Monday, 12 October 2015

1:12 scale cushion tutorial (for pointy corners!)

I wanted to put together this quick little tutorial after Kitty said that she found getting the cushions pointy enough was the bane of her life, strong words, I felt like that once too Kitty...but then I worked out a new way of making cushions, inspired by Gill's patchwork tutorial. :D

I felt so bad about the thought of anyone else suffering with their unpointy enough cushions, I had to get this out there pronto! :D

You will need:-

  • Fabric
  • Needle
  • Thread
  • Paper (preferably graph)
  • Glass beads or stuffing
  • Iron/Hair straighteners

Carefully cut out a template using graph paper, keep it as square as possible, then cut a piece of fabric slightly larger.

Turn the fabric over and place your template in the centre.

Fold fabric (preferably along the grain) using the paper to guide you. Use your nail to press the edge down.

Press the fold, either using hair straighteners or an Iron, you will need to repeat this for each fold.
I use hair straighteners, because they're quite handy for mini ironing.

Make sure to test a scrap piece of your material, just in case it melts. 

Fold as before, but on the opposite side from the last fold, and press. 

Fold as shown, press, then fold the other side and press. Try your best to keep the sides of this particular fold, as square as possible, it helps to begin the fold at either end and move inwards towards the centre, using your fingers to press the fabric down.

Now make another one. I usually use plain fabric for the back, to conserve the printed fabric. An old pillow case is a great source of plain fabric.

Abracadabra.........the fabric will now change (apologies for the continuity error, we will now be demonstrating with a new fabric...)

Cut a length of fine thread, for this cushion I think I used about 35 cm. Tie a knot at one end, thread it, and insert the needle into the corner from the reverse of the fabric. 

You should sew from this point, where you can see the folds (this means you will have a less fussy edge to sew later on). Connect the two with your needle and thread as shown.

Now that the two pieces are joined, begin sewing your cushion together. I use the ladder stitch, putting the needle under just a thread or two of the fabric. Do not sew the inner folds together, work over them. 

Ladderstitch diagram.

When you are almost back at the beginning, you can start filling the cushion. I use micro glass beads, I can't remember which size, but I bought them from Mohair Bearmaking supplies. I  hold the cushion over a jar of them, and use a teaspoon to drop them in, until it's just right. You may have to smoosh the cushion a bit to fit them in as you go.

Now carefully holding the cushion, sew up the hole, still using the ladderstitch. 

Sorry for the blur, under the last stitch at the corner put the needle under and draw through until you are left with a small loop...

...then put the needle through this loop and draw through to create a knot close to the corner. Repeat once or twice more. 

Then push the needle down through the corner as shown (where you just made the knot)

Push the needle through the cushion until it pops out somewhere on the other side.

And cut the loose thread. If there is a little short bit poking out after you have cut the thread, smoosh the cushion and it should disappear.
The only downside about this method, is that the stitches will be slightly more visible than they would be if you used the "turning inside out" method, you can always glue a strand of thicker thread around the cushion to act as piping, which I haven't tried out yet, but I imagine it would work very nicely. 

Now back to my secret project, until Christmas...

Byeeee! :)

Sunday, 11 October 2015

More pieces for the Causeret collection!

Hello, I'm alive. I recently received the most gorgeous Elisabeth Causeret Pottery from the lovely Pepper (of Mitchymoominiatures), which is also very convenient because I have little to blog about at the moment, and probably won't until after Christmas. We're having very dull weather here in N.Ireland at the moment (what's new?), so photos have been lightened up so that you can see them. Pepper was at Miniatura this Autumn and asked if I needed anything.....which I did.......

Pepper surprised me with this little flower pot, I love the detail around the rim! It has a little drainage hole too, so your miniature plant won't get root rot!

And some cushions I made recently, all of the fabric is from Little Trimmings

And that's me away for another little while... I have quite a few miniatures in the making at the moment. If I post about them half finished, I may not finish them, new rule for myself, I'm too good at leaving cliffhanger endings to my miniatures on occasion. I'm sorry to say I haven't been great at keeping up with everybody's work at the moment either, and I am going to be working on some things for Pepper, which I will post about as well, once they are in her possession of course! Very much looking forward to the Pepper project actually! So until next time...

Hope you enjoyed the lovely work of Elisabeth Causeret!
Thank you Pepper! :)

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

When you just can't find that perfect number of DPI image!

I don't really fully understand Dots per Inch (DPI) and printing...the general gist of this post is that all is not lost with a low DPI image, it can be made printworthy! :D Moving on!

The photo, the touch up and the finished printed box. 

I wanted a miniature Doubl Glo holiday snow box, but the only image I could find of one was on eBay, and it was a photo of the box and the photo was 96DPI. It is recommended to use somewhere between 150 and 300DPI for miniaturizing. Because the Doubl Glo image was fairly simple, I used the paint function in PhotoImpression5 to improve the image for printing. PhotoImpression5 was a free software disc that came with my digital camera, so it's likely many people have something like this lying around.

And to find out what number of DPI your image is, right click on it, select properties from the box that pops up, and you will find the DPI number in there.

Using a flickr image from the lovely Joanne of Takeabreakwithme, I'll roughly explain how I improve those low DPI images for printing in 1:12 scale.

This is a 96DPI image.

Close up.

Disclaimer.. After reading a few online articles I assume that...

...if I was to print this image as it is on the left, the printer nozzle would attempt to replicate all of those tiny squares of black tones, red tones, etc. as best it could. The printer has a palette of only four "crazy" printer ink colours (black, yellow, magenta and cyan) to work with, carefully arranging many dots to simulate each of those tones, and then.... each ink dot will bleed into the paper, merging slightly with the dot next to it...fuzzy outcome highly likely.

Even just one colour tone needs to be simulated using many dots of ink from the palette of black, yellow, magenta and cyan. By having a uniform red tone, the printed red will be more intense and less fuzzy due to the printer not having to replicate those unnecessary tones.  

If you have Arcsoft PhotoImpression or some similar form of photo editing software, open the image and find the paint tools. Click on colour picker, which should look like a little ink dropper. Zoom in on the image and select your favourite tone of red from one of the many pixels to choose from.. 

Once you have selected your favourite red, click on the bucket of dripping paint, and choose solid fill and have the opacity set somewhat as shown (maybe a bit more in the middle...) and colour in your image.  If you find there are pixels that haven't been coloured, use the ink dropper on them, colour the whole area with the new colour, and then turn it back to red (make sure you have an area of red left somewhere before doing this..otherwise just leave the pixels and colour them in manually with the spray paint option)

If you have ever used MsPaint to paint with, you will know that it can paint in quite a disastrous blocky way, as it only enters pixels with the exact same tone of red. The opacity setting in photo editing paint tools helps the red "paint" bleed into all of the red toned pixels, in just a few clicks. You do need to play about with it, and if there is a disaster, ie. something not red, suddenly turns red, there is an undo button. 

A 96DPI print result, before and after, would have been good, but unfortunately my printer is still out of order. I used this method on the Christmas box and Firework printables, and they were all lower than 150DPI.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

And the winner is....

Narina!!! Congratulations! :)

I hate where that arrow landed as it shows how incredibly close it was between both of you, could it not have landed in the middle of the triangle?! Sorry you have to see that Faby :D 

Narina, please send me your address to sarahnash635(at)btinternet(.)com   < (remove brackets, replace "at" with @) and I will have that cushion posted off to you ASAP! :)


Saturday, 18 July 2015

1:12 scale Beachcombing!!!

Still in a strange haitus, thanks for your support in the last few posts everyone. I know we all get this from time to time :D  Nature has filled in quite a bit for me for this one.

Last week I dragged a friend to the beach, and then embarked on a long mini beach combing session.  Apparently it looked a bit strange and he suggested (if there is a) next time we should wear white overalls and fence the beach off, because it looked like a "crime scene investigation" was in progress. Not surprised either, finding tiny shells involves getting your eyes as close to the sand as possible and then carefully picking over it...I'll get him to take a photo of me in action!  Many people walked past and the odd dog got in the way, I don't remember much, just lots of coarse sand with the odd nice shell in it.

The Shells are a mix of Dogwhelks, Periwinkles (ridiculous amount of those), Flattops (Gibbula..) Cone shells (Turritella..) and cowries.

Driftwood twigs. You can break driftwood twig into smaller sizes and then sand the ends. The starfish are made using thick wire and soldered in the centre, the tips are rounded off with a file and then sponge painted.

I REALLY, REALLY LOVE THESE! Miniature Japanese style glass floats, made using crochet thread and marbles. I made one for Genevieve in a swap, though I've perfected them a bit since then, particularly the colour, Genevieve, if you want a refit, get in touch!  I used a brilliant video and picture tutorial by Sharon Ojala, which you can see below. Instead of using a wire ring, I made a loop in the middle of one of the eight threads needed.

Lovely little beach finds! Tiny limpet shells, sea glass and coral weed. The pretty little spiral one is a Gibbula Umbilicalis (thank goodness for Google :D )

Edit :-

I was just reading that a stunted version of Coral weed grows in high shore pools, which makes it perfect for miniatures eh? This is the skeleton of the plant, washed ashore.

Crates with rope handles (lollypop sticks and linen thread)

Er...yeah. getting there. The tomato leaves and flowers are from a Georgie Steed kit. Instead of using the red beads supplied I made little tomatoes with fimo, which came out a little RED! I had made the plant up, but then decided it was far too big and took it all apart, next time maybe....... :D

I almost managed to see this happen in a rock pool, but unfortunately there were two crabs fighting over the same shell, so I had to watch it on youtube instead..I should have flipped a coin for them and removed the loser :D

Little giveaway!

Very quick little giveaway, I was in Belfast the other day and saw this little padded heart lying in the doorway of a shop and thought someone had dropped their dollshouse cushion! :D  Unfortunately it doesn't go with my furniture, but I know there are plenty of little houses in Blogland where it would fit in perfectly and I really want to give it a good home! So just enter your name below and I'll do a draw on the first of August.

Usual rules apply. Be a follower of this blog and open to everyone worldwide. That's it.

Firstly, it's clean and in perfect condition! A bit redder than it is on my moniter. 3.7cm wide, 3.8cm high and 8mm thick, and I think the fabric is polyester, it's ever so slightly shiny.

Mieal Denab (in the comments) informed me that these are the little hearts from Build a Bear, which indeed they are! Thanks Mieal! :)

What would the Edwardians have made of it? Cute though. Oh it's also a bit stiff as you can probably tell, though in amongst other cushions I reckon this wouldn't be noticeable.

Good luck! :)

Monday, 22 June 2015

1:12 scale Garden Bench

This is a 1:12 scale customized Falcon miniature Park Bench.

The slats happened rather sooner than I thought.  I used lollypop stick wood for the new slats, which was treated with Pepper's magic silver wood solution, and then stained with Rustins Antique pine.  I was going to add bolts to the end of the slats, and also add some old flaked off paint and maybe a touch of lichen (as though it has been brought in from outside) but I haven't made my mind up yet...

The lollypop stick wood was a bit warped, which I think adds to the effect, though one slat was a little more warped than the others, so it casts a bit of a shadow. I wasn't too worried about precision, so the gaps are a little irregular, though it has been lying outside in all weathers! ;)

Think I'll have a cup of tea and a biscuit now! :D

Er..yes, I went against my own advice and messed about with that metal CONTAINING LEAD... I did sand it slightly here and there too. I got the jewellers saw out and (awkwardly) removed some of the "ledge" on either side of the bench ends. The metal is almost like butter to saw through, which is great, but you also have to be careful not to bend it, as after a few bends, it would snap right off.

I then painted it with Humbrol matt black paint, and didn't bother using primer :D

Next stop, tomatoes!

Thanks everyone for your encouraging comments in the previous post :)

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Take a seat... but not for too long!

I know..long time no see! :D

 I'm just back from a slight case of miniature burnout. I've been burning the candle at both ends for the past few..*ahem* years :D Mountain of unfinished miniatures and non miniature work in my wake too, so I'm trying to organise myself better these days.  I work in a very small work space, so it doesn't take much to become a bit overwhelmed either. Gradually sorting myself out now...and the printer broke, which nearly sent me to the asylum :D

...please tell me I'm not alone in this madness...

I haven't actually made anything...but I have bought something. I was going to make my own cast iron park bench, but when I saw this one I thought I would cut that corner, and save time and sanity... This one is a "falcon" miniature bench, a little pricey, but it is based on a real Victorian design ( google Lion head antique park bench, and you'll see it's life size twin amongst the image results ). 

I think I will keep the ends black, but I am planning on replacing the slats. Although they are perfectly acceptable as is, I want them that little bit more they're a bit orange. 

The ends are metal, and a bit bendy. I'm not going to remove the paint, at all, as the box it came in stated that there is lead in the product. I may go over it with a matt black paint though.

And there is her underbelly, so if you remove the slats, you don't have to worry about putting it back together again, as each end is connected with a rod.

And the slats pop off, fairly easily. I think I will sheer off those bolts and stick new slats straight on to the ledge. 

Yes..summer is definitely on the horizon :D Sods law, it was only like this when I was taking photos, sky clear before and after, but not during the photoshoot!
So hopefully next time I'm here, I will have the finished bench and possibly a finished one year old tomato plant..or is it two years old! :D Wish me luck.