Friday, 14 February 2020

It's been how long?????

I cannot possibly believe I haven't made an entry since last June!!!! Yes, that's when I had my knee replacement done so took some time away from most of my computer stuff and, truth be told, also from most of my mini activities as well!

Well, I haven't been completely idle during that time period. I admit - there's been nothing terribly exciting going on with my minis but, for what it's worth, here's a glimpse of the few little things I did work on. I checked back through my not-so-consistent postings to see what I have and have not posted in the past. First, a few things I made for gift items:

I don't think I've shown you this one yet - here is my inspiration photo for reference:

I saw the above photo in a Christmas decorating magazine and I fell in love with it. If you have followed this blog at all, you will know that I love all things Christmas so, for a gift for a friend, I copied this and put a Christmas spin on it. Here is my version:

It was so easy to make and I still love the design so I imagine I will make one for myself at some point in the future.

On a completely different note, I have mentioned my friend Louise in postings before and her obsession with all things flamingo. Well, many years before Louise and I met, my husband and I found a cartoon in the newspaper that we just loved. We cut it out and, for decades, kept it posted on the side of our refrigerator. I always thought I would love to replicate the picture in cross stitch. I had never gotten around to it but, with Louise's birthday coming near I decided to combine my love of that cartoon with her love of flamingos and our joint love of miniatures. Here is the cartoon that we kept for so many years:

I stitched the back picture in black and tried to emulate the foreground. At first I was concerned that Louise might think I was being very rude by giving her a picture with a roasted flamingo but, thankfully, she thought it was hilarious and really loved it:

For "Gifties" last fall for Camp Mini Ha Ha, I made market stalls. They were rather large for Gifties, but I hope those who won them make good use of them. I made them from 1/4" MDF. I scored all the pieces at 1/2" intervals to make them look more like boards than solid walls.

I glued the back to the floor, and the sides to the back and the floor with Quick Grip glue. I find it works very well on MDF. I made faux doors for the market stalls using two pieces of Bristol board (I think some people call it poster board?) Once these were ready, I painted the structure, the door pieces (2 for each stall - one for outside, one for inside) and the remaining pieces black on both sides (except the floor which I stained brown on the top side only, and the faux door pieces which I only painted on one side each). Then I dry brushed over the black with a different colour, including the doors with a colour different from the bodies of the stalls. Once these had all dried overnight, I dry brushed everything with an off-white colour to age everything further. Once these were well dried, I glued in two shelves to the long back wall for holding market stall merchandise. Then I attached the upper and lower front walls, the counter and the canopy. I drilled holes in the front underside corners of the canopy and the inside corners of the counter in order to better connect the canopy poles. Here they are lined up and ready to go.

For the hinges and door handles on the doors, I used black Bristol board cut to shape, painted black again so they would be a little sturdier, and glued them in place (hinges and handle on the outside door, handle only on the inside). I played with a few ideas for the roof, realizing that, once covered, the interior could be quite dark. I ended up using a very thin wood, cutting out a rectangle in the middle where a "skylight" would be placed, and used strips of thin wood to make the roof look like metal. I painted them black, then silver, then dry brushed them with a rusty-brown colour to make them look -- well -- like rusted metal, of course!

At the time my hubbie cut out the pieces for these market stalls, I also asked him to cut out enough for 5 additional kits. Out little mini group will get together at some point in the future to do a group project with these market stalls with each of us using a different theme. It should be a fun project. The stalls go together very quickly. The most fun will be filling them up with all kinds of tiny things. As usual, I have two or three ideas in mind for my own so perhaps I can settle on one before we start building them.

Okay - what else???? Hmmm.... well, at Camp this past September, the actual project we all started working on was a kitchen in a cabinet design (from a plan that Connie Sauve generously shared with us). I'll talk more about that one in upcoming posts.

So, coming around to Christmas again, our little group got together for a Christmas potluck and gift exchange. I used an idea I had seen online and thought was really cute. If I remember correctly, the one I saw online was not a Christmas theme but the idea can be adapted to any theme really. I started with one of those little metal boxes with a see-through top you can pick up at Dollarama when they have their Christmas stuff out. I think they're meant to fill with cookies or chocolates or the like for small Christmas gifts. The trick here is to pick up solid colour boxes if you want to use them for something other than a winter/Christmas scene. I also picked up a string of those tiny battery-operated lights they carry. Back at home, I cut a small square hole in the bottom corner of the box bottom and wrapped the edges with masking tape in case there were sharp edges. Then I carefully fed the string of lights through this hole to the inside of the box and taped the battery box to the back of the box on the outside. The covers of these boxes are held on with a ridge of metal that pushes out from the body of the box to hold the cover securely. What that means is that there is a "channel" on the inside of the box in order to form that ridge. You can then use this channel to put your lights in the box. For the size of the box I used, I think the light set wrapped around the channel about 2 and a half times. I applied scotch tape to hold down the wires and secure the lights in the channel. Then I took a winter scene I found on line, printed it from my computer, and cut it to fit the back and curve around the sides of the box so the whole scene would be snowy (and also hide the wire from the light string). I glued down a small piece of fibrefill to the "floor" of the container to look like snow. Then I headed to my stash to see what I could fit in. I added two small evergreen trees, a little snowman, a bright red mailbox and a small park bench. Once all were securely glued in place, I dusted the scene, the mailbox and the park bench with some fine white glitter, after brushing the area with glue. All in all, a very easy project that, I think, turned out really nice. We had a wee bit of fun with a "Chinese Auction" drawing for gift choices then stealing them from other people - always a laugh.

Here is the box with the lights off (my apologies - you can see my hand and camera in this picture with the lights off), then with them turned on:

My friend, Louise, actually ended up with this box, took it home, and immediately added a flamingo to it! I have to be honest, I had actually thought about adding a snow flamingo to it instead of, or in addition to, the snowman that I used but, not knowing who would end up with it, I decided not to. I shoulda figured!!!!!

I ended up with this beautiful centrepiece made by my good friend, Marijke H. I just love her work! You may have seen it under construction on her blog "Pulchinella's Cellar". She does such amazing floral pieces! I know I will use this in a White Christmas room box in the future.

So, more about Christmas stuff!! My good friend, Louise, and I always exchange Christmas and birthday gifts. Louise has a couple of big, longer-term projects she has in various stages. In the "dreaming and planning" stage she has in mind a replica of her family's ancestral home in Ireland and in her preliminary stages is a rather large doll house she bought last year at the Moncton miniature show. So, I decided to make something that could be used in either project.

Yes, I cheated and started with a couple of House of Miniatures kits I had in my stash. After sanding well and putting them together, I painted the dressing table green and the mirror gold then started dressing up the table. I painted a round woodsie gold and added a rim of perforated ribbon, also painted gold, then made all the perfume and lotion bottles from unique beads I had on hand. I had a thick cotton trim which was exactly the width of the table so worked well as a dresser scarf. Then I printed off some letters, a picture and a postcard from a file I downloaded from Everafter Miniatures on Etsy. I left an open letter on the table, put the other letters in one of the drawers, stuck the picture into the mirror frame and slid the postcard between "bottles" on the tray. I also made a little stool to go with the dressing table but really didn't like the way it looked so, after Christmas, I used the instruction for Kris Compass's Parson's chair to replace it. The chair looks much better with the dressing table.

And here it is with the slipper chair (a.k.a. Parson's chair) - much better!

One of the projects I have in mind for the future is a very detailed "Santa's Workshop" room box. Knowing that, here are all the wonderful little things Louise gave me for Christmas. I love them and they will look so great on the shelves in that workshop, for sure! Please take a moment to click on the picture to enlarge it so you can see all of the items: a large basket of baseballs and baseball bats, sleds, little carts with building blocks, animal pull toys, xylophones, abacuses, hammers and peg boards, small Santa dolls, soccer blls, nutcrackers --- wow, what a lot of work she put into these tiny things! I love them! Thank you so much, Louise.

I would like to take a moment to assure you that no animals were injured during the process of this particular photo shoot - although one nuisance feline did try to push the boundaries of my patience!! She continues to rely on her cuteness to give her a free pass in life.

So, until next week I will leave everyone with one message: for all my gal friends out there in the blogosphere - Happy Galentine's Day!! For all my guy friends - Happy Guyentine's??? Somehow that just doesn't work - but you know the message is there, right? Big hugs all. TTFN - Marilyn


  1. I TOTALLY enjoyed this post Marilyn! :D
    It is so easy to fall behind with our blogs and I am equally as guilty of neglect as you, although I concede that June IS a lot longer; BUT Oh My- What a COMEBACK!
    Beginning with your adaptation of a 1:1 Christmas self unit- OH WOW! It looks Amazing! I love the tree shape and the roomy shelves and the way you've decorated them- Perfectly Festive!
    The cartoon of gnomes BBQing the garden flamingo is Hysterical but for you to translate it into a 3-D miniature scene is even Funnier! Who wouldn't love it!!!! ? 😂
    Your "Gifties" of market stalls were Generous and Ambitious but what fun for your own little mini group to dive into- Bravo to you and to your very handy hubby!
    I must say though, that my favourite by far is the little outdoor scene that you so cleverly contrived. The lighting and the backdrop and the landscaping is SPOT ON! I think that your friend's addition of the flamingo will only add to its charm o especially when coupled with the aforementioned, cartoon room box!
    Marijke's lovely centerpiece, your Beautiful vanity and chair, and the plethora of Enchanting Christmas toys are the Grand Finale, has made this catching up post a thoroughly Delightful reading experience and I'm already eagerly awaiting your next installment!
    Happy Val/Galetines day to you too, Marilyn and DO keep the minis, coming!


    1. Thank you so much Elizabeth for your kind words. I do also hope to keep more up to date with the blog - if only to force myself to take time out to work on minis, which I love doing so much but always seem to put it on the back burner because of so many other things needing to be done! I am going to stock up on those small metal boxes with the see-through covers when they come back in the Dollarama stores this fall. I can think of lots of other little scenes to put in them! A very Happy Galentines to you as well, Elizabeth! - Marilyn

  2. Great post! I enjoyed seeing your projects and the cartoon turned 3D art is great. You do great work.

    1. Thank you, Troy for such a compliment! Coming from you, it means a lot. I still love that little cartoon. It still is stuck to our refrigerator after all these years (and several changes in refrigerators!) and still makes my DH and I smile whenever we look at it. I'm glad that Louise took it as a joke as well! Whew - it was a gift that might have gone very wrong - but didn't. *smile*- Marilyn

  3. Wow Marilyn! You have been away but not idle! I love everything you've made in your absence and especially that each was inspired by something! I hope the knee is all healed up and that you'll share your creativity with us more often in 2020!

    1. Thank you, Jodi. I look forward to carving out more times for miniatures in the future. I do love doing all of these small things but really need to get back at finishing several larger projects that I have had on the go. Fingers crossed! - Marilyn

  4. Muy bonitos trabajos.
    Me encantan los puestos de mercado !!!

    1. Gracias, Eloisa! Yo tambien las amo. Casi no puedo esperar para construir uno para mí y llenarlo con muchas cosas hermosas. - Marilyn