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Sunday, December 20, 2015

Paper Minis- Un-boxing

I am so excited to share the wonderful gift that Ann from Paper Minis sent to me! It was a thank you for all the videos I have done using her kits for the larger 18” dolls on my other channel.

I am totally blown away by how generous she was! I am going to be very busy putting together all of these kits. And you guys know I am going to have to turn on the camera and take you all along on at least some of them.

So the other purpose of this video is to find out which of the kits you all want to see me put together first. So eveyone please chime in and let me know which ones to do first.

And be sure to visit Ann's site and have a look around. She has so many wonderful kits to make things for the dolls. 

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Christmas Tree Ornaments

This week I am showing you how to make some simple ornaments for the Christmas Tree in your dollhouse. These are really quick and simple to make and take just a few tools and materials. You will find that if you sit down with your supplies you can get a bunch done in just one sitting, maybe even enough to decorate the mini Christmas tree.

These also look super cute in an ornament box in your mini scene.

Sorry that both the video and the blog post are so short. This last week we got hit with a massive wind storm that took out my power and also took off a bunch of roof shingles. Most everything is fixed but it took a lot of my time and I still have a lot of clean up to do.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Toystore Tour

This week I decided to dust off the Toystore and let you all have a look around at how it looks right now. Please ignore the mess in the background. We currently have several leaks in the roof and stuff is piled all over to keep it out of danger from the water. I am also tripping over several containers that are sitting in strategic spots to catch the drips. I will be very happy when the roof guys finally get to us, they keep telling me that we are “on the list”

front view

back view

Overall the Toystore has held up rather well I have not touched it in a couple of years and it has withstood a couple of wild weather years. The area it sits in gets really hot and really cold depending on what Mother Nature throws our way so I know that will cause damage over time. On the bright side it is not in a spot that is in direct sunlight.

I am really happy with how well the cover has kept out the dust and grim from just sitting in a busy area. The inside is very clean especially when you look at how long it has sat there.

The floor upstairs has come loose from the wood but a bit of adhesive should fix that quickly.

I tried to turn on the lights for the intro of the video but they seem to be failing so I will have to investigate that.

I think the only things I did after the video series finished was to put in the few shelves I showed in the video. If you want to see how to do those be sure to comment and let me know.

I took pictures of all the items I have for the store, now I need to figure out how to best display them. I would love suggestions from all of you on that. So if you have ideas let me know. I would love to hear what you think about how to best display them.

I also will probably need to make more toys but I want to wait to see how much room I will have.

The upstairs I think I want for a combination office/toy workshop but I am not sure. Again if you have ideas be sure to let me know.

Here are photos of the items I have- I hope you enjoy looking at them:




boxed "toddler" toys

Barbie stuff
jump ropes
rocking horse
doll house
castle closed
castle open
one of the front windows
other front window
doll house furniture
skate boards
doll similar to ones in front window

baby toys

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Questions for a Q&A video

Sorry about no video last week, we had a wild windstorm that took out our electricity for about 18 hours. By the time we were back up and running I was soooo cold it took a couple of days to feel warm again. Then on top of that I managed to get sick. Before you ask I am feeling pretty much back to normal now, just trying to get caught up with Thanksgiving tomorrow. Yikes, I am not in any way ready but I will pull it off. No matter how far behind I feel like I am I still manage to get it together by dinner time.

Anyway, enough of me rambling. The reason I am posting is that I want to do a Q&A video for next Sunday so I need you guys to post some questions for me. I posted on the Facebook group last week and got some really good ones but I would like at least a few more. So please my friends post some questions as comments to this post and I will film on Saturday afternoon.

Thanks so much and a very Happy Thanksgiving to all of you that will be celebrating tomorrow. You will never know how thankful I am for all of you!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Gravy

This week are making another item for the dollhouse holiday dinner table, some gravy to go with those potatoes from last week. I mean really what dinner would be complete if you had mashed potatoes and no gravy??

This is another really simple project. The first step really is to figure out what container you are going to use to house the gravy. I chose to make both a saucepan of gravy and a gravy boat to put on the table. You could use any container that you have as long as it is bake-able. I left the clear coat of Triple Thick off the gravy boat this week so that I could add it after I was done with the baking since the Triple Thick does tend to bubble even at the low temperatures we bake the clay at.

To get the gravy we are using just a couple of materials some Translucent Liquid Sculpey (TLS) and some oil paint to color it. I used both some burnt umber and a touch of white paints to get a nice gravy color. Remember the baked color will be slightly darker than it appears when you mix in the TLS. The TLS looses some of it white color as it bakes.

After you have the amount of gravy in your container(s) just bake according to the directions on your TLS bottle.

When completely cooled coat the gravy and the container with some Triple Thick as desired.

I love how this looks when done and put on the table in the dollhouse.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Mashed Potatoes

This week I thought it would be fun to continue filling the dollhouse table for the big holiday dinner.

Of course mashed potatoes are a year round favorite, at least at my house they are. I would bet if you asked my son to list his favorite foods mashed potatoes would be very high on his list. I think if I made them every week he would be a very happy boy.

So since we love them in real life I figure the dollhouse dolls probably want them too. And this is such an easy dish to create that I know you will be able to make a lot of them.

I used to make my mini mashed potatoes by simply putting a wad of white clay into whatever container I wanted to use and try to manipulate the top surface to make it look like the real thing. The problem was it never really looked realistic. It always looked heavy and flat and way tooo solid. Then about 10 or 15 years ago I was reading one of the British miniature magazines and found this method for making the mashed potato. I couldn't wait to get home and try it out. (I remember I was sitting at the ice rink at the time waiting for my daughter's lessons and classes to get over with) I have made mini mashed potatoes this way many times since and they look so much better that it is worth the extra couple of steps.

To prepare you will need to have a bake-able container for the potatoes to go into. I don't know if you noticed in the video but the finish on my container bubbled a bit in the oven. I was able to salvage it with an additional coat of clear finish.

You will also need to pre-bake a chunk of white polymer clay. The brand really doesn't matter for this, I used plain old Original Sculpey but any white clay will be fine.

You will need to use a nutmeg grater (or something similar) to make a pile of very fine clay shavings/dust.

Now you need to give some color to some liquid polymer clay. For this particular project I prefer TLS but any liquid clay should work just fine. You need to make the TLS a cream color. To do this I use oil paints, a bit of white that has been warmed up with a tiny speck of yellow ocher.

Mix a small amount of the tinted TLS into a portion of your grated white clay. I like to not use all of either part at first so I can add either more TLS to thin the mixture or more grated clay to thicken it. Work it together until you have a mixture that resembles real mashed potatoes. Once you are happy with the texture and you have enough to fill your container go ahead and put it into the container.

If you are going to want a serving spoon in the finished mashed potatoes it must be put in now before it is baked.

When you are happy with the way your potatoes look bake them according to the directions on the TLS (or other liquid polymer clay)

Once the container is baked and cooled it is ready to display.

I love how these look when they are finished.

Of course you can also make some small mounds of potatoes to put on your doll size dinner plates too.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Cranberry Sauce

This week I decided to start getting into the holiday spirit and take on one of my favorite side dishes for the holiday table, cranberry sauce. This is super easy to do for the dollhouse and this is just one of many ways I have made this project.

This time I am using some clear Gallery Glass glass paint in clear, some red craft paint and some no hole mini marbles in red (garnet) I usually use a red glass paint but I found that bottle had dried up since the last time I used it so I improvised by coloring the clear with a red craft paint. Since they are both acrylic based paints this works just fine.

Other times I have made this in the past I have used a cranberry colored nail polish it works just as well as the glass paint.

The advantage to the glass paint is that you can add shavings of cured polymer clay if you want to make your doll's cranberry sauce a bit fancier. Since nail polish and polymer clay don't play nicely together you can't do that with the nail polish. Also I didn't have a color that I wanted to use in my nail polishes.

You can use any mini bowl you desire. The one I used this time is from the last batch of metal minis that I purchased. Use whatever you wish. I have shown on previous videos how to treat these metal minis so I didn't go into much detail on that this time. If you don't know what these are or how to work for them check my channel for the metal minis video I did a few years back.

To make the cranberry sauce is so easy. You simply mix the red paint with the glass paint (remember it will look pink at this stage- don't panic) then add the little beads and stir. Place the desired amount into your serving dish and wait for it to set up. If you want a serving spoon in the finished bowl you will need to add it now.

Allow plenty of time for drying/ curing and you are done.

That was really easy wasn't it?

This same project can be made with any of the liquid polymer clays. Use a tiny drop of oil paint to color the liquid clay then mix in the tiny beads, put it into your bowl and bake. Depending on the brand of liquid polymer clay you use you might need to give it a glossy top coat to make it look wet.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Chocolate Chip Cookies

Okay, I have been craving some chocolate chip cookies all week so since I didn't have any chocolate chips in my pantry I decided to make some for the dollhouse instead. (don't worry I also put the chocolate chips on my grocery list and I will have the real thing before this video actually goes live)

I know I have made a similar cookie in the past on this channel but I used poppy seeds for the chips (or raisins, they could have been either) but this time I am using chopped up cooked clay for the chips.

For these cookies you will need to do a bit of prep work in the form of making a snake of brown clay and baking it off ahead of time. The snake I used in the video was actually made for my other channel so it is a bit larger than I would normally make for this scale but it works, I just had to do a bit more chopping. In the end the “chocolate” pieces are probably more the size of chocolate chunks than actual chocolate chips but those are good too.

You can use any dough color clay you have on hand. I am still using the batch of equal parts Sculpey III Tan and Beige that mixed up a while back. You could also use Fimo Sahara or Premo Ecru.

Roll the clay out rather thin, I used the 3rd setting on my pasta machine and use a small cutter to portion out the clay. I used the smallest Kemper round cutter.

I do recommend you get some chalks scraped off onto your work surface ahead of time if you want to use them. Just use the usual brown, reddish brown and ocher that we always use for baked goods. Roll those little disks of clay into balls, dip the bottoms in the chalk dust and place on a piece of sandpaper.

Slightly flatten the cookies with either your finger or a toothbrush.

Now it is time to add our chocolate pieces. I love the technique of using the piece of raw spaghetti for this. Just touch the end to your tongue to slightly moisten it (you could barely dip it in water but be very careful you don't want to get it really wet just moist) then use the spaghetti as a pick up tool. The dampness is just enough to make the tip of the spaghetti tacky so it will hold the tiny pieces of clay just long enough to place them.

If the spaghetti gets too damp or banged up just snap off to a fresh spot. This little trick works great for small beads too.

Add a slight brushing of our usual chalks to make the cookies looked baked.

When you are happy with them bake as instructed on the package of clay.

There you have a wonderfully fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies for the dolls in your dollhouse. 

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Halloween Cookies

This week I decided to continue with the Halloween theme that we started last week with some really cute (and easy) cookies.

I was looking at one of my Halloween cookbooks the other day and happened on a recipe that was showing how to use a simple heart shape cookie cutter to make some really cute pumpkin shaped cookies. The little light bulb in my brain went off with the realization that would work just as well for mini cookies for the dollhouse. I have spent so much time over the years trying to find a good source for clay cutters to make cookies for the dollhouse. It is next to impossible to find nice shapes that are small enough to make a normal sized cookie in this scale. I have long used the flower shaped Kemper cutter to make gingerbread men but I had never thought to use either the heart or the teardrop for pumpkins before. This might not be new to some of you but for me it was just a wonderful discovery.

So for today's project I am concentrating on just the decorating of the cookies and not much time on the basics of the cookie base. I think most of us have made cookies before and because I want the emphasis on the decorating I really don't think the rest is important.

So just use your favorite dough colored clay, there are options in every clay line. I used a mixture of equal parts Sculpey III Beige and Tan clays simply because that was leftover from a project I did a few days ago.

Roll your clay out fairly thin (I used the #3 setting on my pasta machine) and cut your cookies using the smallest heart or teardrop cutters from Kemper. These measure right around ¼” in size so they are a perfect size for 1/12th scale. The setting I used is just a tad too thick but that is because I wanted to use my finger to flatten the cookies slightly onto a piece of sandpaper. This gives just enough texture to make them look like a real cookie.

Bake the cookies directly on the sandpaper according to the directions on you clay package. The allow the cookies to cool completely. It is really important that they are cool for the next step.

Transfer the baked cookies to a piece of tape or other surface that will keep them in place as you work on them.

Now use a dental pick or similar tool and some orange fabric paint to make lines on your cookies to transform them into pumpkins. Allow this to dry then add a drop of green fabirc paint to the very top tip for a stem/leaf.

And there you have a really convincing pumpkin shaped cookie for the doll's Halloween party table. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Bat Cake

This week I thought it would be fun to make this super cute and really easy bat cake. With Halloween fast approaching I know that a lot of you like to decorate your dollhouse's for all the holidays. This would be really cute in a mini bakery too for a touch of holiday cheer.

This is a project that you can use any polymer clay you have on hand. The color really doesn't matter since we will never see it once we are done. This would be a great one to use up some of your scrap clay on. I used some Original Sculpey because it was within easy reach and I felt that it would be less distracting on the video than a piece of scrap clay.

You will need to roll out your clay to the height you want you want your finished cake layer to be. I rolled my clay on the thickest setting on my pasta machine and then doubled that. My cake is supposed to be a single layer cake but feel free to make yours a two layer cake if that fits your theme better.

For each bat cake you will need two cakes cut with a ¾” round cutter. Then set one of those pieces aside for now. Cut the remaining circle into two halves. Then use a ¼” cutter (a drinking straw would also work) to cut off pieces from the straight sides to form the wings.

Now bake all three pieces of clay according to the directions on your clay package.

While we are waiting for our cakes to cool let's make the board that the cake will be set on. I used two pieces of cereal box cut 1 ½” by 3” , taped these together and covered them with foil.

Now for the frosting. I love using latex caulking for frosting in my doll size crafting. I buy the tubes of the white (paintable) kind whenever I see it on sale. It is easy to tint to different colors with acrylic paints. For dark colors (like our chocolate today) I prefer to use the paints in the tubes over craft paint. Since the color is a bit more concentrated and the paint thicker it doesn't water down the caulk like the thinner paints do. There really isn't a formula for the color mixing just add color until it looks close to what you want. I used burnt umber, Payne’s gray, and a bit of burnt seinnna to get my brown color.

Spread the tinted caulk on just like frosting and let it set up until it is completely dry. I decided to add a top coat of my burnt umber paint to hide the fact I missed some spots with my frosting. It also made my frosting a bit darker and richer looking.

Now the fun part. I used Scribble 3-D paint for this step. I love this where I want the look of decorator’s frosting. You can go as fancy or as simple as you want on this step.

If you make a bat cake I would love to see it.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

What's Up???

Well, this is the spot in my blog that I normally point you in the direction of today's video but not today. I didn't get a video done this week but I do have some stuff for you to go look at if you are interested.

First off this week has just been one of those weeks. Monday started off really good, I had some shopping to do first thing in the morning and I had a bunch of plans for the rest of the day. Part way into my stop at the first store I started to get a headache. By the time I got home it was threatening to become a migraine. I was lucky enough to avoid that but it was still a miserable day.

Tuesday I had a couple of things outside the house I had to do but by this time I was well aware that I had caught the bug my oldest son brought home with him. Thankfully the worst of the symptoms were short lived but it sure drained me.

Then on Wednesday the Cricut Explore Air that I had ordered a couple of weeks ago finally arrived. I have now spent pretty much all day long for the last 3 days trying to figure that thing out. I am in awe of all it can do and at the same time sooooo very frustrated at trying to get myself to the point where I can do what I want to do with it.

I have plans for that machine and some of them might be of benefit to you the reader of my blog. I have for a long time been wanting to create some kits for making some simple projects and I think that I can produce the parts I want to with my Cricut. I just have to master the darn thing first.

In the meantime how many of you know about my other blogs and YouTube channels? I thought since I didn't get a video done for you this week I would share some of the other things I have been putting up in the last few months. My hope is that at least a few of you share some of my other interests and will want to hop over to see some of those videos and read some of those blog posts too.

So first off, I have a blog and YouTube channel devoted to 18” dolls. That includes the ones from American Girl, the Journey Girls (from Toys R Us), Our Generation (from Target) and many other dolls that size. I have some tutorials over there as well as some blogs that are in the form of a story from the perspective of one of the dolls. I have also written some reviews of doll related purchases and the months that I actually get any doll sewing done I post some photos of that too. If you are interested here is the link to the blog and you can you can go from there.

I have also been posting to my general crafts, beauty, everything else blog and channel more lately too. I named this one “Joanne's Place” partly because that is the name I gave to my Etsy shop when I opened it but also because I hope it will be a homey spot for readers to come and hang out with me. Over there you will find some beauty/ makeup related posts, some general crafting (lots more to come) and some planner related posts. Although I have had this blog up (under a different name) for about a year I hadn't posted much on it. I recently added the YouTube channel to it so I can use a similar system for it as I use for this blog.

That blog and channel will be the spot for anything other than mini and doll related posts. I am hoping to do everything from the types of posts that are already there to also some vlogging posts, card making, general crafting and sewing ones too. Since that channel and blog are fairly young I don't have a complete idea of where it will go in the future.

Now onto the first blog I started and the most neglected one of the batch. I have a cooking blog but I haven't posted to it in over a year. I do have the best intentions of getting it back on track but I just haven't gotten to it. I do have a lot of recipes over there that are favorites of my family so if that kind of thing interests you here it the link to it.

I would be very happy if you went and checked out my other content on these other blogs. If there are things you would like to see me post let me know.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Scarecrow

This week I decided to show you a fun fall decorating project that you can use outside your dollhouse. These little scarecrows have been around for many years and there are several variations on them. This is just my twist on them.

I am going to have you start by building a structure to hang your scarecrow from. I am using a 1 ½” wooden wheel from the craft store and a ¼” wooden dowel. I use this combination a lot when I need to make something that stands up because they are easy to get, inexpensive and easy to work with. Use whatever works for you. I have also made these in the past using a miniature wooden bucket to hold the dowel. It really is up to you and what you have available what you use. I want this project to be one that anyone can do without having to go buy a lot of stuff.

After the stand is put together we can get busy making the head of the scarecrow. For this just cut a rough circle of fabric. You can stuff the head with whatever you have, I used cotton balls this time but again use what you have. Tie the bottom shut with either some thread or a piece of string and paint on a face.

Next the pants, the cut shape to make pants looks complicated but as you can see from the video it is a really simple shape to cut out. My pant legs came out looking kind of like skinny jeans so if you want to have a baggier look make the rectangle a bit wider from the start. You can of course sew the seams either by hand or machine but glue works just as well as you can see in the video.

Next I gave the stand a light coat of brown paint, totally optional but I wanted to coat under the coffee ground dirt in case I didn't get an even coat.

The shirt is just another simple shape that I glued but you could sew it if you desire.

I do urge you to have fun with the hat. I made a really simple on but use your imagination. I have even used purchased straw hats on these in the past (I couldn't find any in my stash this morning)

Putting the scarecrow together is really simple. Just grab all the parts we made, some rafia (or straw or whatever) and some glue.

If you want to set yours on the dollhouse porch don't add the coffee grounds but I wanted to put mine in the yard.

These would also be cute in a pumpkin patch or the garden next summer.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Paint Cans & Drop Cloth

This is another part of the set that I used to offer for sale along with the paint roller I showed you how to make last week.

I had to come up with a new way to make the paint cans because quite frankly I can not remember how I used to make them. I did a quick search through my old minis and didn't see any of the old ones hanging around anymore either. So I just went with what seemed like the easiest way to show you.

I did leave off the wire handle this time but that would be easy enough to add if you wish to do so. I would recommend using some of the wire sold to make jewelry with.

For the drop cloth I just use a piece of inexpensive muslin, unbleached is best for this. It will look a lot like a piece of canvas in scale.

I cut mine to 9” by 12” to translate to a 9' by 12' drop cloth in scale since a quick online search confirmed my feeling that this is a really common size. Of course you can make yours any size you wish.

Once you seal the edge to stop the fabric from fraying the fun part begins. Just splatter on as much acrylic paint in as many colors as you desire. This is a case where more is better! Just have fun. Be warned however that there will be paint all over everything in the area that you do this so be sure to clear a large area or even better if the weather permits do this outside.

For display of the cloth if you want to make it drape there are a few tricks to get a realistic drape. One way is cover whatever you want the cloth to cover with plastic (for protection) and get the cloth wet and mold it to the shape you desire. Some well placed weights will help to convince the fabric to do what you want. It should stay in place once dry. 

If you are sure you won't change your mind later you can even dip the fabric in a stiffening solution before draping it.

Now the paint cans. These are really simple cylinders of paper with an end glued in the bottom and then painted to look like a can with paint inside. Make a label if you wish either on the computer like I did or by hand and glue in place.

If you want a paint tray what I used to include in my sets that I sold were the tins that the Altoids breath strips come in. I looked online and they appear to still come in the same tin that they did back then. I looked for them but didn't find them this week. The tin is slightly large for scale as I recall but still worked out really cute.

Now for the scene that a former customer purchased one of my sets created. I really wish I still had the photos she sent me because they were darling and really showed my set off at its best. Unfortunately I lost those photos in a computer/hard drive crash a couple of computers ago.

The back story first. She had been gifted an older dollhouse that needed a lot of work. She loved the house but because her home was very small the dollhouse was on display throughout this renovation.

When she made her purchase from me she was part way through striping out all the old wallpaper so she could wire the house and put in wall paper that was more to her taste. Unfortunately for her, it was her turn to host a holiday get together. She really felt the dollhouse was at the stage where it was more of an eyesore than an art piece and wanted to do something to make the situation make sense.

She found my listing for the paint cans, drop cloth, paint, roller and paint tray and wrote to me to see if I could do a custom set with colors she wanted. I was more than happy to do this and as we talked she asked if it would be possible for her to send a few other pieces to have me splatter paint to match. I was thrilled to help her out.

In the end she sent two different mini ladders she had purchased and had me age and splatter them. She also purchased several paint cans from me and had me add paint to some of the rollers and paint trays also. She also sent a doll dressed as a painter to have me add a few splashes of paint to match everything else.

In the photos she sent she staged the house with paint cans in various rooms. The ladders were set up the drop cloths were laid out and the painter was busy at work getting his work done.

It was a marvelous scene and from what I heard from her the guests at her holiday party were fascinated with it.

So you see, there are many ways to set up a dollhouse scene if you put your mind to it. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Paint Roller

The paint rollers I am showing this this tutorial are very similar to some that I used to make many years ago to sell. Back in the day I made a set with the paint roller, a drop cloth (very paint splattered) a paint tray and a can of paint. The paint rollers I made for those sets were based on a certain bead that I found that was the perfect size to create the roller portion. When I ran out of those beads I searched everywhere and wasn't able to find anything that would work. That was the end of those cute sets. I have looked off and on for years to find a replacement for the beads and never had any luck. Then the other day as I was trying to come up with a topic for this week's tutorial it suddenly occurred to me that the bead would be easy to make! So this week we get to make some paint rollers. Be sure to let me know if you would like to see some more parts of that old set as tutorials.

So the first step to making the paint roller is to create a simple paper bead. Paper beads as super simple to make and can be used in so many ways. We are actually going to be making two of them today.

For the first bead you will need a strip of card stock (I like to use white for this part) that is ¾” by 4 ½”. You will need to pre-roll this strip of paper, I used the blade from my scissors just like I would if I was curling a piece of ribbon to make a bow. Then roll the strip into a cylinder and check how big it is. You want this bead to be right around ¼” in diameter. When you have the bead the size you want add some Mod Podge or glue (I just use my fingers for this step) just don't put any glue at the beginning of the strip. You want this to bead to slip off the toothpick when dry. I like to start my bead on a really thin double pointed knitting needle but that is optional. You could just start it in your fingers if you want to. Wind the paper up to make a nice tight bead and coat it with more Mod Podge (or glue) and balance it on a toothpick stuck into either a drying board or a piece of foam. Allow the bead to dry.

This next step is optional- use an emery board to smooth the spot where your paper strip ended. It just takes a few moments and will make your bead look nicer.

Now coat the sides of the bead with more Mod Podge and roll it in some white flocking. This makes your paint roller look all fluffy just like the real thing. Balance it on the toothpick and allow to dry again.

Use a ¼” hole punch to make two little circles of card stock to cover the ends of your bead. This will both make it look more finished and prevent the head pin we are using in the next step from sliding out.

After the glue on the end pieces dries use a sewing pin to make a tiny hole in each end then thread the bead onto a jewelry head pin. The ones I used today are 2” long and they were the perfect length for the paint roller.

Bend the wire as I show in the video.

Now cut another strip of paper that is ½” by 1 ¼” and pre-roll it. Using lots of glue or Mod Podge form this strip on the end of the head pin to form the handle of the paint roller. Remember you can have some fun with this strip because the handles on paint rollers come in a lot of different colors. Allow to dry.

By the way if you have problems keeping the handle (the bead you made last) you might need a drop of super glue to help hold it.

Give the handle a final coat of either Mod Podge or clear nail polish and you are ready for the dolls to do some home improvement projects in the doll house.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Lunch Bags

Since school is set to start here any day now I thought we should make sure the kids in the dollhouse don't go hungry at lunchtime this year.

I love to make lunch bags in doll size, they are sooooo easy and at the same time just soooo darn cute!

The first version is the traditional paper lunch bag that many of us grew up using. Just a brown paper bag. I usually use a real brown paper lunch bag to make them too. The paper is so thin and looks so perfect in doll size. It is very delicate though so be especially careful when scoring your fold lines.

Of course you could use any paper you want to. Even in real life there are paper lunch bags in many colors and designs.

Then for our second version of the lunch bag I decided to go a bit more modern. Every store I have been into the last few weeks has a huge display of the re-usable, insulated lunch bag. After all they are much better for the environment and they kind of keep the kids lunch at a better temperature. So I figured with a few simple tweaks my standard lunch bag pattern could join the modern world. For this one I recommend using a card stock weight paper but any color will work, you could even use a tiny printed paper. This bag is just begging to be decorated, so if you make on and decorate be sure to let me see it!

Now for the cutting and scoring measurements.

For the basic paper lunch bag:

Tear a straight edge- this will be the top of your lunch bag.

Score 1” away from this edge
Cut ¼” away (1 ¼” total height for the paper strip)

Now from one end :
Score at:
½”, ¾”, 1 ¼”, 1 ½”
And cut at 2”
You should have a ½” area (bag bag) ¼” area (side 1) ½” area (front of bag) ¼” (side 2) and finally another ½” area (the back overlap)

Fold the sides as I showed you on the video and then trim and glue your bag togther.

For the modern bag:

From the long edge
score at ¼”, 1 ¼” and cut at 1 ¾”
Now from one end score at the same measurements as for the paper bag.

Now just follow the steps I took in the video to assemble.

These are sooo simple I am sure you will be able to make up enough of them for an entire mini class room in no time at all. 

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Slushie

We are coming the end of a long hot summer and around here that means it is time to go to the fair! And what trip to the fair is complete without some summer fair food. This week thought the dolls might like to cool off with a nice cold Slushie!

I asked my teenage son what color he thought of when I he thought of Slushies and he said blue so that is the color we are making in the video. Of course you can make any color you want to. So just pick your favorite and follow along.

This project takes just a few materials. First we do need a cup of some kind to put the slushie in. I used the top to a dried up bottle of tacky glue. Look around and I am sure you will find something to use. You could even make some paper cups using printables you can find online.

Next we need the two components to make our slushie- colored craft sand and Mod Podge Dimensional Magic. You will also want a colored paper clip or something similar for a straw.

You also need something to work on (I like aluminum foil for this) and a toothpick to mix up the ingredients.

Start by measuring out enough sand to fill your cup about 2 times. This really isn't a lot so err on side of a bit too much rather than not enough. Add the Dimensional Magic just a few drops at a time and mix well. You are looking for a rather thick mixture that will hold its shape when you mound it into the cup. Not too thick (too hard to get it into the cup) and not too thin (won't hold its shape) it is really something you will do by feel rather easily.

Now use the toothpick to move the sand mixture into your cup and make a nice mound on top. Carefully insert the paper clip and get it where you want it to be. You can't change this once the mixture dries to be sure now.

Set your slushie aside to dry over night. I found I had to prop mine up because the paper clip made it too top heavy to stand up on its own.

Once the mixture is dry you can use a pair of wire cutters to clip off the excess paper clip and you have a slushie for the dolls in your dollhouse.

These are soooo easy to make and take so little in the way of materials. If you make some be sure to show me a picture I want to see them!

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Coke

Let me start by asking a question that has popped up a lot lately. Yes, we will be getting back to the garage building project. It has just been too hot here to work on any large projects lately and now that it has cooled off (at least for the last few days) I have so many things that I have to get caught up on. As soon as the weather is more comfortable and I get caught up with other things we will work on it again.

Now on to today's project! This week I decided to look through the complimentary projects over at PaperMinis again. I love Ann's projects and I was in the mood for something quick and fun to do today. Since it is still summer I thought the dolls might need some cans of coke to keep them refreshed.

It is really easy to take advantage of these free projects all you have to do is go over to the Paper Minis site (link here) and sign up for the free newsletter. In every newsletter (usually toward the bottom of the page) is a link to the library of these free projects.

Most of the free projects come in 3 scales: dollhouse (1/12th), Barbie (1/6th) and American Girl (1/3rd) this is the smallest scale but all the scales go together pretty much the same way. You will need to adjust the size of the punch to cut out the tops and bottoms of the cans in other scales Or just use scissors for this step.

The projects come in the form of a PDF that you can download to your computer so you can print it out. The only real secret to printing these is to make sure your printer is set to print as “borderless” (it might be called something different on your printer but it should be similar. On my printer I go to the preferences tab to tell it this. If you skip this step your things you print out will not be the correct scale for your doll.

I used plain, cheap white cardstock this time. You do need something of about that weight for the box. You can use a glossy paper but sometimes the ink will crack on glossy paper.

After you have everything assembled just give your cans a coat of a gloss finish and the box a coat of satin and you ready to display.

Be sure to check out the links at the top of this page to all my other blogs so you can see what else I have been creating and doing.  

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Furniture Makeover

I know this is a really short video but I wanted to get something done for you all this week. It is still really hot here and working on anything is just miserable.

I was at the Dollar Tree the other day and noticed they had some dollhouse furniture in the toy section. This time instead of having that really cheap looking finish the pieces all appeared to be totally void of any finish. I grabbed a pair of this little tables (?) so I could show you a side by side before and after this time. I think I will work out another finish for the other one for a future video. If there is something in particular you would like to see me do with the other one let me know (keep in mind they are really rough- so they aren't going to come out like an expensive piece)

This time I simply brushed on a thin coat of brown craft paint and wiped off any excess. This gives a faux stained wood finish. You will have to dab on some extra paint where the glue resists the paint.

I did decide to give my piece some “metal” drawer pulls via a coat of metallic paint. As far as craft paints in the metallic colors go I really prefer the Ceramcoat brand. The others that I have personally tried have all be almost transparent instead of opaque.

I did end up spraying the finished piece with a gloss a spray finish, I had planned to use a satin but my can wouldn't spray so I had to use the one that would work.

If you are working with kids I think these little furniture pieces might be a fun craft project to do. Just get a few pieces of the furniture and various colors of craft paint and let them have some fun. The spray finish could either be skipped or done by an adult outside.

Sorry this is so short but I am just not dealing with this heat well at all.

Also a side note I have changed the name of my general craft blog and I plan to be adding more to it in the near future. The link is at the top of this page so if you are interested be sure to check it out and maybe subscribe to that blog too. (there is a Youtube channel for that one too- I will be announcing it this week over on that blog)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Missing in Action

It seems like forever since I have posted, I am sorry. It has been soooo hot here in Oregon this summer and I am afraid the heat has just taken the wind out of my sails. I don't deal with extremes in weather very well. That has never really been a problem in the past but the last couple of years have been miserable. Normally Oregon has pretty agreeable weather- as long as you don't mind months of rain and gray skies. This summer we are having a heat wave and I absolutely hate it! I have lost track of how many days over 90 (Fahrenheit) we have had already but most years you can count those on one hand.

Anyway, I haven't disappeared I have just been trying to deal with the heat. I have also had a couple of migraines that I am pretty sure were the result of the weather too.

One of the things I have been doing when it has been too hot to do anything else is to watch Youtube videos. Those things are downright dangerous! I have added several new toys to my craft room. I am not sure if I will be finding any mini uses for them but I might do some blog posts over on my general craft blog when the weather gets cooler.

After I ran out of craft videos that interested me I switched over to makeup and beauty videos. It was there I discovered something that I am hoping will help to keep me organized and on task in the future.

You see one thing I have been struggling with for this entire year is getting organized. I had made up my mind last December that this year I was going to keep up with a daily planner type thing. I didn't find anything at the store that I liked that was reasonably priced so I have been printing off various planners each month- some I found online for free and some I made up my myself. I just wasn't finding anything I felt like I could use on a daily basis and stick with. I am sure I have spent a fortune on paper, binding supplies and ink by now. Not to mention the time involved in the process.

Then on a couple of the makeup and beauty channels I discovered the Erin Condren planners. Now I know they are expensive but when I look at how much I have spent trying to come up with my own over the last 6 or 7 months the price is looking a lot better. These planners are made to be decorated with stickers and stuff. They have different color schemes each month and there are a ton of stickers that are made for them

My new planner will be here in a couple of days and I was wondering if any of you would be interested in following along as I get into this? So let me know if you would like me to blog about the planner- I would probably do those on my general craft blog rather than here but I wanted to ask all of you if it was something you would like to see. So let me know- should I blog about it or not bother?

Another question: how do you guys deal with the extremes in weather? We don't have AC and I just don't see that happening anytime soon. We do have several fans and they help a lot but they just can't keep up with near 100.

So help me out- post your favorite ways to cool off-

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Dollhouse Miniature Bird Bath

I have been asked so many times over the years about the bird baths that I have placed in a couple of my outdoor scenes. I had not been able to find the wooden shape I had used for the basin portion for a long time. On a recent trip to the craft store I ran into a display of these again.

I have misplaced the label but I believe the part that use for the basin is called a plate. They are about 1 ¼” to 1 ½” in diameter.

I also used three of the small wooden spools and a wooden disk.

I have also used the small wooden plant pots for the upright post where I used the spools this time. They both work really well it just depends on what I have on hand and how I want it to look this time.

I am positive you can find other parts that will work just as well as what I show you today.

When I use the spools I usually add a short piece of bamboo skewer or a piece of a skinny dowel to give some added support.

We start by gluing the parts together with some Tacky glue (or whatever glue you have that you know will hold wood together)

Really this project is not one where you need to go out and buy a ton of stuff. Just use what you have and make it yours. I love relaxed projects in the summer.

After the glue dries give the project a base coat of craft paint. I use a brown on the wooden disk base and a gray on the rest. After the paint is dry coat the gray part with Matte Mod Podge (or a thin white glue) and coat it with some sand. I used a bag of kind of course sand from Dollar Tree this time but any sand will work. We are just adding texture to make it look like a concrete type piece. If you want your bird bath to look like one of those pretty ceramic ones skip this step and paint it a beautiful color instead.

After the sand application is dry give this area another coat of gray paint. Allow to dry.

Now coat the base with some thick glue and coat it with some dried (used) coffee grounds- our standard “dirt” and allow to dry.

Make sure the gray paint is completely dry and then add your “water” to the top of your birdbath. I usually use Crystal Clear Gallery Glass but use whatever you normally use for water in these type of things. I think Triple Thick would do well in this too.

Clear Gallery Glass goes in white but does dry to a clear after time. Mine this time is taking forever to go to the clear state. I am pretty sure it is a combination of the fact I put in a bit too much at one time and the high humidity we have right now. Normally when I make things like this I put them under my lights to speed the drying time. With our high temps I haven't been turning on extra lights.