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Pearl's Castles and Other Projects

 
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Starting this to not derail a cool thread Building materials for doll house/castle? Cardboard???  wanted to share some stuff for Nicole Alderman to look at, and anyone else who builds with cardboard. Then this thread will wander into some of my odd old projects.

From something I wrote elsewhere:
Slot and tab construction is one of the funnest things to do with corrugated cardboard, small children LOVE things out of cardboard boxes. Assuming we are starting with corrugated cardboard boxes. Cut a slot that is as wide as the thickness of cardboard (so not very) and a known size tall (I'll say 4 inches for the purpose of this) put the box you want to attach up next to the slot. Mark a tab, it wants to be the same size as your slot (4 inches tall) and the slot is half as deep (so 2 inches). Tricky part is you want the top of your tab's belly slot to end up at the bottom of the slot. Like so:



What can you do with this? Oooh, it can get weird!! I'll tell you a huge weird I did, this was ALL slot and tabbed. It was a castle at a BIG party (3 days and nights, about 1500 people) I got a lot of appliance boxes, slot and tabbed them together, cut arched windows and such in them, marked it all well. Took a truckload of stuff out to the party location and put down dumpster kill carpet in a 30 x 30 foot square, put together all my boxes, put a couple of posts in the center made of the cardboard tube that is inside a carpet roll (16 feet long) covered the whole mess with black plastic, and ran a few strands of xmas lights in it. Approximate layout was like this, but there were about 65 boxes involved, 30 foot by 30 foot square:



We lost the kids right off, poof! Into the castle and gone. There was always a parent in there when the kids were amok. At night there were guitars, and beer. I know a few people slept in there each night. Was great fun. All slot and tab, cardboard and razor knife. I  wish I had a picture of how it all looked together, I lost 10 rolls of film at one point, my archive pictures, and this was in there, along with a LOT of other stuff. I was not happy about that.

A cardboard thing I was paid to make for a dance, they wanted to take pictures in front of it. Again, big boxes. the towers were each a  refrigerator box, and the whole thing was about 9 foot high. The pic is grainy and an old scan, I think the brick markings were blue, to match the colors of the rest of the dance decor (some team thing)  fake plants all over it, gray roof. All slot and tab and paint.

 
Pearl Sutton
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A castle I was paid to build. The local Soup Kitchen sold ice cream and cappuccino out of a food truck at the Renaissance Fair, they wanted a castle to hide the truck. It had to be big enough to cover the 18 foot truck, had to fold up flat so it could be stored in a 4 x 8 x 1.5 foot space over the rest of the year, be easy to put up, be sturdy enough to not come down through wind and children, and look really nice. The pictures are old and scanned in, the originals are packed someplace.





One of the towers says Ice Cream, the other says Cappuccino. The weird dragon is original art, on a 4 foot cut round piece of plywood. The sign boards were scrap cuts from my office desks, flags and matching ruffle added class and hid structure. It could be set up easily by 2 people, was marked very clearly, and used hinges and wing nuts. Stability was enhanced by diagonal braces that were re-bar staked into the ground. In the 12 years or so it was used, it went through 60 mph winds and many small children climbing up it. It never had any problems. It was very noticeable, won awards for best booth a couple of times, and sold a LOT of ice cream and coffee.

I noticed when I moved I still have the stencils I made for the dragon, the brick arches, and the ivy.

:D

 
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Awesome castle Pearl!

Did they really have coffee or ice cream during the Renaissance? Yes, the Americas had been discovered in the Rennaisance, but I wouldn't have thought anyone except maybe the very rich would have been importing coffee? I gather that ice cream arrived in Europe from China fairly early, but again, would your average guy be standing in line for it?

I know - it was for a good cause!
 
Pearl Sutton
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Jay Angler wrote:Awesome castle Pearl!

Did they really have coffee or ice cream during the Renaissance? Yes, the Americas had been discovered in the Rennaisance, but I wouldn't have thought anyone except maybe the very rich would have been importing coffee? I gather that ice cream arrived in Europe from China fairly early, but again, would your average guy be standing in line for it?

I know - it was for a good cause!


Well, technically there weren't food trucks or plywood then either :)
If they had served medieval peasant food, they wouldn't have made much money "have some bread and peas, maybe a carrot" just doesn't have the attention grabbing-ness of "Fresh hot cappuccino!!"  :D
 
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Since beer was drunk in pottery and at any time of day, the cappuccino makes a good morning beer substitute.  All you see is the froth.  
 
Pearl Sutton
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Years ago I did an exercise from a book, Gay Hendricks “The Big Leap”  on what EXACTLY is your Zone of Genius? What makes your heart sing, your mind dance, what keeps you up all night in sheer excitement? This is part of my responses. The black text is the questions asked, the red is my answers (the purple text doesn't show up well here,) the bold is what I realized is my exact Zone of Genius. We all have one, learning to see it is hard. Selling my work will never be mine, creating it is.

What do I most love to do? Design something interesting that fits odd parameters.
What work do I do that doesn't seem like work? Design stuff. Secondary is make neat things that exist only in my head before that. Designing is the best part, but seeing it happen is fun too.
In my work, what creates the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to time spent? There is the problem. “in my work” the things I get the highest satisfaction from are NOT the things that produce the most abundance. THAT’S what needs to change.
What is my unique ability? To see possibilities, to fit things together in nonstandard ways. I look at the world differently than most people.
I can both see the concrete reality of what the parameters and resources are, and can visualize what solution can be made from those resources that fit the parameters.


I’m at my best when I’m: working out a nonstandard solution to a nonstandard problem.
When I’m at my best the exact thing I’m doing is: looking at the problem, investigating the resources, thinking on it, researching it, drawing it out if needed. (Although drawing limits me too much, that’s really a last stage thing on most designs.)
When I’m doing that the thing I love most about it is: the challenge, can you DO that with this stuff? Seeing the possibilities expand, not only can I do THAT, I can do THIS too! And THAT!! Whee!!


A story of a project. I have two best friends, one died after a year of hospitals, I was his power of attorney, did everything. The group I run with does a 3 day Halloween party every year, I did decorations for 20 years until I moved, and we were making it sort a wake for him that year. At one stage in things he had said the party needs to be held at the Prancing Pony Inn, from Lord of the Rings, so in his honor, I made the Prancing Pony Inn at the party that year.

Parameters of the project:
I had Eric's front yard, $50.00 budget I could work with, 2 people to help paint, 1 person to help install it, and any junk I had or could scavenge. I borrowed the Lord of the Rings movies and looked at the scenes, as that's what other people were expecting, I'm a reader had not seen them (didn't watch the movie, just found the right scenes, I don't like other people's visuals contaminating my brain, what I see in my head is SO much better, but seeing video etc overwrites my cool stuff.) I don't like doing anything based off what someone else did before, but it mattered to other people that I did so, as they wanted it the way they visualize it, from the movie.

Started with a bare sand yard, some stumps in the area (they got used for seating along the edges), rock wall, a couple of T posts.



I got huge cardboard boxes, and designed it, dumped it all over my driveway, and got a couple of puzzled ladies to help paint it. I tried to tell them "here are walls, this the fireplace, these are windows. One of them said "I see a pile of boxes. I see no walls, no windows, no fireplace. Just tell me what to paint." Ok then. from here to here, put a brown stripe... and paint blobs of these colors all over this area...



I made a sign for it, sort of matching the one from the movie, I'm not good at faces, that pony went through looking psychotic, constipated, and about to throw up before I got him to this expression and quit while I was ahead.



I made a fire, it was multiple layers of this sort of cut paper and hologram stuff. The layers were installed with flicker flame lights between them, and it looked really neat. Didn't photo well, because you can't see the aliveness of it.



Installed in the yard it looked like this before the fire was put in:





Once all that was up, I ran  VERY well grounded wire, buried so no one tripped on it, and installed the fire.



We added things like tablecloths and a bit more random decor people brought, tables, chairs. The fireplace hearth was made to be structural, and I actually tiled it with real tile. That made it so people could sit on it, lots of pictures were taken in front of the fireplace that year.

My favorite quotes I heard at the party about this: The lady who I quoted above about the pile of boxes "She said it was going to be a fireplace, and that I just had to paint blobs, and then she painted a bit more, and LOOK! I made a fireplace! I didn't know I was doing that!!"   Someone walking into the party "Oh cool, Eric built a fireplace! WAIT!! PEARL built a fireplace!! Oh NEAT!" A man I didn't know, who had married one of our ladies "You must be the Pearl. I was told you were making something cool for this, you MADE all this?" "uummm yeah, I guess I'm THE Pearl :) I DID make it!"  

So the best part to me of doing it all was the tight constraints: Tight budget, I bought lights, and the battery candles that are pretending to reflect in the "glass" of the windows (all cardboard, paint, and electricians tape); tight space; needed to be safe and comfortable; able to hold for 5 days (3 days plus installation and removal time); and look like what people would recognize to a point, but still be my style.

This is how my brain thrives, when it got weird with odd constraints, and something cool bubbled up. To me, designing and building it was more fun than the party. I was asked one year "if you could costume and decorate for the party OR attend it, which would you do?" No question at all for me, costume and decorate.


A random chunk of my weird designs :) Welcome to the Prancing Pony Inn in my head.
Imagine what I could have done with a higher budget and more help!

 
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VERY impressive! Wish you had all the pics you lost! I’ve done a fair amount of work with plywood over the years, and I’m most impressed by the fact that you built with cardboard and that withstood kids and high winds. That is tough to do even with plywood and lumber. Please keep sharing! I have the talent to build and problem solve, but zero artistic skill. 😕
 
Pearl Sutton
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Julie Reed wrote:VERY impressive! Wish you had all the pics you lost! I’ve done a fair amount of work with plywood over the years, and I’m most impressed by the fact that you built with cardboard and that withstood kids and high winds. That is tough to do even with plywood and lumber. Please keep sharing! I have the talent to build and problem solve, but zero artistic skill. 😕



I'm glad you like them! I love building castles. If I were rich, I'd be one of the people building something seriously bizarre as my home

The Renaissance castle was the one that withstood so much, and that one was plywood and used for years. The cardboard ones took non-structural damage from kids crawling though them, structural damage from rain if they didn't have a plastic cover and they held for a few days for the parties, and that was all. I don't think any kids ever tried to climb the cardboard ones, as it was pretty obvious you couldn't. When I took down one of the cardboard ones, three boys 8-10-12 or so were there, and they gleefully helped me stomp it all flat for loading back up to go to recycle! That was a clean up from the party task that was right up their alley!!

 
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