to go about something or when I don't have clear direction.  But it really regiments my time.  I have other hobbies that fall by the way side when I go really full tilt at mini-ing.

I'd half made up my mind that I wasn't going to do the contest in 2019.  I've found my results in 2016 and 2017 disappointing to say the least.  The amount of time, research and resources put into the builds compared to the results was really depressing.  I'm more hopeful about the 2018 kit, but since I have no idea what the criteria for judging is I don't want to get my hopes up too high.   I told myself that I'd wait and see and if I really liked the 2019 kit then I'd buy it and work on it at my own pace and not worry about the contest.

Turns out I like the 2019 kit.  So I'll be doing the build, but I'm still going to go at my own pace.  If its done in time to submit then great. If its not, oh well.  The point is to enjoy myself, not kill myself.  This is a hobby.

This year, the new kit is small, and hopefully will take up lots less real estate on my work table.  I want to keep the footprint small.  That way I can work on the Downtown Loft as well as the 2019 kit.  I also have another Christmas lantern to make for someone at work.

The Downtown Loft hasn't progressed since the last time I blogged about it.  Though I think I've figured out how to do the windows.  I got a lot of practice with windows in the last couple years.




I'm definitely going to close up the door.  And I'm rethinking the lack of windows on the front of the second half of the house.  The little square window is another I don't know about.

I could make the skylights larger or add another one or two, I like the idea of natural light coming through both roofs.  I'm still thinking about the interior and how I want it to look, industrial chic or really modern and polished.

At the moment I'm leaning towards modern and polished just because it's something different and fun.

And I already have ideas for the 2019 contest kit.



I don't want to change the width.  I might make it a little deeper, if it's more of a thicker rectangle or mostly square that gives me two or three more inches to work with.  Then it's making it taller, like an old shop with living quarters over it.

If I change the awning or extend it, that's the perfect place for a store sign.  Making it something of a brownstone will also let me have a flat roof rather than the angled roof which I don't care for.  If I made little bay windows for displays then I could use the kit windows on the second floor.  It looks very Victorian to me so I'm letting that percolate in my mind.

No matter what, this year I'm determined to have fun.  Hope everyone else will be doing the same.





Thursday, January 3, 2019

2019 Creatin' Contest

I've been stalking Miniatures.com for sales and new stuff. Mostly because I have a request for another Christmas 'lantern' and I want to work on it, which requires supplies.

And while I was looking around I came across this: Serendipity Shed



It's described as 'Charmingly compact but packed with charm, the Serendipity Shed offers just enough space for creativity without cramping your creative space.'



I like the double doors, though I'm not as thrilled with the slanted roof.  And the windows are cute.

The footprint is small, it measures at: '13 1/16"W x 10 7/8"H x 9 1/4"D (plus optional 1 1/2"D front step)'.  Which is nice considering how big I ended up making 2018's kit. 

Fran turned it into a shed, which is very pretty.


I like the contrast of the wood and white.

When I look at it I'm reminded of old storefronts.  If I do the kit maybe I'll make it two stories, or three could be fun, depending on the ceiling height.  Like an old brownstone/shop with living quarters above it.  But I don't want it much bigger than the original footprint.

Have to think about it some more.  I'll probably end up buying the kit, just for fun, even if I don't do the contest.  And Miniatures.com just sent a 15% off coupon to my email. 

It's like they Know!

Hope everyone has fun with this kit.  I can tell it's one of those that everyone will come up with something wildly different.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Last Post of 2018

Kristine asked me if I'd take some pictures of the Wicked Queen's Retirement Cottage at night with all the lights on.

I'm still no great shakes at photography but I did my best.


The lights don't show in the tower very well.



The pictures didn't come out too badly.


Sunday, December 30, 2018

Drusilla

I haven't wanted to post this.  Maybe because posting would make it more real.  I put all my energy into the WQ RC and then my Christmas projects and tried to not think about it.  But I can't put if off any longer.

You've all heard about the cats.  We have five.  Drusilla, Helo, Miho, Tali and Jack, if we list them from oldest to youngest.  Technically we think Helo and Drusilla might be the same age.  All of them are rescues, found on the streets by us or a co worker who knew we'd take in another furry family member.

I found Drusilla back when we still lived down in Orange.  It was after a huge storm, and she'd been scrounging for food with some other stray cats and living behind the 'shop' of the company I worked for.  The guys had been feeding them bits of their sandwiches.  Drusilla was young and intrepid enough to circle the building (very large) and go to the front office where she pawed at the glass door.  The receptionist shooed her off but when she went to lunch her substitute saw Drusilla and said 'Hey doesn't Sheila like cats?'

The rest of was history.  The box they found for me to transport her home in lasted all of five minutes in the back of my car, she was out of it and climbing all over, wanting to see everything.  She had fleas and ticks and abrasions and she was young enough that she hadn't gone into heat yet.  That was around the year 2000.  We think she was nearly a year then, at least that's what the vet told us.

We called her Drusilla because we had a big grey tabby male cat named Spike who just loved her from the start.  They both made the trip from Orange up to DFW in the back of my Saturn station wagon.



We had a lot of changes going on at one time.  We'd lost Isabella, the fluffy cat whom Dru didn't like but knew well.  Isabella was familiar and she was gone, and then we got Helo.  Helo went everywhere, had no respect for anyone's territory, and couldn't understand why this little female cat wasn't friendlier.




Drusilla started getting a little...agoraphobic as she got older. She didn't like change, she didn't like Helo, and she just wanted to be left alone.  So she got to live in her Daddy's study most of the time.  She had her own bed and window shelf and climbing tree and she was very happy for a good long while.  She was the only cat to ever have a bed.  Probably the only one who'd actually sleep in it rather than ignore it too.



About three years back Dru was diagnosed with kidney trouble and put on a special food when we noticed she'd begun losing weight.  She did pretty well for a couple years though she was older and getting a little creaky.

She still loved her shelf and looking out the window and the loud music her Daddy played.  But this last year she started getting thinner again and not as interested in her food and I started mentally preparing myself.

Three weeks ago Monday we brought Drusilla into the veterinarian's office to see if there was anything else we could do to make her comfortable.  Unfortunately the answer was no, there wasn't.  Dialysis was possible but she'd be unhappy and uncomfortable.  It would be more for us than for her. She didn't even have the energy to protest the car ride or the indignity being put in a cage.  And this was not a cat to suffer in silence.

 
She didn't like being brushed anymore and had no interest in the smelliest tuna.  It was time to say goodbye.  Our doctor very kindly pointed out that she'd had nineteen years of life, had been happy and comfortable for most of them and that was longer than she'd have ever had on the streets in Orange TX.  And he reassured us that we were doing the right thing, the unselfish thing, by letting her go.

December 17, 2018 Drusilla went to join Spike at the Rainbow Bridge.  

The other cats are a bit confused, they didn't know Dru that well except as the cat whose food they weren't allowed to eat and whose room they invaded when the vacuum cleaner was running.  They're cautiously exploring the 'new' window shelf and climbing tree.


I can safely say that I'm ready for 2018 to be over.  We're going to be a four cat household again, at least until another cat finds us.  One always does.  I'm going to try and take some comfort in that.  

Saturday, December 22, 2018

My Christmas Project

Our Christmas party at work was on Thursday and to do something nice for the office I made a doorprize and we had a drawing.  I couldn't blog about it until after the party because I wanted it to be a surprise and one of the ladies in the office reads my blog a lot.



I had a lantern I'd gotten a while back from Hobby Lobby so I made a floor out of popsicle sticks and added paneling and garland around the sides.  I had a small Christmas tree which I decorated.  And an old brass chandelier which I hooked up to a battery so it would light up.

I couldn't fit a nine volt battery under the lantern base so I built it up with some trim and have it half a floor so the battery would have a place to rest.

I made the table from a round woodsie I scalloped using my Dremel sander and painted with chalk paint to make it look distressed.  The chair I made with wood and foam covered with some fabric.  I got the little train from Hobby Lobby and the snowman used to be an ornament.





I made the wreath using Pepper's method with wire and bells.


We had a drawing after our Christmas lunch and one of the ladies in our office won it.  She was very excited because she follows my blog.  She and her mom are doing a dollhouse of their own.

One of the IT guys liked it so much he asked if I could make another for his wife.  So once I get my materials together hopefully I'll have more pictures.

Merry Christmas everybody and have a happy and safe Holiday season!