Saturday, November 19, 2011

Using Swaps - 1:48 scale Halloween Indoor Outdoor dome

Last week I received 50 swaps as part of the 2011 QC online convention.  (Read previous blog post for more on that.)  As I was looking at them in the divided box they are in at the moment (just the convention swaps, not into my sorted by theme boxes), I thought how neat this Halloween themed table is.  It was made by Marcia Beardsley.

the table with hat was the swap, the extra things were swaps as well.  The candy apples were from Carolyn Petry. The pumkin face cake by Jayleen Salter. The bat tree by Kathy Barnett.

It just called to me that I needed to do something with it and a few others I got.
The more I thought on it, I decided to see what I had to display in.  I have a small dome I picked awhile back that had something in it, but I cleaned it out waiting for a mini to display. 

Ok, so this dome is good.  But I have this other item and it would be good for outdoors.  Mmm, could I do an indoor/outdoor scene in this dome.  Yes, I can. It is tight, but I don't have that much. 
I did check my theme box and had only a few things I thought I would use. 

I cut out the pieces for the dome.  I just measured and test fitted. 
At first I thought well this wall is too tall for an ordinary house, so let's add a second floor.  I tried that but once I got it together and added the items to see how they would look, it was not working.  The dome is 4 inches in height and so for two floors is converted to 8 feet each section.  But the floor hanging over wasn't right with lighting and also one of the swaps I am using needs extra height (bat tree).
Another issue is I had not allowed enough room in the dome for the sides to have any trimming.  That's ok.  Have to repaper this wall due to the two floor issue, will just cut down the sides and the base.
I got all that back together and I thought, well I want to keep the round window I added to the top floor but what about the area for the outside?  Mmmm....well, this is Halloween and one decoration I have considered having in real life is a crashed witch.  I knew I had a flag pole from a swap, so I used that to test in the dome.  Yes, that will work.  Although I did decide to not use that item because I didn't want to remove the flag and also the flag shouldn't be on the pole at night without lights.
Ok, I dig in my stash to make the witch.

Here's how I made the witch:
First, I decided I would use a wire form for the body.  I have made these before and I have a gig I made because at one point I made some round tables with wire dolls.  I also had some already bent, so used that.

I added green silk ribbon to the legs.  (I should have painted the purple stripes on now, but didn't.)
I didn't have any black ribbon that was wide, so I used 4mm black ribbon to wrap the arms and body, gluing spots to hold in place as I wrapped.

I really wanted a black skirt, so I thought I would use the green ribbon and paint it.  Maybe the green would still be there on the inside.  (it wasn't but ok)  I glued the green ribbon into a loop and then used needle and thread to gather the circle to make  the skirt.  I added it to the body and then pulled my thread to tighten around the waist and tied it off.  (I should have painted this before I put it on her, but I am just going too fast for my own self. lol)  Before I moved on, I did make myself paint the skirt and no the paint bled through, but ok.

Next I thought about her cape.  I tried paper but quickly realized that wasn't going to drape.  I glued two strips of the 13mm wide green ribbon together.  I made a pattern from the paper of the shape I wanted (round with a big wedge cut out).  Then I applied glue around this pattern to the ribbon.  I made sure not to glue the paper to the ribbon.  Next I cut out the pattern from the ribbon.  Silk ribbon has tendency to stain from glue and I used that as my cutting guide.  Then I painted the ribbon black.  This actually gave a really nice black with green undertone.  (Should have done the skirt that way, but not going back.)  Knowing that paint can make the fabric stiff, I went ahead and put the cape on.  It pretty much stuck in place, but I glued it in the front to be sure.  I had also moved her arms into place so the draping of the cape worked as well.  I had decided she was still hanging onto her broom that is trapped between her and the pole.  Knowing that helped to determine where her arms would be.

At this point I decided I better paint her stockings.  I use a 10/0 liner to paint thin lines.  I carefully paint one side at a time. (note to self, take time to do whatever before moving on to the next step - like paint lines on stockings.)

To do her shoes I made a tiny cone that was wide enough at the opening to fit over the bent wire foot.  It fit on the ends.  I then cut a squarish bit of paper and glued to bottom of the foot and so some was sticking out past the heel.  While the glue was wet I wrapped that end around the heel and and ankle to make a boot.  I then glued the rest of the paper around the foot and left it a bit open around the ankle.  I painted the boots after glued on.  It was tendious, but I use my 10/0  brush just for this purpose.  It also helped that the legs are wire so could be bent to help get to spots.

Last I made her hat.  I started with a cone and then a circle from paper.  This is just a quick cut out of a circle.  I cut a slit to the center and then cut another circle inside it for the cone to be inserted.  I glued the band back together at the slit, then I inserted the cone.  To attach the cone to the band, I cut small slits to the band in the cone from the under side and glued those down.  Painted it all over with black.
I added pulled bunka for hair and glued the hat to the body. 

 Her broom is a wood stick and some straw or grass.

To make the pole I used a hollow tube I had on hand.  I bought one of each of several sizes a while back just to have on hand.  First time I've used them.  To cut the tube without crimping it, I gently squeezed to score it with my wire cutters and continued this scoring while rotating it.  Then I was able to snap it apart and it didn't bend/crimp. yeah.  The top is a star bead, I used a toothpick to connect it and trimmed then painted the toothpick.  It is inserted into a cardboard circle for a base.  I covered the base at the same time as the wood base of the dome using landscape foam.  I didn't want to drill a hole for the pole and wanted the base to blend with the grass.

Next I added siding to the outdoor.  I used some 40 lb weight paper.  I used my cutterpede (a scrapbooking tool for cutting paper) to quickly cut the strips for siding.  Once dry, trimmed the outside and the window.  Painted the siding and also the edge of the wall.
Painted the window and glued in place. Also cut a interior window frame and painted it.
Here is the completed outside

Note the spiderweb in the bushes and to the pole.
The ghost and pumkin cutout was another swap from Denise Sanders that helped inspire me to do this as an indoor/outdoor project.

For the inside, the flooring is a paint sample picked up at a local home improvement store showing the crackle finish.  The brick trim is a leftover from the attic project.  Wallpaper is some from my stash, think it is real life wallpaper and was from a materials swap.  The window is by Grandtline.
Here's the finished indoor side.

bats on the wall and pumpkins at the floor are from prior convention and are confetti, the ghost is a prior convention swap, it is very simple - fabric over a wire frame and draw on eyes.  Cute.  The cat shelf was made by Susan Watkins.

Hope you enjoyed my little scene and my how to's.  Please feel to leave a comment, if blogspot will let you.  It is annoying the way it works.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Making Swaps: It is Worth It!

In between my college homework this year I made 53 totefavors or swaps for the 2011 Quarter Connection Online Convention.

here's a pic of what I made

a chocolate bunny in a paper basket with no-hole beads for eggs

here's a different view
I handcut the paper rabbits which were folded in half to be double sided.  Some have beads in the body to give it dimension.  I used a fun foam circle in the basket to raise the bunny and beads to use fewer beads.  I wanted it to look like wrapped candy eggs.

In return I received back 50 swap items. 
(Three of the swaps I sent were kept to be used as fundraisers for the convention.)

The items vary in creativity and variety.  The theme for this convention was home for the holidays and most people created using a holiday.  The numbers are for me to use later for reference.  I like to say who gave me what when I use them later in a project.  I found that I need to record a good description, but taking a photo is even better.  If you notice there are two green wreaths with a bow and gold balls.  With the photo I will easily be able to say, who made the one I use.
I do keep track of my list on my computer.  I do this in MS Access but started in MS Excel.
I do seperate my swaps from the notes and wrapping that come with them.  I do this because I want to store similar theme/type of items together in my swap storage boxes.
This was my 7th online convention and so 7th time to participate in the swaps.  I have done more swaps than just convention, but my point is that, I believe it is worth the effort to make 53 of something to get 50 somethings back.  The key is that I make 53 of the same thing (although could make 5 different sets of 10, or whatever to total 53) and get back 50 different somethings.  Many of these I would have never thought of and some I would never make.  There is always a wide variety of what one gets and any that are maybe not so great are made up for by the generousity of another.  Either the more than enough amount that some give or the super special quality of another. 
I treasure all that I get no matter if I don't have plans for them now.  Even if the quality of the work is a little less, I can still do something with them. 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

1:12 Scale Scrapbook Dome: Part 1

My favorite hobby is miniatures.  When I make something that turns out great or have the pleasure of buying them, I get giddy.  But minitures can be expensive. So I often make them myself, but doing them DIY takes time.  Making them in general takes time.  So for a long time I resisted adding scrapbooking as a hobby. 
Scrapbooking isn't a cheap hobby, either.   First, is printing the pictures.  I take lots of photos - even more now that I have gone digital.  Raising two children on a budget left little room for printing but I did print the film ones over the years.  When it came to albums I didn't have the extra for those, so I was storing them in boxes.  They were all organized so nicely in order. 
But one day, my children wanted to look at them.  I let them.  Pictures are made to be shared.  But I didn't watch them very well with them not thinking they would not be so ocd about keeping them in order like I would.  So yes, they were all mixed up.  That's the day I decided I had to do something.  I had to do something to share them in a way that I was comfortable with.  That was the day I decided I couldn't resist the scrapbook hobby anymore.

This scrapbook dome is my tribute to my other hobby.  A in process project...

This dome just screamed buy me at a thrift store.  This is what it looked like before.
What I didn't realize was that the opening was smaller than the overall dome.  So I had to figure out a way to use it.  My solution was a floor that folds.

With the floor flat inside

Other things I have done so far:
I made the table using foam core for the top, fabric to cover,
wood dowels for legs.

Showing the brace detail, I cut paper strips for the brace, drilled a hole in the dowel leg and add a pin for the joint.

I purchased a cat from at a show and then repainted it to look like my Juni.


This weekend I was able to work on miniatures again (going to college so have to do homework for class first - which leaves little or no time generally for minis). 
This is what I finished.
Do you see it?  In the middle, of the real thing....
Well here's a close up of it.

To make this miniature I used black cardboard for the backing.  Then I scanned the color sheets and printed on photo paper (wanted them to be shiny).  Used 4 mm silk black ribbon around the outside, plus some fringe cording around that.  The markers are made from price tag stems.  I painted after adding them to the sides.  The pen loops were made using the same silk ribbon, but I added a line of glue down the middle of the ribbon, then cut it in half to make a 2mm wide pen loop.  The scissors are from a hook and eye that I cut apart and the blue craft knife (with black end) in the flap was sanded wood.  The one in the middle is from the price tag loops.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Quarter Inch Scale Attic roombox

Wow, it feels like forever since I made minis.  For what I have shared on my blog would be since April, but I did work for the QC Convention coming up in November several different months since then.  I really shouldn't feel deprived, but it just seemed like a long dry spell.
I have been going to college through Bryan College's Adult Studies Program that I started in March.  I won't  finish until June 2012, so I have to catch my mini-time when I can.  This past weekend, I finished my homework for the week and with no other plans, I decided to make minis.
I thought about what I wanted to do all week beforehand, just the planning and thinking about what I was going to do was fun.  I have quite a few projects that I have started that I could work on, but I finally settled on a swap from 2007 that included a kit.  Wow five years ago!  It doesn't seem like that long ago.

Attic roombox swap
In 2007, I participated in a lot of swaps.  Because I was doing swaps every month, I didn't have time to do as many projects.  This one was a really special swap as we got a roombox kit from one of the swappers.  The other swaps were wonderful as well.
Deciding to finish this as a weekend project was a really good idea for me.  It did take me all weekend because I did other things around the house, like grocery shopping, laundry and watch movies with DH. 
I messed up on the wallpaper twice.  Fixing it slowed me down.  First mistake was choosing to print the printies on plain paper.  I have an  HP printer and I normally use some HP brochure paper to print my wallpaper.  I have had great success with using the combo of all HP products so I should have know better.  But I was out of the lighter weight brochure paper and used the plain paper instead.  When I glued it down - I use tacky or ultimate, but ultimate was runny and could have been part of my problem.  When I checked it to go to the next step I found the paper had turned reddish in several places.  So I removed it (wetting it helped remove it the fastest).  Reprinted on some HP brochure paper I had that was thicker.
I glued that paper on and continued.  After getting the wall stud pieces on and the walls are glued to the floor, I realized that I had used the roof as the floor.  The thing about that is I should have figured that out sooner because I should have checked my parts better.  I even dry-fitted the side wallstuds that were two seperarte pieces with the chimney and saw the hole didn't line up, but I was overly confident I had my pieces figured out.
Only reason I figured it out was when I test fitted the roof (acutally the floor) and figured out there should be a hole in the roof for the chimmny.  I thought the hole when in the floor but it wasn't lining up and so I just assumed it was cut wrong.  I figured out I was the one wrong.  Because I had glued my wallstuds to the wallpaper, I had to reprint the wallpaper again.  when I removed the wallstuds from the wallpaper there were places where the tears would have been ok but in others was just too much.
Thankfully I had figured out the wetting idea and so that was a quick fix the second time around.
So I learned to print only on HP paper (because that is my type of printer) for best results and secondly, if it isn't fitting together properly, try using the other pieces.  Don't assume the kit is wrong, consider that I identified the pieces wrong.
With regards to my second learning experience, it would have helped if the kit maker had done something to label the parts.  Either a small drawing of each piece or a label or something.  Even a simple - the roof is the one with the hole would have helped me.  So for my own kit making I will continue to label the pieces to help avoid confusion.  And no I am not saying this was a bad kit or I am better at kit making, just something that would have helped me.  This was a great kit.

Things I did different than the kit:
First I made my own newsprint wallpaper.  The kit did not include the printies already printed.  We had been provided with the pictures to print ourselves.  I make my own, I went to my local paper on the internet and made copies of the thumbnails of each page of the most recent edition.  Because they were thumbnails not meant to be readable and that was ok because they weren't readable anyway.  But it is neat for me to know what is there. 
Second, I used the siding shingles on my roof.  These were made of paper and thinner which I like.  I had decided I would use a gray wash on the roof so using wood shingles was not important.
I made my own siding from the brochure paper I used to print my wallpaper.  It is thicker than plain paper.  I got out a paper crimper that my mom gave me last year in some scrapbook stuff.  (She got it at a yard sale.)  I ran the paper through a few times as I wanted many indentions to give me a look of abestos siding that was popular on houses for awhile.  I think cut into .5 inch strips.  Then I used scissors to cut the shingle sections without cutting apart.  I didn't mark them before cutting so sometimes when I overlapped the previous row, my cuts lined up instead of offset.  I was okay with this.
Third difference I did was to not stain anything.  I did this partly because of time and allowing it to dry, but I based my decision on the idea that an attic is sometimes unfinished and staining to me gave to much finishing.  Also some of the components may have been stained prior to the kit shipping to me.  I left those as is except on the back wall on the shingled side I painted the roof trim as stain didn't seem to match up with my painted roof and siding.
Fourth difference is that I painted my roof and painted the siding I made.
Here is my finished project:

Click this link to see more photos of this project.
All the items were from the swap.
attic kit - lp designs - Liz Smith
barn framed print, gold frame silhouette, brown wreath, pink and silver lamp, red/white/blue wreath, cardboard boxes, heart wreath, 2 blue policemen, yellow, blue and green bowls - Joyce
hump back chest, mannequin - Karen Cary
hat boxes, wood chest (opened) silver hat stand with blue hat - Ruth Frank
phonograph, black mantle clock - Laura Miller
white shawl (in opened chest) - Bobby Bain
black, burgandy, tan, royal blue suitcases and 3 leather books - Joann Jacot
a 3 section christmas tree in box (in the box in the back), christmas ornaments in box, santa, box of garland and wrapping paper - Doris McIntryre 'Pooh'
beat up old dresser with mirror - Preble McDaniel

Sunday, April 10, 2011

1:48 scale Valentine Candy box room

This week I finished (nearly as needs chairs) my Valentine room made on a heart shape candy box.
Here's how I did the box.
    1. I purchased a 4" valentine candy box.
    2. I decided that the lid and base would be combined to make a base.
    3. I cut the sides so I could fit them together.
    4. Next I added some tabs to the white box so it was hold together.
      Glue and clip to hold while drying.
      1. I added some foam pieces in the center of the hearts to support the floor.
      2. The floor was cut from matt board.  I traced around the two combined hearts.
      3. I glued the floor to the heart base using some cardboard tabs that I glued to the edges of the heart and the underneath of the floor.
      4. I applied glue to the floor and then added a light color carpet (velour).
      5. I trimed the carpet next to the heart base.
      6. I added red foil (gift wrap) to the white heart so both sides of the heart where red.
      7. I added some trim just below the carpet and another trim around the edge of the heart base.  I painted the base that extended red before applying the red trim.

    The items in this room except the tables all came from swaps.

    The glass table was made by cutting a top from plexi glass, the sides are a metal finding that I used my dremel tool to cut apart.  The same with the brace at the bottom.

    The round table is made with a plastic desicant container.  I added gold ribbon around the base.  The red topper is a red foil that I got in a swap.  I cut to 1 1/2" square and then carefully shaped to fit over the base.

    To completely finish this project I will need to make two chairs to go with the table.

    See more photos of the 'finished' project here:

    Tuesday, March 22, 2011

    My Valentine Party - Part 2

    Read part 1 below if first time seeing this project.
    • Bottom: painted it white all over, then I came back with the red.  At first I thought to try the stripes, but I didn't like that so just went with the red on the outer flat of the leg. 

      • Top:
        •  I went to a show and I just happen to pick up some shelf edging that is lacy.  It is for 1:12 scale but I was happy with it for this application.  I used a portion of the middle one. I trimmed some from the solid part.  If I didn't get that I would have most likely used paper scissors with the fancy curves like Joann did with hers.  I have a smaller scallop would try or even just a wave.  It would be possible to cut once and then go back with same scissors and carefully cut additional curves.  Or I would get out my craft knife and do some curves free-hand.  I did just purchase a swivel head craft knife and would have tried that.  I wouldn't have worried if each curve was even, just does it look good overall on the sections that get seen at any one time.
        • I painted the lace edging white (it was ivory).
        • I cut a piece of thicker paper ( 48 lbs) that I used to print the chair hearts on in a strip that would be narrower than the section of lace edging I will use.  I painted this red.  With the table upside down, I glued this around the top.  Not to the table but to itself and removed from the table and it is just a ring.  I glued this ring to a piece of paper bigger than the circle.  I also inserted the table in this ring so can be correct shape while drying.
        • Then glued the lacing edging around (on top of) this ring. This allowed me to get a two tone coloration like Joann but different. Then when completely dry I carefully cut around the circle which became my table cover, which fit right over the table top quite snug.
      • Place settings
        • I used the plates and napkins from Joann's blog. 
        • The utensils were metal etched.  I got a new set of these at the show I just attended.  These things were remarkable but wow working them is tedious.  They have to be cut from the framework and had to use scissors as the craft knife couldn't do it.  They also had a tendency to want to disappear. I was scared I was going to lose one, but they always fell in my lap.  Glad I got them as they do add to the table.
        • The glasses are from some sort of light bright type peg.  These have a round end.  I cut a portion from the stem and then used a pink permanent marker to color them.
        • The table favor boxes are printie from Joann's blog.  The handle is a thin strip cut from paper.  I cut them out using my sharp craft knife and then used the back of the knife to score.  I then carefully folded them using tweezers and to get a good crease, I used the rounded end of my tweezers against the fold.  
        • To fill them I used two hearts 5/32" punched from paper.  One double layered and the other I wrapped in pink candy foil I saved from some real Valentine candy.  I also had some punched hearts 1/16" - same I used previously on the chair back, to glue 2  to a piece of wire, then added a glossy glue to make them look shiny like suckers.  I painted the wires white.
      • Party Hats
        • I used some shiny paper from my stash.  I think it might be wrapping paper.
        • I cut a small triangle (the lines are about 5/16" apart.)
        • To make it cone shaped, I curled the left point to the center and then rolled it around and glued it.
        • Next I trimmed the lower edge to the right height and make it straight/even.
        • The curls are made by cutting very thin strips from paper.  They curl on their own as they are cut.  But I did add some additional curl after I cut them and glued in place.
        • The last thing I added was a white 1/16" heart punch.
        • Centerpiece: Joann didn't publish the house as a printie as she collaborated with another who is offering as kit but that is 1:12 scale so I had to cut my own.
          • She did include the riser portion - white with Happy valentine's day wording. I painted the top edge red to give the illusion of the decorative edging she did.
          • For the house and its base, most of the details are painted but if I could cut it, I did. I had printed a pic of just the house and used it to determine sizes.  I guessestimated based on other things in the big pic.  The house is about 1/4" by 1/4" and the chimney is 1/16" x 1/16".
          • I added ultra fine glitter to the roof and used an extra 7/32"  heart for the front door.  I am very pleased with how it turned out even if I didn't get the weather vane on.
          • The base is a circle cut out by hand and then painted, the pink hearts under the house are from the 7/32" heart punch. 
          • The lollipop trees are thin strips of paper with the smaller 1/16" heart glued to them.  One per 'stick'.  I painted the back where the heart and stick meet.  To get these to stand up and stay on, I glued part of the paper stick under the pink hearts and then folded them to stand up.
       Side Tables
      • The round table is made from a HO scale porch post that I cut to length - one on the right.  The others were options I considered.  I used some scrap wood for the feet and a 1/4" round woodsie for the table top.  I added the lace edging from the far right in the pic near the top of this post.  I trimmed the top section so it just has swags and then once glued around the table top and once painted, it gave a carved look to the table edge - Sweet!  Loved it so much used it for the cake table as well.
      • The punch bowl is a clear flower shaped bead that was 3/4" tall.  I used my dremel tool to cut it down and shape it.  I added a punched clear base to seal the hole.  Then I colored it with the permanant marker inside and added nail polish for liquid.  The nail polish took several layers so don't necessarily recommend it.
      • The rectangle side table for the cake was made by cutting wood pieces and by scaling down Joann's dimensions.  I used my scrap wood pieces.  (Always good to save them - mine are sorted in a divided box so easy to pick and choose what might work.)
      • The 3 tier server - I used a swirl round hole punch to punch the various sizes.  (Larger punches that punch different parts are a good source of differnt sizes we can use in smaller scale minis - use your 'mini' eyes when looking at punches for this purpose.)  The center is a straight pin cut down to height with silver spacers from crimp beads, I used one for the top and two each for the middle and bottom section.  Silver marker was used to added the edging to the plates of the tiers. The cookies on the tiers are 1/16" round punch with painted hearts.
      • The cake - punched a heart from fun foam uwing my 1/4" punch. Then I painted it with pearl paints.  The cake plate is a 1/4" round punch with silver edging using a silver marker.  The knife is from the etched silverware set.  Looks like I need to remove and trim the sides again.

      Finished in its box

      Sunday, February 6, 2011

      My Valentine party table in 1:48 scale

      I love Joann Swanson.  I loved reading her articles in Nutshell News.  I was very excited when I heard that she is now doing a blog sharing her DIY articles online.  Awesome!!!

      Well, this week she had one that I couldn't resist.

      I decided to do this in 1:48 scale as this is my favorite scale.  I knew this meant adjusting to what I could use.
      I started on the chairs.  I decided I would use the BPF (brown plastic furniture) for my chairs and table.  I knew I could paint them to get them close enough for my personal taste and preference.  I didn't really want to build the chairs from scratch per her instructions. I also decided to paint as with BPF often there are imperfections not to mention using paper to wrap something not perfectly square would be beyond tedious.

      Here are the steps I took to complete my version of her darling scene. 

      Work in progress...

      • Pre-step, clean up existing BPF from previous use (remove paint by scraping and soaking). Skip this step if you are using unused BPF.
      • I used a craft knife with a sharp tip and blade to clean up the extra flashing that is sometimes present in BPF.  Next use files and sandpaper to sand smooth any rough uneven spots that can't clean up with craft knife.  Use sharp scissors on edges to remove the fuzz caused by sanding.
      • I cut the top and bottom rung from my chairs.  That was a mistake. I was working from memory on this project at this point and I should have keep the bottom rung instead.
      • paint solid red.  Then using a 10/0 liner or smaller brush I  painted lines on the chairs.

      Before the lines....

      • I used the heart back graphics provided on Joann's blog.  I reduced them so they were 5/16" wide.  I attached mine to the middle rung that I left.
      • I also printed out the graphics for the seat cushions.  Mine are smaller than the seat, but I am ok with that. I used white fun foam to make the cushion.  I trimmed it to fit the seat and then carefully sliced the foam in half for each seat.  I glued the printie onto the cushion.

      • I used the thinnest wire I had on hand for the balloons.  I used these beads to make the balloons.  My husband helped me drill a hole in each one to insert the wire.  The white cord wouldn't come out and the wire was slightly larger as well.
      • Per Joann's instructions I carefully added the balloon wire around the back of the chair before adding the tiny hearts at the top.  I will use cardboard and paint them.    I have a small flower punch that I will cut my tiny hearts from.
      • I painted the sides of the table legs white and also added white lines to the outside of the legs.
      • I just purchased some laser cut lace and I will use that for the edging around the table top. more later...
      • I cut a piece of foam-core board to the size of my acrylic box bottom.  I glued red velvet ribbon to the foam-core board and then trimmed the ribbon.  I will cut a strip of white thin card to add to the edge of the foam-core board.
       Here's what I have so far:
      The black base is a 2 x 2 inch acrylic box base that a glass ornament came in.

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      Dollhouses... a real commitment

      Holy moly, I just read what a fellow miniaturist wrote about all the steps she needed to do to finish her 1:12 scale dollhouse.  As I read, I was like, WOW.  Dollhouses are a lot of work, no wonder I love making one room scenes. 
      I'm not saying I didn't already know this, just that it was one of those epiphany moments.
      It reminded me of my first real dollhouse.  My husband bought me a Greenleaf kit for my birthday back before we were married.  I think it was the Westville.  I got this house to the point that I was able to eventually sell the house but I kept the furnishings.
      This house had 4 basic rooms, stairs and I hated those windows.  I learned I would rather use HouseWorks windows and doors as they are so much more like real life.  But I digress as the point of this blog post isn't about my learning curve, but the work a dollhouse takes scale vs scale.
      After I started my 1:12 scale dollhouse I joined a club that showed me that miniatures is more than dollhouses.  It can be a roombox or even part of a room. For sure a roombox or scene can be completed in much less time than a dollhouse does.  It is nearly instant gratification and this world is full of that.  Like many others I like instant, I have Netflix for a reason and that is because you can get instant movies and don't have to drive somewhere or wait for it in the mail (although I get the mailed ones too). 
      A dollhouse in any scale really is a commitment.  Not just in the price either.  There is more time and planning to a dollhouse.  Granted to make multiple one room scenes can take as much time and planning regardless of whether one chooses to purchase or scratch build or not.
      However when thinking about scale there is one commitment that isn't so much when considering a smaller scale house.  Size.  1:48 scale will fit in most shelves and even in a tiny one at that.  But 1:12 scale, oh that is a commitment I am glad I am no longer making.  I think if I still had that dollhouse when I moved to my current house, I would sell that dollhouse or gave it away just because I don't have a good place to put it that I want to commit to.
      Thinking about that house and what I have been doing since made me wonder, which does it take longer to finish? a equivalent 1:48 scale house or a 1:12 scale house?  Off the top of my head I say it takes longer for the 1:12 scale.  So that got me to wondering why?
      First I think about that 1:12 scale house and compare to a comparable 1:48 scale house.
      Both have exterior finishing, interiors to finish and furnish, but what the 1:12 scale has is more area to cover.  It covers more space physically so that means more paint or other materials to complete whatever step one is doing.  Even if I were to make the same type of roof out of similar materials just scaled down, it would take longer to paint the bigger house.  It might take longer to apply those roofing materials or it might be the same if can be done the same way.  As if the roofing is in whole strips for both, then about the same on time, but when it comes to paint, even with bigger tools, it still will take more time as you have more detail work.  Well that is if you are perfectionist like me, I am not happy with just slapping it on.  It has to look good when I am done.
      Now for wallpaper, maybe the smaller house would take longer as it is more tedious potentially, but if I apply both before assembly then about equal. 
      Furnishing could be equal.  If size of the room both equal the same real life size and the furnishings picked were equal as well but in 1:12 scale the detail that can be acheived is greater.  Example, drawers that open, it is easier to make an opening drawer in bigger scale and can be done in 1:48 scale, but I am ok with not so I am more likely to not.
      The accessories that one can obtain in 1:12 scale are more, both in what is readily available and in kit form. The detail one can get is easier again, but I am more likely to make do in 1:48 scale so less time there.

      Back to the 1:12 scale house I had. 
      When I really started doing miniatures as something besides a toy, I was overwhelmed at what could be done.  What one could purchase.  I of course was still a newbie to the real dollhouse miniaturist world so what I knew then was very naive. 
      Once I stepped into the realm of something besides a dollhouse and that became my general focus, I didn't have the time or the funds to keep up with the dollhouse.  That's why I was willing to sell it.  I had discovered something I enjoyed more.  (Granted the quality of the house factored into what I liked as well.)

      So now I look around and I have 6 finished or nearly finished 1:48 scale dollhouses.  I have more in kit form not started.
      Knowing how I am and that I like variety, I see why I have so many projects.  If I had stuck with just dollhouses (even if just 1:48 scale) I wouldn't have as much time to work on the other smaller projects.  The expense, may or may not be the same, worse or better.  Don't really have the data to back it up either way.

      Bottom line, there is absolutely nothing wrong with making a dollhouse, it just requires a commitment to finish.

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      Storing and Organizing Minis Part 7: Fabric

      Found this in my drafts, guess I didn't have a pic I wanted to include at the time, but I do now.

      Like many other miniaturist, I am a crafter at heart.  Miniaturing brings many of those crafts and skills together.  I have previously been into sewing and also quilting.
      Over the years of doing minis, I often kept the fabric seperate.  For sewing/quilting I had big pieces of fabric and for minis much smaller pieces.  As part of my recent scaling back of minis to just 1/48th scale and knowing that I wasn't sewing or quilting anymore I re-organized my fabric.
      Before the fabric for minis was stored in some drawers about the size of a shoe box and was sorted by color.  The problem I had with my storage arrangement was simply that when I wanted to get to it, I opened a drawer and had a lot of fabric to go through when I just wanted blue for example.  Even though I tried to keep colors together this just wasn't working.  The fabric was folded to fit in the drawer sort of like files, but was floppy and so got disorganized easier.
      I could have stuck with the same drawers and used zip bags that fit the drawer and sorted them into the bags by specific color/pattern, but I did choose to go with bigger bags which is what I had on hand and that meant using a different drawer.

      Deciding to pare the fabric down to what I might use for minis was easy once I accepted that I wasn't going to use it to sew or to quilt.  First, I got all of my fabric together.  Next, I either culled it because I no longer liked the pattern/color, the pattern was too large, the fabric was poor quality so the weave showed or I had too much.  For the too much, I cut a portion to keep and the rest went in bag to give away.  I gave mine to some other quilters, but giving to a thrift store would be a good option if one doesn't know where else to give.
      Regarding the pattern is too large, a useful way to determine if it is truly too large is to cut a square opening from cardboard 1/4" by 1/4" for 1/48th scale minis (use 1" square for 1/12th scale).  Then use the opening to hold against the fabric over the pattern.  If the pattern is obscure in most places, then I wasn't likely to use it for 1/48th minis.  The square opening represents the area, one might have in a seat cushion or a pillow.  If the pattern doesn't show well in this opening and is therefore only good for abstract, then I generally got rid of it.   Keep in mind, sometimes very large prints may be used in some types of decorating.  What comes to mind is cabbage roses that are used on a sofa.  In this case, I can see using a rose print that is maybe 1/2" across but not larger than that, because then the fabric is more prominent than the sofa itself.  Not that I often decorate with that style, just that if I ever wanted to this particular fabric could be used that way.
      Another consideration is that often fabric prints have large patterns with smaller patterns in them.  In those, I might keep a portion because it has these smaller patterns or even two pieces with the more smaller patterns.
      What to keep for minis also has to do with the type of fabric. Fabric for minis works best if it is of natural fibers so silk or cottons are a good bet. However whatever the fabric, keep in mind the weave. In miniature, scale of the weave is a consideration. If we truly look close at the item made of fabric, I don't want to see anything that is supposed to be delicate look like burlap because the weave is loose.  The print may be great, but the weave is not going to work especially in the smaller scales that I like to work with.

      Overall, if the fabric had any use for minis I kept a piece 6" or smaller.
      Then, my next step was to sort all this fabric into zip bags.  I used the gallon size (12").  I sorted all the fabric into like colors with exception of some metallic fabric I have and that went into its own bag as it frays real easy and I want to keep the fray as it works as ribbon.
      If I choose much smaller bags, I would have sorted by color and seperated by print or solid.  Or possibly different shades of color. 
      Now, when a miniature project I am working on needs fabric I open the fabric drawer and pull out the bag or bags of the color I am thinking of using.  In this bag I am likely to find carpeting (faux suede), curtains and bedding.
      If I ever decide to go with smaller bags, I will sort my colors by shades.  Light blue, dark blue, blue/green etc, just depending on what I have.  I would fold the pieces to fit the bags.
      To me the bags are key to keeping this orgazinized.  Even if the bags slip around, I am still going to grab a blue bag and not a bunch of blue fabric that is a jumbled mess.
      Here's a pic of my single storage drawer with the red bag pulled up.

      Resolutions - Not me

      Was lying in bed last night trying to fall asleep because I knew I had to get this morning for work.  Yesterday had the day off so having a three day weekend and also a short week, my schedule is off and it is time to get back to it.
      So there I am trying to fall asleep and it comes to me that it was Jan 3 and I had a revelation.  I had not once thought about creating a resolution for new years.
      Part of me felt a ton of relief that I had not even considered it and a tiny part said, well I should have at least thought about it and decided that this year again I was boycotting it.
      Last year I resolved to not make any.  Maybe that actually worked.  I feel I am old enough to know that it isn't going to work and why can't we make these decisions any other time of the year? 
      I know we can and we often do.  I certainly have as I have decided to be more physically active for example.  But that was a decision I made months ago.  I am sticking to it to pretty good.  I don't beat myself up if I miss a day (I don't have a specific schedule  so no worries there actually).  I just decide I have the time now and I do it.  I do my own thing like dance around for half an hour and I do some things I have seen in fitness shows or classes.  When it was warmer, I also would go for a walk in our local park and often that included my husband.
      Some might consider this next topic I decided to work on a resolution simply because I did decide I was going to work on this area beginning in Jan, however, I am not focused on day one but on the month as a whole.  I want to change my attitude about it.  I need to stop doing this so I can set aside some for later.
      Ok, there I said it, I need to work on my spending habits.  This is one of those things I have struggled with for years, so I need to realize that it isn't something I developed overnight so it is going to take me a long time to change this as well. 
      Although it is the first week of Jan and it is possible to call it a resolution for New Year's, I am just not going to label it as such.  I am going to recognize for what it needs to be for me.  I need to change my attitude about spending and saving. 
      Taking small steps to change my life is not about making a resolution that I will feel guilty about later when I mess up. 
      I am not one of these driven people that must reach a goal by a specific point in time.  I am satisified with progress.  I do pat myself on the back so to speak when I do what I set out to do.  But I don't beat myself up either when I slide back into old habits.