Category Archives: Tips

A good night’s sleep

bed-alone
Cozy bed for my cottage.

I’ve been working on a cottage that needed a bed that made you want to crawl in and snuggle down.  It needed that cozy and warm look of a thick coverlet and extra blankets tucked at the bottom if more were necessary.  Ok, you have to shrink down first to fit but miniaturists have very active imaginations!

It turned out pretty good and fit the spot.

It was easier that I thought, so I thought I would roll back the blankets and share some tips if dressing a bed or working with fabric draping is in your future.

pulling-back
Rolling back the blankets for a closer look at construction.

I will admit that most of my success was the fabrics themselves but this gives you some ideas to keep in mind when picking fabric or thinking about bedding.

THE MATTRESS

I simply cut 3 pieces of foam and loosely sewing them together for a mattress.  It could be more or less foam depending on the foam thickness and your bed. Some people use a ceiling tile cut to size as a mattress for the ease of pinning the fabric draping.  For me the foam was handy and not so messy to cut.

mattress-foam-base
The foam mattress beginnings.

I covered the foam form with white cloth and sewing it shut.  It doesn’t have to be fancy– generally no one is inspecting underneath the covers in a dollhouse bed.

I have had this odd fabric (a polyester blend of some sort but has a very soft drape to it) for a long time.  Generally, cottons, silks, and other natural fabric are the best for mini work but there are exceptions.   A couple stripes of this fabric became the bed skirt (and no gathering needed!).  I glued the stripes to the mattress.  I folded the raw edges of the ends to the back at the foot and head of the bed.

draping-qualities
The bed skirt material.

I used the fabric fusion glue.  It is a clear gel like substance.  I am not sure I like it but it worked.  It left spots but it could have been me, it was white on white and I didn’t spread the glue out well.

fabric-glue
Fabric glue I used.

THE COVERLET

This fabric just looked right!  I draped one piece on the bed and decided to double it so it could be turned down and inviting to climb in for the night.

bed-skirt-and-coverlet
My fabrics for the bed.

I loosely folded under the sides to the back of the 2 pieces and sewed them together. I had only used ironing and steaming at this point.  The base is tucked in so no messing with that side.  The top is stitched down after the turned down part is in place.  This may seem odd but I think it allowed a better draping this way than sewing the two pieces entirely together, turning it right side out and then trying to get it to lay naturally.  It gets bulky and boxy.  This way the top and bottom pieces can move and set in position without being bound until it is laying on the bed the way you envisioned (or hoped) and then connected together.

Now that I have size and positioning figured out, I put the piece in a plastic bag with fabric stiffen liquid.  Dampen the piece until completely covered.  Remove it and drape it on the bed.  I used pins as needed but not too many (the pin holes will show when pins are removed later) to get the natural draped look of the coverlet.  Now is the hardest part for me.  To walk away and let it dry!  I kept wanting to adjust something but just have to give it time to dry.  So I worked on a matching pillow to keep my hands away from the drying fabrics.  Added a little touch of lace to the end to finish it off.  It looks comfort.

fabric-stiffening
The necessary magic for great draping of fabrics!

The fabric will be stiff as a board as the saying goes when it is completely dry.  Here is the photo to prove it!

stif-as-a-board
Stiff as a board!  Finished but not glued to bed yet.

I used more of the stiffening liquid for the blanket and throw at the base of the bed.  I did add a 2nd layer of white batiste to the cut up doily for a more solid look to it.  It needed to be delicate but still warm as a cover.

blanket-and-throw-beginnings
Materials for the blanket and coverlet.

Now the bed is complete and moved into the cottage.  No matter the weather, this bed has the look of a perfect place for a good night’s rest.

bed-in-place-closeup
Warm and inviting bed for the night!
bed-in-place
It is a snug little place but homey!

 

 

 

 

A Halloween Trick

I know, I know, October is almost GONE but I wanted to share a seasonal item currently at Michael’s that has quite a bit of possibilities.  They are clearing out the Halloween things at a deep discount now so you might be able to still find them.  Here is a Halloween trick for you using one object to create something new. Happy Halloween!

The JACK-O’-LANTERN straws !!!   They come apart!!!!

The 4 stacked pumpkins can be separated!  Ummm…   Use a sawblade to separate them into 4 individual jack-o’-lanterns.  Yes, the tops of 3 of them look ugly but that is easily fixed.  Just sand lightly with FINE sandpaper and use an emery board for the inner edge.  The sanded area looks dull at first but fine when wiped with water.

saw-1
saw them apart
saw-2
first one nice rim, 3 others are rough
sand-1
lightly sand with FINE sandpaper
sand-2
use emery board for the inner edge cleanup

Here is some of them doctored up.  SO COOL!!

possibilities
Doctored up individual jack-o’-lanterns

 

First one is stuffed with a cotton ball wrapped in a double layer of black panty hose material.  It fills the pumpkin so only one face shows.

The second one I covered both faces with black tissue paper inside the pumpkin and made a paper base since there is no bottom.  Using a large needle heated by a candle I poked a hole on each side to attach a piece of black cording for a handle. I then filled it with Halloween treats.

filled-pumpkin

The third one came apart at the seams but seems like it could be used when you wanted a flat back.  A wall planter?  A light (remember to only use LEDs with that idea, so no overheating issues with regular bulbs)?  Who knows???

Here is a couple of them in my pull cart ………

cart-pumpkins

Hopefully you can get a bag of the straws before they are gone and have fun exploring their potential.  ENJOY!

Dome Delight

Sometimes I am enchanted with a single piece or vignette that I am not ready to put in a larger scene of a dollhouse or roombox so a small display under a dome is just the ticket. I can also rotate my treasures so things aren’t stale in my displays and my eyes can seek out the details up close when I am in the miniature mood.

This fall I discovered some small glass domes at Michael’s that allow me to display a seasonal favorite or special miniature.  They still carry them  but they keep moving them around in the store. Currently they are in the fairy garden section. They are inexpensive, running about $5 to $7 with several sizes.

dome-package
Small Domes from Michael’s
dome-uses
They come in several sizes.

Another cover for a small grouping is a cheese tray.  I got this one at the thrift store for $3. I will admit the glass is thicker than a dome and distorts things a bit but the price was right.  A footed glass cake stand is another option.   Garage sales and estate sales can provide some interesting covers if you keep your eyes open.

 

The luggage trio is by Bobbie Johnson of Colorado.  I made the other 3 pieces many years ago.  I am not sure who made the green trunk but I love the aged peeling affect it has  for a well traveled look.

Since I am on the subject of small displays, I wanted to share some of my favorites.  Not all are dome covered but  I wanted to share some eye candy.

 

The spring garden display and gnome floral is by Laura Crain of Dollhouse Land. I love her use of color.  Well balanced and feels like a bit of the outdoors captured.  They always perk me up in the winter.

The doll and 2 bunnies are some old favorites from the late 90’s.  I have two of the dolls by the same artist that I got in 1997 when I was on the East coast at a miniature show.  I have never seen her work since but love the detail.  They have viscose hair, lace trim and ribbon added to the pinafores.  All the rest is polymer clay. Here is the two dolls and their markings.  If you know the artist’s name, I would love to know it.

doll-sistersartist-markings

The bunnies are by Becky Delk.  She made lots of sweet children and animals in the 90’s. She was at the Denver show and NAME conventions when I was able to get some of her creations.  The detail is incredible with the dresses having checkered pattern, strips, etc all created with her manipulation of the clay.  They amaze me.  I think she burned out due to her work being so popular.

bunnies
Two stylish bunnies by Becky Delk
charming-girls
Dolls by Becky Delk
treasured-dolls
Closeup of detail
giraffe
Giraffe by Becky Delk
giraffe-closeup
Giraffe closeup

The small gatherings under a dome or cover is a much better way to enjoy your miniatures than tucked away in a drawer until you have a place for it in a scene.

 

 

Discovery in the Floral Aisle

In the creating of seasonal plants for my floral shop decked out for Thanksgiving I explored the aisles of the hobby shops for bits that I could use to add the proper seasonal colors.  I found the nicest sprays that have a wide range of colors to work into the arrangements.They made great clusters of grapes in my turkey cart and were another texture/filler in the bouquets. It looks like something the floral department has for each season, just different colors, so I am checking for them this spring too.

You may find some uses for them too.They were inexpensive and took acrylic paint well for touch ups.

Magical transformations from one thing into something different is always a thrill!