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Saturday, 13 January 2018

The Flu Hit, and Then It Hit Again

Apparently, Alberta is the hotbed of flu for Canada right now, so I suspect I brought the flu back with me. A day after I succumbed, my youngest daughter in Alberta, who has just moved out there, was also hit.

So I missed the FAME Little Christmas party, but I went in spirit; the carpenter-in-chief delivered my portion of the pot-luck dinner, as well as my exchange gift, so I got a gift back. The wonderful little Christmas table is ready to pop into a Christmas setting; there are wine glasses, a pair of heavy brass candlesticks, a plate of cookies, tiny table-top tree, and a wee snowman scene, as well as the gifts under the table. It was assembled and made by Sharon B.

Years ago, I was given a wooden book form, which was intended to become a Christmas setting; this may well go into that, as I think it may be a good backdrop for Christmas items on my sales tables at shows. Once the Advent project is done, I'll have a go at putting the book scene together.

The flu lasted about 5 days, then I thought I was better, and it sort of hit again. I hope to be back to normal sooner rather than later!

Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Back At It

While in western Canada over the holiday season, I had a miniature visit with six members of the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton (MEE), hosted by Maureen H. It was wonderful to re-acquaint myself with Maureen and Tina, both of whom are CMHH alumni, and to meet Barb, Joanne, Marg and Teresa.

Tina has a laser cutter, and gave me a gorgeous Chippendale-inspired trellis - or it could be a room divider - which may end up in the Japanese vignette. Maureen gave me one of her readable, illustrated mini books, which is going into my Steam Punk bookstore.

Isn't the trellis lovely? Laser cutters are the coolest tool created, as far as I'm concerned.

I also got back to the Advent project; the edges of the builder's foam were sealed and painted, waiting now for me to decide whether I want to "stucco" them, or cover them in muslin. The strange thing on the floor of the vignette is an old CMHH kit for a fire guard, which I am slowly putting together. (It is very cold here, like much of Canada and parts of the US, and I wish I could hibernate!)

The fire guard is made of thin mahogany (I think) veneer glued onto black fine bridal tulle. Once the glue is dry, I'll trim the netting, and add bead feet and some other decorative effects. Then I get to varnish the wood without getting any of the varnish on the tulle. We'll see....

In my stash of stuff I found a tall, cone-shaped brass fitting, like from a bolo tie, and a pair of tiny golden wings; these will be the base for making a gold-coloured Christmas angel for the setting. Tomorrow, I work so it is unlikely I'll get any minis done, so it's on to Friday. On Saturday, our FAME group is celebrating Little Christmas with a Pot Luck and a gift exchange. Lots of minis this week!

Sunday, 17 December 2017

Day 17 - For Now, It is the Last One Before January

The experiment I wanted to try involved attempting to make MDF look like polished black quartz, and I am quite pleased with the experiment.

The mantel piece and hearth were painted flat black, and allowed to dry. I used a mix of ultra fine pearl glitter and gold glitter, mixed together. The surfaces of the painted wooden pieces were brushed with gloss varnish, and then I used the end of a drinking straw to pick up a small amount of the mixed glitter, which I then tapped quite sparingly over the wet varnish. Once that was dry, I put on another coat of varnish to keep the glitter bits trapped. It is fairly subtle, you get the sparkle depending on how the light hits the surfaces. You can see a bit of it in the photo above.

The piece is now glued together, ready to dry overnight. The edges that are not showing are bristling with toothpicks, which hold everything steady, and which I will trim off and push in flush once the glue is dry. The shiny black does not overwhelm the vignette, and will be even more part of the scenery once the other things go into the setting.

We are about to travel, and have visitors as well as be visitors. That means I will not have access to the computer, so I will wish all my readers a very Happy Christmas or Hanukkah season, and a very Happy New Year. I should be back with the blog in 2018, when I will be continuing with the small decorative aspects of the vignette. There will be a shelf in the space above the table, for instance, as well as a wreath, garlands, a Christmas tree, cards, presents, and other seasonal decorative effects.

I wish for you to enjoy time with family and friends, and to come out of the holiday season refreshed and ready to tackle another, hopefully creative, year.

Saturday, 16 December 2017

Day 16 - There Is Now a Chair...

...and a mantel for the fireplace. I dug out a fireguard kit from Camp MiniHaHa a long time ago, and will try that for the fireplace. The chair is Day 4, the fire guard is part of Day 13 while the mantel was actually part of Day 1....

Those bits bristling with pins are the various components of the chair. I used a design from Carol and Nigel Lodder's book, Making Dolls House Interiors,  a style I hadn't tried before. I didn't use foam, as I find it really deteriorates with age, and turns into powder. I would like to add some piping to the chair, so perhaps tomorrow I will try Kris Compass' technique for rolled piping - that should get glue everywhere!

The chimney breast is now glued in, but I still haven't glued up the walls, because I want to try a special finish on the mantel and hearth first, while I can work without corners and edges. If my thinking on the finish works, I'll describe it in another post; if it doesn't, both those pieces will have to be repainted and rethought....

The colour scheme is still harmonious, as I had hoped. I must admit I was a bit concerned about using stark black in a miniature. And I still haven't had to buy anything except the view out of the window. Which goes to show that I have way too much stuff in my stash!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Day 15 - I Am Working on the Chair

...and it is taking time. Today, like yesterday, was too busy to get much done in the way of minis, but I fully intend to have the chair ready to go into the vignette tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Right now all you'd see is pieces of balsa wood with placemat batting and cotton quilt batting, not very interesting at all.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Day 13 - A Rug and an Ottoman

The rug is the one specified in the Advent Calendar instructions; a base, in my case hunter green Aida cloth, with some rows of threads removed. Woven into the holes is miniature hat straw, and then a row of running stitches done with cordonnee embroidery thread. The whole is then provided with a backing of iron-on interfacing. I like it! However, it is a bit touchy with the embroidery cloth; burlap or a loose weave wool would have been much easier to weave through. Once the vignette is finished, I'll use some repositionable glue on the corners of the rug to keep it down.

The ottoman is one I designed myself, as I didn't like the one in the article. I gave it a little bit of co-ordinated piping, done by sandwiching floral wire in a strip of cotton. It isn't perfect, but I kind of got the idea across. Now I have to make a chair to match. The piping is a bit of a pain to do....

Tomorrow I work, so I don't know how much I'm going to be able to get done.

The rug is the Day 3 project, while the ottoman is Day 5. I am still catching up with the program!

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Day 12 And the Fireplace is Bricked

I spent the morning finishing the embroidery on a Real Life Christmas stocking, and the afternoon and very early evening bricking the fireplace and the fire back. I can't wait to put this corner vignette together permanently! It is being held up by my clamp bucket and the brush jug, and it is a pain....

The bricks are painted sandpaper; I had read on-line that someone had painted sandpaper and then noticed a nice texture where her fingers had accidentally landed, so I dabbed my wet paint with a wad of paper towel, and it does give a very nice additional texture. It still needs a bit of chalk aging and then a spray of artist's preservative.

This picture is actually in focus, unlike yesterday's, and shows the fireplace nicely. As I forgot to add the mantel before doing the bricks, I left a strip bare to attach that to. That's for another day.

Day 1, 2, 7, and 8 are now more or less done; that just leaves 20 more days to do in less than two weeks. Well, it will not be finished before Christmas Eve, but I will get it as close as I can and then complete it in the New Year. I'm just extending Christmas, I guess!

At least I'm keeping busy and back with minis....