Sunday, February 28, 2010

Go ask Alice....

I needed some "filler" for the large book shelf I've made for the Laboratory in the "dungeon". I thought a pot a 'shrooms might do the trick so I hauled out the polymer clay this afternoon, did little online research and fussed around with it.

I now know more about psychedilic fungi than I ever thought I wanted to know....and I am a child of the 60's.....

Anyway, I made about a bazillion of these teensy things and lost easily half of them in the carpet... Bleh! But the ones that surived turned out quite nice and I believe I have enough for the project.

While I was at it, I decided to make some white and brown button mushrooms (for what purpose I have no idea but I am sure some need will arise... Alas, many of them also ended up in the carpet...). You can see them mixed in with the fly agarics. Just don't mix them up in the kitchen!

I think I will have to dust the brown and white ones with a little "dirt". Then I think I'll put them in a little market basket for the kitchen. Cute, eh? Not that hard to make either...just fussy.

I'll post a picture if I ever get them in the basket....

(PS: I have another project going for the "bones" in the background but more about that later...)



Oh my goodness! It seems I have gone over 100 follower mark this weekend!

I actually find that rather amazing. But I am thankful for those who are interested enough in my ramblings and occasional tip to keep tuning in. I admit, I am not the world's best blogger. Time seems to run away. I don't take very good pictures and I find that stopping to pictorially document any progress I make on projects takes most of the afternoon....I'm dreadful computer illiterate, I'm afraid.

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and see what I may be up to! I will continue to try my best to keep this updated and who knows...maybe my picture taking will improve. But probably not.....


Saturday, February 27, 2010

Stay safe Kiva and Cheryl....and all friends in OZ

Hope both these lovely ladies are not in harm's way due to the tsunami generated by the Chilean earthquake. Just heard that there is an evacuation warning for Hawaii starting at 6am their time. Don't know exactly where either of them are but my prayers are with eeryone there.

My brother and sister in law are currently in Chile on a photography tour (my bil is a photog). Heard this AM via e-mail that they are 400 miles to the south of the epicenter so have not been effected. Whew.

Also understand that Australia (not sure what areas) is in the path....lots of mini friends there too.

Everyone, be safe.


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Venetian Masks on Etsy...

Below is a preview of some of the Venetian Masks I will be offering on Etsy over the next few weeks. They were very popular at the Orlando show but, as usual, I got carried away....still each one is different from the next. Enjoy!

We have a collection of birds like this wise old owl.......

...and this "nosey" tucan....

...and then there are a couple of crazy feathered ones! seriously silly elephant....

...and my personal favorite....The Phantom of the Opera!

They will be on my etsy shop by 12 noon today. Please stop by and have a closer look!


Monday, February 22, 2010

Orlando Miniature Show....

The worst thing about having a table at a miniature show is that one does not get to be a shopper. I was manning the table alone this time and as business, while not brisk, was steady, I wasn't able to get around to any other vendors except quickly to the pottery guy for a few teapots right before the doors opened and the ribbon purveyor at the close of the show.

But as I took the long way around when entering the ballroom, I got a brief look at some wonderful artisans. In the future, I really must insist on a helper.....

I sold all but 2 of my wizardy tables/cabinets. I also have an assortment of planetary devices and gizmos which I will be offering for sale on Etsy later this evening ,since I will not have another show until mid-July. I thought I 'd give my blogger friends a preview.

Please stop over to the shop later to have a closer look....

I will also have some Venetian Carnival masks in the shop, probably by tomorrow. It is just a matter of taking the pictures and writing the between laundry, changing the linens, grocery shopping and dinner preparation.



Thursday, February 18, 2010

Masquerade! Paper faces on parade.....

Look around - there's another mask behind you !

I have been absent from BlogWorld for a time but it is not without good cause. This weekend is the Orlando Miniature Show and I have been working like a mad woman to get ready.

Because the Saturday Fun Day workshop this year is a Mask Shop, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make up several dozen masks, each one different. These masks are traditionally made from papier-mache' but I have used Prosculpt. Some are Animagus like the ones above.

Some are feathered, beaded and glittered with unusual features like the one below:

...... And some are full-faced like you see on my friend Rinaldi here :

I am not a dollmaker but I do enjoy dressing dolls occasionally. I thought the table display might look a little spare so I put this Venetian gentleman, on his way to Carnivale, together. He looks better in person, I think ;-). One of the reasons I don't costume dolls very often is that I do not like wigging ( just not very good at it)... but I was able to keep him bald so it was all jake.

I will also be offering my collection of wizard gizmos, tables and cabinets. If you are in Florida, this should be a great show. Come stop by and see us!


Monday, February 8, 2010

Organize, organize, organize.....

Years ago, before I had a designated work space for miniatures, I was at the hair salon and noticed just how convenient the stylist's cart was for her "stuff". This salon didn't have permanent work stations for the girls and they moved around frequently....and their personal carts went with them. Now I had used various carts on wheels for storage before but none of them had all the features of the salon carts. So I bought one. The brand I bought is pictured below.
What I especially liked was the storage on either side for bottles and jars with brushes and whatever. The four drawers are very roomy and there is sufficient clearance for things that are bulky. I was able to keep everything I needed for most projects in this cart. Tools of all kinds including my dremel, all manner of glues and sprays, sewing supplies, brushes, etc, etc, etc.... Before my paint collection got enormous, I kept that in it also. The lower bin was great for stashing big items and I put a square ceiling tile on top to create a flat surface and used the compartments for odds & ends. When I wasn't crafting, I just rolled into the closet or elsewhere out of the way. Easy , peasy, lemon squeasy......

Even though I do have a space to call my own these days, I still use and love this cart. I actually have a plastic turntable I usually put on top but I recently bought this great craft tote bag for taking to classes. It has a magnetic rotating base and room for tons of necessities for playing "away". Since it seems I continually acquire more tools and various other things to make what I make, I have transfered a lot to the tote bag, freeing up more room in the cart. I am even thinking of putting the paint back in it.

So I thought I pass this along to whomever may find it useful. (actually just looking for an excuse to take a break from housework....bleh!) :-)


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Paper Clay Stuff....

Wendy, from Wendies Mini World showed her lovely fireplaces for Hagatha's Skool on her blog...quick go see; they're really nice:

Several people commented that they couldn't find PaperClay or had difficulty working with it. You can always order it directly from the manufacturer in 16 oz packages...which is twice the amount you get at your local hobby shop

Here are my favorite tools for working with the stuff. The rolling jig was made by my friend, Larry Bolduc from Unicorn Studios. He is a master at PaperClay stonework. See his work:

The jig is simply a wood frame around a square of plywood into which a square of vinyl floor tile fits nicely. The top of the frame is a scant 1/8 inch above the tile when it is in place. The length of PVC pipe is such that it rides on top the frame, rolling out a perfect 1/8 inch thin piece of paperclay. It's very slick, really. The tile can be removed for clean up and the pipe comes squeaky clean with water.

I treat the papercly like pie crust. If it is too sticky, I dust it lightly with talc; too dry, add a drop or two of water and knead it up a bit. I work fairly quickly with it and always seal whatever I am applying it to first. You can actually used a PVA glue to do this and it serves the second purpose of assuring a good adherence. Remember, since this is an air-drying clay, the "substrate" (your wall or whatever) will also absorb the moisture as the clay dries and eventually warp if not sealed....except probably for 1/2 inch plywood. :-)

Until it has been painted (sealed) you can spray it lightly with water to rework the texturing but after you've painted it, that won't work. I tend to texture as I go and cover the area with a damp paper towel if I am not going to finish at one sitting. I also try to wait to paint until the stuff is completley dry as the paint does two things:

#1. It adds more water back into the mix as I usually uses washes to achieve the "look" I want;

#2. As a result of #1, the possiblity of warpage increases because once sealed with paint, the moisture has no where to go but into the substrate.

I know people who have given up on paper clay because of this but if you take just a few steps to avoid warping, the results are dynamite! It's lightweight and very authentic looking.

Have fun...!


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Those Elusive Flower Petal Punches....

Casey, over at Casey's Minis, was making geraniums on her blog yesterday. She mentioned that she got the flower-shaped punch from an online manufacturer whose name she couldn't recall right at the moment. Go see what she is up to....

I have that very same punch (plus about 6 more!) and I remembered that I got it from the PJ Mieth company which, at the time, was located in New Jersey. I tried to find them online and discovered that the brothers (PJ and MC) parted ways a while back. MC has kept the punch manufacturing alive in Florida.

These are high quality, heavy duty, die-cut percision punches. Your favorite coffee house may still use them for their customer reward cards. I know mine does...

Anyway...they have 1645 different shapes to chose from...WOW! 120 are always in stock and the rest have to be ordered. They will also make a custom shape for your particular needs if one of the 1600+ doesn't suit you. But the price, I noticed, for their stock punches has gone up to $48!

You can see what they offer here:

I used to belong to a club that enjoyed making flowers. We would each buy a punch and then get together to punch petals and make flowers. The cost of a punch back then was $30 which wasn't bad if you made and sold a lot of roses.

I am not a purist about these things. I know there are folks who only cut their own petals...and God bless them for their patience. I have a punch that makes beautiful rose petals...and I can punch faster than I can cut.

Which reminds me...I must see if I have any red roses to display with my Phantom Mask....