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Friday, 20 July 2018

Catching Up Once Again

It may again be a bit quiet on the blog, as I am in the throes of organizing a miniature and doll show for the fall. Right now it is registrations, which take quite a bit of my time. Also, we are once again in a heatwave, and my energy levels are low....

I am doing a doll display this coming week, with the provincial Highland Games over the weekend; usually I spend a day at the Haggis Cafe. Yes, we made haggis again this year, and expect to serve about 200 haggis on a bun at the event. One of these days, I must do a little Scots vignette to give to the Carpenter-in-Chief, as he is the guy with the Scottish background!

Saturday, 14 July 2018


My camera and I are not getting along that well these days; it eats batteries, which means I have to leave the battery port open, and it is a struggle to close it every time. It also does not interact with the computer to rotate photos any more, much is the pity, as I had a better photo which kept insisting on going sideways even though I had rotated it straight up.

Here is the flat of primroses I mentioned in an earlier post; if you click on the photo, you can see that there is a tiny lady bug beetle on the leaf that is hanging over. Some years ago, I was given a sheet of lady bugs; during my last mini vacation, I think I figured out how they were made. You need stained glass pens and the backing of something that is self-adhesive; I've saved the backing of a sticker that states, Miniaturists Work as Little as Possible....

The sticker itself lives on the back window of my car. To make the lady bugs, you need to make a dot of red stained glass paint on the backing sheet and allow that to dry. Then make an even tinier dot of black stained glass paint next to the red one for the bug's head. You don't need to make the dots on the bug's back at this scale! Dot a tiny tacky glue dot on the leaf, place the lady bug, and allow to dry.

It adds some fun realism to miniature plants and flowers!

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Catching Up and Minis Again

I was able to have a brief, mini holiday with like-minded friends. While there, I began work on a commission for roses, to fill an incredible silver repousse vase. Today, I delivered the commission; below you will see the photo, taken at our club meeting this evening:

You can click on them to see them close-up. I am kind of surprised at how well they turned out! There is a baker's dozen of roses in the vase, along with three sprigs of baby's breath, and some rose foliage.

Before going on holiday, my younger daughter and I took a day off from working on minis, in my case, and from packing, in her case, to make a flying visit to the Guild School in Castine, ME. We hadn't planned on going, as this was just after the political brouhaha regarding our Prime Minister being castigated by the President, but we were so tired of what we were doing that we just went. Two ladies I had met in Edmonton were students at the school, as well as a number of alumni of Camp MiniHaHa. I just love seeing the displays at the school, and the people there are always very friendly and chatty.

 My daughter and I had a lovely day out, and were able to return to our respective jobs with renewed zeal. Since then, she has moved back to Alberta, and I am slowly getting things tidied up and things finished. Stay tuned, I also finished a flat of primroses, complete with ladybug on one of the leaves, and have begun an amaryllis plant for the flower shop's summer display.

Monday, 21 May 2018

Sometimes Ideas Come From the Strangest Things

The Moncton show was a pretty good one for me, as I sold many plants and food items, some books and magazines, but oddly not a single piece of embroidery, on which I probably spent too much time.

We had severe flooding here, not where I live high above the river, but all along both banks of the river for many miles. The day before the show, the Trans Canada Highway between my town and Moncton was closed due to flooding. This meant a detour of close to 100 km to get around the flooded areas - there are not that many roads here!

My daughter and I went up the day before, and set up for the show. That meant that the day of the show we were able to some pre-shopping. However, I didn't buy anything at that point. Towards the end of the day, I picked up a small wine bottle to go into the eventual pub and was given a lovely little miniature ceramic version of an Amsterdam canal house (I was born in Amsterdam.) But the piece that has fired my imagination is this one:

It's a simple garden chair made of some sort of dense plastic, with a bunch of grape vine twigs and tendrils, a rusty tin star, and a little birdhouse. The little vignette is very close if not exactly 1/12 scale. I knew what I wanted to do with it right away. Here is step one of the transformation process:

The yellow paving stones are too bright; this is just the first coat, with more coats of shading and sponging yet to come. I got carried away and put the dirt and moss in place before I had finished the painting. The brick structure is a brick planter. And this is how they look together:

The accessories will be removed from the chair. The twigs will be planted in the planter, along with the bird house. The star will also find a home in what I hope will become a very small garden vignette. The snow here has melted (hence, the floods!), and my primroses are up. So I visualize a flat of primroses in front of the chair, the twigs transformed into perhaps a clematis vine, and the bird house ready for spring birds. The planter will be planted with flowers, some hanging over the edges. On the chair seat, more plants, a pair of gardening gloves, garden trowel and small hand fork, and perhaps a pair of muddy rubber boots. (Yes, I know that I am likely taking liberties with the correct growing period for what I plant, but it is, after all, my idea of a garden!).

The basic work shouldn't take too long, it is the flowers and plants that will take time. For a while, I hope to enjoy looking at the vignette, but it will probably go up for sale before the winter hits us again. In the meanwhile, I will have some fun....

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Class Photo

Today, for a change of pace, I taught a plant-making class. The people in the class were all new miniaturists interested in learning about plants. (Three others weren't able to make it; among other things, our area has been hard hit with a respiratory flu that takes weeks to get over.) Two of them own Ruth Hanke's book about making houseplants, but needed guidance how to proceed.

In the morning, we made a sanseviera (snake plant or mother-in-law's tongue) out of my rapidly dwindling stock of paper twist ties. There were some beautiful pots made available by one of the participants, and I got three nice pots to add to my collection. This plant is fairly easy to make, uses cutting and painting techniques, and gives a good sense of accomplishment.

In the afternoon, we made a rubber plant (Ficus), using floral tape, wire, paint etc. This one was rather more challenging, but you can see that the participants were all quite successful. With the basics under their belts, they can now attempt some of Ms. Hanke's designs on their own.

It was a fun class, I really enjoyed myself, and they seem to have found it a good day's work too.

Friday, 6 April 2018

Working Away....

I'm still here, but I am working away to create some items for the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show, which happens May 5. It is slow going, but it is a beginning. There are a few needlework pieces I would like to try, the above represents a selection of pillows, mats and rugs; among the items I would like to have a go at, are bell pulls, provided I can find decent hanging findings for them. I did pick up some in Europe years ago, but am now contemplating a different shape, which will have to be purchased via the internet, fortunately with a supplier here in Canada. There is so much money involved in sending anything outside of  this country, as for example a piece of fabric on eBay for which $9.99 is being asked, along with $24.95 for postage and handling....

Postage within Canada is bad enough, but to charge nearly $25.00 for something which could easily be sent in a plain manila envelope, is pushing it as far as I am concerned!

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Oh, Blah!

It must be the almost endless winter, but I find myself making flowers all the time! There are now 2 smaller shamrock plants, as well as a chrysanthemum which will go into the flower shop's autumn display window.

The mums were made from a We Love Miniatures tutorial, although I didn't exactly have the right punches. Instead, I used a sort of asterisk for the two centre petals, and a small snowflake for the remaining rows of petals. The centre is flower soft, and the finished mums were brushed with ochre chalk dust. I quite like them, and will probably make some in pink and purple, and perhaps white, to make a nice mass of chrysanthemums for the window display.

And I have started some tiny mini embroidery projects, as the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show is coming up the first Saturday in May.