Thursday, December 9, 2010

New Absinthe minis!

As I promised, here are the new designs. The French Ban posters and newspaper:


And a new design of Absinthe bottle, after the real brand Pernod:

They are both up for sale in my shop. Sante!

Monday, December 6, 2010

More Absinthe accessories - not minis :)

The brouilleur and the sugar cubes arrived!

I have already had occasion of using them both. I love the sugar cubes design; it is a pity that the Bonnecaze and Cie website is not available anymore. The brouilleur... I am not so happy about. If you are interested, you can read a review I wrote about it here.

I am currently designing a miniature sugar box that will have the logos featured in the sugar cubes' wrappings; also, I have found a couple of posters that depict the French ban of absinthe, and will have them available in miniature in my shop in a couple of days. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Absinthe in the movies

I watched a couple of days ago the new Dorian Gray movie - starring Ben Barnes and Colin Firth. Even though I expected it to be better than it was (big disappointment on that), I was so happy to see that they included a scene (around minute 7) in which you can see a glass with Absinthe, an Absinthe spoon with a sugar cube and a carafe of water:

It only lasts some seconds, and there are no more scenes with Absinthe on them, but it was wonderful that they depicted the French ritual in the correct way.

In case you are curious, I know some more films with Absinthe scenes on them; probably you have seen them too:
- Dracula by Bram Stoker (Francis Ford Coppola) - they prepare it with the French ritual too - one of my favorites and the best depicted Absinthe scene that I have seen.
- Moulin Rouge - they drink it as a shot, if I recall correctly.
- From Hell - Johnny Depp prepares it using the Bohemian (Czech) ritual, which by the way, was invented circa 1990, nearly a century later than when the movie takes place. Mistakes of Hollywood...

You can check the Blog in the Alandia website for more Absinthe movie clips.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Absinthe accessories - Not in Miniature this time!

Sometimes I just need to stop making minis for a while and enjoy a bit of crafting for myself. The Green Fairy has inspired these two accessories:

I did not spend a dime in this necklace - I used some bits and bobs that I had around the house. Actually, it has been years since I used the fairy pendant for the last time. Hopefully it will get a lot more wear now...

I did buy the spoons to make these earrings. Not exactly absinthe spoons, but one can forget about that small detail... They are actually quite long, I hope I don't hurt myself while wearing them!

And also, some Absinthe accessories for my home: The Absinthe Robette vintage add by Privat Livemont:

And to add to my little display, a sugar dish and a French Absinthe ceramic saucer - these were used in French bistros; every time somebody ordered a glass of absinthe the waiter would bring the glass on one of these plates, and at the end of the evening the plates were counted to know the total of the bill:

I'm beginning to have quite a collection of spoons, lol! The bottle is Absinthe Lucid.

And currently waiting on a glass brouiller and a packet of sugar cubes specially made for Absinthe... I'll let you know when they come :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Absinthe Soap for your miniature scene

Remember that post about my crafting of anise-scented soap? Well, I thought it would be nice if the mini people could have their own boxes of Absinthe soap, so I made them reality:

The box reminds me of the After Eight chocolates - they have been my favorites for a long time... I wanted to give them a decadence/luxurious feeling, just as the mint-flavored chocolate. And the color of the soaps is milky green, like real Absinthe after the louche. It was not intentional, but it is a happy coincidence. They are up for sale in my shop!

Friday, November 5, 2010

A lovely and wonderful feature, and more Absinthe minis!

Some days ago I was contacted by a customer that had seen my Absinthe minis. On top of purchasing one of the fountains and tray sets, he asked my permission to use my pics to do a feature of the minis in his blog. I was delighted to learn that it was an all-Absinthe blog, in the Absinthe.fm website.

I have been biting my nails in anticipation, specially because he told me he was planning to take a pic of the minis besides a real size Moulin Vert bottle - the same brand whose label I feature in my bottles. And finally! Here it is!

Picture courtesy of absinthejack. Thank you so so much!

These are the minis of the day: a trio of real Absinthe books, made in miniature:

"Absinthe Cocktails", "The Absinthe Encyclopedia" and "Absinthe: History in a Bottle". I will be listing them separately in the following days in my shop.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Off topic - Absinthe news

Today there is a new gadget on my blog; a little list of links that will take you to several websites with lots of info about Absinthe. Find it in the right column, under my shop gallery -->

I have had time only to peruse through them, but they are all filled with lots of questions and answers, as well as history bits and fun facts.

I have included too some links to online Absinthe merchants. Please take note of this disclaimer: the fact that I mention them does not imply that I endorse them. If you are interested in buying Absinthe and Absinthe accessories online, please be an informed customer, take your time and do your own research.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Having fun with labels

Since yesterday I was crafting labels for the new Absinthe bottles, I got creative and spent some time playing around with a new design for my wine bottles. Until now, they were just "Transilvania Merlot", printed in tea-stained paper with the silhouette of a bat underneath:

Cute, but kind of simple. Anyway, since the Vampire Wine has already been invented, I wanted my own private brand of Romania-inspired wine; hence, the Tepes Wine was borne:

I have always loved this portrait of Vlad Tepes, the original Dracula, and I think the color combination grabs the eye against the red color of the bottle. It will be up in my shop in a couple of days.

By the way, I would like to share with you a link to Free Label Maker; they have dozens of PDF labels for you to play with for your projects; no programs to download to make the labels and super easy to use! And free, of course!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

A couple of new Absinthe designs

I just can't get enough of them! This is a new model of bottle; it is made after the real Absinthe brand Red Tunel, and comes with its own elegant black gift bag. Will be up in my shop tomorrow!

And also 3 parchment posters with the Absinthe "holy trinity": wormwood, anise and fennel. For your library, botanical collection, or Absinthe collection. Already for sale!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Absinthe Sunday

Not only was I included in a delightful treasury by maxemilia; there is a new Absinthe fountain up for sale at my shop. As of now, I'm out of Absinthe sets, but I have ordered more supplies to make them again. Cheers!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Off topic - Back from New Orleans

We had a great time in NOLA!

We attended a 2-day blues concert for free, tasted Cajun food, walked up and down the French Quarter until our feet hurt, visited the cemeteries... Just wow!

Regarding the Absinthe culture of Nawlins and what I could discover...

I had hoped I could visit the Absinthe Museum of America, but much to my dismay, when we arrived the museum was closed. Not closed as in "we are done for today, please come back tomorrow", but close as in "we don't know if we will be opening again". So sad! We peeked though the windows, and actually could see some stuff, but for the most part everything was packed and the place full of boxes. Maybe they are moving elsewhere, or maybe they just closed. It was quite a bummer, because just some days before I had been reading online reviews of the place (some as new as of July 2010), and they pointed out they had a souvenir shop full of Absinthe memorabilia which I was hoping I could peruse. I didn't even took a picture of the place, it looked so abandoned that I couldn't bring myself to it.

We also saw the Old Absinthe House in Bourbon St. I wanted to taste some Absinthe over there, but my guide said that they actually did not serve real Absinthe; instead, they serve herb saint :( We finally did not go in.

I had also hoped I could buy some Absinthe. They have less alcohol restrictions over there than here in Virginia, and you can buy booze almost anywhere. Funny thing, we went into several shops and did not find Absinthe. However, we found an enchanting vintage-looking grocery shop in Royal St. that had some Pernod bottles; and another shop in Decatur St. that had a lot of variety; they even had Absinthe spoons, but everything was way too overpriced. However, it was a delight being able to look at the selections.

Regarding the dollhouse world...

We found a toy store in Jackson Square that had some dollhouses, as well as miniatures, but they were mostly from Reutter and there was nothing there that could not be found online. We also found a miniature shop for collectors in Royal St., but we did not go in.

Also, we visited the Beauregard-Keyes house in Chartres St., and the owner did have a beautiful and huge dollhouse. The guide told us that it was fully furnished, but he did not open it for us (although I am sure it could be, for the position of the outside walls), but I looked through the open windows and could actually see some of the furniture. I took some pics:


Regarding the vampire world...

We walked through the Garden District, where the former house of Ann Rice was, but we did not see it. It was out of our route, and the blues concert was about to begin. But we visited Lafayette cemetery (where Lestat was said to wander) and St. Louis cemetery N.1. (where voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is interred). I deeply enjoyed Lafayette, but I found St. Louis very care-forgotten and practically in ruins.

We also found a "Boutique Du Vampyre" in Toulouse St. They had t-shirts, period clothing (both costumes and quality material), some jewelry and other curios. They even had a station to make you some customized fangs! So fun!

But now back to every day reality! I am already working on some new Absinthe fountains for the shop, and I'll have to order more supplies for Absinthe sets. They are becoming popular!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

First Absinthe Fountain up for sale!

Oh, how I wish it was evening already so I could have a glass of Absinthe!

The first fountain has been listed in my shop! I am waiting on the arrival of some bottles, and then the Absinthe sets will be available again. Hopefully sometime next week :)

Friday, October 8, 2010

I did it! I made it!

Remember some posts ago, when I talked about the Absinthe fountain that I purchased for my real size house? Contar gave me an idea that I desperately wanted to try: to make an absinthe fountain in miniature.

I spent some days thinking about the design, and today it all came together. Since my fountain is completely made of glass, and I can't blow glass from scratch, I took as inspiration the Bonnecaze and Cie N. 2 fountain:

And voila! The miniature absinthe fountain became a reality:

Can you see it on the table, next to the Absinthe set?

This design is definitely going to be on my shop. I hope I will be listing the first absinthe fountain in miniature in a couple of days. Stay tuned!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Featured

My mourning line boxes have made it to Gay's website at I Dreamed I Saw, in a post about death and mourning goods (to use her words). She is also here in Blogger, so go take a look; you won't regret it.

Thank you so much for the feature, Gay!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Drinking Absinthe is going to be a pleasure

Totally off topic, I received today my first absinthe fountain! I am so so excited about it, and I am dying to use it for the first time, along with the absinthe glass - also new!
I'll let you know how it goes...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A macabre addition...

Have you seen the movie "The Others"? Are you familiar with the Victorian tradition of post-mortem photography? Well, this is the new addition to my mourning line: a box full of post-mortem pics.

I did not know of this tradition, but I was quick on researching it, and I find it fascinating. We see pics as something so natural that we do not consider the money that cost producing a single picture years ago. So much money that families did not spend it in capturing images of the living. After all, they did see their family everyday. But when Death took a loved one, not only they did pictures of the deceased, they posed them as if they were sleeping. I have seen many pictures of parents with their dead babies, and there is a lovely beauty and melancholy to them...

Most of us have Victorian homes, and these pictures were definitely part of them. Maybe a forgotten box could be found in an attic or at the bottom of grandma's trunk...

Monday, September 6, 2010

A new line for Victorian fans!

My mother asked me some time ago to make a pretty mini fan to go with the wedding gown in her mini shop. Obviously it had to be in white, but when I finished, I made one in black and put it for sale in my shop as a mourning fan.

It occurred to me that I could not only sell fans, but a whole line of Victorian mourning displays. Thus, the Victorian Mourning Line was born!



I have designed all the boxes myself with Victorian artwork. They all open, and some of them even have "something" inside!

I will be listing them in my shop in the following days, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

So happy today! Featured in a Treasury!

One of my Apothecary cabinets got featured in a Treasury on Etsy, made by SerenHandCrafts:

A beautiful and dark theme, that is making me consider the "Mad Scientist" theme for my Halloween party...
By the way, there is a new set of medicine boxes up for sale in my shop.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Working on something new

Since I loved so much the idea of Apothecary cabinets, I began to think about other stuff to fill them up, and then it occurred to me that there are other things in Apothecaries and pharmacies, apart from glass bottles - even though they are awesome with their tiny labels!

The idea of making tiny boxes of medicine was obvious with a visit to my bathroom, so I began the search for antique drug labels. And thus, the sets of Apothecary boxes were born!


The first set is already for sale in the Apothecary section of my Etsy shop. The second set will be up in a couple of days. The great thing about them is that you don't need to have a miniature pharmacy to display them. They will fit in any bathroom, drugstore or doctor's office!

By the way, if you like Apothecary labels as much as I do, you will love what Cathe Holden has made to her towels!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Off topic: English and Spanish languages

My mother tongue is Spanish. I have learned English along the years, since I was in middle school.

Of course, when I have learned the most is when my husband and I moved to the States from Spain. It was the first time that I had really to rely on my skills to talk to and understand people. There was not a teacher in hand to help me or a book to tell me the translation of something that was being said. The lovely people that I met were SO helpful when they talked slowly and looking to my face! To this day, I dread talking on the phone because representatives often talk very fast and not pronouncing clearly.

I have read a lot of books in English - I am talking classics from the XIX Century, as well as modern literature. And naturally, spending A LOT of time on the world wide web helps too, specially to learn new vocabulary. I am better writer than I am speaker - when I talk, my mind goes very fast and I tend to mix up the pronouns (he and she) and the verbal tenses and forms.

It cost me a little bit to understand TV and movies, and we still rely sometimes in subtitles - for example with series such as "The Sopranos". Song lyrics still are tough, depending on who is singing them.

When I began to think in English, as well as talking in English in my dreams, my husband told me that I should be happy, because that means that it's becoming like a second tongue, and that I am almost bilingual.

Well, now I am writing a book in my mother tongue. And to my dismay, I am finding myself relying on my dictionary to find the translation for Spanish words FROM English! I had to look up today "involve", "cue" and "vindictive", because for the life of me, I could not find the equivalent in Spanish. In case you want to know, they are "implicar", "seƱal" and "vengativo", respectively.

And this happens beside the fact that I talk to my family in Spain every day through Skype, obviously in Spanish. I don't know if I should be happy or worried...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Featured!

Fellow Etsian and blogger Hurray Kimmay has been so sweet as to feature one of my minis in her blog, on an entry about Apothecary decor, which I particularly am very fond of.

Thank you so much, Kimmay!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Scientist weekend

Hubby and I are now working long hours in the lab after every body has gone. I help when I can; lately I have been going there 3 hours a day, and I can not sit for a moment because of all the work that there is to do. It is practically impossible to spend all that time between experiments without thinking "How could I do this in miniature?".

To relax tension, I have made this simple but funny vignette:

Yes, in labs there are objects chained to the wall - he said that chained containers are generally made of aluminum, not glass, but I think that seeing green stuff in a glass jar is more fun! It's available in my shop, so go grab it if you like it :)

Spending all this time in the lab has given me new energy to try and make a lab bench in miniature. I'm considering the possibility that most of the stuff that will sit there is too geek-related for the non-scientist to understand (I have made the equivalent of a Kleenex box with wipes for microscope lens - they are called Kim Wipes), so I don't know if it would sell well. We'll see...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More Absinthe crafting

But this time not in miniature. This time in real-life size, and for personal use, no less!

Have you ever crafted soap? It's so much fun, and I love to do it. The down side is that I can not craft soap all the time or my cupboards would be full of bars - although family and friends get their share sometimes, at Christmas or Valentine's Day. I confess that I don't know how to do the cold process method, and that I have enough with the melt and pour system. Yes, I know it's not the same, but it works for me. And I love making, displaying and using my own soaps!

Well, having fall in love with the Absinthe scent, I wanted to craft an Absinthe soap - that is, with anise scent. It was easy to find anise oil on eBay; I bought it from Bulk Oils, and it was an easy transaction with a fast shipping. But I was dying to get one of the Victorian Blossom molds:


Isn't it lovely? I found it some time ago in Southern Soapers; I could not resist more, and bought one. And with some clear soap, lime green dye, my new mold and the anise oil, I made this:


The two white thingies inside are a couple of real sugar cubes! Not only it looks beautiful, every time I enter the bathroom I can smell the anise scent in the air...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I want to taste your blood...

The Absinthe tray has not been enough for me. This time the design is more adventurous and not for the faint at heart. I made sometime ago this design for myself, and I simply love it.

My husband asked me if I was making a decanter of wine. I said, "No, look again". He did, and said, "It's blood!". Oh yes, blood for all you vampire lovers out there. No matter if you enjoy Underworld, True Blood or Twilight, this set definitely makes a statement in any diorama.

It is available in my shop. Hurry up before somebody else does!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Absinthe Tray is finished!

...and up for sale in my shop!

I love how it came out! I thought the tray was going to be too small to hold everything, but it's perfect.

I have been considering talking with Fake Food Decor (in case you don't know him, he makes the most fabulous and realistic fake food in real life size I have ever seen) and ask him to make one just like this for me. I would love to have an Absinthe display in my living room...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Visited by the Green Fairy


This past weekend I tasted my first glass of absinthe.

It was something I was very looking forward to do; I had read so much about this drink that I wanted to try it at least once. But alas, the local shops only had big absinthe bottles (which included an absinthe spoon too), but they were expensive (almost $60), and I did not want to buy them, in case I did not like it - it would have been quite a waste of money.

But this time my husband found a tiny bottle of absinthe - only 3.4 oz, and SO CUTE - for less than $10. I was so so excited, that I even talked about the discovery with my friend and comic-provider Justin. He gave us a tip on the only place in town where to find sugar cubes (he confessed that he loves absinthe as well) and off we went for them. Next morning I hurried over to Michie Tavern to buy an absinthe spoon. Yes, I am aware that all this stuff can be found online, but I wanted it right away. And on Saturday evening we prepared the drink and enjoyed it.

It was quite a shock to find out that the most predominant flavor was of anise. When I was younger, there was always a bottle of anise-anisette "La Castellana" in my grandparents' home; and the taste of absinthe was quite similar.

To commemorate this special moment, I am going to make an "Absinthe" miniature that will be available in my shop in a few days. Even though I have made them in the past, absinthe trays are one of my favorite things to make...

Friday, April 16, 2010

The nerve of some people...

It still amazes me at what lengths people can go to try to make sales...

I just deleted two comments. The first one was of someone that said s/he was sorry about my incident (in the previous post), and the second was the same, but it was signed with an URL of an Etsy shop - of miniatures.

What is wrong with people? I don't know that person; I have never bought from her (or her from me) or talked to her, or e-mailed or anything. What does she think it is perfectly acceptable to come here, and leave a spam? Because that is spam, not self-promotion; it is not even sympathy for what happened to me.

I may have come across her work at Etsy and out of my own write about it, hoping that she may have some success in this competitive world. I even write to the featured artists to let them know about it, and to offer to take down the post if they are not happy. But hey, since you are already "promoting" yourself, I guess you don't need my help.

I would "wish" you good luck and sign my comment with my Etsy shop URL, but your profile is not even available...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Confused

I don't know how I feel. Really.

I was browsing through miniatures listings on Etsy, and I found pieces of my work on another person's diorama. Yes. One of my cabinets has been stripped down, and the pieces used for another person to create a witch house.

No, they are not copies. The potion bottles have my design on them, the filling I put on them inside, the mortar and pestle I crafted are there.

I don't mind somebody using my cabinets to fit the design of their dollhouse. That's why I don't glue the objects down, so they can be arranged to fit the taste of the new owner, to match and mix with other objects or to display in another room.

What I don't know how to take is somebody taking my work, reusing it in another display and saying to the world: "Hey look. I made this".

Friday, March 12, 2010

Lab Crafting

Yup, I do not only craft miniatures, but scientific crafting too!

My dear husband is so so busy these days that I pop in at the lab when everybody else is gone to keep him company. But I like to help if I can, and this is what I have been doing lately for him to use in his experiments. Bear with me, because this is long...

He taught me how to use this lathe so I could make holes in the bottom of little Petri dishes.

Dish before the process. The part on the left is the cover.

You secure the dish in the lathe:

And using the blade of the right (and much caution) you make a hole:



Dish after the cutting

When you have made holes in 20-25 dishes, you clean them up, scratching the rests of the plastic that have not come out. If you skip this step, cells get poisoned by the scraps and then they die :(

When you have finished cleaning them, you line them up in the table and take out 30mm round glass microscope covers. You can see them inside the big round dish:

These covers have been previously treated - you clean them 10 minutes under distilled running water, and leave them inside sulfuric acid overnight. The following day you clean them again under distilled running water and put them in a stove to dry overnight. You take the glue and put a circle on the bottom of the dish:


Then you take a glass cover and stick it to the glue:


You have to squeeze out the air bubbles:

And then you put them under an UV light for one hour on each side to cure the glue. Then there is no way the glue breaks or falls. Yup, the same UV that gives you a tan in a tanning saloon (and because I know how UV lights work, you will never see me in a tanning saloon).

Whew! What a work! Good thing is, doing this saves a lot of money for the lab. A ready made Petri dish with glass bottom costs around $10 - yes, research is expensive-. And this is a nice way to lower the costs.

Oh my, what a nerd I am :)