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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Burn Out??

How often have as a creative person have you just not been able to come up with what you want to do?? I have been fighting with that feeling for a while now, some days it just seems that I don't have a creative bone in my body. This week I actually spent a lot of time working on a project for my 18” doll blog but I still really didn't feel that creative. I actually had to fight my way through what should have been an exciting project. In the end I was fairly happy with the end result but there are several aspects I am going to have to go back and change when I get a better idea of how to do what I want or even on some things what I want. In case you are wondering the project is a wall with a door (or rather it looks like a wall with a door) to use as a set for outdoor/ front porch photos of those dolls for stories and such.

Back to the subject of the day- burnout. I know I am creative but for whatever reason I just don't feel it lately.I think I am suffering from a major case of Burn-Out!

For example I have finally found fabric for the crib project but I just can't seem to get myself motivated to actually get started on the dressing of the crib.

I looked on YouTube today to check how many videos I have made on the subject of minis. Do you have a guess as to how many videos I have made? There are over 250 of them, that is a lot of ideas and a lot of work that I have put into this channel. Don't worry I am not going anywhere but I think I am not going to be so hard on myself if I don't come up with a video once in a while from now on. I ask that you all have patience too.

One thing that would help is more ideas! I think right now what I need is a new list of ideas to pick from. So I am giving you all a job to do, I want you to come with as many ideas as you can and get them to me. Either in the comments on this blog post or on the Facebook page. I need a to start over with my lists and I want new ideas to do so with. So think hard what do you want to see on my channel? What kind of projects do you want to do that I can help you with?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Bark Mulch

Wow, I really don't have a lot to say about this project/hint. It is one I have had tucked away in my brain for a long time. To be honest I was sitting on my couch this morning (Wednesday) trying to figure out what this week's project should be when I thought of it. You see it is getting colder here so I had made myself a cup of tea mainly to warm my hands, nothing like snuggling up with a warm cup of hot tea when it is cold.

One of the really cool things about using the tea for mulch is that there are so many types of tea and each will dry to a different color. Experiment a bit and see what you like the best.

The only rules are really that you need to using the tea leaves after you make the tea with them and then drying them out really well.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Hearth Log Holder

I debated about this project, on one hand it could almost be a Trash to Treasure Thursday project but on the other hand it was just a bit more complicated than most of the projects I do on that series. Also I was short on time this week and didn't have time for a longer project for today. So by that process you get to learn how to make a log holder to go next to the fireplace or wood stove in your dollhouse. Later on when I finally get around to doing the landscaping on the Harrison I will show you an outdoor log storage and wood splitting area.

For today's project the thought process behind how I came up with it was kind of funny. The last couple of weeks my son has been doing a lot of work outside getting his firewood supply ready for the winter ahead (he has borrowed my truck more than a few times for this process) This got me thinking about how cozy the house is with a fire in the wood stove or fireplace. That got me thinking about how cute the fireplaces in the dollhouse are when they are set up with firewood, and all the tools you would find around their real life counterparts. About the same time as this was bouncing around in my brain I remembered that I had gotten this package of large paperclips a while back and they were still in my desk drawer. I took one out to look at and the rest came to me pretty quickly. The only real trial and error was getting the right size for the circle of card stock and for the dowel to bend everything around. After I made the first one I realized that those doilies that I keep forgetting to pick up when I am in town would also work really nicely for a more ornate version of the log holder. That one would definitely want to be painted with the elusive Brass colored spray paint.

I was sure when I started this project that I knew exactly where my Brass colored spray paint was at. I was wrong, I have no idea where it went or if I actually used it up. I use it a lot so I have already put it on my shopping list for my next trip to town. I will paint the log holder I made in the video with the new paint and post a photo of it on the Facebook page in the next few days.

To recap the materials and tools I used:

2” long paperclip
1 ½” diameter circle of card stock
¾” dowel
jewelery pliers
527 multipurpose glue
black spray paint
Small twigs from the yard
pruning shears

Now I do highly recommend that you either put those sticks in a low oven for a couple of hours or wrap them up and put them in the freezer for a couple of days. Either of these techniques will kill off any little bugs that may be living in them.

The same glue will hold the wood in the log holder if you desire to glue it in place.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Dollhouse Outdoor Decor

This week I have something a bit different for you. I got really busy and just didn't have time to film a project for a Trash to Treasure Thursday video but I did have a couple of neat things I got on the Halloween sale at Joann's that I wanted to share with you. I decided to call this a Fun Finds Friday, I know corny but I do love my alliterations. LOL

Anyway, I am always on the lookout for fun things that can be used in the dollhouse and so I keep my eyes open while I am out shopping. You can find items in scale in some surprising places. These two items are just an example of the the cool stuff out there on clearance before Halloween. The Joann's I was at also had some benches and other items that would be really cute around the dollhouse but I made myself pick just these two items. I think they are a bit different from things I have purchased before and I can definitely see myself putting them around the yards of my dollhouses.

I know I will be putting the arbor thing in the yard of the Harrison when I get around to working on it. I am torn between using the tire swing with the Harrison or leaving it with the Brookfield. I am going to have to think about that for a while. Since I am still in the planning stages of the Harrison landscape I have time to consider what I want to use.

Here are a few more photos of the two items in use around the Brookfield. The Arbor is a bit too narrow for the wider pathway in front of the house but I will plan the walkway for the Harrison with the size of the arbor in mind.

The tire swing is just down right cute no matter where you put it. Since the kids live in the Harrison it could go there but, I do have the big swing set I made a while back for that yard. The Brookfield is actually home to the grandmother of those same kids so it could just as easily live there.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Statue

Remember the Christmas light bulbs I showed you last week on Trash to Treasure Thursday? Well, after I got that one all filmed, photographed and the video done I went to clean up my worktable so I could go on to another project. As I was picking up the little plastic ends that I had removed from those light bulbs it occurred to me that they really could become something too. The first thing that popped into my head was that they looked a bit “art decoish” and would make cute little statues to sit on a shelf. They are the perfect size for that too. I bet if you think about it and really look at them you can come up with something else to make with them. If you do be sure to post a photo on the Facebook page or email me a copy. I would love to see what you do with them.

To make my little statue all I did was to use some Brushed Metal spray paint from Krylon in the color Satin Nickel. I think that you could also use a brush on craft paint to color these too. Especially if you either use one of the ones meant for plastic or give them an under-coat of Mod Podge. You can make yours any color too. I bet these would look awesome in a high gloss black finish. I chose the color I did because I needed it for another project that I painted at the same time. Since I had the paint can out and was already using it I figured I might as well do this little piece too.

So what do you see when you look at that little plastic piece???? I want to know your ideas.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Pizza

This week I decided to take on the task of making both dollhouse scale and 18” doll scale pizzas with videos. It was interesting moving back and forth to make the videos. Hopefully it worked out okay and I got everything in both videos.

If you want to see the 18” doll pizza that video is here.

Since I am trying to stay really simple on the 18” doll blog projects and I wanted to try doing both at the same time I simplified this scale a bit too. I think that will help those that are just beginning to do clay since I especially tried to limit the number of colors of clay I used. The entire project only uses 3 colors of Fimo brand polymer clay!

You will need the pizza pan from the Trash to Treasure project a couple of weeks ago. Remember that is the end of a crescent roll package.

For clay you will need Fimo in the following colors:
Translucent Yellow
Light Flesh

You will also need: something to roll out your clay, a work surface, a baking surface, artist chalk in: ochre, reddish brown and dark brown, a brush to apply the chalk, a craft knife, a clay knife, a brass brush and an eyeshadow brush, Tomato Spice Acrylic paint, lemon yellow and white shiny Scribbles paints. (I'm really hoping I didn't miss anything I that list)

Basically you are going to fill the bottom of your pizza pan with the clay, brush it with the chalks to “bake it” make the toppings and brush them with the same chalks to make them looked “baked”. Then you will bake off all your clay pieces, add the tomato sauce paint and allow it to dry. Add the “cheese” paint and use it to glue on your toppings.

You can make any toppings you want. I chose these because they are among the easiest to replicate with the polymer clay. If I get enough interest I might show you other pizzas in future videos. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Bottles

First let me apologize if my voice sounds a bit raspy this week. There is a wildfire about 15 miles from us and the smoke is really bad (has been all week) Don't worry unless there is a dramatic change in the wind direction we are very safe just very smokey.

Now for today's project. We are making some bottles out of Christmas light bulbs. I have had this project on my list since the beginning of the Trash to Treasure series and never remembered to do them when you could actually get the bulbs so you could make some. This year I actually put the sack containing the non-functional string of lights that I saved a couple of years ago right where I have to work around it. I figured that was the only way I wold remember to do the video. Now I can put the bag away, hopefully next time I want some bulbs to craft with I will be able to find it again.

So this is another of those projects that is so easy and you can use it in so many places. Just please be very careful since these bulbs are glass and rather thin glass. They will break easily and they will cut your fingers so BE CAREFUL!!! They are worth the effort though because they do make really cute bottles.

Use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull out the ends of the wires.

You can easily make labels, use thin paper- like regular printer paper or for designs I love origami paper. Cut the label in any shape you like and glue it on the bottle. You can even draw a design either by hand or on the computer for whatever you want in your bottles.

Use whatever glue you have that will stick the paper to the glass.

You will have to glue your bottles in place if you want them to stand since the bottoms are just a bit round. I found the Amazing Goop type glues (one part epoxies) work the best but I think your hot glue gun would also work.

So what kind of things do your dolls have in their bottles?? Potions? Wine? Oils? ????? You tell me what yours are holding.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Pizza Pan

This week's Trash to Treasure couldn't be any easier, you just need to go the grocery store and buy some of those canned biscuit things. I picked up a can of crescent rolls this last week and these make the perfect pizza pan.

The hardest part of this project for me at least is remembering to not throw the ends of the can away. LOL This time I actually wrote myself a note and taped it to the package.

I have the best luck using small nosed jewelry pliers to pull the cardboard out of the ridge at the edge of the disk. I pull as much out as I can then I soak the lid for a while, let it dry and then pull more. I just keep repeating this until it all comes out. It seems like it would work to use something sharp to force it out but I always manage to hurt myself doing it this way and it takes longer.

If you want to make Barbie a pizza pan try using the ends from the larger cans that hold the cinnamon rolls, large biscuits or the pizza dough.

We will make a pizza using this pan in the near future so watch the channel/blog for that.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Peanut Butter Cookies

This week we are going to make a really simple polymer clay project. I get a lot of requests for simple projects and thought this one would be a fun one for both beginners and those that have worked with clay before.

One of the beauties of this project is that you only need one color of clay, a light beige. I used Premo Ecru this time but I have also used Fimo Sahara in the past. The Ecru is just a tad bight darker in color and I prefer it for cookies but either one is great. If you can't get either of these colors just pick a light beige color, I am sure every brand of polymer clay has a color (or multiple colors) that will work.

You will need a few tools and supplies but if you put your mind to it you can probably round up most of them around the house.

You will need a work surface. I most often work on a ceramic tile from Home Depot but you don't have to use one if you don't have one. Use any smooth clean surface. You can even work on a sheet of clean white paper. Don't work directly on a wood table though because polymer clay can mar the finish on many woods and don't use a plastic surface for the same reason.

Next you will need a pointy tool of some kind. I love to use a dental pick from the dollar store but you can use a sewing pin, a safety pin, a thin toothpick, a piece of wire, really whatever you have. This is a simple beginner project so I want you to use the things you have so you don't feel you have to spend a ton of money on tools and supplies.

To texture your cookies you will need either some sandpaper or an emery board. Both of these items are probably going to be somewhere around the house already.

To bake on I prefer to use a paper plate which I have talked about many times. They are perfectly safe to place on the rack in your oven remember the clay will actually burn at a lower temperature than the paper will.

To give your cookies a baked look I use some inexpensive chalk (soft) pastels. These are easy to find almost every where that sells craft supplies. You can also use matte finish eye shadow as a fine replacement. The three colors you will need are a golden yellow (ochre) a medium reddish brown and a dark brown.

To apply this color I use an eyeshadow brush from the dollar store. If you don't have one of these feel free to use a paint brush or a cotton swab. I have even used my fingers to apply the chalk on some projects but that would be difficult on these cookies because they are sooooo tiny.

And that is really all there is to it. After you bake the cookies, following the directions on your clay simply place them on the serving plate of your choice. Gluing them is a good idea if you want them to stay put. I like Beacon's 527 glue for this job.

See how easy that was! You just made your first polymer clay project and it was really easy.

If you would like to see more beginner level polymer clay projects let me know and I can do more of them.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Dollhouse Wallpaper 101

This week I got another message asking about how I had created the painted walls in my Harrison. The viewer had watched the video photo tour of my dollhouse and liked the look of painted walls. She had tried just painting her walls but they didn't give her the look she was after. So she asked me what I had used. Since this is a question I get on a fairly regular basis I thought it would make a good topic for a video.

Dining Room in my Harrison

The papers I show you today are from the only choices. There are many more papers you can use. I am only showing/sharing with you my favorites.

For the look of painted drywall I like to use a paper from the manufacturer Canson. They make lots of papers that artists use and are well known and well thought of in that area. The particular paper I like for my dollhouses is called Mi-Teintes it comes in large 19” by 25” sheets. I can find a limited number of colors at my local Michael's but online I found over 50 colors available from one art supply store (Dick Blick) The paper is made for use with a variety of artist medias including: pastels, oil pastels, chalk, pencils, water color and acrylic paint. Because of this it is able to handle the process of gluing it to the walls very well. It is heavy (98 lb) so it is durable. It also has different textures on the two sides so you can get slightly different looks from it (just remember which side you are using on the particular project LOL) I usually find this priced somewhere from $1.25 to $3 per sheet so it is not bad especially when you consider how large the sheets are.

I also like this paper for covering the ceilings in my dollhouses again because of both the texture and the size of the sheet. For this I normally go with a white.

In the video I also talk about two different choices if you want to have the look of wallpaper. The first is regular dollhouse wallpaper. Again it comes in a largish sheet, usually 12 (or so) by 18 (or so) this will vary depending on the manufacturer. Again it is made to stand up to the moisture of gluing. It comes in designs specifically for dollhouses so the scale should be correct. However because of the fact there are only so many manufacturers the selection can be limited. If you don't have a dollhouse store near by you might have to order it online. Also it can get very expensive, very quickly.

The other choice I discuss is scrapbook paper. The sheets are smaller 12” by 12” is common so you might have to piece to get longer walls covered. You may run into trouble matching the design where you have to piece it since this was not what it was designed for. It is usually made of a lighter weight paper so it is a little bit harder to paste without getting wrinkles.

In my Harrison I used a mix of all three of these papers. I love all of the ones I chose to use and was able to base the decor of each room around the papers I used. In that house I decided to go with a plain “painted” wall in the living room and dining room. I used real dollhouse wallpaper in both kitchen, nursery, bathroom and study. And if I remember correctly the rest is all scrapbook paper. It is not convenient to go look right now so I am relying on my memory for what is actually in there.....

I also talked a bit about Yes! Paste since that is what I always use to glue paper wall coverings or floor coverings in my dollhouses.

There are so many other types of wall coverings so maybe we can cover some of those in future videos.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Another Dollhouse Miniature End Table

Yes, we are making another end table today, I know I did one a while back but this one is even simpler to do. 


As some of you already know I do a lot of sewing so I go through a lot of thread. Depending on the brand of thread you can usually make something with the empty spool if you think about the possibilities. This particular spool is from the company Guterman and I love the shape. I happened to run out of my large spool of white thread so that is what I am using today. This spool was actually in with my mom's sewing stuff since that was the brand she almost always bought. They make a few different sizes of spools and most of the ones I have are smaller in diameter than the one I used today I think this one was the 540 meter size. I will try to post a picture at the end of this blog of some of the sizes I have. All of my spools are 2 1/8” tall. The large one I used today was 1 ¼” in diameter, the middle sized one (green in the picture) 1” in diameter, and the smaller one is ¾” in diameter.

I did try a couple of ways to clean the lettering off the rim of the spool. I found that 99% Isopropyl alcohol from the pharmacy worked the best for me. Try what you have on hand. If you are going to paint your spool you might even be able to get away without cleaning the letters off, I would still wipe it down with some alcohol to remove any grease from your fingers that the plastic may have picked up, remember it usually takes a while to use up a spool of thread so it has probably been handled and stored for a while.

Now at this point you can stay really simple like I did or you can go all out and paint your table base with whatever technique you want to. I think this would look great in a 60's room if you painted the base with a chrome finish. But any color that you like should work.

Now for the top. I pulled some samples out of my stash of wood pieces but you are not limited to wood for this. A lid from a jelly jar (you know the ones that have the gingham print) would look really cute. Or you could find a similar lid and paint it. Use your imagination and look for possibilities. Remember you don't have to stick to round or square either, how about an octagon shaped table top??? Or a star shaped one???

I used hot glue- I know I seldom use the stuff. I really don't like hot glue but for a project like this it is fine. It does have the advantage of being able to set up almost immediately and it will bond the plastic to the wood or just about anything else you want to use. Also it was an excuse to check out the new glue gun to make sure it works. My daughter had asked my yesterday if I had gotten to try it out yet, so now I can tell it works just fine. It really is handy to have a daughter that works at the craft store. LOL

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature (Polymer clay) Ice Cream

This week I am going to show you how I learned to make ice cream from Polymer clay. This technique was popular years ago when I first learned and it is still how I make mine. I find the addition of the sand just makes getting the texture so much faster and easier. You can form the ice cream into any shape/size you need for the project you are doing.

I know this works really well in 1/6th scale (Barbie, etc) just like in the 1/12th scale (dollhouse) I see no reason it would not work for larger dolls too. I am going to be doing some experimenting and if all goes well I will post some ice cream projects on my 18” doll blog in the near future.

I do promise to get back to the crib project also as soon as I can. I am still stuck for finding fabric that I like for the crib. I actually have never had this much trouble picking out a piece of fabric.

Now back to the ice cream. The only real trick is to use a sand that is close to the color of your clay. So for strawberry use a pink clay and either a red or pink sand (craft sand) for chocolate- brown clay and brown sand (again a craft sand) Or whatever color you desire. I used to eat mint chocolate chip ice cream by the gallon so for that I would need a light green clay with a green sand and work in small bits of dark brown.

Now for some clay color suggestions- keep in mind these are only suggestions and you may find other colors that work as well or better. Before you buy new clay look at what you have and see if you either use what you have or mix the colors you have to get the colors you want.

Vanilla ice cream: Fimo Vanilla
white clay mixed with a touch of a pale yellow.

Chocolate ice cream: Fimo Chocolate- mix with white
Sculpey III Hazelnut- mix with white
Premo Sienna- mix with white

Strawberry Ice Cream: Sculpey III Ballarina
Sculpey III Dusty Rose
Fimo Light Pink

Orange Sherbet: Fimo Mandarin

So go pick out your doll's favorite flavor of ice cream find some clay to match and get busy having some fun.

Don't forget to check out my other blogs- the links are at the top of the page.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Let's Talk

See I didn't actually disappear, since it has been so hot here I decided I needed a vacation so I took one. I am feeling very energized by it too. There should be a new video and blog up tomorrow like normal (I am about halfway through filming it right now)

While I was on time off I actually did a lot of projects. I got the new lighting stand made (that was posted here in case you missed it) Hopefully there will be better lighting on the videos now. I do need to adjust the light placement over the next few (maybe several) weeks to get the best lighting from it. I can already tell it is giving lots more light for working though. Also it is not as hot to work under as I was afraid it would be. There are 4 rather powerful lights all fairly close to me but I think they give off about as much light as the two original lights used to. Being fluorescent is probably the reason for that. I do love them so far.

I also decided to clear out our storage room and turn it into a kind of photo-studio area so I can leave my lighting set up in there for photos too. Since I write a handful of blogs and they all require a lot of photography this will make my life easier. So this last week my youngest son and I (well, one day I drafted my older son's girlfriend instead) have been moving loads of boxes to the newly rented storage unit in town. I was hoping to have that task done by this weekend but now I am shooting for next weekend. I have several more loads to take. We are only doing one load per day so it is taking longer but we have so much other stuff going on and so I am trying to minimize the amount of daily interference this takes up.

When we get that room emptied I will try to do a video on making some more of the light stands like I made for my video area.

I also spent a lot of time planning out ideas for all my blogs. Kind of mapping out some short and long term goals for each blog. I also added links to all my blogs to the top of the page on the blogs so you can find all of them easily.

I have also spent a lot of time playing around with other crafts and sewing and I am really enjoying these too. So much so that I started a new blog (remember all the links to all my blogs are at the top of the page) that is dedicated to my other crafts. There isn't much there yet but I hope to use that blog to show some of my sewing and card making and just other general crafting I do. I just got a new sewing machine over the summer that also does embroidery so I have been busy learning to use it too.

Now I have one more point I want to cover before I close this little note. That is I have gotten some comments on some of my videos criticizing the fact that I am chatty. I read one to my daughter and she had a wonderful laugh over it. Sorry folks if you don't like chatty you are probably in the wrong place. That is me, it is who I am and I won't change that. There are plenty of other videos out there if you want someone that just sticks to the topic and doesn't say much. My vision for this blog and the YouTube channel is that I am bringing you, the viewer to my craft table. You are joining me as my guest. You get me the way I am.

So as long as you are ready to chat and do some crafting come back tomorrow and see what we make then. Be sure to check out the rest of my blogs if you haven't already.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

My New Lighting Stand

I really have no idea what to call this fixture I built to hold my lights. So for now we will just call it a lighting stand.

I have gotten several questions about how I made this so I am going to try to give you a basic how-to here. I didn't actually measure anything I just put it together as I went. I had a basic idea of what I wanted but until it was finished I really didn't know what it would look like.

Before we start talking about the how let's talk about why I made this. When I set up my craft table I used some of those clamp on lights that have long necks with hinges so I could place the light where I wanted it. I had two of them, one on each side of me. Over time I decided that not only did they not give enough light (they were only rated to take 40 watt bulbs) to do videos by they really didn't give me enough light and they were constantly in my way. I had added some additional lighting a while back in the form of shop lights from the hardware store. You know the kind, the ones guys put in their shops with the metal reflector on the back and they have a clamp so you can clamp them conveniently where you need them. The only place that I could figure out to clamp them was on my bookcase that is next to my main work table. So I got one of those and although I really liked the added light but it really wasn't where I needed it. I brought home a second of these lights but like I said I only had the bookcase to clamp it to. I spent a couple of weeks trying to figure out something I could put on the wall (between the windows) in front of my table to clamp the second one too. In the meantime I just had both of the lights clamped to the bookcase. It gave lots of light but all from one side so not the best for either working or filming.

Then one day I got to thinking about PVC pipe and all the different things I have seen made out of it over the years. Yeah, I am talking that white pipe that carries water through your house. I thought there must be a way to use PVC pipe for this project. I do love using this pipe since it is cheap and easy to work with.

I did check out some similar projects people had done on YouTube but no one was making exactly what I needed. 

please ignore the mess in my craftroom/office


I went to Home Depot last Friday with a vague idea of what I wanted to do and what I would probably need to get. I spent some time on the plumbing aisle looking mostly at the fittings. Since plumbers need lots of this stuff to do the plumbing in construction most of the parts are really cheap. I did end up buying a lot of extra parts but I am planning to make more lighting equipment for doing photography (for my various blogs) in the next couple of months so I will use it all up by the time I am done I am sure.

I did purchase a PVC pipe cutting tool for $11.98, I already had one at home but I had forgotten to check if I knew where it was before I left the house so I figured it was better to get another one rather than not have it. That being said you can cut this stuff with a hack saw, the cutting tool is just way easier to use and it gives you a smooth straight cut (not one of my better talents with a hack saw)

cutting tool, well worth the money

Other than the cutting tool the parts I bought and used in this project were:

2 pieces of ½” PVC pipe that were each 10' long. (keep in mind that pipe like this is sized by the inside measurement not the outside)
1 bag of 90 degree slip x slip elbows – bag contains 10 of these and I used all 10

90 degree slip x slip elbow

2 individual slip x slip x slip tee joints

slip x slip tee

The slip part of the description means that the parts slip over the pipe and don't have threads (I think that's how to explain it)

The costs for these items were as follows:
pipe ( $1.89 each) $3.78
elbows (bag of 10) $ 1.78
tees ( $ .35) $ .70

So for a total of $6.26 I had the parts for my project. Even adding in the cost of the cutting tool this project was really inexpensive.

I also picked up 2 more of the shop lights while I was at Home Depot and they were $8.47 each. 
You might notice there is no kind of glue in the list above, that's because I didn't use any. I just slipped these together so I can take this down completely in a matter of minutes. That means if I need to move it for any reason I can put it all back together with ease. Also I can change the configuration if I want to in the future.

Now for the adventure of making the light stand. I knew about how tall I wanted the bar to be so I cut two lengths of pipe about that long. Since these were the longest pieces I knew I needed to cut them first. I used just over half of each pipe for these pieces. I didn't actually measure but they are just a bit over 5' tall. Just be sure that you cut both of them the same length. A mistake I made but it was easy to trim the longer of the two the length of the other one.

Next piece to cut was the top cross bar, it needed to be just a bit longer than my table is wide (the long way- wide as I sit facing it) The table is about 38” long so this piece was cut a bit longer than that.

Next I constructed the two bases, this was a place that I messed up the first time and had to go back and cut some off. I forgot to measure how far apart the legs are on the ends of my table. So do yourself a favor and check this if you are making one of these and want the base to go under the table.

Basically what I did though was to first cut the longest piece of the shape, then I cut a piece about half that size added the tee and cut a piece of pipe to make a side the same length as the first side. (hopefully that makes sense- hopefully it will when you look at the photo) The short side of this part was just cut from the remaining pipe to be all the same size. 


base another view

When all the parts were cut and the bases assembled to fit the area between the legs. I simply uprights into the third side of the tees then put the top cross piece on using 90 degree elbows. 

90 degree elbow where the upright joins the top

The only problem I am having is keeping the lights on the sides where I want them. They want to slip so I wrapped some silver duct tape around the area where I want them to stay. I might look for some kind of clamp to help hold them or I might see about picking up a couple of parts called “slip x slip” couplers and cut the upright pieces where I want the lights to go and add the couplers. That would give a wider area for the light to be clamped above. If I do I will post some pictures of what ever I decide to do. 

duct tape is a temporary solution

As far as light bulbs I have daylight balanced compact fluorescent bulbs that are 23 watt, they say they are the equivalent of the old 100 watt bulbs. I find they give a huge amount of light to work by.

As soon as it cools off a bit I will get back to recording and we can see how this new set-up works.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Too Hot to Work

This summer has been incredibly hot where I live. You have to understand Oregon usually has pretty mild summers, most years we don't hit really hot weather until August or September and even then only for a few days in a row. This year seems to be the exception. We have had temps in the 90's for what seems like forever right now. Unfortunately most of us that have lived here for very long just don't have AC, so we make due with fans and trying to stay cool.

My craftroom/office has a wonderful south facing window that normally is great but currently it is just making the room hot. I decided the other day to turn on 2 of the lights I use to tape with and in less than 5 minutes the thermometer I had laid on my work table was reading above 90 and that was only half the lights I use. So I have been doing other types of crafting instead of minis. I have been planning though and I am still on the hunt for fabric for the crib.

In the meantime I thought I would show you some of what has been keeping me busy. I don't know if I mentioned I have gotten really into card making in addition to all the other crafts I do so I decided to start a blog dedicated to all the non-mini, non-doll things I do. Here is the link if you want to check it out (the link is also at the top of the page on this blog now as well as the links to all my blogs)

I also spent some time making new lighting stands so I can hopefully get better results in my lighting for videos. I had the idea of using PVC pipe so I went off to Youtube in search of videos and found lots of ideas. Here are some photos of the new light stand with my lights all attached. I was able to get rid of the light I had on my table to free up space and I hope with some adjusting these lights will work much better.

Also this weekend I got absolutely tired of looking at the art work I have over my desk in here. So what do you suppose I did? I took the painting I had done a few years ago down and painted over it and then created this:

I really love how it turned out- by the way it really looks much straighter in person than the photo. I really should have taken a better picture but it is way too hot in here to move away from the fan. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

So just where the heck is the video this week???

So are you asking yourself why this first line of the blog post doesn't direct you to a video?? That's because this week I just don't have a video for you. I have hit that proverbial brick wall when it comes to my mini projects. I just can't come up with something this week.

I had every intention of getting the crib dressed that I made a couple of weeks ago but I just haven't been able to find fabric that I really like. That is not because of a lack of fabric shopping. I have walked around every fabric store in my area on multiple occasions. I even went to one that is 50 miles away hoping they would have something I would love. I have even brought a couple of pieces of fabric home with me thinking they were “the one” but no. Once I got them home and put them with the crib I just didn't like them. I don't think the problem is so much the fabric as it is me. I just don't have a clear vision for where the project is going. I mean I know the family that it is for because I have a rough idea of who they are and how they relate to the families in my other dollhouses. I know there is a mom, a dad, a little boy and his younger sister. It is the younger sister that this crib will belong to. I just can't figure out what direction I want to do with the crib.

On the last crib I dressed (the one in the Harrison) I not only knew all about the inhabitants of the house I had ordered the wall paper for the nursery at the same time I ordered the house kit. I had fallen in love with a Noah's Ark design dollhouse wallpaper that I knew I had to use in the house. So with that wallpaper in hand I could pick the fabrics and the story came together.

This time I just can't make a decision on what fabrics to use. I do have some flat eyelet trim that will be the skirt on the crib but that is as afar as I have gotten.

In the meantime I have been doing a lot of other projects. I re-organized (I use that term loosely) my craft-room/office. I have changed things around so that I have an “L” shaped work area. The area I have always used for my minis is pretty much the same but to my left as I sit at the table is a second table that I set up for paper crafting. Because of the way I work most projects end up on both areas but it is so nice to have the paper-crafting area set up. It used to be when I wanted to work on paper minis I ended up taking them and tools to my dining room table to work on. Then I would have supplies I needed for minis in the dining room when I needed them or else I would end up making dozens of trips from one area to the other looking for what I needed. Now I still can't find the stuff but the area I need to search is much smaller.

Lately I have gotten really into card making so on these days when I just can't seem to find my mojo for minis I have made some cards that I think came out really cute.

So I have some questions for all of you. Please chime in with your answers

1- I would assume that most of you want to see how I have arranged my work space so when I finish getting it set up (and cleaned up enough to let you see it) should I do a new updated craft-room/office tour?

2- How do you get past the slump when you hit the brick wall and can't come up with new ideas, or just simply hate everything you have made?

3- I am thinking about starting a new blog where I could feature the other non-dollhouse non doll related crafts I do. Would you be interested. I will say up front I would probably not be posting on it on a regular basis just when I have time and something to share. That being said I do craft or create almost every day in some way or another.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Paints I Use for Miniatures

It seems like I am getting more questions about the paints I use lately than about anything else. My feeling has always been that for every person that asks a question there are several more people with the same or a very similar question that don't ask it. So from time to time when I start to get a lot of questions on a given topic you will find a blog post and a video where I try to cover the things I have been asked.

The topic of paint is so wide that today I am basically just going to try to explain some of the basics about the three types I use the most.

Number one paint in my supplies has to be the basic craft paint. I love this stuff and use it in all kinds of crafting. It is cheap has easy clean-up (as long as you get to it while it is still wet) and comes in a multitude of colors. I like being able to know that when I use a specific color on a project I can use the very same color later. That is almost impossible when you are mixing colors for each project. I admit freely that my preferred brand of craft paint is Deco-Art Ceramcoat. I know it costs a few cents more but I find I can usually get by with only a coat or two of it as opposed to some of the other brands that require more coats. I also find the colors it comes in more attractive personally and therefore fit into my projects better. Now don't get me wrong I own a lot of brands of craft paint, I buy what I can when I can when I am need of different colors. I am also guilty of picking up interesting colors when I find them on sale (hence the fact that I have drawers of paint as opposed to a drawer of paint) Craft paint is really easy to find, at least here where I live it is. I can pick up more paint at almost any store that has even a small aisle of craft supplies. I do know some miniaturists that think that craft paint is beneath their abilities and insist on mixing a higher quality paint for every project. Personally I find a lot of inspiration in seeing all the colors in front of me and I love to look at the colors.

Next up in the video is glass stain paint. My favorite is still Gallery Glass, I know that in some places it is getting harder to come by but so far I have been lucky in that regard. Just keep in mind that the paint in the bottle really looks very little like it will when it dries. I always do a sample each time I am going to a project just to make sure how the color will look.

The last paint in the video was the Scribbles fabric paint. This is a 3-D fabric paint and again it comes in many colors. I use it a lot for sauces on my mini polymer clay foods. I love that it dries with a bit of shine so it looks like a sauce without having to be coated with a finish.

I have been using all three of these products with baked polymer clay for many years and have never had a problem. That being said if the polymer clay companies re-formulate their clays again you never know. For this reason I do recommend testing any products you plan to use together before you tackle a large project.

All of these paints that I talked about today are soap and water clean up while they are still wet. Once they dry it is a totally different matter especially with the craft paint and the Scribbles, those will pretty much bond permanently to whatever they are painted on once dry and will be next to impossible to remove. Be sure to immediately wash out any brushes you use and clean up any spills too. 


Sunday, July 20, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature Nursery Lamp

I am still in search of some fabric for the crib project, I just can't find anything I really like for the main fabric. I guess I am going to have to break down and go to the huge fabric store in Portland next week.

In the meantime I decided to show you one way to make a working (yes, I said working) lamp for the nursery. This can easily be changed to make a lamp for just about any room of the dollhouse by simply changing the decoration on the base.

I am using one of the little rocking horses from the baby shower decoration department of the dollar store. For that reason I have been sitting on this project for a while because I was debating if I should use it as a Trash to Treasure (it really could fit there because of the materials) but in the end I decided it was probably better suited to the main video of the week because it is not really a simple beginner project.

For the upright portion of the lamp I used one of the cocktail straws I have on hand. I left mine white but you could also paint the straw to match your decor.

As for the base I had found these little bottle caps at the Joan's a while back in the dollar bin areas. I initially got them for a project for the 18” dolls but I haven't gotten to it yet. There are also pink and blue ones in the package. I liked that there was a hole on the side of the caps (so they could be attached to a piece of jewelry) I just really wish there was only one hole and not 2. If there had been only one it would have been easier to hide the unneeded hole. It would be simple to change out this base with something else. Just look at what you have and with some thinking you will figure it out. I think if these were painted other colors though they could be used in a lot of rooms.

The addition of the pony beads was a last moment idea that I literally came up with as I was gluing the project together. I am glad I did I think the lamp is much sturdier this way. I just wish I would have had a better color bead. A white one or a clear one (or even a metal color) would have probably been better but I still like how the lamp came out.

The bulb I used is I believe what is called a “grain of wheat” bulb. I get mine from but by all means if you can buy them locally do so. I no longer have a convenient mini store so I mainly rely on online stores. I wish I had my transformer handy so I could have shown it lit up hopefully I can find one soon and maybe when I finally get the crib finished I can set up a room scene for you with all the nursery projects we have been working on lately. That way you can see how they look together.

The glue I used for the project is one from the line of Amazing Goop. I prefer to purchase this type of glue in the small assortment tubes. There is usually 4 or 5 tubes in the package and they are really small. The glue does cost more if you look at the by the ounce price but I don't use this type of glue very often and the tube usually goes bad for me between uses and I end up throwing away most of the regular size tubes. With the tiny sample size ones I can usually use up the amount before it goes bad and if not I am not throwing away a huge tube. For the projects where I do need it though it is a great glue. It just happened that I had to open the tube I was using in the video earlier in the day to fix something in the house so I wanted to use it up.

When choosing a glue for this project just keep in mind the different materials you adhering. We used plastic, metal and paper. Just read the labels of the glues you have to pick what you want to use.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Dollhouse Miniature (or Barbie) Bowls/Casserole Dish

This week for Trash to Treasure I decided to share an object I found at the hardware store. These little cup pulls are just the perfect size to make either casserole dishes, pet dishes, or even cake pans for our dolls.

Painting them is totally optional since they are just a plain brass color. I would recommend using a primer of some type if you are going to be handling them after painting and then follow up with a sealer if you feel it is needed. These could paint up really cute.

The ideas I came up with were:
pet dishes
casserole dishes
cake pan

what can you think of? If you get some of these and use them in with your dolls I would love to see a picture of it.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Packaging Minis to Mail

I am so sorry I didn't get any more done on the crib project. My week was interrupted by real life when we had somewhat of a household emergency. That took up two complete days of my week to get cleaned up and partly fixed. Hopefully the remaining fix will not be too disruptive.

Since I didn't have a project to share with you I decided to answer a question I get asked a lot. That is how to safely mail you minis once you have made them.

I used to do lots of swaps and if you have the time it takes to do them and want to grow as a miniaturist I do recommend trying them. You will get to practice making items and in return get some wonderful minis (and a few duds) that you can use In your projects. Swaps are a great place to get new ideas, learn new ways to make things and just to have fun. Also if you think you might want to try your hand at selling minis I do recommend trying swaps first because this is a great place to learn to make multiples of the same item. You may find you love making 10 or more of the same thing or you may discover that after the second or third one you never want to see the project again. It is better to learn this on a swap than after you have set up a business. Also most swap groups are very helpful when it comes to helping each other out on ideas and how to make things.

So now you have your swaps all made, you know where to send them but how do you make sure they are going to arrive intact? I know I have received many swaps that were broken in transit some I could fix some there was no way to salvage (so sad when you think about the person that spent time and money making the item)

Today I am giving you some tips on how to package those minis so they are more apt to arrive looking just like they did when you mailed them.

One thing I forgot to mention in the video -and it is really important- is make sure any glue or paint is completely dry before you package!!!! I know that seems on the surface to be obvious but apparently it isn't from the number of items I have received over the years with the wrapping stuck to them.

If your item is flat and not particularly fragile a plastic zipper bag should be fine.

On those not flat and more fragile items I like to use the plastic eggs that are available around Easter. If you have kids you may have some in the back of the closet already. They come in at least 3 sizes I use mostly the regular size ones but I like to have the smaller ones and the jumbo ones on hand too. You might look at garage sales and such over the summer for them too. These eggs are cheap even before they come on sale and after the holiday they are really cheap. I usually buy a couple hundred of them every few years.

First step (after you have picked a plastic egg that is a good size) is to carefully wrap your mini item to give it some padding. I use either tissue paper or bubble wrap depending on what I am wrapping and what I have on hand. Make sure to minimize the amount that your mini can move around inside the egg. After putting the item in the egg I use either tape or a small address label to help seal the egg shut. This way it can't pop open inside the shipping box. The labels are nice because you can fill in needed information on them before attaching them to the eggs.

If you are in a swap group be sure you understand the rules for mailing. Most swap groups want each swap (for each member) individually wrapped and then grouped in some way by swap. So say you are in a kitchen swap with 10 other people you would put your individual swap items into 10 plastic eggs (being sure to pad them well) and label with your name and the name of the swap – and any other info required. Then all 10 of these eggs could go into a large plastic zipper bag that is also labeled with your name and the name of the swap. This bag (and any other bags for other swaps that are running at the same time) goes into a box usually with the money for the return postage and gets mailed to the swap hostess. Here is where you need to check the rules for the group you are in to make sure you have everything in the box that is required.