Wednesday, 30 May 2012


NZAME Magazine
It's name is a bit of a mouthful (try saying it 10 times quickly!) but NZAME stands for the New Zealand Association of Miniature Enthusiasts. This organisation supports and promotes miniature making and collecting throughout New Zealand.
  Every second year at Labour Weekend in October, NZAME runs a miniatures Convention with a wonderfully diverse display of dolls houses and miniature models as well as hands-on workshop sessions with experienced tutors to create mini masterpieces. The venue changes each time - this year Convention ( with a Kiwiana theme) will be held in Dunedin. 
  Members of NZAME also receive twice-yearly a magazine packed full of interesting and inspiring photos, interviews and articles that cover many aspects of our hobby.
  For more information about the world of miniatures in New Zealand, where miniatures clubs are located and the benefits of joining NZAME, you can visit their website:

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Aiming for Realism in Miniatures

I'm not much of a one for making fantasy scenes in miniature. The only ones I've done have been the Mouse House and the Alice in Wonderland roombox.
  What I do love is trying to make my miniatures so realistic that when you look at a photo of them you'd think they were 'real size'.
  That's when I pay close attention to detail, the placement of items and constructing logical settings as in everyday life.
  Here's a vignette of making a lemon pudding. And here's a question for you - is it in miniature, or is it life-size?

Friday, 18 May 2012

Dolls Houses and Miniatures Clubs

Joining a Dolls House and Miniatures Club
Is there a miniatures club near you? Do you belong to it? What are the benefits of joining?
  I belong to the Hibiscus Miniatures Club and once a month drive 35 minutes each way to the club meeting. It's worth it. Here are my reasons for joining:

  • the camaraderie of like-minded people focused on their hobby
  • learning from others, sharing ideas, pooling talents - there's always someone to help if you get stuck on a mini project
  • access to a wide range of tools that I don't have at home - jigsaw, table saw, electric sander etc
  • access to the club library for books and magazines about dolls houses and miniatures that I don't have at home
Club days are always fun. I enjoy seeing what the others are making and the progress they've made on their projects since we last met. We have a lot of laughs, a lot of chat, a delicious morning tea and the chance to win a raffle prize. And we even get minis made!
  For those of you who are housebound or not near a club, there are internet-based miniatures groups that you can belong to. That's a chance to share ideas and make friends with fellow miniaturists on-line. You won't be able to borrow the bandsaw but you will find a supportive 'mini' community. 

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Making up Paper Kitsets

Some of the 1:12 scale paper kitsets from Paperminis
I've spent several happy hours recently making up kitsets I bought from the Paperminis website. Ann Vanture is the creator. She has an incredible array of do-it-yourself miniatures for dolls houses, all made from paper. Each is pre-printed, beautifully coloured and finely detailed. Most of the kitsets are in 1:12 scale; other scales used range from 1:6 to 1:144.
  I bought some of the kits to make up for my Edwardian dolls house. The "Wonderland Toy Room' package contains all you need to make up stacking blocks, a Chinese checkers board, several puzzles in boxes, a toy trunk, a doll in a box, an aeroplane, a little dolls house and even a toy theatre.
  One of the things that really appealed to me about these sets is that you don't need any special equipment. Just a craft knife, metal ruler, nail scissors, glue and a good cutting mat - things we usually have in our tool boxes. The hardest part was cutting out each individual piece for the locomotive jigsaw. Now those were tiny!
  The printed papers have all the cutting lines and fold lines clearly marked. As long as you take your time and keep to the lines when cutting and folding, all the pieces go together easily. You shouldn't get stuck - the kits come with clear instructions and there are even on-line tutorials at Ann's Paperminis site.
 I am thrilled with the results! Now I'll get on with making up the mini dolls house and toy theatre.

Monday, 7 May 2012

Miniature Embroidery for the Tudor and Stuart Dolls' House

When I started building my Tudor dolls house I bought this beautiful book - Miniature Embroidery for the Tudor and Stuart Dolls' House by Pamela Warner. It gave me lots of ideas for the stitching projects I could make.
   The book is set out in an easy-to-read style with complete instructions for all sorts of things from cushions to bed hangings, from wall hangings to book covers. All are in the styles and designs popular during the 16th and 17th centuries. Some are miniature copies of real examples still existing, for example, in the Victoria and Albert Museum. I found the snippets of historical information given very interesting.
   The stitching charts are shown in full colour. The instructions detail how many skeins of embroidery thread are needed and the codes of the colours used in three brands, DMC, Anchor and Madeira.
   Because most of the projects are worked on 35 count even-weave linen or cotton, or on even finer gauze, I feel the needlework projects are more suited to experienced embroiderers.