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Tuesday, 30 August 2016

I'm Working Away

Two fellow campers reminded me that it is just 22 days until Camp MiniHaHa. Every year I intend to start my gift exchange items and tidbits early, and every year it gets put off closer, and closer, and closer to the camp date....

Well, the last couple of days I have completed 2 of 5 exchange gifts, and have finally come up with what I hope is a viable idea for the tidbits. I just have to spend a little more time on the computer to see if I can gather all the required components.

I hope to devote 3 more days to the exchange gifts - oh wait, I volunteer all day Thursday - oh dear, that means they will likely not be done completely until Friday or Saturday...

See what I mean?

Saturday, 27 August 2016

First Petunia Trial

 OK, this is the first attempt at a petunia plant; it needs way more leaves, but I thought I'd hold off with that until I try the other idea I had for reproducing these. The leaves are very tiny and each is shaped individually; there are 60 of them on this plant, and it probably needs that much again!

The blossoms were made with white, light-weight computer paper, on which I drew a star-shape (4 intersecting lines) with a purple  non-waterproof marker pen. I wanted to see what would happen when the coloured 1/4" (6 mm) circles were dampened; my hope was that the colour would "run" in interesting ways. That part worked well, and I may try it with alcohol inks, as some people have suggested to me. Apparently, that is a technique taught in art schools.Also, the blossoms will not need to dry if using alcohol inks.

The colour variations add to the realism of the flowers. They are also flared differently, giving the appearance of flowers wide open and others still to open completely. The friend who wanted the plant components has decided it is too time-consuming and fiddly; unfortunately, that is the case with any and all petunia plants, they require lots of flowers. so this experiment is over.

Update (Posted August 30): I won't be trying the other idea I had, as the plants aren't needed now. Some day I may try to make some petunias for my own use, but Tudor medicinal gardens didn't have any use for petunias!

Wednesday, 24 August 2016

How to Make Paper Geraniums

The kit contains: 2 pre-made flower domes, coloured to match your flowerets, 50-60 tiny blossoms, 12 geranium leaves, and 9 short wires. (You may not need to use all the tiny blossoms.)

You will need: tacky-type glue, ball stylus, foam pad, tweezers, and planting medium, either a pot, window box or garden plot. Optional supplies include green colouring pencil, white or yellow gel pen (if you are putting centres in coloured geraniums).


1. Bend top 1/8" (3 mm) of your short wires at a right angle: I use the tip of my tweezers to create this bend.
2. Optional: With your green colouring pencil, draw a dark partial circle on the upper side of each leaf, as for zonal pelargoniums.
3. Shape leaf  by running your ball stylus around the underside edge of each leaf. Turn over, and gently push the centre with you ball stylus to indent. Fold the little leaf stem downwards. Set aside 3 of the leaves.
4. Dip the narrow bent end of the stem wire in tacky glue, then touch to underside of leaf with the small bend facing in to the leaf centre and the bent stem over the angle. Set aside to dry,

Flower Assembly:

You may find it easier to use the thumb nail of the hand holding the flower head, as a glue palette, as above.

1. Use your ball stylus to round up each tiny floweret.
2. Put a drop of glue handy, and use the tweezers to pick up a blossom, dip in glue, and place on flower dome. How you proceed is up to you; over the top in a row, then fill in the halves, whatever suits you. Set aside to dry. Repeat for the second blossom head. Do NOT cover the base of the dome.
3. Add a reserved leaf to each flower stem.


1. Whether you plant in a pot, window box or garden, the method is the same. Trim your flower head stems to fit and plant in the centre of your planting area.
2. Plant stemmed leaves around the flower stems, cutting to suit your planting area.
3. Glue the last reserved leaf on any obvious bare spot.
4. When thoroughly dry, bend flower heads and leaf stems gently to make plant come alive.

That's it for the how to. It appears that I quite forgot to bend my wires before taking the first of the photos! I used white blossoms and added a coloured centre with a marker pen. You can also make a tiny white or yellow centre for your coloured blossoms. Geraniums come in so many colours that you could plant a whole, colourful garden just with them!

My flower domes are made of Crayola Model Magic, into which are glued paper-covered flower stems. The domes are painted to match the blossom colour chosen.

Now I am going to eat, and then I will experiment a little more with paper petunia plants. I am trying to see how dampening the flowers interacts with water-soluble marker ink....

There is another tutorial for paper geraniums in August of 2015, with more photos, that you might want to take a look at. There are some slight differences in the number of leaves and petal used on the older tutorial, however.

Monday, 15 August 2016

How to Make Miniature Cattails or Bullrushes

Above are the contents of this very limited edition kit: 3 polymer clay cattail heads, 3 stems, and 5 paper twist ties. The kit will be available at Camp MiniHaHa, by request. (It is quite inexpensive!)

You will need to supply: tacky-type glue; green and/or yellow/tan paint (I used blended shades of Ceramcoat Leaf Green and Americana Wasabi Green); scissors; paint brush; matte or satin varnish; vase, tub or landscape to plant the cattails in.

Step 1: Glue polymer clay heads to stems, leaving a 3 mm/3/32" piece of wire sticking out at the top. The stems are already cut at different heights for variation, but feel free to trim some more if you want.

Step 2: Cut a small piece (different sizes) off each twist tie (twist ties are thin wires sandwiched between paper, and are becoming difficult to find; most of them are plastic these days).

Step 3: Shape the twist ties using scissors; cut a "planting" point on one end, taper to the other end of the twist tie, as above. Garbage and small offcuts included for clarity.

Step 4: Paint leaves on both sides; I put a dab of two colours on a paint tray, and mix them to create colour variations for each leaf - subtle but realistic. If your cattails will be planted, they should be more green in colour; if they will be displayed in a vase, the leaves should be yellow/tan to appear dried. Allow paint to dry.

Step 5: Paint both sides of leaves with matte or satin varnish, and allow to dry.

Step 6: Planted version - place 3 cattails in centre, and place leaves around them. The wires in the leaves allow them to be gently bent to look more realistic.
             Cattails in vase - you may have to trim the leaves and stems to fit into your vase.

There it is. Does it make sense? The instructions for the kits will be printed only, with a single photo of the finished cattails as above. People will be able to access the blog to look at the "in progress" photos.

These cattails can be used in gardens, water gardens or ponds, or as dried cattails in a floor vase in room settings.

The polymer clay cattail heads are made by pushing a stem through a 1/4" or 6 mm ball of dark brown. Shape gently by rolling between your fingers. I rolled them with a woodworking file to get a little bit of texture on them. Bake on the stems at the temperature specified by the clay manufacturer for 20 mins (I used Fimo Classic Terra Cotta.) The heads will slide off the stems and will need to be glued on.

I have misplaced a small landscape using cattails, but as soon as I find it, I'll re-post it. I think I may have posted it sometime in the past.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Oh, The Joys of New Programming

Warning! This is a rant.

Somehow or other, I ended up with a long comment in Arabic characters on the last entry; when translated, it turned out to be an advertisement for Real Life window replacements. Duh! What? From Canada, am I likely to order windows from somewhere in the Middle East? I don't think so!

This is the second time that someone's ad appeared in the blog's Comments section. Please be aware that I DO NOT permit these ads, that is not what the blog is for. The purpose of this blog is to share ideas with any miniaturists who are interested in doing so. Any and all ads in the comments section will be deleted immediately (or as soon as I can figure out how to get rid of them).

The rant is now over.

Welcome to my newest followers. One more day of things other than miniatures waiting to be finished, and I will begin posting miniatures-related content again; recently, I was asked to make up some plant kits, and I will detail that experiment here on the blog. As I have not done any printed instructions for any of the projects I do/have done, until now, it will be a learning curve, so blog readers may become my alpha (or is that beta?) test group.

Also, I thought if I included the instructions on the blog, with photos, it might be easier for those persons who will be getting the kits. In 38 days (if I added things up correctly), it will be time for Camp MiniHaHa 2016, so minis are definitely taking a front seat for the next few weeks. And Camp is where these kits are headed for....

No wonder I have endless UFO's (UnFinishedObjects) lying about and have such a hard time finishing anything in a timely fashion. I have too many hobbies!

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

This Is a Busy Summer

I thought I'd better check in and let you know that I am still around, although miniatures have had to take a backseat this summer; we are busy constantly, and already the next three weekends are taken up with events.

Minis have had to wait while I try to finish some other projects - I am running out of space! The main difficulty is that I have to order just about everything electronically. I'd love to be filling up the Tudor Apothecary buildings, for example, but I need to make shelving etc. for them. I can no longer pick up decent basswood locally, as the only store carrying it has a very low-end brand that just doesn't work for decent miniature furniture.

The other problem currently is the low Canadian dollar; as most of the supplies I need have to be paid for in US $, even if they come from Canada, the price goes up 30% immediately. I keep hoping things will settle down, but it is a very s-l-o-w process!

Bear with me, please! I am hoping things will settle down, just a little, later in August. In the meantime, enjoy your summer.