Sunday 22 November 2015

Make a 1950s Style Tinsel Christmas Tree

It is that time of the year, and while we plan for our real homes to be decorated for the season, how about thinking of what you can do to decorate your little mini spaces.

This tutorial was orginally published on the Dolls House and Miniature Scene craft club website, but I thought it was time that it was repeated. The instructions are given for one twelfth scale, but you can use the same principle to make the tree larger or smaller. The main thing is that you want it to be stable and you may have to make it more than once until you manage to get the wires wrapped tight enough.

Post-war style was very modern and a departure from the traditional appeared in tinsel Christmas trees in all shapes, sizes and colours. The tree branches were quite sparse and the decorations were also simple - what we call minimalist today.

You will need 

8 - 10 tinsel pipe cleaners in silver 30 cm long
1 x 45 cm long 18 Gauge Cloth Covered Stem Wire (Thick florists wire) 
6mm Glass beads in Green 
Petite Glass beads in silver
1 large coloured sequin
Solvent free Adhesive 
0.4 mm silver-plated wire
Piece of 6mm dowel
Needlenosed pliers 

Take the thick florist wire and measure 100 mm from the tip and mark.
Bend sharply at this point, and measure 15mm from bend, and curl around the piece of dowel to make a foot, bringing the wire back to the first bend.  (The overall foot will measure 20mm after the bend.)

Repeat for the other 2 feet so the finished base looks like a clover. Adjust so the base sits perfectly flat.

Take a tinsel pipe cleaner and twist it 3 times to the central stem of the tree starting 15mm from the base and 70 mm from the end of the pipe cleaner. Trim the other end of the pipe cleaner to the same 70 mm length.  (Keep the cut-off lengths for use later up the tree.)
Take a second pipe cleaner and insert the pipe cleaner below the first twist and 70 mm from the end of the pipe cleaner, twist another 2 times going over the bottom stem and ending above the second stem. Cut off as before.
Take a third pipe cleaner and insert  below the last stem and twist 3 times so that the second branch is above the last stem.

Continue in this way all the way to the top of the tree, reducing the size of the branches in small increments. The last branch should poke straight up.  The overall tree should measure 130mm in height which roughly equates to 5ft in real size - but of course you can make this tree any size.

Shape the branches upwards with a gentle curve. Use your thumb to make the curve close to the tree so the branch arches gracefully. (Some trees of this era were dead straight and just angled upwards.)
Trim the branches so that the tree shape is generous at the bottom and narrower at the top.
Take an off-cut of tinsel and wrap around the bottom of the stem from the base to the first branch.

Cut 1 x 20mm length of silver wire for each branch. Use small needle-nose pliers to make a small curl at one end of each wire. Insert a green bead and then a small silver bead. Dot a bit of glue on the wire to keep the beads secure.
Bend the top of the wire over and glue to the tree making sure that the decoration hangs straight.
Find a large sequin in the shape of a star or a flower and glue to the tree, choosing the best looking side of the tree as the front.

I do hope that you enjoy making this little tree and that it gets you off to a great miniature Christmas start.

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Tuesday 10 November 2015

Crocheted Miniature Tablecloth

I have recently completed this lovely little tablecloth while taking part in a CAL with the Buttercup Miniatures group on Ravelry. A CAL is a group joining event where each person makes the project - called a Crochet-A-Long and Frances very kindly gave all who participated the pattern. The idea is that in return, you actually do finish the project. I have at times tried to participate in a Knit-A-Long, but my miniature knitting skills are not great. (In fact they are not great in full size either!)

This was a super pattern to make. I used 100 size crochet thread and a 0.6mm hook and you can read my project page to see what extra changes I had to make to enlarge the tablecloth to fit my table. The cloth measures about 170 mm wide with the extra rows. It worked really well.

I loved the design of the cloth because it is full of crochet and not massive gaps - it is always hard to scale crochet in miniature. It can also sometimes look really stiff, but this cloth drapes beautifully - that is because I used a slightly bigger hook than I normally would for such fine thread.

I washed it and then steam blocked with starch and then before it was completely dry, shaped it over my table (which I had covered with cling film). It took another day to dry completely.

This is not the first pattern I have made from Buttercup Miniatures and you can read more about what I thought of the pattern here. Frances Powell designs a large number of knitting and crochet patterns in both miniature and full size and is also a regular contributor to The Dolls' House magazine. This month they have published one of her knitting patterns for a Chunky Aran Throw.

 Now that I have made the tablecloth, I have to decide what sort of food to display should it be - "A Christmas Feast"? Or what about a "Tea-Party". The tablecloth is very feminine and that will determine what it displays. I think I will also need to make an undercloth - red for Christmas obviously, but a tea party will need more thinking. I am also thinking of painting the table as it seems so dark.

 Has anyone got a better idea?


Thursday 5 November 2015

5th November - Remember Remember the Fifth of November ....

It is Guy Fawkes night tonight and I thought I would release the miniature firework kits that are available from my Etsy store.

This photo is more of less approximate of size... the main photo looks huge.

This is a paper based kit, which you need to cut-out, shape and glue - glue is not included. All the instructions are included and the postage is just by normal surface mail to reduce costs.

Here is the link to my listing on my Etsy Store - have fun and let me know if you need a bit of help in assembling the kit.

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Thursday 29 October 2015

Miniature Crochet Pumpkin Garland to Make for Halloween

Since I am having a mad week of Pumpkin Madness - I thought I would share a new little crochet pattern I devised to add more decoration to the dolls' house. The Miniature Halloween Pumpkin Garland is simply fun to make and is quite easy.

It is made with shaped pumpkins that are attached to a chain garland with the join-as-you-go method. Size 80 crochet thread is used with a 0.60mm hook.

The pattern can be downloaded from Ravelry for free here.

Just a bit more fun to add to Halloween.

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Monday 26 October 2015

Pumpkin Madness

Yes - it's true Pumpkin Madness has got to me - AGAIN !

I love autumn - the colours are what really grabs me each year. I always marvel at the orange'ness of everything - and this year I got into it a little early.

I was writing an article on a scarecrow and a bird-box scene for Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine when I realised that in order to style the final photo, I would need a few pumpkins. Of course - in miniature -  I did not need to wait for the "real" pumpkin season.

I already have some in my collection which I had made over the years, but nowhere near enough and not enough in terms of variety. So, I simply had to make more, and that is where Pumpkin Madness took over.

Now you have to understand, that I was already pushing a tight deadline - it is always tight with me, as I ponder a lot about how to find the best way to make something, and the best way to describe it for the magazine, and always leave the final finishing to the last minute and cutting it close the deadline. (I think I drive Editor nuts!)

Anyway pumpkins were not actually on the list to do, and for once I was way ahead, but this madness came over me. So I ended up spending 2 whole days making pumpkins of every size, shape and colour that I could find. Thank goodness for Pinterest and for my source files as I managed to fine gazillions of images to use as research.

If course, I got completely carried away and made more that 50 pumpkins, far more than what I needed for the final photograph for the magazine.

I think it was a success and so did the editor because it ended up on the front cover of the magazine in the November issue which is on sale and shows you how to make the bird-boxes, the scarecrow, and the easy -no-fail crates. Have a look. The ironic thing is that I only ended up using a few pumpkins in the final photo! Typical.

Pumpkins, gourds and squashes are amazing - they come in very many sizes and colours ranging from pale grey to bright orange.They are fun to make so here are my quick tips on how to make a pumkin. I use Fimo and first take the time to mix lots of clay so I have plenty to practice with.
  • Mix the clay to the closest tonal colour - bearing in mind that Fimo darkens slightly on baking.
  • Mix a puce grey for the stems.
  • Build the pumpkin adding the grooves before squashing it down to shape.
  • The stem of the pumpkin normally comes straight out of the top.
  • Add a button of the stem coloured clay to the base.
  • Pumpkins are not perfect and many have blemishes. Add a few marks here and there and then bake. 
  • Use artist’s acrylics and a dry brush method to add more colour variation and blemish.
 Now there will be much more on Pumpkins - and of course - Halloween this week. So join in with Pumpkin Madness. I will show you, this week, how to make a lit hollowed out pumpkin, an evil pumpkin and a few more bits on Halloween which is just days away!

Have fun and let me know what you think. 

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Monday 19 October 2015

The Princess Doll's Cradle

I designed and created this little cradle for the latest issue of The Dolls' House Magazine.

I am so pleased that it worked - a rocking cradle is hard to work in minaiture because it will often tilt one way because of a tiny weight differnece and you need to get the centre of gravity right - sounds silly really, but important and you can always weigh it down inside to get the centre of gravity lower.

I am very happy with the cradle. I made the little blanket in silk thread and you can find the pattern on my Ravelry page.

I have been doing a lot of magazine work, so have not had much time to post anything else new. Just watch this space though as there are a lot of new ideas and posts coming..... x


Sunday 27 September 2015

Front Cover Dolls House and Miniature Scene

I rather proud of the latest issue of the Dolls House and Miniature Scene magazine - October issue - because my Steampunk Vignette is the main picture on the front cover....

This is the actual photo of the finished item.

Part 6 - the concluding part - of the creation of this little dressing room in the fantasy Steampunk style. It has been such fun to do, although I have to say I am pleased to see that it is finished. I made so many items for this project - and I did it in stages, so it was a bit of risk as I did not know how the final piece would turn out.

Here are a few more pictures.


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Scarlett Frog Miniatures

Scarlett Frog Miniatures