Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Finished terrain pieces, and tavern progress!

I know, I haven't been posting anything on the miniature scale in a while.  I have an excuse tho!  My kitten gets into everything.  She insists on being in the same room as me, usually on my lap or on whatever I'm working on, or at least on the floor at my feet.  I've had her jump up and step on my wet paint a few times.... Thats an interesting clean up... paw prints trailing away from the craft area and catching her to clean her up too......  yeah....

So you can see why I haven't been working much on crafts.

The other day I was staring at my projects, and really had the urge to work on them, and said 'screw it!  I'm working on these!'

It helped that my 6 yr old niece was here and I have a laser pointer, so Arya the kitten was completely entranced and distracted.  For a while.

Anyway, so I had the chance to finish some little pieces of terrain!  And I was able to work on the tavern a little!

So, here we go!  First up....  Chicken coop!  So, I finished painting up the little hens (two standing, two sitting) and finally put a roof on the coop itself.  I darkened up the trim on front, as well as the door so that they would match the roof and stand out a little more from the rest of the coop, giving it a little more dimensionality than it had before.
 If you were wondering where the second sitting hen is, its in the little chicken doorway for the coop.  I'll try to get a better picture of it and post it on my instagram profile.  (HINT:  Its @seryfyre on Instagram!  Go follow me, cause I'll most likely post finished pictures on there before uploading the blog post!)
And then I broke out the foliage stuff and put a little tree next to the coop, cause it just felt so empty without something there!  The white is glue, I took the pictures before it dried completely.

 And another view of the coop, so you can see the grain in the roof (made from a piece of balsa wood, and the paint is just the Agrax Earthshade brushed on it.  I thought it gave it great color as well as bringing out the grains really well!)

So yeah, that is the finished coop!  I'm happy with it, and I think the paint on the chickens worked out really well.

Next up on the finished projects is the pig sty!!!  I finally got a roof on the dang thing.  I've been debating and debating on what type of roof to do, and I finally decided on a shingle style.  Its intentionally a little rough and crooked, cause come on... its for a pig sty... and yeah.  So, I made it out of pieces of thin cardboard (or would you call it cardstock?  Its from a canned cat food box.) cut in small strips with slits cut in to make it look like individual shingles.  They were then layered up and up and up until the top which is just a larger piece to give the roof a slight 'peak'.
The painting of it went like so:  Base it with black paint.  Wait for it to dry.  Next coat was a dark brown over most of it, leaving a little black in the cracks between the shingles.  On top of that came a slightly lighter brown.  Not as complete as the darker brown, but covering a good portion of the roof still.  This is building highlights.  As that dried, make dinner for the niece and I (heating up leftover pasta... yum!)  Eat dinner while contemplating the final highlight. Do the final highlight with a light brown (I believe it was 'coffee' colored), just along the edges of the shingles, and pulling up with give a texture to it.  

All in all, I thought it turned out great!!!  I'm gonna have to do that style of painting more often XD

And once that was all finished I got to put on the foliage!  I had planned right from the beginning of making it look like there was plants going up the back of the pig sty.  I don't know why, but I thought it would look really good, and make it look like an older sty that has been there a while.  So I did!  I broke out the pack of Woodland Scenics stuff that I got.  It has a lot of stuff in it, and I think its a great deal (especially as someone who just started on this stuff and hasn't accumulated a ton of stuff yet.)
 So some little trees made their way on either side of the sty, and the ground cover bushes that I already had on the terrain was built up on top of the sty to make it look like its been growing up.  I then sprinkled on some 'yellow flowers' on it to give it less of a flat look with just the one color of green.
 Paint still needed to dry when I took this picture, but thats ok!  Check the instagram for dry pictures!

 Here is a slightly closer look at the roof and greenery added to it.

So yes, that is the finished terrain.  I am pretty proud of it, and proud of the fact that they are finished in a way that I am pleased with.

And on to the progress of the tavern!  I added the porch!  Man, that took quite a while haha.  I was inspired by DMScotty's bridge technique (check out his videos, I get so much inspiration from them!).  I'm not sure how I'm going to do the stairs heading up to the tavern yet, but it will be two sets, one for each doorway.
 And painting.  I probably should have painted it all before glueing it onto the tavern itself, but I apparently like making things difficult on myself.  I won't paint until I get stairs put on tho, thats for sure.  I did finish painting the stonework on the whole tavern, though.  I still have the rest of the walls to paint.  I'm going to work on the porch and walls at the same time.  I will be working on it!
 Still to do for the tavern:  Doors.  Windows.  Painting the walls and porch.  Building the stairs.  The roof.  (I am no longer adding a second story to the tavern, the inn will be a different project).  Finish the inner workings of the kitchen and tavern (bits and bobs....  tables, chairs, bear skin rug, etc).

I still have quite a bit to do, but I am really pleased with the porch and I just had to share it with everyone.

And here is the reason why I didn't get much farther than the porch.  
Yup... my niece went home by this time, and Arya felt I was not paying enough attention to her.  So, yeah..... Kitteh.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Creamy Pumpkin Alfredo with Sauteed Squash

Now, I know what you are thinking.  Pumpkin alfredo?  Are you crazy? But oh my gob... it is so absolutely delicious that it will definitely be becoming one of my fall staples.  Seriously.  Absolutely delicious!  

Don't knock it till you try it.

I also sprung for being even better tonight and sauteed up an amazing crookneck squash.  This thing is massive... just look at the picture below!  And think... I still have one left to cook up sometime soon!  (And.... its bigger than this one..... >.<)
 Bam!  Those are all the ingredients that I used.  Not a lot.  Simple is better sometimes.  Way better.  Oh, I didn't picture the salt and the grains of paradise.  (If you haven't read previous food posts, then you haven't heard my hatred of pepper.  Serious. Hatred.  GoPs are a nice alternative (:  )

So, for the sauteed squash:  A squash.  Any summer squash would do (zucchini, yellow squash, pattypan, etc), onion (or half, seeing as the one I had was ginormous.... the other half will be used in something later on this week), and garlic.  I splurged and got a small container of caramelized garlic from the olive bar at the store.  Oh, and some butter (forgot to picture that... oops).
 So, three (ok... four including the butter) ingredients.  Simple!  I first put the squash and butter on over medium heat and slow cooked it for about ten minutes, stirring it occasionally.
 Once the squash started to cook down some, I added in the onions and a little salt and GoPs.  Cook for a while longer until the onions begin to soften, then add some of the (chopped, I forgot to say chopped) roasted garlic.  Once all flavors have been incorporated, I moved the finished squash over to a bowl.  I will be using this all throughout the week as part of my lunches for work.  Yummy!!
 Into the same pot that the squash just came out of, I poured about 3/4ths a cup of chardonnay and the rest of the onions and garlic that I had chopped up (Most went to the squash, but I reserved a nice bit to add to my sauce).  I cooked this down until the wine had reduced by half.  ((Tip!  Next time I do this, I will sautee up the onions first to they cook down a little more before adding in the garlic and wine.  I'm not a fan of the crunch/texture of onions.))
 The can of evaporated milk is then added.... and most of the can of pumpkin.  (I didn't know if I should add it all or not, I went with reserving a little.  I will use it later on in the week.)

To this now slightly orange pot I added in a handful of parmesan cheese (about 3/4 cup I would estimate) and the kielbasa (chopped into little triangles... its so cute!) and then turned it on low in order to wait for the pasta.
 Doesn't that look yummy?  Now would be a good time to taste it and decide in you need any seasonings like salt and pepper (or pepper substitute).  It did hahaha. The salt I added seemed to bring out the flavor of the pumpkin more, actually!  Don't underestimate the power of a little salt.  And, a little will go a long way!  Add some, stir and let it sit a moment, then taste.  Give it a moment to blend together.

So, when the pasta finally finishes and gets thrown into the pan, it will look something like this!!!
 Can you say Yummy?  Delicious?  Mind-boggling?  I mean that last one, too.... it looks like a macaroni (doesn't help that I used elbow noodles lol) in the color, and it is VERY creamy (I should have reserved a little pasta water to add in with it) so visually I think mac and cheese.  Taste wise tho... not so much mac and cheese as a slightly sweet alfredo, with hints of parmesan cheese and garlic.  Super tasty!  So much that my kitty did not want to leave me alone to eat it.

Oh, yes.... the reason not a lot of craft things have gotten done.  Meet Arya everyone!  She likes to climb all over me as I eat, sleeps under the covers snuggled up to me, follows me into every room, and is the loveliest kitten in the world.  I lub her lots and lots.
Also, I've been really busy.  I went to PAX Prime, was on vacation for a week (of which PAX was smack dab in the middle) and now I am working quite a few nine-hour shifts in a row to cover for a co-worker who is in CA right now.  And by a co-worker, I mean my only co-worker.  So, I kinda have to cover for her.  I have lots planned tho!  I have the plans for a blacksmith worked out, as well as the bathhouse/inn.  I just need to find some mdf board or something for the bases of the buildings.  It would make things easier for sure hahaha.

On another note.... I will soon be decorating for.... you guessed it.... Halloween!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   I love Halloween!  I didn't decorate last year because I had just moved into my apartment, and I didn't really have anything set up, let alone Halloween stuff!  I will be having a blast of it this time tho, I guarantee it (and I totally was saying that part in that jewelry ad voice for whatever chain of expensive jewelry its for lol)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Tavern WIP and bits and bobs

Hey all!  Time for an update!  I've been working on things every once in a while in the evenings while re-watching Stargate SG-1.  I love that show.... Just started on season 4.  So anyway!  I've been working on the insides of the tavern while deciding on how to make the inner hall of the second floor hook up with where the stairs are going.  Which, by the way, I decided where it will go!  You'll see it later on in the post.
 Here are the stairs by the way!  I had enough of the circular stair pieces from the hirst arts thing that I got from Cicada Crafts (250 misc damaged pieces, mentioned in a previous post).

And, I got the rest of my bar the other day as well, so I was able to figure out how it will go!  I had to add an extra corner piece to the shorter L of the bar in order to make it so it didn't cover the kitchen door.  A gate with its post is chilling out in the middle, and I added 'Ardcoat to the bar tops to give it a lacquered look.  I hope it comes through it the picture!  I think it does.  It looks really cool in person.
 I added the kegs to their nook as well.  Two of them I added nice little plaques (which I then 'Ardcoated as well, to make them look special!) and the other two are just labeled "Ale".  I am hoping it comes across as the two with plaques are the higher end brews, while the other two are just run of the mill ales.
 The stage for the music/band is done as well.  All except the shelf I will be putting up on the wall.  Next up for the stage is painting up the instruments and getting them all displayed.  Also, I will be working on the windows and doors too.  Any hints for the windows?  I have some ideas, but I am willing to consider other ideas as well!
 Other ideas!  Like bricking up the nook's window!  I really liked this idea, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  I was going to use cork bricks, like I did with the fireplaces.  I was sitting there, and about to measure the opening when I spotted one of my 'scrap' pieced of foamcore.  And yes, I know... there is no such thing as scrap foamcore... its all useful hahaha.  Well, this piece was one of the pieces cut out from the windows anyway, so it was already the right size.  I just peeled the paper off of both sides, used a dull pencil to score out the bricks, and then base coated it black.  Then dark red, then used a pencil again to re-score the lines.  I then painted the lines black, and highlighted the bricks a lighter red.  And then went back to the darker red to add a little more depth throughout the bricks themselves.  All in all, I'm pretty happy with the bricks, and I like how they stand out from the stone on the outside.  The stone which has not finished being painted.  I'm thinking of making vines or other foliage make its way up the sides of the nook.  We will see!  That part is a long way off hahaha.

 I also found an awesome stick at the park earlier this week when I was out with my niece and nephews.  Actually, my oldest nephew found the stick, and its perfect!  I stripped it of its bark and found these awesome grooves in the wood, and it fits perfectly as the center pole for the staircase.  Also, the location of the staircase... the only place I could really put it!  it kinda covers part of the mantle but not the fireplace itself, so I think it will work out!

And on to the bits and bobs that I've been working on.  I've been getting stuff for the rooms upstairs done.  I decided that there will be five rooms and one office.
 As you can probably tell, two of the beds are from the hirst arts molds, with little pillows along with them.  The other two were created using the foot boards (??  I think.... they came with the beds, but were not hooked to them, so I'm assuming they are optional foot boards.).  I made a mattress out of cork, and then framed it using coffee stirrers.  A small piece of balsa wood finished it off as the foot of the bed underneath, making it all the same height.  the cork was painted the same cream color as the rest of the sheets on the other beds.  I then made blankets and pillows in the style of DM Scotty (on Youtube... check out his videos!  I'm hooked on them, good cheaply made items that anyone can do!)
I like the texture the paper towels bring to the blankets.  Makes them look like quilts to me!  I think I will used another bookshelf on the second floor somewhere and fill it with folded up 'blankets' and 'pillows' and extra chamberpots.  We'll see!
 I also outfitted a shelf for the office with books, rolled up 'parchment' (made from used tea bags.  Gave them a nice color I think!) and potion/wine bottles that I made up the other night.  I raided the local bead store.  And by raided I mean I bought things, not actually raiding...

 Here is the finished desk (kinda, still probably will need some work) with a 'feather pen' and 'inkwell' that I made.  The feather is just painted up paper cut to look like a feather, and then glued to a black painted piece of wire.  The inkwell is an earring back, with the middle section painted black to simulate the ink on the inside.  I'll probably do something to make it look dirtier or not as shiny.  The top of the desk was also 'lacquered' like the bar tops.
And here is the final picture of the finished bookshelf.  I added a scroll on top of the top shelf.  It was made with two toothpicks and paper rolled up on them both making a double scroll (or whatever those things are actually called!)  I added some seed beads to the ends of each toothpick and them painted them a metallic bronze, to make it seem more important, as well as repainting the 'ribbon' around the middle from red to bronze as well.  For some reason the red did not want to stick to the paper I used so I just repainted it.  

So yes, that is the progress so far!  I still have one bed to make (this one probably completely from scratch.)  I'll probably make it smaller than the other four for a smaller race.  We will see.  It will be in a smaller room as well, so yeah.  

As usual, any hints, tips and tricks that could be shared would be much appreciated!  I've been having fun with this stuff so far, and I plan on continuing to have fun.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

28mm Tavern build WIP

I warn you now... this post will be picture heavy....  Be warned!  

I've got a lot done on my tavern!  I showed the work on the kitchen a few posts ago, and I was going to update progress on the rest of the tavern sooner, but then I got distracted by doing things in the real kitchen hahaha.

 Here is the continuation of the kitchen itself.  Last time I showed the flooring being placed, and a rough 'sketch' of where things were going to go.  Well, the floor was painted a dark brown, then dry brushed a lighter brown to bring out the details of the Hirst Arts floor pieces.  I then decided exactly where the main kitchen fireplace would go, and chopped out an opening for it from the cork walls.
I had a piece of foam sitting around (it was one of the 'place holders' that came in my Bigger Blacker Box from Cards Against Humanity (Best Game EVER) and I was no longer using it, so it became part of my craft supplies!) and I carved out a fireplace from it.  I will tell you now... this foam was the hardest thing to EVER cut anything out of!  Holy Camoly.... it took me forever to get anything out of this thing, and even then it looked like crap.  
 When I finally got it all dug out deep enough where I was satisfied with it, I used the cork piece that was cut out to form the fireplace opening and covered it with a brickwork design made from egg carton.  When it was dry, I experimented with using a dark colored grout to cover the gaps in the brick and then started painting it red.  Bricks!  Turned out decent, I think!

Next thing I did was attach the fireplace to the side of the kitchen, built the brickwork out into the kitchen, and made a simple mantle around it.  I'm currently debating on whether or not to make a spit roasting aparatus for this fireplace, or for the other one.  You'll see.

Ok... enough of the kitchen for the moment!  Now on to the actual tavern!  I made a template on graph paper designing how it should probably look.  It ended up being about 10"x8" with an additional 5"x2" area added to it for the keg area.

 I wanted the tavern to be elevated compared to the kitchen, with stairs leading down into the kitchen from behind the bar.  So, I measured out how high I wanted it to be compared to the kitchen, and then built a foundation out of strips of cork.  Most people would just use foam, or other things that are probably much easier to use, but I don't have any of that stuff, so I made due with what I had!

 The kitchen will butt up against the back of the tavern.  The area on the right of the tavern has a selection of the hirst arts floor mold pieces to make a platform where the kegs will sit.

From this point, I added the back wall that connects the kitchen and tavern, so I could start building the second fireplace.  Now, I got this idea in a dream... yes... I was dreaming about making this tavern....  shush!  I don't know if anyone else has done anything like this before, but I thought it sounded really cool in my dream, so I figured out how to make it work!
 Its a double sided fireplace!  Just think.... when you are sitting in the tavern after a long day adventuring, the delicious smells of stew and roast pig are not blocked by any doors at all... you can smell them as if they are right there... because they are!  The fireplace is built up with cork 'bricks' on both sides of the wall.  The hearth is basically floor level on the tavern side, and elevated in the kitchen.  I'm thinking under the 'slate' that extends from the kitchen side, will have extra wood sitting underneath.  Or something!

 Both sides have wood mantles build from balsa wood, and then the 'brickwork' was base coated in black.  I then built the colors up using grays to make them look like stone bricks.

Oh yeah... the walls were all covered in a mixture of pre-sanded grout, pva white glue, and a mixture of paints (which included multiple shades of brown and a little white, until I got the color I liked....)

So, about a week and a half later (I was working quite a bit because my boss and co-worker (boss's mom) were out of town for two weeks so I was working a lot....) I finally got to work on the tavern again.  I spent quite a while trying to figure out how I wanted to do the flooring.  I didn't have enough of the hirst arts tiles for the kitchen and the tavern, so I was trying to figure out something else.  I was thinking of maybe using craft sticks (aka popsicle sticks), but those are a pain to cut up and get the rounded edge off of.  I know they can just be cut with scissors, but I don't have the hand strength to do that for more than a few at a time.
 So I went with the time consuming practice laying out the flooring with coffee stirrers.  It took forever.  But, I must say, I think it looks awesome!  The only thing that I should have done was paint the base any color other than the white that it is.  Bleh...  oh well, too late now.
 Here is a view of the flooring all put down with a 'dry fit' of some of the walls.  I realized at this point that the floor had warped a little.  Thus the reason why people probably use foam for the base.  >.<  Well, you live and learn!  I have a few plans in place to make up for the bending.  It will look good!  It better.....
After all but the front wall were connected to the floor, I started to play around with the outside.  I needed a break from all that floor work!  Using the egg carton brick/stone techniques, I covered the keg area with it.  The kitchen will be covered in a matching stonework, to make things more cohesive.  The stonework will also be around the whole base of the tavern, covering the cork, all the way up to the bordering 'beam' that I added to the outside of the walls.  You'll see better pictures of what I mean later in the post.

 I don't know why I added a window to the alcove.  Really, I don't.  Especially since it will mostly be covered by a keg.  Bleh.

So, once I was a little tired of doing walls and painting the stonework that was there (all I've done so far on that is base coating it black.  I will finish painting it when I finish getting all the stonework done, that way it is all done with the same exact paint mixtures), I painted the floor!  I basically made a wash out of a dark burnt umbar brown paint. a hint of cinnamon paint and a lot of water, and I am pretty happy with the end result!
 The pseudo wash (because I'm not sure that is what it should be called....) let the differences in color come out for the different wood pieces, and let me make the floor look old and warn out.  All in all, I think it turned out well!  Oh, and I added a 'stage' in one corner of the tavern!  See, one of the things that came with my newest acquisitions was a whole sprue set of instruments!  I have a harp, and some moraccas, and a really cool horn, and an ocarina!  I'm so painting that so it looks like Link's.  Yup, that is the plan XD

And of course the band that is being created... they need a stage!

The next few pictures are a mock-up of how and where things will be going.  I don't have all my bar pieces (they are on their way now!) so I kinda fibbed it around hahah.  A little 'railing' area around part of the stage, leaving a 'step' area in the front.  I know that I have extra corner bar pieces, so I put one in the corner of the stage to hold an instrument.  Probably the harp.  I'll be adding a shelf or two to hold other instruments as well.

At one end of the bar area I'll probably put in a desk, so I can place things like an open book or a little chest of drawers, or maybe even a pile of treasure underneath it.  Who knows!  Plus a little gate, and some wine bottles...  And kegs!
 See.... why I put in the window, I have no clue...  Derp a derp moment.....  Maybe I'll figure out some sort of stained glass type of thing for it.  Who knows!

 And then I got all the stone work done on the tavern!  And I used balsa wood pieces to make a topper on the walls.  Those worked as a dual purpose.  I wanted to cover the edges, and it makes a good border on the inside as well as the outside.  I think it works!  Now I need to paint them.  In fact, I need to do a lot of painting.  Maybe I'll work on it tomorrow.  Then again, maybe I need a little break from it!  Oh, and things went much faster once I broke out the hot glue gun.  Especially since it took me about three hours to notice that the new thing of glue that I got was school glue, not glue all.  No wonder everything was taking SO LONG to dry, and it wasn't drying very well!

As you can see, today has been a very busy crafting day!  I even got started on the second floor.  This was very much inspired by the Tavern Build on the TerrainNoob youtube channel (which he hasn't updated in over a year....  but I still recommend watching the 17 videos he has on his tavern build!  And his dragon nest build... and tuscan house build....  Just go watch his videos!)
 The flooring that I have cut out is just the flooring for the rooms themselves.  There will be an inner area that will be the walkway.  I just haven't decided how it should go, since I have no CLUE how I'm going to put in a staircase...  The fireplace ended up bigger than I had originally intended so it messed up how I was going to do the staircase.  It will be a challenge that I have to figure out soon.  Hmmm....
 Here is kinda a configuration of how the rooms will be.  Seeing that I only have two beds at the moment, use your imagination!  There will be six rooms, the two on the closest side will be a little smaller than the other four, but I may make them for smaller races (aka gnomes).

And there you have it!  An update!  Woooo buddy, that was a lot of work that I've done.  And now my hands are complaining because I've been typing so long.

I will leave you with a......