Sunday, February 21, 2016

Work in progress...

Sometimes I think my whole life is a work in progress. Remember the cute little sign you used to be able to buy and hang up in your child's bedroom? It said "Please be patient with me...God hasn't finished with me yet". Well, I think that's a great mantra for all of us!

Besides being a work in progress myself, I have a lot of works in progress that span a number of different crafts. So, taking the bull by the horns I decided to cull some of these out. Determined to cut down the mounds of craft materials I have stored in boxes, bins and bags, I sat myself down and gave myself a stern talking to! From that conversation with myself I came up with the crafts I feel I will continue to be the most interested in over the next several years. Of course minis was top of the list, followed closely by cross-stitch. So I then went into my workroom and started the cull. I got rid of all my scrapbooking material (but kept any tools as they would be useful for minis too), and got rid of all my fabric from quilting and regular sewing, except any pure natural fabrics in tiny prints - minis again! Then I hit my yarn bins. Oh, my goodness!! I had so much yarn in so many different weights... all gone now. My DH took all of these items to our local Value Village for donation. Then I gathered up all my quilting books and gave them to my sister who is an amazing quilter. Whew, I feel lighter already! So why is my workroom still such a mess? Minis - how does a hobby that's all about little things take up so much room? Having gotten rid of all of the other stuff, I will continue to organize and clean until I feel I can show a picture of my work space. Right now it's too frightening.

Moving along, just to show you some of the great stuff our group of "makers" has accomplished, here are some more pics of our exhibit at the 2014 Fredericton Model Railroaders' Show.

So, now may be the time to discuss the difference between a "collector" and a "maker", at least how I perceive the difference anyway. Everyone probably has their own opinion about this. For many years before I actually started to actively pursue my mini hobby, I had collected so many pieces of mini furniture and accessories. Anything that caught my eye made its way into my collection. However accumulating many mini things does not make one a collector. In my opinion, a collector is someone who painstakingly gathers beautiful, handcrafted mini masterpieces for their beauty and perfect craftsmanship, often searching out well-known artisans in the field for the purpose of acquiring one of their mini pieces of art. They will often commission someone to build very special dollhouses or room boxes to properly showcase their collection of artisan works.

A "maker" is more interested in the creation of the pieces and wants to do it all themselves. They collect building materials, accessories, patterns and plans and they are continually on the lookout for everyday items that, when looked at differently, could be useful in making minis. I am a maker. I get my thrills through the crafting, not the hunt. Sure, it's great when you can find those little things that bring your room or scene to life but it is even more fun when you can make them yourself. Don't get me wrong - even a maker needs to consider when it makes more sense to buy than to make. For instance, I know nothing about working with polymer clays and the learning curve, for me, would be too great to bother with learning just for the sake of a few pieces of food or other mini items. However, within my own club we have Marijke H. who does incredible work with clay and sells for very reasonable prices. Why would I try to make what would surely be an inferior product when I can buy a beautiful one from her for very little outlay? Same as Christmas items - Mable M., another of our members,(Mable sells under the name "Mable's Minis" on Etsy) makes the most incredible Christmas trees, ornaments, gift bags, etc. that I have ever seen. The trees take a lot of work and are absolutely loaded with the most beautiful hand-crafted ornaments so can be a little pricey but I will definitely be saving up to buy these items from her rather than ending up with an inferior product of my own making. So, generally, I am a "maker", not a "collector".

One last picture for you - Want to see my first major "make"? Here is a finished view of the Camp Mini Ha Ha project from 2014 - the first one I attended. In my next posting I will give more details on that project, from beginning to end, and provide more views of the fun stuff inside.

Tip for today:
Okay - this tip actually comes from a conversation Marijke H. and I had the other day. Since I am still relatively new to the hobby, with only a couple of real "builds" to my name, she gave me a very good piece of advice which I will now pass on to you.
Our memories are not always the best and this hobby will be one you'll have for years. When the time comes for our children to decide what to do with all of our mini builds and the leftover mini stuff, it would be so valuable for them to know some history - the stories behind the builds, the origin of the pieces leftover - which are from major, well-known artisans and therefore more valuable than the other mass-produced ones. So, right now, if you don't already have one, go out and buy yourself a journal - better yet, buy two. One will be used as a kind of running inventory to record when you buy something, where or from whom you bought it, the price at the time, and perhaps a little picture of the item, the other will be to document your projects, start to finish, story behind it, a description of the materials used and the items included in the scene/room/building. Yes, you can do this in an electronic file, making it easier to include pictures, but if you choose this route, make sure your children, or designated person, always have access to an up-to-date file. Fingers crossed, none of us are going to be hit by a bus tomorrow but, we will be prepared for anything!

So, until the next post - TTFN!

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