Thursday, 22 December 2011

Are You Dreaming of a Dolls House for Christmas?

Have you made a wish list for Christmas? Does it have 'dolls house' at the top? You have probably been dreaming about getting a new dolls house for ages. Reading miniatures books and magazines, going to dolls house shows, checking out other people's minis. In your mind, you will have built and decorated every inch inside and out. Will there be a dolls house under your Christmas tree?
   Choosing the perfect dolls house is not easy. I'm sure you will want one bigger than this tiny 1:160 scale one! But you do need to consider how much space you have in your real house to display a dolls house. Then there are the various scale measurements that determine a dolls house dimensions.
   Another thing to think about is whether you want to buy a ready built, decorated dolls house; a kitset one that you can put together and decorate; or if you will build a house completely from scratch. Will it be built of plywood, MDF or lightweight foam core?
  What style will your dream dolls house be? Tudor, Victorian, Georgian, Edwardian, Art Deco, or modern?
   Oh, it's fun, isn't it, planning your next miniature project! 
   I wish you all  a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful year of mini-making in 2012. See you next year!


Sunday, 18 December 2011

Christmas in the Dolls House: Mini Elf Decorations

Mini elves for Christmas decorations
These mini elves are cute enough to hang on your real size Christmas tree as well as decorate your dolls house. The kids can help make them as a fun holiday activity. You'll probably already have the materials in your craft stash for these 'Santa's Little Helpers'. 
You will need:
  • Small wooden bead
  • Red perle cotton or thin wool
  • Green perle cotton or thin wool
  • White felt
  • Cardboard
  • Red felt
  • PVA or UHU glue
    1.  Cut the white felt into a little triangle for the beard. Glue this to the lower part of the wooden bead that is the head.
    2. Cut a 4 cm length of the red cotton or wool and fold it in half. This will come out the top of the hat as a hanger.
    3. Cut the red felt into a cone shape and glue it on the top of the bead head, making sure the hanger comes out the top. This makes the hat. Leave the head to dry while you make the body.
    4. Cut a piece of cardboard 4 cm long and 3 cm wide. Wind the green cotton or wool round the card EIGHT times. Slide off the card. This makes the arms.
    5. Wind a short length of red cotton or wool round each of the arms near the end and tie a knot.
    6. Cut a piece of cardboard 8 cm long and 3 cm wide. Wind the red cotton or wool round the card TEN times. Slide off the card.
    7. Wind a short length of red cotton or wool round the legs near the ends and tie a knot.
    8. Take the green arms length and fold the red length over the middle of it so the ends hang down evenly.
    9. Take a piece of red cotton or wool and wind it several times round the middle and tie it. This makes the body and legs.
    10. Take the head and dot in the eyes and nose with a black felt-tip pen.
    11. Glue the head to the body and let dry.
    You can hang these individually on your Christmas tree or make a lot of them to string as a garland across your mantelpiece. They're sure to brighten your day and put you in a happy mood! You can't help smiling when you see these mini elf Christmas decorations.

    Wednesday, 14 December 2011

    Christmas in the Dolls House: the Christmas Tree in 1:12 Scale

    Make a miniature Christmas tree 
    I love this time of the year - the decorations, the carol singing, doing the Christmas baking, choosing presents and wrapping them. So yesterday, when we put up a real Christmas tree in our lounge, I put a miniature Christmas tree in the Edwardian dolls house too. This is the one time of the year that I change things around a little in the dolls house; usually I leave the rooms set out without altering any arrangements. But introducing a Christmas tree into the 1:12 scale lounge involves a bit of mini furniture removal and juggling of space.
       I embroidered a small carpet in a poinsettia design, perfect for the festive season, from a pattern in a dolls house magazine a couple of years ago and I brought this out to stand the Christmas tree on. The crackers and baubles and candy canes I made from bits and pieces in my craft stash - crêpe paper, beads, wire and Fimo. The little metal rocking horse charms are the perfect size for ornaments. I pinched toys from the nursery to place under the tree as presents. Also there is one of my favourite things; a fully printed 'Twas the Night Before Christmas' miniature book.
      Making the actual Christmas tree was time-consuming and as boring as pruning roses! It involved taking one large, bright green, fake 'bottlebrush' Christmas tree, a couple of handfuls of lycopodium, (a real dried plant also known as Princess Pine) and craft glue.
      All it took then was the time to dip the end of a piece of lycopodium in the glue and then push it into the fake tree. I started at the bottom and worked my way round and up and up, making sure there were no spaces uncovered, no bits of the 'bottlebrush' showing. Then a quick trim with the nail scissors to deal with any sticking out 'branches' and it was done. Easy but tedious.
      But I think it was well worth it. The tree looks so real. And the dolls house lounge looks very festive.    

    Thursday, 8 December 2011

    Christmas in the Dolls House: the Cake and the Pudding

    Christmas desserts in 1:12 scale
    Have you made your Christmas cake yet? I baked  my real one a couple of weeks ago. This miniature one in 1:12 scale I made a couple of years ago. 
       It was very easy, a block of polymer clay simply decorated with some loops of thin strands of Fimo. I put a thick edging around the base and made a pattern  indented with a needle. The creation is topped with Fimo holly leaves and berries.
       Making the Christmas pudding was a little bit more complicated. I baked very thin 'worms' of red and green Fimo, then chopped them into tiny pieces. This made them look like glace cherries in the mixture. I worked a dark brown and light brown mix of the polymer clay lightly together, chopped it into bits with a razor blade, mixed them together again (just a little, to keep the colours separate), then chopped again.
       To this I added some poppy seeds and the green and red 'cherries'. I then shaped all of this into a ball and baked it for 15 minutes at 100° C. It has a realistic look, doesn't it, a Christmas pudding with lots of fruit in it.
      When I was a child I didn't like Christmas pudding. But I ate it nevertheless - to get the sixpences that Mum hid in it!

    Tuesday, 6 December 2011

    Christmas in the Dolls House: the Christmas Dinner in 1:12 Scale

    A miniature Christmas dinner in 1:12 scale
    I started doing my Christmas baking on the weekend, which made me think about putting out some Christmas food in the Edwardian dolls house.   
       I looked through my stash of the dishes I have made using Fimo polymer clay to find some suitable for a roast dinner to display on the dining room sideboard. I chose goose as the main dish because the Edwardians were fond of a nice plump bird of that ilk for their festivities.
       I had a little plastic lobster (goodness knows where I got that from!) that I put on a platter lined with lettuce leaves and edged with lemon slices. I made the lemons after watching an Angie Scarr video about how to make Fimo canes.
       The lettuce was a bit different. I wanted the leaves to be very fine so mixed together green acrylic paint and PVA glue. With a paintbrush, I spread a layer onto a tile and let it dry.Then, using a razor blade, I peeled bits off. They looked very realistic when crumpled slightly and put on the plate.
       The roast potatoes were easy to make out of beige polymer clay, rolled into egg shapes then cut in half and dusted with powdered ochre pastel. A couple of sprigs of parsley brightened them up.
       I have to admit I didn't make the crudites on the blue plate. That is actually a magnet I bought in Singapore, one of my brilliant mini finds.
       The carrots and peas caused me a bit of grief. I took the sideboard with the food on it out of the dolls house to photograph, then promptly dropped it as I was putting it all back in. Everything stayed together except for the dish of those vegetables. I'm still finding tiny little green peas in the dolls house, under the dolls house and behind the dolls house!

    Friday, 2 December 2011

    Christmas in the Dolls House: How to Make a Bowl of Nuts

    A miniature bowl of nuts
    When I was a girl, we always had a wooden bowl of nuts in the shell and a nutcracker on the table at Christmas. I wanted to recreate some of my childhood traditions in dolls house scale.
       Here are the instructions to make a nut bowl for Christmas in the dolls house.
       You will need:
    • packet of coriander seeds
    • the cap off an acorn
    • emery board
    • PVA glue
    • varnish or clear nail polish
    • metal 1:12 scale nutcracker
    • paint or Vivid marker
    1. Use the emery board to sand the acorn cap smooth. If you like a more rustic look, leave the cap as it is.
    2. Varnish the cap inside and out.
    3. Glue some coriander seeds into the acorn cap. They are the right size for walnuts in 1:12 scale. Include a few empty half shells so it looks as if someone has started eating them!
    4. Wash the metal nutcracker in warm, soapy water. Paint the handles or colour them with a Vivid marker.
    5. Glue the nutcracker across the top of the 'bowl'.
    6. Place the bowl on a table in your dolls house living room or dining room, perhaps next to a glass of wine.