Thursday, August 3, 2017

Kassandra's big renovation

Since we have just moved our big house, Kassandra thought it was the perfect moment to have some major renovations in hers.

She asked that I finally put wallpaper in her walls.  I bought the dollhouse already mounted (at the time I did not want to deal with the building up), and it came with a rather dull, standard beige with white flowers wallpaper.  I had been waiting years to find the perfect wallpaper for her, and since she knows I finally found it, she insisted it was time I redecorate the whole building.

To tell the truth, I was very anxious to not make any major mistakes that could ruin the whole appearance, but I found that putting up wallpaper is rather simple and fun, although time consuming.

First of all, I made several visits to Ana to buy different wallpapers sets.  Hers are the best wallpapers I have ever seen.  So different and out of the ordinary.  Really, Halloween papers are fun, but for people with inclinations and tastes like Kassandra's, those simply would not do.  Ana's wallpapers are regal, scrumptious and luscious. 

First, clearing out the space.  With our recent move it was easy, as everything was securely packed.  You can see the awful wallpaper the house had all these years, and the stains caused by the Blue Tack holding the pictures.

For the bedroom, I chose the Red Velvet Panel wallpaper.  It is just perfect.  Fancy that Ana called it the Count Dracula!  First I decided the layout, and modified the images so they would fit my walls height.  Then I took scrap paper and made patterns of the walls.  I printed the images in matte photographic paper and cut them using the patterns as guides.

In this pic, you can see that I made I mistake.  I cut the wallpaper from the top instead of from the bottom, so I lost the pretty golden design.  I had to reprint and cut again.  And then, for the dreaded moment of attaching the paper to the wall.  I knew I had several options, but I finally opted for using double-sided tape.

I was so nervous when glueing it down!  But I think it looks pretty nice.  Then I did the two side walls the same way.

Peeling the double-sided tape before glueing the paper

And the room is completed!  Or so I thought...
I absolutely loved it!  However, upon careful inspection, I noticed that the ceiling had the same terrible beige wallpaper - the rest of the ceilings are just unpainted wood - so I decided that the ceiling had to be wallpapered too.  For that, I wanted to resemble an antique paneled wood, and so I chose this wood panel wallpaper.  As with the other images, I adjusted the design to my measurements, and printed it.  The ceiling now looks imperial!

So gorgeous!
Now, I thought, it is finished!

But then I realized that I had not made the last wall, the one that opens up and closes the room.  Oh, the horror!

No matter, I printed two more sheets of the red panaled wallpaper, and got ready to finished it.  But unluckily for me, the sheets did not cover the whole wall!  They lacked about an inch, so I decided to add a decorative wooden trim at the bottom.  And lo and behold, now it was finished!

Kassandra is delighted with her new bedroom, and I am very happy she likes it!  She says she cannot wait for the rest of the house to be redone.  I understand her eagerness, but I need to buy some more double-sided tape first.  I spent a whole roll (5 meters) to do just the bedroom.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

We are already in Salamanca!

And we are exhausted!

We arrived here on the evening of July 17th, and we took residence in our new home the following day in the morning, when the movers delivered all our stuff from Madrid.  We have been unpacking boxes every day since then, and the house is almost finished.  The only thing that it lacking is hanging up all the pictures, frames and artwork.  And of course, we have a room with all the stuff that we had in storage that is untouched; we will be doing that soon, but not in a hurry. 

It is a beautiful house, and we love it so much!  It is probably the biggest house we have ever rented; it is a 4th floor in the downtown district, with lots of sun and light and wind - we even get to see bats flying about in the dusk.  We even have a lovely balcony in which we put a carpet of artificial grass, a folding table and two chairs.  We have a cool view of the roofs over the city.

The movers brought yesterday all the laboratory stuff; we only unpacked the things that needed to be storaged at various degrees of cold (4ºC, -20ºC, -80ºC and liquid nitrogen).  It took us a couple of hours, but now everything is secure in their place.  We began with the unboxing today, and even though there are less boxes than in our home, is going to take us some days.  The good thing is that the lab is huge, and we have lots of room to storage everything properly.

We will be going on vacation very soon.  I am so looking forward to it; we will be going to the sea side where I can use my mermaid tail again.  I bought a new skin some days ago; I hope it arrives on time!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

And moving again!!

We are moving one more time!

Last year my husband applied for a position in another city (Salamanca), and he got it.  We have been waiting for a year for the position to be officially made, as it depends from the Government, and finally we will be moving to Salamanca next month.

We just came back from there; we spent two days visiting apartments - we visited 9! - and we came back with a chosen one.  It is a beautiful apartment, very big, in a fourth floor.  We will be living downtown, very near were my husband will be working, and also in the old part of the city, which is full of old churches and buildings.  The University of Salamanca was founded in 1218 - we will be celebrating a centenary next year! -, and it is the oldest university in Spain, and the third oldest in Europe.  Hubby will be working in the CIC.  I am so, so proud of him!

We are very happy with this change in our lives; we still have a lot to do before we leave, first of all to hire a moving company, both for our home and one for my husband's lab equipment.

Looking forward to it!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Making boxwood planters

Remember that YouTube channel from We Love Miniatures I told you about? Yesterday I tried a tutorial to make boxwood and here are the results.  I am very happy with them.

The tall urn is my mother's; she bought it at last year's Tom Bishop Show in Madrid; the small one is mine, and comes from Innovative Miniatures.  Kassandra says she is putting it beside her entrance door:

 Here is the video tutorial I used:

Instead of cotton balls, I used dark green polymer clay rolled into a ball and hardened in the oven.  And instead of the bulgar wheat, I used raw cous-cous.

Annie is so talented; not only to make miniatures, but also to make tutorials so the rest of us can learn something new.  Thank you so much, Annie!

Monday, June 5, 2017

A gift for Claudia

Today I found Kassandra very busy.  She told me she was preparing a gift for her goddaughter, Claudia, whose birthday is coming up very soon.  She told me that Claudia is very fond of mermaids, and she was getting ready a gift basket as a surprise.  And what a gift basket!

A couple of coloring books and several boxes of coloring pencils and crayons.  I am sure Claudia will be very happy with them.


Fantasy apart,  I came up with the idea of the coloring book after finding by chance a printable in an Advent calendar with miniature tutorials for Christmas season (you can find the printable I am referring to behind door number 20).  I loved the idea, but I am not very fond of Christmas, so I decided to make my own.  For the coloring pages, I used the Mermaidens drawings offered by FinFunMermaid.  I made the cover using their own coloring book.  The crayon and pencil boxes come from PrintMini, and the gift box is my own creation.

On the next days I will be trying to learn how to make a bow-maker and how to use it to make tiny bows.  Hopefully the box will have a nice red bow!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

A miniature lantern for Kassandra

I bought a miniature lantern kit from We Love Miniatures a long time ago, and I finally had the time this weekend to make it for Kassandra.  It was challenging, but so much fun to make:

I left it in black color to mimick one that I have in real life made of cast iron.  I figured since Kassandra loves black she would like it that way.

Annie has a wonderful YouTube channel full of miniature tutorials that you should definitely check.  She also offers some freebies in her website to make those tutorials, including the lantern that I finished (she doesn't sell the kit anymore, instead you can download it for free).

Here is the video tutorial for the lantern:

Kassandra was very happy when I presented it to her.  She is going to use it in her study, for those long hours of work during the night.  She says she is always afraid that the candle wax from a loose candle will drip onto her papers and books.  That won't be happening anymore!

I will be doing very soon another one of Annie's tutorials: a boxwood for Kassandra to put by her doorstep.  Waiting on the delivery of some urns to begin the work...

Monday, May 15, 2017

Little gifts for my belly dancing mates

As I mentioned that I am relocating soon, I wanted to give farewell gifts to my troupe friends.  This is how they ended up being:

Everything you see in the pics are printables from Vectoria Designs' shop.  The burlap bags come from a dollar tree store.

I used the mermaid tags because we played mermaids in our Summer performance last year. Along with all the wonderful printies come a pair of earrings from Alarde, a bag of Moroccan tea and the hand-made Egyptian magnets that I mentioned some days ago.

I hope everyone likes everything...

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A couple of printable freebies for you

I have been organizing my miniature files this week, and I found a couple of things that I used to sell in my shop, which I was asked several times if I could make accesible as download for a printable.  Since the shop is no more, here is a gift for you all.  The Apothecary boxes printable and the Apothecary labels collection printable:

Both the boxes and the labels were made using real, unmodified vintage pharmacy and apothecary labels.  Some of them have been restored a bit, but that is all.  No letters were changed and nothing extra was added.  They are all authentic as they are (were).

I hope you guys have fun playing with them.  I just love making dozens of tiny bottles and filling them up!  As always, feel free to share and pass them around (links are welcome too).  Just do not sell the files or any creations you make with them. 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Mini chocolates box for Cris' sister

I finished yesterday Cris' sister gift.  I know she collects, but I have no idea of her personal tastes.  So I made her something that always has a place in any dollhouse: a chocolates box, and a gift bag:

I know she has a store, so maybe she wants to display the bag with some goodies inside, or in the arm of one of the customers.  I hope she likes them.

It surprised me how fast I was able to do everything.  It has been a while that I have been working only with papers and cardboard, and I had forgotten how fun was to assemble a tiny multi-medium project like this one.

I got today a package of stuff that I bought to refine my technique with papers: distress ink and some stamps to work with them.  I can't wait to try them out on the mini books!  More on that very soon :)

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A miniature Historia Naturalis collection

My boss' husband is an avid collector of rocks, shells and other natural specimens. He is a biologist, and teaches in a high school.  One day hubby and I were invited onto their house, and he showed us some specimens of his collection.  I told my boss that I wanted to make for him a miniature shell collection, but that thought was forgotten for a long time.

Now that we are about to relocate again (it is a long story, and for another post), I am making all the miniatures that I promised people I woud do.  And I made his yesterday evening:

The label says "Found at Virginia Beach. West Atlantic Ocean"
Actually, I bought the shells at a Michael's craft store when I was living in Virginia. In a way they come from Virginia, right?

I brought it today to work to give to my boss so she could give it to him.  She says he is going to be awed, but not as much as their little girl, who is only 6 but already loves dollhouses.  I can't wait for her to tell me about his reaction!

This afternoon I am making a chocolates box for Cris' sister (the same Cris that gifted me the fabulous miniature hat, hat stand and hat box).  Pictures of that tomorrow!

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Textured rolls for crafting

I have been obssesed with Egyptian miniatures since I found out Lilliput's Treasure Egyptian collection.  

I wanted to craft an Egyptian tablet myself, just for the fun of it.  But I wanted it to have a 3D effect, instead of just doing a base with polymer clay and adding an picture on top.  Well, lo and behold, I found by chance a wonderful shop where they sell textured rolling pins with all kinds of engravings.  And to my surprise, they had an Egyptian roll too!

I could not believe my lucky stars, and I was quick in acquiring one.  I also got some Fimo in a soft beige color (the packet is called Sahara).  And today I got the time to use the roll for the first time, and the results are marvelous:

I am very excited about the possibilites.  I have not yet made the miniature tablet.  I am so happy how these two samples came out that I am turning them into magnets to gift to my classmates at the belly dancing academy.  I only need seven more, lol!  My mom says she wants one too.  I'll post pictures when they are finished.

Friday, March 10, 2017

1/144 scale furniture

My mom is very excited about her new micro mini dollhouse!  She has already ordered furniture to decorate it; and I have ordered too some kits for her - and one for me as well ;)

Pic taken by SDK Miniatures
I just love SDK Miniatures so much! Their kits are delightful and so easy to do.  I just saw their English Country Cottage Series.  I definitely need the Dove Cottage in my life!

It will be so much fun to do these kits!  I am only keeping the drawer chest to add to my dollhouse. The rest are for my mom.  Well, maybe I will keep a couple of mirrors too...

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Micro mini dollhouse for my mother

My mom has an ordinary cabinet that she used to showcase jewelry in our of her scenes.  The scene, a fancy ladies shop, has changed recently with new furniture and decorations, and she did not like the cabinet there anymore.  Since the cabinet has a couple of glass doors, she had the idea of transforming it into a 1/144 scale dollhouse.

She wanted to buy the furniture and start decorating right away, but I told her maybe it would be nice to put some wallpapers and some walls on it, and I offered to do it for her, as she has zero hability for this kind of thing.  She happily accepted.

It did not take me long to design some pretty wallpapers with the help of Vectoria Designs papers.  I submitted everything for approval, and today I finally put it together:

Upstairs there will be a bedroom and a sitting room - kind of like a suit, that is why there is no extra wall added there.  Downstairs a kitchen and a living room.  I made the extra wall with balsa wood, whose edge I painted with a red marker to imitate the mahogany of the cabinet.

I am very happy how it turned out.  I know she will have fun adding furniture!

Sunday, February 26, 2017

More books and free printable

The book fever is consuming me.  Please send help!

Just kidding, I am having a blast making mini books for my libraries.  Today I even managed to make some inside pages sets of my own.  One of them features the antiphonary pages that I used to sell in my shop; the other features sheet music from my favorite operas.

I am so happy how they turned out I want to share them.  So, here you are, some medieval and sheet music pages.

I left the sheet music in white in case you want to use them in a more modern setting; but if you print them in cream or yellow colored paper, or even parchment paper, you will have a lovely antique look.

As always, feel free to print as many as you like and pass them along to any one - links would be nice too.  But please do not sell them.

Enjoy making books!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

A weekend of books

It is such a joy and satisfaction when one can look at the accomplishments over the weekend and be happy about them!

I have spent the free hours making more books for my libraries, and here they are:

All of them come from the Magic Collection Set #7 from Ever After Miniatures, and they all have the inside pages as well.  Except for the Vampyr and Darkest Magick, which are my own creation:

I made them using images found on Google
I still have seven books to make to complete the set.  But it has been a productive weekend!

Monday, February 6, 2017

Miniature books

One of the things that I enjoy more than anything doing for the dollhouse is books.  The first instructable book about miniatures that I bought taught me how to make books with real paper pages and clay covers.

I know that some people prefer "dummy books", which are books that do not open, either because they have clay pages or wood pages, so they look more realistic when placed on libraries or tables.  I do not like those for a reason.  When I was working in a vintage car foundation (we had cars from 1899 to 1930) we had some visitors that asked my then boss if all the cars we had worked.  I will never forget what he answered: "Of course they all work!  If they did not, they would not be cars; they would be statues".  To me, dollhouse books are the same: they have to have pages, or they would be just sculptures, not books.  I do not mind that the pages are fixed in place, but they HAVE to have pages.

Books offer such a vast range of subjects!  Science, literature, pictures, children's stories, cookbooks... Antique editions, manuscripts, journals, diaries, coffee table books, ledgers, notebooks...
They can be copies of real books (your favorite book!), or they can be made-up books.  Or they can be books that appear in your favorite movies or TV series.  They can have blank pages or illustrated pages, or written pages.  Anything is possible!

So I love searching for miniature books to fill my shelves with.  These are my favorite places to buy books from:

- For DIY books:  I absolutely love Ever After Miniatures!  Their books cover a lot of subjects: science, literature, music, children's stories, wizard school, fictional creatures, cookbooks... All their books have illustrated pages, or are "written" with illustrations.  They sell collections of covers if you prefer dummy books, and they have filler pages too if you are like me and like books with written pages.  My dollhouse has two floor-to-celing bookshelves; it is probable that I run out of space before I run out of books to make.  They also sell other stuff, such as scrolls, shadow boxes and shopping boxes and bags.

Some of Ever After Miniatures books

- There are a couple of other places from which I have bought DIY books, and those were lovely as well: A Lavender Dilly and We Love Miniatures.  For permanently open books, Gothic Miniatures's designs are the best I have seen.  I have a custom-made bat book from her.

- For ready made books: Tree Feathers Miniatures.  These are the books with the best-looking covers you will ever find.  Most of them feature copies of vintage editions covers; they also offer modern sets such as the Game of Thrones collection.  They have blank pages.

I also love making books designed by myself.  Many times I use Ever After Miniatures templates to make my life easier.  Here are some of the books that I have created from scratch:

From top to bottom:
- two Agatha Christie's novels: Murder on the Orient Express (that one is for my mother, who is a huge fan of Ms. Christie's) and Death on the Nile.
- three books related to Egypt: two guides to learn to read hieroglyphics and a coffee table book.
- The Necronomicon, a copy of a prop used in the TV series Ash vs. the Evil Dead.  I also have in my back burner the books from Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Vampyr and Darkest Magick).

I have also made several vintage editions of Dracula, Frankenstein, Ivanhoe, Carmilla, Arabian Nights, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, and The Man in the Iron Mask.  I also used to sell copies of the Handbook for the Recently Deceased, from the movie Beetlejuice.

The making of books is awesome, but it can get tiresome if I do not do anything else.  So I make them in batches, and when I have had enough, I start a different project.  My next project is going to be a Phantom of the Opera shrine.  More on that very soon...

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tarot reading in Kassandra's shop

Today I found Kassandra very busy.  She was beautifying one of the corners in her shop.  She has a small sitting place behind a screen to do readings for her customers; mainly tea leaves, tarot cards and palm readings.  She said she had not changed the decorations for very long, and it was time to try something new.


And after:

She explained that her friend Ana had provided her with the supplies, and the change looks really good.  The tiny pictures on the wall, the big placemat on which the new deck of cards rests and the advertising sign on the screen.  There is also a small picture on the table of a lovely lady.  Kassandra said that she was an old friend that taught her some clairvoyance secrets.  

She also has new merchandise in her shop: tiny tarot decks in their boxes.  She hopes that her customers will like them.
The Tarot cards are the ones I used to sell in my shop


Fantasy apart, the tiny tarot boxes I made myself with the help of an awesome template, creation of Craig P. Forbes.  You can custom made any box for any set of cards of any size that you may have.  However, I had to tweak my way around them, because the design works well for real life card size, but the 1:12 scale proved to be very tiny for the program and some flaps were omitted.  But I had loads of fun adjusting and mounting the boxes.  I even made a real life box for a deck of Steampunk cards that I bought from Vectoria Designs.  They fit perfectly!