Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crafting for my mom

Remember a couple of days ago when I mentioned I was going to make a shopping basket for my mom? It's finished:

The wire basket came from Kountry, if you like it. The rest was handmade by me. See the dog magazine from 2 entries below? The baguette, the grapes and the oranges are polymer clay; the grocery bags are handmade from brown wrapping paper. The milk bottle was purchased unfinished; I painted it white and sealed it with a glossy coat. My mom loves it, and that's the best reward!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Vampires and witches need pets too

Although the regular pets in a dollhouse usually are cats and dogs, (and other cute animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs or mice) sometimes they simply don't fit in the designed scheme. Don't get me wrong; my dollhouse vampire occupant has a black cat in her bedroom, but she needed other type of companion as well.

Since the Harry Potter series became popular, I have begun to see more unusual pets for dollhouses, such as frogs, snakes, snow owls (like the one Harry has) and ravens. I myself wanted to buy a raven, since my vampire friend is very fond of Mr. Poe and his work, but the raven in question seemed more like an altered pigeon, due to the placement of the eyes on his head and the small beak. So I decided against it. What, oh what, could she use as pet? But of course! Which animal speaks more clearly of vampires than the bat?

Well then, the first step was to buy a cage for the little one to nest. I searched high and low for empty cages - the majority of them had already a little bird inside, and no possibility to open it to exchange the occupant.

I made a search on Etsy, because it has become trendy to use this type of birdcages to make necklaces, and I found it, empty and with opening door. Too cute! So I ordered one.

Then I sewed a tiny fabric bat upside down to the swing, and this is the result:

Isn't it adorable? Now he rests comfortably in the study of my vampire friend.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Miniature custom magazines

As I was saying yesterday, sometimes you see a miniature and you have to do something with it. I recently bought 5 miniature wire baskets from Kountry. They were oh so lovely, I had to have them! So I put 3 of them as shopping baskets in my dollhouse's shop. Simply delicious!

But I had 2 to spare, so I offered one of them to my mom, for her own dollhouse. Yes, I am guilty. I made an addict of my mom too! She said she would like it to be filled with groceries, and I am working on that. As a suggestion, I offered to make her a newspaper or a magazine, and she was OK with the idea. When I mentioned that I could make a dog magazine, she was quite happy - she loves dogs! I was going to search for an actual dog magazine cover, and out of the blue, I thought she would like very much a magazine with a picture of Dana, her bitch.

And said and done, I made this cover for her:

The title says: A dog's life.

And suddenly it occurred to me to make one for myself. I am a reader of Gothic Beauty magazine, and the first thing I thought was to make a similar one. And I get to be on the cover! This is the result:

I love how it turned out! I thought on including headlines, but they won't be visible in miniature size anyway.

Why have Time in your living room, when you can be the main model for your own magazine? One more time, the miniature world bows to your desires!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Miniatures: not only for dollhouses

Although most of the time we buy our miniatures to display them proudly in our "other" home, sometimes somebody sees a miniature, and simply have to use it to do something with it.

My friend Alex has an Etsy shop, where she sells her creations: cute little bats cup sleeves that you can use instead of the disposable cardboard cup sleeves offered at local coffee shops. Reusable and eco-friendly, what more can you ask for? Go green! Or you simply can use them as decorative stuffed animals.

She made an Absinthe Bat:

And a Vampire Hunter bat:

Aren't they adorable? She is exploring more possibilities as times goes by, and this is her latest creation, the Nurse/Doctor bat:

All miniatures made by yours truly :)

I am working right now in a miniature sword for a Headless Horseman (!!). I can't wait to see it finished!

Meanwhile, go take a look at her shop and see if there's something you like, for you or a loved one.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dressing your windows - tutorial

When I bought it, my dollhouse had simple white cotton curtains, hot glued to the window frame. They looked good enough for a while, but when I began to change the dollhouse to fit the vampire taste, the white cotton fabric was not interesting anymore.

I must confess that I was never a craft-gifted child, and when I began working on the dollhouse (which I bought ready made) I was afraid that any "major" change could ruin it. So I decided to simply hot glue a piece of burgundy velvet with a black lace trim to the window frames.

They looked good enough for me, so I let it run. Some months later, my mom got me a catalog of miniatures, and I found an interesting picture of a dressed window with a blue fabric-covered cornice and two sets of curtains, one of white lace, and another one of flower-printed cotton. Although I found the combination quite ugly, I thought the idea was great, and decided to give it a try, changing the fabrics. I would covered the cornice with burgundy red, the lace would be black, and the main curtain burgundy velvet.

I had read that working with velvet for making dollhouse curtains was quite tricky, because velvet does not have a credible look for miniatures. Of course, I was not going to allow that to stop me.

I tried to find a ready-to-use cornice. And I did, but I thought that the price was ridiculously expensive for a piece of laser-cut wood that was not going to be visible when I finished with it. So I decided to make my own. Also, I found at my local Jo-Ann a fantastic scrapbooking paper that looked like suede to the touch, and I bought a sheet to cover the cornice. After some days of careful work, this was the result:

Sure, probably it is not as perfect as it could be with another kind of fabric, but I am happy with the results! Here is how you can make one for your dollhouse too!

Materials you will need:
Measuring tape, ruler, pencil, scissors, razor blade, balsa wood, lace trim, your choice of fabric, matching thread, needle, scrapbooking paper, glue, hot glue, glue gun.

I decided to use balsa wood because it's strong enough but easy to cut even if you don't have a saw. My balsa wood was Midwest, and with these measurements: 3/32" x 4" x 36". I had more than enough for 3 windows and a lot to spare. Of course, you can always buy your cornice ready made and skip the first steps.

1- Measure the width of your window. Add 1 inch to the total length, so the cornice will be slightly bigger than the window. Decide how tall you want the cornice to be (mine is 5/8", if that helps you). Then draw 2 rectangles with those measurements on the balsa wood with the help of the ruler. They will be the front and the back of the cornice.

2- Cut the balsa wood with the scissors or the razor blade.

3- Now you need to cut the sides of the cornice. I made them 6/8" wide, and there was room enough to work with the curtains later without problems. Draw 2 rectangles on the balsa wood and cut them. Now you have all the sides of your cornice.

4- Glue them together and let them dry. When they are ready, measure the top part to make the cover of the cornice. Draw the rectangle on the balsa wood, cut it and glue it to the top. Let everything dry for one night. I used superglue to glue the pieces together, but you can use regular craft glue if you prefer.

5- Now the fun begins! I used the scrapbooking suede paper to cover every side of the cornice, but you are welcome to use fabric if you prefer. So cover the outside part of the cornice with your choice of paper or fabric. I used regular craft glue for this step. Or you can paint it with acrylic paint. The customization is up to you!

6- Measure the height of your window, and cut 2 pieces of the lace trim to match in length with the bottom of the window. Glue the lace to one of the inside parts of the cornice. Let it dry.
You can leave them like that and you have a nice combination too:

7- Measure the distance from the top of your window to the floor of your dollhouse. This will be length of the main curtains. For the width, use the same measure of the window. Draw 2 rectangles on the fabric and cut them.

8- If you are using velvet as I did, make the pleats on the fabric as shown in the picture; hold them with a sewing pin and sew them both at the bottom and the top to keep them in place.

9- Glue them to the other part of the inside of the cornice (not in the same side you glued the lace, but in the opposite side). I used the hot glue for this step. Let them dry.

10- Hang the cornice over your window. You can use hot glue as I did or miniature hardware.

And that's it! You can do the same for the rest of the windows if you want. Have fun! Or if you think this is too complicated, you can give me a howl and I can do it for you! ;)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Celebrating the first post with a tutorial...

... And it could not be in any other way, it is about miniatures!

My dollhouse began as many others, as a boring Victorian style dollhouse. But after moving to the United States and began my crafting, I decided that the overrated Victorian parlors were not good enough for me. So I decided to transform my common dollhouse into something more uncommon, but very popular these days...

Think about Diagon Alley, and how the houses there could be... A charming exterior, no doubt, but the inside is what gives me the freedom to explore! I am fortunate enough to own a dollhouse with a shop, and no kitchen! "Good", I thought to myself. "Vampires don't need kitchens, anyway..." So you can say that the owner of my house is a charming vampire lady with a magic shop - more fitted to Knockturn Alley than Diagon Alley, if you follow me...

Anyway, this lady is a great admirer of J. R. R. Tolkien - some say that she knew him very closely - and she has just added a Middle Earth map to her bedroom.

The idea of the map came after I purchased some lovely mini-books featuring The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings series and The Silmarillion. Want your own set of books? Try Miniature Bookshelf!

I did a little search and found a beautiful map from a fellow blogger (scroll down to see it):


A Hobbit Hole is a really neat idea for a dollhouse! Maybe some day...

Here is how you can have your own miniature Middle Earth map:

1- Download the image. Remember, this image has a copyright. You can only do this for personal use, not for selling it in any way!

2- Open your favorite photo-editor program (Adobe Photoshop is great for miniatures!)

3- Change the size of the map to your desired size. Change the pixel size to 300 pixels/inch.

4- Print it in high quality paper.

5- Frame it, hang it directly on the wall of your dollhouse or display it over a table.

The map in the bedroom wall