Saturday, November 22, 2014

Mother Goose - 1-2-3-4

How I made sections 1-2-3-4 for my Mother Goose Challenge Project

1. Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater
Inspired by other challenger's projects, I decided I wanted a pumpkin as part of mine as well.  When I noticed the gourd it was a meant to be sort of moment to me.
To make this section, I started with a 4 inch gourd.  I cut this in half and then across the top and bottom using a dremel tool and a cut off wheel.  I used same to cut out the openings.

The roof is made from a single full size faux maple leaf that I cut up.  I added some real grape vine tendrils that I painted green.
The awnings are thick paper I cut to shape using regular and scalloped scissors.  These are painted by hand using a 10/0 liner, but I could have used printies instead.  
Window box of thin card, plus foam painted brown and added yellow punched petals to make the flowers.
The window and door are from Grandtline.  I did modify the window - a leftover from another project.  I jsut added a window sill.  The shutter was cut in half to fit.
Lantern is made of grape vine tendril and a seed pod - all painted.
Interior walls and floor were printies I created or scrapbook paper.  
The hutch is brown plastic furniture (BPF).  I removed the cabinet doors from the top and added the punched plates.  The table is also BPF with a pumpkin I made years ago for swaps.
The exterior walls were painted by hand.  I used fine ground floral foam and dried tea leaves for the landscaping.  The little pumpkins I made a long time ago.  The pumpkin leaves are from a wreath/ garland.  

2. House Under the Hill
I had this odd corner that it just seems to fit to have a house under the hill.  I wasn't really familiar with this rhyme, so it was an after thought.  But I really like how it turned out.
The wall is made from a piece of paper machie pot.  This stuff is easy to use and creates great texture.  I tore it to fit.  But cut the opening for the door with my craft knife.  
The door  I finally used is Grandtline screen door that I added mesh ribbon to back.  
The interior does have wallpaper and flooring, but not really seen.
The landscaping is fine landscaping foam that I added after painting the paper machie green.
The wee lady is swap from Sue Herber (not a swap as part of this challenge).  Very sweet.
not door I ultimately used

3. Mistress Mary (How does your garden grow?)
I love Mary Engelbreit and I considered using the graphics in a book I got.  Instead I thought about the ME notepad that I had used before.  This graphic had a girl watering flowers and it just fit for me.  I simply cut it out using my craft knife - lots of tiny cuts.  Then to give depth I added a piece of matt board before gluing to the wall.
The plants are a combination of dried materials - some dyed, some painted, and green landscape foam and punched petals. 
The plastic fence was a leftover from a project but was bought online.

4. Little Boy Blue
This was a very simple one to do.
I received the haystack and little boy blue as a swap from Susie Newel.  so cute
The walls were done using graphics from ME's book - I did modify them to fit what I wanted for my walls.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mother Goose Project

Mother Goose Challenge

Updated with new front cover photos 11/23

Challenge Accepted

A challenge was issued and it was one I accepted.  I have to like the concept or theme in order for me to accept a challenge.  This challenge was issued by Pam Junk Knapp over on Smaller and Smaller Adventures on yahoo groups.  The challenge was to make a project in 1:48 scale that had a Mother Goose / Nursery Rhyme theme.  In addition to the challenge was the opportunity to participate in a swap.  I also choose to do this swap and I received some wonderful things.
Thinking about this project and how I would do it - I recalled the hollow books I have been playing around with lately.  I had wanted to make a really big book with multiple sections in it. I decided that the book idea and Mother Goose rhymes would fit nice together. 
Here is the completed project:
With children added

The inside of the book
pages side of book
back of the book
View from the top
More pics can be found in the links below and also on my picturetrail site.

Rhyme listing

These will be updated into links once I share the "How I did it" posts.
Peter, Pumpkin Eater * House Under Hill  *  Mary How does your garden grow?  *  Little Boy Blue  *  Miss Muffet  *  Queen of Hearts  *  Baa, Baa Black Sheep  *  Mary had a little lamb  *  Little Jack Horner  *  Mother Hubbard  *  Hickory, Dickory Dock  *  Pussy cat, pussy cat  *  Humpty Dumpty  *  Piggies  *  London Bridge is Falling Down  *  Three Men in a Tub  *  Row, row your boat  *  The pie man  *  Rock-a-bye Baby  *  Jack and Jill  *  Hey Diddle, Diddle  *  Old Lady who Lived in a Shoe  *  Ring a round the Rosy  *  Mother Goose  *  Three Blind Mice  *  Sing a Song of Sixpence

Lessons I have learned doing this project

At some point, I decided that this project needed to use up stuff.  Ideally this meant I didn't buy anything for it, but that wasn't to be the case as I worked with it.  But it was a good brain stretcher to do so.
- This was my first time to build boxes that had to fit together.  There a many ways to do this and it isn't that my way didn't work, but I could have saved myself some time and measuring if I had cut all the boxes at the beginning.  I also think I should have used a layer of matt board across the bottom the full size so I didn't have to later add floors.  This would have likely helped me with the issues I had around size of the whole bottom level.  
- This one was not so much a lesson that was new, more a reminder - keep an open mind about what might work.  This really was where the brain stretching came in.  I have collected so many supplies and swaps over the years that I really need to use them.  I feel really good that I did, but sometimes I had to think beyond what I wanted to do initially as I didn't have the supplies on hand.  Another time was thinking I needed to make a shoe and I concluded that I needed to use my baby shoe instead. Yet another was trying to find an egg shaped solution for humpty - ultimately I was avoiding using clay.  Not that clay is a bad thing.
- When doing multi-levels - use connectors so that the wiring can be disconnected to work on one level and not the whole thing.
- Get ideas from others - when you get stuck or just want to hear how others might do something, ask other miniaturists.  Again, this wasn't a new lesson, but a reminder of how this can help expand my thinking.  We don't have to use their ideas, but it can help us to move beyond what we have been thinking.
- Everyone has their own gifts.  Don't envy the gifts of others.  Let their work inspire you to do better, be more creative, or try harder to do what you can do. Envy will discourage you and can keep you  from seeing the worth of your own work.  This isn't something I typically have an issue with this, but it is a good reminder as well.

Overall I am very pleased to have done this challenge.  This was truly a challenge that I made my own - challenge to just use what I have.  I may have not done that 100% but I am very happy with the percentage I did.  
Psst - I did actually do one thing here in 1:12 scale - see if you can figure it out in the how I did posts I will be sharing in the next few days.

Friday, May 2, 2014

MerrieBunnie Gets a Craft Room

As I walked by  my display dome the other day, I heard a tiny voice, "Psst".  I stop and lean in and sure enough MerrieBunnie was trying to get my attention.  I lifted the dome and said , "Hi, what's up?"

Mb: "Well, that is what I wanted to ask you. Why haven't you been at your work desk much this week?"
Me:  "I'm on vacation."
Mb: "But you are here and not off somewhere?"
Me: "Well, that's because I took vacation so I could enjoy the Online House Party."
Mb: "What's an online house party? I don't see any party going on here."
Me: "No, that's because it's online.  I've been in chat all morning."
Mb: "Oh, so what are you working on lately? Anything I might like?"
Me: "Well, actually, now that you mention it, yes, there might be."
Mb: With eyes lighting up "Oh really?"
Me: "Yes, why don't you come for a look,"  picking up MerriBunnie.  "I am putting together the Thursday Night project for the HP that I purchased separately.  TNP for short."
MB: After setting her near the project, "Oh my!  I can hardly stand the thought of it!  I love it! Can I really get to live here?"
Me: "Sure.  What do you think of the wallpaper?"
MB: "They are my favorite colors."
Me: "Are you ok with that lavender window?  A fellow HP attendee said I should go with that over white."

MB:  "Oh my, yes.  I think it looks splendid with the wallpaper. Where did the wallpaper come from?"
Me: "I had it in my stash, along with the flooring and the brick paper that I used for the outside."
MB: "Wait, there is an outside too?"
Me: "Yes, see it has this nook that I am going to add a garden too."
MB: "Wow, this is a really neat project.  What goes inside the room?"
Me: "Well as a registered attendee to the HP, I received several items as souvenirs, including a desk kit, a chair, a laptop and a plant. Plus, I participated in a swap and some of those items will be included in the room as well."
MB: "What about the outside, did you get items for it as well?"
ME: "No, but I have items from previous conventions and swaps that will likely fit."
MB:  "I am so excited.  I can hardly wait until you finish it and I can move in."
Me"  "Yes, I am really enjoying this project.  Give me a few more days and it will be ready."
MB: "Tell me more about this online HP? How are you here and there too?"
ME: "Well, being online means that some things like tables are virtual.  Many other things like the sales room are real - well the dealers are real - the room is not.  As matter of fact, while I was in chat, I was also sneaking off to the dealers tables or websites. "
MB:  "This is interesting.  So what did you buy?"
Me:  "Some rabbit things, some molds to make food, and Logan helped me buy a gypsy wagon kit."
MB: "Logan, your kitty - that mean monster?  How did he buy things?"
Me: "Yes, Logan.  I understand why would call him a mean monster - he is quite large too you.  Not to mention that whole knocking things down off the counter where you were staying these past few years."

MB: "So how did he buy something for you?  He doesn't usually use your computer, right?"
ME: "Well, not that I have known of before.  But today, he put his paws on the keyboard and went to ordering things. My hubby saw.  I pointed it out to him so he would be sure to notice it. He has very nice taste."
MB:  "Ok, if you say so.  Just keep him away from me.  I don't want to get chewed on by him.  I am sure he would ruin my nice dress."
Me: "Yes, I think he would.  So I will be sure to use a case when the project is finished.  It also keeps the dust out.  However I do have to go get one - ah a trip to the hobby store."
MB: "Wait how do you chat with people if they aren't here either?"
Me: "In an online chat room - which just means you type your posts to each other.  This chat has been really fun.  People generally add their location to their id in a mini chat room.  For the costume party part of the banquet, I even changed mine to reflect my costume for a while."
MB: "What do you do at a HP?"
Me: "Browse the roundtables when they get posted for one - I didn't purchase any - maybe because Logan wasn't around to help."
MB: "Well I can see that you didn't need any roundtables you have plenty of tables set up in here to work on."
Me:  "Opps! I forgot to explain what that is - which is a small kit that's usually put together at a round table.  At an online one you just get to see the pictures and then order them from the dealers."
MB: "What else is different from an online HP and a real one?"
Me:  "Well, since I have never been to a real HP, only been to shows and Fun Day events, I can just tell what I have heard, that there are HP Helpers, Auctions, Exhibits, Centerpieces, Workshops and more.   The online HP had all those just in a different format.  The helpers, auction items, exhibits, centerpieces were all via pictures.  But there was a chance to win a centerpiece at each table.  I didn't win one though.  Workshops happened a few months ago - the ordering anyway.  But I did get a first timers gift as this was considered my first NAME HP.  Another thing a real one has is meals - at an online one we just get pictures and we travel to different places for each one - virtually of course.
Oh and I was also on the committee - Home Improvement Seminars Chair."
MB: "What is a Home Improvement Seminar?"
Me: "A presentation on how to improve the home - in this case the mini home.  Mine was on 'Organizing Swaps' which I have a lot of,"  pointing over the swap boxes stacked up.

MB: "One more thing - you said you worked on this TNP at the same time as being in the chat room - how did you do that?"
Me: "Between typing of course, but I also tend to get quiet when I work.  Although sometimes I share what I am doing with the others and have them give suggestions or inquire how they did something in theirs if they have said they had been working on it. I am about to put the desk together - want to help?"
MB:  "I would love to!"
Me: "Hold this while I get the glue…."

MerrieBunnie and I just finished putting the project together and she is just pleased as punch to have her new place to live.  Here it is
 The desk was a souvenir kit that had to be put together.  The chair, laptop and plant were also souvenirs.  In the totefavors I received the clock on the wall and the poster 'I heart minis'.
The shelf above the desk was a kit by Pam Junk I had in my swaps.  The typewriter is a metal mini that I painted.  The red poster was printed from an image on the internet.

The garden bench was signed VH, a swap from a previous online convention.  The bunny flag and hanging plant were also swaps and I don't have the name for the makers either.
More pictures can be found on my Picture Trail album here.

The TNP was a fabulous companion piece for our souvenirs.  I was really glad to have purchased it.  It was very clever in that the walls were able to be laid out in different ways.  I really liked one of the examples that had this layout and also a window so I did add a window.  I selected my window (Grandtline) and then cut the opening using a cut-off wheel in my dremel tool.
I added wood trim to the top and also around the window exterior.  

MerrieBunnie and her cousin BunnieAnn were made by Bev Corder.  In the display dome is also several other lovely characters that she made and I got at a miniature show in Atlanta.  You can see the room I made for BunnieAnn here.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

My Altoid Tin Challenge Miniature and how I made it

Altoid Tin Challenge

Back in January I issued a challenge to the LittleEnoughNews yahoo group to make a miniature using an Altoids tin or similar tin.  Due to other real life and miniature activities I wasn't able to get mine done.
The challenge produced some wonderful project including a Wizard of OZ, ME theme, Boggy bottom, something with cupcakes, and several more that I can't think to name right now.  All of which are posted to the group.  If you want to see those photos, you will have to join the group as I don't own those pics.

My Challenge project

When the challenge was going on I pulled out a tin I had on hand.  I even pulled a few items to go in it, but just wasn't able to make it then.  This week I took the time and it went together fairly quickly.
I had already determined the arrangement of my tin on its end open like a book. I even found a plastic box for that I would use.  These steps certainly helped speed the project to completion.

Base and Floor

I measured the box and cut a piece of foam core board for the bottom.  I then cut a groove in it to rest the lid portion of the tin.  Next I cut a second piece of foam core board and this one I started marking it so could fit into the depth of the tin lid and bottom. 
Here are the results of the cutting of these two pieces, Base and Floor
 The piece on the right is the underside of the floor.  One can see the notches and areas cut away to fit the tin exactly.

Here is the floor with the flooring added.  The flooring was a sample card obtained from a home improvement store to show a crackle finish.
Here is the under side of the floor in the tin itself


Once I was satisfied with the floor and base, I moved on to the wallpaper.
I have a book that I use to store wallpaper (a three-ring binder with plastic sleeves).  Wallpaper for smaller scales is so much easier to store.  But this book does have pieces of wallpaper that could be used for one-inch (1:12 scale).  I have one sleeve dedicated to raggedy theme or coordinating styles/colors.  I did find some to use so that helped speed the project up as well.
To fit the wallpaper into the tin, I cut a piece of plain paper the shape of the tin lid (used the lid as a template).  Then I pressed this paper template into the lid and cut away anything that was bent.  Once I had that, then I used another scrap of plain paper to determine the width the wallpaper needed to be for this tin.  Cut a strip wider than the tin lid template and then pressed it inside.  Repeat for other direction.  Then I could cut the wallpaper the approximate width and height needed.  
In order to avoid pressing the wallpaper into the tin and bending it unnecessarily, I placed the lid template on the wallpaper and made some cuts to the edge of the template.  Then I inserted in the lid and pressed into shape.
I learned that I didn't need so many cuts - see this pic shows the lid wallpaper and the box wallpaper after being trimmed.  Note how the one on the right has wings at the top and bottom, that was really what was needed.
When folded into the tin the wings go behind the sides or towards the bottom.
Once the wallpaper was ready - I decided to do something about the shiny edges of the tin for the room side.  I didn't want to paint as was concerned it would flake off before I got the project finished, although that might not have been the case.  Instead I used a permanent marker in a dark blue.  (I got this set of markers for a totally different craft project, but they are proving themselves of greater value more and more.)
 I test fit everything - tin, floor, base, wallpaper all at the same time.  Once I was satisfied this was all I needed to do, I added glue to the interior corners of the tin and added the wallpaper. 
I did trim the paper so it was just below the edge of the tin.
Then I set the floor in place, checking it.  Ok, good, the next step was to glue the floor in place.  After I was satisfied with the floor and tin together against the base, then is when I glued to the base.
As I looked at the project from all sides I realized I was premature of gluing the base to the floor.  I decided that I needed to add some of the flooring to the outer portion of the tin since it showed.  I pieced this together best I could - would have been so much easier to have that in place before I glued it all together.  I also added a piece back to the side of the tin where I had lopped it off.  This piece of foam core board was cut with a curve to fit up next to the box of the tin. 

This pic shows how that foam core board had to be added to fit up against the box section on the left and a small gap still on the right side.  Also shows how I pieced the flooring in the back and outside of the tin.  Looks like I need to fix a spot.

Wood trim around the base

Lastly I pulled out some wood veneer on a roll that I had been itching to use for some time. This comes pre-glued on the back. It works by ironing it to whatever is being edged.  Since this glue requires heat I made sure to test a sample of foam-core board first.  My test was very successful so I went ahead and cut my pieces. 
Wait actually I cut my pieces, painted them, trimmed them and then realized I should test.  After the test and then after successfully applying the pieces using my iron I would say that it would have been better to apply the wood first - aligning to one edge.  Then trim against the other edge.  Rotate to another side and repeat. 
The test that I did was really clean when I trimmed the wood and glue away, but having already pre-painted and pre-cut my pieces I was stuck with dealing with the glue that squeezed out.  It isn't the cleanest I would like even with going afterwards with my craft knife.  I also ended up repainting as my color was uneven.  If however I had been able to sand against the flooring edge then the glue excess wouldn't have been a problem.  
But I do love - love this product, how easy it was to use and the look I achieved even with my excess glue.  I even considered a separate blog post about using this wood veneer for edging.
So here is the finished piece with all the swaps added
To see more photos of the finished piece, check out my picture trail album.

In the shelf just under the house is even a piece of 'glass art' I made using plastic that I posted about here.
It really is a dish but not so obvious here in the shelf.  Below is a star shaped bead.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

How to make glass art from plastic

How I made art for my glass studio in miniature using plastic

Recently I designed a workshop for MicroMini Online Convention with the theme of Art in Miniature.  My design was four art studios in matchboxes.  View photos of this here or view my prior blog post about that project here.
To fill up each studio I used bits and beads to represent the student artwork.

Please note pictures are not to scale - some may be greatly enlarged relative to actual size

Glass Maker Studio Artwork

For the other studios I had beads and fibers that I could use to represent the student artwork but for the glass one I thought of a how to I had seen using a tube and a flame to make a bottle in miniature.  I figured I could play with plastic bits and flame and see what I could get.  I was super pleased with the results and had the best time playing with this process.
Also I looked for plastic to use as the door and window glass, I ran across a package of Shrink Art.  I set it aside for working with later as it was too thick for the door and window glass - well I thought it was at the time and knew I would come back to it.  But it also got me to thinking of other plastic I might have and that lead me to the simple plastic beads I had from a prior ornament project.

The following process involves using a candle flame and extreme caution is recommended. An alternative to flame is the use of an oven.  However caution when handling once heated would still be very important.

The Tools and Materials

Here are the tools and materials I used:
Metal tweezers, pliers, scissors, candle, matches, permanent markers, shrink art, plastic beads, metal rulers, aluminum foil, hot pad or folded towel, phillips head screwdriver, wire, flat metal ruler for pressing against

The Process

Having seen the bottle tutorial, I knew that plastic would melt or become pliable if heated.  I really had no idea how that would work so I just played around.
I started with holding a plastic bead in a pair of tweezers.  I knew that the tweezers being metal that the heat could transfer and travel to my fingers.  However I didn't have any issue with that with my tweezers.  But please use caution to assure you don't get burned.  The bead begins to soften before the heat transfers.  Or the bead gets too much heat and catches fire.  But if that happened I just blew it out.  Sometimes the fire on the bead discolored it and sometimes I blew it out soon enough that it didn't.

Here is a bead before it has been heated - you can still see the facets of the bead.
Here the bead has softened over the flame - the green bead is waiting to be touched with the softened bead.  The green bead hasn't been heated, but it could have been prior to this step.
It was by accident that I discovered that a heated bead would stretch when it touched unheated plastic.  So that was my next phase of playing.
Once the bead has softened, is when it can be shaped, squished, twisted, pulled, and cut.  I simply played around here to see what I could do with it.
I even added a bead to a wire head pin.  The head keep the bead on and I pushed with my pliers to shape into a flower. 
Once I discovered the stretching process from touching a piece not heated I was off and running with that phase.

 Great potential here with the stretching.  This reminds me of glass art made by a famous artist.  But a project for another day.

The stretching process does require a bit of finesse - can't pull too fast or the plastic breaks.  Also the heated piece does need to be well heated (but not on fire).
Here is some flowers made with this process

The bits I made for the studio were mostly made from this process so far.
All the items on the shelves were made by just heating the beads and either stretching them or cutting them.  As in if the bead was too large, then I used my scissors while the bead was hot to cut off a portion.

The green statue in front of the shelf was my next phase.

Shrink Art

The shrink art comes in plastic sheets.  I knew it could be heated in the oven, so I experimented with the candle flame.  That worked.  I also knew that to add designs to the shrink art could be readily done with permanent markers.  Luckily I have a whole set in my stash.  (Bought those for a totally different project with a 40% off coupon.)  Plastic sheets meant trying to cut them with scissors - works, and with punches - works but far more difficult as the plastic is thicker.
Here is a star shape I cut out with scissors, although the one in my studio was done with a punch.

This second pic is after it has been heated.  The one disadvantage to shrink art was that it tended to thicken.  That's fine for some projects but not for all miniature ones.
Sorry these are blurry, but maybe it is clear what I want to show.  The star on the right was a punched one.  The streamer tail was made because holding it in my tweezers while heating it didn't shrink.  I played with the tail with another pair of tweezers or pliers to get the stretch.  The blue pointed shape on the left was the outside of the punch shape from the star.  It squished on its own due to the uneven heating.
The roundish thing at the top was just a roundish piece cut with scissors, marker squiggles for design, then heated some to shrink and shape it.

The green scuplture above in front of the shelving - that was a scrap from punching.  I added color and then heated and shaped it.  A similar item was made same way and added to the front of the studio.
It is the clear sculpture next to the door between door and window.
When twisting the plastic, it was important to hold it in place until it cooled.
Here is another example of the before and after with the markers

Another way to heat and shape

So I decided I also wanted to make somethings in 1:48 scale for a swap I needed to do.  I had already experimented with the beads on a head pin so I knew I could make something like a bowl like shape with the shrink art, but when I tried it I was not so pleased with the shape and also it tended to become too thick for my liking.

These bowls were all made with shrink art that I colored with the markers.
I was also getting tired of holding the pieces with tweezers - not that the tweezers getting hot was a problem, just the squeezing.
My solution was to try heating the plastic in aluminum foil.  This I did have to hold with tweezers as the foil transferred the heat far too quickly.  Secondly the foil had a tendency to make the candle go out - too close to the mouth of the jar.  I experimented with adding holes to the foil so air could flow in, but was too crudely done so for a bit I just held the foil with tweezers.
however for making swaps, I decided that I should add a wire holder over the candle so the foil could rest on and above the candle.  This worked very well.

Once I used scissors to make my plastic piece smaller - heat then cut, I was able to heat nicely in the foil.
Although I could also heat in the foil and then cut after it had melted, but only after cool and held over the heat separately.  The plastic while melted tended to stick to the foil, so couldn't cut it while melted if in the foil.
 Bead before melting
In this second picture, maybe can see that the plastic is really melted and in a puddle.

The wire holder allowed me to rest the foil above the flame and then I could use the tweezers to pick up the foil and quickly rest it on a hot pad.  The hot pad wasn't necessary although I figured it gave me the ability to press and have a rounded surface with the foil.  I pressed the heated plastic with a phillips head screwdriver and rotated to make a fluted bowl.
The smaller blue bowl was made from half of what the larger blue bowl was made.  So to make the 1:48 scale art bowls for my swaps, I used a third of the beads I had. 
One thing that happened while using the screwdriver is the fluting sometimes had flashing (excess thinner plastic).  To get rid of that, I just held over the flame using tweezers - for a short time to let the flashing absorb back with the rest of the plastic.

The first pic shows with flashing and this second without. 

Another source of plastic I was recently made aware of but haven't used yet is plastic cutlery.   This might be easier to cut up into pieces first with wire cutters, but other than a different source for materials I don't know of any additional reason to source them if the plastic beads are available.