Sunday, 28 April 2019

Just a couple of notes

While posting this I am hoping it will serve as a record in years to come of the time that my three year old grandson became fascinated with miniatures. None of my family has the slightest interest but the joy of having a toddler around is that they are interested in EVERYTHING.  He loves nanny's little house even though he isn't allowed to play with it, so I decided to buy him this for his birthday:



front
right side
left side

bedroom

kitchen

sitting room


bathroom
 For under twenty-five pounds I thought it was absolutely brilliant with enough detail but still able to be played with easily.  Everything you see was in there - other than the cat which I added. Cupboard doors and drawers open, cushions come off, bedding etc is all loose, the figures' arms and legs can be bent........   I am having so much fun....... ahhh, no, what I meant to say was .......  he is having so much fun.


You may have forgotten by now I made an ELF media centre for the TV for the student apartment but then decided I wanted legs.  Elizabeth-the-fab-one duly sent me a pre-drilled plinth (?) and four dinky legs.




Just two coats of paint and a bit of glue and they were attached..... but.... because of wretched skirting boards (just like real life) the base does not sit against the wall and so the top appears to be floating in space somehow - I know that even in real life it would be attached to the wall but it does look odd to me.


So, I levered off the top of the unit and re-glued it with the overhang that was once at the front of the piece, now at the back



All lined up and sitting better.  The TV was super-glued on to the wall unit and then the complete thing was tacky-waxed in place.  The gap is now credible somehow and any way, it is hidden by a large yellow chair.




et voila - one media unit with TV

This is how the room currently looks - waiting for its ceiling light and for the lamp to be plugged in and a big green plant in the far corner and, and, and, and......



For Mothers Day, now long since gone, I had these little gems from Handmade Miniatures by Alma.  Her site is closed right now but hopefully she will return.  I am just so happy I ordered when I did.

her lovely packaging is part of her charm for sure

She even sent me a gift! 
 When I tell you that the spaghetti packet is a scant one inch and the printed label is even printed on the back, you will understand why I am in awe of her perfect scale.  The spice rack is just a dream - I have no idea what she fills the little jars with but the colours and textures are perfect.  The pink milk, also in glass, is so pretty and will make a lovely yogurt drink for my French student who is a bit of a foody I think.




Friday, 26 April 2019

I may be somewhere else....

Just to keep my hand in I thought I would drop you a line....

I am currently trying to fit in adding to our brand new (builders' site) garden so I am blogging over there for a while.  Dalton House is not dead in the water I promise I just seem to have been utterly engaged in this Scottish move process for a very long time and, now, being with the family here a lot.  All very lovely but I don't get those long tracts of 'boredom' time which Dalton House so thoroughly filled.

It did occur to me when scribbling in my garden diary/blog you may not know where else to find me.  If that's the case just click here and there is a looooooong list.

All My Blogs

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Adding even more ELF to the premises

Steel splash-back - Adding the splash-back was pretty straightforward - I did have to do a bit of trimming to fit but that is easy.  Just score a line several times with a sharp fine knife (scalpel bladed craft-knife) and then carefully fold back along the groove and the metal will snap cleanly where you want it to.








Media centre with TV. - This was an easy build after having done so many of ELF's 'Eazy' kits.  Start by sorting out which pieces need painting and how much; get that prep done.


This kit has a lot of Fablon covering so most of it needed an acrylic base-coat to give it a good surface for the glue to adhere to.  It isn't at all happy sticking to the bare wood.


Leave to dry overnight if you can.  Rub down very thoroughly and carefully with the finest 'sander' you can - I use a painter/plasterers grade which is extremely fine- bit like a rough cloth - you can see a piece of it in the photo.  Equally importantly, clean off all the dust.  It is essential the piece of wood is silky smooth and dust free if you want a good finish and good adhesion.











There are excellent instructions for using the Fablon in the Eazy kit instruction manual from ELF but here's how I do it.  Firstly cut a piece of Fablon large enough to wrap around the area you want covered and stick the face down that you want to cover.  I then make sure that it is pressed down as neatly and firmly as possible.  I usually 'roll' it across the rounded edge of my work surface.






Trim off the excess from the side which will not be covered, with a knife or small pair of scissors






I then lay it down and firmly score a line along its first folded edge.  You don't have to do this but you will find that when you wrap it round, however firmly you press it in place, you will get rounded edges rather than sharp squared off ones.  Scoring the line is not an exact science and you may want to practice on your cut off waste pieces first until you know how much pressure to apply - too much and you may cut through the plastic, too little and you wan't make any impact.






Fold over very, very firmly pressing along the outer edge and side







Do the same scoring along the next fold you will want to make to complete the edges.  






Cut off the excess material. These are the drawers and you need enough folded over to grip to the back of the piece but leaving as much wood exposed as possible to ensure a good area for gluing the drawer front to the wood behind.






When the piece is wrapped, work over all the surfaces with something clean and very smooth - this is the handle of my Xacto knife.  press down firmly and check everything is smooth.








You should end up with nice neat, sharp edges.





I recently wrote a post saying I only use three glues....  BUT..... I had forgotten this one.  It does what it says - glues and glazes - so in the main I use it for sticking in the window glazing because, worst case scenario, any glue which could be seen dries clear and is therefore nigh on invisible.   BUT it is also useful for gluing plastic of any sort to any other material.  PVA never seems to be a firm and permanent fix for that - it leaves flexible joins.  This sets up just fine.  Again I am certain its a PVA base but it does smell different so I assume it has something else added.  Hope so at that price.  This will enable the Fablon areas to stick to each other and will also stick any Fablon areas to any wood sections if needed.








All pieces prepped I often lay them out in some sort of logical pattern to ensure I am attaching the right pieces to the right pieces.  I always do a dry fit before I start anything and sometimes write on each piece where it goes.


From the top - the lovely ready made plastic wall panel.  There was a huge panic moment when it arrived, the cut edges and the grooves looked as though they had loads of 'debris' remaining from the cutting and even the surface itself looked a bit scuffed up - I was astonished as ELF is so meticulous.  Thank heavens before I did anything about it, it suddenly occurred to me it might have a protective film over it ... which, of course, it did.   Peeled that off and, eh voila, a lovely piece of kit.


Next down is the Fablon covered top, then plain wood back, then two Fablon covered side panels, four Fablon covered drawers, the plain wood front that the drawers are stuck on and the bottom.







As you assemble make sure you check every piece and think which bits will be facing you when you look at your house - make sure you choose the best finished pieces to face you.  I am looking at the eight painted end edges on the drawers here to find the best ones as I will be viewing the media stand from the side and two of them will show.






All the Eazy kits go together in the same way - build a box from five pieces, add a top, making sure it is flush with the back and centered side to side properly.  It looks like a large overhang at the front but the drawers need to be glued in place and they use some of that space.




There is a bottom piece which raises the stand a little off the floor.  I was hoping for some short metal legs but don't think Elizabeth has any.  Just in case something does turn up I have just used double sided sticky tape to attach the the fillet to the base in case I want to remove it.  I will also put the media backing piece on the wall with mini-wax for the same reason.






with small stand in place



This shows the film that you need to peel off both sides of the resin wallboard.







Finally .......  all done.


 I love making these kits.


Erratum:  I cannot believe I did this; I wrapped the drawers on the unit the wrong way round.  I added the Fablon, wrapping the wood lengthways, covering the tops and bottom edges of the drawers, whereas they are meant to be wrapped side to side, so you have a nice finished edge where it shows.  I did a whole kitchen the right way and then somehow forgot when I got to this!  Apologies to ELF .....  so much for demonstrating my prowess with your kits.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Spree finale

I mentioned when sharing my purchases with you in a previous post, that I was waiting for one to arrive... well here it is and is soooo worth the slight delay.

There is a double joy in 'gift' world (and yes, these are gifts from me to me) when it is presented beautifully.....



This is the teeniest tiniest box (just over 2 x 2 inches) all tied up with soft pink string, containing my entire 'order'.

More unwrapping and here we (almost) are....  don't you just love the home made one inch brown envelopes....  and labelling.




I bet you had no idea what the loose objects were for.  Here it is mid-assembly.  In the background you can see the tiny pebbles which Alma sent.  I thought I might be clever and set the items in sand; seen here. I was wrong they look much better as they should be, sitting happily in the pebbles.



Et voila, a lovely little Buddha, candle and incense sticks; measuring one and a quarter inches by three eighths, in perfect scale and all the items beautifully made and balanced with each other



I also bought three very nicely made cookbooks for my French student's kitchen



Here is their creator:


On a much more mundane level I was also waiting for some micro beads to arrive.  I mentioned them recently when making the bedding.  I had already bought sand from Hobbycraft for future cushions around the place but then decided to order the beads after all.

Here they are for comparison:


beads left, sand right

As you can see the sand is probably slightly larger and, of course, more bumpy than the beads but it does have a nice weight to it and keeps cushions and pillows where you want them.  This photo is very enlarged, the sand is very fine sugary sand.

A downside to the beads is their desire to escape....  do nothing with them unless you work over a box lid or tray or something to catch them.  This shows just about four inches of my desk, the really errant ones reached a couple of feet across the surface in all directions and on to the floor.  they are pretty invisible, but bare feet will find them easily.



Saturday, 9 March 2019

A bit of a spree


I  am not able to go to Miniatura on the 31st which I have been counting on doing for a year or more.  I haven't been well enough to get to a show since Miniatura October 2017 but thought I might be able to do the upcoming one.  Unfortunately my chauffeur has decided he will be skiing that week!  Poof!!

So, I went on a bit of a spree online and, over a few days, these various bits and bobs arrived.  I am sharing them because if I had been to a show I would have shared them and, just maybe, there is an idea in here for you.......



It is probably a daft idea this late in my mini 'career' to be buying a mini iron but I have wanted one for an age and being peeved about not getting to the show blew any budgeting sense out of the window.
£22 from EBay rather than £40 from Hobbycraft


This is the ironing tool I really want for the iron - I imagine it will be so useful turning teeny cushions etc.


£7 from EBay rather than £10 from Hobbycraft



This is a repeat of the light I have in the workroom in the basement, but I have fiddle-faddled around with a choice of lighting for the apartment sitting room and come up with nothing so I eventually decided on going with 'what-you-know'.  In a real life narrative it would be fine to have stuff in the apartment that is elsewhere in the house as the occupant of the flat wouldn't see the other stuff any way and I am sure wouldn't care a hoot if hers was the same.



EBay (Melody Jane) £19.94


There is just no excuse for more fabric!  ...  but .....  one piece does match the bedding


ELF Miniatures 45p and 90p




This is a stainless steel splash-back for behind the cooker hob in the apartment kitchen.  When I made the kitchen I decided I didn't want one and now I've decided I do.  Hey ho.  I love Elizabeth's real metal items, like the cooker hood which will sit above this.


ELF Miniatures 75p


This wide screen TV is to go on the media unit when its made up.  Tennis is being watched in the rec room in the basement and footy is being watched in the loft apartment.  I am not sure if either or both would be on TV on a Sunday afternoon in April??


ELF Miniatures £3




Another ELF kit - just when you thought it was all over.  I decided I needed something for the left hand wall and this is it.  Watch this space...



ELF Miniatures £7.50



Yet again I have bought a repeat.... I have this with brass legs in the formal sitting room of the ground floor of the house - it was bought as a temporary solution for that space but I grew to thinking it was OK.  I then started a hunt for a coffee table for the apartment and this is the only one I like so here it is again - this time with chrome legs.


ELF miniatures £5



I have been struggling with the notion of having some clothes on the student's bed being unpacked or sorted in some way or just strewn, (as if I am capable of 'strewing') plus I would like to use some of the fabulous hangers I bought.  I couldn't really 'get started' on how to go about it and someone suggested buying cheap dressed doll(s) on EBay and removing their clothes to use as a pattern.  I saw these and thought not only would that work, but I would also have a bunch of clothing ready made to model some way in the room..... not so sure now they are here.  This may well be a pass-along item.


EBay £25.90
I decided to buy some book covers.  If you follow this blog you will know I have made a zillion of them myself but in terms of best printing and quality/weighty paper the bought ones are decidedly better.  So, for the sake of a couple of pounds, I snaffled these to make some 'better' quality books to dot about the place.  These also have the advantage of having different individual covers rather than sets of one title. (Sixpetitfleurs Miniatures)

EBay £2.00



I have waited a while to post this as I ordered a couple of other things from an Etsy trader which sadly haven't yet arrived.  We are both being optimistic and hoping they will turn up soon.  Meanwhile this is my pseudo-Miniatura shopping done.