Sunday, November 3, 2013

Craft-O-Rama 2 (by Hannah)

 I know I haven't blogged in a long time, but I'm glad I have the opportunity now. Summer has come, and gone. Even fall is ending, though Halloween wasn't too long ago. In Alaska, snow has already fallen, and I'm a little disappointed of that because I had just gotten the mini fall leaves for my dollhouse lawn. I had wanted my lawn to match the Orchid's lawn, but the seasons in Alaska aren't normal compared to the rest of the USA. When I first finished the Orchid, I had decided that its' climate wouldn't be Alaska's. I thought it was very strange to have the Orchid surrounded by flowers in the spring, but that it was still snowing and 10 degrees below zero in Alaska. 

I could rant on, and on about how strange and disoriented the weather is in Alaska, but that would just be boring. You're mainly here to see pictures of minis and other things, not just words. With that said, I present you the sweet images of a typical mini day in fall.


The chickens have been having a lovely time frolicking about, and pecking at the fall leaves. Two of them love to sit on the pumpkins, and acorns. Unfortunately, one of them has gotten into a bit of a pickle (or should I say, a bit of an acorn). 

Cordelia and Rose have been spending their time outside as much as possible. Cordelia loves to look at the leaves, and sometimes she drags the outdoors in with her. Rose always has to brush her off after raking the leaves. 

Rose loves to cook, and she loves to celebrate Halloween with some sweets. All in all, she loves to have small parties to celebrate any holiday. I made everything on the table except the flowers in the vase, and the two cheese platters (those were made by Ayi Chris). I was inspired by her darling cheese platters to make one of my own. The one I made is the one farthest to the right. 

Here comes Felisha 'round the corner! She loves to visit often, but has a hard time visiting due to her enormous size. She sometimes startles Rose when she seems to be a giant, furry owl lurking around a corner of the house.

Rose has baked some more lovely cakes. The pink one with white icing looks very Spring-like, and the large, layered chocolate cake looks to be very rich. I think it should be called, "Death by Chocolate." The small, white cake in the very back seems to have a delectable cherry filling.

The table is set for afternoon tea. Come and get it while it's hot, and the cake is fresh out of the oven! The table is set for two, probably for Rose and Cordelia. Another thing Rose likes to do besides cooking, is to drink tea and eat her homemade cakes.

As I've said before, the fairies love to spend their time outside. They love all seasons, but fall is particularly their favorite. Maybe because they love how the leaves go with the color scheme of the house. We'll never know, but we know the chickens feel the same happiness of being outside as the fairies do. Their favorite thing to do is to sit in Cordelia's, or Rose's lap and think about things. 

The inside of the Orchid isn't as colorful, or as fall-like as the outside, but I put some pumpkins inside as well as out. You can find them in and around different parts of the house. There is even a pumpkin on the sink in the bathroom.

It took a long time, but I eventually started preparing for fall. This picture shows me making the petite pumpkins, and other fall delicacies for the fairies to eat. 

I hope that poor chicken will be able to get her head unstuck.   

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Craft-O-Rama: Part 1

Alas, it has been a long time since any of us have blogged. 

The three of us PowellGirlz got together in Ohio a few weeks ago and had a wonderful time making all kinds of things including miniature food, punch-needle embroidery, knitted monsters, and glass vases — a veritable Craft-O-Rama!   

We agreed at the end of our visit that we would each blog about a different craft. Unfortunately, we have all gone back to work and school — suddenly time is slipping by without any blogging (and not too much creating) going on.  I (Abby) took on the glass-blowing blog; Hannah and Chris will write about more later.

As Chris mentioned in a previous post, she visited her son and daughter-in-law in California and got to watch them blowing glass.  She sent me a little video of the process as well as lots of photos. Hannah lamented that she really wanted to learn glass-blowing, but I didn't think that people her age would be allowed in a glass studio. A few weeks later we were planning our trip to visit her, and she just happened to find a coupon for a glass-blowing class at a glass studio in Cincinnati! She contacted them and found out that Hannah could take a class, so she signed us all up. We decided to try making vases.

We were given a demonstration by our instructor and it looked so hard that we let Chris go first...   

Chris starting to make her vase. The hot ovens are seen behind her. She is adding air while turning the molten glass.

We started by collecting glass from an extremely hot oven (the instructor did this part for us). Then we took the molten glass and rolled it to begin shaping, and added some air through the long metal tube (this was more difficult than we thought it would be).  

Soon it was time to add color by gently twirling the hot glass in what looked like little crumbles of colors. Chris chose reds (with black and white accents), I chose greens, and Hannah chose multi-colors.  

We continued the process of reheating, twirling the glass, and adding air until it was time to shape the bottoms and tops of the vases. We did this part at a special bench.

The bench was where we were closest to the glass, which was incredibly hot. We wore a thick leather glove and a protective sleeve for this part.

Finally, the vase was very carefully broken off the rod (thank you, instructor!) and then transferred to the "cooling" oven (900 F!) and slowly cooled over a period of 24 hours. When we last saw our vases they were still red hot, so we couldn't really see the colors as they would appear in the end. I can't post a photo of the final vases here because Hannah wanted to be surprised when we receive ours in the mail.  However, I have seen the photos Chris took after she picked them up a week later and they look fantastic —check back here later to see the final products!  

We were really sad to leave after having such a great time, but we will always remember our wonderful Craft-O-Rama! Thanks to Chris, the hostess with the most-est, who not only took us to a miniature show, showed us how to do punch needle embroidery, and took us on wonderful hikes, but also managed to find us a glass-blowing class!  

We can't wait for the next PowellGirlz extravaganza!

Monday, August 5, 2013

And the results are in!

Friday I got a surprise phone call from the fair. At first I was wondering why an adult I didn't even know was calling me, but then I found out that I had won a grand champion ribbon because of my Orchid dollhouse. I was excited and a little sad when I found out that I wasn't able to attend the awards ceremony because I would be in Ohio at that time. 

We went to the fair on Saturday, and I was surprised yet again! I had won another grand champion ribbon, this time for the PJs that I had made! This is the first time that I have won any grand champion ribbons, let alone 2 of them! 

I also won a first place ribbon, and a class champion ribbon (shown on the right side of the dollhouse). The grand champion ribbon is on the left.

I especially love how the people displayed the Orchid. The front of the dollhouse can be seen clearly through the window. 


This is me with my flower shirt. Since this shirt was much more complicated to make than the PJs, my mom and I were surprised that the simple PJs won the class champion, instead of the shirt.

My room looks so empty and lonely without the dollhouse! The only thing on my dollhouse table is some of the furniture from the Orchid and the giant lawn. Luckily, the fair is over on Sunday, and I'll have my dollhouse back! 

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Proud Auntie, Proud Mom

I am so happy for Hannah and so proud of her! But, the news is hers so I will leave you in suspense until she posts her own blog. 

I returned home a few days ago from a visit with my son and his sweetie in San Francisco. I had a wonderful time visiting with them! They are both glass artists and I thoroughly enjoyed an afternoon with them in the glass studio watching them work, and even getting to help blowing the glass a couple of times. I had seen videos of Dale Chihuly at work, but have never been to a glass studio and seen glass blowing in action before. Caleb and Masayo are a team in all ways, and it was a pleasure to watch them work together on their art glass. 

It was both hard to leave San Francisco and nice to be home. 

Now it is time to get back to organizing at home, getting my classroom ready for the upcoming school year, playing music, and working on minis. I bought materials to make a couple of fire places for the Lily, but I need to reorganize my work area first.

I'm looking forward to Hannah's next post!

~ Chris

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

I'm Leaving...

On a jet plane...

Off to San Francisco tomorrow to visit my son and daughter-in-law. I'm looking forward to the visit, but not the trip since I am not a happy flier.

Before leaving, I wanted to take the Lily back down again. I had moved it around a bit and the walls were getting somewhat out of alignment. I didn't want to have the wood warp in the humidity, especially when it was off kilter. Before taking her down though, I wanted to mark where the wiring would go, should I accept the challenge, and measure the height of the fireplaces I want to build for her when I get back from San Francisco. 

I think it will work to have the housing under the porch and have the wiring come in through the kitchen.

I'm planning to build fireplaces for the end of the bedroom wall and for the attic wall just above it, so the chimney will come up through the center of the house.

Now that that's all done, she's re-deconstructed and tucked back into her box until I return home.

One of my objects for today has been to stay busy and distract myself from fretting about flying, so I also worked on the exterior of the Fairy House. I still need to put moss on the side eaves and hinge the doors. and of course there is endless landscaping and yard work to be done.

I am hoping TSA lets me bring my embroidery as part of my carry-on. I guess it's up the the individual TSA officer. I have been able to bring my knitting along on previous flights. While I was working on my punch needle rugs, I thought that would be a great way to stay concentrated and occupied on a long flight. Then I realized how much I could get into the personal space of whoever has the misfortune to have the seat next to mine as I separated the strands of embroidery floss. So, in preparation for staying entertained on the plane, I have been separating the floss in advance and putting the precut, pre-separated strands in little plastic bags.

I have more colors to do this evening. That should keep me busy!

~ Chris

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Why we aren't making progress on the Lily

The state fair is coming soon, so that means I had to get my projects done if I wanted to enter anything in the fair. What's interesting about the Tanana Valley State Fair is that every year they have a new theme for it. Better yet, the themes are puns. I really like this year's theme, which is, "Salmonchanted Evening." Last year's theme was "The Age of Asparagus." 

I didn't enter anything that had to do with the theme last year, but I will this year. Here are some of the things I've decided to enter:

This pillow that I made is supposed to go with the fair theme. It's called "Salmonchanted Pillow."

This tunic-like shirt has a tie that ties in the back. My mom is thinking of making a dress for my niece out of the same pattern and fabric.

Friday, July 19, 2013


Physical progress on building this Lily is slow because the planning stage keeps having set backs in terms of knowing what to do before I disassemble the dry fit.

The Lily would look lovely with lighting, but the whole concept of installing the lighting is well and truly intimidating. I am starting with reading the manual that comes with the wiring kit, hoping that it will make sense to me.

So as I read the tape wiring manual, it appears that I have to put the wallpaper and flooring in after I wire? Is that right? If so, how does that flooring get in there and how to wallpaper that tiny enclosed front hallway after the Lily is assembled? The floor plan and wall shapes look tricky enough. 

While I have always papered before construction, I understand making templates of the walls and floors first, but I'm not so certain of how to get the wallpaper and flooring in there after building. 

Yeesh! Just thinking about putting the wiring in gives me the heebie jeebies, much less how to get the flooring and papering in after the build. My head hurts!

Another thing that is holding me up is that I would love to add a fireplace or two, but the layout doesn't seem to accommodate the addition of fireplaces. I can't see a logical place where they would connect to a chimney. The lovely side opening and the bay window seem to preclude this.  I haven't puzzled out a place for one; perhaps there just isn't and I'll have to abandon the idea for this build. 

Pondering, pondering, pondering....

~ Chris

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

One Hall ~ Four Designs

I don't have much to show in terms of progress. All of my recent progress has been mental, making design decisions. It will be fun when I take the Lily back down and start papering and working on the floors. 

For some reason, the tiny hall~entryway is hard to make decisions about.  It will be very enclosed, and mostly visible through the front entry with double doors, and through the hall window. I liked the first mock-up I did, but worried that it would look too dark.

It looks a little lighter here because of the sun and also the flash from the camera.

This isn't the furniture that will be living here; I just borrowed it from Chez Erma so it didn't look completely bare.

So, I went with a lighter combination. I'm not certain about the wainscoting choice here. The one I had in the first mock-up may well look better in terms of color.

This is a very rough mock-up of wood wainscoting. It's painted, but would be stained. I think it's going to look far too dark, although a creamy colored paint that matches the creamy stripe in the wallpaper might be attractive.

Or no wainscoting with the stripe?

What to do, what to do....

LOL! I am laughing at myself; I am every bit as bad making decisions with my Real Life house.  All opinions welcome!

One accomplishment today was giving Stella her summer cut. It has been just too hot for her bracelets, topknot, and tail pom. Off they came! I think she likes it; she has to feel so much cooler.

~ Chris

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Dry Fit ~ Again.

I did not want to do another dry fit of the Lily. It is hard to put together and harder yet to take apart. But I found I really needed it back together to clearly plan out my wallpaper schematics. Since I have it up, I think I'll go ahead and dry fit the roof and dormers.

A couple of days ago, I used wood filler to fill in the larger gaps in the plywood that would show up through the wallpaper.

I am not happy with this partition, I think I need to file the tabs on the top or make the slots bigger... or both.

I don't remember this gap in my first dry fit. It's highly likely I got some primer on the tabs.

Once the dry fit was done I went through the house with a pencil and did a better job of labeling. Part of the problem was that when I primed the walls, it covered some of my labels and I was unclear where the walls to each room began and ended. 

I like the way the completed staircase looks installed.


A view of the entryway and 1st floor staircase from the exterior.

And from the interior.

I think this is going to be the living room wallpaper...

The kitchen...

                                          The library....

The playroom....

I forgot to take a photo of the bedroom paper. I have some plans up my sleeve for the bathroom, but need to tryout some techniques before deciding for sure.              

The wallpaper makes it feel like it really will come together!

~ Chris