Welcome to my life . . . .

This is a blog about my passion: dollhouses and miniatures. This particular blog was started to follow my miniature dream: to create a Victorian Mansion. But work on my Mansion is slow. Very slow. Sloth slow. Ice Age glacier movement slow. Why? Because I am easily distracted by other personal miniature projects (I have 50+ roomboxes and 15 dollhouses in various stages of incompletion) and because I work for a miniature shop and am often up to my elbows in miniature projects that aren't mine! So, I thought, some artists work in a particular medium (woods, watercolors, clay, oils, etc.), I work in progress . . . .

Friday, October 14, 2016

Pumpkin Crazy (Part 1)

Yes, this post is part 1 of who-knows-how-many Halloween themed posts because my craziness comes in stages...

I have an unfinished witch scene that needs a pumpkin. But I'm not happy with just a pumpkin; I want one that's carved AND lights up. I have not found a realistic looking carved pumpkin that I could add an LED light to, so I thought I would just make my own. This was a scary for me as I have never used FIMO before.  Don't get me wrong: I've collected over 3 dozen FIMO packages in various colors. But I have never actually created with it before.

Step one was rolling up aluminum foil balls to wrap my FIMO around (a tip I read about on a FIMO advice website regarding crumpled aluminum foil as a filler center for beads). This hurts after about the 4th ball! And why is it so hard to get a decent size and shape?!?!?

Step two (which took about 45 minutes) was massaging the old, dried-out, hard, unknown-orangish color block into a softened clay and mix it with a recently bought 033 Sweet Potato color block.
Trying to match the color and shape of the resin pumpkins in the background
I did research and found that adding just a drop or two of baby oil softens it up a little bit (or at least it made my hands feel nicer after that rough job of rolling the tin foil and now all this kneading).

Step three was wrapping the tin balls with the orange FIMO.
Using a needle I drew little lines to simulate a pumpkin. I forgot that my FIMO would add up to 1/8" onto each side so now my perfect sized pumpkins are much larger than I had anticipated. Well, she's a witch so she used a miracle grow spell on her pumpkin patch, right?
Okay, maybe they aren't too large: they'd be about one foot in diameter in real life...pumpkins are that big, right?
Step four: baking! I've never been great at cooking. I do okay. But no fluffy light meringues or souffles or perfectly prepared steaks have ever come out of my oven. But I was hopeful my clay pumpkins would come out decently as FIMO's directions on my box were very simple: "bake at 275°F for 15 mins per 1/4" thickness". Hmmm...that is contrary to my research that says cook FIMO at 230° F for 30 mins/quarter-inch-thick.
I used disposable tin pie pans clipped together to cook my FIMO in. I don't remember where I saw that (probably on that FIMO advice website) but I liked the idea of containing any smells in a container instead of throughout my oven and house.

I did 230° for 15 minutes for my less than 1/8" thick FIMO pumpkins. I'm a gambler so we'll see if that works. (And now you know why no meringues or souffles or perfectly prepared steaks come from my cooking abilities.)

Step 5: After letting them cool for a while, it's time for cutting faces! (Let's not take that sentence out of context!) Eyes and nose cut alright. But while cutting the mouth, bits between the mouth and nose chipped off. Thus my face became just a mouth and eyes.
I continued "carving"...
It became obvious to me by now that my FIMO has issues. I'm not sure if my over-a-decade-old, unknown-orange color, remoistened-with-a-drop-of-baby-oil FIMO is causing the issue or if I baked the pumpkins too long or not at a high enough temperature. But it is brittle, and fine cracks are appearing around where I am "carving".  It's a carved pumpkin though, so I am happy!

Step 6. Time to use my forceps to pull the tin foil out. What? This tin foil stuff doesn't come out easily!  Tiny pinched bits get broken off at a time. Ten minutes later and I've hardly made a dent!

After many minutes (30? 40?) I was able to get the majority of the foil out. But the last large chunk caused the smaller stress fractures to crack completely.

Now I'm left with pieces. Well, when life gives you lemons (or smashed pumpkins), make lemonade (or a whole new miniature scene to go with the smashed pumpkin)!
Made Mr. and Mrs. Killjoy's residence

My sister-in-law suggested I use the pumpkin in a Halloween vandalized scene (Thank you, Ashley!)...thus the Killjoy's residence was born and their pumpkin was smashed by the neighborhood kids...
Door is "egged" by the over 8 crowd
More on Mr. and Mrs. Killjoy next time in Pumpkin Crazy (Part 2) once their residence is fully finished!  And, don't worry, my witch does get her pumpkin as well (Pumpkin Crazy (Part 3) coming soon)!

1 comment:

  1. Hi, Lori - I love the way you've made pumpkin lemonade! Your smashed pumpkin scene is funny and creative - nice work. I do feel your frustration at the crumbly Fimo and the recalcitrant tin foil; but your recovery was great. I'm looking forward to Part 2.