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.