Saturday, March 31, 2012

Mail box

I spent the afternoon 'playing' at Laurie's on Thursday.

Her project for the county fair display at the September show and sale is a washroom trailer. It's coming along beautifully. (Sorry - I took my camera but forgot to get it out and take pictures.)

One of the challenges about this project is that many of the items needed for it aren't available commercially.

I had already figured out how to do the toilet paper dispenser and took along the supplies to make more of those.

One of the more interesting items to be made is the sanitary supply disposal box for the stalls in the women's washroom. (Somehow doubt that anyone is mass producing these LOL).

More and more, I'm trying to make patterns/templates on my computer. It's a learning curve and there are still things I haven't figured out but since this is basically a box, it worked fairly well.

I cut out one and scored it.

Then I 'painted' both sides silver with my wide nib Pilot pen.

Glued it together...

And, voila! Here it is. (Hard to take a good picture since the silver reflects the light.)

Since there isn't much demand for these with the original purpose (don't think too many of us are building public washrooms), they can be 'repurposed' as home mail boxes.

In that case, you may want to colour it with black marker rather than the silver and add some house numbers to the front.

We also figured out faucets and taps for the sinks and I'll discuss those later.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's a Small World! and some thoughts on the computer and miniatures

One of the very best things about this hobby is the people you meet. And sometimes when you're really fortunate, you get to actually meet them in person. In 2007, I joined Canada Minis and became friends with the owner Cheryl. From that came a trip to Nova Scotia and a week at Camp Mini Ha Ha. Through Cheryl and CMHH, I met Debbie, Marijke and Jo-Ann (among many others). In fact, CMHH was where I first met Liz of Grandpa's Dollhouse.

Jo-Ann is a sculptor in clay and bronze. Unfortunately none of her miniature work is up on her website but you can certainly see what beautiful work she does. And there is contact information!

Anyway, a couple weeks ago, Jo-Ann was a dealer at Shelley's online miniature sale and sold some of her work to Elly in Amsterdam. Marijke and Debbie attended the miniature show in Arnhem on the weekend and met up with Elly and discovered their common connection to Jo-Ann. How cool is that!?

And, of course, the internet has made all these friendships and the sharing that miniaturists do so very much easier.

And digital cameras and scanners have just revolutionized printies and miniaturization of RL items. No longer do you have to take pictures at a certain distance so so the printed photo will be miniaturized - now you just sit at your computer and size your digital picture accordingly.

When I first got involved with miniatures about 35 years ago, I was working completely in a vacuum. I did have a subscription to Miniature Collector in its early years but didn't know about Nutshell News until after it no longer existed.

Although I kept collecting small things, I ended up taking a break from minis for several years as do so many of us.

When I returned, I had a computer!!!!!! Discovered the Small Stuff digest and I was on a roll! Miniatures online were still in baby steps then but how they have grown!

And I can't begin to tell you how my life has been enriched by the friendships I have made through miniature connections I've made online...particularly Cheryl, who I mentioned earlier, and my dear friend, Joanne, who I met through Small Stuff and a search for turned toothpicks at WalMart (turned out she lived only a few blocks from me at the time) - and all the other friends I've met, in turn, through them.

Nine years ago, I made a memory box for my mother. When I gave it to her, I included a list of the items that were in it and where they came from. She was SO impressed with the places on thelist. Although I had made many of the items, so many came from mini friends around the world: Helen Cottrell in Britain, Dianne in MD, Jackie in Yuma, AZ, Kate Henry in FL at that time, Mary Sweet in San Antonio, TX (made the afghan especially for this)...I don't have a copy of the list here so I know I'm missing a lot.

And as I look at my stash, so many names and locations come to me...

I am truly blessed to have met so many wonderful people through this hobby...some in person, some online and some only vicariously through pictures of their work.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

the stall base

I want a wooden base for the stall - sort of like a deck with spaces between the planks.

I can cut wooden stir sticks to 6 1/2" so that will be the width of the base. Here I've sorted through the sticks to find flat, straight ones. Later I'll trim off the round ends to give me 6 1/2" lengths.

The frame for the base will be made with 1/4" square strip wood. It comes in 24" lengths so I've cut two pieces of it into 8" pieces. Then I'll cut two 6 1/2" to go across the ends. This actually works well as it means there will be exactly 1" distance between the cross pieces. (And my little plastic ruler from Danielle Perry Miniatures is 1" wide so it will work well as a spacer as I'm gluing all this together.

One more piece to be glued in place.

Boy! I don't know how people use these things to make some of the beautiful floors I've seen. Even the stirrers that I thought were straight weren't quite and it was hard to keep them straight and evenly spaced. (And I wasn't always exactly successful.)  
I had thought maybe to finish this with a weathered wood look but there is virtually no visible grain in the wood so don't think that would be particularly effective. So may paint it and scuff some traffic patterns on it...will think about it.

I had planned on using stir sticks to build a set of shelves across the back of the stall. I want shelves like this
so if the plants on them are over-watered, the water won't puddle on the shelf but will flow down through the gaps in the slats. (VBG)

Anyway, I've used up all the straight stir sticks so I guess my next step will be cutting 'boards' from 1/16" thick basswood and using those to build the shelves.

Hint: When I'm cutting very long strips of wood or matboard, I find that even a cork-backed ruler has a tendency to slip somewhat. I have a great 24" x 16" aluminium carpenter's square that I use for long cuts. To keep it from slipping, I have pieces of double-sided carpet tape on the back of the square. This holds the square in place while I'm making my cuts.

Plant stall

I'm just itching to get working on a couple of my UFOs (thinking maybe the Christmas shop and the white and green bedroom - the bar still isn't coming together in my head ).

But first I have to make my plant/garden stall for the county fair for our show and sale display in September. The stalls have to be done (if not filled) before our all day workshop in May so we can decide on the layout for all various stalls, etc..

Filling the stall will be a snap as I have this wonderful collection of plants by Connie Stitt and this will be a great showcase for them.

This is my garden bulletin board. There are a few more plants here, a bird bath, vases, pots, and various other things I can put in the stall.

Also have these planters that I bought from Victoria Miniland a couple shows ago.

And this wheel barrow from my stash - maybe painted and decorated.

So just need to build the stall to put everything in. It's 'sort of' coming together in my head so hope to get working on it later today or tomorrow.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Grandpa's dollhouse order

Before I could properly go through my order from Liz, I had to put away all the stuff I got in Arizona. Most was sorted and went either into the appropriate project boxes or bulletin boards in my stash but a few things went directly into the corner cabinet in the Bombay living room.

The top two shelves now contain souvenirs of the Arizona trip and the polar bear on the third shelf goes with the Inuit prints on the wall.

Now to leisurely enjoy looking at my items from Liz at Grandpa's Dollhouse. Wow! Check out that wonderful new modern dinner set on her home page. Very smart as is - but wouldn't it be great with  some geometric black accents added with a fine black permanent marker!? And that desk calendar comes with calendars for each month from December 2011 to December 2012. (Not that I'd ever remember to change them. Leanne still gives me grief because my wall calendar above my desk is stuck on May 2008! I do have a reason for that however - that calendar is from The Camp and has a picture of Dennis's office which I consider one of my very best miniature pieces.)

(Not shown is the wooden trim that she found for me that I mentioned yesterday or the three sets of measuring spoons that I've already put away. The measuring spoons are great to have on hand to throw together a little baking scene as a gift.)

I bought four wired bulbs to make lamps. (And I'm all set to go with the brass findings I bought at the Phoenix show and sale.) Also got one of the new battery-operated LED lamps. It will work well in the alcove off the sitting room/office in the Bombay house when I get the window seat built in that.

The corner cabinet will go in my stash for now. They work so well in those small dollhouse rooms and they're just great in any room to display special pieces. The wing chair will go in the Bombay living room to replace the leather arm chair that's in it now. Don't know just where the glass display cabinet will go but it's a beauty and will definitely show off some of my glass/porcelain/silver pieces.

I LOVE grab bags and was fortunate to win this $10 one from Liz. The first lamp is a great modern piece that I'm anxious to find a spot for and the second will work in my log cabin if I ever get around to working on it. Four clock faces, a resin miniature cottage, two dogs, a turtle, pants and top, two cushions, two oval mirrors, a great little silver-tone wishing well, telephone, basket, and orchard delivery wagon with extra wheels and handles.

These were in the $5 grab bag that I bought: two picture frames (can always use those); 4 engraved metal plates, fishing net, flocked bunny, basket, doll wig, basket, cake, bags, boxes, clip board, platter, cutlery, baskets, sled, umbrellas (great for baby/wedding shower scene) and bowling pins and ball (great for some kind of game stall at our fair for the show and sale in September).

Now I have to bag all this and put it away :-(

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Double Challenge

My order arrived from my friend Liz at Grandpa's Dollhouse. I'll show you the great things I got, hopefully, tomorrow but I must tell you about one item in particular. You may remember that I ran out of the wood trim that I was using to make the peg/bulletin board in the scrapbooking vignette. Although I managed to finish that piece, I really wanted more of that trim but couldn't find it anywhere online. So I wrote Liz and sent her a description and a photo. It turned out that the trim has been discontinued but she managed to find a supplier who still had some in stock and got it for me! That's the kind of service you can depend on from Liz.

To save on shipping, she had included Joanne and Laurie's orders with mine and in addition to our orders, she sent a bag of 'stuff' she thought we might be able to use.

Laurie is making a public bathroom for our country fair display at the show and sale in September so we talked today about some of the items needed for that such as towel dispensers and toilet paper holders.

So I looked at one of the scoops from Liz and thought I might be able to make a toilet paper dispenser from one of them.

I started by cutting the bottom off one of the scoops.
 Then I cut an opening for the access to the toilet paper. I goofed a bit and a piece of the plastic snapped off inside the circular part so I decided to cut straight across rather than leave it rounded.

 Then I 'painted' it with black marker.
Ordinarily I would use a piece of drinking straw for the toilet paper roll core but that would be too small for a commercial roll like this so I cut a strip of cardstock 5/16" wide and wrapped it twice around  the handle of a foam paint brush, gluing it to itself.

Then I cut a strip of two-ply tissue 5/16" wide,
separated the two plies,
 and wrapped it around the core. (A full roll would require probably about 6 single ply pieces.) It's glued in a couple spots to make it easier to handle then a strip about 1/2" long left to hang out of the dispenser. The roll is then glued to the inside of the dispenser.
 Then the dispenser will be glued to the cubicle wall.
My Mom broke her pelvis the night before I left for Phoenix but she and my sisters insisted that I go anyway. (One of my sisters also lives here so Mom wasn't alone.) So my days after my return were broken up visiting her in the hospital. She returned home on Monday. She lives in the building next door to mine so I go over in the morning and help out and run errands and Shirley goes in the afternoon. We're settling into a routine so I'm hoping that I'll be able to start getting a bit more organized around here.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

the last two days of the trip

On Sunday, we went to a shopping centre in Peoria. Our first stop was Joann's. Had lots of fun looking around but only bought some beads for my Mom (who loves making her own jewellery) and a yard of tarnish prevention cloth. It's really wide so Joanne and I are going to split it. I'll cut some into small pieces to protect my miniature silver and the rest will go in my RL silver chests.

Because it was Sunday, Hobby Lobby was closed which was disappointing as I've never been to one.

Got a couple books for the grandkids at Barnes & Noble...and one for me titled "4,000 Years of Uppity Women" by Vicki Leon which is an interesting read.

Went to a Savers thrift store where I got a book by J.A. Jance that I hadn't read yet. Seemed quite appropriate as her books are set in Arizona. Also picked up two small shadow box picture frames.

The larger one is 3 5/8" square and 1 1/4" deep (the glass is recessed about 1/4") so may use it to hang some special minis on the wall. The smaller is 2 5/8" square and 1 1/4" deep. Thought I might cover the glass with felt (or something), display some minis on it, cover the whole top with a piece of plastic and use it as a display coffee table. We'll see...

That was about it for Sunday.

First thing Monday morning we stopped at a Dollar Tree and Michael's. Didn't find anything at Michael's but picked up a few things at Dollar Tree. (Sunni found some great little ponies that will be perfect for pony rides at our fair.)

I have piles of pastel and printed baby washcloths but have never see them in the bright colours before. Wish I had bought more. The plastic pieces are puzzles that come apart. Not too sure just what I'll use them for but eventually I'll think of something. Dollarama has been out of the red wood tables for awhile now and they're so nice to have on hand so I picked up a couple.

 These little containers were 10 for $1 and they'll come in handy for storage, if nothing else, but they're about 2 3/8" x 2" by 1 3/8" deep so in the right scene, they can be used for storage bins.

Then we headed to Auntie Em's Miniature Store in Glendale. Wonderful little shop with some excellent displays. Didn't get too much here (not for lack of variety - just didn't see much that I needed for things I'm working on).

I did get two sheets of plastic bricks to do the outside of my art gallery. It's been in limbo while I thought about how to do the outside. Maybe this will give me the impetus to finish it. VBG

I was thrilled to see three discontinued Houseworks Signature Series Federal Collection kits - two of them for $8 each and one for $10. I love this furniture (it's what I used in the bedroom of the Bombay house) and I may be able to use it in the white and green bedroom when I get working on it. (Someone is asking $98.95 on Amazon for the chair kit alone!!!)

And I picked up a Chrysnbon dresser set. Can always find a place for those pieces.

After we left Auntie Em's, we went a few blocks over to Historic Glendale where many historic homes have been turned into small shops. Had a great time looking around then had lunch.

Suddenly it was three o'clock and Sunni's husband was there to pick her up and it was time for us to head to Sky Harbour to return the rental car and begin our journey home.

Now it's time to separate my goodies into the 'take for Show and Tell" items and items to be put away...and actually get them put away. LOL

Then I have to get the club newsletter together and, soon, start my plant stall for the fair.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Phoenix Show and Sale

Saturday morning we were up bright and early in anticipation of the show and sale. We started the day with the wonderful breakfast included with our room. I mention this because the butter came in a container I hadn't seen before that will make a wonderful bathroom sink for the travel trailer.

We arrived at the show just as it opened at ten. On your way to the sales floor, you go down this LONG hallway filled with the most incredible displays.

 The display on the right above is in celebration of the Japanese Dolls' Festival, or Girls' Day, close-up below:

At the end of the hall was a Children's Make and Take table and immediately to the left as you entered was the Children's sales table. Sunni was particularly interested in the Make and Take as she does that annually at our own show. We don't sell individual items at our children's sales table but we do sell $1 grab bags  that are very popular. (Note: all club members were wearing turquoise shirts - a nice touch.)
On the right as we entered was the club sales table. I headed straight for that as I had my list of Nutshell News and hoped to pick up some copies missing from my collection. Jackpot! Got seven right off the bat! Got two metres of the black lace (about a foot wide) and a huge piece of white tulle for $1 each and a lovely little feather fan for 50 cents. The black lace will make lovely drapes/curtains for the Bombay house.

My next stop was the N.A.M.E. table where I got another missing Nutshell News. Then off to shop 'til I dropped! Ran into Dottie as I left the N.A.M.E. table and we went to the Acquisto Silver table where she visited with Pete while I talked with his lovely wife Dee and drooled - a lot! His work is just exquisite and one of these days I'm going to save up and buy a piece.

From there I just wandered around. Didn't really have a shopping list per se but I had a mental list of my UFOs and I did know I wanted to buy something specifically Southwestern as a memento of the trip. Dottie had suggested Gloria Bogulus for that so I found her table and got the most fantastic kachina and a pot signed by Lawrence Vargas of Albuquerque, NM. Gloria was selling the pot for someone who was downsizing and I spotted it as she was telling her husband how to enter the sale. It was exactly what I wanted and I scooped it up immediately.

I don't really need any more plants but fell in love with this hanging plant and had to have it. The pine cones when painted green make great little barrel cacti. The other odd looking piece is a corvina bone. (I believe the corvina is a saltwalter fish.) Anyway I thought it looked like a neat piece of ivory to go into my oriental piece.

I simply cannot pass up a good deal when it comes to light fixtures!

I'm a huge fan of Dragonfly International and it was so nice to see her things up close and personal.

I didn't need any more fabric but this gingham was SO tiny, just had to have it. And ditto for the domed trunk and shoji screen kits! The jewellery box actually was on my list although I had more in mind one of the ones with the doors that open to the side but this one is good and will go either in the Bombay house bedroom or the white bedroom I'm working on.

I've wanted the paper plate making jig for a long time and finally got it. The piece above the incredible fine gold-tone chain (sold by the yard) is a beautiful little Christmas candleholder. Tried to find it on her website with no luck. The checker board w/checkers is wonderful. She also has a great dartboard but I had already made one for the pub and couldn't think of a place to put another one. (See, I do occasionally show some restraint. LOL) Got two sets of the laser cut kitchen tools - can always use those. Two sets of trunk hinges and locks, a package of teensy-tiny laser cut buttons, a vanity mirror and a set of modern keys.

Linda Dickson was there from Trims II, an egging supply company. I picked up a whole pile of pieces that I hope to use to make lamps.

Gilbert Mena had a lovely selection of burl wood turnings. Three in particular caught my eye and I ended up getting this one.

Debbie Jones of Kitz Miniatures was there also. I've often bought from her online so was nice to meet her and see her line in person. Bought a bunch of candy canes, and some great rhinestone stickers to be used as trims and/or jewellery. Got two cups and saucers filled with flowers - one for me and one for Barb who has a large RL cup and saucer planter. Also three miniature cookie tins for the Christmas shop. (Gotta cool it with the Christmas stuff - think I have enough to fill three or four shops by now. VBG)

A small portion of the sales floor:

A final visit with Dottie at the end of the day: 
Joanne, Dottie, Sunni and Tina