Saturday, October 29

Tiny Taste of Halloween in Miniature

I've been in a Halloween mood all week, had a great party to go to on Thursday, and another is scheduled for tomorrow! While waiting for a ride yesterday morning I decided to browse all of the Halloween items in the Scale Miniatures section of Etsy. There were over 800 listings! So much to choose from, I only made it through the first few pages to set up this treasury. Think I'll go back and browse a little more tonight ;)

Friday, October 28

Just Hanging Out...

During the month of September and into the first part of October I finished the dolls I currently have, then made clothes for everybody. Some of the dolls have more than one outfit because all scale dollhouse dolls aren't the same size. I made an outfit for a particular doll, then it wouldn't fit, so it became part of the wardrobe for another doll instead.

In October I took a break from my personal dollhouse world to make miniature flowers and get back to some of the miniature pottery I had started way back in May. I'm not sure how often I can play with my own miniature community for the rest of the year, so everybody is just hanging out now...

These girls are Heidi Ott dolls. They are very different in size, can't share clothing. The girl on the right is slender and sort of tall, the one on the left is short and sort of stocky built.

These dolls were from a set of Porcelain dolls that weren't finished, and had clothing glued on. I learned how to finish a doll with these, and their clothing is some of the first I made (got much better at it as time went on). The furniture these dolls are sitting in are by InsideOutMinis on Etsy.

The doll on the left was a young boy in the Porcelain doll set. I thought it looked too feminine to be a boy, so finished it to be a girl instead. The man on the right is a very short man by Heidi Ott. The shirt he's wearing was from a kit. The mens shirts I made after that (from a pattern I'd made) came out much better fitting and looked more realistic too.

These dolls are from Hanna, and the only ones that have names and personalities so far. The lion is dressed because he's more like the character Harvey from the book/movie, and will probably be a sidekick character to someone once the bar/lounge is a place for everyone to hang out in. This picture is showing my favorite clothing from all that I made so far. At first, I didn't intend for Francesca to wear anything so tailored, but the dress is "arty" in the fabric pattern, so it works out to be a part of her wardrobe. I really, really like Vincent's clothes, they fit so well and are classy looking to me too.

The doll in casual clothing is the tall man doll from Heidi Ott. He originally had a blond crew cut hair do, but I didn't like that so changed it. His hair is tied back in a pony tail right now because I haven't decided how to cut and style it yet, I may leave it the way it is.

The older man doll started as the Gary doll from the Dawn doll set. His original hair was just formed from the plastic the doll is made from. I also redid his face so he wasn't so cartoonish. He's a little too tall right now because the only shoes I had that would fit him have heels giving him another 1/4" (four inches) in height. I will eventually get him some flat shoes to make him closer to scale.

Tuesday, September 6

Tragic Fairy Tale...

I remembered these two fairies the other day, and thought they could have a place in the "Land of ____" once it gets going. There will be a place for my fantasy sculpts on the top shelf, to the left of the rest of the community. I started day dreaming about how I could display these things, and had decided I could have a few real plants that have long tendrals to drape and flow along the shelving. It would make a nice forest area for the fairies, and since I am too short to play with anything on the top shelf anyway, this should all be good in the end.

These two fairies were the first I finished. They were never for sale, because they weren't good enough, but I still liked them just fine. I had put them in a plastic box (not air tight apparently), and had them put away for the past few years. When I opened the box to see these girls again, it was a horrifying sight! The fairy on the left used to have a nice Peacock feather skirt which is nearly all chewed away, and her hair is partially gone too. The fairy on the right has faired much worse... her hair is almost gone, there were feathers in her headband, and even her clothing has holes here and there.

So I googled moths that eat wool and got pretty creeped out. I spent much of this weekend looking for any other signs of these fairy eaters around my house. I dismantled an area that had collector magazines and a few books because I saw too much dust in the rack that held them, I'm about to take apart the whole wall of books on that side of the room because it looks pretty dusty around the bottom shelf holding record albums.

(getting cleaning obsessed a little, but that can't be bad?)

The good news from the holiday weekend...

The miniature Barbies have clothes! I can put them away for now, because I am still trying to figure out pattern making for the regular dollhouse dolls. The proper dollhouse dolls are not quite as tall as these, but they do have a more stout figure, so trying to make patterns fit has been a little hard. I am about to decide I don't need to have a real pattern for anybody else. I just hope I can figure out how to make the clothes removable so they don't have to wear the same outfit every day.

Now I will be off making some miniature flowers for a few days and maybe glazing some pottery pieces I have in bisque stage. That reminds me... while I will still be making some miniature flowers for my vases and a few to sell on their own, (MostlyArt on Etsy) I have also decided to sell the "Bloomin' Easy" flower making kits by Bonnie Lavish in my PrincessOzma shop. (they aren't in there yet, but stay tuned...)

Wednesday, August 31

Why I Need a Pattern...Revisiting Barbie

I got out my Barbies a couple of days ago to put together a play kit for someone, and was just delighted to find I'd kept some of the clothes I'd made. This is why I need patterns for the miniature Barbies, and then on to the dollhouse dolls afterward.

This first picture shows the enormous size difference in a regular Barbie and the miniature Barbie I'll be working with to learn how to make clothes in 1:12 scale. I love the dress I made for this Barbie. It was made from an old handkerchief, bead findings, and beads for the buttons. Once I have figured out the size difference in patterns (somehow), I can start inventing patterns of my own off the basic shapes.

These two dresses were made from patterns and handkerchiefs. The Bolero on the left doesn't fit all that well, should have used a clinging fabric for this.

This fashion doll is larger than the Barbie, I had to make up the pattern for her dress. It was made from a hankie too.

I love this fabric! It's so soft and flowy, I can see it working great for the miniature doll clothes too.

This Summer dress was made from a hankie too. I think I had a pattern for the basic dress then added the print from the sides of the hankie coming around in front for accent.

I totally love the outfit on the right! The blouse and pants were from hankies too. The handkerchiefs just have so many possibilities with the various trims and prints on them. Then the plain white ones were usually used and laundered so many times that the fabric is so very soft, softer than any fabric you can buy.

Still working on ideas of how to get basic patterns in dollhouse scale... I want my dolls to have contemporary clothing that can be removed (need fasteners and proper openings), too bad the miniature Barbies didn't come with wardrobes...

Sunday, August 28

August 28, Commercial Break...

August 30,

Edit to say: Whew! All of the miniatures I have listed right now have moved back to Mostly Art on Etsy. The next post here will be back on topic with the miniature doll clothes project.

At the risk of being viewed as "flakey" on the subject, I've decided to move my miniatures back to Etsy. Most of the miniature artists have already gone back, the rest have plans to go back soon. I have been a "hold out" during all the turmoil, wanting to give ArtFire a chance to take off and be something great, but a few things have happened this Summer to make that vision seem nearly impossible to achieve in the "Dolls and Miniatures" category there.

First, ArtFire decided to do away with the free selling accounts. This was the start of the miniaturists going back to Etsy. Most didn't even wait for the free-trial to try out the "Pro" selling accounts with all the special features. They left as soon as the word was out about free accounts going away.

The second thing that's happened just recently (the last couple of weeks), is ArtFire is involved with a new payment service called ProPay. This is a very expensive service for sellers to have, and since most people are used to PayPal, having it (PayPal) take second billing on the checkout pages as "other", and confusing for people to figure out... well, I can't see that will be okay with the majority of buyers for quite a while.

Everything new online takes a lot of adjustment and people in general don't like change. (me included) I have been with PayPal since they were new enough to be not only a free service, they offered $5 bonuses for everyone else you could get to join. I've never had any problems using PayPal, not as a seller or buyer, they would have to do something really drastic to get me to not want them as my main online payment source.

The third thing weighing my decision to go back to Etsy is all the people who didn't want to move with me in the first place. Etsy is much more fun to shop on, because there are just so many more items, more to browse, more energy... with so many of the miniaturists leaving ArtFire now, it could take years for them to attract enough new miniaturists to make a good category over there. I think I am finally convinced the wait will be just too long.

It will be quite a bit of time involved in moving the miniatures back to Etsy, because the listings on ArtFire are mostly new items since I left Etsy last Winter. The information isn't on Etsy anymore, it will be like making brand new listings. So... I'm giving myself a week to do this, just an hour or so a day until it's done.

Thanks for listening to my rambling...

Wednesday, August 24

Ta Da! First dress completed

I finished the first of the miniature Barbie dresses last night. This girl also got some red lipstick and red shoes to match her dress, because the dress itself is so fragile, she likely won't be changing clothes too often.

I think this fabric would be called Chiffon. It's very sheer and frays so easily, that it probably wasn't the best choice for my first piece of scale dollhouse doll clothing. It was actually a vintage handkerchief, but the intended purpose wouldn't be good for that because it isn't anything like Cotton, or even Silk. I thought the pattern was nice for the dress though, and am happy in the end that I did start with something more difficult to work with.

The dresses (and other clothing), should be much easier with Cotton or Silk. This dress will only fit the miniature Barbies because they're more slender than the dollhouse dolls. I made the dress to be removable, but it's likely to be this doll's permanant clothing anyway.

Tuesday, August 23

Dressing Miniature Barbie Part 1

Saturday, I began the miniature doll part of my project. I decided to start with the miniature Barbies, because the dolls themselves can't be altered much, and they all had a dress that could be dismantled for patterns. These Barbies have the big toothy smile, and you can't really change the face character when it is this mold. I decided to just leave the faces the way they are but change the hair. They all got a haircut, and the hair is getting tamed down some with the plastic wrap. I did have a tutorial on how to change the style of Barbie hair completely with boiling water or something... maybe I'll do that later, for now, I'm just going to make them all some new clothes.

These are the princess dresses the dolls came with. I don't see them as princesses or fairies, but since they are all tall compared to the other female dollhouse scale dolls, they may be Amazon women. Maybe they are just model types from the 60s-70s with that clean "girl next door" look they had back then?

Sunday... I got out some full size fashion doll patterns to see the size comparison, and tried to adjust for size. I wasted a lot of time on this, because I thought I had a program that would just reduce pictures by 50% on my computer. That must have been with my first printer though, because I couldn't figure it out and pretty much just wasted the whole day for nothing.

Sunday night, Monday, and Monday night... I tried free-hand reducing the patterns to a scale dollhouse size. For a while, I thought I'd figured it out and made several sample pieces of clothing from some soft Batise fabric. (I didn't want to risk any of my beautiful vintage hankies until I knew the pattern would work out.) The pieces were still too big in some ways, and though I could have altered the clothing pieces themselves with seams and darts, I decided to take a new approach instead.

I carefully took apart every piece of dollhouse doll clothing I had, (there weren't many things, so it wasn't like I was giving up something precious), and made new pattern pieces of this clothing.

I finally decided to make something from a hankie late last night. The top part of the dress is almost finished, then I will add a gathered skirt to it. No pictures yet, I wanted to make sure it turns out first. Actually, I'm almost finished with the second bodice of the dress. The first one, I couldn't quite get the tiny sleeves in and my fabric frayed to almost oblivion at the shoulder. After that, I put very, very thin strips of scotch tape on the edge of the cut fabric pieces before I started sewing. This has been successful, and the second bodice went fairly quickly.

Saturday, August 20

A Year in Miniature

Today is the beginning of a year long project to make a 1:12 scale miniature town. Only the more I think about it, the word "town" is not appropriate for the world I'm about to create, it would be more proper to call it "the land of____?" like L. Frank Baum did with his 14 book series on the Land of Oz.

This plan has been growing, evolving, and changing direction almost as fast as I can think or fantasize about it. It just became "the land of_____?" this morning. This time the plan will stick, because I have made the commitment with a deadline of a year from today, and including all of the various ideas into one "Land of____" is perfect for me.

I was very late to find out about dollhouse miniatures. If it weren't for eBay, it may never have happened, and I would have missed so much! Many good friends I've met along the way, a growing imagination, and new skills of my own with learning to work in 1:12 scale.

While I have always loved anything tiny, growing up, we all played with Barbie and similar 1:6 scale dolls. As an adult, I did still enjoy playing with Barbie in the way of making wardrobes of clothing for her/similar fashion dolls, and once made myself a project of altering the dolls themselves for the adult women in my family. I made each sister and my mom a doll that resembled them, then a wardrobe to go with it. This is how I found my way to the "Dolls and Miniatures" category on eBay in the beginning.... I was interested in making altered 1:6 dolls as artwork to sell.

That idea passed when I found the life-like fairy and artdoll sculpture made from polymer clays. Especially the work of Julie Mansgergh/faerielady on eBay. Her dolls/sculpts are so life-like, you might even convince yourself you saw them breathing! After I saw these artdolls, I just had to learn how to make them myself. I took a year to learn how, the requisite "make 100 dolls before you try and sell one", but still, it was not to be. My dolls didn't ever get a following, and I still have a few that will now live in my "Land of____?" too :)

While hanging out in the "Dolls and Miniatures" category on eBay so much in my fairy/doll making days, I discovered the 1:12 scale miniatures. It was like a heaven-on-earth time of finding so many perfect replicas of anything you could think of in one inch scale! My first project was going to be a display piece, a miniature version of the real life shop of Mostly Art, down to the last detail.

I purchased a lot that had two basic dollhouse kits still in the boxes. I thought I could combine elements of the two small houses into an empty structure resembling the store when it had been empty, then go from there. After trying to figure out the basic floor plan for a while, (why are 1:12 dollhouses not really to scale, but so much smaller than they should be?), I could see this wouldn't work. I would have had to compromise too much on the design. If it couldn't be a true replica, I didn't want to do it.

Time went on, I still wanted to make some kind of house or roombox, and tried with one of the kits later. I blogged about it here , where you can see it didn't work out either. That was when I realized what I really want to do is PLAY! I don't want my dollhouses or roomboxes to be a display-only piece, I want the whole thing... "it's a lifestyle" to quote a very good friend of mine. I want my dolls to be characters, with personalities that will let me know what kind of dwelling they will live in, what kind of job they might have, what kind of place they may hang out in...

So this year's project, making the "Land of_____" will start with the dolls. I have an assortment of dolls of different kinds/types that are in 1:12 scale. Some are from Heidi Ott, a few proper Porcelain dolls, miniature Barbies, the sculpts I made, two sculpts from another artist (they already have their own dwelling/structure), and a lion/man who I believe will be someone like Harvey, the rabbit/pooka.

Most of these dolls and characters are in need of clothing and/or alteration. So that's where I'm deciding to start this journey... pictures to follow

Wednesday, August 17

One Tiny Pumpkin on Great Vine!

This year's Pumpkin vine had a rough beginning. I had decided to get an earlier start this year, but then the first tiny plants froze. The second set of seeds seemed to take forever to come up, then they didn't really do much of anything until August. We now have a Great vine going in all directions!

The leaves are huge again this year, and the vines are pushing their way through the wild flowers and tall grasses we let grow however they wanted to this Summer. The results were really fun for the cats with so much "jungle", and the only controlled areas are the square areas with Lettuce, and the other patch for the Tomato vines.

Here's the lone Pumpkin... at least I think it's the only one, I haven't discovered any others yet. There are many more beautiful flower blossoms early in the morning. I took the pictures in the afternoon when the blossoms had mostly closed for the day.

Tuesday, June 14

Certified Handmade and CDHM Feature

It's been so long since I posted any news here! I got the Certified Handmade Artisan seal on ArtFire, and a feature in the CDHM iMag for June.

In my ArtFire Studio, the Handmade Seal is on the left hand side page. I'll try to add a picture of it here too.

The CDHM iMag is called The Miniature Way, I am not sure how to show any of it here, so am just linking to the different pages.

The feature on CDHM is linked from the home page of the site on the right hand side of the page this month. That will change in July, so I'll link the actual article Here too. (the picture is an old one from a vacation, I had been swimming, so my hair is usually a little better than that)

I keep a gallery on CDHM to show current ArtFire listings and some of my past work all of the time, so if you'd ever like to see what's going on with my miniature pottery, it will show previews with the new listings. My CDHM Gallery and I still like to use flickr for pictures too.

Nothing much else is new right now, I'm enjoying the Summer "out and about" more than being online like I do so much during the bad weather months. I will try to post more often in the future though.

Thursday, March 31

Some Miniature Pottery Work in Progress

Today I decided to show a few pictures on the process of making miniature pottery items. The first picture is of some of my frequently used tools and some pieces in their first stage of "raw" clay blanks and the begining sculpting.

Next is glazing day. I decide how I want to glaze each piece first, then make a page with drawings and which glaze is going to be used, which order of the different color glaze coats, or other particulars. This way, I have a record of what I did when something turns out fantastic, or the other way too, if it wasn't so good, I know not to repeat the same glaze combination.

This third picture is a mix of pieces. Some are still in their bisque stage (after the first firing but before the glaze), and some are now finished.

The last picture is some upcycling going on. These rabbits were made in Peru as beads. I am altering them to make them into miniature sculpture rabbits in honor of the Year of the Rabbit. Just a fun idea, it amuses me :)

Monday, March 28

Fresh Start with Creative Breakroom

As many discussion forum people know, we've all felt scattered, uneasy, and even homeless since the Etsy Discussion Forums closed down. At first, we all had a great alternative board called UEF (unofficial etsy forums), and it was a great new community growing to almost 3000 members in just a couple of months! It disappeared (lots of drama) a few days ago, and the founders of the UEF board created a fabulous new place that is open to every seller from every venue (buyers too of course!) to gather in a break room setting.

This new board is called Creative Breakroom, and it is very fitting for what it is. I'm really excited about how something so good can come from the "bad" of losing our original home board. Especially with the welcoming of people from all venues to come together in a new community setting! ♥

Creative Breakroom

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 11

Change in Direction for Miniatures

I have been fretting over this situation for the past few months, and finally came to a decision to just go for it...

The shop Mostly Art on Etsy will be for all of the non-miniature items, and my miniatures will be moving to my ArtFire Studio.

The decision for me, personally, means I will have my own online studio that has many great features.

•On ArtFire, the studios have a blog right inside the studio, where you can show tutorials, works in progress, or anything you want really.

•ArtFire manages to get your items into google searches, so people from all over the world can do a search for miniature items, and my items will show up for them on google.

•Buyers do not have to sign up to make a purchase, and they can pay in ways other than PayPal, (Google Checkout and Amazon Payments too).

•ArtFire has member curated Collections that have the chance of being featured on the front page of ArtFire... (I had one of the collections I curated on the front page recently).

•The studio itself looks beautiful! The items are all shown in a gallery list format with large pictures.

•ArtFire has a program to apply for a "Certified Handmade Artisan" status which shows that you have indeed passed a jury panel with your work in progress, showing you really do make the items you sell. I have already begun this process, and will have this "award" to show people who didn't previously know my work.

•There are Guilds to join for people in your same medium of work, or other support networking. These Guilds are being updated to be more useful over the next couple of months.

•The discussion forums on ArtFire are very friendly and helpful. The owner of ArtFire himself spends time answering questions and explaining all of the things his team is doing to improve ArtFire. He is open, honest, and a very hard worker himself. He is working every day to make ArtFire the best site for handmade (vintage and supplies too), and the personal touch of him being accessible, (even by phone), is very comforting.

What is good about this move to the collectors of my work?

All of the above points ♥ And remember... you don't even have to sign up to be a member of ArtFire to buy things.

This move will be taking me a little bit of time to finish. I am working on new miniature items that will be listed in the ArtFire Studio starting over the next few days. The miniatures that are still in my Etsy Shop will stay there until sold or expired. After that, the Mostly Art at Etsy will be for everything else I make... ArtFire Studio for miniatures and possibly a few ornaments.

I will also still do preview pictures of my work before it's listed for people who like to have a peek at what's coming in the next few days. I'll be using flickr and my CDHM Gallery for the previews, just like before.

Thank you!

Hope to see you on ArtFire for Miniatures! ♥

Monday, January 31

It Will be Mardi Gras Soon!

Love all the royal colors of this celebration!

Saturday, January 15

Rabbits Are a Great Theme

The Year of the Rabbit is going to be fun for making collections on ArtFire! So many to choose from...