Monday, October 28, 2013

Faux leather vs vinyl

At our club meeting/workshop, Tina mentioned my use of the gesso/paint way of turning fabric into leather so I thought I would try to (a) use the technique on a piece of fabric as opposed to an already upholstered piece of furniture and (b) trying to give a piece of fabric the look of vinyl....

This is going to take awhile...(started Tuesday night)

I'm going to experiment with turning a piece of cotton into

(1)  a piece of leather, or
(2) a piece of vinyl

Start with a piece of cotton about 3 1/2" x 7".

Using a 1' foam paint brush, coat the entire piece with gesso. I used Daler-Rowney "Simply" acrylic gesso that I bought at WalMart.

Colour is crappy...colour is correct below.

Wednesday noon:

Lightly sanded the gesso then painted on another coat.

Could have done this last (Wednesday) night but didn't get around to it until this morning. Sanded the gesso then gave it two coats of red paint (DecoArt Christmas Red).

Yet another coat of paint:

The colour is not showing up very well.

Once this has dried completely, I'll start the 'leather' process and try to do some as vinyl.

OKAY...for the \leather' side, I'm working on the left and for the 'vinyl', on the right.

So...on the left, I'm going to put a coating of FolkArt Plaid antiquing medium to give it a leather look. On the right, I'll use DecoArt DuraClear gloss vanish.

And, again, wait for things to dry....

DARN!! I wish I could show you how this looks - and feels.

The left looks like a piece of leather...and the piece on the right looks shiny like vinyl...
The interesting thing is that even with the several levels of gesso and paint, the fabric is remarkably supple.

The only time I have used this technique before was on the upholstery of completed furniture...and I loved the effect. Even as supple as these pieces turned out, I still would not treat the fabric this way then upholster...I would only use it on already upholstered pieces.

Last Saturday, I picked up a pack of fabric at the craft/baking/rummage sale next door at my Mom's condo:

Great pack of fabric for only $1.00...thought the inset piece could be used for some great cushions!

Vinyl Look
 Thought I'd try an experiment with a piece of the orange fabric. Since orange is such a 'retro' colour that work well in vintage trailers, thought this would be a great time to experiment on a regular piece of fabric.

I painted the left hand side of the fabric with several coats of acrylic gloss varnish...incredible vintage vinyl look!

Again, I would not paint the fabric then try to use it as upholstery....but I would certainly use these techniques with already-upholstered pieces.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Why we do this....

My friend, fellow miniaturist and President of the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton Club, Tina MacDonald,  was the subject of a video at the request of Telus (the My Edmonton series) in which she spoke of her love of and interest in miniatures.

Tina has also represented us on Edmonton's Breakfast TV 

We are SO fortunate to have such a wonderful, well-spoken representative of our club.


(I'm working on a possible tutorial that takes a LOT of waiting time....good or bad, I should have it available tomorrow night.)

A while back, I showed you how to make the marshmallow/weiner sticks. While Joanne and I did Arts Day at Leo Nickerson School, I made about 40 of these!

from Dollarama a couple years ago
If this had been fresh, I think it would have been ideal to make the marshmallows by simply rolling the clay into a snake and slicing it to make them.

Why didn't I use Fimo or Sculpey you ask? I do have Sculpey but I don't use it unless I have absolutely no other option. The other reason is that when this dries, it still has the feel of marshmallows - a bit squishy.

So, using an X-Acto knife, I cut a strip of the clay about 1/8" thick and used this hole punch set I bought at Dollarama a few years ago and cut marshmallows from that strip. Pretty labour-intensive as after every marshmallow was cut I had to unscrew the punch from the handle and use the flat end of a barbecue skewer to push out the 'marshmallow'. Eventually, I just used the punch by hand but it still took some time.

So I thought I would try something else.  I had some white fun foam so I thought I would try gluing two layers of that together with this "Hold the Foam" glue that I bought in Las Vegas.

So far, I've let the glue set for over an hour but it still is not holding so I'll try it again tomorrow. If I can get a permanent adhesion, I think the tool below will work.

This is a punch that somehow ended up in my tools...think it's meant for leather...It has been cutting well through the layers of foam but they separate in the process. One advantage of this one is that to release the foam, I can simply run a toothpick through the opposite punch.

If the double layer of foam doesn't work, maybe I'll go back to slices of the air dry clay and try using this punch. I think there's a bit that's fresh enough for this to work.

I don't care so much about having enough marshmallows for the 'sticks' but I do want to have enough for a bag of marshmallows...even though I'm not planning on doing the trailer for the Campsite, I may end up doing a tent camping scene.

I hope that although this is more about what "didn't " work that it will be helpful.

Sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find the prince...

Monday, October 7, 2013


The club project for this year is a camp site! I was very enthusiastic about it in the beginning as I was going to do the trailer that I had, lo, those many years ago, when DS Carol and I spent two weeks together camping with our children.

I had the Greenleaf trailer kit that I had bought from Danielle Perry years ago...which is the basis for several of the club projects this year but it wasn't quite what I was looking for.

Then Barb S. from our club found a wonderful tutorial for a trailer on a French website.

That had more of the design I was looking for!

But it still wasn't QUITE right!

SO at the all day workshop, I was trying to design the trailer of my memories?!?

THEN I thought....why the heck am I trying to do this?

I already made that memory in miniature. Some of my best work...and Carol has it...


I have more than 10 major UFOs on my list. It's much more important to try and complete one or two of them than work on another trailer!

Club All Day Workshop

On Saturday, October 5, we had the club's all day workshop to begin work on our trailers, tents, and gypsy wagons for the Camp Site project for the year.

Tina is working on her Greenleaf trailer that she will 'bash' to become her 'memory' trailer.

OMG! Talk about kit bashing! Carol K. took the attic that we started with last September and has turned it into a 'weaver's cottage'.  She also has plans for two matching buildings!
 All the others working on their trailers/tents/caravans in various scales and images!

Love it when all these plans come together!

Doll Show September 29

 On Sunday, September 29th, Joanne and I went to the Doll Show. For the past few years, the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton have had a table there to let people know about the club and encourage them to join. We couldn't get a table this year but we went anyway to look around.

My grandchildren are HUGE LEGO fans so I wanted to go, hoping that the LEGO I had seen last year would still be available. And it was!!! Even more than I had expected!
I had definitely not expected to see the new LEGO Friends. Thrilled to get three kits for DGD Holly!

And a LEGO Advent calendar for both grandchildren!

And two wonderful Star Wars kits for DGS Jonah!

This was the bargain of the day! A beautiful floral display in  1:12 for only $10.

Only 50 cents...thought it was actually a mini Tupperware piece...not only wasn't but didn't even fit together...but for 50 cents, what the heck...still a great bowl and a small platter.

A lovely little ballerina angel for Holly!

Joanne picked up a couple of great pieces also.

We just had a great time looking at all the old dolls...and all the incredible Barbies that had been issued over the years!

Bit of a catch up...

Joanne and I represented the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton Club at the Leo Nickerson Elementary School on Friday, September 27. Added another teddy bear at the last minute (lower left hand) to the "Teddy Bears' Picnic" At the end of the day when I took it to the office as a donation to fund-raising, one of the male staff members said, "Oh, my Dad would have loved that. He always used to sing "Teddy Bears' Picnic to us." Sort of a warm fuzzy!

Didn't get a picture of our entire display but did get this one of Joanne making books. She works so well with students and  demonstrated making books from pages ripped from old phone books. 

I made about 30 of the roasting sticks throughout the day. 

There were 61 'artists' demonstrating their work that day! Two of my absolute favourites were there. Maureen Rooney was Nellie McClung and Paul Punyi was Leonardo da Vinci. 

In a miniature vein, there was a plant artist who works in miniature:

I wish I had taken more pictures of all the wonderful artists and their work. Wonderful day! And kudos to Andrea Daly who organizes this project each year!!!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Lots of things to catch up with later but for now....TUTORIAL

Sorry, real life hit me from all it is wont to do for all of us....

But I did promise to show you how to make the "marshmallow/weiner" roasting sticks:

I started with some very thin pieces of wire from my stash - long time pieces that don't have any identification - but they're about the diameter of the lead in a disposable pencil and about 6" long:

Bent the wire in half

Leaving a n open loop at the bend, twist the pieces round and round to form the handle of the "roaster".

When the handle is about 1 1/2 - 2" inches long, bend the ends at right angles to the length, then right angles again to form the "forks" that will hold the  marshmallows/weiners,

Clip the wire off at about 1/4" lengths

Add your "marshmallows" or weiners and you're ready for your picnic!!!
 Will discuss the 'marshmallows' later...

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

How do I...?

Since I don`t `do`Twitter or all those other `modern` do I possibly contact Melissa Mayer, the most recent CEO of Yahoo! and tell her how her programmers have totally fouled up Yahoo Groups for those of us have used them for years.

I guess, in the rush to attract all the much younger demographic, with all their smart phones,  i-phones and i-pads and the hundreds of apps available, the programmers have forgotten about all of us who don`t have/do those things.

I think, perhaps, in all this rush to `fix`all this, Melissa may have missed something:

Facebook and most of the Yahoo! groups have different demographics and different aims.

Has she not heard the phrase If it isn`t broken, don`t fix it!