Friday, May 22, 2015

More Glitterhouses

You may be wondering why I am making so many Halloween glitter houses. Well, first I mostly want to make houses. I find it an incredibly fun endeavor. So I had to come up with a reason to make them without filling up my already too cluttered home with more craft items. My idea - make them to sell to support our Head Start school at Christmas. Every Christmas the hospital department where I work provides Christmas for about 140+ students at a school. It is a blast getting gifts for these kids and then seeing the Christmas show they put on for us each year. Last year we had some trouble finding enough people to cover all the children. I think if we sell these Halloween houses before the Christmas crazy rush, it may be easier to make some extra money and make sure we can fulfill the Christmas wish list.

Ok, now you know the why, here are some examples of the next generation of little Halloween glitter houses. These are (almost) all my designs - drafted by hand the old fashioned way with a ruler, a pencil, and graph paper. Most of these are not really decorated yet. They will get a base, some glitter, and some halloween decorations later.

Brenda Walton Sizzix special order die called "Country Cottage". I thought it was a little bland so I made a "book" (which doesn't open) as the base. I will decorate it with some kind of spooky title.  It looks pretty good. I made the pumpkins and mouse out of Sculpey clay and the tree is a Tim Holtz spooky tree die which is retired and was very hard to find.

I call this house - 3 Gable Gothic. I wanted the gables to be exaggerated to have a gothic look. Pretty happy with this design. I used purple tissue paper in the windows to let the light from an LED tea light through.

This is 5 Gable Gothic. I like it much better. It is one of my best designs. For the window panes I started using the clear hard plastic which a lot of products are wrapped in. You know the kind that it's almost impossible to open. You have to get scissors to cut the edge open and then you cut yourself. It really lets the LED tea lights shine through.

Below is Bat Wing Gothic. It took a long time and is kind of design fail. I couldn't get it to look enough like a bat. But I think when it is decorated it will be acceptable.

Another slight design fail because I made this one too pretty. I needs to be "spooked up" somehow. I don't have a good name for this house. The idea for this house came from the Cardboard Christmas website dedicated to glitter houses. The link is included here. I've since painted the base so it looks like rocks which helps some. I never can seem to center the doors very well. (Addendum - I think I will add a black vine with tiny black tissue paper roses or something like that to make it look more like halloween.)

The next house below is a modification of the above design which works much better. 

I really like how the shingles came out. There is a hole at the top of the roof to put a moon and a witch or a bat on wire there. 

I have one more that I don't have a picture of. It is my current masterpiece. Maybe I will post it later today or tomorrow. I am very pleased with this next one.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Building Houses without Insulation

I have been building houses lately, but they don't have any insulation AT ALL. I did not expect to ever say that, but it is true.

I am building Halloween Glitter Houses - also called Putz Houses. I started this project just because I wanted to do something crafty after working in my attic for many days in a row. I am enjoying it immensely.

Here are a few examples of my little houses in approximate order of building. I initially made a few houses from Howard Lamey's patterns on Little Glitterhouses just to get an idea of how they go together and what all is involved. Almost all of his houses are painted and then glittered, but I've been covering my with scrapbook paper or card stock. They will get glitter and more decor later. I thought I would do a big glitter day all at once so I'm not continually covered with glitter.

 This is my very first house. Alison decorated it for me. She's a pro at stuff like that.

The second house is not yet on a base. I haven't decided what to put it on. Alison also decorated this. The chimneys are not glued on at this time so that's one reason they look a little wonky. Both of these houses are based on the Twin Peaks pattern off Little Glitterhouses website by Howard Lamey, an incredible artist. 

This little house is a Sizzix die cut pattern designed by Brenda Walton. I think it is a little bland - that's why I made a fake book as the base for it. It is also not glued on yet. I am experimenting with trees and little clay pumpkins, mice, etc.

I actually made this pattern myself though I did copy it from something I found online at Ally Scraps the blog. Obviously this house is designed for kids. I even made candy corn from polymer clay. I have some more decorations planned for this house. The base is a large ribbon spool just like I made for the first house. 

Ok, now you see the Spider house below - one of my very favorites. It's got a black fence made from a Martha Stewart deep edge punch (which I have since broken - I have to fix it because it is too cool.) That's a spider hanging from the portico in the front. The house windows are made of tissue paper so if you put a small LED light inside, the house windows glow.

Here is another house from one of Howard Lamey's patterns called "Little Charmer". If you look at Pinterest or Etsy or Flicker, you will see many examples of this house.

I glued a little ghost on the inside of the door. There is another ghost peaking around the corner playing hide and "ghost" seek. I am really proud of both my rock work on the front portico and the shingles on the roof. My hand hurt after drawing all those details.

That's just a small update for today. I'll show some more of my more advanced designs tomorrow or the next day.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Excitement on my Street

I live about a quarter mile off a busy highway. Sirens go by often and it sets Burbank, my dog, to barking. I think she learned to howl from old Buddy, the bassett-lab hybrid who was a real pro at howling. She's not quite as effective at howling as Buddy was, but she can let you know that there is something going on.

Most days I hear the howling, then the sirens behind my house where the major highway is, but this day I realized the sirens were on my street. In fact, there were 2 large fire trucks right in front of my house.

Here is the sequence of events:

You can see that the lawn guys are looking kind of sheepish. The ironic thing is that this field is in front of the local fire chief's house, my neighbor. It's not his field though.

Ok, now back to my usual topics. Here is the last bit of insulating that I will do because the temperature is getting too hot to work in the attic consistently. Today the temperature was up to 84 degrees. I'll blow in about 10-12 inches of cellulose in the fall when things cool down again after I do some flashing around the chimney and put in baffles at the end of each joist bay. This last area is a bit of a pain to crawl around in, but I think I can get there without it being too claustrophobic.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Improving the Thermal Envelope

I can tell that the hours I've spent in my attic have made a difference in the temperature of my house. For example, 2 nights ago the temperature dropped to 28 F. Normally on a night like that with the heat set low (set on 58F - I like to sleep cool under my blankets and comforter) the temperature will drop 10 degrees overnight. This time it only dropped 4 degrees and I haven't finished with my first layer of insulation yet. I've got about 15 joist bays to go.

The photos from my infrared camera also show the difference. This way you can actually SEE the difference.
Infrared photo of my stairway ceiling before air sealing around the sun tunnel. 
Now look at the difference afterwards. I have not put down a layer of insulation in front of the Sun Tunnel yet because I just foamed it. The camera in both photos is not calibrated to the same temperature, but you can still see where the warmth escapes. And you can see that the area around the Sun Tunnel no longer transmits heat.

The center circle is the Sun Tunnel itself which is not insulated at all. It is basically a transparent dome surrounded by a tube of very shiny aluminum to transmit light to dark areas.

This photo shows a soffit in my kitchen before and after insulation.  Again, the camera is not calibrated the same because I don't know how to do that. But you can still see that there is much less heat transfer in this area.