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Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Making Miniature Flowers

So it was bad weather yesterday, and the bad weather culminated in an 8-hour power blackout, starting at suppertime. I spent the afternoon and evening making up flower kits to go with last year's Camp MiniHaHa project, until the light failed. I made up some more today, old kits I had lying around and had never done. The hollyhocks and sunflowers were made last fall, the smaller flowers were the product of two days' work. All but one kit came from CMHH, these were produced by Adrian the Flower Lady and her friend Elizabeth: left to right, back row first; campanula (which will have to be planted closer to the ground), gaillardia or blanket-flower, daisies (more leaves needed) then front row left to right: pansies (a gift from someone, I like my way of making pansies better), stokesia or aster, and dianthus or pinks.

I coloured the pinks foliage with a white pencil as it needed to be grayer. The campanula (I have two varieties of them in the real-life garden) had the upper points of their petals recurved to increase the bell shape. I used paint thickened with texture builder to build up the centres of the gaillardia, stokesia and daisies, then dipped them in glue, and then in coloured decorative sand to make them slightly bigger. The centres of the gaillardia were then edged in maroon around the yellow, using a marker pen. Google Images are great for close-ups of garden flowers that are not in my own garden.

This is my nursery bed, i.e. the plants will go into the actual miniature garden in a rather more naturalistic way than they are here. The colours work pretty well together. I need some intermediate-size flowers, peonies kind of appeal for that. As this garden is purely imaginary, I can have things blooming out of season, so maybe some hydrangea, zinnias, moss phlox, petunias and other things will add to the cottage garden feel.

Tiny paper blooms helped to brighten up the last two days quite nicely!

Monday, 17 June 2013

Another Miniature Medieval Tapestry Completed

This design came from one of the British magazines, and I loved the colours, so of course, I had to make it. It is kind of scary, really, that I know so many of the DMC embroidery floss colours off by heart....

Like many of my pieces, the embroidery was finished a year or more ago, but I had not as yet backed it or put the loops on; one of the things  about myself I am really trying to change, is to completely finish something rather than partly finish it.

What I like about it is the lovely, faded colours, which remind me of a fresco painting. The design is quite old, a Moorish ship, I believe, and one doesn't often get to use turquoise and purple in a piece without it being garish. And the border; chartreuse green and maroon just happen to be favourites of mine. The piece was done on 32 or 36 ct. Monaco or Davos-type fabric, rather too thick for minis. I should have used linen, but I don't always have the smaller counts around when inspiration strikes. There are still a couple of tiny pillows worked on the same fabric to finish.

I finished another project too, today, so I should rest well tonight!

Monday, 10 June 2013

Mini Day Out and the Miniature Doll-Making Class

 Half of the room, industriously working on the bodies for their miniature people, who were mostly in the oven at this point....

Other half of the room, the rain had finally ceased and there was a sort of view out the window.

Some of the miniature people, some with bodies, some without, none of them painted as yet.

 Short, tall, chubby, slender, beautiful, homely - another look at the little people. The well-endowed lady is an elderly witch. The lady at top right even has her face painted!

We even had a bathing beauty, who will be in a bubble bath. And those long limbs belong to a fairy as yet without a body.

This was such a fun day, everyone got right into doll-making. Most of the participants had never made a doll before, so the results are really quite amazing. We began the day in serious rain thanks to Andrea, the storm, but only one person was unable to make it. The participants appeared to have a lot of fun, too.

Some of the participants were old friends from Camp MiniHaHa, but many more were people I had never met before. The Mini Day Out is a joint venture of the Valley and Halifax-Dartmouth mini and doll groups. They have two of these a year, as well as their regular meetings, of course.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Polymer Clay Doll Workshop

This weekend I will be teaching a polymer clay dollhouse doll workshop in Nova Scotia, and as I hadn't made dolls for quite a while, I decided to do a few body parts. By just after lunch, I had four ladies ready to put together; they will all go into the Tudor market hall, eventually. A man has been sculpted, but not yet bakes; tomorrow, I hope to give him 3 friends to share the oven with (hehe!)

My old clay is giving me a bit of a problem; it has tiny air pockets in it that pop up when it is baked, despite a lot of "working" the clay. Hopefully I can sand these tiny imperfections out, or hide them with paint. Legs don't worry me, as the ladies will get stockings and shoes to cover any imperfections, but problems on hands and faces are more worrisome. These ladies all have inserted eyeballs, that's why they are staring like that.
It's a funny thing about making individually sculpted dolls; old and middle-aged dolls are no problem whatsoever, but I have a very hard time making young faces! These ladies are mostly of the older variety; once they are painted there might be other faces jumping out. Oh yes, that is another weird thing with dolls; I can't really decide what I am making, they decide for themselves.....
As well as making the dolls, I am also working again on last year's Camp MiniHaHa project. The raw edges of the pink foam have been covered with stained or painted wood, and the next step will be to repair some of the chips in the "stucco" that happened when one of the pieces of framing decided to
 go on crooked, and had to be redone. My goal is to have it finished to display at camp in September. As it requires lots of stock in the shop, I will work my way through a fair bit of polymer clay in the next few month as the shop will sell soaps and scents of various sorts made with lavender and other plant essences. Waiting to be worked on are Lite Brite pegs to be turned into bottles, and then I have to find appropriate, tiny labels and boxes for these items. Although I bought some very nice furniture for this shop in Victoria, BC in March, I am still inclined to try and make my own shop furniture, sort of shabby chic.
It is my hope that I will be able to post more regularly, now that my life is more or less back to normal. However, I won't do an iris tutorial, as Joanne Swanson has recently done that on her blog site, and my design for irises is based on hers; the only thing I do differently is to build the petals up on a tiny 1/8" circle platform (see tutorial on poinsettia plants).