Sunday, April 20, 2014

Beginning my barn!

So, its only been a day since my last post, and here I am making another one!  Aren't you so proud of me!  The reason is.... I got my animals!  Yes, the Pegasus Animals in size 1/48 that I mentioned yesterday ended up chilling in my mailbox as I was typing up the blog post.  So, on my way in to work, when I stopped to grab the mail, I was gifted with a lovely surprise!  Ahhh.... nice and happy!

Now, I have begun the work on them.  So far, I've cleaned them up some (shaved away some flash, contemplated the size (friggin tiny for some of them) and so forth).  I have also made some awesome improvements to what I already had (the little shed that I wasn't quite sure what to do with.)

Animals, all cleaned and de-flashed.  
I know I said yesterday that I would probably be starting on the farm house for the human mini that I have, but now that I'm actually working on things, and add in the fact that I received my animals, I have begun work on my barn.  It will be somewhat slow going... I don't have all the supplies that I want, but we'll work around that.

Last night, I was so happy to have the animals and I was brainstorming on the half hour bus ride home on what to make.  I got to thinking, those little pigeons need an awesome home of their own.  So, I looked up some pictures and decided to go with one of those dove/pigeon houses that are on the tall posts.  And then I was thinking, how am I gonna make something small enough while still being round.  Then I thought.... Cork!  I have a ton of corks from various wines and beers hanging around the apartment.  Please note, I don't drink all that often.  So when I say a ton, that means six or seven that I've had floating around for a few years now.  
Pidgeon Loft, made from a cork (Ommegang Brewery to be specific, from one of the Game of Thrones beers.), with the single human miniature I have, as well as the soon to be goat pen gates.
 I took the selected cork, lobbed off a part of it cause it was too tall, and then carved six little 'doors' that will lead inside for the pigeons to go to their nests.  I then, in a very stupid move, decided to glue it on to the stick that I had chosen for its pole thing.  Now I'm shaking my head, cause I'll most likely take it off of it in order to paint and do more detail work on it.  But, as you can see in the picture above, it is mounted to a piece of cardboard with some grout, which has hardened very nicely.  I have an idea for a roof for it as well, but I haven't worked out how to do it as of this moment.

The next thing that I worked on last night was the goat pen.  I decided the shelter I had previously made would make a great goat pen!  So, I took the bottom of an Absolut mini box (hush... I work at a liquor store, so I can appropriate empty boxes to my hearts content.  Only empty boxes tho... Not the other stuff.  I have to pay for that just like everyone else hahaha).  I mixed up a nice mixture of grout and paint, like with the dung heaps, and painted the base so it is nice and textured.  While it was still wet, I added the shelter and the chopped up toothpicks to act as fence posts.
There is a little white glue around two of the posts that did not become as solid as I had hoped.  I'm sure that they will be nice and firm once they dry!  Hopefully..... 
 This I left to dry and become nice and solid.  Right before I went to bed I ended up putting a weight on all four corners, as the cardboard was starting to bend.  Waking up, it was nice and flat and completely hard.  I think it will work!  I took some pieces of coffee stirrers (I think, could have been chopped up garden markers) and made a little path that goes into the enclosure.  The rest of the fence will be added at the end, after all the paint, flock, etc are added.  I think it will be in the wattle style.

That was all work from last night.  Also, I painted some pigs.  I'll take pictures of them later and share them as well.  They look kinda awesome, if I do say so my self!

This morning the creative juices were working overtime!  It didn't help that I didn't have to go into work today (Easter, and while I am not religious, I still like to get together with the fam fam.  Also the boss lady has a new baby, and my co-worker is the boss lady's momma, and they are religious, so yeah.... we closed for the day!)  I ended up sitting my butt down on my couch, stuck Jumanji on the Netflix noise maker, and broke out the graph paper.
 I ended up with a lovely blueprint that I chopped the excess edges off of, of a nice barn.  It ended up being 14 inches long by 8 inches wide.  At the peak of the barn, it is a height of 8 inches.  The walls are 4 1/2 inches high.  Faintly on the blueprint, you can see where I have marked out where the stalls will be, where the barn doors will be, and where the posts holding up the hay loft will by.
Here is my base, and all four walls, and the loft all cut out of foam core board!  The 5mm thick type.  I adjusted the blueprint a little when I was at my sisters house earlier today.  It now has five stalls that are all the same (for the cows and bulls), one larger stall for the 'birthing' stall (the set of animals came with one cow laying down that looks fatter than the others, so I'm making her preggo, and I'm gonna have her in that stall).  There are two more stalls at the other end that are larger than the five regular stalls.  This is the difference that I made.  See, I have a problem.  Its called collecting miniatures when I don't game with them.  Also known as the 'I wanna make scenery and terrain for these random things that I really don't have room for but will make them anyway because I am stubborn and I like to be creative' syndrome.  So, those two stalls will be for two oxen that I ended up ordering form Eureka Miniatures.  I'm also getting their stag.  

So, that will be my quick update.  I am working on the 'blueprints' for quite a few things as well.  On the list of things to make for the farm(s) over the next however long it will take me:
Chicken coop
Pig sty
Turkey roost
Auroch shelter (Yes... the main reason I ordered from Eureka Miniatures.... I fell in love with the Aurochs the first time I saw them)
Sheep pen
Stable (it will most likely hold the donkeys and if I ever get some horses)


And now I'm gonna go watch Game of Thrones.  Ta ta folks!  Love, Peace, and Chicken Grease!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Its been so long! Extracts, cross stitches and painting galore!

Well, a few months.... well.... five months?  Eep!  I've been meaning to post sooner!  Since the last post, I have finally fully settled into my apartment, and have been enjoying living alone.  Although, it does get pretty quiet here.  I think that may be changing tho... new neighbors moving in next to me.  As long as they don't have a loud dog like the last guy I think I can handle it.  XD

Hopefully....

Anyway, back to things happening in my crafting life.

First update:

Extracts.  Yes.... extracts *waves bottles of extracts imitating the 9th Doctor with the Anti-plastic*

The vanilla extracts are both successes!  First, my rum vanilla extract.  I ended up keeping it sealed and shaking it once every few weeks all the way up til mid December.  So, thats about ten months I believe that I let it extract itself.  Pun totally intended there.  It is a lighter flavor of vanilla, and I will be using it in things that are more delicate in flavors.  I don't know what yet, but I'll let you all know!  I have sent out a bottle of it to a good friend, and I'll have to get her opinion on it, which I will then share to all the world!  Hahahaha

The vodka based extract had turned out much more potent.  But, considering it was made with high octane vodka, I wasn't all that surprised.  I have ended up using this one so far, in a few different batches of cookies, and I must say, it has turned out quite well!  I may have also poured a little into coffee every once in a while when out of creamer, but it was only on days when I did not have to go to work!  ;)  And it was just a little tiny eensy little bit hahaha

So yes, the vanilla extracts were a success!  The orange extract I still have bottled in lovely little bottles, and I am still deciding what I want to make with them.  Maybe I'll do an orange-ish lemon-ish shortbread cookie.  I used to make this really good lemon shortbread cookie at the bakery that I used to work at, and it might be good with orange extract and base rather than lemon.  I shall see when it gets warmer, as that was definitely a summer cookie.

The almond extract didn't work out at all.  I tossed it when I moved.  I think it is because I did the half water half alcohol base.  I really wasn't proud of it, and it didn't smell right either.  At a future date, when I have a little more time and all that, I'll give it a try again, with a different process.

So, that is the update with the extracts.

Next on my list of lovely things that have, or haven't as the case may be, been going on.  Unfortunately I am on a semi-permanent hiatus from my cross stitchery.  It makes me very sad.  I have been having a lot of trouble with my carpel tunnel, as well as ulnar nerve impingement throughout my right arm.  I am currently in occupational therapy for it, and I have two weeks left of going to see the lady who sends massive amounts of electricity throughout my limbs.

It tickles.

I feel like I am too young to be having all this trouble in my arms.  I have to sleep in wrist braces, with an elbow brace on my right arm to keep me from bending it in my sleep.  I am trying to relearn how to sleep (hint, I tend to sleep on my stomach with arms raised and bent under a pillow.  That apparently is not a good thing to do when having nerve problems.) and how to do things in my kitchen.  Chopping things is a pain in the you know what.  It is a growing problem for people my age and younger, though.  And you can probably thank technology.  Think about it, touch screen phones and tablets, laptops, game controllers, computer mice.  All things that you used repetitive motions over and over again.  And I admit, I play on my phone way too much, as well as use all of the things previously mentioned.  Then add that I was a barista for quite a few years (so the repetitive making of coffee) and I now work lifting heavy object all the time....

It all comes together in the lovely cauldron, give a quick stir three times counter clockwise, and out pops some lovely nerve damage that you can just bathe your whole body in.  Yay!  Fortunately for me, the therapy so far seems to be helping, along with my regime of exercises, nerve glides, and stretches that I am supposed to do daily.

So, until I re-learn how to do my stitching, and possibly invest in those lovely glove thingies that are supposed to help (I've seen them in my crafting magazines that I get sometimes), this stuff will be put on hold.  Which really sucks because I'm in the middle of a late Christmas gift for a good friend, and he will have to wait even longer now.

What I have been doing:  Painting and making things!  Painting doesn't hurt my hands as much as stitching does, so I still get to be creative at the moment!  I have my little craft station much better organized now, (well, mostly organized hahahah) and I have been sketching out possible ideas for a really cool terrain/village.

 As you can see, I have quite a few works in progress on the painting front.  I am eagerly awaiting the Elves that I mentioned in my last post from Stonehaven Miniatures.  And, like I just mentioned, I am going to be building some terrain for my minis!  Since I don't have these guys to wargame with, just for display and fun, I decided that I am going to work of making a whole village.  The thought initially came into my head when I was debating starting a Christmas Village collection.  My grandma has an amazing collection, and I was playing with the idea of it myself.  Then I started looking at them.  Holy cow those things are expensive!  And to only really have them out and about one time of the year?  Nah....  Instead, the plan is to start making a multi-racial village scene that I can have displayed throughout the year.

This seemed simple in my head when I first thought of it, but holy cow it is anything but!  Race wise, I will be accommodating Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Grippli, Pixies, Gremlins, and a whole slew of animal companions.  So, for example, a tavern will have to fit all sorts of sized creatures.  Think Bree, when the guard looked through the gate and saw no one, then had to look through a smaller gate because, hello! Hobbits.  Yeah.

So, I am starting out small.  I am going to start with a farm.  Why a farm you ask?  Because I have one single human miniature that needs a home.  Plus, I saw an awesome terrain piece that I want but am unwilling to spend money on, because come on.... a dung heap?  That is something that is very simple to make yourself!

Thus, the beginnings of a dung heap:
 I have made this out of pre-mixed grout, blended with a little bit of brown paint, and slapped on an old cd that was already so scratched up that it was destined for the trash bin.  I then cut some toothpicks down to create the posts of a fence.  I will be making it a wattle fence, once everything dries and is flocked.  And painted probably too.
 I also have the basics of a shed/barn created.  I don't know whether I will have it as a shelter for goats, or pigs, or what have you.  I'll figure that out when my animals show up (Pegasus Farms animals, size 1/48.)
 I am also having a very hard time finding any farm accessories around for 28mm miniatures.  Other than what comes with the dung heap that you buy.  So, I am going to be trying to create things like rakes, above, shovels, buckets, etc for this build.

This is a lofty project that I am attempting.  I want all the buildings to open up and be usable/decorated on the inside as well as the outside.  Think dollhouse for awesome minis in a much smaller size.  Brings back fond memories of my grandma's dollhouses (she had some amazing dollhouses!).  I remember just sitting infront of one for hours just cleaning it and redecorating it.  So, thats what I want to do!  It will be difficult, these things are tiny, and as many tutorials there are on the web, I haven't found a lot that will work for me.

If anyone has any suggestions on different tutorials on the web, or where to go to find some, please let me know.  I think I have scoured 95% of whats out there, and still kind of floundering in what I want to do.  For example, building a bucket?  Should I just use green stuff?  Or would there be a better way.
Here are some minis that I am in the middle of fiddling with.
Well, there is my update for the time being, and hope you all enjoy what I am up to!  It is good to get this all down in writing.  XD