Riding the exercise bike to retreat!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Step Into My Parlor

I joined the local AA (Altered Art) group at Rosie's Art Carnival here in Florence back at the start of summer just as they were gearing up for a big project. The idea was for each participant to create a room in a box. We meet the 2nd and 4th Thursday's of the month and spent a couple of those hashing out ideas, looking at art books and generally thinking out loud about all the ways to create furniture and accessories for a doll house. In August, we went to work, with a deadline of September 26, the 4th Thursday. Hey, that's tomorrow! Good thing I finished my room yesterday. The following is a pictorial of most of the steps along the way. I had some marathon days, where I worked for hours and then it would sit for days while I thought about it. We also brought them in to our meetings for input from the wide variety of artistic talent in the group.

I started with a box found at the Good Will store that used to hold a bottle of whiskey. I completely stripped the box down to bare wood and decided on a vertical presentation that would have 2 floors. The bottom floor was going to be some sort of garden/parlor and the top a library/office of sorts. I covered the walls with paper and for the bottom floor I dug out my Club Scrap Hearth and Home stencil and created a crumbling brick wall with stencil paste.

I inked the bricks with Fired Brick and Walnut Stain distress inks and moved on to creating a circular stair case. I cut 2 circles of charcoal embossed paper and 1 of cardboard (an old cereal box in this case) and cut those into 8 wedges. I sandwiched the cardboard between the papers and glued them all together to create 8 steps. Then punched a hole in the narrow part of the wedge. I painted several bamboo skewers black and cut a couple of them into short 3/4 inch pieces. I slid all of the steps onto one full length skewer and then placed a short skewer at the side of the long skewer and at the upper right corner of the pie piece. I glued these into place one step at a time, holding for several minutes till each one dried. The entire staircase took a few hours to make.

I created a chaise lounge for the garden room out of a dollar store doll house bed cut in half and then a cushion made of fabric scraps, cardboard and brads with a fuzzy purple yarn for trim. 

Here's my girl having a cup of tea while lounging. I also created a hanging lamp from a large bead and scrap of chain and I hung an old key from a sewing hook. The little watering can didn't make it into the final design, but I thought it was cute. 

Here is the finished bottom floor with the staircase in place, a picture of my great grandfather and his friends in the 1920's hanging on the wall, a small flower arrangement courtesy of my mom and a little pair of Barbie shoes with the same fuzzy trim as the lounge chair. 

I created a little secretary desk using matchboxes and toothpicks and decided to display it with the top folded back. There's an inkwell made from a bead and a real feather I found in the yard, a small candlestick from my mom's miniature stash, a lamp made from another bead and a mini rosette, I printed some tiny vintage post cards and stacked some money on the desk too. The chair is also made from a matchbox and cushions made from fabric scraps. I also printed a miniature of one of my favorite Van Gogh's and placed it in a frame found in one of my treasure jars. 

The bookcase along the wall is made from 6 matchboxes, the bottom 2 are cut in half and glued together to form the bottom of the hutch. One of my AA friends, Beverly provided the perfect magazine clipping of books, which I cut out and mounted on cardboard for the books on the shelves. 

 The cat laying on books was from some clipart I found on the internet. I colored it with distress markers and placed it on a little pin woven rug I made from snippets of fibers in my stash. The railings are from a Tim Holtz die on the edge; Old Picket Fence I think. 

Here is an overview of the upper room. 

And here is the finished Room in a Box. Tomorrow, we all put them together and see what our "house" looks like. I'll post pictures of all the other rooms as soon as I can. Hopefully, we will get to display the house for a few weeks at the local library. This was such a fun project and has made me think of tremendous other possibilities for more rooms in a box.