Sunday, 25 September 2016

Making Pies and Veg


Ever since I became interested in miniatures my first impressions of items that at the time I thought looked wonderful, were quickly forgotten as I explored the miniature world on the Internet, and saw the works of numerous miniature artisans. While there are so many miniature items I could mention as wonderful works of art, miniature food artisans are some of my favorites to look at and admire (drool over).

As a miniaturist, albeit a very novice one, I will attempt to make things myself that I think I'll have half a chance at success at. So this summer I decided to gather all my supplies together and have a go at making miniature food out of fimo. I've had Angie Scarr's book of 'Making Miniature Food and Market Stalls' for many years, so I used this as a reference as well as the numerous tutorials I have gathered online.

I first started off making some pork pies as these are very traditional food items that would fit in both my Georgian and Victorian dollhouses. The difficulties I found was firstly keeping the clay clean, having two cats around, and secondly conditioning the clay by hand was hard work. I do have a pasta machine which I have used in the past, but I find that it leaves streaks on light coloured clay, so I made sure I had an abundance of baby wipes to clean my hands frequently as well as my work surfaces.

I made three pork pies and as I had some of the meat mixture left over I made some salami.

Here you can see the pies uncooked and without any colouring

Here I used chalk pastels (before cooking) to make the pie's look cooked and I also wanted the insides to be shown, so I cut small pieces from each of them. 

Finally these are the pies once cooked. You should be able to see the slight transparency between the meat mixture and the pastry, this was to show the jelly you get inside pork pies. I still have to varnish the pies which will give them a more realistic glaze.

A word of warning (see below)

My first attempt at making the pork pies went great until I put them in my oven and didn't check the temperature correctly. It was too high and this was the result, a disaster. I was really annoyed with myself for not checking the temperature, but fortunately I put it down to bad luck and persevered to make the pies I have just shown you.  

 At least I was able to laugh about my burnt pies. I will still keep them, as a reminder to always check my oven temperature.

On to making veg

 As my confidence grew I then moved on to making vegetables. 

Cauliflowers, swede, carrots, tomatoes, parsnips, beetroot, two sizes of potatoes  and onions. 

My cauliflower making needs more work, the leaves are too thick and curly and the colour is much too dark, they should be a lighter, more transparent green.

I found the whole process of making the vegetables very relaxing and therapeutic, while I know that they are no where near some of the ones I have seen online, I will still be able to use them in baskets or on food prep boards in my dollhouses. I also feel that I have started to learn a lot about mixing the different coloured clay together to get the desired shade, but also that I have a long way to go if I want true perfection.

An update

For those of you who have seen previous posts about my French dollhouse, I just wanted to show you some additions I have made to my attic room. I often have times when I make random items that take my fancy, and some of these have ended up in the attic of my French house. 

It's my faviourite time of the year as it's Miniatura next weekend, I really can't wait. I have my list ready and hopefully I can get everything I want and then some.

Until the next time

Take care

Jayne x

Sunday, 14 August 2016

Regency Library Update

When I decided to create a miniature library I knew I would need a lot of books to fill the shelves but I didn't realise the time it would take me to make so many books. This week I knuckled down to finish them all and it took me a couple of days. Fortunately I have a dremel scroll saw, so it was really easy to cut the wood shapes I needed, but it was still a very time consuming process. I decided to group the same books together, rather than going for a random look and I'm very happy with the end result.  

Once the boring task had been done I was able to start putting in the furniture, of which I have very little at the moment. As I mentioned in an earlier post I want the room to be occupied by a retired navel officer, who still has a keen interest in all things nautical. There are some items on my wish list for this room, such as a globe and a ship in a glass cabinet. But they will have to wait awhile. The room still looks very bare at the moment, but I'm still working on a few things and I will add them as and when they are completed. All the hard work has finally been done and I will just add things as and when I see them. 

The candlesticks were a great buy off ebay, they are solid brass and really make a statement on the desk. I made the ink stand from some jewelry findings and metal beads.

I had these tiny shells for years and it's so nice to display them.

The desk chair was a very inexpensive whitewood design that I stained to match the desk and I reupholstered it with some lovely green silk fabric from The Silk Route it's the same fabric I will use to make the curtains out of for my library.

I made the mirror above the fireplace as a temporary measure, until I can buy the one I really want, but as it cost £45.00 it will have to go on the waiting list. The list of items I want just keeps getting longer and longer, and the cost just keeps going up and up. 

A Close-up of the inkwell and in the distance you can see the mahogany library steps that I bought as a kit. 

I hope you liked seeing what I've been up to lately and hopefully I will post some more updates sooner than my last entry. I already know what the next room in my Regency mansion is going to be, I just have to plan it out and then I will let you know.

Until the next time

Take care

Jayne x

Monday, 28 March 2016

Happy Belated Easter Wishes

 I hope you all had a wonderful Easter weekend. I forgot that the clocks went forward yesterday and I had such a shock when I realised that I had lost an hour. Still, it's great to know that Spring is here, well the wind and rain has arrived, so not all that great for getting out and about.

I haven't made much progress on my Regency library recently as I'm waiting to get some more supplies from the upcoming Miniatura show this Saturday. No matter how long I have been attending this show, I still get very excited and count down the days till it arrives. 

Last weekend I decided to make a little 1/144th scale dolls house.

I just used bits of wood and card stock. I also made the table from some sheet wood, dado trim and some cabriole legs I've had for a few years.

It's not quite finished, I still want to add some more detail to the roof and other areas, but like most of the items I make, I'm never quite happy with the finished result and feel like I could have done better.

I do like the roughness of it though and it will be OK to stick in the corner of my French house attic. I feel it is more of a well played and long forgotten childhood toy, than a family heirloom.

 I got so carried away that I forgot to 'hinge' the door from inside, so I had to add these hinges on the outside. At the moment they look too new and shiny so I will try to 'age' them so they look more in keeping with the era I'm going for.

The wallpaper is from some images I downloaded and printed from Pinterest. I also used some jewelry caps for the light shades. They look so effective and because of their bright gold colour, they almost look like working lights. 

I would like some furniture for the inside, I may have a go at making some myself, or see what I can find at Miniatura on Saturday. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.

Until the next time

Take care

Jayne x


Friday, 19 February 2016

Red or Green?

It's been a while since my last post, so I thought I would show what I've been up to lately. My latest edition to my Regency House is a library, as you can see below. I made the bookcases with timber strips, lots of cutting, measuring and gluing. I'm not the most patient of people, or the most precise and halfway through I was very tempted to buy ready made bookcases. In the end I persevered, and this was the result. I didn't want to completely cover all the walls with books as I want to add some display items. I'm not sure what to display at the moment, but there will definitely be a maritime connection with the man of the house. 

Red Library?

Or Green Library?

For ages I really liked the red walls in the library, and then I wasn't sure. I had a random green tester pot and I just went for it and painted the room again. My initial thoughts was that the red made the room look too dark, and while the green is still dark, I feel it is more appropriate. 

So many books

I think it's going to take me a very long time to make all the books I need to fill these shelves. I haven't decided if I want the random look as above or to group them together as below. Either way, I have a lot of work to do. 

 My next job to do is decide how to decorate the floor and ceiling. I'm thinking of some kind of paneling for the ceiling, so I will try out some ideas over the next few weeks. I would also really love to do a polished parquet floor, but the kits to buy are quite expensive, so I will have to have a think about what I can afford to do.

Until the next time

Take care

Jayne x