Friday, February 28, 2014

Knock, knock....anyone still out there??

Wow, almost exactly a year since my last post.  I have signed up for a whipping and flogging to perhaps remind me that I started this blog for a reason.  The reason was to learn from others and share what I have learned.

This past year has been very hard.  I have suffered great loss and setbacks, but I have also become employed again and loving my job.  They trust me enough to work from home 3 days a week so it can't be all bad.  It is amazing how much can actually change in just one year.

In this past year I have also seen an amazing decline in Blogs and posts.  I can remember logging into Blogger in the morning and having so much to catch up on that I would sometimes have to pick and choose.

It seems everyone is turning to Facebook and other social media to share and learn.  I have to admit that I love a good YouTube session of video watching, but there is surprisingly few miniaturists making videos.  I am not a huge Facebook fan.  I really don't have the time to spend trying to follow along with everyone individually.  I have yet to really see the point in Twitter honestly.  I have a Twitter account, but not sure what my login is.  HAHA

Anyway, I guess the whole point of this was to just say "HI" again.  Hopefully there are still some of you around.  I hope everyone hasn't given up on me.  I have some minis I really want to create so I hope to find a bit of time here and there to work on them.  I loved sharing with you all and I need to get that back in my life!

Till later!

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Historical Eye Candy

I went to the library today.  You know, the building where they have books. :-)

Anyway, I was looking through the shelves to see what caught my eye.  Sadly there are ZERO books about dollhouses or miniatures, but that doesn't mean you can't find something great to look at.

I found an amazing book called "Houses of the Founding Fathers" by Hugh Howard.  It is available on Amazon and you can find it here.

The pic is a large book of mostly pictures and interesting information.  The reason I fell in love with it, and will probably be purchasing a copy one day, is all the eye candy.  If you have ever thought about doing a dollhouse or miniature room based on a home from the 1700's, this is the book for you.
Just look at all this inspiration.  I hope it is OK to show these few pictures.  I'm showing much less than they show on Amazon. :-)  I'm sorry if the pictures aren't their best, but it is a glossy print book and I was just using my iPhone.

The book is full of information about each of the owners of the different houses and what life was like during that time period.
Here is a list of information that I thought was really interesting about the late 1700s in the United States.
*  The average child had about a 50% chance of surviving to adulthood.
*  All cooking was done in or around a fireplace/open fire.
*  There was no anesthesia for surgery or childbirth.
*  Other than sunlight, the only source of heat was from fire.
*  Slavery was legal in all thirteen colonies.
*  Every household produced most, if not all, of the candles, soap, foodstuffs and clothing it needed.
I hope you found this information as interesting as I did and I hope you check out this book.

Till later!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Wanna make some books??

I have so much catching up to do.  I have been doing some blog reading but haven't really done much commenting but hopefully that is going to change starting today.  It is time to move forward and being here with friends makes me feel happy. :-)

I promised y'all a tutorial on making miniature books for your settings and I am keeping my promise.  Diving into my miniatures has been comforting to me.

If you want to see how I make my miniature books, here is the video from YouTube.

There are other ways to make them than what I have shown, but I find this to be one of the simplest methods.  I have been asked about readable books as well as static, open books so perhaps in the future I will supplement this video with another on those two things.

I mentioned in the video that the hardest part of this project is actually making the book covers.  I use a program called Paint Shop Pro and combine photos of books found on the Internet, alter and move things around on the photo and scale it all down to work with 1:12 scale.  When doing this, remember that the higher the resolution, the better your book cover will look when you print it out.  Maybe I need to make some kits.  Hmmmmm.

Don't have a photo editing program? Well that isn't a problem either. Find some decorative paper or scrapbook paper that has a leather look or design that you like and just cut out some book covers from that.  You can use a fine-point gold pen to add some details to the spine of the book.  The rest of the project can be done just like in the video. 

Don't want to use paper, well if you have some thin leather you can have some really nice, leather bound books on your dollhouse shelves. Just glue the leather to the card stock just like you would the printed book cover.

I'm sure there will be some questions and I hope you don't hesitate to ask.  If you aren't comfortable asking in public, please shoot me an email and I'll do my best to help you out.

These are the pics from the end of the video so you can take a closer look if you like.


Till later!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Thank you everyone!

This past week has been emotionally and physically draining as I'm sure many of you are aware.

I wanted to send a quick thank you to everyone for the beautiful emails and comments I received.  During this hard time it is so comforting to know people are understanding and care.  The miniature community continues to amaze me with the love and kindness its members share and have always shared.  In all the hobbies in the world, I have never seen one as closeknit and caring as the miniature family.

Now the healing begins.  Right now I'm focused on helping my partner, his mother and his family as they try and get back to as normal a life as they can in this traumatic time.  As for me, I turned to my miniatures as part of my healing process and I will be back soon to share with you all. 

Once again thank you!!



Sunday, February 10, 2013

And the heavens cried

Normally I try and keep my blog about miniatures but sometimes things happen and you just feel better talking about them.

Today at about 2pm my partners father died suddenly of what we believe to be a heart attack.  This man was only 61 years old and has been like a second father to me for the last 14 years. 

Tonight it is raining and I believe the heavens are crying with joy to receive such a great and kind man and we are crying down here because we lost one.

I love you PawPaw.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Packing up...and unpacking

As you may know, I'm slowly packing up our current home and moving into our new home.  This includes my WRECK of an office.  It has been one of those weeks.  We have a saying..."Sometimes you are the windshield and sometimes you are the bug.".  Well this week I have been all bug.  Nothing is getting done as I would like and I have not been able to get my video made for the book tutorial.

However in all the chaos of the week, I did happen upon a couple boxes in my office closet that I had not touched in almost two years.  I love things like that.  It is like finding treasure.  In this box were some cherished minis as well as some items for projects I have been wanting to do.  You know what that means....more pics and more video inspiration.  :-)  WOOHOO!!!

First a few dolls I did back when I was still doing them.  I have to admit that I miss working on these little people.

This is Ruby.  She is the first doll I ever did and I named her after my mother.  A dear friend sent a kit to me right after I started doing miniatures and told me to "See what you can do with this".  This is what I created.  I love her and she will always have a special place in my world.

This is Elrac and he was my first male doll.  I never wanted to do the same Victorian dolls that everyone else was doing.  This genie was made and for years sat on my computer monitor to keep my company.  He is named after a dear friend that I lost named Carl.  (Elrac is Carl backward).  The fabric for his genie costume was made from fabric I used to make Carl his last Halloween costume.  I later did an another genie doll and he was exhibited in the St. Louis Miniature Museum before being sold to a private collector.

This is Miss. Scarlet.  At one point in my miniature life I had wanted to make an entire cast of characters from the game CLUE.  I have never been happy with her look and more than likely she will be completely stripped down to parts and redone into something much more suiting my character.  I always thought she looked more matronly than she should.

This is my attempt at making a Dolly Parton doll for my partner.  He is a HUGE fan of Dolly and I promised I would make him a doll.  Well that was about 10 years ago and you can see she still isn't done.  She has been sitting in that poor 80s style outfit for too long.  No nails, bad hair and a dusty guitar is not what she deserves. She will also get stripped down and redone into something MUCH more appropriate. 

This next picture shows an Egyptian display I started a long time ago and it gives a good example of BAD paper clay use. I was so discouraged with the outcome that it was packed away and never completed.  Perhaps now I know more things and can turn it into a winner instead of a sad thing.  Elrac was never meant to sit in this room, he just seemed happy to be in that picture. :-)  The display measures 8 inches square and it is 7 inches from the floor to the top of the wall.  Another bad bit of planning on my part.  Short ceiling.  ARGH!

I am also a huge fan of boxes.  I don't care what kind of boxes they are, I just like boxes.  I don't know why and I could never explain to you a reason.  Cigar boxes, wine boxes, decorative boxes...all of them are loved by me and I have a few great ones.  Here are two that I hope to make miniature scenes in one day.
First up is a large wine box.  It measures 10inches wide, 7.5 inches deep and 13 inches tall.  It is a great size for a display.  I always thought it would make a great wine cellar with lots of bottles and barrels in it.  Perhaps a set of stairs that disappear and give an illusion of more around the corner.  I'm going to have to really do something with that.  The lid actually is attached and swings open.

I put Ruby and a Bespaq Secretary in there to give you an idea of the size of the interior.  Lots of room if I get really creative in the space layout.

The last box I'm showing you is really going to take some creative thinking to come up with an idea to put in it.  It is a small wooden box with an opening on the lid.  It held a very nice bottle of rum at one time (rum long gone, box still here).  The interior dimensions are 7.25 inches wide, 5 inches deep and 9 inches tall.  I have one idea for it already and that is to make the interior a very arabesque feel and put Elrac in there as a permanent display.  Still pondering.  The details on the outside are in brass and are wonderful.  Should make a fun display piece one day.

That is all for now.  Hope you get a kick out of some of my old stuff and some of my unfinished projects.  There are lots more including an art deco room with a secret door and a Metaphysical witch shop that is still in the works.  Oh and of course the Lisa's Country Cottage that I did in the videos.  Guess I have enough to keep me busy for a while. 

Did I mention I want to also do a complete, vintage-inspired tiki bar like Trader Vic's?  HA HA Need to teach myself how to make mini bamboo.  :-)

Till later!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Time to turn a page....or not?

Hello everyone.

No video to share yet, but I thought I would slip in a picture of what is coming next.  A quick and simple project that will add a touch of class to any miniature room and give it that lived in look.

Yep, next we are going to tackle books.

On another note, AM over at SouthHampton Grey (check him out was intrigued when I mentioned I had pink counters in my kitchen.  I am not sure if I would have picked pink, but they are original to the house and we really felt they fit the place so they stayed.  Plus, I'm not really afraid of color.   These are the countertops I am always doing my videos on.  So don't think you need to adjust the color on your monitors when you watch my videos cause the background really is pink.  :-)  And yep, that is the infamous Cuckoo clock you always hear ticking in the background. HAHA

The range hood and the incandescent bulbs really change the color above the stove, but you can see the true color on the section in front of the window.

We painted the dining room walls a very close shade to the countertops (just a bit darker).

Now, back to miniatures.  I need some suggestions from my friends on what you might like to see me do a video on.  I have lots of ideas, but it is always nice to get some hints about what is on people's minds. 

Till later!