Wednesday, 30 April 2014

1:12 scale Potting table, Lavender, Buckets and Throws.

I've been really struggling to get motivated lately, it's been so dull here with mostly 100% low lying cloud cover, which has been reflected in the choice of colour of a miniature throw I've been crocheting, and everything else has been lying about for a month waiting to be photographed. It's been slow.........I have a "go at it hammer and tongs" attitude, which drained me for a month after this lot was made. I also gave myself some serious crick neck after a full day of crocheting....... :D I've been moping about, spying on you all, envying your productivity and enthusiasm over the Easter period, I assume everyone had nicer weather than me!!!!! :D On reflection though, I have noticed quite a few people have felt the same way as me in regards to miniature creating......YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! :D

I "needed" a potting table for the conservatory, and having decided that this room is going to be a junky, shabby, rustic, vintage, cumulative space (much like the rest of the house, really), then a washstand that has been "possibly lying in someone elses outhouse for years" would be perfect. My imaginary miniature homemaker does a lot of thrift shopping actually, hence why we have no idea what era this house is in.

This is a Mini Mundus Washstand kit. Before gluing together, each piece was stained and then waxed with beeswax polish, using a paintbrush, to ensure that all corners, nooks and crannies were coated. It sat for about a week before I got around to painting it, so the stain was dry and the wax had definitely hardened, though you probably wouldn't need to leave it for quite as long as that.

I applied a very quick coat of thinned humbrol paint, allowed to dry until tacky, and then applied a coat of emulsion. As the wax prevented the paint from adhering and seeping into the wood, I was able to gently scratch off the dried paint, in convincing "chips", sometimes using my nail, other times a needle, for the awkward corners.

Once I was happy with the wear and tear, I painted the whole thing in a light coat of beeswax polish, to help protect the emulsion paint from further wear and tear, though with this method it is still liable for further chipping, so beware! I used both humbrol and emulsion, because I changed my mind about the humbrol, but I think it might be important. The drawer is solely emulsion, and chips very, very VERY easily, in comparison to the rest of the piece. If you want to try this method out, do a test on a lollypop stick :D

I am going to blame the camera for making that right leg wonky.  I'm pretty sure it is the camera causing that. :D

I didn't like the drawer that came with the kit, so I made a new one, using lollypop sticks and veneer for the drawer base. I also didn't like the handles that came with the kit, not on this drawer anyway, so I used some from a pack I bought ages ago, I thought they were from Phoenix miniatures, but they don't have them on their website. I know they are 1:12 scale Swan handles, and if I can find them on the internet again, I will update here.

I think at some stage I will darken the handles, because guess what, I don't like them. :D

I'm also not sure about the overall colour, but I was using paint I already had, no more buying paint!!! It does look better in it's proper surroundings in the conservatory.

GUILTY! I got really fed up making furniture (and other things) from scratch, so I went on a mad online shopping spree awhile back, treating myself after all that hardwork on the conservatory. I reason really well with myself :D. A few other kits I bought are not shown here, some are made up, some are halfway there and have been tossed to one side.  Life is too short :D

I saw a cute little bucket very like this somewhere online. This one is made using card,  the same process as the watering can, etc. in the last post.

The garden claw was made using wire, a silver bead, and a wooden handle which I made on the lathe. The "fingers" had to be held in position on a piece of sticky tape, because as the solder melts it has a habit of pulling the wires out of alignment. Unfortunately, this was REALLY fiddly to make, infact, I think this is the fourth or fifth attempt, as each time the solder pulled the fingers together, making them unusable and everything had to be cut and bent again........and then I tried to make another one after this near successful one (solder hasn't flowed into the joins well), and it went the same way as the failures. It was just too fiddly, maybe I need jewellery making tools?!?! NO, no more buying stuff :D

A lavender trough. The trough is made using card, thread for the rim, and tiny bead caps, beads and wire rings, for the handles at either end, then painted in humbrol paints.

The lavender foliage is Lycopodium moss, which I painted with a white wash, quite badly... :D
The lavender stems are painted wire, and the wrong colour.
I had seen a few tutorials, including this one, to make lavender using no hole beads or Flower Soft, but there does come a time, when you just can't buy anymore "materials" that you know you probably won't use again. So I used thread, and it works really well. I dabbed my forefinger in PVA glue and ran a long length of purplish thread between my forefinger and thumb, so that it was coated lightly. You can also colour white thread in watercolour paint, in the same way.

Once the thread was dry, I wound it around a few fingers so I would have a bunch of loops, which I then held together tightly, so all the strands were together, and then snipped away closely with scissors to create a lavender coloured flocking powder.  Using a bit of glue on the thread prevents the thread from fraying, and keeps the cut clean, so it is important that the glue is dry. Then you can just apply glue to the end of the stems and apply the flock.  I actually think this is much more effective at creating Lavender flowers, than Flower Soft and no hole beads, and certainly cheaper and more convenient. I just have to work on my greenery paint tones :D

No awards for the Lavender arrangement from this angle! :D But I thought you might like to see the handles. Those are made using tiny beadcaps, easy to get on Ebay, search for 3mm fluted bead caps, you can get them in bulk, about 100pcs for a few pounds. I use them alot, and they are worth adding to your collection of "materials" :D

Quite sometime ago, I bought a 0.4mm crochet hook, which I have only just dared to use properly. I had a few goes with it beforehand, and kept giving up. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE HOOK! Intimidating, isn't it?! This is the first time I have seen the hook too!!! Usually, it just looks like a needle point, in fact when I got it, I thought there had been a mistake at the crochet hook factory and a blank got through quality control, but it was grabbing the thread :D Anybody out there that dabbles in crochet, and finds this hook intimidating, do not give up! Once the first few time consuming rows are done, it does get easier. Wearing magnification glasses help too. Working in the foundation chain is a big pain in the BEEPING BEEP, but it does get easier, I swear! And I made a lot of foundation chains with this hook, before I got the all important patience! :D

I have this fantastic book of crochet stitches, by Betty Barnden, which I actually bought when I was going through a scarf making phase. Just thought I would do a little ad for it here, as I'm about to show a page from it.......

I think sometimes its difficult to decide which stitch pattern to use for 1:12 scale, due to a number of reasons, the more ornate patterns requiring alot of stitches would be too bulky for a miniature blanket, and its easier and faster to work into a chainspace, I think this one, Fancy Lozenge Stitch, works quite nicely. I prefer working from diagrams than instructions, and this book has both, including a photograph of it worked in yarn.

I'm making my first proper miniature throw, using this terribly, exciting shade of grey! I kept my stitches a little loose, using the 0.4mm hook, as I was afraid that the blanket would end up more akin to a rug. 

...and even then it still practically stands up on its own. Hopefully, when it is finished, I can stretch and block it so that the drape is looser.

This is a pink one I started before the much more interesting grey one....  Note the dirty pink shade of thread :D I have a very nice collection of old slightly dirty vintage threads in many colours, including dirty, which I inherited from my grandmother, who was a bit of a hoarder, probably a side effect from rationing in the 1940s. There were also a lot of yarn balls she made from old shredded up tights knotted together, which looked like mini escape ropes.  I decided not to keep those, as bizarre as they were. :D

P.s. I have quite a few new followers since I last posted, many thanks for adding me! There are a few of you that have no link for a blog, when I click on the icon, I have noticed this happening for awhile now with new followers, so if you don't see a black cat shape with glowing eyes on your followers list, please leave a comment with a link to your blog, thanks :)


  1. You are so amazingly talented! The table and planter are so awesome! The crocheting is beautiful. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Sarah, really enjoyed your post tonight. You have made some charming things.It seems you may be feeling inspired once again. Perhaps the weather and light is improving as it is here in Vancouver.
    Regards Janine

    1. Hi Janine, glad you enjoyed the post. The inspiration is coming in drips and drabs, im rather forcing myself at the moment, just waiting for the Irish spring to be over (rain and cloud) :D Hope the sky over Vancouver stays on track for you :)


  3. Sarah, it is always so interesting to read your posts, because you can write so clear about all you do on your miniature work: thank you for sharing! I love your potting table and the way you have done the 'used' look, it looks very lifelike. I am always amazed by your gorgeous pots you make from card, again (I hope I don't bore you, because of my limited use of English words ;)) they look so realistic.
    Yes, lavender is quite a difficult plant to make in miniature, I've noticed that too. I do understand that you have used thread for the flowers? What kind of thread is it, if I may ask you, is it DMC embroidery thread?
    Your crochet work is so beautiful, so regularly, that is something I can't do so well as you do. It looks gorgeous and the colors you've used are great, I don't think they are dull ;).
    I hope the weather at your place will improve soon, everyone needs some sunbeams at times, isn't it :D!
    I wish you a nice day! Hugs, Ilona

    1. Thanks Ilona, and no, you do not bore me at all :D. Im not happy with the lavender foliage, but I am going to leave it, and hope it gets lost in the bigger picture :D I have no idea what the thread is, as it has no label on the spool. Its slightly finer than embroidery thread though and the ply is not very noticeable. I would assume it is sewing thread of some sort. Sorry I can't be more precise.

      Still under cloud here, I would love some sunbeams :D We have a joke here about our summers only being a few days long, unfortunately it is not a joke :D

      Sarah :)

  4. Thanks for sharing your tips ! I learn a lot of things reading your posts. Your potting table is just perfect !! I like it !

  5. Me encanta como te ha quedado la mesa.Y has hecho un buen trabajo de ganchillo. Muchas gracias por las explicaciones.

  6. hello Amber... can you tell a dumb Canuck what you mean by Humbrol paint? Is that a watered down white glue? I already googled emulsion.... it's what we call acrylic paint.
    BTW darn nice job on not only the table but also the plant pots!!

    1. Hi Karin, Humbrol paint is an enamel paint, usually sold in craft shops for kits of model boats etc. Revell paint is maybe more the norm in your part of the world :D The emulsion paint is the same paint used on house walls, the paint I used is called chalky emulsion, should have mentioned that originally.

      Thanks for the compliments on the table and pots, I've detailed how I made the pots in a tutorial somewhere on here too :D

      Many thanks,

      (Amber is the name of an old pet I had years ago, Ive confused everybody that visits my blog with my blog name choice :D )

    2. Hi Sarah.... my apology! I did read later that you had had a pet rat named Amber. I will see if I can find your tutes. I look forward to more posts.
      Shortly after reading this particular post, I saw an article in Better Homes & Gardens in which an old garden shed was turned into a shabby chic sitting area; I put one of your photos next to one of their's on my OrrLakeMinis facebook page (hope you don't mind). I doubt anyone would have been able to tell real from miniature had I not said.

    3. No apologies needed, it was just incase you were wondering who this Sarah was :D and no problem about the photo sharing, as Im a big fan of pinterest, etc!! I had a look at your facebook page, its the same shed I borrowed (..nicked) the bracket design from and other ideas... :D Im really pleased it looks real to you!! :)

  7. I like the table with accessories.
    Thanks for your tips.

  8. I love your potting table it is fantastic. Thank you for all the wonderful tips. Wow your lavender is amazing and made with thread wow. Your bucket is fantastic and I love your crochet.
    Hugs Maria

  9. What a good post. I'm very impressed with your lavender trough and the fact that you even considered using a crochet hook that small. I don't crochet so I'm doubly impressed!

    The workbench is great too - it looks lovely dressed with all its bits.

    1. Thanks Irene, when that crochet hook first arrived, it took a loooooooooooooooong time to get used to it :D

  10. Your your lavender trough looks great! And I love what you did with the potting table, the colour is great!
    I have a couple of crochet needles that small, but I have never dared to use them =) They really look intimidating! Your crochet work looks great!

    1. Thanks Hannah. Pick up your crochet hooks and get used to the foundation chain, honestly, I thought I would never get past the first few rows, I ripped out so many attempts :D It was infuriating me! I stopped worrying about the exact number of chains and where each stitch was supposed to go as well, for instance, the foundation chain has one extra chain, I just ignored it and carried on working, its so small, nobody is going to notice, right!!!! :D So long as its as close as possible to the pattern, I dont think a few mistakes make much of a difference. Plus you develop a rhythm a few rows later, which I definitely didn't expect. I thought it was going to be hell until the end. It does make your yarn holding hand feel a bit odd at first.

      Sarah :)

  11. You know, I'm scared to read your blog at times. You do something new, make it look so easy and fantastic and before I know it, I'm trawling Ebay for materials. My knitting is rubbish so crochet is soooo beyond me and yet I'm still considering it. Sheesh! Wonderful miniatures as always. Love them all =0)

    1. Thanks Pepper. Please don't be scared!! :D I wouldn't have been able to do any of this, if other people hadn't put tutorials online. I learnt crochet from youtube! A book helped, but not as much as seeing it in action. I can knit, until I drop a stitch, then its game over, for good :D and even youtube can't help me with my knitting. I've abandoned knitting for the time being, I can't bear the pain of not understanding the dropped stitch solution :D. I really believe crochet is easier. You could make yourself a scarf first, with a normal sized hook, and get used to the stitches.

      Sarah :)

  12. Hi Sarah, I took my time to read your post from beginning till the end with full attention. I like your style and you appear to be so versatile and experienced. That makes reading your blog great fun to me. Now you can also even crochet in mini, I can't crochet at all!!!
    I'm not doing much miniatures at the moment (contrary tot you I have still lost my motivation actually ....) but - just like you when you had a little break from it- I enjoy visiting blogs about mini's. And yes....still buying materials I don't really need now but I tell myself I will need them in future projects ( yeah, right!). However, looking at your lovely work keeps the mini-virus in me alive ;D

  13. You've turned this washstand into a very lovely pottingtable, well done! And I don't know what the drawer looked like, but am sure this is an improvement, looks good! It's funny I was thinking about the handles they would look better dark and not knowing if I should write that wanting to respect your choices and not to hurt your pride about them, but when reading on I saw you had the same thought, pfew! The crocheing looks complicated, don't know how to myself. I hope that it will soften a bit, but it looks great already. Haha, I can totally understand why you thought the hook was a misproduction, it is ridiculously small!
    I think the lavender looks good! And how smart are you to solve the not having tiny beads or flower soft! While reading I was thinking I could send you some for future lavender if you'd like, but reading on I understood you like this way even better than that and I think I have to agree (but if you ever think you would like to try the flower soft I can spare some of mine and can send you some)! The trough is lovely too. Bye, Bye!

  14. Where Oh Where Have I been???? I have missed this FABULOUS POST of your most WONDERFUL LAVENDER , and all of the other FANTABULOUS MINIS that you have made! Your garden miniatures are some of the BEST that I have seen and as usual I am GREEN with ENVY!

    Seriously GREEN

    elizabeth :D

  15. Here I am once again, Sarah! This time I took my time and really looked at everything closely and what continues to amaze me is how EXACTLY they represent the various materials; your cans, buckets, terra cotta pots and plants. You have an Artist's eye, for fine details and a technicians skill for manipulating your mediums. WOW!



Thanks for your comment :)