Tuesday, February 18, 2020

BookNook – a bears&boxes piece

For the last few weeks I have been working on several projects at the same time. I completed this one recently, sent it to the recipient and can now share the details of its evolution.

Jay created the basic box – although basic doesn’t necessarily mean simple. It is a concept that I have used previously – where the shelves “close”.


Here’s a photo of where I began with the exterior treatment of the piece. Some areas are masked off for things to be added later. In this instance, a window, hinges and the title of the piece.


Applying the texture is a time intensive endeavor mostly due to the time it takes it to dry.


After the texture is applied and dry on the exterior of the box, I move to painting it. The outside colors coordinate with the scheme on the interior.



Once complete, I move to the inside of the box. I cut and bend card stock to fit and add it to the inside in a very specific order. At the same time, I worked on the shelves on either side adding paper and paint.


The next detail I worked on was the upholstered bench window seat. A little tricky with the sizing and the addition of padding and fabric, but it all came together.


After the exterior and the interior are finished, I move on to the details of the interior. In this case, there were loads and loads of tiny books to be covered and placed on the shelves.



There were other details as well like the three-dimensional items I created that represent a few of the books that will be on displace underneath the window seat. This bit is for “The Beauty and the Beast”.  Beside it, the makings of a small snow globe for  a shelf.




Of course, there’s a teddy bear who occupies this BookNook and he reads to his three little friends.


I also created a couple of shadow boxes that hung on the wall along with a few other pictures, related to some the teddy’s favorite books.


Here is the one side of the finished piece, BookNook.


Here you see it fully open.


Below is the center section of this box.  Making the decisions on where all the items should be placed is one of the most time consuming things.


In the photo below, you can see a bit of the exterior and how it coordinates with the interior.


A view of the other side of the closed box with the open shelves.


This is Kurt who loves books – just like me.


Thank you for dropping by and checking out my most recent bears&boxes piece.  I hope you enjoyed this window into my process.  Yeah, a bit nuts at times but I’m used to it.


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

a ‘bears&boxes’ surprise WIP

Hello from the piece parade. For a few weeks I was working incognito – sort of. I was commissioned to make a ‘bears&boxes’ piece for a birthday gift. It was a special surprise for someone who is very special to them (and to me as well, by the way). It was a delightful project to work on. Now that the gift has been given, I can show you these work-in-progress photos.

I started with nothing but an idea so I presented Jay with dimensions and details of the wooden box I would need. He crafted it expertly and helped in so many ways so that I could get the details right.

Most of these photos document my process for the outside treatment of the box. There are a couple of photos of the interior but when it gets down to the details, sometimes there isn’t much to show. Mostly it’s me thinking, arranging, thinking, arranging, deciding and then changing my mind. In the end, it comes together, and you will see that in the final photos. So let’s get started.

Here’s the basic box with the first coat of paint on top of the primer.  The part furthest from the camera is the front.


Below, the paper that I will use for the interior is pictured behind the box.


The most time consuming part of this piece is adding the texture to the outside.  It has to be done in stages with plenty of time to set up and cure.  It gives dimension to the outside and reflects the design of the paper inside.


Knowing that I will be adding the name to the front, I left space for the lettering by masking off the sections where the title will be placed.



I also masked off the places where the hinges will be.


Sometimes the details get covered up a bit, but the dry brushing of the edges and spaces adds to the effect I am after.

Once the exterior was mostly complete, I moved to the interior.  Beginning with adding text and quotes to the edges of the box.  Here’s the edges before and




Then I added the paper to the inside.



Here’s a construction of a chipboard detail that will be on the inside right.  Maybe you can guess where this is going.


I wanted the color as well as texture so I added a colored medium


and used a fan brush to add the pattern to it.


The photo below shows it mounted inside but it doesn’t accurately reflect the color.


After the major parts of the construction and design, I moved on to the smaller interior details.  It moves rather quickly from here.


And after all that, here’s the front of the finished piece.
The theme:  The Nightmare Before Christmas


This is the box opened showing the entire piece.


The centerpiece of the left side is the silhouette that is illuminated from the back with ambient light imitating dusk.  This side also includes details like 7 tiny Nightmare Before Christmas books and a bunting at the top.


The right side also has the bunting, shelves with nightshade and various other elixirs in bottles.  The 3-D pictures on the wall of Jack and Sally are among my favorites. And the bear, of course! 


The bear is dressed in a vest imitating the style of Jack’s suit.  I had to print this fabric since I was unable to find any like it that suited my purposes.  I am partial to his “Jack” bowtie, too.  He is in the middle of reading The Nightmare Before Christmas for the umpteenth time!


A close-up of the books.


A close-up of the pictures.


I love doing these pieces and have a few ideas in mind for the next ones on my list.  There’s always a work in progress – either in my head or on my table.  Thanks so much for reading!


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

In the Secret Garden – Final Photos – Part 3

This project began with the name actually. Sometimes it’s the other way around. If you have read the classic book by Frances Hodgson Burnett, you’ll remember the state of the garden. I like to think of it as abandoned but not hopeless.

As I mentioned in the previous post, my secret garden needed a gate. That’s where I will begin. This is the back (or is it the front?) of the garden. The gate has rusted and is slightly overgrown.


This is a view from the other side of the gate. Flowers still grow and bloom inside.


And from a different point of view, the wall and brick walkway.


I did say something about the flowers having a unique feature. Maybe it’s a magical garden?  How so? Some of the flowers glow from within! Here is the best photo I could get that shows that ethereal quality.


Who keeps this garden? This little sweetie.


Here you can see the entire garden with the lights on.


And this is the teddy in her finest garden dress in the secret garden.


An aerial view.  Look closely at the bottom of the photo.  See the moss covered knob?  That’s the ‘secret drawer’ for the switch for the flowers. Winking smile


Finally a photo of outside the gate at the bottom of the steps.

You can see the enamel nametag at the bottom right in this photo.  There is also a cloth label  with more details on the bottom of the piece.


This was a terrifically fun challenge to make.  It was on my bucket list of pieces I wanted to try my hand at.  I’m actually glad I didn’t get to it a few years ago, because I doubt I would have thought to include the lights.  Or if I had thought about it, I probably wouldn’t have known how to work it out.  With each piece I learn something new. I hope you enjoyed seeing how I put it together. It is currently available.

Now I am ready to get back to another piece I left unfinished.  But first!  TBAI!  Also, just a reminder, if you are interested in seeing photos from the Tokyo show, Japan Teddy Bear with friends 2018, check out my piece parade Facebook page.  You can follow some of our adventures there and also on Instagram.

As always, thanks so much for reading!!!


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