Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Embellishments for Haunted Holtzville

I am working diligently on finishing up the village named "Haunted Holtzville" in honor of Tim Holtz' great products. The only problem is that I am going out of town on September 5th to see my best friend finish the Appalachian trail on Mt. Katahdin in Maine. I have 3 real work days between now and then. In other words, I am not sure I can get the village done before I leave. If not, it will have to wait until the middle of September which is ok. It's just that I can't wait to show it to you.

So here is a brief peak of some of the embellishments I'm making for the Holtzville reveal.



There are Idea-ology products, old Sizzix dies and new Sizzix dies, Distress Oxides, Alcohol inks, Distress Crayons and Paints, Opaque Crackle Texture paste, etc, etc. It's fun mixing all these elements largely because they play so nicely together.

Back to the crafty work station. Have a good day.

Try to help Texas and Louisiana if you can. There are reliable links that can be found online. All of my houses are sold to fund Habitat of Greenville, but there are specific chapters in every state that you can make donations to.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Making Books for Craft Projects

I've experimented with making houses on book bases ever since I started making little houses. I find it a little difficult to make a book out of a box, but I like it so much when it works. The hardest ones are the ones where the book has to open - a real challenge. That is why I am so excited about finally ordering Eileen Hull's journal die (but it is not here yet). I am hoping that it will seriously simplify book-making.



I wrote this post to go along with Stamps and Stencils monthly challenge "Technique School" where you make a lesson for others to follow from your project. My lesson is on making decorative books for crafting. The description in the lesson is not for books that open, just books to be used as a base for a craft project.

Here a few photos of previous experiments in making "books":

This may be the first book I made. I like the rounded spine on this one. The embossing is pretty good too. I didn't merge the house to the book very well though. I think it works better on the project I just finished. 
Another one of my first books.
"The Owl's Wisdom" - not a house, but a pretty cool book made in 2016.


I just love the inside of this "book". The house has a hole in the back so you can add a light to make the windows light up. The cover is shown below.


This current house is made from a box my brother thoughtfully saved for me. It is a very sturdy box so I made a drawer that opens. My stenciling is inside the drawer. You can see the stamping for the title.





I've scrolled through all my photos since I have been making little houses and I did not find any good process photos of how to make a book, but I can describe some of the most important details which you can see in the "books" above. This will be my lesson for technique school.

Brief Overview:
1. Get a good box sized for your book.
2. Make cover
3. Round corners of cover
4. Make spine of book, best if curved slightly.
5. Make pages of the book, scored and distressed.
6. Glue pages to the inside box forming the main structure of the book.
7. Add title to the spine

Try to find a box that is a good size for a book. I have family members and co-workers always scoping out boxes for me. They know the sizes I am looking for (basically the size of a book you can hold comfortably). Whenever anyone gets an iPad or iPhone and they don't want their box, they know to save it for me.

Make covers out of thicker cardboard which are in turn covered with a "booklike paper" either embossed, wrinkled to look like leather, painted to look like leather or canvas.  I use corrugated cardboard for the covers. Sometimes I emboss the covers depending on the size, sometimes I wrinkle cardstock to look like leather, or on the Old Book House above, I used a canvas paper that looks like linen. The covers need to be slightly larger than the body of the book (your cardboard box as a base). Don't glue your covers to the box until you have made the "pages" on the edge of the box.

Round the corners of the cover. I always round the corners of the cover because an old book generally has rounded, broken down a little bit corners.  Distress them more if you want the book to look old. I used Picket Fence distress paint on the book above to age it a little bit.

The spine looks best if curved slightly but it is harder to glue on if you do that. I didn't do it on the Old Book House because I was in a hurry to finish this project. The first photo with the Triple Gable house on a blue book shows the best spine that I've done. It is nicely curved and adhered.

Lightweight cardstock or even regular paper makes the pages of the book - score it to look like the signatures (the section of the pages that are bound together). I always score them a regular intervals at first, then slightly move the paper to score again with a more irregular pattern.

Age the pages with stains, inks, coffee or tea. I usually use Antique Linen and Vintage Photo distress stains and spray.

Be sure to score before staining. The paper gets a little weaker after the stain and will tear more readily when you score if you stain first. Also it is not as flat and is harder to score after that.

Glue the paper scored to look like pages around your cardboard base. Avoid seams in the middle of the pages. The seams of your scored paper have to be at the edges. After you have glued the pages to the box is the time to glue on the covers. Inset the box a little bit so it looks like a real book. I set mine in too much I think. If I make a book to stand up like on "The Owl's Wisdom" book the bottom of the box lines up with the covers so it will stand up better.

Pick at title. On old books the titles are printed perpendicular to length of the spine, but since most of mine are on their sides as a base for a house, I make the titles lengthwise along the spine. Adding a band of cardboard the matches the book color and texture sets off the title better.

That's my lesson for Stamps and Stencils "Technique School" challenge which is a really cool challenge. I look forward to reading all the other lessons.




Old Book House

Here is my newest house - the Old Book House. It's made with a sturdy box my brother saved for me. This post highlights this particular house which I am going to share with Frilly and Funkie's "On the Cutting Edge" challenge which asks you to use dies in  your project. I don't know if I have ever made anything recently that didn't use dies. I love die cutting. I could not make these houses without the dies.

I am also writing a lesson on making books to join the Stamps and Stencil Challenge called "Technique School" which I will post later today.


The base is made from the box my brother saved. I add the covers and the spine on top of the box. The "pages" of the book are made from cardstock scored and distressed with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo stains and sprays. I have used tea in the past. Other people use coffee, but I don't have any coffee at my house as I just don't drink it. 

The house itself is cut from a die that I had custom made, but it is actually the offcuts from the die. Sometimes you can find neat shapes from the offcuts. I use a set of dies I got from eBay to cut out windows and the door and the circle for the clock, but they are not traditional craft dies. I use an arbor press to cut them out. 

The tree is Tim Holtz' Branch Tree from Sizzix. It is kind of retired. You can find it online at times, but Sizzix now sells it as a special order. It's the best tree die that I've seen so it makes me kind of sad that it is retired. I use it so much that I actually bought a spare when I realized it was being retired.

The kitty on the side is the cat from the new Trick or Treat Thinlets by Tim Holtz. I thought the house needed a black cat sneaking around.


The owl is also from a new Tim Holtz die "Moonlit Owl" which I love. I glued a tiny piece of yellow cardstock between 2 layers of the owl to make the eyes stand out better.

The other dies I used were the windows from an old classic Elizabeth Craft Holiday House die. When I make a smaller house I use these windows as the frames. If I make a bigger house I usually use the window frames from one of the Village Dwelling series from Tim Holtz. 


I lined the drawer with black paper stenciled with Distress Oxide Wilted Violet through a new Stampers Anonymous stencil called Rosette. Isn't it cool that it works so nicely on black? There is a hole at the bottom of the house that will allow a light to shine through the windows if you want to put an LED light in the drawer. I had to add a grosgrain ribbon at the notch on the drawer just to make it easier to open.


The pumpkins are polymer clay that I made last night. I ran out of my first batch this year. It may not be very imaginative to use the pumpkins on every house, but I like them. Also I put windows and clock on the back so you could use the house either way - with the spine of the book facing you or the pages with the drawer facing you. 


The roof is my standard metallic roof - aluminum duct tape, scored, then texture paste randomly applied, and stained with various alcohol inks and some Black Soot paint. 


The cover on the book was made using a canvas paper painted with a black acrylic paint and with some blue rubbed in. I aged it a little using Picket Fence on the edges.  The book title is a Stampers Anonymous Halloween stamp using embossing ink and then Princess Gold embossing powder.


Just like all the others, this house is to be sold for Habitat for Humanity of Greenville. 

Thank you for reading my blog. I do enjoy comments if you would like to ask me something or leave a little encouragement. It is always appreciated. 

Friday, August 18, 2017

Haunted Holtzville Manor - House #3

This is the third house of the 2017 Haunted Holtzville series - a village of Halloween houses made from the Tim Holtz Village Dwelling dies. Named in honor of Tim Holtz, you know. This is one of my favorites. I haven't made a Village Manor since last year when the die came out and I forgot how much I love this house.


I always try to make each house different so I decided to make green crackle siding with the paint color Peeled Paint from Tim Holtz and Ranger. I also experiment each time with the bases. It's a little steeper, but not as steep as the first Bat Wing House and I didn't really cut in steps. You have to scramble up the rock to get to the house. This house is called "Where is the Kitty?" because the kitty is hiding in the foyer behind the doors. I will have to get it set up at night to show you the kitty. I couldn't get the light right today.

I plan on using the silhouette of the kids on Tim's new Halloween Shadows thinlets from Sizzix in front of the house looking for their kitty. I added the bat to the circle around upper roof window so it wouldn't look so much like a wreath.


Side view - I really try to make this straight but I never notice that stuff is crooked until I take the photos. I didn't really center the house on the base quite right. The front stoop is off center, etc, etc. BUT that's why I make Halloween houses mostly - wonky is good.


A little more wonkiness visible from the back.


I love the blue tinted windows. I've said this before, but I covered both sides of the plastic windows (leftover packaging from various craft items) with glossy accents after they were tinted with blue alcohol ink. It makes the windows so wavy and obscures the funky glue blobs and paint splotches inside the house. I also lined the house with metallic tape to reflect light better. Maybe I can take some photos later tonight to show you how nice the light looks and show you where the kitty is.

I said to a friend of mine, "Can you tell I am getting better at painting the rock on the bases?" He looked at me like I was crazy. He's not exactly artistically inclined. Anyway, I think my rock bases are looking better.

To complete this house:
Maybe glue on some moss
Make more polymer pumpkins
Owl or Bat on top
Halloween Shadows Kids in front
May add a little more color to the rock base, tone down the white a little bit.

That's it for today. I have to work most of the night so I gotta go. Ya'll take, please. Spread kindness and love and creativity.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Haunted Holtzville House #2

Just finished the second Haunted Holtzville House. I'm making a neighborhood of houses based on the Tim Holtz village series for this Halloween. Obviously, Haunted Holtzville is named in honor of Tim.

This is the second house. It does not have a name, but the family that inhabits this house has 2 children so they needed the dormers upstairs to give the children a little more room. The parents chose this house for the affordability, the color pattern on the outside and the fact that there are 2 bedrooms upstairs. The rooms are small, but the children don't really need big rooms, do they? That's the backstory on this house.

This house was constructed using the Village dwelling die along with some embellishments from the Village cottage die. I also used the roof die for the shingles. It's hard to see on the front, but there are a series of steps cut into the base to enter the house. The gate is made from one of the new Tim Holtz Halloween dies - the Village Graveyard. I didn't use the actual gate die because it was too big and formal looking for this modest home. The fence is made from 3 layers of cardboard cut from the Village Cottage die.

The texture on the surface is made from a Tim Holtz texture fade - tiles stained with Wild Honey stain and highlighted with black soot on the raised embossed surface.

I made the base my usual way - layers of corrugated cardboard glued together, covered with paper mache and painted with layers of paint. There is a space cut out for an LED light.

Landscaping is not complete on this house yet. I haven't decided what Halloween embellishments to add to the exterior at this point. So I said it was finished, but there is a little more decorating to do.


Side View of Haunted Holtzville #2. You can see the stairs a little better in the view below.


Back view of Haunted Holtzville #2. I haven't decided if I am going to extend the fencing all the way around. I may just make one more sturdy fence and cut it in half so the fencing looks complete from the front at least.


Oh, look! You can barely see the shadow of one of the inhabitants in the doorway below. The family is very shy, you hardly ever catch a glimpse of them. I think they are allergic to daylight.


That's the second house for Holtzville. More to come. 

Thank you for visiting.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Haunted Holtzville in the Works

I'm making several houses from Tim Holtz Village Dwelling dies for the Haunted Holtzville Village. I've finished the first one.

It's kind of a creepy little house, darker than I intended, but ok. I think the finish looks like embossed leather which I will use again in the future. The house started out using embossed watercolor paper with Fossilized Amber Distress Oxide background and black on the prominent embossed section. But when I tried to make the black highlights darker, it got too dark and muddy. Then I painted over it with black and tried to use the Fossilized Amber over the black, but still too muddy. Then I painted it again with black and then highlighted it with red acrylic paint that I rubbed in with my finger. The red isn't as prominent as I would like, but it's kind of neat.



I need porch supports, but I haven't decided what to use yet. I kind of like the black chimney. I included the view below because you can see through the window which was stained with blue alcohol ink and then covered with Glossy Accents on both sides. It looks like old timey wavy glass.

You can't see in the doorway, but I put a black cardstock cutout of one of the kids from Halloween shadows in the doorway. It shows up nicely with the LED tea light in place.



I scattered a few leaves around to make it more seasonal. The roof shingles are made from off cuts of one of the Village Dwelling Roof dies. I like the spiky look. I've used that before.



That's it for today. I'm working on a lighter colored house now. It should be done in a day or two.

I hope you have a good day. Thank you for stopping by.

Revisiting Halloweens Past

I decided to go back and review some of my old houses - for ideas, to see the evolution of the Halloween houses, and for improvement. Most of these houses are on my home improvement blog - Green in Greenville which I haven't updated in a year.

Here is the first set of Halloween houses I made. This photo is dated October 1, 2015.



This is one of my very first houses covered with Halloween scrapbook paper. My biggest fan has this one.  At first I made them on circular bases from leftover sticker rolls from work.



I love this Halloween paper. I made this one before I started reinforcing the fencing to make it more durable. Now I would make that fence with 3-4 layers of cardstock. The retired Martha Stewart punch won't work with cardboard. The heaviest cardstock it will punch is 65 pound bond.



Steampunk Lock and Key House - I made all the keys and locks with cardboard covered with aluminum tape and then painted them with various paints to age them.



I hand cut these shingles on the house below. This was before there was roof die available from Tim Holtz. I  like the color and the texture. This fence is another retired Martha Stewart punch. I forgot what a great fence it is. I will have to dig it out.



This is my Halloween book. I wrote about it in my second post on this blog. It is still a favorite of mine. I imagine it would look even better now that we have Distress Oxides which do an incredible job on sky backgrounds.



The Candy Corn House - I actually made 3 but this is most successful of the 3. Of course, the top of the base comes off so you can put a treat inside. I made the "candy" and pumpkins from polymer clay.


The first Bat Wing House. The idea certainly evolved from that to the current Bat Wing Houses. The tops does come off of this house as well.


Clockhouse on a Frosty Morn - still love this house.


This is the 3 Gable Gothic House - I really like the book, but the house seems a little bland to me. The house structure is good. It is very similar to the Stone House with 3 Gables.


 The Silhouette House


The house below is one of my very favorites even now. See the silhouette of the witch in the front window? This went to one of my coworkers with 2 little kids. They love the house.


This is Jennifer's house.


The back may be more interesting than the front. I like the darkish green base. I need to remember that for my next house with white (whitish) siding.


Looking back on my blog, I did the same thing last year - reminisced about the old houses. It can be good to look back to get an idea of what you want to do to go forward. I will probably do the same thing next year.

Ya'll take care. Stay cool.