Friday, October 09, 2015

Daiso deals

I should be sharing my miniature haul from the AMEA Convention, but it's all packed in a suitcase on the back seat of my friend's car, who's bringing it to me from Sydney tomorrow.

So I'll jump ahead, and share what I picked up from Daiso while I was waiting for the train back to Canberra (all for $2.80 each).
Selection of discount items from Daiso, including a table runner, sticker sheet, wire shelves, a paint brush and a packet of metal crafting frames.
 A 30 cm x 30 cm anti-skid mat for carpet. Two sheets of silver and gold star stickers for my Lundby Hack. A small paint brush, a set of bronze-coloured metal frames. And a table runner
Detail of a Daiso table runner.
(which I plan to cut up and use as a privacy panel on the front door of Margell: much cheaper than the lace sticker roll I planned to buy off Etsy).

Two wire 'day beds',
Two Daiso wire shelves, one cream, one charcoal.
 and a packet of partitions with magnets
Packet of Daiso magnetic partitions.
 which looked suspiciously like modern wall shelves to me...
Set of Daiso magnetic partitions, out of packaging.

 Oh: and if you're working in  1/6 scale, and have a Daiso close to you, check these chairs out:
1/6 scale Daiso plastic chairs on display.

Monday, October 05, 2015

I'm a tired bunny

Woman wearing rabbit ears, asleep in front of a dolls' house miniature table set for tea, holding a large clock.
Photo by Chell Oldfield
I've been at the Australian Miniature Enthusiasts Association convention, It's been a busy weekend.
View of a doll's house show sales room from behind a laptop at one of the tables.
I've had a stall in the trading room, have been acting as the official photographer, plus have been running the association's Facebook page and helping the committee when they need it.
Field with circular driveway with white gate on the opposite side of the field.
It's a beautiful location,
Side of a two-storied traditional Australian house.
with a couple of classes being held in the top floor of the original building:

Typical two-storied traditional Australian house with iron balconies.
Jar with paint brushes, and paint tubes on a floor under a table at a workshop.

Thursday, October 01, 2015

It's as easy as one, two, three

The electricity was off all this morning (no, I didn't run out of money to pay the bill: they're doing some work on updating something in the area), so I had to plan a pile of things I could do without it.

One: I started gluing the retro caravan kit together (which is quite tricky as it's too big to fit in my jig so keeping the pieces at 90 degrees to each other is a challenge: especially when the amount of wood touching is rather small).
Dolls' house retro caravan kit side being glued to the base.
Two: I stained the window surrounds for the kit, which I've decided to paint black (well that's no surprise), with dark wooden detailing. Kind of like this caravan in Wentworth Falls meets this caravan cafe on the Kapiti Coast).
Selection of unfinished dolls' house retro caravan kit pieces laid out on a bench with a tube of wood gel and a cloth.
Selection of stained dolls' house retro caravan kit window surrounds laid out on a bench with a tube of wood gel and a cloth.
Three: I painted the undercoat on the ceiling of the HBS Creatin' Contest cottage. No picture: it's not that exciting to look at. I would have measured and cut the door openings but no electricity (and too lazy to do it by hand when I can do it by power!)


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Because sometimes procrastination can be a positive thing!

In the time since I've been wrestling with making the changes I want to make to the Smaland dolls' house that Lundby Australia had sent me, the lovely people at Lundby updated the design of the house, making what I wanted to do with it a much easier proposition.

First up is the new remote control, which gives you the ability to have the lights on in one room at a time: perfect for this build, as I can have lights on in the upstairs bar/ music venue but off in the downstairs cafe (which is only open during the day).
Lundby Smaland 2015 remote-controlled lighting unit, in box.
Lundby Smaland 2015 remote-controlled lighting unit components, with instructions.
Rear of a Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house, showing remote-controlled lighting unit instructions, with the unit components next to it.
Lundby have produced a clever stop-motion animation showing how it works:
The other change that works for my build is their decision to make the kitchen/ dining area open plan, which means I don't have to deal with channels in the floor and wall and can, in fact, use the floor that comes with the house as it is, if I want to...
Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house, in box.
I decided that all this was a sign to stop procrastinating, and do some work on the hack.

Remember when I mentioned that I tell myself if I mess something up, it'll be a good story for the blog?
Lundby Smaland dolls' house rear wall, with a piece of scrapbooking paper cut to size to fit, and a Xyron sticker machine.
After checking the Lundby site for the wallpaper templates and finding them not there any more, I decided it would be a good idea to cut the new wallpaper to size before applying it. Bad, bad idea. Can you see?
Close up of a piece of paper cut to fit the back wall of a Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house, but not quite fitting.
Luckily I had enough of the paper to try another approach: applying and then cutting (my big Xyron sticker machine came out for the job).
Two uncut pieces of scrapbooking paper, run though a Xyron sticker machine and sitting on the back wall of a Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house.
Close up of the top of the back wall of a Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house, showing scrapbooking paper attached and cut to size.
Next step was the flooring. I had assumed that the bedroom carpet was a single piece of fabric. Silly me. It's lots of fluff, glued on:
Lundby Smaland 2015 dolls' house bedroom floor, showing how the carpet is made of fluff, not fabric.
(I'll get back to that later, as I'd run out of the time I'd put aside to work on the hack).

So far so good, even if it's all a bit temporary for now.
Corner of a live-music venue, with an armchair behind a mic and next to speakers. Next to the chair is a guitar.
I was pleased to find that the copper spray paint I bought for the Hideout build, and used to paint one of my stag heads, went well with the paper I'd chosen. I think I'll be using that on a few things before this build is done...
Upstairs of a Lundby Smaland 2015 house, redecorated as a live-music venue in black and gold.
My next issue is dealing with wallpapering the window wall. I'll check the Lundby site again in a day or so to see if the templates have mysteriously returned and if not, I might have a poke around to see how difficult it is to remove the windows from a modern Lundby. *gulp*
Corner of a live-music venue, with one wall unpapered.
I also need to decide on papers and flooring for the music venue entry area and get them installed...
Selection of scrapbooking papers in black and gold, with a gold-painted stag head displayed on them.
Slowly but surely, I'm making progress!

Monday, September 28, 2015

The (miniature) week that was...

It's been a bit quiet on the blog front around here, but that doesn't mean nothing has been going on. To start with, I've been spending my blogging time this week on sorting out and cleaning up back-end stuff, which is boring but worthwhile.

More excitingly, I received a package from Lundby Australia, which contained a range of goodies from their new Smaland 2015 range:
Selection of Lundby dolls' house and furniture sets in packaging.
 I'd only asked for the new bluetooth stereo, to review for the next issue of The tiny Times, so was surprised and delighted to receive the added extras. I feel a blog post about which pieces work in 1/12 scale coming on, but first I need to share my excitement at being able to play music in your dolls' house:
Modern dolls house miniature scene with a sideboard stereo unit. 
I took a quick video just after I unpacked it, using the only house I had wired up, and the only track on my phone:
(Also on the list of things to do: make a better video, outlining how it works)

But first, I need to finish preparing new stock for my stall at the AMEA Convention:
Modern dolls' house miniature scene with a black stag head mounted on a spotty wall behind a desk displaying a plant in a black pot, a bronze bowl and a wooden ampersand plaque.
and do some more work on my Etsy shop, which has something in it for the first time since I opened it eight years ago (thanks to The Etsy Courage Challenge for the kick in the bum and the reminder that 'done is better than perfect'.) 
Screemshot of a newly-opened Etsy store.
All of this means that there's been nothing done on any of my Finish it off Friday projects at all this month...*sigh*

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Hong Kong in Miniature: Street stalls and plants by Loi-Yau Li

A woman and a child looking at a display of miniature Hong Kong street stalls.
One of the first displays you come to when you enter the first part of the Hong Kong in Miniature exhibition at Westfield Pitt Street is a row of street stalls. These stalls were traditionally found in the streets and lanes of old Hong Kong, and many can still be seen today.
A miniature Hong Kong seafood stall.
 One of my favourites was the fish stall, complete with a mind-boggling array of fish and shellfish for sale
A miniature Hong Kong seafood stall.
Photo courtesy of the Joyful Miniature Association
Fish being filleted on a miniature Hong Kong seafood stall.
Photo courtesy of the Joyful Miniature Association
and a spot next to it where you can sit down for a meal from the stall.
Miniature scene of a person at a table holding various plates of seafood and bottles.
 Further along is a well-stocked fruit stand,
Miniature Hong Kong fruit stall.
 a flower stall,
Miniature Hong Kong flower stall.
 and a number of stalls which I didn't manage to get good photos of.

All these stalls (and the many many items displayed for sale on them) were made by one woman: Loi-Yau Li.
Woman standing in front of a selection of dolls' house miniature plants, arranged on the guest book for the exhibition Hong Kong in Miniature.
Loi-Yau's first loves was painting, which she gave up as she did not feel talented enough. Instead she found miniatures, which she fell in love with: often staying up until midnight to work on a model. Eventually she quit her job as a primary school teacher to focus on her miniatures and set up the Hong Kong Miniature Art Society to promote the art and share the joy with others.

She had some of her amazing plants with her and allowed me to photograph them to share with you: 
Three dolls' house miniature plants, arranged on the guest book for the exhibition Hong Kong in Miniature.
Dolls' house miniature spider plant.
Loi-Yau will be giving a plant-making demonstration tomorrow afternoon at 3 pm. Afterwards, members of AMEA are invited to meet with the some of the miniaturists who created the exhibits to chat about minis. Details can be found on the AMEA Facebook page.

The Hong Kong in Miniature exhibition is on at Westfield Pitt Street during trading hours until tomorrow. 

#HongKonginMiniature #MiniHongKong

Friday, September 18, 2015

Hong Kong in Miniature: bright lights, big city (works by Tony Lai)

In my first post on the Hong Kong in Miniature exhibition (on display at Westfield Pitt Street until Sunday), Pepper commented on the illuminated sign on Louise Chan's shoe shop.

Which got me thinking that I should do a post on all the really interesting use of light (and movement) I saw in the exhibition. (A note if you're reading this through an RSS feed: this post contains video. You probably need to come on down and read it live on the blog...)

1. Tenement building

Model Hong Kong street scene with neon lights .
Tony has been an architectural model builder for 26 years, and it shows in the detail of his work. He began making miniature models as a hobby in 2007, and believes that including movement and light in his pieces adds to the audience's appreciation of the work.

I know I could have examined this work for hours, noticing all the different lit signs and rooms in the buildings, and understanding the stories behind how the model was set up.
Model Hong Kong office building and street.
The lighting on the work is even more amazing at night: luckily for us the organisers allowed me to share some evening shots they provided with you...
Model Hong Kong office building, lit up at night.
Photo courtesy of the Joyful Miniature Association

2. Tai Hang Fire Dragon Dance

Model Hong Kong office building and street.
This building is part of a bigger scene, showing a traditional dance performed during the mid-autumn festival. Once again, I was impressed by the detail and use of light in the scene, which is shown below with some people for scale,
Two women standing in front of a model Hong Kong street.
(and with some scale people!)
Figures on a model Hong Kong street.

3. Hong Kong salon

This 1/12 scale hair salon is based on the traditional barbers that used to be found in Hong Kong. The rotating barber's poll is driven by a slow motor and has over ten LED lights at the top to light it.
Exterior of a miniature Hong Kong barber shop.
Interior of a miniature Hong Kong barber shop.

3. Hong Kong herbal tea shop

Interior of a miniature Hong Kong herbal tea shop.

The highlight of this 1/12 scale scene for me was the working TV mounted high up on the cafe wall.

3. Hong Kong cafe

Exterior of a miniature Hong Kong cafe.
Another 1/12 scale scene, with awesome neon signage outside
Interior of a miniature Hong Kong cafe.
and a light TV and clock, and working fan inside.
Once again, thanks to the organisers for allowing me to reproduce this night-time version:
Exterior of a miniature Hong Kong cafe at night.
Photo courtesy of the Joyful Miniature Association

Tony set up a workshop in 2013 to teach people about Miniature Arts (I feel the sudden need to visit Hong Kong, don't you?), and can be found on Facebook.
The Hong Kong in Miniature exhibition is on at Westfield Pitt Street during trading hours until September 20.  The final demonstration is on Sunday at 3pm, when Li Loi Yun will showcase how she makes mini plants.

#HongKonginMiniature #MiniHongKong