Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Coffee Grinder - My Version!

Ever had one of those days where you really don't get around to doing anything you planned to do? I've just had one of those days. I've had a 'fibro-head' for two days now, and my brain is just a fuzz of forgetfulness *lol* Still... I did get one thing done... I made a new coffee grinder for my dolls house.  Once again, I wasn't happy with the size of the commercially bought 1:12th scale version. I made it much in the same way as I made the kitchen scales - starting off with 2mm grey-board. This time, I covered it with some of the leftover shingles I had from the Orchard dolls house (more about that later). One earring finding, a 10mm bead cap, and a little purple seed-bead later, and I was done!
 Yes, I have noticed that the 'drawer' is on a bit wonky... but wonky seems to be my trademark *lol*
Even with the wonky drawer, I much prefer my version... and it was relatively easy to do too - even for a novice like me, with no specialist tools or gadgets :)

Monday, 27 May 2013

Kitchen Scales

Looking at the small collection of mini-treasures I have collected for my 1:12 doll-house, I noticed something... not all the objects were really true-to-scale. My biggest bug-bear was the set of kitchen scales I had bought. I had hunted around to find them in plain black, and was so pleased when they arrived through the post. BUT... if they were real, they'd be over two foot long! I just wanted a little set of scales to look nice in my dolls kitchen. The other slight problem was that I had decided NOT to have the kitchen in pine with black and copper accents, but instead to have it all white and purple. So... here's a step-by-step guide to what I did;

Everything I used to construct the scales were things I already had – I bought nothing extra.

Firstly, for the top bowl, I took a metal pie dish (1:12 scale, obviously) and glued to the bottom of this a 10mm bead cap. I used super-glue, simply because I am always worried of things falling apart, so use whatever I have that I think will be strongest. These were left to dry overnight. I also used two 1:12th scale small paper plates glued together for the top part of the scales as an alternative.
For the next stage, other people may use a 1/2” cube of balsa wood – but I didn't have any. What I did have was 2mm grey-board (a thick cardboard used for crafting). This had a white paper covering on one side – but that's not essential to the project. I cut the cardboard into 1/2” strips, then cut these strips down to make 1/2” squares. I needed eight of these squares for the scales – but I always cut extra because I am terrible at cutting things straight, so may have need a few more :)
I glued the eight squares together, making sure that two of the sides were always perfectly lined up – well, as perfect as I could make my wobbly squares.
I then waited a good 15 minutes for the cubes to dry (leave for longer if not using a quick-drying glue). I then carefully cut a wedge from the front of the cube using a stanley-knife, and trimmed off any excess from around the rest of the cube to make it neat.
What was to become the top of the scales needed to be wide enough to fit the 10mm bead cap on... I've already made a couple that weren't quite big enough (maybe I should go and buy some smaller bead caps?)

Next, I sanded the faces of my scales so that the surfaces were all even and not too 'sharp'.
When I made my first set of scales, I cut a wedge shape out of the first piece of cardboard, glued on the following piece and then used the first piece as a guide the cut the wedge again... and did this with all eight pieces. This made the finished scales have much more defined edges, which I can't decide if I like better or not!
For the next part of the project, I cut a strip of thin paper just slightly over 1/2” wide, and wrapped this around the scales. Any bits of paper that were overlapping the edges, I chopped off with scissors. This covered the joins of the card to make the shape stronger... it also gave a smoother finish. I also made sure that the paper join or overlap was at the bottom of the scales.
Now, I am a VERY messy crafter – I have rheumatoid arthritis which means I can't really do fine detailed work... so my scales were looking pretty ropey by this stage. So... out came my favourite crafting item - ModPodge! I first painted it on the sides and the bottom of the scales, and left it to dry. After that I painted the rest of the scales. This was left to dry overnight so that it was quite hard. Then I sanded it down gently so that it looked smoother (but not a lot smoother, unfortunately!).
That's all the difficult bits over and done with!
Out with the paint (the colour I wanted the finished sales to be), and I painted the separate pieces – the underneath of the top bowl, the back of the 'dial' (or face - which is a blank brad about 1/2" in diameter), and the main body of the scale too. I waited for them to dry, and then begun assembly. I made a little hole on the front of the scale then cut down the 'legs' of the brad I used for the face, and gently eased the brad into the scale body. When I was sure it would fit properly, I removed it to apply glue so that it could be attached permanently.

Then I added the top bowl, glued it securely... and then out with the paint again! I finished the painting and let it dry.
Fitting the printed out face to the scale front was easy enough – I just had to make sure I glue it the right way up :) As I'm a bit of a ModPodge addict, I used a gloss version to give a final lacquer to the piece, doing the bowl first and the rest of the piece when the top had dried. One set of scales I finished, I roughed up the metal bits – scratching through the paint to make them look used and battered – I did this before adding the ModPodge.

For the face/dial, I was going to cover it with Glossy Accents... but had some little clear 'bubbles' I used instead. I added this when the scales were completely dried.
Hey, presto! a finished set of kitchen scales that actually fit my dolls house! So... they're not perfect – but I'm no artisan, just a crafter and a 'hobby-ist' :)

I used a larger brad for the top of the scales, and have also added a fancy brad to make a base. I guess I could also make a square or round cardboard base? Maybe for another day :)

On the original scales (above), the 'face' is made from a punched circle of card with embroidery thread wrapped around it and painted (with my purple nail varnish). It was glued onto the base with a stack of very small punched circles.

Broken Furniture

I've gotten some good deals on EBay, buying broken dolls house furniture... I had another lounge display unit won in an auction, that was missing it's legs (the display cabinet, not the auction *lol*)
I ripped it apart... causing a fair bit of damage *oops*
 Still, it was all easily fixed with some cardboard and a bit of wood filler (always useful to have handy!)
 I painted and decorated the two pieces much the same way as I had decorated the dresser...
 I used the decorative diamond shapes on what was the top half to add some hooks for hanging cookery utensils. Those little cannisters are made of cardboard tubes, and the herbs and lavender are made very simply with moss and flowersoft :)

Sunday, 26 May 2013


I had some micro-beads in my scrapbooking stash, and thought to myself  "Fruit!".
Yes, our brains are so addled by trying to make life in miniature, that we think all sorts of weird things!
Still, I took my little clear beads, and 'dyed' them with alcohol ink. That was the only easy bit. This is why there is only ONE blackberry stalk o show *lol* Though I do have another 10-15 single blackberries made.

1:12th Cheese & Grapes

Another thing I wanted to try my hand at was making grapes in 1:12th scale. I tried using tiddly fimo pieces, silicone bits and also mustard seeds. All worked pretty well... though to find the silicone in small pieces isn't that easy. Once again, I used only what I had at hand, and for the silicone and mustard seeds used adirondak inks for colour.
The cheese was somewhat easier :) Though the cheese knives were a bit fiddly *lol*

Everything's Purple!

The new project (1:12th scale cottage) is all purple...
I'm supposed to be shingling the roof right now, but after sticking on 4 tiles, I needed a break *lol*
Still, it gives me a chance to show some other bits and pieces...
I had a large display cabinet which a door had fallen off. It didn't really match anything else, and the varnishing was a bit rough, so I decided this would be my first 're-furb'.
I was quite rough, ripping the doors off. Some were 'hinged', whilst the middle doors were all glued into place. I decided that for the look I needed, I would leave the rough bits alone and just paint over them.
 I only had some leftover Humbrol enamel model paint and a tiddly brush... but better to use what I had, I thought, than go and buy new stuff.
I hated waiting for the paint to dry - I am so impatient with projects like this... I really have to learn to just leave alone and find something else to do :) I scouted the internet for purple gingham fabric... and eventually ended up scanning a piece that I had leftover. I didn't want a straight, precise design, but rather more of a 'squiffy' home-made feel. I used this paper I printed to cover the back of the unit, the shelves (including the little overhang) and the inlay on the doors.
 Next I had to cover the gap I had left by ripping off the middle door. I just wanted to have a piece of fabric hanging there... and I used an offcut of the piece I had scanned :) To hang the little curtain, I found a long decorative pin, and cut it to the size I needed, plus a little extra to turn up about 1/8" each end.
 I 'borrowed' hubbys Dremel to drill the holes in the cabinet for the curtain rod to fit. It was a lot easier to turn the unit upside down to drill the holes :)
Of course, I couldn't glue the rod in until the curtains were placed on it. I sewed the gathers into the curtain permanently, and added another couple of stitches to make sure to curtain didn't billow out too much.
 Then I simply glued it into place... but it needed something else... a bit more...
 I 'dyed' some cheap leftover lace with shimmer mist sprays, and then glued some around the top, and sewed a bit across the curtain.
 Okay, so the curtain bit should have been sewn on BEFORE the curtain rod was glued into place - the lace is a bit bowed. But after 'hmming and ahhing' about whether to un-sew it and glue it in place instead, I thought that I quite liked it being wobbly :)
I found my purple wax, and so rubbed a generous amount into some rubbed-down edges. I frayed the edges of a few squared off-cuts of purple gingham material scraps, painted the endes of a rolling pin dark purple (nail polish! I had no paint), and added a few accessories. I was very happy with the result :)

Friday, 24 May 2013

Hello Again!

I've been away from miniatures for a while - everything has gotten so expensive lately, and I couldn't afford my new (-ish) now-too-expensive hobby :(
BUT... then I gave myself a good kick (and promptly fell over - a warning against kicking oneself) and thought "You silly moo... what you can't afford, MAKE!!"
So I did :)
Still, I haven't been really pushed to post anything new until this evening. I had sold some mini-food items and sundries on EBay, and recieved the most lovely e-mail from a lady named Cat (hello Lavender Bagpuss, if you ever find your way here) which was so full of enthusiasm and excitement that it re-boosted my own enthusiasm :) So... over the next few days I'll be posting piccies of a 1:12th scale cottage I built and painted myself (well, I still need to shingle the rooftops and add the gingerbread gabling bits), as well as photos of furniture and bits and pieces that I've made and also adapted from broken finds (thank you once again, EBay *lol*).
I can't wait!