Saturday, April 30, 2011

Problem solved

Took my wallpaper to Staples and had it photocopied. They did it on 32 lb. 11" x 17" paper and it turned out wonderfully! I think this is actually RL wallpaper.

Just found out my youngest sister is in town for the weekend so don't know how much mini-ing I'll get done.

paint brush tutorial

While I'm puzzling over the wallpaper dilemma, here's how I made the paint brushes for the art studio:

Quick Paint Brush Tutorial

To make larger craft paint brushes, you need the end of a round toothpick, a pair of pliers and a silver pen.

Cut your toothpick to length (about ¾”) and moisten the cut end about 1/8”. With your pliers, squeeze the moistened end several times, rotating the toothpick between squeezes. This will separate the wood fibres and form your ‘bristles’.

When that’s done, use your silver pen to mark the ferrule and your paintbrush is finished.

To make foam paint brushes, you need a piece of round toothpick about ½” long, a piece of thin black craft foam about ¼” x ½” and some white glue (Weldbond or Aleene’s Tacky).
Coat one side of the craft foam with glue, place the toothpick about half way up the length of the foam, fold the foam over and clamp until dry. (Once it’s dry, you can even trim it a bit to make slightly narrower.)

Friday, April 29, 2011

I have two of these wonderful roomboxes that I bought from members of the Edmonton club (Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton) who were downsizing. Wish I had more as they are a good size (inside 9 1/2"h x 15" w x 10 1/2" deep) and have a slide-in plexiglass front.

I sat down Tuesday night and stained all my wood for the walls. The top piece is my crown molding, the two strips of basswood will be baseboards, the coffee stirrers (Dollarama) will be the chair rail and the wainscoting is some wood  that I got on clearance at Michael's in Nova Scotia last fall.

This is a really neat product. It's a paper thin veneer of real wood mounted on a cardstock backing. Because it's real wood the grain tends to be really too big for miniatures but if you choose carefully you can find pieces that will work.

Most of the furniture for this room has that reddish tone so wanted to have that in the wood on the walls also. In a real moment of serendipity, Tuesday morning Margaret, a fellow miniaturist, phoned and said she had been finishing some furniture (mini, of course) and had stained it red then overstained it with brown.

So all this wood was first coloured red with a chisel tip Sharpie pen then given two coats of  brown with the dark brown marker from the Furniture Touch Ups pens from Dollarama (3 markers - light, medium and dark brown - for $1.00 - or maybe $1.25 now). I'm pleased with the look.

Finally had to go out on the balcony to take this picture - and the colours still aren't quite right - but closer than anything I could get in the apartment.

I'd actually prefer the darker carpet but in RL it has an almost rusty hue to it and just isn't quite right.
Now that I look at this again, it's just not what I want. So off to my stash and I find these:

Colours do not show up properly on this one - the carpet is a cream colour. But it's not what I want either.

The colours don't show up quite right on this one either. The carpet is a beautiful dark teal. I love it! But I only have one sheet of the wallpaper. IIRC I got it at club when someone was clearing out wallpaper. Now have a call out to MEE members to see if anyone else bought some and is willing to sell/swap for a couple sheets.

Here I thought this would all come together like magic. Ha!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

one more electrical

Now that the lighting decision has been made, there’s one more electrical item to take care of. I bought an insert from Danielle Perry Miniatures to go in the fireplace.

 I drilled a hole through the logs so I could put the bulb behind the flames.

 Drilled another hole in the back of the firebox for the wires.
 The logs in place. I used a small piece of carpet tape to hold the logs in place.

When Ann K. posted to Canada Minis that she used carpet tape to install wallpaper, carpets, etc., I was very dubious. The only carpet tape I had ever seen was years ago and really thick stuff. But her recommendations carry a lot of weight with me so I picked some up (got mine at WalMart but think it's available at most hardware stores) and became an immediate convert. It's an open weave double-sided tape that is almost paper thin.  

One step forward, two steps back...

I hope this isn’t an indication of how this project is going to proceed.

This room will be my first electrified room box so I’ve been looking through my stash to see what lighting fixtures I will use. There were already a couple that I had thought I would use then I remembered a pair of floor lamps I got at a club giveaway. If they work I could even try turning one into a table lamp. The style is good but the shades are orange which won’t exactly go with my pink/rose colour scheme. LOL

First on the agenda: test to see if they even work! Glitch #1 – they have weird plugs with very thick prongs that won’t fit into my power strip. Fortunately I have some a supply of new plugs in my stash. Replace the plug on one lamp and YES it works!

Not much sense worrying about changing the plug on the other one until I figure out what to do with the shades. First possible solution is to try painting one with Gallery Glass which I fortunately have in ruby red. First coat is terribly streaky but I’ll try another coat after that dries and see how it looks then. Second coat looks good so on to the other lamp.

As you can see, the lamp upright is a small brass tube covered with brass beads. Since I want the second lamp to be a table lamp, I’m cutting the tube to about 1 ½”.

The tube is too small to use my tube cutter so I simply cut it with my wire cutters. Bad move! Why do we always remember tips after the fact? Using the wire cutters pinched the tubing and misshaped it. I should have put a piece of wire as large as would fit through the tubing then cut through them both - the wire would have kept the tubing from going out of shape. Too late, smart!

With a bit of fiddling I managed to repair the damage, put the upright in the stand and add the beads.
In the meantime, I've given the shade two coats of Gallery Glass and it's ready to work with. (I used the other part of the cut upright as a handle while painting the shade and stuck it into the edge of a piece of foamcore to hold it while drying.)
Time to reassemble everything. The bulb goes in the shade and the wires fed through a hole in the bottom of the shade.
The wires then go through the brass tube and out through the hole in the side of the base. 

I think they look pretty darn good - especially since this is the first time I've tried anything like this. I'm not going to replace the plug on the table lamp at this time because (I should have seen this coming) I've decided not to use these lamps in this particular room box!

Haven't decided just where they'll end up but the colour is just too strong for what I'm planning. 

So plan B is to use these lamps. The Tiffany style lamp was a possibility but now have decided against it too so it'll be the two brass lamps with white shades.

Now the electrical is decided, it's time to start preparing the room itself. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The bane of my existence....

UFOs – all those projects that I’ve started and not finished – and the ones I’ve been collecting for and not yet started.

Over the past six months, I did a really big clean out of my workroom. Sold some of the larger things but mostly just gave away stuff from my stash that I either had WAY to much of or just couldn’t see using. A group of us get together in the social room of our condo every couple months for a day of working on UFOs and this gave me the ideal opportunity to pass on ‘stuff’.

A neighbour’s daughter runs a home day care and offered to take everything that was left at the end of the day so was very successful in clearing things out.

You'd think with all that 'stuff' out of the workroom, I'd have more space...NOT! But for the time being, everything is in its place and most of my projects have their own spots on the shelves along with shoeboxes of items that go with them.

Now I can concentrate on actually working on my projects. At this point, the list includes (in no particular order):

           1.   The art gallery that I started at Camp Mini Ha Ha 2009
2. My Christmas shop (have a good start on that one)
3. Victorian style parlour
4. Lady’s bedroom
6. A Secret Garden
7. Travel trailer – still in the box
8. Wire my Bombay house
9. Oriental room
10. Log cabin (I’d give up on this one but I’ve got too many things to go in it!)
11. My English dollhouse – just needs a few repairs and furnishing but there are design problems with it.
12. The wharf and beach that should be the base for my Serendipity Shop (another Camp Mini Ha Ha project - 2008).

Oh, my goodness, it's even worse than I thought!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Biting the bullet...

When I was making my latest mini vignette, I thought about starting a blog to track my progress but since I only had three weeks to create it, didn't think I could handle both it and learning to blog at the same time.

Mid-March, I received an e-mail from the art teacher (the daughter of a friend and former co-worker) at Leo Nickerson School. The students were painting chairs in various themes and auctioning them with proceeds going to the Stollery Children's Hospital. There was to be a silent auction of other donated art in conjunction with the live auction of the chairs.

I confirmed that I would donate a miniature vignette. The more I thought about it, I wanted to do a miniature of a portion of the art studio. So I made arrangements to go to the school and take pictures of the room on March 22. Went back on April 5 and took more pictures and measurements.

The auction was on April 20 but the finished pieces were to be at the school on April 11. So it was a pretty tight deadline. Got a slight extension on the deadline and finished it April 12.

There are over 150 pieces in it and all but about 10 were made totally from scratch.

It's been a long time (about five years) since I did a mini of an actual room and I had forgotten how very much I love the challenge of 'copying' a room.

The actual art room:

The completed mini:

Now that's behind me and my income tax is filed, thought I'd give this a try.

I'm going to try to update regularly and follow my progress on work on my UFOs and post some tutorials along the way.