Barbie for big girls.

Doll Diorama

The Wall Panel: The Painting Phase 1

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This phase believe it or not…took the longest in this whole process.  When spray painting in 1:6 scale, there is one cardinal rule…..PATIENCE.  Multiple thin coats gives the best results.  I had a large computer box that I had saved to do spray painting projects in.  I put a smaller box inside then laid the wall panel flat on that smaller box inside the bigger box.  I have spray painted many, many small pieces of doll furniture but never a large wall panel.  I was a little worried about my finger strength because I know even coverage relies on consistent and even spraying.  I found something in my hardware store that made it soooo very easy to spray paint.

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I am never going to do another spray paint project without this handy dandy plastic spray gun.  They are fairly cheap too..double yeah!  I used Dover white Krylon paint formulated for painting plastic.  It took me a good part of one day to paint this panel.  You have to spray one coat then wait about 15 – 20 minutes and do the next coat.  I lost track of how many coats I did but there were more than 10.  It is also important to note that if you are spray painting, you need the air temperature to be above 50 degrees and below 85 degrees for best results.  One other thing I learned..the hard way…make sure you have a couple of cans of  spray paint and that these cans were purchased at the same time.  Much like fabric, spray paint has a certain die lot and if you buy paint at different times, it can have slightly different hues.

Stay tuned tomorrow for The Wall Panel:  The Painting Phase 2……..


The Wall Panel: Construction Phase

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I have a collection of what I call “gold embellishments”.  Most are scrapbooking elements.  I also use gold escutcheons ( keyhole cover) and other gold embellishments.  On this wall panel, I used Jolee’s Boutique scrapbooking elements called Leaf Flourish 2 and two larger wood elements that I found at Michael’s.  The wall panels and wainscoting panels are made out of Resin and are made by Lawbre.  I don’t believe they make the large panels I used anymore but the wainscoting is still readily available.  The crown molding I used at the top is Lawbre also.  I ended up using another molding at top of crown molding called egg and dart and I used that on the base board at the bottom to give the piece continuity.  The columns are flat resin pieces found at a miniature mail order shop.  I also used two basic wood miniature shutters on the bottom of the columns to continue them to the floor.  The baseboard for this panel are just two pieces of miniature baseboard glued one on top of the other.  I covered all the seams between the components with miniature 1/4 inch chair railing and used the same chair railing to connect the flourishes on both large panels.  I glued everything in stages and made sure things dried in between.  The picture above shows what it looked like after gluing all the pieces.  All of these components were glued on to a 22inch x 28inch trifold foam presentation board.  The finished panel measures 15 1/2 inches X 18 1/2 inches.

Stay tuned tomorrow for The Wall Panel:  The painting phase…..


The Wall Panel background

I have always been fascinated by old world architecture.  My family and I travel and invariably, our travels will include visiting an old museum or estate so I can see the architecture.  I have a particular fondness for ornate wall paneling.  Don’t know why…just the way I am.  I had always wanted to do some kind of ornate wall panel for my 1:6 scale photos and thought about it for a looooooong time.   Whenever I would see something that might be interesting or work for my “wall panel” project I would buy it and put it in my project box.  At the beginning of this year, Matt Sutton  finished a commission OOAK doll for me and when I received this exquisite lady, I could see her in a setting with an ornate cream and gold wall panel in the background.  I knew it was time to finally put my thoughts to action.

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Explored on Flickr Jan 19, 2011

A number of people have emailed me asking for details on how I built the wall panel so I thought I would share that here.

The Wall Panel:  Design phase

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I gathered all the elements I had collected over the last two years to see what would work together and what would not.  I ended up using miniature scale wall panels and a wainscotting panel to start then filled in with crown molding and  column detail.  I knew from the start that I wanted the wall panel to fit on a 22 inch X 28 inch trifold presentation board.  I have used these boards in the past for backgrounds in my photos and the size works really well in my 30 inch photo tent.  In the photos, you can see that I used a piece of furniture to try and get the right feel and scale for the panel.

Once I decided on the larger components, I played around with the smaller detail elements.

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Stay tuned tomorrow for Wall Panel:  The construction phase…….


Shopgirl’s fancy shop gets a name and some press

Ahh Photo shoot Friday yet again. Many, many different projects going on this week. First and foremost, Shopgirl’s fancy shop received a name and it’s Grand Opening photo shoot. I had to set it up on the table in the doll room so it had better light for the shoot ( thank goodness for the good weather this week!!) I had to fit in bits and pieces of time for the photo shoot throughout the day so I could get the best light – afternoon works the best with the maximum amount coming in through the doll room windows. Here is the setup

The photos turned out pretty good and I spent a huge chunk of time photoshopping and tweaking. Then a brainstorm hit and I decided to do another slideshow set to music just showing the shop and introducing the shops new name. Now there is a whole other story…..how did I decide on the shops name. I decided I couldn’t just keep calling it Shopgirl’s fancy shop. It needed its own name. It needed something classy to fit with Shopgirl. It needed something French as it felt like a European style shop. I bounced ideas of my trusted in-house technical support. He suggested I try translating directly “fancy shop”. Translated to French it read ” Boutique de fantaisie “. I looked at my technical support and he looked at me…..something was not quite right. “What?” he says, “Sound too much like an exotic dance place??”. Yep, it did. So off to find a better name. After much discussion we finally settled on “Belles Choses”. Translated, it means beautiful things. Yeah!! Shopgirl finally has a name for her beautiful shop. I finished up the slideshow and then began the arduous task of converting it to WMV (chug,chug,chug goes the computer) and posted it to youtube for everyone’s viewing pleasure. I think it turned out really cute. The snappy music is from the soundtrack “Miss Pettigrew lives for a Day”. A number of people have asked for more information on the lighting fixtures in the shop. Here are some more up close and “behind the scenes” photos of the shop.

The white panels with the gold embellishments are just mirrors from some Disney princess sets that I painted white (Krylon white spray paint for plastic ) and added gold scrapbooking photo corners to. The light fixture is a doll house candle sconce that I made look bigger by adding a gold escutcheon ( fancy word for keyhole cover). The light fixture could work if you wanted to drill a hole through the back of the plastic mirror. I was too lazy so that light fixture does not work. The built in display shelves have working lights however. They are just the clip on book lights that you find everywhere. Notice how I like to reuse silkstone boxes to LOL! I always love the “behind the scenes” photos from other people’s doll blogs so I hope someone else will find these of use. I also wanted to show the absolute carnage in the doll room after one of these shoots.

There is usually stuff everywhere because when the light is good, I’m just pulling stuff out and getting it set so I can get the shot. I worry about clean up much later. I was also able to do a phototent shoot that day and used a seldom used model in the silkie world…Chataine. I recently aquired some outfits from Fashion Boulevard. I LOVE them. Here are a few shots from that set

. Well that about does it for now.


Photoshoot Friday – Shopping for Props

Instead of spending this beautiful sunny day in the Pacific Northwest inside with my photo studio, I decided to go shopping for some photo shoot props.  My friend Jane and I set off to one of our favorite places to shop for unique things….Snohomish, WA.  If you have never been there, it is an adorable little town right on the banks of the Snohomish River.  It is known for its historic small town Americana feel and its unique boutiques and antique shops.   I have some favorite places I go in Snohomish where I usually find smaller scale items that work perfectly for my dioramas and photos.  I have two rules when shopping for props.  1) Right scale and 2) relatively inexpensive .  If I find something extraordinary….of course I might increase my budget a bit.  Today….I had to increase my budget a bit on one item because it was just too fun to pass up.  Here are photos of what I found.
The first photo shows a lovely jewelry box which is about 7 inches tall.  Pefect for a tall credenza in a diorama.  The little embossed urn will be in future photos – lovely background piece.  The little trees will work in many dioramas and photos.  Lastly, on  top, is the fantastic statue complete with fig leaf LOL!!  Must use this as a photo prop if it is the last thing I do. The bottom photo shows all the of the wall art I found.  Today was definitely a wall art day.  Sometimes you will find many things and other days  – nothing!  The nice thing about all of these pieces is that they are very thin and light so they are in scale when they are hung on a wall and they can be supported on a wall easily (ie with a pin or double sided tape).  I look forward to using these items soon and sharing the resulting photos.   Sorry, no photoshoot photos to share but something photoshoot related.