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.