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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Scarlett Frog Miniatures: November 2015

Scarlett Frog Miniatures