Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Weekend Efforts and a New Resident

First of all I am going to show you what my 11 year old daughter Jamie and I achieved in the weekend after setting each other challenges to do with miniatures.

We both did some undercoating. I did my sister's gallery and Jamie did what will be her Harry Potter themed general store, pictured below. It is an old house I had tucked away for a rainy day but as Jamie is expressing an interest in miniatures I have given it to her for her Harry Potter project. After the undercoating I was the one splattered with paint, although I suspect as much of it came of her brush as it did from mine.

Jamie achieved all of her challenges being dragons eggs, a witches hat and a sign for her store.

Didn't she do well! She has decided to call her shop Wacky Wenny after the wannabe wizard that runs the store. She made up a fabulous story about him.

I only (partly) achieved one of my challenges being a shop counter for the Selina Rose Gallery:

I think I will add a varnished wood counter top.

To complete my challenges set by Jamie I still need to make accessories for the shop counter, make some picture frames and turn a little wood planter box into a miniature of some sort (see previous post).

I don't think Jamie quite appreciates yet the time it can take to make miniatures and, in my defence, I was guiding her with making her items! I will have to work on the other challenges over the next few days.

But what is really exciting is we have a new resident.

Marlon has successfully made his way from Germany to New Zealand to live in my craft room. He is so gorgeous and is a real character. He made himself right at home the minute he walked in the door. To know a bit more about Marlon you might like to read about him on his creator's blog:
Melli of Der Pippibaren-Blog makes the most gorgeous little characters. You should see the wonderful little elves she is making at the moment for a Christmas scene. Just gorgeous.

Anyway, I first took Marlon to meet Edward Elf in Edward's Christmas box. Edward was also made by Melli and had taken the long journey from Germany to New Zealand. See my post:
Edward was kind enough to offer for Marlon to stay with him in his Christmas box but Marlon declined as he thought Edward would have to be up too late each night making Christmas decorations for Santa, however he said he would love to visit Edward often.

I said to Marlon that I had brought him over from Germany to reside in the Timeless Toys toy shop where he could help me keep all the toys in order, but he didn't think he wanted to live in a noisy toy shop either.

After a while I heard a little voice declaring he had found his perfect residence. Marlon had clambered up one of my display shelves and was standing in the upper level of my Bodo Hennig house that houses my vintage German dolls house furniture. He said it had the perfect table and chairs with a bottle of wine and goblets for entertaining. I can see I am going to have to find Marlon a nice lady bear! He even brought some roses with him all the way from Germany ready to give to a special lady bear.


I don't think it will work with Marlon living in the upper level of the Bodo Hennig but I have promised him he can have the table and chairs and I will find him another little residence all of his own.

Another project on my to-do list.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Friends and Minis

I'm sitting in my craft room looking out at the cows grazing in the paddock next door and my thoughts turn to my blog friends in England who are expecting a large storm to hit. My thoughts are with you all and hope you have no more than some leaves to sweep up tomorrow.

Talking of friends, you may recall in an earlier blog entry that I told you of the room box my friend Lyn gave to my daughter Jamie and I. Yesterday I turned my attention to it and gave it a little face lift. It had been beautifully decorated by Lyn in the 1990s but was looking a little tired. I gave it some new wallpaper and wood flooring. The contents were what Lyn had collected for the box except for the chairs around the table. Unfortunately the chairs that Lyn had around the table had fallen apart and the paper coverings had disintegrated. I have kept one of the chairs which I managed to put back together which is on the front left of the box. I will cover the paper seat with some watered down PVA to protect it from tearing any further. I found the chairs around the table in my stash. They had been moving around with me since the 1990s when I first did miniatures but I had never used them.

 The room box as it was.

 Rewallpapered and with wood flooring and with contents moved back in.

The lady of the house that started it all.
Lyn found this doll on a trip to Australia and fell in love with her. She asked my dad to make the room box and other pieces were collected to please the lady of the house.

The completed room box.

I hope Lyn is happy with the renovation.

Now to tell you about the wonderful day I had on Saturday. I thought I was the only miniaturist in my home town until about two years ago when I saw the name of a local lady on the membership list of the New Zealand Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. I made contact with her at the time and we have emailed each other off and on since then. Both living very busy lives we had not caught up with each other until Saturday. I bought some magazines off Susan and she delivered them to me and came in for a cup of tea. She left three hours later and I loved the time sharing my interest with a fellow miniaturist. I think we both felt more inspired and motivated after our catch-up to get on with our miniature projects. Susan brought some of her exquisite miniature knitting for me to see and photos of her miniature projects. A fabulous few hours.

As for the Selina Rose Gallery it got a coat of paint yesterday, although I think I got as much paint on me. Painting isn't my strong point! It will need a sand down and another coat of paint but that will have to wait until next weekend. Today I am going to make a shop counter with accessories for the Gallery.

After seeing me feeling more motivated after Susan's visit on Saturday my daughter decided to set some miniature challenges for me, one of them being a shop counter with accessories such as a laptop. She has also set me a challenge of making some picture frames and turning a little planter she bought me for $1.00 with her pocket money into a miniature scene.

At the moment tipped up on end I am seeing the little planter
as an outdoor shower or 'convenience'.

Jamie is very keen on Harry Potter things at the moment and she is going to start working on turning an old dolls house I had into a general store that would fit into the world of Harry Potter - a one-stop shop for Wizards and Witches. This morning she has made some dragon eggs which will be nestled into little wooden crates and at the moment my husband is helping her design a shop sign for her shop.

I'll post some pictures once the sign is created and the eggs have been fired. She will think it is very cool if some of her miniatures get onto my blog.

Anyhow I had better sign off as the day is fast disappearing and I have a shop counter to make.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Szalasi / Spielwaren Furniture and Selina Rose Gallery

First of all below is a picture of the latest vintage dolls house furniture to be added to my collection. This is some over-the-top Boutique Szalasi dolls house furniture (more commonly known as Spielwaren. The Bavarian company ran from the 1950s through to the 1980s. The furniture is wood and composition. I have a very elaborate room box planned for this furniture with wood panelling, grand drapes and parquet flooring with a few pieces of porcelain thrown in for good measure.

I am also happy to report that I have finally resolved the 'sticky' problem with the Selina Rose Gallery. The solution - one husband + one belt-sander. Pete sanded the areas on the exterior of the house that had the sticky residue and I painted over the interior sticky areas, which will be covered with wallpaper anyway. I have also made a template for the roof and I am just looking at shingle/tile options which I hope to complete over the course of the week.

I caught up with some special family friends over the weekend, Lyn & John, also known as my second set of parents. I grew up with their children. I have Lyn to thank for my love of crafts. Back in the early 1980s she suggested I go with her to a porcelain doll making class, which led to many more classes together and the making of a number of reproduction porcelain dolls. That ignited my creative spark and over the years I have dabbled in many other creative endeavours including but not limited to bear making (including miniature bears), book making, soft toy dolls, a bit of embroidery and of course miniatures.

While I was there Lyn passed on to both Jamie and I a number of small porcelain dolls for our miniatures and also a lovely Edwardian room box she had put together in the 1990s. My father made the room box for her and she decorated and furnished it. She has given it to both Jamie and I to share so it will go somewhere where we both can enjoy it. I need to re-glue a couple of legs back onto the table and fix the legs on a couple of chairs which have come loose with age. As soon as I have done this I will post a photo.

Thank you Lyn.

As far as the Undersized Urbanite toy shop, I have decided to call the toy shop/museum 'Timeless Toys'. I think it is quite fitting for a toy shop combined with a toy museum and though I have tried I can't come up with anything better.

My head is just buzzing with ideas for Timeless Toys. I can't wait to get started but at the moment I am really enjoying the planning stage. I'm trying to imagine myself as a little child in a toy shop - what would excite me, steal my heart, spark my imagination and amaze me.

I am hoping some of these emotions may hit you when you see the end result. Time will tell.

I hope you are all having a great weekend.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Jen's Printables

I just want to thank Audra for providing me with the following link:

It has a great selection of toys from different eras.

Even if you are not making a toy shop it is interesting to look through. You might see some toys you recognise from your childhood. Seeing the Donny & Marie Paper Doll box brought back some memories for me!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Doing the Duck Waddle

No, it isn't a dance.

Watch this:

I'm still sorting out my craft room. We took Jamie to a nearby city to spend a few days of the school holidays with her cousins and her Nana this morning. One hour's travel each way, a cuppa with my Mum, lunch at our favourite kebab shop and a bit of shopping later we are finally home so I can get back to sorting. While I am sorting my craft room I am keeping an eye out of items for my Undersized Urbanite Toy Shop/Museum. I came across this cute little flappy duck.
This is the first time I have used video on my blog so I hope you can view it okay.
Flappy Duck was an on-line Jane Harrop workshop from a year or two ago. If I recall correctly it was hosted by Collectors Club of Great Britain/Dolls House & Miniature Scene Magazine.
Well, I'd better keep sorting. I'm so easily distracted. Too many fun things to play with!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Undersized Urbanite Toy Shop/Toy Museum

I am hoping to undercoat my sister's gallery over the weekend. Once the exterior is sorted it won't take me long to complete the inside.

However, before I can do any miniatures this weekend I need to tidy my work table. This is its current state:

I've been reshuffling things in my workroom and a whole lot of stuff got dumped on the table. We won't even talk about the piles of stuff on the floor!

I've spent most of this last week at dance competitions with my daughter so I've spent this afternoon catching up on blogs and housework and I want to spend the rest of this evening clearing the desk. So saying, it is currently 9.00 pm on Friday night in New Zealand so there is not much of the evening left (and I've still got the dishes to do).

A number of people have commented on the corner house I am building the Undersized Urbanite toy shop entry in.

This was built by my Dad when he was still alive back in the 1990s. He was a cabinet maker by trade. From memory he built three. My sister Karen owns one which I am building the Selina Rose Gallery in and I have been lucky that one has now found its way back to me to build the toy shop in. I think the other one went to a fellow miniaturist back in the 90s. They are great to tuck into a little corner or you can put them on a base. They have limited floor space in the rooms but enough for a good display.

Thank you for all the positive comments about my entering the contest. To be honest I am really doing it to challenge myself. I am hoping it will motivate me to push myself out of my comfort zone and just be creative and have a go with a fun project. I am also going to enjoy watching the other entrants' projects take shape.

Of course with any project you run into problems. The first problem I face is WHAT AM I GOING TO CALL THE TOY SHOP/TOY MUSEUM. I don't want to keep referring to the Undersized Urbanite Toy Shop/Toy Museum. I've thought of names like Timeless Toys, Childhood Wonders and a few others but I'm struggling to think of an effective name that encompasses toys past and present. Any ideas. If someone comes up with a name that I decide to use some miniature toys made by me during the project will find their way into your miniature collection.

I have gathered a few old toys I am going to try to scan and scale down into miniature such as:

An old Box of Dominos - I will need to tidy the label a bit in some graphics software, but isn't the image of the girl and the dogs gorgeous.

ABC Block Puzzle - more cute images. The block puzzles make up two alphabet images, one with numbers, one with a cow and calf, one with kids and dogs and another with kids, cat and kittens. I also love the image on the box.

Snakes and Ladders - I found this in a freebie box at a local op shop. It is a little tatty but I love the old nursery rhyme images. Mean looking snakes though!

A rag doll cut-out on fabric. Another cheap op shop find. It appears to have been advertising for an antique toys and dolls exhibition.

Well I have just looked at the clock and it is now 9.20pm. I think the desk tidying might need to wait until tomorrow. I'd better go and do the dishes.

I hope you all have a great weekend.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Undersized Urbanite Contest

I nearly talked myself out of it but I've decided to do it - join the 2014 Undersized Urbanite Contest. I had grand plans to do an Arts & Crafts Movement house but I realise I just don't have the tools and skills yet to build a house with the spacious architectural rooms I want for the project. Therefore I have put that project on hold for now.

I am going to work with a corner unit I have on hand similar to the one I am using for the Selina Rose Gallery I am doing for my sister.

This one is a bit grubby and battered. It has been played with by my niece's two boys for the last few years. It is a good blank canvas.

What will it become? - a toy shop/toy museum combined.

The bulk of the work won't get started until later in the year because I am determined to finish my sister's gallery first. She has waited long enough.

I might make a few toys now and then though to keep the interest in the project going.

I have a good pile of magazines for research. I recently picked up this big pile of Antique Toy World Magazines (I think about 115).

I am looking forward to participating in the contest and following the other entrants projects.

I also haven't forgotten about doing a giveaway. I'm still thinking about it but it will definitely happen.

Hope all is well with everyone and you are tapping into your creative side and having fun.

Until next time...