Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Good Time Was Had by All!

The Quarter Connection online convention is over.  I won absolutely nothing--no doorprizes, no daily drawings, no centerpieces--but had a wonderful time anyway.

My table, Table 7, was a great group of people:  Hosted by the friendly JoAnn Jacot (rugs and dishes), the table included besides me:
  • Gayle Ballargeon (fireplace)
  • Jennifer Elliott (tea boxes)
  • Helen Johnson (chairs, cups and saucers)
  • Ginger Landon-Siegel (teapot, cups, saucers)
  • Sally Lonn (roses)
  • Carol Pittman (hutch and side table)
  • Fern Rouleau (plate of cookies)
  • Jackie Williams (tables and tray)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Veggies Made Mini

I got a kick out of the picture at the left after spending my weekend working on my miniature tea shop and after opening my 50 tote bag gifts from the Quarter Connection online convention.

I'll be posting more pictures of the tote gifts and the contents of The Box later today or tomorrow as well as finishing my tea shop and taking pictures of it.

Then I'm cleaning up everything and making the miniature workshop into a bedroom for my daughter and her husband.  No more playing with minis until after the first of the year.  In January I really dig into the UFO (unfinished objects) pile and get the UFOs beat into shape.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Mini Rag Rugs

Here are two of the finished mini rag rugs that I made for a couple of swaps now.  They're time-consuming, but then what miniature isn't?  They're made out of braided varigated embroidery floss.  After the tedious braiding, I even more tediously sew them together using a single strand of floss.  These two rugs are one inch wide which in quarter inch terms makes them four feet wide in real life.  They're large enough to put a small table or chair on.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Miniature Headaches

I've spent the last few weeks making items for swaps.  I'm part of Table 7 at the Quarter Connection online convention in November.  Table 7 is a swap table, meaning that the ten participants at the table will swap items fitting our theme, Formal Tea Party.  My job was to make everyone tea sandwiches and a tea cake. 

Then we were each to make one thing as a general table gift.  Lazy me, I decided to meld that with the five convention door prizes that I needed to make and came up with the tea table and dessert tray that's in the picture.  So five tables and trays went to the convention at large, and one table went to the table hostess JoAnn Jacot for Table 7.

Since this is my first convention, I'm still waiting to see what's next.  It's been fun so far emailing back and forth with my table mates about the table's theme and mascot.  Table 7 is a little intimidating to me since I don't seem to have the minature making background the others do.  So I'm paddling as fast as I can in this uphill stream!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

What? No New Miniatures?

True, it looks like I haven't been making miniatures lately.  But that's not true!  I've signed up for a number of swaps and have joined a gung-ho table of miniaturists for the Quarter Connection online convention.  Consequently, I'm up to my elbows (okay, ankles!) in making miniatures for the swaps and table exchange.

The least of the miniatures I'm making is four dining tables for an online swap.  In the picture is the nearly finished table (minus shellac) and the other three table tops as well as the fancy toothpick legs that haven't been cut, stained or glued yet.  I'm hoping to get the tables done this afternoon and mailed tomorrow morning.

I'm also back in the rag rug making business.  The swap is with 12 people, so I'm making 24 rugs--one oval 1" rug (which translates to a 4-foot rug in quarter inch terms) and one circular rug 1 1/2" in length.  The green braid is ready to be sewn into the rug shapes while the yellow-orange and yellow-green floss are still being braided.  I'm hoping to have these finished by next week.

So while it looks like I'm not making miniatures, I really am!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Climbing bush/vine on trellis

So I've completed the climbing vine on the trellis.  Instead of placing individual flowers as the directions suggested, I used some Flower Soft both to add interest to the green mesh vine (adding the Shamrock and the Pale Green Flower Soft) and also for the flowers (Sweet Pea).

I like the resulting look, but I need to get some hairspray to keep it all from falling off.  I tried gluing, but the Flower Soft isn't quite stuck to the vine like I want it to be.

After this, I'm starting on the standing flowers and mulch that make up the ground at the back and sides of the trellis.  We'll see how that goes since they are SO tiny!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Dremel, Base, and Bricks

So last night in a fit of creativity, I decided to try the Dremel on the base for a moment.  I didn't realize that rounding the edges would be so quick and efforless.  I donned my protective glasses, fired up the Dremel at the very lowest speed (which was fast enough for me and the project), and within 15 minutes the edges of the base were rounded and sanded.  Wow.  Considering how much time I spent with the emery board, I was amazed that this part of the project took no time at all.

Onward to the staining part of the project.  With the Blick marker, that too was a breeze.  I'd expected to spend a half hour previewing what I'd have to do the next day and the project was already done.

So I was done with the rounding, sanding and staining.  Huh.  Time for bed?  Not yet.

The next step was dabbing the stones for the walkway with the umbers, green and ochre paints.  Well, why not?  So dab away I did.  Now I just have to put the runny gray paint on top of the dried layers and the walkway will be finished.  Onward to the next page of directions tomorrow!

At right, the dabbed walkway and the redwood base.  Done within 20 minutes.  I think I'm falling in love with the Dremel!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Starting Jake's Potting Shed

My husband has always wanted a potting shed in the backyard.  So what else could I do but get one for him?   I got this kit through The Quarter Connection from Karen Benson's Quarter Source.

Since Jake is visiting his father in San Antonio this week, I thought I would work on the kit.

The first step is to get out the directions and make sure all the pieces are there.  In the photo below, the directions are under the paints and emery board.

According to the directions, staining is the first order of business.  While Karen suggests using Minwax, I absolutely love Dick Blick's markers, so I used the Sienna one on the wooden pieces of the shed to simulate redwood.

Since the pieces that need to be stained are small, I use a medical hemostat to hold them while I stain.  As you can see by the stain on the artist pad I use as my work surface, I usually just stabilize the pieces with the hemostat and then color them on the paper surface.  I definitely don't hold them in the air with the hemostat and touch them with the marker.  They're prone to flipping into the air and then difficult to find if I do that!

The lattice sides of the shed are interesting.  Karen has cut two very thin sheets of wood which are stained and then glued on top of each other to make the lattice effect.  The two pieces at the right are separated a little so you can see what each looks like before completely overlapping.

After staining the lattice, the potting shed structure and the work bench, I move on to the next direction: to round the edges of the base.  I begin with my emery board, but this takes too much time with too little result.  I switch to my sanding block with the same result: too much time for too little result.  What to do?

Jake gave me a cordless Dremel a couple of Christmases ago, so this seems like the perfect solution!  Only I have to get some safety glasses and some sanding bits before I can begin.

So today after I get the glasses and bits (available at the nearby Home Depot), I'll round the edges and get the base stained.

In the meantime, I'll start coloring the shed's flooring.  The patterned plastic flooring is the red near square to the right of the acrylic paint tubes.  Karen gives a number of paint colors, but I think I'm going to use the three Blick colors in the tubes.

And that's my day: go to Home Depot while the Dremel battery charges, get safety glasses and sanding bits, and paint the flooring.  Great fun!

Japanese House First Floor

I've completed the first floor and primed it, but noticed that one of the first floor rooms is sealed once the second floor is added.  That means I'll have to paint or wallpaper it as well as add the flooring and any furniture before I add the second floor on top of it.

I found woven paper at Paper Mojo and now have to decide which ones I want to use for flooring.

I also found some interesting wall covering choices.  The one everyone seems to like the best is the autumn leaf print at left.  The paper is so busy, however, that highlighting anything on it wouldn't work.  So only the furniture and maybe a plant or two would be all I'd want to add to the room with that paper. 

The two floors have different woven paper patterns.  Nothing is glued since I'm just trying out the patterns at this time.

Another choice for the wall covering is the small flower pattern at right.  The leaf, feather, and flower pattern is very small and isn't overpowering in the room.  I could add any furnishings with this paper and know that the furnishings would stand out. 

Also, another choice for floors is the diagonal pattern in the hallway the room to the right of the flower papered wall.  At this point, I don't think I like it as much as the straight lines of the other paper, lines that seem to invite people into the house.

The irridescent maroon and black bleeding stripe paper is the third choice.  While it makes the walls darker, it would look nice if I put a light-color display unit in front of it.  I could display teapots on the shelves which would really stand out against the paper background.

The final choice for wall covering is a textured rice paper that looks almost like a curtain.  The advantages to this one are its versatility and texture.  I could put any kind of furnishings in front of this paper, knowing they would be emphasized, yet the wall itself would still have interest.

Which combination to choose?  Still thinking about it.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Large Leaps and Tiny Steps

Still getting used to the new contact lens and think I've finally found the perfect pair.  Now all I have to do is get them ordered, and voila! I'm a contact lens-wearing person

In the meantime, since seeing was somewhat problematic, I cleaned the workroom.  Wow!  What a difference it makes.  Now everything is in its place and I have a place for everything.

Today's Japanese house day, so stand back everyone!  This baby's going up!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Why No New Posts?

Well, I haven't been working on minis lately because I'm in the middle of getting contact lens.  I had contacts in the late 1960s when I was in high school.  They were the hard lenses that were absolutely painful, but vanity demanded that I wear them no matter that my eyes were always red and weepy.  High school ended and so did the contacts.

I got them again in the 1980s, but since I have astigmatism, they were semi-hard and also painful.  The worst part was the best the doctor said he could do was 20/50 vision.  Not a choice for someone like me who likes to see and read.  Another slam dunk into oblivion for them.

Now I'm trying soft lenses which are unbelievable.  I barely know they are in my eyes - except that I can't see!  I'm trying the plan that calls for one eye with far vision correction and one eye with near vision correction.  The far vision correction is perfect, but I can't read or see with the near vision correction so far.

So until I can see - even if I have to have magnifiers with the contacts - I won't be doing minis.  Fortunately, I can see enough to read if I concentrate really hard on the print.  Not fun, but gets the books read and emails written.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Still Working on the Work Room

Now that I have everything scattered around, but grouped, it's time to get it all picked up and put back on the shelves.  I've culled out a stack of cross-stitch books that I'm thinking of adding to my next door neighbor's next garage sale.  We'll see.  He used to hold them about once a month in good weather, but I haven't seen him organizing any recently.

Other than that, I need to get to JoAnn's to buy some velveteen to make myself a new flower petal pillow.  Someone I knew long ago who was really into making mini flowers showed me how to make a pillow that's white or off-white on one side and black or dark grey on the other.  The pillow has batting between the layers and is perfect for making cupped flower petals using a stylus.  I seem to have lost my old flower pillow, but need to make a new one anyway because they wear down with time and use.

I also need to get some Wonder Under and Fray Check for the mini rugs I'm weaving.  I need 53 of them for a huge swap in October, so need to get on the ball with that project.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Today's Project

In October our grandchildren visited.  Being 4 1/2 years old, they were too young to be around my craft supplies, so my husband and I quickly packed everything away without doing a very good job at separating items into related groups.  Consequently, everything ended up in a mishmash and has stayed that way until today.  I finally got tired of having to search for anything I wanted by opening container after container.

So today I started the arduous process of opening containers and grouping items: clay with clay, wood with wood, kits with kits, finished minis with finished minis, etc.  I still have another day or two's worth of work that needs to be done, but already my craft shelves are more accessible.

It will be nice eventually when everything is put away to be able to want a certain item and know exactly where I can get it without having to search through boxes each time. 

Sunday, March 6, 2011

French Quarter cafe: Merchandise

Well, a shop's not a shop if it doesn't have anything to sell, right?  So here is the merchandise currently available at the French Quarter cafe.

Under the lamp posts are the cakes and cookies.  Would you like lemon cake, Valentine's cake, or a variety of teeny, tiny cookies?

The boxes and bags are ready to hold your purchases, including the blue "glass" containers made from beads and topped with tiny seed beads.  As you can see, I'm still playing with the arrangement of the boxes, bags and containers.

I'm also beginning to think that I might need more baked goods.  Maybe a few more cakes?

French Quarter Cafe: Interior possibility

I've found some Mardi Gras poster graphics and some gold crowns that I think will spiff up the interior of the cafe and have started to place the tables and chairs.  After I put some baked goods and merchandise packages in the window, I'll add a curtain rod and lace curtains.  There's still a bakery case with serving counter waiting in the wings, too.

French Quarter Cafe: Tables and Chairs

Someone else who is making the French Quarter cafe commented that the chairs were easy to make; in fact, they seemed to go together by themselves.  So I was expecting to sail through this part of the project.  Ha! on me.

The little bars in the front and back of the legs were really difficult to put in place.  None of my chairs wanted to go together.  In fact, they resisted every step from "painting" (with a Sharpie marker) to gluing.  The tables on the other hand?  Went together quickly and easily.  All I can think is the other woman really was talking about the tables and not the chairs.

Oh, yes, the two tall things on the left are the non-lighting street lamps.  I bought them at a hobby shop that specializes in model trains.

Beck's Bakery

For my daughter's 34th birthday, I wanted to make her something special.  Since I have a few craft skills under my belt like sewing and beading, I decided to branch out and do something I hadn't tried in a long, long while.  I saw this bakery kit online and since she's addicted to sweets, I knew this was perfect for her.
I'd never made quarter inch baked goods, so I new going in that they would be the challenge.  And they were!

Although wallpaper and another banner came with the kit, I decided to personalize the bakery to reflect my daughter.  The "now helping" sign reads "34" to remind her of which birthday she was celebrating.  There is a November 2010 calendar on the far right wall.  And the wallpaper is pink, a reminder of when we moved into our current house and were having it repainted and she begged for a pink bedroom.

All in all, I am very happy with the way the bakery turned out.  This kit came from Desert Minis.

French Quarter cafe: The interior

Hmmm, that looks like a BIG empty space.  Actually, it turns out it's a pretty small space when I start filling it up with stuff. 
I think if I had to make this over again, I'd probably use a color other than the coral/pink and green.  But since this was my first quarter inch structure in decades, I decided to stick with the kit instructions as much as possible which included the color scheme.

One thing I've learned with minis is that the "next time" ruminating happens after each project is finished.  One of these days, I hope to have a clearer picture of how a project will look at the end before I begin it.  But I guess this comes with time and practice.

French Quarter cafe: The structure

In January, I finished the structure of the French Quarter cafe.  Even though I began by wondering why the checkered floor paper didn't cover the base as the directions seemed to stipulate, I managed to put the shell of the project together with a minimum of trouble.  The penny in the above photo shows what the scale is in real terms.

This kit comes from Suzanne and Andrew's Miniatures.