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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Taking a week or so off.

I just wanted to let you all know that I am in great need of a short vacation and will be taking the rest of the month of November off from video making. I desperately need to clean house for the upcoming holidays and I have a Thanksgiving dinner to prepare next week.

I will return to the normal schedule in early December and hopefully I will have another blog (devoted to 18" dolls) ready to launch at that time.

In the meantime I will be on Facebook so you can  catch me there or message me either here of through YouTube. If there are some of my videos you have missed  this would be a good time to get caught up. If you have videos you want to see be sure to let me know so I can get the items needed to do them for you.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Olives For the Dolls

This week for my Trash to Treasure project I decided to work in three different scales. I show you how to turn some inexpensive beads into some green olives for the dollhouse, for Barbie or for your 18” dolls.

These are really simple as a trash to treasure project should be. They go together in just minutes although you will need to wait for the glue to dry.

I used some little glass beads (they say they are size 11/0) for the dollhouse size and I used the same beads in a larger size (6/0) for Barbie size. I got both of these packages of beads at Walmart a few years ago and they were very inexpensive but I don't remember the exact cost. You could also use a plastic bead of about the same size. Just think about the size of olives in real life compared to your hand and scale the bead size to your doll's hand. For the larger, 18” dolls (like American Girl, Journey Girls and all their friends) I used some simple plastic Pony Beads.

I am going to be branching out to doing more 18” doll items and I am starting an additional blog for that. Stay tuned for more info in the coming weeks.

This project can easily be re-sized to just about any doll size, just use your doll's hand to find the correct size beads.

For the Pimento that fills the beads I used embroidery floss for the two smaller sizes and some inexpensive yarn for the larger ones. You can use any floss or yarn as long as it is in scale to the bead.

The first step of applying some glue to end of the piece of floss/yarn and letting that dry will make this project so much easier than if you skip this step. Trying to get that floss/yarn through the opening in the beads as it comes from the store is almost immpossible.

Some people like to coat the floss/yarn with glue before they string the beads on, for me it works better to get a bunch of beads on and then push them out of the way and coat the floss/yarn with glue and place my beads where I want them. Do remember to space the beads out (you are going to waste some of the floss/yarn between the beads) so they are easier to cut apart once dry.

Also after loosing a bunch of beads a few times in the past I got into the habit of tying a knot in the end of the floss/yarn so that the beads stop and don't slide off the end.

I do prefer to use a thinner white glue for this (like Elmers) it seems to work better at soaking into the floss/yarn that a thicker glue but use whatever you have on hand.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Stove Kit part 3

This week we finish up the stove kit that I bought at the mini show. I am really happy with how it turned out.

After the stove was assembled I spray painted it with a light coat of Satin finish Black spray paint. This is totally optional but I think it went a long way in making this kit look less like it was made of plastic and more like it was metal. If you can't spray paint yours I would skip this because I don't think a brushed on coat of paint would give nearly as nice of a finish. I also gave the “chrome” pieces a light coat of aluminum spray paint to help rid them of that high gloss plastic look.

I also needed to apply the water slide decal to the stove board, I am probably the last person you should listen to about do decals but I did get through it.

At this point I glued on the “chrome” pieces to the stove. I had debated with myself if I should glue them on now or after the next step but in the end decided to glue them on now so that the next step could kind of blend them together and make both of them look more like metal.

The last step I decided to do was to apply a finish of Perfect Pearls. These are pearlescent pigment powders according to the package. I got the complete kit which comes with 4 colors of the powder, 2 brushes and the “perfect medium” pad, regular price on the kit was $18 but I had a half off coupon so it brought the price down. I had never worked with these before and they looked interesting. The label on the package says it will create a faux metal look and that is what I wanted to do so I took the plunge. My kit came with the pewter color we used on this kit, a really pretty blue, a green and a gold. After using these on this project I am pretty sure I will be buying more and using them on other projects, they are a lot of fun to work with and give beautiful results.

Since I had no idea how to work with these I got some advice on the Facebook page and they went over to YouTube to find videos on them too. I played around a bit with some ideas on the back and bottom of the stove and came up with my game plan.

I found for this kit using a make-up sponge was the easiest way to apply the medium that goes under the pigments. Then just use the soft brushes from the kit to brush a tiny bit of the powder on the area you are working on. And I mean a tiny bit, a little goes a long, long way. As I went along I used a soft powder brush to buff the excess pigment off the stove. After I was through applying the pigment to the entire stove I used some of the cotton safety swaps to buff the finish to a nice glow.

I had thought I was going to spray the completed stove with some clear sealer in a satin finish but decided at the last moment to just use the water mist like the manufacturer recommends. My stove won't be handled much and I didn't want to disturb the lovely glow by getting it too wet with the spray finish. What I did was to mist the water in the air over the stove and let the dampness fall onto the stove. I tested this on a piece of the extra plastic from the kit and it seemed to seal just fine.

If you are interested in learning more about the product you can find out more at Ranger here

So here are some pictures of the stove both with just the spray paint finish on and then with the Perfect Pearls. 

Stove finished with the Perfect Pearls

With the spray paint

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Bronze Statues

This week I am sharing yet another of my go to projects from the days when I was really active in the swap groups.

Again this one came about because I had a huge swap (over 20 members) a short amount of time and most importantly a very limited budget. It just so happened that I had just recently returned from a vacation. One of my favorite stops on that particular trip had been a museum that had some wonderful bronze statues. I so wanted to bring one (or all of them) home but they were way out of my budget.

I don't remember what the theme for the swap was, but it called for some kind of art work to be created and sent in. As I was trying to figure out what I was making I took a stroll through Dollar Tree (since many times I can find things to use in minis there). I happened to see a huge bag of the little Army men! It occurred to me that they could easily become bronze statues like I had seen on my trip. I purchased some bags of different themes and went home to figure out how to turn those ugly plastic toys into beautiful bronze statues. I played around with different paints and came up with the idea I am sharing here.

I used this same project in several swaps on different groups over the years and I usually got really positive feedback.

I had actually forgotten all about them until I was looking through boxes in my storage room the other day and happened to run across the bag of the leftover pieces from the last time I made them. As soon as I realized what I had found I knew I had to share them here. This is such a fun project and so low in cost.

There were only a couple of the little toys left in the bag so I did need to get more. I didn't really have time to go the dollar store so I looked in my grocery store the next time I had to went there. The store I go to is kind of like a super store in that it has groceries, clothes, furniture, toys and a bunch of other stuff. I found a nice selection of the little toys that I needed on the shelf, they are a bit bigger than I would have preferred but they will work in either 1/12th scale or 1/6th scale. They would be a large focal piece in 1/12th and more a table top size in 1/6th. If you look around you can probably find them smaller. The ones I had before were in different sizes some quite small and some the size I got now. The ones I found this time were: Army, pirates, ninjas, and cavemen. The packages each held 2 types with 15 of each type. The regular price was around $3 but they were half price and my wonderful checker gave me a coupon for another 10% off. I also found a small card that had 6 little horses on it for $1 (regular price) also on half off and went on the coupon too. So you see even at the regular store these are pretty cheap.

In the past I have had knights, policemen, firemen, cowboys and Indians. You can probably find them to fit just about any theme you need.

The painting of these is really easy and the only real trick is to make sure you have them covered completely with the bronze paint. The black wash is really what makes them look like bronze so don't skip that step.

For bases you can use just about anything. Polymer clay rolled out to a sheet, cut and baked is nice. Just give it a satin like finish, I actually just used some clear nail polish today and it worked out fine. Wood pieces either painted or stained and top coated with a satin or gloss finish would be nice. If you have access to polished rocks of the correct size they are really pretty under these too. Use your imagination and see what you have that will work.


the toys in their packages as purchased

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Dollhouse Miniature Stove Kit part 2

This week we continue the assembly of the stove kit, by the end of the video we will have all the major assembly completed just leaving the finishing and trimming for next week. If you haven't watched last week's video you can find it here.

You get to see a bit of my fighting my battle with the tiny little knobs on the video and at the end I do show you how to get them in place. My first instinct with these little pieces is to pull out my trusty tweezers and use those. That just seems like the logical way to do this. But.....for me with these tiny pieces I usually end up using the old spaghetti trick. I do show you that at the end of the video so hopefully you won't stop and mess with the tweezers in a similar situation. When we get to the larger piece (the damper handle on the stove pipe, it is of tweezers/ fingertip size and way too big for the spaghetti)

On the subject of the tiny, tiny knobs, my biggest pet peeve about these kits is the fact that there are very seldom extras of these tiny pieces included. I did get one extra knob in the hutch kit which was a good thing because I had to resort to using it on the stove. I think these things probably jump away from most of us and would it really be so hard to have planned on an extra one or two of them on the mold when they were designing the kit?? I again spent several minutes of my time on hands and knees under my work table looking for wayward pieces.

By the end of this week's video we are really getting what looks like a cook stove. I remember when I was a little girl my grandparents still had the old cook stove out in the barn and now that I think about I think we had one out in one of the out buildings on the farm while I was growing up too.

When you are thinking about historic scenes by the way and what time frame a cook stove would have been used do remember you need to figure out where your dollhouse is supposed to be set. In the area where I live for example I know that electricity didn't make it all the way out the the farming areas until sometime around 1940 although they had had it in town for a long time. That's why there were still some cook stoves around the farms in my childhood a generation later. My mom didn't have electricity growing up they got it when she was in high school or had already graduated.

Be sure to come back next week to see how I decide to finish the stove.