Wednesday, July 13, 2011

An Idea to Love: Dry Fitting the Fling

For much of the build process, I didn't have a camera, so there isn't much documentation. But there is THIS little bit from when I borrowed a camera.

I knew exactly what I wanted to do with this kit when I saw it. There aren't any pictures of the initial dry fit, but there are a few from after I cut a bunch of holes in it!

This first one here shows not only the set up of the house, but also my kitchen counter-the cleanest it would be for the next 3 months (minus the one day for my son's birthday when it was all banished to a shelf).

At first, I had wanted to put a bay window here. See the pencil marks? I thought it was more visually pleasing, but it made the room inside impossible. So I went with a traditional four light window instead. The roof edges, where the two additions meet up had to be cut down to slivers. I had to remove the overhang on both to be sure it would sit flush together. Also a total pain!

Here is the mock-up of the indoor set up. And my house beyond. :) I had to condense a lot of my ideas for this project. Since it is something that I actually want to open in reality, my mind went crazy with ideas and was trying to cram too much in there. In a full scale Ageless Promise, there would be more studio space, storage in both rooms and extra easels. There would also be an outdoor space to paint. I had purchased the steps and porch for this, but the building was already enormous, so they didn't go on.

Now the doors are cut out and windows installed. There is also a mock up (straw) for the spiral staircase. The second floor had been cut away to make the rooms bigger and airier, along with the purpose of providing sense to the skylights. They just seemed silly to be lighting up a floor right there! A little bit of the floor was left to help maintain structural integrity and to have a built in shelf to hold extra supplies. You can see a few of the furniture pieces tacked up temporarily as I play with the layout.

Here are a few of my *putting it together* shots. I learned, frombuilding the Coventry Cottage by Greenleaf, that it is easier to decorate as you build than it is to decorate with big oafish hands after you have built. So, I dry fitted, Measured, measured again and cut paper. All the paper in this build are from wallpaper sample books. Coordinating ones, at that!

When it was in dry fit, I marked all the points where wood touched wood. When I cut the papers, I cut just a little over-and I mean a SLIVER-the marked lines. Then I primed the wall in necessary spaces and glued the paper on using a craft stick.

While the walls were drying, I used Greenleaf Vinyl Tiles to make the floors. Toothpicks were my spacers to begin with, but that looked weird, so I just eyeballed it from there. My grout was made from joint compound (buy at Walmart in giant bucket for $5) and some acrylic paint mixed in for color. I then scooped all of this into a sandwich bag that I had put a cake decorating tip in. It is shoved through a bottom corner. Once the bag was full, I sealed it shot and squeezed (piped) the *frosting* out into the holes. I wiped the excess away with a dry cloth and light pressure. When all of it dried, I gave the tile a good washing with a damp cloth.

Then, after the floors were dry, I put in a dry-fit again, measuring where the floor hit and marked for baseboards. Also marked where the baseboards would run into each other in the corner, and mitered them so they would form nice angled corners instead of a butting joint. :)
They were then painted and attached with Aileene's Tacky Glue.

Here is that room assembled with the furniture inside. The pictures I didn't get to take were the ones showing how I attached the three built pieces into one giant piece.

Modern Paper Becomes Checkered Floor!

For the gallery, I wanted to do a floor that was really unique downstairs. I liked the idea of tile, but didn't have a whole lot to work with. The studio and supply room both had the grey Greenleaf vinyl tiles in them that I grouted with colored joint compound(I used a sandwich bag and a cake icing tip).

So after a lot of puttering around in my craft room looking at all the supplies I have, I came across these two papers: black with silver circles and blue with black circles. From there, a star gallery was born! The papers that you will will find throughout the gallery are the corresponding wallpapers to the ones used for the floor.

I first laid them over the tile like so, glued down with Aileene's and then scored the paper to match the lines of the tile.

To create a random floor pattern, I made sure to twist some of the squares around so things wouldn't line up too much. The edge ones could not be used, since they were slightly larger. Even though they come already sticky, I glued them down with a bit of Aileene's just to make sure they wouldn't shift around. I trimmed tiles to fit just like you would any other floor you were doing.

After the entire floor was covered, I then sealed the entire thing with 3 coats of Modge Podge Glossy. Here is the final result: A totally fun, art deco floor! Perfect for a gallery!

Stucco Sides and Metal Roof: Doing the Exterior of the Fling, Part 1

There was some great debate within me on what to do for the exterior of this build. I wanted something more than just paint, but I knew what I had planned for the roof and what I wanted for colors...I settled on stucco finish with Glidden's Gold Coast White as my main color. Nice and neutral!

My big hurdle then was what to make the stucco with. I wanted to use something that I already had at the house since I had a really limited budget to work with. Hard to spend oodles on the house when your kid needs diapers. :D So I scoured the internet and came up with this: watered down wood filler, which I credit to Emily Morganti! She apparently learned this in class. Check the link to see her process and experience.

Let me tell you all, this works AMAZINGLY well and is only $5. PLUS I still had tons left over and you can still use it for it's intended purpose as wood filler. :) All you have to do is put some wood filler in a cup (I did mine directly in the container since it was about half empty) and add water. Then stir and add water until it has the consistency of soft serve ice cream.

I then took a sponge brush and slathered it all over a wall (missing this picture, but it doesn't have to be solid smearing, the next step will even it out). After that, while it was freshly wet, I dabbed at it with a cellulose sponge and created a stippling effect. :) Awesome! After I was sure I liked the look, I taped off the window frames on the building and *stuccoed* the rest of it.

30 minutes later, it was totally dry and I gave it two coats of the Gold Coast White. After the paint dried, I removed all the tape. Yea for clean lines!

I knew that I wanted lots and lots of color, but it also needed to be grounded so it wasn't blinding. I used my absolute favorite color, Bittersweet Chocolate by Americana to paint the trim, under the eaves and the windowsills. The small windows and the inner stripes got lots of color and I used the same colors in the wall mural. All of it was Americana paint because it has superior coverage and true, bright colors. I used the following: Bahama Blue, Bright Yellow, Cantaloupe Orange, Citron Green, Dioxazine Purple, True Blue, Desert Turquoise, Peony Pink, Baby Blue, Holly Green, Christmas Red, and Pineapple Yellow. The sign is painted to match, too, and is made out of cardboard, ribbon, chain and strip wood. The mail box is black polymer clay with a wash of Antique Copper on it. Numbers are from Houseworks. Open sign and hours are printies.

The Roof:

Before I started this project, I knew I wanted a modern metal roof. I have some great examples in the neighborhood, so there was plenty of stalking material. :) And to make things better, the people right across the street just upgraded to this kind of roof so I got see how they were put together.

When putting the build together, I had to saw and sand off parts of the roofs on the addition to get everything together flush. Since I don't have any fancy saws, the edges were pretty rough and even after sanding, required some packing with wood filler.

That wood up there is baby booty smooth! When I first started painting, I thought super smooth would be enough, but even then, the wood grain was showing through the paint. Blech. Not very metal looking and just would not do! (Seen in picture below) The strip separators are made out of 1/8" strip basswood. I had the frames over lap the holes cut for the skylights so there would be a gap to slip the acrylic sheeting into when I was done.

At the top of each strip, I cut it at an angle to allow for a flush fit to the metal strip at the top. On a real building, there is a cap put over the metal and the strips, but I thought that looked weird.

After a few days of pondering, I decided the best way to achieve a faux metal finish would be to use a glossy paper. I wanted something that was sturdy and wouldn't warp too much once painted. I have several wallpaper sample books and I opted to use the order papers in the back of the books. :) I had a moment where I thought I would want to order the wallpaper for real life some day, but these have all been discontinued for years. So no harm. They were perfect! I glued the whole piece to the roof section and then cut the excess off with a sharp blade. Then the strip wood was cut to size and glued on with Aileene's. I planned to use 3/8" strip basswood and balsa wood to make the frames for the skylights, so I left a gap accordingly at each skylight.

Then all the papers and the strips were painted with several coats of Folkart Metallic Copper paint. :) Totally awesome finish! Finally, I glued the already cut skylight frames into place. :)

These were painted with a custom mixture of the Metallic Copper and Bittersweet Chocolate and Holly Green by Americana. The top of the roof is spray painted with Krylon Aluminum paint and is the same wood used to make the skylight frames. I also sponged and smeared some of the custom color, and those used to make it, in areas to show some weather damage and wear.

Here's the final product!

Another post will cover the tree, light, parking meter, planter, bench and waste basket. :)

Building Spiral Stairs for the Fling

When I got this kit, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it and I knew that I wanted access to the second floor. This presented a minor problem for me as it did not come with stairs. :/ I had never made my own stairs before, and after some consideration, decided to go with a spiral staircase. A regular staircase would have been doable, but would have taken up a considerable amount of viewing space for the paintings. So, here is how I made the spiral staircase.

I didn't take pictures of the construction process, but I wish I would have. Next time. My next build will be well documented! Anyway, I used a dowel (standard size for that packet you can get at Walmart or Michaels), a straw, spindles, jewelry chain and pretty bauble beads.

First, I cut out the stair shapes and then drilled matching holes into the narrower end of them.
***Next time, I would make them a little bigger than they are now. They are quite narrow and a little short.

Then I cut a 3/4 inch section of straw and slid it on the bottom of the dowel. Then I slid on a step from the top end and pushed it all the way down to the piece of straw. The straw acts as a base and a support to hold the step. I then alternated straw and step until I got to the top. After all the steps were on the dowel and spaced appropriately, I spun them around in a fan shape, creating the *spiral* to the spiral staircase.

Next step was to glue the spindles to each step so they could hold the chain railing I was planning on making. Now, in real life, this wouldn't really work, because there is nothing supporting the steps themselves from busting in two beneath your feet. The change to be made here is to take something like toothpicks and make a support from the back left corner of the bottom step to the front left corner of the one above it. My steps weren't wide enough to do this. :(

So, we will just pretend that the size of mini people makes them SO light that they don't need extra supports. :D

I then stuck it in the build to see if it would fit right. During the dry fit stage, I had cut a circular hole in the roof/floor. Here it is in the house before I painted it:

Once everything seemed good, I then painted it using Krylon spray paint in black. Then, I carefully glued the two lengths of chain around and secured them to each spindle. When they had dried, I attached beads to the top of each spindle to finish it off and give it some whimsy. I didn't permanently attach it to the house until the very end since it was in my way.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Fling has Sprung!

Go down three posts to see my entry in the Greenleaf Spring Fling contest 2011. They published in order from when they were written. There is a post talking about what I did and the other is just detail shots. I hope you enjoy it and leave hearty comments! Good luck too all that participated!