Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Lots of Running

Yesterday I ran around with my friend, Holly. We were free of the kids and the husbands so we went shopping, out to lunch, and drove past the house she and her husband are trying to purchase. While waiting for FH to come home I worked on the Greenleaf and some things to go inside it.

I spent today on a gleeful trip around Peoria with one of my local mini-friends. We went to Michael's (twice), Hobby Lobby, the Dollar Store, a local craft store, and the local scrapbooking store.

I found loads of fun papers for doilies and some to become wallpaper for a witch's house. We also got to visit for several hours and talk about our mini projects. I was finally able to see her wonderful minis today as well.

Next time she's coming to my neck of the woods to work on projects. There's not much to do around the town I live in and we picked up enough supplies to occupy us for a while.

Our miniature club meets Thursday evening. We are going to figure out our plans then and see if another person is able to join us. I will be teaching the group how to make a red velvet cake at the meeting.

Tomorrow afternoon I see the new neurologist and hopefully get some answers. After that I am planning on getting back to the Greenleaf since I wasn't able to work on it today.

In other news it appears Tempie isn't wanting to eat all of a sudden. Time to break open a can of canned pumpkin and see if I can get more into the bunny than on the bunny.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Sparkling Blue Floral Dress and Purse

FH was asked to be in a good friend's wedding a couple of years ago. Since we would be attending both the wedding and rehearsal dinner together I decided I needed something nice to wear. There was a fabric that had been marked down at work (back in the days when I worked at a fabric store) that whispered to me every time I walked past.

So I did what any reasonable person would do.. I purchased the entire remainder of the bolt.

This is the dress I made for the rehearsal dinner.
Just look at it sparkle in the light.
I used a Simplicity pattern designed by Khaliah Ali. I love the feminine details of this pattern that are not only elegant, but are designed to keep the bustline private. Definitely a good thing when attending wedding activities.
Since I had the fabric and the time I also made a matching purse.
The contrast fabric came from a fat quarter on a rack at the same store. I think I used a discontinued Butterick pattern. I looked for it to doublecheck and couldn't find it. All of my patterns are out of order in their filing cabinet. I never sorted them when I unpacked.
This bag was large enough for me to take along a portable sewing kit (which we needed for the bride at the reception), special double sided tape: one side for fabric, the other for skin, a folding lint roller, extra film, tissues, my cosmetics, both of our billfolds, and both sets of car keys.

I still had fabric left over so I made a skirt to wear to the actual wedding ceremony and a blouse and camisole but they are in storage until I unpack the summer clothes again. So they will have to be posted in another entry sometime in the future.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

My First Dollhouse, Pt. 3: Food and Other Accesories

My mother wasn't a "crafty" person. She was and is a damn fine dressmaker and an excellent pattern-maker. Her embroidery puts most people's to shame. She never learned about clays beyond what is used to make pottery. The newest, most impressive art supplies never caught her attention.

She does hear all about them from me now, but back then all I had to work with was Playdough. The hardest part about that was waiting for it to dry. And remember, in the 80's you didn't find Playdough in any color but blue, yellow, the pinkish red, and white.

I still love the candle, complete with flame. How else would they see if the candle had no flame? The roses on the cakes and the green cup aren't bad either. And my potatoes now are made much the same way...just with polymer clay in different colors and some chalk.

I loved to read. I thought all kids loved to read. So I made books with construction paper covers and staples for binding.
Books with pages that turned and had stuff in them.
I think this one was supposed to be a "My First Colors" book or something. There are many other books in the little house, but this one was the easiest to get to.

It seemed only natural that a set of twins would have bunk beds. Some pieces of balsa that I found somewhere, a few popsicle sticks, and some toothpicks became these beds. I even put the guard rail on the top bunk.

I was fascinated by different types of pillows. That came from the catalogs with bedding I think. Apparently I wanted to make the round neckroll pillows after I saw them. The fabric was scraps from my mother sewing new cushions for something.

I know there were more of these first minis at one point, but these are all that is left. Nineteen years later they still make me smile. And now I know about "earthquake glue." I'm sure you can guess how everything stays in place these days. ;-)

My First Dollhouse, Pt. 2: The Bed and Other Sewn Things

Of course the rabbits needed beds right away and not just any beds. I remember seeing pictures of bedding in catalogs and wanted beds to be pretty like the pictures. My mother let me have some nice fabric that coordinated well and turned me loose with a needle and thread.

The mattresses needed to fit into the halves of a flat box that I had found. I'm not sure why I chose the box, but it worked well.

Do you see the little knots to make the mattress look quilted?
I had forgotten all about them until I found these toys after I moved out. Next came the comforter and matching pillows.
Then I had beds. Apparently I decided to use some larger "practice" pillows to make something resembling a sofa or stuffed chair. Not sure where the red thing came from. Probably came with a baby doll or something when I was even younger.
Oh, the pink thing next to it... that was an attempt at crochet. No clue what I was trying to make. But I remember the pink yarn and still have that crochet hook. The rug is a scrap of fabric that I raveled the edges to look fringed.

Every little girl needs a doll. And just because this girl was a rabbit was no exception.
I vaguely remember taking a bit of fluff, wadding it up tightly and covering it with a scrap. Mom tried showing me how to make French knots for the eyes by myself, but she ended up doing both eyes for me. I drew the rest of the face and hair with marker. It still didn't look like a doll until I put the red scrap over it's head.

200th Post - My First Dollhouse Pt. 1

I noticed the other day the was close to 200 blog posts and I thought I would do something special to celebrate number 200.

Lots of people have asked me how I got started with miniatures or how long I have been playing with miniatures. The answer is I've always played with little things. Boxes became playgrounds for little dolls and furniture was made from whatever I could find.

The first "real dollhouse" was a San Franciscan that my father never finished putting together. And what he did get done is falling apart. If the kit hadn't been from my grandparents I would trash it. However I plan on turning it into a haunted house. This will allow me to save it and use every trick I've picked up along the way. Right now the pieces are in my MIL's basement.

The first dollhouse that I got to actually play with as a child came along right after dad stopped working on the San Fran. It's a plastic playhouse made for the Sylvanian Families toys.

According to my mother I was about nine or ten when this came along and I started playing. I made all of the furniture except for the big table and long bench. The little babies came with their cradles and bottles. The accessories were either found items or bits that I made.

The rabbit family in the house was played with often and predate the house itself.

I have more pictures of several items in there that I will be putting up in the next two posts. This breaks things up a bit more evenly and won't take forever to load. ;-)

E600 Question

Will E600 glue work to attach siding to a dollhouse in lieu of hot glue? I've already been warned against using white glue because it will apparently warp the outer walls of the dollhouse.

Happy Birthday to my Boys!

Castor and Pollux are 10 years old now! How time does fly.

Pollux glowers at the camera

Castor wants a belly rub.

Here's to as many more as we can have together!

Happy Spr.... Wait... What?

Remember this guy?He and his buddy are really peeved now.FH is very happy he didn't start his lettuce and parsley yet. Or at least he will be when he wakes up. I think he read all night.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quick 'n Purty

As opposed to quick and dirty! ;-)

While I was cleaning the craft room I found (again) this rosebush that a dear, dear friend of mine gave to me for the first Christmas that I knew her. Her name is Marolyn K. and she's part of my St. Louis miniature group.
This was the third or fourth time I had found it and lost it again. Don't you hate when that happens? Anyway my Muse, who is surprisingly foul-mouthed and extremely direct told me I should make something to display these roses in before I loose them again. Actually what she said was, "Hey dips%^#! Yeah, you! Make something for these bloody roses before you really loose them or the %*(*(%^-cats eat them and poop pink!"

Needless to say she got my attention. I really wish she wouldn't suspect the cats of eating the minis. They really don't show any interest in eating them. And don't think for a moment the Muse doesn't like cats. She's the one who talked me into making my own catnip toys one year because the nip would be fresher... But I digress. ;-)

I happened to have this neat gift bag with Conservatory theme to it and noticed the pink shades were similar to the rose bush. I used a piece of lavender scrap-booking paper I had on hand to cover the walls and then centered the design from the original bag front. A small piece of real house wallpaper covering some Styrofoam became the floor.

To hide the fact that I didn't have a large enough design to cover the entire wall I put up fake curtains. The rose bush is now sitting in a raised flower box that I was able to piece together from scraps of wood.

At this point I figured there would be room for the other floral treasures from friends and FH so I set about tracking them down. The small table on the right side was a wooden disc and spool that I glued together and painted.

All in all I think the Muse should be satisfied and let me love on to the Greenleaf and some clay work. What do you think?
From start to finish, including drying times, the whole thing took maybe six hours. It just got spread out over two days so I could sleep, run errands, and spend time with FH.

The orchids, mixed planter, and white vase in the back are all from FH.

The teddy bear planter with violets was made by Mary Ellis and I mentioned it before in a stash post.

The pansies in the carrot can were a gift from Fay Zerbolio. I don't know if she made them or not, but it wouldn't surprise me if she did. The woman has more talent in her little finger than I do in my whole body.

Just a note to say I almost forgot. something important. The underside of the rosebush has the signature "J. Akin '03" Anyone know who the artist is?

Glee! Plus Some Annoyance

My labels from Deadspider arrived today! *happy dance* Now to figure out which ones get to go on which jars and how to make things... They are destined for "Ezzie's Potion Kitchen."

Also here, and the source of annoyance is my Greenleaf. The post-person left it on the door step in the wind and rain, not bothering to knock or ring the bell before they ran off. So much for "delivery conformation." FH was up and about all morning, but he did not hear the truck go by.

So when I went out for the mail, there it was... on it's side in the pouring rain. Not even under the canopy above the door. The wind had blown it over. We immediately ripped open the packaging and determined that despite the soaked state of the box the pieces were realitively dry and unharmed. I'm letting them air out right now. I will probably start playing with it tomorrow.

Still no white sand. Probably will get here Monday.

Back in a few to show off today's project!

I've Been Awarded!

Casey at Casey's Minis has awarded me with the "Proximidade Award!"

This is the blurb about the award:

"This blog invests and believes in the PROXIMITY-nearness in space, time and relationships. These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in prizes or self-aggrandizement! Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers!”

Wow. I am honored. Truly I think this is the best award to receive from anyone, especially someone who I admire.

Now to pick eight bloggers to pass this onto. No mean feat when you follow 150. The there's trying to pick someone who hasn't been awarded that same thing already. Hmm... here goes:

1. Doreen http://doreensminiatures.blogspot.com/

2. Michelle http://boulderneigh.blogspot.com/

3. Mz Minka http://mizminka.blogspot.com/

4. Mary http://sunflowerminis.blogspot.com/

5. Karen http://karensshetlands.blogspot.com/

6. Leigh http://leighsfiberjournal.blogspot.com/

7. Jean http://jdayminis.blogspot.com/

8. Sharon http://sagecreekfarm.blogspot.com/

These wonderful ladies are caring, thoughtful, funny, talented, and most of all friendly. It's up to you now, ladies. :-)

Booties Glalore!

Obviously this pair of booties is not sewn. I crocheted them out of green and pink bedspread weight crochet cotton. The pattern is from "Booties by the Dozen" by Kay Meadors. I've also done this pattern in pale yellow, trimmed in blue and pink, trimmed in white.

The little cuties were sewn from yellow fleece and trimmed with some adorable ribbon I found at Jackman's Fabrics in St. Louis, MO. The pattern is by Vogue. It comes as a set of six different styles.
I have more pictures of different booties but they are all on film and I don't own a scanner. Apparently my mother, who was kind enough to drop the film off for me, never thought of having the pictures saved to CD. Unfortunately I never thought to specify wanting a CD instead of actual pictures. Ah well. Live and learn. Besides she didn't have to drop film off for me, or let me use her camera back then so I refuse to complain about it. ;-)

Progression, I Guess

So Monday the nurse at the clinic will be calling a neurologist's office and giving them the referral and my contact info. From there an appointment will be scheduled. Whee.

After the appointment today FH and I ran errands and went out to eat. Not alot of time today to play with minis but I did get a few holes filled with putty and some painting done. I was also able to get most of a small setting thrown together.

I will finish the setting and have pictures tomorrow.

Now we're waiting for snow. Yes. Snow. Three to six inches. Of snow.

So much for the first day of Spring...

Welcome Betty!

Hello and welcome to Betty of Live Mini! Betty makes lovely canes of food items and adorable desserts. She is relatively new to blogging, so please go over and make her feel welcome.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Productive, sort of

Taxes are done. Dishes are run. Rabbit hutches are cleaned. Cat boxes refreshed. Trash is in the outside bin. Bills are paid. Craft room is usable. Pictures for future sculpting projects are found.

Now to wait for the doctor's appointment this evening.

Welcome, Mags!

Hello and welcome to Mags, a fantastic miniature artisan who does wonders with polymer clay! Pop over to her blog Mags-nificent Miniatures to see what I mean. Mags is brand new to blogging so let's all make her feel welcome! :-)

Because Karen Asked...

Here are some past sewing projects and all the details I can remember about them. I will put a few up now and do some more on another day.

1. FH's favorite shirt:
FH loves muslin shirts. He says they breathe really well and he rarely gets too hot in them. At one point the only muslin shirt he owned was of Renaissance design, so I decided to change that for him. I think I used a McCall's pattern for this, but I could be wrong. It's buried in the file cabinet in the craft room...unless it's still in my mother's sewing room.

The fabric started out as a natural muslin. I dyed it blue in the washing machine with very hot water and plenty of salt. Not only did it turn out a nice shade of blue, but the fabric was nicely abused and thus pre-shrunk to my satisfaction. You know your mother trusts you when she lets you use her washing machine to dye fabric in. Yes I cleaned it very, very well after.

The buttons were something I found while working at Hancock Fabrics years ago. I remember taking a swatch in with me during my shift and matching the color as closely as I could.

2. White Blouse I wear sometimes for Ren stuf... not really period, but wrinkled as heck from being stored with the period garb.
I fell in love with the sleeves on this pattern. I think it was a Simplicity. I could be wrong. It has been about five or six years. The fabric is a bleached muslin and the only closure is the ribbon at the neck. I really need to dig out the pieces if I can find them and alter it a bit.

I would prefer the entire shirt to be longer and slightly gathered at the waist. Less like a mumu with the added length. Of course I didn't know that until I made the first one. I will let you know if I revisit this one.

3. Brenna's Hat:I loved this project some much! The pattern is a discontinued McCall's. I used baby pink and off-white fleeces to make the hat itself and then cut out that little sheep from a patterned fleece for the applique.

I made two others but can't fine pictures of them. The first one was baby blue and right white fleece with a teddy bear applique. The other was all white fleece with a brown rabbit applique.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I have noted that I am a seamstress but have never posted about any sewing projects. One reason is I haven't been sewing anything so I didn't think to put up any pictures. The other reason, which is the reason I haven't been sewing, is that my last sewing project was a custom job for a friend.

He wanted me to recreate his "party shirt" which had begun to unravel. We shopped for materials. I measured him over and over since the original shirt was a knit and the new fabric he chose was woven. I took apart the original and made a mock up pattern that I then altered using his measurements.

Weeks went by. I made a mock up of muslin because I didn't want to risk the real fabric on the untried pattern. This was good because the underarms were too tight and the back and sides needed to be let out. Finally after many fittings of the mock up I made the real deal.

It was beautiful. It fit. It suited him so well. It was perfect.

Then he met someone. We, his friends, were overjoyed. We all wanted to meet her and welcome her into our group. The woman who made him smile so big, laugh so deeply. She moved to be with him from another state.

He stopped showing up at movie nights. Stopped answering his phone. Made a 20 minute appearance at the wedding reception after driving for over an hour because she didn't want to come and he didn't want to be away for too long.

Finally he informed all of us via email and his blog that he was never going to speak with any of us again. We were to blame for all of his previous ills and all he wanted to do was go away with his new wife (yes, wife), his new step-son, and the new baby she was going to have in January.

I never saw the shirt again. Nor did I ever get a picture.

Welcome (officially) to Karen!

Karen of Karen's Shetlands is now officially following my blog! Hi, Karen! :-)

She raises sheep and always has some of the most beautiful pictures and stories on her blog. If you have a moment, please go over and say hello.

Well Earned Break

I've had a bit of Lady Grey and some lemon-iced cookies. I should be able to get the final bits of the craft room dealt with enough to finish moving everything that migrated out back where it belongs.

For anyone who is in a curious mood, this is what the room looks like so far:

The dollhouse porch is going to stay cluttered for a bit. Once I get the white table in the center cleared off and things from the rest of the house put away I'm going to play for a bit. I will have earned it given the previous mess.

With any luck I should be able to finish the hat shop structure (sitting on the bright yellow sewing machine cabinet) and last year's Mini Mixer project (not in the room yet) before the Greenleaf shows up. Of course given the fact of it still being in Massachusetts this morning might help me out. If the white sand shows up before the Greenleaf I could even finish the Adobe.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Neat Giveaway!

Calamity Kim is hosting a giveaway over on her blog to celebrate her new apron being published in the new Apronology Magazine.

Even if you don't enter the giveaway you should still go check out this lady's fabric art. It's awesome!

From My Stash 3-25-09

These aren't really "stashed, since they are in use but I believe they count since I haven' t finished the miniatures for them.

I have a "thing" for objects/furniture that can hold and protect miniature scenes and still function as they were intended. I'm not sure why, but it appeals to me. It also appeals to the minimalist I married. Lucky for me, our best friend has a woodworking shop, patience, and design skills. He also takes a certain amount of amusement in watching FH cringe when he helps me plan a new project.

Structures that need filling:

1. The pair of living room lamps. They are a matched set, only one is in the picture though, and are designed to look like sections of attic.
The tops and bases are make from un-stained paduk. Used tung oil on them to allow the natural wood to remain glorious. The outside is shingled, the inside papered with mini newspaper. There is a plexi-glass front that slides out to allow access. I need to make the windows and add beams... then start filling them with odd bits and pieces. I have some things ready to put in but not some of the larger things.

2. The nightstands.
I built these beauties before FH and I were married. Several trips to the Ft. Lenard Wood area were made to our friend's house to use his shop. They are built from red oak plywood and trimmed/faced with solid read oak. FH likes darker woods so I used a rosewood stain.

The cool thing about their design is the top section is designed to hold a 10 gallon fish tank, which is a great thing to build a mini room in...provided it's a new and never-been-used fish tank. The back opens up to allow access to the tank for whatever reason.

I have started FH's scene already. I decided to do a hunting cabin for him, with both indoor and outdoor elements. I got stalled out looking for a 1:12 scale badger and then we moved to this house. I my goal is to get a good chunk of the scene done so the tank can move into it's home and free up some shelves in the craft room. Then I can add bits whenever I get them done.

My scene is going to be a living room with a card table in front of a window that looks out into a garden. I will have bookshelves with books, photos, and 1:144 minis on display. I've begun collecting things for mine but have not started it yet. There simply isn't enough room right now.

Now that things have calmed down a bit I need to make a prioritized list of projects I already own and get down to business. For variety I can insert clay work into the mix.

Stopping for the night.

I have unearthed a portion of my main desk in the craft room. It is now possible to see table as opposed to piles of stuff. Hoping to get that the rest of the way cleared tomorrow and get a good chunk of my center "island" table emptied as well.

More boxes of random things have been sorted through and dealt with. These boxes appeared the last time my mother came up to visit. Apparently she didn't remember me telling her that specific piles of things left behind when I moved here a year ago were for Goodwill or junk to be thrown out. In fact the "trash" written on one box didn't ring any bells either. This is what happens when I listen to my mother when she says, "Don't worry about the rest of this right now. Just get the critters into the U-Haul and get going before it's too late to drive." There are more of them in the garage. Ugh. Oh well. She really thought she was helping. I can't fault her for trying. I just wish she hadn't carted them up right after I finally had gotten everything already here put away in the limited space I have. *sigh* Wishes, horses... yeah.

Of course the rest of the mess that grew around the boxes came from working on a project in front of the TV in the living room and then having to quickly put it away. And taking supplies for specific projects to miniature club meetings and not having a chance to sort it and put it where it belongs. And trips out of town that result in bringing home more treasures that don't get sorted because washing the cigarette smell from our clothes is more important that playing with new toys. And then Yule happened and more stuff got shoved out of the way... This is how chaos is formed.

I'm hoping to get the room sorted out before the pain kicks back into high gear. I'm racing Nature and the clock, since I'm waiting on the arrival of a certain Greenleaf dollhouse kit. FH helped me come up with an idea for the contest as a nice distraction from the barrage of medical tests that are in my near future. I will post pics after the contest is over.

In other news the critters all seem to be doing alright. Castor's stomach has calmed down so much on the new food. Pollux and Confetti aren't showing any signs of the food disagreeing with their systems. Both rabbits are enjoying the warmer temperatures that mean outdoor trips.

Speaking of critters and cute things, if you don't already read Boulderneigh hop over there to see some of the first pictures of this lambing season.

That's it for me tonight.

Welcome, Mary!

Welcome, welcome, to my newest follower, Mary! Her blog is called Sunny Sunflower Miniatures and her current project is her own "Flourish and Blotts" books shop. Mary is new to the miniature obsession and her blog only has a few posts, so let's show lots of encouragement. :-)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


The first of many packages that I'm expecting has arrived! This one contained no-hole beads in several colors and two shades of green flocking.

I've been busily attempting to reclaim my craft room from the cluttered mess it has become. Will be back when I get some more done with it.

More Welcomes!

Hello and welcome to my two newest followers!

Maija has a wonderful blog at http://iidasanttu.vuodatus.net that features art and life.

Ana blog is called Miniatures Forever, which should hint at the content. ;-) So many beautiful miniatures are posted.

As always, please go over and say hello.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Extreme Sheep LED Art

Since I don't really know how to embed video in a post, I will have to direct you all to this link.

These shepherds really have too much time on their hands... but isn't it grand?

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Welcome to Casey and Tessie!

Welcome, welcome to Casey of Casey's Minis. She's a brilliant miniaturist living in my beloved southwest. At the risk of gushing, her work is not only cool but inspiring!

I have to include Tessie in this welcome note or she might be vexed with me. Tessie is a 1:12 scale witch doll who stars in many adventures throughout Casey's workroom. Her antics are well recorded and loved by many, including myself.

Go over and see for yourself what I mean.

FH's Saturday

The fantabulous Fuzzy Husband played all day Saturday as well. The monthly bow meet at Dixon Mounds was yesterday and he had a good time.

The bow is to the point where he can use sandpaper to remove millimeters of wood to get the draw he needs. Here it is with his bullroarer and a bow drill that he used to make the hole in the roarer.

Since it was so nice outside he tried out the bullroarer. Sadly the friend with our camera did not know how to turn the video aspect on. That would have been ideal.

Sewing Circle Project... really it was

Since FH and I don't have much in the way of patterns or fabric for our Rendezvous garb I took a portable mini project with me to sewing circle. It's by no means finished, but I thought you would like to see it so far.

This 1:48 scale adobe room was purchased as an unfinished blank with display case by my exquisite mother-in-law for my birthday last year. She also purchased all of the accessories as well. Everything was made by an artisan from the Chicago, IL area who goes by the name of KM Wohrstein. Her products are simply awesome and I am looking forward to owning another room or two in the future. It turns out that I need another room anyway as I have some interior accessories left over. Oh darn! ;-)

Here is the room with a scale. I didn't purposely choose the quarter (quarter-scale haha!), it just happened to be the only coin I could find. There is nothing behind the quarter for the moment. I plan on making a side table and setting an old radio (printie)on it. I have a couple of books(again printies) to put somewhere too.

This is the pile of goodies that I have to work with. Obviously some of them are aleady in place. I only used one of the sandpaintings and I didn't use the runner that matches the area rug. They will have to find another place to live.
Here is the piece in it's display case. It fit so nicely in the plastic ornament, don't you think? I bought the stand separately at Hobby Lobby.
The back is not finished. I need some white sand to use for ground cover. Once I get that I can add my coyote, the yucca, the cactus, and the flowerpot complete with bunny butt sticking out of it. But I did get the lizard decorations on the outer walls. I plan on making a string of chili peppers to hang outside as well.

If all goes well I should be able to show this at the St. Louis, MO miniature show in April. Then my mother-in-law can see it in person.