Thursday, July 25, 2013

Etsy Shop Closing For The Weekend

 This weekend I have a booth at a local Summer Market. It's being run by "The Warehouse", in Lockport, NY. I wasn't planning on having a space, but I got talked into it. And then of course last weekend screwed up my plans a little, so nothing ended up being official until the other day when I finally had the chance to drive down there and fill out the forms.

It's a decent sized space and a lot of my work is really small, so most (if not all)  of my Etsy Shop inventory is coming with me. The only way I can do that is to close the shop for the weekend.

Once my shop closes for the weekend I can't promise that everything will be back in stock when it reopens after the market. I might sell a lot, I might sell nothing. First outdoor show, no idea what's going to happen.

If by chance though, you're reading this and are trying to purchase something, but can't before Friday night because you're stuck waiting for a Paypal transfer or something-feel free to contact me, NOW. I'm fine holding things for people, and followers kind of get first dibs on whatever I post online.

Wish me luck, I'll let you know how this goes later. ^_^
(The weather report looks iffy, but nothing like last week-that's promising)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prizes From Jazzi!

Roughly a year ago, Jazzi sent Mini Jazzi on a trip around the world. Being a doll, you'd think decent travel accommodations would be tricky to come by, but thanks to a string of miniature/dollhouse-blogging hosts, Mini Jazzi seems to be having a wonderful adventure (She get's stuck in the mail sometimes, but other than it sounds like it's going well).

While I'm not one of the hosts, (I'm sure Mini Jazzi is seeing plenty of the U.S. for one trip), I have been following along. Some time ago Jazzi had a little contest to see who could guess which blogger would be hosting Mini Jazzi next, and by guessing that she'd be visiting Molly in Virginia next (who promptly whisked Mini Jazzi off to Africa, I think), I was one of the winners. ^_^

A few weeks later I received a package in the mail from Jazzi;

Jazzi, I was not expecting all of this, Thank you so much!

I don't know what it is with the mail lately, but I've had 3 packages clear customs in the past month and only 1 made it to my house without being, guess is that someone felt the need to beat my mail with a large mallet. U.S. customs sure has a weird screening process...Luckily, as you can see everything inside the package was fine. A+ for packing Jazzi.

Whenever I get miniatures in the mail I try to set up a quick scene, especially when it takes so long to blog about them. I didn't get everything into this one (there's so much to choose from), but so far I'd say everyone seems to like their new widescreen TV, Australia pillows (I should show them Australia on the map sometime), and teddy bear-Actually I think the Octopus is stealing that one.

It appears that a bunny has moved in now too.

Didn't have a TV stand of any kind, but the weird vintage dresser from upstairs fits in really well (and I never liked it upstairs anyway). The doll that lives here is out with a foot injury (his foot fell off-needs more glue), but he'd better get back soon, it's starting to look like a zoo in his house and he's missing all the cool stuff.

Thank you for the prizes Jazzi, I love them, and I look forward to seeing more on Mini Jazzi's travels.

Monday, July 22, 2013

The Universe Has Been Against My Blog Lately...

First I would like to apologize to Jazzi for not blogging about the lovely prizes she sent me yet. I was in the middle of the paper bowl tutorial when the package arrived, so I left a comment on her blog saying that I'd get to it as soon as I was done with that. It's still not up yet and it's probably going to be another day or two, so I feel like it's explanation/story time...

Last any of you heard from me was Part 2 of the Paper Potter Bowl Tutorial. Went to bed, woke up the next morning-horrible headache. Thursday, I did some work, but didn't get to the blog. Friday, headache was back, and much worse, didn't really do anything until the late afternoon-All of a sudden the headache was gone! Of course, that's when I noticed the dark clouds rolling in outside (sometimes my headaches predict the weather-a surprisingly un-useful superpower that I have). You could tell it was going to be a bad storm, I even checked the weather channel for tornado warnings, the sky looked so weird. No tornadoes, but there was a severe storm warning that specifically listed my town (they usually just list the bigger cities, so that was neat), that said get indoors immediately, so you knew it was going to be bad.

Turned off and unplugged all the non-essential electronic stuff and sat in the house with the rest of my family, just watching the storm. Power went out, came back on shortly, and then went out again-And stayed out this time. Around 1 am Saturday the power still wasn't back on, and after checking on the sump pump (that currently has no way to drain itself without power), my brother and I decided that if we didn't bail it out, the basement would be flooded before morning. So we started hauling buckets of water upstairs and back outside. We kept talking positive-"The power company will fix everything once the lighting stops" (the storms continued on and off for 6 hours)- "If it stops raining the water level will stop rising" (rained all night)- "We just have to stop the basement from flooding until the power turns back on" (14 hours of no power, btw) The first hour I was counting buckets, but I lost count after bucket 20. I do know that 1 inch of water in the sump pump, bailed out is more than 10 gallons of water (we had some empty 10 gal. fish tanks that we were thinking about filling after we were too tired to go up the stairs anymore-a basement full of filled fish tanks is still better than a flood), we bailed out a lot of water. And we later found out that the drainage ditches outside were backing up into the house too, it was a lot of water. It wasn't like it was just constant bailing, an hour of bailing and then an hour break, repeated 6-7 times maybe. But when the power finally came back on I was sleep deprived and kind of sore, and so I pretty much just sleep all Sunday.

After seeing all the ruined carpet and furniture that some of the neighbors were hauling out for the garbage man today, I'm glad that we didn't quit or go to sleep. And it turns out that at after hauling buckets upstairs for hours, an off-hand comment from my brother saying, "This is hell", turned into a pretty in depth discussion on Greek mythology. I wouldn't call our situation "Hell", but Sisyphus is spending his eternal after-life rolling a boulder up a hill just for it to roll back down, and we spent our entire night hauling gallons of water upstairs just for it to soak back into the ground and our basement. Aside from the time span, there were a lot of similarities. Insightful stuff.

So now here we are, Monday, and I would like to get everything back to normal, but I have to catch up on some things first. To add to the fun our family computer needs repairing(that broke weeks ago), so my brother is going to commandeer my laptop for the evening to finish a project. So other than this quick write up you're just about done reading, I won't be doing much in the blogging world today either. At least I got a moment to tell you why, and in a day or two, all will be as it should. (And how cool is it that I stopped a flood?) ^_^

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Paper Pottery Bowl Tutorial Part 2

This is Part 2 of my Paper Pottery Bowl Tutorial, Click here for part 1.

What you will need for Part 2(in addition to the "part 1" stuff);

paint brushes
Sand paper (optional)

(*You can purchase the brands I'm using through Amazon)

Alright, so if you've been following along, here's where we are after part 1;

The glue's all dry and we're ready to continue.

Give both the inside and outside of the bowl a thin coat of gesso (paint with the ridges on the paper-not against them). You don't absolutely need this step,
but the gesso does several things;
It primes the paper and glue for painting, fills in small gaps,
and give the bowls a texture that makes them look
and feel a littler more like pottery.

If you only used glue on the inside,
you'll notice the the gesso is cracking as it dries, as shown here.
If you used glue on the outside, it's probably cracking there too.
School glue is actually a great way to get an age/crackling effect which I sometimes use, but if that's not what you want-Good news!
That's why we're using gesso before painting.

Gesso is the stuff you use to prime glass for painting.
It can give just about anything a smooth canvas quality surface to paint on.
So if its not going on even, or in this case, cracking, 
wait for it to dry and then add a few more coats.
You can sand between coats too, if you want. 
Yeah, there are still a couple of tiny holes here,
but they should be small enough to fill in with paint.
(you're welcome to sand/add another coat to yours though)
The rest is all in the painting. (make sure the gesso is dry first)
Keeping it simple, I'm painting mine blue.
Start from the inside and work your way out. 
Remember to paint with the ridges.

 These are miniatures, so any fingerprints in the paint are really going to show. Paint the inside, wait for it to dry, and then do the outside. I could hold the larger bowl a little better, so more of it could be painted, but my fingers pretty much covered the outside of the smaller one.

The number of coats you'll need depends on whether or not it looks streaky when dry, but once you're happy with it,
you're done. One last step, seal them with Polycrylic.
It protects the paint, and gives the pottery a glossy glazed look.
(I recommend the Satin finish for miniatures)
These photos don't include the Polycrylic(all the pottery I post/sell is sealed though) because while working on this I had a neat idea. So before I seal mine...

...I'm going to paint in some tiny goldfish.

So there you have it.
You now know the basics of how to make paper pottery bowls,
just like I do.



Looking for more Tutorials and other useful info?

Mini Wire Shelving Tutorial


Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 1 

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 2

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Paper Pottery Bowl Tutorial Part 1

My family doesn't think I should be doing tutorials for things that I sell, but I dunno, you can teach someone to paint and still sell your paintings, right? And it's not like I'm giving away any trade secrets here. Heck, I can even link to two other bloggers that know how to do this. (1, 2) Anyone can make miniatures, but it's the style and skill of an artist that makes them unique collectibles. Besides, most of my paper pottery is one of a kind anyway.

If you know anything about paper quilling or paper beads, this shouldn't be too difficult, but for those that never tried it before, this tutorial will teach you the basics. Granted, I never really did either of those things, but I figured this out by just reading about them, so it can't be that hard to learn. Tiny fingers help...and practice...

Since I'm sort of going to be making this bowls right along with you, this tutorial is getting broken up into parts (it takes time for these to dry) .

What you will need for Part 1;
scissors/something to cut with
A skewer or small dowel
*You can purchase the brands I'm using through Amazon

**Extra Note; Someone on Pinterest has been sharing my tutorial with an attached comment saying to use wood glue. I don't recommend wood glue. It costs more, dries different, has a weird color to it, and it's a messier clean up. Fortunately, I ended up talking to Jennifer of JS Miniatures about this, and she informed me that part of the wood glue comment might be that people in the UK can't get Elmer's glue. So to quote Jennifer (Thank you, btw);

"Alternative to Elmers for the UK would be standard PVA or school type PVA"

So if you can't find Elmers in your country, try that.

I'm using some scrap printer paper here, it's pretty easy to work with, but I've used everything from paper bags to photo paper for these. Different paper has different results, it's fun to experiment. Little tip though: If this is your first time making these, don't use newsprint. It get's mushy and it's much easier learning how to do this using something that will hold it's shape without much work.

Unless you went out and bought quilling paper, you should cut your paper into thin, relatively even strips.
The right batch of strips here are roughly 1cm wide. In miniature, these are really wide. For this tutorial, I'll be working with the thinner batch on the left, but I'm also going to make a bowl out of the wider batch so you can see what happens. Thin strips = Small round bowl. Wide strips = tall steep-sided bowl/vase.

A standard sheet of printer paper is 11 in. long. I need more paper than that, so I glue strips together.

Wrap the paper once around the skewer, and then glue together the loop you just made.
It should be wrapped kind of tightly, but you also need to be able to carefully slide the coiled paper off of the skewer when you're done.

IMPORTANT: Don't glue the paper to the skewer. Glue the paper to itself. 

Another tip: Put a drop of glue onto your wax paper. When you finish "quilling", it's much easier to dip the end of the paper into glue, then it is to try and use a glue bottle while holding the coiled paper in place.

Now that you're done fiddling with the first gluing part, continue wrapping the rest of the paper around the skewer. Once you start, don't stop until you're done. Keep the tension as even as you can. Remember, if it's too loose, it's just going to unravel when you try sliding it off the skewer. And then you'll end up wrapping again, while everything's all gluey.

I broke my own rule here so I could take this photo, don't stop until you've wrapped all of the paper around the skewer. This is to show you that you should be making, well it's basically a flat disc of paper. If the strips of paper aren't, for the most part, aligned it's not going well and you might want to start over. I've never had that problem with printer paper though.

Are you at the end? Don't let go of the paper you just wrapped! Carefully dip the end of your last strip of paper into the glue I told you to leave out, then press down and hold the end of the paper to the coil until you're sure it's not going to pop apart. Might take a minute or two. You don't need much glue for this part.

Now that everything's wrapped and dry, carefully slide your coiled paper disc off of the skewer. 
Is it stuck? Try twisting the disc. Turn it in the direction that will make the coil tighter. You don't want to loosen the coils, your disc could unravel.
You should end up with a disc that has a tiny hole in the center. You glued the beginning and end, so it should stay together.

Evenly push out the center of the disc. I usually use both of my thumbs to do this part, but again, I had to take a picture. If your fingers aren't small enough for the bowl you're making-dowels, toothpicks, Q-tips anything will work. It's just easier to shape things with your own hands when possible.
IMPORTANT: Remember how wide those strips of paper are. They need to be overlapping. If you push the center out too far it's going to unravel.

If you're having trouble making the bowl symmetrical, 
flip it upside down on the table and squish it into the right shape.

Ta-da! A paper bowl...No, we're not done, but it's looking pretty good.

This is the inside,

This is the inside + glue. I used to fill the whole bowl, but you don't need to do that because...

...You can save on dry times, and glue, by spreading it around. Once dry, 
the coils are locked in place-no more worries about unraveling. 
Depending on the paper you're using, you might want to also glue the outside.
When you're all done, set it on the wax paper (some of the glue is going to leak out the bottom over time), and put it somewhere safe while it dries.

Remember those wide paper strips I showed you at the beginning? 
I used those and made the bowl on the left. 
See what I mean about "Wide strips = tall steep-sided bowl/vase"?
Thin strips for bowls people, thin strips...

Congratulations, we are now at the end of Part 1. Now we wait for our bowls (and my weird vase) to dry. 


Looking for more Tutorials and other useful info?

Mini Wire Shelving Tutorial


Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 1 

Wonderful Stuff - Polymer clay, Part 2



Monday, July 8, 2013

Walt Disney's Miniature Collection

At first I thought it was a little weird that I could be so into dollhouses, miniatures, and such. The hobby actually seemed to get worse as I went through design school. Of course if you look around online, you'll start to notice that lots of artists and designers alike have been bitten by the mini-bug.

It kind of makes sense though. Some of us don't have the budgets to match our creativity at full scale, some like to constantly design and redesign spaces, some might actually be on a never ending quest to create their own little worlds.

Since many of the artists and designers I've come across also tend to have their own blogs, I never thought to pass the info along, but sometimes this isn't the case and the back story is just interesting enough that in hindsight, maybe I should have remembered to pass it along. So from now on I'm going to post my findings.

Person of interest #1: Walt Disney

He made miniatures, he collected them, he even wanted a section of Disneyland to be entirely made out of them-I am not kidding.

"The Miniature Worlds of Walt";

Enjoy. ^_^


Are you a creative professional who works in miniature too?
Feel free to contact me about being mentioned on this blog.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

My Prize From The Shopping Sherpa!

So a few posts back, I mentioned that I somehow managed to win two different blog giveaways in one week (Again-Such a lucky week-anyone know how I can do that again?).

I already made a post about my prize from Fabulously Small, so now it's time to talk about what I received from the Shopping Sherpa;

All the way from Australia,  Anna Maria sent me this lovely plastic kitchen set that she picked up at a recent show. You can read more about it, by clicking here to read her blog post.

The plan is to use these for Billy, a dollhouse I already have built and am in the middle of decorating, but recently I've been cleaning and it's turned into a catch-all. No really, there's even an octopus in there;

(just a side note, this little guy was a gift from an IRL friend. 
How awesome is it that someone sees a plastic octopus and thinks, 
"Kyle would love this"? ^_^ )

Ok, so now that you've heard my excuse for why my little house is such a mess, here is quick scene using the kitchen set, which I promise will look less disheveled after I finish cleaning up everything in my world (big & small);

If you're a regular reader, then you know where the plates and conveniently on hand "Fruit salad" came from. The penguin is also a regular, guess he lives here now. He's an adorable and top heavy creation I made out of Sculpey before I had any idea of what I was doing. XD The pretty green salad bowl is one of those paper pottery bowls I still have to do a tutorial on. I keep saying that I'll talk about that room divider I also made (I will, soon). Table/chairs are super old dollar store purchases. The sink unit is a mystery piece that was found inside a Strawberry Shortcake house (sadly no longer with us), that someone was throwing out.

Thank you again Anna Maria for the prize, I love this kitchen set, and am looking forward to finding more ways to use it in my mini scenes. ^_^