Saturday, March 4, 2017

Meet the Characters: Sierra Hill & family

I worked on a couple more bios... 

Sierra Hill
Age: 27
Profession: Bar Manager
Marital status: Sierra is dating Max James
Family: Mother, stepfather, and younger half sister Zoe
Bio: A California native, Sierra moved across the country for a new start after going through a devastating break up that she still to this day won't talk about with anyone. Her girlfriend Max doesn't even know all the details of the breakup.

Starting life over in Boston wasn't easy at first but a totally new environment was exactly what Sierra needed. She met Max through a friend and they became roommates. Sierra had no intentions of falling for Max. She was done with love and just wanted a quiet roommate who'd pay her half of the rent on time that wasn't a psycho. What she ended up getting was a kind hearted generous friend that she had a lot in common with and ultimately ended up falling for. The feeling was mutual and Sierra and Max are seeing where their budding relationship will take them.

Zoe Price:
Age: 20
Profession: Student
Marital status: Dating Aiden Monroe
Family: Mother, father, and older half sister Sierra
Bio: A wild child since birth, Zoe has always done things her own way and that hasn't changed as she's gotten older. But will her antics finally go too far when she comes up against someone who's not going to play her little games.

Aiden Monroe
Age: 25
Profession: Certified plumber
Marital status: Dating Zoe Price
Family: Mother and older brother Kohl
Bio: Quiet and reserved, Aiden is the total opposite of his larger than life girlfriend, Zoe Price. To this day he still can't believe a girl like her is interested in him and she's his girlfriend. He'll do anything to keep her. Anything.

I don't want to give too much away
with the upcoming storyline featuring
Zoe and Aiden so their bios aren't that detailed. I can tell 
you that dolly drama will ensue and they are directly 
(and indirectly) responsible for it. :)

Monday, February 13, 2017

Meet the Characters: The Sinclair Family

Today I have the Sinclair family.
I have plans to customize a couple of the
characters below, but don't know how long that's
going to take so here are their profiles as they are now.

Andi Sinclair
Age: 38
Profession: hotel manager
Family: Ex-husband Drake Sinclair, daughter Leah Sinclair, sister Danni Sousa
Bio: Andi hasn't led an easy life. As a single mother she's had to fight tooth and nail for everything she has and has no complaints or regrets. Her only child and daughter, Leah, is her whole world. She'd do anything for her daughter. Her marriage to Leah's father basically ended before it began due to meddling by his family who thought Andi was beneath them. Frustrated by Drake's refusal to stand up for her (and himself), Andi pushed forward and when she found she was pregnant shortly after her and Drake's breakup, she never told him and instead raised Leah on her own.

Andi's own family, a bunch of dysfunctional idiots, haven't been part of much of Andi's adult life. She keeps in touch with her elderly mother and father through yearly Christmas cards and she hears from her younger sister Danni via telephone once in a while--usually when Danni is in trouble. But how is Andi going to handle Danni's latest shenanigans when Danni shows up on her doorstep?

Leah Sinclair
Age: 17 and three quarters
Profession: high school senior
Family: Mother Andi Sinclair, aunt Danni Sousa
Bio: Easy going and generous, Leah is currently attending Hope High and dating Sebastian Matos. She met him this past summer while working at the The Smoothie Shack. He had a thing for strawberry smoothies and at one point was coming in so often ordering them that Leah thought he was going to turn into one. Leah thought he was cute from the first time he'd come into The Smoothie Shack but played it cool. She thought she'd recognized him from school but wasn't sure. One day he asked for her phone number, she said yes, and they've been like two peas in a pod since. Leah's plans for the future include attending college in nearby Boston and Sebastian. It sounds pretty easy now, but we'll see how things go when she's juggling the two later this year.

Danni Sousa
Age: 30 something
Profession: jack of all trades, master of none
Family: Sister Andi Sinclair, niece Leah Sinclair, three ex-husbands
Bio: Free spirit of free loader? That's the question most people as themselves after having the "Danni Experience." Why has she shown up on her older sister's doorstep out of the blue after all these years? Who knows? We'll have to wait and see. 

Sebastian Matos
Age: 17
Profession: high school senior
Family: Parents, older brother Trenton
Bio: If you count the number of strawberry smoothies Sebastian slurped this past summer while trying to catch the eye of smoothie maker Leah Sinclair at The Smoothie Shack, it could easily be one hundred. Luckily, his persistence paid off and Leah eventually gave him her phone number and the rest has been as they say, history. Sebastian and Leah are a great match and genuinely enjoy each other's company. We'll see how things fare for them when they graduate from high school this year and enter the real world.

Irene "Irie" Sable McQueen
Age: 17
Profession: high school senior
Bio: Named Irene after her late paternal grandmother and Sable after her mother's favorite actress, Irie absolutely positively hates her name. Never call her Irene and you'll be her friend forever. Smart and funny, Irie has been best friends with Leah and Cat since elementary school and loves hanging with her girls. She also likes hanging out with her new friend Azalea that she's met this year. 

Azalea Bloom
Age: 17
Profession; high school senior
Bio: New to Hope High School this year, Azalea was happy to find friendship with Leah and Irie. They've become fast friends and life at Hope High has been pretty good except for the shade that's been thrown at her from Cat Roma. Azalea guesses it's because the three friends have been friends since forever and for some reason Cat feels threatened by Azalea. No worries for Azalea though. She has no intentions of breaking up any friendships. The way she sees it, the more friends the merrier!

Catriona "Cat" Roma (not shown because I misplaced her somewhere)
Age: 18
Profession: high school senior
Bio: Stubborn and a bit hot headed, Cat is used to having her way. Personality wise she's the complete opposite of her friends Leah and Irie but somehow their friendship works. She can't, however, stand new girl Azalea who has wriggled her way into their circle. Azalea is just too perfect for Cat with her perfect hair and perfect clothes and perfect grades and perfect family. She makes Cat want to vomit...all over her.  

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Meet the Characters: Harris/James Family

I thought I'd take a break from story telling to properly introduce a few characters. I think I'll do this every so often to give a little background to characters. Eventually I'll make a Meet the Characters page so everyone's 
info will be in one place.

Hazel Harris
Age: Golden 70's
Profession: retired schoolteacher 
Family: Late husband Mason Harris, daughter Evelyn James, granddaughters Kerri Hawke-James and Max James
Bio: Matriarch of the Harris/James family, Hazel is enjoying her golden years doing what she loves best: trying new recipes out on her family, volunteering at her local public library, and tending her plants. Family is key to Hazel and she's always tried to be supportive of her small family.

Evelyn James 
Age: Early 50's
Profession: beauty salon owner
Family: Late husband Lyon James, daughters Kerri Hawke-James and Max James
Bio: A single mother ever since her husband was tragically killed in a car accident when her girls were young, Evelyn has beat all odds and become a successful business owner. Her beauty salon is like her third child and she's fiercely protective of it. She's worked very hard over the years to earn the reputation of being one of the best salons in her area. 

Being a mother has been one of the greatest joys in Evelyn's life. Even though her two daughters are like night and day, it's been very rewarding to see them grow into responsible young women living life on their own terms. Having thrown all of her energies into her family and business over the years Evelyn has put her personal life on the back burner. Hopefully at some point she'll realize that you can work hard and have fun too. 

Kerri James-Hawke
Age: 29
Profession: high school teacher 
Marital status: married to Jackson Hawke
Bio: Following in her grandmother's footsteps, Kerri is a high school English teacher at Hope High school. Five years ago she married military man, Jackson Hawke. Being married to someone in the military has put a strain on their marriage. Jackson has been away on tour more than he has been home with Kerri. Kerri could have followed him from base to base but preferred staying in Massachusetts to be near her mother and grandmother, the rocks in her life. 

She has an up and down relationship with her younger sister, Max. They have very different personalities and over the years have found they have less and less in common with each other. 

Max James
Age: 27
Profession: personal trainer 
Family: Grandmother Hazel Harris, mother Evelyn James, sister Kerri James-Hawke
Marital status: dating Sierra Hill
Bio: A Massachusetts native, Max grew up in a loving family consisting of her mother, grandmother, and older sister Kerri. She has no memory of her father who died in a car accident when she was two years old. 

Naturally athletic, Max spent her childhood climbing trees and playing soccer and basketball with the neighborhood kids. In high school she was the star of her basketball team and dated Savoy Valentine who was captain of the football team. To the outside world they looked like the perfect couple but they were very far from it in Max's mind. While Savoy was head over heels in love with her and treated her like a princess, Max felt like she was dating her brother. She felt no sparks or passion towards Savoy and started to think something was wrong with her. That was until she had her first crush in senior year on a new student--Sonia Kirby. Max was soo flustered being around Sonia that she purposely avoided her like the plague. 

Max pushed those feelings deep down inside herself and dated Savoy for two more years before finally admitting to herself she was never going to feel anything remotely romantic towards him. By this time she was in college and had had a couple more crushes. All on girls. Max didn't act on her crushes, but she did break up with Savoy who took the breakup hard. Max spent the next few years being perpetually single. 

Then one day a friend of Max's introduced Max to a friend of hers who was looking for a roommate. That's when she met Sierra Hill, the most beautiful woman she'd ever met. Max and Sierra hit it off as roommates and after awhile it became evident that they liked each other as more than friends. Not wanting to ruin their newfound friendship but not wanting to miss a chance at love either, they finally decided to start dating. As a new couple they're still navigating through the ups and downs of being in a relationship. For Max it's been scary and overwhelming but most of all it's exciting. For the first time in her life she feels like she's living the life she was supposed to be living. 

Jackson Hawke
Age: 33
Profession: military man
Family: Wife Kerri James-Hawke, brother 
Bio: Married to the military, Jackson has made the military his career. Six years ago while on leave he met Kerri James and pursued her relentlessly (thank goodness for Skype and FaceTime!). They were married a year later and decided that Kerri would stay in Massachusetts near her family while Jackson finished out his tour. Well, that was five years ago and Jackson still hasn't left the military. Sooner or later he'll have to make his choice; Kerri or the military.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Tutorial: Stools

I've been making these little stools for awhile and thought I'd do a tutorial on them. They're quick and easy to make and can be used in your dioramas as bar stools, plant stands, or just decoration.

Materials needed:

wood circles
wood dowels
skinny sticks
glue gun and glue sticks
nail file
acrylic paint of your choice
paint brush

The first thing you need to do is take a skinny stick and cut it into four equal sections. 

Gently sand the edges of the sections with a nail file and then lay them out on the circle to make sure they fit and don't hang over the sides.

Next you are going to hot glue the skinny sticks into a square shape. This box is going to support the stool's legs.

Don't worry about any excess glue because it'll get cleaned up later.

Now you have to decide how long you'd like the stool's legs to be. The package of dowels I bought are about 4 inches long which ends up being a good size for a stool for a 12 inch doll. You can cut the dowels to any length you'd like though.

Okay, so now is the only tricky part. To get all of the stool's legs to stand at the same angle you have to hot glue each leg in right after the other and quickly flip the stool over to position the legs into place before the hot glue hardens. 

The first thing I do is drop a dot of hot glue in the boxes's corner and press the dowel into it at a slight angle making sure the dowel rests in the boxes's corner. I hold the dowel there for a couple seconds until it can stand by itself and then I move on to the next one until I've done all four. Once I've done all four I turn it over and position all the legs so they're evenly spaced out.


To secure the legs in place I go back in and add hot glue over the dowels and along the sides of the box. 

I used too much but no one is going to see underneath the stool.

When the hot glue hardens use a pair of tweezers to scrape off any excess glue that may be on the legs or on the outside of the box. I'm using a polymer clay needle tool but sharp tweezers work just as well.

The only thing left to do is paint the stools. I decided to paint this trio of stools bright blue shades. Instead of using the Apple Barrel matte finish paints I usually use, I used their Outdoor Indoor Gloss finish paints. The color payoff is great and they're quick drying just like the matte paints are. 

I hope this tutorial was helpful. Until next time! 

Left to right: Bahama Blue, Real Blue, and Turquiose

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Tutorial: Liquor Cabinet

Okay, so I finally put together the tutorial for the liquor cabinet I talked about previously. 

I do have to do a disclaimer though because it wasn't until after I posted the sneak peek I thought it might be misleading. I said that the liquor cabinet would only cost around $3.00 to make and that is true--if you already have all of the supplies on hand and are only buying the pencil boxes and candle cups. If you're starting entirely from scratch it will cost more. Having been a crafter for ions I've got tons of this and that in terms of craft materials so I only had to purchase the pencil boxes and candle cups. 

So with that being said, on with the tutorial!

Materials needed:

2 wooden pencil boxes (You can find them @ AC Moore for $1.00 each)
4 candle cups (You can find them @ AC Moore for $1.29)
hand mitre saw
nail file
glue gun and glue sticks
brown acrylic paint (optional because you can use whatever color you like)
matte Mod Podge (optional)
gold acrylic paint (optional)
scrapbook paper or cork sheet (optional)

The first thing you want to do is find the middle point on the pencil box's sliding door and mark it with the pencil.  

Next, using the hand mitre saw cut on the marked line.

Do that to both boxes and then smooth the rough edges with the nail file. I kept the extra pieces that I cut off the pencil box's door to use later for another project. I think they'll make good wooden signs. You can keep them or toss them.

Now time to paint!

Truthfully, you can use whatever color paint you want to, but I like the idea of stained wood for liquor cabinets so that's what I did. It's really easy to make your own "wood stain finish" using acrylic paint and Mod Podge.

For the first cabinet I made I used a medium brown color that gave the wood a chestnut colored stain. I liked it, but wanted to try a darker brown for the second cabinet. 

So I used a deep dark brown for a rich walnut colored stain. My "recipe" for the wood stain was roughly one part paint to two parts Modge Podge. I prefer using matte Modge Podge because I find the glossy version still feels slightly tacky even when it's dry and attracts dust. 

Once both boxes are painted, set them aside to dry, and paint the candle cups which are going to be the legs of the cabinet. I painted mine gold but you could also paint them with the "wood stain".

Assembling the cabinet is easy. Just hot glue one of the boxes on top of the other and then glue the legs on.

Here are both of the cabinets side by side.

At this point you're basically done, but there is one more thing you can do if you want.

You can add extra detail with scrapbook paper or a piece of adhesive backed cork.

You can find the cork in the scrapbook paper section usually with the textured papers.

Now your girls and guys are ready to entertain.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Tutorial: Butterfly Shadow Boxes

I made these butterfly shadow boxes recently for a new diorama I'm working on and thought I'd share how I made them. 

If you're interested, keep reading!

Here's what I used:

-skinny sticks
-sheet of canvas (found in the scrapbook paper section usually with the textured papers)
-sheet of translucent vellum paper
-paperboard (you can also use recycled cereal boxes)
-hot glue gun and glue sticks
-two pairs of scissors (one strong enough to cut the skinny sticks and the other small and sharp to cut the vellum paper)
-acrylic paint
-nail file
-light colored scrapbook paper
-black fine-tipped pen 
-ruler (optional)

The first thing I did was Google images of butterfly collections and choose one to use. I tried to pick one with a variety of different butterflies and then I printed it onto the vellum paper. Then I carefully cut out several butterflies, folded their wings upward from their body, and set them aside.

Next I decided how big I wanted the shadow box to be. I didn't measure out each box but you could if you are into precision (which I'm not) by using a ruler.  I just eyeballed how big I wanted the shadow box to be and cut out the canvas and paperboard accordingly. I then hot glued the canvas to the paperboard using a glue gun. You could use regular craft glue but I don't recommend it because the wetness in the glue will warp the paperboard.

After I had the canvas/paperboard foundation prepared I cut the skinny sticks that would be the frame of the shadow boxes. I sanded their rough edges using the nail file and painted them with a quick drying matte acrylic paint. 

Once the paint dried I glued the skinny sticks onto the canvas/paperboard foundation skinny side down.

Now it was time for the fun part!

Adding the butterflies!

Using tweezers to hold the butterflies, I carefully applied a very small dot of the hot glue to the body of the butterfly and then glued it into the shadow box. I made sure not to get any glue onto the wings so they would "stand" up and wouldn't be flat.

Once the shadow box was done I aged it by rubbing it with the nail file.  I also made little labels using small strips of beige scrapbook paper that I scribbled on. 

Overall, I really enjoyed making these shadow boxes. Most of the materials I already had at home from other various craft projects and they don't require a lot of skill because I'm not at all mechanically inclined (there's an unfinished dollhouse in a corner of my living room that can attest to this). 

I'm thinking I will try making some beach-themed shadow boxes next. If I do I'll be sure to share them here.

Thanks for stopping by!