Saturday, 20 December 2014

Happy Christmas and super KDF mini's from Pepper!

Long overdue post!

Awhile back, Pepper very thoughtfully asked if I "needed" anything from KDF ( don't we all :D ), as she was well aware there are some must-have miniatures that you literally cannot get anywhere, unless you go to a miniature show. As it happened I did "need" some Causeret pottery and Ray Storey glassware, quite badly actually. My shopping list items ended up being mostly unavailable, so Pepper had to choose for me, and she chose perfectly! She also had to dig into her Ray Storey glassware collection, as he had sold out prior to the show. So another giant Thank You again for that Pepper! Aaand... she got me more than a few extras! Everything arrived individually wrapped in tissue paper, and I had no idea what was in each one, so you can just imagine how amazing my afternoon was the day I unwrapped each of the following miniatures....  Warning - Photos do not do these miniatures justice, though they still look amazing despite the lighting conditions :D

Pottery by Elisabeth Causeret. 

They are just...beautiful. The crackle glaze is even more crackly in reality.

Each piece is signed with a potters mark on the base, bit hard to make out in the photo. They are incredibly stable too.

More Elisabeth Causeret Pottery. The mugs are both the same size, one is just standing slightly in front of the other.

Even more Elisabeth Causeret Pottery ( I know, I have been spoiled!). The lid on the teapot is removable.

Ray Storey bottles.

Colander and ladles by Orsis Miniatures. Very bad photo, these are delightfully dainty, ie. each ladle handle has a curl at the top. The matchstick is 3.8 cm long.

David Provan spice tower, honey pot with dipper and recorder.

The recorder has a thumb hole on the other side......I forgot to turn it over to show that :D

Each container has been turned for a precision fit, and the lid has a beautiful knot too.

Potato peeler by David Provan, part of me believes that you could actually peel a tiny potato with this. 

The last miniature parcel to be opened was this little box, I actually didn't expect anything to be inside it, but it was a tad heavy....

...?! :D

YES! The most amazing amount of biscuits!! And they were beautifully arranged in rows, which I forgot to record, in my haste to get them out of the box. I will definitely need tweezers to recreate how they were arranged :D I've even got an order for eating these, bear goes first, followed by star, then rectangle finished off with plain rounds, then back to bear,etc, :D. These were made by Orsis Miniatures.

And everything together! I had taken an inpromptu photograph of some of the pottery in the conservatory, but there has been an invasion of cat hairs and fluff, so I didn't include it :D Spring clean coming soon...

Thank you so, so much Pepper!

Pepper has opted for payment via miniatures, so this is one side of a swap, sadly she has to wait for the other side as I haven't made them yet, as much as I would have loved her to have them for Christmas :D

Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and New Year.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

1:12 scale Christmas boxes - Super bumper edition printable! :D

Happy Christmas! I'm a tiny bit late with this one. I haven't even got my 1:1 decorations out of the attic yet, but the miniature ones appear to have been brought down. Priorities! :D

Quite a few of the images used for this printable are from Joannes flickr site Take a break. Joanne very kindly uploads a lot of ephemera for other crafters to use free of charge. She used to make dollshouses too! Small world eh? Other images were very poor quality sourced from eBay and fixed up for printing, which I'll probably explain more about in the future, for example the doubl-glo box was very low resolution, and both tinsel boxes are made from copying and pasting bits and pieces together ala Dr Frankenstein :D

The Santa (who needs his face repainted) is an old resin Christmas decoration, the Christmas lights were made using Miyuki beads and green thread for the wire. The plug is a piece of dowel, coloured with felt tip and with wire as pins. I used a plastic clothing label tie to create little bulb tips in each Miyuki bead (very hard to see). The miniature tree is a handmade bottle brush trimmed into a tree shape, with some railway modellers flock applied and no hole beads, and it's unfinished! :D Sort of threw everything together for this scene!  One of the bulbs has fallen off :(

For the printable, I recommend using a sharp craft knife for cutting out the boxes! I used one of those Swan Morton ones.

For best results print at Fine quality, on to 220GSM card.

Here are the Christmas boxes > Free 1:12 scale Christmas box PDF!

After printing lightly spray with fixative (or hairspray) to seal the ink.

If you need any tips on cutting out the boxes, etc, for a neat fit, the start of this post has a few. I find tabs annoying to cut out and unpredictable at this size (making the box lid too tight for the base etc.), so I make tabs later on, using paper. See the bottom half of this post for a picture explanation, under the title Shoeboxes and boxes.

I recently bought a bone creaser/folder, highly recommended if you do a lot of this sort of thing! It has saved my nails, which were actually wearing away from all of the creasing....

Cut out all of the windows before cutting out the individual boxes. For the fiddly windows,ie, curvy, spiky areas, use short cuts to help preserve the details, rather than trying to follow the line in one go.

Unlike the other boxes, DO NOT cut out the window on the two tinsel boxes, until the sides have been creased. The tinsel is a fly tying material called Chenille Sparkle, which I bought from Troutcatchers. If your husband/son etc, fishes, I wholly support you nicking from his stash of fly tying equipment :D There are some card pieces in the printable that you can use to wrap the tinsel around.

On the printable G, W, R stands for Green, White, Red, just pencil those onto the boxes, so you know which base belongs to which lid, as the sizes are slightly different. The dividers are also on the template, and are for these 3 boxes. 6mm beads and smaller will fit the boxes.

Unfortunately I couldn't mark out the cuts for printing, so you will need to measure and mark those out. Each slot should be 7mm apart. Make the first cut for a slot, then place the knife directly beside it and make another cut, then use the tip of the knife to remove the "slot" waste. Then the pieces will all slot together nicely.

Some of the other boxes in the printable. You can use cellophane of some sort, to create plastic windows too,  I haven't done that yet....

If you cut out the middle row of trees on the Holiday snow box, you can then put a bit of cotton wool or wadding in the box, and it will show through.

I've included some Christmas Cards in the printable, not shown here. The card might be a bit too thick, but if you run your finger nail or bone creaser along the edges of the card, it should give the illusion of  thinner card.

There are also interior cards for the two Christmas Light/ Lamp boxes, which are a bit awkward to fit, but you can play about with them, as you see fit. I ended up chopping some off.

The plain white card bases (in the printable) need to be creased and folded so that the black lines will be on the inside.

Any idea how to make miniature icicle ornaments? :D

And I think that's it! They would make nice little Christmas ornaments too, with a bit of thread on them and everything glued into place. I would love to see them in a Christmas setting, stall or attic, anything really, so if you make them up, leave a link below :)

 Also, I recently received a package of exquisite miniatures from Pepper, which I can't wait to post about, then that'll be me for this year! :D But even though it's a bit early, I think it is anyway, I wish you all a Happy Christmas, in case I miss you next time due to it being that time of the year ie. Hectic! :D

Saturday, 22 November 2014

1:12 scale Halloween bits and pieces

Bit of information overload in today's post, I like to include EVERYTHING I can think of, feel very free to skip that and just look at the pictures, though I have included a few printables here and there.

It is that time of year again, the sun is about a metre high in the sky creating very annoying long shadows!!! :D So apologies for the following dullness, as I can't stand extreme shadows in my photos.

The fireworks were made using cocktail sticks and wood dowel, wrapped with tissue paper first, then resized firework labels.  These were sourced mostly from Steve Johnson's fantastic website, Cyber heritage.  I had emailed Stephen to ask if I could use his images for a free printable, but he stated on his site that he receives about one hundred emails a week and I haven't heard back from him yet, so eventually I found a permission of sorts. He allows them to be used for school projects, etc, so hopefully my printable falls into a category like that.  So click here for firework labels! Note: Personal use only! and they are sized for cocktail sticks and 4mm diameter dowel.

The fuses are crochet thread and the launchers are paper covered wire. 

The conical fireworks were made using sawn off sharpened pencil tops, with the lead broken off for fuse space.

The catherine wheels are a length of thick thread wrapped with tissue paper and coiled. The round label is then just glued on to the coil.  

I made little cone tops for the rockets, using paper punched circles with a slit on the radius and coloured them with felt tips. 

I left the sharp end of the cocktail stick on some of the Roman candles, and these were coloured in with a felt tip.  

The fireworks were a lot of fun to make, highly, highly recommended!!

The "Cats and Pumpkins" bunting are vintage Luhr decorations, scaled down and glued onto a piece of linen thread. The "Happy Halloween" bunting is a copy I made in MS Paint, of one that I saw online somewhere, unfortunately I can't remember where though.

I find that if I use tape to secure one end of the thread down and run my finger and thumb lightly down the thread, and then secure the other end, it helps your bunting stay flat later on.

The broomstick was made using wood dowel, and Hornby Skale Scenics field grass for the broom.  The witches hat was made using paper, and coloured with black ink. I cut a circle out of card, with a smaller circle in the centre for the brim, and with a larger circle of paper I made a rough cone shape for the crown. I applied some glue to the edge of the inner circle of the base, and popped the cone through. Then when it was dry, I trimmed the excess underneath the base. When I painted the black ink onto the hat, it started to go a bit floppy, so I took advantage of that by making it a little less cone shaped.

I used my lathe to turn a candlestick, and candle. I painted the candle turning white, and then to make the wick, I drilled a tiny hole at the top, inserted a piece of white silk thread, with a bit of glue to stick it in place. I then dipped the candle in a small jar of melted wax, to give it a waxy look. You can then trim the wick and add a bit of black paint..or if you feel brave, you can burn it down and blow it out, but work REALLY fast, alight, blow out, done or ruined :D  This is the same method I used for the tapered candles in the candelabra, except I used cocktail sticks.

The sun came out, can you tell? :D

The pumpkins were made using fimo, I found a very good tutorial on CDHM by Sandra K Palesch, though I skipped quite a few steps. For the stem, Brae from Otterine shared a great idea (from another blogger, Joann) for making the pumpkin stalks, grape stalks and they work brilliantly, so I am passing this on! :D

I didn't want to buy grapes for this project, but at the supermarket I saw some grapeless stalks protruding out of the bag, so I ordered my accomplice, who shall remain nameless, to pull them off for me, then we slipped past security who were none the wiser.....this is my first dip into a life of crime!  I did buy some cheese before I left though :D

...sun just left again.

The apples are made from fimo, the stalks are painted wire and the lolly pop sticks are tiny strips of veneer cut and sanded into shape.  I had a bit of difficulty with the apple colour and the toffee coating. I would have preferred a more translucent glaze, thankfully I thought better than to use nail polish, I hear that makes fimo sticky over time. Here I used watery PVA glue mixed with paint, I think I put too much paint in.

Little mummified sausages, that didn't quite turn out the way I had them in my mind :D The sausages were made with fimo, and I wrapped them in thin strips of Grace Clay. I really rushed doing these, the pastry was painted in less than a minute :D. I won't tell you what my mother thought they were when she saw them, if you have the mind of a sewer you will know, hint, hint. She put me right off them :D 

The giant (but rather small to us) spider legs are wire and the abdomen was made with a small ball of grace clay. 

I cut 4 lengths of wire and bent them into a light curve as shown, so that they would all meet in the middle, side by side. If you don't bend the wire like this, the solder will flow down the length of all the wires, sticking them together and you will be left with no legs...hence why I bended them the second time around :D

Solder where the red arrow indicates. Once soldered, you can bend the legs into shape with pointed tweezers. 

The blue circle is where you glue the abdomen, either there, or on the other side. Just roll a little ball of air drying clay or make a fimo one, and shaped into a slight teardrop, then dry or bake and attach. Then spray or use humbrol paint to colour your spider.

In real life, I wanted Boo Nanas, Sainsburys magazine had the recipe for these, but I ended up just making miniature ones. I also didn't think to "peel" my bananas first, which is why they are so large :D Anyway, I made banana shapes with fimo, baked them, cut them in half, drilled a small hole in the base of each one, painted them white, numerous coats, then used clear glue to give them some shine and applied little faces using paint applied with a sharpened cocktail stick. The grave stone is the top of a coffee stirrer stick and the mound is a piece of shaped polystyrene covered with Model railway flock.

One has a hair stuck to it! Art imitating life, that would be one of my cats' hairs! :D

My toxic orange Oranges! Always mix your fimo, don't just use it straight from the block, LIKE I DID :D Anyway, the texture came out very well, I made equal sized balls, then rolled them around on very coarse sandpaper, and gently flattened them. The "stem" hollow was made using the tip of a cocktail stick.

A paper skeleton doing an Irish jig, with his hands on the, possibly, wrong way around :D  I think this is a vintage Beistle skeleton, I can't remember where I got this from, possibly an image from Ebay, I've been sourcing stuff from there a lot these days. I saved the image and then with a bit of copy and paste and some MS paint, I was able to make  it into a printable, moveable cut out. I made a hole in each piece to be joined, then threaded a length of knotted thread through, and made a knot on the other side and trimmed the excess.  If you put a needle into the knot loop you can manoeuvre it down closer to the card, then tighten it up.

A little apple trug, made using lollypop sticks and dowel. The lovely little porch hut is a resized version of this victorian Moyennes Construction model from one of my favourite flickr sites, Pilllpat (Agence Eureka). I made it up without the tabs, as they are virtually useless at this scale, so I just sliced them off :D

A little Halloween goodie box, this is a resized Martha Stewart creepy container.

After seeing how fab Elizabeths' curtains turned out, I wanted to use her Bed curtain tutorial method on something a little less grand, a plain old table cloth. 

 I wrapped the table to be used, in cling film, and then followed the tutorial, omitting the staining part (though it probably would have been scarier looking had I not). 

The cling film wrapped table was set onto a cork place mat. Using a piece of fabric much larger than needed, I soaked it in watery glue and then draped it over the table, with the weave parallel to the perimeter of the table top, and using pins and patience, styled it as shown, then blasted it with the hairdrier. 

Once it was dry I trimmed the excess, following the natural lines of the warp/weft in the material. It kept its shape remarkably well during this process, I was a bit worried it would fall out, but no, it didn't, in fact it could just about stand by itself :D

P.s. The green jug and glassware is a Chrysnbon set, in the colour Jadeite. The "curtain" is a bandage.

The scary door graphic is a silhouette of Oogie Boogie from Nightmare before Christmas, I found that online.  The spooky black cat picture is a resized version of a painting by a local artist called Neil Shawcross.  It's not very clear here, but the webbing around the cat picture was made using some strands removed from a stretch bandage. 

I have noticed a few miniaturists on Etsy selling resized vintage Halloween decor in PDF format to email to buyers to print for themselves. I haven't bought their PDF, but I have used some of the same imagery that they have used, as it is available freely online and they are images of real life sized 50s' 60s era Halloween decor, so I have decided to provide a link to the one I put together for myself, below. I will advise Personal use only though, as the images do not belong to me.

I'm sure everyone has noticed that,  It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas.........

so if you are in need of some (ok, a lot of) Christmas decoration boxes, keep an eye out for me around early December, as I will be putting up a free Christmas decor box printable sheet! It's an early Christmas present! :D

Friday, 31 October 2014

Happy Halloween!

A miniature make and photograph by the 31st of October, and it's still not finished!!! Maybe next year... :D  

Unfortunately I didn't have time to photograph individual items close up with details, links, materials, etc, but I will do that this week some time. 

It's still a bit too bright...

Extremely orange oranges :D

...almost night-time... it dark enough yet? OI! Get that parrot away from the candy apples :D

(the parrot is by Falcon miniature, I think, though an old one)

Yay, time for the fireworks!!! :D Hope it isn't raining where you are.........It's raining here :D
Happy Halloween everybody!

Sunday, 21 September 2014

A mystery cushion!

It was a 100% cloud cover day, somewhere on the teddy bear shaped isle of Ireland.....(no, really, it is, it's shaped like a sideways teddy bear!)

"♫...If you go down to the woods, today, you're in for a big surprise.......... a Teddy bears.....♫"

"What's that? A new cushion!! "

" it, I wish my knees could bend.....I wish I had knees to bend!"

Some time, A LOT LATER.......

"Flippin' eck! Next time I need to get a crate to stand on, that took forever to climb"

"Ahh, what have we got here then, THIS is definitely new!!! Looks a bit like it was made in the same manner as the rug actually, what was it called?...needlepoint!"

"Let's see if she has improved her stitches. Hmmm?,'ll just throw it down!! TIMBER!"

"Hello Bear. Is that new?" 
"Oh..It's, I'm just coming down to have a look at it, it was, er.. just lying there......"

"Ooooh, let's see it!! Oh, by the way.....don't tell anybody I can get off this wheely thing, I don't want to end up glued onto it forever, I like the freedom and, well, it is actually a bit cumbersome"

" Yes, sure Donkey, I SAW NOTHING, I KNOW NOTHING!! I hope your hooves are clean! Get a look at these stitches, they're unbelievably neat and tiny, which is strange, as Sarah's stitches are...uh...different."

"Oh yeah, you're right there Bear!"
"Yeah, look at that bit over there, by the wave thing" 
"yes...bit irregular here and there, stitches are a bit messy by that flower beside the border"
"I see that..."
" know, do you think..... is it possible Sarah didn't make this new cushion?!"

"Where'd you get that from!" interrupted Becky

"Alright Becky, haven't see you in a long, long while! We just found this cushion, a bit earlier on. I see you're still not finished?" said Bear.

"NO, I am not!! But she needed an extra character. So far she has only managed to get my rear done, and a bit of the beard, leaving my profile looking a lot like Abraham Lincoln, despite the fact that I am a lady, and she said something about my back legs not being right, something about too fat, too stumpy, then she chopped off my ears as she said those were too thick." 

"Oh she did that to me too! She's going to replace them with fabric ones, they will look much better, honestly, look at mine, so much finer than fimo ones, that's how she did Bears' ears too"

"Easy for you both to say, you're finished.......well, except you Donkey, you've still to be glued on to your skateboard thingy"


 "I wouldn't worry, she does takes her time getting things done, look at me, how many years has it been??....2? 3?...I'm freezing!!, about this new cushion" said Becky.

"I love the design, it looks like a puzzle! It matches the rug perfectly, don't you think!"

 "indeed" "yes, it does, hmmmmmm yes " "absolutely"

"I really like the swirly border"

"and aren't the colours nice together"

"I think it looks like a flower"


"a Geometric flower"

"No, it looks like a maze, with a border of....maze"

"Looks a bit Moroccan to me, Tunisian perhaps?"


"What was that, Becky?"

"....those stitches are much neater and tinier than this rug she made!"

"eh........yes, we suspect she didn't make this one!" admitted Donkey.

"hhhmmmmmmmm....well, if she didn't make it, who did?!"

"AARRGHH!! THE HEN!" shouted Donkey, jumping back, but remaining expressionless.

"Oh I am sorry, did I startle you? It's not my fault she forgot to take the photograph of my grand entrance into this story! So this is the new cushion, is it? Very neat stitchwork!! and a beautiful design, looks even better in person!!"

"and how did you know about it?!" asked Becky.

"Well, whilst you have all been in that practically abandoned house in the back bedroom, I have been in the much worked on conservatory in the front room, where she makes all of our possessions. She was busy in there making some seaside themed swap possessions for someone called Geneviève, in return for a needle point cushion for us!"

"Ooooooooo" cooed Donkey, Bear and Becky.

"Well then" said Hen, "this must be that needlepoint cushion from Geneviève, all the way from France. According to her etsy site, it is stitched on 56 count silk gauze so this cushion has approximately 3000 stitches, embroidered with real silk thread from Au Ver à Soie, so that is 56 stitches per inch, across and down, which means it has even smaller stitches than this rug on which we are all congregating, which is of 40 stitches per inch, across and down, so 56 count is 16 more stitches inside an inch than the 40 count rug...Do you follow?" 

".....................What's an etsy site?.."asked Donkey.

"Right, enough, could you please get your dirty feet off my cushion, Hen?!" shouted Bear,

 "and you can all bog off now! I have some very important sitting about doing absolutely nothing to do!"

"Don't be so obnoxious Bear!!  Who said it was your cushion anyway!" called back Hen.

"Well, it was on my chair, so it's obviously now my cushion" replied Bear.


"IT IS, I was placed onto it, I am the only one here that is ever placed on to it, therefore.. IT MUST BE MY CHAIR AND THIS IS NOW MY CUSHION!" said Bear.

"Uhh...Goodbye then"

"Right, I'm off"




WAIT.......not you, the story isn't over! :D

"It was a heck of a lot easier getting this down, it's quite heavy......what is it filled with, little glass beads or something!!"

I'm not sure, but I think so, said the narrator.

"I hope my leg doesn't fall off, it feels a bit loose on my right! I am never acting for you again!"

I have some glue for that, if you need it, said the narrator.

"And we'll just set you!... PERFECT!" said Bear.

That looks just right! said the narrator.

It's fantastic, I love it!! Thank you so much Geneviève!! said the Bear (and the narrator)

The End.

Needlepoint cushion by Geneviève
Spindleback Armchair by Colin Bird
Needlepoint rug kit by Bobbie Schoonmaker

Geneviève has an etsy shop, Les Broderies de Genevieve, where she sells her own charted designs in PDF format and some finished items made from her own designs.  She regularly tell stories using her growing miniature collection, on her blog, Genevieve's miniacollection.

A little visual guide for any budding needlepointers out there, who are curious about the finished result of the various counts available. I only have three to use as an example, but I think they also happen to be the most commonly used in 1:12 scale work. The 32 count bolster is a kit by Janet Granger, the 40 count rug is a kit by Bobbie Schoonmaker, and the 56 count cushion is by Geneviéve.

P.s. Thanks to all of you that let me know that Blogspot is having issues regarding the reading list not showing up, I now know it is not a problem with my computer software, which is usually the case :D