Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Chris in Canada wrote:
Sometimes life (or in this case, Lucifer the cat) can derail the best laid plans. The little "sweetie" decided to stage a midnight raid on the dining room table where I had been wrapping gifts, and succeeded in unwrapping several of the packages with the furniture inside, damaging and/or losing the contents.

There was however a bit of good arising from this incident. I discovered that paper-maché coffee trays can be a good emergency source of wood filler to repair kitty teeth marks and missing bits of turnings when you are out of PolyFilla, plastic wood and paper clay and everything is closed for the next 2 days. I soaked a small amount in warm water, shredded it with my fingers, pressed out the excess water and kneaded in some craft glue. It came out the consistency of paper clay, only sticky, and handled the same way as long as my fingers were kept wet. It dried to a hard smooth surface, and after sanding and painting you cannot tell where the repairs are, even on the headboard of a bed that was punctured completely through in 2 places by Lucifer's teeth. I even had to stain one bit with a water-based stain and it came out great so I see fewer wasted containers of hardened fillers in my mini future.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Got it Nailed!

Chris in Canada writes:

Here's an idea that I've been using for a long time to solve a common problem when making minis. It won't turn a piece of trash into a mini, but may save a mini or two from being turned into trash. ;-D

Don't throw away your empty or nearly empty nail polish bottles. Fill them almost to the top with polish remover, screw the cap back on, shake well and let sit overnight. The next day give it a good shake and pour out the contents. Wash with warm water with a few drops of dish soap added, rinse then check to make sure all the gunk on the inside is gone. A Q-tip will remove any small amounts. Also examine the cap and brush. If there is only a small bit left on the brush stem or in the top, you can easily remove it by scraping with the tip of a toothpick or a pin. If it is still really gucky, repeat the treatment with fresh remover.

Use your clean bottle and brush combo to store brush-on sealer, custom colours of paint or stain for any touch-ups you may need as you progress on a project, watered down white glue for stiffening thread or fabric, colour washes and so on. There is nothing more frustrating or wasteful of time and supplies than trying to make an
exact match for a custom mixed colour weeks or months after you made it. I label the bottles with a strip of masking tape noting the project it was made for and where appropriate, a dab of the contents,then keep it with any other supplies I have set out for that project.
When there is no more need for the contents, I wash out the bottle ready for re-filling.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

This little light of mine...

From Chris in Canada:
This tip uses the Breeze brand meter made by Bayer, with which diabetics and pre-diabetics test their glucose levels. (Other meters may use similar lancets, but
everyone I know uses the same type.) Anyhoooo, the lancets come in the form of a ittle tube with the needle point, henceforth referred to as "the stabber" for reasons that should be obvious, covered with a cap. You need both parts (used ones are fine), a straight pin, small scissors, glue, a craft knife or pipe cutting tool, 1/2" or so of heavy white or black thread, paint and clear sealer of your choice, and a tiny bit of 'whatever' including any one of the following: raw Fimo, plasticine, play-doh, putty, paper mache, styrofoam, used bubble gum, or even a scrap of kleenex dipped in glue.
1) Glue the cap securely to the stabber, being careful not to stab yourself in the process.
2) When the glue has set, cut the tube off about 1/2 way down, just above the blunt end of the lancet needle or wherever you think it looks right. (WARNING: If you cut it off too short, you will have to either snip off the needle's end or try to yank it out with pliers. It's your call.)
3) Brush some glue inside the tube and fill it with the 'whatever' right to the top.
4) Coat the top of the 'whatever' with a thin coat of glue and immediately poke a tiny hole in the centre with the pin. Coat one tip of the thread with glue and insert it into the hole, pushing the glue covered 'whatever' around the thread to hold it in place. When the glue has dried, trim your wick with scissors to the length you desire. If you are making a previously lit candle, before adding any
glue, remove a bit of the whatever and shape a depression as if the candle has melted the wax in the centre. Use black thread and cut the wick shorter than you would for a new candle.
5) Paint the candle (stabber part) the desired colour being careful not to get paint on the wick when you do the top of the candle.
IMPORTANT: Stop the candle paint where the little lip sticks out, about 1/64" from the top of the cap. This lip is part of the candle holder, not the candle. Also, adding a wax (paint) drip or two down the side adds realism, but don't over-do it unless you really want it to look like something that belongs in a wizard's workroom.
6) Paint the cap section, including the lip on the stabber, with a metallic finish or use a glossy white and hand-decorate with permanent marker or water decals to resemble porcelain.
7) Finish everything off with a coat of clear sealer. Glossy for the base and semi-gloss or matte for the candle will further enhance the separation between the holder and the candle. Try a metallic pewter paint or a brushed steel nail enamel with a cream or ivory candle, or put a pure white or bright red candle with a copper holder. Add a bit of greenery for a festive look. A pale blue or pink candle on a white porcelain stand decorated with tiny flowers is very feminine, as is a mauve candle with lilac sprays. A drippy orange candle on a black holder screams Hallowe'en, and white on either metallic gold or white is always elegant. Add a seasonal decal or tiny clipping to the candle itself and keep the holder plain.
NOTE: The cap by itself makes quite a nice vase in both 1" and 1:24 (HS) and can also act as a protruding chimney liner, a stove-pipe on a roof (open end up) or even a small scale chimney pot if you paint a small circle on the cap's top to represent the flue.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Remembrance Day

John McCrae is pictured with his horse Bonfire and his dog Bonneau. His WW1 poem was memorized by many Canadian "boomers", whose parents had vivid memories and experience with a second "War to end all wars".

John McCrae's War  - Films from the National Film Board, WW1 from a Canadian perspective.

Clare Gass from Nova Scotia served as a battlefield nurse with John McCrae, who shared his poem with her. She wrote a diary of her experiences.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Three in One

From Chris in Canada:
I recently tried those new all-in-one laundry sheets with the detergent and softener built in and although I still am not convinced they work as well as the traditional detergents and separate softeners, I love the used sheets for mini uses. They're thick and soft, but also have a firm backing, which makes them perfect for small pillows, furniture padding and for mattresses if multiple layers are used. I also used some today for snow on a lawn, and after a bit of brushing with a wire suede brush, it has just the right amount of fluffiness.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Let's get Corked!

From Chris in Canada:
Here's a quick and dirty trash idea for used wine corks. If you shave
off paper-thin slices working from top to bottom on the cork, you'll
find it naturally breaks into smaller segments, many of which
resemble the trees, birds, leaves and so on in the Chinese cork
pictures. Select the best ones and build a scene on a pre-cut piece
of acetate using the moisture from a damp finger to temporarily stick
the bits in place. Add another piece of acetate cut to match and
sandwich the whole thing between 2 cardstock "frames" painted shiny
black or dark brown. Add a small stand made from a block of balsa or
Fimo and there's your very own Oriental masterpiece!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Get the Lead out!

If you have occasion to get your hands on any lead wine-bottle seals found on some imported wines, usually the expensive ones, hang on to them. They are a source of very soft metal that can be easily cut then shaped with simple tools to make mini cooking and eating utensils, fireplace tools, period hardware for doors etc.... NOTE: If you are a Boomer or Zoomer and worried about handling lead, wear plastic gloves.
The metal cases from the tea light candles are great sources of soft metal for all sorts of things. The metal can easily be cut with old scissors and bent to shape.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Reflective Material for Signs, Ornaments, Mobiles

Chris the CD Crusher in Canada
It was an accident! Honest!!

As for this week's T2T I have just a small one concerning CDs and DVDs. When one is smashed under a car wheel in the driveway, :-} if you look you may find little bits of the silver film sticking out from the broken edges of the clear plastic interior. When you find some, use your fingers or a pair of tweezers to GENTLY coax the film to pull away from the plastic base. It is finicky to do but the reward is worth it because you now have in your possession micro-thin pieces of full-spectrum reflective material. These can be attached anywhere you need something to reflect light with the colour depending on the angle it is viewed from. I don't know how else to put the effect in words, but if you you hold a CD disk in the light and tip it around a bit, you'll see what I mean. Thin strips can be used to outline a poster or sign and added to just about anything in a modern setting, and if glued to light-weight paper, can be punched out when dry and the shapes used as desired. Gluing some film on both sides of the paper means you can punch out shapes to use for hanging ornaments, mobiles, store displays ......... Well, you get the idea.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Corn husk angels

Finally the hot, humid weather has gone, so last weekend I cooked up some of our fresh Ontario corn inside, instead of on the BBQ. I was putting the husks and silks in my green bin container and thinking about how soon Christmas would be upon us and what tree decorations I would have to replace, when the light turned on. Here were the makings of more corn-husk angels to replace the ones that the cats had mangled a few years ago ...... AND why not use the same husks to make mini corn-husk angels? My original angels were just shy of 2" tall, reduced from instructions I found on-line, but they could be made any size you want by using the thinner husks found closest to the cob.

The green husks and silks are easily dried by letting them air dry in a collander or strainer for a few weeks, or they can be laid in a single layer on a paper towel, covered with another towel and micro-waved. I did mine for 2 minutes on high, let stand for about 5 minutes, them flipped them over, paper towel and all, and nuked them another 2 minutes. I then spread them out on a clean paper towel and let them sit out overnight. Voila, 'almost instant' dried corn husks for free, versus the $4-$5 craft stores charge for a 'kit' consisting of a few corn husks, a cotton ball to use for stuffing the head and some photocopied instructions, probably taken from the internet.

Tonight I made a "HUGE" corn husk angel (LOL!!!), a hair over 7/8" tall without her halo. I wanted to start big and work my way down to 1/2" tall so she would fit into either a 1:12 Christmas scene, or minus wings and wire halo, serve as a decoration for a country style home or a pioneer child's doll. . Her eyes ran due to the fibres of the husks so she looks as if she hasn't slept in a long time, so if I do eyes on another, I'll seal the face first. And I'll use regular bunka for the hair, or some brushed out acrylic yarn, not the stuff I snipped off from the fringed pillow beside me.

Today I made another, this time measuring in at 9/16" including her halo. This size would fit in well in a 1:12 scene, as most RL cornhusk dollies are 6-7" tall. And except for it being a bit fiddly when the time came to tie parts together, she was just as easy to do as her big sister. Next time I plan to go for 1/3, and if that works ............ .... :-D

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pack up your tent

Ever think about moving, First Nations style?
Now what WOULD a girl carry with her?

Whaddya do with the toddler not old enough to walk - make a portable playpen!

Friday, August 27, 2010

What to do with a Toilet Paper Roll

Monday, August 23, 2010

Street of Houses

Quarter Scale Minis and Roomboxes -part 3

Fern Rouleau has come up with a wonderful way to display her 1:24 scale houses in her living room, behind the sofa, installing mirror tiles so they would reflect the inside of the homes. She and Bob plan to enclose the project in Plexiglass.

Friday, August 6, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

Mary Kennerly writes in the Smallstuff digest:
I found some years-old dried material in the garage and took a picture, though it doesn't include all the species used for the flowers. I bought some of this stuff (most notably a thrift-store hearth-broom - it bleaches nicely and has lovely twisty stems), but generally I found raw materials from this time of year on into fall while dogwalking in vacant lots, along roadsides, and in neglected residential alleyways. The blossom shapes are mostly the calyxes that cupped the original flowers. The most delicate material was the awns of some cereal-type plant, plus some superthin stems of quaking-grass (the "flowers" are pale pink and stuck into one of those awns.

Those red tulips (for a change I tried to make tulipish leaves) came from a hairy, sticky, quite unlovable-looking weed. A more delicate species-tulip starts from another weed, nipplewort. And a head of garlic, or its ornamental garden allium cousins, is yet another source for deeply cupped shapes.

(Teazels are the armature for a couple of the standard plants, providing both the trunk and the head into which greenery is glued, instead of using a plastic ball. Globular seed-pods from the sweet-gum tree also have holes that can be used the same way.)

Once you have the dried stuff, making blossoms is pretty quick. Add stems; paint; and there you are. So very easy. I hope somebody is inspired to do a bit of neighborhood foraging.

In the snapshot of made-up flowers, on the left there's a bunch of orange-petaled flowers with dark-rimmed yellow centers. They're made from feverfew. But feverfew calyxes are even more realistic-looking with the stem clipped short and turned upside down. I seem not to have any on hand to photograph. Worth mentioning, I think, because feverfew, with its bright green foliage and its miniature daisy flowers, is nice to have in the real-life garden. One stem is like a whole bunch of flowers to tuck in a little pitcher.

Mary's album with more information:

Ed. Note - Look for Queen Anne's lace, put a bouquet in a jar with water and food colouring of your choice, and the blossom will pick up the colour.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Chris from Canada wrote:
'Visine' brand eye drops now pack some of the varieties in individual size plastic mini-vials for your purse or pocket. The tube part is too big for a 1:12 container as is, but if you cut off the "wings" on either side, cut off the bottom just below where the wings used to end, and shorten the neck a bit, it becomes a bottomless frosted glass bottle. Cutting the bottle shorter makes a ketchup or salad dressing bottle or make it really stubby and you have a funnel.
Next, remove the black printing with a cotton bud dipped in either a spoonful of rubbing alcohol, or a shot of gin, whiskey or vodka. Beer and wine won't work, nor will liqueurs. DO NOT drink the rest quite yet as you'll need your hands steady for the next part.
To make the bottom, puddle some glue on a piece of plastic wrap, place the bottle neck into squeeze-opening tweezers or locking forceps, and sit the bottom of the bottle down evenly in the glue.
Push things around until there is glue everywhere the cut end touches the plastic wrap insde the bottle as well and extending a bit beyond the outside of the bottle's sides. Support the whole thing (I used tweezers and supported the tweezers on a rolled-up paper towel), and leave it until the glue is set and completely clear. OK, you can have that drink now, but one only. When the glue is dry, carefully peel the plastic wrap from the bottom of the bottle. Don't trim the extra off yet! Check the glue bottom and if there are any holes or gaps, fill them with more glue and allow to dry again. (You can have one more drink now, but just one, and you must eat something with it.)
When you have sobered up, if needed after all this time spent waiting for glue to dry, and are satisfied with the new bottom, carefully trim the excess glue around the bottle with small scissors. Remove any burrs and finally apply a thin layer of glue over the bottom and a hair above the bottom edge as insurance and let dry. (Yes, go ahead but save some for the time you make bottles.) :-D

Other uses for these containers:
1) The cap makes a great agitator for a top-loading washing machine, or painted brown could become the paddles in an antique wooden 'washing machine', the sort where you moved a handle bar on the lid back and forth to operate the paddles.
2) Make a toy spaceship: Trim the 'wings' on the cap to look like those found on a space shuttle, cover with metallic nail polish or craft paint, draw some windows or portholes with a fine point marker and add stripes, ID numbers or what-have-you for a child's toy spaceship.
3) Cut the wings completely off the cap, file or sand to remove about half of the protruding base, and you have a drinking glass with a thick glass base. If desired, coat everything with a sheer coloured glaze or fill part way with a drink (glass stain, resin, nail polish or glue will work), draw a simple design with fine point marker or apply a tiny decal.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Glenna is a Star!

Glenna was featured on the Greenleaf site as member of the month!
Here is a link to her albums

Saturday, July 31, 2010

A Camping we will go!

Check out Doreen's Coleman stove!

Cant go camping without sleeping bags!

Doreen is so inventive and her FP family is having so much fun!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happy Birthday Canada!

Try this quiz :

If you want background to the questions, see the Slideshow:

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Sadly this gem is closing.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Laundry Sink

Susan made this fantastic laundry room in a soap box. She has a post showing how to make the sink unit on her blog:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fishy Business!

Karin wrote: I've been working on Greenleaf's Springfling contest that just closed couldn't show any photos before now.
The original kit was a garage with attached shed & an additional "house". Well, I had a 20s garage all planned but the building decided otherwise! It decided that it looked more like an old time fishing hut with an attached boat house. So I had to switch it ....and it really makes more sense since I live on the shores of a lake.

The buildings are raised up onto a foamcore "foundation" to allow "waves" and "water" to flow underneath the dock and into the boathouse. Either side of the building is foamcore carved into "stone & rocks" then painted, planted and the remainder covered in sand. The roof is made of corrogated cardboard gessoed & painted to look like an old tin roof. The chimney pipe is made of the cardboard section of a heavy duty wire coat hanger and covered with the foil from a coffee can seal. I used some of the coat hanger wire to make the hangers for the sign and the boathouse light.
The only things not made by me are the flowers in the window, the barrel and the wooden pail. In the pail are tiny clams that I beachcombed from our lake.
The 3 seagulls are thanks to an idea given to me by Leslie from; the fishing rod is thanks to an idea from Doreen Playter. The worms in the can, the sign, seagulls and the light fixture incl lightbulb are fimo clay.

Wish me luck! The contest asked for 3 only! photos and is based on originality. In addition a 2nd contest piggybacks onto this one but closes on July 4th. So that'll give me time to finish the inside and then enter again.

For more fishy ideas see the fish page in MTW.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Devilled Eggs? Nah, make mine Jewelled!

Sandra Manring does wonderful miniatures.

These unfortunately aren't real eggs....I tried at first using them but ended up breaking them, so I started using the plastic ones from craft stores. I sand a lot to make them smooth, cut holes or whatever in them and then coat them with several layers of nail polish....they have such wonderful colors now that they could be wonderful. I then colored lace with a gold or silver pen and applied rhinestones. ..the tiny figures are RR figures and sometimes men that I cut the legs shorter , apply a dress and hair and no one ever knows.

Sandra's photo sites are:
http://community. webshots. com/user/ britishrose101
http://www.picturet abritishbrat

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Rock Pile!

Chris from Canada wrote:
Here is a free, quick and easy fake stones for gardens, walls, waterfalls and the like.

Last summer I opened a new package of air-dry clay, used about half for some floor tiles then wrapped the rest tightly in plastic wrap. I put it in that special place most everyone has, WIKICFI , aka 'Where- I-know-I can-find-it' , and promptly forgot all about it. Needless to say, over the 9-10 months it languished in WIKICFI before I discovered it, the soft clay had turned into a rock hard lump. I was just about to pitch it in the trash when the light bulb turned on: a big rock when struck with sufficient force breaks into many little rocks! All it took were some good whacks from a hammer (with the lump in a plastic bag to control the flying debris) to turn this trash into mini rocks.
If you check inside to see what is happening, you should have some miniature rubble, small rough stones, and stone dust along with some large pieces of the lump. A few more whacks to these, and you can fill some baggies with your new stones. They can be shaped with an emery board or file, or even shaved with a craft knife if you need a flat surface. Colour can be added by dry-brushing or whatever technique you are comfortable with. When you are satisfied with the colour, make sure to seal it with a matte-finish sealer for protection.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Recycle Bins

Susan Ghearing took an ice cube tray and made great recycle bins!
Read how she did it on her blog. Scroll down.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Get Crocked!

Tanya has made a crock pot from a CPVC cap found at her local hardware store. Check her Picturetrail site to see how she did it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mid-town Laundromat

Tanya has struck again with another wonderful project.
Her laundromat is so detailed and perfect.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sandpaper tool

Chris from Canada wrote:
If you have always wanted one of those mini sandpaper tools with the rotating strip of sandpaper but don't want to spend a lot of money on something you're not sure you will use, here's my T2T solution. Find an old toothbrush with the type of handle that is flat, not one with the big grip built in. A child's toothbrush is perfect. Cut a thin strip of sandpaper the length and width of the handle. Fold one end of the strip over the tip of the handle so it covers about 1/2" to 3/4" on one side and lay the rest up the other side. Using two small elastic bands, attach the sandpaper to the handle placing one elastic near the tip and the other near the bristle end. Now you can sand in all those little nooks and crannies, moving the sandpaper and elastics when you need fresh sandpaper and using the brush end to help remove the debris. Ta Da! No more missed corners when applying varnish or sealer, and if you make up several using different grits of sandpaper you will always have just what you need. I cut several strips of 4 different grits, labelled each on the back with a pencil and put them in a baggie so I have refills on hand, without having to search for a whole packet of sandpaper to cut off one strip.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Make a mini Generator

Reminding us to use our "mini-eye" and check all equipment before tossing it, Marjorie Wannamaker wrote - here are pics of our real generator and of a small water fountain pump that doesn't work anymore. I think the small pump looks enough like the real generator that with a little paint, a couple wheels and handles and some labels, I'll have myself a one inch scale generator for my garage. What do you think?
The generator will go into my dollhouse garage. Not really a scene but means something to me; you see we live 20 miles out in the country and several times a year we lose power due to weather or power poles being hit. After several years of being without power in the dead of winter for five days, (this was before the oxygen came into use) we know what is necessary and what is not - like t.v.s, etc. LOL

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easter Basket

Glenna Humberstone made this charming little bunny in a basket for her Easter project.

She said : the tricky part was to get the bunny small enough to fit in the basket.
The instructions for making the bunny were in American Miniaturist Issue 36.
I made the Easter basket using the plastic square from a punch-out gum packet (Dentyne).
I then bought some braiding cord at Wal-mart. It comes in 3 different colors on one card for about $3.50 (12yds per color). I put glue on the outside of the plastic square, started at the top and wrapped the cord around the square , working my way to the bottom, then adding one final row on the top. Then to make the handle, I took about 12 ins of cord, folded it in half to make 6 ins and started to twist it up tight then held it while I held it in half again and twisted it together to make the handle.

Monday, March 15, 2010


Maureen H from Canada Minis has done it again! Look at the wonderful lamps she made from ping-pong balls, jewelry findings and fish-hooks! The pretty floral decorations are fingernail decals.

She says: If you hold .ping-pong balls up to the light, you may be able to see the line where the two halves are joined so you have a built-in cutting line.

I bought the cat toys shown in the attached picture thinking I might be able to use them somehow. But they’re heat welded and I couldn’t separate the parts easily. However, I did cut the top section away from the join on one of them. It’s a bit smaller than the ping pong ball but you can hold it against the ping pong ball closely enough to be able to use it to pinpoint the middle of your ping pong ball half to add your chain or whatever. You can also hold it tightly against the ping pong ball and use a mechanical pencil to outline the open areas which will give you a rough template for stained glass.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Wreathed with Smiles!

It is near March and St Patrick's day soon. Susan Gearhing has made several seasonal wreaths.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Serenity Prayer for Miniaturists

I have learned that I am better at working with my mind than my hands. Things don't look in reality like they did when I was picturing them in my head. I have learned that I have to accept this and as long as the work is good and pleasing looking I have to accept the things that did not turn out exactly the way I planned. If I continued to fight to get things exactly as I planned, I would get frustrated, then depressed and then I would quit. I've been there and done that and now I just accept the best that my hands can do. I won't settle for junk, but I also don't strive for perfection. My mental health can't handle aiming for perfection.
MaryLou Hasara, Portage, IN

Sunday, February 21, 2010

T2T Lawnmower and Fertilizer Spreader

Tina Macdonald from the Canada Minis group posted this brilliant idea as part of their T2T challenge 2010.

Here is a new (I think) idea for binder clips. Most of one clip became the fertilizer spreader with the addition of two chunks of coffee stirrer to keep it open, two thumb tacks for wheels (extended with black paper disks, and a little printie with the manufacturer name. Scott really does make these things!

The remaining side of the clip became the handle for the lawnmower, with the addition of three bottle caps, four small wooden beads and two toothpicks for axles, and of course, the name of the manufacturer!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Betsey's Design à la Delft

Betsey made this project with the Doll's House Details group.
She shows how the initial plan was: "Here is the shop. I put a few bits on the floor to show some inventory. The paper design taped to the entrance will be used to make a painted floor cloth for the sitting area. I gold leafed the cash register."

"I marked off the parquet pieces with pencil and soaked the veneer sheets in warm water for about 5 minutes before I started to cut them up."

"Here is the design all gridded out for the room. This pattern is from The Decorator chapter of the book we are using. Just beginning to glue the pieces down."

"This is how the decorator project ended with the whole house occupied by a store downstairs and a studio upstairs."

Betsey has not refused permission to post.
In a separate project Betsey made these Staffordshire dogs from clay, paintes and varnished them.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Treasure Trove of Shows!

You will get lost on this site, I promise you.
Ileana Ottini has an extensive collection of videos about dollhouses.

This is the Elkin House, one of the featured shows. Get out the popcorn, sit back and relax!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Chipped Enamel - NOT fingernails!

Chris from Canada tells how to create this effect on base metal pots
First wash the pot in warm soapy water, rinse and dry thoroughly. Apply 3-4 coats of your choice of finish, making sure each coat is COMPLETELY dry before you add the next, then leave the pot to dry overnight. And yes, I REALLY MEAN OVERNIGHT, as in a minimum of ten (10) hours. The finish will seem to be dry and feel hard to the touch 2-3 hours after the final coat, but appearances are often deceiving, as evidenced by the goopy mess that may result if you choose not to heed warnings from the VOE (voice of experience).

For chips on the flat surfaces, like the sides and bottom, take a dental pick or other sharp pointy tool and gouge a small uneven hole right down to the metal. Next gouge out a shallower area in a ring around the first hole, the less even, the better. Finally scrape away a few tiny bits from just the top layer. It's like filling chips in the porcelain of a stovetop, only in reverse. If you want to soften the edges of the layers, or create a thin area in the enamel caused by stirring or wear from the rings on a gas stove, use a 1/8" wide slice of emery board or a snippet of fine steel wool held in tweezers to gently remove some of the finish. For chips on edges where the pot has been banged against something, just give the area some very controlled whacks with a screwdriver blade, metal knife handle or miniature hammer, mimicking the knock that would cause the damage. A few whacks will cause small cracks to form so that loose bits of the 'enamel' can be carefully pried off with the tip of a craft knife. If you're lucky, they'll even fall off in tiny chunks by themselves for instant mini chips. Of course, Murphy's Law dictates that this will rarely happen with miniature pots when you want them to chip, but will almost always happen if you so much as gently clip a RL size enamel pot on the front edge of an enamelled stovetop. Note: Photos of my RL stovetop (before repairs) and the offending RL enamel
saucepan are available on request. :-)

NOTE: If you do make a mess of one, just fill the cap of a bottle of nail polish remover with the product and place the pot in the cap. Let it soak for a minute or so, then scrub the nail polish off the pot with an old toothbrush dipped in the polish remover. Follow this with a rinse in clear warm water, then a good swish and wiping down with a bit of dish detergent or shampoo in warm water. Rinse well and towel dry and recall the old adage that starts "If at first you don't succeed ......." :-D

I've done this to several sets of base metal pots and lids, some with a nail enamel (Hard As Nails ???) and others with Plaid Gloss Acrylic Enamel. The acrylic paint dried faster but needed an extra coat and didn't crack well. I had to resort to tiny swipes with a craft knife and a bit of scraping and carving to work down to the metal surface before I could use the steel wool or emery board, but the end result looked the same.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Office to the Max!

Doreen has been creating the last room in her dollhouse, a study room. In this blogpost, she discusses how she is fabricating the computer pieces the kids need.
The picture here is not the final outcome.

Look at the post in Doreen's blog:

Also Fluffy Bricks has some electronics on her blog:

Saturday, January 30, 2010

All Boxed up!

Fern Rouleau wrote:
I have wanted to do this one for a while and finally decided to get down to it. I found a pretty hand made box from India which was on clearance and cut the front open and put my scene in there. The table is made from pieces of wood and the mats on the floor are from pieces of samples from Lowes. The food is either made by me, some swap items or bought at mini shows. The vases are beads and the two Japanese art displays I picked up a few years ago.