Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Fishy Business

Chris from Canada has another fantastic idea!
If you live with or know a fishing fanatic, you likely are the lucky (?) recipient of whole, freshly caught fish now and then. Next time you are given one that has to be cleaned, set some scales aside in warm water with a squirt of dish soap. After dinner, rinse a few off and take a good look. Some of them may have a tooth comb edge (i.e. lake perch), and can be trimmed to become a man's comb, some are smooth ovals or seashell shaped and after smoothing the edges with an emery board become 1:12 dipping dishes or bowls in smaller scales.
Depending on the species and where the scales grew on the body, they may have some markings or colours and a pearly lustre. The thinner, flatter scales closest to the belly area can be used to replicate seashell ceiling-light shades.

If you are making fish stock from the head and any trimmings, keep an eye out for the jaws when you strain the stock as when dried out, they make a very convincing toothy smile for mini monsters. Or, if one of your offspring lists "BlueTooth" for one of their gadgets on their Christmas Wish List, do as I did and dye a dried fish jaw blue with food colouring and embed it in a moulded resin pendant. I had bought her the real thing for her car (after I had figured out
what it was she wanted), but gave her the beautifully wrapped BlueTeeth first just to see her reaction.

Adrian's Trash to Treasure Challenge

Another participant in the Canada Minis T2T challenge issued by Barb K!
Take a look at this inventive gazebo.

Adrian Cooper runs a T2T competition at Camp Mini Ha Ha* each year and writes:
I collect weird little bits of tat through the year, and make up identical kits, which can be picked up on the opening evening of Camp, and worked on over the 5 days. I do include a piece of foam core, and several types of mini "lumber" with those kits, as the ladies are at Camp without access to their home stashes. I am always thrilled with the different finished vignettes, so many different approaches.

Components I used for the challenge:

  • Feathers - bird
  • Beads - ornament on gazebo inserts, glasses of wine
  • Cotton balls - body of bird
  • Wrapping paper - roses on table
  • Stir sticks - anchor struts on outside of gazebo roof
  • Small box - table
  • Stickers sides of backdrop
  • Cardstock - gazebo roof and inserts
  • Bottle caps - tray fro sandwiches
  • Greeting card - centre panel of backdrop
  • Foam sheet - "bread" of sandwiches
  • Felt - centre panelling of backdrop
  • Toothpicks - support struts on under edge of roof panels
  • Plain paper - backdrop panel, gazebo inserts, bird's beak
  • Qtips - roses in vase
  • Thumb tack - bird's head
  • Ribbon filigre plush ribbon pattern was cut apart - filling of sandwiches
  • Toiletry caps - cake, finial of gazebo roof
  • Mirror - table derssing
  • Green fabric - rest of vines
  • Straight pins - rose stens in vase
  • Napkin - tablecloth
  • Extra chosen item - bead for vase on table

For more ideas, take a look at these blogs:
T5 Challenge - by Doreen Playter
T5 Challenge - Trash to Treasure 2012 (twenty-twelve!) by Maureen Heuchert
And of course, the trash minis pages of the Minitreasures Wiki!
"Camp Minihahha" in Nova Scotia. Maureen Heuchert has an album of pictures, also showing historic Louisburg, and Cape Breton in 2009 (see interview on Breakfast TV)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Gwen's Trash to Treasure Challenge Scene

Gwen Rice, of Gibbons, AB participated in the Trash to Treasure Challenge issued in the Canada Minis group by Barb K.

1. 4 feathers – Birds Tails (2)
2. 10 Beads – Bird heads (2) * Silver Gazing Ball (1) * Wooden “Barrel” flower pot (1)* Brick stand for Mail Box (1)* Flat stone (1) = 7
3. 3 cotton balls – Rolled in paint & glue to make Rocks
4. 10" sq wrapping paper – Quilt pattern, rolled up & strapped to rear bike carrier
5. Eraser – Stuffing for black Flower Pot
6. 5 stir sticks – Fence (5)
7. Small 3” box - Not used
8. 2 stickers – Shamrock on side of Mail Box (1)
9. 1 full sheet of any cardstock – Canadian Flag * Mail Box * Bird House * “Miniatures” Magazine * Leaves & Stems * Birds Wings

10. 4 bottle caps – Brick stand for Pond (1)
11. Greeting card – Daisies
12. 6" Foam sheet – Not used
13. 6" Felt square – Grass (used 9”x4”)
14. 6 Toothpicks – Bird Beaks (2 point ends only)
15. 2 sheets of Paper – Letters * Back & Side Walls * gravel path
16. 4 Q Tips – Bird bodies * Mail box & Bird House Poles * cotton ends made small rocks

17. 3 Thumb Tacks or Push Pins – Gazing Ball stand (1)
18. 6" length of ribbon – part as Strap to tie Quilt onto the Bike
19. 2 Toothpaste caps – Flower pot (1)
20. Small mirror - Pond
21. Tea Bag – Leaves for dirt in flower pots
22. 6" Sq Green fabric – Bush (in “barrel” flower pot w/Bird House)

23. 2 Paper Clips – Flag Pole (1)
24. 6 Straight Pins - Not used
25. A Napkin- 3D leaves on sides of walls (soaked with green paint & glue)

My one added item: Bicycle – latest mini gift from my dear sister

For more ideas, take a look at these blogs:

T5 Challenge - by Doreen Playter

T5 Challenge - Trash to Treasure 2012 (twenty-twelve!) by Maureen Heuchert

And of course, the trash minis pages of the Minitreasures Wiki!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Inky Business

Chris from Canada writes:
If you are thrifty (aka cheap) and refill your own ink jet cartridges, you will find there is either a complete medical syringe or else a blunt needle to screw onto each little bottle of ink. These squeeze bottles can be washed out and reused as can the syringe. They don't have the nice bent tip found on the ones craft stores sell ($4-$5 each) but the price is right and the straight needle makes them a lot more versatile. If you wash the syringe and/or needle out after each use (use a fine wire to make sure the needle is clean inside), you will find it is the perfect diameter for applying teensy amounts of glue or other liquids or semi-liquids to a project. Just wipe the tip clean and stick a straight pin into the end of the needle when you are finished to make sure it doesn't clog up.

These can be used as well with light artist's acrylic gel medium, ModPodge, old glue or acrylic paint that has thickened over time, to create relief designs or carvings on any surface. Grey and black paint mixed into any of the others and extruded onto clear acrylic or glass becomes leading for windows. Just tape the piece of material you are using over a diagram or picture of the design you want and trace over it with the leading. Create a freehand stained glass design on a small mirror and apply glass stain paint. Make a relief design on a 'plaster' wall or ceiling, add fancy mouldings to a plain chair or other 'boring' furniture, add 3-D lettering to a birthday cake, make raised designs on a jewel cask etc..... etc..... Use one to fill small items like glasses or teacups with liquid resin: faster than drop-by-drop and no air bubbles!