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Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Well, This Took Some Time...

...and generated a fair bit of waste paper and painted paper. My friend Louise had asked me to make a companion dracaena tree, in half scale, for her camp project. She had one, but wanted another to make a balanced composition.

Half scale is new to me; I dreamed about how to tackle this project, before Christmas and after the holidays while I was working away on quilted Christmas and birthday gifts for my family members.
Finally, I decided to cut to the chase.

I must have tried half a dozen or more separate ways to do this; you can see some of the waste generated below. Last night I figured it out, the prototype worked, and today the tree is done, just in time for our mini get-together.



The original is to the left of the photo, my version is on the right. (You can see the various attempts at prototypes in the foreground.) Still a bit too bushy for a proper match, so out came the scissors, and hoping I wasn't going to mess it up, the dracena got a haircut.



Better, but too many clumped leaves, so out came the scissors again, and the plant got a trim around the edges. Original on the left, my version on the right. Photos really help to point out where corrections are needed!



OK, now we're cooking! This was my final attempt, as I was happy with the appearance of the plant. The stems were heavy gauge floral wire, wrapped in strips of paper, and then painted. Over that went a coat of matte varnish. The leaves are made of painted computer paper, a piece about 2 x 2" (5 x 5 cm), cut in a gentle curve at the top edge to vary the lengths of the leaves. The paper is then fringed every 1/16th of an inch (about 1 mm), leaving 3/8" (1 cm) uncut at the base.

Then each narrow leaf is tapered to a point (I nearly went cross-eyed). I used my pointed tweezers to roll up the fringed, trimmed strip, stuck in a tiny clamp, and allowed things to dry. Once dry, I curled each individual leaf over my scissors blade, trimming where I felt too many were the same size. When the leaves were all curled, I pulled the tiny clamp out and cut half of the rolled base off. Then I used my pointed tweezers to open the hole somewhat, and stuck in the stems with tacky glue on their ends.

I will give it to Louise at the meeting. Now I have to create a couple of white amaryllis plants. That will take a few days, as I work tomorrow and have appointments on Friday. But I will get to them soon!

Thursday, 26 December 2019

Merry Christmas!



It has been my intention to post a tutorial for this little arrangement in the days leading up to Christmas, but the camera was mislaid until it just turned up - hiding on a chair under the table in the dining room. As there are only two of us and the cat here, we had no reason to pull that chair out....

However, better late than never, so here goes: the arrangement above was gifted to Marilyn D. of Charminis, at our group's holiday potluck. I have another version of it, and will put that photo up later!



I began with a woodsy round and a small wooden plate. You can, of course, substitute a ready-made tray or plate, or make a base of cardboard and beads. I drilled a hole in the centre of the plate, and in the centre of the wooden round, in order to insert a cut-down pin to make the whole sturdier. Glue the disc to the plate, and when the glue is dry, paint in the colour of your choice, or use stain. As Marilyn had mentioned she was considering a white Christmas setting, I went with white.



The second step required some evergreen foliage, glue, and some sparkly stuff; I have some very fine glitter that I used for this. Make a ring of greenery to fit the edge of the plate, and glue it in place. you will have to hold it until the glue grabs hold. Once the greenery on the disc is glued in place, gently brush on some white paint, and immediately sprinkle some of your chosen glitter over the wet paint. It will dry onto the paint.



Now comes the fun part, decorating! Going with the white theme, I made a white poinsettia flower, substituting gold micro beads for the railroad apples I used in my poinsettia tutorial; you can find that tutorial by going to the side bar on the blog. I used a cream-coloured pencil to draw in some veins on the poinsettia petals; once the poinsettia was dry, I used a very fine paintbrush and some half-and-half white glue and water to draw a glue line over the veins of the flower; as with the wreath, sprinkle on some of the fine glitter over the glue. Continuing with the white theme, I made six Christmas roses or hellebores, from a five- or six-petal small punch, using the palest green paper I have in my stash. A dab of yellow paint on the end of a stem, on top of which you glue a bit of yellow flower soft or similar material, makes the fluffy stamens. Slide the blossom up to the paint blob, and secure with a dab of glue.


The candles are cylinders of half transparent and half white Fimo, with a tiny bit of fuse wire (you could also use glue-stiffened thread) in the centre to represent the wicks. Make a hole and insert the wire with some liquid polymer clay before baking, or with a little bit of glue after baking. The candles vary in height, so position them as you like.

White was my choice; you could go with a red theme, a blue theme, a multi-colour theme, whatever your dollhouse vision. You can vary the number of candles, add candy canes or mints, gingerbread men or dried fruit slices. Make your own personal statement with your arrangement.



Here is the arrangement for my flower shop display; as the wreath material was a little thinner, I used tiny tufts of model railroad clump foliage to make a "moss" bed for my candles to sit in.


Friday, 8 November 2019

Winter Is Here

Miniatures are still being constructed, but are having to take a back seat to Real Life, unfortunately.
Mid-month I got news that my sister on the other side of the country - Vancouver Island - was dying. We lost her this Monday; 23 years with Parkinson's Disease had resulted in a body that could no longer carry on. She will be missed.



Yesterday it began to snow; today, this is what my garden looks like, complete with one of this year's fawns - Virginia Whitetail, for those who want to know - in its heavy, dull brown winter coat.



And here is the doe, watching her baby. Soon baby will have to make it on its own, as mom is likely going to have another baby before too many months pass.

Yesterday, Marilyn and I delivered the Remembrance Day Project to the Engineering Museum at our local armed forces base. We had expected to simply drop it off, but when we arrived there were a couple of dozen soldiers awaiting us, along with some officers, including the lady Colonel who is in charge of the Engineers. It was very flattering to have such a nice fuss made over our project. I will try to get a photo of it; I didn't realize there is no finished photo of it on the blog. We were each given a heavy souvenir coin of the regiment, and a guided tour of the museum in which our project is going to be living.

I am still working on the Camp project, as well as on things to go into a new room box that I will talk about in another post.

Monday, 14 October 2019

Beautiful Interpretation of CMHH '19Project



In the previous post,I mentioned that two of our campers were interpreting a very old Spanish restaurant kitchen, and I posted one in progress photo. This photo is Kelly's interpretation, which is nearly complete. I just love this one, and so does everyone who saw it on the CanadaMinis website.

I am working on rebuilding my kitchen into an old-fashioned neighbourhood candy store, but as we had (most enjoyable) company over the Canadian Thanksgiving holiday this weekend, I have not worked on it, except to glue on some hinges.

This one should inspire me to finish....

Friday, 11 October 2019

Oh No!



Perhaps my fingers are getting too clumsy, but my camp project imploded on Wednesday, as I was sanding after re-staining with oil stain. (The stuff I have really stinks, for days!) This has led to a rather complete re-design of the fittings, to better suit my purpose for the project as an old sweet shoppe,which I will add to my thirties market place, the kind of frugal place where kids spend their allowances and buy chocolates for their moms.

The bottle pull-out in the lower half of the kitchen and the narrow shelved cupboard next to it are out, to be re-worked into a wider shelved cabinet designed to take some of the jars of sweets. The original sides of that cupboard will thus be re-purposed. There should be a display for chocolate boxes and candy bars (if I can find vintage wrapper printies, that is), and a lollipop display as well as the two counter jars of lollipops I have in my stash. I wish I could figure out how to get the tops off, they need more lollies! The cupboard with the door will hold the scales and cash register when the box is closed. I will figure out a use for the base cupboard with the two drawers and the cubby-hole - it could hold a dustpan and brush, for example, while the drawers could hold the pewter scoops.

The entire upper row of cupboards will be replaced by shelves deep enough to take glass candy jars, which I have been collecting in three sizes. I am debating faux bins with "glass" fronts below the shelves, just in the centre. The plan is to design glass bins first of all, and then I intend to make a faux front just deep enough to hold the candy, giving the illusion the entire bin is full. (I have to make all that candy, after all!) I also have some square cookie or cracker bins in my stash, which I could make up for the project. I might even be able to make tiny display cabinets, to hold boxes of chocolate, for the upper parts of the doors.

With the upper cupboards replaced with shelves, I can put a hanging light into the shop; it is quite dark, and I want the glass candy jars visible.The lights I have are LED, and work off a coin battery which I can hide in a lift-off false roof space (thanks, Marilyn, for that idea). As well, I hope to put a three-shelf unit onto the lower left-hand door (used by Louise in her optometrist's office), to hold small jars of , for example, stick candy. The little shelf that came with the kit is too narrow to take my jars, so it will have to wait for another project.

We are having company for Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend, so I will have to wait with my smelly stain until we are on our own again next week. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Camp MiniHaHa 2019 Project



This is the prototype of the Ruffled Rooster Kitchen project, designed by Connie Sauve, that we were doing at camp, with her permission, this year. It is jam-packed with cupboards, drawers and cubbyholes, and the camper who cut out the pieces for us figures there were upwards of 4,000 or so to have enough for all the campers and the extra kits people asked for.

I have mentioned, in the past, that we tend to do as many variations of our project as there are campers, and you will see some in the photos below. There are a lot of photos, so this is a long blog entry.
Unfortunately, people started to pack up mid-afternoon on Sunday, so there are a lot of examples I was unable to get photos of.



Debbie P.s kitchen is a lovely grey-blue, the photo does not do it justice. You can see where things have been switched about to personalise the project.



This is Janice's kitchen, in blue-grey and yellow. As you can see, more switching around of the kit's components!



Myra works small, so her "kitchen" became a three-story house! This is probably 1/48th scale, as the box is 15 1/2 cm (6") wide and 17 1/2 cm (7") high. I did tell you it was a compact kit....



Iris and Kelly were both reproducing a 1700's restaurant kitchen/stove they had visited in Spain; the restaurant has been operating for nearly 300 years, and is believed to be the oldest restaurant ever. The sides and stove hood were tiled, hence the tile work; the stove portion - a huge metal beast - will go into the open space.



Aleeta is making the wardrobe scene from The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. The kitchen has been transformed into a wardrobe, and you can see the door opening which has been cut, and which will become the entry to Narnia; she plans to do the scene of the snowy forest, street lamp and Mr. Tumnus the Faun in behind the wardrobe, thus expanding the scene.

Brandy carved her doors; she painted background scenery on the kit doors, then cut some thicker doors and carved them with trees, foliage, bear cubs, rocks and stones, to be applied over the painted background. Sadly, I didn't get a photo of that. And Patricia was creating a theatrical dressing room, complete with light bulbs around the mirror, from her kit. (No photo of that either...) Lynn and one other camper were turning their kits into Hallowe'en scenes.

Already in existence, in the prototypes, were 2 complete, beautiful kitchens, a laundry room with many flamingo accessories, and an optometrist's office. I hope to get some more photos up at some point, as three of the prototypes were made by members of my local mini group.

It was a a rather exhausting camp, with all the many pieces that needed to be assembled. My own version is partly stained, partly painted, partly done, partly not done; you get the idea. My stain had deteriorated, and they don't make it any more in the water version, only in oil, so I have to re-stain all the pieces with smelly stain. I am pulling out the bottle drawer (long and narrow on lower portion of kitchen), and will enlarge the shelves to allow for more "stuff". There are lots of little glass jars and bottles in my stash, which all need to be filled with polymer clay candy, not to mention the bins and shelves of the kit shop. I also want to add a shelf unit to the left-hand door to accommodate some jars. The drop-down table in the project will be my store counter, with a small scale on top. Did I mention that my project is intended to become an old-fashioned candy shop? It will become part of my between-the-wars market setting. To that end, I have to figure out how to make "glass" fronts for the 3 tiny drawers. That should be a challenge! And I would love to be able to figure out a way to make the tip-out "glass" shelf on the top portion into a pair of tip-out bins.

Next time, I will show some of my camp goodies, but this is enough for now, I think.

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

One Cloud Pine in Miniature



It turned out better than I expected; my only problem is that using matte varnish over scenic cement has resulted in a somewhat shiny trunk. The depth of the foliage is quite good, with a little scatter of several lighter shades just over the top to give some lightness. The evergreen foliage is actually quite dark. Hopefully I can figure out a way to dull that shine permanently.

Now I am off to Camp MiniHaHa followed by a short family, visit until next week.