Sunday, July 28, 2013

Woven Box Tutorial

Hi everyone. There have been a lot of favourable comments about the little woven box I made for Manu for the Christmas in July swap, so I thought I would have a go at creating my first photo tutorial.

Before I begin I will share a few lessons I learnt in the process:
1. When I make things in the future I should keep a note of how I made them.
2. When working on a tutorial where I am a little unsure of the process, I should work on two examples, then if I make a mistake on one I still have a good example to work with.
3. Take more photos than you need. It is better to find you don't need some than to find you should have taken more.
4. Start early in the morning so you don't end up trying to take the last of the photos in the gloom.

I have a habit of just making things up as I go, case in point the little box I made Manu, so it was trial and error to make a second box today for this tutorial. I made a few mistakes as I went along but hopefully this tutorial will give you an idea of how to make a woven box.

(Don't forget you can click on an image to enlarge the picture if you need to see more detail.)

Above is the old calendar I used, but alternatively you could use strips of light card. The strips I used were 4mm x 165mm.

I started this box with 8 strips. You can vary this depending on the height of the box you want. I taped one end of the strips to my work board.

Next, using some shorter strips (approx 80mm) weave between the 8 taped down strips in an under/over pattern. This photo shows the first two rows. The first row starts by going under the top strip. The second row starts by going over the top strip. I find it easier to weave on the end not taped down and then slide each strip back.

It is best to try to keep the 8 long strips close to each other at all times. You will find you will need to keep adjusting your weaving as you work to keep it tight.

Keep going until your work is of a suitable length where it can be divided into the four sides of your box, depending on the size you want your box to be. (My strip of weaving measured approximately 130mm). You should finish with a weave the same as you started with, e.g. if your first weave started with going under the top strip your last weave should also start by going under the top strip.

Fold the length of woven card in three places to create four equal sides (or as close to equal as you can).
On one side (shown on the left in the above picture) trim the ends of the strips that are on the top on the coloured side to 4mm and fold them over and glue at the back. This will secure the edge. Cut the other strips even with the edge (do not glue).
On the other side (shown on the right in the above picture) trim the ends of the strips that are on the top on the coloured side to 4mm and fold them over and glue at the back. This will secure the edge. Cut the other strips to approx 4mm lengths to create little tabs (do not glue).
(Note the above photo shows the end result on the reverse side of the box.)

Next bring the two edges together. You will find the 4mm tags will slot between two layers of card on the other side. Use a bit of glue to secure.

(You will note that where the two edges join you effectively have two similar weaves side by side. This does not really show in the finished box and I have found that this method is more secure and sturdy. However, you may want to experiment with this yourself as I am sure there are many other ways of making a woven box. This is just my method.)

To finish the top of the box cut each strip that sits on top to 4mm and fold over to the back and glue. Cut the other strips level to the edge of the box top and glue. We nearly have a box.

 To finish the bottom of the box, put a dab of glue behind all the strips that are on the inside of the box and then trim them level with the box edge.
Trim the remaining lengths and fold them inwards, as shown above, leaving reasonable sized 'tabs'.
Next cut a square of card the same size as the bottom of your box. It may not be a perfect square as you may find each side of your box is not exactly the same length. Also cut a square slightly smaller to fit on the inside of the box. For both squares I have just glued strips of card on top for a nice finish. You might choose to cover it with more weaving. I have also edged the outside of the large square with a coloured pencil to blend the cardboard edge in with the rest of the box.

Put a generous amount of glue on the 'tabs' folded into the centre of your box and also a thin layer around the outside edge of the bottom of the box. Place the largest square on top. Then glue the smallest square inside the bottom of the box .

Ta Da... drum roll please... one miniature woven box.

You could also easily make a round box by not folding the woven strip and joining the two ends.
In putting this tutorial together I realise there are one or two places where a few more photos might have been helpful but I think as you work with your box in front of you most steps will become fairly obvious and hopefully my ramblings will make sense. If you have any troubles at all please don't hesitate to ask me for help. I'm only a comment away.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Christmas in July Swap - What I Made for Manu

Yay, it is Friday evening in New Zealand and my weekend is just beginning.

Yesterday I wrote about the lovely swap gifts I received from Manu. Tonight I am going to write about the items I made for Manu.

Below is a few of the items I set before myself in an attempt to come up with some ideas for making miniatures from recycled items. I spread all sorts in front of me hoping something would come to mind - it took a while but eventually I came up with a few ideas.

These are the items I sent to Manu.

Starting from the top left, I made a large outdoor planter (2" x 2").

This started life as the centre of a cardboard drinks holder from a takeaway food place.

I sealed the planter with Gesso and then painted it with a textured railway paint. I followed this with a wash of what was supposed to be grey paint but which turned out to be green. After it was dry I lightly went over the top with some sandpaper to remove some of the green paint.

Next is a little woven box of Christmas decorations. The box itself is made of pieces of card from the 1996 calendar you can see on the top photo. I had no design, I just wove paper and played around until I had something resembling a box. I am quite pleased with the way it turned out. I hope I can make another one for myself.

The Christmas tree is simply a tinsel pipecleaner wound around in a tight circle and then you grab the centre and the end and pull them away from each other. It is finished off by placing the bottom end in a piece of wood so it can stand. I glued a little glass star on the top.

Inside the box is also a miniature paper chain made from little strips of paper approx. 3mm x 16mm linked through each other and a folder paper decoration made from two lengths of 3mm wide paper folder over each other at right angles.

The next item was a little coffee table. The table is made of a small scrap of wood for the table top with patterned paper glued on top from the inside of an envelope. Over this I poured some resin I had left over from a kit to give it a nice glazed look.

The legs are made from two plastic spacers that we get in boxes of takeaway pizza. You can see the pizza spacers in the top photo (the three pronged things). I cut one prong off each spacer and glued the rest of each spacer under the table to give it four legs.

The next item is a little coat rack to hang on the wall. This I made out of a scrap of wallpaper, which I sanded to give a worn look, an ice block stick, some haberdashery hooks & eyes and a gold pen. I have previously blogged about this item:

I initially wasn't going to send this to Manu as I wasn't very happy with it but I did decide to enclose it with the swap items in the end.

Also in the above picture is a little bread board. This is a very thin piece of wood covered with strips of inlay in two different colours.

The plate is made from an old New Zealand Christmas stamp depicting Christmas time in New Zealand (below left). We have a summertime Christmas in New Zealand. The picture was simply glued on thin card and shaped into the shape of a plate and then sealed with varnish.

I also enclosed a few old New Zealand Christmas stamps. Old stamps can be great for framed pictures, miniature plates, miniature photo album covers and I am sure a whole lot more.

Finally the cushion was made from a piece of embroidery cut from an old table napkin, which can be seen in the top picture. I know Manu likes pink so I wanted to include something pink amongst the swap gifts.

With much relief I had finished the items for the swap in time and I packaged them into a recycled box with a blue napkin wrapped around them.  I covered the box with scraps of wallpaper left over from a project, wrote a note in a handmade card and sent it on its way from New Zealand to Italy.

Have a fun and creative weekend everyone.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Christmas in July Gift from Manu

I have now heard from Manu that she has received my swap gift, so I can now share with you the wonderful items I have received from Manu and the items I sent to her.

The Christmas in July swap was organised by Jazzi and the idea is to use recycled or found items so your only cost is postage.

Today I am just going to show you the items I received from Manu.

This is the first time I have ever entered anything like this and I wasn't disappointed. I was a little nervous on entering the swap but Manu is such a lovely swap partner and very easy to correspond with, especially with the help of Google Translate. I was so excited when I received a parcel in the post with stamps from Italy on it. I knew it was my swap gift from Manu and I couldn't get inside quick enough to open it. I think I just about trampled the dogs as I rushed in the door.

On unwrapping the parcel there inside was a beautiful little 'book' box with flowers, hearts and butterflies on it. Wrapped around the box was a ribbon with a lovely little flower arrangement. The box in itself was a wonderful gift and I am sure I can create a little scene to go inside it.

Along with the box was a lovely little note from Manu saying:
"Carissima Sharee, I send you this little thought hoping it will be to your liking. I looked at your blog often and love the precious things and you have a nice taste in your choices. And I was very pleased a swap with you. A warm hug. Manu"

On opening the box this is what I found:

 Box and contents.
 The most beautiful little towels edged with lace and with fine embroidery on them, including an 'S'. Such a lovely personal touch.
 A game of Ice Cream Opoly. Manu must have known I'm rather fond of ice cream! It is complete with mini money, game counters and a little dice. The box is even divided into little compartments.
 The most gorgeous fabric picture of Peter Rabbit's mother mounted in a frame that Manu said she made of resin.
 Two wonderful cushions and a dainty pair of floral slippers.

I had seen Manu's lovely cushions on her blog site and I was thrilled to receive two cushions from her. They are beautifully made and have the most beautiful little decorations on the corners and each is finished off with a little bow. As a surprise she used images of art work by my sister, Karen Panton, on the cushions which makes them even more special. I've sent a photo of the cushions to my sister and she thinks they are great. I think she is hoping one of the cushions might find a home in the Selina Rose Gallery.

I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience of this swap and it is lovely to have hand made items from another miniaturist.

How lucky am I? Thank you Manu.

A big thank you also goes to Jazzi for organising a great swap event.

In the next day or two I will write about the items I sent to Manu.

Manu -
Jazzi -

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Movie

My daughter and I watched the Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs movie tonight. It is a great piece of animation, especially considering it was made nearly 80 years ago and was the first full length animated movie. My daughter and I chucked our way through it. It was great to see how true some of the furniture in my house is to the furniture depicted in the movie. Next time I watch it I will have to take some notes for the project.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

(Sorry I have been absent from my blog for the last couple of weeks - my gallbladder decided I should suffer a little bit and I haven't felt like sitting at a computer or felt the least bit creatively inclined. Feeling much better now though).

You might think I am mad, but the big kid has come out in me.

I saw a Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs dolls house on an on-line auction and I just had to have it. I still can't believe I bought it and I am still trying to understand why, but I guess there is some kind of appeal because both my husband and daughter like it too.

I do recall as a child always having a fascination with a set of plaster of paris Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that were at my grandparents house. Perhaps that has something to do with it.

I understand the house may have been produced in 2007 to celebrate the release of a digital version of the original 1937 film of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The 1937 film was Disney's first full length cel animated feature film.

The set is not complete. It has a few pieces missing but it is in good condition.

In any event, I haven't bought it as a collectable, I have bought it as a project. You see I would like the house to look as if Snow White has taken residence and has created a cheerful happy home for her seven little friends. There should be vases of flowers, a shelf of preserves and jams, perhaps a couple of hand stitched cushions and seven little hand-knitted scarves, food and fruits collected from the forest, baking etc. There should also be a few forest creatures and birds visiting the house.

I have just ordered a copy of the DVD of the film for research. Any excuse to watch a Disney animated movie! My daughter and I are eagerly awaiting its arrival.

When the house arrived I got a bit of a shock. It was a lot larger than I thought it would be. Opened out it is about 42 inches wide and it is about 14 inches tall. Closed it is about 24 inches wide. The dwarves are 5 inches tall.

The house can close down but I have set it up opened out as below:

Below are some more photos of the house and residents:

Dopey says "Come on in".
Left side of the cottage.

The Dining Room.
There are two types of chairs.
 Doc in the pantry.
 The cookoo in the clock comes out if you swing the pendulum.
 The organ with a squirrel on the side and rabbits on the front.
If you push the bellows it makes a sort of organ sound.
 Bashful plays the organ to Happy, Sneezy, Grumpy, Sleepy, Doc and Dopey.
 The water well, unfortunately missing its pump handle.
The cosy fireplace.
I'm not that fond of Snow White so she is around the back of the cottage sweeping.
I think I will make 7 little pick-axes to go in the wheel barrow.
 A few containers of plants would look good around the back.
 The chimney side of the house.
I hope you enjoyed your tour of the cottage.

Have a great weekend.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Swap News & Stoves on Stove!

Hi all,

I hope you are having a great weekend.

Well we survived the Google Reader shutdown. I see we can still get the latest updates of the blogs we follow. I guess I went into panic mode but I don't regret taking the safe and sure route and I will keep using Bloglovin and well as Google Blogger. I have new followers on Bloglovin and I like searching for other blogs on their site. In any event, onwards we go...

My swap parcel for Jazzi's Christmas in July swap is finally winging its way to Manu in Italy. It was a relief to finally post it. This is my first miniatures swap and I was unsure if I had done enough and if it was good enough, but finally I just decided I needed to get it posted or it would miss the 31 July deadline to reach Manu.

Further on the swap news, Manu's parcel arrived in my letterbox. I couldn't get inside quick enough to open it and I will tell you I am thrilled with the lovely items Manu has made. However, I am going to make you all wait to see what she sent - mean aren't I! I have asked Manu to let me know when she gets my parcel and then I will do an entry on both the items I received from Manu and the items I sent Manu.

So, as my focus has been on the swap items, I don't really have anything for show and tell. However I did find this photo I took a few months ago when I was sorting through my miniatures. I had an idea to take a photo of some stoves on a stove.

Just between you and me, I'm not really a cook, and the miniature stoves probably get as much attention from me as the full sized one. Just as well my husband is a good cook!