Friday, December 31, 2010

My Putz Project ~ Final steps no. 6 through 9

I have made you wait long enough, so I thought I would conclude this project before 2010 came to an end.
As you will see I have not designed the doors and windows for the Martha houses, but am hoping you can just tweak your houses to use some of the door and windows patterns I have previously posted. 

Step no. 6: That is the step where you insert your paper windows and doors. It's obvious that you print, cut and paste them into the openings... no need to expand on that step.

Step no. 7a: This step involves cutting a base for your houses. I decided not to make a raised base for a couple of reasons. Reason (and/or excuse) 1. because I bought some vintage putz homes as my Christmas present and the majority of the raised bases (although supported underneath) still seem to fail, crush and fall apart with age. Reason no. 2, because it's more time than I want to spend making bases.
I should mention that my bases are all uniform in size. I randomly chose 5.0 inches by 3.5 inches because that looked good to me and provide enough space around each house for fencing and landscaping.

Step no. 7b: Cut and glue your fences. In order to do this I used cardboard and a Martha Stewart scalloped edge cutter.  Length and height is up to you. You do not have to make scalloped edges, you can make them straight... I just thought this was prettier.

Step no. 7c: Applying DecoArt Snow-tex, as your ground cover and on your fences. Apply it with a sculpting tool or paintbrush and let dry. Make your ground area and fencing as rough or as smooth as you'd like. After they are dry give them a coat or two of paints of your choice.

Step no. 8: Adding in bottle brush trees. In my case I am still waiting for my miniature bottle brush trees to arrive, so I opted to use vintage chenille bump instead, in a pale green colour. You can find vintage chenille bump on both eBay and Etsy. This is large, lush bump, not the small stuff you can get at a local crafts store. I love buying vintage chenille bump from Cass at Paper Tales on Etsy, just click on the links to visit her store.
To insert the trees I simply poked a hole in the cardboard base, added a dab of glue around the hole and pulled a piece of bump through to the desired height with some pliers. Let the glue dry and trim off the excess chenille bump from below the base.

 Step no. 9: The final stage is to add more glitter. I will be adding some to the fences (exterior only), and perhaps the trees as well. As for the snowy, glistening look on the ground, my glitter of choice this time around is again made by Martha Stewart. It's fine grade glitter, "crystal" is my colour choice because it sparkles more than the carrara marble (white) coloured glitter.

I have not taken a picture of the completed houses, because mine are not completed yet. They will be soon. Aside from that I am hoping to have my husband install some shelving in our living room where I will be able to display my houses along with my newly bought vintage ones sometime in 2011. I'll post a pic next winter to show you how my display looks. I hope this project of sorts was helpful, if not don't shoot the messenger. haha!

p.s. After "tagging" Martha Stewart in a number of these posts I received an email from them on Dec. 20th expressing their gratitude for my referring readers and linking to their website. That was sort of fun :)

Happy New Year to you all! ~ Lori

Friday, December 24, 2010

The "family" Christmas trees

I thought I would share a few more Christmas tree pics, those of my sisters Tracy and Melissa.
I only wish Tracy had posted a picture of her tree this year, but I can't seem to find one (yet) on facebook, so these will have to suffice. 
Three pictures (below) from 2004, 2006 and 2007.

 ... and a picture of Mel's tree this year (plus a closeup of vintage ornaments.) 

Remember I told you about "skinny Santa", well here's hers!
 Wishing you all a safe and VERY joyous holiday season!
I'll see you again in 2011. ~ Lori

Monday, December 13, 2010

My Putz Project ~ Parts no.3 and no.4

Okay, onto stage number 3. That's to paint your houses. (I've painted half and glittered the other half so I could give you steps 3 and 4.)
I'd give you my colour list, but I know ultimately it's up to you to decide which colours are appropriate for your display, therefore I won't list the many colours I used.

I painted each house with one coat of acrylic paint. It seemed to be enough to cover almost 100% of the texture.
In the picture below (orange house, black roof) I tried some of the "Christmas Grass" I spoke of before on the roof. To apply it I mixed it in with the white acrylic paint and sloshed it on, easy peasy! It's the green stuff in the picture below.

Stage number 4 ~ After the 1st coat of paint was dry it was time to break out the glitter.

I painted on the second coat of paint, before it was dry I lightly sprinkled the house panels with glitter. No need to use glue or adhesive if your paint is still wet to the touch.
As for the glitters I used Martha Stewart brand: turquoise (blue), tourmaline (deep pink), golden beryl (green), fire opal (orange/red), white gold (almost silver in appearance) and carrara marble (white.) I did however mix some fine grade, pure silver glitter in with the carrara marble. I want the snow laden roofs to have speckled appearance as they age and pure silver will add that as it begins to tarnish.

p.s. Don't forget to paint inside the vestibule area - this is where some of the door panels will be glued/inserted behind - speaking of which, I am still designing my windows and doors. I have to customize them since I printed the pdf's/patterns out at different sizes. I wanted all of my houses to be approximately 3.5 inches high and that meant scaling up and scaling down the patterns accordingly.

I hope to provide you with some door and window patterns later this week, but fear that you will have to tweak them (in height and width) in a photo editing program in order to fit your homes... especially if you (like me) didn't print out the patterns (size) as is.

Until next time... keep working on your putz houses! ~ Lori

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New on SpookyTime Jingles tonight!

At midnight (Eastern) I will be offering my last three pieces (online) at SpookyTime Jingles until the new year.
I have two "POP" treat boxes and one very "Perturbed Pumpkin" luminary/candy container.
I hope to see you there. ~ Cheers! ~ Lori

Friday, December 10, 2010

My Putz Project ~ Part no.2

The second stage - adding some texture. Why? because old putz homes had texture - be it from the addition of fine or chunky glitters, stucco, sand or the infamous "coconut" - which by the way I don't think I can reproduce with 100% accuracy as it was short strands of cellophane from what I've read online.
I may have to make a few more houses because I have a little something called "Christmas Grass" that I picked up on eBay years ago, it's basically short strands of green coloured sawdust/shavings and it may mimic the "coconut" texture somewhat.

Anyhow now onto the texturizing process. I have used two mediums.
One is called Decor rock (it's grey coloured) small nuggets of fine rock, the other is Snow-Tex, made by DecoArt.
The tools to apply them were simple - a few cheap paint brushes for the glue (this was to adhere) the Decor rock and a plastic sculpting tool (to trowel on) the Snow-Tex.

Decor rock: Easy peasy - add white glue to the body of your house and sprinkle the Decor rock on, shake off the excess. 

Snow-Tex: I slathered it on the body of the houses, not being too picky about the texture and/or making sure it covered all areas - stucco houses as they age are by no means perfect!

Parts of the roofs (in the pic above - house on right hand side) as you'll see (or rather have a hard time seeing because they are white) are partially covered in Snow-Tex. I slathered it on and after covering a single roof panel I dipped my plastic sculpting tool in water and smoothed the texture out. I don't want the roofs to be too highly textured.
You may be able to see a slight texture on some of the painted house roofs in the blog post (1st picture.) I used white acrylic paint mixed with a small amount of the Decor stone sprinkled in and painted it on with a paint brush.

One word of caution: After applying any texture medium to your putz house be sure to make sure the windows and door ways are free of texture debris (on the interior of the house) - if you don't take time to do this, the printed window and door panels will not adhere flatly on the inside later on.

Now I must wait an hour or two for these four houses to dry prior to applying acrylic paint. After that you'll see part no. 3. ~ Lori

My Putz Project ~ Part no.1

It all started years ago, by that I mean my love for vintage Christmas putz houses. The curiosity and want for my own was piqued by Martha Stewart's "Winter Village" article in the December 2000 issue. An issue which I did not own, but one day when I was at the dentist's office I saw/read the article. Thankfully, Mrs. Bialik let me leave the office with a new tooth brush and this issue in tow.

That being said, I have tried my hand at making putz houses off and on for the past decade. Much to my chagrin they were never quite how I imagined them to be. I wanted them to look vintage - but no matter how hard I tried they've never quite been what I wanted them to be.

Skip to this month and my expressing my desire (in an email) to own some vintage putz homes to Amelia of Sweet B Folk Art.
B, knowing a source for pretty much anything sent me a link to a website to build my own.
The site is called Little Glitter Houses, in case you are interested in making a few putz homes for yourself.
So with patterns downloaded, cut and ready to use from both Little Glitter Houses and the Martha Stewart websites I started over again.

As you'll see below I have chosen to use three basic styles to make a dozen houses for myself.
I am using the "large house" pattern from Martha (making modifications and variations), the "Bay Window" house, a (modified) "Picture Window" house and my favourite house pattern of all "The Little Charmer" all three of the latter are from the Little Glitter Houses websites. There's also a link to Papa Ted's Place to buy reproduction doors and windows - but I think I can draw/make my own in the colours I desire.

Papa Ted's Place is a wonderful resource for the history of putz houses, old catalogue pictures, repair and cleaning and he also has a few links to some serious vintage putz house collectors pictures/displays, so check it out if you have time this holiday season.

Be sure to come back again to see my progress... and keep your fingers crossed that I haven't wasted cardboard, glue and my time again this year on a putz project that gets binned. ~ Lori