Hello all... No, it's not a miniature book, but rather an altered album which will be the new Visitors' Book in Cestina's dollshouse museum, Small Worlds.
She's just set off back to the Czech Republic to open the museum for the summer season, so I had to make good on my Christmas "voucher" to provide the album before she left.
(If you've no idea what I'm talking about, check out Cestina's Dollshouses for the full story of my mother's dollshouse museum, and/or some of my miniatures posts here, here or here.)
And what else could one possibly have as the Visitors' Book for a dollshouse museum but a house?!
(Just to warn you, you might want a cup of coffee on hand for this one!)
I used some of the techniques learned from Andy Skinner on one of his fantastic workshops to alter a Prima Chipboard Dollshouse Album (I see they think of it as a dollshouse, not just a house... probably what set me off!), creating texture and rust effects galore.
I even added some of my own roof tiles for an extra bit of fun (they're not part of the kit).
Let me show you pictures of some of the stages.
The textures are built up with layers of embossed card, stencilling and DecoArt Mixed Media line paints.
There are lots of great techniques and products involved - drybrushing, paint layers and Texture Sand Paste all play a huge role.
For full details, I can't recommend Andy's workshops highly enough, and there are his online courses (find all the details on Andy's website) as well as videos of Andy demonstrating at CHA where you can get the lowdown from the man himself.
So I went for the greens for this - mixing in a touch of my favourite teals and turquoises as I went. These are the colours in play, mixed and shaded directly onto the walls and tiles as I went.
For the roof tiles, I followed my own lead. When I was working on the Tudor Tavern last year, I created terra cotta tiles for my fire places using the Tim Holtz Lattice Frameworks die, some textured sand paste and layers of paint.
I did much the same for these tiles, but instead of conventional terra cotta tiles, I decided to have them tone in with the rest of the greens. I gave the sand-pasted tiles a touch of black gesso to add extra depth and then set to with my colours.
It took some time to get them positioned to the best effect, but I love the finished look!
The various rust effects are created in different ways...
... some with the DecoArt Mixed Media misters, including the door and the window frames...
... some with layers of the Mixed Media Fluid Acrylics, around the edges of the walls.
In places there's Texture Sand Paste for extra rusty texture...
... including on the door, and the door knob...
... and just look at the damage done by water leaking down from the roof tiles!
The ingredient I can't be without is the Quinacridone Gold Fluid Acrylic, which is absolutely magical!
The windows are lined with tea/coffee stained book pages - we've gone way beyond a "naturalistic" look by now!
On the back of the house, I used Tim Holtz's Bricks stencil with some more of the sand paste to create my brickwork.
Again, I could have gone with standard brick colours (and you can bet there'll be a dollshouse to be done like this at some point in the future - Tim's bricks are exactly the right size for 12th scale work, and the stencil is designed so that you can repeat the pattern and get the right half-brick/whole-brick matching together)...
... but I decided to stick with the Small Worlds colour palette and lots of lovely blue-green shades.
And of course the rusted layers around the edges... eating in to the brickwork a little further where there are holes for the decay to gather around!
As well as the DecoArt colours, there's also a strong showing for Tinned Peas Fresco paint, as that's pretty close to the Small Worlds shelf colour. I used that as the main colour, with a touch of Phthalo Turquoise mixed in to paint the interior walls of the house.
I stamped the peeled paint stamp from Andy Skinner's Industrial set in French Ultramarine Archival ink, so that you have a distressed look on the inside too.
The Dollshouse Album comes with pre-cut pages, some plain, some kraft and some with faint text on.
I think visitors will be able to write over the text, as long as there's a good enough pen around, or of course you could just snap open the book rings and replace those pages with plain paper.
Rather than let the shiny silver book rings spoil the overall effect, I altered them with some black gesso and alcohol inks so that they would fit the weathered feel.
The main thing is that Cestina (or one of her many willing assistants) will be able to cut fresh pages to refill the album, so that the Visitors Book can be never-ending, which will be just as well if the visitor numbers continue to go up year on year.
I love that it looks like a little faerie house in the woods...
... and I love the gleam of the "rust" in the sunlight, even though the whole thing has had a coat of the DecoArt Ultra Matte varnish to protect it in the busy times ahead.
So there's my (small) contribution to Small Worlds for this year. Work means I'm not going to be able to get over there to do any substantial dollshouse renovations this time around, though I hope to visit for at least a few days at some point.
I am still hoping I might manage some inhabitants for the Tudor Tavern, including some strolling players - I have all the makings for those here in the UK, but I'm not sure whether time is going to be on my side!
The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
I would like to enter this in the following:
At Mixed Media World they're playing a Vintage theme, including anything "rusty, crackled and weathered" so I hope this will qualify
Love To Create are playing Anything Creative/Mixed Media/Anything Goes - me too!
The Inspiration Journal is inviting us to Get Pasted - with the embossing paste stencilling on the back as well as used for texture on the tiles and the rust, this should fit the bill.
In the Creative Gym at the Mixed Media Place they are playing with The Power of One - I have one stencil (the bricks), one stamp (the crackle) and one colour (greens).