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Saturday, 28 February 2015

Some New Mini Acquisitions

A new hospice boutique opened in our city, with the money being raised going to help keep the newly built cancer hospice going. Items are donated free of charge, most of the staff is volunteers, and the stock keeps changing. Today was my first visit there, as the shop opened Feb. 18 - many snowstorms ago! Anyways, these two tiny ceramic planters are more fashion doll scale than 1/12 scale, but I thought it would be fun to create some floral arrangements in them, in the hope of selling them at a couple of upcoming shows. The left planter is a Piglet figurine, dressed in a scarf and earmuffs; I think that one would look good with hydrangeas in it. The right one is a mauve and yellow gift package, and irises might go well in that.
These 1/12 scale Christmas ornaments are a real tour de force; they were custom made for me by Mable, one of the members of our miniatures group. She sells fully decorated Christmas trees on Etsy, as well as single ornaments. These are about the size of a baby pea, with indented, fluted, silver centres with a colour accent; the outside of the opening is decorated with micro-glitter, and there are some micro-size brushed leaf shapes on some of them as well. These lovely little things will go into my eventual Christmas market stall - once I get some other things finished, that is!
It is the last day of February, which means tomorrow I will post a photo of yet another UnFinished  Object. This has not been a great month for working on minis, as I have been giving time to some of my other hobbies and finishing items for family members, as well as enjoying a visit from my older daughter, who lives in Northern Alberta. She was stuck in Toronto for a day due to snow on her way to us; travel in Canada in the winter is such a game of chance!
Today a parcel arrived for four of the members of our miniatures group, containing items we had ordered during a January sales special month from Grandpa's Dollhouse. In my package were many windows, doors and architectural items for my younger daughter's dollhouse, as well as a battery-operated LED flickering fire unit that is going into my lamp base vignette. Something to work on in March, along with some items for the upcoming miniature shows. My hands are suffering again this winter, I could use my fingertips for sandpaper, and as for fingernails, they break off before they are worthy of the name. Perhaps the oils in the polymer clay will help....

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Things Should Be Back to Normal Soon

After being bombarded by snow storm after snow storm, which left me wishing I were a bear and could just hibernate and forget winter existed, I am slowly waking up again.

We currently have our older daughter visiting from northern Alberta, and are about to head off for a very dear friend's winter wedding; once we are home and recovered from that, blog postings will continue.

There is another, supposedly small, i.e. about 5 cm or 2", snowstorm supposed to happen today....
Well, I'm off to my weekly volunteer job!

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Old Miniature House of My Daughter's

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that my younger daughter had asked me to build, wig and dress her miniature figures for her Darling Family of Peter Pan fame dollhouse. The house was originally built by the 3 older brothers of the only girl of a family of 7 children;  a somewhat basic building with some scale problems, seriously bad baby s**t brown paintjob, unloved for half a lifetime and hidden in an attic for years. The paint description comes from the sister for whom the dollhouse was made.

Her own granddaughters didn't want the dollhouse, nor did their mother, so Great-Aunt Mary offered the dollhouse to my younger daughter when she was about 4 or 5 - not long after she lost her Grampy, one of Aunt Mary's 3 younger brothers.

That house has played such a major role in my children's play activities; at various times, it has housed My Little Ponies, the smaller members of the Barbie family, Lego people and Playmobil figures, as well as Star Wars action figures belonging to my son. The house sent the children's imaginations soaring. Then we left Canada for 3 years in Jamaica, and the house went into storage; the company changed hands while we were away, and our belongings were moved to another storage facility. At least one or two boxes got lost in this move, including parts of this dollhouse; the front veranda, back roof, and back porch.

These days, my daughters are all grown up, but this dollhouse is undergoing a transformation. New windows and doors are on their way from Earth & Tree in New Hampshire, and Grandpa's Dollhouse in Ontario. Years ago, it was painted white, the old stairs were removed, as were the solid stair railings on the second floor. The roof is partially shingled, and window and door openings have been added, altered, and in some cases, installed.

The new stairs are in place, with some auditioning of fireplaces and stoves going on. This is the street side of the house, and the stairs are in the front hallway. A stained glass window has been inserted into the wall above the stair. The interior walls of the house have been temporarily removed; there will be 3 bedrooms upstairs, a kitchen, parlour and living room downstairs. My daughter has been collecting and making things for this dollhouse for at least 20 years or more.
There used to be a small veranda on this side of the house, long lost unfortunately; however, as the house is supposed to be in Edwardian London, a veranda would not have been in period anyways!
The brown areas are where old windows have been removed and filled in, and new windows fitted. The kitchen door opening is also new, and may lead to a conservatory being re-made from a Wardian case my daughter picked up at a yard sale years ago. Placement for the twin chimneys, one on each short side of the house, have been marked on the carcase in pencil.

The other side of the house which used to have doorway and a back porch.  The wall for this side is in the workshop, and it is too cold to go out and find it to photograph!

This is the side of house that has the stained glass window. We had hoped for a tall one, just like the one in the stairwell of Great-Aunt Mary's house, the old family home, but when my daughter bought this window, she was still in middle school, and somewhat cash-poor. This wall will also have a chimney, to give the house a somewhat Georgian, symmetrical profile.

The plan is to brick the chimneys and the front of the house, and stucco the sides and the back. This would be in period for Edwardian London. There is to be an ornate window on the second floor, in which we will find Peter Pan.  As my daughter and my husband work on this, I will post photos of their progress; my part in this project is mainly to advise, make carpets, and make up the dolls to go into the setting.

It looks pretty rough right now, but keep watching; I am sure it will turn out to be quite the house when it is done.

Welcome to new followers Kamilla from Poland, and bienvenidos a Carmen. I hope you enjoy visiting my blog.


Thursday, 5 February 2015

No Minis, But Snow and Critters

Here we are again, the fourth snow "storm" in a week; I should be at my volunteer job today, but the roads aren't in good condition, nor has the driveway been cleared or the snow, tossed in by the plow, removed. This is life in Atlantic Canada in the winter; beautiful, but somewhat treacherous. I was sitting at the dining room table, watching the red squirrel on the bird-feeder, and decided to try and get a photo of both the squirrel and a chickadee feeding in close proximity, but those chickadees are so fast!

One red squirrel, happily chomping away on a black oil sunflower seed - we involuntarily  feed both red and grey squirrels all winter long, as well as whatever birds are around. Up until two years ago, we also got flying squirrels, but we haven't seem them in the past couple of winters; they are nocturnal and very shy of people. The feeder hangs from the eaves, just outside out dining room window, and allows us to get quite close to the small wildlife (I won't mention the occasional black bear that appears on our patio in the fall....).

I kept the camera on, hoping to get a chickadee sharing the feeder, but those things flit in and out so fast; however, I did catch one perched on the wire, ready to dash behind the squirrel's back and grab a seed. At this point, a pair of nuthatches were circling, head-down, around the maple tree trunk beyond the feeder, but they are too small to register.

Well, there is a chickadee sitting on the edge of the feeder opposite the squirrel, but you have to look quite hard! It has a black cap with a white flash on the side, and a yellow-grey breast. A wind has come up, and snow is avalanching from branch to branch in the evergreens. This is the northern boreal forest, one of the largest in the world, mostly evergreens and birches, with poplars as you go further north. The skinny double trunk next to the window frame is a hop hornbeam tree, pretty much at the furthest northern edge of its territory, keeping company with a cedar. We also have some black ash in our garden, much used by the First Nations people historically to make baskets and the like.

The snow is almost a metre (3 feet) deep at this point, and we still have three more months of winter....

No minis this week so far, as I did my back in after conquering the cold that was draining me. Maybe tomorrow; right now, I am reading a good book, interspersed with some knitting.

Sunday, 1 February 2015

My Wall of Shame UFO No. 3

This attic room is another Camp MiniHaHa UFO - the sticking point of this project is the lighting behind the false wall that shows a roof view of  Amsterdam on a sunny day. The lighting is the sticking point here, although it now seems that strip LED lighting may be the way to go.

This project is at least 7 years old; it was taught by Jacqui Marlin from Hawaii, who specializes in worn, damaged settings. This old attic was my answer. The wallpaper is peeling and stained, the floor is worn, the wainscoting has seen better days and the plug cover is hanging off the wall. Once it was a servant's bedroom, but over the decades it has become the repository of anything not wanted in the other rooms of the house. The wonderful hutch was a gift exchange from that same camp, and is the focal point of the room. Lately, the room box has become a junk dump for me too; the violin case, fallen plant, stepladder, sewing machine and some of the china are definitely not meant for this room.

This pile of stuff, however, is intended for this room, although at this point I doubt there will be space for all of it. Some of it, like the trunk, globe and screen, was made by me; much of the rest, however, is tidbits and gift exchange items from various camps. One main item that is lacking, and for which I'm always looking at flea markets, is a piece of antique, yellowed and torn lace that can be used to represent a curtain for the window; Dutch houses used to have their windows decently covered with excluding lace curtains.This is not so much the custom nowadays; I think it grew out of a desire for privacy in a very tiny country with well over twenty million inhabitants!

It's an eclectic mix of periods and items, which I'd love to showcase. Some of the people who contributed to these items are no longer with us, unfortunately, but good memories linger on in things they made and which I treasure.

As I'm fighting a flu or cold or something I've not done anything constructive with minis for the past three days, but I hope to have regained some energy soon, and dress another little character for the Tudor market scene. Opinions as to what would work well for lighting in this UFO would be very welcome....