Thursday, October 6, 2011

More Harvest Goodies

Not a lot to show tonight, but I was able to finish another basket and some Granny Smith Apples.  Hope you like them.  Funny, I have been craving some sliced apple and cheddar cheese all day.  Now I'm REALLY craving it.

I promise I'm going to work on a basket tutorial for you folks someday soon.  I really need to make some pumpkins for this table too! What is a Fall Harvest table without pumpkins?

Till later!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The baskets

Hello everyone.  I have had a lot of response about the blog I did last night containing the potatoes and pears. 

First, thank you everyone for the very kind words on the harvest and a big welcome to all my new friends.

The two round baskets were made following the directions given by Joann Swanson on her blog last year.  I took her designs and did some additional washes and changed up the straps a bit, but if you are looking for some baskets to hold your own harvest, these are super easy and her pattern is wonderful.  If you have not seen her blog, please hop over and start following it.  She is amazing and has some of the most creative ideas I have ever seen.  Below is the link to the blog post where she explains the baskets.

For the basket holding the pears, I took the same general idea and cut out my own pattern.  Perhaps I'll have time soon to throw together a little tutorial on the small rectangular basket.  I'm a firm believer in sharing knowledge so the hobby continues to grow.  Besides, this might give me a chance to use my new video camera and make a video tutorial.  WOOHOO!!

Till later!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Harvest has begun

People suggested that I work on a harvest theme for my workbench so I have taken that suggestion and tried making some baskets and food.  Some of you may remember that I have made some bread and cheese in the past, but that has been the extent of my food making ventures.  I'm pretty happy with the way the first crop has turned out.

Remember to click the pictures and make them bigger.

Looks like the farmer has just returned with a couple bushels of potatoes.  He had a good crop of sweet potatoes and some great baking potatoes.  

The pear trees were also full of ripe fruit and the birds were good this year and left them alone.

One thing that I have observed when making fruit.  I have absolutely NO idea on how much clay to mix.  I wanted to do a small batch of pears.  Well, after mixing up the clay and getting the base color just right, I realized I had mixed up much more than I will need right now.  So far I have made 25 pears and I have enough to do 25 more at least. HA HA!  Perhaps I can take the remainder pear mix I have and throw together some nice apples.  Maybe some green Granny Smiths and some nice Gala.  I also need to get some pumpkins and gords made. 

I think I'm also going to try and play with the resin again and make some jars of Apple Butter.  I have already designed the labels, now just need to figure out the right mix for the contents.

Till later!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Mystic Path has products for Sale...and more!

This past weekend I was able to play around with my miniatures. 

A forum friend (Thanks Barb!!) told me how to use empty capsules and resin to make bottles/potions.  This was the first time I had worked with either so it was a definite trial and error process, but I'm happy with the results.  Not shown are a bunch of rejects (overfills and other oops).  I created the labels in Paint Shop Pro and shrunk them down when I printed them.  This is a series of bath oil blends.  I think I'm going to be busy with bottle making for a while. HAHA! 

I also took a few hours and quickly whipped together a distressed workbench that I'm now pondering on what to do with it.  Originally I had thought about putting together a Jack-O-Lantern in progress scene, but then I started playing around and made some sweet potatoes and regular potatoes.  Now I'm thinking a Autumn harvest scene.  Gosh, I don't know.  I really don't need another project, but is there ever a time when we mini lovers have just one project going at a time? I'm thinking not.

Anyway, here are some pictures of the workbench.  I haven't really done much furniture building before so I'm really pleased with the outcome!

Well that is all for now.  Remember if you want to see the pictures bigger, just click on them. 

Oh, and before I forget, the forum that I belong to is fairly new and everyone is so wonderful on there.  You'll find some AMAZING talent on there.  Hopefully the owner won't mind me posting this.  :-)  Hey Pam!! I'm asking forgiveness just in case.  LOL  Here is a link to it.

Till later!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Mystic update on the fortune tellers room

Well I had a day at home to play with minis.  Did some pictures, worked on some curtains, did some finalizing on some lights and this what I have to show you.

In the upper floor of The Mystic Path, Madam Aspen works telling fortunes, but she has the night off for Samhain.  Something isn't right though and with it being Halloween, the veil between the living and the dead is at its thinnest.  Looks like the cat is the only one around to see the goings on. 

The basic construction of this floor is complete.  Now all I have to do is work on accessories and finalizing it. 

I am really pondering something and I think I need y'all input on this.  I just can't decide on my own.  I'm considering putting a very faint face in the crystal ball.  I'm thinking it would be cool and not something that you would notice right away.  You would have to be looking right into the crystal ball to see it.  If you have ever ridden The Haunted Mansion at a Disney park, you have an idea of what I'm talking about.  It would be easy enough to accomplish.  Thoughts??  I'm also considering putting the cat on the chair looking up onto the table instead of on the floor.

OK...enough chatter.  Here are some pics for you.

Till later!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Here Comes The Bride

As soon as there is a bit of a chill in the air I start thinking skeletons, Halloween and spooky! 

Who am I kidding...I think about stuff like that all year long.  HAHA

This lovely lady would be about 6" tall if she was standing.  She is made from a plastic skeleton, antique lace and fine silk.  All aged to perfection.  Truly a sad tale.

She walked down the aisle, but alone there she stood.
Her man was a cheater and he left her for good.
The poison she took was quick to claim life.
Forever a bride, but never a wife.

Till later!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

So there is a use for cat hair

For years I have honestly wondered if there was a use for all the cat hair I seem to accumulate and pick up in my house.  With 4 cats (3 with hair), I was constantly brushing it off my clothes, gathering fur balls and sneezing.

For the Mystic Path room box I have been working on, the plan has always been for there to be a cat in the fortune tellers room watching the mysterious happenings going on.  You know how cats are, always wanting to put their noses in where they don't belong.

When I was in Chicago for the Bishop International Show, I picked up a small plastic cat that has the perfect pose.  He looked curious, but hesitant. One paw in the air as he pondered what to do next.  The problem was, he was a black and white cat and the colors just didn't seem to suit the room I was working on.  I bought some flocking and went to work.

Here is what he looked like before I got started.  Bad picture, but you get the idea.  As cute as this little fella was, he just wasn't right and needed a makeover.

First thing I did was paint him the way I wanted him.  I wanted an almost entirely black cat with just a small white diamond on his forehead.  So after a few minutes, I had a beautiful black painted plastic cat.  Now he needed some fur.  Even in dim light, you can tell if something is molded plastic or fuzzy.  My kitty had to have hair.

Out came the flocking.  Knowing that he was going to be black and white that is all I bought.  Lady Bug at the show told me that instead of using glue to attach the flock, it was better to use paint. WOW! I never would have thought of that and she was totally correct. Working in stages, starting at the tail, I slowly painted sections of the cat and applied the flocking using a small paint brush.  After a couple hours I had a new kitty and he sure seems happy with his new look.  On top of everything I have a small dusting of black flocking around my kitchen now.

Now sure what is worse to pick hair or flocking.

Oh, and the use for the cat hair?  Well take a close look and you'll see that our little friend has a new set of whiskers!  Yep, gathered a few hairs, cut them into pieces and applied them one at a time onto his little face with some glue.


Till later!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Well Finally....the molding is complete!

When I started this project nine years ago, I never thought it would take me that long to finish the molding and get to the fun stuff.  My, how time sure passes us by!

This morning I finally pulled out the Mystic Path and started work. The first decision was what molding to use. On the first floor I had used a standard crown molding. For upstairs I wanted something a bit more subdued and chose to use a baseboard molding turned upside down. The actual baseboards are the same wooden feature I used on the first floor. I painted the baseboards the same color as the first floor and made the upper molding a shade darker to draw even less attention to them. The focus on the upstairs room isn't going to be the decor. I really want to make that a background tone supporting the true star of the show, the mysterious happenings going on in the fortune teller's room.

I wanted a way to separate the left area from the right up there so decided I would install hanging silk drapes. To support the curtain rod I constructed a basic bracket design from some purchased moldings and drilled a hole to hold the actual rod. The rod is not permanently in place so I can remove it to install the drapes and rehang it. On the rod I have strung a series of "antique" brass jump rings that will eventually hold the curtains.

You can get a better look at the bracket constructions and the entire rod contraption in this picture.

You can also see the two candles and the lamp I made taking up residence on the floor. Because they have been hard-wired, they can't be removed now and I was glad I remembered to leave the cords a bit long so they didn't hang when I removed the furniture to install the molding. Sometimes it can be hard to think backwards when putting these rooms together.

Now that the basic construction is done, I get to focus on the stuff that turns this from a basic room box to something extra special. I need to work on store items, make and install drapes, get some art on the walls, put down some area rugs...ARGH....better get off here and get to work!

Till later!

Friday, September 9, 2011

I'm still around....really I am

Summer is winding down and there is a definite smell of Autumn in the air.  You can feel it in the evenings when the sun goes down.  Soon the leaves will start changing and falling. 

Now that the heat is fading I can finally start working and focusing on my minis again.  It has been a long summer and I needed a break I think. 

Soon I hope to have some new mini things to show you as well as some updates on The Mystic Path!

I'm ready....are you?

Till later!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Hydrangea Kit....Final

Well, I finally finished the Hydrangea kit I purchased in Chicago. 

As I mentioned in my last post, I completed the final three blooms and colored them like the others.  I then added some leaves and some taller sticks cut from an old grapevine wreath to give the arrangement some height.  The leaves provided in the kit were a lovely shade of green...however, since I was doing a dried hydrangea arrangement, I colored the leaves with some brown watercolor markers and used the end of a paintbrush on my mouse pad to give the leaves some movement. 

I'm happy with how it all turned out.

I have some friends that do not work with miniatures that see my blog posts through my Facebook account and they often ask me just how big the things are that I make.  I hope this next picture will help them out.  You can see just the size the arrangement is.  It is sitting on my fingers for this picture.  Sometimes it is easier to show someone instead of just telling them that one inch is the same as one foot.  :-)

I hope you have enjoyed the three plant kits.  I'm not sure what I'm going to share with everyone next, but I have some things up my sleeve.  Plus, there is more to do on The Mystic Path.

Till later!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Hydrangea Kit.....Part Deux

Sorry this blog post has been a long time coming, but you know how life gets in the way sometimes.  Lately I seem to be easily distracted, but tonight I did take a little time to work on my hydrangea kit a little more.  It isn't a large update, but it is getting there and you can at least get an idea of how things are starting to shape up.

When we left off last time, I had glued all the small petals to one of the green painted beads and left it to dry.

I have now done that to four different flower blooms and let them dry.

After the glue was good and dry, I went at them with some watercolor markers.  I chose three different shades of beige because I want these blossoms to have a dried look to them.  As the time frame of the room box is supposed to be in the fall, it would look a bit out of place to have some pretty blue or lavender hydrangea in a vase.  I really wanted a varied look to them so the colors were applied very sloppy. 

The next to creating the arrangement was to put some green florist clay in the bottom of the vase.  The vase I chose is the wooden turned one I purchased in Chicago from Standing People Design Miniatures.  Their turned items are amazing and I love the different shades of brown and black in this vase.  I think it will look very nice with the dried arrangement in it.

After trimming the stems to different heights, I inserted them into the clay.  Originally I had planned on just putting the four completed blossoms in the vase with some of the leaves, but I'm thinking now that I need to complete the remaining three blossoms, limit the number of green leaves (the green just seems wrong for some reason) and do a tighter clump of blossoms in the vase, perhaps with some twigs added to give the arrangement some height.  

I think it is well on its way.  Now I just have to complete the three additional flower blossoms and get them dried and colored.  More coming soon.

Till later!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Hydrangea Kit....Part 1

Hello everyone.  I sure have missed y'all.

Things have been a bit busy in my life between trips to Maryland and job hunting, but I promised you that I would start on the Hydrangea kit and I can't let my followers and fellow miniature fans down.

This kit is going to be in multiple steps as it is a more complicated kit.

To start with, let's look at the picture on the front of this kit.  This kit was created by Kimberly Hammer of Ambrosia.  Sure is a pretty picture on the front of the kit.  Let's see if I can make something even resembling her beautiful picture.

Here is everything that came in the kit.  There are seven stems with beads attached on the end, a lump of florist clay, a make-up sponge, two micro brushes, a beautiful white porcelain vase (I won't be using this as i bought a turned wooden vase for my arrangement), some extra wire for leaves, punched leaves and a small baggie of punched petals. 

The first step in the process is to paint the beads a dark shade of green.  As I was going to be doing a dried arrangement instead of the pretty spring flowers, I chose a slightly lighter shade (kelly green) instead of the pine green she suggested.  After you have painted all the beads, set them aside to dry.

While the beads were drying, I went ahead and started the next step.  You need to take each petal and use a ball stylus to gently cup them and soften the edges.  She suggests that you use a mousepad for this process and I should let you know that it would probably be best to use a white pad.  I wasn't thinking and used my black mousepad I use all the time.  This caused the bottom of each petal to be turned a bit dark, but as I was doing a dried flower instead of the pretty spring colors in her arrangement, I didn't mind and actually liked the shading it provided.  No mistakes....only happy accidents.

After the green painted beads have dried, your next step is to glue the petals to that bead.  She says to use a small amount of Tacky glue and then a touch of Zap-A-Gap.  Ok...I don't have that glue in my arsenal of supplies so I just used the Tacky glue and was happy with the results.  Starting at the top of the bead, you pick up a petal, touch the bottom to a puddle of Tacky and then gently place the cupped petal on the flower.  Continue in a random pattern until you have completely covered the bead.

This is what you end up.  This is one of the larger flower heads supplied in the kit.

On my next installment, I'll color the petals and finish the rest of the flower balls.

I know...much shorter than my usual blog posts, but don't look at it as being cheated, look at it as I'm stretching the post out to further enhance your reading pleasure.  HA HA!

Till later!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Thumb is Still Green!

As you may remember, I bought three different flower/plant kits while I was in Chicago at the Bishop International Show.  On Sunday night, I decided to tackle the palm kit I purchased. 

This kit was created by Jan van den Doel of Holland.  He was very nice at the show and was great to help point me towards kits that were more beginner oriented so I wouldn't get frustrated.

Below is everything that was included in this kit.  The major difference between this kit and the Parlor Fern I did earlier in the week was that this one came with laser cut palm fronds instead of me having to cut them.  I was happy to see that as I really wasn't ready to spend so much time cutting again that night. :-)  Also included was a small pot, wire for the stems and a small bit of brown paper.  I had to supply the clay for the pot as well as glue, paint and dried coffee grounds for the dirt.

 To give you a better idea of the size of the palm fronds, I'm holding one of the largest ones on my fingers.  You can see the detail on them.  There were 12 total.  The wire came in four pieces and you had to cut each wire into thirds so you would have enough stems to complete the plant.  It was easy enough to cut the leaf away from the main paper.

Honestly, I think the next step was the hardest.  You had to apply a small amount of glue to each wire and then carefully glue it down the center of each palm frond.  Below you can see two completed ones from the top and the one on the far right is showing what it looks like on the bottom.  You do this to each of the twelve supplied leaves.

Now it was time to color them leaves.  My original thinking was to use a thinned down paint as I did on the fern, but I had another idea.  I had recently purchased a set of 100 markers that are acid free.  I choose a couple different shades of green and got to coloring each frond.  On a few of the fronds I used a lighter shade on the tips and I even used a light tan on a few so that it would have some natural coloring. I have never owned a palm that didn't get some dead spots on the leaves.  When it comes to plants that are real and not made of paper and wire, my thumb turns a deep shade of brown and I have a bad habit of killing them. :-(  Poor houseplants start shaking and crying as soon as I bring them into my house.  One day I will stop trying and needlessly killing innocent plant life.  

I forgot to take a photo of the next step so I'm going to explain it to you and you can see the end result in this picture.  After all your fronds have dried and you are happy with the color, take two or three pieces and wire them together at the base. Then you tear off a small piece of the brown paper, put some glue at the bottom of the bundle of stems and wrap the paper around it.  The reason I said to tear the paper is because it gives you a rough edge as opposed to a clean, straight cut.  As you see in the picture below, it does give the impression of multiple stalks growing from one clump...just like real life!

Once you have done all your bundles, fill the pot with some florist clay, top with a layer of glue and sprinkle on your dried coffee grounds.  Then you press each bundle through the glue into the clay and let dry.  Once I had inserted all my bundles, this is what I had. While happy, I couldn't wait to start shaping the fronds. However, I was a good boy and waited until the glue had dried. 

Here you have the finished product.  I'm happy with it.  I even bent one of the small fronds a bit extra so it has the look of a real plant in my house. HA HA

I really enjoyed doing this kit.  I found it much easier than the first one as there are fewer steps and far less cutting.  If you are looking to do a first plant, I would really recommend this.

I hope you have enjoyed my latest adventure and I thank you for taking the time to read my blog and see what I have been doing.
Till later!