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Thursday, May 25, 2017

Tips for Dollhouse Miniature Crafting- Portioning Polymer Clay

This week for the tips video I thought I would talk a bit about portioning clay. When we are working in 1/12th scale not only are the items we make scaled but so are the mistakes and not in a good way. If for instance you are making cookies, if you making cookies in real life and your balls of cookie dough are off in size by say ¼' its not a big deal. Probably no one will even notice. However, if you are making those same cookies for the dollhouse you are probably starting out with a ball of clay that is about ¼” (at most) and even being a tiny bit off is going to show up big time. So we need an easy way to get consistent sized amounts of clay every time. Also we are all busy and we don't want to have to sit there and measure each and every ball of clay to see if it is the same size as the one next to it. And by the way just looking at them on your work surface is no grantee that you will notice differences. Those usually show up once the project is finished and you go to set it up. Then you see that one of the cookies looks like it was meant for the Jolly Green Giant.

Also with this method if you make a note of how you measured the amount of clay you can come back later (a month from now, a year from now, or whenever) and you can get the same results again without having to do all the measuring again.

So I hope you found this useful. 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Visit to Heirlooms Dollhouse Miniatures & More

This week's video is a bit different from what I usually bring you. I got the opportunity to visit a local miniature shop and I decided to take all of you with me! So here is what is in store you today.

I hope you enjoy our visit to Heirlooms Dollhouse Miniatures & More.

The first thing we are going to do is sit down and have a short chat with Wendy who owns this lovely store. We talk about miniatures, her store and the area where the shop is located.

Next we are going to step into the classroom and listen in for a few moments to a doll making class that was taking place while we were there. The class was being taught by Dana from Miniature Art. Be sure to take a side trip to her website to see the beautiful dolls she creates.

As a bonus Dana, did a quick tutorial for all of you on how to curl doll hair! That was so nice of her and I had no idea she would offer until we got there.

I do want to introduce you to this little guy, this is Tip the official shop dog. He is a darling little guy and makes sure everything is running as it should.

Heirloom Dollhouse Miniatures & More is located in the community of Aurora Oregon. Just a short drive south of Portland. Aurora is rich with history and simply filled with antique stores. There are even some delightful cafes where you can grab a bite eat. There are lots of very old houses to look and the history of the area is unique. You can learn more about the area here.

As for the miniature store, Wendy has a Facebook page where you can learn more details including hours and directions to the shop.

I want to take a moment here to thank a few people that made this post possible. First Wendy for allowing us to come into her shop and set up cameras. Next Dana for letting us take a peek at her class as it was going on. And finally my son Erik, he was the guy behind the camera today. He even got up an hour earlier than he normally does so that we could get this done today.

Please enjoy the pictures that Erik took.

And now some photos around the town of Aurora.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Dollhouse Miniature Trash to Treasure Stair Runner

This week's Trash to Treasure project is one I have been wanting to do for a while. I just needed a dollhouse stair case to use for the video. Since both of my dollhouses have stairs that are not really easy to see I couldn't use those. I really didn't want to have to purchase a staircase without a project to use it in. Then when I dug out the dollhouse shell to do the wiring of the lamp for the wiring series I found the set of stairs just laying in the dollhouse! Yeah! I can now show you this super easy stair runner.

This is really easy and can be any style you want for your dollhouse, from modern to Victorian and anywhere in between. The ribbon I picked would be good for a modern application or maybe even an Art Deco house. I got a ribbon that is 1 ½” wide, that is about as narrow as I would recommend going, up to 2” wide is what to look for.

You can use a grosgrain like I did or a velvet ribbon would be very nice too. Again it all depends on the style of the house you are working in.

I simply cut my ribbon long enough to go from the top back edge of the top step to the base of the bottom step. Don't forget to follow all the surfaces of the steps (tops and fronts all the way down)

Next cut some strong double sided tape the same length to cover the back (I used the same carpet tape I used for installing the carpet in our roombox)

If you are certain you are never going to change out the stair runner you could glue it also. I like to keep my options open to be able to change things later.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Dollhouse Wiring 101 pt 7 Installing a Lamp in Your Dollhouse

After I showed you how to actually find the tapewire in your dollhouse I got a lot of requests to show the process of installing the table lamps/floor lamps in the dollhouse. Since I don't want to add any lamps to my corner roombox I wasn't sure where I was going to demo this. Then I remembered that I had this old dollhouse shell in the back of my storage closet. I knew I had wired it when I built it so I dug it out yesterday and since the wiring works I am using one of the rooms in it to show you the process. I also found my box of miscellaneous electrical stuff and there was a functional (although broken) table lamp in it. Yeah for holding on stuff that I think I will never use!! So with those things in hand we are installing a lamp today.

The process is fairly simple.

First you need to find your tapewire under the wallpaper. I won't go into that today since we covered that last time.

Next you need to make two holes that correspond with your tapewire runs. I did this off camera since I think we can all drill holes where we have marked. Since this shell is made of MDF I did need an actual drill bit to make the holes.

The next step is to cut off the plug from the fixture. If I was planning to use this lamp in this location I would have cut the cord closer to the lamp (shorter cord) but since I might want to move it later I left a lot of cord in case I need it later.

After you cut off the cord separate the two bundles of wires like I showed in an earlier video and strip off the plastic coating from the bundles. I also recommend making the bare bundles fairly short, that makes them easier to work with and you are less apt to short out your wiring.

Now you need to poke one of those bundles of wires into one of the holes you made in the wall. Quickly (before the wires slip out) push a grommet into the hole with the wires. This will do 2 things it will create contact between the wires and your tapewire and it will hold the wires into the hole.

Now just repeat with the second wire bundle and hole.

It is now time to turn the electricity back on to the dollhouse and see that your lamp works. If not turn everything off and try pushing the grommets in tighter. That is usually the problem when they don't work in this type of installation.

So now the story of the dollhouse shell that I was using. This is one of those purchases that I think we all make, we think we are going to love the item and then we start to work with it and find we really don't.

This dollhouse was a kit that was offered in a local store, not even a craft store just my local store I buy my groceries and such at (Fred Meyer, for those in the Pacific Northwest, if you are curious) The kit was made by a dollhouse company that used to be here in Oregon (Dura-Craft) The kits were brought in one year around Christmas and they had some on the shelves for several months. I picked up this house as well as some kits that I later sold when they clearanced them out.

I thought I would like the house but found what when working with it because of the shape there really just wasn't enough wall space to decorate and make it the way I wanted it to be. It sat for years half finished until I moved it to my storage room closet a couple of years ago.

Now that it is out I am thinking about using it for some tutorials. Not sure what kind of tutorials but something maybe.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tools for Making Dollhouse Miniatures-Clay Cutting Tools

This week we are going to talk about the tools to cut polymer clay with. There are many things you can use and I am showing you just my favorites in this video. I hope seeing what I use on a regular basis up close is helpful to you. This is by no means a complete list of all the tools available or even of all the tools I have. These are just my favorites.

So let's start by talking about clay knives. In my opinion this is the first real clay tool you should buy. For everything else you can find something that will work just as good. But for cutting the clay knives are thinner and longer than any other blades I have found. They make better cuts in the clay with less effort. Be careful though, they will cut skin just as easily as clay and they can be hard to tell which is the sharp edge unless you really look.

I know some people add a “handle” to the top of blade but adding a snake of clay to the top edge and baking it in the oven. This gives a top edge that is safer and easy to see. I don't do this because I love that I can cut any depth of clay with my knife and not have anything in the way on the blade.

The other cutters I showed on the video should be easy to find. Just check out your local craft store to see what they have. I like having a variety of cutters available, it makes working with the clay so much easier.