Sunday, October 23, 2011

So many crafts to try, so little time...

Loghain's roombox is now wired, after a few mishaps (note to self: remember to use the same voltage bulbs across the whole thing next time, or you'll be stripping wires into the night and cursing a blue streak) and is slowly acquiring accessories. Here's a preview by night:

Sorry for the horrible quality of the picture, I couldn't find a tripod in a hurry.

What you can't see very well in the picture is that I glued some U-profile brass rails to the top and the bottom of the front, so slide a clear plastic sheet between them as front screen. More on that later. The rails are fine, but the plastic sheet will need some trimming. *blush*

Also, when Aleene's say that their Jewelry and Metal Glue is industrial strength? They really mean it. Works like a charm, but a pain to remove from skin/tools/cats/work surfaces. In fact, I think I'll only ever use it again if I can't find an alternative. It's scary. ;)

In other news, I recently started discovering the world of polymer clay. I hadn't worked with it much in the past, so all the reading and experimenting I'm doing is an eye-opener. Turns out you can do a lot even if you do have two left hands. Pictures coming up when I have something worth showing *wink* but here's my new friend Scraps, made according to this tutorial:

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The masking tape adventure

His Grace got drafted into helping stucco the walls of his roombox. He wasn't happy about it.

 He'd much rather fight evil scary puppymonsters, you see.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

I solemnly swear that I'm still alive!

Erm. Sorry about that. I meant to post more often than once a year, honestly.

The big Gisela project is on hold for now, for the simple reason that the house is huge and I've no room to work on it anywhere. Hence I've been concentrating on random minis and a roombox.

The roombox is for Loghain, my most favourite not-quite-villain from the video game Dragon Age (here's a reference picture). This is him staring moodily into the fire. He does that when he's not failing at politics.

Loghain's box is about half done in structure. It's simple (though very thick) MDF that I got at scrap prices at the local hardware store. The ceiling is clay that will get grunged-up a little more and then sprayed with matte varnish to fix it. The fireplace was supposed to have egg carton "stone" finish but it looked amazingly bad, so I covered the lot in granite-coloured clay which I will detail in pastels when it's dry all the way. The walls are getting covered in stucco.

There's a lot to be done but once I abandoned all my lofty ideas and decided to just finish it any which way because it's my first attempt at a bigger scene and I'm supposed to learn from my mistakes, it's started actually moving a bit faster. ;)

Here are some tiles that will make up the floor later, though I've no idea yet what I'll use for grout. They're partly poured plaster and party textured stucco on paper-thin balsa bits.

In non-roombox minis, I've been doing small things on and off. Here's a bag and two hats I've made for my friend Amanda. The bag was made with this fantastic tutorial.

I'm still trying to figure out how to make decent miniature shoes. I have all the materials, I just lack the know-how. There shall be more experiments in the future. And Fimo experiments, seeing as I semi-accidentally bought a used Atlas pasta maker for a bargain...

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry winter holiday of your choice

December is a bad time for hobbies of any kind -- there's never enough time or money. One of my resolutions for 2011 is to get as many presents as I can way in advance. Of course, I've been promising to do that for about twenty years now...

Nevertheless, there are some mini offerings:

The jug and bowls, and most amazingly, the little matryoshka (for reference, the inner doll is just under 5mm tall, as small as a rice corn!) were made by my best friend Amanda. They're all made from quilling paper, as per Kris' tutorial here. All the more amazing since Amanda had never made miniatures before I ambushed her with the idea of it this summer.

And one of my own works-in-progress:

This is a quarter scale shadowbox (or half a roombox, really). The wallpaper is Carta Varese that I originally bought for various 1:12 tidbits, the floorboards are small craft popsicle sticks, stained and varnished, with the baseboards being co-opted varnished mahogany veneer leftovers. The fireplace was glued from 2x5mm pine and veneer, and covered in acrylic primer to save time. Brick was painted in acrylic and pastel chalk and the fire screen is half a flattened jewelry finding. There's also embers I'm very proud of, made from decorative sand and covered in paint and grated chalk to simulate ashes, but unfortunately they're not really visible. ;)

Meanwhile, my mother has grand plans for Gisela. As soon as she's got some time I'll force her to sit down and to draw me the basic plans (she's the one with a MSc in engineering, after all), so I'll be able to start working on the implementation -- and to calculate how much materials I'll need for just the basics. The original house is built from 10mm thick wood, dry and light after these 60 years, but I'm going to make the new walls from 10mm or 8mm thick MDF, I think, and the roof from even thinner MDF.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Uninvited guests

The gutting and re-imagining of Haus Gisela proceeds slowly, and at one point the Mistress Of All She Surveys decided to use it as a perch. Her brother didn't join her, thank goodness, because I don't think the roof could take a combined fifteen pounds of cat.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

New house!

And the day finally arrived: I got a new house to play with! It was built around 1955 by Albin Schönherr and it's called the Haus Gisela.

Over here are more pictures of the same model and here is a slightly modified build with different doors.

More pictures of the furniture bits that came with it tomorrow.

My mother and I have already discussed some plans. As you can see, the bathroom and the upper floor are only accessible from the outside, so we want to wall the staircase in and create a doorway from the middle room into the bathroom. The second floor landing will be covered up as well, either with a conservatory kind of thing, or a slanted roof.

The whole thing also needs to be repainted in places and the inside completely repapered and rewired, but the house itself is sound and quite, quite lovely.

Monday, November 8, 2010

So I was fooling around...

My first adventure in 1:144 scale. The bed posts (far too thick, I know) are made from skewer tips (I bought two 80-pieces packs of those once, the rest is wood veneer, cardboard for the "roof", as well as satin and embroidery thread for the rest.

This is before I added the "curtains".

The finished version.

For size reference:

A little untidy, sadly. I'll have to work on the details. The big bits are simple enough, but in 1:144 scale every dust mote is visible. Lots of room for improvement.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Progress report

I'm working on the platform bed with drawers. The headboard will have to wait until I know the exact dimensions of the room, plus I'll have to see if the wiring will allow for integrated lamps over the bedside tables. It probably will, considering I'll have to redo the wiring from scratch or very nearly.

I forgot where I saw the LEGO setup for 90° corners, but it's incredibly useful and simple. Brilliant idea.

I also got myself some lovely things this week:

The bunch of bananas and the incredibly detailed sausage are from this fantastic artist: ... en miniature! And the prices are very reasonable as well.

The alarm clock is my second attempt at following the tutorial from this website. It still looks rather rough, but I hope to improve with time. The oversized perfume bottle is one of the many many many many I made when I had too many beads on my hands.

Right, and now back to the sanding and gluing.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

First post!

Hello, world! As if I didn't have enough blogs and websites to manage already, but I wanted to separate my miniatures from the other interests in my life. So, here I am.

This year I've finally decided to stop admiring miniatures from afar as I've done my entire life, and actually get my own dollhouse instead. I even collected a few cheap items of 1:12 furniture to start decorating with, when my mother, who's as enthusiastic about miniatures, if a bit more, er, moderate, ambushed me and over the course of a few weeks convinced me to have a try with modern miniatures instead of the more conventional Victorian/Edwardian/Biedermeier ones.

As a project, this is doubtlessly going to be interesting, but also slow and expensive. Currently I'm in the process of buying a used GDR dollhouse: pick-up date is November 13th, if all goes well. The house will have to be re-papered and re-wired and a lot of other re-s, but it's a perfect beginning. Pictures to follow, if it works out.

I'm pondering whether I can start on my own, basic miniatures to begin with. I'm thinking of very simple shapes, things like this IKEA bed. I certainly have the materials, but I do wonder if I have the skills. I suppose I will find out the hard way. ;)

There are also my cheap faux-Victorian minis. I could sell them on eBay and use the money to buy something from, say, Delph Miniatures, whose entire range I covet, or I could try to turn some of them into usable modern furniture. Which, if even possible, may require far more skill at mini-carpentry than I possess.

Well, progress reports to follow!