Monday, March 31, 2014

AmeriCARna 2014 Part 2 - The Video

As promised, here is our FIRST attempt at using Premier Elements 12 to edit our video of the AmeriCARna 2014 event.

Still have a lot to learn and will keep practicing. Enjoy none-the-less!

For further information on the AmeriCARna event and to view photos see my previous blog entry here

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

More Photos from Wanganui Miniature Club Show

Just thought I'd share a few more photos with you from the Wanganui Miniature Club Show:

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Wanganui Miniature Show Exhibits

First of all, I just want to show you a picture of my little Heidi Ott doll in her new costume. The pram is one I made many years ago at a workshop.

As promised here are some photos of a few of the exhibits from the Wanganui Miniature Club Show. It was hard trying to to only select a few photos. My lovely husband went around and took the photos for me so I could chat with fellow miniaturists and have a good look around. Don't forget you can click on the photos to make them bigger.

 A general view of the exhibits.

A lovely little cabinet house. Hathaway Cottage had one of the cabinets on their stall and I was so so tempted. 

Little 1/144th matchbox scenes. I believe these are created from kits by Jewel Lewis, a New Zealand miniaturist.

Ettamogah Pub by Bronwyn Hutchins based on Ken Maynard cartoons.

Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs.

A miniaturist's workroom with some fabulous little dolls houses.

Shallow box exhibits with very creative names.

I love this little cottage.

Babylon Villa - something a bit different. I like the way the people are just paper cut-outs.

Exhibited by Penny Hook, I think this is also made up from a Jewel Lewis kit. The detail is fabulous.

A very elegant exhibit with a miniature scene inset on the back wall.

A doll within a doll.

Another very elegant scene. I love the picture over the fire place.

Last of the Summer Wine. Aren't the dolls fabulous.

I love this little build with the lace 'ironwork'.

The Onceler's house based on Dr Seuss' The Lorax.

Mackintosh room box. Love the mirror.

Sailing ship.

Ship in a globe.

A touch of steampunk.

Bear head flowers.

Mr & Mrs.

I have to apologise to the exhibitors in that I do not know who created the above exhibits, other than those noted, as I was not following my husband with a pen and notebook. However, if you let me know which are your exhibits I will be happy to add your names to the above photo descriptions.

Well everyone I hope you have enjoyed seeing just a few of the items from the show. I certainly came away with a dose of inspiration. I might do another post during the week with a few more photos.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Confession - I Blew My Budget!

I went to the Wanganui Miniature Show today. This was the club I belonged to when I lived in Wanganui in the 1990s. I understand it is now only a very small club and yet they still managed to put on a fantastic show. I arrived at 10.00am and we didn't leave until 12 noon, and that was only because we had to be at a wedding at 1.00pm. My husband kindly took photos for me while I caught up with members I knew back in the 1990s and walked around the exhibits with a miniaturist friend, Susan.

There was a great range of exhibits including lots of dolls houses, rooms boxes and other mini items, teddy bears and miniature soft toys, and a display of model boats and ships from a local model shop and then of course there were the sales tables.

Because of our current situation I had planned to only treat myself to one little miniature of some sort but - confession time - I BLEW THE BUDGET! I should have known I couldn't resist and my lovely husband was all for me buying a few miniatures while I was there. I feel slightly guilty for spending the money - but not that guilty. Actually it is just as well we are on a bit of a budget at the moment or I could have really done some financial damage! Not only did the miniature club and the local doll club have some items for sale there but a miniature shop from Upper Hutt, New Zealand  'Hathaway Cottage Crafts and Dollshouse Miniatures', also had a stand at the show. For anyone interested in looking at their website it is

So tonight before I head off to bed I just want to share with you my purchases. Tomorrow night I will upload some photos of some of the exhibits at the show.

A photo of all my purchases. The two mats were on sale on the Hathaway Cottage stand and were too good a bargain to leave behind.

Two gorgeous little mini girls, 3 cm tall. These will be displayed as dolls in my Timeless Toys project. I think these were made by someone in the Wanganui doll club.

Isn't this fine knitting just exquisite. It will fit a 2 inch Heidi Ott doll. This was made by a member of the Wanganui Miniature Club.

Some lovely very fine braid purchased from Hathaway Cottage.

A cute little kit of a porcelain kewpie in a box, also purchased from Hathaway Cottage.

And these absolutely adorable rabbits. I tried so hard to resist these but at the last minute as I was walking out the door I just could resist no longer. These were also purchased from Hathaway Cottage.

I'm a happy girl. I've got some new minis, saw some wonderful miniature projects made by other miniaturists, breathed in a dose of inspiration, and had a lovely chat with like minded people. Thank you Wanganui Miniatures Club for a great morning.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Parcel in the Mail and Easter Comes Early

I got home from work today to find a parcel in the mail. I love getting parcels in the mail, especially when they contain a wonderful giveaway prize from Lisa of Mini Addictions. I recently won one of her 'mini supplies' giveaway prizes.

My prize was supplies for working with polymer clay including:

1 ~ Sculpey Translucent Clay 
1~ Sculpey Pearl Clay
3 ~ Packets of "Sugar" (Colored Sand) in Pink, Yellow & Green
1 ~ Packet of Daisy flowers
1~ Punch shaped like a Chick
1 ~ Craft Syringe
1 ~ 4 Piece Sculpey Tool Set
1 ~ Strawberry Cane
1 ~ Kiwi Fruit Cane
1 ~ Mini Acrylic Cutting Board

The little kiwifruit and strawberry canes are just wonderful as are the little daisies, which I have just noticed aren't included in the above photo. For a better look at the prize go to Lisa's blog:
Lisa's blog, Mini Addictions, is well worth checking out. Do go and visit.

I also love the tiny acrylic cutting board. Instead of using it for cutting polymer clay I think I will use it as a base for a grape and cheese platter.

I can't wait to really experiment with all these items and make some mini non-edible edibles.

I have struggled with motivation to do miniatures all this week but Lisa's parcel was just what I needed and I sat down tonight and made a little Easter basket using the chick punch and a couple of the daisies. I know it is a bit early for Easter but I just couldn't help myself.

The little rabbit is one I made some years ago. He is 5cm tall.

Well I'd better sign off and get the dishes done and into bed. I am off to a small miniature show tomorrow and will hopefully get some photos to show you.

Have a great weekend everyone.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Shelf for Timeless Toys

My husband has been unemployed for two months now and while it is frustrating at times not having a minis budget it also makes me think outside the square and think creatively. I am starting to look at some of the old commercial pieces I have in my stash to see what I can do with them.

Needing some shelves for Timeless Toys I decided to revamp some old shop shelves I have had in my stash since my first dabble in miniatures in the 1990s. The shelves were a bit fancy for what I have in mind for the toy shop and I also need to make use of every inch of space in the shop, so the panels at the base had to go.

I started with this:

and after cutting, sanding, redesigning, painting, aging and generally wrecking those nice shelves I have ended up with this:

I've put a few toys on just for effect but you will have to imagine it jamb packed with toys and probably with things hanging down the sides also.

I have another set of the shelves tucked away and may keep that set in its original state for the museum part of Timeless Toys. We will see.

On Saturday I am off to a miniatures show in my old home town an hour from where I live now. It is being put on by the miniatures club I used to belong to in the 1990s. It will be nice seeing the work of some other miniaturists and catching up with those that used to be in the club back in the 90s. I just hope they don't have too much on the sales table to temp me.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Prototype Pinwheel

I just had to have a go. Sometimes when you have an idea in your head you just can't ignore it. I want to make a selection of bright working pinwheels for my toy shop. I remember loving pinwheels when I was little.

I have made only one so far but at least I know it can be done. It was certainly fiddly and I have superglue under one of my finger nails.

The pinwheel is 2cm high including the stick. I will make the stick a bit longer on the next one. This poor pinwheel has been played around with for so long today in all my attempts to get it mounted on a stick and working so is a bit worse for wear.

And just to prove it works:

That is it for miniatures for today so I will have to take this pinwheel idea further during the week. I have promised my daughter she can teach me how to play Minecraft on the computer.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Rose Basket Tutorial

Here is the 'cheat' basket tutorial I promised. The basket is made out of needlepoint canvas. For this project I have used 18 count canvas because that is what I had to hand but 22 count is preferable as there is less seepage of glue through the holes. It is a great project for using up little scraps of canvas you have cut off from the edge of your needlework projects.

I am just going to give you a tutorial on the rose basket but I will show you a few other examples of things you can make with a similar technique at the end of the tutorial. There is no right or wrong way of making this or a right or wrong size. Do what works for you. I am just giving you a starting point to experiment with.

It is one of those projects where, if you are making one, you might as well make others at the same time to put aside for when you might need a basket.

Start by thinking about whether your basket is to be round or oval and what size you require the base to be. For the rose basket I chose an oval base that measures 1 inch across. I have some oval and circle stencils I use but if you don't have those just find something roughly the size you want and trace around it. I use 2mm thick cardboard. You want the cardboard to be reasonably deep to give strength to the basket.

I find when cutting small ovals or circles from thick cardboard it helps to cut into the shape with your cutting knife before cutting around it with sharp scissors.

Then cut a strip of canvas. For this basket I have cut a strip 1 inch deep. 

Wrap the canvas around the base you have just cut out and cut the canvas allowing for a small overlap of about 3mm.

If you want a handle on your basket also cut a further small strip of canvas. For this basket I cut a strip 6 cm x 1 cm. You will cut the handle down to size later.

Paint your pieces with an acrylic paint and set them aside to dry. Be quite generous with your paint and paint both sides. It doesn't matter if the holes in the canvas fill up a bit.

While your paint is drying you can have a go at making your roses.

I am using fimo for my roses because that is what I have to hand but you could also use air drying clay, thick handmade paper, cold porcelain, small dried flowers, in fact any type of flower or greenery would look great in the baskets - the possibilities are endless.

Again, if you are going to make some roses for one basket you may as well make some extras for future projects. I am just doing a quick and simple stylised rose. The technique is roll, squash and roll!

Roll a thin snake of fimo.

Squash it down very thin and then cut one edge straight which will be the bottom of the rose.

A length of 3.5cm will make a decent sized rose. To make the rose just roll the fimo between your fingers trying to keep it reasonably loose at the top edge. Just roll until you think the rose is big enough.

It is hard to explain but if you try a few you will start getting the feel for it. It looks good if you curl out some of the upper outside edge. Make sure you vary the sizes a bit and make some smaller roses and little buds as well. To make the buds just use a very short length of fimo.

You might also want to touch up the top edge with a brush of blush, eye shadow or chalk pastel powder to give a hint of another colour.

Now while you are waiting for your roses to bake and then cool down you can proceed with the next step of your basket.

Take the painted canvas for the basket. I like to make a small fold top and bottom and glue it down to both give a tidy edge and to strengthen the basket. I also take the canvas for the handle and fold it in half lengthwise and glue it together.

Then put glue around the outside edge of your cardboard base and glue the canvas to it gluing the overlap at the back.

Once that has dried cut a piece of foam or whatever you have to hand to fill the basket to a certain level ready to glue the roses on. In previous baskets I have used polystyrene painted the same colour as the basket. Today I have used a bit of black foam.

Add a layer of glue to the top of the foam.

Then with tweezers place your roses on the foam filling in as many gaps as you can.

Trim the handle to the thickness you would like it to be and glue the ends inside the basket.

Where there are little gaps I like to tuck in some paper leaves (I just cut shapes from green paper) or other greenery. It looks good having one or two leaves hanging over the outside of the basket too.

I haven't done that step tonight and it is not the best for photography because of the light so below is a photo of a couple of baskets I made for Christmas swaps.

I think one of these baskets would make a great little doorstop in a miniature house.

Of course you can use this technique for a number of things, e.g. a wood basket (excuse the match sticks - it is too dark and cold to go outside and look for twigs), a basket for a plant, a dog basket, a little tray and so many more things. These were all quickly thrown together tonight so they are not 100% and I will probably give them a touch up with some paint and a thin braid around the tray with a decorative paper base.

Just another idea . You can weave some embroidery thread along some of the rows in a different colour. I would do this after the paint has dried but before you put the basket together.

I think the next little basket I will do will be an Easter basket.

Well that is the rose basket tutorial. If you have any questions at all please do not hesitate to ask.

Tomorrow I am hoping to make some little pinwheels for Timeless Toys.

Have a great weekend everyone.