Sunday, March 19, 2017

A little of this...a little of that...

First, I wanted to share a couple of pics my DH took the other day. It was a beautiful sunny day, just after the storm we had, and our frequent visitors arrived once more - and actually stayed still long enough for a couple of photos.

These Bohemian waxwings love the small berries that this tree produces - not that I know what kind of tree it actually is. On a bright sunny winter day they arrive in droves...well, about 30 to 40 of them at a time, at least. Here's one little guy who turned around as if posing for us. Isn't he gorgeous?

These birds may be one of the smaller varieties but, when you have 30 of them at a time flitting around in your front yard - what a cacophony of sound!

So - what else do I have for you today? Well, I have been working on a few small things. Marijke H. generously helped me learn how to make another type of flower - a hydrangea. I decided on a white one. Marijke very rightly pointed out that I shouldn't use just white but also sprinkle in a little off-white or buff since no flower is just a single colour throughout. I love the way it turned out although I still have to put a little pale green or yellow colour in the centre of each of the little "flowers" that make up the hydrangea head.

I also made some tulips, daffodils and irises. I need to make a lot more of these to get better at them.

While I was learning to make these flowers, I took great interest in watching Marijke produce her incredible plants and flowers. She made these perfect little roses as well as the two adorable bird houses. Take notice of the various shades of one colour she uses in a single flower. How realistic it makes them look! They will probably all be used in her latest project of a shabby chic florist shop. You can see it on her blog at Pulchinella's Cellar.

Other than that, with the very busy St. Patrick's week I had, I only had time to work on a couple of little things (no pun intended). I decided to work on something for a friend's birthday. She is planning on an slightly unorthodox version of a house for a rather famous couple. As such, I wanted to make her a special bed -- in 1:24th scale. I started by looking at one on Kris Compass's site. She doesn't have a tutorial for it but I am trying to build a smaller version by referring to her pictures as I go.

I decided to make it a queen-sized bed so, in 1:24th scale I made it 2.5 inches wide. I made it a little longer than a regular queen-sized bed because I knew I would have to allow for the foot board to "roll" over the end of the mattress. Here is the start of it.

For the curved head board, once I decided on my shape, I cut it out of three layers of card stock, and glued the layers together with wood glue. I wrapped them around a bulbous-shaped air freshener, just like Kris Compass did with her French chaise longue, to make it curve and to provide a slope for the back. I held it in place with elastics until it was well and truly dried so it would hold it's shape and harden. I left it for several days but probably could have taken it off after 24 hours. I used two layers of 1/4" foamcore to make the mattress base. Then I made a small tufted mattress and glued that down as well. It's difficult to see the tufting here but, trust me, it's there.

Once this was done, I cut three layers in the shape of the mattress form, but long enough to give me the sleigh bed footboard shape. I glued these together with wood glue then, while they were still wet, I glued them to the base then curved them up with the use of a marker and taped things down to hold the shape until it dried. Unfortunately, I used the wrong tape and, when I removed it, some of the paper came off the card stock so I will be adding a thin piece of paper to cover these areas. Small problem, easily repaired.

I now will make runners for the bottom, instead of legs, and sew up some bedding to finish it off. I'm hoping to have it finished by Tuesday. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

The only other thing I've done is to start making my tidbit for our club meeting on Tuesday. I am making a set of 1:24 scale kitchen canisters. I used a pencil for the smallest, the top of a pen for the middle size and a small marker for the largest. Once the strips of cardstock were wrapped around and glued with fast-grab glue, (make sure they don't get glued to the forms!), I left them to dry for about 15 minutes or so, then I spread a light layer of glue around the bottom edges and stuck them to small pieces of card stock. After they were well dried, I used a pair of cuticle scissors to trim the excess paper from around the base.

I'll finish these off and have them ready for the club meeting, I hope. If not, I'll give something else as my "tidbit" or provide something from my "stash". Let's see how it goes, shall we? TTFN! - Marilyn

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Better late than never!

I've been so busy lately, it's been hard to find time to post. Our mini group- F.A.M.E., did hold our monthly meeting in February, although it was delayed by a week because of a major, major snow storm. Oh - you already know this since I did post pictures of the snow in our yard and covering my car.

Having said all that, last month was our second time to work together on our shop projects. We are all at varying stages of completion but are aiming to have as many done as possible before the Moncton Miniatures Show in May. We will have a display table there and would like to showcase our latest pieces.

Here are some pics from our last meeting. The first one shows Marijke's work in progress in the forefront with Louise and Sharon chatting in the background. Marijke is making her project into a shabby chic florist shop. You can follow her progress on her blog at Pulchinella's Cellar.

This next picture shows Sharon's work in progress. I love the look she is developing here but - I'm having a senior's moment and can't remember what kind of shop she is building. A little voice in the back of my head tells me it's a chocolatier but, I could certainly be wrong. My voices tell me all sorts of things ....but we won't go there right now!

The decorative iron pieces on the roof are just placed there in the picture above. They will be permanently installed later.

Lynn's project is going to be a laboratory - she's still debating whether it will be a mad scientist's lab or another kind of lab. Notice the little stethoscope sitting on top of the room box in the first picture? It'll find a place inside for sure.

In the next two pictures I've provided a close up of the incredible pieces Lynn has picked up online for this project, including glass beakers, test tube holder (complete with the glass test tubes), glass storage containers, and so much more! I'm really looking forward to seeing the final product for this one. What a great idea!

The last one I'll show you this time around is from our newest F.A.M.E. member. Garry is such an incredible talent and generously shares his wealth of knowledge and experience with the rest of us. What a great addition to our group he is!

Garry expanded on the original project to make it a little deeper, then turned it into an old west bath house. Incredible! It's still a work in progress as well but already looks amazing.

He also added a small piece on the side which will become an attached outhouse (and possibly a place to hide his battery pack if he chooses to light his room).

The next two pictures show the wonderful array of accessories he has already managed to fit in his piece (with more to come before it's finished, I'm sure). In addition to the water pump and the bowl and pitcher, he has so many small items scattered around including other bowls, straight razors, combs, a mirror, the bucket of water heating on the stove, vintage pictures, signs and notices, two old-fashioned and well-used tubs for bathing, and, of course, his signature dog. Every one of Garry's pieces has a dog in it somewhere. Isn't his work inspiring?!

Garry has the most wonderful collection of vintage signs he has made up. There's always something for every occasion and he's always willing to share. He allowed me to pick one for myself last time we met and I picked an old 1950s-style sign of a woman from that time saying "I understand the concept of cooking and cleaning - just not how it applies to me." I just love it! I will definitely find a place to use it in the future. Hope you enjoyed this posting, regardless of the fact that it was almost a month late in coming. - Story of my life - a day late and a dollar short! TTFN - Marilyn

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!

Sorry I haven't posted in a while. It's not that I haven't been doing minis - it's just that i'm doing minis that I can't post about yet because it would spoil the secrets for some people. *smile*

On the other hand, as a very active member of our local and provincial Irish Association, the few weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Week (yes,to us it's actually a week, not a day!) are always so busy I can hardly fit in time for anything else. Good news is - starting tomorrow I'll have some time to myself again. Yeah!!!! Mini time for sure. I'll be back to you soon. In the meantime,enjoy St. Patrick's Day - I know I will! TTFN!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Found my car!!!

That may sound like an easy thing to do but, after the last 24 to 48 hours, you'd be surprised what an accomplishment that is. Apparently our community(Oromocto, New Brunswick) was the record-breaker with 79 cm. of snow in just a matter of hours. This is one record I was not too happy to break!!! Here is a picture of our back deck and another of our driveway.

It is certainly at times like this when I am so glad I am not a man! The poor guys are always stuck with the majority of the heavy lifting or unpleasant jobs. I'll never complain about housework again!

Turning my back on all this snow, I hunkered down in my work room and did some work on our Club project. The first thing I did was glue in the small wedge-shaped piece at the top of the window opening, in preparation for installing my actual window pieces. Then I repainted all of my outside trim from white to a light taupe colour. Now when I look at it I'm thinking I liked it better white. I'm going to leave it for a while and see if it grows on me. The wainscoting and trim inside will be white so I may change the exterior back to its original colour.

So - on to making my window. How did I do it? Well, I know I could buy reasonably thin Plexiglas cut to size from one of our local glass supply businesses but, for a small project like this, I am always saving hard, clear plastic packaging. Here is a collection that includes the top of a sandwich tray, tops from berry boxes, a fruit tray top, etc. --- you get the idea.

Using plain printer paper, I made temples of the three separate sections of the window, clearly marking the location of each and the top so I would have them the right way around. (Unfortunately, with my limited skills, the spaces weren't necessarily consistent so it always pays to measure again and cut out the pieces to fit specifically.) I then taped these templates to the underside of the plastic I was going to use, just to make sure they didn't shift while I was cutting.

Once I cut them out, I test-fitted each piece in place, made some adjustments, and glued the pieces at the top and bottom to the wedges that form the top and bottom of the window opening. I first used Wellbond glue - it didn't work. Then I tried E6000. It worked on one piece but not another - I don't know why. Finally, I used Quick Grip on the remaining pieces that didn't glue successfully the first time around. Finally, it seems to work!

I left the window pieces to dry overnight to make sure the bond is good. Hopefully I can find some time tomorrow to apply the trim that will connect the window sections, both on the outside and on the inside. Once that is done I can go on to lighting and finishing the inside. I hope you're enjoying it so far. TTFN!! - Marilyn

Monday, February 13, 2017

Yes, I'm still here...

..., just in case anyone was wondering *smile*. I admit, I have been slow getting off my rather substantial butt and getting to work these last several weeks. I figure it's time to turn over a new leaf and get to work! Of course, that thought strikes me on a somewhat regular basis. I'm usually able to ignore it. However, our FAME group is working on a small room box as a group project so I guess I'd better get some pictures and instructions up so people can try to follow along, should they wish to do so.

Okay - as I told my club members when I handed out the kits I had made - you have to keep in mind that, as a person who has only been building minis for about three years now, I am definitely still a "work in progress". As a result, many of my cuts may not be exactly straight. Oh wait -- I made them crooked on purpose so I could teach another useful skill - sanding, sanding, and more sanding. Yes - sure - that's why they're crooked! It had nothing to do with my poor cutting skills! Yes, that's it!

Anyway, the kits were delivered and we worked at the basic structure at our meeting last month. Here's how it has gone so far:

I started by giving out the kit pieces themselves.

There is a top, a bottom, back, front, two sides, and two small pieces which will fit at the top and bottom of the window space to form a bay window.

Then I suggested everyone dry fit their pieces together to identify anything that might need sanding or other adjustments (remember the wonky cuts I talked about?).

The top of the room box has a large piece cut out to allow for extra light to come into this shallow box. It will have a piece of plastic or Plexiglas in the finished piece.

Once everything was fit in place and any adjustments made, we glued the boxes together. I put my box together first, before priming or painting because I felt that the 1/4 inch mdf would glue more securely if it was bare wood to bare wood rather than gluing painted pieces together. However, if you check out Marijke's progress at her blog at Pulchinella's Cellar, you will see that she chose to prime first. Probably easier in the long run, especially if you have a large building. Due to the small size of this one I figured I could get away with gluing first. Here it is with everything but the two small pieces that go into the top and bottom of the window area.

So, as I mentioned, at the end of the last meeting, everyone had their basic structure put together. Here are our busy little beavers working away on their room boxes:

I started mine earlier so I could have a "prototype" to show my fellow FAME members, although I didn't finish it before our first working session. Here is where it stood at the time of our first session:

My room box will be a library so the first thing I did was print out a suitable picture for the back wall to make the room box look deeper.

I painted by box outside and inside, laid a floor, boxed out the underside of the bay window and built a little seat around the side of the building. I used bird gravel to look like small stone aggregate on the seat and under the window.

I don't like how white the stone is so am planning on darkening it a little. I also don't like the white I used on the door trim and the corner trims - I think I'll change it to cream. The white is too bright and clean looking. I still have to attach the upper piece to the top of the window. That is where my sign will be. I will be building a counter for the library, adding some wainscoting, shelving, etc. I'll also be adding the "glass" to the front window. But that will be tomorrow's post! Stay tuned! TTFN! - Marilyn

Sunday, January 8, 2017

In the words of John Lennon....

"Another year over, and a new one just begun."

So - yesterday was the end of the twelve days of Christmas. In true Irish fashion, with the Feast of the Epiphany now over, it was time to take down the Christmas decorations. Therefore I did no minis today at all. However, I did take one photo I thought I would share.

I have been collecting Santas, a.k.a. Father Christmases, for several years now. Each year I get a new one for our collection. I have a few large ones that stand on their own but the smaller ones are displayed on a shelving unit in the living room every year for the month leading up to Christmas and into January. As I was clearing the shelves today in preparation for storing my beloved Santas away for another year, I took each one off the shelf and took them into the dining room to get them out of the way temporarily. After removing the Christmas lights and dusting the shelves, I walked through the dining room to dispose of my dusting cloth. The sight of all my smaller Santas gathered together made me think they were whispering secrets back and forth to each other. I snapped a picture before they could turn away!

I packed things away slowly throughout the afternoon but, you have no idea how much Christmas decorating I do. This is definitely a two to three-day job. So, once I cleared the items from the top of my buffet, I had to replace them with something. Given the time of year I went searching for something more appropriate than the usual bric-a-brac I keep there. Here's my closing picture for the day. (I was careful to stay out of sight of the mirror when I took this picture but I see I captured DH standing in the living room. I won't tell him if you won't!)

Time to get in the mood. So that's my short post for today. I'll be back to minis soon, I hope. TTFN!! - Marilyn

Saturday, January 7, 2017

All aboard!!!

I had the most amazing visit with my friend Louise today. I just had to share it with you. Remember a while back I had told you Louise was building a Via Rail railway station with a Tim Hortons on the 2nd floor? Well, she's almost finished and it is really amazing.

Knowing this is what she was planning, last spring I made some birthday gifts for her. You can check out two of my earlier posts: "All is Revealed" (signs I made for the Via Rail section), and "Tim Hortons is Everywhere" (bagels, doughnuts, cookies, and metal trays I made for the Tim Hortons section). Luckily she was able to make use of them in her project. Here are some pictures I took this afternoon that show how far she's gotten. Unfortunately the pictures are not as clear as I would like but you can still see the incredible amount of work she has put into this oh so Canadian project!! (Remember to click on a picture if you want to see a larger version of it).

First we'll take a tour around the outside of the building. In this shot you can clearly see the lower level train station and the mezzanine which houses the Tim Horton's. Don't you love the large piece of artwork hanging on the second floor wall? It's absolutely perfect for the setting. Exactly what you would expect to find in this kind of building. The elevator doors are just closing downstairs. You can see the interior lights and the mirrored back wall of the elevator interior. Someone must be tucked into the corner, heading upstairs for a coffee and a treat!

From this angle you can better see the upstairs coffee shop. Outside is a bus shelter for people journeying on from here, or maybe busing in from elsewhere to catch the train. Of course you can also see one of the flamingos in the landscape. Louise has never met a flamingo she doesn't like! What a great "signature", clearly showing it must be a project by Louise! The green around the windows is masking tape. Louise is still deciding on the finish she wants for the roof so is keeping the window trim protected in preparation for a paint job on the roof.

Here we see a view of the back of the station. The train tracks stop shy of the sliding glass doors. A luggage cart is ready to be loaded or unloaded. Peaking out from behind the wall on the right you can just see the top of the bus stop shelter. Did you notice a familiar sign above the sliding glass doors? It's important for our mini people just arriving to know where to go to catch the bus or a ride to the airport!

From the side you can clearly see that it is a Via Rail station. Another familiar sign?? Also - a better view of one of the resident flamingos.

Moving around the corner toward the entry doors, we can see one set of arrival/departure screens hanging on the wall, and the view through to the back train platform.

Now we'll walk through to scope out the inside. Come on in! I love how Lousie captured the look of etched glass for a VIA sign and the etched stripes on the glass.

Inside, the first thing you notice is the lovely piece of luggage and the shopping bag waiting for it's owner to retrieve them. Maybe that's who was in the elevator on their way to Tim Hortons? They know they would still be able to see their luggage from upstairs so it's perfectly safe! Also - notice the little extra touch of the model trains being displayed on shelves above the seats in the waiting area. Wanting to make sure all of the seats were exactly the same size and shape, Louise made a mold first, then used it to reproduce multiple copies in a royal blue FIMO. Then she added the labels and affixed the chair bases.

Looking in from the train platform, we see another set of arrival/departure screens and we also notice that one of the wickets is currently closed. Must be a slow day. Louise even included the appropriately painted garbage can/ashtray in the corner of the seating area.

Looking down from above you can see the details Louise has included - from the clip board hanging on the wall to the one on the clerk's desk, the pencil on the desk and those in the pencil holder, and the eye glasses and scissors. I love the style of clock she chose - perfect for a train station! It's nice and large and easy for busy passengers to read. The "employees Only" sign on the door behind the desk is also a really nice touch.

Here we have a closer look at the beautiful piece of luggage Louise was able to pick up last April when she was at the Montreal Miniatures Show. I wonder if this traveller has only one suitcase - travelling light?

Moving out to the train platform we take a closer look at the loaded luggage cart. Wait a minute! Maybe the passenger isn't travelling light after all. Don't these pieces match the one inside? They even have a set of golf clubs with them! Nice travel case for their clubs, isn't it?

Take a look at the detail on these train tracks - from the stony grit of the rail bed to the nail heads on the tracks themselves. What a great job!

Around the corner in the bus shelter, someone has been naughty! They've been painting graffiti on the inside of the glass walls! Luckily it should be easier to clean than it would have been had they painted on the nice large advertising poster inside the shelter.

Now let's head upstairs for a coffee. It was really difficult getting pictures of the second floor so I do apologize for the fuzziness. This first one was taken through the upstairs window. You can just make out the image Louise used on the back wall which makes it look like a section of tables and chairs for the Tim Hortons customers. Great technique for creating depth in a scene.

This one is, unfortunately, really fuzzy but you can see the counter with the order screen, the box of Timbits, the coffee cup waiting for a refill - even the debit machine! In the cabinet next to the counter are trays of bagels, doughnuts, cookies and Timbits. Now where have I seen those before? You can also see the seating area beyond. And, of course, I see that the "Roll up the rim to win!" contest is being advertised on top of the doughnut case.

Here you can see the shiny elevator doors. I also really like the flooring used throughout with the little blue tiles. It's perfect for the station!

Last, but not least, I tried to get my camera in as far as possible to catch the back of the doughnut case. Yep, these look really familiar, don't they??

So - there's a run-through of Louise's 2016 Camp Mini Ha Ha project. I think it's phenomenal now. It will be totally unbelievable when she gets her last little bits done. Absolutely fabulous job, Louise! Great attention to detail.

I hope you all enjoyed checking out this project as much as I did! TTFN!! - Marilyn