Wednesday, 30 April 2014

1:12 scale Potting table, Lavender, Buckets and Throws.

I've been really struggling to get motivated lately, it's been so dull here with mostly 100% low lying cloud cover, which has been reflected in the choice of colour of a miniature throw I've been crocheting, and everything else has been lying about for a month waiting to be photographed. It's been slow.........I have a "go at it hammer and tongs" attitude, which drained me for a month after this lot was made. I also gave myself some serious crick neck after a full day of crocheting....... :D I've been moping about, spying on you all, envying your productivity and enthusiasm over the Easter period, I assume everyone had nicer weather than me!!!!! :D On reflection though, I have noticed quite a few people have felt the same way as me in regards to miniature creating......YOU ARE NOT ALONE!! :D

I "needed" a potting table for the conservatory, and having decided that this room is going to be a junky, shabby, rustic, vintage, cumulative space (much like the rest of the house, really), then a washstand that has been "possibly lying in someone elses outhouse for years" would be perfect. My imaginary miniature homemaker does a lot of thrift shopping actually, hence why we have no idea what era this house is in.

This is a Mini Mundus Washstand kit. Before gluing together, each piece was stained and then waxed with beeswax polish, using a paintbrush, to ensure that all corners, nooks and crannies were coated. It sat for about a week before I got around to painting it, so the stain was dry and the wax had definitely hardened, though you probably wouldn't need to leave it for quite as long as that.

I applied a very quick coat of thinned humbrol paint, allowed to dry until tacky, and then applied a coat of emulsion. As the wax prevented the paint from adhering and seeping into the wood, I was able to gently scratch off the dried paint, in convincing "chips", sometimes using my nail, other times a needle, for the awkward corners.

Once I was happy with the wear and tear, I painted the whole thing in a light coat of beeswax polish, to help protect the emulsion paint from further wear and tear, though with this method it is still liable for further chipping, so beware! I used both humbrol and emulsion, because I changed my mind about the humbrol, but I think it might be important. The drawer is solely emulsion, and chips very, very VERY easily, in comparison to the rest of the piece. If you want to try this method out, do a test on a lollypop stick :D

I am going to blame the camera for making that right leg wonky.  I'm pretty sure it is the camera causing that. :D

I didn't like the drawer that came with the kit, so I made a new one, using lollypop sticks and veneer for the drawer base. I also didn't like the handles that came with the kit, not on this drawer anyway, so I used some from a pack I bought ages ago, I thought they were from Phoenix miniatures, but they don't have them on their website. I know they are 1:12 scale Swan handles, and if I can find them on the internet again, I will update here.

I think at some stage I will darken the handles, because guess what, I don't like them. :D

I'm also not sure about the overall colour, but I was using paint I already had, no more buying paint!!! It does look better in it's proper surroundings in the conservatory.

GUILTY! I got really fed up making furniture (and other things) from scratch, so I went on a mad online shopping spree awhile back, treating myself after all that hardwork on the conservatory. I reason really well with myself :D. A few other kits I bought are not shown here, some are made up, some are halfway there and have been tossed to one side.  Life is too short :D

I saw a cute little bucket very like this somewhere online. This one is made using card,  the same process as the watering can, etc. in the last post.

The garden claw was made using wire, a silver bead, and a wooden handle which I made on the lathe. The "fingers" had to be held in position on a piece of sticky tape, because as the solder melts it has a habit of pulling the wires out of alignment. Unfortunately, this was REALLY fiddly to make, infact, I think this is the fourth or fifth attempt, as each time the solder pulled the fingers together, making them unusable and everything had to be cut and bent again........and then I tried to make another one after this near successful one (solder hasn't flowed into the joins well), and it went the same way as the failures. It was just too fiddly, maybe I need jewellery making tools?!?! NO, no more buying stuff :D

A lavender trough. The trough is made using card, thread for the rim, and tiny bead caps, beads and wire rings, for the handles at either end, then painted in humbrol paints.

The lavender foliage is Lycopodium moss, which I painted with a white wash, quite badly... :D
The lavender stems are painted wire, and the wrong colour.
I had seen a few tutorials, including this one, to make lavender using no hole beads or Flower Soft, but there does come a time, when you just can't buy anymore "materials" that you know you probably won't use again. So I used thread, and it works really well. I dabbed my forefinger in PVA glue and ran a long length of purplish thread between my forefinger and thumb, so that it was coated lightly. You can also colour white thread in watercolour paint, in the same way.

Once the thread was dry, I wound it around a few fingers so I would have a bunch of loops, which I then held together tightly, so all the strands were together, and then snipped away closely with scissors to create a lavender coloured flocking powder.  Using a bit of glue on the thread prevents the thread from fraying, and keeps the cut clean, so it is important that the glue is dry. Then you can just apply glue to the end of the stems and apply the flock.  I actually think this is much more effective at creating Lavender flowers, than Flower Soft and no hole beads, and certainly cheaper and more convenient. I just have to work on my greenery paint tones :D

No awards for the Lavender arrangement from this angle! :D But I thought you might like to see the handles. Those are made using tiny beadcaps, easy to get on Ebay, search for 3mm fluted bead caps, you can get them in bulk, about 100pcs for a few pounds. I use them alot, and they are worth adding to your collection of "materials" :D

Quite sometime ago, I bought a 0.4mm crochet hook, which I have only just dared to use properly. I had a few goes with it beforehand, and kept giving up. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THE HOOK! Intimidating, isn't it?! This is the first time I have seen the hook too!!! Usually, it just looks like a needle point, in fact when I got it, I thought there had been a mistake at the crochet hook factory and a blank got through quality control, but it was grabbing the thread :D Anybody out there that dabbles in crochet, and finds this hook intimidating, do not give up! Once the first few time consuming rows are done, it does get easier. Wearing magnification glasses help too. Working in the foundation chain is a big pain in the BEEPING BEEP, but it does get easier, I swear! And I made a lot of foundation chains with this hook, before I got the all important patience! :D

I have this fantastic book of crochet stitches, by Betty Barnden, which I actually bought when I was going through a scarf making phase. Just thought I would do a little ad for it here, as I'm about to show a page from it.......

I think sometimes its difficult to decide which stitch pattern to use for 1:12 scale, due to a number of reasons, the more ornate patterns requiring alot of stitches would be too bulky for a miniature blanket, and its easier and faster to work into a chainspace, I think this one, Fancy Lozenge Stitch, works quite nicely. I prefer working from diagrams than instructions, and this book has both, including a photograph of it worked in yarn.

I'm making my first proper miniature throw, using this terribly, exciting shade of grey! I kept my stitches a little loose, using the 0.4mm hook, as I was afraid that the blanket would end up more akin to a rug. 

...and even then it still practically stands up on its own. Hopefully, when it is finished, I can stretch and block it so that the drape is looser.

This is a pink one I started before the much more interesting grey one....  Note the dirty pink shade of thread :D I have a very nice collection of old slightly dirty vintage threads in many colours, including dirty, which I inherited from my grandmother, who was a bit of a hoarder, probably a side effect from rationing in the 1940s. There were also a lot of yarn balls she made from old shredded up tights knotted together, which looked like mini escape ropes.  I decided not to keep those, as bizarre as they were. :D

P.s. I have quite a few new followers since I last posted, many thanks for adding me! There are a few of you that have no link for a blog, when I click on the icon, I have noticed this happening for awhile now with new followers, so if you don't see a black cat shape with glowing eyes on your followers list, please leave a comment with a link to your blog, thanks :)