This lockdown has seen me almost full time in the studio. I'm working on a Tudor Dollhouse Delight, 1:24 scale medieval Weldon house for my small miniature club. I have to do six kits. Had I known how much timber I had to cut I would have had second thoughts. But it is coming on ok. How intimidating for the members, I don't know. It is made of foam board on a MDF grooved base. The wood detailing is offcuts of Rimu from my workshop. Most are 2mm thick, some 1mm thick. Tricky to cut on my full sized table saw. I am most careful.
It started as a personal home but has evolved into a medieval Inn. Why fight it? Inns have lots of potential. Already on my 3d printer I have made 24th scale tankards, baskets and sacks for the kitchen, cauldrons, and some people. I feel a bit guilty in that I am having so much fun when the world is going to custard around me. But miniature dollhouses keep me sane!
This is the drawn up beam placements for the typical medieval paneling. The 1st floor slots between two beams.
'Miniature Time Traveller" is a specialized miniatures magazine published in New Zealand. It focuses on the amazing talent we have here in Australia and New Zealand; in other words, 'down under' to our friends in the Northern Hemisphere. The workshops and projects that individual miniaturists or clubs are now doing have an increasingly Antipodean flavour. That doesn't exclude traditional miniature Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Arts Movement houses. Far from it. In fact a lot of our settlers brought the Victorian culture and influence into our countries at the time of their landing and this had a marked and important influence on our full sized architecture and furnishings. Now our own individual stamp is being put on our miniature work. There are a lot of Australian Queenslanders' and New Zealand Villas being created. A miniature magazine more representative of us you could say. We work hard to provide topical workshops and design these around the theme for the magazine. They are all original and hopefully you will find them stimulating and sending you off into new directions.
Miniature houses are great places to immortalize your family. Incorporate family photos, favourite pets, interests, and meaningful items into your work. The gentleman's den was an opportunity for me to carry forward our family history in miniature.
This story is in the August issue.
This gentleman's study evolved from the making of an orrery and a glass cabinet of stuffed birds. The result, a cosy den for my gentleman to savor his wine and read his favourite books with reminders of his family history around him. The top photo on the wall is himself, William Turner Esq. and below is a painting of a Scottish Revier, a strong thread through William's family history. He was born on the borders. His aligned families were the Elliots, Turners and the Telfords and Kerrs. He was interested in horses, trained sheepdogs, his sons were shepherds and farm managers. He was interested in nature, the stars and loved reading. His great love really. This was so much fun to put together.
I promise I will soon stop flying with the birds and move on to something else! I am creating a Tudor Hall kit for my club members and so I can see lots of medieval ideas getting into the queue in my mind. First I have been exploring the creepy predilection that the Victorians had with stuffed dead things. I made a couple of 12th scale arrangements that will go in a Gentleman's Study.
The birds were made mostly from Fimo with a few real feathers attached. The little owl like guy is a tip of a cotton wool ear bud. I have written about this more fully in the upcoming August issue. Check my work out. I really enjoyed making these wee guys!
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ABOUT THE MAGAZINE:
'Miniature Time Traveller" is a specialized miniatures magazine published in New Zealand. It focuses on the amazing talent we have here in Australia and New Zealand. In other words, 'down under' to our friends in the Northern Hemisphere.
Our European settlers brought Victorian culture and influence into our countries at the time of their landing. As a result, this had a marked and important influence on our full sized architecture and furnishings. Likewise, in the miniature work being created here. Accordingly, the magazine includes coverage of excellent examples of the Georgian, Regency, Victorian and Arts Movement houses.
Now, however, our own individual stamp is being put on our miniature work. This has led to the workshops and projects that here that have an increasingly Antipodean flavour. There are lots of Australian Queenslanders' and New Zealand Villas being created. So, we cover that and more in our publication. A miniature magazine more representative of us you could say.
We continue to work hard to provide topical workshops and design these around the theme for the magazine. They are all original and hopefully you will find them stimulating and exciting enough to send you off into new directions!
Recently I attended a workshop on making miniature felt creatures. Well, if there is anything destined to make one humble this was it. It is probably easier to make larger animals but when you are making tiny ears, it is a painful experience. Those needles are not only sharp, they are barbed. Bandages were supplied with the kit! But with my new found experience I elected to make some miniature birds in felt to go in a Victorian stuffed bird arrangement. A whole Saturday was allocated to that. The end result was several realistic dead birds. With a scruffy beaten look the most realistic part was their feet. Nup, felt was out for the moment.
So - it was back to the Fimo and much more successful.
I did have aspirations to do an arrangement of New Zealand birds but my saddleback turned into the scruffy crow and three attempts at a Kingfisher came to nought. So my finished flock is a mixture of whatever worked. Much more realistic and better for the sanity. The little rock on the left is a 25 million year old piece of fossilized shell.
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In the latest issue I have gone a bit medieval. Inspired by Barbara Keeling's castle no doubt. I had fun making some stocks. I had even more fun working out how to use LilyPad lighting. This is something you have to explore. It is washable wearable lighting and my school teacher sister had been getting her craft class to make flashing wrist bracelets with it. I had to have a play. I was making a Punch and Judy show so decided to enhance the back curtain with these cute little lights. They run off a flat 3v battery. Try them out, it is a great way of adding punch to your work.
And then there was my little man in the stocks. The instructions for building these are in the June Issue about to be published.
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The story has evolved over my last few posts. First there was the painting of the Flamingo sign. Then the making of the parrot on a perch. Then a rearrangement of my lounge around the painting. Then getting on the computer and designing an Espresso machine for the 3d printer. Finally, the completion of the 12th scale Flamingo Café. Funny how creative threads wind around each other (in my mind at least). Meet me at the Flamingo Cafe sometime soon!
Bird cage developments: following on from my birdcage workshop was this lovely result. Maria did things a little differently as she wanted to put more things in the base. She hand painted everything rather than spraying. She used a paper lace rather than cotton lace. The legs were made from beads. She decided to make the top round rather than echoing the square base and I think this looks nice. So the bottle cap top is not attached to anything except the wires.
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Birds have been on my mind. First it was my paintings of the Flamingo and the Pelican. Then a Fimo parrot made an appearance. Now it is budgie cages! This example is based on a full-size Victorian one I saw in a magazine. It is a great project to do.
This is a lovely project to make and if you are interested, let me know and I will email instructions to you.
If you would like more interesting projects, check out our miniatures publication. There are always at least 3 brand new exciting projects in each issue of Miniature Time Traveller magazine. In addition, the magazine contains detailed reviews of shows and conventions, interviews with talented miniaturists, fun children's projects, and articles on miniatures in general. This highly regarded magazine is published bi-monthly. It has a strong focus on the work of New Zealand and Australian miniaturists. Subscription details are here. Remember, all digital subscriptions enjoy a 14 day free trial period, and access to all back issues, at no cost. And, if you'd like to preview an earlier issue, here is a link to a free digital copy.
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A painting started it all. It was in my head for about a year then a few weeks ago I finally got it on to canvas, a flamingo tin sign, rather aged. then I went a little bird crazy!
This led to a lot of tropical thoughts and the 12th scale parrot called Pompey made from Fimo took advantage of an old drawer pull, a few washers, and plenty of paint and glue, to make an appearance.
Another spin off from the Flamingo painting is the Flamingo Café which is being created right now. And another bird clamoring in the wings (oops, sorry about the pun) is Percy the Pelican, another painting of an old tin sign, from my head.
But it goes on...... birdcages, 12th ones, started manifesting themselves on my workbench.
This cream version will probably end up in my French cottage with canaries! Both of these birdcages are using up surplus materials. Paper clad wire is a bit of a pain and plain uncoated straight lengths have proven to be hard to find. Roger and I soaked three hundred lengths of coated wire on the weekend. Why? To strip them down to the bare wire for the next lot of birdcages to make an appearance. Phew! I need a lie down now. I'm a little bird crazy!
More about my work:
There is a lot more information on my work in the miniatures magazine I publish. There are always at least 3 brand new exciting projects in each issue of Miniature Time Traveller magazine. In addition, the magazine contains detailed reviews of shows and conventions, interviews with talented miniaturists, fun children's projects, and articles on miniatures in general. This highly regarded magazine is published bi-monthly, and it has a strong focus on the work of New Zealand and Australian miniaturists. Subscription details are here. Remember, all digital subscriptions enjoy a 14 day free trial period, at no cost. And, if you'd like to preview an earlier issue, here is a link to a free digital copy.
I have the December issue of the magazine at the printer and will be able to post it away to subscribers in Australia and New Zealand by the end of the week. I am hopeful they will get it, and it's festive season projects, before Christmas. The rush is because the postal service to Australia is taking 8 weeks, or more at present. This issue is being printed three weeks earlier than usual because of the postal problem.
Ironically, I spent the last week remodeling a bathroom in an existing house. I had a go at making a modern toilet out of a toilet roll inner. It gave me the idea for the heading of this post about the postal service!
You can read about how I made the toilet in the December Issue. It has given me more ideas and I am now working on another way to make them with card.
I took delivery of a 3 D printer last week and could probably have printed one out, but half the fun is making miniatures from practically nothing.
Another little project was some Zodiac Art pieces to put on Miniature Doll House walls. They are 1 & 1/2 inches high. The image is cut out on a Cricut machine. As is the mat, the backing card and, although not shown here, the acetate to go over it.
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My latest miniature project project started off as an inside/outside scenario, with the kit provided by John Duff, Lower Hutt Miniature Makers. His intention was to create a Provencal or Tuscan scene. My last trip was to France, and I had started making a lot of French Shabby Chic furniture so as a result the theme worked really well.
I'm really pleased with the 'outside', which shows an old river fisherman, his boat and cat. This called for some realism in the vines, the flagstones (made from wine box inners) and the rough cast finish of the wall. The 'inside' consisted of the front porch and a little bit of kitchen.
The scenario was almost finished but I needed to put my furniture somewhere! So I built, from scratch, a cottage that would fit around it. The inside/outside scene can be displayed separately if needed.
The front slides easily into the remaining shape of the cottage.
This addition gave me a bit bigger kitchen, a toilet, a staircase, an upstairs bathroom and a bedroom.
And, now, I get to show off my French bed and side cabinets, my toilet roll chair (in the bedroom), plus a sofa that hasn't had a home for a while. I'm happy! I will introduce you to the fisherman and his wife next week. Stay in touch to see how my miniature project evolves 🙂
I love Christmas. I love decorating my tree. I love wrapping up presents. What I don't love is some of the pressures that come with Christmas. Mostly self inflicted. I have my famous Worcestershire Sauce to make (for gifts). Some Limoncello to make (for gifts - mostly) as the lemon tree has produced bigtime this year. But I need to make Lemon Curd at the same time to use the lemons all up. More gifts! And there are miniature stresses as well. Getting organized for the club's Xmas lunch, finishing off projects, getting the December issue bedded down and - oh yes- buying the family their presents. Gosh, almost forgot that. Part of a Christmas workshop is a Christmas table setting and so I have been making little black Robins to feature in this.
My favourite so far is the middle one at the back. Next is Holly and red berries and tinsel and stuff.
I am trying to get this project finished by the end of November. Progress is good. I have completed the top floor. The house slots in nicely with the initial front scene and part of the kitchen. It is a jigsaw house. First came the front scenario, with flagged yard, old fisherman and his boat and cat. A grape vine and on the inside was the front entry and part of the kitchen. It stands alone but I felt it needed a cottage! So I have built a cottage, minus that bit, and the cottage now nestles up to it. The final piece is the roof which has been tiled painted it's basic colour and is now up to being weathered.
Where the front yard starts in this image is the front entry and part of the kitchen up to the line on the tile floor. The stairwell overlaps the front entry floor. I will have to show you it in more detail when I get the roof completed.
I cunningly hid the battery to power the lights in the wardrobe. I plan to make clothes that will drape over this and paste a photo of a line of shoes, on the divider. This projects has definitely grown like Topsy!
John Duff, a member of the Lower Hutt Miniature Club, gave us all a kit to make up a Tuscan themed inside/outside scenario. 12th scale. I decided mine had to be a riverside cottage as I had A BOAT. Then one thing led to another and a further decision was made to add on the rest of the cottage. Like a piece of jigsaw. So, this is what I have been doing over the last month.
What I really wanted was a room where I could show off my very creative bed and the bedside tables made from toilet roll inners. A roof is to be made and the door to the bathroom fitted.
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I started off with the club workshop by John Duff - an inside/outside scene. It was to have a Tuscan flavor. My decision was to go with a cottage theme by a river as I had this lovely little boat in my stash for years waiting for a home. However, while working on it I decided I needed to also find a home for some furniture I had been making for the magazine workshops so an idea occurred to me: make a whole cottage that would dovetail into this completed scene like a dollhouse jigsaw puzzle. This is in the making right now. I will keep you posted on the progress. Me and my bright ideas.
Spring in New Zealand and a bit more sun always gets me thinking about making flowers. This little pot of Cyclamen was inspired by a workshop by the Whakatane Club. The instructions are coming up in the October issue. I was very happy with this little pot. I used my Mother's real life Cyclamens as a reference.
In the April Issue of the Miniature Time Traveller, only available digitally at present, free on request, there were instructions for three different stylish chairs. The chairperson of the committee of three demanded they have tables to match! So in the June Issue there will be instructions for three stylish tables.
Now fully committed and seeing the magnificent half page I was allocated in the Saturday issue of the Wairarapa Times Age, the next two projects came quickly. A table to go with the chair and a little space to put them in.
Hit with a sudden idea I put together a little project kids could do at home. I sent it off with photos and instructions to the local paper. They loved it and commissioned ten more! Suddenly I was in work!
I started with a simple chair made from a cotton reel, a bottle cap and some card, glue and material.