Sunday, March 02, 2014
Another dollhouse??? YES, ANOTHER DOLLHOUSE. It's tiny though, so it will be fine.
I'm happy to introduce you to the crabbiest owl in the whole world, Ollie. I got him from CloverFourteen on Etsy, and he's ADORABLE.
He needed somewhere to live, so I got him a half scale Buttercup by Corona Concepts, which is owned by Greenleaf. I've never done half scale before, so I was very pleased to see that Ollie fit in there perfectly. This house is now Luna Lair (yes, I love alliteration):
Ollie? He's angry. I love my little perturbed friend:
Just for fun, I popped him inside of the Beacon Hill's Heritage Room. I could have fit three of these houses in there and still had room methinks:
Can you find it?
I crack me up.
Friday, February 21, 2014
To make up for my lack of blogging lately, I'm going to give you a mega post about all of the minis I've been working on. Sit back, get a cup of coffee, and prepare to be slightly worried about my sanity (again). BAHAHAHA!!
I failed miserably at hacking off all of the leftover siding glue with my fancy scraper from Pa. I simply don't have the forearm/hand strength of my father, so the whole situation was bad. I decided to forget about it because those sides of the beams will be facing out toward the siding, so you'll never see them anyway. Instead, Gretchen and I took some time to dry fit the structure. It was very wobbly because I didn't use very much tape:
I love looking at this house from an angle so you can see the top front popping out like that:
I added in the existing floors and ceiling, which will all need to be replaced because they are Masonite, which tends to bow very quickly:
Pretty, pretty house:
I held up the bay extension to get a photo, but Gretchen insisted on marking the whole thing with her face, which made it tumble apart. Oh well, at least we know what it will look like eventually:
You'll have to forgive these blurry iPad photos for this next part...
I took a piece of matboard and traced the wall onto it:
I marked where the floors will be:
Then I put my wallpaper behind and in front of the beams. I played around for a while and then realized I just LOVE THOSE BEAMS and can't imagine covering them up. The wall looked quite magical like this:
Not so magical:
Having one set of beams showing made the other wall look so plain. Back to the beam-age:
I'm not entirely sure how I'll do these walls. I'll most likely sand them down and stain/seal them to make them shiny. No, it's not normal to have naked beams in your house like this, but whatevs. I LIKE IT!
I stuck the hat on top of the house to see how she looked. Very tall! Very regal:
The hat is actually on backwards right now, but that's OK. I cut out the center part to make the area open:
I needed room for the Wizard. I'll be sure to move him down a bit and turn him so that he faces the viewer:
Then I put together this cart that I was supposed to put together back in October for National NAME Day. Whoopsie. It's very pretty though:
It's going to live here in the Orchid/Plant Room. I also have some flower boxes and other kits to put in here eventually:
The top left room of the Beacon Hill was going to be many different things, including a Chicken/Rooster Room. Now, I feel that theme will work better in a different build, so I changed the theme of this room to be the Mini Makers Room. I'll put gifts from friends in here, along with things I buy from my favorite artisans over time. This room is quite small, and it has two dormer window openings hiding behind the wallpaper for now:
And then I started thinking about that box that's going under the Crime Museum. Yes, I still plan on burying a body under a trap door...
So I took the box and dirtied it up with paint:
It looks much creepier now than it did before:
It looked even creepier when I slid the box under the house:
Hmm... We seem to have a hip sticking out there. I'll need to work on it. I was actually creeped out by my own invention, so I covered it up with a tape dispenser and went about my business:
For something lighter, let's look at the church. I'm not sure I've mentioned this church on the blog before, so just in case I haven't, this is for my parents. It's a 1:144 kit from Templewood Miniatures:
It's a truly stunning kit -- the best 144 I've ever worked on -- and has tons of little details:
I bought this church as a gift for my parents over a year ago. I got... distracted. But now I'm back on it! Here you can see the delicate window frames:
I'm now at the point of putting on the stained glass windows, which came with the kit:
My computer even tried to label the faces in these windows as real people -- oh, silly iPhoto:
Does the church make up for the body??? I hope so.
I also hope you've enjoyed this mini round-up. HAPPY FRIDAY!
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
I truly thought these two books would have nothing in common, but as I was falling asleep last night, I realized there were some interesting connections. The first one is Against the Fall of Night by Arthur C. Clarke. I recently finished it, and it was very good, indeed. The second is Adrift by Steven Callahan. I'm halfway through.
I got the Clarke one on a whim online. I picked up Adrift for ten cents years ago when my local library was having a sale. One is science fiction; the other is nonfiction. They are as completely different as they could possibly be, so what's the similarity?
In Against the Fall of Night, one of the characters finds himself drifting above Earth, looking down and realizing how big the world is -- how big the universe is -- and how small man is compared to all of this. In Adrift, Callahan is lost at sea in a tiny raft, realizing how small he is as well. In the introduction to Callahan's story, he says of sailing:
"I wish I could describe the feeling of being at sea, the anguish, the frustration, and fear, and the beauty that accompanies threatening spectacles, the spiritual communication with creatures in whose domain I sail. There is a magnificent intensity in life that comes when we are not in control but are only reacting, living, surviving."
It's very interesting to me that he wrote this BEFORE his little adventure began. Foreshadowing much?
It's true that there's a magical intensity when you're just trying to hang on. I've had a few moments in life where everything became violently clear. I've been aware of my own biology and psychology in ways that aren't even a blip on my radar during "normal life" times. It's true that pain or suffering or the excitement of a situation is heightened by the lack of control. Everything looks different, even the sky. I've often looked at the sky after an emotional event and thought, "You look so odd. I've never seen you before."
Clarke is always interesting in the way that he looks at the "bigger picture" of the universe. There is always room to expand and grow -- to learn and explore. And his stories often point out the smallness of humankind -- the ridiculousness of our self-centeredness. (GUILTY!!) There is so much MORE out there -- far more than my imagination can even contain. I get scared sometimes when I start thinking too much about the vastness of the universe, the science of it. It's too much. It's too much for a lot of people. So we think about us and what is going on in our tiny, little heads.
As Callahan said:
"I am not a religious man per se. My own cosmology is convoluted and not in line with any particular church or philosophy. But for me, to go to sea is to get a glimpse of the face of God. At sea I am reminded of my insignificance -- of all men's insignificance. It is a wonderful feeling to be so humbled."
As I drifted off to sleep last night, I thought about that word "insignificance." It usually has a negative connotation, but I saw it in a positive light. It's true that it's a GOOD thing to be humbled. It's good to be reminded that we are one tiny speck of sand on that giant beach. There are so many amazing things around us to marvel at and enjoy -- as long as we have the strength to pull our heads out of our a$$es once in a while and see them. I'll work on it.
Monday, February 17, 2014
[I almost deleted this entire post because I didn't want to freak out my parents, but I thought it might help someone, so I'm publishing it. I promise I'm OK.]
I've been kind of silent lately because I've been in a depressive slump. Writing about your depression isn't something exciting or fun. It's not something people get really jacked up about sharing with the world. However, I've written about it enough times on this blog, and I always get at least one "me, too" comment, so I know I'm not alone, and sometimes, my depression actually helps other people. You're not alone.
After dealing with depression for over a decade, I've learned that there are no real "triggers" for me. Sometimes, my brain chemicals just decide to go wonk, and there's nothing I can do about it. I manage my depression with medication and mental exercises, but there is NO cure. I won't magically pop out of this one day. I can only hope for long periods of what I now see as a kind of "remission."
I've been doing really well for a very long time. I've been loving my miniatures, my friends, and my family. So having my Depression Bomb go off has been very disturbing. Everything was HAPPY SHINY GOOD for a very long time. But now, out of nowhere, I wake up hopeless. I go to bed hopeless. I daydream about not living anymore. Not suicide. Never that.
OK, I'm lying.
I daydream about suicide sometimes or just dying peacefully in some way. But I'll never pull that particular trigger.
Suicidal/death thoughts are part of the game when you have depression. No one likes to talk about it because friends or family might FREAK THE F*CK OUT, but my medical doctor once told me this: It's perfectly normal to think about, visualize, or fantasize about death. The key is to not act on it. Not acting on it shows mental health. She actually said that, and I remembered it well. The fact that I don't act on these thoughts means I'm still here, still fighting, still trying, and still in control of my mind and actions. The annoying part is that I also visualize having a very long life, filled with sadness.
But beyond the death daydreams, I have long periods of meh. Nothing seems fun, not even my miniatures. Family gatherings seem like work. Getting together with friends seems like a lot of looking at people and realizing how happy and easy THEIR lives are in comparison to my own. Depression brings out a lot of this:
They have families.
They have homes they own.
They have children.
They have lovers.
They have sweet nothings.
They have sex.
They have surprise birthday parties.
They have tons of things in common.
They have savings accounts.
They have family vacations.
They have washing machines.
It's horrifying. I start making T-Charts in my head of all of the things Other People have that I don't have. Or the things I do have are the exact opposite of good:
I have tax debt.
I have a falling-apart rental house.
I have back pain.
I have depression.
I have misery.
I have aching loneliness.
It's very ugly.
When I'm good, I make no comparisons. I see what a vast wealth of things and blessings I have that blow all of the other lists away. When my mind is in the right state, I have zero jealously -- strange, but true. I have SO many good things. I know this. But right now, I don't remember any of them. I only have the things I don't have floating around in my mind, poking the bear. You are a failure. You have a big fail ball. Congrats!
There's been a lot of crying lately. It's not fun. It also concerns my parents, who are the only ones who see me cry. They're used to it. They know that "this too shall pass." They've seen me climb out of dark pits and shake my fists at the world. I AM BLONDIE, AND I'M F*CKING AMAZING!! They know I am a phoenix who has simply burst into flames. It takes a while to regroup is all. I'll come around. I always do.
But this part, it's terrible. It hurts. It brings up all of the old hurts and rubs them in my face.
The worst part is that I always try to fight it, which makes it more difficult to manage. I pretend to be fine. The shiny starts to wear off on the inside, but I keep shining on the outside. I keep smiling and giggling and pretending that I'm OK, OH YES I AM. But inside, I'm flaking apart. I'm judging myself and the entire world. I am Doom and Gloom and there is just one tiny thread holding me together before I burst out crying in the middle of the soda aisle at Target.
Nothing feels worse than the aching ball in your throat and the teetering tears on your lower lids when you're trying SO HARD not to cry. And nothing feels better than just letting it out.
This is my way of letting it out.
I'm not crying right now. I'm just typing. I'm staring at my computer with Webster on my lap and sunlight peeking through the window. I feel dead inside. No sad, no anger, just dead. Maybe now that I've openly acknowledged it, it will start to get better.
And just in case someone else feels this way, too: I understand.
If you're feeling blue and are having serious thoughts about acting on suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Sunday, February 09, 2014
After figuring out how long it would take to strip, sand, and repaint all of the siding on the Golden Gate View, I tore that sh*t off and cackled like a wicked old witch when pieces of it broke in half. I was so happy to FINALLY be working on Maison McColl that I just didn't care about keeping the siding anymore. It won't go to waste, however. I'm keeping it in a baggie and will use it to build furniture in the future.
Meanwhile, the existing walls of the house got naked. Here, you can see one of the walls at the top with the siding still on, and the one on the bottom without it:
Some of it was really stubborn:
As the siding came off, the walls started to come apart. This was FANTASTIC because I like seeing exactly how they fit together AND I was able to ensure all of the joins would be really strong. The next step is to have Pa help me get the stubborn bits and old glue off, but that should be relatively easy. He says he has special tools for this kind of thing (I can't remember the name because Pa has 9,000 tools):
Gretchen was very excited about Maison McColl. She rolled around on it to mark it as another one of HER HOUSES:
I took all of the Plexiglas windows out. They'll need to be replaced because they've yellowed quite a bit with age. However, they will make perfect templates AND I got to see how they fit into the walls, so they were no loss. A million billion tiny bits of wood came out of this bay structure. Seriously, there are a LOT of parts to this kit:
Meanwhile, Gretchen kept rolling. I figured her weight would help with the drying process, so I didn't mind (Doesn't she look HUGE? She's actually quite small. That's her winter fur -- she gets quite the coat, oh yes she does!):
Webster was kind enough to NOT crawl on Maison McColl, but he did sniff and mark as needed with his face:
I'm so crazy in love with this house. I daydream about it all the time. I've been reading my Art Deco book to learn about the period and fantasizing about how it will look when it's finished. It will be a looong time until it's finished, but the process or journey is truly the best part.
Meanwhile, I found a few good wallpapers to try out. These are the most Deco-ish papers I could find. I'm sure I'll find more in the future. These are scrapbook papers from Mangleson's in Omaha. I always find the BEST scrapbook paper there:
This one is my favorite:
I see a black and white theme happening here. I'm hoping to find more color at some point:
This is a muted, yellow/mustard color:
I grabbed a couple of these ladies to cut out and use as decoration:
A while back, Ma and I went to an estate sale in Omaha. I found this tile piece for a whole .50:
In the photo, the tile is sitting on one of the floors for Maison McColl. You can see that it's a bit too small, but it could make good flooring if I do it right. It's super heavy, so I dunno. We'll see. Right now, I'm a bit baffled about the flooring situation. I haven't seen a lot of good Art Deco flooring designs yet.
With all of my builds, I tend to get more motivated when I find a key piece of furniture to spur me on. In this case, it will be my very first fireplace (I'm actually removing all three fireplaces, and perhaps the chimney, from the Beacon Hill).
I found this photo on MANY Web sites. I can't figure out where it originated from for sure, but I do certainly know that this is NOT my photo. I'm simply using it as inspiration. The fireplace itself is oddly referenced as being in either the Twin Cities or LA, depending on where you find the photo. I'll just go with the Twin Cities, since I'm a Midwesterner and all.
Here is the drop dead gorgeous Art Deco fireplace that I will be copying in miniature form to put in Maison McColl:
Image c/o TwinCities.com
Isn't it STUNNING??? I LOVE IT. I know I can't possibly do it justice, but I'll sure give it a try. It's entirely possible that the top of Maison McColl won't have a chimney or another fireplace one level up, but it will have this mysterious fireplace on the first floor for sure. It will be a test of my skills to get this built, but I'm sure going to try!
And do you recall this clock? Pa put a new battery it in, so it's ticking away just fine. I guess that means the official clock for this build has started. Tick, tick, tick....