Thursday, November 7, 2013

Remembrance Day 2013

Remember Snoopy and his fights with the Red Baron? (Manfred von Richthofen)  One of the famous Canadian aces of the WW1 era was Billy Bishop.

Although it has been said Billy was not the best pilot, he was a crack marksman, which prompted the Germans to put a price on his head.
There is a musical in his honour,  Billy Bishop Goes to War


The small Billy Bishop airport located on the Toronto Islands at the base of the city of Toronto The airport is used by civil aviation, air ambulances, and regional airlines using turboprop planes. 

Also well known during WW1 was William Barker.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Trimming the Tree

Easy Christmas Tree Trims and Garlands

NOTE: I shared this idea several years ago on one of my groups and apologize if you've read this T2T already, but with Christmas coming up it may be helpful to some.

Here are three easy steps to make teensy silver tree garlands and curly-cue icicles:

1) Find a guitar player who uses metal wound strings on the 3 or 4 lower strings and ask him/her to save the old strings the next time the strings are changed. (Classical guitars strings are the best source because they are real silver wound over a fibre core, but any metal wound acoustic guitar strings will do the job. I haven't tried using violin strings, but the G and D strings should work as they are close in diameter to the higher guitar strings.)

2) Cut one end of the string off at the point where the string straightens out, find the end of the metal strip and gently pull it to unwind the metal from the core. Hold the core end in the other hand and go slowly so you don't stretch the 'spring&# 39; out of shape.

3) For icicles, cut the spring into 1/3 to 1/2 inch lengths stretching the springs if needed to open them up a bit. Attach a loop of sewing thread to one end with CA glue. For garlands, slightly stretch a long piece until it looks good to you and wrap it around the tree, outdoor pillars or railings, a mailbox or whatever you fancy.

BTW, you can also use the metal strips in jewellery both RL size and mini, and it can be soldered.

Chris in Canada

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Playing in the Sand

Chris S. has another terrific idea to keep in mind:

Every winter, our city places bins of a very coarse sand mix, with an old shovel or tin scoop, anywhere there is a slope on the road that causes problems for motorists when there is ice on the road. I make a point of filling two dishpans with this stuff every year as soon as the bins are in place, as I have a sloping driveway. Over the years I have found this mixture to be a great winter source of small stones that are perfect for use on houses, fireplaces, stone walls in any scale, even 144th!

Among the sand and boring grey gravel, I have found lots of white and pink quartz, Fool's Gold, granite of every colour, black and dark green stones with sparkles of mica, and beautifully rounded and polished river stones. Once washed in dish detergent, rinsed and air-dried, all you need is some tacky glue (or CA glue for "larger" stones in 1:12 scale), the surface to attach them to, and your choice of "mortar" to fill empty spaces and make it look realistic. For 144th and 1:48 I use craft paint liberally applied to small sections, then wiped off the tops of the stones with a damp sponge or shop towel. For 1:24 and 1:12, I use a mixture of craft paint and a texturizing medium pushed down with a brush between the stones, or (my favourite) I mix up a small amount of real mortar in a Dixie cup. By using the 'real thing', I actually save quite a bit of time since I don't glue the stones down first. I just brush some glue on the surface, smear on some mortar over that and then place the stones. When the surface of the mortar starts to look dry, I wipe off the stones with a damp cloth or sponge. With the small amount of mortar used, it dries very quickly, so by the time I have completed the second area, the first is ready to be wiped off.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Magazine holders

 Posted by Chris Shibata:

If you buy salt in a box (round or rectangular) with a pull
 out metal spout, you have the makings of a magazine
 holder for 1:12 magazines, cookbooks or ???. Snip out
 the spout leaving about 1/4" of the surrounding
cardboard. Soak the piece in some warm water with a
 few drops of dish soap or shampoo for a few minutes
until the cardboard gets soggy, then remove the metal
part. Rinse the holder off and dry. On the side that will
be the back of the holder, there are either two or three
little triangles of metal sticking out (depending on the
container) and you can either bend them back and flatten
them into the holes they were cut from using a pair of
pliers, or snip them off to create a decorative open design
on the back of the holder. Cut a snippet of card stock to fit
across the bottom of the holder and glue in place with CA
glue, WeldBond (or any glue that will stick to metal). If you
have opted to flatten the triangles, now is a good time to
brush a good thick coat of glue over and around the edges
of the triangles to seal any teensy gaps. When the glues
have dried, paint the holder with a sealer (clear nail-polish
 works best) then paint with craft paint and seal with a
brush-on product like Delta Ceramcoat. For a kid's room,
these look nice painted in co-ordinated colours, with decals,
paper punch-outs or tiny stickers on both sides, and filled
with age-suitable books.

1) I prefer the Satin finish since it doesn't produce much
glare in photos, but the Matte also looks good, especially
on darker colours.
2) If you have nail polish in the colour you want, skip the
first clear sealer coat, but make sure to dull the shine with
a brush-on sealer at the end

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Save that Paint!

From Chris Shibata:
Next time you open an old bottle of craft paint, or water-based or gel stain that appears to have turned into a solid-seeming mass or very thick goop, with or without visible liquid, don't throw it out. Find 1 or 2 small pebbles, glass beads (plastic or wood are too light), ball bearings or even hex nuts or screws. Drop them into the bottle and then push them down through the thick skin and into the goop inside, using a pencil end or similar tool to submerge them. Replace the cap tightly and give the sides of the bottle 5 or 6 hard whacks against the edge of a table or countertop, then shake, shake, shake ......... You should start to hear/feel the objects inside begin to move through the paint, remixing the contents, much like the cans of spray paint that tell you to shake until the metal balls inside move freely (which by the way, is where I came up with this idea a few years ago.) Continue shaking, checking the consistency of the paint as the sounds from the bottle change, until the contents are fully blended. If you find that the paint still is too thick, add 2-3 drops of water and shake again. You may have to add another few drops if it's still too thick, and possibly even more, but I wouldn't add more than 1/2 teaspoon total or it will become too runny. Of course, if after all this, the blob is still a blob, you can always soak off the label and use the bottle as a roller for polymer clay, or cut off the neck at the ring just below where the threads for the lid start, stick 4 beads on the bottom for feet, cut a card stock circle to fill the top and turn it into a hot water tank, water softener, or wood-fired room heating stove (add a card stock or heavy foil door for adding fuel), and appropriately sized bendy straws for any water pipes or the smoke pipe pushed into a hole in the card stock circle.

HINT: From now on, every time you open a bottle of paint, new or partially used, add the pebbles, beads or what's-its before you shake. Eventually, all your bottles will contain these mixing balls, and even that bottle of (name of oddball colour here) you bought in 2006, opened but never used, will be good to go in no time. If you are an SFM (aka "Super Frugal Minimaker" ), you can remove the items once the paint is all used up, wash them off, reuse in another bottle AND follow the hints above for using a bottle you can't revive. It's up to you to come up with a use for the flip-top lid and the part you cut from the neck. :-D

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Pan Tiles

 Chris Shibata wrote:
After trying (rather unsuccessfully) to make individual pan tiles for a tiled roof from air-dry clay in 1:24, I noticed that the corrugated protective layer from a produce tray (in this case it was grapes) had ridges with the right spacing between bumps for pan tiles in 1:24 scale. I checked my stash and the pieces of corrugated card used in tins of imported cookies matched 1:48 scale, and although not trash, but almost as cheap, the 8"X10" sheets of corrugated cardboard sold in dollar stores in packs of 3, were just a hair bigger than 144th scale. A few weeks earlier I had put a box and the packing from a floor lamp out for recycling, and now recall that those bumps were larger than the grape packaging, and probably would have been in scale for 1:12. :-(

NOW, the best part!!!! No more one by one roof tile application. :-D Here's how:

1) First paint the bumpy side of your corrugated sheet with a clay colour like brick red or dark grey. When that's dry, use a soft lead pencil to make a smudgy line down the middle of each groove in the paper. Don't worry about it being even because it is just a shadow effect to make the finished tiles look as if they are individual units. OPTIONAL: At this point seal the sheet with a matte spray finish. This makes it easier to remove bloopers.

2) Now you can dry brush or sponge on any combination of colours like dark brown, medium brown, burnt sienna, grey or black to add some variations in colour to the ridges. Don't put too much on now, because you will be adding more colour once the tiles are on the roof to indicate areas where grime has collected and so on. At this point you should seal the sheet ON BOTH SIDES with a matte spray finish or a thin coat of a brush-on matte sealer of any sort. I used ModPodge for the back, and Delta Ceramcoat for the front, but those just happened to be the ones closest to where I was sitting. The idea here is to add stability to the ridges so they won't mush down if you squeeze them by mistake. Been there and done that. :-(

3) When everything is dry, turn the sheet over and using a ruler, lightly mark lines across the paper (across the ridges on the front, NOT along the grooves) so that when the strip is cut there will be a strip of bumps and grooves. A real size pan tile measures approx. 14" long so the lines for 1:12 tiles should be placed about 1 1/4" apart, for 1:24 about 5/8", for 1/48 about 5/16" and for 1/144th, anything between 1/8" and 1/4". These lines do not have to be exactly on spot since you will be spacing the rows of tiles exactly as you glue them on. Using SHARP scissors, cut the sheet into strips. Don't try to use a craft knife. It won't work, even with the sealers applied. (See last sentence of step 2 above.) Run a coloured pencil or marker along one long edge of each strip to hide the raw edge.

4) Use these strips just as you would the shingles that come in strips, starting with a row along the eaves, except you will be placing the second row with the bumps overlapping the bumps on the first row, unlike the staggered rows used for shingles and flat tiles. I found it easier to make a template of the roof area to be covered on plain paper, glue the tiles to the paper then test fit before the whole sheet is glued to the roof. Ridge tiles can be made with lengths of painted drinking straws cut to fit. Add any additional aging effects you want and (again) seal the whole thing with any matte finish on hand.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

QS Hat Box in a Purse

Luba Barnes posted this project on Canada Minis group. She said:
This was  a workshop that was offered at Charlotte , North Carolina at the NAME national in July 2012. We were not able to take the class but we did get the kit and I built it at home. It was a fun project and almost everything was included in the kit by Sally Manwell. I love doing her projects and she even included one of her Special dolls sitting on a stool trying on a hat. I added the Black and White Dressed mannequin to my scene as it worked well with the coloring of the project.


This is the inside of the hat shop before it went into the wooden purse
 Well done, Luba!

Friday, January 11, 2013

Dawn's Miniature Village

Dawn Weaver, of Cary, North Carolina, has graciously allowed me to make this post about her awesome Miniature Village project.
She says : The houses and shops, are from the Liberty Falls Collection. I started buying them in the fall of 2012, sometimes a single one, other times a grouping of 7 or 8, all on eBay. When I finally got them all in place I found I did not have one duplicate in the entire lot of 60. 
#1...Shows the jigsaw puzzle boxes that I used to make hill. There was a larger one at one end to give more space for the farm type buildings. The fawn/light brown material is one of those body wrap blankets that were so popular a couple of years ago. It was soft and gave some body to the green material that went on top.
#2...Shows some of the roads on the lower level. Note the people and cars that viewers put down where they thought appropriate. (once the full Village was up)
#3...More roads and the beginnings of the park that will hold the skating rink and the Village's Christmas tree.

#4... I put the wires between the green and the fawn colored covers as I did not want to cut the blanket. It was quite easy to put my hand down to the slits I had cut in the green material and pull the wiring through to the back of the Village.

#5...Shows a lot of the wiring laying on the fawn colored top. I did no more than 5 lights to one wire and most were two's and three's. One set of streetlights got lost in customs in NJ and did not arrive on time .I will be rewiring for next year

 #6...The roundabout where the important Village buildings were. The Town Hall, Library, etc. I put different street lights here. I took apart some others and used them in these lights. Worked very well, but the lights could have been brighter. All the lights were 3 volt.

#7...Downtown with the shops and service buildings

#8...The completed village. You can make out some of the lights

Miscellaneous: The roads were made of black foamcore which is 1/4" thick. I cut short slits in it for the streetlights. This gave me more body to glue them in. I also put some grommets down at the base of the lights to make them look more realistic.
The only figures that are glued down are the ones at the skating rink.
I made the Christmas tree from chenille stems. Am not satisfied with the lights on it (powered by AA batteries) so will use the 3v lights instead next year. Probably will use 20 lights in groupings of 4 lights.
These lights are powered by a coin battery. The lights themselves should last hundreds of hours so all that is needed are some extra batteries which also last a long time.