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Sunday, 31 January 2016

Making Dollhouse Pansies From Paper

This is a tutorial that I have been promising for quite a while, so here it is, finally. It is a difficult one to do a tutorial on, as the components are so very tiny. So you will have to pay attention to the steps of the process. If I am unclear, please contact me....

This is the type of pansy I will try to make. It is the old-fashioned variety, which is bigger than the ones most of us are used to today. The finished pansy is approx. 1/4" (4 mm) across, which translates in Real Life to 3" (7.5 cm). However, it would be next to impossible to make them any smaller, and it is kind of "set dressing" anyways; if it is recognizable and more or less in scale, it works.

You will need: 4, 1/8" (2mm) paper circles, and 1 heart in a similar size, in your choice of colour (the wee pink things just below the leaves); a tiny green circle or star; a stem wire tipped with yellow paint; small oak leaf punch-outs; fine-tip pen or colouring pencil in a darker colour than your flower colour; and the usual like glue, needle for shaping and piercing, tweezers, shaping mat and the like. I use a brick of oasis to hold my flower parts as I "build" them.

This is where you need to pay attention to the steps, as my camera couldn't photograph them clearly, due to the tiny size. CAUTION: This is fiddly!

1. Pierce hole in green centre, thread onto tipped stem but DO NOT glue.
2. Colour tip of heart and sides of 2 circles.
3. Shape by drawing a V with a line up the middle, using the edge of a needle, on all 5 flower petal parts.
4. Glue 2 plain discs to the star or green disc, at approximately the 11 and 1 o'clock positions; another way to look at it is a pair of mouse ears, edges barely touching.
5. Glue 2 coloured discs, coloured edge in, at the 9 and 3 o'clock positions.
6. Glue heart, point in, at the 6 o'clock position.
7. Carefully push up this assemblage to just touch the coloured tip of your stem. Allow to dry. When dry, bend stem 90 degrees, just behind flower head. (There is usually enough glue residue to grab the stem, but if you wish, you can always add a tiny bit more.)
8. Vein the leaf shapes. Glue onto stems. NOTE: If you "plant" your pansies, place the leaves very close to the "ground" at the base of your pansy plant; if you are putting them into a vase, glue leaves but leave enough stem below them to sit above the edge of the container.
9. You can add a bud; just bend it down at quite a sharp angle.

Here is a photo of the finished product; as I said, it is very difficult to get these tiny flowers into decent focus with my inexpensive camera, and they would insist on swivelling around in the oasis block. Remember, the finished flower is only 1/4" or 4 mm across! I hope this gives you the idea.

Look up pansies in Google images; there is such a wonderful, incredibly wide variety of colours and colour combinations to choose from. Hopefully, this set of instructions will work for you....

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Confession Is Good for the Soul, They Say....

It's been quite a while since I posted anything, but I haven't been doing nothing, just nothing in the way of miniatures. It has been quite clear for a while that I have too many hobbies; besides miniatures, I enjoy embroidery, knitting, quilting and small-scale sewing projects. But all these hobbies take up space.

I do have a dedicated workroom space, that was built into our house. It holds my sewing table and equipment, but I share it with my daughter who is a costume designer. When she has a commission, I tend to spread out to other areas of the house.

This is my dedicated "sewing" room, which is also supposed to house other hobbies. However, space is at a premium here, too much fabric for me to feel comfortable working with saws, glue and paint. This room is where I sew, keep all my how-to books, and most of my fabric supply. To the left of the chair, not shown in this photo, is a 6 ft tall bookcase, which has half of its shelves dedicated to housing my smaller miniatures; the rest of the shelves hold magazines and baskets with partially completed fabric-related projects. One of my current make-space projects is to cut my fabric scraps into standard sizes, so they will take up less space and be more easily available. That has been one of my non-mini projects this month, along with cutting some pieces for a tote bag, and the pile of stuff in the centre is for a quilt carrying bag, yet to be made, of course.

This is my secondary work space, the place where I tend to do all the messy work of sawing, painting, sanding, gluing and the like. It has a lovely view out the window; currently it is all snow....
This is my old dining room table, from my early twenties, hidden under a plastic tablecloth and right now, absolutely cluttered with stuff that needs sorting out. The boxes at the left belong to my daughter and contain some of her costume-making supplies. The doll hanging above the table is an old east Indian marionette; two-faced, with an elegant two-tone costume and a rather scary mask face.
There are also two old Indonesian stick puppets living elsewhere in this space, which is intended to be a family room.... Beyond the left side of the photo is our television viewing area. Upstairs, where it is quiet, is intended for reading and listening to music. Our house is built into a hill, which means that our "basement" is actually mostly very useful living space. Just beyond the paint tower, is a double door to the downstairs patio. (It is, of course, buried under snow right now!)

This is the tertiary work area, just to the right of the computer desk. It is an unfinished built-in desk, ideal for holding works in progress and assorted games, etc. The desk is unfinished because the heavy oak desk top insists on warping, so it is forever being straightened. The thing under the picture is a piece of armour - I did mention my daughter is a costume designer, and that is the edge of her sewing dummy on the right of the photo. My book vignette is there, along with my Japanese vignette, and of course the two halves of my Tudor apothecary - the outside is finished, I just need to furnish it! It seems that whenever a horizontal surface appears, it doesn't take long for it to be filled up...

I must confess that I have yet a fourth work area; whenever I work with polymer clay, I do it at the breakfast bar in the kitchen, as it is handy to the stove and the sink. But when I am done with the thing I am working on, all the boxes and tools go right back into basement storage. I have one short wall and part of a longer wall there to keep all my mini bits and pieces.

And I further confess that I lost my camera for several weeks; I found it today, under an old hope chest in my bedroom. Guess I couldn't find it because I didn't look in the right places.

My soul does feel a little bit lighter! Bear with me, I have to tidy and sort some more before I can allow myself to get back into creating more miniature havoc. Oh, further confession, when I do cross-stitch embroidery, I do it upstairs in the living room, so I guess there is also a fifth work area....

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Happy New Year

We had a very busy holiday season; two guests left just before New Year, two are on their way to the airport right now, and one is still with us for a couple of days. There has not been enough time to do any posts lately! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, and that Santa left you minis.

I got some minis, some intended and some serendipity.

These two readable mini books came from my younger daughter; one is a Book of Hours, which I had said I would like to add to one of the two prie-dieus I now have, The other is a medieval herbal, which will go into the Tudor Apothecary workshop.

A set of mouse rug coasters will go into my vignette settings; as they are mounted on foam, they will have to be recessed into their settings to be totally believable, but that can work by simply making a thicker floor than I usually do. A stocking stuffer from one of my two western Canadian children.

This is the serendipitous gift; a box that held two small bottles of Armagnac brandy. The centre divider slides out, and the lid is plexiglass with a wooden handle, that also slides out. This will make a perfect small vignette that will not take up too much space, something that is becoming more of a consideration for me.

And finally, a half dozen small paper punches; I have to compare these with punches I already have, but if they are duplications, there are half a dozen people who will be very happy to receive them! These small paper punches are becoming increasingly more difficult to find in my part of the world. They came from one of my children out west, as a stocking stuffer.

I still intend to put a pansy tutorial on the blog, just have to be back to normal in the household, as it takes time and space to put a tutorial together. Happy New Year!