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Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dollhouse Miniature Breakfast Sausage

This week we are embarking on a new series of food videos. I thought it would be nice to make some things that can be either cooking in the dollhouse kitchen or plated up and ready to eat. These sausages would look really good in a mini diner scene also. I decided to start with the sausages for a couple of reasons. First off they are really easy to make but look really good when placed in the scene. Secondly a lot of you have asked for foods that can be used for meals in your dollhouse scenes. These sausages are really versatile, they can go in almost any time period and any place where people are going to be eating. You could use the same sausages for dinners, with pasta or even on a bun. So have fun and be sure to let me know about your projects.

I used a mixture of approximately equal parts Flesh Pink and Sahara Fimo. To this mixture I mixed in some pre-baked dark green (I think mine was a leaf green but any dark green will work) clay.

To show that the sausages have been cooked be sure to add both the little line of brown chalk to each one before you bake and then coat with the Amber glass stain paint. The glass stain paint also acts as a glue to hold the sausages to the pan and gives a nice greasy look to our pan. 


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Repairing and Dressing a Dollhouse Bed

Okay, first off I know this is way long but I had so much I wanted to cover and explain. I hope you all can in through the end and that most importantly you learn things you can use in your mini projects.

This video is the one I was planning to post the week I didn't have a video. I decided to post it as a bonus video this week since I am currently working on two other videos that are both food related.

The bed was given to me by a friend that used to have a mini store. It was broken and therefore not really worth much for sale as it was. I decided to use the opportunity to show you not only how to dress a bed (well one way there are other methods to cover later) but also how to do the simple repairs. Face it, things break and instead of throwing the broken piece away you can do a lot simple repairs yourself. Also sometimes you can save a bunch of money if your local store has an “as is” shelf with broken pieces.

I won't giving you the measurements for the bed spread because that you will have to size to the bed you are using. Just use the one I showed you to see how it worked and draw on to fit your bed.

The pillows were cut the following sizes:

floral- 2 ½” by 5”
dark green- 2” by 4”
light purple- 1 ½” by 3”

The dark purple neck roll pillow
dowel 7/16” by 2”
fabric- 5” by 2”

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just something I need to say

This post is somewhat of a rant about one of my pet peeves. If you have watched my tutorial videos you know that I very often tell you to have whatever you are making in front of you. If that isn't practical having a photo of the real item is just as important. This is especially true when you are making something you are not really familiar with.

As I was cruising around on YouTube the other day I came upon a video tutorial for making a doll size of a certain item. I am not going to say what this item was just that is is something I know and have handled all my life. This is an item I know really, really well. I was curious since the person that made the video usually does a really decent job on his/her projects. As soon as I saw the intro to the video it was obvious to me that this person had probably never even laid eyes on the object they had made, it was that far off. Now the video was well done just the process and finished item was so far off it should not even had been called what he/she thought they were making.

So where am I going with this? I want to impress on all of you, if you are making something in mini (any scale) know what it looks like. For an example, let's say you for some reason need to make a mini self sealing stem bolt but you have never actually seen one. Well, first step should be to find a picture or better yet many pictures. Go online, find out all you can about these self sealing stem bolts, don't assume anything. Don't assume how big they are. Don't assume what color they are and especially don't assume that any grooves in them can run any direction you want them to.

Why should you do the research? Because if you are going to make something and call it that you need to know what it looks like so you know you are actually making what you think you are. If you are going to turn around and tape a video tutorial and post it on the internet to teach someone else how to make something it is probably about a million times more important to actually know what you are talking about.

Okay, I feel better getting that off my chest, now back to doing research and making videos.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Metal Minis for the Dollhouse

Today I wanted to share with you how I work with the metal minis that are available to use in our dollhouse scenes. These come unpainted and can be used in so many ways. I have been purchasing mine from the same source (Dollhouse Portal) for several years. There are many places to get these I would suggest checking out your local mini store first to see if they carry them. If they don't or you don't have a local store just use your favorite search engine to find them or just check out the Dollhouse Portal and buy from there.

You do need to keep in mind that these do contain lead so you need to be careful to wash your hands with soap and water after handling them (especially before you have sealed them with paint) and NEVER give them to children that might put them in their mouths.

As you can see I usually place a good size order when I do order these. I do this for a couple of reasons number one I can save a bit on postage this way. The other reason is that it does take about a month to receive your order so I try to have on hand the things I use most often.

The first step when the package arrives is to check what you receive against the invoice. Mistakes can happen in packaging so I always check ans at the same time I look over each piece to check for breakage. These do break and if they arrive broken or something is missing I send an email to the company I purchased from letting them know right away. I have never had any problems that weren't immediately corrected.

Next I wash, or rather soak the metal minis in hot soapy water. This removes any residue left from the molding process and after they are completely dry they are ready to sort and put away to use in projects.

When I am ready to use the items I decide what color I am going to paint them and use an appropriate color of spray primer for the first coat. I don't normally prime ahead of time because I wouldn't know what color primer to use until I decide what color the finished item will be. I prime with a white primer if I will be using a light color paint and with either a gray or black for items that will be painted with a dark final color.

I usually use a spray paint for the main painting of these because I can get a better coverage with a much thinner coat of paint. I do sometimes use craft paint to further decorate the items. And some items will be coated with a high gloss spray finish to make them look like ceramic.

In the next few weeks (possibly months) we will be making some foods that will be in some of these metal minis. If you can't get the metal minis feel free to use what you do have that is similar. I just wanted to start this with the instructions to use what I will be using.

I have found that most of the metal minis cost between $1 and $4 each so they aren't horridly expensive. There are many more things than just what I show you in this video too. If you have checked out my Dinner for Two scene I used not only the plate, cup, saucer, and silverware that were metal minis so were the black portions of the bench that is in the scene.

I hope that you can find lots of uses for metal minis in your projects. 

Just a few of the pieces I got

Before and after

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Northwest Dollhouse and Miniature Show

Our local mini show was this last weekend (see the interview with the owner of the show here) Since I have a table I thought I would bring you all along with me.

I have a video slide show of the exhibits, you can see it here
I actually wrote out most of this on a tablet while I was at the show between customers.

Our show is two days (Saturday and Sunday) with Friday afternoon available to the dealers for set up time. Since my youngest son was available on Friday I drafted him to assist with the set up this year. He was mostly in charge of carrying boxes and loading them into the truck at home and then unloading them and carrying them in at the show location. I am sure he was absolutely thrilled, especially since Friday also happened to be his birthday (he turned 14) I have a feeling I will be making it up to him this week. LOL We got the table set up in about an hour and I stored my two exhibit items under my table until morning.

I had spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks getting my first DVD ready to sell at the show. I was so happy with how it turned out that I decided to do a second one. I ended up staying up until midnight Friday night and getting up at 4 Saturday morning but I did get the second on done and packaged in time to take with me for the show.

I will do a separate blog post about the videos next week so you can see more about them. They are both listed on my website for sale on the store page.

My table at the show had some misc minis that I have made in addition to the DVDs as well as the fantastic plants made by my friend Abby.

Saturday morning I arrived at the show around 8 AM and set up my exhibits. The Farm-stand had to be taken apart for transport and set up at the show that took a while but I think it was worth it.

Saturday morning at the show is always interesting. Dealers finishing up the set up of their tables and visiting with other dealers. We also all try to take time to walk around just to see what the other tables have.

Doors opened to the public at 10 AM and I hear there was a decent size line at the door.

The best part about the show is always the customers, I love to talk to them and hear what they are working on. This year was even better because so many of you came by and said hi and introduced yourselves to me because you follow my videos and this blog. I want to thank all of you that did stop to say hi.

Sunday morning is the time when most of the dealers tend to do some shopping at the other tables. I think most of us want to have an idea of how well the show will be treating us before we spend too much of our hard earned money.

I would have bought more but I just didn't find much I could use this year. I had decided to limit myself to items that could become videos so that limited me a bit.

I did get a bed but it doesn't count as a purchase because a dealer friend gave it to me. You see it was broken so she couldn't sell it. I told her I would make a video on both how to fix it and how to dress it. You can look for that video to be posted soon.

I also got some pots and pans that we will be filling soon too.

Here are some pictures of my table. I don't take pictures of other dealers tables because some of them really don't like pictures to be taken of what they make. I respect that and don't photograph them. 

my table

the DVDs shown with the projects you make following the tutorials

Plants made by my good friend Abby

some of the other items I had for sale

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Farm-stand Tour

I have some mixed feelings about finishing this project. On one hand it has been so much fun making all the produce all summer long and sharing the projects with all of you. On the other hand I have to admit I am getting tired of making produce.

I will still make some more produce items, just in smaller quantities more like what you would put in the kitchen of your dollhouse. There are still so many more produce items I want to show you all how to make. They will come later.

So is there much else to say about the produce stand? It is a huge project especially when all set up. It is on display at the local mini show this weekend and takes up a lot of table space to be sure. I just love it when it is all set up though. In reality except for being displayed (like at the show) it will probably spend most of its time as separate pieces. I decided not to permanently attach any of the parts to the board and the board will need to be store most of the time, at least until I figure out a spot to put it. I do hope to display it at the local county fair next summer and maybe at the state fair too. I'll have to see how that all works out when the time comes.

Sorry this is a short post but most of my time lately has been taken up with show prep and I just haven't had time to sit down and write this. There will be at least one bonus video this next week about the show.


The front of the stand

Little pug for Kate

picnic table

the greenhouse

the company truck

the driver left his paperwork on the seat in the truck

the weathered windows of the greenhouse

more of the weathering

the snack bar

snack bar is closed

the bell peppers

potatoes, onions and tomatoes

the rest of the produce

another view of the greenhouse

did you notice the edging around the board? I used egg cartons

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Interview with Pat Bennet

Today I am taking you along to visit Pat Bennet the owner/ promoter of the Northwest Dollhouse and Miniature Show in Portland Oregon. Pat was so kind to allow us to come to her home on a recent afternoon to talk, laugh and to view her extensive miniature collection. I hope you enjoy sitting in with us as we talk about her show, how she got interested in miniatures and about a new local mini shop.

For more information about the Northwest Dollhouse and Miniature Show follow this link to Pat's site. If you are in our area please drop by and be sure to say hi to us. Pat and I will both be there and would love to know you saw us on the video. The show is October 6 & 7th, 2012 at the Kliever Memorial Armory in Portland, Oregon. Pat has all the information on where and when as well as a coupon for $1 off your admission to the show.

Pat also let me (and all of you) know about a new miniature store in the Portland area, just across the bridge in Vancouver Washington. I'll update this blog with the information as soon as I get it. I debated about it but decided that getting the video up was more important than the details about the shop.

If you can't get to our show please try to find a show that is local to you and attend. The experience is so worth it and you will have a wonderful time. Remember there are a lot of dealers/ artists at the shows that only sell at their local shows.

Most shows, at all the ones I have been attended have a display area where you can see some wonderful displays. Everything from small vignettes to huge dollhouses and all scales too. They are a wonderful place to get inspired for your projects and just to see what others are doing.

So get out there and visit a local show.

And don't forget, if you come to the Northwest Dollhouse and Miniature Show stop by and say hi to both Pat and I. We'll be looking for you!