Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ferrero Rocher

In addition to being incredibly good chocolates, Ferrero Rocher come in very nice plastic cases, particularly at Christmas.

The bells don't seem to be available in Canada anymore but they make wonderful settings for little Christmas vignettes such as this one I got from Lorry S. at our MEE Christmas party a couple years ago.

They also come in a cube that's about 4 1/2" that is perfect for settings for little vignettes such as this Christmas one. I've also done little baking vignettes in them.

I've seen the Ferrero Rocher pyramid used to display collections very effectively.

I was out this afternoon and picked up the FR Christmas tree on sale half price. Here I've removed all the packaging and labels (peel off easily) and have two plastic Christmas tree shapes.

I think if I add some shelves these will make great display units for my Christmas shop. The open side will be accessible to customers in the store and because the unit is clear, customers on the street will be able to see the merchandise as well. At least that's the plan....

Reading, Christmas minis

Wow, I had not realized that I had neglected my blog (and minis too for that matter)  for so long.

I have been on a real reading binge. Joanne and I were at the library to take down our miniature display and I picked up four J.D. Robb books that I hadn't read yet so that took care of a couple days.

One of my favourite books is "The Far Pavilions" by M. M. Kaye. I've had her book "Shadow of the Moon" for years but never got around to reading it until recently. It's about the British Raj in India at the time of the 1857 Sepoy Rebellion and a wonderful read. Ms. Kaye herself was an incredible woman whom I would have loved to have met.

Sean and Julie got me Diana Gabaldon's latest Lord John book "The Scottish Prisoner". I prefer the books in the "Outlander" series but this is a good read and will have to do until the next book in the series comes out.

Sometime ago, my friend Eileen of Nana's Minis gifted me with this incredible set of Diana Gabaldon books in 1:12 scale. Her work is meticulous and I'm fortunate to have several of her minis in my collection.

I must admit that the book from Sean and Julie arrived a couple days before Christmas and I opened it early as I knew what it was and wanted to get it read early because I knew Leanne also got a book for me that I was looking forward to reading.

I have been a great fan of Jean Auel since the read "The Valley of Horses" (the second book in her "Earth's Children" series) in 1983. So when Leanne asked me if I wanted the sixth and final book in the series, "The Land of Painted Caves", my answer was a definite YES! It had been nine years since the fifth book was published and I had actually given up haunting her website to see when this one would be released.

It was an okay read but definitely didn't reach the standard set by her previous books. But it did send me back to re-read the earlier books and I still enjoy them as much as I did the first (and second, and third LOL) times.

I had Christmas Eve dinner with some friends upstairs and she lent me the Barbara Walter's autobiography and Lynda Steele's "Laptop Diaries". Both good reads.

I got some lovely miniature gifts for Christmas.

Leanne and Robert had been to the Dominican Republic and got me this wonderful little house for Christmas. It's about 1:48 scale.

DS Marie gave me the guitar and tall case clock. The guitar is actually a watch brooch so I'll most likely use it for its intended use as I have an allergy to metal that prevents me from wearing a wrist watch for any length of time. Haven't decided where the clock will go.

DS Shirley gave me a scalpel with a pack of 100 blades and an eye glass cleaning cloth. The cloth may end up as a blanket on a bed.

Joanne gave me this great little house and furniture, some strip wood and Dollarama gift cards (she knows me only too well!). 

Due to all the reading, my mini-ing has really suffered. My self-imposed deadline for wiring and re-doing the Bombay House was today and it's simply not going to happen. Although I plan on completing the living/dining room wiring today, the bedroom definitely won't be finished until hopefully next month.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to wall of the bedroom from the office at the top of the stairs. A lady from The Camp sent me Dr. Bob's instructions for making a pocket door so I may put in the wall and try making a pocket door. Will have to decide soon if I'm ever going to get the house completed.

Happy New Year to all!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dollhouse DIY links

Link Lady has been running this website for 15 years but is considering shutting it down for lack of interest. I just found it recently and would hate to see it go.

There's a wealth of wonderful information there and it would be a shame if we were to lose it.

Please check it out and let her know that all her hard work is appreciated.

Making plates

For Judy...

With pop bottle cap liners no longer being part of bottle caps (at least in the pop that I buy), miniaturists have lost a great source of plates. Well, those who don't have large stashes of them saved LOL.

Somewhere along the line, I was given a ziploc bag full of paper plates - but not the jig to form them. The jig is available in 1:12 and 1:24 from Deb Laue at Dragonfly International.

So I've been playing with plate possibilities this afternoon.

Martha Stewart (among others, I'm sure) make a 1" paper punch with the scalloped edge.

Since I didn't have the jig, I placed one of the plate blanks over a nickle and carefully bent the edge of the plate over the coin.

I decided to make some plates on my computer using MS Word. I have Microsoft Word 2010 on my computer and these instructions were written using it. If you have an earlier version, you may have to play a bit with the instructions.

Open a word document

Click on insert, then click on shapes, then click on the oval.
A + sign will appear. Click on that and a 1” circle will appear. Click on the circle and “Drawing Tools” will appear on your tool bar. Click on format below that.

The second choice from the left on your tool bar will be shape styles. On the left of that section you will see some of the automatic options available. Double click on the very bottom arrow and a page of selections will come up – white with coloured edges, solid colours or coloured centres with white edges. (The default for the border is 3 pt. I change it to 6 pt. as below)

Your other option is to go to the right of that and click on the arrow beside fill for your plate colour. Then if you like you can click on the arrow beside shape outlines below that and choose a border colour. Click on shape outline again and you can go to line weight and choose how wide you want the border to be.

This first batch was printed on cover stock which is a 60 lb. cardstock.

The rims on the three lower plates were made using the nickle (in fact, you can see  the imprint on the black plate as the ink hadn't quit dried. The rim on the top plate was made by tracing around the back of the plate rim with the largest stylus I had and the plate face down on a mouse pad. They can be fancied up with tiny cut-outs or (my preference) nail decals. Once the ink has completely dried, you give the plate a good coat of clear nail polish or satin or gloss varnish.  

Tip: When cutting out the plates, use scissors with a curved blade (such as manicure scissors). Hold the scissors in position and move the paper, not the scissors.

You can do a personalized decorative plate too.

Choose your picture and insert it into a word document. Click on the picture and go into Format. Crop the picture so the cropped portion is square. While you’re in Format, choose bevelled oval. The default on that is black but if you want a different colour border, you can go into picture border and choose a different colour. Then go to size and resize it to 1” x 1” and print it.

Here's one with a picture of our granddaughter.

 Another option is to print your plates on photo paper.

Putting an edge on the photo paper is not as easy as on plain cardstock. I found, for me, that what worked best was to use the large end of the stylus around the rim on the back of the plate then run my very fine stylus around the inner edge of the rim on the front of the plate. Still not great...but better.

Friday, December 9, 2011


I was searching for something the other day that I thought I had blogged about and couldn't find it so I decided that I really needed to label/tag each post. So I'm working backwards and trying to do that...but it's going to take a lot of time and I hope you'll be patient with me while I catch up on that aspect of blogging.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Bombay House living room

I installed the overhead light in the living room area. Because this is a textured ceiling (textured wallpaper from a teacher I used to work with), I didn't think that the sticky pad on the light fixture would hold so I used general purpose silicon sealant to hold it in place.

Time to bite the bullet and install the staircase. With the staircase in place, I traced along the underside with a pencil. Then I removed the staircase and painted a half inch of glue above the line. I also glued along the top back of the staircase itself. (I didn't glue the bottom of the stairs that rests on the floor because I didn't want to smear glue on the floor.)

The staircase was glued in place then I trimmed the stained handrail and glued it in place.

I coloured the Houseworks 5026 corner/angled side bookcase black and gave it two coats of satin varnish.

Here's the room with the burgundy leather couch and black leather chair.

The first two pictures show the room with two beautiful coffee tables by Shelley Acker from Nova Scotia. The first is one of my favourites but the second one has the black wood which goes well with  the rest of the furniture but is smaller. And I really like large coffee tables....

Another possibility is to cut the legs down on the table I had thought to use in the bedroom alcove and use it as a coffee table. Colour and size would be right for my taste. (And it has storage, something I always need/appreciate.)

I could then use Shelley's black table in the corner by the chair .

The other question is lighting...I like LOTS of light in my living room so I want both a floor and table lamp in here.

I want a floor lamp at the far end of the couch and a table lamp beside the chair.

I love these two floor lamps but I don't have any table lamps that would work with them. And I think I could use the three light one at the end of the chaise longue in the bedroom area. (And, no, there isn't a picture of that here so don't waste time looking.)

These would be great to add a dash of colour to the room. But maybe a bit retro...and they don't give a great deal of light. Hey! I want to read in there.
The cords are very short but I've actually thought of a way I could use them without even having to lengthen the cords. (That can be done easily though, thanks to Jonesy and the tutorial from Victoria Miniland.)

And these would  work...but they're sort of....well, blah:

Would really be interested in your input. Other miniaturists often see possibilities that I've missed.  I do have some ability, lights, and hollow brass tubing so I could make really simple lights.

MEE Christmas party

MEE had its Christmas party on Tuesday night and we had a great time! (I was enjoying myself so much that not many pictures were taken.)

Each member brought an appetizer/dessert and, oh, my, did we have food!

This was taken before all the food arrived - we ended up with two long tables with every inch covered!

Once plates were filled, Tina, Joanne and Sunni entertained us with a few songs including the AARP version of "My Favourite Things" and a little solo by Tina

After a group singsong, Sunni entertained us with some Christmas riddles.

Where does Santa stay when he's on holidays?
At a Ho-ho-tel!

We discussed a few business items and door prizes were handed out then we had our gift exchange.

As always there was a variety of incredibly beautiful gifts, most of which were handcrafted. I got this beautiful table made by Bev P-M.

Every year, Joanne R. chooses a book to read to us. This year's book was "A Christmas Dollhouse"  by Richard Rudnicki of Nova Scotia. MEE member Cheryl H. had helped Richard with research on dollhouses for the book which is based on a true story. There were many moist eyes in the room when she finished reading.

New club members Pat and Jillian won the Christmas tree draw. (The picture was taken before all the ornaments had been brought in.) Winners are expected to bring their decorated trees to next year's party.

This is a tree done by a previous winner.

Lorry S. and June K. brought in some of their work to display.
Two rooms in 1:48 by June
 Two views of Lorry's display using the Hallmark stove, fridge and washing machine.

During the evening, each member was given a yellow sticky note on which to write a proposed name for the fair that we're doing for next year's show and sale and a smaller purple sticky note to vote.

"Little Fair on the Prairie" was the winner.

child's loft bed, wash basin

I don't ordinarily look through RL furniture flyers but did yesterday and spotted this child's bed which would be SO wonderful in miniature (especially since dollhouse rooms tend to be so small). It comes in two options: with the shelving or with a trundle bed.

If I were doing a child's bedroom, I'd make this for it in a heartbeat...and with little Houseworks casters on the trundle bed. And pretty simple to make - especially if you made faux drawers rather than real ones under the steps.

It's really tempting to make it anyway just for the fun of it. But at this point I better just concentrate on finishing the Bombay house.

I took President's Choice salmon  mini-wellington's to the MEE Christmas party (more about that later). They're very tasty. AND the packaging has great mini possibilities.

They come in a clear plastic tray with insets for holding the tarts. The ones marked with an 'X' have a little scooped section along the top edge so I ignore those.

But I cut apart the other six. Below you can see where I've trimmed the edges around the top of two of them and I've coloured one with a red felt marker.

The're 2" in diameter across the top and 3/4" high so make a nice dishpan.

Although marker works well to colour this (and copper or some of the more gray silver nail polish would probably work), don't think the plastic would take paint unless it was primed. Another possibility would be to give it a thin layer of gesso, then paint it blue or red and give it a spackleware enamel finish like this:

To get the spackleware look, dip an old toothbrush in a bit of white paint and run your thumbnail over it so the paint spatters in small drops. You may want to practice a bit on a scrap of paper until you get the direction and size of your spatter right.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Christmas party

Our miniature club Christmas party is tonight. We have a gift exchange and a Christmas ornament draw.

The last time Joanne and I went to Dollarama, she spotted wonderful little house shaped boxes which are great for gifts for miniaturists.

For the Christmas ornament draw, members who are interested bring in three Christmas tree ornaments and enter their name in a draw. Two winners get a tree (supplied by the club) and their share of the ornaments.

When I was looking through my jewellery findings the other day, I found a small bag of plastic bell-shaped earring backs (similar to these 4th down). I've put some of these on the ends of straight pins and painted them (the red with nail polish and the gold with my trusty Pilot pen).

 Here I've put the 'bells' on headpins (above).

I cut the pin about 1/4" above the bell and used needle-nosed pliers to shape the pin into a hook for hanging.

Then I made a tree topper. Started by coiling some brass wire tightly around the end of this pen:
 Pulled on it to put some space between each coil:
 Folded about 3/8" up at a right angle to the coils:
 These self-adhesive dimensional stars are from Michael's. They also come in silver.
 I attached one to the upright piece
 then glued another to the back. (While they're self-adhesive, the depth of the brass wire won't allow the adhesive to stick.)
The finished topper.