Category: "The Artist's Studio"

Shutter garden

by brae  

To hide the open wires on the door side of the Studio, I painted a Houseworks shutter to make a vertical garden.  The base coat was Lemonade by Folk Art followed by two washes of Asphaltum and Slate Grey both by Americana

The idea came from this image of a shutter holding flower pots.  I found the image on pinterest, but I think I've traced the original source to here.

I painted some wood pots with Robin's Egg Blue by Joann followed by a wash of Foliage Green by Americana, also with a satin varnish.

I used jewelry wire to attach the flower pots to the shutter, using a pin vise to make small pilot holes and attaching the wire holders with super glue gel.

Here is the siding propped in place showing the hole to access the wires.

And, with the completed shutter garden held in place with mini hold wax.

I made the plants and flowers to add to the pots.  I had leftover Bonnie Lavish leaves from the sunflowers I put together.  I added some orange dried flowers for a pop of color.

I painted a laser cut fern kit by Jeannetta Kendall with a variety of greens followed by a satin varnish on the darker of the two sides.

I shaped some impatiens purchased at one of the local mini shows from Small Talk (no web address).  I colored the middle with a yellow pencil.  I added the impatiens to thin stems of floral wire and set them into the leaves.

I had some leftover lavender stalks and Erica moss from The Miniature Garden, when I had made the plants for The Aero Squadron Lounge.

The last plant is a dusty miller by Bonnie Lavish.  All of the pots are removable.

These would make lovely party favors or place cards, no?  :D

Clerestory windows, part 1

by brae  

When I lowered the ceiling height of The Artist's Studio, I had originally thought to fill in the lower portion of the original side windows.  After a dry fitting of the roof in place, however, I decided I liked the odd shaped windows.  A happy accident.  :]

Of course, there are no readymade windows in this particular shape, so I would have to improvise.  I had extra Houseworks 8-light windows, and they fit well in the existing hole.  These are the same windows I'll be using for the skylights.  I marked where the window should be cut, leaving a little give for proper fitting.

I used my scroll saw to cut along the lines and removed the interior pieces.  I was able to cut both clerestory windows from one 8-light window.

I tested the fit.  You can see the pieces of strip wood I cut to fill in the groove in the ceiling over the window opening.  This groove is what allows the roof board to attach to the walls.  They aren't glued yet, which is good since I need to adjust this one.  :D

The removed interior pieces left cutouts in the outer frame.  I used strip wood to make patches.

A little spackling added will give a smooth surface under the paint.

The acrylic sheet allows you to cut any shape or size window.  These particular windows don't come with acrylic inserts.  I'll leave the protective film on until I'm ready to install the windows.


I tested the fit again.

All good!  :]

Bedding for the daybed

by brae  

The daybed looks as though it has a deep base to hold the proper support for a twin mattress, but the cardboard liner sits near the surface.

I replaced this piece with white cardboard and covered it with cotton to give the appearance of box springs set into the base.

I cut two layers of foam core board and glued them together to form the mattress.  I made the foam core pieces smaller than the cardboard to allow room for the bedding fabrics.

I covered the mattress with millinery batting.

I made sheets from pretty cream fabric with light brown leaves.

I stitched the detailing around the top.  Even though the stitches are out of scale, I like the finished look.

I made a coverlet from printed cotton Sarah sent me.  I wasn't sure about using green for the green bed, but it was the best out of all the fabrics I tried.  It's understated yet fun.  I made a white pillow with seed bead stuffing and covered it with the same cream fabric as the sheets.

The bedding is all glued in place, so it is permanently turned down for sleeping.

To disguise this fact, I've used another fine afghan from Mary at Roslyn Treasures.  There are decorative throw pillows to lean on as well.

I think the colors and patterns all work well together without seeming like it was intentionally put together.

When the bed is made into a sofa, the sleeping pillow hides out in the cabinet by minisx2.  :D

There will be more in the cabinet eventually.

Book inserts - an ah-ha moment

by brae  

Since I borrowed books from the Heritage for my rustic crates, I needed to make more to actually use in the Studio permanently.

I printed a new batch of covers, most are popular and/or classic novels from Lyssa and Blondie.  Thanks, ladies!!!  :D  Here they are with the covers I had leftover from the Heritage library stash.

Usually when I make books, I use basswood or balsa for the inserts with the edges painted white, tan or gold (see this previous post).  My scraps of basswood and balsa go into a bin where I can pick and choose various thicknesses.  This time, I had a piece of cardboard in my stash.  When I finish using a lined notepad, I usually keep the cardboard backs for templates and trials.  As I was making books, I decided to use one of the thicker cardboard pieces...1/16" thick.

Instead of painting the edges, however, I left them natural.  Because this cardboard was made from pressed layers of paper, it looks very convincing as a book insert...especially for mass produced paperbacks.  If the cardboard separates a little, it just makes it look like a book that's been read a few times.  :D  I'm sure white or dark yellow mat board would work well, too.  Less painting needed!

I like the way these look as is, but I'll make some more books with painted edges to mix in for a more realistic variety.  I also need some varying widths.  :]

The birdcage is a jewelry pendant; the vase is by Jane Graber.

Wood stove, part 4 - flickering LEDs

by brae  

Continuing work on the wood stove.

This is one of those instances where I knew I would be wiring the stove LEDs but did not plan ahead for it.  Why?  Who knows?!!  But, all was not lost!  It just took some extra steps.

I received the wider fire this week from Mainly Minis - a much better fit.

I drilled a hole in the back corner for the LED wires.

I used two orange flickering LEDs and a 3V battery adapter from Evan Designs.  This is the same setup used in the jack-o'-lantern, though for that I used only one.

I put the brick surround and stove in place (neither is glued) to determine where the wires would hit the brick base.

I marked the hole with a pencil onto the wood floor underneath.

I dabbed some paint onto the wires to mark the optimal position where the wires should come up from the floor.

The wire will run under the brick surround, through the wall into the bathroom, behind the baseboard and out the back.  I drilled a hole in the lower bathroom wall in the back, angled down so it would not mar the exterior siding.

I fed a length of wire through the hole in the back wall and then through the hole drilled in the dividing wall.  You can see where I started an indentation in the floor with my Dremel.  This is where the wires sit under the brick surround.

On the outside, the wire wraps around the back in the base foam and ends with the 3V battery adapter.  I will build something to house the switch and battery - probably a firewood storage box.  :]

I made the hole in the stove large enough so the LEDs can be inserted from the bottom.

I twisted the LEDs slightly apart, then twisted the wires together based on color.

I tested the LEDs to make sure I was connecting to the right extension wire.

I used shrink tubing to attach the wires and then taped them into the indentation in the floor.  The hole in the brick base is large enough to feed the LEDs through from underneath.

Test the LEDs again just to make sure, though I'm still not gluing the base in just yet.  I don't think there's anything left to do first, but there's no rush, either.  :D  You can see the paint mark for my optimal spot ended up being pretty close.

On the bathroom side, the wire fits into the groove in the baseboard (shown here using a scrap).  Ingenious design for this baseboard!  I wouldn't use it exclusively since it holds one wire without any shrink tubing on it.

And, now we have a lighted, flickering fire.

I do like this wider fire better.

Spring is not coming yet...we got buried in more snow today.  :\

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