Sunday, November 10, 2019

Tom Bishop Show 2019

Back home from Madrid, after attending the Tom Bishop Show!  This year I did not get a lot of stuff, but some of the stuff I got is out of this world.

First purchase, a showcase cabinet for the museum, from Mariví Sacristán:


I already have pretty much all the furniture I need.  I do not think I will be buying more pieces, unless they are small, but we'll see...

Then, the fabulous hand-made pieces!  First, a couple of items for the museum, courtesy of 64TNT Miniatures:

A wonderful collection of bird eggs...
... and a tall glass dome display with a big egg
Loredana's work is simply astounding!  Every year I come home with at least one piece from her.
Then, a kit from Taller Targioni:


I will use the dome to finally make the Phantom of the Opera shrine I have wanted to make for a long time.  
And a couple of pieces for the soap shop.  Two pillows from Pilar Alén:


And one from MiniMaribe:


But the crown jewel of this year is this espectacular beauty:





This is the otherwordly creation of Elena González.  She makes dolls, but her specialty are these amazing gothic ladies.  I fell in love with her, and my mom bought it for me, as an anticipated Christmas gift.  Here she is, getting acquainted with Kassandra:  



I'm guessing they will make friends very fast!

Friday, November 1, 2019

New minis for the museum

Happy Day of the Dead, and belated Halloween!

Nothing like a free day to craft and enjoy minis.  Today I was busy with some pieces from Bindels Ornaments.  I made two sets of vanity tray, one for me and one for my mom:


Marijke shows you how to do the lovely box in this video.  And you can see how to make the rest of the pieces here.

I wanted to include this tray in the soap shop, in the Black and White shelf.  I think now the shelf is finally finished:



And I made another box for the museum scene.  This one is a piece recovered from an Egyptian site, with lapis lazuli inlays:


I am still waiting for the furniture to arrive, but in the meantime, I can share this lovely fossil from the hands of Val Harper, owner of Unique Miniatures:

See the box with the triceratops head?
Triceratops have always been my favorite dinosaur!  I was very lucky to snatch this piece!  I am currently working on more pieces for the museum.  Very soon Kassandra will have lots of tales to tell you about the new "acquisitions"...

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The new scene has been started!

A couple of days ago, I mentioned that I was going to start the process of making a museum scene / curator workshop / curiosities room.  Today the process started with putting the floor on the roombox.

I will be using a little greenhouse that a co-worker found for me some years ago.  It is lovely; it was going to be an organic product shop, but I think the new scene is more atune to Kassandra's taste.


The flooring came from Jessica Cloe Minis.  It is a lovely tile in black and white, which is a combination that I like very much.  I printed one A4 sheet, hoping it would cover everything.  Alas, it was a tiny bit short:


So I printed some extra and attached it to the end.  The joining point is invisible!



Now, it is ready to be cut to shape and installed:


I affixed it with some double-sided tape

It looks gorgeous!

I am very happy with how well it looks.  I have a couple of things already put in place.  Currently waiting on some furniture to start planing the design of the scene!


Monday, October 21, 2019

Trash to treasures - Egyptian jewel

Have you ever notice that when you want to make something in miniature, you have stuff laying about that is just precisely what you needed to finish your piece?  That happened to me today.  Let me explain.

I have decided that I am making an scene as a curator workshop: lots of ancient artifacts, everything mixed together, in an ecclectic collection.  Remember the Natural history cabinet?  It will be the first piece of the collection.  I may also include the chest with the coin collection. It really is out of sight in Kassandra's study, so I hope it will be more visible in the curator's shop.

Well, as usual, instead of starting putting floors on thinking about displaying furniture on the scene, I started with a minute detail.  I bought this golden crescent finding from Bindels Ornaments long ago.  I always knew it was going to be a jewel, but wasn't quite sure about what kind.  Today the answer presented itself.

Here is the finished piece: 


My husband uses microscopy covers that are 12 mm round, and they come in these cute clear plastic boxes.  Naturally, they have no use for the boxes once they are empty, so they discard them.  But I had a couple of them and I could upcycled them, which gives me great satisfaction.  I thought it would make a great display case for a recovered Egyptian jewel, and voila!  It was super easy to do.  I simply covered the protective foam with red velvet paper, and inserted it in the box:




Then I simply added some red "rubies" to the golden piece, and glued it to the case.  It measures 2 square cm. Love it!

Some time ago I used another one of these boxes to make a Ferrero Rocher box for my mom's patisserie.  This was so much fun, and she loved the final result.  I simply baked some small polymer clay balls (18, to be precise), covered them up with golden paper from a Ferrero Rocher chocolate, and used the tiny sticker in the bonbon to make the label for the box:



You  can't get more authentic than that!
I hope this is the first post of many in the making of the curator office.  It is such an out-of-the-ordinary scene that I can't wait to start crafting!

ETA: I have just found out that Bindels Ornaments is on Etsy, selling beautifully handmade lamps and some other knick-knacks!  Go get yourself something, you won't regret it!

Sunday, June 9, 2019

New chest piece for the study

This one was so much fun to make, but very challenging too!  Here a picture speaks more than a thousand words:


I saw this original piece in Unique Miniatures' shop, and I wanted to make one as well.  Working with such tiny coins was difficult, but fun:


Now the piece is displayed on the cabinet in Kassandra's study:



Saturday, May 25, 2019

Display table with snuff boxes

As I mentioned in the previous entry, here is another mini directly from an episode of Downton Abbey:  a Queen Anne table showcasing a collection of snuff boxes.

Here are a couple of stills from the episode in which you can see the table in question, belonging to Lord Grantham:

Lord Grantham in front of the table

Several snuff boxes...

... but one is missing...
You can check out the episode 5 in season 1 to find out what happened to the lost box.  There is also a mention of snuff boxes in the movie Amadeus - a maid mentions that Mozart used to have 7 boxes but now he only has one left.  You can see the maid holding a box, but you cannot see it:

The maid showing the box to Salieri
The history behind snuff boxes is fascinating, so I encourage you to do a bit of reading on them.  

Let me talk about how I made the snuff boxes.  First, I looked for an appropiate table to display them, and found it in the shape of a mahogany Queen Anne table.  It even has a small drawer, but as of now, I have kept the drawer empty:

Picture courtesy of Beautifully Handmade
As always with miniatures, the most difficult part is: how do I make a box so tiny, and how to make it look good too?  The answer is Bindels Ornaments.  I perused their catalogue to see what I could use to make and decorate little boxes.  Do you know they have a workshop to teach you precisely that?  I purchased several kinds of findings, and my imagination took flight!

I made the boxes in several sizes, but mostly two shapes: round and square.  I found out that some snuff boxes had erotic art in them, so I tried and found several paintings that suited the purpose.  I scaled them down, printed them and glued them to the lids of several boxes.  Some others have metallic decorations and gems.  Here is the final collection already in the display table:



The silver box in the second line is actually a powder box from Aderon, made of sterling silver, and it even opens!  The rest are pieces from Bindels.  The painting in the smallest golden box is 6 mm!  I had to use a puncher to cut it.  The rest I cut by hand.

I am so happy with it!  It is already in its final place at Kassandra's parlor:

It's kind of big, but who cares?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Kassandra's portrait cabinet

Today I visited Kassandra, since it was so much time since last I saw her.  I found her very busy, cleaning up a nightstand in her bedroom.  It was full of tiny portraits of people.


"Friends of yours?", I asked.

"Oh, some of them were more than friends", answered her, with a wink.  "But yes, they are people close to my heart.  Let's see if you recognize any of them!"

"Well, let's start with the drawer on the left.  I recognize them all.  They are Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Thomas Jefferson and Edgar Allan Poe."

"Exactly right! All of them were very special to me at some point in my life.  What about the drawer on the right?"

"There you have me.  I recognize Elisabeth of Austria, and Lord Byron, of course.  But the other lady, I do not know who she is."

"Why, she is Mary Shelley, my dear!  Surely you have read Frankenstein?"

"Absolutely!  I did not know you knew any of them..."

"Oh, I was at the mansion by the lake in Geneva with them, Shelley and Dr. Polidori when the idea of the competition to write a horror story came up.  Who do you think proposed it?  Those were fun times.  You even recognized Elisabeth..."

"Of course.  Even though that portrait is not the most famous of her, I know Winterhalter's work."

"I was an asiduous visitor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.  Elisabeth was a delicious child, so unhappy all her life, poor thing!   I always said to her she spent too many hours doing her toilette, and she said, "Well, what would you have me do, my dear, go around with my hair to the wind?", and I said, "Sure, why not?"  And then I asked Winterhalter to do the painting of her with her hair down.  Then he later painted this small copy for my collection.  What about the third drawer?"

"Oh, the Romanov family is very famous, of course."

"Yes, I visited them often.  Alexandra and I were friends since before she married; her husband was very formal and gentlemanly with me.  I appreciated him.  What the mobs did to their kids in the revolution was unforgivable; even though I may understand the frustration of the Russian people, you do not execute children, ever."

"Vlad Tepes is infamous, as well.  Were you two related?"

"Oh yes.  He was a cousin, from the not-so down-to-Earth part of the family; but he knew how to get the work done.  Erzsébeth Báthory was not.  She was a friend of the family, but she so wanted to be one of our own!  She did some really stupid things, no wonder she was imprisoned when they found out!  All she had to do was ask, and I would not have said no, you know?  But her maid filled her head with fantasies, and it did not end up well for them, I am afraid."

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Fantasy apart, I saw this fantastic cabinet from Unique Miniatures, and I thought it was genius!  The creator mentions that she saw something similar in the Pride and Prejudice TV series with Colin Firth, so I went to investigate that.  And sure enough, in chapter 4 we have a showcase table full of little portraits:

The lady calls over Elizabeth Bennet to check out the table
The portraits showcased in the table
I have been trying to find out if this way to keep portraits was something common in the 19 century, but could not find anything on it.  From what I can see, I would say they are small portraits that used to hang in the house (they all have hangers, or bails) and are now gathered all together for some reason - maybe for renovations, or to preserve them better?  Some are small enough to be considered jewelry.  In any case, the idea for a miniature was lovely!

But I wanted to make my own; not only because it would be fun, but because every portrait that exists in my dollhouse has a meaning: a real person behind them, like my mom's or grandma's pictures, or someone Kassandra may have known - there is no strange people hanging about. 

The first thing I did was trying to figure out what would I use as frames for the portraits.  If I could not find any that were suitable, the whole project was moot.  I had perused many Etsy shops for mini findings before, but never found any that were so small.  But then who could came to mind other than Bindels Ornaments?  I have bought from them a couple of times at the Tom Bishop Show, and they have amazing components to work with.  So, I went to their website and spent some time going about their catalogue to find the perfect settings for the portraits.  I even made patterns of some of them to try them out in the drawers:


They will be perfect!
 So, I ordered them, and while they came, I took an ordinary and plain nightstand that I had in the dollhouse bedroom and the work began.  First, I lined the drawers with the same fabric paper I used on the Natural History cabinet:

Trying on the pattern

Three drawers covered with paper

Looking good!
Still waiting for the settings, I gathered the portraits of the people that were going to be in them - I used Google, of course.  That was fun, thinking about how Kassandra may have known them - some were going to be in undoubtedly, as they already appear in some of my novels.  And she being a vampire, some simply HAD to be in it.  When the settings arrived, I measured them, and using Photoshop, I made the portraits as small as required.  Printed them out 3 times for trial and error and voilà!  It took little effort to glue the paper to the settings.

Then I simply attached the settings to the drawers with a tiny bit of double-sided tape.  I have so enjoyed the process! Specially because I do not need any extra room to put the nightsatand, since it was already there.  I simply dressed it up a bit!




I am already planning a new cabinet, this time from an episode of Downton Abbey.  Stay tuned!