I'm travelling into a new way of working, a new country, a new language, and a new hobby which I'm passionate about. Come with me for some of the journey...

Saturday 14 July 2012

Can you make me a...?

I've been deploying my crafting skills, and especially my Tim Holtz Distress Inks, in a slightly different capacity over the last few days and using my craft stash for a whole new set of challenges.

Well, I say "new"... I've been roped in (mainly willingly, I admit) to my mother's dolls house hobby ever since I can remember.  You can read about her Dutch Coffee House and what it's doing here in the Czech Republic right here.  I'm just going to fill you in on a few of the tasks which fell to me in preparing it for its new life.  So this is just sneak peeks!

First up, in transporting it from the UK in the back of the car, a number of the roof tiles had come loose, broken or disappeared entirely.  They're stained wooden tiles, and there weren't any more of them, or any of the stain/paints which had originally been used.  

So I set off with my Grungeboard, some chipboard, Distress Markers, Distress Stains and Inkpads to fashion some roof tiles which wouldn't look out of place amongst the rest.  I challenge you to spot mine!  

I had to blend layers of Pumice Stone, Picket Fence and Bundled Sage to get the right shades.  And then the Distress Markers were perfect to just touch up the odd wooden tile directly on the roof.

It was also a question of colour-matching to long-lost paints when it became apparent that some extra panels were needed in the downstairs room, to balance the look of it when the house was opened up.

Thankfully, I was able to recreate the two shades of blue with just two shades of Tim Holtz Distress Ink.  First I gave the newly-cut panels of chipboard a coat of white acrylic to get a matt base coat on which the inks would ping in their true colours.  Then it was my trusty Weathered Wood for the paler panel, and several layers of Stormy Sky to get the darker centre panels.
A little stripe of gold acrylic, using my finest paintbrush, completed the look.

Rather than matching, the next challenge was all about changing colour.  Most of the furniture in the upstairs room was in a sophisticated dark wood veneer.  But two pieces didn't quite fit in: a small carved two-seater in a rather unpleasant orangey, plastic finish; and the wooden piano stool in a slightly bizarre shade of red.

Out again with the trusty paintbrushes, and a couple of quick coats of acrylic did the job.  You can see the two-seater part-way through its transformation, and the piano stool both before and after.  

What I haven't got a picture of is the foul dark yellow of the cushion of the two-seater before - genius TH - Bundled Sage and Forest Moss gave it the look of old, distressed velvet. 

Another "Can you make me a...?" request which floated up to me was for a pavement to run along in front of the shop.  

Textured cardstock, more acrylic as a base coat, and some freehand pencil lines, deeply grooved into the card gave me the starting point.  

(It's not yet stuck down properly in these pictures!)

Then I got to do fun colour work again: some Antique Linen, some Bundled Sage, some Weathered Wood applied with a Blending Tool, and then I used the Pumice Stone Distress Marker brush end, and the Black Soot fine end to create some depth in the cracks between the 'paving stones'. 

Because of how the house is going to lead its new life (go on, if you're curious you can find out) the outer walls needed some adornment.  

My mother wanted to use the images from this Dutch vintage-style coffee tin, so she scanned them, and then asked me whether I could make the images look like advertising hoardings which had been outside on a wall for some time. 

And so the crafting kicks in again...

First I backed them onto cardstock.

Then I started the distressing with (what else?!) some inking around the edges to give a weather-beaten look to them both.  Weathered Wood played a part, and some Walnut Stain came in to play too.  

I then gave them a coat of the Ranger Inkssentials Glue'n'Seal in Gloss to give a gentle, protective sheen.  It really changes the texture, so that you don't immediately think "ah, paper".

Finally, I tried to make it look as though the posters might be within a hoarding frame.  I edged the card with the Versamark Watermark stamp, and used UTEE as the embossing powder to get a thick enamelled ridge round the border of the images.

I really like the look of the "hoarding" against the beautiful brickwork of the dolls house.  And if you want to know how that's made, you know by now where you need to go!

The last bit of miniatures work (for the present, at any rate) was probably my favourite to do.  The "Can you make me...?" this time was founded on the need for something to go in the beautiful attic space of the house.

It's a coffee shop, so the request was for some sacks of coffee!  There were already a couple of small bags, but the loft was still cavernously empty.

A jute bag was duly relieved of its interior bottle divider - nice interlocking bits of woven sacking material, all ready to be ripped apart at the seams and altered.  I cut and shaped my bits of hessian (burlap for the Americans?) round some triangular bits of card to give them a shape when standing up.  

Then - ah, finally! - it was out with the stamps.  I wasn't sure at first whether the stamping would work as the weave of the fabric was so coarse, but a little bit of testing resolved that fear.  I used the smaller stamps from the 7 Gypsies Avignon set, which has lots of postmarks and authorisation stamps in it.  

I layered a few of them on each sack so that you'd get the impression the coffee had been in and out of a number of ports, and I had one stamp that I was imagining as the logo of the import/export company shipping them, so that one's on all of them.  Here they are stashed in the storage loft... mine are the larger ones behind. 

I'm going to leave you with a couple of old-style "Vintage Photos" because I'm suffering withdrawal: I don't think I've used any Vintage Photo Distress Ink in any of these creations! 

So, I hope you've enjoyed this "Altered Art with a Difference", and perhaps it's given you ideas about how to use some of your stash and supplies in new ways.

A little ingenuity can go a long way... and in the world of miniatures and the world of crafting it's all up for grabs.  As one of the Tim Holtz stamps has it: The world of reality has its limits, but the world of imagination is boundless.

Set your imagination free and see where it takes you and your crafting...

Thanks for dropping by, and have a great time, scrapping or otherwise, until we meet again.

With all the Distress Inks and Markers being used, I'm entering this (or the bits of this that count!) for the Hot Shot Craft challenge which at the moment is 'Distress Inks' - perfect!

Go to Cestina's dolls houses for more on this house and many others.

A cup of coffee - real coffee - home-browned, home ground, home made, that comes to you dark as a hazel-eye, but changes to a golden bronze as you temper it with cream that never cheated, but was real cream from its birth, thick, tenderly yellow, perfectly sweet, neither lumpy nor frothing on the Java: such a cup of coffee is a match for twenty blue devils and will exorcise them all.
Henry Ward Beecher


Neet said...

You challenged me and I could not find which were yours and which were originals - and the furniture transformation is amazing.
Your work with Distress Inks (my favourites by the way) is unbelievable - what an advert for them you are.

This is just incredible - I salute you!

Hugs, Neet xx

Claudia N. said...

Your doll's house is so incredibly awesome, Alison!

The other entries on your blog are too. ;)

Thank you for stopping by at my blog and reminding me that I forgot to install the "followers"-option. I now have it installed and will look forward to your next visit AND to my next visits on your wonderful site!!!

Greetings from Vienna,

die amelie

Ruby said...

Wow this is amazing Alison!! It must have taken you AGES!

Angela Weimer said...

This is so amazing. I love it and I love how you utilized all your crafting supplies for the miniature work. I find myself doing the same. I will definitely go and check out more about the house. You are a very talented artist with a great eye for details. Thank you for the lovely comments left on my blog when visiting. I am looking forward to following yours too. Have a wonderful day. Angela

Anita Houston The Artful Maven said...

I always wanted one of big and gorgeous doll houses to play with while growing up. We could never afford one, so I made do with extra 2x4's from my dad's wood pile. To have had this or have made this would have me overjoyed to say the least! Fantastic...crazy fantastic!!!