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Sunday, 7 July 2019

The Cloud-Pruned Pine Has Been Re-Shaped

While we were in southern Alberta in May, I spent Mother's Day afternoon in Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. The garden was designed and is still maintained by Japanese garden specialists, and I got to see some wonderful pine trees there. This one is just off the side of the azumaya (gazebo) at the site.

My Japanese pine will be a single trunk, as my garden is quite a bit smaller; the idea, according to my Japanese gardening book, is that you should be able to see through the tree, so that the areas of foliage look like green clouds, and the trunk and branches should have a pleasing shape. My vignette has the tree in a tight corner, which means I had to shape it carefully to fit; also, it has to leave enough room for the hydrangea bushes underneath to get their sunshine. As well, the branches can't be too close to the (faux) house wall.

The top of the tree will hang over the fence a bit, while the foliage will fit within the corner without getting in the way of the gate or the plants. This is the same tree I put together earlier, with one of the branches cut off and the trunk lengthened. It stands on its own and fits neatly into the corner; the far branch will stand just proud of the slatted side window on the side wall. Next up, I have to prepare the bases for the foliage. Once that is done, I can paint the trunk - right now, it is just floral tape and fine wire over the heavier base wire.

Our heat wave has ended, which means I feel more like working. I hope to get back to this in the coming week, but as it is soon time for my visiting daughter to head home, I hope to also spend some more quality time with her, as it will likely be a year before we will be able to get together again....

Sunday, 30 June 2019

Some New Acquired Minis, and One I'm Working On

While I was out west, visiting my children, I happened upon an antiques mall's annual outdoors flea market/antiques sale. The very first table we came across had minis!

This lot was being sold for $1 each, but the man selling wanted to get rid of things, so he said if I bought five, I could have one free. Free is good, right? The sewing machine doesn't have a purpose yet, but I thought I could probably use it somewhere. The other four pieces, all of them pencil sharpeners in another life, will work very well indeed in one of my steam punk settings, with a little bit of paint here and there.

This second batch was being sold out of a carton, at 25 cents each or five for a dollar. The watering cans can go into the flower shop, my younger daughter covets the canisters (I thought I had three of them), and the log carrier could go into any number of projects. Right after I purchased these and the ones above, a Chinese lady and her adult daughter bought all of the other pieces in the carton!

My daughter-in-law had saved some small items from crafting, so my Christmas market stall (being planned for when I am caught up) gave me a box of tree ornaments and some wreath forms; with a bit of help, these should find a good home in that (eventual) setting.

On Wednesday, I actually mini'd with my mini friends; I began the wire form for the cloud-pruned pine I want to finish off my Japanese vignette, but it is too small. So back to the drawing board.

I will incorporate the roots into the trunk, perhaps add a couple of branches, although I have to keep the hydrangea plants in mind, and wrap floral tape, then foil, then more tape, etc. around it when I like the height of the tree. The unwrapped loops are where I plan to place the foliage. Luckily, I have lots more wire in case things go horribly wrong....

And no, I haven't quite finished my sweater; I have to sew up one shoulder, do the collar, and then see if the sleeves are long enough for me - hopefully that will be done next week.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

I Haven't Disappeared....

...but I did join a knitting group, with the result that I pulled apart a heavy Aran sweater I made years ago, that never did fit. I am almost done with it, half the sleeves and the collar are left to go. As it became summer here very suddenly, in less than a week, I am trying to finish it before it gets too hot to knit.

I may need it when I head for the Bay of Fundy on July 1st.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

See You Soon!

For the next little while, I will be away from my computer, so there won't  be any posts for a couple of weeks. I am still trying to learn the tablet, but I have yet to figure out how to post anything from there. Guess I'll "read" myself to sleep while on the road.

We were interviewed at the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show on Saturday in connection with our group Remembrance Day Project. Many photos of the project were taken; it will be interesting to see what gets published eventually.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Seedlings on a Shoestring Part 3

Quite a few children come to the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show every year, and they do like to buy miniatures for themselves. This year, I decided to do some items specifically for the kids, things they might enjoy and which they could purchase for a small amount of money.

Although technically not seedlings, these little plastic bouquets in vases made of various beads, with painted paper leaves, will hopefully find new homes this Saturday. They look pretty good, and may even sell to some adult collectors!

The flowers themselves are pulled off inexpensive plastic plants, and I have kept them as they are pretty good as far as one-twelfth scale goes. Along with these little flower pieces, I also packed up some early fruits and vegetables, and some pots and pans and the like that I decided I would probably never use. However, a child with a few dollars might enjoy having them.

We'll see! Good news is, the TransCanada Highway is open once again, which means I can leave early Saturday morning rather than have to travel via the long detour, and pay for a hotel, on Friday. I hope the rain stays away....

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Seedlings on a Shoestring 2

Today I assembled a small grouping of forced hyacinth bulbs in tea cans; this particular project has been around for a number of years, notably on a Dutch site that is now unreachable, and on the Spanish Advent Calendar several years ago.

The photo is not good; although it printed right side up, the flash insisted on going off and I didn't center the photo. I hope to assemble some inexpensive vases of flowers for the children that like to come to the show, and as they will be simple, they will also be affordable for them.

The flower heads are made of quinoa seeds, wire, and paper; the bulbs are polymer clay, while the printies are from the internet. That's it for today!

I hope to feel well enough to go to a mini afternoon tomorrow....

Monday, 29 April 2019

This Is Several Days' Work!

I am not even going to try and figure out why the photo is suddenly sideways; however, I suspect the Carpenter-in-Chief has fiddled with my controls again. This is a week's worth of polymer clay baking, interspersed with being sick, feeling better, going away for several days, and being too tired to figure out how to rotate this photo!

There are pies, tarts, donuts and petits fours pastries. I experimented with liquid Fimo and oil paint for icing, and it worked very well for the white and chocolate donuts, but the pink turned out looking too much like, well, flesh; it has been repainted and glossed.

The petits fours are decorated with candied violets and angelica pieces; I first made these years ago for the baker's stall of my market. Clays change fairly frequently; soft clays and I do not get along, but the harder, professional clays do not really seem to be available here in town. I'll have to talk to staff at my local artists' store....

And the carrots are sideways too, of course. I am going to just leave it for today, but will, hopefully, have it sorted again for the next post. There are floral pieces on the go.

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Working Away....

I've caught a flu, and am coughing and sneezing all over the place. If you would like to see the Remembrance Day Project, photos are now up on the Charminis site (side bar for link).

In the meantime, I am working away on stock for the Moncton Miniature Show; there is all kinds of cooking going on - well, the polymer clay kind. There are also still florals in the production line, and I hope to have some photos soon.

At least I can still work on minis....

On the local front, the Saint John River is, once again, in serious flood. In the course of a few days, the levels have gone up many meters, and a lot of low-lying areas are under water, including the road we take to get to the TransCanada Highway. We are detouring along the old TCH which runs along the river. Fortunately for us, we are at least 100 metres (more than 300 feet) above the river valley, so we are safe. This happens every spring....

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Remembrance Day Project

The project is currently living in Louise's house, but as Marilyn took photos, she will have them up on her blog, Charminis (side-bar right) before too long. I still have to make the veteran's beret....

Friday, 12 April 2019

Remembrance Day Project Update

If you have taken a look at the Charminis site (see side bar), you have seen the work Marilyn has done to age the inside and outside of our project. A little bit of outside aging remained to be done, so the project came back to me. If you look at the photo above, this is the before version of the dugout side.

I felt that after five decades of rain and wind, the sandbags would have become quite dirty, possibly have some algae growing on them, most likely moss as well, and dirt would have collected over the years here and there.

I have a wonderful colour of paint called English Ivy Green; I tend to think of it as "sludge green", and it is a go-to choice when I have to create algae and moss effects. Some was dry-brushed up and down the metal siding of the dugout, some was rubbed here and there on the sand bags, anywhere I felt wind would have deposited soil and seeds and where rain might have pooled to provide moisture or create algal growth.

Dirt made from railroad ballast, glue and paint was glued into crevices, moss was planted here and there where shadow and moisture created a good environment, and bits of grass caught hold in various deep soil pockets. It adds decades. The problem is when to stop; I hope I have quit in good time.  Aside from a beret for our veteran, the vignette is pretty much finished. Marilyn will do the final reveal on her blog, the Charminis site.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Seedlings on a Shoestring Part 1

As mentioned, I need some stock for an upcoming miniature show. The first installment of the theme, Seedlings on a Shoestring, are pansy faces in rusty tin cans. (The dark blob just beyond is the cat, who seems to feel she requires attention.) I hope to produce at least two more installments on this theme.

It snowed again overnight. I still can't go out and spray my printies, and until I can do that, I can't go forward. Due to the snow and other things, we have again had to postpone our Remembrance Day Project get-together, but I do have a little more time to do my part of the outside aging for that. As well, I have to make a beret for my veteran.

Later on, when the various installments are done, a decision will be taken whether or not to add a tiny ladybug to each plant....

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Remembrance Day Project

The project has arrived at my house for a little outdoors aging. It was supposed to have been picked up yesterday, giving me today to work on it before we get together tomorrow, but - you guessed it, we had another snowstorm. Well, we got 15 cm or about 6" of wet, heavy snow yesterday afternoon, evening and overnight. It can stop as far as I'm concerned, but according to the weather forecast, it is going to continue to flip-flop the rest of April.

Today is pretty much taken up with other projects. I am painting paper for the tin can project, and painting leaf paper takes several light coats on both sides of the paper. I hope to punch leaves this evening, and finish that little project. It is intended as part of my stock for the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show, to be held in Moncton the first Saturday in May. Two more projects for the show are being assembled. I need a dry, sunny day to do some spray painting out of doors.

In the meantime, I am taking apart a sweater I knit for myself I can't remember how many years ago; it has never fit me properly, so rather than let it sit in a bag in my storage area, I am going to knit it up in a sweater that I hope will actually fit. I love Aran knit cable sweaters, but have yet to make one that actually fits me; one of the first I knit was even too big for my brother, who is 6'8" (about 2 m 10 cm) tall!

It is difficult to balance my time between all my various hobbies!

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Another Wednesday, Another Snow Storm!

We were expecting about 4" or 10 cm of snow, but I swear we got way more than that. Well, our get-together was cancelled again due to weather; we hope to get back together a week from today, to put the Remembrance Day Project to bed.

In the meantime, I am going to work on some items for the Moncton Miniature and Doll Show, coming up the first Saturday in May. And then I am going on a short vacation, and I need it....

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Our Veteran Has Been Dressed

You can click on the photo for a larger view. He has one major problem, which is that his arms are too short for his body, which means that his coat sleeves have continued to be a pain in the neck. I've cut them back twice, and the arm with the cane still disappears in the sleeve!

He has a wig, his eyebrows have been made a bit more realistic with mixed flocking, and he has a military mustache to hide his smile. I think he looks rather wistful and serious now, a better face for a veteran revisiting an old battle site.

Although it is not that visible, on his blazer pocket he has a gold-colour badge; prior to WWII, armed forces insignia tended to be made of metal, rather than embroidered patches as are in use now. At this scale, the badge is representative only, but is made to look like the badge of a Province of New Brunswick, Canada battalion that fought in Flanders in WWI.

All that is left now is to finish the landscaping, and add in a few small details. I also made a very battered, worn, torn and stained knapsack, which will hang in the dugout; it was too damaged for the soldier to take back home....

Do check in on the Charminis blog; Marilyn will likely post photos of the dugout as it is now.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Well, We Are Further Ahead....

Although we didn't get our project completely finished today, we are well on the way to being done. The landscaping is forging ahead, the small pieces are ready to be placed, and the veteran is nearly ready to go.We have added a dead sapling to our setting to add some height.

We are getting together again on Wednesday, to plant the poppies. I hope to get our gentleman done for that date. We did meet with our historical advisor today, and have some more information for how to  make this project a distinctly local one. Our hope is to display it at a number of different venues, and then ultimately to donate it to a local group.

We are already thinking of our next project....

Saturday, 23 March 2019

Rusty Barbed Wire!

"Nuff said! The pen is for size purposes. The wire is made from ancient beading wire or something, the spool it was on has lost its labels.

How to make it? Well, twist two pieces of fine wire together first of all. Then fold another piece of fine wire in half, and start wrapping it around the first piece of wire and cutting it off. Do this until you can do it with your eyes closed, every quarter inch or so. Go into town to buy super glue gel, because the bottle you had was borrowed and the borrower tossed it as it appeared to be dry, but neglected to inform you thereof ;o) Now drop a drop of glue gel on each little knot, dust with cinnamon, and go eat lunch and allow it to dry thoroughly.

Separate the little bits of wire you wrapped around, and trim to size. Dab bits of terra cotta paint here and there to simulate rust. Miniature barbed wire ready to go into the Remembrance Day project. We are working on finishing the landscaping tomorrow, but my veteran will have to wait another day or two for his blazer to be finished.

Friday, 22 March 2019

Our Scale Veteran Is Getting Dressed

We are using a donated china figure to populate our Remembrance Day Project, and I get to dress him up for the job

He is wearing real wool flannel pants, made from a sample of men's wear fabric, and now has leather shoes, which allow him to stand up on his own, no stand needed. I am currently making his blazer; sewing in miniature is time-consuming, as I do whatever I can on the sewing machine.

I am using some wonderful navy blue Pima cotton, which looks and feels like real wool with the iron-on backing. The jacket is lined to avoid bulk; the rectangular thing is a standard Lego block for size comparison.

Jacket and lining sewn together. At this point, I have to do all the details like pockets and buttons and faux buttonholes, as once it is on him I can't manipulate this tiny garment.

Large pockets in place, the sleeves ready to attach once the shoulders are sewn. I still have to make the breast pocket, but need to go get fusible double-sided interfacing, as I appear to be out. My least favourite part is the collar; it goes on under the jacket and has to be hand-sewn in place. Also in the photo, his cane which will get a Fimo head, and a WWI British canteen, which still needs to be dirtied up. It is covered with a single check from a sample of khaki men's suiting fabric. The stopper for the canteen is a cardboard rivet thingy, filled with Crayola Model Magic, and a bit of jewelry chain holds it on the canteen. The stopper will be painted black tomorrow.

Friday, 15 March 2019

Friday's Accomplishments

Today was dedicated to working on some of the items needed for our group Remembrance Day project, so we can make up for our missed meetings, hopefully this coming Wednesday. That means I have a few days to work down my list.

The first thing today was to paint and age the chair, abandoned in the dug-out at the end of the war.

A dark green colour seemed like a good choice; the interior of the dug-out is fairly dark, with a lot of grays and browns, and hopefully this worn green farmhouse chair will add a small pop of colour. The chair was made by Louise, and I was given the finishing and aging - two things I really enjoy doing.

The next thing was to put some foliage on all those poppies that are going to be planted on the top of the dug-out. I had already made up about a hundred blooming poppies, along with some just opening buds and some closed buds. Wild poppies have very little foliage, and what they have is kind of ferny, for lack of a better word. I used a fern spray punch, then cut that up to be small enough for the poppies. And as poppies have long, thin bare stems below their blossoms, the foliage is down fairly low along the stems.

They still need to be sprayed to prevent fading, but as it is raining today and I hate to spray inside the house, that will be done the next sunny day. There is more foliage that can be added in once the flowers are placed; I find it easier to gauge where extra leaves are needed once the plants are in place.
I guess that will be Marilyn's job, as she is doing the grass for the landscaping....

That leaves the veteran's clothing and wig, and some small accessory items, which I hope will be done by our next get-together.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Flu Season and Other Stuff

We have now had to cancel something like 4 meetings, either due to illness or winter storms. I am still working, just missing my mini Wednesdays!

In place of miniatures, I am working on some of my other hobbies. We will get back to miniatures, especially the Remembrance Day Project, I promise! During the inevitable intervals, I am finishing projects in some of my other hobbies.

In the meantime, we have been enjoying daily visits from a wild turkey hen. We just hope she doesn't become a problem, like the ruffed grouse last year, who decided he owned our garden and we weren't allowed in. That bird was quite vicious, and smaller than a chicken. Have you even really looked at the size of the feet of a wild turkey? Or its beak? Or thought about how much those things weigh?
We still have mountains of snow that have to melt before we can go back to working our garden....

Saturday, 2 March 2019

Not a Good Week

First of all, we are buried in snow; see photos below. I took them from my front steps this evening, to show the amount that we are dealing with right now. It is only the beginning of March, and we have at least six more weeks of winter to go. They are already indicating that we may have another record flood this year, based on the snow pack.

 Photo one is from the front door to the garage. Our apple trees are once again buried well above the trunks. Photo two is the drift pile in front of the kitchen window; this window is at my eye level when I work at the kitchen sink. To get into the house, we go up three steps. So, I estimate this pile is about a meter and half or higher. We had some very heavy winds for two days this past week, so there was a lot of drifting! Photo 3 is out to the road; we are running out of space to dump snow, and there is more coming tonight....

I turned in an odd way last Sunday, resulting in a serious back spasm. It is almost back to normal, but lengthy periods of standing are painful. So I didn't get as much done this week as I had hoped. Today, I did manage to stain the second floor of my steam punk loft project. As the wood used was very rough, there was a lot of hand sanding involved, and my back is complaining! The little chair is for the Remembrance Day project, it will be painted and then rubbed back for wear and aged and dirtied.
The only other thing I managed to finish is to paint a sheet of paper for the leaves for the poppies in the Remembrance Day project.

There is a real beauty to winter, but at this time of year there is also a desire for it to just go away, already!

Friday, 22 February 2019

Wednesday Work Day Results

No storm this week on Wednesday, but we had one on Thursday, so I couldn't go to my volunteer job. That gave me a day on which to begin assembling the poppies for the Remembrance Day project. We needed about a hundred of them, along with closed buds and opened buds.

Check. Done. Now I have to paint the paper for the leaves, which we will then cut out and assemble on our next work day.

Here are a couple of the photos of the project, as it was on Wednesday just before we broke up and headed home. Marilyn at Charminis had hoped to finish the spackling of the ground, but nature being very focused on procreation, her spackling compound grew fuzz....

The walls have been bleached and aged, and the floor is ready to be painted, sprinkled with rocks and sand and other debris. The sandbags are beginning to be placed, as had the rusty corrugated iron.

The landscape form has been installed on the outside; this area will be thoroughly messed up, as it has been abandoned for many years. More sandbags will be installed, along with the rest of the landscaping and of course, all the debris that has fallen into this depression in the ground for many years.

Louise made a chair to go inside this scene, which I get to dirty and partially destroy - I mean, age and scuff up. We are going right along with this project, and beginning to put some thoughts into what our next group project might be....

Monday, 11 February 2019

Remembrance Day Project Update

...but to see it you will have to go to Charminis' site. We worked at her home on Sunday, and she has posted a photo of the setting for some of the smaller pieces we have been working on.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

We Now Have Listing...

...thanks to Marilyn D. at Charminis, you can now find a listing at the right side of the blog, with an alphabetical list of topics you might want to explore, that were written here on the blog. It is below the previous listings you could see...

Wow! I am tickled pink with these additions.

Friday, 8 February 2019

Yeay, There Are Now Links to Projects

Thanks to help from Marilyn D. of Charminis, my posts going back to the beginning now have key words. That means that if you happen across a post regarding my Tudor Apothecary Project, for example, by clicking on the key word or phrase at the end of the post, every post with that subject will also show up.

As today was a day that was unplanned, due to weather cancellations of the two events I was supposed to participate in, I used a good part of my day to go right back to the beginning. That's my mini work for the day.

Now, if I could only figure out how to get my key word list available to the viewers of this blog! I guess there is yet another learning curve.....

Thursday, 7 February 2019

Winter Weather Blahs

There is a freezing rain warning out for Friday, so the meeting of our group project has been postponed to Sunday. Sigh!

Right now (Thursday evening), Sunday is supposed to be sunny and dry. BUT, and this is a big but, it is winter in Atlantic Canada....

Sometimes I get the impression weather forecasting consists of throwing darts at a dartboard marked with various weather scenarios, while wearing a blindfold!

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Another Day, Another Pile of Sandbags....

The pile of sandbags has increased somewhat; there are now about 3 dozen of them, including some slightly shorter ones to go over the door lintel. Interestingly enough, the tea dyeing threw me for a bit of a loop; although I had soaked them as long as the previous batch, then baked them in the oven at low heat until they dried, this second batch is much darker on the top side. They were placed on a paper towel in a baking tray, and the bottoms of all the bags is rather lighter than the tops.

Coming up, we have a porcelain doll house figure to dress up; he has already lost his apron (he was intended to be a shopkeeper), and may lose his striped trousers for a pair of gray flannels. He will also get leather shoes and a blazer, as well as a wig and a mustache.

He will be dressed as a WW I veteran, visiting the field of battle years later, in remembrance of his fellow soldiers who did not survive. The figure will be removable from the setting, as he may only appear on Remembrance Day, November 11 in Canada. I think the addition of "real" hair and a "real" mustache will make him look more "real" - that's a lot of reals in that sentence! We had planned to keep his trousers, but I think I need to check how gentlemen dressed in the twenties and thirties; I feel they didn't wear such boldly striped trousers....

We missed our Sunday work day due to illness, and the Wednesday one due to a forgotten appointment; we are aiming for Friday now. Let's hope the weather co-operates....

Monday, 4 February 2019

Building a Field of Poppies

This actually represents two days of work; that's how long it took to make all the poppy stems, buds and opened buds. They are made of built-up "dips" in tacky glue mixed with paint in the appropriate colour. We are still experimenting with what to use for the poppy flowers, although coffee filter paper painted with markers looks promising.

Marker-painted filter paper was used to make the green bud covers on the little red opening buds. It looks nice and bright. I grew up in "Flanders Fields", and have very vivid memories of hedgerows of red poppies, bright blue cornflowers, vivid yellow buttercups and ox-eye daisies, growing in wild profusion on the edge of the wheat fields.

We missed our Sunday get-together due to illness, so are hoping for a snow-free Wednesday, in order to build up the sandbag walls on the dug-out. Tomorrow (Tuesday) is devoted to making about 24 more sandbags.

Hopefully I can get all the sandbags made tomorrow....

Saturday, 2 February 2019

What Happened?

I just spent a week working on a knitting pattern that should have taken a couple of days, at most, to complete. Instead, it nearly drove me crazy. However, I persevered and it is now done. On the mini front, bad weather wiped out our mid-week work-day, so we are trying again tomorrow. It has been snowing all day today....

And, I managed to re-pot a six-foot tall Madagascar pencil tree (as its sap is poisonous, this has to be done very carefully!) Today was devoted to creating three Real Life cactus gardens out of two dish gardens and a bunch of toppling tall cacti on my windowsills. You have to do this with thick gloves on, as some of the cactus spines are more than an inch long....

Tomorrow, back to minis!

Thursday, 24 January 2019

Two Posts in One Day!

The cat is out of the bag; if you want to know what our group project is, please go and visit Charminis blog, which you can click on at the right of the page.

And since she has key words, I will see if she will help me set them up at some point for my blog! That way if you are interested in anything in particular, you can go right there.

The Group Project Moves Along....

Yesterday, we managed to work for about two hours on our group project, when we had to dissolve our get-together due to bad weather; it had been snowing, but the snow had turned to freezing rain, and the visibility was not that great. But I did manage to "invent" a rusty tin can, using manila file folder cardboard, a large sewing needle, glue and lots of paint and varnish. An old chequebook donated a corner that with the aid of a leather cover and a bit of gold paint, became a bible.

 I took the bit between my teeth today, as I couldn't go to work because of freezing rain and a driveway full of snow, and roughed up the leather of the bible and the binoculars case. The table got its drawer knob (cut-off quilting pin), old tea stains were left in the bottom of the mug, and the corrugated metal roofing was rusted and aged.

The tin can, mug and corrugated metal all use cardboard; I love this stuff, with several applications of paint and then varnish, it becomes quite sturdy. I'm thinking of some other ways I can use the can experiment, perhaps as a container to start a bunch of seedlings....

Oooh, I think there are tea canister and milk carton printies available on the internet. That will have to wait, though, as this project takes priority. Other projects are jostling for attention, so as my work table is currently quite tidy, perhaps I should make some bits for some of those UFO's littering my storage shelves!

Monday, 21 January 2019

I Really Have Been Working

The last few days have involved some appointments, some bad weather, and a lot of knitting, which has cut into my mini time somewhat. I did work on the group project on Wednesday, and there was even discussion of another group project, once the current one is done. I can't wait!

Before Christmas, I began working on some Christmas florals; this is one of them, and I am quite pleased with it. It still wants a couple of candy canes, but I have to find striped paperclips somewhere as I do not intend to make mini canes out of polymer clay.

This is a pair of table decorations, in silver and gold, very simple but quite nice. Putting micro glitter onto beads to create Christmas decorations is a bit of a pain, though. I think I will have to use some multi-sealer on the next batch, as every time I touched them, I lost glitter.

And then there are the works in progress, see above comment re glitter on miniature Christmas decorations. They will be done, before the next miniature show, I promise.

Assorted florals and yet more Christmas decoration pieces, including some of the worst of the glitter balls. I think they will need to be re-done. The amaryllis flowers are ready to be bound together and planted on their bulb; sadly, my real amaryllis didn't do anything again this year, I will give it one more chance and if it doesn't bloom, it goes into the garden, either to bloom or to become compost!

I have to re-write part of a knitting pattern now.

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Some Things I Did Manage to Finish

The angel is made from a brass cone, with filigree wings I picked up at the Arnhem Dollhouse Expo some years ago, and a tiny jewelry ring for the halo. It stands 3.5 cm (1 3/8") tall. As the base of the cone is uneven, I will make a card underskirt to make it stand up better. It is intended for the Advent calendar project from Christmas 2017.

The candle display measures 4 cm in length (1 5/8"), made with lycopodium, gold beads,  red no-hole beads, paper holly leaves, and half scale candles; it will sit on the windowsill of the Advent calendar project. The smaller candles fit better within the general setting of the project than tall ones. This
project has to be finished within the next few months, as it will be delivered by hand sometime in the late spring, to my younger daughter, in southern Alberta. (That's several thousand km away!)

As all too often happens, I saw the perfect wall shelf on Pinterest recently, a Real Life one that would translate nicely to minis. Of course, I can't find it again! So I will have to rely on memory. It was a series of five small shelves in graduated sizes, on a green back panel, with Christmas decorations on each shelf. Should be fun to re-create, but much easier if I could find the original inspiration! There was an elf on the smallest, top shelf, and I think there may have been some tiny trees and putz houses on the shelves as well. I could always make a Noel sign out of alphabet macaroni....

Friday, 11 January 2019

Some Other Bits of the Group Project

I'm going to keep it a secret until we are further along, but we are mainly following instructions from one of the European magazines. I have more small bits to create to add to the scene; the other participants are doing other pieces of it. Eventually, to finish the project off, we will likely have a workday in which we are all going to be working on the same things.

The table base is an old one, re-purposed for this project and provided with a new, old-looking and rough top; it is made of spruce, stained in golden oak and then liberally gone over with antiquing gel.
I still have to put a knob on the drawer. The binoculars were made over a pair of dowel forms, the candle holder is a popped jeans rivet (I think), and the mug is recipe card cardboard. I still need to dirty that up some more.

Thursday, 10 January 2019

You Shall NOT Pass!

Yes, Gandalf is 1/12 scale, I also have Gimli, complete with weapons. No, this sandbag wall will not hold back a Balrog, but I wanted something to show scale.

So here are about one quarter of the sandbags we need to make for our group project. The top for the beat-up farmhouse table will dry overnight, then get distressed and put on to the apron/legs of the table.

More tomorrow!

Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Hello Again, I Think I'm Back....

First of all, Happy 2019 to all of you who stuck with me during my very long absence. Life kind of caught up on us this autumn, but I do believe I am ready to go on with miniatures and the blog again. My youngest daughter has moved permanently to western Canada, like so many young, well educated New Brunswick young people they have to leave for work opportunities. All three of my children now live at the feet of the Rocky Mountains, more or less, while we are far, far away close to the Atlantic Ocean. We can actually travel faster and cheaper to Europe than we can to visit our children in our own country!

Christmas did  bring me a few minis, a jug from my youngest daughter, and a new saw blade from the Carpenter-in-Chief, the third in my mini career. I wear them out....

We are in the middle of a blizzard/snowstorm - what else is new?

I haven't stopped working on minis, there just is not, as yet, anything finished to show. Today, I began making sandbags for a group project, and learned something about tea dyeing - you need to put the objects being dyed right side out in the tea dye!

I put them in inside out, then baked them at 260 degrees for 20 mins, and left them in the warm oven for another 20. Result, lovely dark, dirty sandbag covers. Then I turned them right side out:

They are back in the tea dye, a new, stronger batch as I need them to be quite dirty. This is perhaps a quarter of the bags we will likely need, but doing them in smaller batches makes the task less daunting. We are using recycled fitting muslins left behind by my designer daughter.

Now I have to go and find wood for a beaten-up, old farmhouse table top.