Thursday, March 14, 2019

Buckets and Straws

Making enamel utensils for the dollhouse is on my to-do list for a long time. Miniaturists do it with so much realism, I thought it would be an intricate process.
Once I started, the only challenge was to stop adding rust stains and chips before the buckets became too damaged and grubby to use. This project was good fun, didn't require special tools or supplies, and it was quick to make. I used cardboard from cereal boxes which I 'rescued' from the dustbin in the interest of protecting the environment, so I feel extra happy with my buckets on that account. When I have a bit more time I will make a tutorial so that you can try it too.

Speaking of the environment - plastic drinking straws were banned in many countries at the beginning of 2019, and the rest of the world is soon to follow. Surveys show that people in affluent countries spend more money on take-out food than groceries. Most take-away food comes in plastic containers and straws are at the forefront of the movement to stop single-use plastic from overwhelming the planet.
I'm all in favour of cleaning up the oceans and reducing the size of landfills but my heart was heavy at the thought of losing drinking straws as a craft source. One can do so many things with them, from dollhouse drain pipes to pram wheel axles, the uses for straws are endless.

One morning last week, Siegfried and I sneaked out for a double thick milkshake (I'm an unadventurous vanilla person). Imagine my delight when I pulled the wrapper off the straw to discover a sturdy cardboard tube! You can see it at the top of this picture. The other straws are a bendy straw from a juice box, McDonald's milkshake straw, and an ordinary plastic drinking straw. While I will jealously guard my stash of plastic straws for future use around the dollhouse, I'm going to invent lots of excuses to go for a milkshake so I can collect paper straws. Just when you think something is taken away, a valuable new provision is added!

What do you use drinking straws for, and what other kinds of plastic or paper containers do you repurpose for your dollhouse?

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Short and Sweet

Hey, what's going on?
Nothing much or lots, depending on how you look at it.
February had a surprise in the form of a visit from my father in law, Siegfried, all the way from Germany. He will be with us for a few more weeks and while he's here, I'm cooking delicious food and making sure he gets enough rest and frequent short walks.
I'm busy with my various jobs, working on my long-term goal of achieving an organized life, and despite everything else going on in the past few weeks, I made great strides with miniatures.
I've set aside the clay and fabric for a while and started experimenting with resin. Anything sticky and messy is outside my comfort zone but I think I'm finally mastering the medium and loving the result.
If you're getting ready for spring and enjoying warmer days, make the most of it. Here in South Africa, we're bringing in the harvest and basking in mild end-of-summer days with glorious sunshine.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How to Give Chocolate to a Miniaturist

Henning went overseas recently. When he came back, there was the usual ceremony of gifts from afar.
Henning: 'I brought you chocolate.'
Me: 'Wonderful!' Thinking: not. I'm not much of a chocolate eater and when I do, I prefer supermarket brands to the fancy-schmancy imported stuff.
Hmm. The tin is pretty. It would be ideal for keeping pencils.
Whoa! Look at those wrappers. Each one has a reproduction of a classic painting printed on glossy paper. I could frame them and hang them in my dollhouse.
And there's a pencil. Multicolor, no less! I haven't had one of those since I was a kid. Writing with it is going to be so much fun.

Me, holding out the tin to Henning: 'Would you like a chocolate? Mind you don't tear the wrapper or the foil.' Thinking: The gold foil is going to come in handy for making dollhouse Christmas decorations.

That my friends, is how you engineer a win-win situation when living with a miniaturist. All parts appreciated, except the chocolate, which was eagerly devoured by the man with a sweet tooth.

Mini-wise, I'm working on a village of tiny houses at present. They are cast in resin and hand painted. Initially, I had misgivings about my mini painting skills but as I go along, I'm becoming addicted to the process and loving how I can individualize every building.

I'm not only playing with miniatures. A large shipment of teddy bear making supplies arrived and I'm busy unpacking and adding new items to the website. Glass eyes and smaller sizes of safety eyes which were out of stock are available again.
These pretty colored safety eyes come in several sizes and have a glitter backing. Difficult to photograph, but stunning in real life. Velvet noses and other goodies are on the website already and the eyes should be on the site by Wednesday.

Wishing you a sweetly creative week.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

The Importance of New Year

Aliens might know everything about gyroscopic hyperdrives and faster-than-light travel, but these two don't have a clue about the importance of the New Year. That must be why they abducted me from my holiday, strapped me to a chair in a room that looks very much like my office, and pushed me into 2019 at a speed that holds me down with a force of about 10G. I can hardly keep my eyes open, never mind find the strength to tap on the keyboard.

But seriously, the proper thing to do is not to hurtle into the New Year in a blur. There's no better time to chart your course and make a few changes if needed. If you don't have any New Year's resolutions yet, jot down some ideas. It doesn't matter if your plans fail; it matters that you try.
Here are my tools for 2019. I'm not going to reveal my plans for the year ahead yet, but there are some clues. The diary was a gift from my husband, and the cover is significant.
This lovely planner and luxury pen were a gift from a friend who is much better at mapping out goals than I am. Thank you, it's going to help me so much!

Whatever star you reach for in 2019, I wish you a beautiful journey.