Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Witchy Things



Alas, my time for mini's has completely gone lately as we're getting ready for upcoming shows, classes and our summer Shop Hop at the quilt shop where I work. I've been swamped. However, when I am sitting here at the computer gobbling down a burger or a PB&J for lunch, I am still searching all over the web for witchy things such as botanical prints, witch clip art and prints for inspiration, vintage witch postcards and documents from old texts about witches and witchcraft. Here are a few. The one of the witch in the long skirt with a walking cane I found searching Yahoo Images for 'hags'. It was on a lady's blog and she didn't say where it was from so it may very well be an original, copywritten painting. I can't find another source for it. So, if anyone can shed light on it, I'd appreciate it. I may want to use it for an altered art piece but I don't want to infringe on copyrights.

I haven't been able to update either blog for a while and was almost ousted--and understandably so--from the Quilting 4 Pleasure webring so I am making a concerted effort to at least post a few pix and a paragraph or two even if I am not making any progress whatsoever on my mini endeavors. The witch's house is still sitting on my dining room table at this point waiting for us to install the windows and finish the outside and roof. And this weekend we have a graduation in which Maggie is a junior scholar, two wedding showers and I teach a machine quilting class Saturday morning. Oh, if I could only run on four hours of sleep a night! But I am still alive and still have every intention of getting this thing done by Halloween!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Evolution of the Witch's Cupboard!






In case anyone out there is actually reading this (I have no comments on recent posts to prove it but maybe you are?!). Anyway, pardon the self-promotion but I'm just so taken with my witch's cupboard. I love it! I got some witchcraft books from Dolly's Gallery on eBay so glued some of those in place on the shelf. That's all I have to post about today. Got to get crackin' around here at work!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Witchy Accessories, eBay Stuff





On our trip to Pigeon Forge for the quilt show this weekend, I searched for mini-scaled items. As big a tourist mecca as it has become in the course of my 44 years, you'd think there would be a dollhouse miniature shop up there but alas, no. So, I had to treat it like a scavenger hunt and find things that would work in scale. In the first photo, there is a dinosaur skull I bought in a toy shop. It was a key ring and I simply took out the ring part. (I have him pictured propped on a folded piece of cardboard). There is also a wall shelf I purchased at a local yard sale about a year or two ago that will go on the wall and hold more potions and bottles. The 'brooch' is some sort of print in a badly done frame. I bought it at a local antique shop for $5. I'll take off the pin back and hang it on the wall. There is a cool pedastal from Manor House Miniatures that was on sale (she has such good bargains). It will house a plant of some sort. The saw and hammer I bought from a seller on eBay and they were handmade. The witch has got to have some tools. She can't use her magic powers for just everything. The crystal ball is a marble I also bought from the same antique store in Campobello. I am still waiting for Jerry to get time to make my wooden box for making molds to create a stand from an Avon bottle base.

The Peruvian devil face is a bead from Vintage Treasures by Judy on eBay (I spend entirely too much time and $$ there, obviously). The Peruvian devil bead was $1.35 and the skull key chain was $1.50. I'll take the chain part off and what an evil, grumpy skull he will be, affronted and ticked off to have died in a motorcycle accident I think. After all, he was listed as a biker skull key chain so obviously he met his untimely demise on one of those things. They will kill you. I also bought from Judy a neat pewter dragon for $1.38

I actually got out alot of my furniture and accessories last night and arranged them in the house and I love it. It's shaping up pretty well. I still have the windows to tackle and would like to enhance them some but will have to wait until I have a spare minute in my jam-packed schedule. We go set up a Handi Quilter in a customer's home tonight; we have another quilt show this weekend where we will be vendors and tomorrow is not my Wednesday off. So, all in time I guess.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

More Photos: See Post Below






See today's actual post below but this was the only way I could post more pix. The skeleton came from Pixi Gardens Dollhouse store on eBay--love him. The bed also came from an eBay seller who shall remain nameless. It arrived with two broken legs and musty, soiled bedding in a moldy box which he tried to say got that way in transit (!!) when I asked for a partial refund. Funny thing, the outer box was in pristine condition. He did grudgingly give me a partial refund when I pointed out that I had both boxes and could prove him wrong but when I ripped off the bedding and glued it back together, I think it will be perfect for the witch's bed. The next pix is of the table after I Stiffy-ed it and the last two are close-up's of the cupboard (see below). By the way, forgot to mention the bowls I poured and fired from an Iandola mold I've had forever. I just painted them with acrylic paints but when I get into this more, I intend to use ceramic glazes. Sorry they're blurry. Not my best camera and not my best glasses today.

Stonework, Amateur Style and Other Stuff





The first photo shows my first attempt at Paperclay stonework. Turns out my life's motto once again holds true, "Fools rush in where angels fear to trod." I was so excited about trying out this technique I sort of forgot that I needed to assemble the windows and glue them on before applying the paper clay. So I had to 'Dremel' out an opening for the bay window and will have to also sand away around the upper window to put it in. I guess I subscribe to Jerry's philosophy on the instruction sheets: It's the manufacturer's opinion of how a thing should be assembled.

The next photo is of the other side where I am going to put in a crooked chimney. I cut this out of 3/16" foam core board which is all Michael's had when I went in for more Paperclay the other day. I had to cut four layers to make it look large enough. They still have their rubber bands holding them together since I had to do some laundry and a small modicum of housecleaning on my rare day off and dye my hair back 'natural blonde' since my oldest daughter, Maggie and Jerry were pointing out that my roots were getting very gray (oh, the many minor plagues of the aging). And then I had a class to teach here at the shop last night. Anyway, I digress (and ramble--it's a habit). So, if I can figure out how to do these windows by actually referring to the instruction manual, I'll finish my Paperclay stonework on the outside as my harried schedule allows. Good thing I started this Halloween project in late winter.

The next photo is of the table I assembled and painted and it's first table cloth. I serged the edges with black thread and then used Stiffy fabric stiffener to try to get it to hang in a somewhat pleasing fashion. I've got black chiffon I intend to put on the top and gather in swags around the edge. This will be where the crystal ball, tarrot cards and like items will go. The lovely little pitcher I bought for $3 from 'beadcharmed' on Etsy and the gargoyle is my attempt to sculpt such a creature. I'm not completely happy with him but I'll try to tweek him a bit. And here, I need opionions. The perfume bottle I'm thinking of making into my Absinthe bottle. Is it too large for 1' to 1" scale? Anyone????

Another shot of the potions cupboard with more stuff added including a dish towel. I turned the edges under with glue, frayed the ends with a needle by pulling cross-woven threads and then used Stiffy to drape it over the edge. I also made Dead Man's Toes out of a mixture of purple, dark green and white Fimo rolled into a small log and cut and then indented with a sculpting tool for toenails. Unfortunately, you can't very well see these details but they are there as are the mouse bones in the Bones bottle which Joanna and I excavated from three owl pellets bought at Onlinesciencemall on eBay. I think I will take a few more pix to try to get better details and will post them if I can. These were all the shots Blogger would allow me per post. . . I think.

The last shot is of a fat quarter of Halloween batik I bought at a quilt show a few years ago. It may become the bedspread on my witch's bed--or curtains. I'll ponder this further.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

The Green Man, Absinthe, Creepy Things, and a Wart Hog's Head







In my obsession with the witch's cottage, I have found some really cool inspirations, printables, and downloads all over the World Wide Web! Including statuary of gargoyles and the green man, documents from the Salem Witch trials, great hairy wart hogs mounted in mid-squeal, old lithographs and prints of creepy crawly insects, arachnoids and flying things and beautiful labels from 'The Green Goddess' (or The Green Fairy or Green Death as it has been dubbed throughout its very colorful history), Absinthe. I've got this wonderful little perfume bottle that's a little large but, hey, every witch has to take a nip of Absinthe so I am debating whether to order the stuff that is supposed to be realistic looking water or if clear glue mixed with green food coloring is enough to look like Absinthe. If anyone out there knows, let me know!

I did get one side of the house paper-clayed and carved in stones with what I thought was pretty good success for an amateur. I'm no Toppdollar (aka Tracy) nor Rik Pierce but you've got to start somewhere. I'll post pix as soon as possible.

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Walls are up and Witch's Cupboard Progress






Here are pix of the progress I made on the Orchid as my witch's cottage last week. The top photo is the walls and floors glued together with painter's tape. Luckily, when I pulled the tape off, it stayed together! The next photo is of the upper floor. I painted it first with two coats of Gesso sanding lightly in between, then black acrylic paint, then I sprayed it with the filament 'marbling' spray that creates a marbled effect and then I painted it with a wash of gel medium mixed with purple and silver metallic acrylic paint. Finally, I sprayed it with matte sealer and sprinkled the extra fine glitter on it.
The next photo is of the ceiling of the main floor. I Gesso-ed it, then painted it with a creamy tan and then held a lit candle underneath it to smoke it up. I was impatient to start seeing walls go up so haven't sealed it yet but I will.
The next photo is of the witch's cupboard with some of the potion bottles glued in place. I had entirely too much fun burning the edges of the labels with a wood burning tool and gluing them on. Not finished with this yet but I also glued the ghost on top and I think he adds a neat touch. Not bad for a $1 Michael's cupboard.
The last photo is of the little table I assembled from a piece of round, beveled wood I found in the wood crafting section at Hobby Lobby and a wooden turning that makes a perfect pedastal. I simply painted it with two coats of Gesso and two coats of black acrylic and sprayed it with matte sealer. I'm trying to make a table cloth out of this glitzy piece of dark red material with glitter flecks in it (after many, many attempts, I was finally able to manually thread my serger to serge the edges). I tried sewing a running thread through about an inch from the bottom to 'pleat' it and make it look as if it's hanging but there is some trick to that that has not been revealed to me in all of my hunting for tips, tutorials and techniques all over the world wide web! When Jerry gets around to making me a wooden box to use as a mold making box, I have an Avon plastic ginger jar base that I want to make a mold of in porcelain and a really large clear marble with a blue swirl through it that I will make into a crystal ball.
Also in the last photo is a pix of a terra cotta container of some kind I've had for centuries so can't remember where I got it that I painted with the same purple, gel medium and silver metallic to look like a large challis. The mirror frame made from the plastic belt buckle is also visible in the photo.
In the spirit of authenticity, I even ordered owl pellets from a company on eBay and Joanna and I sat at the kitchen table and sorted through those for bones and skulls. I'll put some of the bones in the challis with some ash and tiny eggs I also got from some unknown (or un-remembered source). If I weren't teaching a class tonight at the shop, I'd glue on the roof pieces but, alas, I'll probably come home and collapse. I may get to do that tomorrow at some point after cleaning my Dad's house and going to a funeral with him. Maybe.

Monday, February 26, 2007

My Scraggly, Lovable Dog and Witch's Cupboard





Over the weekend, I worked on my dog. When Kerri Pajutee (see my links) says in her tutorial to use tacky glue sparingly when applying fur, she means it. I kind of got carried away with my glue and therefore, he looks a little like he rolled in honey. I will attempt to make him look less straggly but I love him (even though Jerry said he looks more like a mangey coyote) and he will blend in fine with my Santa's house I am eventually going to do when I can ever afford one of the stomp down grand house kits! At least he does resemble a dog; I learned a lot in the process and even though at this point Ms. Pajutee has nothing to fear as far as competition from me, I am nonetheless pretty proud of my fledgling dog-making efforts. My good friend Eric Nix liked him and Eric is, like me, honest to a fault and would have said if he thought he looked like a mangey coyote. In fact, in my defense, when I told him what Jerry said, he said Jerry looks like a mangey coyote. So there. (Actually, Jerry is tall, dark and handsome but when he makes sneering comments about my efforts, he deserves what he gets!)
The other pix are of various projects slated for my witch's cottage. The little cupboard is the $1 Michael's cupboard. I Dremeled the top shelf roof away so my little potion bottles would fit (which is why the two sides are uneven!), sanded it and painted it with two coats of Gesso, painted it with two coats of orange Ceramcoat acrylic paint, a layer of crackle medium and then a coat of black. I thought, amongst all my crafting junk from my various forays and verrings over the years, that I had spray matte sealer but alas, none was found so I've got to head to Hobby Lobby and buy some of that. I also have to replace the little drawer knobs which looked entirely too big to me. Jerry told me (maybe I already wrote this) that I should have taken the drawer out and painted it separately but I told him that for $1 you don't actually get a working drawer. You have to upgrade to about $15 minimum for working drawers.
The potion bottles are filled with glitter, dried seasonings and beads and I did write about downloading the Magik font at betterfonts.com, printing out my page of potion labels and then cutting them out and holding them near a flame with tweezers to burn the edges. I love them. If only little glass bottles weren't so pricey from various sources--as far as replica Bell jars, etc. I have ordered a few but I do this on a budget with three children (two catapulting at break-neck speed toward college, one driving and one still deep in the bowels of the public school system in second grade) and this is for a friend and, though I love her deeply, I can't afford to spend mega-bucks. The two in the back in the photo are little wood turnings I painted with two coats of metallic paint mixed with regular paint and then coated with clear varnish.
The last photo is of the mirror frame I made from a Sculpey push mold of a plastic belt buckle that was in my mother's things. I've got to paint the back black and still want to work on the gold scrolling but I like the black acrylic paint and though it doesn't show in the photo, I sprinkled it with black glitter which I think looks really cool.
Tonight, I'd like to work on the ceiling of the top floor as I'm anxious to put this thing together. I've Gessoed the floor and Jerry suggests I paint it a light color and then smoke it with my candle. I may try that!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Witchy Printies and A Cool Potions Font





In working on a witch's cottage for my friend, Beth, I have perused the web for images of antique spellbooks and witchcraft manuals, old maps, prints and lithographs. I printed some of these out on photo paper, sprayed them with fixative and then copied them onto a parchment-shaded specialty paper I got at the office supply store. I'll cut these out and glue them to card stock and varnish them and then frame them--or just lay them about on the tables. One is a neat Witch's alphabet and another is a Wheel of the Year. Yes, I have been visiting quite a few wiccan and rare books libraries on the web for these and they usually appear on the screen the very size you need them. I've also printed an index sheet out which prints some of the pages I've found in perfect 1:12 scale for pages. I'll try my hand at making spell books of these.

I also found at betterfonts.com, some really cool fonts including Magik, A Charming Font, Haunt Roe, and several others. They claim to have 10,000 fonts and they are free. If you're like me and know just enough about the computer to be dangerous, you download the font and click Next when prompted (at least in Windows). Then you open your Fonts folder from Control Panel and condense it. Then you click and drag the font from the file (which you also have condensed in the background on your screen) and it automatically saves the font so that when you open Word, you have that font as one of your choices. I then set up a page with five columns (under Format and Columns) and set text at 10, 11, 12 and used the Magik font to print out my potion labels such as Ear Wax, Dragon Breath, Belladonna, Sulphur, Slug Slime, Mouse Bones, Love Potion, Dead Man's Toes, Toenails, Moth Fur, Eye of Newt, etc., etc. I've already ordered several sets of the little glass bottles with corks and have filled some with glitter in various colors, no holes beads, some dried herb flakes from my kitchen and I found some really neat aged small glass beads that are transparent except for a grey-black dot in each and they make neat looking fish eyes. I also found some really extra fine gold metallic powder in the paint section at Lowe's which I will label Pixie Dust. I am going to cut these labels out in irregular shapes and slightly burn the edges using a candle and tweezers and then glue them on using Aleene's Clear Gel Tacky Glue. I also used this to glue the corks into the bottles after filling them. Some of the small wooden turnings you get in packages at craft stores also make wonderful bottles when painted. Really, I'm having entirely too much fun on this project. And I understand that some people find Halloween to be a pagan, irreverent, occult holiday but although I am a regular church-going Christian who sings soprano every Sunday morning in the choir, my family always celebrated Halloween and had a lot of fun. I don't look at it as a pagan, devil-worshipping holiday. In fact, it gets its name from All Saint's or Hallowed's Eve. Anyway, just had to put that little disclaimer in there for anyone who might be reading this or stumble upon it and think I've completely gone over to the dark side.

I have also ordered a black cat with hackles raised which is so realistic and today, I ordered a 5 1/2" skeleton through eBay. I've got to get my kiln/porcelain issues resolved and make some more polymer clay push molds so I can start selling a few mini's to pay for my habit. And I really want to find some contests and venues to enter this gem when I get it finished. It is quite an undertaking and frankly, I'll be wanting to show it off when completed. I've even roped my wonderful husband, Jerry into helping me glue the window sashes and sils and clamp them.

I'm trying to save as much money as I can on this. One of my projects is a bashed $1 cupboard from Michael's. I have sanded it with my Dremel and painted it with Gesso but then I found that the shelves are too short for the bottles with their corks in. So, I'm sanding down the top of the upper shelf and I'll have to re-Gesso that. I've bought some acrylic crackle medium and I'm thinking of painting it a burnt orange and then doing the crackle treatment with black since the walls will be a goldish tan.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Neat Witchy Items I've Found on the Web





Here are some pix I've found on the web pertaining to miniatures for witch's cottages. The bottle of leeches and the skull on the books are from SP Miniatures which has some really neat, unique pieces. The hutch is by an artisan and I am searching for her website now to giver her due credit. After searching all morning, I finally found her. Patricia Paul, http://www.patriciapaulminis.com/furniture.htm. The book is from a wiccan website and the little witch's cottage is from a photo posted on Webshots. I didn't get anything accomplished on my witch's cottage last night for sewing a hanging sleeve on my husband's quilt that I'm entering in the Pigeon Forge quilt show and must mail this week. Tonight I'm hoping to darken the gel stain and do some more wall treatments of the interior walls. Since this is a witch's cottage, I'm basically slapping it on 'devil-may-care' style, pardon the pun. I can't tell if anyone has found my little blog yet since my stat counter isn't showing up. So, if anyone is out there reading this, please comment!