Wednesday, 30 May 2012

How to be a miniturist or crafty gal/guy on a budget

As much fun as all of my creative pursuits are, they can undoubtedly be quite expensive. So I've had to get creative about how to stretch every dollar I spend, and how to access resources for free.
These are my crafty tips:
  • Always check the dollarstore before buying anything at a more expensive store or ordering it online. Check all the dollarstores you can, because you will find different things at every store. Hit up the biggest dollarstores in your city for best results
  • As a beginner miniturist, work from kits as much as you can. They are less expensive and a good way to practice your skills.  Greenleaf Dollhouse Kits are inexpensive, and a good place to start. Greenleaf also carries furniture kits. There are several other brands of kits available. If you think you'll eventually want to build miniature furniture, room boxes or dollhouses from scratch, it's always best to start with a kit. 
  • Consider checking out the hobby section at Walmart for scrapbooking supplies, and storage cases for your supplies. I have been known to call Walmart Walfart because I am not fond of the way they treat their employees (it's REALLY bad), but the fact is, their stuff is cheap, I don't have much money right now, and I want to continue enjoying a hobby that I love.
  • Before you go to Michael's, find the Michael's store that is closest to you (you can do this online with Google search), click on that store's place page, and print out all the coupons for that week.
  • Take advantage of the huge wealth of knowledge and free information available on the internet.
  • In Edmonton, I can access two major American Miniature magazines for free. I just need my library card and internet access and I can read these articles at home on my computer. I can also save any "project" articles and print them out later. This is much better than paying $7 per magazine.
  • Because I have a Galaxy Samsung Tablet, I have been able to download apps for the two major British Dollhouse Magazines. Now that I have the app, I can buy single issues or a yearly subscription, for about half of what I would pay for a paper copy. These magazines can be found for about $11.50 per issue at Chapters. A digital edition is a great option for me, especially since I can also view these magazines on my computer and print out whichever articles I like. The app is called pocketmags and is for British magazines. You can view these magazines on your iPad as well.
  • Join your local miniatures or craft of your choice club. It's a fun way to socialize, and you'll get a lot of advice on where to get hard to find products for the least amount of money.

Friday, 25 May 2012

Gearing up for my upcoming projects!

Some minis have arrived in the mail this past week which will allow me to get started on designing my Father's Day Card, and my sister in law's Wedding Card.
And I am still working on assembling a furniture kit called "The Library", as well as working on a tiny dollhouse kit I bought in March, which is really a small cabin. I had lost interest in the cabin, but after listening to a lady at the Miniatures Club explain how adding flow extender to acrylics could make them appear much more smooth, I think I'll start working on the cabin again.

Friday, 18 May 2012

I finally got to finish my homemade Mother's Day Card!

I had been waiting for several supplies to arrive in the mail from the Canadian Branch of Dolls House Emporium. This website is an absolute boon for Canadian miniatures or crafty types. It is simply not worth it to order from the American websites because of the absurd shipping costs. But with Dollhouse Emporium, you pay in Canadian dollars, you only pay $10 in shipping, and any order over $60 qualifies for free shipping.

The items ship out from Britain, and they are of extremely high quality. I ordered some special cards awhile back from this company, which come with envelopes that are wide enough to accommodate miniature decorations on the front of the card. I ended up using a variety of supplies to decorate my card. On the front of the card the beautiful card is actually dollhouse wallpaper card. The decorative tape in the front of the card is some beautiful paper tape I picked up from a lovely new tea shoppe that recently opened up near us called Cali's Teas.

My new friend Pat, who I met at the Miniature Enthusiasts Club of Edmonton, was very generous with tips on how to personalize my card. Having just learned how to make printies (find an image using Google and shrink it down to mini proportions) I chose to include some Bible verses that are very meaningful to me and represent the deep love and affection my mom has always shown to her children.
Every morning before my sister and I left for Elementary school my mom would repeat these verses to us, as a prayer, as a sign of her love for us and a way of imprinting us with her "love stamp". When we were rushing out the door she would call "Wait!" and we would hurry back so she could say this prayer.
I also chose to include a tiny picture of a Victorian mother and child, because both my mom and I have always loved Victoriana.
My followers may have noticed I made some changes to my blog template. This is because I want to include links to websites and blogs and other useful things that are not possible to do using the older version of blogger. Now if you want to subscribe by email you have you go to the side of the page, let your mouse hover over the three little waves, and eventually subscribe by email will pop up. If you are having any problems please do not hesitate to email me!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

A night in Mini Heaven

Last night I had the honor of attending my first meeting of the Miniature Enthusiasts of Edmonton Club. It was extremely exciting for a mini lover such as myself. I got to see adorable displays in 1/4 scale that were the products of three group members recent trip to a Miniatures Show and Workshop in Oregon. I work in 1/12 scale, which means 1 inch per 1 foot. Even 1/12 scale is quite tiny, so you can imagine how tiny 1/4 scale is. It takes incredible patience, skill, a steady hand, but it's easy to see why miniaturists fall in love with working in 1/4 scale. Some of the cutest things I saw were a Christmas Scene inserted into a teacup and a teeny tiny bakery housed in a lantern.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Schemes and Dreams

I always have something in the works! A couple of weeks ago a purchased a room box from a lovely woman named Sue. I replied to her ad on kijiji. She sold me the room box for $15. If I had ordered one online I would have paid about $40, plus tax, plus $10 for shipping. Since this room box is for a Christmas scene I have been planning and Sue had some Christmas items as well, I also bought some cute mini wrapped presents and a miniature decorated Christmas tree. I actually wanted to buy EVERYTHING she had but we're on a budget right now :) A couple of weeks a go a furniture kit arrived in the mail, called "The Library" by which is produced by Greenleaf Dollhouse Company. I have already started staining this simple wood furniture kit and am dreaming up ways that different items can fit in with my room box.
Then there is the "Anne of Green Gables" project that is pretty long term. Thanks to a wonderful book, called "The Anne of Green Gables Treasury" I have an exact floor plan of Green Gables, complete with an artist's depiction of the furnishings as described in the book. I have already found the perfect dollhouse kit, and several furniture kits that would be ideal. I found them all on the website for The Little Dollhouse Company, which is a dollhouse and miniatures store in Toronto. They are the only Canadian retailer that makes their own kits from BC redwood. How exciting!

Friday, 4 May 2012

Ongoing Projects

I am juggling a few projects right now, which is fine since I am taking a break from work and won't be going back until September. The two projects that take top priority are a gathering supplies for a scrapbook I will making when we go to Galliano Island, Bristish Columbia in July and a commemorative miniature display box for my Grandpa, who is turning 97 years young in July. I was open to using what I could find in local antique shops for the box I'm making for my Grandpa. I ended up buying an old chess set. It's made from very good quality wood, the chess pieces are missing, so essentially it's a nice box with a lid with a checkerboard pattern on top.
I have been brainstorming about the best way to set up this box. I am doing this on a budget, so I have to get creative! I'm filling this box with a mixture of furniture made from "printies" (free printables that you can download from the internet, print onto cardstock,  and reinforce with light cardboard), furniture made from kits and some mini furniture I already have.
I'm also planning to divide the box into sections, because I want to devote each section into a mini room within the box that represents a hobby or a significant area of his life. I have pretty much narrowed the short list down to: a carpenter's work room, a library, a room that celebrates his Irish heritage, and somehow I want to work in some mini items that will commemorate his time serving in Word War II and his long career with Canada Post. Luckily I have lots of time!
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